Patrick Beverley

Pacific Notes: Kuzma, Beverley, Terry, Lakers

As the Lakers and Pelicans continue to discuss trade packages centered around Anthony Davis, one young Laker is approaching the matter with a positive outlook: Second-year forward Kyle Kuzma.

“It’s always a good thing when you hear trade rumors,” Kuzma said, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “That’s what everybody always says. It means you have value, and it means potentially you gonna be in this league a long time, people want you. For us, it’s all about controlling what you can control, because at the end of the day, it’s a business. You can’t control your destiny in this league, but you can control your work ethic and how great you wanna be. You can be great anywhere.”

Entering Thursday, Pelicans GM Dell Demps refused to pick up his phone to discuss a trade with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. This rapidly changed as the day progressed, with Wojnarowski later reporting that the sides connected on a call early in the afternoon.

Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans last Friday after several years of failed seasons with the organization. Davis, 25, is the most talented two-way player available on the trade market as of today, meaning the Lakers would have to offer an assortment of young assets that likely includes Kuzma to pry him out of New Orleans.

“Could really care less, honestly,” Kuzma said of Davis’ trade request. “Just control what you can control. Play basketball anywhere.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The NBA has issued a warning to Clippers guard Patrick Beverley for violating the league’s anti-flopping rule, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. Beverley was caught flopping on a play against the Kings on Sunday, later tweeting in response, “Ok ok ok ok you got me I flopped!!!! Can’t touch anybody this year gotta do something!!!” 
  • Suns guard Emanuel Terry said he had to overcome several doubters to reach his 10-day contract with the team, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “A lot of people, there’s haters in the world,” Terry said. “You can’t hate on somebody’s blessing cause then that’s your downfall as well. So I just remained humble, say a prayer and give my trust to God.”
  • Kevin Pelton of ranks the trade value of several players on the Lakers, including Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and others. It’s unclear which players the Pelicans would target in potential trade discussions involving Anthony Davis.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

Kevon Looney, Warriors, 22, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.57MM deal in 2018
Looney has received rotation minutes throughout the season, providing defense and rebounding while the stars do most of the scoring. Looney, who had back-to-back 12-rebound games this week, has made the most of his limited offensive opportunities (62.6%) though he doesn’t shoot threes or make enough of his free throws. Efficiency ratings and advanced defensive metrics are above-average. It remains to be seen how much DeMarcus Cousins‘ return will impact his minutes but for now, he’s enhanced his resume.

Patrick Beverley, Clippers, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23MM deal in 2015
Beverley missed most of last season due to right knee surgery. Beverley’s offensive numbers are down but that’s not the strength of his game. He has resumed his role as a pesky, on-the-ball defender and Doc Rivers has played him an average of 26.9 MPG this month. Beverley posted one of the oddest stat lines of the year for a guard on Monday — three points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in 25 minutes against New Orleans. His ability to get under opponents’ skin will help him land a multi-year deal in the summer.

Ryan Anderson, Suns, 30, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $80MM deal in 2016
Anderson will make a substantial amount of money next season, yet he’ll probably sign for the veteran’s minimum. How does that work? He’s guaranteed $15.6MM in the last year of his contract and the Suns have until July 10th to decide whether to give him a $21.2MM full guarantee. Considering that Anderson never plays anymore, that will likely be an easy decision for the Suns. Anderson cashed in at just the right time the last time he entered the market but he’s gone from starter on one of the league’s top teams one season to spectator on one of the league’s worst clubs this year.

Ivica Zubac, Lakers, 21, C (Up) — Signed to a three-year, $3.9MM deal in 2016
Coach Luke Walton and the front office didn’t appear to have any faith in their young big earlier this season, as evidenced by the early-season signing of Tyson Chandler. When finally given a chance a month ago, Zubac has delivered some solid performances. He erupted for 26 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes against Oklahoma City on Thursday. Zubac needs to become a more physical defender but he has a deft touch around the rim. A restricted free agent, Zubac’s status with the franchise hinges on how much cap space they want to free up this summer. His qualifying offer is just over $1.9MM.

Kosta Koufos, Kings, 29, C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $32.9MM deal in 2015
Considering how the Kings have been collecting young bigs through the draft in the last couple of years, it was almost inevitable that Koufos’ role would diminish. That’s especially true this month, as Koufos hasn’t seen the court in the last four games. Koufos is a traditional center who doesn’t shoot threes and he’s also a poor free throw shooter. Defense and rebounding are the areas where Koufos can help a team in a backup role but offers on the open market will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers Rumors: Beverley, Durant, Butler, Harris

Back in July, we heard that Tobias Harris turned down a four-year extension offer from the Clippers. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Harris wasn’t the only player with whom the Clippers discussed a contract extension this year. Deveney hears from a source that the team also spoke to guard Patrick Beverley about a new deal, despite the fact that he was still rehabbing from knee surgery at the time. Beverley decided to play out the final season of his contract instead.

Beverley, who is earning just over $5MM this season, would have been eligible for an extension worth up to about $47.5MM over four years, though the Clippers almost certainly offered less than that. I’d guess Los Angeles made an effort to lock up Beverley at a team-friendly rate following his long injury absence, with the 30-year-old betting he could rebuild his value in advance of his 2019 free agency.

Here’s more from out of Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers are keeping a close eye on Kevin Durant‘s situation in Golden State, and have every intention of making a pitch to Durant in free agency next summer, Deveney reports. Deveney suggests that Durant seems likely to hear out the Clips, though with his free agency still seven months away, it’s hard to get a sense at this point of what the process will look like.
  • The Clippers made “no significant push” to acquire Jimmy Butler when the Timberwolves were shopping him earlier this fall, sources tell Deveney. As we heard during that saga, the Clips were strongly opposed to including Tobias Harris in a package for Butler, and that stance has paid off so far — Harris, who leads L.A. in PPG (21.6) and RPG (8.4), has been the club’s best player this season.
  • Patrick Beverley was fined $25K by the NBA for throwing the ball at a spectator on Sunday, the league announced today in a press release.

Clippers Exploring Trades To Clear Roster Logjam

With the roster deadline for the 2018/19 season just a few days away, the Clippers are exploring the trade market in the hopes of finding a deal or two that will help them clear their roster logjam, reports Keith Smith of (Twitter link). According to Smith, the club had been hoping to address the issue in a potential Jimmy Butler trade, but that seems like a long shot at this point.

The Clippers have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, but likely won’t end up keeping those specific 15 players on their regular season squad. Patrick Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal and Tyrone Wallace has a partial guarantee worth $300K, and both guards are strong candidates to make the roster.

Of the players with guaranteed salaries, Wesley Johnson ($6.13MM) and Jawun Evans ($1.38MM) are among those who may not be locks for the 15-man squad. Neither player projects to have a major role in the Clippers’ 2018/19 rotation.

The Clippers already found a trade that allowed them to clear one guaranteed salary when they sent Sam Dekker to Cleveland in August. If the team can’t find similar deals in the coming days, two players will need to be waived in order to get the roster down to 15 (plus a pair of two-way players) for opening night.

Jimmy Butler Returns To Timberwolves’ Practice

Three weeks after his trade request went public, Jimmy Butler returned to the Timberwolves‘ facility and practiced with the team today, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

While Butler’s participation in practice doesn’t necessarily mean a trade won’t happen, it’s another indication that he won’t sit out once the regular season begins next week. Of course, that was never really a realistic option for Butler, since – as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement features language that makes a holdout impractical.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Butler was vocal during today’s practice, verbally challenging coaches, teammates, and the front office, including Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Woj describes the 29-year-old as “vociferous and emotional at times,” adding in a second tweet that at one point, Butler screamed at Layden, “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.”

As we relayed earlier today, the Timberwolves reached back out to the Rockets on Tuesday, and the Heat remain interested in rekindling talks with Minnesota, so those trade discussions figure to continue. However, reports throughout the process have indicated that Thibodeau would prefer to see Butler start the season with the Wolves. That scenario appears increasingly plausible now that the All-NBA wing is practicing with his teammates again, though perhaps the obvious tension in practice will make Thibodeau reconsider his stance.

Here are a few more of the latest notes on Butler:

  • Besides their discussions with the Heat, the Timberwolves have had no “serious, active talks” with any other team about Butler, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
  • According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Nets have been “timid” in their approach toward pursuing Butler, and have made Caris LeVert unavailable. Deveney also confirms that the Clippers are unwilling to include Tobias Harris in any offers, having instead proposed deals headlined by Danilo Gallinari or some combination of other players, such as Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and others.
  • Some league executives who spoke to Deveney expressed reservations about Butler’s potential locker room fit. “As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that,” one general manager said. “He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota. Everywhere he goes, it becomes about Jimmy, and if you’re going to bring him in, you have to account for that.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along details on the Timberwolves‘ discussions with the Rockets.

Clippers Want First-Rounder From Suns For Beverley

The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley is at the top of the Suns’ list of potential point guards, but the teams haven’t been able to work out a price, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In a video, Charania says L.A. is asking for a first-rounder in exchange for Beverley, but Phoenix has only been willing to offer second-round picks. Charania calls Beverley a “culture setter” and says the Suns “view him as a guy who could come in and play a very good complementary role to Devin Booker” similar to what he did alongside James Harden in Houston.

Phoenix has been without a starting-caliber point guard since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. The team has been exploring several options and has apparently focused on Beverley as the best fit.

The Clippers are willing to part with Beverley because they have a crowded backcourt and 15 players with guaranteed contracts. Beverley, whose $5,027,028 deal is non-guaranteed,  received full medical clearance in June after undergoing microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He played just 11 games in his first season after being acquired from the Rockets.

Suns Considering Beverley, Joseph, Dinwiddie

Some more names have emerged in the Suns’ search for a point guard, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, who reports that the team has targeted the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Pacers’ Cory Joseph and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie.

Beverley may be expendable in L.A. after the Clippers matched an offer sheet this week for Tyrone Wallace. That move gives the team 17 players with guaranteed contracts and adds to a crowded backcourt that also includes Avery Bradley, Jawun Evans, Milos Teodosic, Sindarius Thornwell, Lou Williams and first-round picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson.

Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him a little more than $5MM for the upcoming season. The 30-year-old received full medical clearance in June after having microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He started all 11 games he appeared in before the injury, posting a 12.2/4.1/2.9 line, and is considered among the NBA’s best defensive point guards.

Joseph, 27, has a $7.9MM expiring contract. One of the league’s best sixth men, he averaged 7.9/3.2/3.2 while playing all 82 games in his first year with the Pacers. However, Indiana has Darren Collison entrenched as its starter and selected Aaron Holiday in the first round of this year’s draft.

Dinwiddie, 25, would come much cheaper at $1.6MM and is also on an expiring contract. He played 80 games for the Nets last season with a 12.6/3.2/6.6 line.

The Suns have been in the market for point guard help since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo are the only options on the current roster.

Western Rumors: Rozier, Williams, Durant, Rockets

The Celtics’ Terry Rozier and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie are two of the logical trade targets for the Suns in their search for a point guard, according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Rozier is a solid two-way player coming off a career year but the Suns would likely have to offer a package that included an unprotected first-rounder to catch Boston’s attention. A trade for Dinwiddie would be more plausible and he’d be a good fit with Phoenix considering his size, perimeter shooting and pick-and-roll prowess, Urbina continues. The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Cavaliers’ George Hill and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker are some of the other names Urbina throws out as potential targets. The Suns are searching for a starting point guard after trading away Brandon Knight to the Rockets last week.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans signed Troy Williams, Kenrich Williams and Garlon Green to partially-guaranteed contracts in the hope of finding one reliable small forward, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate notes. That trio will compete for a roster spot, though the potential addition of swingman Tyrone Wallacesigned to an offer sheet on Monday — could change that. “They just told me they’re bringing some guys in and having them go head-on to see who wins a spot,” Kenrich Williams told Kushner.
  • By buying out Luol Deng‘s contract and using the stretch provision, the Lakers gave themselves a chance to offer Kevin Durant a max salary in free agency, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders examines. The Lakers now project to have $38.2MM in cap space, which would be just enough to afford Durant, Pincus continues. If they can’t land Durant, they’ll certainly have enough to bring in another All-Star level talent. Other high-level potential free agents, including Kawhi Leonard, Klay ThompsonDeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Walker and Kyrie Irving, could command a first-year salary of $33MM, leaving the Lakers with another $5MM to spend in other ways, Pincus adds.
  • The Rockets took a frugal approach this summer and it could cost them a title, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They traded away Ryan Anderson and allowed two key wing players to walk in free agency. In turn, they signed three players on veteran’s minimum deals and adding a couple of bench players in the Anderson trade, Bontemps notes. So while Houston execs had said they were unconcerned about the luxury tax, their actions showed they wanted to save some money, Bontemps adds.

Beverley’s Return Sparks Optimism For Clippers

The Clippers transformed their team with last summer’s trade of Chris Paul, but they barely got to enjoy the benefits of one of the key pieces of that deal. Patrick Beverley played just 11 games before microfracture knee surgery ended his season. Now recovered, the 30-year-old guard feels like he has a lot to prove, relays James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders.

“I’m really ready. I like to go out there, put my game on the line and that’s more than just talking,” Beverley said. “I’m feeling really, really strong, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life and we’re going to see soon.”

He isn’t a lock to make the team, though, if his health remains an issue. His $5MM salary won’t become fully guaranteed until January 10, the league-wide date to guarantee salaries.

Beverley was a defensive catalyst for five seasons in Houston before the Rockets included him as part of the package to acquire Paul. Beverley plans to bring that same energy to L.A., saying he wants to create a “Clamp City” identity in place of the former “Lob City.” The Clippers ranked 19th last season with a defensive rating of 107.7 and lost shot-blocking center DeAndre Jordan in free agency.

Beverley and Avery Bradley, who was acquired at midseason, could be an imposing defensive tandem in the backcourt. They will also serve as mentors to first-round pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whose wingspan makes him a potentially dangerous defender.

The Clippers were hampered by injuries last season as Beverley was among several players who missed significant time. They got only 21 games from Danilo Gallinari, 45 from Milos Teodosic and 61 from Austin Rivers, who has since been traded to the Wizards. Blake Griffin played in 33 games before being dealt to the Pistons in late January.

“If you look at this team, our backcourt is loaded. It is loaded,” said Jerry West, who serves on the team’s executive board. “I feel a hundred percent sure last year, if we didn’t have all the injuries we had, would have made the playoffs.”

Pacific Notes: Stephenson, Ariza, Harrell, Ferrell

Headed to his seventh team in five years, new Laker Lance Stephenson is hoping he can land a long-term contract next summer, relays Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Stephenson expected a longer stay in Indiana after appearing in all 82 games last season. However, after teammate Thaddeus Young opted in to a $13.7MM deal and Doug McDermott was added in free agency, the Pacers elected to decline their $4.3MM option on Stephenson. He wound up signing a one-year, $4.5MM deal with L.A.

“I’m definitely looking for a long-term contract after this,” Stephenson said. “I’m trying to find a home. I’ve been moving a lot and to different teams. I’m trying to find a place where I can actually call home and feel comfortable, and actually get a nice place and stay there for a while.”

There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns contacted free agent forward Trevor Ariza in the first minute of free agency, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team. The former Rocket agreed to change teams after receiving a one-year, $15MM offer from Phoenix. “Sometimes things run their course and it’s time for a new start and new beginning,” Ariza explained. “There were a lot of options for me, but the one that … showed the most promise was this one. I’m excited to be here. I’m happy to be here. It’s closer to home [in Los Angeles] for me.”
  • The new two-year, $12MM contract for Montrezl Harrell leaves the Clippers about $500K below the tax line, but sets up a difficult roster decision, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. Re-signing Harrell gives L.A. 16 guaranteed contracts, along with non-guaranteed deals for Patrick Beverley ($5,027,028) and C.J. Williams ($1,378,242). Neither becomes fully guaranteed until January 10.
  • The Kings finalized a three-year, $20.5MM contract with Nemanja Bjelica on Saturday, but not an expected deal with Yogi Ferrell, notes salary cap expert Albert Nahmad (Twitter link). He speculates that Sacramento could be examining its options with $14MM in remaining cap space and may use the room mid-level exception to sign Ferrell to a two-year, $6.2MM deal at a later date.