Daniel Gibson

Cavs Notes: Mobley, LeVert, Mitchell, Wade, Gibson

The Cavaliers will open the season with three 2022 All-Stars – Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, and Darius Garland – on their roster, but it’s a fourth player who may ultimately determine how far the team goes, in the view of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

As Kelsey Russo of The Athletic details (via Twitter), Bickerstaff identifies second-year big man Evan Mobley as a crucial ceiling raiser for the franchise. As Bickerstaff explains, among the Cavaliers’ core players, Mobley is the one who still has the most room for growth.

“Without trying to put too much on him, he is the guy who can help take us to the next level,” Bickerstaff said. “We understand the value of the guys who have done it, right? Darius has been an All-Star. Jarrett was an All-Star. Donovan has been an All-Star. (Caris) LeVert, Kevin (Love), like we understand and have an appreciation for those guys.

“… His skill set and tools can help take us to the level where we want to go. And the expectation that it happens overnight, probably not. But I expect from year to year, and month to month, you’re going to see improvements from him because that’s who he is.”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Caris LeVert feels as good as he has in years, following a “transformative” summer that saw him reevaluate everything from his diet to his workout regimen, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. LeVert said he battled some nagging injuries last season and during the summer, but finally feels fully healthy entering the fall. As Russo writes for The Athletic, LeVert wants to prove to the Cavs that his down year in 2021/22 was a fluke.
  • Improved conditioning and an attention to detail are keys for Donovan Mitchell as he attempts to show this season that he can be a reliable defensive player, Russo writes in a separate story for The Athletic. “It’s not the ability,” Mitchell said this week. “I can play defense. I know that for a fact. I haven’t shown that and that is what I’m looking forward to doing here.”
  • Dean Wade‘s three-year, $18.5MM contract extension features cap hits of $5,709,877 in 2023/24, $6,166,667 in ’24/25, and $6,623,456 in ’25/26, Hoops Rumors has learned. Wade’s third-year salary is currently only partially guaranteed for $4,623,458, but that figure will increase if Wade meets certain performance-based criteria in the next three seasons — he can boost the third-year guarantee by up to $666,666 per year, based on three separate achievements worth $222,222 apiece.
  • Former Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson will be working this season with the Cleveland Charge, the team’s G League affiliate, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Gibson’s exact title and role are unclear.

Lamar Odom, More Former NBA Players Join BIG3

Longtime NBA forward Lamar Odom, who spent 14 seasons with the Clippers, Lakers, Heat, and Mavericks, has become the latest addition to the BIG3 player pool, the league announced on Thursday (via Twitter).

Odom hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012/13, when he wrapped up his career with the Clippers. He signed with a team in Spain in 2014, but lasted just two games before returning home with a back injury. The former NBA champion has battled addiction issues and survived a drug overdose several years ago, but is healthy now and indicated back in the fall that he intended to join Ice Cube’s three-on-three league.

Odom is one of a handful of former NBA players who have joined the BIG3 within the last week, as the league has slowly been revealing the new additions to its player pool for the upcoming 2019 season. Besides Odom, the following players are poised to play in the BIG3 for the first time this year:

White is a former first-round pick while the other four veterans all played in the NBA for at least seven seasons. Watson suited up for an NBA squad most recently, appearing in 62 games for Orlando in 2016/17.

As we previously relayed, the BIG3 is adding four new teams for the 2019 season and expanding its schedule. In 2018, a team featuring longtime NBA players Corey Maggette, Glen Davis, Cuttino Mobley, and Quentin Richardson – and coached by Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman – won the league’s title.

And-Ones: Ujiri, Coaches, Gibson

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri tells Bruce Arthur of The National Post that Toronto was very close to a drastic roster overhaul following the Rudy Gay trade earlier this year, but that the decision to give Kyle Lowry and his teammates a chance to perform has paid off. “[We came] very, very close [to a different path],” Ujiri said. “I think it was clear for us that after the Rudy Gay trade we were going to see how this whole thing was going to play out … but one thing that really encouraged me was that Kyle, I think Kyle really grew up. We had some honest discussions, and some honest challenges.” Here’s a rundown of the rest of the league’s notes:

Daniel Gibson Drawing NBA Interest

Former Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson says that last month he was “flooded with calls” from NBA teams looking to sign him to a 10-day contract, as he tells Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. Gibson hasn’t played in the NBA this season after the Cavs elected not to re-sign him in the summer following seven years with the team.

Gibson says he’s turned down the offers because he doesn’t feel he’s ready to play at a high level, though it’s unclear if there’s any injury in particular that he’s recovering from. The 27-year-old suffered from ailments in both elbows last season. He says he hasn’t worked out for any teams, but he adds that when he’s ready, he’ll play.

The BlazersNuggets and Sixers had interest in signing the ASM Sports client close to the start of training camp, while the RocketsKnicksPacers and Bucks were linked to Gibson over the summer. Cleveland hasn’t been among the teams with reported interest, but Gibson, who’s never played for an NBA team other than the Cavs, says he’s been keeping tabs on his old team throughout its tumultuous 2013/14 season.

“Earlier I was mad,” he said about the team’s lack of success. “I wanted to be there helping because I love that franchise. I miss that franchise. I see the talent and I see them growing and coming closer together as the year goes on. Every year has ups and downs. It’s the NBA season. But I see them now starting to play the way they’re capable of playing.”

Amico On Lakers, Nuggets, Hamilton, Cavs

In Sam Amico’s latest piece for FOX Sports Ohio, he focuses on last August’s Dwight Howard trade, which initially looked like a questionable move for the Magic. Given the fact that Orlando ended up with the best long-term pieces in the deal, it’s an illustration of why we shouldn’t immediately decide whether teams “won” or “lost” a trade or signing, writes Amico. The FOX Sports Ohio scribe also shares a few rumors and rumblings from around the NBA, so let’s check out the highlights….

  • An Eastern Conference executive tells Amico that his team has heard from the Lakers recently, and that word around the league suggests L.A. may look to make a “substantial” move before the season begins. Pau Gasol isn’t untouchable, writes Amico.
  • Given the questions surrounding Steve Nash‘s health and age, a young scoring point guard may be on the Lakers‘ wish list, though it won’t be easy to obtain one.
  • The Nuggets are also potentially willing to make a move or two before the season, and Amico speculates that a trade candidate like Jimmer Fredette or a free agent like Richard Hamilton could be a fit.
  • Hamilton, Sebastian Telfair, and Daniel Gibson are among the veteran free agents who may draw interest before opening night.
  • The Cavaliers seem to “really like” camp invitees Matthew Dellavedova and Jermaine Taylor, but are unlikely to have the room to keep both on their regular season roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team tried to get the odd man out to join the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s D-League affiliate.

Daniel Gibson On Blazers’ Radar?

The Trail Blazers suffered a significant blow over the weekend, when word broke that C.J. McCollum required foot surgery that could keep him out of action for the next two months. It’s not clear yet whether Portland will pursue another guard to fill in while McCollum recovers, but Daniel Gibson will be a player the team considers if an addition is necessary, according to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (via Twitter).

As our list of roster counts shows, the Blazers already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, plus two more players reportedly on partially guaranteed deals. As such, it’d be a little surprising if the team continued to commit money to new guys, since it would mean releasing at least one player with a guaranteed deal. As I noted last month, Will Barton may represent the most likely candidate to be waived, if the team does need a roster spot.

The Blazers are the second Northwest team that has been linked to Gibson by Amico within the last few days. The FOX Sports scribe wrote on Friday that the former Cavalier was on Denver’s radar as well.

Gibson, 27, had a down year in 2012/13 in Cleveland, setting career-lows in FG% (.340), 3PT% (.344), and PER (7.7), among other categories.

Daniel Gibson Drawing Interest From Nuggets

A longtime former Cavalier could soon find a new NBA home, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio notes at the end of his latest Cavs-related piece. The Nuggets are debating whether to reach out to Daniel Gibson, Amico writes. It's unclear whether Denver is preparing an offer, or simply wants to bring the seven-year veteran in for a workout, but it appears there's still a market for Gibson, who's never played an NBA game for a team other than the Cavs.

As I pointed out when I examined Gibson's free agent stock a couple of weeks ago, interest from NBA teams appeared to have dried up after several clubs were linked to him over the summer. Still, I thought his skill set would warrant an NBA opportunity at some point this season, and perhaps that will come in Denver.

The Nuggets have 14 fully guaranteed contracts, plus Quincy Miller's partially guaranteed deal and three camp invitees, so there's already plenty of competition for an opening-night roster spot. The team's interest in Gibson could signal a lack of confidence in Miller, but the 6'9" Baylor product plays small forward, while Gibson is a guard, and the Nuggets will be without starting small forward Danilo Gallinari to start the season.

The team's interest may simply lie in evaluating Gibson as a potential signee later in the season, or the Nuggets might want to see whether he'd accept a non-guaranteed camp invitation. Given the lack of space on Denver's roster, I'd expect Gibson's representatives at ASM Sports to insist on at least a partial guarantee if he were to sign with the team this month.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Daniel Gibson

The man affectionately known as "Boobie" seemed destined for a lengthy NBA career when he started a pair of NBA Finals games as a rookie for the Cavs in 2007. Daniel Gibson had enough staying power with the Cavs to remain with the team longer than nearly everyone else on that Finals roster, but the 27-year-old's NBA career stands at a crossroads now that he and Cleveland have finally parted ways. The Sixers are the only NBA team that's been reported to have interest in Gibson this month. The Rockets abandoned their pursuit from the summer, and while the Knicks, Pacers and Bucks were mentioned in connection with Gibson in July, they appear no closer to signing him more than two months later.

Gibson's role in the Cavs offense has declined precipitously the past two seasons, even though he didn't play too many fewer minutes per game last season than in 2010/11, when he poured in a career high 11.6 points per contest on nearly 10 shots a night. He averaged only 5.4 field goal attempts in 2012/13, eliminating his penetration game in favor of three-point shooting. He took only 29 shots all season from less than 10 feet away from the basket, according to Basketball-Reference. Alas, he shot just 34.4% from three-point range last season, the worst mark of a career in which he's made 40.7% of his treys. He wound up scoring fewer points per minutes played last season than in any of his seven NBA seasons.

Gibson has proven a valuable team defender for most of his time in the league, but last season, the Cavs gave up fewer points per 100 possessions with Gibson on the bench than they did with him in the lineup, per NBA.com. That's only been the case during one other season in his career, as Gibson generally remained attentive to the defensive end even after the Cavs replaced coach Mike Brown with the more offensively oriented Byron Scott.

Some teams may perceive last season's performance as a warning that Gibson's quickness is dissapating, even though he's still two and a half years shy of his 30th birthday. At 6'2", he's too short to guard many of the league's shooting guards, so he must display the ability to keep up with point guards. The Cavs have played him extensively at both guard positions, but he's never been the pass-first sort. Still, he showed he was capable of efficiently distributing the ball during the season after LeBron James left, averaging 3.0 assists and 1.2 turnovers per game, the only year in which he's approached a 3-to-1 ratio. If he demonstrates in workouts that he's capable of duplicating that level of efficiency, he'll significantly improve his chances of finding another NBA job. 

I can't imagine there won't be another NBA team that gives him a shot, even if he isn't someone who can embrace the role of a passing point guard. Front offices probably give last season's defensive slippage more credence than his off year from behind the arc, since it would be odd for his touch to vanish long-term, even though his three-point percentage has declined in each of the last three seasons. Perhaps that has to do with where those three-point shots are coming from. In 2009/10, when he made a career-best 47.7% of his three-pointers, he clustered his attempts in the left corner. He began taking them from all around the arc under Scott, and last season he made significantly more from the right corner than he did from the left. Finding the right coach with the right system that can get Gibson to where he's most comfortable on the floor will be key.

Guys who can stick 40% of their threes are a commodity in the NBA, so Gibson and his representatives at ASM Sports shouldn't go without an offer this season. He might not receive a training camp invitation, but if he stays in shape and doesn't sign an overseas deal without an NBA out, he'll likely find himself back on an NBA roster at some point this year. He said in the spring that he'd be open to returning to the Cavs, and even though the team has no apparent interest, that doesn't rule out a reunion between Gibson and Brown, who coached him for four seasons. Hawks GM Danny Ferry, who drafted Gibson in the second round in 2006, is another who could give him a shot, though that's just my speculation.

Odds & Ends: Spurs, Sixers, Suns, Mekel

No team in NBA history has seen their 15th man have a significant impact on their season and the Spurs aren't likely to be the first, writes Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation.  However, the fact that the Spurs are thinking about point guard Mike Bibby and Sebastian Telfair might say something about their concerns over the aging Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  Here's more from around the Association..

  • The 76ers are considering a number of free agent point guards including Rodrigue Beaubois, Chris Duhon, and Daniel Gibson, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (on Twitter).
  • New Suns GM Ryan McDonough is eager to rebuild in Phoenix, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.  McDonough moved or released five of the team’s top nine scorers from last season with an eye on the bigger picture.  “Walking in there, the main thing I wanted to do is upgrade the talent,” said McDonough. “And do it in a fashion that was sustainable for the long term. I didn’t want to try to take any shortcuts or try any quick fixes.
  • Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype caught up with new Mavs point guard Gel Mekel.  Mekel said that he chose Dallas over three other NBA clubs because he believed that Dallas sees him as a long-term piece.
  • Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wonders if financial security would make the D-League more desirable for players.
  • Based on an early best estimate, Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld looks at the teams that will be in position to go shopping during the free agent bonanza of next summer.

Odds & Ends: Smith, Nicholson, Zeller

J.R. Smith was not in attendance at the Gary Forbes Foundation Strike Out Diabetes Celebrity Softball Tournament in Brooklyn today. But his brother Chris Smith was, and when he was asked about his brother's five-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy, he told the New York Daily News:

"I mean it is what it is. Stuff happens. It’s a little setback, but it’s not the worst thing going on in sports.”

Here's more from around the NBA on a slow September Saturday night less than a month before training camps open in October…