- Jerami Grant‘s improvement since he joined the Thunder has been a point a pride for both himself and the organization. As he heads for free agency this summer, Grant — who has admitted he wants to return to the Oklahoma City — may have priced himself out of the team, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes.
- Josh Huestis proved himself this season but his next NBA chapter may be with an organization other than the Thunder, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. Huestis’ pending unrestricted free agency — just like Grant’s — is complicated by the financial complications Paul George‘s free agency presents and how he fits on the roster long-term.
The NBA’s playoff pool money has increased to $20MM this season, up from $15MM for the last two years and $14MM for the two years before that, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. This pool represents money awarded to teams for certain achievements, which is then divvied up among the club’s players.
According to Zillgitt, the breakdown for 2018’s playoff pool money is as follows:
Regular season achievements:
- Best record in NBA (Rockets): $576,843
- No. 1 seeds in each conference (Rockets, Raptors): $504,737 each
- No. 2 seeds (Warriors, Celtics): $405,684 each
- No. 3 seeds (Trail Blazers, Sixers): $302,843 each
- No. 4 seeds (Thunder, Cavaliers): $238,001 each
- No. 5 seeds (Jazz, Pacers): $198,317 each
- No. 6 seeds (Pelicans, Heat): $135,263 each
- Teams participating in first round (all playoff teams): $298,485 each
- Teams participating in Conference Semifinals (Rockets, Warriors, Jazz, Pelicans, Celtics, Cavaliers, Sixers, Raptors): $355,159 each
- Teams participating in Conference Finals (Rockets, Warriors, Celtics, Cavaliers): $586,898 each
- Losing team in NBA Finals (TBD): $2,346,947
- Winning team in NBA Finals (TBD): $3,541,896
The Thunder’s Corey Brewer, Nets’ Caris LeVert, Heat’s Kelly Olynyk and Mavericks’ Dwight Powell will coach top high school age campers from the Asia-Pacific region in the 10th edition of Basketball Without Borders Asia, according to an NBA release.
BWB Asia 2018 will be held May 30–June 2 at The NBA Academy India in Delhi National Capital Region. Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars.
In other developments from around the league:
- New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney voiced strong opposition to the sports’ leagues request for sports betting fees, ESPN Chalk’s David Payne Purdum tweets. “They are calling this extortion attempt an integrity fee, even while fully aware that providing participants a stake in the volume of betting would amount what could more accurately be called an anti-integrity fee,” Sweeney said. The NBA later defended its position, saying its games are the foundation of what will be bet on, the Associated Press reports. “We believe it is reasonable for casinos to compensate the NBA with a small percentage of the total amount bet on our games,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
- The NBA is projecting the salary cap to inflate by $7MM in 2019 and some of that projection might include some anticipated new gambling-related revenue, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. While the cap could rise due to gambling-related income, it won’t cause a dramatic increase in the future, Windhorst adds.
- Former NBA guard Mo Williams will join Mark Gottfried’s staff at Cal State Northridge, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweets. Williams played for Gottfriend at Alabama, Goodman notes.
- The G League showcase has been moved from January to December and Las Vegas is a strong contender to host it, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Orlando is also being considered as a host site, according to 2ways10days.com. League expansion is a major reason why Las Vegas and Orlando are potential landing spots for the showcase.
- The Pistons are in the market for a young, rising executive for their GM job, according to Ellis, who writes that the ideal candidate would become “the face of the franchise for a decade.” Ellis reports that the Pistons would “love” to explore hiring Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver, but Weaver isn’t expected to be available.
The NBA has formally announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2017/18 season, with James Harden and LeBron James leading the way as the two unanimous selections for the First Team.
The voting results will have major financial implications for the three All-NBA centers, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, and Karl-Anthony Towns. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Davis is now eligible for a supermax extension from the Pelicans next summer. Davis will be eligible to sign that deal, which projects to be worth $230MM, as of July 1, 2019.
As for Embiid, missing out on a First Team nod means his maximum-salary contract will remain at 25% of the cap rather than being bumped up to 30%. That means he’ll miss out on approximately $29MM over the next five years, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports details.
Towns, meanwhile, will be eligible for an extension worth 30% of the cap this summer, Marks tweets. An extension of that sort, which would make the cap outlook in Minnesota very interesting, would go into effect for the 2019/20 season.
The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Harden and James scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.
- Guard: James Harden, Rockets (500)
- Guard: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (432)
- Forward: LeBron James, Cavaliers (500)
- Forward: Kevin Durant, Warriors (426)
- Center: Anthony Davis, Pelicans (492)
- Guard: Russell Westbrook, Thunder (322)
- Guard: DeMar DeRozan, Raptors (165)
- Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (354)
- Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs (236)
- Center: Joel Embiid, Sixers (294)
- Guard: Stephen Curry, Warriors (164)
- Guard: Victor Oladipo, Pacers (105)
- Forward: Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves (81)
- Forward: Paul George, Thunder (54)
- Center: Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves (99)
Among those results, the tightest race saw DeRozan edge Curry by a single point for a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. Both players received two First Team votes and 39 Second Team votes, with DeRozan grabbing one extra Third Team vote (38 to 37) to bump him up to the Second Team ahead of Curry.
As for the players who didn’t quite make the cut, Rockets point guard Chris Paul (54 points), Jazz center Rudy Gobert (51), Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (42), and Sixers guard/forward Ben Simmons (36) received the most support.
Al Horford (Celtics), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Clint Capela (Rockets), Draymond Green (Warriors), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Steven Adams (Thunder), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Klay Thompson (Warriors), Trevor Ariza (Rockets), DeMarcus Cousins (Pelicans), Dwight Howard (Hornets), Kevin Love (Cavaliers), and Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) also each received at least one All-NBA vote.
While the Grizzlies hold the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, the group of prospects working out for the team on Thursday won’t be candidates to come off the board that early. Memphis also holds the No. 32 selection, so today’s workout participants will vie to receive consideration at that spot. According to a team release, Braian Angola (Florida State), Justin Bibbs (Virginia Tech), Chris Chiozza (Florida), Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech), Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), and Jonathan Stark (Murray State) are getting a look today from the Grizzlies.
Here’s more pre-draft workout news:
- Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado and Maryland guard Kevin Huerter each have workouts on tap with the Lakers and then the Jazz, per Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter links).
- In addition to his previously reported workouts, Arizona guard Rawle Alkins has an audition with the Suns scheduled for next week, according to Zagoria, who adds that Alkins will also have a Pro Day next Thursday.
- Zagoria provides another workout update, tweeting that Miami’s Dewan Huell has auditioned for the Thunder, Cavaliers, Bucks, Hawks, and Grizzlies so far. Huell, who is testing the waters without an agent, remains undecided about whether or not to stay in the draft.
- After working out for Washington this week, Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham will work out for the Suns, Hawks, Rockets, Grizzlies, and about six or seven teams after that, he tells Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).
- Xavier’s J.P. Macura, who has a workout lined up with the Spurs, met with the Bucks, Clippers, Magic, and Pacers at this week’s Pro Basketball Combine, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.
Gobert led the way in voting, receiving 94 of 100 potential First Team votes. He also received four Second Team votes, and was left off of just two ballots, earning him 192 total points (two points per First Team vote; one point per Second Team vote). It’s his second All-Defensive First Team nod.
[RELATED: NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams]
As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the All-Defensive recognition will pay off financially for Gobert, who earns a $500K bonus as a result of his spot on the First Team. Meanwhile, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will receive a more modest $100K bonus for being named to the All-Defensive First Team.
Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:
- Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz (192)
- Anthony Davis, F/C, Pelicans (163)
- Victor Oladipo, G, Pacers (136)
- Jrue Holiday, G, Pelicans (105)
- Robert Covington, F, Sixers (90)
- Joel Embiid, C, Sixers (90)
- Draymond Green, F, Warriors (86)
- Al Horford, F/C, Celtics (85)
- Dejounte Murray, G, Spurs (80)
- Jimmy Butler, G/F, Timberwolves (79)
Rockets point guard Chris Paul (74 points) and Thunder forward Paul George (69) narrowly missed earning spots on the All-Defensive Second Team. A total of 29 other players received at least one vote, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.
You can find the full voting results right here.
- After a stint in Lithuania, LiAngelo Ball has returned stateside to audition for NBA teams ahead of the 2018 draft. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother interviewed with the Thunder and Suns at the Pro Basketball Combine, and has private workouts on tap with the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.
After making significant trades the past two summers, Thunder GM Sam Presti is hoping for a quieter offseason, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Of course, that will largely be determined by Paul George, who is expected to opt out of his $20.7MM salary for next season and test the free agent market. George, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, has long been rumored to want to join the Lakers.
“We arrived here and haven’t turned the page because we haven’t rebuilt the team since 2008,” Presti said. “I’m happy about that. We’re trying to make it work as long as we can. Ultimately us, like every other team, is going to have to find ourselves in a position where we’ll have to rebuild.”
Whether George returns or not, OKC will be over the salary cap if Carmelo Anthony declines to use an early termination option on his $27.9MM contract for next season. Presti expects to spend the offseason looking for more free agent bargains like Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton.
There’s more today from Oklahoma City:
- Coach Billy Donovan is safe for another year, but he needs to make changes to keep his job beyond that, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. With two years and about $12MM left on his contract, Donovan is entering the danger zone for NBA coaches, who frequently get fired or extended heading into their final season. Donovan has two straight first-round playoff ousters working against him, but Presti understands the difficult position he has been in because of roster turnover. “If you think about the last three years for our organization, and the last three years for him, it’s been a little bit of a whipsaw in respect to just the team he inherited in 2016,” Presti said, “the performance of that team being within a couple minutes of going to the finals, then not being able to capitalize on that.”
- Jerami Grant, part of a group of minimum-salary free agents the Thunder will have this summer, sees a good chance of returning to Oklahoma City, tweets Royce Young of ESPN. “I definitely think it’s a possibility,” Grant told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “I know it’s a lot of moving pieces but I definitely think it’s a great possibility me being there. There’s a lot of things they have to figure out but I think it’s a good chance.”
- The Thunder were among the teams to meet with Oklahoma’s Trae Young at this week’s draft combine, according to Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman. The Thunder, whose first-rounder belongs to the Timberwolves, would have to trade into the lottery to have a shot at Young.