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Hawks Among Those Interested In Zach LaVine

Count the Hawks among those interested in Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. They’ll join a handful of suitors that also includes the Kings, as we wrote about earlier this week.

Atlanta, like Sacramento, will have plenty of cap space to throw at the restricted free agent. A bidding war between clubs well short of the cap, coupled with the 23-year-old’s hypothetical ceiling, could drive the former slam dunk champion’s forthcoming contract through the roof.

While there are concerns about LaVine’s health following an ACL tear in early 2017, he remains a world-class athlete that averaged 18.9 points per game half-way through 2016/17 before succumbing to the injury.

LaVine performed admirably in just over a third of a season with the Bulls but Chicago may pause at the thought of matching a max or near-max contract offer sheet should either the Hawks or Kings decide to go that high.

It’s worth noting that Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has been particularly conservative financially throughout his short tenure with the franchise. That said, the chance to net a potential All-Star young enough to build around may prove too much to resist.

Odds & Ends: Oden, Thunder, Clippers

The Heat, Spurs and Mavs are the most likely to land Greg Oden when he makes his decision Friday, sources tell Jeff Goodman and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Goodman and Stein are hearing conflicting information on whether the Pelicans, Kings and Hawks remain in the running, but it appears New Orleans has the best chance out of those three. The Cavs, Celtics and Grizzlies have also expressed interest, but they declined to make formal offers, the report also says. Here's more on Oden and others around the Association:

  • Whichever team signs Oden once he makes his decision tomorrow won't be committing more than a few million dollars, leading HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy to argue that he's worth the risk. Taking such risks is what shrewd GM's do, SB Nation's Tom Ziller opines.
  • The league is reimbursing the Thunder $8MM, or roughly half of the difference between the money the team is shelling out for Kevin Durant and the smaller amount the Thunder agreed to pay when he signed his extension, Grantland's Zach Lowe tweets.
  • The ESPN.com staff is high on the Clippers, as Chad Ford gives them the only A+ among his Western Conference offseason grades (Insiders only), while the 5-on-5 crew lauds the team's acquisitions of coach Doc Rivers and sharpshooter Jared Dudley.
  • HoopsWorld's Nate Duncan profiles six players whom teams may have undervalued this summer.

Eastern Notes: Turner, Fields, Heat, Boozer

We've already had one update out of the Eastern Conference today, with ESPN.com's Marc Stein reporting that the Raptors have Mickael Pietrus on their radar. Let's round up a few more Friday morning items from the East….

  • Evan Turner spoke to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News about the adjustment from "standing out to fitting in" that he'd made since being drafted second overall by the Sixers in 2010. "I want to get minutes on the court and help the team out," Turner said. "Sometimes people don't think that's something that a guy who was the second pick would do. But here that's what I'm seen as and that's what I'm going to do to the best of my abilities."
  • Landry Fields got off to a terrible start with the Raptors, but given his elbow issues, it's unfair to call him a bust at this point, writes Stephen Brotherson of HoopsWorld. According to Brotherson, it will be at least another month or two before the team will really be able to tell what kind of player it signed.
  • In his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says a defensive-minded point guard is still something the Heat could use.
  • Sam Smith has his own mailbag up at Bulls.com, heavy on Chicago content. Among the highlights: Smith writes that every indication he's gotten to date indicates the Bulls don't plan to amnesty Carlos Boozer next summer.
  • Although he acknowledges it won't happen, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio suggests the Heat should consider trading Dwyane Wade, since a team like the Kings or Hawks would give up plenty of young talent and assets for the perennial All-Star, and the Heat could win without him (all Twitter links).

Latest On Wizards’ Front Office Search

After the Wizards fired Ernie Grunfeld with eight days left in the regular season, updates on their search for a new head of basketball operations were few and far between for the next several weeks. However, that changed this week.

According to various reports, three candidates to replace Grunfeld were in Washington to interview with the Wizards on Tuesday. According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (via Twitter), those candidates apparently met with the team one after another. They are as follows:

  • Danny Ferry: Formerly the GM of the Cavaliers and the Hawks, Ferry saw his time in Atlanta come to an end after he read an offensive comment from a scouting report on Luol Deng out loud during a conference call. Ferry is a Maryland native, and his father Bob Ferry was the Washington Bullets’ GM for much of the 1970s and ’80s. Most recently, Danny served as the Pelicans’ interim GM following Dell Demps‘ ouster.
  • Gersson Rosas: A longtime Rockets executive, Rosas currently serves as the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. He has drawn interest from multiple teams with front office openings this spring, including the Pelicans and Timberwolves — he remains in the running for the Minnesota job.
  • Troy Weaver: The VP of basketball operations for the Thunder, Weaver was linked to the Pistons’ head of basketball operations position in 2018, and to Kings and Hawks jobs in 2017. Interestingly, Weaver was mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Grunfeld way back in 2016.

Current Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard is also a contender to claim the permanent job, and according to both Buckner and Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is still very much on the Wizards’ radar.

Named a top candidate to run the Wizards’ front office in the wake of Grunfeld’s departure, Connelly was raised in Baltimore, Maryland and previously worked for the club. Sources tell Standig that personal considerations make the idea of returning to D.C. attractive for Connelly, with one source describing the position as Connelly’s “dream job.” However, given Denver’s ongoing success, it’s not clear if he’d want to leave the Nuggets at this time.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Front Office Shakeup Tracker]

Finally, Standig provides one more interesting tidbit, citing sources who say that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is “intrigued by the idea of moving to Washington.” Ujiri’s wife is from the D.C. area and the city would provide him with a larger platform for his “Basketball Without Borders” program, Standig notes.

Still, a league source tells NBC Sports Washington that Toronto is unlikely to grant rival teams permission to interview Ujiri.

Monta Ellis Parts Ways With Agent

One of the top free agents remaining on the open market, Monta Ellis, had parted ways with longtime agent Jeff Fried of Peake Management Group, reports ESPN.com's Chris Broussard. According to Broussard, Ellis is frustrated that he has yet to receive a viable and lucrative long-term contract offer.

"I only wish Monta and his family the very best," Fried said. "He is a superstar on the court and a character individual with tremendous integrity off the court."

While Ellis had been hoping to reach a decision on a team in the next day or two, the change in agents may push that timetable back. The Hawks, Kings, and Mavericks are reportedly still in the running for the 27-year-old guard, while other teams have shown interest, but may not have the financial means to make a competitive offer. Few teams have substantial cap space remaining, so Ellis may prefer a sign-and-trade to get the destination of his choice.

Broussard's sources expect Ellis to sign with Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports. However, it's my understanding that after firing an agent, a player must wait 15 days before hiring a new one. Unless that rule has changed or there's a technicality I don't know about, Ellis may have to be represented by the NBPA in the short-term.

NBA Cap Projection Lowered for 2020/21 Season

The NBA has informed teams that its updated projected salary cap and tax level remain unchanged for next season and is $2MM lower for the 2020/21 season, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The league projects a cap of $109MM for next season and a $132MM threshold when the luxury tax kicks in. Its projection for the 2020/21 season is a $116MM salary cap and a $141MM tax level.

The stable projection for the 2019/20 season means that budgets set for free agency don’t have to be altered. The teams projected to have the most cap space to pursue free agents include the Knicks, Clippers, Nets, Mavericks, Hawks, Pacers, Lakers, Kings and Sixers.

The salary cap this season is $101,869,000 with a luxury tax threshold of $123,733,000.

Lakers Rumors: LeBron, Chandler, Ingram, Carmelo

The Lakers lost their first three games to begin LeBron James‘ tenure in Los Angeles, and fell to 4-6 after an embarrassing home loss to Toronto last Sunday. The team has since rebounded, winning three in a row to move above .500 for the first time this season and allowing James to exhale a bit. Speaking to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the four-time MVP admitted that he had some trying moments in his early days as a Laker.

“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,'” James told Haynes with a laugh over the weekend. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”

The last week hasn’t exactly been the toughest stretch of the Lakers’ 2018/19 schedule — the club’s three most recent wins came against the Timberwolves, Kings, and Hawks. Still, LeBron is looking more comfortable with his new teammates and the recent arrival of Tyson Chandler has clearly had a positive impact on the organization, as head coach Luke Walton acknowledges.

“[Chandler]’s been big,” Walton said, per Haynes. “Not only the way he is on court, but the way he talks in the huddles. We’re very happy to have him.”

Let’s round up a few more Lakers-related items…

  • Here’s a little more of what LeBron told Haynes, regarding the team’s recovery from a slow start: “I had to regroup and remember this is a young team. We’re playing some good ball right now and we’re starting to build some good habits. That’s all that matters right now.”
  • There may be some room for improvement in the on-court chemistry between James and former No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram. As Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype relays, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (podcast link) recently spoke to an executive who has long been a big fan of Ingram and feels as if “it’s not working with LeBron.” Of course, given Ingram’s four-game suspension, the duo only has nine games under its belt so far, so there’s plenty of time to figure things out.
  • Appearing on ESPN, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated suggested that the Lakers are likely done tweaking their roster for the time being, meaning they probably wouldn’t be in play for Carmelo Anthony if the Rockets release him. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports has the details.

Player Movement Between Conferences

The group of veterans moving from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference this summer outnumber those heading the opposite way, but it would be a stretch to say that the East made any noticeable progress toward correcting the imbalance between the two sides of the NBA. No superstars have changed conferences this summer, though both East and West benefited from several key contributors who made jumps. David West went from the Pacers to the Spurs, but Indiana replaced him with Monta Ellis. The Hornets sent Lance Stephenson to the Clippers, but they brought in Nicolas Batum from the Trail Blazers. The Blazers lost Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez to the Knicks, but Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams and Roy Hibbert went from the Raptors and Pacers, respectively, to the Lakers.

Lists of each player shifting from conference to conference are below, categorized by conference:

PLAYERS MOVING EAST TO WEST

Signings

Trades

PLAYERS MOVING WEST TO EAST

Signings

Trades

Notes:

1 — The Pistons traded Butler to the Bucks last month, and Milwaukee waived him not long thereafter.
2 — The David Lee/Gerald Wallace trade has still yet to become official, though it remains on track for completion.

Which conference do you think has received the better end of the movement so far? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

More Teams To Ensure Arena Workers Are Paid During Hiatus

With the NBA indefinitely suspended, several high-profile players have pledged money toward team employees who are not able to work. Thus far, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Zion Williamson have been at the forefront.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was the first to publicly state that employees would be taken care of during the uncertain period and many more teams have stepped forward since then. Per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register, the Lakers, Clippers and NHL’s Los Angeles Kings are set to announce a partnership that will compensate part-time and contract workers at Staples Center.

As Goon notes, venue ushers and security personnel are expected to be among those compensated during the suspension of play. Additionally, other employees have been asked to work remotely if at all possible, Goon adds.

In addition to the L.A. teams, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera will compensate all part-time employees that work game nights for any games missed through March and into April if necessary, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.

This rounds out recent reports that include the Pistons, Wizards, Kings, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Mavericks, Hawks, Cavaliers, and Nets as teams having pledged to pay their employees.

As we relayed earlier this week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stated that the suspension is expected to last at least 30 days.

Draft Rumors: Top 6, Bulls, Kings, Sixers, Suns

The Mavericks, Bulls, Cavaliers, and Clippers are among the teams still exploring the possibility of moving up in the draft lottery, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski adds that the Sixers‘ pick (No. 10) is in play for teams targeting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Wojnarowski currently believes that Deandre Ayton (Suns), Marvin Bagley III (Kings), Luka Doncic (Hawks), Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba (Mavericks), and Trae Young (Magic) are the most likely selections (Twitter link). Interestingly, the Grizzlies are the only team Wojnarowski doesn’t mention in his rundown, suggesting the No. 4 pick is still the most likely selection at the top to be traded.

If the top six plays out like that and Chicago doesn’t trade up, the Bulls would likely opt for Wendell Carter Jr. over Michael Porter Jr., tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

Here are several more rumors worth passing along as draft night nears…

  • Kings beat reporter James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link) is also getting the vibe out of Sacramento that Marvin Bagley III is the club’s likely choice at No. 2.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) is hearing some buzz linking Zhaire Smith to the Sixers at No. 10.
  • Although the Heat are exploring opportunities to trade into the first round of tonight’s draft, it’s hard to imagine the club completing a deal for a first-round pick unless it can shed a veteran salary, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
  • The Suns, who hold Miami’s pick at No. 16, are eyeing Donte DiVincenzo, Zhaire Smith, Jalen Brunson, Aaron Holiday, Lonnie Walker, Troy Brown, Elie Okobo, and Landry Shamet at that spot, per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).
  • NBA teams have been impressed with Michael Porter Jr. in interviews, but the club that picks him will have to be “ultra-cautious” with his health, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who suggests (via Twitter) that sitting Porter for a good chunk of 2018/19 is a real possibility.

Draft Rumors: Lewis, Hayes, Nesmith, Okongwu, More

Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. is generating some buzz among teams in the top half of the first round, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, who hears that Lewis has worked out in person for the Magic, Knicks, Pistons, and Bulls within the last week. A previous report indicated that Lewis has had multiple virtual interviews with Phoenix as well.

Pre-draft workouts don’t necessarily count for much in a typical year, when teams bring in dozens of prospects for a closer look for the sake of due diligence. However, Wasserman contends that it’s fair to “read into” those workouts in 2020. Since teams are only permitted to conduct in-person visits with up to 10 players, they generally aren’t wasting their time by meeting with players who aren’t of legitimate interest.

Here’s more on the draft from Wasserman:

  • In addition to the Pistons and Knicks, point guard Killian Hayes is also receiving interest from the Hawks and Kings, per Wasserman.
  • Sources tell Wasserman that Vanderbilt sharpshooter Aaron Nesmith is drawing interest from late-lottery teams, including the Suns.
  • Florida State big man Patrick Williams is among the prospects in play for the Pistons at No. 7, Wasserman writes.
  • Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski has become a popular draft sleeper and could even come off the board before the 20s, league sources tell Wasserman.
  • The Lakers, Bucks, and Sixers are among the teams displaying interest in Stanford’s Tyrell Terry, according to Wasserman.
  • There are whispers that Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard has received a promise from a team. While Wasserman has been unable to confirm that promise, he says that Pritchard has many fans in NBA front offices and may be a first-round pick.
  • Wasserman’s latest update to his big board at Bleacher Report has Onyeka Okongwu in the top three. A source tells Wasserman that the Wizards are hoping Okongwu falls to them at No. 9 and may look to trade their pick if he’s not available.

Bucks Lose 2022 Second-Round Pick For Early Pursuit Of Bogdanovic

The NBA has determined that the Bucks violated league rules in their offseason pursuit of Bogdan Bogdanovic, and will rescind Milwaukee’s 2022 second-round pick as a result, the league announced today.

According to the press release, the NBA investigated whether the Bucks had discussions with Bogdanovic and/or his agent prior to the start of the free agency period in November, and concluded that early discussions did, in fact, take place.

The league said that the decision to strip the Bucks of their 2022 second-round pick took into account the club’s cooperation with the investigation, the absence of any evidence of an early contract agreement between Bogdanovic and the Bucks, and the fact that he didn’t ultimately sign with the team. In other words, the franchise could have faced an even more severe penalty if the NBA had found proof of an early agreement or if Bogdanovic had ended up joining the Bucks.

A few days before the free agent period officially began last month, word broke that the Kings and Bucks had reached an agreement that would send Bogdanovic – a restricted free agent – and Justin James to Milwaukee for Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson, and Ersan Ilyasova. Such a deal would have required a new contract for Bogdanovic with the Bucks.

Two days after it was first reported, that deal fell apart amid rumors that Bogdanovic himself hadn’t agreed to sign with Milwaukee, and the league opened its investigation into the matter. Bogdanovic eventually signed an offer sheet with Atlanta and is now a member of the Hawks after the Kings opted not to match that offer.

The Bucks’ second-round pick in 2022 had been the next second-rounder the team had available. Milwaukee previously traded away its 2021 second-rounder in a 2018 deal for George Hill.

Free Agency Rumors: Ibaka, Iwundu, Hernangomez, Bazemore

Big man Serge Ibaka was not bereft of contending suitors in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto notes that the Raptors, the team with whom Ibaka spent most of the last four seasons, apparently offered a one-year, $12MM deal to Ibaka for an encore appearance in 2020/21. Toronto was believed to be unwilling to offer multiple years, which would have cut into the team’s projected 2021 cap space.

The Nets also wanted Ibaka, but could only afford a taxpayer mid-level exception, which would have started at $5.7MM this season. Ibaka ultimately inked a two-year, $19MM contract with the Clippers.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Though swingman Wesley Iwundu ultimately opted to sign a two-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Mavericks, the Hawks, Pelicans and Kings were also in the running for Iwundu’s services this offseason, Scotto reports in the same piece.
  • The Mavericks and Kings also considered adding reserve center Willy Hernangomez before he agreed to terms with the Pelicans on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal, per Scotto. Hernangomez’s 2019/20 club, the Hornets, also apparently wanted to re-sign the 26-year-old big man.
  • Scotto reports that former Kings wing Kent Bazemore also found himself in high demand this offseason before agreeing to a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Warriors. The LakersClippersBucksCeltics, Suns, Knicks, Nets, and Hornets were all interested in adding the three-and-D vet this offseason.

Clippers, Pelicans Reopening Practice Facilities

The Clippers are among the teams reopening their practice facilities on Monday, as first reported by Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. The Pelicans, reported last week to be targeting May 18 as their reopening date, are also moving forward with that plan, as Christian Clark of The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes.

As has been the case for teams around the league, the Clippers and Pelicans will face strict regulations from the NBA as players return to their facilities for voluntary individual workouts. No more than four players can be in the building at a time, and their workouts are limited to one hour. They also have to undergo temperature checks before entering the facility and wear masks when they’re not engaged in physical activity.

More than half of the NBA’s teams are now known to have reopened their respective facilities. We count 16 clubs so far, though it’s possible that number is even higher if some teams have reopened their buildings without publicizing it.

The Bucks, Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Nuggets, Pacers, Raptors, Rockets, and Trail Blazers have also reopened their practice facilities.

[UPDATE: The Thunder have reopened their practice facility as well.]

Greg Oden Decision Expected Next Week

6:44pm: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro, and representatives from the Pelicans watched Oden workout today, sources close to the situation told Jeff Goodman and Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  Oden will put his skills on display again Thursday for Hawks officials before a private meeting with the Pelicans later this week in Las Vegas.  One source close to the process told the ESPN.com duo that teams in the Oden hunt are still in the information-gathering stage and no offer has been made yet.

4:14pm: Greg Oden is expected to make a decision next week on where he'll sign for the coming season, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. According to Spears (via Twitter), the former first overall pick will be choosing from a list of suitors that includes the Heat, Spurs, Pelicans, Kings, Mavericks, and Hawks.

Oden was said to be working out today for a group of teams, including the Pelicans, Kings, and Heat. New Orleans' interest in Oden has seemingly ramped up lately, as multiple reports have indicated the team plans to make him an offer in the $3MM range. It appears as if the Pelicans are out of cap room, so perhaps the offer would be for the $2.65MM room exception, which could be used to hand out about $5.42MM over two years.

Despite the Pelicans' interest, reports continue to suggest that the Heat and Spurs remain the frontrunners for Oden. San Antonio has already used its mid-level exception, and doesn't have its bi-annual exception available this summer, so anything more than a minimum-salary offer is unlikely. Miami, on the other hand, could offer part or all of its taxpayer mid-level exception.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Grizzlies Sign Jaren Jackson To Rookie Contract

The Grizzlies became the latest team to formally lock up their first-round pick to his rookie scale contract on Sunday, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jackson, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, elected to go pro after spending just one season at Michigan State. As a freshman, the 6’11” forward/center averaged 10.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and an impressive 3.0 BPG in just 21.8 minutes per contest. He also showed an ability to make outside shots, with a .396 3PT%.

As the No. 4 overall pick, Jackson figures to earn a first-year salary of approximately $5.9MM. That’s the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale amount for the fourth overall pick. His deal will feature two guaranteed years, with team options on the third and fourth seasons.

Three of this year’s top-five picks have now officially signed their rookie scale contracts, with Jackson joining Marvin Bagley III (Kings) and Trae Young (Hawks).

Week In Review: 9/24/12 – 9/30/12

Here's a look at all the NBA's news from the past week. 

Odds & Ends: Nash, Oden, Henderson, Cousins

Italian soccer power Inter Milan will give Steve Nash a tryout next week, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, but it's clear that even after a frustrating season with the Lakers, the two-time MVP won't be giving up on basketball anytime soon. He expressed his eagerness to return to the hardwood even as he prepared to lace up his cleats. We're only about two months away from the start of training camps as we pass along the latest from a whirlwind summer:

  • Greg Oden could decide on his next team by as early as Monday, reports Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, who adds the Mavs to the list of teams that have sent contingents to Indianapolis to watch Oden work out this week. The Spurs, Pelicans, Hawks, Kings and Heat are the others on that list.
  • Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson are on board with the Pelicans' pursuit of Oden, as they tell Shams Charania of RealGM.com.
  • Though the Bobcats were reported to be seeking sign-and-trade options at one point in their negotiations with Gerald Henderson, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets that the team always planned to re-sign him. The two sides agreed to a deal tonight.
  • DeMarcus Cousins and his representatives met with the Kings multiple times recently in Las Vegas, and the team is making it clear that he's a priority, a source tells Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).
  • A lucrative, long-term extension for the volatile Cousins might not strike Kings fans as the wisest move, but SB Nation's Tom Ziller argues that, at worst, there will be plenty of teams eager to trade for Cousins if the Kings eventually want to get rid of him.
  • The Mavs have been talking up their summer acquisitions, but HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram isn't nearly as optimistic, opining in his NBA PM piece that Dirk Nowitzki's supporting cast has never been weaker.

Rockets Only Team Still Below Roster Minimum

No NBA games have taken place since Sunday’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, but a flurry of contract signings have been completed in recent days — teams that dipped below the roster minimum at the trade deadline have added players to ensure that they’re back up to the 14-player minimum within the two-week grace period.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Roster Counts]

While the Hawks, Kings, Raptors, Knicks, Suns, and Heat have signed players to reach the NBA-mandated minimum, one team still has just 12 players under contract (not counting two-way deals). That team is the Rockets, and Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets that Houston isn’t planning to add any players today.

The Rockets’ roster count went from 15 to 12 on trade deadline day when the team shipped out James Ennis, Nik Stauskas, and Wade Baldwin in a pair of salary-dump deals. However, according to Feigen (via Twitter), because it took so long for the NBA to clear its post-deadline queue of trades two weeks ago, those deals weren’t considered official until February 8. That means Houston has one more day to add two players and increase its roster count to 14.

It’s not clear yet how the Rockets intend to fill those two roster spots. Like other teams with luxury tax concerns, they may opt for 10-day signings as short-term fixes. That would also give the team some time to assess the buyout market and see if any other desirable targets shake loose within the next week or so.

Danuel House, who used up all of the NBA days on his two-way contract with the Rockets, is also still a candidate for a promotion, but he and the team have been unable to agree to a contract (we examined their stalemate last month) and I wouldn’t expect that to change by tomorrow. If Houston ultimately decides to unilaterally convert House’s two-way deal into an NBA contract, it’s more likely to happen later in the season.

Players Who Can’t Be Traded To Specific Teams This Season

Most players around the NBA are now eligible to be traded, with just a few exceptions. However, there are several players who can’t be dealt to specific teams this season.

NBA rules prohibit a team from trading for a player if the team traded that player away earlier in the season or during the previous offseason. In other words, if a club traded a player between the end of last year’s NBA Finals and today, it’s not eligible to reacquire him in a deal on or before February 6.

This rule doesn’t apply if a player who was traded since last spring’s Finals was subsequently waived and then signed with a new team. For instance, the Jazz and Grizzlies both traded away Kyle Korver last summer. Korver was later waived by the Suns and signed with the Bucks. If he had remained in Phoenix, Korver would be ineligible to be acquired by Utah or Memphis, but that restriction was lifted once he signed with Milwaukee.

The rule also doesn’t apply to players whose draft rights were traded. For example, the Suns would technically be eligible to reacquire Jarrett Culver from the Timberwolves after trading his draft rights to Minnesota last summer.

For the most part, these restrictions won’t affect teams’ plans — it’s not as if the Pelicans will be looking to reacquire Anthony Davis from the Lakers. Still, some of them are worth noting. If the Celtics seek frontcourt help on the trade market, for instance, they’ll have to be aware of the fact that they can’t reacquire Aron Baynes.

Here’s the full list of players who are ineligible to be reacquired via trade by specific teams during the 2019/20 regular season:

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Cleveland Cavaliers

Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder

Philadelphia 76ers

Phoenix Suns

Portland Trail Blazers

Sacramento Kings

San Antonio Spurs

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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