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2015/16 Salary Rankings: Shooting Guards

Hoops Rumors is in the process of ranking the cap hit for each NBA player by position. We already ran down how the league’s centers, power forwards, small forwards and point guards stacked up financially, and next we’ll check out the shooting guard position. All told, NBA teams have committed approximately $432,763,125 in salary this season to the men who man the two spot around the league. The average salary for a shooting guard this season is a respectable $3,934,210, with Kobe Bryant topping the list with a hefty $25,000,000 to help him ride off into the sunset at the end of the season.

The purpose of this list is to show the relative pay scale by position, which is why all contracts are included in this post. The league’s shooting guards are listed below, in descending order of salary. Please note that the official roster for each team was used for determining what position we listed each player under, and some of the players below may spend time at other spots on the hardwood:

  1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers) — $25,000,000
  2. Dwyane Wade (Heat) — $20,000,000
  3. Jimmy Butler (Bulls) — $16,407,500
  4. Wesley Matthews (Mavericks) — $16,407,500
  5. James Harden (Rockets) — $15,756,438
  6. Eric Gordon (Pelicans) — $15,514,031
  7. Klay Thompson (Warriors) — $15,501,000
  8. Khris Middleton (Bucks) — $14,700,000
  9. Nicolas Batum (Hornets) — $13,125,306
  10. Tyreke Evans (Pelicans) — $10,734,586
  11. Monta Ellis (Pacers) — $10,300,000
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) — $10,050,000
  13. Danny Green (Spurs) — $10,000,000
  14. Alec Burks (Jazz) — $9,463,484
  15. Iman Shumpert (Cavaliers) — $8,988,765
  16. Corey Brewer (Rockets) — $8,229,375
  17. Arron Afflalo (Knicks) — $8,000,000
  18. O.J. Mayo (Bucks) — $8,000,000
  19. Avery Bradley (Celtics) — $7,730,000
  20. Kevin Martin (Timberwolves) — $7,085,000
  21. J.J. Redick (Clippers) — $7,085,000
  22. Lou Williams (Lakers) — $7,000,000
  23. Jodie Meeks (Pistons) — $6,270,000
  24. Marco Belinelli (Kings) — $6,060,606
  25. Gerald Henderson (Blazers) — $6,000,000
  26. Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves) — $5,758,680
  27. Kyle Korver (Hawks) — $5,746,479
  28. Bradley Beal (Wizards) — $5,694,674
  29. Jamal Crawford (Clippers) — $5,675,000
  30. Courtney Lee (Grizzlies) — $5,675,000
  31. Victor Oladipo (Magic) — $5,192,520
  32. Dion Waiters (Thunder) — $5,138,430
  33. J.R. Smith (Cavaliers) — $5,000,000
  34. Mike Miller (Nuggets) — $4,582,368 (This amount includes the $3,083,181 he is owed by the Blazers, who waived him)
  35. Vince Carter (Grizzlies) — $4,088,019
  36. Alan Anderson (Wizards) — $4,000,000
  37. Mario Hezonja (Magic) — $3,741,480
  38. Bojan Bogdanovic (Nets) — $3,425,510
  39. Anthony Morrow (Thunder) — $3,344,000
  40. K.J. McDaniels (Rockets) — $3,189,794
  41. Ben McLemore (Kings) — $3,156,600
  42. Randy Foye (Nuggets) — $3,135,000
  43. Jeremy Lamb (Hornets) — $3,034,356
  44. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Pistons) — $2,891,760
  45. Nik Stauskas (Sixers) — $2,869,440
  46. Manu Ginobili (Spurs) — $2,814,000
  47. Sonny Weems (Suns) — $2,814,000
  48. C.J. McCollum (Blazers) — $2,525,160
  49. Leandro Barbosa (Warriors) — $2,500,000
  50. Evan Fournier (Magic) — $2,288,205
  51. Zach LaVine (Timberwolves) — $2,148,360
  52. Devin Booker (Suns) — $2,127,840
  53. Kent Bazemore (Hawks) — $2,000,000
  54. James Young (Celtics) — $1,749,840
  55. Rashad Vaughn (Bucks) — $1,733,040
  56. Zoran Dragic (Waived by Celtics) — $1,706,250
  57. Gary Harris (Nuggets) — $1,587,480
  58. Wayne Ellington (Nets) — $1,500,000
  59. Jason Terry (Rockets) — $1,499,187
  60. Justin Anderson (Mavericks) — $1,449,000
  61. Jordan Adams (Grizzlies) — $1,404,600
  62. Sasha Vujacic (Knicks) — $1,356,146
  63. Rodney Hood (Jazz) — $1,348,440
  64. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Nets) — $1,335,480
  65. Tim Hardaway Jr. (Hawks) — $1,304,520
  66. Andre Roberson (Thunder) — $1,210,800
  67. P.J. Hairston (Hornets ) — $1,201,440
  68. Archie Goodwin (Suns) — $1,160,160
  69. C.J. Wilcox (Clippers) — $1,159,680
  70. R.J. Hunter (Celtics) — $1,148,640
  71. Ian Clark (Warriors) — $1,131,960
  72. Garrett Temple (Wizards) — $1,100,602
  73. Glenn Robinson III (Pacers) — $1,100,000
  74. James Anderson (Kings) — $1,015,421
  75. E’Twaun Moore (Bulls) — $1,015,421
  76. John Jenkins (Mavericks) — $981,349
  77. Jared Cunningham (Cavaliers) — $981,348
  78. Allen Crabbe (Blazers) — $947,276
  79. Troy Daniels (Hornets) — $947,276
  80. Justin Holiday (Hawks) — $947,276
  81. Hollis Thompson (Sixers) — $947,276
  82. Wayne Ellington (Waived by Kings via the stretch provision) — $882,630
  83. Markel Brown (Nets) — $845,059
  84. James Ennis (Grizzlies) — $845,059
  85. Joe Harris (Cavaliers) — $845,059
  86. Nick Johnson (Waived by Nuggets) — $845,059
  87. JaKarr Sampson (Sixers) — $845,059
  88. Carlos Delfino (Waived by the Clippers via stretch provision) — $650,000
  89. Norman Powell (Raptors) — $650,000
  90. Pat Connaughton (Blazers) — $625,093
  91. Aaron Harrison (Hornets) — $525,093
  92. Josh Richardson (Heat) — $525,093
  93. Jonathon Simmons (Spurs) — $525,093
  94. Richard Hamilton — $333,333 (Waived by Bulls via stretch provision)
  95. Jamaal Franklin (Waived by Grizzlies via stretch provision) — $163,297
  96. Jordan Sibert (Waived by Magic) — $100,000
  97. Elliot Williams (Waived by Hornets) — $80,000
  98. Treveon Graham (Waived by Jazz) — $75,000
  99. Terran Petteway (Waived by Hawks) — $75,000
  100. Wesley Saunders (Waived by Knicks) — $75,000
  101. Adonis Thomas (Waived by Pistons via stretch provision) — $60,000
  102. Michael Frazier (Waived by Lakers) — $50,000
  103. Marshall Henderson (Waived by Kings) — $25,000
  104. Levi Randolph (Waived by Celtics) — $25,000
  105. Corey Walden (Waived by Celtics) — $25,000
  106. Dahntay Jones (Waived by Nets) — $17,637
  107. Jabari Brown (Waived by Lakers) — $9,942
  108. Jordan McRae (Waived by Sixers) — $6,178
  109. Terran Petteway (Waived by Pacers) — $6,178
  110. J.P. Tokoto (Waived by Sixers) — $3,089

Top Bloggers: Eric Griffith On The Trail Blazers

Anyone can have a blog about an NBA team, but some set themselves apart from the rest with the dedication and valuable insight they bring to their craft. We’ll be sharing some knowledge from these dialed-in writers on Hoops Rumors in a new feature called Top Bloggers. As with The Beat, our ongoing series of interviews with NBA beat writers, it’s part of an effort to bring Hoops Rumors readers ever closer to the pulse of the teams they follow. Last time, we spoke with William Lou of the score and Raptors Republic. Click here to see the entire Top Bloggers series.

Next up is Eric Griffith of SB Nation’s Blazer’s Edge. You can follow Eric on Twitter at @DeeringTornado and click here to check out his stories. You can also follow Blazer’s Edge at @blazersedge.

Hoops Rumors: How surprised were you that LaMarcus Aldridge went from pledging a long-term commitment a year before free agency, to reiterating that pledge before the start of last season, to bolting for the Spurs when he finally did hit the open market?

Eric Griffith: I was pretty surprised by Aldridge’s decision. From a financial perspective, it made a ton of sense for him to sign a one-year contract with Portland and then hit the market the following season. By signing a long-term deal with the Spurs this offseason he left literally tens of millions of dollars on the table. I thought the money alone would be enough of an incentive to stick it out for one more year with the Blazers.

In January, Aldridge also elected to play through a thumb injury rather than have surgery and miss several weeks during a crucial part of the season. To most Blazers fans that decision implied that Aldridge truly believed the Blazers had a shot at contending. For a player that rarely interacts publicly with the fans and is visibly uncomfortable in front of a mic and camera, that decision spoke volumes about his confidence in the team. Going into the offseason, I hoped that his belief in Portland as a championship caliber team had not wavered after an early playoff exit and that Neil Olshey could keep the team together for one more season. Unfortunately, Aldridge apparently decided that the aging Spurs are THAT much better than an intact Portland team. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised by that as well.

Hoops Rumors: Few teams can lose a star and have another, younger star lock in for a five-year extension the very same summer. How quickly do you think the Blazers can rebuild around Damian Lillard and become a surefire playoff team?

Eric Griffith: As of right now, the Blazers have one proven NBA starter and a team full of reserves. For Portland to become a consistent playoff threat they will need some of those reserve-level players to develop into quality NBA starters. The most likely candidates are Noah Vonleh, C.J. McCollum, and Meyers Leonard. Portland’s playoff chances will get a huge shot in the arm if one or two of those players can show consistent development this season.

The Blazers will also need at least one more All-Star to pair with Lillard, preferably at one of the wing positions. Unfortunately, there are few max-level free agents available next summer and the Blazers do not have the assets to complete a trade for a superstar, so they will likely have to rely on the draft to get that superstar.

As for when Portland will be a surefire playoff team, I think it’s virtually impossible to accurately predict right now. Too much of their future will be determined by player development this season and lottery luck over the summer. If they do get a “hit” on some of their young talent and do get a high lottery pick, then the Blazers could be a consistent playoff threat by 2018. But if all goes awry, they could easily be pressing the reset button again in a couple of seasons. (Griffith went into further detail on this topic here and here).

Hoops Rumors: Which of the moves the Blazers made this summer, aside from the Lillard extension, will help the team the most? 

Eric Griffith: Both Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis have shown potential to become quality big men and they both will get plenty of chances to prove themselves this season. Both players also pair well with the perimeter game of Leonard. Either Plumlee or Davis could turn out to be the most helpful addition to the team for this season.

For the long term, many Blazers fans are salivating over Vonleh. He appears to have the potential to develop into an All-Star and is a good bet to at least become a solid rotation player. Olshey acquired Vonleh for Nicolas Batum, who was likely to leave in free agency after this season anyway, so anything Vonleh can give the Blazers can be considered a bonus.

A sneaky choice for the most helpful move might be trading a top-55 protected second round pick for Moe Harkless. The rumors coming out of training camp are that Harkless has been wowing his teammates with his athleticism and that his three-point shot has returned.

Hoops Rumors: How would the Blazers be different, both for this season and the future, if the Thunder hadn’t matched the Enes Kanter offer sheet?

Eric Griffith: It would have been interesting to see how Leonard would have been affected by Kanter’s presence. With the current roster, Leonard will, by necessity, be the primary scoring option from the power forward/center positions. Kanter presumably would have taken some of those shots from the low post instead of Leonard shooting from the perimeter. Leonard also fits well with the complementary skill sets of Davis and Plumlee, but defense would have been an issue if Leonard and Kanter had been paired together.

To me, the Kanter offer sheet (and the Greg Monroe one before it) is interesting because it implies that the Blazers are not content with their current power forwards and centers even though the 4/5 spots are the deepest and most complete on the roster. It’s easy to imagine the Leonard/Vonleh/Davis/Plumlee rotation becoming very effective in a year or two but, apparently, Olshey thinks that lineup still needs more tinkering.

Hoops Rumors: What are reasonable expectations for the Blazers this season? Is a playoff spot truly attainable?

Eric Griffith: The Blazers lost five of their top six players and struck out on their top two free agent choices. It’s tough to imagine any team making the playoffs after that kind of offseason, and the Blazers are no exception. Also, as mentioned above, they have only one established NBA starter. It’s going to be tough for them to win games, especially early in the season.

Looking at the Western Conference standings, it’s hard to pick out a team that is definitely worse than the Blazers. As of now, it seems like they’ll be in the conference basement with the Lakers, Nuggets, and possibly Timberwolves. So a reasonable expectation for Portland this season is probably a 13th-place finish in the conference. Over the last six seasons the 13th-place team in the west has averaged 27.7 wins, suggesting that a win total in the high 20s is a fair prediction.

2015 Offseason Trades

A major part of the craziness of NBA player movement during the summer involves trades, and the 2015 offseason has certainly been no exception. Our Free Agent Tracker runs down the signings that have taken place this summer, but it doesn’t cover trades, so that’s where this post comes in. As we did with last year’s offseason trades and the in-season swaps from 2014/15, we’ll be keeping track of all of the trades from this summer as they become official, updating this post with each transaction.

You can see the full picture of the movement across the NBA landscape this summer using this post, the free agent tracker and our list of the 2015 draft pick signings. For up-to-the-minute news on trades as well as other roster moves as the offseason continues, download our free iOS or Android app or follow our transactions-only feeds via RSS and Twitter.

Trades are listed here in reverse chronological order, with the latest on top. So, if a player has been traded multiple times (as often happens with draft picks), the first team listed as having acquired him is the one that ended up with him. For more details on each trade, click the date above it. Note that this list only includes trade agreements that have become official, so agreed-upon deals, like the David Lee swap and the Sixers/Kings trade, won’t be included until they’re finalized.

July 31st

  • The Warriors get Jason Thompson.
  • The Sixers get Gerald Wallace, cash, and the right to swap the less favorable of Miami’s 2016 first-round pick and Oklahoma City’s 2016 first-round pick with Golden State’s 2016 first-round pick.

July 27th

  • The Trail Blazers get Brendan HaywoodMike Miller, the more favorable of the Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick and Minnesota’s 2019 second-round pick, and Cleveland’s 2020 second-round pick.
  • The Cavaliers get $75K cash.

July 27th

  • The Magic get Shabazz Napier and cash.
  • The Heat get Orlando’s 2016 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

July 27th

July 27th

  • The Celtics get Zoran Dragic, Miami’s 2020 second-round pick and $1.5MM cash.
  • The Heat get Boston’s 2019 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

July 23rd

  • The Pacers get the rights to Rakeem Christmas.
  • The Cavaliers get the Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick.

July 20th

July 14th

  • The Trail Blazers get Maurice Harkless.
  • The Magic get Portland’s 2020 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

July 14th

  • The Celtics get Perry Jones III, Detroit’s 2019 second-round pick and $1.5MM cash.
  • The Thunder get Boston’s 2018 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

July 13th

July 12th

July 9th

  • The Sixers get Jason Thompson, Carl LandryNik Stauskas, Sacramento’s 2018 first-round pick (top-1o protected) and the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017.
  • The Kings get the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and the rights to Luka Mitrovic.

July 9th

  • The Mavericks get Zaza Pachulia.
  • The Bucks get Dallas’ 2018 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

July 9th

  • The Lakers get Roy Hibbert.
  • The Pacers get the Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick.

July 9th

  • The Wizards get Jared Dudley.
  • The Bucks get Washington’s 2020 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

July 9th

  • The Spurs get Ray McCallum.
  • The Kings get San Antonio’s 2016 second-round pick.

July 9th

  • The Knicks get Kyle O’Quinn (sign-and-trade).
  • The Magic get the right to swap 2019 second-round picks and cash.

July 9th

July 9th

  • The Hawks get Tiago Splitter.
  • The Spurs get the rights to Georgios Printezis and Atlanta’s 2017 second-round pick (top-55 protected).

June 30th

  • The Raptors get Luke Ridnour and $250K cash.
  • The Thunder get the rights to Tomislav Zubcic.

June 26th

  • The Clippers get 2015 No. 56 pick (Branden Dawson).
  • The Pelicans get $630K cash.

June 26th

  • The Trail Blazers get No. 54 pick (Daniel Diez).
  • The Jazz get cash.

June 26th

  • The Suns get Jon Leuer.
  • The Grizzlies get 2015 No. 44 pick (Andrew Harrison).

June 26th

  • The Trail Blazers get Mason Plumlee and 2015 No. 41 pick (Pat Connaughton).
  • The Nets get Steve Blake and 2015 No. 23 pick (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson).

June 26th

  • The Knicks get 2015 No. 35 pick (Guillermo Hernangomez).
  • The Sixers get New York’s 2020 second-round pick, New York’s 2021 second-round pick, and cash.

June 26th

  • The Hawks get Tim Hardaway Jr.
  • The Knicks get 2015 No. 19 pick (Jerian Grant).

June 25th

  • The Nets get 2015 pick No. 39 (Juan Vaulet).
  • The Hornets get Brooklyn’s 2019 second-round pick, the less favorable of Brooklyn’s and Cleveland’s 2018 second-round picks, and $880K cash.

June 25th

  • The Timberwolves get 2015 pick No. 24 (Tyus Jones).
  • The Cavaliers get 2015 pick No. 31 (Cedi Osman), 2015 pick No. 36 (Rakeem Christmas) and Minnesota’s 2019 second-round pick.

June 25th

  • The Wizards get 2015 pick No. 15 (Kelly Oubre).
  • The Hawks get 2015 pick No. 19 (Jerian Grant), Washington’s 2016 second-round pick and Washington’s 2019 second-round pick.

June 25th

  • The Bucks get Greivis Vasquez.
  • The Raptors get the Clippers’ 2017 first-round pick (lottery protected) and 2015 pick No. 46 (Norman Powell).

June 25th

  • The Hornets get Jeremy Lamb.
  • The Thunder get Luke Ridnour and Charlotte’s 2016 second-round pick (bottom-five protected).

June 25th

June 24th

June 24th

  • The Grizzlies get Luke Ridnour.
  • The Magic get the rights to Janis Timma.

June 15th

June 11th

Trade archives:

Draft History: Donnie Nelson

The 2015 NBA draft is a less than a week away, and the speculation as to which player each franchise will pin its hopes on for the future is nearly over. Of course, having one of the top selections in any draft doesn’t guarantee that a team will snag a future All-Star. Team executives and scouts still have the difficult task of making the correct call with their picks.

With this in mind we at Hoops Rumors have been taking a look back at the draft history of the primary basketball executive for each NBA team. Their names, reputations, and possibly employment will be on the line as a result of the decisions to come on June 25th, and we’ve been examining what they’ve done in previous years in charge of a club’s front office. Note that many of them have played other sorts of roles within a team’s executive structure, but this won’t take that into account. We’ll continue onward with a look back at the calls made by Mavericks executive Donnie Nelson.

Mavericks (March 2005-Present)

2005 Draft

  • No first-rounder. Pick No. 27 (Linas Kleiza) owned by Nuggets.
  • No second-rounder. Pick No. 57 (Marcin Gortat) owned by Magic.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: David Lee (No. 30), Monta Ellis (No. 40), Lou Williams (No. 45), and Gortat (No. 57).

2006 Draft

  •  No. 28 Overall — Maurice Ager: 82 games, 2.1 PPG, 0.6 RPG, and 0.2 APG. .339/.250/.566.

*Traded No. 58 overall pick (J.R. Pinnock) to Lakers in exchange for a 2007 second-rounder.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Steve Novak (No. 32) and Paul Millsap (No. 47).

2007 Draft

  • No first-rounder. Pick No. 30 (Petteri Koponen) owned by Trail Blazers.
  • No. 34 Overall — Nick Fazekas: 26 games, 4.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 0.4 APG. .561/.000/.682.
  • No. 44 Overall — Reyshawn Terry*: No regular season NBA appearances.
  • No. 50 Overall — Renaldas Seibutis: No regular season NBA appearances.

*Acquired from Magic in exchange for the No. 60 overall pick (Milovan Rakovic).

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Carl Landry (No. 31), Glen Davis (No. 35), Josh McRoberts (No. 37), Marc Gasol (No. 48), and Ramon Sessions (No. 56).

2008 Draft

  •  No first round pick. Pick No. 21 (Ryan Anderson) owned by Nets.
  • No. 51 Overall — Shan Foster: No regular season NBA appearances.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Anderson (No. 21), Serge Ibaka (No. 24), Nicolas Batum (No. 25), DeAndre Jordan (No. 35), Omer Asik (No. 36), and Goran Dragic (No. 45).

2009 Draft

  •  No. 25 Overall — Rodrigue Beaubois*: 182 games, 7.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG. .439/.325/.810.
  • No. 45 Overall — Nick Calathes**: 129 games, 4.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 2.7 APG. .441/.288/.581.
  • No. 56 Overall — Ahmad Nivens: No regular season NBA appearances.

*Acquired from Thunder along with a 2010 second-rounder (Solomon Alabi) in exchange for the No. 24 overall pick (Byron Mullens).

**Acquired from the Timberwolves in exchange for a 2010 second round pick.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Taj Gibson (No. 26) and DeMarre Carroll (No. 27).

2010 Draft

  •  No. 25 Overall — Dominique Jones*: 80 games, 3.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 1.8 APG. .366/.095/.729.
  • No second-rounder. Pick No. 57 (Ryan Reid) owned by Thunder.

*Acquired from the Grizzlies in exchange for cash.

**Traded the No. 50 overall pick (Alabi) to the Raptors in exchange for cash and a 2013 second-rounder.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Hassan Whiteside (No. 33) and Lance Stephenson (No. 40).

2011 Draft

  • Traded the No. 26 overall pick (Jordan Hamilton) and No. 57 overall pick (Tanguy Ngombo) to the Blazers in exchange for Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen. The rights to Hamilton were then dealt by Portland to the Nuggets.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Jimmy Butler (No. 30), Chandler Parsons (No. 38), and Isaiah Thomas (No. 60).

2012 Draft

  • No. 24 Overall — Jared Cunningham*: 40 games, 1.9 PPG, 0.5 RPG, and 0.5 APG. .353/.304/.710.
  • No. 33 Overall — Bernard James*: 92 games, 2.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 0.7 BPG. .497/.000/.680.
  • No. 34 Overall — Jae Crowder*: 238 games, 5.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.0 APG. .414/.316/.735.

*Acquired from the Cavaliers in exchange for the No. 17 overall pick (Tyler Zeller) and Kelenna Azubuike.

**Dealt the No. 55 overall pick (Darius Johnson-Odom) to the Lakers in exchange for cash.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Zeller (No. 17), Evan Fournier (No. 20), Draymond Green (No. 35), and Khris Middleton (No. 39).

2013 Draft

  • No. 18 Overall — Shane Larkin*: 124 games, 4.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG. .420/.305/.748.

*Traded the No. 13 overall pick (Kelly Olynyk) to the Celtics for the No. 16 overall pick (Lucas Nogueira) and two future second-rounders. Nelson then dealt Jared Cunningham, the rights to Nogueira, and the No. 44 overall pick (Mike Muscala) to the Hawks for the rights to Larkin and cash.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: Olynyk (No. 13), Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 15), Mason Plumlee (No. 22), Tim Hardaway Jr. (No. 24), and Rudy Gobert (No. 27).

2014 Draft

  • No first-rounder. Pick No. 21 overall (Mitch McGary) owned by the Thunder.

*Nelson dealt the No. 34 overall pick (Cleanthony Early), the No. 51 overall pick (Thanasis Antetokounmpo), Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, and Jose Calderon to the Knicks in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

Notable players available at draft slot or passed over: McGary (No. 21), Rodney Hood (No. 23), K.J. McDaniels (No. 32), and Jordan Clarkson (No. 46).

Trade Candidate: Deron Williams

Two and a half years ago, Deron Williams was the single most sought-after free agent in the NBA. It’s almost unfathomable to think of Williams in that context now, but Williams came away with the most lucrative deal in a weak class. Williams, teammate Brook Lopez, who’s now also a trade candidate, Eric Gordon, Roy Hibbert, Nicolas Batum and JaVale McGee came away with the six most lucrative contracts that summer, as our free agent tracker shows. Times have changed not only for Williams but for the market, too.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Golden State WarriorsThat’s particularly so at the position Williams plays. George Hill and Goran Dragic were the point guards who received the next most lucrative contracts after Williams that summer, but it seems Dragic’s value has seemingly leapfrogged that of Williams. Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Jeff Teague, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Ty Lawson, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight and Jrue Holiday are others who’ve improved their games since Williams signed his contract. That lengthy list only encompasses players who were in the NBA the season before Williams signed, so it doesn’t include Damian Lillard, whom the Blazers drafted in 2012 using a pick they acquired from the Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace.

It isn’t just that Williams is in his third straight season of averaging few points than the year before, as his scoring average has dipped from 21.0 points per game the season before he signed the contract to 12.9 PPG this year. The quality of point guards around the league has risen to unprecedented heights, and Williams, once in the conversation with Chris Paul as the league’s best at his position, is merely a run-of-the-mill producer at this point. His PER of 15.4, the lowest he’s put up since his rookie season, suggests that he’s above average at best.

He’s not even starting for the Nets at this point, although a slow recovery from injuries, which have largely been behind his decline, seems to be the chief reason why he’s been unable to take his job back from Jarrett Jack. Still, it’s surely disheartening for Nets GM Billy King to see Williams, who’s making more than $19.754MM this season and almost $21.043MM next year with a player option for a whopping $22.331MM-plus in 2016/17, come off the bench and play just 23.5 minutes per game when he does so. He’s appeared in only nine games since New Year’s Day, only furthering the decline in his trade value.

The notion of a Williams trade has been a legitimate one since at least this past May, when Howard Beck of Bleacher Report wrote that the Nets wouldn’t rule out a dealMultiple reports followed in December indicating that the Nets are prepared to move on from Williams, as well as Lopez and Joe Johnson, with conflicting information about whether the team was initiating trade talks about the trio or merely open to the idea of parting with them. The most substantive recent discussions, by far, seemed to be with the Kings in December, but Sacramento’s insistence on taking back Mason Plumlee in such a deal put the kibosh on that. Brooklyn’s reluctance to part with Plumlee, whom the Kings were apparently demanding, shows that the team isn’t willing to take just any deal to move off Williams and his bloated contract, at least not yet. A source predicted to Marc Stein of ESPN.com that Williams would stay put, given the lack of attractive offers, as Stein wrote last month. Still, deadlines drive deals, as always, and so it’s conceivable that the Nets will revisit the Sacramento talks as next week’s trade deadline draws ever closer.

Brooklyn would like to trade two of Williams, Lopez and Johnson, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote. Lopez seems easiest to trade, given his somewhat cheaper salary and the shorter length of his deal, which could be over at season’s end thanks to a player option. Johnson is locked in through next season at salaries between $3MM and $4MM more than Williams makes each year, but that deal is assured of ending a year before Williams’ might, and Williams is owed the most money of the trio.

Williams and Lopez both reportedly drew mention when the Nets and Celtics talked about a deal involving Rajon Rondo, before Boston sent Rondo to the Mavs instead. The Hornets, predictably, appeared to have no interest in Williams when they spoke with the Nets about Lance Stephenson in December, given the presence of Walker. Charlotte’s point guard has since gone down with injury, but Walker’s short-term absence probably won’t change the equation for the Hornets. The Rockets reportedly made preliminary inquiries about Williams a year ago, but the Nets were unwilling to give him up at that point. Now, it’s debatable whether the Rockets would be better off with Williams or incumbent Houston point guard Patrick Beverley regardless of the profound gap between what Williams is making and Beverley’s minimum salary. The Lakers and Knicks are in need of point guards and have cap flexibility to burn, but there have been no indications that either of them would want to forfeit that flexibility for Williams.

It’s tough to envision much of a market for Williams, particularly given his recent production. He went scoreless Monday, his third straight outing of five points or less.

“I have no idea [what’s wrong with Williams],” coach Lionel Hollins said after the game to reporters, including Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I feel bad for the kid because he’s trying and it’s just not happening.”

Williams, at 30, is a “kid” compared to the 61-year-old Hollins, and while he’s certainly not young for an NBA player, he’s not especially old, either. The possibility exists that Williams will regain some of what he seems to have lost, but it seems out of the realm of possibility that he’ll ever be the player he was when he last put pen to paper on a contract. The market may well force the Nets to attach a first-round pick or an intriguing young player like Plumlee to a Williams deal if they’re to part ways with their highly paid point guard, and the Nets seem prepared to keeping paying Williams’ salary for a while longer if it comes to that. Deadlines often inspire moves that teams otherwise wouldn’t make, but Hollins doesn’t expect the team will swing a deal, and at least as far as Williams goes, the coach is probably right.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2020 NBA Free Agents

Hoops Rumors’ up-to-date list of 2020 free agents is below. These are players who are eligible for restricted or unrestricted free agency after the 2019/20 season. The player’s 2020 age is in parentheses.

Players who are still on our 2019 free agent list are not seen here. Players with team or player options for the 2020/21 season are listed, unless they’re still on their rookie-scale contracts.

Players whose ’20/21 salaries aren’t fully guaranteed are also listed below, assuming they have fully guaranteed salaries in all previous seasons.

You’ll be able to access this list – and our list of 2020’s free agents sorted by team – anytime under the “Hoops Rumors Features” menu on the right sidebar on our desktop site, or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu. If you have any corrections or omissions, please contact us.

Updated 2-23-20 (7:51pm CT)


Unrestricted Free Agents

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers


Restricted Free Agents

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers


Player Options

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers


Team Options

Point Guards

  • None

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers


Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers

Contract information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Offseason In Review: Portland Trail Blazers

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Trades

  • Acquired the No. 31 pick in the 2013 from the Cavaliers in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick.
  • Acquired cash from the Thunder in exchange for the No. 40 pick in 2013.
  • Acquired Thomas Robinson from the Rockets in exchange for the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou, the rights to Marko Todorovic, the Timberwolves’ 2015 second-round pick, and a 2017 second-round pick.
  • Acquired Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris from the Pelicans in exchange for the rights to Jeff Withey (to Pelicans), the Knicks’ 2016 second-round pick (31-37 protected, to Kings), and the rights to swap 2018 second-round picks (to Kings). Harris was subsequently waived.

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

  • Dee Bost
  • Richard Howell
  • E.J. Singler

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

The summer of 2012 was about the arrival of star rookie Damian Lillard for the Blazers, while the headlines of 2013’s offseason were more about whether another star would stay. LaMarcus Aldridge gave conflicting statements to reporters about whether he asked GM Neil Olshey for a trade. The power forward entered the summer frustrated with the team after it finished its fourth straight season with a record worse than the one that preceded it. There were no shortage of potential suitors for Aldridge, who’s made the last two Western Conference All-Star teams, but Olshey wasn’t about to move him. Aldridge wants to play on a competitive team, but his remarks as camp began this fall indicated that he’s optimistic the Blazers can fit the bill after seeing the moves Olshey made in the offseason.

The Blazers again pounced on a team willing to give up a chance to strike gold with a young talent. Olshey had acquired the pick that turned into Lillard from the Nets at the 2012 trade deadline, and this summer he landed the player drafted immediately before Lillard, taking on Thomas Robinson from the Rockets in Houston’s rush to clear cap room for Dwight Howard. The price was a relative bargain for a player with such promise, with the draft rights to a pair of overseas players and two future second-round picks going to the Rockets in the swap. Robinson had a trying and tumultuous rookie campaign, having been traded from the Kings to Houston at the deadline, but it’s premature to assume he can’t produce. Robinson’s rate of 4.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game last season is an auspicious indicator, and if he develops, he may even be a capable replacement should Aldridge force a trade or bolt in free agency.

Robinson’s acquisition was part of Olshey’s retooling of last year’s subpar bench. The Blazers gave up 1.8 more points per 100 possessions than they scored with Lillard, Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and J.J. Hickson on the floor, per NBA.com. Portland surrendered 4.2 more points per 100 possessions overall, demonstrating that the reserves lagged far behind most other second units.

The Blazers used their lottery pick to help with backcourt depth, drafting combo guard C.J. McCollum, who’d drawn comparisons to Lillard. They brought in another player capable of playing both backcourt spots in veteran Mo Williams, who’s come in handy with McCollum out with a broken foot to begin the season. Olshey snagged Williams for about half of what I figured the Mark Bartelstein client would make when I examined his free agent stock in April. Williams had spent six of the previous seven seasons as a starter, and the 30-year-old even made an All-Star team as LeBron James‘ sidekick in Cleveland, so he’ll be the most significant weapon Portland brings off its revamped bench.

That’s in spite of having spent slightly more money to pry forward Dorell Wright from a handful of other free agent suitors. He led the NBA in both three-pointers attempted and made in 2010/11. A year later the Warriors felt they needed an upgrade at small forward, where he’d been the starter, so they traded him to the Sixers, who put him in a more fitting role as a bench piece. His 37.3% rate of success from behind the arc the past four seasons will help the Blazers, who finished 20th in the NBA in three-point accuracy in 2012/13.

Still, it wasn’t all about the bench for Portland this summer, as Olshey acquired a new starting center with a trade for Robin Lopez. The Blazers didn’t send anything other than second-rounders out in the deal, so the move amounted to an absorption of Lopez’s $5.9MM salary. Olshey used the largest chunk of the team’s roughly $15.5MM in cap flexibility to bring in a traditional 7’0″ center while allowing undersized J.J. Hickson to leave in free agency. Lopez isn’t nearly the rebounder that Hickson is, despite the three-inch height difference, but he’s better at rim protection, as Lopez blocked nearly three times as many shots per minute as Hickson did last season.

The offseason also entailed a purge of three former first-round picks whom Olshey inherited when he took the job. Nolan Smith, Elliot Williams and Luke Babbitt seemed destined to head elsewhere when Olshey declined to pick up their 2013/14 options in the fall of 2012, and while they managed to remain on Portland’s roster throughout last season, the team elected not to re-sign them. The league essentially validated Olshey’s decision not to wait any longer for them to develop, as none of the three made an NBA opening-night roster this season.

The Blazers are off to a hot start, and all appears well in Portland. Aldridge seems as upbeat as he’s been in at least four years, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com tweets, and while the 28-year-old remains non-committal about his long-term future, there aren’t any alarm bells ringing. Aldridge is under contract for this year and next, and short of the unlikely prospect that he’ll consider an extension, it’s not yet time for the team and the Arn Tellem client to negotiate. Olshey has a window of this season and next to show that the team is headed in the right direction, and it looks like he’s well on his way to doing so. The real test will be in how the Blazers can craft not just a playoff team, but a squad capable of competing for a championship. Aldridge probably won’t be satisfied with losing in the first or second rounds of the playoffs, and neither should Olshey.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Each NBA Team’s Largest Salary Commitment

We looked awhile back at the players who will make the highest salaries for their respective teams this season, but that post didn’t include the context of the money teams have committed beyond next summer. Large contracts that only cover one season are often highly coveted trade commodities in the NBA, but lucrative, long-term deals are often the most difficult to move.

A glance at each team’s largest salary commitment reveals a mix of franchise players and deals that have become albatrosses for front office executives. Derrick Rose is the face of the Bulls, and as long as he doesn’t suffer another devastating injury, the nearly $78MM he’ll make over the next four seasons won’t hurt the team. Amar’e Stoudemire is a role player for the Knicks these days, but no one on the team is due more money than he is.

There are plenty of oddities on this list. The Lakers have only four contracts that run past this season, so their largest commitment is Kobe Bryant‘s massive $30MM+ expiring contract. The Jazz have a few more deals that extend beyond this summer, but none of them add up to more than the $11,046,000 that Richard Jefferson will make in the final season of his contract this year. Chris Bosh and LeBron James have option clauses in their deals that will allow them to leave the Heat next summer, but in the meantime they share the designation as the Heat’s largest salary commitment, having signed identical contracts in 2010. Arron Afflalo of the Sixers and Goran Dragic of the Suns are due $22.5MM apiece from their respective teams, making them each club’s most sizable commitment.

The Pacers, Kings and Wizards handed out maximum-salary extensions this offseason, and because those maximums won’t be known until next summer, we don’t know exactly what Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall will be making. In the meantime, It’s safe to assume that each of them represents his team’s largest salary commitment, and the salary figures listed for them below are estimates based on this year’s maximum salary. The rookie scale extension deadline is less than three weeks away, so a few players whose names aren’t found here might wind up as their team’s most expensive commitment by opening night.

This list doesn’t include non-guaranteed money or team option years, since clubs aren’t truly committed to that salary. It does include player and early-termination options, and they’re noted where applicable.

  • Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford, $36MM through 2015/16
  • Boston Celtics: Gerald Wallace, $30,317,565 through 2015/16
  • Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, $81,594,530 through 2016/17 (final season is ETO)
  • Charlotte Bobcats: Al Jefferson, $40.5MM through 2015/16 (final season is player option)
  • Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, $77,911,880 through 2016/17
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Jack, $19.4MM through 2016/17 (doesn’t include  $5.8MM in non-guaranteed money)
  • Dallas Mavericks: Jose Calderon, $29MM through 2016/17
  • Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson, $48MM through 2016/17
  • Detroit Pistons: Josh Smith, $54MM through 2016/17
  • Golden State Warriors: Andre Iguodala, $48MM through 2016/17
  • Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard, $87,591,270 through 2016/17 (final season is player option)
  • Indiana Pacers: Roy Hibbert, $82,064,191 through 2018/19 (estimate; actual value of recently signed extension won’t be known until next summer)
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul, $107,343,475 through 2017/18 (final season is ETO)
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant, $30,453,805 through 2013/14
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph, $35,176,666 through 2014/15 (final season is player option)
  • Miami Heat: Chris Bosh and LeBron James (tie), $61,770,000 through 2015/16 (2014/15 is ETO, 2015/16 is player option)
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Larry Sanders, $47,053,368 through 2017/18
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic, $60MM through 2017/18
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Eric Gordon, $44,696,813 through 2015/16 (final season is player option)
  • New York Knicks: Amar’e Stoudemire, $45,090,881 through 2014/15 (final season is ETO)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook, $64,926,562 through 2016/17
  • Orlando Magic: Arron Afflalo, $22.5MM through 2015/16 (final season is player option)
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young, $28,232,608 through 2015/16 (final season is ETO)
  • Phoenix Suns, Goran Dragic, $22.5MM through 2015/16 (final season is player option)
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Nicolas Batum, $35,296,500 through 2015/16
  • Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins, $65,887,537 through 2017/18 (estimate; actual value of recently signed extension won’t be known until next summer)
  • San Antonio Spurs: Tiago Splitter, $36MM through 2016/17
  • Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan, $38MM through 2016/17
  • Utah Jazz: Richard Jefferson, $11,046,000 through 2013/14
  • Washington Wizards: John Wall, $86,242,113 through 2018/19 (estimate; actual value of recently signed extension won’t be known until next summer)

ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.

Offseason Outlook: Minnesota Timberwolves

Guaranteed Contracts

Options

Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Free Agents / Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (9th overall)
  • 1st Round (26th overall)
  • 2nd Round (52nd overall)
  • 2nd Round (58th overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $37,670,378
  • Options: $12,399,420
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $3,606,974
  • Cap Holds: $12,658,293
  • Total: $66,335,065

2012/13 was supposed to be the coming-out party for the new-look Timberwolves, led by Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. After an eventful summer that saw the team land Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved, and Chase Budinger, the Wolves looked like a good bet to return to the postseason for the first time since they lost the Western Finals in 2004. No team was more snake-bitten last season than the Wolves though, who endured injuries to virtually every major contributor, and saw Rubio and Love play in the same game just three times.

Still, there's reason for optimism in Minnesota, as the club's core duo remains in place for the 2013/14 season and beyond. Flip Saunders has also assumed control of the team's basketball operations, taking over for David Kahn. As the team's general manager, Kahn wasn't a total disaster, but every one of his hits seemed to be follow up by a miss. Drafting Rubio was a great decision, but taking Jonny Flynn in the same lottery? Not so much. Signing Love to a long-term extension was also the right call, but not giving him the five years he sought was questionable.

In any case, it will be Saunders, not Kahn, who's making the major decisions for the team this summer, and there will be no shortage of those. One of the first significant decisions actually belongs to Kirilenko, rather than the team, as the Russian forward weighs whether or not to pick up his $10.22MM player option for '13/14. While Kirilenko had a productive season in Minnesota, I get the sense that the Wolves wouldn't be devastated if he decided to opt out, since it would create a little more cap flexibility for the team.

Nikola Pekovic also represents a top priority for the T-Wolves this offseason, as the big man hits restricted free agency for the first time. Given the kind of offer sheets we typically see young bigs sign, it wouldn't be totally outrageous to see a rival suitor swoop in with a maximum-salary offer for Pekovic, which would be a tough pill for the Wolves to swallow. Minnesota would have no problem matching an annual salary of $10-12MM for Pekovic, but it will be interesting to see what the team decides if it's confronted with a max offer.

Depending on what happens with Pekovic and Kirilenko, the Wolves may not have a ton of cap flexibility to try to address the long-standing hole at shooting guard. As such, it's easy to see why the team is reportedly interested in moving up in the draft to grab Victor Oladipo. With the Nos. 9 and 26 picks, along with Derrick Williams, the Wolves could put together a tantalizing package in an effort to move into the top three or four, and it wouldn't shock me if that's exactly what happened on draft night.

The likelihood of a trade figures to depend on who the Cavaliers pick with the first overall selection. If Cleveland takes Nerlens Noel, I'd expect the Magic to target Oladipo, and it's not clear whether that hypothetical Wolves package would be enough to sway them. However, if the Cavs were to draft Alex Len, I could see Orlando taking Noel, the Wizards drafting Otto Porter, and the Wolves trading up to No. 4 to snag Oladipo. This is all my speculation, but with Noel and Len off the board, the Bobcats may be willing to trade down a few spots to pick up extra assets in Williams and the No. 26 pick.

If the Wolves stay put in the draft, a player like C.J. McCollum or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes sense at No. 9. While I expect the Wolves to address the two guard spot in the draft, rather than in free agency, there are a few available options on the open market too. O.J. Mayo makes some sense, particularly if Kirilenko or Pekovic walks, clearing up a little cap room. Tony Allen and Gerald Henderson look like logical potential targets as well.

With Kirilenko and Budinger facing potential free agency, the team may find itself with a hole at the three as well as the two. In that case, perhaps the focus in the draft and/or free agency shifts to that position, with the Wolves addressing the two in a smaller deal (ie. the No. 26 pick for the Nets' MarShon Brooks). I could see the Wolves attempting to bring back Budinger, since the club liked him enough last summer to give up a first-round pick for him. A knee injury wiped out most of Budinger's 2012/13, but perhaps the lost season will keep his price tag down in free agency.

Last season was a disappointing one for the Wolves, but it shouldn't put a damper on fans' optimism for the future in Minnesota. Love and Rubio remain under contract for at least two more years, and with players like Williams, Shved, J.J. Barea, and Luke Ridnour on board, there are plenty of nice rotation pieces or trade chips on the roster. If the Wolves can bring back Pekovic and/or Kirilenko and add a shooting guard, this team would be at least as good as the squad we expected to contend for the postseason last year. There's no reason to think that a healthier year in 2013/14 wouldn't get the Wolves back in that playoff conversation.

Additional notes:

  • The Wolves hold a team option on Dante Cunningham, and essentially have options on Mickael Gelabale and Greg Stiemsma as well. I wouldn't be shocked if the team went either way on any of the three decisions, though I expect to see Cunningham and Gelabale brought back. Saunders may decide that Stiemsma's production could be matched by a minimum-salary big man.
  • Keep an eye out for the Trail Blazers as a potential suitor for Pekovic. I don't think he's an ideal fit in Portland, since he's far from an elite rim defender, but the Blazers do need a center, and the two teams have engaged in a bit of a back-and-forth on roster moves over the last several years (Nicolas Batum, Martell Webster, etc.).

Cap footnotes:

  1. Stiemsma's contract is fully non-guaranteed. It becomes fully guaranteed if he's not waived on or before July 17th.
  2. Gelabale's contract is fully non-guaranteed. It becomes fully guaranteed if he's not waived on or before July 22nd.
  3. Pekovic will be eligible for a qualifying offer of $6,046,500.

Storytellers Contracts and Sham Sports were used in the creation of this post.

2012 Trade Deadline: One Year Later

We've had an early start to the NBA's midseason swap meet this year, as Rudy Gay went to the Raptors as part of a three-team deal in a rare January trade of significance. Before we get wrapped up in this year's movement, let's look back at the activity that took place in the days before last year's March 15th trade deadline. With the advantage of a year (or almost 11 months, to be precise) of hindsight, we'll judge the deals accordingly. Feel free to give your own take on the trades by leaving a comment. 

The Warriors traded Monta EllisEkpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.

  • This one can't really be judged until Andrew Bogut is back on the floor at full health, though he notched 12 points and eight rebounds in less than 24 minutes during his first game back this week. The Bucks' new backcourt hasn't been a rousing success, and coach Scott Skiles is gone, but the deal was apparently sufficient enough for GM John Hammond and assistant GM Jeff Weltman to receive three-year extensions. The Warriors flipped Jackson to the Spurs, and have gotten only four games out of Bogut. First-year winner: Bucks

The Warriors traded Jackson to the Spurs for Richard JeffersonT.J. Ford and a first-round pick.

  • Jackson experienced a renaissance in San Antonio, while Ford had retired before the trade and was included merely to make the salaries match. The Warriors turned the first-rounder into Festus Ezeli, who was starting in place of Bogut, and Jefferson has re-entered the rotation of late. Jackson's numbers are down this season, with a PER of 9.0 that nearly matches the number from his forgettable stint in Milwaukee. Two contributors are better than one. First-year winner: Warriors

The Grizzlies traded Sam Young to the 76ers for the rights to former second-round draft pick Ricky Sanchez.

  • One of many salary dumps the Grizzlies have participated in over the past year. Young played only 135 total minutes for the Sixers before leaving in free agency, while Sanchez doesn't seem likely to land in the States anytime soon. Since it saved the Grizzlies from paying the tax and Young probably couldn't have helped them get any farther in the playoffs, the move was worth it. First-year winner: Grizzlies

The Raptors traded Leandro Barbosa to the Pacers for a second-round pick and cash.

  • Toronto was well under the cap and didn't really need the short-term financial help. The Pacers had plenty of cap room to accomodate Barbosa's expiring contract, but he didn't play particularly well with Indiana. The Brazilian Blur recorded a 13.4 PER, which would have been his lowest since 2004/05 if it were a full-season figure. That might explain why it took so long for him to find a home in free agency this season. The Raptors used the pick on Tomislav Zubcic, who's playing overseas. First-year winner: Push

The Blazers traded Gerald Wallace to the Nets for  Mehmet OkurShawne Williams and a first-round draft pick.

  • The pick turned out to be Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard, making this move a steal for Portland. There's no telling if the Nets would have taken Lillard in the draft, and perhaps doing so would have led to the departure of Deron Williams. The trade might not have hurt Brooklyn as much in the short term as it's helped the Blazers, who wound up with a quality point guard on a rookie contract and opened up the small forward spot for Nicolas Batum, who's having his best season. First-year winner: Blazers

The Blazers traded Marcus Camby to the Rockets for Jonny FlynnHasheem Thabeet, and a second-round pick.

  • This deal was of significantly less importance than Portland's other move. Camby was remarkably efficient for Houston in his stint there last season, posting a 19.6 PER, but he couldn't get them into the playoffs, and the Rockets flipped him to the Knicks for a pair of second-round draft picks and players who are no longer on the roster. The Blazers let Flynn and Thabeet go and used the draft pick on Will Barton, on whom the jury's still out. First-year winner: Rockets 

The Lakers traded Derek Fisher and a first-round draft pick to the Rockets for Jordan Hill.

  • This one looked like a wash for both teams for much of last season. The Rockets bought out Fisher, allowing him to go to the Thunder, while Hill languished on the bench for the Lakers. That changed when Hill emerged in a huge Lakers comeback against the Thunder, and he became L.A.'s first big man off the bench for the playoffs. Hill re-signed with the Lakers in the summer, but he's out for the season with a hip injury. The Rockets used that draft pick as part of the James Harden trade. First-year winner: Rockets (but only because Hill is hurt)

The Lakers traded Luke WaltonJason Kapono and a 2012 first-round pick to the Cavs, along with the ability for the Cavs to switch first-round picks in 2013, for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga.

  • This trade was all about an upgrade at point guard for L.A., and cap space and future considerations for Cleveland. Sessions' shortcomings were exposed in the playoffs against the Thunder, leading the Lakers to pursue Steve Nash in the summer. The Cavs parlayed the Lakers' 2012 first-rounder in a deal for 17th pick Tyler Zeller, and with L.A.'s surprising struggles this year, they could be in line for another draft choice in the middle of the first round. This deadline swap did get Walton's $6.1MM salary for this season of L.A.'s books, and Eyenga was used as fodder in the Dwight Howard blockbuster, but Cleveland got more of what it wanted. First-year winner: Cavs

In a three-team trade, the Nuggets sent Nene to the Wizards for JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf. The Wizards sent Nick Young to the Clippers for Brian Cook and a 2015 second-round pick.

  • This essentially was a pair of two-team deals, the most notable of which was Denver's surprising reversal of course on Nene, who had just signed a five-year, $65MM deal with the Nuggets before the season began. Though McGee, whom Denver signed to another costly deal this summer, averages only 18.8 minutes per game, he's still played more total minutes this season than the oft-injured Nene. None of the other players involved in the transaction remain with the teams that acquired them last year, including Young, whose 9.9 PER during his stint with the Clippers was well below his 12.8 career average. First-year winner: Nuggets

Offseason Outlook: New Orleans Pelicans

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead to offseason moves for all 30 teams. We’ll examine free agency, the draft, trades and other key storylines for each franchise as the summer approaches.

State Of The Franchise

The Pelicans were decimated by injuries this past season. Eric Gordon was sidelined for 37 games. Anthony Davis missed 21 games, while Tyreke Evans sat out 57. Jrue Holiday missed 17 and was limited in more than half of the contests he did play. The result was a 30-win campaign that exposed the team’s lack of depth.

Benny Sieu / USA TODAY Sports

Benny Sieu / USA TODAY Sports

The team was in that position due to the moves it made in previous offseasons. New Orleans doubled down on the center position last summer, handing out a four-year, $20MM deal to Alexis Ajinca and five-year, slightly less than $53MM deal to Omar Asik. Asik’s contract is one of the worst in the league, though the rising cap should help mitigate having it on the books. Even so, for a team that employs Davis and has plenty of other needs, spending so heavily on the center position was a foolish decision.

Ever since the Pelicans drafted Davis, they’ve been determined to speed up the timeline of putting together a winning team around their No.1 overall pick. They traded two first-round picks for Holiday and dealt another for Asik during Dell Demps’ time as GM. The franchise would have been in better position had it had kept those selections. Nerlens Noel, Elfrid Payton and Sam Dekker were the players selected with those picks. The Pelicans likely would not have made the playoffs last season with those youngsters, and there’s no guarantee that they would have picked all three of those players had they kept the selections. In fact, they likely would been in worse position in the standings over the past several years had they not made the trades, which would have led them to receiving better picks in each of the 2014 and 2015 drafts. Having three developing players on rookie contracts in place of Holiday and Asik would have improved their cap situation going forward as well as given them a chance of injecting themselves into trade talks for potentially available All-Stars such as Jimmy Butler or Jeff Teague.

As it stands, the Pelicans have a core with a limited ceiling. Davis may very well win the MVP award one day and carry his team deep into the playoffs. Beyond him, there arguably isn’t an All-Star caliber player on the roster. Thursday’s draft likely represents the team’s best shot at acquiring a long-term running mate for Davis.

Draft Outlook

  • First-round picks: 6th
  • Second-round picks: 39th, 4oth

Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray could be targets at No. 6. Either player would fit nicely next to Holiday in the backcourt, though Murray could potentially replace Holiday as the starting point guard down the road, as I outlined in his Prospect Profile. The draft is unpredictable after the No.2 pick, so both players could gone by the time New Orleans is on the clock. The team could also go with Jaylen Brown, and he would be a tremendous addition via the No.6 pick. It’s possible that Hield, Murray and Brown come off the board right before the Pelicans are on the clock, but it’s likely at least one of those players fall to them.

This is a deep draft in terms of the amount of prospects who are projected to become at least rotation-level players. The Pelicans may be able to pick up a couple role players with their two second-round picks, which would benefit the team greatly.

Free Agents

Gordon is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, and he may have played his last game as a Pelican. In 2012, Gordon signed an offer sheet presented by the Suns and claimed his heart was in Phoenix. New Orleans matched anyway and Gordon became a subject of trade rumors for the ensuing four years. Gordon has since backed off those comments and acknowledged that he should have handled the situation differently. From a basketball standpoint, he hasn’t meshed well with Evans and Holiday. That, coupled with his inability to stay on the court, should have the franchise looking for a new shooting guard.

The Pelicans would like to keep Ryan Anderson, but his price tag may keep them from doing so. New Orleans isn’t in position to give Anderson max or near max contract, and if he receives one on the open market, which is a good possibility, he’ll likely be suiting up for a new team next season. Anderson will be eligible for the middle-tier max, which is projected to be approximately $25.4MM. The team simply can’t afford to bring Anderson back on that kind of contract.

Davis’ Extension

Davis signed a max extension last offseason that will go into effect this upcoming year. He had an opportunity this season to trigger the Fifth-Year 30% Max Criteria, which is also known as the Derrick Rose Rule. He wasn’t named to an All-NBA team this past season nor was he voted as a starter in the All-Star game. Davis also didn’t win the MVP award, so he failed to meet any of the criteria and as a result, he will make roughly 25% of the salary cap in the first year of his five-year deal rather than nearly 30%. While I’m sure the team wanted to reward its franchise player with as much salary as possible, it’s now in better position to improve the talent around him because of the cap space it saved.

Free Agent Targets

Adding a top-tier free agent, such as DeMar DeRozan or Mike Conley, probably isn’t going to happen. Nicolas Batum would be a great fit with this team, but he’ll have no shortage of suitors, which will probably lead him to receiving a deal near the max elsewhere. More likely, the team will have to look at the next tier of free agents in order to add talent.

Danny Ferry, whom the team hired as a special advisor earlier this month, was reportedly a big fan of Kent Bazemore during his time in Atlanta. Signing Bazemore is a gamble, as I discussed in the Grizzlies’ Offseason Outlook, but he could grow into the type of player who outperforms his next deal. If the Pelicans can snag the small forward at an annual salary of $12MM-14MM, they could still add a few other pieces via free agency.

Evan Fournier is another option who would fit in with the franchise both on the court and on the cap sheet. I speculate that the shooting guard will command a deal with annual salaries in that $12MM-14MM range. That’s a reasonable price given the league’s current climate, but he’s a restricted free agent, so the Magic could match any offer.

New Orleans should be looking to add a few pieces to its existing core provided it doesn’t trade away Evans or Holiday. Adding a potential starter, such as Bazemore or Fournier, in addition to a couple of role players would make for a successful offseason. Courtney LeeGerald Henderson and Mario Chalmers are among the players whom the Pelicans could look at when filling out their bench.

Final Take

Davis is progressing toward becoming one of the best players in the league, and if he reaches that pinnacle, it will overshadow some of the team’s deficiencies. Outside shooting and perimeter defense are areas that the team should address. This offseason needs to be about surrounding Davis with players who can help him elevate this team, but unless the Pelicans can pull off a deal that brings them a second perennial All-Star, the team can only go so far.

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

  • No. 6 pick ($2,931,000)

Projected Salary Cap: $94,000,000

Footnotes:

  1. Davis’ exact salary on his max contract won’t be determined until July. This figure represents an estimation.
  2. Babbitt’s full $1,227,286 salary would become guaranteed on July 12th.
  3. Dejean-Jones died in May, but his contract will remain on the Pelicans’ books until the team makes a roster move.

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

 

Foreign-Born NBA Player Salaries By Country

The globalization of the NBA continues to increase with each passing season. A foreign-born player used to be a rarity in the league, but no longer is that the case. There are currently 99 players on NBA rosters who weren’t born in the continental United States, which is roughly 22% of the league. This is a trend that shows no sign of letting up anytime soon, as teams will continue to comb the Earth to find players who can help them compete for championships.

Foreign-born players will rake in upward of $448,767,759 in cap hits for this season, which is good for an average take of $4,533,007. The highest-paid player born overseas is Marc Gasol of Spain, who is raking in an impressive $15,829,688 this season, a number that will almost certainly increase when he hits the free agent market this summer.

The top five non-U.S. countries for total player earnings are:

  1. Brazil $36,090,828
  2. Spain $36,085,358
  3. Canada $30,511,748
  4. Australia $29,332,962
  5. Italy $29,182,969

Canada holds the distinction of being the foreign country with the most players currently in the NBA, with 10, followed by Australia and France, which both have seven. The highest average salary goes to the Republic of the Congo, thanks to Serge Ibaka‘s $12.35MM salary for the 2014/15 campaign, and the fact that he’s the nation’s lone NBA export. The highest mean cap hit for a country with multiple players in the league is owned by Spain, as Spanish-native hoopsters cost their teams an average $7,217,072.

Below is a complete list, arranged alphabetically by country, of every foreign-born player currently in the NBA and their respective cap hits. Please note that the list reflects each player’s country of birth, and not necessarily his current citizenship.

Argentina

Total Salary=$14,531,460 /Average Salary=$4,843,820

Australia

Total Salary=$29,332,962 /Average Salary=$4,190,423

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Total Salary=$9,525,262 /Average Salary=$2,381,316

Brazil

Total Salary=$36,090,828 /Average Salary=$6,010,138

Cameroon

Total Salary=$8,810,215 /Average Salary=$4,405,108

Canada

Total Salary=$30,511,748 /Average Salary=$3,051,175

Croatia

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dominican Republic

England

Total Salary=$7,513,512 /Average Salary=$3,756,756

France

Total Salary=$28,177,904 /Average Salary=$4,025,415

French Guiana

Georgia

Germany

Total Salary=$12,916,162 /Average Salary=$4,305,387

Greece

Total Salary=$6,670,864 /Average Salary=$3,335,432

Israel

Italy

Total Salary=$29,182,969 /Average Salary=$5,836,594

Jamaica

Lithuania

Total Salary=$5,162,280 /Average Salary=$2,581,140

Republic of Macedonia

Mexico

Montenegro

Total Salary=$17,405,000 /Average Salary=$8,702,500

New Zealand

Total Salary=$4,261,960 /Average Salary=$2,130,980

Nigeria

Poland

Puerto Rico

Republic of the Congo

Russia

Total Salary=$12,792,132 /Average Salary=$3,198,033

Senegal

Slovenia

Total Salary=$11,283,250 /Average Salary=$3,761,083

South Africa

Spain

Total Salary=$36,085,358 /Average Salary=$7,217,072

South Sudan

Sweden

Total Salary=$5,415,243 /Average Salary=$2,707,622

Switzerland

Total Salary=$13,815,134 /Average Salary=$3,453,784

Turkey

Total Salary=$20,153,121 /Average Salary=$5,038,280

Ukraine

Venezuela

Virgin Islands

The Basketball Insiders Salary Pages were used in the creation of this post.

Offseason Outlook: Boston Celtics

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead to offseason moves for all 30 teams. We’ll examine free agency, the draft, trades and other key storylines for each franchise as the summer approaches.

State Of The Franchise

For a second straight season, the Celtics were dispatched fairly quickly from the postseason, but the early playoff exit shouldn’t diminish enthusiasm for the long-term future in Boston. Since the Celtics parted ways with their veterans and replaced Doc Rivers with Brad Stevens in 2013, the franchise has accelerated its rebuilding process, bottoming out at 25 wins in Stevens’ first year before winning 40 in 2014/15 and 48 this past season.Brad Stevens vertical

The drastic improvements on the court have come even before the Celtics have reaped most of the rewards of their blockbuster 2013 trade with the Nets, which gives Boston the third overall pick this year, the rights to swap first-rounders with Brooklyn in 2017, and the Nets’ first-rounder in 2018. Boston’s success within the last two years is as a testament to Stevens’ impact and to Danny Ainge‘s other moves, including the acquisition of All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas.

Stevens and Ainge were rewarded for their excellent work with new contract extensions earlier this month, and will continue to lead the franchise for years to come. As effective as they’ve been so far though, there’s plenty of work to be done. The Celtics are just 2-8 in the postseason under Stevens, and if they want to start making deeper playoff runs, they’ll have to start turning all the assets they’ve collected into more impact on-court talent.

The Search For A Star

Having gathered so many young players and draft picks, the Celtics could make an effort to emulate the Knicks’ and Rockets’ approach to acquiring a star — those teams turned a surplus of assets into Carmelo Anthony and James Harden, respectively, taking advantage of situations where All-Star caliber players became expendable for one reason or another.

For the Celtics, that could mean targeting a player like Jahlil Okafor, who is part of an increasingly crowded frontcourt in Philadelphia; or Kevin Love, who has never quite fit in with the Cavaliers; or Jimmy Butler, who could become available if the Bulls decide to fully enter rebuilding mode. Ainge will likely make calls inquiring on several more players around the league who teams will be reluctant to move, such as DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George.

Trading for an impact veteran, particularly one who can create his own shot and help Thomas carry the scoring load, would help the Celtics become a more dangerous team in the short term, but the club should be wary about giving up too many of its assets for a non-superstar. The Knicks and Rockets, after acquiring Anthony and Harden respectively, have each made it past the first round of the playoffs just once since making those blockbuster deals. Shoving your chips into the table sometimes makes sense, but if Ainge and the Celtics take that approach, it will have to be for the right player(s).

Fortunately for Boston, the team is so loaded with draft picks – this year and in future seasons – that Ainge could move a handful of them and still have several more to work with. That gives the franchise some room for error, and could encourage a big splash this offseason — even if the C’s don’t immediately become a title contender by making a major trade, they’ll still have some bullets in the chamber to fire down the road.

Draft Outlook

  • First-round picks: 3rd, 16th, 23rd
  • Second-round picks: 31st, 35th, 45th, 51st, 58th

A large chunk of those aforementioned assets the Celtics have stockpiled come in the form of 2016 draft picks. With eight of the 60 total selections in their possession, the C’s control more than 13% of this year’s draft, creating a ton of flexibility to add young talent or accommodate trades.

Of course, with two consensus prospects – Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram – at the top of most draft boards, the Celtics would have been in an even better spot if they’d been able to move up the lottery, but controlling that No. 3 pick still puts the team in a strong position. If the C’s keep the pick, they’ll be able to choose their favorite player out of a group of prospects that includes Jamal Murray, Jaylen Brown, Marquese Chriss, Kris Dunn, and Dragan Bender.

If another team covets one of those players though, the Celtics sound more than willing to move the third overall pick, with one report indicating that the team has been “really shopping” the selection around in search of an impact player. While rebuilding clubs make the most sense as trade partners for Boston, contenders shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out either. For a contending team with a ton of salary on its books, replacing a high-priced veteran with a younger player capable of contributing immediately at a fraction of the price could make real sense.

The No. 3 draft pick is the Celtics’ most valuable draft asset, but the team has seven more picks at its disposal. The odds of Boston using even half of those selections seem slim, unless the team decides to load up on draft-and-stash players. Still, there are several different directions Ainge and the front office could go with those picks. Do they keep the third overall pick and use some of the other selections to add a lesser talent? Do they package that No. 3 pick in a deal for a star? Or do they simply push their draft assets to future years, trading some of their second-round picks for future second-rounders?

The sheer number of options available to Ainge this offseason is a good thing for the Celtics, but it will make for some difficult decisions. If Boston can go in 10 different directions with its picks, choosing the optimal path will be tricky.

To Guarantee Or Not To Guarantee?

Further complicating the Celtics’ offseason plans is the fact that the team is carrying nearly $18MM in non-guaranteed salary, the majority of which belongs to Amir Johnson ($12MM) and Jonas Jerebko ($5MM). Both players appeared in nearly every game for Boston last season, and Johnson in particular was a solid role player. Considering the team only has about $34MM in guaranteed contracts on its books for 2016/17, bringing back both players is feasible, but not necessarily a lock.

Both Johnson’s and Jerebko’s contracts are set to become guaranteed on July 3rd, so the Celtics will have to make a decision on the duo before the July moratorium ends. That could mean quickly getting a sense of which free agents are willing to come to Boston and which aren’t interested — if the team has to clear out cap space for a major signing, releasing Jerebko and perhaps Johnson as well would quickly open up another $17MM.

Free Agent Targets

While trading for talent makes sense for the Celtics, the team won’t be hindered by cap issues in its pursuit of top-tier free agents. Even after taking into account cap holds for restricted free agents Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, unrestricted free agent Evan Turner, and the club’s three first-round picks, Boston still only has about $57MM on its books for next season, not counting its non-guaranteed salaries. That’s more than enough space to make a maximum contract offer to a free agent.

While the cap flexibility is there, Boston historically hasn’t been a marquee destination for free agents, and it seems unlikely that a player such as Kevin Durant would sign with the Celtics, even if the club gets an opportunity to make a pitch in July. Obviously, if the C’s can land a player like Durant, they should go all out to do so, but the club should be wary of using its cap space on a lesser player simply to use it — a max contract for a second-tier free agent like Harrison Barnes could prevent Boston from making other moves down the line, limiting the team’s ceiling.

Although Durant will likely end up elsewhere, and Barnes may not be worth the investment required (or the complications, given his RFA status), the Celtics should be targeting players with their kind of skill-sets. In Thomas, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley, the club has a respectable backcourt, and Jae Crowder is a solid three-and-D player, but the C’s need to add scoring and outside shooting. A playmaking forward who can help shoulder the scoring load would be an ideal addition for Boston. Chandler Parsons, Nicolas Batum, Ryan Anderson, and Pau Gasol are among the free agents who the team could consider.

As for Sullinger, Zeller, and Turner, they’re all candidates to return. Given Sullinger’s and Turner’s prominent spots in the rotation last season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Celtics try to keep them around, perhaps jettisoning Zeller, whose role was reduced. Boston could also use a rim-protecting big man, though I’d be a little surprised if the team is willing to pay big money for a free agent like Bismack Biyombo.

Final Take

The Celtics have some solid building blocks in place, and Stevens has done an excellent job at getting the most out of those players. If Ainge can figure out the best way to maximize all the assets the franchise has gathered during its rebuild, Boston could take another big step forward in 2016/17. Still, it’s not as if the C’s have to make a move before their window of contention closing. With so many roster-building options available to him, Ainge will ultimately have to decide what the best course of action is, and that could mean exercising patience and waiting for a better opportunity to cash in some of those assets.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offers/Cap Holds)

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Other Cap Holds

  • No. 3 pick ($3,952,500)
  • Luigi Datome ($2,275,000)
  • No. 16 pick ($1,573,500)
  • No. 23 pick ($1,151,900)
  • Total: $8,952,900

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

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

Offseason Outlook: Indiana Pacers

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead to offseason moves for all 30 teams. We’ll examine free agency, the draft, trades and other key storylines for each franchise as the summer approaches.

Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports Images

Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports Images

Coaching Search

It’ll be interesting to see whether president of basketball operations Larry Bird holds himself accountable in the same fashion by which he held Frank Vogel to a dauntingly high standard. If so, he’ll have to nail the search for Vogel’s replacement. Among the legitimate candidates, Nate McMillan and Brian Shaw have Pacers ties, but their track records don’t favor the go-go style Bird seems to want. Count Mike Woodson squarely in the stagnant-offense group, too. Jim Boylen was to help speed up the Bulls offense as an assistant this year, but that experiment flopped. Mike D’Antoni helped forge the NBA’s small-ball revolution, but it’s fair to question whether Bird wants to deal with a strong personality like his. The same goes for Mark Jackson, though he and Bird had a successful working relationship as player and coach.

Jeff Hornacek is much more understated and did masterful work with a two-headed point guard look his first year in Phoenix. Randy Wittman ratcheted up the Wizards offense to the fifth-highest pace in the league this season, according to NBA.com, and the Indiana native would help win over a fanbase skeptical of the Vogel firing. Hornacek and Wittman are the best fits in the running thus far.

What Happened To Ty Lawson?

Transitioning to a quicker attack is about more than finding the right coach. The Pacers lost two starting-caliber big men from their 2014/15 team but replaced Roy Hibbert and David West with only one proven starting option on the perimeter in Monta Ellis, so Bird needs to use the ample cap flexibility at his disposal to make at least one major addition. An outside chance exists that the upgrade is one the team already made when it signed Lawson in March. A foot injury he suffered five minutes into his first game with the Pacers knocked him out for two weeks, and he never became a major contributor, essentially falling out of the rotation late in Indiana’s first-round series against Toronto.

Perhaps Lawson failed to deliver because Vogel didn’t give him enough of a chance, or maybe the blame rests with Lawson, who didn’t succeed with the Rockets, either. Regardless, the speedy point guard is only 28 and just a year removed from averaging 15.2 points and 9.6 assists per game for the Nuggets. He may well prove one of the few value plays on the free agent market this summer if he takes the right approach and has the right voices in his ear. If so, and the Pacers re-sign him, he’d be the missing piece in the starting lineup, with everyone else sliding down a position. Of course, that assumes Paul George would be more receptive to guarding power forwards than he was at the beginning of this past season, but maybe the right coach can either convince him or devise lineup combinations that would limit his time at the four.

Free Agent Targets

The Pacers are set to open plenty of cap room, and just how much flexibility they’ll have will come down to whether they’re willing to keep Ian Mahinmi and give him the significant raise it would take for them to do so. Bird is duly impressed with Myles Turner, and a decent chance exists that the rookie’s strong performance this season was enough to convince the Pacers to let Mahinmi walk and turn the starting center position over to the 20-year-old from Texas. Such a move would free money for the Pacers to go hard after the perimeter player of their choice.

Indianapolis native Mike Conley would be an obvious candidate, though one for whom the Pacers would have fervent competition. Harrison Barnes would appear to be a strong fit, no stranger to a modern, souped-up offense, and he’s just the sort of perimeter player who could guard power forwards and let George play the three. Still, his free agency is restricted, and it may well take the max, or close to it, to convince the Warriors not to match. Nicolas Batum‘s free agency will be unrestricted, but it seems like he’ll be tough to pry from Charlotte. Plugging Luol Deng into the same small-ball power forward role in which he’s thrived with Miami would represent a cheaper and more feasible alternative, and the Pacers could always attempt to crack the riddle that is Jeff Green.

Potential Trades

Another way to use cap space is to absorb players into it via trade, and the Pacers could revisit their reported discussion with the Hawks about Jeff Teague. Still, plenty of teams figure to call Atlanta about either Teague or Dennis Schröder, driving up the price. Bird and company could see what it would take to trade for Derrick Rose if they’re willing to overpay him for a season before his contract runs out. Ricky Rubio‘s name comes up frequently in trade rumors, though newly minted Wolves executive Tom Thibodeau is a wild card. The Pacers have all their future draft picks to offer up, but they’d probably have a tough time finding a taker for anyone on the roster who isn’t part of their core.

Draft Outlook

  • First-round picks: 20th
  • Second-round picks: 50th

The Pacers have four players taken in the last two drafts plus undrafted developmental player Shayne Whittington, but only Turner sees meaningful minutes. The Pacers probably trade this pick if Bird doesn’t identify someone at No. 20 who’d motivate him to move on from Whittington, Joe Young or Glenn Robinson III. Perhaps Baylor small forward Taurean Prince, who played four years of college ball, would contribute immediately for Indiana if he were the pick here. Indiana’s second-rounder is in a prime spot for the always cost-conscious Pacers to trade it for cash.

Other Decisions

Bird said he wouldn’t rule out re-signing Solomon Hill, but the ill-fated decision to decline his team option for next season sharply limits what the Pacers can offer him and almost certainly closes off the possibility of him remaining with Indiana. Fellow soon-to-be free agent Jordan Hill was an efficient rebounder, as usual, but Vogel went away from him during the stretch run and the playoffs, and he doesn’t seem a fit for a new coach’s faster style, either. The non-guaranteed salaries of Robinson and Whittington become fully guaranteed on August 1st, so the moves Indiana makes in the draft and free agency, rather than their training camp performances, will decide their fate.

Final Take

Bird seems impatient for the team to return to the Eastern Conference elite, and it’s tough to blame him for wanting a more unified focus than the team had this past season. Still, Vogel did a splendid job with a roster in the midst of transition. The team’s cap flexibility means it’ll probably have better players next season, but they risk offsetting the upgrade to their lineup with an inferior coach.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Other Cap Holds

  • No. 20 pick ($1,301,900)

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

Footnotes:

  1. The Pacers can’t re-sign Hill to a contract with a starting salary worth more than the amount listed here because they declined their team option on his rookie scale contract.

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

Offseason Outlook: Portland Trail Blazers

Guaranteed Contracts

Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Options

Restricted Free Agents/Cap Holds

Unrestricted Free Agents/Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (23rd overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $23,073,077
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $5,808,345
  • Options: $9,920,465
  • Cap Holds: $48,548,397
  • Total: $87,350,284

Portland’s offseason hinges on one name: LaMarcus Aldridge. It’ll be up to him to decide whether he continues to wear a Trail Blazers uniform or not, and there will surely be a maximum-salary offer from the Blazers waiting there for the Arn Tellem client, with his choice of contract length and option clauses. Aldridge appears, by many accounts, to be reconsidering the pledge he made last summer to re-sign with the team in the offseason ahead, one that he reiterated this past fall as the season began.

Jan 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus  Aldridge (12) controls the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not the first time that the 29-year-old, who turns 30 in July, has wavered on a decision. It seemed as recently as two years ago that his exit from Portland was inevitable as he appeared eager to leave a rebuilding situation behind, but Portland’s quick turnaround in 2013/14 had him talking extension midway through the season. Aldridge put an end to extension talk when he said last summer that he would re-sign when his contract was up in 2015, though that was merely a prudent financial move on his part, as collective bargaining rules greatly disincentivize veteran extensions.

It’s unclear what’s triggered Aldridge’s renewed interest in leaving the Blazers. Portland stumbled down the stretch and fell quietly in the first round of the playoffs, but injuries played an outsized role in that, and Aldridge’s subpar 33.0% shooting in the Grizzlies series contributed to the team’s demise, too. Of course, Aldridge was battling an injury of his own, a torn ligament in his left thumb that was supposed to knock him out for six to eight weeks this season. Instead, he put off surgery and played through it, a decision that seemed only to further cement his status as a Blazers legend before doubts about his future with the team crept in.

Regardless, the Blazers would clearly prefer to keep Aldridge if they can, but if that proves impossible, they won’t be left without a way to contend next season, as was the case when LeBron James and Dwight Howard left their respective teams in recent years. The departure of Aldridge would leave Portland with a chance to open some $40MM in room against a projected $67.1MM cap, about enough to sign two 30% max free agents. More importantly, Damian Lillard‘s presence looms as reason for max-level players to entertain the idea of playing in Portland, as does GM Neil Olshey‘s track record of building winners with the Clippers and Blazers. Portland, in a vacuum, wouldn’t necessarily be an attractive destination to marquee free agents, but with a budding superstar and a canny executive at the helm, the Blazers can put forth a convincing case to stars that they can win.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com raised an intriguing possibility last week when he suggested that the Cavs could enter the picture for Aldridge as a sign-and-trade destination if Kevin Love were to pull a reversal of his own and change his plan to opt in. Love is a California native and went to UCLA, but he first burst onto the national basketball scene while attending high school in suburban Portland. The Blazers would offer him the chance to return to a familiar place and a more expansive role next to Lillard than he’s had with both James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. A sign-and-trade would be tricky, since teams over the tax apron can’t take on players via sign-and-trade and Cleveland is in line to zoom well into tax territory, but on the off chance Love does opt out, the Blazers could just sign him outright.

Greg Monroe, to whom the Blazers were linked last summer, looms as a much more obtainable possibility, and so would Roy Hibbert, if he opts out, as Hibbert was reportedly ready to sign an offer sheet with the Blazers in 2012 before the Pacers made it clear they’d match. Of course, Hibbert hasn’t performed like a star lately and probably wouldn’t merit the max, and there are plenty of soon-to-be free agent big men whom Portland might find more valuable, like DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap, Brook Lopez and Tristan Thompson. None aside from Love and Marc Gasol are Aldridge’s equal among interior players in this year’s free agent class, but Gasol seems committed to Memphis.

Of course, Aldridge isn’t the only significant soon-to-be free agent in Portland. The value of Wesley Matthews has never been more apparent than over the last two months since the theretofore remarkably durable shooting guard tore his left Achilles tendon. The fortunes of just about every Blazers free agent seem intrinsically linked to Aldridge, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Portland pushes hard to bring back Matthews regardless of what happens with the power forward. It’s uncertain if the Knicks have abandoned their reported interest in the wake of the injury, which threatens to keep him from starting next season on time, and surely other teams will be wary of his recovery. Matthews turns 29 in October, but the injury is far from a death knell for his long-term productivity. If the Blazers are willing to stomach a market value deal given the possibility of a lengthy recovery and a slow adjustment to playing again, they can probably bring back one of their anchors, as he’s expressed a preference to remain in Portland.

The Blazers acquired Arron Afflalo at the deadline to serve as a sixth man behind Matthews, but the former Nuggets shooting guard wound up starting before missing time with an injury of his own to his shoulder. That injury cost Afflalo time in the postseason and was conceivably at the root of his woeful performance, but he nonetheless reportedly plans to opt out. He stands as an in-house alternative to Matthews, but the emergence of C.J. McCollum, who’s on a rookie deal much cheaper than what Afflalo will surely command, casts doubt on Portland’s need to hang on to the Sam Goldfeder client. Still, if all of the team’s other key free agents come back at salaries commensurate to what they’re making now, it would be difficult for the Blazers to afford a replacement who can produce the way Afflalo does.

Robin Lopez appeared to be the missing piece last season, when the Blazers shot from 33-49 to 54-28 and a first-round playoff series victory. The 27-year-old’s production slipped this season, though part of that had to do with a dip in playing time as the Blazers sought to make use of an upgraded bench. His game might not be quite as complementary to a big man who isn’t Aldridge, so if Aldridge leaves this summer, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Blazers look elsewhere for a starting center. Lopez would be a natural draw for brother Brook Lopez, but Brook appears likely to opt out and re-sign with the Nets, and the twins probably wouldn’t be as effective an on-court pairing as they were at Stanford.

Complicating the frontcourt for the Blazers is Meyers Leonard‘s candidacy for a rookie scale extension this summer. The former 11th overall pick rebuilt his game and added a three-point shot after falling out of the rotation last season, and he was strong on the boards in the playoffs, averaging 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes. He switched agents, hiring the Creative Artists Agency and Aaron Mintz, a hint that he intends to push for a deal this summer.

Of course, Leonard isn’t the most prominent Blazer up for a rookie scale extension. That distinction belongs to Lillard, who’s already made it clear that he has no plans to settle for less than a full five-year max deal. Portland probably won’t hesitate to give it to him and jump at the chance to secure the two-time All-Star for the long term. Regardless of whether the extension would prompt Aldridge to chafe against the notion that he’s not the team’s top priority, a feeling he sensed earlier in his career, the Blazers can’t afford to dally with Lillard. Quickly securing the elite point guard in the first few days of July would allow marquee free agents to bank on the chance that they’d have a star running mate for years to come if they were to sign with Portland. Aldridge might not want to be a team’s No. 2 priority, but surely other talented free agents would.

There’s little doubt that Aldridge holds all the cards this summer in Portland, but unlike some other teams, the Blazers don’t have all their chips in front of a single superstar. The preferable outcome involves the power forward returning, but the Blazers have the wherewithal to quickly jump back into contention this coming season or in 2015/16 if he bolts.

Cap Footnotes

1 — Kaman’s salary is partially guaranteed for $1,000,000.
2 — The cap hold for Afflalo if he opts out would be $11,625,000
3 — The cap hold for Blake if he opts out would be $2,492,400
4 — The cap hold for Aldridge will be the lesser of $24,384,000 and the NBA’s maximum salary for a veteran of nine seasons. It will likely be the latter, so an estimate is used above.
5 — This presumes the estimated average salary for 2015/16 won’t be equal to or greater than Lopez’s $6,124,729 salary from this season. If it is, Lopez’s cap hold would instead be $11,636,985.
6 — See our glossary entry on cap holds for an explanation why Watson technically remains on the books.

The Basketball Insiders Salary Pages were used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Offseason In Review: Portland Trail Blazers

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Extensions

  • None

Trades

  • None

Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

  • None

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

The Blazers knew their starting lineup wasn’t the issue. Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez were the fifth-best five-man group in the league last season in terms of per-possession point differential among those that played at least 500 minutes together, according to NBA.com. That unit outscored opponents by 8.5 points per 100 possessions, but Portland as a whole was just plus-3.5 in that category. The Blazers entered the summer with no real cap flexibility and no draft picks, but GM Neil Olshey set about to prove just how valuable the mid-level and biannual exceptions can be.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver NuggetsOlshey used the mid-level to ink Chris Kaman, a player who two years prior wouldn’t have been obtainable for that sort of money or for the reserve role the Blazers expect him to play. The one-time All-Star was one of the key figures in a fairly strong class of free agent centers in 2012, and he signed a one-year, $8MM deal with the Mavs that gave him the chance to excel in filling the team’s need for a starting center and to net more money over the long-term on his next contract. Instead, Kaman failed to see eye-to-eye with coach Rick Carlisle and played just 20.7 minutes per game that season, deflating his value and prompting him to turn to a one-year, $3.183MM deal for the taxpayer’s mid-level with the Lakers in 2013. Mike D’Antoni had even less use for him, and he appeared in only 39 games last season. Having turned 32 this past April, it seemed unlikely that Kaman would merit a raise, and quite conceivable that he’d have to settle for the minimum salary and a third-string job.

The Landmark Sports Agency client instead came away with $4.8MM this year, almost the full value of the $5.305MM non-taxpayer’s mid-level, plus a $1MM partial guarantee for 2015/16. It was a gamble for Olshey, but so far it’s paid off, as Kaman is putting up 10.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 19.0 minutes per game. He’s the NBA’s ninth leading per-minute rebounder among those who’ve played at least 100 total minutes this season, according to Basketball-Reference, and his 20.6 PER is a career high.

Olshey used all of the team’s biannual exception to come up with another player who began last season on the Lakers. It’s a reunion for the Blazers and Steve Blake, though Olshey wasn’t around when Blake played in Portland from 2007 to 2010. Olshey nonetheless had a chance to get an up-close look at the point guard when the GM was with the Clippers and Blake was in his early days with the other Staples Center tenants. Derek Fisher, Steve Nash and even Ramon Sessions had played in front of Blake on the Lakers, for whom he started just 45 games in three and a half years, but the 34-year-old hasn’t averaged fewer than 20.0 minutes per game since the 2004/05 season. That’s a testament to his value as a bench contributor, and so far for Portland he’s been an even more efficient ball-distributor than he had been in recent years. He’s averaging 7.1 assists against just 2.2 turnovers per 36 minutes, a ratio well clear of 3-to-1, and though most of his stats are by no means gaudy, he earns his keep in his time on the floor.

The Blazers as a whole are outscoring opponents at a rate of 8.6 points per 100 possessions so far this season, a rate almost identical to the one their starting five had produced last season, as NBA.com shows. Part of that is because the starting unit has upped its differential in that category to plus-10.7, but Portland’s bench has picked up some of the slack. The Blazers are missing one their top reserves from last season, as Mo Williams fled to the Timberwolves for a one-year, $3.75MM deal that was only slightly greater in value than the approximately $3.18MM that Portland was limited to giving him via Non-Bird rights. Agent Mark Bartelstein said before Williams signed with Minnesota that there was a chance, however slight, that his client would return to Portland even after the Blazers committed their mid-level to Hawes, which wiped out their ability to give Williams more than that $3.18MM. It’s unclear what Portland could have done at that point to woo him back, and perhaps a multiyear offer might have done the trick, but Williams nonetheless departed, leaving Portland to rely more heavily on C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe and Will Barton to supplement Blake. Still, that could be a blessing in disguise, since it’ll give the Blazers a chance to evaluate that trio, all of whom are either second- or third-year players, and much is eventually expected of McCollum, the 10th overall pick in 2013.

The Blazers made a tough call on another recent lottery pick, declining their fourth-year rookie scale option on 2012 No. 5 selection Thomas Robinson. The big man had a tough go of it in his first two seasons, rebounding efficiently and running the floor well but otherwise failing to show many glimpses of the promise that made him such a hot prospect coming out of Kansas. The Blazers can still re-sign him next summer, but he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, and they can’t pay him a salary greater than the $4,660,482 option they turned down. Robinson probably won’t merit more than that unless he has a breakout season this year, but teams rarely re-sign players after declining their rookie scale options, so he’s likely in his final days with Portland.

The decision pick up Meyers Leonard‘s somewhat cheaper rookie scale option wasn’t clear-cut, since Leonard has been just as disappointing after having been the No. 11 pick in the same draft that Robinson was a part of. Still, Leonard’s willingness to try to remake himself into a 7’1″ stretch power forward bears watching, and perhaps Portland felt compelled to keep him around for at least another season to see how that experiment turns out.

Such tinkering pales in comparison to the importance of Aldridge’s free agency in the summer to come, though the team’s preeminent star made it clear this past summer that he intends to re-sign with the Blazers. That he was willing at times last season to entertain the idea of signing an extension, which wouldn’t be in his best financial interests, is demonstrative of his commitment to Portland, even though he said in July that an extension was no longer a consideration. It was also quite a switch from the summer of 2013, when it seemed that Aldridge was looking for a way out of town in the wake of consecutive losing seasons. Last year’s revival was clearly a game-changer for the long-term future of the Blazers, and the team’s second consecutive hot start is impressing upon the league, and upon Aldridge, that last season was no fluke.

Olshey hasn’t made any earth-shattering moves in his three offseasons with the Blazers, aside from the shrewd drafting of Lillard at No. 6 in 2012, but adding Lopez in the summer of 2013 and Kaman and Blake this year show his ability to be a consistent singles hitter. Still, he’ll most likely need to display a little more power for the team to become a true title contender, and this coming offseason, when only three Blazers have fully guaranteed contracts, will provide that opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Five Key Offseason Questions: Cleveland Cavaliers

No team has had a more dramatic 2017/18 league year than the Cavaliers, who dealt with Kyrie Irving‘s trade request last offseason, underwent multiple roster overhauls, improbably made it back to the NBA Finals, and are now facing the prospect of losing LeBron James — again.

The Cavaliers’ comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals to erase a 3-1 deficit and knock off the 73-win Warriors earned James the right to leave on better terms this time around than he did in 2010, but the club would still prefer to have him stick around a little longer. His decision will ultimately be the catalyst that determines which direction the Cavs will go for the next several years.

Here are five key questions facing the franchise this summer:

1. So… what’s LeBron going to do?

The two best players in the NBA are eligible for free agency this summer, but Kevin Durant is a lock to re-sign with the Warriors, making LeBron’s decision the offseason’s most important subplot. At this point, his options have been discussed ad nauseam. The Lakers, Sixers, Celtics, Rockets, Clippers, Spurs, Heat, and even the Warriors look like potential threats to the Cavs, and that’s not taking into account any potential wild-card suitors that arise during his decision-making process.

I’ve already written at length about the various factors that will play a role in James’ decision, but even after endless speculation, it doesn’t feel like we’re any closer to figuring out where he’ll end up. Every potential landing spot has its pros and cons, which could work in Cleveland’s favor, forcing the future Hall-of-Famer to seriously consider the possibility of simply sticking with the Cavs rather than leaving for any number of imperfect options.

Still, it would be somewhat surprising if James re-upped with the Cavs. He accomplished what he set out to to do when he returned to the franchise in 2014, winning a title for his hometown team. From an on-court perspective, there are better opportunities out there for him. From a marketing and lifestyle perspective, moving to a bigger market like Los Angeles would make sense. It just seems like there’s too much working against the Cavs.

That doesn’t mean that a return to Cleveland is out of the question, but if I had to bet on James starting the 2018/19 season with either the Cavs or one of the NBA’s other 29 teams, I’d take the field.

2. What should the Cavaliers do with the No. 8 pick?

While it’s possible that James will no longer be a Cavalier at this time next month, the team can’t approach the offseason as if he’s already gone. By all accounts, LeBron has yet to make a final decision, so the Cavs’ moves in the next week or two could push him in one direction or the other.

That puts the Cavs in an incredibly tough spot with their lottery pick. If the club knew James would leave, it would make sense for the front office to target the player with the highest long-term ceiling at No. 8, in the hopes of identifying a franchise player for the post-LeBron era. With no assurances one way or the other, Cleveland will have to straddle the fence, finding a player who could play alongside James or who could develop and thrive on a new-look Cavs roster.

Of course, if the Cavs really want to make a strong pitch to James, packaging the No. 8 pick in a deal for another star would represent the all-in approach. Even if the club could find a workable trade for someone like Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard though, it would provide no guarantees on the LeBron front. Both Walker and Leonard are eligible for free agency in 2019 and aren’t well positioned to sign extensions before then, so it’s unlikely that acquiring one of them would prompt James to commit to more than one extra year in Cleveland.

Ultimately, the Cavs probably need to take the best player available at No. 8, regardless of that player’s fit, his ability to make an immediate impact, or his appeal to trade partners. If need be, the front office could always shop that player in July after finding out what James plans to do.

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2014/15 Expanded Roster Counts

With training camps set to begin shortly, teams are still shuffling their rosters and players are still being added to fill any remaining spots. It can be difficult to keep track as there tends to be a flurry of activity this time of year as many players will be brought in for a look on non-guaranteed camp deals.

In the offseason it’s OK for teams to carry as many as 20 players, but clubs must trim their rosters down to a maximum of 15 by opening night. In the meantime, some teams will hang around that 15-man line, while others will max out their counts. Some clubs may actually have more than 15 contracts that are at least partially guaranteed on the books. That means they’ll end up paying a player who won’t be on the regular season roster, unless they can find trade partners.

With plenty more movement still to come, here’s the latest look at each team’s roster size and the contract guarantee status of each player.

(Last Updated 4-11-15, 3:57pm)Read more

Hoops Rumors 2015 NBA Mock Draft 4.0

The 2015 NBA Draft is today, and to hardcore hoops fans, it is one of the most exciting days of the year. It is a time of optimism, with each team hoping that the player it selects will become the next great superstar. Of course, most of the players taken on Thursday won’t live up to that distinction, but the draft is one of the most important building blocks that teams have in constructing their rosters. It looks like it will be a busy night, with a number of teams reportedly looking to either move up or down in the selection order. These trades can make predicting who will end up where a difficult task. But the speculation is a large part of the fun involved with this annual event. It’s with that in mind that I present the final version of my 2015 NBA Mock Draft:

#1 TimberwolvesKarl-Anthony Towns F/C (Kentucky)

  • Height/Weight: 7’0″/250 pounds
  • Stats: 10.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.3 BPG. .566/.250/.813.

Earlier reports indicated that Minnesota was leaning toward selecting Jahlil Okafor with the top pick. But I firmly believed that the Wolves would become increasingly enamored with Towns’ superior defense, athleticism, and upside as the predraft process wore on. That is now apparently the case, with the revelation that Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders is now firmly in Towns’ camp after watching him work out. Towns denied a report that the Wolves already told him he’ll be their pick, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t end up hearing his name called first. Towns would also be a better fit than Okafor alongside Nikola Pekovic, provided that Pekovic recovers from his Achilles surgery. With Towns running the floor alongside Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and the rest of the young athletic talent on Minnesota’s roster, the team may not make the playoffs next season, but it should become a regular fixture on SportsCenter’s top plays.


#2 LakersJahlil Okafor C (Duke)

  • Height/Weight: 6’11”/272 pounds
  • Stats: 17.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 1.4 BPG. .664/.000/.510.

Okafor becomes the prize for the franchise moving up in the draft order on lottery night. Los Angeles could still throw a wrench in my mock draft by selecting a guard, but I think the idea of adding a potential franchise cornerstone like Okafor at the pivot will be too tempting to pass up. The Lakers can solidify the middle with this pick for years to come, and pairing Okafor alongside Julius Randle should make for a formidable frontcourt offensively.


#3 SixersD’Angelo Russell G (Ohio State)

  • Height/Weight: 6’5″/176 pounds
  • Stats: 19.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 5.0 APG. .449/.411/.756.

Not landing the No. 1 overall pick this season is actually a blessing in disguise for the franchise. As long as the top two teams go big, Philadelphia will have no choice but to address its glaring hole in the backcourt, rather than stockpiling another big man to go alongside Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. Philadelphia could opt for Emmanuel Mudiay here, as well as Kristaps Porzingis, whom the team is reportedly high on. But Russell’s playmaking ability and versatility should get him the nod at pick No. 3.


#4 KnicksKristaps Porzingis F (Latvia)

  • Height/Weight: 7’0″/220 pounds
  • Stats: 10.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 0.9 BPG. .560/.328/.750.

This is one of the most difficult picks in the entire draft to try to predict. New York is very likely to try to trade this pick if Towns, Okafor, and Russell are off the board before the Knicks are on the clock. While Emmanuel Mudiay could very well be the choice here, he’s not an ideal fit for the triangle and isn’t as strong an outside shooter as the team would prefer from the one spot. While I’m not sold on Porzingis as a top five talent, scouts and front office types reportedly are. There’s no denying Porzingis’ athleticism and potential, but far too many international lottery picks have turned out to be busts for my comfort level. I think Phil Jackson rolls the dice on Porzingis’ upside.


#5 MagicJustise Winslow F (Duke)

  • Height/Weight: 6’6″/221 pounds
  • Stats: 12.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.1 APG. .486/.418/.641.

Orlando needs help in the frontcourt, and could lose Tobias Harris to free agency this offseason. Winslow’s game has flaws, but he could end up becoming one of the top players in the entire draft. His defensive tenacity should please new Magic coach Scott Skiles. The concern is that his outside shot won’t travel to the pros, but Winslow is a hard worker who should develop quickly. If the Magic decide to go big, then Willie Cauley-Stein is a likely target here.


#6 KingsEmmanuel Mudiay G (China)

  • Height/Weight: 6’5″/200 pounds
  • Stats: 18.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 6.3 APG. .493/.321/.586.

The Kings need a point guard in the worst way, and Mudiay falling to them at No. 6 is a gift. Cauley-Stein is also very much in play with this pick, but I can’t see Sacramento passing on the chance to add a talent like Mudiay here.


#7 NuggetsMario Hezonja G/F (Croatia)

  • Height/Weight: 6’7″/200 pounds
  • Stats: 8.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 1.1 APG. .475/.406/.739.

The Nuggets need help across the board, but a player who can light it up from the outside like Hezonja is too good to pass on. I will offer one caveat here. If Ty Lawson is dealt prior to the draft, Cameron Payne is a very real possibility here. Payne would be an excellent replacement, though he’ll likely not be ready to be a full-time starter next season.


#8 PistonsStanley Johnson F (Arizona)

  • Height/Weight: 6’7″/237 pounds
  • Stats: 13.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.5 SPG. .446/.371/.742.

The Pistons found their replacement for Greg Monroe with the trade for Ersan Ilyasova, so a small forward becomes the priority. Sam Dekker is an option here, but I don’t see Stan Van Gundy passing on a gritty two-way player like Johnson, though his outside game will need some work for him to be an effective pro.


#9 HornetsFrank Kaminsky F/C (Wisconsin)

  • Height/Weight: 7’0″/242 pounds
  • Stats: 18.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.5 BPG. .547/.416/.780.

The deal for Nicolas Batum gives Charlotte the wing player it has been seeking, and it has made Kaminsky, the sweet-shooting center from Wisconsin, a likely target, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported. The Hornets also recently acquired Spencer Hawes, and together with Kaminsky, the team hopes it can replace the outside shooting that was lost when Josh McRoberts signed with the Heat last offseason.


#10 HeatDevin Booker G (Kentucky)

  • Height/Weight: 6’6″/195 pounds
  • Stats: 10.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 1.1 APG. .470/.411/.828.

The Heat land the outside shooter they have been seeking, as well as add a potential replacement for Dwyane Wade. Booker isn’t a complete player yet, and will likely require significant D-League time during his rookie season, but he’s the best pure shooter in this year’s draft.


#11 PacersWillie Cauley-Stein C (Kentucky)

  • Height/Weight: 7’0″/244 pounds
  • Stats: 8.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.7 BPG. .572/.000/.617.

President of basketball operations Larry Bird referred to Cauley-Stein as a $100MM player, and he may end up regretting those words when negotiating the player’s second contract. Indiana needs a replacement for Roy Hibbert, whose days seem numbered in Indiana. Cauley-Stein is as NBA-ready as any player in the draft and would be an excellent addition. The team also needs a point guard, and Cameron Payne may prove too tempting to pass up here.


#12 JazzMyles Turner C (Texas)

  • Height/Weight: 6’11”/242 pounds
  • Stats: 10.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.6 BPG. .455/.274/.839.

The Jazz are quietly building a competitive roster, and they could use a stretch-four to help open up their offense. Turner has an extremely high upside and would be a nice addition to the team’s rotation. Trey Lyles and Kelly Oubre are also possibilities at this slot, but Turner would fill an obvious need.


#13 Suns — Trey Lyles F (Kentucky)

  • Height/Weight: 6’10″/235 pounds
  • Stats: 8.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 1.1 APG. .487/.138.735.

What Lyles’ NBA position will be is still up for debate. He has the size and ability to guard power forwards, but his best fit may be as a small forward for the long term. Phoenix could use a boost at either spot, and Lyles could end up being one of the best players in the entire draft. Kentucky coach John Calipari didn’t give him the opportunity to display his full range of skills this season because of the squad’s ridiculous depth. Those who haven’t seen him play will be in for a pleasant surprise.


#14 ThunderCameron Payne PG (Murray State)

  • Height/Weight: 6’2″/180 pounds
  • Stats: 20.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 6.0 APG. .456/.377/.787.

The Thunder need a reliable backup for Russell Westbrook, as well as some more firepower off the bench. Payne can certainly fill both of those needs, though he’s a player who could creep into the top 10. If that ends up happening, OKC could switch gears and nab Oubre here instead.


#15 Hawks (via Nets) — Kelly Oubre G/F (Kansas)

  • Height/Weight: 6’6″/204 pounds
  • Stats: 9.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 0.8 APG. .444/.358/.718.

The Hawks are coming off a successful regular season, but injuries and lack of depth helped derail the team during the playoffs. Oubre would provide a nice building block for the future, as well as some immediate depth. Plus, if DeMarre Carroll departs, the team will have a big hole to fill. Bobby Portis is also a big possibility here, especially if Atlanta gets the sense that Paul Millsap doesn’t intend to re-sign.


#16 CelticsBobby Portis F (Arkansas)

  • Height/Weight: 6’11″/242 pounds
  • Stats: 17.5 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 1.4 BPG. .536/.467/.737.

Speaking of Portis … Boston could use some depth and athleticism from the four spot, and Portis can certainly provide both. The forward isn’t a stellar defender, so pairing him alongside center Kelly Olynyk could be a disaster for the team’s defensive ranking. But at pick No. 16, the former Arkansas player would provide excellent value and be a solid addition to the Celtics’ rotation.


#17 BucksSam Dekker F (Wisconsin)

  • Height/Weight: 6’9″/230 pounds
  • Stats: 13.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.2 APG. .525/.331/.708.

The Bucks need frontcourt depth as well as a player who can stretch the floor with his shooting, and Dekker can provide both. He’s a tweener, and will need to bulk up to defend at the four. He’s also a player whose hype has outstripped his ability somewhat, but Dekker is solid and more athletic than many realize. He should be a strong fit alongside Milwaukee’s other talented young players. R.J. Hunter is a tempting possibility here if the Bucks decide to add backcourt depth.


#18 Rockets (via Pelicans) — Tyus Jones PG (Duke)

  • Height/Weight: 6’1″/184 pounds
  • Stats: 11.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 5.6 APG. .417/.379/.889.

The Rockets need to improve at the point guard spot, and Jones is a pass-first playmaker who will pair nicely alongside James Harden and Dwight Howard. Jones is still a bit raw, and his athleticism leaves something to be desired. But his upside is higher than Delon Wright‘s or Jerian Grant‘s, so he gets the nod here.


#19 WizardsJerian Grant PG (Notre Dame)

  • Height/Weight: 6’5″/185 pounds
  • Stats: 16.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 6.7 APG. .478/.316/.780.

The Wizards’ talented backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal have had their injury woes, and the team could use some insurance. Washington is a talented squad that has a very real shot to contend in the East in 2015/16. The team learned the hard way in the playoffs that it needs to have solid depth at point guard. While Grant’s age, 22, has some scouts concerned that he’s already close to his ceiling, he’s a solid two-way player who fills an obvious need for the Wizards. He would be an excellent pickup for the franchise here.


#20 RaptorsRondae Hollis-Jefferson F (Arizona)

  • Height/Weight: 6’7″/215 pounds
  • Stats: 11.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 1.6 APG. .502/.207/.707.

Toronto desperately needs to improve on the defensive end, and snagging Hollis-Jefferson, who is perhaps the best wing defender in the entire draft, would be a great start to correcting that deficiency. His outside game, or lack thereof, is what is preventing him from being a lottery pick. But he is exciting to watch in the open court, and with some hard work and serious gym time he could develop into a steal at this spot. If Toronto decides to add a more offensive-minded player, UCLA’s Kevon Looney could be their man here.


#21 MavsDelon Wright G (Utah)

  • Height/Weight: 6’5″/178 pounds
  • Stats: 14.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 5.1 APG. .509/.356/.836.

The Mavs need backcourt help in the worst way, with the likely departure of Rajon Rondo and the uncertainty regarding Monta Ellis. Wright is a versatile guard and the best playmaker still available. He won’t be ready to start next season but will be a solid addition to the Dallas roster.


#22 BullsR.J. Hunter G (Georgia State)

  • Height/Weight: 6’5″/190 pounds
  • Stats: 19.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 3.6 APG. .396/.307/.878.

Chicago needs backcourt depth, and since the top point guards are already off the board, the Bulls select the best outside shooter still available. The Georgia State product is a long-range bomber without a conscience, and I believe he’ll be a better pro than collegiate player. He’ll be a nice addition to coach Fred Hoiberg‘s squad in the Windy City.


#23 Trail BlazersJustin Anderson G/F (Virginia)

  • Height/Weight: 6’6″/227 pounds.
  • Stats: 12.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.7 APG. .466/.452/.780.

The Blazers may have two significant holes to fill, depending on whether or not the franchise retains LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. Anderson would be a nice insurance policy in the event that Matthews doesn’t return or is slow in recovering from his Achilles surgery. Looney is another possibility here.


#24 CavaliersMontrezl Harrell F (Louisville)

  • Height/Weight: 6’8″/243 pounds
  • Stats: 15.7 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 1.4 APG. .566/.243/.597.

The Cavs need to add frontcourt depth, and possibly a replacement for Kevin Love. Harrell’s game has a number of offensive similarities to Love’s, and he can also chase down his fair share of rebounds. He’d be a strong fit in Cleveland and a value pickup this late in the first round.


#25 GrizzliesJarell Martin F (LSU)

  • Height/Weight: 6’10″/236 pounds
  • Stats: 16.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 1.8 APG. .509/.269/.690.

The Grizzlies could stand to add some frontcourt depth regardless of whether or not Marc Gasol re-signs. Martin reportedly has a first-round draft promise, and though there are conflicting reports about whether Memphis is the team that gave it to him, we’ll wager that the Grizzlies did. Looney is also a possibility here if the team wants to add offense and upside instead.


#26 SpursRashad Vaughn G (UNLV)

  • Height/Weight: 6’6″/215 pounds
  • Stats: 17.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.6 APG. .439/.383/.694.

The Spurs’ backcourt isn’t getting any younger, and Manu Ginobili still hasn’t announced his intentions about playing next season. So, it would be wise for San Antonio to add some depth and look toward the future. Vaughn is young and raw, but there is no denying his ability. It will likely take a few seasons for him to flourish, but he has the potential to become a top 10 scorer in the league. A big man, such as Christian Wood or Jordan Mickey, is a possibility here as well.


#27 Lakers (via Rockets) — Joseph Young G (Oregon)

  • Height/Weight: 6’2″/185 pounds.
  • Stats: 20.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 3.8 APG. .448/.357/.925.

Young has reportedly secured a first-round promise, and while a conflicting report dispels that notion, I’ll bet he ends up with the Lakers at this pick. He’s a bit undersized, but his speed and excellent outside shooting will be assets to a rebuilding Los Angeles squad.


#28 Celtics (via Clippers) — Kevon Looney F (UCLA)

  • Height/Weight: 6’9″/220 pounds
  • Stats: 11.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 0.9 BPG. .470/.415/.626.

If the Celtics don’t trade this pick, and I think they will, adding another frontcourt player would likely be the play here. I was conflicted about placing Looney near the bottom of the first round, but he drops more because of the needs of the teams picking in the early 20s than due to any lack of talent and potential. I like Looney’s upside, though he bears the dreaded tweener tag, and he may not have a defined position in the NBA. The Celtics could certainly use more versatility on offense, and Looney has the potential to provide it.


#29 Nets (via Hawks) — Terry Rozier G (Louisville)

  • Height/Weight: 6’1″/190 pounds
  • Stats: 17.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 3.0 APG. .411/.306/.790.

With the health and production level of Deron Williams a concern, Brooklyn could certainly use an insurance policy at the point guard spot. Rozier has been impressing teams during his pre-draft workouts, and he’s likely earned himself a first-round selection. The Nets land a solid backup and insurance policy.


#30 WarriorsChristian Wood F (UNLV)

  • Height/Weight: 6’11″/220 pounds
  • Stats: 15.7 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 2.7 BPG. .497/.284/.736.

The Warriors don’t have many needs, but frontcourt depth is certainly one of them. Andrew Bogut is always an injury risk, and the franchise is reportedly looking to move David Lee to avoid a hefty luxury tax payment. Wood is a young player who won’t be ready to step in and play major minutes his rookie season, but he has a high upside and would be a solid addition to the franchise. Robert Upshaw and Guillermo Hernangomez are also possibilities with this pick.

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