Nick Young

Free Agent Rumors: Sixers, N. Young, Celtics, More

It didn’t take long once free agency began for LeBron James to announce that he would become a Laker — his agency issued a press release confirming his decision on the evening of July 1, less than 24 hours after the new league year officially got underway. Still, the Sixers felt as if James gave them serious consideration before he opted to head to L.A., as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com writes.

“I think they considered us very strongly,” Sixers principal owner Josh Harris said of James and his camp. “I think he – I would be speculating on how he makes his decisions, and I don’t want to do that – but I think that they were really serious [about Philadelphia]. The fact that they took the meeting with us was something that they didn’t view lightly, so I think that they were very serious about it.”

Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who said before free agency began that the team would be “star hunting,” isn’t walking back those comments and sounds committed to taking the same approach going forward, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Even if the 76ers can’t pull off a trade for Kawhi Leonard or another star, they should have plenty of cap flexibility in 2019, when many more All-Stars will reach the open market.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors:

  • About six teams, including the Rockets, continue to express interest in free agent swingman Nick Young, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. A report earlier this week specifically identified Houston, Minnesota, Utah, Cleveland, Memphis, and Sacramento as teams with interest in Young, though it’s not clear if those are the same six that remain in the mix.
  • While Marcus Smart‘s free agent outlook remains up in the air, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge calls the RFA guard Boston’s “highest priority” (Twitter link via Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal).
  • Asked today about the Celtics‘ plans for two-way restricted free agent Jabari Bird, Ainge replied, “We don’t know yet” (Twitter link via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald). Bird has been Boston’s best player in Summer League action so far, averaging 18.0 PPG on 57.9% shooting, but it remains to be seen if the C’s will find room for him on their 15-man roster.
  • After pouring in 19 points in his NBA debut as a 32-year-old in April, Andre Ingram isn’t satisfied with his brief NBA cameo. As Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated relays, even after being renounced by the Lakers, Ingram is seeking another NBA opportunity, and has received some interest – but no offers – from the league’s 30 clubs.
  • Zach Lowe breaks down the winners and losers of free agency in an entertaining piece for ESPN.com.

Free Agent Rumors: Mbah A Moute, Hood, N. Young

While Clint Capela may be the Rockets‘ most important free agent remaining, he’s not the only one the team has to worry about. A person close to the situation and with knowledge of negotiations tells Kelly Iko of RocketsWire that Houston also hasn’t progressed toward a deal in talks with UFA forward Luc Mbah a Moute.

According to Iko, Mbah a Moute is seeking more money and long-term security than he received from the Rockets in 2017/18, but the club is offering him another minimum-salary deal. Iko’s source suggests that the Spurs, Lakers, Clippers, Wizards, and Sixers have all expressed some level of interest in Mbah a Moute as well.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors:

  • Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) describes the Rodney Hood sweepstakes as a three-team race involving the Cavaliers, Kings, and Bulls. Sacramento and Chicago are two of the only teams with the cap room necessary to make a viable offer to Hood — we wrote about the Kings’ interest in the RFA swingman earlier today.
  • Free agent swingman Nick Young has received some interest from the Kings, Grizzlies, Rockets, Cavaliers, Jazz, and Timberwolves, among others, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. According to Wolfson, Young views Minnesota as as “good opportunity” but the club’s interest hasn’t been as aggressive as it was a year ago.
  • The Cavaliers had a group in Las Vegas this morning to see free agent wing Treveon Graham work out, league sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). The Cavs have “strong interest” in Graham, who is drawing interest from the Timberwolves too, says Aldridge.

Timberwolves Eyeing Nick Young, Other Free Agents

4:06pm: Wolfson adds Jeff Green, Malcolm Delaney, and Treveon Graham to the list of free agents that the Timberwolves have inquired on so far (Twitter link).

12:15pm: The Timberwolves have interest in Nick Young among several other free agents, according to ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link).

Young is coming off a down year in Golden State where he sported just a 10.0 player efficiency rating and scored just 7.3 points per game. It’s hard to envision the shooting guard surpassing the $5.19MM salary he received with the Warriors last season after floundering alongside the best supporting cast he’s ever played with.

Minnesota has the non-tax mid-level ($8.6MM) and the bi-annual ($3.4MM) at its disposal. However, with approximately $115MM already on the books, the team must be careful when handing out deals if it intends to stay below the luxury tax line. If a team uses its bi-annual exception or more than the taxpayer portion of its MLE, it becomes hard-capped for the season.

Dante Cunningham and James Ennis are among other free agents the Wolves are keeping an eye on, Wolfson adds. Lance Stephenson remains a possibility for one of the team’s five open roster spots. Minnesota is among the teams expected to have interest in the mercurial shooting guard once the first wave of free agents sign.

Other candidates for the team’s openings include Trevor Booker, Amir Johnson, Jabari Bird and Anthony Tolliver. Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau reportedly has spoken with Tolliver and team values the power forward’s lockerroom presence.

Warriors To Make Significant Changes This Offseason?

The Warriors brought Northern California yet another parade, celebrating their third championship over the last four seasons. Despite the nearly unprecedented success, the team will continue to evolve and coach Steve Kerr said there may be significant changes to the team’s roster.

“We had a lot of vets this year. I think you’ll see more youth and energy to help us get through all that,” Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe on the scribe’s podcast. “We’re going to have to be very creative and we going to have pace ourselves again and hopefully everything comes together in the playoffs, but you never know.”

Several of the team’s veterans are set to become free agents and it sounds like Kerr is preparing to lose a number of them. Zaza Pachulia, who made roughly $3.47MM this past season, will hit the market. David West (approximately $1.47MM) may retire. Nick Young (slightly over $5.19MM) signed a one-year contract last offseason and will look for work yet again this summer.

If Golden State is going to hand out anything over the minimum, it will have significant financial ramifications on the club. NBA teams trigger the repeater tax penalties if it pays the luxury tax in a given season and has paid it in three of the previous four years. The franchise paid the luxury tax during the 2015/16 campaign as well as this past season. If the Warriors finish next season above the luxury tax line, they’ll face the harsher parameters on their payments.

Those fiercer penalties are as follows:

  • $0-5MM above tax line: $2.50 per dollar (up to $12.5MM).
  • $5-10MM above tax line: $2.75 per dollar (up to $13.75MM).
  • $10-15MM above tax line: $3.50 per dollar (up to $17.5MM).
  • $15-20MM above tax line: $4.25 per dollar (up to $21.25MM).
  • For every additional $5MM above tax line beyond $20MM, rates increase by $0.50 per dollar (ie. $4.75 for $20-25MM, $5.25 for $25-30MM, etc.).

The Warriors already have roughly $103MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season and that’s before Kevin Durant gets whatever contract he wants. Not to mention Golden State plans to talk extensions with both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The luxury tax line is projected to come in at $121MM and while the team isn’t going to be frivolous with its top players, it may be more prudent with its fringe rotation players, as it will almost certainly be a luxury tax payer in the summer of 2019 and possibly beyond. It would be surprising if the team brings back Young at or near his current salary given his production and the franchise’s luxury tax repeater status.

The USC product sported a 3.1 player efficiency rating during this year’s playoffs. Of the 158 players who played at least 6.0 minutes per game this postseason, only four had a worse mark than Young. He saw a total of 205 minutes, though much of his court time came with the team ahead and the game nearly out of reach.

The Warriors found production on cheap deals in Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook this season, and it appears they will look to replicate that success by searching for young, affordable talent to fill out the roster behind Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and their four All-Stars.

Warriors Notes: Pachulia, West, Young, Roster

Despite the success of the current group, the Warriors are expected to undergo some roster changes this offseason, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Those changes figure to be made more around the edges of the roster, rather than to the core, but the club has seven players eligible for free agency — of those players, only Kevin Durant is a lock to return.

According to Slater, it’s virtually a “sure thing” that Zaza Pachulia and David West will be gone, perhaps to retirement. It would also be a “stunner” if Nick Young returns, says Slater. As for their roster makeup, the Warriors almost certainly won’t carry as many centers next season, preferring to add a little more depth on the wing.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic also examines the Warriors’ 2018/19 roster options, identifying several possible free agent targets and noting that the team would like its first-round draft choice (No. 28 overall) to immediately vie for a rotation spot.
  • As Kawakami writes in a separate piece for The Athletic, the Warriors continue to keep an eye on the NBA’s very best players as potential targets, like they did with Durant prior to the summer of 2016. For now, that means they’ll monitor Anthony Davis, who will be eligible for a new deal in 2020. However, that’s very much on the back burner, with Golden State focusing on keeping its current core intact.
  • According to Kawakami, the Warriors grossed approximately $130MM in 11 home playoff games this year. Slightly lengthier series this spring resulted in an estimate significantly larger than in 2017, when the team grossed about $95MM in eight postseason contests.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes an in-depth look at the Warriors’ roster decisions this offseason, including Durant’s possible contract scenarios, possible free agent deals for Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, and what to do with the taxpayer mid-level exception.

NBA Finals Roundup: James, Lue, Durant, Curry, West, Young

With the season now over, the focus turns to LeBron James and his pending free agency decision. James can opt out of the final year of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency for the third time. He has until June 29 to make a decision.

Following the Cavaliers‘ loss to the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which completed a sweep of Cleveland, James discussed his pending decision, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. While James has not made up his mind, he said input from his family will be a major factor this summer.

“The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family,” James said. “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.”

James has left Cleveland once before, signing a deal in 2010 with the Heat, where he won two championships in four seasons. The 33-year-old returned to the Cavaliers prior to the 2014/15 season, leading the organization to a championship the following year.

Check out more news to come out of the NBA Finals below:

  • As we relayed earlier, James suffered a self-inflicted injury to his right hand after he punched a whiteboard out of frustration following the Cavaliers’ loss in Game 1.
  • After battling some health issues throughout the season, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue intends to return next year, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said of his intentions. “I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and … I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that.” Lue previously told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that was treated for anxiety this season.
  • Kevin Durant became the 11th player to win two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards, per The Associated Press. With back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs to his credit, Durant’s focus will now turn to his contract situation. He intends to remain with the Warriors, but will likely sign a new deal.
  • Stephen Curry has two regular season MVPs to his credit but Durant has taken home that honor the last two NBA Finals. However, Curry prioritizes the team success over his individual accolades, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “K.D.’s been amazing these last two years, especially in The Finals, and so deserving of back-to-back Finals MVPs,” Curry said. “I’m going to be his biggest fan in there with what he’s able to do. I think the biggest thing we appreciate in the locker room is, again, what everybody brings to the table and we kind of unlock the greatness out of each other.”
  • One of the most visibly excited players to win his first championship was the Warriors’ Nick Young, per Alysha Tsuji of USA TODAY. ‘Swaggy P’ only played 38 combined minutes in the NBA Finals but he helped the team off the bench during the regular season. “I went from getting snitched on to putting a ring on!” Young told reporters.
  • Warriors veteran David West said the team’s championship victory is even more remarkable given various behind-the-scenes issues the public is not aware of, tweets The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. “Y’all got no clue. No clue. That tells you about this team that nothing came out,” West said.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has now coached the club to three championships in four seasons. We noted earlier that Warriors ownership believes Kerr will sign an extension with the team this summer.

Warriors Notes: Iguodala, McCaw, Green, Young

The bone bruise on Andre Iguodala‘s left knee is healing more slowly than the Warriors had hoped and he appears to be a long shot to play in Game 7, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Iguodala was declared out shortly before Game 6 and is officially listed as day-to-day, but coach Steve Kerr is pessimistic about his chances to return.

“We’re operating under the assumption he won’t play,” Kerr said.

Losing Iguodala has left the Warriors scrambling to find a fifth player to pair with their four All-Stars. Of the contenders, rookie Jordan Bell had the best plus/minus rating in Game 6 at +10, but he’s slow to react defensively and remains jumpy and prone to foul trouble, Slater writes. Kevon Looney has been starting in Iguodala’s absence, but the Rockets are scoring on him regularly and he doesn’t provide much offense. Shaun Livingston has looked best in that role, but Kerr prefers to limit him to 15 minutes per game.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along this morning:

  • Saturday’s blowout allowed Patrick McCaw to see four minutes of action at the end of the game, Slater notes in the same story. McCaw, who missed nearly two full months after a frightening fall, was activated before Game 6. Slater suggests he could work his way into a larger role if the Warriors reach the NBA Finals. “Coach Kerr pulled me aside today and just [asked] me, how would I feel being active and suiting up and if we get up big to play three or four minutes at the end of the game,” McCaw said. “… I called my mom. I called my dad, let them know I would be putting my uniform on tonight.”
  • Two years ago, Draymond Green was convinced he was about to be traded following a heated clash with Kerr, writes Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. However, Kerr denies the team ever considered such a move. “This guy is the best at what he does in the entire league,” he said. “At that point, he had already helped us win a title, and he’s in the prime of his career. Like, what are we talking about? The ‘Draymond problem’ wasn’t really that big of a problem. It was just: Can we help him channel his emotion and his energy in the right direction?'”
  • Nick Young provided an unusual explanation for his defensive improvement in Game 6, relays Jace Evans of USA Today, saying former NBA star Dennis Rodman visited him in a dream. “He had the purple hair, all kinds of stuff,” Young said. “He told me, ‘Tomorrow you’re going to play a little defense,’ and I was like, ‘Nah that’s not my game, Dennis Rodman, why you in my dream?’ But it just so happened I played a little defense.”

Warriors Notes: Durant, Looney, Kerr, Green

As Kevin Durant continues his quest to win a second consecutive NBA Championship during the Western Conference Finals, Darren Rovell of ESPN takes an interesting look into how Durant is using his new home in the Bay Area as a means to grow his financial portfolio.

Durant has invested in Nike, Alaska Airlines and American Family Insurance, among other businesses, while his own media company, Thirty Five Media, is producing original content such as Swagger, which was recently sold to Apple, and two other projects that are currently in development with major TV networks.

Rovell also touched Durant’s endorsement battle between Nike and Under Armour during the summer of 2014 when Durant ultimately signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with Nike. Said Durant:

“I knew I had a supreme skill that needed to be compensated for, and I knew I played my way into having these negotiations. But I didn’t want to start over at Under Armour or Adidas. I knew where I wanted to be, and $300 million was more than enough.”

Finally, Durant spoke about his interest in potentially owning an NBA franchise someday, if possible.

“I wish I had the money. It’s crazy. Obviously, the financial part is definitely going to be the hardest part. (But) I would love to (own a team). All the aspects of owning a team, I would love to be involved in — from the financial and marketing side to the team-building to the camaraderie to the coaching.”

There’s more out of Oakland:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post says that while the Warriors have four of the top 20 players in the NBA on their roster, the lack of a reliable supporting cast is threatening to derail the team’s run to a third championship in four seasons. Bontemps specifically mentions the signings of Nick Young and Omri Casspi as “spectacular failures.”
  • Head coach Steve Kerr has won the Professional Basketball Writes Associations’ 2017/18 Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors the NBA coach who, in addition to exuding excellence on the bench, best cooperates with media and fans, reports Marc J. Spears of ESPN.
  • As we’ve noted before, it’s looking more and more likely that Kevon Looney will be playing basketball somewhere other than Oakland next year as he continues to impress during this year’s playoffs. After the team’s Game 3 win, Kerr specifically remarked on Looney’s ability as a big man to switch out onto talented playmakers such as Chris Paul and James Harden, reports Logan Murdock of the Bay Area News Group.

Andre Iguodala Declared Out For Game 4

7:54pm: Looney will start, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets.

6:50pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will not play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals tonight against the Rockets, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets.

There was optimism in the Golden State camp earlier in the day that Iguodala would play. He was upgraded to questionable after being listed as doubtful Monday due to a left knee contusion. He banged knees with James Harden during Game 3.

X-rays showed no structural damage to the knee.

Iguodala has been instrumental is defusing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Andre Iguodala Upgraded To Questionable For Game 4

MAY 22, 1:29pm: Iguodala has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, according to Slater (Twitter links). While Slater wouldn’t be surprised if Iguodala still ends up sitting out Tuesday’s game, he notes that the diagnosis for the veteran swingman is positive, as X-rays confirmed there’s no structural damage in his knee.

MAY 21, 2:47pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is listed as doubtful for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday due to knee soreness, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala has a knee contusion that worsened overnight and caused him to miss practice on Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

Iguodala has been instrumental is dousing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout on Sunday.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation if Iguodala can’t go, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.