Mike Muscala

Southeast Notes: Gordon, Simmons, Muscala, James

Newly-hired Magic head coach Steve Clifford recently visited Aaron Gordon in San Jose, California as part of an effort to get to know his players, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Gordon is a restricted free agent this summer, but reports have indicated that the Magic are likely to retain his services, even if they have to go up to the maximum salary to do so.

In April, Gordon addressed what his “ideal’ contract would be this summer. “Ideal is max,” Gordon said, per Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). “That would be ideal. Three letters. … Definitely here (in Orlando).”

While injuries limited him to 58 games this past season, Gordon posted the best totals of his career. Gordon, 22, averaged 17.6 PPG and 7.9 RPG for the Magic.

Check out more Southeast Division notes below:

  • Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons underwent surgery on his right wrist in late April, a team spokesman confirmed to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Simmons missed the final 12 games of the season due to a wrist injury. It’s unclear when Simmons will resume basketball activities. In 69 games, Simmons averaged  13.9 PPG while shooting 46.5% from the field.
  • Hawks big man Mike Muscala remains undecided about what he will do with his $5MM player option for 2018/19, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Muscala has until June 29 to make a decision on that option.
  • While the possibility may be slim, LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers to join the Wizards is not that far-fetched, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington opines. Hughes writes that the opportunity to stay in the Eastern Conference, a chance to win now, and a fondness for D.C. are just a few reasons why James could consider the nation’s capital.

2018 NBA Free Agent Stock Watch: Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are in the early stages of a rebuild after years as a modest contender in the Eastern Conference. Given new general manager Travis Schlenk‘s desire to preserve cap flexibility, you can imagine the franchise will be particularly prudent when free agency resumes in July.

As things stand, the club has just $70.5MM on the books for next season, a figure that drops to $60.2MM if you subtract a pair of player options that we’ll discuss below.

The Hawks will have little incentive to keep their payroll that tight given the salary floor projected in the $85MM range but they’ll be dead-set against committing to inconsequential long-term deals unless it comes in the form of a trade for a significant asset.

Dewayne Dedmon, C, 28 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $12.3MM deal in 2017
After years as a journeyman, Dedmon began to make a name for himself as a surprisingly productive reserve for a legitimate contender in San Antonio. While he never played enough minutes to make it onto the mainstream radar, he’s a value add that landed in an ideal environment in Atlanta. Though Dedmon has stepped up in the biggest opportunity of his career thus far, he doesn’t have much of a role with the Hawks long term given the fact that, at 28 years of age, he doesn’t really fit their timeline. Expect him to turn down his player option and hit the open market in search of a raise from his current $6MM salary. Dedmon could be a double-double talent for any team that really wanted him to be but it’s more likely that he settles in as a go-to frontcourt bench option with his stellar career per-36 rates.

Malcolm Delaney, PG, 29 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $5MM deal in 2016
It’s hard to imagine that Delaney will generate much interested as a restricted free agent considering his age and 5.7 career point-per-game average but that doesn’t mean the franchise won’t look to bring him back on a short-term deal if they simply need bodies that the coaching staff is familiar with. If he’s not back in Atlanta, however, he may have a hard time landing a gig.

Mike Muscala, 27, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2017
Having carved out a role for himself as a decent defensive big man with a plus three-point shot, Muscala could conceivably draw interest from other teams if he turned down his player option for 2018/19. In reality, however, it’s hard to imagine Muscala definitively emerging from a crowded center market to land a deal better than his current one. Muscala isn’t a spring chicken by NBA standards but prolonging a free agency decision until 2019, when he’s 28 years old, wouldn’t be an awful idea.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Pistons, Hood, Muscala, Referees

The general consensus among various league executives and agents is that this season’s trade deadline won’t be overly eventful, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. While several smaller-scale deals could be made, the 2018 deadline figures to be short on blockbusters, particularly since many big trades already happened during the 2017 offseason.

Still, O’Connor’s trade deadline preview touches on many players and teams, mixing in a few new tidbits alongside news and rumors that have been previously reported. For instance, the Bulls and Pistons are among the teams believed to have interest in Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood, according to O’Connor, who adds that virtually any Utah player not named Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell could be had in the right deal.

Among O’Connor’s other items of interest: Hawks big man Mike Muscala has generated “light interest” around the NBA, and execs across the league have vastly different opinions on Pistons trade candidate Stanley Johnson — some view him as a potential low-cost steal, while others are bearish on his value.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • In his latest piece at NBA.com, TNT’s David Aldridge has 10 trade ideas that he believes would make sense for the various teams involved.
  • The NBA recently announced an initiative that the league hopes will improve the working relationship between its players and referees. Sam Amick of USA Today spoke to Monty McCutchen, a former top-rated ref who has joined the league office, about the five-part program.
  • In his latest look at trade rumors from around the NBA, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post explores how the Pelicans and Thunder will try to fill the holes created in their rotations after season-ending injuries to DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Roberson, respectively.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/24/17

Here are the G-League transactions from around the NBA today:

  • The Hawks have recalled guard Tyler Dorsey and big man Mike Muscala from the organization’s G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, the team announced in a press release. Dorsey has appeared in 10 games for the Hawks this season while Muscala has played in nine contests.
  • The Wolves announced that the 18th overall pick from this year’s NBA Draft, Justin Patton, has been recalled from the team’s G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves (via Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune). Patton had been sidelined with a broken left foot to start a season before starting a G League assignment earlier this month. Patton, 20, appeared in six games with Iowa.
  • The Magic have recalled center Khem Birch from their G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, the team announced (via Twitter). Birch, 25, has appeared briefly in four games for Orlando this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/19/17

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

3:36pm:

  • In addition to assigning Muscala to the G League (noted below), the Hawks have also sent Tyler Dorsey to the Erie Bayhawks, the club announced today in a press release.

3:03pm:

  • The Hawks have sent veteran big man Mike Muscala to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. Muscala, who had to sign off on his assignment to the Erie BayHawks, is rehabbing an ankle injury, and this move suggests he’s progressing toward a return.
  • Rookie guard Terrance Ferguson has been assigned to the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a press release issued today by the Thunder. Ferguson figures to suit up tonight for the Thunder’s G League affiliate against the Northern Arizona Suns.

Southeast Notes: Leonsis, Stone, Mahinmi

The Wizards have made no secret their plan to double down on their current core and a recent blog post from franchise owner Ted Leonsis only further documents how Washington plans to craft a winner.

The Wizards boast the youngest core of long-term signed max players, a testament to their willingness to commit to their guys, and they’re not afraid to dip into the luxury tax in order to preserve what they think is going to work eventually.

Further, Leonsis writes, the Wizards plan to invest in basketball development at all levels, citing the team’s acquisition of a G League club and plans for a new arena to house the Washington Mystics of the WNBA.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, as Carmelo Anthony made use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. For much of the offseason, Anthony was focused on joining the Rockets, but he eventually agreed to a deal that sent him to Oklahoma City.

Anthony is one of just two NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

Hawks Re-Sign Mike Muscala

JULY 25: The Hawks have officially re-signed Muscala, the team announced today in a press release. Finalizing Muscala’s deal cuts into Atlanta’s remaining cap room, suggesting that the club may not have any immediate plans to maximize that space.

JULY 7: The Hawks have agreed to a two-year, $10MM deal with free agent big man Mike Muscala, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The agreement will feature a second-year player option, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Muscala, who turned 26 last Saturday, appeared in a career-high 70 games for the Hawks in 2016/17, setting new career highs in PPG (6.2), RPG (3.4), and several other categories as he saw his role in the rotation expand.

With Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap no longer in the picture in Atlanta, the team was in need of frontcourt depth. While the Hawks figure to add at least one or two more bigs to the roster at some point, Muscala could be in line for even more minutes going forward for the retooling franchise.

The Hawks have a minimum salary cap hold on their books and hold the Bird rights for Muscala, who has spent the last four seasons in Atlanta. So his new agreement won’t affect the team’s remaining cap room until it becomes official. It also won’t have an impact on the club’s ability to match the Knicks’ offer sheet for Tim Hardaway Jr., though it’s not clear if the Hawks are seriously considering doing so.

Southeast Notes: Wall, Porter, Bosh, Muscala, Riley, Ellington

Wizards star point guard John Wall is making no apologies for his aggressive recruitment of Paul George during free agency, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Many observers took Wall’s comments as a slight against the team’s current small forward Otto Porter, but Wall explained his comments in a different way:

“Otto’s going to be a great player for us, a great role player for a lot of teams. There’s a difference between a role player and a superstar. It’s a big difference. There’s a lot teams that will make a lot of trades for a superstar. Look at Kevin Love getting traded for Andrew Wiggins, you never know who that player going to turn out to be.”

Buckner also points out that Wall is not in a rush regarding his own extension. Last season Wall qualified for the designated player exception after making the All-NBA third team. Wall maintained that he’s devoted to the city of Washington and plans to carefully consider whether he wishes to remain a Wizard in the long term. An extension could keep Wall in the District for the next six years.

Here’s what else you should know from the Southeast division:

  • Former Heat star Chris Bosh penned an open letter to the city of Miami, thanking its residents for the past seven years of support. The 33-year-old power forward credited Miamians for showing him “how to stay strong and push through in the toughest moments,” which has “made [him] a better man, the person [he is] today.” In the letter, Bosh did not broach the topics of his current health or his future plans.
  • Hawks big man Mike Muscala viewed his return to Atlanta as a “no-brainer,” writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Last week, Muscala agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract to remain with the Hawks.
  • Heat president Pat Riley opined on various Heat players, with his comments about Wayne Ellington particularly effusive: “It would have killed me to see him go. He committed himself unlike anybody else. And just like James Johnson and Dion [Waiters], changed everything about how he played…And he’s so in, so committed, and he can see what did for himself with our help, and how it improved his game. He’s one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league.” Riley goes on to mention that the team has Early Bird Rights on Ellington and credits the player’s loss of 20 pounds with yielding many benefits on the court. Ellington’s $6.3MM contract was guaranteed on Friday.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, White, Kaba

The Wizards are no closer to landing Paul George than they were a week ago but recent comments from John Wall have resurrected speculation that he could possibly end up in D.C. Per CSN Mid-Atlantic’s J. Michael, there are a number of things that would need to happen for the pipe dream to become a reality, here are just a few:

For starters, the Wizards will have to come to terms with something that all of George’s other suitors have already come to terms with: they would need to build an appealing enough package of young players and assets without any guarantee that they’ll get to re-sign him next summer.

The Wizards would also need Otto Porter to be up for a sign-and-trade, something that would require him to take less money than he’s eligible for, just to pack his bags and move to Indianapolis.

Even if the Wizards did manage to land George and played him alongside Wall and Bradley Beal, however, the organization would be extremely crunched financially for the foreseeable future.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Don’t expect the Magic to make a major splash in free agency, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. The team would need to reel off a series of moves just to clear up space for a major signing and that’s not really their focus at this point in time.
  • Coming off a season in which he averaged career highs, Hawks center Mike Muscala is experiencing unrestricted free agency for the first time. He spoke with Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune about the process. “It’s crazy how basketball can change from high school to college to the NBA and what you work on, what you’re compensated for,” he said, referring to his coveted skill set as a three-point shooting big man. “I’ve found if you do things the right way — if you play the right way, if you work on your game, if you’re a good teammate — you’ll be rewarded for it.”
  • The Heat will retain Okaro White and Josh Richardson, thus guaranteeing their contracts (or in White’s case, partially guaranteeing the deal he signed last season). Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes about how Richardson’s $1.5MM for 2017/18 will be locked in after Friday and how White will clinch $226K on Saturday.
  • One of the major areas that the Wizards will need to improve upon next year is in their backcourt depth, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic says. They’ve already gotten a head start in doing so with their addition of Tim Frazier.
  • Second-round draft pick Alpha Kaba will play with the Hawks‘ summer league team before deciding where to play next season, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.