Central Rumors: Wade, Bucks, Teague, Butler

Most people around the Bulls organization expect shooting guard Dwyane Wade to opt in for next season, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Wade will make $23.8MM if he stays put and declines to re-enter the free agent market. Wade’s role for next season could be a determining factor, as Johnson notes that Wade often served as the anchor to the second unit in second-quarter situations. Coach Fred Hoiberg alienated Joakim Noah during the 2015/16 campaign by demoting him to the second unit, Johnson adds. Wade has until June 27th to decide whether to enter the free agent market, Johnson relays via The Vertical’s Bobby Marks.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • North Carolina center Tony Bradley and BYU center/power forward Eric Mika were among the players who worked out for the Bucks on Tuesday, Gerry Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times tweets.
  • The Pistons will ideally draft a knock-down 3-point shooter or a perimeter player who can make plays off the dribble with the No. 12 overall pick, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details.
  • The Pacers need to re-sign Jeff Teague but the cost will be substantial, according to Jay Siskin of AmicoHoops.net.  Teague, who made $8MM this past season, will get a huge raise as he heads into the free agent market for the first time. While Teague enjoys playing for his hometown team, point-guard starved teams such as the Nets, Magic, Mavericks and Knicks could make runs at him and drive up his pricetag, Siskin adds.
  • Jimmy Butler‘s contract is a bargain for an All-Star player, which is a big reason why the Bulls should hold onto him, Marks writes in his Summer Agenda series. Butler has three years and $56MM remaining on his contract, with the final year being a player option. The uncertainty surrounding Butler has more to do with franchise’s questionable roster decisions and coaching changes rather than Butler’s productivity, Marks adds.

Travis Schlenk Named Hawks’ GM

May 25, 10:18am: The Hawks have officially named Schlenk as their GM, per a team press release. Schlenk will begin his duties on June 1st, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

May 24, 10:21am: Atlanta has decided on Schlenk and contract talks are beginning, Wojnarowski tweets.

10:13 am: Travis Schlenk has become the frontrunner for the Hawks’ GM job, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Schlenk, 41, has been the assistant GM with Golden State for the past five years. He has spent 12 seasons in the organization and more than 16 in the NBA. He worked as an assistant coach and a video scout for the Warriors before being promoted to his current position.

Atlanta has been without a GM since reassigning Wes Wilcox in a front-office shakeup earlier this month. Schlenk is among several candidates to interview for the position. Other candidates who have been made public include TV analysts Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry, Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Hughes, Rockets VP of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, current Cavaliers GM David Griffin and former Pistons executive Joe Dumars.

Hoops Links Vol. 6: Coleman Flashbacks, Biedrins Flashbacks, More

Welcome back to Hoops Links. Here we round up some of our favorite blog content that we come across over the course of the week. As always, we’d like to encourage writers to send us their best stuff for possible inclusion in future editions. Remember, what we’re looking for is unique, entertaining material that showcases why the internet is so gosh darn fun.

Send your best pieces to HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws or simply yell at me on Twitter (@AustinKent). Similarly, you can flag down any Hoops Rumors staffer at a grocery store and immediately hit them up with a choreographed dance routine explaining why your Jared Dudley hot take deserves top recognition in next week’s link dump.

Note: We typically publish Hoops Links on Thursday, but next week’s edition will be published on Friday (June 2). This will be a one-time change so that we can all observe Smush Parker‘s birthday privately with our families. We’ll slide back to Thursday for Hoops Links Vol. 7 on June 8.


Ben Simmons verticalThe skill set that Ben Simmons has shown and the college numbers he produced during his one year at LSU are on par with some of the greatest of our generation. Much of his success, however, will come down to circumstance. Can the Sixers ensure that Simmons is in a situation to live up to his potential? Or, as Kwame Fisher-Jones of the 76er Files cautions, is he destined to underachieve like similarly versatile former Sixers forward Derrick Coleman?

Rating: 8 out of 10 NBA Jam Legends
Author: Kwame Fisher-Jones – @MrJonesNBA
Link: Ben Simmons’ potential


When LeBron James clanged a wide open dunk off the back of the rim in Game 4 of the CavaliersCeltics series, it robbed Kevin Love of a potential Assist of the Year. Not surprisingly, Carter Rodriguez of Fear the Sword has put the wheels in motion to file a formal petition to credit the big man with a much deserved assist anyway. What even is an assist when you think about it, man?

Rating: 9 out of 10 They Have A Points…
Author: Carter Rodriguez – @Carter_Shade
Link: Kevin Love’s outlet assist


In a world where nearly everything that takes place on a basketball court is trackable, the one thing that experts can’t seem to quantify is the impact team chemistry has on success. Brian Freeman of Blazer’s Edge explored the gaps in our understanding of team chemistry and suggests what might play a role in successful organizations capitalizing on it.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Intangibles
Author: Brian Freeman – @BrianFreeman_NBA
Link: Team chemistry in the NBA


The Warriors are the team NBA fans love to hate. Eric He of Blue Man Hoop, however, thinks that everybody needs to slow down, quit hating and actually appreciate the franchise. Given Golden State’s role in revolutionizing the league, he does have a point. Can’t we just be happy for the organization less than five years removed from giving Andris Biedrins a standing ovation for hitting a pair of free throws?

Rating: 8 out of 10 Monta Ellis Scooters
Author: Eric He – @EricHeSports
Link: Appreciating the Golden State Warriors


If Chris Bosh is able to fully part ways from the Heat and work his way back onto a basketball court, the Clippers should take a look at him as a possible reserve big man, Blake Harris of Clipperholics writes. Though his health will always be the most important consideration, Bosh could very well be a major steal for whichever club takes a chance on him.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Mo Speights Replacements
Author: Blake Harris – @BlakeHHarris
Link: Chris Bosh and the Clippers


There’s no denying that Kemba Walker has stepped up as the greatest New Generation Hornets player, but is he wasting his prime toiling away in mediocrity? For Swarm and Sting, Elijah Edwards discusses the idea of letting the point guard pursue success elsewhere if the franchise isn’t able to surround him with the help he needs to compete.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Miles Plumlee Contracts
Author: Elijah Edwards
Link: Trading Kemba Walker


Gordon Hayward verticalWhen Gordon Hayward hits free agency this summer, he’ll do so as perhaps the most coveted, reasonably attainable option on the market. Evan Dyal of Sir Charles in Charge took a good long look at the five most likely destinations for Hayward, delving beyond simply the Celtics and Jazz, two clubs regarded as frontrunners for his services.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Professional StarCraft Circuits
Author: Evan Dyal – @EvanDyal
Link: Gordon Hayward free agency


After his first year at the helm, Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder showed that he’s a worthy starter with plenty of room to grow. Thomas Jenkins of Peachtree Hoops recently broke down what might be in store for the 23-year-old, suggesting that so long as Schroder continues to develop, the club’s future looks bright.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Blonde Patches
Author: Thomas Jenkins – @TJenkins122
Link: Dennis Schroder potential


Admit it, you knew that it wouldn’t be long before the thorough analysis would come regarding whether or not the Celtics truly need Isaiah Thomas. For Nylon Calculus, Ian Levy broke down the situation, including Boston’s improbable Game 3 victory and the squad’s all-around improvement on the defensive end of the ball when Thomas is sidelined. The C’s don’t need to oust Thomas any time soon but they could afford to spare him if the right opportunity arose.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Scatter Plots
Author: Ian Levy – @HickoryHigh
Link: The Celtics without Isaiah Thomas


Don’t expect the fourth pick in the NBA Draft to turn things around for the Suns, Valley of the Suns contributor Robert Neal writes. So how does the franchise, then, figure out where to go after a tanked season gone awry? Neal explores ways the Suns can tangibly improve their roster without relying on a rookie.

Rating: 7 out of 10 #FreeChriss Campaigns
Author: Robert Neal – @RobertN4110
Link: Phoenix Suns offseason

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lonzo Ball Won’t Work Out For Celtics

Celtics GM Danny Ainge said that UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball will not work out for his team prior to the draft, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet tweets.

The news doesn’t come as a surprise, as his outspoken father LaVar said last week that his son would only work out for the Lakers. Boston and Los Angeles were the winners in the draft lottery, as they hold the top two picks.

Ball and Washington point guard Markelle Fultz are considered the top two players in the draft. Just because Ball refuses to work out for the Celtics doesn’t mean they will pass on him, if they deem him to be the best player in the draft.

Even so, Ball’s desire to play for the Lakers may increase the chances Fultz will be the Celtics’ pick, unless Ainge decides to use it as part of a package to acquire an All-Star level player.

Draft Notes: Swanigan, Diallo, Jackson, Lakers

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan will remain in the draft, ESPN’s Jeff Goodwin reports (ESPN Now link). One GM tells Goodman that Swanigan is the most underrated guy in the draft. The big man is the 35th best prospect, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Hamidou Diallo will withdraw from the draft and play at Kentucky next season, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. Several NBA teams had interest in Diallo and Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog (Twitter link) reports that the Nets and Jazz were the two teams that had the strongest interest in the athletic wing.
  • Josh Jackson is expected to come off the board early on draft night, but Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype speculates that Jackson’s off-court troubles could cause teams to pass on the Kansas product. Jackson was charged with a misdemeanor back in December for kicking and damaging another student’s car door and taillight. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and ultimately signed a diversion agreement which calls for him to attend anger management classes as part of its conditions.
  • The Lakers worked out several prospects, according to Joey Ramirez of NBA.com. Kadeem Allen (Arizona), Jamel Artis (Pittsburg), Sidy Djitte (Clemson), J.J. Frazier (Georgia), Josh Hawkinson (Washington State) and L.J. Peak (Georgetown) all participated in drills for the team.
  • Ike Anigbogu, who is expected to be taken in the first round, is dealing with a knee injury, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. The ailment forced the UCLA product to miss a workout with the Pistons.

Pacific Notes: Mbah a Moute, Draft, Durant

Luc Mbah a Moute is expected to opt out of his contract this summer, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. He is set to make roughly $2.3MM next season as part of the two-year deal he signed last offseason. Los Angeles used the Bi-Annual Exception to sign the small forward, so it won’t have that tool available as it looks to make upgrades this offseason.

The organization will have trouble adding outside talent due to a lack of resources available, as I detailed in the team’s offseason primer. If the Clippers re-sign both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they will be well over the projected $101MM salary cap.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

Atlantic Draft Notes: Johnson, Monk, Workouts

The Sixers don’t have a definite long-term answer at point guard, but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily address the position in the first round of this year’s draft, Jonathan Givony writes in a mock draft for The Vertical.

The team is expected to field offers for the No. 3 overall pick and if it decides to keep the selection, it’ll be hard to predict who the selection will be. Givony adds that the team is high on Kentucky guard Malik Monk, but also suggests that Kansas’ Josh Johnson could be the pick due to his upside.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft out of the Atlantic Division:

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Fox, Redick

Team president Bryan Colangelo is adamant that the franchise is well ahead of where it was this time last year, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer passes along.

“With those healthy bodies [Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Jerryd Bayless] and some new talent coming in via draft, via trades, via free agency, we’re excited about what the future holds,” Colangelo said.

While optimism fills Philadelphia’s front office, the executive isn’t ready to declare his squad a 2018 playoff team just yet. “We talk about improvement, measured steps, taking the right path. We’re not going to jump ahead of ourselves,” Colangelo said. “We have a lot of decisions to make before we get there.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia

  • The team likes De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. as options for the No. 3 overall pick, sources tell Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The Sixers own that selection as a result of pick swap obtained in Sam Hinkie’s 2015 trade with the Kings.
  • The Sixers should attempt to sign J.J. Redick this offseason, Comcast Sportsnet’s Jessica Camerato contends. Camerato believes Philadelphia has scoring issues and Redick is the right guy to boost the backcourt.
  • Sergio Rodriguez will be a free agent this summer and the Sixers will face competition from NBA clubs as well as teams abroad. E. Carchia of Sportando relays that CSKA Moscow may pursue the point guard if their star Milos Teodosic leaves for the NBA.
  • Dario Saric should be untouchable in trade talks, Pompey opines (audio link) while noting that he doesn’t come with the injury concerns that plague the Sixers‘ other young talent. Pompey believes the team should prioritize developing the power forward and sign someone like Danilo Gallinari to mentor him.

Latest On David Griffin, Bucks’ GM Search

Milwaukee has interest in bringing in Cavaliers GM David Griffin to the serve the same position, multiple sources tell Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Bucks have not reached out to Cleveland to gain permission to interview Griffin. The Cavs previously denied both the Magic and Hawks permission to speak with Griffin.

Vardon adds that Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert have spoken about the GM’s future with the team over the last few days, though no agreement has been made.

The Bucks lost John Hammond to the Magic and it was presumed that assistant GM Justin Zanik would be promoted in his place. Instead, the team is conducting a “broad search” as it looks to name a replacement. Longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn, who serves as a consultant to the franchise, will lead the search.

Zanik is will run the front office, including the team’s draft process, during the search, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Wojnarowski confirms an earlier report that Zanik remains a serious contender for the position.

2017 Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Orlando Magic

The Magic’s 2016 offseason, which saw them add Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, and Jeff Green while giving up Victor Oladipo and their lottery pick, received mixed reviews at best. Critics of the team’s moves were ultimately proven right, as Orlando landed in the lottery again, moving Ibaka prior to the trade deadline in an attempt to salvage last summer’s deal before he reached free agency. The Magic’s roster isn’t exactly overflowing with talent, but the club has a pair of first-round picks and a little cap flexibility heading into the summer.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Magic financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2017:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • Damjan Rudez ($1,724,305 qualifying offer / $1,724,305 cap hold)
  • Total: $1,724,305

Cap Holds

  • Jeff Green ($18,000,000)
  • Jodie Meeks ($12,426,000)
  • No. 6 overall pick ($4,186,320)
  • No. 25 overall pick ($1,516,200)
  • Total: $36,128,520

Trade Exceptions

Projected Salary Cap: $101,000,000

Maximum Cap Room: $15,751,170

  • Orlando’s eight guaranteed salaries, cap holds for two first-round picks, and cap charges for two empty roster spots total $85,248,830 in team salary. The Magic aren’t likely to waive all their non-guaranteed players, but they don’t have any free agents they badly needs to bring back, so renouncing those FAs and getting close to their maximum cap room is possible.

Footnotes:

  1. Watson’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  2. Zimmerman’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 6.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and The Vertical was used in the creation of this post.

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