Kurt Thomas

And-Ones: Collins, Dumars, Farmar, Thomas

Sources identified a long list of potential NBA GM candidates to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.  Doug Collins, Mavs director of player personnel Tony Ronzone, Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan, Bucks assistant GM David Morway, Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks, Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes, Wizards director of player personnel Frank Ross, Pacers director of scouting Ryan Carr, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik, and Rockets executive VP of basketball ops Gersson Rosas all earned mentions.  Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..

  • The Kings have recalled Willie Reed from the Reno Bighorns, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (on Twitter).   The Bighorns were eliminated from the D-League playoffs on Sunday.
  • Some people familiar with Pistons exec Joe Dumars expect him to take some time off before pursuing another top executive role, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Jordan Farmar reiterated his interest in re-signing with the Lakers following the club’s 102-90 loss yesterday to the Grizzlies, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.  “Of course, I’d be a Laker,” Farmar said. “And if I was [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak], I would sign me.”  The guard averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 assists despite playing in only 39 games this season due to injury.
  • The Bulls tried to lure Kurt Thomas to Chicago, but Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears that the big man considers himself retired.
  • The T’Wolves never had interest in putting in a waiver claim for Greg Smith, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.  Smith landed with the Bulls earlier today.
  • Who will be the biggest name traded this offseason?  The Basketball Insiders staff held a mini-debate and the names of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Rajon Rondo all came up in conversation.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Kurt Thomas Considering NBA Return

Kurt Thomas is interested in returning to the NBA to play for a championship-caliber team, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Thomas most recently saw action as a member of last year’s Knicks team that lost to Indiana in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The action he saw for New York was sparse, playing in just 39 contests and averaging about 10 minutes per game.

Despite his recent stint with the Knicks, Thomas’ agent Jerry Hicks said that his client won’t have any interest in playing for New York: “If the right call comes, he’d come back,’’ Hicks told The New York Post. “He’d only play for a club that has a legitimate chance at winning a championship. Not the Knicks, I can tell you that.” When asked why Thomas wasn’t interested in playing for the Knicks, Hicks replied that it was “not the right situation.”

Teams are eligible to offer players 10-day contracts on Monday, as Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron detailed earlier today. If Thomas is to sign on with a club, it will probably be through such a deal since Thomas, 41, is on the last leg of his long NBA career. We’ve yet to hear him implicated in talks with any particular club, but should he see multiple offers, it sounds like he’s likely to ink a pact with whichever squad he sees with the highest potential of winning a title. Thomas hasn’t won a championship in his 18 seasons as a pro.

Bulls Monitoring Kurt Thomas

The Bulls signed a pair of guards to training camp deals yesterday, adding a couple more bodies to an already crowded backcourt. According to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com though, the team also has a big man target in mind for later in the year. Deeks tweets that the Bulls are keeping an eye on Kurt Thomas, waiting for the veteran to get healthy.

Thomas, 40, struggled with foot issues in 2012/13, and was eventually released by the Knicks when he underwent surgery and was ruled out for the season. It was widely assumed that the procedure signaled the end of Thomas' NBA playing career, but a report in May suggested that he was still undecided on his future, and was leaving the door open for a return. If he signs with a team for the coming season, the 18-year-veteran would reclaim his title as the NBA's oldest player.

As Deeks notes in his above tweets, Thomas isn't expected to be ready for the start of the season, so that gives the Bulls some options, even if they intend to eventually sign him. Dexter Pittman is set to join the team for training camp, and if he impresses, perhaps Chicago's interest in Thomas will wane. The club would also have the flexibility to carry a non-guaranteed player for the first few weeks of the season, cutting him prior to the league's guarantee date in January in order to create room for Thomas or another player.

Atlantic Notes: C’s, Copeland, Thomas, Colangelo

Let's round up a few Friday morning items out of the Atlantic Division….

  • When Kevin Garnett decided to re-sign with the Celtics last summer, it made the rest of the team's decisions easy, GM Danny Ainge tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. However, with more factors in play this offseason, Ainge anticipates more difficult decisions and plenty of possible outcomes for the C's.
  • Knicks GM Glen Grunwald is hoping to re-sign Chris Copeland this summer, but one source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that the restricted free agent may seek "Steve Novak money" (four years, $16MM), which would put him out of New York's price range. I think if the Knicks were to offer their mini mid-level exception to Copeland, they could re-sign him, but that would rule out the pursuit of many outside free agents.
  • When Kurt Thomas underwent right foot surgery toward the end of this season, it was widely assumed that he may have played his last NBA game. Thomas remains undecided on his future though, suggesting to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that there's a chance he could return.
  • Asked about yesterday's report that the Sixers had received permission to interview Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson, GM Sam Hinkie replied, "I'm not even there yet. I won't confirm or deny, but I will say I don't know where that came from" (via Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News).
  • Citing word out of Toronto, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio hears that this very well could be Bryan Colangelo's last week as the Raptors' GM (Twitter link). The last real updates on the subject came on Monday, when reports were mixed on whether or not Colangelo would be back.

Knicks Release Kurt Thomas

1:25pm: The Knicks have officially waived Thomas, according to the team's PR Twitter account.

FRIDAY, 11:40am: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reported that the Knicks will waive Thomas to clear a spot to sign Solomon Jones. While Wojnarowski doesn't explicitly mention Singleton in his report, the implication seems to be that the Knicks' agreemeent with Singleton fell through, leading them to turn to Jones instead.

If the Knicks were to waive another player in addition to Thomas, they could clear room for both Singleton and Jones. It's possible that there were complications with Singleton's letter of clearance from China, though that's just my speculation.

WEDNESDAY, 6:38pm: The Knicks will waive Thomas, Isola tweets. Thomas, 40, will have surgery on his foot next week. Thomas has been the league's oldest player this season, a distinction that will fall to Grant Hill of the Clippers, who is one day younger.

5:52pm: The Knicks will sign free agent power forward James Singleton, a source confirms to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Frank Isola of the New York Daily News first tweeted the news that a deal was close. Kurt Thomas, in the last season of a two-year contract for the minimum salary, will likely be waived to create room on the roster, according to Isola.

Singleton signed in November with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese league after turning down a minimum-salary offer last summer from the Wizards, with whom he played 12 games last season. The 6'8", 31-year-old Singleton averaged 15.2 points and 11.1 rebounds as a part-time starter in 21 games for Xinjiang this season, down slightly from the 17.8 PPG and 11.9 RPG he produced while playing in China during 2011/12. He's seen much more limited playing time with the Clippers, Mavs and Wizards in parts of five NBA seasons, notching 8.2 PPG and 6.8 RPG with Washington last year.

Begley reported earlier today that the Knicks were looking at free agent big men in the wake of Kenyon Martin's injury last night. The Knicks have been especially hard hit with ailments to their front line, Thomas included. He suffered a stress fracture in his right foot last month, and played with the injury in a game against the Jazz before shutting it down with hopes of returning for the playoffs. That game, Thomas' last appearance, was the first win in New York's current 13-game winning streak, Isola points out (Twitter link).

Injured Players On Expiring Contracts

The Lakers announced yesterday that Metta World Peace underwent successful surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus, and will miss six weeks. Whether or not the Lakers make the playoffs, World Peace's season could be over, and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wondered yesterday if the veteran forward has played his last game as a Laker.

World Peace isn't necessarily in the final year of his contract, since he has a player option for next season. However, if he exercises that option, he becomes a prime candidate to be amnestied. If he declines the option, he'll hit unrestricted free agency. Either way, the man formerly known as Ron Artest may sign a new contract before he plays in his next NBA game.

A number of players are in the same situation as World Peace, with potential free agency looming and an injury keeping them off the court. Here are a few guys who we may not see play for their current teams again, and whose free agent stocks could be affected by their current injuries:

  • Leandro Barbosa (Wizards): If you'd forgotten Barbosa was on the Wizards' roster, you're probably not alone. Acquired for salary purposes in the deal that sent Jordan Crawford to Boston, Barbosa is on an expiring minimum-salary contract, and his ACL/MCL injury may hurt his chances of signing another deal this offseason. Having suffered the season-ending injury in February, he probably won't be healthy in time for fall camps.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois (Mavericks): Eligible for restricted free agency this summer, Beaubois underwent surgery on his hand last week, and is unlikely to return this season. I doubt the Mavs will make him a qualifying offer, and there's a good chance he doesn't return to Dallas.
  • Andrew Bynum (76ers): As well-documented as any non-Derrick Rose injury this season, Bynum's ongoing knee troubles will certainly hurt his earning potential in free agency this summer, and may also ensure he never plays a game with the Sixers.
  • Richard Hamilton (Bulls): While Hamilton remains optimistic that he'll play again this season, his ongoing health problems will likely lead the Bulls to part ways with him this summer. Hamilton's $5MM salary for 2013/14 is partially guaranteed, so he figures to receive a $1MM buyout and hit the free agent market.
  • Sasha Pavlovic (Trail Blazers): Pavlovic's quad injury has kept him out of action for more than a month, but even if he were healthy, he doesn't appear to be part of the Trail Blazers' plans. Although he's under contract for two more seasons, both years are non-guaranteed, so he may find himself seeking a new deal this July.
  • A.J. Price (Wizards): Price earned 22 starts this season for the Wizards, so perhaps the team will have interest in bringing him back next year. He's eager to return to the court to try to improve his free agent stock, but for now, groin issues are keeping him out indefinitely.
  • Brandon Roy (Timberwolves): All the time Roy has missed this season with knee problems ensured that the second year of his contract with the Timberwolves became non-guaranteed, and there's virtually no chance the Wolves will retain him and his $5.33MM salary. If Roy is forced to call it a career at season's end, it would be an unfortunate way for him to go out, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where we're headed.
  • Brandon Rush (Warriors): After going down during the season's first week, Rush underwent knee surgery in January that ended his year. Fortunately for him, he's got a $4MM player option for 2013/14, so he figures to be returning to the Warriors rather than looking for work next year.
  • Jason Smith (Hornets): Out for the season with a torn labrum, Smith, like Hamilton, has a partially guaranteed contract for 2013/14. The price to keep him wouldn't be exorbitant – $1MM of his $2.5MM salary is guaranteed – so we'll have to wait and see what the Hornets decide.
  • Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace (Knicks): A pair of aging Knicks bigs on expiring contracts, it would be a little surprising to see both Thomas and Wallace playing in the NBA next year, even if they return in the playoffs. Even if Thomas and Wallace wanted to extend their playing careers, their latest foot issues would raise red flags for any interested teams.
  • Elliot Williams (Trail Blazers): Unlike some other players on this list, Williams is no lock to receive an NBA contract, especially if he can't show that he's healthy before the fall. That's probably why, even after surgery on his achilles, he talked about wanting to return to the court in '12/13 and auditioning in the Summer League.

Odds & Ends: Ayon, Brooks, Mavericks

Bucks center Gustavo Ayon expressed some frustration about not being able to find court time in Milwaukee, and told reporters that he could return to Europe when his contract runs out, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. Though coach Jim Boylan reportedly likes what he sees from the Mexican-born center, there hasn't been enough practice time to incorporate him into the rotation. We've got a few more tidbits to share from around the league tonight, and you can find them below: 

  • In addition to wondering what the 76ers will do with Andrew Bynum, Tom Moore of Philly Burbs also ponders the future of Evan Turner, who will be eligible for an $8.7MM qualifying offer after he finishes his fourth year option worth $6.7MM next season. Moore adds that if Turner doesn't figure to be in the team's plans, the Sixers could look to trade him this summer or during next year's trade deadline. 
  • HoopsWorld's Derek Page held his weekly chat with fans earlier today, and here are some of the highlights: he sees DeMarcus Cousins as a max-level player, thinks Josh Smith could be the biggest name to move in free agency, predicts that Dwight Howard and Chris Paul remain in Los Angeles beyond this season, and isn't sure that O.J. Mayo or Tyreke Evans are long-term solutions for the Mavericks.
  • Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK delves into what could have been as he revisits Scott Brooks' challenging contract negotiations with the Thunder last summer, and discussing the possibility that he could have joined the Trail Blazers
  • Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram reeled in some quotes about upcoming free agency from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: "Our goal is to win championships, not win the summer, and so we have to see what’s available and what’s out there…We do the same thing we do every year and be opportunistic. We’re going to be opportunistic, and depending on how things go, we’ll make our decision." 

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Knicks Links: Thomas, Free Agents, Martin

Yesterday, Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters that the ailing Knicks expect to stand pat for now, but may reconsider their options if Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas aren't close to getting healthy when the playoffs approach. That decision has inspired plenty of discussion, which is the focus of today's round of Knicks-related links….

  • At ESPNNewYork.com, Ian Begley asks whether the Knicks are making the right decision by standing pat. As Begley notes, it's not like the current free agent market features a bevy of future All-Stars.
  • Thomas feels like there's only about a 50-50 chance he'll be able to return in time for the start of the postseason, as Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.
  • Nate Taylor of the New York Times examines a few top options in the D-League that should be available if they Knicks decide to make a roster move.
  • One of the Knicks' few healthy bigs, Kenyon Martin, had been seeking a mini mid-level contract for most of the season, says Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. Other teams had interest in the former first overall pick, but not at his asking price. After eventually signing for the minimum with New York, Martin has now become a part of the team's starting lineup.

Knicks Notes: Carmelo, Thomas, Wallace

The Knicks' roster may be decimated by injuries, but the team received at least one piece of good news today. Carmelo Anthony is listed as probable for tonight's game against Orlando, and told reporters, including Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, that he'll be ready to play (Twitter link). Even shorthanded, the Knicks look like good bets to pick up a win at home against an 18-50 Magic squad. Here are a few more notes out of New York:

  • The Knicks may soon have to decide on whether to cut Kurt Thomas or Rasheed Wallace, as both players are expected to be sidelined well into April, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. According to Berman, the club will likely stand pat for now to see how Thomas and Wallace are healing, but could release one of them to open up a roster spot for a D-League big man.
  • Coach Mike Woodson told reporters, including Begley (Twitter link), that he's "not sure" whether the Knicks will make a roster move. Woodson intends to talk to GM Glen Grunwald about it later today.
  • There are conflicting views on whether the timeline for Thomas' foot injury (two to four weeks) is realistic. Berman spoke to Dr. Anish Kadakia, a leading orthopedic foot surgeon at Northwestern Hospital, who said that because Thomas' stress fracture is not new, he could recover within a month. However, Dr. Steven Weinfeld, the chief of foot and ankle service at the Icahn School of Medicine, told the New York Times that the timeline for Thomas might be overly optimistic. "My experience is these things don’t heal quite that quickly," Weinfeld said. "I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses more time than that."

Lowe On Clippers, Celtics, Bledsoe, Jazz, Mozgov

Grantland's Zach Lowe looked at several players who became eligible to be traded this weekend, and shares a litany of observations based on his analysis and what he's heard from around the league. Here's a look at some of his rumors:

  • Ryan Hollins has fallen behind Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf in the Clippers rotation, and he might be available for a team looking for cheap interior players, suggesting the Celtics, for whom Hollins played last season, as a potential suitor.
  • Though Odom and Turiaf are ahead of Hollins, they're still "limited players," according to Lowe, who believes the Clippers could look to upgrade their frontcourt.
  • An Eric Bledsoe trade "feels almost inevitable," though it doesn't have to happen this season.
  • Lowe expects the Jazz would be more willing to trade Paul Millsap than Al Jefferson, and believes that might make them a fit with the Lakers in a potential Pau Gasol deal, piggybacking on an idea advanced by ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh (Insider only). 
  • Echoing a Friday report by Mark J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Lowe hears Timofey Mozgov is "among the most available players in the league."
  • Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas are the only pieces the Knicks have who are both "useful and tradeable," Lowe contends, adding that the Knicks would be reluctant to unload any of their backlog of bigs onto Eastern Conference rivals.