Chris Copeland

Chris Copeland To Play In Turkey

Free agent forward Chris Copeland is headed overseas, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who confirms (via Twitter) that the NBA veteran has opted to sign for the 2016/17 season with Tofas Bursa, a Turkish team. Semih Tuna of first reported that Copeland would sign in Turkey.

Copeland, 32, appeared in 24 regular season contests for the Bucks last season after having also spent time with the Knicks and Pacers over the course of his NBA career. He played sparingly in Milwaukee, averaging just 2.1 PPG in 6.5 minutes per game for the team, and shot a career-worst 33.3% from the floor, including 27.8% on three-pointers.

This fall, Copeland joined the Pelicans for training camp, but didn’t last long with the club, having been released early in October. His contract with New Orleans didn’t feature any guaranteed money, and it seems no other NBA opportunities arose over the last couple months, resulting in his move overseas.

In Turkey, Copeland will be joining a Tofas Burka team that’s off to a 2-6 start, so he’ll be tasked with helping to turn the club around. His teammates will include Sixers draft-and-stash prospect Vasilije Micic, former DePaul standout Sammy Mejia, and former St. Joseph’s forward Ronald Roberts.

Western Notes: Knight, Diop, Douglas

Suns coach Earl Watson has already named his starting lineup for the regular season and second-year player Devin Booker received the nod at shooting guard, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reports. This means that Brandon Knight will shift into the sixth man role, Coro adds. “That’s the starting lineup for the season,” Watson said. “We’re not wasting time. We’re not lingering with inner-competition. Brandon Knight is not a bench player. He’s a starter in this league. He’s sacrificed the most for our group. He took it like the pro he is because he understands the opportunity that we have to be special. Do players like coming off the bench? No, and we embrace that. That’s the inner-competitive nature that we need.”

I knew at one point in my career I’d be a starter,” Booker told Coro. “I didn’t know it’d be this soon but I have put in that work to be one.” Here’s more from out West:

  • The Pelicans waived Chris Copeland earlier today in an effort to free up more minutes for players who are on the bubble to make the team’s regular season roster, according to coach Alvin Gentry, Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate relays. New Orleans had two healthy scratches, Robert Sacre and Alonzo Gee, in its preseason opening victory over the Mavericks on Saturday, the scribe notes.
  • The Jazz have hired former NBA player DeSagana Diop as a coaching associate, the team announced. As a coaching associate, Diop will assist the Jazz coaching staff in a variety of capacities including work on the court during practices and individual player workouts, video editing and analysis, and other team preparation, according to the press release.
  • Toney Douglas, who signed with the Cavaliers earlier today, also drew interest from the Nuggets and the Suns, Sam Amico of relays (via Twitter).

Pelicans Waive Chris Copeland

3:39pm: The Pelicans have officially announced the move via press release.

3:29pm: Less than two weeks after announcing they signed him, the Pelicans have waived veteran forward Chris Copeland, according to Paul Garcia of Project Spurs (via Twitter). The move opens up a roster spot for New Orleans, as the team had been carrying the maximum 20 allowable players.

Copeland, 32, played for the Bucks last season after having also spent time with the Knicks and Pacers over the course of his NBA career. He played sparingly in Milwaukee, averaging just 2.1 PPG in 6.5 minutes per contest for the team, and shot a career-worst 33.3% from the floor, including 27.8% on three-pointers.

Copeland’s deal with the Pelicans hadn’t included any guaranteed money, so the club won’t be on the hook for any salary after releasing him. The club already has 15 players on guaranteed salaries, along with Lance Stephenson on a partially guaranteed deal, so Copeland would have been a long shot to make the regular-season roster.

Pelicans Notes: Stephenson, Holiday, Evans, Hill

Lance Stephenson, who recently signed with the Pelicans, sat down with Justin Verrier of to discuss a number of topics, included how the swingman believes he has changed over the past few years. “When you come into the NBA as a youngster, you got babied all your life,” Stephenson said. “Everybody from when you were younger saying, ‘You’re gonna be in the NBA. You’re this and that.’ But once you get in the NBA, there are a lot of guys similar to you, so you have to learn how to do different things to keep developing. So you’ve got to put in the hard work and learn from other guys, see how they work out. Really, I feel like all the stuff I’ve been through has made me a better player. I feel like God puts you in situations to help you succeed in the long run.

When asked why he chose to join New Orleans, Stephenson told Verrier, “I liked this team, and I see a couple young guys that I could potentially help and show all the other stuff that I learned from other places, from guys like Chris Paul, Paul George, Paul Pierce. Just teach them, and help them believe and show them the right way to work out there and what it takes to make it to the conference finals, and getting that work in every day.

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps told Verrier (Twitter link) that there is no timetable for Jrue Holiday to return to the team, but he’ll be welcomed back with “open arms” when he does. The point guard has taken a leave of absence to help care for his ailing wife and their newborn child.
  • Demps confirmed to Verrier (via Twitter) that Tyreke Evans won’t be available to play until at least December. The exact timetable should become clearer within the next two-to-four weeks, Verrier adds. Evans is still recovering from the two surgeries on his right knee he underwent last season.
  • Evans isn’t the only ailing Pelican, with Quincy Pondexter also not likely to be available until December at the earliest, though, the forward could potentially be sidelined until January, journalist Guerry Smith tweets. Pondexter underwent cartilage replacement surgery on his left knee back in January.
  • Solomon Hill, who signed a four-year, $48MM deal with the Pelicans in July, understands more will be asked of him this season, writes Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate. “I wouldn’t say the actual role is so much different,” Hill said. “But the level where I need to be for this team is definitely different.
  • Chris Copeland nearly joined the Pelicans three seasons ago, but he landed in Indiana instead, the forward told Jim Eichenhofer of The 32-year-old is excited that he is now in New Orleans after signing with the team this week, the scribe relays. “I’ve thought I was coming here a few times before this,” Copeland said. “For whatever reason, it didn’t pan out. I’m just glad it actually came full circle and I get the opportunity to try again this year. It’s a great city. I tell people time and time again, it has some of the best food in the world, and the atmosphere here is special.”

Pelicans Announce Chris Copeland, Robert Sacre Deals

The Pelicans have finally made their deals with Chris Copeland and Robert Sacre official, announcing today in a press release that they’ve added both players to their camp roster. As we heard back in August, Copeland and Sacre will both be on non-guaranteed, one-year summer contracts, so they won’t count against New Orleans’ cap unless they make the regular-season roster.

Copeland, 32, played for the Bucks last season after having also spent time with the Knicks and Pacers over the course of his NBA career. He played sparingly in Milwaukee, averaging just 2.1 PPG in 6.5 minutes per contest for the team. He shot a career-worst 33.3% from the floor, including 27.8% on three-pointers.

As for Sacre, he spent the first four seasons of his NBA career in Los Angeles with the Lakers. The last player selected in the 2012 draft, Sacre averaged 4.2 PPG and 3.1 RPG for the Lakers in 189 career regular-season games.

The competition for a regular-season roster spot in New Orleans will be tough for Copeland and Sacre. The club currently has 15 players on guaranteed salaries for 2016/17, with Lance Stephenson and Shawn Dawson also in camp vying for a place on the team’s 15-man roster.

Contract Notes: Sacre, Sabonis, Jerrett

Here are the latest free agent and 2016 draft pick contract details, courtesy of Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus:

  • Grant Jerrett‘s training camp deal with the Trail Blazers is a one-year, non-guaranteed pact worth $980,431, Pincus tweets. If the forward makes Portland’s regular season roster, his deal won’t be guaranteed until the January 10th, 2017, which is the leaguewide date for contracts this season. The Blazers currently have $112,354,979 in guaranteed salary on the books for 2016/17.
  • The summer contracts the Raptors inked Drew Crawford and Yanick Moreira to are both non-guaranteed deals worth $543,471 apiece, per Pincus (Twitter link). Each deal would become fully guaranteed on December 15th, 2016, provided they made the regular season roster. Toronto currently has $106,077,999 in guaranteed salary already on the books for this campaign.
  • In keeping with the non-guaranteed summer contract trend we have going here, the Pelicans agreements with Robert Sacre and Chris Copeland will count as $980,431 against the cap each, with both players actual salaries set at $1,050,961, Pincus relays (on Twitter). Shawn Dawson‘s non-guaranteed deal will pay him $543,471, should he make the team, the scribe adds. All three deals would become fully guaranteed if they remain on the roster past January 10th, 2017. The Pelicans’ fully guaranteed commitments currently stand at $97,799,631 for the coming season.
  • Domantas Sabonis‘ rookie-scale deal with the Thunder will pay him $2,440,200 this season, $2,550,000 in 2017/18, $2,659,800 in 2018/19 and $3,529,555 the final season, Pincus tweets. Ronnie Price‘s two-year pact, which is fully guaranteed, will see him earn $2,557,545 this year and $2,442,445 in 2017/18, Pincus adds. OKC’s guaranteed commitments currently total up to $91,860,496 for 2016/17.

Western Notes: Conley, Bogdanovic, Jazz Arena

There is growing concern in the Grizzlies‘ front office that point guard Mike Conley might leave the team in free agency this summer, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The 28-year-old will be the top point guard on the market after spending nine years in Memphis. Begley says Grizzlies part-owner Justin Timberlake will appear in a video presentation trying to convince Conley to remain with the team. Begley presents the item as possible good news for the Knicks, but it’s equally positive for all the teams planning to pursue Conley, and very negative for Memphis, which is hoping to keep the core of its perennial playoff team together. The Grizzlies still have the advantage of being able to offer Conley a five-year contract worth about $124MM, while other teams are limited to four years in the neighborhood of $92MM.

There’s more news from the Western Conference:

  • The Suns will negotiate with 2014 first-round pick Bogdan Bogdanovic now that his Turkish League season is over, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. This is the last season that Bogdanovic would be required to sign a rookie contract that would give him a salary of about $5.7MM over four years. If he waits until next offseason, Bogdanovic is free to negotiate any amount, starting with his draft year’s rookie salary scale.
  •  A request for $22.7MM in public funding for renovations to Utah’s Vivant Arena was approved today by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, writes Jasen Lee of The Deseret News. The money, which will be awarded though tax increment financing over the next 25 years, makes up 18% of the total cost of the proposed $125MM project. It will include safety and security improvements, heating and air conditioning upgrades, a new solar panel system and plaza, concession, seating and premium suite improvements.
  • The Mavericks are planning a free agent camp June 22nd with Arnett Moultrie, Bobby Brown, Dominic McGuire and Nick Minnerath among the players invited, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who played two games for the Knicks this season, also received an invitation but has not confirmed that he will attend the camp (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs will hold a free agent camp Wednesday, Kennedy tweets, with Chris Copeland, Adonis Thomas, Victor Rudd, Scott Suggs, J.J. O’Brien and Darius Adams among those expected to attend.
  • The Timberwolves have had workouts for several veteran free agents, including Jimmer Fredette, Phil Pressey, Marquis Teague, Ryan Boatright, Mike James, Ra’shad James, Mark Lyons and Aaron Craft, tweets international journalist David Pick.

Southwest Notes: Nowitzki, Grizzlies, Diaw, Spurs

Dirk Nowitzki remains undecided on what he’ll do this summer with his contract — the longtime Mavericks star could exercise his player option and address his deal in 2017, but he indicated today that the more likely scenario would see him opt out in order to sign a new two- or three-year contract with Dallas, as Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News outlines.

“[I] haven’t decided 100%, but I’ve met with Donnie (Nelson) and I just met with Mark (Cuban) once I came back from vacation just seeing what the next few years could bring for this franchise, who’s available, what’s out there, what’s best for both sides,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t think either side has made a decision yet, but it’s probably going to look like it (opting out). Since I felt great and played sort of decent, I might opt out and maybe sign a two- or three-year deal (with the Mavericks). We’ll see how it goes, but that’s probably the plan for now.”

Although Mavericks management will obviously have some say in the outcome, Cuban made it clear today that the decision will be primarily Nowitzki’s, telling Tim MacMahon of, “Dirk gets to do whatever he wants to do. Period.”

Here’s more from out of the Southwest:

  • In a separate Morning News article, Sefko says that he’d be “scared to death” to offer a maximum-salary contract to Chandler Parsons this offseason, but concedes that the Mavericks probably won’t have much choice if they want to keep the veteran wing.
  • Even if Mike Conley re-signs with the Grizzlies, it may be time for the team to develop a young point guard to back him up, writes Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. As Tillery observes, Memphis could use the No. 17 overall pick in the draft to address the position.
  • In an interview with (French link; translation via Christophe Brouet), Spurs forward Boris Diaw said he’s not yet sure whether the team will keep him on its roster and guarantee the remaining $4MM on his $7MM salary for 2016/17. However, Diaw said he’s been told that San Antonio would like to keep him.
  • The Spurs will be hosting a veteran free agent mini-camp next Tuesday that will includes Chris Copeland and Adonis Thomas, among others, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

Free Agent Notes: Durant, Rockets, Clippers

Kevin Durant would give himself a better chance at winning a title if he were to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors or sign with an Eastern Conference team, Bill Simmons of The Ringer writes. Many believe that Durant will sign a two-year deal with OKC that contains a player option for year two, as was reported earlier this week.

Simmons offers an unconventional viewpoint on Durant’s impending decision. Two years ago, Durant signed a $300MM deal with Nike. At the time, he and LeBron James had the best selling sneakers among all NBA players, Simmons points out. The 2014 MVP then injured his foot and missed a significant amount of time during the 2014/15 campaign. Durant’s comeback 2015/16 season was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant‘s retirement and the Warriors’ historic 73-9 record. Now, the conversation is between Nike with James and the Jordan Brand and Under Armour with Stephen Curry, Simmons adds. Simmons argues that Durant, his representatives and Nike know they won’t be competing with the top brands unless Durant wins a ring or he leaves the Thunder and he speculates that if Nike had its way, Durant would sign elsewhere this summer.

The piece, which is must-read, is a reminder that the NBA is a business and there are several off the court factors that play into basketball decisions. Selling sneakers likely won’t be the primary force that drives Durant to stay or leave, but it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Here’s more on the NBA’s upcoming free agency:

Wolves, Rockets Interested In Chris Copeland

The Timberwolves have had internal discussion about Chris Copeland, and the Rockets also have a level of interest in the stretch forward who’s twice hit waivers in the past week, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Minnesota’s brass is also talking about other would-be additions, and no signing is close, Wolfson adds. That jibes with coach Sam Mitchell‘s comments from this weekend, when he said the team would likely wait awhile to make a move even as he called the Wolves “awfully thin” up front.

Minnesota has an open roster spot in the wake of Andre Miller‘s buyout and has reportedly engaged in advanced discussions with Kevin Martin about a buyout of his own that would give the Wolves a second opening. The Rockets are in a similar position, having opened one vacancy with Friday’s release of Marcus Thornton while reportedly exploring the idea of a buyout with Ty Lawson, but it appears as though Lawson will likely be sticking around.

Copeland failed to have much effect for the Bucks on the one-year, $1.15MM deal he signed this past offseason, appearing for only 6.5 minutes per game over 24 contests and sticking just 10 of 36 3-point attempts. That’s well beneath his 36.5% career rate of accuracy from behind the arc. Milwaukee waived him a week ago to make room for Steve Novak, and Orlando claimed him off waivers only to release him the next day in a move designed to help the Magic reach the salary floor.