Chris Kaman

Northwest Notes: Stotts, Kaman, Donovan

Agent Warren LeGarie will make a hard push to secure a long-term extension for Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, and he hinted that he won’t be afraid to shop his client to other teams if Portland doesn’t show interest, as Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune relays. Stotts has one more year left on his contract, but it’s a team option that the Blazers have yet to pick up.

“You would hope his body of work says it all,” LeGarie said to Eggers. “This time, we’re probably going to take a bit of a stand. You can’t keep putting him in [a lame-duck] position. I’m hoping [Blazers owner Paul Allen and GM Neil Olshey] feel the same way. I’m always optimistic. If they’re not interested, there are a lot of teams that will be.”

LeGarie represents both Stotts and Olshey but insists that isn’t an issue, as Eggers details. Olshey has insisted that no contract talks will take place during the season even though he received an extension from the Blazers in January 2015, Eggers points out. Stotts doesn’t seem too concerned, acknowledging that many coaches end up in lame-duck situations as he expressed his affection for the city and the organization.

See more from Portland amid the latest from the Northwest Division:

  • Soon-to-be free agent Chris Kaman has clashed with his coaches before, but the Blazers veteran is a strong advocate for Stotts, as Eggers chronicles in the same piece. “They should rip up his contract and give him a five-year deal — in player terms, a max deal,” Kaman said. “That’s my guy. He does a great job, and honestly, who thought we’d get 30 wins with this team, let alone 44? It’s a testament to what him and his staff are doing, and also to the players. We have a good group of guys. Everybody fits well. It’s been a pretty good year for everybody.”
  • The Thunder often struggle down the stretch in close games and it took new coach Billy Donovan time to calibrate his rotation and substitutions, but the first-year NBA bench boss succeeded at incorporating more ball-sharing into the offense and overcame absences from two veteran assistants, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt details.
  • The Nuggets are in favorable position to contend for a playoff spot next season, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical opines in his Summer Agenda series. The franchise has hit the mark on building its roster and finding a long-term head coach but shouldn’t get impatient with the process, Marks continues. The team has three of the top 19 picks in the draft but must exercise caution in parlaying those picks for an immediate impact player, Marks adds.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Northwest Notes: Kaman, Martin, Thunder

Trail Blazers reserve center Chris Kaman believes it’s a “high possibility” he will be moved before the trade deadline, he revealed to Jason Quick of Kaman told Quick that as part of the Blazers’ decision to pick up his $5MM option over the summer, president of basketball operations Neil Olshey made it clear he would be traded if the right deal came along. Kaman has only played in four games.

In other developments around the Northwest Division:

  • Kevin Martin could be rejoining the rotation soon and center Nikola Pekovic could return to action on Wednesday, Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell told Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Martin has not played the past seven games, in part because he has a wrist injury but mainly because the club wanted to audition Zach LaVine at shooting guard. But Mitchell told Youngblood that he may play more of his veterans in upcoming games. Pekovic is looking to make his season debut after undergoing Achilles surgery in April and is “50-50” to play on Wednesday, Mitchell said.
  • Rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will come off the bench in the short term when he returns to action, Nuggets coach Michael Malone told Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. Mudiay, who has missed the last 11 games with a right ankle injury, could be back in action on Wednesday but will be under a minutes restriction, Dempsey adds. “Right now, my gut feeling is to work him in, bring him in off the bench, let him get his feel back after missing as many games as he has,” Malone said. “That will also allow him to play against more second-line guys, get a little more comfortable, get his confidence back — not that he’s lost confidence. But just to feel good out there. Then, if he’s able to take his starting job back, then we’ll put him back in the lineup.”
  • The Thunder allowed the $915,243 trade exception they acquired in last year’s three-team trade with the Knicks and Cavaliers to expire today, the one-year anniversary of the deal. The exception was a vestige of the team’s minimum-salary contract with Lance Thomas, who went to New York in the swap.

Western Notes: Howard, Rondo, Kaman, Payne

Dwight Howard is “extremely unhappy” as a secondary option to James Harden on the Rockets, league sources tell Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops, but a source tells Calvin Watkins of that “everybody is unhappy” (Twitter link), with everybody presumably a reference to all of the Rockets. Houston has played better since last month’s coaching change, but the team is still just 12-13. Howard and Harden have never truly meshed, as Fran Blinebury of wrote last month, adding that members of each other’s camp went into the 2014 offseason “whispering” about their desire to get rid of the other. Sheridan speculates about trade scenarios involving Howard, but no indication exists that the Rockets would indeed entertain any deals for the 30-year-old who has a player option worth more than $23.282MM for next season. Howard is No. 6 in our latest 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings. See more from the Western Conference:

  • Rajon Rondo apologized to referee Bill Kennedy today in the point guard’s second statement in response to the controversy surrounding the homophobic slur he used during a game earlier this month as an insult to Kennedy, who is gay. Some took issue with his first statement, which he issued Monday via two tweets, for its lack of a direct apology, and executives who spoke with Ken Berger of offered split opinions on whether the matter would affect Rondo’s free agency this summer.
  • The Trail Blazers are making Chris Kaman available for trades, league sources told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. Kaman is pulling down $5.016MM this season, the last one on his contract. A sprained right ankle has helped limit him to just three appearances so far in 2015/16.
  • Timberwolves power forward Adreian Payne is also available, league sources said to Scotto for the same report. Payne, who’s earning almost $1.939MM in the second season of his rookie scale contract, was the 15th overall pick of the 2014 draft, but he’s played sparingly since. He’s averaging 3.5 points in 10.3 minutes per game across 15 appearances for Minnesota so far this season, though the team committed to him financially less than two months ago when it picked up his 2016/17 team option.

Northwest Notes: Gallinari, Kaman, Timberwolves

Danilo Gallinari will often move from small forward to power forward this season to take advantage of offensive skills, Pat Graham of the Associated Press reports. Gallinari played a lot of power forward for Italy at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game, and new Nuggets coach Michael Malone plans to use the same tactic, Graham continues. “He’s 6’10”. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said in the story. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.” Gallinari is eager to step into the role as a go-to guy, Graham adds. “I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari told Graham. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.”

In other news around the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran center Chris Kaman is unlikely to get much playing time this season, but he still believes he can serve a valuable role with the Trail Blazers, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Kaman is behind Meyers Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh at the power forward and center spots, and Al-Farouq Aminu is also likely to get minutes at power forward, Richman continues. But Kaman feels like he can contribute in other ways, as he told Richman. “I still feel like I can provide a lot on or off the court for this team,” he said. “If my role is to be the guy that’s helping guys off the bench and I get a little bit of minutes here and there, I’m going to play as hard as I can.”
  • Nuggets point guard Jameer Nelson wants to go into coaching but he has no plans to retire at the moment, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reports. He has already made an immediate impression on Malone with his mentoring skills. “I have the utmost confidence in Jameer Nelson as a leader,” Malone said to Dempsey. Nelson held a summertime team bonding session at his Philadelphia-area home and has been instructing rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay in camp, Dempsey adds.
  • Anthony Bennett decided to explore a buyout with the Timberwolves after he met with his agent, Jeff Schwartz, following his stint with Team Canada this summer, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Schwartz recommended the change of scenery since the Timberwolves had a logjam at power forward, the story continues. Bennett had other options, including the Trail Blazers, after he cleared waivers before signing with the Raptors.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Kaman, Snyder

Kenneth Faried acknowledged that the Nuggets trade of Ty Lawson to the Rockets is just part of the business of basketball, but he was still stung by it due to his close friendship with the point guard, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. When asked about the trade, Faried said, “Basketball. Nature of the beast. I’m not part of the business side I’m part of the playing side. I just want to get up-and-down and play the game. It hurt me because that was my best friend but it’s the nature of the beast. You’ve got to live with it.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Mason Plumlee says he has learned a lot from veteran big man Chris Kaman in the short time that they have been teammates with the Trail Blazers, Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes. “The guys who are here 10-plus years in the NBA are here because they help the young guys,” Plumlee said of Kaman. “Here’s very good, he’s helpful, he knows what coach [Terry] Stotts wants so he’s been great.” Plumlee was acquired by Portland back in June.
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder enters his second season with the team a bit more relaxed than his he was during his rookie campaign, and he aims to try and be less intense with his players this season, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “The course of the season and our team and how we play will dictate that as much as anything,” Snyder said, obviously making no hard promises regarding his future demeanor.
  • One of the problems facing the Timberwolves as they enter the preseason is that most of their big men are power forwards who will be tasked with manning the center position, Marcus R. Fuller of The Pioneer Press writes. Kevin Garnett, a power forward by trade, won’t be thrilled if he has to spend prolonged time in the pivot, Fuller adds. I still hate the center position,” Garnett said. “I’m 235, 240 [pounds]. Guys who play the center … DeAndre Jordan is 275, 280. That’s outweighing me by 40 pounds. But what I don’t make up in weight, I make up in heart and [expletive].”As for interim coach Sam Mitchell‘s plan for the rotation at the five spot, he said, “I’ve got an idea in my mind. But until we get out on the floor and actually watch them play a little bit, then we’ll start to formulate those opinions.

Northwest Notes: Jones, Gallinari, Donovan

The Timberwolves will consider sending Tyus Jones to the NBA D-League this season in order to get the rookie more playing time, Marcus R. Fuller of The Pioneer Press writes. The decision will come down to whether or not the team believes it can get Jones enough playing time to properly develop, Fuller adds. “We haven’t really used [the D-League] in the past, and that’s something we’re trying to rectify,” GM Milt Newton said. “If there’s an opportunity for us to use the D-League, we will do that, with Tyus especially. But it can be a position where you send him to the D-League and he plays only 14, 15, 20 minutes a game, which was the situation last year. For us, we wanted to utilize the D-League. But the team we were associated with, they couldn’t guarantee that our guys would get the minutes that we felt they needed to develop, and so we felt it was better to keep our players here and let [them] practice and get developed from our coaching staff. If we can fix that situation, while we’re in the situation without a D-League team, that’s a decision we’ll have to make.” Jones was the No. 24 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Danilo Gallinari, who agreed to a renegotiation and extension of his contract this offseason, wants to remain with the Nuggets for his entire NBA career, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. “I was just glad to stay in Denver,” Gallinari said. “That was my goal. If you see my history with contracts, it’s never been about money because if it was about money I would have made other choices. But I love Denver and I want to stay here as long as I can. I would like to finish my career here. I was glad we were able to sign this contract.
  • New Thunder head coach Billy Donovan says he has been humbled by the reception he has received from the community and fans of the team since being hired back in April, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. “The community has been really remarkable in terms of helping myself, helping my kids, my wife adjust. Very very grateful for all the help that so many lended, reached out, to make this a smooth transition,” said Donovan.
  • This season will likely be the final one for Jazz point guard Trey Burke to establish himself as a starter in the league, writes Brad Rock of The Deseret News. With projected starter Dante Exum undergoing surgery on the ACL in his left knee that may cause him to miss the entire season, Utah will need Burke to step up his game if the team is to have a shot at the playoffs this season.
  • The Trail Blazers elected to exercise their team option for Chris Kaman for the 2015/16 season, a move that pleased the veteran big man despite the franchise entering a rebuilding phase, Casey Holdahl of writes. “First of all, I was happy to have the opportunity to come back here again because obviously that was something in question,” said Kaman. “I’m grateful to be back here. Even if it’s a rebuilding season and we’re able to make the playoffs or skirt at the edge there and be somewhere at the end of the season where we’re having a great opportunity, I’m happy to be here.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Bennett, Kaman

People close to the Nuggets have indicated that Kenneth Faried played a larger role in the downfall of former coach Brian Shaw than publicly known, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Trade rumors surrounded Faried for much of the past year, and many people around the league expect Denver will deal him away. Still, Dowsett takes Shaw to task for his performance as a coach last season and calls the hiring of Michael Malone the team’s best offseason addition. See more from the Northwest Division:

  • Anthony Bennett looked strong playing for the Canadian national team during the summer, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor downplayed the idea that the Wolves will trade the former No. 1 overall pick, telling Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, “We shouldn’t assume he’d go” (Twitter link). The Wolves have reportedly been willing to move Bennett for the right return.
  • Chris Kaman would probably fit best on a contender, but he enjoyed playing for the Trail Blazers last season, and Kaman’s level of contentment has had much to do with whether he’s been successful over the past few seasons, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman examines. Kaman will make $5.016MM this season in the last year of his contract.
  • The exodus of so many of last season’s Trail Blazers has C.J. McCollum excited about the more prominent role he’s poised to take on this year, one reminiscent of his time as a scoring force in college at Lehigh, as he tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. McCollum is hopeful that he can continue to work with Steve Nash, who helped him with his game this summer, even though Nash is reportedly finalizing a deal to become a part-time player development consultant for the Warriors.

Blazers To Keep Chris Kaman

The Blazers have decided to retain Chris Kaman for the 2015/16 season, according to Jabari Young of (on Twitter).  Portland had until 4 CT to waive the big man before his salary became fully guaranteed for the upcoming campaign.  Portland declined to do so, meaning that Kaman will return for a second season.

During his exit interview in April, Kaman said he wanted to return to the Blazers for the 2015/16 season.  However, with just $1MM of his $5,016,000 salary guaranteed for next season, that wasn’t quite a given.  In 74 games (13 starts) last season, Kaman averaged 8.6 PPG and 6.5 RPG in less than 19 minutes per game.  The 7-footer has averaged 11.4 PPG and 7.7 RPG over the course of his 12-year career.

Western Notes: D-League, Donovan, Williams

Billy Donovan‘s track record of success at the University of Florida bodes well for his chances as the Thunder‘s new coach, Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald writes. In addition to leading his team to back-to-back championships, Donovan also has proven adept at getting his star players to remain longer than they otherwise would have, Goodman notes. The organization certainly hopes this ability will carryover to the pros, since the pending free agency of Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016 is sure to be a hot-button topic in OKC all season long in 2015/16.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The L.A. D-Fenders, the Lakers‘ D-League affiliate, informed coach Phil Hubbard that the franchise would not be exercising its team option for him next season, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). The D-Fenders struggled to a record of 17-33 under the first-year coach, though NBA callups for Jabari Brown, Jamaal Franklin, and Vander Blue certainly didn’t help Hubbard’s cause, Spears notes.
  • If the Nets and Deron Williams were to agree to a buyout or if the franchise waives him via the stretch provision, the point guard returning to play for the Jazz is a possibility, posits Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). Williams spent the first five and a half seasons of his career in Utah before being dealt to Brooklyn back in 2011.
  • Blazers big man Chris Kaman went to Portland with the intention of being a reserve and mentoring the team’s younger big men, but injuries derailed that plan, Jabari Young of writes in his review of Kaman’s season. While many players would be thrilled to become a starter, even if it was due to injuries, Kaman wasn’t a huge fan of the change, Young adds. When discussing his role change, Kaman said, “It’s not bad, but it’s not what I came here to do. I knew I came here to back up [Robin] Lopez. And that’s where I see myself and that’s where I feel comfortable.” The veteran has one year remaining on his current deal, though only $1MM of his $5,016,000 salary for 2015/16 is guaranteed.

Northwest Notes: Donovan, Blazers, Pleiss

Billy Donovan‘s deal to coach the Thunder is for five-years and worth approximately $30MM, or roughly $6MM per season, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The fifth season is a team option, Ramona Shelburne of tweets. The ex-Florida coach was reportedly seeking that amount annually if he was to make the jump from the NCAA, and it’s certainly a hefty raise from Donovan’s $4MM per season wage for coaching the Gators.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • During his exit interview today, Chris Kaman said that he would like to return to the Blazers next season, Jabari Young of tweets. The 33-year-old big man said he’ll need to wait and see if Portland wants to retain him for 2015/16, Young adds. Kaman’s $5,016,000 salary for next season includes a partial guarantee of $1MM.
  • Damian Lillard says that he is confident that he and the Blazers will be able to reach an agreement on a contract extension this offseason, Joe Freeman of the Oregonian relays (Twitter link). “For me, this is where I want to be,” said Lillard. “Whatever we need to do to make that happen, we’ll make happen.” The point guard is set to enter the final year of his rookie deal with the team, and will earn $4,236,287 in 2015/16.
  • German center Tibor Pleiss could look to join the Jazz next season if his contract is indeed bought out by Barcelona, Aris Barkas of relays (hat tip to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News). Utah acquired the rights to the 25-year-old from the Thunder in the Enes Kanter trade earlier this season.
  • The Thunder‘s coaching switch from Scott Brooks to Donovan was done to get a different voice for the players to respond to, as well as for the franchise to create a new identity next season, Shelburne relays in a series of tweets. The plan is for the team to make a change now, rather than spend the year in organizational limbo, and to show Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook what the future will look like in OKC, Shelburne adds.