Cedi Osman

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of TheKingsBeat.com tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.

Texas Notes: Spurs, Payne, Kleber, Holmes

Following the addition of No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama to their roster, the Spurs appear to be taking a long-term approach to their future, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News.

Finger observes that president/head coach Gregg Popovich, general manager Brian Wright, and CEO R.C. Buford opted to not sign a top free agent into cap space or use their significant future draft equity to trade for a veteran star, instead hoping to develop their current youth around Wembanyama and make bigger moves in the future.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Newly acquired Spurs point guard Cameron Payne may not be long for San Antonio, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDonald notes that Payne and other new veteran personnel additions Reggie Bullock and Cedi Osman may eventually be offloaded by the team as it looks to build around Wembanyama.
  • Mavericks big man Maxi Kleber has opted out of playing for his native Germany in this summer’s FIBA World Cup, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning writes. In withdrawing from the competition, Kleber noted that it was “100% clear that I am not unreservedly welcome,” which Townsend considers a direct response to comments made by Team Germany point guard Dennis Schröder. Schröder seemed to take umbrage with Kleber not participating in EuroBasket competition in 2022. “Maxi wasn’t there last year,” Schröder said. “If you didn’t commit — that was actually the message for all of us — then you won’t be there next year either.” 
  • New Mavericks big man Richaun Holmes has resolved the lawsuit he filed against the parent company of the Sacramento Bee, writes Sam Stanton of The Bee. Holmes sued McClatchy Co. and Bee columnist Robin Epley for defamation after an op-ed column from Epley detailed damaging accusations from Holmes’ ex-wife Alexis. “We’re pleased the matter has now been resolved and Mr. Holmes is enthusiastic about a new chapter in his life as a father and basketball player,” his attorney Camille Vasquez said in a statement. According to Stanton, McClatchy and The Bee did not make any payment to Holmes as part of the settlement.

Cavs Acquire Max Strus In Three-Team Sign-And-Trade

JULY 6: The trade is official, the Heat announced (via Twitter). As part of the deal, Miami will also swap second-round picks with the Spurs, with Miami receiving a 2027 selection and San Antonio receiving a 2026 pick. The Cavs are also sending cash to the Spurs.

JULY 1: The Cavaliers, Heat, and Spurs have agreed to a three-team deal that will land Max Strus in Cleveland via sign-and-trade, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Agent Mark Bartelstein tells Wojnarowski that Strus has agreed to a four-year, $63MM contract with the Cavs.

Miami will acquire a second-round pick and will create a trade exception in the deal, while San Antonio will receive Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens, and a second-round pick, according to Wojnarowski.

The second-rounder going to Miami is the Lakers’ 2026 pick, while the one headed to San Antonio is Cleveland’s 2030 selection, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Strus had been repeatedly mentioned as a top target for the Cavs in the days and hours leading up to free agency. A report on Thursday indicated Cleveland hoped its $12.4MM mid-level exception would be enough to land the 27-year-old, but with rumors suggesting his market was above the MLE, a report on Friday suggested the Cavs were looking into three-team sign-and-trade scenarios.

Right before free agency opened, Marc Stein reported that a scenario in which the Cavs sign-and-trade for Strus and use their mid-level exception to add Georges Niang appeared “increasingly likely.” Sure enough, Cleveland is poised to add both players, having reached an agreement with Niang on Friday night.

A former undrafted free agent who had brief stints in Boston and Chicago early in his career, Strus blossomed into a reliable rotation player in Miami during the last two seasons. In 148 games since the start of 2021/22, he has averaged 11.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .423/.376/.845. He moved ahead of Duncan Robinson in the Heat’s rotation during that time in large part due to his more stable presence on defense.

The Cavs had been on the lookout for a wing to complement starters Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley for the better part of the year. Strus should slot into that role nicely along with Caris LeVert, who also agreed to return to Cleveland.

In moving off Osman and Stevens in this trade, the Cavs should still be about $12.5MM below the luxury tax line with 10 players on the books, tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.

The Heat, who project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24, had been bracing for Strus’ departure, recognizing that they weren’t prepared to match his price on the open market. They reportedly didn’t want to take any salary back in a sign-and-trade and were able to achieve that goal. The traded player exception they generate as part of the transaction will be worth half of Strus’ first-year salary — based on the reported terms of his deal, that TPE should come in at about $7MM.

As for the Spurs, they entered the day with more leftover cap room than any other NBA team and will use a portion of it to add a second-round pick and two forwards who are on expiring contracts and who should be in the mix for rotation roles if they remain on San Antonio’s roster.

Osman, who will earn $6.7MM in 2023/24 before reaching unrestricted free agency, has been a rotation player in Cleveland for the last six seasons, averaging 9.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG with a .353 3PT% in 404 games (23.6 MPG) during that time.

Stevens, a solid defensive wing who doesn’t provide much on offense, has a $1.93MM non-guaranteed salary — some or all of that money will become guaranteed as part of this deal in order to satisfy the NBA’s salary-matching rules.

The Spurs will still have approximately $23-26MM in cap space available.

Free Agent Rumors: Lopez, Banton, T. Davis, Strus

Multiple NBA clubs are awaiting word on the future of unrestricted free agent center Brook Lopez, who has spent his past five seasons with the Bucks, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Fischer reports that “increasing word” on Friday suggests the Rockets may bid in excess of the two-year, $40MM deal that has been floated as a possibility.

Lopez, 35, has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Milwaukee. The seven-footer has been named to two All-Defensive Teams and won his first championship during his Bucks tenure, while totally transforming his game, from being a fringe All-Star post scorer while with the Nets to the gritty 3-and-D role player he is now.

In 78 regular season games for the 58-24 Bucks last season, the former Stanford big man posted averages of 15.9 PPG on .531/.374/.784 shooting splits, in addition to 6.7 RPG, 2.5 BPG and 1.3 APG. He was the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Here are further free agent rumors:

  • Free agent point guard Dalano Banton met with the Celtics on Friday, according to Rafael Barlowe of NBA Big Board (via Twitter). The 6’9″ vet out of Nebraska had spent both of his NBA seasons to date with the Raptors. In 31 contests, last year, he averaged 4.6 PPG, 1.5 RPG and 1.2 APG.
  • The Celtics, Suns, Bucks, Mavericks and Raptors are among the teams with some level of interest in free agent former Kings shooting guard Terence Davis, according to Mark Jones of ESPN and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links).
  • According to Fischer (Twitter link), the Spurs have emerged as a possible third team in a rumored sign-and-trade deal that would send Heat free agent shooting guard Max Strus to the Cavaliers. Sources tell Fischer that Cleveland has been looking to offload the contract of swingman Cedi Osman, whom Miami presumably has no interest in taking on. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that the Heat are aiming to create a trade exception and a future second-round draft selection in any sign-and-trade involving Strus.

Trade Rumors: Harden, Bulls, Zubac, Brogdon, Osman, Morris

There’s no urgency for the Sixers to complete a James Harden trade, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Friday in an appearance on “Get Up” (video link). Even though Harden has asked to be dealt and seems to prefer the Clippers, Wojnarowski notes that the track record of president of basketball operations Daryl Morey suggests he’ll explore all available possibilities before committing to a deal.

“You may let free agency settle,” Wojnarowski said, “see where players land, see where needs arise for different teams that might not be interested today but could be in a few days. I don’t anticipate necessarily that this is going to be quick because it doesn’t have to.”

Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times also hears that a Harden trade may not happen right away. He cites league sources who said they’ll be watching how patient the Sixers decide to be and what they’ll be seeking in return. Greif names Terance Mann as a player the Clippers might be reluctant to include in a Harden deal.

There are more trade rumors to pass along:

  • The Bulls may be an option for Harden, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Chicago has already explored trade scenarios regarding Zach LaVine and might be willing to part with DeMar DeRozan to acquire Harden. Fischer also cautions that Morey has a lot of options to consider before deciding how to handle Harden’s trade request.
  • The Clippers, who would like to re-sign Mason Plumlee have let teams know that Ivica Zubac is available in a trade, Fischer adds. L.A. may also have interest in acquiring P.J. Tucker in a Harden deal, as Fischer notes that the Clippers previously reached out to him when he was a free agent.
  • The Clippers pulled out of an original version of the three-team Kristaps Porzingis trade because of medical concerns regarding Malcolm Brogdon, but they recently contacted the Celtics about Brogdon again, according to Fischer. L.A. was also willing to offer Norman Powell to the Wizards for Chris Paul before the Warriors landed him in exchange for Jordan Poole, Fischer states.
  • Fischer hears that the Cavaliers are engaged in trade talks regarding Cedi Osman and offered him to the Nets in a deal for Dorian Finney-Smith or Royce O’Neale.
  • Numerous teams have reached out to the Wizards about point guard Monte Morris, Fischer adds. The Timberwolves, Bulls, Pelicans, Jazz and Nets are all considered possibilities for Morris, and Fischer believes the Heat could be added to the list if they lose Gabe Vincent in free agency.

Cavs To Guarantee Cedi Osman’s 2023/24 Salary

The Cavaliers will fully guarantee Cedi Osman‘s $6,718,842 salary for the 2023/24 season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Osman’s contract called for that full amount to remain non-guaranteed until June 29, so if the Cavs had wanted to avoid being on the hook for that money, they could’ve waived him today. According to Wojnarowski, Cleveland won’t take that route.

[RELATED: Early NBA Salary Guarantee Dates For 2023/24]

Osman, 28, saw his role reduced a little in 2022/23 — the 20.1 minutes per game he averaged this past season represented his lowest mark since his rookie year in 2017/18. He put up 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per night across 77 appearances, with a shooting line of .451/.372/.694.

Waiving Osman’s wouldn’t have put the Cavaliers in position to create meaningful cap room or generated necessary breathing room below the tax, so it’s no surprise that the team decided to retain him. Even if the 6’7″ forward isn’t in Cleveland’s long-term plans, his expiring salary could be useful for salary-matching purposes in a trade later this offseason or during the ’23/24 season.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, the Cavs are currently $37.5MM below the projected luxury tax line, which should give them the flexibility to re-sign Caris LeVert and to use the full $12.4MM mid-level exception while staying out of tax territory.

Osman is on track for unrestricted free agency in 2024 if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.

Draft Rumors: Cavs, Pacers, Jazz, Warriors, Suns, Bucks

The Cavaliers currently only hold a second-round pick (No. 49) in the 2023 NBA draft, but they’ve been exploring ways they might be able to move into the first round, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Sources tell Fedor that the Cavs have an “organizational desire” to trade up in the draft and have made calls to teams in the 20-30 range to determine what it would cost to move up.

As Fedor explains, there’s a belief that there will be some older prospects available in that range who might be ready to claim NBA rotation roles as rookies. Several of those players are wings, which would appeal to a Cleveland team that has been on the lookout for help at that spot for the last year. Fedor identifies UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez as one of several prospects who could intrigue the Cavaliers.

It may be tricky for the Cavaliers to put together a package capable of getting them into the first round, however. They dealt several future first-rounders away in last year’s Donovan Mitchell blockbuster and would probably only be able to offer second-rounders along with a player or two. Lamar Stevens, Cedi Osman, Dean Wade, and Ricky Rubio are among the Cavs players who could be moved, Fedor writes, but none of them are likely to have substantial value on the trade market.

Here are a few more draft-related rumors from around the league:

  • The Pacers and Jazz are among the teams with multiple first-round picks who are worth keeping an eye on as the draft nears, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, rival teams continue to mention that Indiana is interest in packaging some combination of No. 26, No. 29, and No. 32 in order to move up. Utah has talked to teams about various trade scenarios involving the No. 9, No. 16, and No. 28 picks, Fischer adds.
  • Sources who spoke to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic believe the Warriors may be focused on landing an older, more experienced prospect at No. 19 after getting mixed results when investing in young lottery picks in recent years. Meanwhile, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has heard that Golden State have some interest in trading down from No. 19 or out of the draft entirely.
  • Sources around the NBA have named the Suns and Bucks – in addition to the Cavaliers – as teams interested in trading up into the late-20s or early-30s to draft an NBA-ready player, Vecenie writes for The Athletic. Phoenix and Milwaukee would have to move up even further than Cleveland — their second-round picks are at No. 52 and No. 58, respectively.

Cavaliers Notes: Okoro, Playoffs, Green, Mitchell

Isaac Okoro will miss his sixth straight game on Sunday with soreness in his left knee, but there’s hope that he might be ready for the Cavaliers‘ playoff opener, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. After today’s practice, Okoro went through an on-court workout, which Fedor described as set shots followed by movement-based jumpers from 18 to 23 feet.

Okoro hasn’t played since March 26, and coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he’s being considered day-to-day. A source tells Fedor that Okoro has a bone bruise that’s causing the soreness, but adds that he probably could have played in the past few games if they had been more meaningful.

Okoro will be part of a long injury list when the Cavs wrap up their regular season tomorrow. Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Caris LeVert and Dylan Windler are all listed as out, while Jarrett Allen is questionable.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • After being eliminated in the play-in tournament last season, the Cavaliers are enjoying the security that comes with clinching the fourth seed, Fedor adds. The team will open the playoffs next Saturday or Sunday at home against the Knicks. “We are looking forward to it and I think it’s going to be a very, very fun series to play,” Cedi Osman said. “This is what we worked for. We worked really hard for this and I’m happy we achieved and we deserve to be in the playoffs. Now, going to go out there, try to do our best and try to go as far as we can.”
  • Danny Green is the Cavaliers’ most experienced playoff veteran, but he may not be part of the rotation when the postseason begins, Fedor observes in another Cleveland.com story. Green signed with Cleveland in mid-February after reaching a buyout with the Rockets, but he has only played 71 total minutes in seven games with his new team. “Not up to me to decide,” Green responded when asked about his potential playoff role. “They had been winning before I got here so I know they had that rotation of guys that were playing well and they earned their minutes and the right to be in the playoffs and in the rotation. So, it’s up to me to earn my minutes and showcase to the coaching staff that I’m able to help and be ready when my number is called.”
  • Mitchell and Jalen Brunson both had huge scoring outbursts in the regular season meetings between the Cavs and Knicks, Zach Braziller of the New York Post notes in an analysis of the upcoming series. Mitchell averaged 31.8 points per game in the four contests, while Brunson was at 25.3 PPG.

Central Notes: Mitchell, Cavs, Osman, Ingles, Caruso, Ivey

Donovan Mitchell says the Cavaliers believe they can make a deep playoff run this season, as he tells Chris Mannix of SI.com.

You got to get there and see it,” Mitchell said. “We’ve put the work in. It’s tough going from the hunter last year to the hunted. But you see the progression. That tells you the mindset is there. That tells you this team believes.”

Mannix notes that there are signs Cleveland should be viewed as a contender — the team is first in net rating, second in defense, and Mitchell is having a career year and is surrounded by talented young players. However, only Mitchell and Jarrett Allen have postseason experience among the starters, and inexperienced teams rarely advance far in an initial playoff run.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman has been in and out of the rotation in recent weeks, but he provided a major spark on Tuesday with Mitchell out, finishing with 24 points and six three-pointers in the victory over Charlotte. He admits the inconsistent playing time has been a challenge, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link). “It’s tough. It’s not easy,” Osman said. “I feel like when you don’t play and then you do play, sometimes you’re trying to do more than you would normally do because you’re trying to stay in the game, you’re trying to show you deserve to be out there and that’s what is best for the team. I’ve learned how to deal with that throughout the season. I would say it’s going better for me now.”
  • Joe Ingles signed with the Bucks for the taxpayer mid-level exception last offseason, which was a risk by Milwaukee considering he was coming off a torn ACL suffered in February 2022. The veteran forward showed his worth at the end of Tuesday’s victory over Phoenix, with point guard Jrue Holiday calling on Ingles to handle the play-making duties. As Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run once Ingles started running the show. “He just gives us a presence in the locker room, practices,” Budenholzer said of Ingles. “As a coach, you have to figure out how to best put him in his spots and the spacing around it and the players, they gotta keep developing that chemistry, so it’s still growing. I wish you could just snap your fingers and have it immediately, but that’s just not how basketball works, but he’s been invaluable to us, especially recently.”
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan says Alex Caruso has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter links). The defensive stalwart had previously been listed as questionable with an illness. The Bulls are competing for a spot in the play-in tournament, so Caruso will certainly be missed versus the Kings.
  • Pistons guard Jaden Ivey, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols last Friday, is listed as probable for Thursday’s matchup with Denver, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. The No. 5 overall pick of last June’s draft, Ivey is averaging 15.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 4.9 APG on .415/.331/.732 shooting through 62 games (30.2 MPG) as a rookie.

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Garland, Bench, Mitchell

A right eye injury that Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen suffered in Friday’s loss at Miami may not be as bad as the team originally feared, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Allen walked to the locker room with a towel over his eye after being swiped by Bam Adebayo during a battle for a rebound late in the fourth quarter. He’s listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game at Charlotte, but a source told Fedor that the eye “looked better than expected,” adding that Allen will “hopefully be back sooner rather than later.”

In his game story Friday night, Fedor asked coach J.B. Bickerstaff what a prolonged absence for Allen would mean to a team that’s battling to hang onto home-court advantage in the playoffs.

“Obviously, we would miss him,” Bickerstaff said. “We would miss all the things that he brings on both sides of the court. His ability to protect the paint, anchor our defense and just his spirit. Everyone would have to step up. A lot of that would put Evan (Mobley) at more of the 5 spot and he would have to take over those responsibilities. But we believe Evan is capable of doing so and we have other guys who can help as well. It’ll be opportunities for other guys to go and contribute, which is what they will want to do.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • A quad injury that forced Darius Garland to miss the game in Miami is considered minor, but it could prevent him from playing again Sunday, Fedor adds. Garland suffered the injury in the second half of Wednesday’s game and wasn’t able to take part in the team’s shootaround or his pregame workout on Friday.
  • The Cavaliers agreed to a buyout with Kevin Love because he fell out of their rotation, but Joe Vardon of The Athletic notes that several prominent bench players haven’t been as productive since Love left. Dean Wade, Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio and Cedi Osman are all playing fewer minutes than their season averages and have struggled to contribute since the buyout occurred.
  • Playing two straight games in Miami allowed the Cavaliers to experience something close to a playoff atmosphere, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Cleveland won on Wednesday and the teams had an off day to make adjustments before playing again Friday. “That’s what the playoffs are going to be,” said Donovan Mitchell, one of just two Cavs starters with playoff experience. “If this was a playoff series, we still won one, and that’s kind of the mindset.”