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Week In Review: 2/17/14 – 2/23/14

Evan Turner and Danny Granger have been featured prominently on the pages of Hoops Rumors all season long.  This week, the Pacers and Sixers got together to complete the most significant deadline deal.  The trade sent Granger and a future second round draft pick to Philly for Turner and forward Lavoy Allen.  Granger, however, may not be in the city of Brotherly Love for long.  Here’s more from the news-filled week that was..

2013/14 NBA Trades

Including draft-night deals and the agreement that released Doc Rivers from his contract with the Celtics, NBA teams consummated an impressive 34 trades during the 2013 offseason. The summer is typically busier than the winter when it comes to trades, but the first month of the season has resulted in plenty of rumors and speculation. Productive and intriguing players like Omer Asik, Luol Deng, Dion Waiters, and Iman Shumpert are considered trade candidates, and one former second overall pick has already been on the move, as the Wolves sent Derrick Williams to the Kings.

That swap between Minnesota and Sacramento is the only in-season trade finalized so far, but we expect to see many more made in the coming weeks and months. We’ll be tracking all of 2013/14’s deals right here, starting with the Williams/Luc Mbah a Moute swap. The list may be brief for now, but it will be updated throughout the year, and can be found anytime on the “Hoops Rumors Features” sidebar on the right-hand sidebar. If you fall behind on the rumor mill, be sure to check back to see if you missed out on any of this season’s trades.

February 20th

  • The Sixers get Byron Mullens and the Clippers’ 2018 second-round pick.
  • The Clippers get a 2014 second-round pick.

February 20th

February 20th

February 20th

  • The Hawks get Antawn Jamison and cash.
  • The Clippers get the draft rights to Cenk Akyol.

February 20th

February 20th

  • The Wizards get Andre Miller.
  • The Nuggets get Jan Vesely.
  • The Sixers get Eric Maynor, the Pelicans’ 2015 second-round pick (from the Wizards), and the Nuggets’ 2016 second-round pick.

February 20th

February 20th

  • The Cavaliers get Spencer Hawes.
  • The Sixers get Earl Clark, Henry Sims, the Grizzlies’ 2014 second-round pick (from the Cavs), and the Cavs’ 2014 second-round pick.

February 20th

  • The Kings get Roger Mason Jr. and cash.
  • The Heat get the Kings’ 2015 second-round pick (31-49 and 56-60 protected).

February 19th

February 19th

January 21st

January 21st

  • The Pelicans get Tyshawn Taylor and cash.
  • The Nets get the draft rights to Edin Bavcic.

January 15th

January 7th

  • The Grizzlies get Courtney Lee, the Celtics’ 2016 second-round pick, and $1.1MM cash (from the Thunder).
  • The Celtics get Jerryd Bayless, Ryan Gomes, and cash (from the Thunder).
  • The Thunder get the Sixers’ 2014 second-round pick (from the Grizzlies; 31-50 and 56-60 protected) and the Grizzlies’ 2017 second-round pick (31-55 protected).

January 7th

  • The Cavaliers get Luol Deng.
  • The Bulls get Andrew Bynum, the Kings’ 2014 first-round pick (top-12 protected), the right to swap 2015 first-round picks with the Cavaliers (top-14 protected), the Trail Blazers’ 2015 second-round pick and the Trail Blazers’ 2016 second-round pick.

December 9th

November 26th

New Contracts With Player Options

Player options are by far the most common type of option in contracts handed out to NBA veterans. Every rookie-scale contract contains a pair of team options, but the collective bargaining agreement requires that those options be part of the deal. When teams and players can freely negotiate the terms of their contracts, clubs almost always eschew team options in favor of non-guaranteed seasons.

When players hold leverage, they sometimes have an alternative to player options, too. Five-year deals may contain an early-termination option, which functions slightly differently from a player option. Perhaps the primary incentive for a player to obtain an ETO rather than a player option is tied to trade kickers. The money in the ETO season of a contract is counted toward the bonus a player may be paid if he’s traded, while the salary in a player option year is not.

Chris Paul is the lone player to have received an ETO so far this summer. Details on Nikola Pekovic‘s five-year contract are still emerging, so perhaps he’ll have one, too. Paul and Pekovic are the only players to sign five-year contracts this year, so no one else is eligible for an ETO.

By contrast, 23 of this summer’s deals include a player option, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more, as a team’s willingness to include a player option can enhance even a minimum-salary offer. It’s a tool that teams may use to woo unsigned veterans with credible track records who are reluctant to settle for the minimum. For instance, Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors recently speculated that Antawn Jamison could wind up with a two-year minimum-salary deal with a player option in the second season.

It’s clear that some front offices embrace player options more readily than others. The Bobcats, Nets and Timberwolves have each handed out three contracts with player options, while the Rockets, Knicks and Clippers gave out two new deals with player options. That leaves 16 teams that didn’t sign anyone to a deal with a player option.

Here’s the complete list of this summer’s contracts that include player options, along with the amount of the option and the season it’s for:

*—The money in Morrow’s player option is only 50% guaranteed, according to ShamSports. It’s fully guaranteed as long as any of a specific set of injuries doesn’t cause him to miss 30 or more games this season or, providing Morrow opts in, 15 of the first 30 games in 2014/15.

ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.

Notable Unsigned Free Agents

Dozens of this summer's free agents have already signed with teams, or at least reached agreements on new contracts. But that doesn't mean that all the useful rotation players are all off the market. There are still a number of intriguing names out there, including a handful of restricted free agents, led by Brandon Jennings and Nikola Pekovic. Here's a breakdown of some of the notable free agents that remain unsigned….

Guards

Brandon Jennings (rumors)
Few, if any, of this year's remaining free agents have been surrounded by as many rumors and as much drama as Jennings, who is reportedly seeking $12MM annually but isn't interested in playing for the Bucks. A sign-and-trade to the Hawks looked possible, but when Atlanta elected to match Milwaukee's offer sheet for Jeff Teague, it likely took a major suitor for Jennings out of the mix, and signaled to the point guard that two teams preferred Teague to him. As Tom Ziller of SBNation.com wrote yesterday, Jennings' options are dwindling, and accepting his one-year qualifying offer isn't entirely out of the question.

Nate Robinson (rumors)
After a memorable postseason performance with the Bulls, Robinson looked to be in line for a nice payday this summer, but so far that hasn't materialized. He's been linked to plenty of teams, including the Nuggets, Wizards, Bucks, Mavericks, Lakers, and Knicks, but most of those clubs don't have the flexibility to make him a significant offer. I still think Robinson will sign for more than the minimum, but it's certainly not the lock it once seemed to be.

D.J. Augustin (rumors)
Aaron Brooks (rumors)
Devin Harris (rumors)
Mo Williams (rumors)
Delonte West (rumors)

Wings

Gerald Henderson (rumors)
Although a report surfaced indicating that the Bobcats were exploring sign-and-trade options involving Henderson, that appears to have just been a case of due diligence. Although Charlotte is wary of overpaying, the team still wants to bring back Henderson, prefering that option to a sign-and-trade. It's unclear what other teams may make a play for the restricted free agent — the Timberwolves were said to have "heavy interest" at one point, but signed Kevin Martin instead.

Gary Neal (rumors)
The Spurs' signing of Marco Belinelli initially made it seem as if Neal might be expendable, but I think the team would still like to re-sign him. Like Henderson, Neal is a restricted free agent, so the Spurs won't want to bid against themselves, instead letting the market set the price for the 28-year-old. Last week, a report suggested the Bucks were one of four teams interested in Neal, but it's not clear how many of those potential suitors have gone in another direction since then.

Alan Anderson (rumors)
Daequan Cook (rumors)
Richard Hamilton (rumors)
Stephen Jackson (rumors)
Dahntay Jones (rumors)

Bigs

Nikola Pekovic (rumors)
All signs continue to point to a reunion between Pekovic and the Timberwolves. Both sides have repeatedly expressed interest in continuing the relationship, and we haven't heard reports of any other clubs making a push for the restricted free agent big man. The latest word on Pekovic is that the Wolves have a contract offer on the table for him, perhaps for four years and $50MM. It sounds as if Pekovic's representatives are making sure there aren't any better offers out there — if and when they decide that's the case, they'll probably circle back and accept Minnesota's proposal.

Greg Oden (rumors)
For a player who hasn't appeared in an NBA game since 2009, Oden is certainly receiving plenty of headlines this July. While the Mavericks, Kings, Pelicans, and others have entered the mix recently, it still appears that the Heat and Spurs are the frontrunners. Comments made by Mike Conley Sr., Oden's agent, suggest to me that Oden's top choice is Miami, so assuming the Heat extend a fair offer, that's my best guess for where the former No. 1 pick ends up.

DeJuan Blair (rumors)
Samuel Dalembert (rumors)
Antawn Jamison (rumors)
Timofey Mozgov (rumors)
Byron Mullens (rumors)
Lamar Odom (rumors)
Brandan Wright (rumors)

Free Agent Market For Centers

Over the last week, we've been taking a closer look at this summer's free agent market by position, starting with point guards, and progressing through shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards. Our tour of the 2013/14 free agent class comes to an end today with a look at this year's centers, perhaps the most intriguing FA position this year.

2013's group of free agent centers features the player most likely to land the year's biggest contract (Dwight Howard), a player who may have the summer's most fascinating free agent case after missing a full season (Andrew Bynum), and an intriguing human-interest story that even non-NBA fans will be following (Jason Collins).

Let's dive in and break down this year's free agent centers….

Unrestricted free agents

Assuming Dwight Howard re-signs with the Lakers, the $117.95MM he'd receive this summer would be the largest contract signed this year or last. It's not a lock that Howard will return to L.A., but considering the Lakers can offer him $30MM+ more in guaranteed money than any other team, they have to be considered the favorites.

A year ago, we would have assumed Andrew Bynum would be heading for a maximum contract of his own, but a lost season in Philadelphia means Bynum's future is up in the air. I have to think there will be at least one team willing to roll the dice on a potential franchise player, offering him a big-money, multiyear deal. But there's so much uncertainty surrounded Bynum that you could conceivably picture him signing for anywhere between $8MM and $80MM. For teams not interested in gambling on Bynum, Al Jefferson represents a more stable (and more healthy) top-tier option, though you'll have to be willing to live with some shortcomings on the defensive end.

Beyond the big three in this group, there are still plenty of interesting options, including Chris Kaman, Samuel Dalembert, and Zaza Pachulia. Additionally, Chris Andersen, Nazr Mohammed, and Jermaine O'Neal all played on minimum-salary deals in 2012/13, but were productive enough that they could draw interest at a slightly higher price this summer.

We'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on Jason Collins than we typically would on a backup free agent center (say, Johan Petro), as he attempts to become the first active gay athlete in one of North America's major sports leagues. And if the coverage of Collins' free agency is disproportionate to his career production, the same could be said of Greg Oden, the former first overall pick, who will look to return to action for the first time since 2009/10. I'll be pulling for both guys to find NBA jobs this offseason.

Restricted free agents

Eight of this summer's potential restricted free agents, including Blake Griffin, James Harden, and Stephen Curry, signed long-term extensions last fall, so there aren't a ton of big names among this year's restricted FAs. Still, compared to the other positions, center is relatively stacked.

Nikola Pekovic figures to receive an annual salary of at least $10-12MM from the Timberwolves or another club. Tiago Splitter will be in line for a raise of his own after playing crucial minutes for the Spurs all year. And even Byron Mullens had his moments for the Bobcats this season, though he's not close to being in Pekovic's class, or even Splitter's.

Team and player options

Expensive player options like Andris Biedrins' ($9MM) and Emeka Okafor's ($14.49MM) are certain to be exercised, but it's not just those big-money options that figure to be picked up. I'd be surprised to see either Kwame Brown ($2.95MM) or Aaron Gray ($2.69MM) opt out of their deals, since they'd be hard-pressed to land new multiyear contracts or even to sign for more than the minimum.

Even once we get past the player options, there don't seem to be many candidates to hit the market among this group. Robin Lopez ($5.12MM) and Gustavo Ayon ($1.5MM) are on non-guaranteed deals, but their price tags are affordable enough that I'd be surprised to see the Pelicans or Bucks, respectively, cut them loose. Perhaps the most notable likely free agent in this group is Greg Stiemsma, who has a non-guaranteed $2.69MM and wasn't exactly indispensable in Minnesota in 2012/13.

Previously:
Free agent market for power forwards
Free agent market for small forwards
Free agent market for shooting guards
Free agent market for point guards

Veterans On Rookie Scale Contracts

The term "rookie scale" is something of a misnomer, since a player can still be on his rookie scale contract during his fourth year in the league. They're the standard, fixed contracts teams give to first-round picks, and they're generally team-friendly, with team options included in the third and fourth years. Since 30 new first-round picks enter the league every year, save for a couple who sign overseas, there are quite a few players on rookie scale deals. Every team has at least one, except the Lakers. The Wizards have the most, with six, and that doesn't include Bradley Beal, their first-round pick from June. For more on how rookie scale contracts work, check out our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry.

We've listed all the veterans on rookie scale contracts here, by team, along with the last season of the deal in parentheses. The list doesn't include Blake Griffin and Serge Ibaka, who are still on rookie contracts for 2012/13, but who have signed extensions that will kick in the following season.

Read more

Poll: Most Improved Player In The Pacific?

The spotlight in the Pacific Division will surely be on former Clipper reserve Eric Bledsoe, who will now headline Phoenix's backcourt next to another young talent in Goran Dragic. Bledsoe's numbers last season (8.5 PPG/3.1 APG/20.4 MPG) wouldn't seem very comparable to what will be expected of him in 2013/14, especially considering some of his standout performances when given more than 30 minutes of playing time: 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists in 38 minutes against the Celtics, 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in 37 minutes against the Rockets, 10 points, 10 assists, and six steals in 39 minutes against the Timberwolves, and a 27-point, 6 rebound, 6 steal, and 3-block performance in 41 minutes against the Magic to name a few. Now equipped with starter's minutes, it will be fascinating to see how the 6'1 guard will utilize his significantly increased role and responsibilities as a leader of a young team. 

Keeping all this in mind, Bledsoe should undoubtedly be among the favorites within the whole league to have a breakout season. With that aside, it was unquestionably a summer of shakeups for the rest of the Pacific Division, as each of the other four teams will feature new key rotation players in 2013/14. Let's take a look at some of the other new faces looking to make a lasting impact on their respective clubs: 

Marreese Speights, Warriors – The 6'10 power forward is entering his sixth year in the league and will be playing for his fourth NBA team after signing with Golden State this past July. Following a trade from Memphis to Cleveland halfway through last season, Speights averaged 10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 18.5 MPG in 39 games and one start for the Cavaliers. Although Sean Deveney of the Sporting News and NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper have reported that the team is currently expecting Andrew Bogut and David Lee to be healthy enough to play without limitation, head coach Mark Jackson could possibly rely on Speights for extended minutes on some nights in order to preserve some of his older frontcourt veterans.

Considering his production in a limited amount of minutes last season, the former Florida standout could prove to be one of the most important reserves on a playoff contender this year and may open some more eyes in the process.

Byron Mullens, Clippers – Fresh off of career highs in points, rebounds, and minutes last season with the Bobcats (10.8/6.4/26.9), it remains to be seen just how Mullens' minutes and role will be handled in Los Angeles. The 7'0 big man put together a flurry of attention-grabbing performances last season, averaging 12.9 PPG/8.2 RPG/33.0 MPG in November and 10.0/7.3/28.6 in December before being sidelined with an ankle injury. Following a 19-game absence, Mullens picked up where he left off, posting 14.6/7.9/32.1 in February.

Although his overall shooting percentages were less than desirable last season (.385/.317/.636), one thing to consider is the possible improvement in the quality of shot attempts as a by-product of playing with a superstar playmaker in Chris Paul and his solid distributing backup, Darren Collison. Byron's confidence in attempting perimeter shots is far from lacking, as nearly four of his 10.6 shot attempts per game last year were taken from beyond the arc. With that being said, Mullens may very well be a viable threat who can stretch the floor provided he can improve his shooting efficiency and have better opportunities created for him. If given the minutes, he's shown that he can definitely put up some numbers. 

Wesley Johnson, Lakers – Despite his lack of floor time for the first four months of 2012/13, the 6'7 swingman made the most of his situation after being given consistent starter's minutes in the final two months of the season, averaging 13.2 PPG/1.2 SPG/30.3 MPG in March along with 12.9 PPG and 27.3 MPG in April respectively. He did well enough that despite the Suns opting not to exercise his fourth year option, there was still mutual interest in a return to Phoenix this summer. Ultimately, the former lottery pick out of Syracuse wound up with the Lakers, where he should have his fair share of opportunities as an athletic player in Mike D'Antoni's system. With Johnson playing on a one-year contract, it'd certainly be in his best interest to continue his momentum from last season and perform well enough to earn a lucrative contract next summer, whether it'd be in L.A. or somewhere else. 

Greivis Vasquez, Kings – It's more than reasonable to deem 2012/13 as a breakout year for Vasquez. The 6'6 point guard rose to the occasion in New Orleans, producing an impressive 13.9 PPG and 9.0 APG stat line in 34.4 MPG and 78 games played/started. It's important to note that he'll be entering a contract year, and one significant question is how Vasquez's numbers will fare with an entirely different cast of teammates, especially with the surplus of guards on the roster – namely Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Marcus Thornton, and Jimmer Fredette. Although the former Maryland star displayed his capabilities as a distributor and a tertiary scoring option last season, it appears that another major improvement within reach would be to raise his shooting percentages (.433/.342) as well as the amount of times he gets to the line (2.0). Following his career-best season to date, Vasquez will surely have to deliver in his most important one yet. 

After Bledsoe, who would you expect to be the most improved player in the Pacific Division?

Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia 76ers

Guaranteed Contracts

Options

Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Free Agents / Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (3rd overall)
  • 1st Round (10th overall)
  • 2nd Round (32nd overall)
  • 2nd Round (39th overall)
  • 2nd Round (47th overall)
  • 2nd Round (52nd overall)
  • 2nd Round (54th overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $19,553,989
  • Options: $7,664,509
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $6,167,100
  • Cap Holds: $7,619,625
  • Total: $41,005,223

In the modern NBA, teams believe that you have to move in one of two directions: either toward the No. 1 record or toward the No. 1 pick.  We all know which way the Sixers went last season.  Now, armed with more picks than any other team in the 2014 draft, GM Sam Hinkie has to show fans that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The 76ers won’t be expected to contend this season but there has to be an improvement over their 19-63 mark.  Any discussion of the 76ers’ offseason has to start with Thursday’s draft.  The 76ers have been heavily connected to Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins since they’re in desperate need of an impact wing.  Unfortunately for them, Joel Embiid‘s injury figures to have a domino effect at the top of the draft that could leave them shut out of their guy at No. 3.  Wiggins could have been there for Hinkie with Embiid and Jabari Parker coming off the board at Nos. 1 and 2, but Embiid being taken out of the picture makes Wiggins seem like the best option for the Cavs at the top of the draft.  If Hinkie is dead set on landing Wiggins, the consensus No. 1 overall pick before the 2013/14 college season got underway, he could try getting on the phone with the Cavs and offering up the No. 3 and other picks.  However, that’s probably a long shot given the win-now directive that has been handed down for Cleveland by owner Dan Gilbert.

A truly pragmatic approach to the situation would be for the 76ers to draft Embiid.  Yes, Embiid will be out of commission for at least four to six months.  And, yes, Embiid had some pretty serious back trouble that was causing red flags before the foot injury.  And, yes, the 76ers are still waiting on Nerlens Noel to make his NBA debut.  But, if Embiid comes back strong from the injury and doesn’t miss extended time, he could very well turn out to be the best talent in the entire class.  Besides, the Sixers can get someone at No. 10 who can come in and hit the ground running while the KU big man heals up.

A third scenario for the Sixers at No. 3 would be drafting Australian guard Dante Exum.  It has been an open secret for months that the Sixers are high on the 6’7″ 19-year-old but, of course, he’s not a fit with Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams running the point.  But what if he wasn’t anymore?  Philly is said to be open to trading MCW and there’s no question that he could yield something of considerable value.  The Syracuse product averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per game this past season, but his shooting deficiencies are troubling and his 15.5 PER casts him as more of a big fish in a small pond than anything.  In theory, Philly could try pairing Exum and Carter-Williams in the backcourt together, but shooting isn’t Exum’s strength either.  The Sixers wouldn’t fetch nearly as much for last year’s No. 11 overall pick if he goes out and shoots 26.4% from downtown again without someone to help cover up his lack of range.

There are plenty of possibilities at No. 3 and there are also tons of options at No. 10, depending on how the draft plays out.  If the Sixers don’t pluck Embiid at No. 3, there are a couple of very promising bigs that could fall to them at their second first-round slot.  The Celtics (No. 6) and Lakers (No. 7) are thought to covet Aaron Gordon, but it’s conceivable that he falls.  Same goes for Julius Randle, a player who not long ago was thought to be a certainty for the top five.

The 76ers currently hold an eye-popping seven picks (Nos. 3, 10, 32, 39, 47, 52, 54) and while at least one or two of those picks figure to be used on European draft-and-stash candidates, Philly is expected to trade a few of them, either to land a veteran or to perhaps acquire a third first-round pick.  If they take some of those choices and package them with Thaddeus Young, they could get the kind of impact piece they’re looking for.  A trade could be beneficial for all parties involved.  Young stopped short of demanding a trade this spring but he said that requesting a change of scenery was a possibility.  The former lottery pick is coming off of a season in which he averaged a career-high 17.9 PPG and even though the increased scoring load caused a dip in efficiency, it stands to reason that he’ll have suitors if he’s put on the block.  Of course, Young is completely expendable if Randle or Gordon falls to Hinkie’s lap at No. 10.  A scenario where the 76ers draft Exum and Randle or Gordon while turning MCW and Young into a starting-caliber shooting guard and small forward sounds like a pretty solid plan.

With more draft picks than guaranteed contracts on the roster and less than ~$30MM on the books, the possibilities for the 76ers are endless.  Much of what they do this offseason will hinge on what happens with the first and second overall picks and the timetable that Hinkie wants to pursue.

Cap footnotes

* — The Sixers waived Maynor in March in spite of a player option on his contract for 2014/15. Since he didn’t have a chance to decide on that option, Philadelphia owes Maynor his salary for next season, just as if Maynor had opted in.
** — Richardson has reportedly opted in, but if there’s somehow a last-minute change and he opts out, his cap hold would be $9,306,375.
*** — The cap hold for Mullens would be $915,243 if he were to opt out.
**** — Anderson’s salary becomes fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before June 30th.
***** — The cap hold for Thomas would be $816,482 if the Sixers declined to tender his qualifying offer. ShamSports and Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ were used in the creation of this post.

Week In Review: 6/23/14-6/29/14

What a week it was in the NBA. The 2014 NBA Draft is officially in the books. When the dust settled and the last pick was made, there were a lot less trades than anticipated, Andrew Wiggins was the top pick, Joel Embiid didn’t fall out of the top three as rumored, and the talk of the Sixers tanking in 2014/15 began anew. Here’s more from the week that was..

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).

Evaluating Player Option Decisions

Declining a player option was rarely proven unwise on this summer’s market. The majority of the players who opted out to hit free agency this year wound up with new deals that will give them more this season than they would have made if they’d opted in. Still, several players who turned down their options for this coming season ended up agreeing to take less in 2014/15. In those cases, most of them signed for long-term deals that give them a total amount that’s greater than they would have made if they’d picked up their options, even though that money is spread over multiple seasons.

Here’s a look at how each of the players who turned down a player option for the 2014/15 season fared, sorted by those who most certainly made the right decision, players who gave up money for this year for more in the long term, and a pair who are without NBA deals. The players are listed in alphabetical order within each category, followed by their 2013/14 teams and the values of the player options they turned down.

Clear winners:

  • Alan Anderson, Nets, minimum salary — The Nets re-signed him to a two-year deal worth slightly more than $2.61MM that represents a raise, albeit an incremental one, on what he would have seen on his option.
  • Chris Bosh, Heat, $20.59MM — It seemed there were many ways for Bosh to end up with a lower salary when he opted out, since there were rumors he would take less to help the Heat attract another marquee player. There was also no guarantee the NBA’s maximum salary would go up high enough to exceed the value of Bosh’s option year. But, that’s what happened, and the Heat reeled Bosh back in with a five-year, $118.705MM max deal with a starting salary of $54,400 more than he would have made on his option.
  • Darren Collison, Clippers, $1.986MM — The Kings signed him for three years and $15.041MM, a clear financial upgrade.
  • Channing Frye, Suns, $6.8MM — Frye signed a four-year, $32MM deal with the Magic, so as with Collison, the decision to opt out was smart.
  • Danny Granger, Clippers, minimum salary — The Heat brought Granger in on a two-year, $4.247MM deal that gives him more than the minimum each season.
  • LeBron James, Heat, $20.59MM — James was determined not to take another discount, and while he, like Bosh, gambled that the maximum salary would exceed the value of his option, it did indeed, allowing James to sign his two-year, $42.218MM contract with the Cavs.
  • Josh McRoberts, Hornets, $2.771MM — There’s no mistaking just how well it turned out financially for McRoberts, who wound up with a four-year, $22.652MM deal from the Heat after a career year in Charlotte.
  • Anthony Morrow, Pelicans, minimum salary — He signed with the Thunder for $10.032MM over three years. That means he’ll come away with about three times as much in 2014/15 as he would have if he opted in, and those enhanced paydays will continue.
  • Mo Williams, Trail Blazers, $2.771MM — Williams signed a one-year, $3.75MM deal with the Timberwolves, a raise of almost precisely $1MM.
  • Nick Young, Lakers, minimum salary — The Lakers seemed determined not to let Young get away from them in free agency, opening the coffers for a four-year, $21.326MM deal that validates Young’s opt-out decision many times over.

It depends:

  • Carmelo Anthony, Knicks, $23.333MM — Anthony surely doesn’t have any regrets about signing a five-year deal worth $124.065MM, but his new pact calls for a lower salary for this coming season than he would have seen on the option. That’s because a new pact for Anthony, whose salaries exceed the NBA’s maximum thanks to the built-in raises on his lucrative contracts over the years, was limited to giving him a starting salary worth no more than 105% of what he made last year. His scheduled raise under the old deal would have been for more than that.
  • Glen Davis, Clippers, minimum salary — Davis wound up precisely where he started, since he has a guaranteed minimum salary on his one-year deal after re-signing with the Clippers.
  • Francisco Garcia, Rockets, minimum salary — Garcia agreed to re-sign with the Rockets on a one-year deal for that minimum salary. It’s not quite clear if it’s guaranteed at this point, but if it is, he’ll have broken even, just like Davis.
  • Udonis Haslem, Heat, $4.62MM — Haslem locked in $5.587MM, more than he would have seen on his option, but that amount is spread over two seasons in his new deal with the Heat. If he had picked up his option and signed next summer for the minimum salary, he would have made more.
  • Dwyane Wade, Heat, $20.164MM — Like Haslem, Wade wound up with more than he would have made in the option year, but his $31.125MM will come over the course of a new two-year deal with the Heat. Still, it’s not the drastic annual pay decrease that seemed a distinct possibility, and Wade has a player option for next summer if he regains his superstar form without LeBron around.

Probably should have opted in:

  • Andray Blatche, Nets, minimum salary — His salary would automatically equal or exceed the value of his option if he signs with an NBA team before the season, but he might not find guaranteed salary. In any case, he remains unsigned, so the decision looks poor, at least at the moment.
  • Byron Mullens, Sixers, minimum salary — It’s unclear what he’ll make on his deal to play in China, but heading overseas probably wasn’t the outcome he would have preferred.

Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

How Deadline Trades Worked Financially

A source told the Plain Dealer on Thursday that in the hour leading up to the deadline, the negotiations are 10% about basketball and 90% about accounting (Twitter link). Much of the math has to do with trade exceptions, whether the deal involves using one, creating one, or both. Just about every trade that teams make provides the opportunity to create at least one new exception.

Teams can structure deals as they see fit, and sometimes there are multiple ways to create exceptions. We’ve sorted out seemingly the most favorable scenarios from each of this year’s deadline trades, as explained below. Teams don’t always take the intuitive path, so that’s why we’re treating these as exceptions a club CAN make or use, rather than ones they definitively have made or used.

For more information on how these exceptions work and the difference between a simultaneous and non-simultaneous trade, check out our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry on trade exceptions right here.

Nets-Kings

  • The Nets can’t create an exception from this trade, since the salary-matching rules for taxpaying teams are stricter than for non-taxpayers. That prevents Brooklyn from structuring the swap of Jason Terry for Marcus Thornton as a swap of its own, which the Nets could do if they weren’t in the tax. Such a move would have created an exception equal to the full salary of Reggie Evans.
  • The Kings can create an exception worth $2,424,687, equal to the difference between the salaries for Thornton and Terry. They can absorb Evans and his $1,695,635 salary into the Patrick Patterson exception worth $2,316,429. That would reduce the Patterson exception to $620,794.

Warriors-Lakers

  • Steve Blake‘s $4MM salary fits perfectly into Golden State’s $4MM Brandon Rush exception. That allows the Warriors to structure the offloading of MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore as separate, one-player non-simultaneous trades. That creates a pair of exceptions, one worth $1,210,080 for Brooks and another at $788,872 for Bazemore. The ability for Golden State to send out Brooks and Bazemore individually is what makes this deal legal in the first place, since the Warriors couldn’t have aggregated the salaries of Brooks and another player in any deal. That’s because it’s been less than two months since the Warriors acquired Brooks via trade from the Celtics.
  • The Lakers can create a $2,789,920 trade exception representing the difference between the salaries for Blake and Brooks. They can structure that part as its own transaction because Bazemore’s minimum salary can go into the minimum-salary exception.

Heat-Kings

  • This one is straightforward. The Heat can create a $884,293 exception equal to the amount of Roger Mason Jr.‘s cap hit.
  • The Kings don’t create an exception, but they used the minimum salary exception to absorb Mason without giving the Heat any player in return.

Wizards-Nuggets-Sixers

  • The Nuggets can absorb Jan Vesely‘s $3,340,920 salary into their Andre Iguodala exception worth $9,868,632, reducing the Iguodala exception to $6,527,712. That allows Denver to create a $5MM exception that’s equal to Andre Miller‘s salary. They could also leave the Iguodala exception alone and create a $1,659,080 exception equal to the difference between the salaries for Miller and Vesely, but that seems a less likely course.
  • The Wizards can treat the Miller-Vesely swap as its own transaction, and while they can’t create an exception from that, since Miller’s salary is greater than Vesely’s, Washington can get an exception that’s equal in value to Eric Maynor‘s salary of $2,016,000. Structuring the offloading of Maynor to Philadelphia as its own separate deal allows the Wizards to create that exception.
  • The Sixers don’t get any exceptions, since they didn’t relinquish any assets in the trade at all. The Wizards simply used Philadelphia as a dumping ground for Maynor, since the Nuggets didn’t want him. Keeping him while swapping Miller for Vesely would have left Washington over the tax line. The Sixers wound up with a pair of second-round picks for their trouble, and the deal also helped them exceed the league-minimum payroll of $52.811MM, which they’d been under all season. That’s of greater consequence to the Sixers players than the team itself, since the team would have had to split the difference between its payroll and the minimum payroll among the players if it hadn’t met the minimum by season’s end. Thus, Philadelphia’s four deadline moves mean the Sixers players will miss out what might have been tidy bonus checks.

Bucks-Bobcats

  • The Bucks can create an exception worth $3.25MM, the equivalent of Gary Neal‘s salary. They can do this by structuring their offloading of Neal as its own trade, with the swap of Luke Ridnour for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien as another.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a way for the Bobcats to gain an exception through this trade, since the deal as a whole increases their payroll, and from their perspective, there’s no way to split the deal into workable separate transactions.

Spurs-Raptors

  • The Spurs can fold Austin Daye into the minimum-salary exception, creating an $1,463,000 exception worth the equivalent of Nando De Colo‘s salary.
  • The Raptors add salary in the two-player swap, so there’s no way for them to create an exception short of absorbing De Colo into their existing $4,583,432 Rudy Gay exception. That would reduce that exception’s value and create a diminutive $947,907 exception for Daye’s salary, which wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. So, it’s unlikely the Raptors are using or creating an exception here.

Nuggets-Rockets

  • The Nuggets can take Aaron Brooks into the minimum-salary exception to create a $1,169,880 exception equal to Jordan Hamilton‘s salary.
  • The Rockets add salary in the two-player swap, and they have no existing exceptions that would facilitate the creation of another, so there’s no way for them to gain an exception in this trade.

Clippers-Sixers

  • This deal involves only one player, so the Clippers can simply create a $947,907 exception that’s equal to the cap hit for Byron Mullens.
  • As mentioned above, this trade and Philadelphia’s other moves helped the Sixers exceed the minimum team payroll.

Clippers-Hawks

  • Much like L.A.’s trade with the Sixers, this trade involves just a single player under contract. The Clippers create an exception worth $884,293 that’s equal to the cap hit for Antawn Jamison.
  • The Hawks don’t create an exception, but they used the minimum-salary exception to absorb Jamison without giving the Clippers any player in return.

Cavs-Sixers

  • The trade wouldn’t work for the Cavs if it were split into smaller parts, and Cleveland adds payroll from the deal, so there’s no exception for the Cavs here.
  • The Sixers remain under the cap, so they don’t create an exception for the players they’re sending out. As mentioned above, this trade and Philadelphia’s other moves helped the Sixers exceed the minimum team payroll.

Pacers-Sixers

  • Indiana can’t split the deal into individual parts and still have it work, but the Pacers nonetheless gain a sizable $4,281,921 exception from the difference between Danny Granger‘s salary and the combined salaries for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.
  • The Sixers remain under the cap, so they don’t create an exception.

Basketball Insiders and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

Offseason In Review: Charlotte Bobcats

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

  • None

Draft Picks

  • Cody Zeller (Round 1, 4th overall). Signed via rookie exception.

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

If you want to make an argument against the benefits of tanking in the NBA, pointing to the Charlotte Bobcats would be a good place to start. Despite finishing in the bottom three of the NBA standings four times since 2004/05, the Bobcats haven’t had much luck in the draft lottery or the draft itself.

After winning 18 games in ’04/05, Charlotte landed the fifth pick and drafted Raymond Felton immediately after two other point guards (Deron Williams, Chris Paul) had come off the board. In 2006, the Bobcats nabbed the third pick and selected Adam Morrison, one spot after LaMarcus Aldridge was drafted. Charlotte set an NBA-record for futility in the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season, but missed out on consensus first overall pick Anthony Davis and settled for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2. Most recently, the 21-win Bobcats used the fourth pick in the 2013 draft on Cody Zeller.

This brief trip through the team’s recent history illustrates in large part why the Bobcats’ rebuilding process has been long and laborious. The team has been neither lucky nor particularly shrewd when it comes to the draft, having narrowly missed out on several franchise-altering players, and passing on others. It has left the team in a tough spot — there’s plenty of young talent on the roster, including players like Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller, and others. But none of those guys are likely to develop into stars, meaning the club will face some tough decisions on exactly how much to pay to keep those players when their rookie contracts end.

On the plus side, while the Bobcats haven’t been entirely successful in the draft, the club is at least reducing the number of bad contracts clogging its cap. DeSagana Diop‘s deal finally came off the books this summer, while Tyrus Thomas‘ was forcibly removed (via amnesty). The team still has one year left on Ben Gordon, who will earn $13MM+, but that was the price Charlotte paid to obtain a Pistons first-round pick that could ultimately become very valuable.

The absence of those overpriced contracts and the abundance of rookie deals on the Bobcats’ cap meant that the team had room to make a splash this summer. It’s unclear if there was a deal out there for Charlotte similar to the one Utah made with Golden State, which landed the Jazz a pair of first-round picks along with a pair of bad contracts (Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins). But if there was, it’s not hard to figure out why the Bobcats didn’t choose that path. For a team that has spent the last several years getting unlucky in the draft lottery and waiting for overpriced players to come off the books, the idea of doubling down by taking on more toxic contracts and acquiring more draft picks probably looked less appealing than pursuing free agents.

The Bobcats’ pursuit of free agents led them to Al Jefferson, who immediately becomes the biggest offensive threat the team has ever had in the low post. The price for Jefferson – $13.5MM annually for three years – was a little high, but I imagine it had to be to lure him to Charlotte. The Bobcats were also able to make a couple other solid buys in free agency, bringing back Gerald Henderson and Josh McRoberts for fair prices. In the draft, the Bobcats passed on Nerlens Noel‘s upside in favor of Zeller’s ability to contribute right away, another decision that reflected the club’s desire to improve in the short-term.

Still, while the acquisition of Jefferson and continued improvement from Charlotte’s young players should add up to more wins in 2013/14, this still doesn’t look like a playoff team, which likely means a spot in the NBA’s no-man’s land — somewhere between a postseason berth and a top-five pick. Depending on how the Bobcats, Pistons, and Blazers perform this season, Charlotte could have as many as three first-round picks in 2014, which is good news, considering how strong the draft is expected to be. But the addition of Jefferson means the club is probably just good enough not to be involved in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes, which could leave the Bobcats where they’ve been for the last several years: Narrowly missing out on the opportunity to draft an impact player.

It’s hard to blame the Bobcats for not deliberately tanking the season, especially after owner Michael Jordan publicly suggested it’s not a strategy he believes in. But after a couple seasons among the NBA’s bottom-dwellers, the timing of the decision to improve now is unfortunate. There are several prospects projected to be difference-makers in the 2014 draft, meaning that even a team with the fourth or fifth pick could land a star. In other words, if there was ever a time to have a bad season, this is that time.

On a move-by-move basis, you could make the case that the Bobcats had a strong offseason. Jefferson is probably a bit overpaid, and Zeller was a surprising pick at No. 4 overall, but the Bobcats added and retained more talent than they lost, and will be better this season than they were a year ago. Although the club’s summer approach may not be in its best long-term interests, the strategy wasn’t surprising, considering how the last several years have played out in Charlotte.

Teams With Multiple Clients Of The Same Agency

Agents might not have as much power in the salary-capped world of the NBA as they do in baseball, but they still have plenty to do with the way pro basketball works. Just this week, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge cited the potential influence that agent Jeff Schwartz and his representation of Paul PierceDeron Williams and Jason Kidd had on this summer's Nets/Celtics blockbuster trade. Teams with a collection of players (and coaches) who work with the same agency often find themselves reliant on those agents for help when it's time to deal.

The connection between the Knicks and Creative Artists Agency has been well-documented. The Hoops Rumors Agency Database shows five Knicks with CAA. Four of them have Leon Rose as their representative, including Carmelo Anthony, offseason trade acquisition Andrea Bargnani, and J.R. Smith, who re-signed with the team on a three-year deal. Even coach Mike Woodson is a CAA client, at the behest of the team, which reportedly didn't want to deal with his old agents because of a lingering grudge.

The Mavericks also have five players with the same agency, with summer signee Monta Ellis the most significant name among the Relativity Sports Clients in Dallas. Relativity CEO Happy Walters splits the representation of Ellis with Jeff Fried of Peake Management Group, as we learned last week. 

Not every collection of players who have the same agency constitutes a power bloc. BDA Management claims Perry Jones III, Andre Roberson and Hasheem Thabeet of the Thunder, but GM Sam Presti probably isn't too concerned with BDA's sphere of influence. Still, plenty of heavy hitters group together, like Chris BoshDwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem of the Heat, all of whom are Henry Thomas clients. 

I've listed every team with at least three players who have the same agency. In some cases, multiple agencies have groups of three or more on a team. The players are listed with their primary agents in parentheses, where applicable. The list may not be 100% accurate, given the difficulty of finding agency information that's up-to-date for each of the league's 450-some players, but if you spot an error or omission, let us know.

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Bobcats

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

  • Wasserman Media Group (3) — Kentavious Caldwell-PopeTony Mitchell (both Thad Foucher) and Kyle Singler (Greg Lawrence)

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Philadelphia 76ers

Portland Trail Blazers

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

The Hoops Rumors Agency Database was used in the creation of this post.

Opt-Outs On Two-Year Deals Becoming Common

As the free agent signing period slows down, we'll continue to use the data compiled in our Free Agent Tracker to assess the offseason's trends and items of interest. Already, Chuck Myron has examined the most and least active NBA teams in free agency, as well as listing each team's most expensive free agent addition.

Today, we'll turn our attention to the two-year contracts signed so far by this offseason's free agents. Based on reports to date, 47 players have signed two-year deals with NBA teams. However, only a small fraction of those contracts are guaranteed for two full seasons. In most cases, either the player or the team has the chance to opt out after the first year of the deal, or perhaps even before that.

The increasing popularity of this sort of contract shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the league's latest Collective Bargaining Agreement has reduced the length of contracts in general. With teams valuing cap flexibility more than ever, it makes sense that clubs would be interested in locking up a player for one guaranteed season, then re-assessing the situation next summer.

Meanwhile, for players who may have been unable to score the lenghty multiyear deal they were originally seeking, accepting one guaranteed year with a player option is a decent compromise. A successful season will give the player another chance to test the market a year from now, while that option provides some financial security in the event of a down year.

Of the 47 players who have signed two-year contracts this offseason, 14 have a second-year player option. 12 more have a team option or non-guaranteed salary for their second year, after a fully guaranteed first year. Three more only have a partially guaranteed first season to go along with a non-guaranteed second year. Four (Donald Sloan, Ian Clark, Jeremy Tyler, and Elias Harris) are not believed to have fully guaranteed deals, though the exact terms of their agreement aren't yet known. That leaves just 14 of 47 players with two fully guaranteed seasons on their deals.

Interestingly, those fully guaranteed two-year contracts were typically handed out by the same few teams. The Spurs, Pistons, Pacers, Mavericks, and Hawks all signed multiple players to fully guaranteed two-year deals. That doesn't necessarily mean those teams had the same motivations — the Pacers and Spurs appear unlikely to be major players in 2014's free agent period, so perhaps including options for '14/15 was unnecessary. On the other hand, the Mavs and Hawks may not want to go year-to-year with their rosters, constantly using cap space to plug in players on one-year contracts. Or perhaps some of the players these teams signed simply demanded that guaranteed second year, lest they take their services elsewhere.

In any case, while teams may not be handing out lucrative one-year deals as frequently as they used to, it's clear that teams still value the flexibility that de facto one-year contracts provide. Here's the complete list of players who signed two-year deals this summer, broken down by contract type:

Fully guaranteed:

Second-year player option:

Second-year non-guaranteed or team option:

  • Earl Clark (Cavaliers): $8.5MM. $4.25MM non-guaranteed.
  • Samuel Dalembert (Mavericks): $7.57MM. $2.07MM non-guaranteed.
  • Tyler Hansbrough (Raptors): $6.51MM. $2.33MM non-guaranteed.
  • Chauncey Billups (Pistons): $5MM. $2.5MM team option.
  • Jason Maxiell (Magic): $5MM. $2.5MM non-guaranteed.
  • John Lucas III (Jazz): $3.2MM. $1.6MM non-guaranteed.
  • Pero Antic (Hawks): $2.45MM. $1.25MM non-guaranteed.
  • Dwight Buycks (Raptors): $1.52MM. $816K non-guaranteed.
  • Francisco Garcia (Rockets): Minimum salary. $1.32MM non-guaranteed.
  • Ronnie Price (Magic): Minimum salary. $1.32MM non-guaranteed.
  • Omri Casspi (Rockets): Minimum salary. $1.06MM non-guaranteed.
  • Austin Daye (Raptors): Minimum salary. $1.06MM non-guaranteed.

Both years non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed:

  • Andrew Bynum (Cavaliers): $24.79MM. $6MM of first year guaranteed.
  • Reggie Williams (Rockets): Minimum salary. 50% of first year guaranteed.
  • C.J. Leslie (Knicks): Minimum salary. $200K of first year guaranteed.

Details not yet known (believed to be partially guaranteed):

  • Ian Clark (Jazz)
  • Elias Harris (Lakers)
  • Donald Sloan (Pacers)
  • Jeremy Tyler (Knicks)

HoopsWorld and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

Offseason In Review: Charlotte Bobcats

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 and Claims

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

The only glimmer of optimism for the Bobcats, as they finished off a season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history, was that it couldn't conceivably get any worse. Though the team failed to parlay a one-in-four chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick and the opportunity to select Anthony Davis in this year's draft, the Cats still wound up with the No. 2 pick, which they used on defensive ace Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. President of basketball operations Rod Higgins said around the trade deadline last year that he and GM Rich Cho weren't looking for any quick fixes, and it seems like, with expectations as low as they can be, owner Michael Jordan is content to let his front office build at a deliberate pace. That seems logical, given the daunting task of rebuilding ahead of them.

Charlotte's philosophy was reflected in its coaching search, which Higgins once referred to as moving at a "nice, slow pace." Cho said the team wanted a coach who saw the job as an opportunity rather than a burden, which may have been tough to find if many agreed with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who called the opening "one of the least appealing coaching jobs in modern NBA history." The Bobcats made a surprising hire, going with Mike Dunlap, a relatively obscure college coach, over Nate McMillan, Brian Shaw and others. Dunlap has answered doubts as the team has shown competency early in the season, but even if the Bobcats had fallen flat, he'll be measured more by the development of the players than by wins and losses. The hiring came with risk, like any unconventional move, but he was an inexpensive choice, and the gamble could pay off if he's able to connect with the team's young talent.

Furthering their commitment to a slow-paced rebuild, the Bobcats traded Corey Maggette, who had one year at $10.9MM on his deal, for Ben Gordon, who'll get $12.4MM this season and will almost certainly exercise his $13.2MM player option for 2013/14. The payoff for taking on more money and more years is a protected first-round pick. The Pistons will keep the pick next June as long as they're in the lottery, which seems likely, but the selection is only top-eight protected in 2014 and top-one protected in 2015. If the Bobcats still haven't received the pick by then, it becomes unprotected for 2016. In any case, Charlotte seems destined for an extra lottery pick sooner or later, which seems to justify the use of cap space on Gordon that they probably wouldn't otherwise be using for a player who might put them over the top.

Other teams tried to convince the Bobcats to pull off one more trade, as the No. 2 pick in June's draft drew plenty of interest. They turned down an offer from the Wolves for 2011 second overall selection Derrick Williams, choosing to hold on to the pick and turn it into Kidd-Gilchrist, a lockdown perimeter defender who helps a Charlotte team that gave up 100.9 points last season, the fourth most in the NBA. Kidd-Gilchrist put up only 10.9 points per game in his only college season, but that's largely because he only averaged only 8.9 shots per contest for a loaded Kentucky team. The Cats also got Vanderbilt sharpshooter Jeff Taylor with the first pick in the second round, locking up a player who seemed targeted as a late first-rounder to a three-year deal at only slightly more than the minimum.

Higgins and Cho could have opened up more cap space by putting Tyrus Thomas on amnesty waivers, but there was no pressing need to do so. The team is looking to get rid of the final three years and $26.083MM of his contract via trades, though his left leg injury this season complicates that effort. The team used most of its available cap room to snatch up Ramon Sessions at an annual cost of $5MM for two years. Sessions declined his $4.55MM option with the Lakers for 2012/13 even though he said in May that he wanted to stay with the team, and when Steve Nash unexpectedly took his spot as the starting point guard in L.A., it short-circuited any plan Sessions might have had to re-sign with the Lakers. Sessions said last month that he opted out because he was looking for long-term stability, but he probably didn't envision going from a perennial contender to the worst team in the league on a two-year deal worth only slightly more money per season. He surely didn't imagine coming off the bench for the Bobcats, either, but he's served the team well in that capacity, as he's their second-leading scorer this season at 15.6 points per game. That's much more scoring than they got from D.J. Augustin, whom the team allowed to sign with the Pacers once Sessions was on board.

Charlotte used its cap space one more time to claim Brendan Haywood off amnesty waivers from the Mavs, winning his services with a bid worth slightly more than $2MM a year for three seasons. That's probably still too high a price for the 33-year-old big man, but for the Bobcats, the addition makes sense, since he's a legitimate center and 11-year vet who was a mainstay on a string of playoff teams with the Wizards. He's also a former teammate of Jordan's, which surely didn't hurt his chances of getting claimed by the Bobcats, even if the move does nothing to dispel Jordan's reputation for surrounding himself with cronies.

The Bobcats decided against an extension for Gerald Henderson, their 12th overall pick from 2009, an unsurprising decision that may signal the end of the swingman's time in Charlotte, particularly since the team drafted fellow wing players Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor this year. Byron Mullens, who's exceeded expectations this season, will also hit restricted free agency next summer. Charlotte faces plenty of decisions on which of its young players to keep in the coming seasons, but offseasons like this past summer, in which the team isn't scrambling for a quick fix, will allow the Bobcats the flexibility to stay focused on youth and retain homegrown talent as they see fit.

Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia 76ers

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.

R.I.P. The Process (2013-2016)

After implementing one of the most unorthodox strategies in recent memory, the Sixers brought in Jerry Colangelo to be the team’s chairman of basketball operations. That was followed by Sam Hinkie stepping down with a glorious 13-page resignation letter, although some would say he was pushed out.

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Hinkie didn’t produce wins, as the team only won 47 games during his three seasons as the GM (six teams in the Eastern Conference won more than 47 games this season).  However, winning games during his first few seasons was never the goal. Hinkie’s focus was constructing a team that could grow and consistently compete for titles, yet there are not many pieces to that quixotic team on the current roster. The upcoming draft should provide at least more foundational piece, but even if Ben Simmons is the next coming of LeBron James, Philadelphia isn’t going claim a seat at the title contenders’ table during the next several seasons given the time it takes even the best prospects to elevate their franchise.

That being said, Hinkie’s tenure should not be considered a failure. He restocked a cupboard that was barren after the ill-fated Andrew Bynum deal and advocates of Hinkie will tell you that he never lost a trade. From the Jrue Holiday trade to the fleecing of the Kings, every deal put the franchise in a better position at least in the long-term. Nevertheless, the team’s array of first and second round picks does Hinkie no good while he’s sitting on his couch.

Colangelo has since shuffled into an advisory role and the team named his son the president of basketball operations and GM. Bryan Colangelo will begin his tenure with as much ammunition as one could reasonably ask for when taking over a struggling franchise.

Draft Outlook

  • First-round picks: 1st, 24th, 26th
  • Second-round picks: None

It will be shocking if the Sixers don’t select Simmons with the No.1 overall pick. The 19-year-old seems to be the favorite of coach Brett Brown and with his arsenal of skills, it’s easy to see why Simmons should be the pick. He’s a natural on the hardwood with the court vision of a seasoned point guard, as I detailed in my Prospect Profile of the former LSU Tiger. That, combined with his 6″10″, 240lb frame, gives him the ability to play any position on the floor.

Philadelphia will have more of a dilemma with the 24th and 26th picks. The team doesn’t have any young promising players in its backcourt, so adding a play-maker or two should be an objective. Demetrius Jackson or Tyler Ulis could be options. Dejounte Murray would be a nice pick if he’s not selected before the end of the first round. Murray will need some time to develop, but unless Colangelo brings in a batch of veterans, there will be minutes available to allow his game to grow.

The team doesn’t have a second round pick because of the 2012 draft night trade that brought in Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie trudged through two seasons in Philadelphia before being traded to the Knicks.

Potential Trades

The team could pick up one more draft pick if they decide to trade Jahlil Okafor to the Celtics in exchange for the No.3 pick. In that scenario, Jamal Murray has a great chance to be the selection. The Sixers reportedly believe he has more upside than anyone in the draft and he would be a nice fit for the team, as I wrote in my Prospect Profile of the 19-year-old.

Philadelphia has shopped Okafor and Nerlens Noel to approximately 15 teams, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The front office seems dedicated to having a more balanced roster to start the 2016/17 campaign and trading one of their healthy big men would help achieve that goal.

The rumored Jeff Teague-Noel deal would give them a solid starter at the point guard position. Teague only has one year at $8MM left on his current deal and giving up Noel for a player who can bolt so soon certainly carries risk. However, if you examine the chain of events leading up to this potential trade, it’s an easier risk to take. During the 2013 draft, Philly traded Holiday for Noel and the pick that it used to acquire the rights to Dario Saric. Now, nearly three years later, the team ponders trading Noel for Teague, who has proved to be a better player than Holiday. That would be net win considering the Sixers still have the rights to Saric and they arn’t getting a vastly superior player in exchange for the offensively challenged center.

Derrick Rose is another option for the team to consider should the Bulls look to deal him. As I wrote in Okafor’s Trade Candidate piece, Philadelphia would give Rose a comfortable situation to re-establish himself as a star in this league. Trading a package headlined by Rose may not be enough for the Bulls to bring Okafor to Chicago, but some version of a Noel-Rose deal makes sense for both sides.

Free Agent Targets

With only slightly over $24.5MM in guaranteed salary on the books against a projected $92MM salary cap, the Sixers will likely be more involved in free agency this offseason than in previous years. That figure doesn’t include the non-guaranteed salaries for Robert Covington, Kendall Marshall, Jerami Grant and T.J. McConnell. All four have a good chance to be with the team next season, although Covington reportedly could be dealt to Atlanta in a Teague trade and McConnell or Marshall could be waived if the team brings aboard a point guard or two. Still, even it keeps all four and factoring in the team’s cap holds, Philly will have somewhere north of $46.8MM in available cap space.

Harrison Barnes would be a nice addition and it looks as if giving him a four year max contract will be necessary if an opposing team is going to lure him away from Golden State. The exact figure on Barnes’ potential max deal won’t be determined until July since the maximum salary is tied to the salary cap. The first year of a contract for a player with 4 years experience is roughly 25% of the salary cap. If we use the projected $92MM as that figure, Barnes would make an estimated $23MM during the 2016/17 and slightly under $98.4MM over the four seasons of his max deal. That’s not an ideal contract, but Philadelphia can afford to make such an offer because it doesn’t have any pricey long-term contracts on the books. Also, this offseason is the time to make that kind of risky offer. A potential max deal for Barnes or any free agent would coincide with a rookie deal for Simmons, who can make roughly $5.9MM next season. Simmons’ deal, which could pay him approximately $26.6MM over the next four seasons if selected with the No.1 pick, will immediately be one of the best deals in the NBA because of the cost controlled nature of rookie scale deals. Paying $28.9MM or slightly over 31.4% of your salary cap to Simmons and Barnes doesn’t appear as preposterous when you view the deals as a combined unit.

Joel Embiid‘s Health

Embiid has yet to play a minute of action since entering the NBA. He likely wont take part in summer league, as the team doesn’t want to take any chance that he won’t be ready for the 2016/17 campaign due to a setback. That sounds dreary, but the big man did look good in pregame drills during the latter half of last season when no one was defending him. Stay tuned.

Final Take

After years of trying, the Sixers actually landed the top overall pick and who they select with the pick will shape the franchise for years to come (Surely, there is a chance they select Brandon Ingram, but realistically speaking, Simmons will be the pick). How they decide to surround the No. 1 overall pick will determine how soon they are ready to compete. The team will produce more wins during the 2016/17 campaign than this past season, but that will be more of a testament to how bad Philly was over the last year and how the front office strategy has changed than how good the team actually will be. The future is bright in Philadelphia, but season ticket holders shouldn’t need to allocate funds for playoff tickets just yet.

 

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • Hollis Thompson ($1,015,696) — salary non-guaranteed even if option picked up

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offers/Cap Holds)

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

Top Bloggers: Lucas Hann On The Clippers

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 with a 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 about the Rockets with Ethan Rothstein, who is the managing editor of SB Nation’s The Dream ShakeClick here to see the entire Top Bloggers series.

Next up is Lucas Hann, the editor-in-chief of SB Nation’s Clips Nationa Clippers blog. You can follow Lucas on Twitter at @LucasJHannClick here to check out his stories.

Hoops Rumors: Paul Pierce retirement talk came up again lately. Do you think Pierce will walk away after the season, and if he does, would the Clippers be better off?

Lucas Hann: I think it’s time for Pierce to walk away from the game. Last season, he was able to contribute as a shooter and he had enough of a resurgence to justify running it back — this year there’s been no such contribution. He’s shot just 30% from deep on a high volume of good looks, and the rest of his game continues to suffer as he ages. It would certainly be best for both the player and the team.

Hoops Rumors: While there is no denying his talent, Blake Griffin has seemingly been more of a distraction than a leader this season. Should the Clippers look to trade Griffin this summer? If so, which team would be the best fit?

Lucas Hann: There is no way on Earth that the Clippers should trade Blake Griffin.

Hoops Rumors: LeBron James has said that he hopes to play alongside Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony at some point in his career. Say Cleveland were to offer Kyrie Irving straight up for Paul this summer. Should the Clippers pull the trigger on this hypothetical swap?

Lucas Hann: I don’t think that an Irving-Paul swap would be advantageous for the Clippers. While Irving is much younger, Paul is still the better player, defender, and leader, and his game certainly seems well-equipped to age gracefully.

Hoops Rumors: Small forward has been the Clippers’ weak spot the past couple of seasons. Whom can they realistically target to shore up the three spot this summer?

Lucas Hann: The reality of the situation is that with three max contract players, the Clippers’ options to fill roster holes have been incredibly limited over the last few years — not just at small forward, but in the search for a third big as well. They’ve had minimum-level players perform relatively well (Wes Johnson, Matt Barnes), but nobody available for the league minimum can really help in the way that the Clippers have needed. In essence, even though he’s less than perfect, Jeff Green has to be the guy at long-term small forward. If the fit is good — and it’s safe to say the jury is still out — his Bird rights will be the best tool they have to acquire any player this offseason. It’s either Jeff Green, or running it back with Wes Johnson and Luc Mbah a Moute (if you can even afford to re-sign those guys).

Hoops Rumors: How would you grade the performance of Doc Rivers as a coach and as an executive?

Lucas Hann: Grading Doc is very hard because it’s a complex situation, and when you’re as close to it as I am, it’s a lot harder to look at the track record and give him an F. The Spencer Hawes signing, Jared Dudley trade, Lance Stephenson acquisition, etc. — they’ve all been flops. Hawes was a waste of the mid-level and became salary dump fodder, and the Clippers had to give up future firsts in trades where they got rid of Dudley and Lance. There have been other, minor mishaps, like the Jordan Farmar signing and the ineffective minimum guys (Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and a million others). I’m firmly pro-Doc, so let me explain myself: the Hawes/Dudley/Lance moves, while bad in retrospect, seemed anywhere from good to acceptable at the time, not just to me but across the board. We don’t know how the Jeff Green move will pan out yet but hopefully it will be a step in the right direction. The small failures shouldn’t really be considered failures at all, seeing as minimum-salary players can’t have huge expectations. He should also get credit for a few things: creating the J.J. Redick we know today, and finding solid cheap guys like Matt Barnes, Darren Collison, Wes Johnson, and Cole Aldrich. The Reggie Bullock-for-Austin Rivers trade was clearly a good move for the Clippers as well, cries of nepotism be damned.

As far as his draft record, it’s bad but limited. Picks in the 20s have about a 30% chance of turning into NBA players — he’s chosen 2 guys in that range: Reggie Bullock, who is looking like he’s not in that mold, and C.J. Wilcox, who is still a second-year player developing on the Clippers. He also made a move to buy a second round pick and select Branden Dawson, and it makes him look brilliant if Dawson ever becomes something and can’t be held against him if Dawson flares out. I’m of the opinion that it’s too early to label him a “bad drafter,” but he’s running out of leash.

Overall, on the executive side, Rivers has to be given a C. He hasn’t made many indefensible bad moves, and he’s made some minor moves that turned out far better than expected (Rivers/Aldrich). The draft record is bad, but it’s still early. I think that Doc’s concerns lie primarily year-to-year as the coach of this team, and the organization would benefit from a GM with a more long-term, asset management perspective.

On the coaching side, it’s simpler. Rivers remains a very good basketball coach, while probably not top-tier in the NBA. Certain substitution patterns can be frustrating at times (he often refuses to stagger starters with the bench, letting up huge runs) but overall he uses the regular season as an 82-game development course, readying certain players and lineups for postseason minutes. The game-to-game impatience of fans is often a source of valid criticism, but Doc’s playing a different game. I’d give him a B-plus on the coaching front.

Hoops Rumors: Say you were given the ability to alter one decision the Clippers have made the past three seasons, be it a signing, draft pick, trade, hiring or any other move. Which would you change?

Lucas Hann: The easiest redo would be a draft pick — in 2013, Rudy Gobert, Allen Crabbe and a few more serviceable guys went after Reggie Bullock, and in 2014, the story remains true for C.J. Wilcox. That said, I think it would be a cop-out, because every year every team misses on guys. It’s just the nature of the draft. So I’ll be a little more creative and go with the offseason signings of Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar in the summer of 2014. The Clippers had two opportunities to add above-minimum level guys to the roster — the mid-level exception and the much smaller biannual exception. They convinced Hawes, a hot commodity who was offered far more and starting roles, to take a pay cut to be a backup on a good team, and brought in Jordan Farmar with the biannual to be a capable backup point guard and provide depth shooting. We know how the story goes — Hawes flares out, shooting poorly and finding himself out of the rotation come playoff time. Jordan Farmar’s fate was worse, exiting the rotation less than halfway through the season before being cut. The Clippers then moved on to win an amazing first-round series against the Spurs before collapsing, fatigued against Houston in the second round. Doc Rivers relied solely upon his starters and three reserves (Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and Glen Davis) in those two series, and the lack of depth was ultimately what did the Clippers in. If they had an opportunity to redo those two signings (or at least the Hawes one, which was more significant salary-wise), they could potentially have had another big-time contributor in those playoff series.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this interview.

Offseason In Review: Philadelphia 76ers

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

  • Malcolm Thomas: Four years, $4.373MM. Signed via cap room. First year is partially guaranteed for $474K. Second, third and fourth years are non-guaranteed. Fourth year is also team option. (Waived after season began)
  • JaKarr Sampson: Four years, $3.384MM. Signed via cap room. First year is partially guaranteed for $50K. Second, third and fourth years are non-guaranteed. Fourth year is also team option.

Extensions

  • None

Trades

  • Acquired 2014 pick No. 12, Orlando’s 2015 second-round pick, and their own 2017 first-round pick that they’d given up in a previous trade from the Magic in exchange for 2014 pick No. 10.
  • Acquired the rights to Pierre Jackson from the Pelicans in exchange for 2014 pick No. 47.
  • Acquired 2014 pick No. 58 and 2014 pick No. 60 from the Spurs in exchange for 2014 pick No. 54.
  • Acquired cash from the Nets in exchange for 2014 pick No. 60.
  • Acquired Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved, and Miami’s 2015 first-round pick (top-10 protected) in a three-way trade with the Cavaliers and Timberwolves in exchange for Thaddeus Young.
  • Acquired Hasheem Thabeet and $100K cash from the Thunder in exchange for Philadelphia’s 2015 second-round pick (top-55 protected). Thabeet was subsequently waived.
  • Acquired Keith Bogans and Cleveland’s 2018 second-round pick from the Cavaliers in exchange for Philadelphia’s 2015 second-round pick if it falls from pick No. 51 through No. 55, as long as the Sixers don’t have to send it to the Celtics to satisfy an obligation from previous trades. Bogans was subsequently waived.
  • Acquired Marquis Teague and the more favorable of Milwaukee’s and Sacramento’s 2019 second-round picks from the Nets in exchange for Casper Ware. Teague was subsequently waived.
  • Acquired Travis Outlaw, New York’s 2019 second-round pick, and the right to swap the Clippers’ 2018 second-round pick with New York’s 2018 second-round pick from the Knicks in exchange for Arnett Moultrie. Outlaw was subsequently waived.

Waiver Claims

  • Chris Johnson: Claimed from the Celtics. Three years, $2.948MM remaining. Contract is non-guaranteed. Final year is also team option.

Draft Picks

  • Joel Embiid (Round 1, 3rd overall). Signed via rookie scale exception to rookie scale contract.
  • Dario Saric (Round 1, 12th overall). Playing overseas.
  • K.J. McDaniels (Round 2, 32nd overall). Signed required tender for one year, $507K. Non-guaranteed.
  • Jerami Grant (Round 2, 39th overall). Signed via cap room for four years, $3.762MM. Third and fourth years are non-guaranteed. Fourth year is also team option.
  • Vasilije Micic (Round 2, 52nd overall). Playing overseas.
  • Jordan McRae (Round 2, 58th overall). Playing overseas.
  • Pierre Jackson (2013, Round 2, 42nd overall). Signed via cap room for one year, $507K. Partially guaranteed for $400K. Subsequently waived.

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

You might assume that a team that pulls off nine trades in a single offseason and comes away with two of the top 12 picks in the draft would be in line to make significant improvements on a 19-63 record from the season before. But in the Bizarro world of the Sixers, where the concerns of tomorrow effectively blot out the existence of today, such conventional wisdom simply doesn’t hold. Those nine trades netted only a pair of players who are on the current roster. One of those top 12 picks is months from playing again, while the other probably won’t be in the NBA until 2016/17. Malcolm Thomas, the team’s most lucrative free agent signee, inked but a four-year, minimum-salary contract, and the Sixers have already released him.

NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Hornets at Philadelphia 76ersUltimately, the key figure of Philly’s summer of 2014 will be No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid, who seemed primed to become the top pick until he broke his foot several days before the draft. The fear that Embiid might miss a significant portion of this season, if not all of it, dissuaded the Cavs and Bucks, who held the top two picks, from drafting him. Neither of them had the stomach to wait that long and risk that the 7-footer would never make it back fully healthy. The Sixers, with more patience than any team in memory, had no such qualms. Of course, it’s not necessarily a matter of merely waiting, since the Cameroonian’s skills, though eminently intriguing, are raw and in need of careful development. The Sixers already have 6’11” Nerlens Noel in place to offset the risk that Embiid simply doesn’t pan out, and while Noel has returned seemingly at full strength after missing all of 2013/14, two big men with a history of injuries doesn’t always add up to at least one healthy player.

There’s no specific timetable for Embiid’s return to the lineup, and there seems a decent chance that he, like Noel, will sit out the first year of his rookie scale contract. This, too, is a gamble for the Sixers, since even as they may be willing to wait longer to compete than anyone had imagined a team could, their up-and-coming talent won’t wait an eternity to be paid. The Sixers surely have no shortage of flexibility to grant extensions or new contracts to Noel and reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams when the time comes. Still, if 2014/15 is a lost cause of a year for Philadelphia, at least as far as the standings are concerned, that means Noel and Carter-Williams will have gone through half of their bargain rookie scale contracts without the Sixers having reaped much tangible benefit.

Philadelphia could nonetheless convert their existing talent into yet more future considerations, and reports this summer indicated the team considered trading Carter-Williams, with the acquisition of another high draft pick in mind. Such a swap would seem a last resort even for the brazen Sixers, as there’s seemingly little logic in giving up on a young prospect who’s already shown signs of achievement for the goal of either acquiring promising but unproven talent or buying more time to develop the rest of the team. Of course, GM Sam Hinkie doesn’t necessarily agree with that sentiment.

Hinkie and owner Josh Harris, who has empowered the GM to ignore any regard for winning in the near term, nearly found out the hard way what it’s like to hold an unpopular opinion about the way an NBA team should conduct its business. Rampant distaste around the NBA for Philadelphia’s take-no-prisoners approach to rebuilding fueled a league proposal to change the lottery and reduce the chances that the teams at the very bottom of the standings each year would receive the top pick in the subsequent draft. Luckily for the Sixers, they found an ally in Thunder GM Sam Presti, whose campaign against lottery reform seemed to play a crucial role in convincing enough owners to block the measure, which needed a three-fourths majority to pass. Support for adding greater disincentive to tank still remains, and another proposal seems likely to surface. It’s nonetheless an issue that almost certainly won’t affect the 2015 lottery, allowing the Sixers to proceed with their radical plan for the time being.

Even if the 2016 lottery takes place under a different set of rules, that still gives Hinkie plenty of time to prepare. The GM has made his moves in relatively short order even as he keeps his eye firmly on long-term goals. He traded his team’s three most talented healthy players from the start of last season within a span of six months, completing the trifecta when he shipped Thaddeus Young to Minnesota as the third team in the trade that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland. The prize for Philadelphia was the future first-round pick that Hinkie had been unable to obtain for Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes. Six of the nine trades the Sixers made in the offseason sent draft picks for 2014 and beyond to Philadelphia. They netted just two first-round picks, but Hinkie continued to demonstrate his affection for second-rounders. Philadelphia could make as many as a dozen second-round picks between 2015 and 2019 after making four this past June.

One of those second-rounders threw the Sixers a curve this summer. No. 32 overall pick K.J. McDaniels, a small forward from Clemson talented enough to go in the first round, balked when the Sixers offered a deal similar to the four-year, mostly non-guaranteed contract for slightly better than the minimum salary that they gave No. 39 overall pick Jerami Grant. McDaniels probably could have grabbed a more lucrative contract overseas, but agent Mark Bartelstein convinced him to bet that a one-year deal for the minimum salary with zero guaranteed money provided the best way to beat Philly’s system. McDaniels signed the required tender for those terms, an offer that the Sixers had to make to keep his draft rights, and so far, his gamble appears to be paying off at least to a modest extent, as he’s averaged 7.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 28.4 minutes per game across five starts. He’s set for restricted free agency next summer, when he’ll be 21, and though the Sixers still have the ability to match all offers, McDaniels has the ability to solicit bids from 30 teams instead of just one, as he did this past summer.

The McDaniels saga proves that while Harris and Hinkie are bent on future glory at the expense of the present, the concerns of today are nonetheless important for realizing the dreams of tomorrow. The Sixers have to give at least enough regard to the talent they have already in their possession if they’re ever to gather enough of it to start to build some momentum toward their ultimate goals. It’s unclear whether the team regards McDaniels as an outlier or a trend-setter, but it’s critical for the Sixers that they heed all the lessons they learn from their experiment.

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

Offseason In Review: Los Angeles Clippers

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 rights to head coach Doc Rivers from the Celtics in exchange for an unprotected 2015 first-round pick.
  • Acquired J.J. Redick from the Bucks and Jared Dudley from the Suns in exchange for Eric Bledsoe (to Suns), Caron Butler (to Suns), and a 2015 second-round pick (51-60 protected; to Bucks). Redick was signed-and-traded for four years, $27.76MM.

Draft Picks

  • Reggie Bullock (Round 1, 25th overall). Signed via rookie exception.

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

  • None

Those who believe NBA head coaches have little effect on the game and are largely interchangeable can’t point to what the Clippers did this offseason as evidence. The team engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth with the Celtics over coach Doc Rivers, with negotiations seemingly stalling at multiple points before Rivers finally settled on heading to L.A. and the Clippers and Celtics agreed on a second-round pick as compensation. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, notoriously thrifty with coaches and executives, no doubt swallowed much harder at the prospect of giving up $21MM over three years in salary for the new coach, who’ll also head up the front office.

Securing Rivers also cost the team any chance it had at acquiring trade targets Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, since the league has banned any further transactions between the clubs this season. Exchanging active players for coaches would be a violation of league rules, and the NBA doesn’t want to open itself to speculation that another swap was always in the works as further compensation for the Celtics’ decision to let Rivers go. Garnett and Pierce wound up with the Nets instead, and while it’s possible they could eventually end up in L.A. via Brooklyn, I wouldn’t be surprised if the league put the kibosh on that, too.

Of course, it was commissioner David Stern who famously blocked a trade that would have sent Chris Paul from New Orleans to the Lakers, giving the Clippers the opportunity to acquire the All-Star point guard for themselves after the 2011 lockout. The bill came due this summer when Paul hit unrestricted free agency, but he made it clear from the start of the 2012/13 season that he didn’t want it to be his last with the Clippers, who’d begun to give Paul some input on their front office decision-making.

There were some tense moments, as teams like the Hawks and Rockets dreamed of teaming Paul with Dwight Howard, the other prize on the free agent market. If there was any serious doubt about Paul re-signing, it happened when the club let go of coach Vinny Del Negro in the spring. The superstar was reportedly upset when owner Donald Sterling intimated that Paul was behind the coach’s ouster. That tempest didn’t last, and oddly enough, it was when the Clippers hired Rivers, a move Paul seemed to push for, that the point guard’s return to the team finally seemed 100% assured. The Clippers and the 28-year-old veteran of six All-Star games agreed to a max contract on the first day of free agency. It was the rare case of a nine-figure outlay that drew little criticism for being too lucrative, and Paul’s 12.2 assists per game to start the season, which would be a career-high, have done nothing to fuel any skeptics.

Not all of the team’s moves this summer were immune to second-guessing, and even Sterling quickly soured on the next most important transaction the team made this summer. The owner reportedly gave his approval to the three-team trade that netted J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, but revoked it after executives from all three clubs and agent Arn Tellem, who represents Redick, had agreed to the package. That left Tellem, Redick and the executives outraged, and the trade only happened after Rivers pleaded with Sterling to once more change his mind.

The owner got over his fears of committing more than mid-level money to Redick, a player who’s never started more than 22 games in a single season. Sterling also consented to the departure of Bledsoe, whom he was fond of even though Paul’s presence at point guard assured the 23-year-old would never reach his full potential in a Clippers uniform. The owner wasn’t alone in having those misgivings, but Redick and Dudley, whose reasonably priced contract offsets the notion that the team is overpaying Redick, give the team a pair of desirable complementary offensive weapons to soup up an already potent attack. The aging Caron Butler‘s bloated expiring contract and Bledsoe, who’d be nailed to the bench in L.A., was a fair price.

Acquiring two starters for the price of one in that deal allowed the Clippers to use the mid-level exception on their bench. They gave the better part of it to Matt Barnes, whose limited Non-Bird rights wouldn’t have been enough to retain him after his valuable performance as a reserve last season. More than a half-dozen teams were after the gritty small forward, who wound up inking the most lucrative deal he’d ever signed. That’s not an achievement most 33-year-olds are able to pull off, but Barnes is becoming more efficient as he ages, notching career-high 15.5 PERs in each of the past two seasons. His toughness is an asset on a club so worried about being considered a finesse team that it called for an end to its “Lob City” nickname in training camp.

The rest of the mid-level went to Darren Collison, a point guard coming off a disastrous season with the Mavericks. Collison lost his starting job in Dallas to journeyman Mike James, and the Mavs decided against tendering a qualifying offer to the player who’d at one point looked like a steal as the 21st overall draft pick in 2009. The Southern California native returns to familiar surroundings with an old teammate in Paul, whose injury when Collison was a rookie paved the way for the former UCLA Bruin to have a breakout year in 2009/10. The Clippers are banking on Collison to right himself so they don’t feel too much of a squeeze from Bledsoe’s departure.

Another player who’s experienced flameout in Dallas was on the Clippers’ radar this summer, but the team elected not to re-sign Lamar Odom when his off-court troubles made it too risky a proposition. It sounds like he’ll join the team at some point this season, but L.A. brought on veteran Antawn Jamison instead of Odom this summer. Jamison seemed perhaps the best bargain of 2012 when he signed his minimum-salary contract with the Lakers, but the 37-year-old’s steep regression last season made the minimum-salary price tag a fit this time around.

The Clippers aren’t deep at center and there are questions about whether they can get defensive stops when necessary, but the 2013/14 team is as well-positioned for a title run as any in franchise history. Paul, perhaps the best point guard in the game, is surrounded with Blake Griffin and a strong starting five, with capable backups at nearly every position and a coach with championship pedigree. Any organization tied to a pair of max contracts that are guaranteed through 2016/17 will have concerns about its flexibility, but neither of them will turn 30 until 2015, so there’s no reason to expect a drop-off in their games anytime soon. Unless the Lakers can convince LeBron James to sign with them in the near future, the best basketball in Staples Center will be played on a red-and-blue court for years to come.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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