Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Central Notes: Holden, Kennard, Holiday, Bulls

As the Pistons close in on a GM, they are also looking at Nets director of player personnel J.R. Holden and Warriors assistant GM Mike Dunleavy as potential front office additions, SNY’s Ian Begley tweets. Presumably, Detroit would consider Holden and Dunleavy as candidates as assistant GMs.

However, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets that the Pistons plan to hire a GM first and allow that person to fill out the staff. Thunder executive Troy Weaver has reportedly emerged as the leading candidate in their GM search, though Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes and Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson are also in the mix.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons swingman Luke Kennard is confident the knee tendinitis that cut short his season is no longer an issue, as he told Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Kennard didn’t play after Christmas but was just about to return when the pandemic struck  in March. The Pistons, who are not part of the league’s restart plan, may have to wait until December to play again. “I’m not really nervous about the time off,” Kennard said. “I know what I’m doing right now is going to allow me to stay healthy and get through a full season and be ready to go for all 82 games or whatever they decide.”
  • Pacers guard Aaron Holiday has signed with BDA Sports and will be represented by veteran agent Bill Duffy and Nima Namakian, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. Holiday is signed through at least next season. The Pacers hold an option worth approximately $4MM on his contract for the 2021/22 season.
  • Jim Boylen’s status as the Bulls coach remains up in the air even though front office changes have been made and Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes the franchise’s reputation has something to do with it, he said on 670 The Score (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman).(Rick) Carlisle, the Dallas coach, has made it very clear the disdain the Coaches Association and a lot of coaches have for the Bulls and the practices they have toward coaches. … They’re buying time because they have time to buy, but also I think it’s also a perception thing that they’re looking to change.”

Warriors Notes: Bowman, Thompson, Dunleavy Jr., Rookies

Rookie Ky Bowman is thrilled to have an opportunity with the Warriors after being passed over on draft night, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Bowman signed a two-way deal in July and is hoping to work his way into a standard contract.

“It all starts with being undrafted, knowing I got a lot more to prove to the teams that didn’t draft me and to show the kids back home that you can make it if you put your faith and your work into it,” he said. “I’ve just been praying and working every day and every night, being in the gym on nights that people (hang out). It was a commitment to myself to be successful.”

Bowman had a rough introduction to the league as part of the Warriors’ Summer League team, averaging 2.3 PPG and shooting just 22% from the floor in four games. He said he has learned a lot more during offseason workouts with his new teammates.

“A lot of people don’t get here, it still doesn’t feel real, but it’s an honor to get here,” Bowman said. “I’m trying to embrace every moment, trying to pick up things from the guys who are here. Even when I am guarding Stephen Curry), learning different moves that he’s doing, things I’m trying to work on to become as good as a player.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Two knee specialists believe Klay Thompson is taking a significant risk by planning to play this season, relays Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Dr. Tim Hewett, who has studied the biomechanics of the knee for the Mayo Clinic and served as director of Ohio State’s Sports Health and Performance Institute, and Dr. Christopher Nagelli of the Mayo Clinic presented a paper recently suggesting that athletes with ACL tears should rest for two full years. “Please do share that with Klay,” Hewett said. “… People don’t like to hear it but it does not change the facts, and that facts are that you’re at risk for re-injury before two years and you won’t be the same player in the first year.”
  • Former Warriors player Mike Dunleavy Jr. is rising in influence as the team’s assistant GM, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Dunleavy had served as Golden State’s Eastern scout since 2017 and watched D’Angelo Russell in person more than anyone else in the organization. He played a key role in finalizing a sign-and-trade once GM Bob Myers learned that Kevin Durant was joining the Nets.
  • NBA.com takes a look at the Warriors’ three draft picks, Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall and Alen Smailagić, and what they might be able to contribute this season.

Warriors Hire Zaza Pachulia As Consultant

Longtime NBA big man Zaza Pachulia hasn’t announced his retirement as a player, but it appears he’s ready to transition into another phase of his career. The Warriors have hired Pachulia as a consultant, the team announced today in a press release.

Pachulia, who spent last year with the Pistons, was a member of the Warriors for the previous two seasons, winning championships with the franchise in 2017 and 2018. The 35-year-old spent a total of 16 seasons in the NBA, appearing in nearly 1,100 career regular season games for the Magic, Bucks, Hawks, and Mavericks in addition to Detroit and Golden State.

The Warriors’ announcement refers to Pachulia “recently concluding” his NBA career, so it appears he has no plans to continue playing. He’ll serve as a consultant for the Warriors on both the basketball and business side, according to the team.

Golden State announced several more front office promotions in today’s release. Most notably, Kirk Lacob – the son of team owner Joe Lacob – will become the club’s executive vice president of basketball operations, while former NBA forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. has been named an assistant general manager.

The younger Lacob was previously an assistant GM for the Warriors, while Dunleavy joined the organization last year as a pro scout.

Warriors Hire Mike Dunleavy Jr. As Scout

Mike Dunleavy Jr. will rejoin the Warriors as a pro scout, the team announced on its website.

Dunleavy played 15 NBA seasons, spending the first four and a half with Golden State. He last played for the Hawks at the end of the 2016/17 season.

The addition of Dunleavy was among several moves the Warriors made, including two promotions on the coaching staff. Bruce Fraser has been named an assistant coach and Chris DeMarco will be assistant coach/director of player development.

The team also hired Nick Kerr, son of head coach Steve Kerr, as assistant video coordinator. He previously held a similar position with the Spurs.

Five Notable Forwards Still Available In Free Agency

While most of the biggest names still available on the free agent market are restricted free agents, there are several noteworthy unrestricted players who are free to sign outright with any NBA team. Over the last several days, we’ve identified a number of those players, examining five notable guards, wings, and big men who remain unsigned.

Today, we’ll close out our look at those notable remaining free agents by focusing on a handful of forwards who could appeal to NBA clubs. Some of these players could be considered wings or bigs, but we’ve split them off into their own category — these are frontcourt players who probably shouldn’t be relied on as the man in the middle of any lineup that’s not unusually small.

The Raptors, Hawks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Spurs, and Hornets are among the teams that could potentially use a little more frontcourt depth, though those aren’t the only clubs who may be suitors for the players listed below.

Here are five notable free agent forwards to keep an eye on:

  • Dante Cunningham — An eight-year veteran, Cunningham has been a solid rotation player for most of his career, but recently added a new wrinkle to his game. After making just two three-pointers in his first six seasons, Cunningham has made 126 over the last two years, shooting an impressive 39.2% from long range in 2016/17. The apparent lack of interest in the 30-year-old so far suggests teams may be a little skeptical of his newfound range, but if he can keep it up, he’d make for an intriguing stretch four. The Knicks were linked to Cunningham in May and the Jazz were said to have interest last month, though it’s not clear if either team is still in on him.
  • Michael Beasley — While he never lived up to his pre-draft billing, Beasley – a former second overall pick – continued to provide value as a scorer off the bench in Milwaukee last season. In 56 games for the Bucks, the veteran forward averaged 9.4 PPG with a career-best .532 FG% and .419 3PT%. The lack of recent updates on our player page on Beasley suggests that he hasn’t been the subject of any substantial rumors this summer, which is a little surprising. I can think of several teams that could use a player like him in their second unit.
  • Luke Babbitt — Babbitt started 55 games for the Heat last season, but only averaged 15.7 minutes per contest, so his role was limited. Still, few players around the NBA have been more reliable three-point shooters in recent years. Babbitt has made an impressive 43.8% of his long-distance attempts since the start of the 2014/15 season. Miami was reportedly monitoring the former first-round pick earlier in the free agent period, but with Kelly Olynyk now in the mix for the Heat, a reunion may not be cards — Babbitt is said to be weighing other options.
  • Boris Diaw — A longtime contributor in San Antonio, Diaw joined the Jazz last season and saw his production dip — his PPG (4.6), FG% (.446), and 3PT% (.247) marks were all among the worst of his career. Diaw is 35, so we shouldn’t necessarily count on him to bounce back strong in 2017/18, but if he still has something left in the tank, he’s worth a minimum salary investment. Diaw’s ability to distribute the ball is somewhat rare for a forward, and he can fit into a wide range of lineups. The Raptors may be one possibility for him.
  • Mike Dunleavy Jr. — Like Babbitt, Dunleavy could provide immediate help for a team in need of some outside shooting, but like Diaw, his age is a concern; he’ll turn 37 in September. Nonetheless, Dunleavy continued to make threes at a consistent rate in 2016/17, converting 39.6% of his outside attempts despite averaging a career-low 15.9 minutes per game. The Timberwolves were identified as a possible suitor for Dunleavy earlier in the offseason, and even though that report is over a month old, Minnesota still makes sense as a landing spot. Tom Thibodeau‘s club could use another shooter or two, and Thibodeau coached Dunleavy in Chicago.

Note: Restricted free agents aren’t noted here, since they’re not free to sign with any team, but Nikola Mirotic and JaMychal Green are among the noteworthy RFA forwards still on the market.

Hawks Waive Mike Dunleavy Jr.

4:10pm: The Hawks have formally waived Dunleavy Jr., Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

12:56pm: Mike Dunleavy Jr. appears likely to hit the free agent market in the coming days, reports Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). According to Vivlamore, indications are that the Hawks will waive Dunleavy before his 2017/18 salary becomes fully guaranteed.

Dunleavy is heading into the final year of his current contract, but his $5,175,000 salary is only partially guaranteed for $1,662,500, per Basketball Insiders. Atlanta would avoid being on the hook for the remaining $3.5MM+ by cutting Dunleavy before it becomes guaranteed on July 1.

Acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade last July, Dunleavy was subsequently flipped to the Hawks in a mid-season deal for Kyle Korver. In 30 games with Atlanta, the veteran swingman continued to show off his sharpshooting ability, making 42.9% of his three-point attempts, though his role with the club was limited.

Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reported earlier today that Dunleavy is on the Timberwolves’ radar as a possible free agent addition. When a Twitter follower pointed out that the 36-year-old is still under contract, Wolfson replied, “Let’s just say he’s available.”

Free Agent Rumors: Gay, OKC, Wolves, Hawks

Free agent forward Rudy Gay will hold meetings with potential suitors in Austin, Texas this weekend, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). The Thunder have long been rumored to have interest in Gay, and Wojnarowski notes that Oklahoma City continues to view Gay as a potential fit on its roster.

In addition to Gay, Blake Griffin has long been considered a probable 2017 free agent target for the Thunder, and in the wake of Wednesday’s Chris Paul trade, Royce Young of ESPN.com (Twitter link) wonders if OKC likes its chances of landing Griffin any more. The Thunder won’t have the cap space to sign Griffin outright, but could make a sign-and-trade work. Still, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes, Griffin would have to want to play in OKC, and there has been little indication of that so far.

Here are a few more free agent rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link) identifies Mike Dunleavy Jr. as a potential free agent that will be on the Timberwolves‘ radar, noting that Minnesota needs shooting and Dunleavy has played for Tom Thibodeau before. Dunleavy technically remains under contract with the Hawks, but his 2017/18 salary features only a small partial guarantee, so it’s possible he’ll be waived soon.
  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor views Jimmy Butler as the sort of player capable of helping the Wolves attract notable free agents to Minnesota, per Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune. The club is believed to be in the market for a free agent point guard, so Butler’s influence may be put to the test very soon.
  • The Hawks have many players eligible for free agency this weekend, and may explore the market for outside targets, but new general manager Travis Schlenk doesn’t expect the team to rush to get anything done at 12:01am on July 1, as Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution details.
  • After missing the entire 2016/17 season, free agent point guard Mo Williams is working toward a possible NBA return, agent Raymond Brothers tells Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski adds that Brothers is now representing free agent forward Brandon Bass as well.

Mike Dunleavy Diagnosed With Right Ankle Synovitis

Mike Dunleavy has been diagnosed with right ankle synovitis, the Hawks announced in a press release. Per the team’s injury report: “An MRI taken at the Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center on Feb. 28th revealed the injury and a second opinion by Dr. Richard Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute also confirmed the diagnosis.”

Dunleavy will be out for an undetermined length of time.

Dunleavy, who initially sought a buyout after being traded to Atlanta, has performed well under Mike Budenholzer. Dunleavy has averaged 5.9 points while shooting 44.2% on 3-pointers with the Hawks, receiving 16.2 MPG.

After tonight, Dunleavy will have missed the Hawks’ last four games.

Rockets Rumors: Dunleavy, Chalmers, Jack, Ibaka

While some players around the NBA are lobbying their respective front offices for roster reinforcements, James Harden told reporters today that he’d be content with the Rockets standing pat at this month’s trade deadline.

“I love what we have, love it,” Harden said, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. “From top to bottom, we have depth. You can throw any guy in there and they know their role, that’s important. I’m going to ride with these guys for sure.”

Harden may be content with Houston’s current 15-man squad, but general manager Daryl Morey is always exploring ways to upgrade his roster, and figures to be busy over the next two weeks. Here’s more from Watkins on avenues the Rockets are exploring:

  • The Rockets engaged in serious talks with Atlanta about acquiring Mike Dunleavy, and while those discussions ultimately didn’t result in an agreement, the team remains on the lookout for another shooter, writes Watkins. K.J. McDaniels would have been part of the deal if the Rockets had worked something out for Dunleavy.
  • The Rockets would like to add another ball-handler to their roster to take some pressure off of Harden and Patrick Beverley. The club has looked at veteran free agents Mario Chalmers and Jarrett Jack to potentially fill that role, per Watkins.
  • According to Watkins, the Rockets have “some interest” in Serge Ibaka, who could provide rim protection, rebounding, and an outside shot, making him a good fit in Houston. The Magic’s asking price for Ibaka is believed to be quite high, however.
  • Given how well the club has played, Rockets officials think it will be tricky to make a deal that improves the roster without disrupting team chemistry, says Watkins. Morey has publicly expressed a similar sentiment.

Stein’s Latest: Rockets, Cavaliers, Blazers, Pistons

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein takes a swing at picking the All-Star starters from each conference and passes along some trade rumors in his latest column. He lists four teams that could be active with the deadline less than six weeks away:

  • The Rockets‘ hopes of acquiring Mike Dunleavy Jr. fell through this week when the Hawks committed to keeping him, but Houston is still looking for another shooter. GM Daryl Morey tried to get involved when Atlanta was searching for a third team in its deal with Cleveland, and he had interest in acquiring Dunleavy when it looked like he might not report to the Hawks. Sources tell Stein that K.J. McDaniels has surpassed Corey Brewer as the Rocket most likely to be traded. McDaniels has one season left on his current deal at more than $3.3MM, while Brewer is signed for one more more season at $7.6MM.
  • The Cavaliers have $4.4MM left from their Anderson Varejao trade exception, which will expire February 20th. That means a trade for a backup point guard may be just as likely as a veteran free agent signing such as Mario ChalmersJarrett Jack or Norris Cole.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has moved ahead of Reggie Jackson on the list of untouchable Pistons in possible trades. Caldwell-Pope is now atop that list alongside Andre Drummond. Detroit is well below .500 since Jackson returned from tendinitis in his left knee in early December. Jackson, whose 5.5 assists per game are the lowest during his time in Detroit, still has three seasons and more than $51MM left on his current deal.
  • Three Trail Blazers who signed huge offseason deals will become eligible to be traded on Sunday. Keep an eye on whether Portland tries to unload some of the salary it committed to Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard.