Sasha Kaun

Atlantic Notes: Kaun, Sixers, Raptors, Nets

In a move that was expected, the Sixers announced they waived Sasha Kaun days after acquiring him. The Sixers acquired Kaun in a deal from the Cavs on Friday. Kaun, 31, played his college ball at Kansas and was selected with the 56th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. Kaun agreed to a two-year contract with the Cavaliers last summer, and still has one season remaining on that deal — he’s owed $1,333,420 in 2016/17. In his lone season in Cleveland, Kaun didn’t see much action, averaging only 3.8 minutes in 25 games.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

Sixers Acquire Sasha Kaun, Will Waive Him

5:52pm: The Sixers intend to waive Kaun, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter). As I noted below, Cleveland sent Philadelphia enough cash to make the move worth the 76ers’ trouble, per Wojnarowski.

5:42pm: The Sixers and Cavaliers have completed a trade, according to a press release issued by the 76ers. The deal sends center Sasha Kaun and cash considerations to Philadelphia in exchange for the rights to Chu Chu Maduabum. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets that the move clears the way for the Cavs to finalize their signing of Chris Andersen.

Kaun, 31, played his college ball at Kansas and was selected with the 56th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. However, as a draft-and-stash prospect, it took him seven years to formally join an NBA roster. Kaun agreed to a two-year contract with the Cavaliers last summer, and still has one season remaining on that deal — he’s owed $1,333,420 in 2016/17.

In his lone season in Cleveland, Kaun didn’t see much action, averaging only 3.8 minutes in 25 games. While it’s possible he’ll see a larger role with the Sixers, Philadelphia has a logjam in its frontcourt at the moment, so this looks like a salary dump for Cleveland. I imagine the Cavs are sending the Sixers more than enough money to cover Kaun’s salary.

Meanwhile, the Cavs didn’t open up any cap room by moving Kaun, since cap holds for LeBron James and others ensure the team is still well over the cap. Wojnarowski’s suggestion that the move opens the door for the club to add Andersen is probably more about clearing a roster spot, and perhaps limiting the team’s tax bill.

Central Notes: Van Gundy, Rose, Bucks Arena

Pistons owner Tom Gores credits the decision to unify the position of coach and chief basketball executive and the subsequent hiring of Stan Van Gundy to fill that post as the primary reason the team was able to advance to the playoffs this season, Keith Langlois of relays. “I think throughout the league are disconnects between the floor and the front office, but not everybody can do what Stan can do,” Gores said. “Coach and then think big picture, high level and what’s good for the franchise long term. I thought that was a way to accelerate our progress and I had seen enough in terms of how that can be disconnected. Hopefully, it has, and we’re in the playoffs now.”

The owner also indicated that the team’s plan all along was to set itself up for sustained success, Langlois adds. “When we talked the first time, we said we wanted to win but never sacrifice the future and we didn’t know how that was going to play out,” Gores said. “Stan deserves a lot of credit. He came in, really quickly changed the culture. We worked together setting up the organization. When I met with Stan those couple years ago, what he had to say really impressed me. But more importantly now, he just delivers. He’s hard working, dedicated and I think he’s a great role model for our players in terms of preparation.

The team’s success under Van Gundy has caught the eye of Wolves owner Glen Taylor, who’s reportedly thinking about mimicking that unified coach/executive structure. Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls point guard Derrick Rose admits that the orbital fracture he suffered during the preseason affected his entire 2015/16 campaign, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “It set me back,” Rose said. “But everything happens for a reason. … I can’t look back on it and say, ‘All right, it stopped me from doing this and doing that.’ It made my bank shot better. That’s one of the positives I got out of it. And it gave me time to really look at the game.” Rose doesn’t place all the blame for his troubles on the eye injury, noting he usually is a slow starter, Johnson notes. “It would’ve been a process anyway,” Rose said. “Usually after I come back from working out during the summer, it takes me a couple games anyway because I don’t play pickup. Working out all the time is good, but you need bodies out there to get used to [opponents] being around.
  • The Bucks have reached a 30-year lease agreement with the Wisconsin Center District, the agency that will own the basketball team’s future arena, Tom Daykin of The Journal Sentinel relays. The new facility is set to open in time for the start of the 2018/19 season.
  • The Cavaliers have recalled shooting guard Jordan McRae and center Sasha Kaun from their D-League affiliate in Canton, the team announced.

And-Ones: Colangelo, Luwawu, Motiejunas

The NBA placed restrictions on Jerry Colangelo after the Sixers hired him as chairman of basketball operations in December, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Rival executives were concerned about Colangelo’s access to star players as USA Basketball’s managing director, fearing he would have an advantage in courting top free agents, Wojnarowski continues. The limitations include Colangelo’s ability to communicate directly with players outside of USA Basketball activities, as well as his impact on the final voting process for national team and Olympic rosters, league sources indicated to Wojnarowski. The limitations will remain in place even though he relinquished his title as the Sixers’ chairman of basketball operations after his son Bryan was hired as president of basketball operations. Jerry Colangelo will now serve as a special adviser to the team’s ownership group, Wojnarowski notes.

In other developments around the league:

  • Timothe Luwawu, a lottery-level prospect from France, has no intention of withdrawing from the draft in the wake of agent Misko Raznatovic’s announcement earlier today that he’s entered, tweets international journalist David Pick. “I’m ready,” Luwawu told Pick. “I’m going to the NBA.” The swingman is the No. 12 prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings, while Chad Ford of lists him 19th.
  • Marquette freshman power forward Henry Ellenson has signed with agent Joe Branch of Roc Nation, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets. Ellenson, who declared for the draft earlier this month, is the No. 6 prospect on Ford’s Big Board, while Givony ranks him at No. 9.
  • Donatas Motiejunas started Sunday’s game for the Rockets, his 20th of the season and 82nd since the start of 2014/15, enough to trigger the NBA’s starter criteria, as we explained Friday. That means the Rockets will have to make a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683 instead of just $3,278,998 by June 30th to retain the right to match competing bids for the power forward, who’s headed into free agency.
  • Bob Donewald, Jr. will not return next season as the head coach of the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, the team announced on its website. Donewald compiled a 52-48 record with the Energy, including a 26-24 record this season.
  • The Cavaliers recalled center Sasha Kaun and shooting guard Jordan McRae from their D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, according to the team’s website. They had been assigned to the Charge earlier in the day. The pair will be reassigned to the Charge on Tuesday, Josh Weir of The Repository tweets.

Central Notes: Novak, Hoiberg, Kaun, McRae

Steve Novak made it into only three games with the Bucks before a sprained left MCL prematurely ended his season, but the sharpshooter who played his high school and college ball in the state of Wisconsin has a strong desire that those games not be the only ones he ever plays in a Bucks uniform, as he makes clear to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The 32-year-old is on an expiring contract but wants to re-sign with the Bucks, even though they won’t have more than non-Bird rights to him, and it appears he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon. “Being home has been unbelievable,” Novak said. “I see the team that we have and hopefully I can be a big part of that. I am a free agent this summer, but that’s my goal [to stay with the Bucks].”

See more from the Central Division:

  • Coach Fred Hoiberg accepts blame for the struggles of the Bulls, pointing to the team’s underwhelming offense and lack of killer instinct, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relays (Twitter link). His willingness to acknowledge and work to remedy those problems endears him to management, Johnson observes.
  • The Cavaliers won’t rule out signing a player to fill their open roster spot, but it’s likely they won’t, reports Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). That’s even though Mo Williams is suffering from continued soreness in his left knee that’s prompted a visit to noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, the team announced. No surgery is set for Williams at this point, however. Iman Shumpert will miss the rest of the regular season with left knee trouble, but he’s expected to be ready for the start of the playoffs, according to the team.
  • The Cavs have assigned Sasha Kaun and Jordan McRae to the D-League, the team revealed in separate announcements. They’ll provide playoff help to the Canton Charge, who are reportedly poised to lose John Holland to an NBA contract with Boston.

Cavs Notes: Shumpert, Johnson, Lue

The Cavaliers privately deny that they were making Iman Shumpert available in trade talk before the deadline last month, but some in the organization think he might be doing too much to justify the four-year, $40MM contract he signed last summer, reports Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. The fifth-year swingman is averaging career lows in points and field goal percentage since returning in December from a preseason wrist injury, and he often turns the ball over when he tries to drive to the hoop, Lloyd writes.

“His biggest thing for us is defending the best player every single night,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “His shot is going to come and go. Some games, he’s going to get six or seven shots, some games he gets two shots. I’m not really worried about his shots and his scoring. He just has to step up and shoot them with confidence. But for the most part, for Shump and for us, his value is every single night guarding the best player, which he’s done a great job of.”

See more on the Eastern Conference leaders:

  • Some Cavs players were convinced that Joe Johnson would sign with the team and were already talking about the sort of lineup they could play with him on the roster, Lloyd writes in a separate piece. Johnson instead signed with the Heat after earlier reports that he envisioned joining the Cavs.
  • Tremendous weight is on Lue’s shoulders as he navigates his first NBA head coaching job and deals with immediate expectations of a title, but he’s keeping perspective, as Dave McMenamin of examines. “I want to win and I know I’m supposed to win, but I think the biggest thing for me is I have to do the best job I can do, but then also enjoy it,” Lue said. “I just can’t put the pressure on of winning a championship, winning a championship, because then I’d never be able to sleep.”
  • The “word is” the Cavs signed Sasha Kaun last summer to give since-deposed coach David Blatt an ally in the locker room, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Haynes reported last week that Cavs players were angry that the team decided against re-signing Kendrick Perkins to instead do the deal with Kaun. Perkins played the role of enforcer for Cleveland last season, and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving say having someone to fill that gritty capacity is vital, Haynes notes. Still, it’s “laughable” to suggest that Cavs players don’t think they have enough to win the championship as is, McMenamin opines.

And-Ones: Perkins, Butler, Labissiere, Vesely

Players on the Cavaliers were furious when the team let Kendrick Perkins leave in free agency this summer and instead signed Sasha Kaun, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer said in an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” (video link; transcription via Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk). They valued Perkins for his emotional leadership and the role of enforcer that he played, even though he doesn’t offer much else on the court at this point in his career, as Haynes detailed. Perkins is averaging 11.3 minutes per game in 15 appearances for the Pelicans on a one-year deal this season. See more from around the NBA:

  • The offer the Celtics reportedly made to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler left much to be desired from Chicago’s end, and the talks didn’t advance from there, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune hears (Twitter links).
  • Former No. 1 draft prospect Skal Labissiere has continued to plummet in rankings, coming in only 19th in the latest mock draft from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, notes Adam Zagoria of However, the University of Kentucky big man returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after a late-December benching and tallied 11 points and eight rebounds, numbers well above his averages of 6.4 points and 3.0 boards per game.
  • Jan Vesely recently drew an offer from an NBA team for the equivalent of between $7.7MM and $8.8MM, according to an official from his Turkish team, Fenerbahce Ulker, notes The official indicated that Fenerbahce wants to keep the former NBA sixth overall pick, and Vesely has no intention of leaving for an NBA team in the near future, tweets international journalist David Pick. Few NBA teams have the capacity to hand out contracts of that amount this late in the season, so I’d speculate that it was meant as an offer for the summer, when teams have much more to spend.

Central Rumors: George, Jackson, Cavs

Paul George has voiced some displeasure with the Pacers’ plan to move him to power forward, though he says he’s willing to stick with it, Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star reports.  George felt overmatched trying to guard Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis in the team’s first preseason game but after meeting with coach Frank Vogel and president of basketball operations Larry Bird, George said on Monday afternoon that he would remain in that role, Buckner continues. “We’re going to still stick with it, see how it works,” he told Buckner. That fact that George lobbied to scrap the team’s entire offseason plan after one game is “lunacy,” Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel opines. But Vogel told Doyel that he’s not worried about George’s reluctance to play there. “Well, he’s going to buy in, so I’m not really sure how to answer that,” Vogel said. “We’re going to work together to figure out the best combination of all these things.”

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Reggie Jackson can produce John Wall-type numbers because he has a top-notch pick-and-roll partner in Andre Drummond and plays in a system suited to his skills, according to Jonathan Tjarks of Wall complained when the Pistons gave Jackson a five-year, $80MM contract this summer but Jackson doesn’t have to be as talented as Wall to put up gaudy statistics because the Pistons will surround him and Drummond with shooters, Tjarks continues. In contrast, Wall often plays with Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat up front, which gives Wall less room to drive than Jackson will enjoy in Detroit, Tjarks points out. Even when the Wizards go small, they don’t have a roll man with Drummond’s talent, Tjarks adds, which means Jackson can live up to the contract just by the nature of Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy’s offensive system.
  • Cavaliers center Sasha Kaun has no plans to play in Europe again, according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Kaun joined the Cavs this summer as a backup to Timofey Mozgov on a two-year, $2.5MM deal after his contact with CSKA Moscow expired. “When I said I was done in Europe, I was definitely done in Europe,” Kaun told Lloyd. “Seven years was long enough. My wife [a Kansas native] made an amazing sacrifice in moving over there.” Kaun wanted to join the Cavs three years ago, Lloyd adds, but they only offered him the league mininum.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Knicks, Kaun

One of the main reasons that the Pacers decided to forge ahead with the purchase of the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants was the rising salaries of NBA players, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star relays (Twitter links). Team owner Herb Simon said that the Pacers will need young players to go along with the higher paid players on the roster, and that those young players would need development, which purchasing the Mad Ants would help facilitate, Buckner adds.

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks are unquestionably a better team than a season ago, but just about every other team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference also improved this offseason, opines Tim Bontemps of the New York Post (Facebook link). Bontemps also noted that he expects New York to struggle to compete for the final playoff spot in the East, which would result in the possibility that the team would look to deal small forward Carmelo Anthony to a contender at the trade deadline.
  • The majority of the Pistons‘ roster is now comprised of players acquired by executive/coach Stan Van Gundy, and this season’s focus will be in determining which of those players will have long-term futures with the team, writes Shaun Powell of in his 30 Teams, 30 Days series.
  • Sasha Kaun‘s two-year deal with the Cavaliers will see him earn $1,276,000 in 2015/16 and $1,333,240 during the final season, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Both seasons are fully guaranteed, Pincus adds. Reports initially conflicted on whether the contract would include a player option, and Pincus confirms that it does not.
  • Kendall Marshall will earn approximately $2.1MM this season courtesy of his deal with the Sixers, and his salary is fully guaranteed, Pincus tweets.

Cavs Sign Sasha Kaun

Olympics: Basketball-Men's Preliminary-AUS vs RUS

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

10:05am: Windhorst pegs the total value at $2.6MM (Twitter link).

9:42am: The two-year package is worth $2.5MM total, sources tell Marc Stein of (Twitter link).

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 9:35am: The deal is official, the team announced. Kaun will make $1.2MM this season, as Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote recently.

7:38pm: Chris Haynes of hears that the second year is not a player option, in contrast to what sources told Windhorst (Twitter link).

6:40pm: The contract gives Kaun a player option for the second year, tweets Brian Windhorst of

AUGUST 22ND, 4:44pm: Kaun and the Cavs have reached an agreement on a two-year pact, international journalist David Pick reports (via Twitter).

AUGUST 17TH, 4:09pm: Draft-and-stash center Sasha Kaun appears on his way to the Cavaliers for this season, as a source tells Chris Haynes of that “it’s only a matter of time” before a deal is done. Kaun and the Cavs had reportedly engaged in talks last month, and GM David Griffin confirmed the team’s interest in bringing the big man aboard for this coming season. Griffin pointed to finances as a concern, and while every dollar the Cavs spend this season will likely entail multiple additional dollars going out in tax penalties, Kaun downplayed any financial hurdles. Still, no deal is imminent, and Kaun, who’s in Cleveland this week to house hunt, among other pursuits, is scheduled to leave town Tuesday, and the sides probably won’t have an agreement in place by then, Haynes writes.

The Cavs can offer no more than the $1.276MM sliver of the mid-level exception they have left over after signing Mo Williams to his deal earlier this summer, and that’s much less than the $2.9MM he had been making for Russia’s CSKA Moscow. Using the balance of that exception on Kaun would also make it virtually impossible for Cleveland to offer a market-rate deal to Cedi Osman, whom the Cavs drafted No. 31 overall this year.

The 30-year-old Kaun, who played collegiately at Kansas, was the 56th overall pick in 2008. The Cavs have seemingly been giving thought to bringing him aboard for the season ahead since at least this past March. Cleveland reportedly had talks with the Nets about trading Kaun’s rights to Brooklyn, but it looks like the Cavs won’t be dealing him away. Cleveland has plenty of room on its roster, as Sunday’s apparent deal with Jared Cunningham gives the team contracts or verbal agreements with only 12 players. Re-signing Tristan Thompson remains the focus for the Cavs, Haynes notes.

Do you think Kaun is the right fit for one of the final roster spots on the Cavs? Leave a comment to tell us.