Channing Frye

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Green, Siakam, Frye

Kawhi Leonard didn’t feel like discussing his upcoming free agency after leading the Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship, but he did talk about trust, relays Sam Amick of The Athletic. Leonard completed a comeback story by being named NBA Finals MVP a year after being limited to nine games because of a quad injury. That led to a messy divorce with the Spurs, whose team doctors disagreed with the diagnosis of Leonard’s personal physicians.

“Last year, a lot of people were doubting me,” Leonard said. “They thought I was either faking an injury or didn’t want to play for a team. That was disappointing to go me that that was out in the media, because I love the game of basketball. Like I always say, if we’re not playing this game, if we’re hurt, I mean you’re down. So me just going through that, and I just knew that I would have to make myself happy and no one else. And I have to trust myself. And whatever, it doesn’t matter what anybody has to say about me. I know who I am as a person, I know how I feel, and always just trust yourself. And that was my goal and my focus. And that’s why one of the things that I take on the floor.”

There has been speculation about Leonard’s next move since he was traded to Toronto last July, and Amick acknowledges that originally that’s not where he wanted to go. There’s no guarantee that leading a team to a title will make Leonard interested in a longer relationship, but he now has a bond with the city and the organization that wasn’t there before.

“You bring a championship to this country, man – not just this city, but this country and this organization – within one year, that’s legendary type stuff,” longtime teammate Danny Green said.”Regardless of what he does, he did his job.”

There’s more this morning from Toronto:

  • The Raptors will give Leonard and his representatives freedom to pick whatever contract length they want, ranging from one to five years, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Leonard is eligible for a five-year deal worth $189.7MM, but there have been rumors he might want a shorter commitment. Marks speculates that he may seek a three-year pact worth $106MM with a player option after the second year, putting him back into free agency in 2022 with 10 years of service.
  • Marks believes the team should wait before giving an extension to Pascal Siakam, who will be eligible this offseason. A strong contender for Most Improved Player, Siakam would have just a $7MM cap hold next summer without an extension, roughly $22MM less than the first year of a max salary. If Leonard doesn’t re-sign, Toronto projects to have $69MM to $86MM in cap space available for 2020.
  • The Raptors tried to sign the recently retired Channing Frye last summer, but he opted to stay with the Cavaliers because of his familiarity with the organization and a pledge from the front office to try to contend, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Cavaliers Notes: Nwaba, Drew, Sexton, Frye

Having signed a one-year contract with the Cavaliers last summer in the hopes of playing a regular role, David Nwaba put up modest numbers in Cleveland, averaging 6.7 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 50 games (19.4 MPG) while playing solid perimeter defense. Now, he’s hoping for a longer-term stay with the Cavs, as he tells Chris Fedor of

“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Nwaba said. “Hopefully everything works out where I’m back here. I don’t know what their plans are, but I want to come back.”

Nwaba, who missed time due to health issues in 2018/19, can be a restricted free agent this summer if the Cavaliers opt to issue a qualifying offer worth approximately $1.9MM. It remains to be seen if the team will do so.

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • Prior to what could have been his last game as the Cavaliers’ head coach, Larry Drew sidestepped a question asking whether he wanted to keep the job in 2019/20, writes Fedor. “I really don’t want to get into that part of it right now,” Drew said. “What I really want to do is just finish this game tonight and (general manager) Koby (Altman) and I will sit down and talk about it. We’re going to give it a few days and we’ll sit down and discuss it.”
  • It has been mostly a lost season in Cleveland, but the development of rookie point guard Collin Sexton has been a major silver lining, as Terry Pluto of details.
  • In an entertaining piece for, Fedor spoke to several of Channing Frye‘s teammates, ex-teammates, and executives who know him well. Those sources shared their memories of Frye, who will retire after having played his last NBA game on Tuesday.

Channing Frye Explains Decision To Retire

A vacation over the All-Star break cemented Channing Frye‘s decision to finish his career at the end of this season, he tells Chris Fedor of Frye said the experience helped him realize he wants to spend more time with his family without the distractions of the NBA lifestyle.

“I went to Puerto Rico with my kids and I saw our best friends who live down there and their kids are 12, 11, 10,” Frye said. “My son is eight now. I’m like, ‘I want to go his practice and not have to worry about my practice.’ I want to make time for them.

“What some of these young fellas don’t understand is your whole life is on a selfish bubble, what’s best for you, what you want to do. For me it took a while, but my dad instinct, and my husband and family guy kicked in. What can I do for my family? Money is awesome, but at this point I’ve had enough people either die or go away through relationships that couldn’t get kept up. That’s what’s most important, making something outside of basketball.”

Frye, 35, is in his 13th NBA season. He said he has been considering retirement for a few years, but has found it hard to leave the game. He talked to fellow veterans Dwyane Wade, who is also retiring when the season is over, and Dirk Nowitzki to get their input.

Frye has played for six teams, but decided to return to the Cavaliers on a one-year deal last summer because he believed it was somewhere he could still contribute. He also has fond memories of Cleveland after being part of the 2016 championship team.

“I wanted to retire a Cav,” Frye said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen this summer, so I wanted to make sure I’m controlling my own destiny and going out the way I wanted to go out.”

It hasn’t been the storybook ending that Frye might have envisioned. With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers have started a rebuilding process that has them near the bottom of the league with a 15-48 record. Head coach Tyronn Lue lasted just six games before being fired, and several of Frye’s teammates have been traded away.

He has seen his role with the team slip, playing just 30 games and averaging 9.8 minutes per night.

“Everybody knew it was coming,” he said of the retirement announcement that was posted Thursday night on social media. “I wasn’t playing. I was sitting next to the coaches all the time. For me it was the natural progression of where it should go. I love basketball and I love being around, but also love that basketball always gave me a challenge.

“Right now my job and my job for however many years if I wanted to play, I would be more like a coach figure. I’m a competitor and I’m like, ‘OK, I want to help.’ But I also know there’s limitations to where this league is going or where this team is going. It’s not like, ‘Oh man, I deserve to play.’ It’s not like that at all. At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself and be like, ‘Is this what’s truly the right type of gas for the car you’re driving.’ For me, right now, this season, it’s on E. I have enough to finish out the season and I’m excited to do it with these guys.”

Channing Frye To Retire At Season’s End

5:06pm: Frye confirmed today in a tweet that he intends to retire at the end of the 2018/19 season.

“Yes, I am really retiring,” he wrote. “It’s been a amazing ride. I’ve had the chance to have some amazing teammates and play for some great coaches. I’m gonna miss it but I’m super excited to see the other side of the fence!”

12:58pm: Veteran forward Channing Frye hinted at retirement last night with an Instagram post stating that he had played his final game at Madison Square Garden, tweets Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Frye confirmed that sentiment in exchanges with former Cavaliers teammates Jeff Green and Isaiah Thomas (Twitter link).

Frye, 35, is in his 13th NBA season. He has seen limited playing time since returning to the Cavaliers over the summer, appearing in 29 games and averaging 3.3 PPG in 9.5 minutes per night. His veteran’s minimum deal expires at the end of the season.

The eighth pick in the 2005 draft, Frye put together a productive career as a stretch four, sinking 1,041 career 3-pointers and shooting at a .387 clip from downtown. His best season came in 2010/11 with the Suns when he averaged 12.7 PPG.

Frye played for six teams in his career and was able to bounce back after missing the 2012/13 season because of an enlarged heart. He’s one of four remaining Cavaliers who were part of the 2016 championship team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavaliers Willing To Accept Long-Term Salary In Trades

As the Cavaliers look to unload some of their expensive veterans, they have informed teams that they will take on long-term salary in exchange for other assets, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

With LeBron James gone and the playoffs seemingly out of reach, Cleveland has no interest in holding onto large contracts that will keep the organization near the luxury tax. The Cavs have already informally parted ways with J.R. Smith as they search for a taker for his $14.72MM salary, and several other players could be moved before the February 7 trade deadline.

Kyle Korver, who remains a dangerous 3-point shooter at age 37, should attract the most attention, according to Windhorst. Korver is shooting 46% from beyond the arc and is averaging 6.8 PPG. He is making $7.56MM with a $7.5MM salary for next season that won’t be guaranteed until July.

George Hill, who makes $19MM this season but only has a $1MM guarantee on his $18MM salary for 2019/20, will also be in demand, Windhorst adds. Hill is sidelined with a shoulder injury, but put up good numbers before being hurt. Channing Frye, who makes a modest $1.5MM but has only appeared in three games, is another candidate to go.

Windhorst notes that owner Dan Gilbert conducted a similar selloff when James left the team in 2010. The assets he collected in that process enabled him to bring in Kevin Love and some other valuable pieces when James returned four years later.

Cavs Remain Committed To Winning Despite Rotation Changes

The Cavaliers remain committed to winning this season rather than tearing down the team and rebuilding, Joe Vardon of the Athletic reports. The front office doesn’t view Sunday’s blowout loss to the Hawks as a reflection of what to expect going forward with this squad.

Before the 22-point loss, the team owned a record of 0-2 and Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, and Channing Frye, the team’s three oldest players, were told that they were not going to be in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Coach Tyronn Lue and GM Koby Altman sat with the trio on Saturday—a day before the loss—and explained that Cleveland was going to give its young players the opportunity to showcase their skills. Lue’s rotation was teetering between 11 and 12 players and it needed to be shortened. Frye was already not in the rotation, but Korver and Smith were both set to receive a demotion.

Today, after the 22-point loss, Lue began practice with both Korver and Smith among the team’s top 10 players. Both vets are expected to play on Wednesday against the Nets. Vardon notes that it’s possible Lue made this decision against the front office’s wishes.

The front office is committed to the team’s youth but also pledged to Kevin Love that the organization would not tank, something Love wanted to know before he signed his four-year extension. Love understands the need to develop players for the future, but sees a reason for playing the vets now.

“In our commitment to helping guys grow, the guys who know how to win have to play,” Love told Vardon, in supporting Lue’s latest decision. “I think having Kyle and Channing and J.R., those guys know how to win in this league, and having them will help bring the others along. So they need to play.”

Love feels that younger players may pick up bad habits as a result of not playing alongside veterans. He spoke about how he did just that playing on a young team in Minnesota.

“I had to step into playing so many minutes every single night, and my bad habits had accumulated. I got here and I had to shake a lot of those, learn what it is to sacrifice,” Love said. “In practice time and teaching points and film, all that stuff that goes on away from the games, that’s where I think those guys are gonna grow.”

Lue sees Cleveland’s defensive woes as a communication issue and he said the team’s players either have to “talk or they’ve got to come and sit down [on the bench],” as Chris Fedor of relays.

“I think the biggest thing is communication,” Lue said. “When you’re switching you have to call the switches out so the man can’t get behind and get dunks and layups and easy shots.”

This is a situation that could fluctuate over the next several weeks. The team can only dress 13 players and on Sunday, David Nwaba was in street clothes while the team’s three oldest players sat on the bench in uniform. A front office executive tells Vardon that Nwaba is unlikely to be out of uniform going forward, so it’s unclear who will be in street clothes when the team plays on Wednesday.

Korver is considered a strong candidate to be moved at some point during the season, though the team has not explored trade opportunities for him since training camp. Vardon adds that if a market developed for Tristan Thompson, the Cavs would likely listen to offers. Cleveland’s payroll sits at approximately $115.7MM, roughly $14MM over the salary cap.

Cavs Sign Channing Frye To One-Year Deal

JULY 19: The Cavaliers have officially signed Frye, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 14: The Cavaliers have agreed to bring back veteran forward Channing Frye, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. According to Charania, Frye will sign a one-year, minimum-salary deal with Cleveland.

Frye will earn approximately $2.39MM this season and count for roughly $1.51MM on the Cavs’ cap sheet.

The 35-year-old played in 144 games for Cleveland over parts of the last three seasons. He was traded from Orlando to LeBron James‘ squad at the 2016 deadline before being dealt to the Lakers during a massive overhaul at the 2018 trade deadline. Now, he’ll head back to Cleveland from Los Angeles as LeBron goes in the other direction.

Frye, a 13-year veteran averaged 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest in limited minutes (13.1 MPG) last season. He’s widely known as a solid locker room presence and that will likely be valued by a team that could end up embarking on a total rebuild should it trade Kevin Love.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Central Rumors: Frye, Parker, Sexton, Garnett

Channing Frye‘s impact on the locker room had a lot to do with the Cavaliers’ decision to bring back the veteran forward, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. GM Koby Altman wanted a respected veteran voice to guide the team through tough times with the departure of LeBron James, Pluto continues. Frye is very popular with his teammates and shares a close bond with the team’s remaining star, Kevin Love. Frye was traded to the Lakers last February by Cleveland solely to make the deal work financially and not because the front office had any issues with him, Pluto adds. Frye agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The team option on Jabari Parker‘s two-year contract gives the Bulls flexibility during free agency next summer, Kevin Anderson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. With a projected rise in the salary cap, the Bulls could free up enough cap space to sign a top-level free agent even if they decide to keep Parker. That could be accomplished by allowing Bobby Portis and Cameron Payne to become unrestricted free agents if they are not signed to extensions. If they decide to let Parker go next summer, they could have between $35MM-$53MM in cap space during free agency, Anderson adds.
  • Cavaliers lottery pick Collin Sexton was a volume scorer during summer-league competition but reinforced the notion that his long-range game needs work, as Andre Snellings of ESPN details. Sexton did most of his damage inside the arc and needs to develop a consistent 3-point shot, Snellings continues. The University of Alabama product also displayed his ability to create for his teammates but he still can become a better passer, Snellings adds.
  • The Pistons made arrangements to have Kevin Garnett work with two of their bigs, center Andre Drummond and power forward Henry Ellenson, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • GM Gar Forman’s promise two years ago to make the Bulls younger and more athletic is coming to fruition, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago writes. By drafting Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. in the lottery, trading for Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn and signing Jabari Parker as a free agent, the average age of the projected lineup is 22, Walton points out. The team can now play at a quicker pace and cover more space defensively, Walton adds.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Los Angeles Lakers

For better or worse, the Lakers have known exactly what they wanted and how to get it for several seasons now. Now that the 2018 free agency period is upon us, we’ll see if the salary cap posturing was worth it. In an effort to make themselves an appealing destination for LeBron James and/or Paul George the club has neglected and even outright punted up-and-coming talent.

Given what’s at stake, any of Los Angeles’ own free agents will have to wait for dominoes to start falling before they can find out what kind of role – if any – is still available to them with the Lakers. Because of its history and location and all the inherent marketing opportunities that come along with being a celebrity in Hollywood, this organization is capable of things that nobody else is. Love it or hate, we’re going to see that on full display this summer.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, 25 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $18MM deal in 2017
In today’s NBA there will always be a market for 3-and-D perimeter threats so whether it comes in Los Angeles or elsewhere, Caldwell-Pope should have no problem finding a suitor. That fact that he’s still only 25 years old only makes him all that more appealing. The problem, however – and the one thing standing between him and the max deal he allegedly sought last offseason – is that despite the guard’s legitimately impressive .423 three-point percentage after the All-Star Break, he’s never been a reliable go-to scoring option on a competitive team and appears to have a finite ceiling. Is the two-guard an untapped star or an elite niche player? I’d wager on the latter and caution any team desperate enough to pay him like the former.

Channing Frye, C, 35 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $32MM deal in 2014
Frye saw a reduced role in 2017/18 after serving as a valuable depth piece for the championship-contender Cavaliers the past two seasons. Still, despite seeing his usage trend downward, the veteran is as sneaky dangerous as ever. It’s hard to imagine Frye earning much more than the veteran’s minimum in his 13th season but it’s easy to picture him knocking down critical threes for a contender come the 2019 postseason.

Andre Ingram, SG, 32 (Down) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
Ingram had a memorable cup of coffee this season but isn’t likely to parlay the impressive debut into a full-time gig anytime soon. That said, the 32-year-old could find himself on the 10-day radar for depth-hungry teams late next season. That’s an improvement over a seemingly symbolic late-season addition in 2018.

Brook Lopez, C, 30 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $63MM deal in 2015
Lopez has done an admirable job developing a three-point shot late in his career and that will likely help him prolong it, but don’t expect him to land another featured role like he had with the Nets anytime soon either. Lopez is on the wrong side of 30 and has never been a particularly feared rim protector. Expect the veteran to contribute meaningful minutes to a contender at a drastically reduced rate; playoff-bound teams don’t have the cap space and the rest shouldn’t even be looking.

Julius Randle, C, 23 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $14MM deal in 2014
Watching the Lakers mishandle Randle over the course of the past two seasons would have been outright inexcusable if they didn’t have a legitimate chance of landing a premier free agent or two this summer. They do, so we’ll let them off the hook, but if any other franchise were to drag an absolute workhorse through the mud for two seasons just because they wanted to keep their options open for free agency, we’d be laughing at them. Randle, a restricted free agent, is going to get paid this offseason and he should, my only hope – for the sake of the young man’s dignity – is that it comes from an organization that hasn’t made it abundantly clear that he’s a third or fourth priority. Fun prediction: Randle makes an All-Star team before any of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma.

Isaiah Thomas, PG, 29 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $27MM deal in 2014
For a fleeting moment in time, the stars aligned such that Thomas – an undersized, volume-shooting journeyman – was an honest-to-goodness MVP candidate. That, however, doesn’t mean that Thomas is or ever was a max player. While the drop in Thomas’ value here in 2018 can be lazily chalked up to his hip injury and the fact that he’ll be 30 years old by the end of next season, it wouldn’t have even felt right this time last season for a team to commit north of $25MM to a ball-dominant guard with a Napolean Complex. I can see Thomas as a world-class reserve combo guard if his hip holds up into the second-half of his career, I’m just not confident that he would share my vision.

Travis Wear, SF, 27 (Down) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
The Lakers brought Wear aboard as a last-season depth add and while he may not break camp with the team next season, he may have shown enough during his brief stint with the franchise to warrant a call-up earlier in the season next year. The Lakers may not have much of an interest in investing substantially in the forward but he’s a familiar face that could end up back in purple and gold eventually.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Rumors: Free Agency, KCP, Frye, Lopez, Walton

The Lakers’ long-awaited 2018 offseason is now underway, but after months of speculation about which top free agents the team will land this summer, president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka are working to keep expectations in check.

Speaking today to reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of, the Lakers’ top execs made it clear that they plan to be flexible when it comes to free agency. In the view of Johnson and Pelinka, the team could just as easily end up making a splash in 2019 as in 2018.

As Youngmisuk details, Johnson said the Lakers won’t “give away money” this offseason just to say they signed someone, which is perhaps a veiled reference to the team’s infamous summer of ’16. Pelinka, meanwhile, stressed that the summer of ’18 “is not a litmus test” for the front office’s ultimate success — if L.A. comes away empty-handed this July but maintains flexibility for 2019, management wouldn’t view that as a disaster.

Here’s much more on the Lakers:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, an unrestricted free agent this summer, says he’s looking for a long-term deal in order to establish some stability for his family, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Within the same piece, UFA-to-be Channing Frye says he’d be interested in re-signing with the Lakers. “I want to allow them to make the right decisions with bigger-name guys,” Frye said. “I’€™m a pretty dang good backup, emergency, break-the-glass type guy.”
  • Brook Lopez, yet another UFA, isn’t sure whether he’ll be back with the Lakers, but endorsed the franchise for other free agents, per Rodrigo Azurmendi of “It’€™s a great place to be going forward, not just for myself, but for a free agent looking to sign somewhere,” Lopez said.
  • As Lonzo Ball prepares for a summer that Johnson and Pelinka told him would be the biggest of his life (link via, insiders around the NBA are marveling at the Lakers’ 2017 draft class, which looks like a potential all-timer, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. In addition to Ball, the Lakers also nabbed Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart – who both look like steals – late in the first round.
  • Although there was some speculation during the season about his job security, Luke Walton appears very safe as the Lakers’ head coach. Johnson said today that he and Pelinka “look forward to working with Luke for many years to come” (Twitter link via Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times).
  • For his part, Walton would love to keep working with restricted free agent Julius Randle (Twitter link via Oram). “I think it’€™s obvious that, yes, I would love to have Julius back next year,” Walton said today after raving about the big man’s play. “There’€™s other factors … but from a coaching standpoint I would love to have Julius back.”