Search Results for: batum

And-Ones: Dead Money, Baldwin, Cole, Stone

As free agency and the draft near for the NBA’s 30 teams, several clubs still owe money to players that are no longer on their present-day rosters, writes Ethan Fuller of BasketballNews.com.

As Fuller notes, when the league calendar changes this August, about half of the league’s clubs will still owe money to former players. The Pistons are on the hook for the biggest single dead-money charge, as they still have to pay Blake Griffin a total of $29.8MM next season. Other examples include the Hornets (Nicolas Batum), Knicks (Joakim Noah) and Lakers (Luol Deng).

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent guard Wade Baldwin IV has signed a one-year contract with Baskonia in Spain, the team announced on its website. Baldwin holds 56 games of NBA experience, making stops with Memphis and Portland from 2016-19. He was the No. 17 pick in 2016 and spent the 2020/21 season in Germany with Bayern Munich.
  • ASVEL has parted ways with guard Norris Cole and big man Ismael Bako, the club announced (Twitter link). Cole, who won championships with Miami 2012 and 2013, averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 assists with the French club this season. He is now a free agent.
  • Veteran swingman Julyan Stone has re-signed with Reyer Venezia in Italy, as relayed by EuroHoops. Stone has played 70 NBA games with Denver (2011-13), Toronto (2013-14) and Charlotte (2017-18), spending much of his professional career overseas. “I have achieved great things with Reyer, but the journey is not over yet,” Stone said. “I still can help achieve some things and I will put in my hard work to give us the best chance at success. My role in the team may change, but my motivation will continue to grow.”

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Nuggets, Turner, Murray

The Trail Blazers will probably wait until the offseason to start making trades to decrease salary, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Portland is looking at the highest payroll in the league next season and has gotten limited production in return, a half game out of the West’s final playoff spot entering tonight’s action. The Blazers have their own draft pick as well as Cleveland’s to offer, but Marks believes those will be more valuable in a possible June deal than they are now. Portland can also deal the contract of Festus Ezeli, who hasn’t played this season and has a $7.733MM salary for next year with just a $1MM guarantee through June 30. However, Marks warns that luxury tax concerns should make the team think twice about taking back any long-term deals.

There’s more news out of the Northwest Division:

  • History suggests that Nuggets GM Tim Connelly will be active at the trade deadline, Marks writes in the same piece. Since taking over in 2013, Connelly has been involved in five deadline deals, along with the trade of Timofey Mozgov to the Cavaliers in January of 2015. Marks also notes that Denver is $7.6MM below the cap floor and could be active on the waiver wire to try to reach that figure.
  • Former Blazer Nicolas Batum believes the team needs to be patient with Evan Turner, relays Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Turner has been going through a rocky transition since signing a four-year, $70MM deal over the summer. Batum, who was traded to the Hornets in 2015, says Turner gives Portland many of the same attributes that he used to. “He’s one of the best playmakers in this league,” Batum said. “I really appreciate his game. He showed that in Boston the last two years. He just needs time. This is a new team for him.”
  • Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson is teaching the position to Nuggets rookie Jamal Murray, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “I don’t like to talk about too much of what’s going on in the locker room, but I just encourage him,” Nelson said. “I don’t know what it is to be his age [19] in the NBA. But I can just tell him or help him out with plays or certain situations. And he’s real receptive of it. He’s a great kid. That’s why I’m able to get through to him, because he’s such a great kid.”

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Collins, Wizards

The Hornets have officially published the list of 17 players who will participate in their in-market bubble mini-camp this week and next, including 13 players on the NBA roster and four from their G League affiliate.

Among the most interesting inclusions on the Hornets’ list are Dwayne Bacon and Willy Hernangomez, both of whom are eligible for free agency this offseason. A number of veteran free agents have opted out of these voluntary mini-camps so as not to risk injury, but Bacon and Hernangomez are young players who are unlikely to generate major interest on the open market, so they’re not jeopardizing massive paydays by participating.

The two Hornets players who aren’t taking part in the team’s group activities are Nicolas Batum and Bismack Biyombo. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, Biyombo’s absence doesn’t come as a major surprise, since he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Batum, meanwhile, has one year left on his contract, but he has been in France for much of the summer and his wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child, per Bonnell.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • While he acknowledged that the 2020 NBA draft class may not be as star-studded as some past groups, Hornets head coach James Borrego is confident that the team will be able to use the No. 3 pick on a player who will “really add value to our program,” as he tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Mitch (Kupchak) and I have dialogue every day,” Borrego said. “I’m excited about the third pick and the 32nd pick, as well. That’s a really good pick for us. The more I dig in, the more I like.”
  • Speaking today to reporters, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk confirmed that the club anticipates having contract extension discussions with John Collins‘ reps once they’re able to do so (Twitter link via Brad Rowland of Uproxx). Collins will become eligible for a rookie scale extension once the 2020/21 league year begins.
  • Michael Lee and Ben Standig of The Athletic explore the missteps the Wizards have made since 2015 that led them to their current position — capped-out and in the lottery for a second consecutive year.

Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets have only about half as much guaranteed salary for next season as the projected $92MM salary cap, but don’t count on them formally opening any cap room this summer. GM Rich Cho wants to keep the team intact, having said he wants to re-sign as many of the team’s free agents as possible. That means Charlotte will probably keep their cap holds on the books until those free agents either re-sign or sign elsewhere, and with the cap holds for Nicolas Batum and Al Jefferson taking up nearly $40MM alone, the Hornets are unlikely to have cap space to use on outside free agents if Batum and Jefferson return. Instead, the team appears poised to stay above the cap and take advantage of the larger mid-level exception afforded capped-out teams, worth $5.628MM, to supplement the roster or simply to re-sign Jeremy Lin, with whom they have only Non-Bird rights. See how Charlotte’s cap situation looks for 2016/17 as Hoops Rumors continues its offseason salary cap digest series.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offers/Cap Holds)

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Southeast Notes: Wade, Lamb, D-League

Dwyane Wade, who’s poised for free agency in the summer, has been in closer communication than ever with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra this year, as Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald details. “I really care about Dwyane,” Spoelstra said. “When you work with somebody that long, you get to see somebody grow, from a young man as a professional, and then as a father. There’s been so much time, he’s seen me grow as a professional, and I’ve seen him grow in all those areas. And it’s just kind of fun. And this year, I’ve just tried to enjoy the relationship, enjoy this journey together, to be pushing and driving in the same direction in a way that’s not quite as player-coach.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jeremy Lamb‘s role with the Hornets has decreased significantly since the beginning of the season and his future in Charlotte is up in the air despite having three years remaining on his deal, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. The 23-year-old made 66 appearances for the Hornets this season and averaged 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.6 minutes per outing. Lamb is scheduled to earn $6,511,628 in 2016/17.
  • Given that their 2016 first-round selection is likely to fall outside the top 10, the Magic should strongly consider trading the pick for a player who can contribute immediately, opines Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. With this year’s draft extremely top-heavy in terms of depth, adding another player who’s years away from contributing makes little sense for Orlando, Taylor adds.
  • Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum will miss the remainder of the team’s first round series against the Heat with an ankle injury, tweets Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group. Batum’s X-rays showed no fracture in his injured ankle, Haynes adds. See more about Batum’s impending free agency here.
  • The Hawks have recalled center Edy Tavares and swingman Lamar Patterson from the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, the team announced via press release.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Hornets

Former Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, in his first extensive interview since the trade that sent him to the Grizzlies, told to shed salary.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Gary Neal, whom the Wizards signed to a one-year deal in July, has filled the role of capable bench scorer, which is what Washington hoped for in inking the veteran point guard, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes. Neal’s contract, which is worth $2.1MM, fit into both the Wizards’ short-term plans and long-term flexibility, Castillo adds. The move has paid off with Neal averaging 10.6 points per game.
  • After being traded to the Hornets from the Blazers, Nicolas Batum is playing the best basketball of his career, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com details. Batum’s all-around game has been so strong this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens thinks the small forward has a good shot to make the All-Star team, as Toscano adds.
  • Speaking of Batum, taking chances on him, Jeremy Lamb and Spencer Hawes — who were each at uncertain points of their respective careers — in trades during the summer has made the Hornets dramatically better offensively, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer explains. In obtaining the players, the Hornets added size and versatility, Bonnell adds. “We made a concerted effort to improve offensively, improve our versatility and find more skilled players,” Hornets GM Rich Cho said. “I knew Nic from [working in] Portland; we knew Spencer had tremendous basketball IQ and could shoot the ball and spread the floor. Jeremy was someone we pursued for a long time. We liked him in college and saw him play a lot of games in the NBA and the D-League.”

Free Agent Spending By Division: Northwest

After calculating the numbers on 2012 free agent expenditures for teams in the Atlantic, Central and Southeast, we're moving over to the Western Conference. Using Hoops Rumors' Free Agent Tracker, our look at summer spending out West starts in the Northwest Division, where a pair of rivals spent a chunk of July battling over restricted free agent Nicolas Batum, who ultimately landed the largest contract in the division.

Once again, these figures only take into account free agent signings, so salary absorbed in trades or money used to sign draft picks isn't included in this list. Additionally, not all of this salary is necessarily guaranteed, which we'll try to note as we go along. Here are this summer's Northwest Division free agent costs, sorted by player salary:

Denver Nuggets: $63.875MM (JaVale McGee, Andre Miller, Anthony Randolph)
Miller's three-year, $14.625MM deal is only guaranteed for $12MM, so the Nuggets' overall bill may not ultimately be quite so high, but this is still a good chunk of money spent by an over-the-cap team that's not in a top market. Between their trades of Nene and Arron Afflalo though, the Nuggets have exhibited an ability to shed long-term contracts not long after they're signed, without taking long-term salary back in return. It's unlikely that happens with McGee's four-year, $44MM deal, but you never know.

Portland Trail Blazers: $54.572MM (Nicolas Batum, J.J. Hickson, Jared Jeffries, Ronnie Price)
After missing out on restricted free agent Roy Hibbert, the Blazers settled for bringing back their own RFA, Batum, at a cost of $45MM over four years. The team could end up only paying about $6.3MM for their other three signings — Hickson will receive $4MM, Price receives a minimum salary, to which the Blazers will contribute $854,389, and only Jeffries' first-year salary of $1,475,106 is guaranteed.

Minnesota Timberwolves: $45.666MM (Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved, Greg Stiemsma)
After weeks of cap maneuvering and a failed offer sheet for Batum, the Timberwolves signed Kirilenko to a two-year contract worth $20MM, a deal that looked a lot worse before the Olympics than it does now. Still, of the four players Minnesota signed this summer, only one (Stiemsma) played in the NBA this season, making the club's offseason approach one of the more high-risk, high-reward strategies in the league.

Utah Jazz: $8.000MM (Jeremy Evans, Randy Foye)
It was a modest summer on the free agent market for the Jazz, whose only outside signing so far is Foye, for $2.5MM of the team's mid-level. But Utah made up for its restraint in free agency by taking on plenty of salary via trades, acquiring Mo Williams (one year, $8.5MM) and Marvin Williams (two years, $15.79MM).

Oklahoma City Thunder: $7.598MM (Daniel Orton, Hasheem Thabeet, Hollis Thompson)
While other Western Conference rivals like the Lakers practically overhauled their entire rosters, the Thunder have had a remarkably quiet summer, and will rely on their young core to continue to improve. Oklahoma City's 2012 free agent bill figures to amount to significantly less than the $7.598MM listed above — of the three multiyear contracts they've inked, only Thabeet's is fully guaranteed for 2012/13.

Poll: 2008 NBA Draft Take Two (Pick No. 25)

Scouting players and predicting how their skills will translate to the NBA is one of the more difficult tasks front offices have on their plates. Looking back over past drafts and how many lottery picks never evolved into stars, or even made a significant impact in the league, illustrates just how often stats, combine numbers and pure gut instinct often come up short.

Of course, we get the opportunity to critique these moves with the benefit of hindsight — a luxury that GMs don’t have on draft night. Having said that, it’s still fun to go back in time and take a theoretical look at how these drafts should have/could have gone.

We’ve been revisiting 2008 draft, which had a number of players who have gone on to post big numbers in the league. This was the year of Derrick Rose (No. 1 overall), Russell Westbrook (No. 4), Kevin Love (No. 5), Brook Lopez (No. 10) and Nicolas Batum (No. 25). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a series of polls asking readers to vote on whom teams should have selected in each spot.

We’ve arrived at the No. 25 overall pick, which was held by Houston. In the “real world” draft, the Rockets dealt the pick as part of a three-team trade to the Blazers. The details of the swap were: Portland acquired the draft rights to the No. 25 pick (Batum) from Houston, the Rockets received the No. 33 pick (Joey Dorsey) from the Blazers and the No. 28 pick (Donte Greene) along with a 2009 second-round draft pick from Memphis, and the Grizzlies acquired the No. 27 pick (Darrell Arthur) from Portland. With Batum already off the board in our draft, having been taken at No. 7 overall by the Clippers, we’ll nix this trade and have Houston select for itself here.

So cast your vote for who the Rockets select and check back on Thursday to see the results, as well as to vote on whom the Spurs take with the No. 26 pick. Also, don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the pick and why you voted the way that you did. If we fail to list a player who you think should be selected, feel free to post that in the comments section and we’ll be certain to tally those votes as well.

  1. Bulls — Russell Westbrook [Actual Pick — Derrick Rose]
  2. Heat — Kevin Love [Actual Pick — Michael Beasley]
  3. Wolves — Derrick Rose [Actual Pick — O.J. Mayo]
  4. Sonics/Thunder — DeAndre Jordan [Actual Pick — Russell Westbrook]
  5. Grizzlies — Brook Lopez [Actual Pick — Kevin Love]
  6. Knicks — Serge Ibaka  [Actual Pick — Danilo Gallinari]
  7. Clippers — Nicolas Batum [Actual Pick — Eric Gordon]
  8. Bucks — Goran Dragic [Actual Pick — Joe Alexander]
  9. Bobcats/Hornets — Danilo Gallinari [Actual Pick — D.J. Augustin]
  10. Nets — Ryan Anderson [Actual Pick — Brook Lopez]
  11. Blazers (from Pacers) — Eric Gordon [Actual Pick — Jerryd Bayless]
  12. Kings — George Hill  [Actual Pick — Jason Thompson]
  13. Pacers (from Blazers) — Robin Lopez [Actual Pick — Brandon Rush]
  14. Warriors — Courtney Lee [Actual Pick — Anthony Randolph]
  15. Suns — Roy Hibbert [Actual Pick — Robin Lopez]
  16. Sixers— Nikola Pekovic [Actual Pick  — Marreese Speights]
  17. Raptors — O.J. Mayo [Actual Pick — Roy Hibbert]
  18. Wizards — Mario Chalmers [Actual Pick — JaVale McGee]
  19. Cavaliers — Timofey Mozgov [Actual Pick  — J.J. Hickson]
  20. Bobcats/Hornets (from Nuggets) — Michael Beasley [Actual Pick — Alexis Ajinca]
  21. Nets (from Mavs) — Omer Asik [Actual Pick — Ryan Anderson]
  22. Magic  — D.J. Augustin [Actual Pick — Courtney Lee]
  23. Jazz — Marreese Speights [Actual Pick — Kosta Koufos]
  24. Sonics/Thunder (from Suns) — Jerryd Bayless [Actual Pick — Serge Ibaka]
  25. Rockets — ?? [Actual Pick — Nicolas Batum]

If you’re a Trade Rumors app user, click here to vote.

T-Wolves, Cavs Favorites For Anthony Tolliver

JULY 27th, 6:09pm: The Wolves still consider Tolliver a "priority," but they want to make another move or two first, Tolliver's agent tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). It seems likely those moves involve the finalizing the agreed-upon deals for Brandon Roy and Greg Stiemsma. Tolliver remains in discussion with several teams, his agent says.

JULY 20th, 1:15pm: Tolliver, who hopes to sign within the next two weeks, told Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida today that the Timberwolves and Cavs are still the frontrunners for him, but added that the Hawks, Mavericks, Bulls, and Wizards are also in the mix (Sulia links).

JULY 18th, 11:53am: Anthony Tolliver has spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, but now his future with the team is up in the air as the Timberwolves wait to see if their offer sheet for Nicolas Batum is matched. Larry Fox, Tolliver's agent, tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (Sulia link) that he is in regular talks with four teams about his client, including the Cavaliers and the aforementioned T-Wolves.

"Minnesota has made it clear they want Anthony back," Fox said. "But we have to wait until the Batum situation resolves itself today and then also for them to finalize some transactions that have been discussed but not yet formalized."

If the Timberwolves were to bring back Tolliver, they would have to sign him using cap space or their room exception, since they renounced his rights in order to clear room for Batum's offer sheet.

Fox also classified the Cavs' interest as "serious" but said Cleveland had to work through some trade scenarios over the next couple days before moving forward on Tolliver — it's very possible those trade discussions involve the Magic and Lakers, as we heard earlier today. Tolliver's agent didn't name the other two teams he'd been talking to, but Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida reported last week (via Twitter) that the Bulls, Lakers, and Mavericks were eyeing Tolliver, so it's probably safe to assume that a couple of those clubs are still in the mix.

Southeast Notes: Lamb, Whiteside, Rivers

As James Borrego entered his first regular season as a non-interim head coach, he made a significant change to the Hornets‘ starting lineup by slotting Jeremy Lamb alongside Kemba Walker in the backcourt. As Rick Bonnell writes for The Charlotte Observer, so far Lamb has made that decision look like a good one, as he has improved as a defender and provides more scoring and ball-handling in the starting lineup.

While Lamb’s traditional statistics are down from his breakout 2017/18 season, he is still a good fit in the starting lineup and a much-improved defender. As Bonnell points out, Borrego praises Nicolas Batum for helping Lamb on that end of the floor through consistent effort that has rubbed off on Lamb.

So far, the numbers tell the story, as the Hornets’ defense is nearly 5 points per 100 possessions better when Lamb is on the floor.

Borrego made the initial decision to start Lamb as a result of his desire for more scoring options in the starting lineup. The change led to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist coming off the bench as the team’s best wing defender, thereby putting more defensive responsibilities on Batum and Lamb. So far, the results have been promising as the Hornets look to return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

There’s more from the Southeast division:

  • Much hasn’t changed for Hassan Whiteside and the Heat this season, as his spurts of strong statistical outputs are mixed in with inconsistent playing time. As Ira Winderman points out for The Sun Sentinel, Whiteside is near the top of the league in rebounds and blocks per game, yet will still receive the short end of the stick from game-to-game, which will be something to monitor moving forward.
  • With the Wizards off to a disappointing 1-7 start, Austin Rivers has been frustrated by his own play this season, notes Ben Standig for NBC Sports Washington. Rivers is down to just 6.5 points per game while shooting 37.3 percent from the field, a far cry from his production in recent seasons.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Adebayo, Gordon

The Hornets are in a precarious position financially considering that franchise owner Michael Jordan has said that he’s unwilling to dip into the luxury tax for anything less than a deep playoff contender. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer wonders if that could lead to a drastic cap-clearing move.

Charlotte is a shade below the tax line this season, but is already on the hook for about $118MM in 2018/19. That total, Bonnell notes, is for just 11 players. Unlike in years past, the salary cap and luxury tax threshold aren’t expected to rise considerably, so the fact that the Hornets would need to supplement their roster with extra bodies – including a lottery pick on the fixed rookie scale – could put them in a dangerous position.

The Hornets have six players slated to make $12MM or more next season, including Nicolas Batum and his $24MM price tag. While the team has time to find a solution, such conditions could potentially warrant a draconian quick fix, like dealing Jeremy Lamb and his $7.5MM deal for a future second-round pick.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • First-year big man Bam Adebayo has committed to studying game tape and his improvement on the defensive end reflects that, Shandel Richardson of The Sun Sentinel writes. “Bam, for such a young player, is becoming a technician with his discipline and technique and studying players,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’ll definitely be able to build on that.”
  • It has been a disappointing season for Hornets guard Nicolas Batum and while health has played a significant role in that, there’s no denying that his lofty contract is more palatable when he’s bringing more to the table. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, with head coach Steve Clifford back on the sidelines and a clear commitment to getting the ball in his hands early, the swingman has raised his game.
  • The Magic have had to adjust to life without Aaron Gordon lately. John Denton of the team’s official website writes that the forward has been troubled by a lingering hip flexor injury, forcing the rest of the team to adapt on offense.

Otto Porter A Candidate For Max Deal In 2017?

The Wizards raised some eyebrows over the  summer when they inked Bradley Beal to a five-year, maximum-salary contract that put the team on the hook for nearly $130MM for a player who has never been healthy for a full season. Now, another Washington player may be a surprise candidate for a max deal in 2017. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link), two front office executives have predicted to him this week that Otto Porter will get a maximum-salary offer next summer.

The third overall pick in the 2013 draft, Porter had a solid season in 2015/16, recording career-highs in PPG (11.6), RPG (5.2), SPG (1.4), FG% (.473), and 3PT% (.367), among other categories. So far this season, however, he has taken his game to another level, improving his averages in each of those categories and others. In 19 games (all starts), the 23-year-old has scored 14.7 PPG to go along with 8.1 RPG, 2.0 SPG, a .535 FG%, and a .414 3PT%.

Those numbers aren’t necessarily eye-popping, but in a league where three-and-D wing players are increasingly valuable, they’ll look awfully appealing to suitors hoping to pry Porter away from the Wizards in restricted free agency in July. For comparison’s sake, many of Porter’s numbers so far stack up favorably to Nicolas Batum‘s 2015/16 marks, and Batum landed a five-year, $120MM contract over the summer.

With three-quarters of the season to play, Porter’s outlook could change significantly between now and next July. Still, if the Georgetown product, who didn’t sign a rookie-scale extension before the October 31 deadline, were to receive a maximum-salary offer sheet from another team, the Wizards would find themselves in a difficult position. A long-term max deal for Porter would put two such contracts on Washington’s books, and neither one would belong to the team’s All-Star point guard, John Wall.

Free Agency Rumors: Collins, Cavs, CP3, Clippers

NBA teams interested in signing restricted free agent John Collins are growing “increasingly pessimistic” that they’ll be able to pry away the big man from the Hawks, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link).

The Hawks and Collins couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension during the 2020 offseason, with Atlanta reportedly making a four-year offer in the neighborhood of $90MM, while Collins was believed to be seeking the max. That gap created a sense that the Hawks may be reluctant to match an aggressive offer sheet for Collins this summer, but based on Stein’s report, it sounds like rival suitors are skeptical about Atlanta letting the 23-year-old get away.

Here are a few more free agents from around the league:

  • The Cavaliers had Alex Caruso and T.J. McConnell high on their list of free agent targets, but after agreeing to acquire Ricky Rubio from Minnesota, Cleveland may use its mid-level exception to address a position other than point guard, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
  • Like Suns owner Robert Sarver, general manager James Jones isn’t sure whether or not Chris Paul will pick up his player option to remain in Phoenix. But if Paul opts out, Jones is optimistic the two sides can reach a new deal. “I think what we have is enticing. I think he likes being here. We like having him here,” Jones said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “So I’m confident that we will be able to have a conversation hopefully in the coming days that will make everyone happy.”
  • Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said the team wants to bring back Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, and Nicolas Batum in free agency and hopes that Serge Ibaka opts into the final year of his contract, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times relays. Frank also acknowledged that the club expects Leonard to miss time next season due to his ACL sugery. “That’s going to require a great deal of time and we want to support him in that,” Frank said.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, Conley, Whiteside

Within his latest piece for Basketball Insiders, Steve Kyler examines a few of this year’s top free-agents-to-be, taking stock of their situations and passing along the latest notes and rumors he’s heard on each player. Here’s a round-up of some of the key info from Kyler’s piece:

  • Even though Kevin Durant is considered most likely to return to the Thunder, he’s expected to take meetings, and Kyler hears that the Warriors and Spurs are “planning big pitches.” The belief around the NBA is that Durant will return to OKC on a deal that allows him to opt out in a year so that his free agency will line up with Russell Westbrook‘s and Serge Ibaka‘s in 2017.
  • Sources close to Mike Conley‘s camp have suggested recently that Conley is “more open to new situations” than the Grizzlies would like. According to Kyler, those sources believe that the point guard wants to see signs that Memphis is serious about fortifying its roster with other pieces before committing to the team for the long term. Kyler identifies the “dark horse” in the Conley sweepstakes as the Spurs, who are believed to be willing to make some changes to their core if it means landing another high-level player.
  • Hassan Whiteside is expected to land a maximum-salary contract, with the Lakers and Celtics among the teams believed to be interested. The Heat remain the favorites for the big man, but if they “try to play games,” Whiteside will shop around for other offers, according to Kyler.
  • The Raptors and Knicks are among the clubs with interest in Nicolas Batum, but Batum will likely be in line for a max contract or something close to it, and the Hornets are viewed as the team most likely to accommodate such a deal.
  • DeMar DeRozan is viewed as a near-lock to return to the Raptors on a max deal.
  • Assuming they don’t land Durant, the Warriors sound prepared to keep their current roster intact, even if that means matching a “crazy offer sheet” for Harrison Barnes, writes Kyler.
  • The odds of RFA-to-be Jordan Clarkson ending up with any team besides the Lakers are slim, but it’s possible his camp will seek out an offer sheet from another club if necessary, in order to get more favorable terms.

Northwest Notes: Mudiay, Nuggets, Aminu, Stone

Rookie guard Emmanuel Mudiay will be in charge of the Nuggets‘ offense from the first day of training camp, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The Nuggets are counting on the 19-year-old Mudiay to usher in a new era after trading Ty Lawson over the summer. Veteran Jameer Nelson is still on hand to mentor Mudiay, who is expected to become the second rookie point guard in Nuggets history to start on opening night. “I’m just trying to learn from the old heads. Everything that they can feed off, I’m going to just take it in,” Mudiay said. “That’s just what I’m going to do because they’re going to help me be me, if that makes sense.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • After a summer of change, Nuggets GM Tim Connelly believes the franchise has a “fully committed locker room,” Dempsey writes in a separate story. Apart from drafting Mudiay and dealing Lawson, Denver brought in an all-new coaching staff and welcomed back executive Pete D’Alessandro. “I like the fact that we have a bunch of guys here that don’t just care about the team but care about the city,” Connelly said. “They’ve chosen to be here despite being coveted by other markets that might be painted bigger markets.”
  • Al-Farouq Aminu has the talent to develop into a double-double threat, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. The Blazers signed Aminu over the summer to be their starting small forward after trading Nicolas Batum to Charlotte. Although Aminu doesn’t possess Batum’s shooting skills, Freeman believes his defensive ability and rebounding desire will make him a valuable part of Portland’s lineup.
  • The Thunder’s $981K minimum deal with Julyan Stone is a non-guaranteed summer contract, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

Poll: 2008 NBA Draft Take Two (Pick No. 30)

Scouting players and predicting how their skills will translate to the NBA is one of the more difficult tasks front offices have on their plates. Looking back over past drafts and how many lottery picks never evolved into stars, or even made a significant impact in the league, illustrates just how often stats, combine numbers and pure gut instinct often come up short.

Of course, we get the opportunity to critique these moves with the benefit of hindsight — a luxury that GMs don’t have on draft night. Having said that, it’s still fun to go back in time and take a theoretical look at how these drafts should have/could have gone.

We’ve been revisiting the 2008 draft, which had a number of players who have gone on to post big numbers in the league. This was the year of Derrick Rose (No. 1 overall), Russell Westbrook (No. 4), Kevin Love (No. 5), Brook Lopez (No. 10) and Nicolas Batum (No. 25). We’ve now arrived at the No. 30 overall pick, the final one in our re-draft. That pick was held by the Celtics, who in the “real world” draft, select J.R. Giddens. So cast your vote for who Boston nabs to close out the first round.

Also, don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the pick and why you voted the way that you did. If we fail to list a player who you think should be selected, feel free to post that in the comments section and we’ll be certain to tally those votes as well.

  1. Bulls — Russell Westbrook [Actual Pick — Derrick Rose]
  2. Heat — Kevin Love [Actual Pick — Michael Beasley]
  3. Wolves — Derrick Rose [Actual Pick — O.J. Mayo]
  4. Sonics/Thunder — DeAndre Jordan [Actual Pick — Russell Westbrook]
  5. Grizzlies — Brook Lopez [Actual Pick — Kevin Love]
  6. Knicks — Serge Ibaka  [Actual Pick — Danilo Gallinari]
  7. Clippers — Nicolas Batum [Actual Pick — Eric Gordon]
  8. Bucks — Goran Dragic [Actual Pick — Joe Alexander]
  9. Bobcats/Hornets — Danilo Gallinari [Actual Pick — D.J. Augustin]
  10. Nets — Ryan Anderson [Actual Pick — Brook Lopez]
  11. Blazers (from Pacers) — Eric Gordon [Actual Pick — Jerryd Bayless]
  12. Kings — George Hill  [Actual Pick — Jason Thompson]
  13. Pacers (from Blazers) — Robin Lopez [Actual Pick — Brandon Rush]
  14. Warriors — Courtney Lee [Actual Pick — Anthony Randolph]
  15. Suns — Roy Hibbert [Actual Pick — Robin Lopez]
  16. Sixers— Nikola Pekovic [Actual Pick  — Marreese Speights]
  17. Raptors — O.J. Mayo [Actual Pick — Roy Hibbert]
  18. Wizards — Mario Chalmers [Actual Pick — JaVale McGee]
  19. Cavaliers — Timofey Mozgov [Actual Pick  — J.J. Hickson]
  20. Bobcats/Hornets (from Nuggets) — Michael Beasley [Actual Pick — Alexis Ajinca]
  21. Nets (from Mavs) — Omer Asik [Actual Pick — Ryan Anderson]
  22. Magic  — D.J. Augustin [Actual Pick — Courtney Lee]
  23. Jazz — Marreese Speights [Actual Pick — Kosta Koufos]
  24. Sonics/Thunder (from Suns) — Jerryd Bayless [Actual Pick — Serge Ibaka]
  25. Rockets — Kosta Koufos [Actual Pick — Nicolas Batum]
  26. Spurs — JaVale McGee [Actual Pick — George Hill]
  27. Hornets — J.J. Hickson [Actual Pick — Darrell Arthur]
  28. Grizzlies — Luc Mbah a Moute [Actual Pick — Donte Greene]
  29. Sonics/Thunder —Anthony Morrow [Actual pick — D.J. White]
  30. Celtics — ?? [Actual Pick — J.R. Giddens]

If you’re a Trade Rumors app user, click here to vote.

Poll: 2008 NBA Draft Take Two (Pick No. 27)

Scouting players and predicting how their skills will translate to the NBA is one of the more difficult tasks front offices have on their plates. Looking back over past drafts and how many lottery picks never evolved into stars, or even made a significant impact in the league, illustrates just how often stats, combine numbers and pure gut instinct often come up short.

Of course, we get the opportunity to critique these moves with the benefit of hindsight — a luxury that GMs don’t have on draft night. Having said that, it’s still fun to go back in time and take a theoretical look at how these drafts should have/could have gone.

We’ve been revisiting the 2008 draft, which had a number of players who have gone on to post big numbers in the league. This was the year of Derrick Rose (No. 1 overall),Russell Westbrook (No. 4), Kevin Love (No. 5), Brook Lopez (No. 10) and Nicolas Batum (No. 25). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a series of polls asking readers to vote on whom teams should have selected in each spot.

We’ve arrived at the No. 27 overall pick, which was held by the New Orleans Hornets. In the “real world” draft, the Hornets chose Darrell Arthur, but he wound up with the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies before draft night was over. Arthur is still on the board in our draft, but so are some other intriguing possibilities. So cast your vote for who the Hornets select and check back on Sunday to see the results, as well as to vote on whom the Grizzlies take with the No. 28 pick.

Also, don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the pick and why you voted the way that you did. If we fail to list a player who you think should be selected, feel free to post that in the comments section and we’ll be certain to tally those votes as well.

  1. Bulls — Russell Westbrook [Actual Pick — Derrick Rose]
  2. Heat — Kevin Love [Actual Pick — Michael Beasley]
  3. Wolves — Derrick Rose [Actual Pick — O.J. Mayo]
  4. Sonics/Thunder — DeAndre Jordan [Actual Pick — Russell Westbrook]
  5. Grizzlies — Brook Lopez [Actual Pick — Kevin Love]
  6. Knicks — Serge Ibaka  [Actual Pick — Danilo Gallinari]
  7. Clippers — Nicolas Batum [Actual Pick — Eric Gordon]
  8. Bucks — Goran Dragic [Actual Pick — Joe Alexander]
  9. Bobcats/Hornets — Danilo Gallinari [Actual Pick — D.J. Augustin]
  10. Nets — Ryan Anderson [Actual Pick — Brook Lopez]
  11. Blazers (from Pacers) — Eric Gordon [Actual Pick — Jerryd Bayless]
  12. Kings — George Hill  [Actual Pick — Jason Thompson]
  13. Pacers (from Blazers) — Robin Lopez [Actual Pick — Brandon Rush]
  14. Warriors — Courtney Lee [Actual Pick — Anthony Randolph]
  15. Suns — Roy Hibbert [Actual Pick — Robin Lopez]
  16. Sixers— Nikola Pekovic [Actual Pick  — Marreese Speights]
  17. Raptors — O.J. Mayo [Actual Pick — Roy Hibbert]
  18. Wizards — Mario Chalmers [Actual Pick — JaVale McGee]
  19. Cavaliers — Timofey Mozgov [Actual Pick  — J.J. Hickson]
  20. Bobcats/Hornets (from Nuggets) — Michael Beasley [Actual Pick — Alexis Ajinca]
  21. Nets (from Mavs) — Omer Asik [Actual Pick — Ryan Anderson]
  22. Magic  — D.J. Augustin [Actual Pick — Courtney Lee]
  23. Jazz — Marreese Speights [Actual Pick — Kosta Koufos]
  24. Sonics/Thunder (from Suns) — Jerryd Bayless [Actual Pick — Serge Ibaka]
  25. Rockets — Kosta Koufos [Actual Pick — Nicolas Batum]
  26. Spurs — JaVale McGee [Actual Pick — George Hill]
  27. Hornets — ?? [Actual Pick — Darrell Arthur]

If you’re a Trade Rumors app user, click here to vote.

Poll: 2008 NBA Draft Take Two (Pick No. 26)

Scouting players and predicting how their skills will translate to the NBA is one of the more difficult tasks front offices have on their plates. Looking back over past drafts and how many lottery picks never evolved into stars, or even made a significant impact in the league, illustrates just how often stats, combine numbers and pure gut instinct often come up short.

Of course, we get the opportunity to critique these moves with the benefit of hindsight — a luxury that GMs don’t have on draft night. Having said that, it’s still fun to go back in time and take a theoretical look at how these drafts should have/could have gone.

We’ve been revisiting 2008 draft, which had a number of players who have gone on to post big numbers in the league. This was the year of Derrick Rose (No. 1 overall), Russell Westbrook (No. 4), Kevin Love (No. 5), Brook Lopez (No. 10) and Nicolas Batum (No. 25). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a series of polls asking readers to vote on whom teams should have selected in each spot.

We’ve arrived at the No. 26 overall pick, which was held by San Antonio. In the “real world” draft, the Spurs nabbed George Hill, who was selected with pick No. 12 by the Kings in our re-draft.  So cast your vote for who the Spurs select and check back on Saturday to see the results, as well as to vote on whom the Hornets/Pelicans take with the No. 27 pick.

Also, don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the pick and why you voted the way that you did. If we fail to list a player who you think should be selected, feel free to post that in the comments section and we’ll be certain to tally those votes as well.

  1. Bulls — Russell Westbrook [Actual Pick — Derrick Rose]
  2. Heat — Kevin Love [Actual Pick — Michael Beasley]
  3. Wolves — Derrick Rose [Actual Pick — O.J. Mayo]
  4. Sonics/Thunder — DeAndre Jordan [Actual Pick — Russell Westbrook]
  5. Grizzlies — Brook Lopez [Actual Pick — Kevin Love]
  6. Knicks — Serge Ibaka  [Actual Pick — Danilo Gallinari]
  7. Clippers — Nicolas Batum [Actual Pick — Eric Gordon]
  8. Bucks — Goran Dragic [Actual Pick — Joe Alexander]
  9. Bobcats/Hornets — Danilo Gallinari [Actual Pick — D.J. Augustin]
  10. Nets — Ryan Anderson [Actual Pick — Brook Lopez]
  11. Blazers (from Pacers) — Eric Gordon [Actual Pick — Jerryd Bayless]
  12. Kings — George Hill  [Actual Pick — Jason Thompson]
  13. Pacers (from Blazers) — Robin Lopez [Actual Pick — Brandon Rush]
  14. Warriors — Courtney Lee [Actual Pick — Anthony Randolph]
  15. Suns — Roy Hibbert [Actual Pick — Robin Lopez]
  16. Sixers— Nikola Pekovic [Actual Pick  — Marreese Speights]
  17. Raptors — O.J. Mayo [Actual Pick — Roy Hibbert]
  18. Wizards — Mario Chalmers [Actual Pick — JaVale McGee]
  19. Cavaliers — Timofey Mozgov [Actual Pick  — J.J. Hickson]
  20. Bobcats/Hornets (from Nuggets) — Michael Beasley [Actual Pick — Alexis Ajinca]
  21. Nets (from Mavs) — Omer Asik [Actual Pick — Ryan Anderson]
  22. Magic  — D.J. Augustin [Actual Pick — Courtney Lee]
  23. Jazz — Marreese Speights [Actual Pick — Kosta Koufos]
  24. Sonics/Thunder (from Suns) — Jerryd Bayless [Actual Pick — Serge Ibaka]
  25. Rockets — Kosta Koufos [Actual Pick — Nicolas Batum]
  26. Spurs — ?? [Actual Pick — George Hill]

If you’re a Trade Rumors app user, click here to vote.

Western Notes: Kobe, Carney, Blazers

Kobe Bryant didn't inform Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni of his latest trip to Germany for a blood-spinning procedure on his right knee, and at least one other NBA coach sees that as a sign of disrespect, according to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News.

Here's more from around the Western Conference…

Chuck Myron contributed to this post

Read more

Poll: Will The Blazers Make The Playoffs?

Dorell Wright is one of the newest members of the Blazers and he's understandably excited about his fresh surroundings.  How stoked is the 27-year-old sharpshooter?  He says that the Blazers can be a playoff team this season in the ulta-competitive Western Conference.

"Yeah, why not?” Wright told Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. “We’ve got the guys. We’ve got a star point guard that can be an All-Star next year. LaMarcus Aldridge was an All-Star last year, and you’ve got guys around them like [Nic] Batum and Wes Matthews that are solid players as well.” 

A team headlined by a sophomore Damian Lillard, Aldridge, and Batum can undeniably do some damage.  The Blazers also bolstered their second unit – a definite weakness last season – by adding Wright, Mo Williams, No. 10 overall pick C.J. McCollum, Thomas Robinson, Earl Watson, and Allen Crabbe.  Wright, who is among the best shooters in the Association, should be a major help to Portland after they finished 20th in three point field goal percentage (35.3%) in 2012/13.

The case against the Blazers, of course, is the rest of the field.  The fact of the matter is, there just aren't a lot of openings for a team like Portland – certainly good, but definitely not great – in this year's Western Conference.  Barring something unforeseen, one has to imagine that the Spurs, Thunder, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies, and Warriors are going to the postseason.  That leaves quality teams like the Timberwolves, Nuggets, Mavs, Lakers, (the dramatically improved) Pelicans, and Blazers to duke it out for the final two seeds.  Is Dorell delusional or is he Wright on the money?

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