James Dolan Weighing Phil Jackson’s Future With Knicks

Knicks owner James Dolan is weighing the future of team president Phil Jackson in New York, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, a final decision on Jackson’s future has not been made, but Dolan is “harboring uncertainties” about the job the Hall of Fame coach is doing in the Knicks’ front office.

Jackson’s performance as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations has been increasingly questioned within the last year as he became entangled in a public feud with Carmelo Anthony. Despite the fact that the star forward holds a no-trade clause, Jackson has publicly suggested he’d like to move on from Anthony, creating an unusual standoff as the new league year approaches.

The Anthony situation – along with a series of questionable roster moves that included a four-year, $72MM+ commitment to Joakim Noah – wasn’t enough to stop Dolan from exercising his side of Jackson’s option to keep him under contract through 2018/19. However, according to Wojnarowski, the Knicks owner has become “increasingly concerned” about Jackson’s fitness for the job and for the long-term future of the franchise.

The highlight of Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks so far was his pick of Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. However, even that success story has taken an unexpected turn in recent months.

Frustrated with the Knicks’ dysfunction, Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the franchise at season’s end, and Jackson responded by making the big man available in trade talks leading up to the draft. While Porzingis remains a Knick, Jackson’s willingness to seriously entertain trade possibilities appears to have been a red flag for Dolan.

According to Ramona Shelburne of (via Twitter), Knicks sources expect clarity on Jackson’s future to come in some form on Wednesday morning. If the team does decide to shake up its front office, the timing will be less than ideal — free agency officially gets underway in less than 72 hours.

Rockets A Serious Threat For Chris Paul?

The Rockets have emerged as an “increasingly serious” threat in the Chris Paul sweepstakes, league sources tell Marc Stein of Stein is the second ESPN reporter this week to make such a claim — Chris Haynes said on Monday that he has heard Houston has a “serious chance” to land Paul.

According to Stein, MVP finalist James Harden has been advocating for the Rockets to go after Paul, having made his interest in playing alongside the veteran point guard clear to both the team and to CP3 himself.

As Stein notes, the Rockets would have to make some cost-cutting moves in order to clear the cap space necessary to make a real run at Paul. Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverley, and Lou Williams are among the players believed to be on the trade block, with ESPN’s report suggesting that Houston is focused on finding a taker for Anderson’s salary, which will be worth nearly $20MM in 2017/18.

Despite the classification of the Rockets as a “serious” suitor for Paul, I’m skeptical of the fit. Houston excelled this past season playing a fast-paced style with Harden running the point. Paul has generally played at a much slower pace, and incorporating him into the offense would mean taking the ball out of Harden’s hands. Additionally, I think the Rockets would probably have to attach at least one valuable asset – such as a future first-round pick – to Anderson’s contract in order to gain any traction in trade talks.

Still, according to Stein, the Clippers continue to worry that Paul could bolt in free agency, and view Houston and San Antonio as legitimate threats. We heard earlier today that CP3’s camp sat down with the Clippers on Tuesday to discuss the point guard’s future. The two sides plan to meet again a few days from now.

Suns Expected To Sign Mike James

Mike James is expected to sign with the Suns, international basketball journalist David Pick suggests (link via Twitter).  Pick describes James as “EuroLeague’s most electrifying combo guard.” The exact details of James’ and the Suns’ commitment are not yet known, but this sounds to be more than just a Summer League deal. Whatever the contract may be it cannot become official until the new league year.

This James, not to be confused with NBA veteran Mike James, has yet to play in the NBA and last suited up for Panathinaikos in 2016/17. He did, however, play for the Suns during the 2015 NBA Summer League. In Greece last season, he averaged 13.0 PPG and 3.0 APG on .490 from the floor.

Wizards Still Pursuing George, Celtics Remain Favorite

Despite the odds stacked against the Wizards landing Paul George in a trade, the Washington front office continues to pursue the star forward via trade, reports J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Michael adds that the Celtics appear to be the frontrunners in the George trade sweepstakes.

John Wall confirmed on Monday that he has been recruiting George in an effort to get him to push for a trade to Washington. However, it’s not clear if the Wizards have the necessary assets to get anything done. Certainly, the team’s collection of appealing young players and future draft picks pales in comparison to Danny Ainge‘s stockpile in Boston.

George, 27, posted averages of 23.7 PPG (a career-high), 6.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.6 SPG this past season. His slash line was extremely impressive too at .461/.393/.898.

Atlantic Notes: Rose, Zizic, Bradley, Iguodala

The Knicks have legitimate interest in re-signing Derrick Rose, reports Ian Begley of ESPN. At 28 years old, Rose will be a free agent for the first time in his career in the coming days. The report also states that the Knicks are not interested in paying large salaries for any free agents, so that may play a role in whether Rose re-signs with the team. The Knicks are also keen on ensuring Rose’s health, as the point guard’s career has been riddled with injuries both major and minor.

Here’s what else you need to know from the Atlantic division:

  • The Celtics‘ 2016 draft pick, Ante Zizic, arrived in Boston and will begin practicing with the team this week, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Zizic was drafted 23rd overall and played the 2016/17 season in the EuroLeague with the Turkish club, Darussafaka Dogus, where he was coached by David Blatt“I took him downtown last night a little bit,” Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said. “He’s just doing things like getting workouts in, getting medical stuff, physicals done, all that type of stuff. He’s ready for summer league.”
  • Despite being named in several blockbuster trade rumors, Avery Bradley remains unfazed, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England“I try not to worry about it too much because it’s out of my control at the end of the day,” Bradley said, adding, “It’s part of the business, man. You just got to accept and understand that your name is going to be thrown in trade talk. You can get traded at any time. You just have to be prepared and focus on just being the best player that you can be.”
  • As passed along earlier, the 76ers are one of the seven teams from which Andre Iguodala is drawing interest. Iguodala spent the first eight seasons of his career in Philadelphia.

Nuggets Pick Up Coach Mike Malone’s Option

The Nuggets have picked up their option on head coach Mike Malone‘s contract, per Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports (link via Twitter). Dempsey adds that the contract runs through the 2018/19 season.

Malone has served as Denver’s head coach for the past two seasons, going 40-42 this past season after posting a 33-49 record in 2015/16. Malone previously captained the Sacramento Kings, but was fired a mere 24 games into his second season with the club after beginning the campaign 11-13. As an NBA head coach, Malone has yet to witness his team qualify for the postseason.

Notable CBA Changes That Will Affect Free Agency

With July 1 just a few days away, the NBA is almost ready to turn the calendar and officially begin the 2017/18 league year. At the same time as the new league year gets underway, the league will also implement its new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and the players’ union.

For the most part, that CBA looks a lot like the previous CBA. There are very few major changes to the way players can be signed or otherwise acquired by NBA teams. However, the new agreement features several tweaks to existing rules, and many of those small changes will be noticeable once the 2017 free agent period officially opens on Saturday.

Below, we’ve rounded up most of the notable CBA changes that will affect this year’s free agent period. This list isn’t comprehensive. For more details, you can check out the NBA’s recap of key changes to the CBA, or – if you have a bit of a masochistic streak – you can even read the full CBA document. The changes we’ve listed below, however, are the ones that should be most important in the next few weeks.

Let’s dive in…

Salary cap management:

  • The salary cap and tax line for the new league year will be set by June 30. The cap and tax are currently projected to land at $99MM and $119MM, respectively.
  • The July moratorium will end on July 6 at 11:00am CT.
  • The tax apron will now be $6MM above the tax line instead of $4MM above the line. The apron represents a threshold that teams aren’t allowed to cross at any time for the rest of the league year if they’ve used the full mid-level exception or the bi-annual exception, or acquired a player via sign-and-trade.
  • The cap holds for first-round picks are now worth 120% of their rookie scale amounts, instead of 100%, slightly reducing available cap room for teams with first-rounders to consider. Those figures can be found here.

Restricted free agency:

  • Teams will now have two days instead of three days to match an offer sheet.
  • Restricted free agents will be able to formally sign offer sheets during the July moratorium. However, the clock for a player’s previous team to match his offer sheet won’t start until the moratorium ends. If a player signs an offer sheet during the moratorium, the player’s previous team will have until July 8 at 10:59am CT to match the offer.
  • The deadline to withdraw a qualifying offer to a free agent is now July 13, instead of July 23.

Other free agency:

  • Annual raises on new contracts can now be as high as 8% (Bird or Early Bird contracts) or 5% (all other contracts), instead of 7.5% and 4.5%.
  • The amounts of the mid-level, bi-annual, and minimum salary exceptions are increasing significantly. Mid-level and bi-annual figures can be found here, while 2017/18’s minimum salaries can be found right here.
  • The “over-36 rule,” which affected a player who signed a contract that extended beyond his 36th birthday, has been changed to the over-38 rule. This change may be beneficial for players like Chris Paul and Paul Millsap.
  • NBA teams now have the ability to sign a pair of players apiece to two-way contracts. Full details on these new two-way contracts can be found here.


  • As of July 1, each team will be able to receive and send $5.1MM in trades for the 2017/18 league year. The limit for 2016/17 was $3.5MM. Cash paid and cash received in trades are two separate entities, meaning a team can’t exceed $5.1MM in cash paid by taking back money in another deal — if a team has paid $5.1MM and received $5.1MM, it can no longer use cash in trades.
  • The traded player exception will now allow non-taxpaying teams to take back up to 175% of the outgoing salary in a simultaneous trade. However, over-the-cap teams still can’t take back more than the outgoing salary plus $5MM for any amount up to $19.8MM, or more than 125% of the outgoing salary for any amount over $19.8MM.

Contract extensions:

  • Veteran players will now be eligible to sign contract extensions if two years have passed since they signed their last veteran contract. Previously, veterans didn’t become extension-eligible until three years had passed since their last signing date.
  • Veterans signing an extension are now eligible for an initial raise of up to 20%, instead of 7.5%.
  • The Designated Veteran Extension will be available for players who met a specific set of criteria related to years of experience, contract history, and All-NBA (or other award) honors. Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook will be the players to watch for the DVE this summer.

Iguodala Drawing Interest From At Least Seven Teams

Andre Iguodala wasn’t able to take home the NBA’s 2016/17 Sixth Man of the Year award on Monday night, but he’s on the verge of landing a nice consolation prize in the form of a lucrative new contract. According to Chris Haynes of, at least seven teams from around the league are expected to make an effort to pry Iguodala away from the Warriors.

The Timberwolves, Spurs, Clippers, Sixers, Magic, Nets, and Jazz are among the clubs with interest in Iguodala, per Haynes. Previous reports have suggested that the Bulls, Suns, and Hawks also may have interest in the veteran swingman, though Chicago has since entered a rebuilding phase, and Phoenix and Atlanta may opt to go in another direction.

According to Haynes, the Timberwolves and Sixers both have interest in Iguodala as a veteran leader for their young squads, while the Jazz view Iguodala as a contingency plan should they lose Gordon Hayward in free agency. The Spurs have internally discussed the possibility of trying to add both Iguodala and Chris Paul, according to Haynes, who confirms that San Antonio has explored trading Danny Green and LaMarcus Aldridge.

As Haynes explains, Iguodala has become one of the hottest free agents on the market this summer because teams view it as a priority to get him out of Golden State. Building a super-team to compete with the Warriors isn’t realistic for most franchises, so chipping away at the Warriors’ core by signing away one of the team’s key contributors is a more logical way to close the gap between Golden State and the rest of the league.

While earlier estimates for Iguodala’s new contract indicated the Warriors might be able to bring him back for an annual salary in the range of his current $11.1MM+ figure, a report from Shams Charania of The Vertical last week suggested that number could be much higher if the 33-year-old heads elsewhere. According to Charania, there’s a belief among teams around the NBA that Iguodala could approach $20MM per year on a new deal.

Outside of the Warriors’ stars, Shaun Livingston and Iguodala represent the team’s most important veteran free agents. Haynes says that Livingston should be popular in July as well, reporting that the veteran point guard may command a salary in the range of $10-12MM per year.

Celtics Working To Land Both Hayward And George

With the free agent period fast approaching, the Celtics are pursuing an “aggressive” plan that would include signing Gordon Hayward and acquiring Paul George in a trade, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The plan – first reported by Adam Kaufman of 98.5 The Sports Hub (Twitter link) – would require specific sequencing, and would hinge on getting a commitment from Hayward.

As Wojnarowski explains, the Celtics would want to get a verbal commitment from Hayward before attempting to finalize a deal with the Pacers for George. However, Indiana won’t necessarily be operating on the same schedule as Boston, and could look elsewhere in an effort to get something done with George while the C’s are waiting on Hayward.

Hayward is expected to start taking meetings with the Celtics and Heat on July 1, and the Jazz continue to fight to hang onto their star forward, according to Wojnarowski. The Vertical’s report indicates that Utah is exploring alternative offseason plans should Hayward leave, but is also working to upgrade its roster before July 1.

The Jazz have approximately $16MM in cap room that will expire on July 1, so that space could be used to accommodate a significant acquisition. For instance, ESPN’s Marc Stein has tweeted that Utah is among the teams to express trade interest in Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio. With their available cap room, the Jazz could absorb Rubio’s entire $13.5MM+ salary without having to send out any contracts.

If Hayward ultimately chooses Utah or Miami, the Celtics may look to substitute Clippers big man Blake Griffin in his place in an effort to land both Griffin and George, writes Wojnarowski. Griffin is also eligible for unrestricted free agency and can earn the same maximum starting salary as Hayward.

The Celtics and Pacers were said to be in “serious” talks involving George on draft night before those discussions stalled. As Wojnarowski points out, Boston is probably the Pacers’ preferred trade partner, since the C’s have a huge stockpile of young prospects and picks that would aid Indiana’s rebuilding process. Meanwhile, the Celtics also have a “growing confidence” that they could sign George to a contract extension and make him more than a one-year rental, which is “fueling” the team’s willingness to part with some of its assets, per The Vertical.

If the Celtics were to acquire George, he’d be eligible to sign an extension, but Boston would have to clear out even more cap room in order to renegotiate his contract and give him the sort a raise that might convince him to postpone his free agency. Like the rest of the Celtics’ plan, that wouldn’t be impossible, but there are a lot of moving parts involved that could complicate the situation.

Knicks Resisting Engaging In Buyout Talks With Carmelo Anthony

With the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony seemingly at a stand-off when it comes to a potential trade, there has been increased speculation in recent weeks that the two sides could explore a buyout. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links), Anthony’s camp has indeed attempted to engage the Knicks in buyout discussions, but the Knicks have thus far been resistant to going down that road.

Anthony has stated all year that his preference is to remain in New York, and Stein notes that Carmelo’s camp has acknowledged that preference even as they attempt to engage the Knicks in potential buyout talks. Since he holds a no-trade clause, Anthony has plenty of leverage in the situation — even if Phil Jackson wants to move his leading scorer, Carmelo has to give his approval in order for a deal to be finalized.

If the Knicks were to buy out Anthony, Carmelo would have the opportunity to join the team of his choice without that club giving the Knicks any assets in a trade. Stein’s report says that a buyout would clear the way for the veteran forward to sign with the Cavs, so it’s possible that joining LeBron James in Cleveland would be Anthony’s preferred option, should he reach free agency.

As Ian Begley of tweets, the Knicks would obviously prefer to trade Anthony and view releasing him or buying him out as “unfavorable” options. If Anthony remains unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to accommodate a deal though, New York will have to seriously consider whether it makes more sense to buy out the 33-year-old or to hang onto him during the club’s rebuild.

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