Richaun Holmes

Suns Notes: Arena, Bender, Trade Candidates, Kokoskov

The Phoenix City Council approved a $230MM deal tonight for improvements to Talking Stick Resort Arena that will ensure the Suns remain in the downtown facility through 2037, writes Jessica Boehm of The Arizona Republic. Under the agreement, the city will cover $150MM in renovations, while the team will be responsible for $80MM, plus any overruns.

Council also agreed to put $2MM per year into a renewal and replacement fund over the next 12 1/2 years to cover future renovation needs. The Suns will contribute $1MM each year over that same time frame. The franchise will continue to be in charge of operations and maintenance for the arena and will pay rent to the city based on annual proceeds.

The Suns will also build a practice facility with an estimated cost of $25-$50MM. The team pledges to remain at Talking Stick Resort Arena for the next 18 years with an option to extend the lease through 2042. The Suns could be fined up to $200MM if they break that lease.

There’s more Suns news to pass along:

  • With Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes both injured, Dragan Bender may be looking at his last chance to prove he can be a contributor in Phoenix, notes Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Bender posted double-doubles in back-to-back starts and is showing glimpses of why Phoenix made him the fourth overall pick in 2016. He’s still averaging just 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per night in 16 games. “You have to (be) really, really hard mentally on yourself,” Bender said, “and be able to tell yourself each and every day to push through it. It’s a rough business. You can sit for 45 games, and then two guys went down with injuries — which is unfortunate — but it’s time to get in the game and show what you can do.”
  • Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, Elie Okobo and T.J. Warren are the most likely Suns to be traded before the deadline, Mizell adds in a separate story. Daniels has only appeared in 22 games, playing mostly when others are injured; the acquisition of Kelly Oubre has lessened the need for Jackson; Okobo may be shipped out in the search for a point guard; and Warren might fetch a nice return in the middle of his career-best season. She adds that Bender, Holmes and Jamal Crawford may be enticing because they have expiring contracts.
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines the performance of Igor Kokoskov in his first season as an NBA head coach.

Suns Notes: Holmes, Melton, Okobo, Canaan

Richaun Holmes has settled in as the Suns’ backup center since Tyson Chandler‘s contract was bought out, as Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic notes. Holmes has averaged 7.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 15.9 MPG during the month of November. Coach Igor Kokoskov cites Holmes’ biggest asset as something that goes beyond box scores. “Energy is a talent, we always say, and that’s his job,” Kokoskov said. “He helps his team, and for him to understand his role, and just embrace it, is a huge thing for our team.” Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers during the summer, has a $1.6MM contract that doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th. He’l be an unrestricted free agent in July.

We have more on the Suns:

  • Rookie point guards and second-round picks De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo have been bouncing back and forth between the NBA and G League and it’s proving beneficial, as Bob Young of The Athletic details. The duo has gained experience by playing and practicing at both levels. Melton has appeared in four games with the Suns and five with Northern Arizona. Okobo has seen action in 12 NBA and two G League games. “I think it’s helping me a lot,” Melton told Young. “I trained for it all summer, to be a point guard. I don’t think it matters to me. I’m fine getting off the ball. Down in the G League, I got to handle the ball a lot and really run a team and show what I can do.”
  • Kokoskov expects point guard Isaiah Canaan to quickly find another NBA job, Gina Mizell of The Athletic writes. The team waived Canaan on Wednesday after he lost his starting job. “It’s just a pure business decision,” Kokoskov said. “I wish him nothing but the best, and he’ll be good. I know a lot of teams (will have) interest in him.” The Suns have two open roster spots, which will facilitate a potential trade for a more accomplished floor leader. Devin Booker has been moved from shooting guard to the point for at least the short run.
  • The Suns are one of the teams interested in acquiring second-year point guard Frank Ntilikina from the Knicks. Get all the details here.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Holmes, Cousins, Gortat

The Sunsbuyout with Tyson Chandler would have helped the team much more if it had occurred during the preseason, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The parties have reportedly had a standing deal on a buyout in place for some time, but Chandler was reluctant to commit until he was confident that another organization would pick him up. The consensus is the Lakers will be his next team.

The money saved through Chandler’s buyout could have benefited the Suns in a number of ways, Nahmad notes. De’Anthony Melton, a second-round pick acquired in a trade with the Rockets, was limited to a two-year, minimum-salary deal because Phoenix didn’t have money available for a three- or four-year offer (Twitter link). Nahmad is assuming Chandler will give back about $452K in his buyout, and notes that the Suns waited until just before the start of training camp to sign Melton in the hopes that they could free up more cash.

Unloading Chandler earlier would have also opened a roster spot and would have eliminated the need to waive Davon Reed when Jamal Crawford was signed (Twitter link). Reed, who is now on a two-way deal with the Pacers, is still owed his entire $1.4MM salary from the Suns.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The news about Chandler explains why Richaun Holmes was the Suns‘ first choice at backup center in Friday’s game, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason trade, played a season-high 13 minutes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is expected to have a one-year stay with the Warriors, but GM Bob Myers isn’t giving up on the idea of extending their arrangement, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. During a recent appearance on the team’s pre-game show, Myers said “options are open” when it comes to keeping the All-Star center. “These type of predictions — good or bad — are pretty fruitless because you just don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don’t know if it’s going to be better than you think … but it’s not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let’s bring him back.” If Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both re-sign, Golden State would be well above the cap and would be limited to offering Cousins its mid-level exception again.
  • Clippers center Marcin Gortat re-tweeted a message bemoaning the end of his consecutive games streak. L.A. traded for Gortat in June to help offset the expected loss of DeAndre Jordan, but he has averaged just 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG and is losing minutes to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic.

Suns Waive Shaquille Harrison, Darrell Arthur

The Suns waived a pair of players on Monday to reach the regular season roster limit, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Shaquille Harrison and Darrell Arthur have been cut by the team.

Arthur’s release comes as no surprise, since he was never part of the Suns’ plans for this season. Still, by waiving him now, before receiving resolution on their disabled player exception request, the Suns are no longer eligible for that DPE, as Keith Smith of RealGM confirms (via Twitter). Given that there was little evidence that Arthur had recently sustained a season-ending injury, that DPE was unlikely to be approved anyway.

[RELATED: Suns apply for disabled player exception for Arthur]

Harrison’s release is a little more surprising, given the Suns’ lack of depth at point guard. However, he was one of three players – along with Richaun Holmes and Isaiah Canaan – who was on a non-guaranteed contract, making him somewhat expendable. The Suns will now retain Canaan, Elie Okobo, and De’Anthony Melton at the point, with combo guard Jamal Crawford set to enter the mix as well.

Speaking of Crawford, the Suns will need to make one additional roster move when he officially signs his contract, which hasn’t happened yet. Davon Reed is expected to be traded or waived to accommodate Crawford.

With today’s moves, the Suns will create $7.5MM+ in additional dead money on their cap for 2018/19 — Harrison had a modest $50K guarantee, which Phoenix will eat, along with Arthur’s $7,464,912 salary.

Pacific Rumors: Ingram, Holmes, Looney, Gilgeous-Alexander

LeBron James continues to chat up Brandon Ingram as a budding superstar, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin relays. The Lakers small forward got a chance to play the point in the latest preseason game and racked up 31 points, nine rebounds and three steals. “His pace, his ability to play the point and play the wing, he’s a very special talent, and we’re definitely happy to have him on our side,” James said, adding, “I know what I see in him, and he’s looking for this opportunity to make this next jump in his third year.” Ingram is eligible for a rookie scale extension next offseason and James’ praise won’t hurt his cause.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Richaun Holmes isn’t a scorer but his other attributes have made him a favorite with the Suns’ coaching staff, as Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic notes. The big man has earned a role with Phoenix with his energetic style. “He moves well, is a live body, good defender,” coach Igor Kokoskov said. “Very athletic. He’s got to help us defensively, protect the paint. Runs the floor and he fits in well with what we’re doing here.” Holmes was acquired from the Sixers for $1MM in July.
  • Warriors forward Kevon Looney drew lukewarm interest from a handful of teams in free agency, he revealed to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. The Rockets, Timberwolves, Clippers, Sixers and Hawks made contact but “nobody really offered,” Looney said. He was an unrestricted free agent after Golden State declined to pick up his option last fall but he settled for a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
  • Lottery pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has earned significant playing time during training camp, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. The University of Kentucky product is averaging 11 PPG and 4.5 APG in 24.0 MPG for the Clippers in two preseason outings.

Sixers Trade Richaun Holmes To Suns

7:09pm: It’s official, according to a Sixers press release.

11:29am: The Suns are sending $1MM to Philadelphia in the trade, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

10:55am: The Sixers have agreed to a trade with the Suns that will send Richaun Holmes to Phoenix, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Philadelphia will receive cash considerations in return for Holmes, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Holmes, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, has been a rotation player for the Sixers for the last three seasons. However, after averaging 20.9 minutes per contest and starting 17 games in 2016/17, the 24-year-old had his role cut back last season, as he played 15.5 MPG and started just two of his 48 games.

With Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson, and Mike Muscala in the mix at center for the Sixers in 2018/19, Holmes was unlikely to play a major role for the team. Instead, he’ll join a prospect-heavy Suns frontcourt that features Deandre Ayton, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, and veteran Tyson Chandler.

While the Suns’ acquisition of Holmes isn’t exactly a blockbuster, it has some interesting – albeit minor – cap ramifications. Phoenix wouldn’t have had the cap room to acquire Holmes without sending out any salary if not for the Jared Dudley/Darrell Arthur swap the club agreed to earlier today. Now, Holmes can slot into the team’s remaining cap space and its 15th roster spot.

As for the 76ers, there were reports in the wake of their three-team trade agreement on Thursday that the deal wouldn’t be completed right away because Philadelphia was working on another move. A Kyle Korver/Jerryd Bayless trade rumor hinted that the Sixers were looking to open up a little extra cap room themselves — they’ll do just that by moving Holmes’ $1.6MM salary, and now have the space to sign draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden to a four-year contract using cap room.

Without cap space, the Sixers wouldn’t have been able to offer Bolden – who will replace Holmes in the frontcourt – more than two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Workouts, McConnell, Holmes

The Sixers insist the loss of Bryan Colangelo hasn’t affected their draft preparations, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Colangelo resigned last week as president of basketball operations after a Twitter-related scandal involving sensitive information released through burner accounts.

The front office has tried to stick to business as usual in his absence, conducting pre-draft workouts over the past three days. Coach Brett Brown has taken over Colangelo’s responsibilities on an interim basis, and draft decisions will be made as a group effort.

“I don’t think it’s going to change much, to be honest with you,” said VP of player personnel Marc Eversley. “All of our scouts have been on staff here for the past two years. I’ve been here for the last two years. You know, we’re in a position where we feel we are going to be able … to select somebody who’s going to be able to come in and help us contribute.”

There’s more tonight from Philadelphia:

  • After two days of bringing in high-profile prospects, today’s workout focused on potential second-round picks, summer leaguers and G League acquisitions, Pompey writes in a separate story. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Miami’s Bruce Brown highlighted the session, with Brown saying he is motivated by a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery in February and limited his effectiveness at the combine. “I just have a chip on my shoulder that I know I can get back to where I was,” said Brown, who was viewed as a possible lottery pick before the season began. “I know teams are going to believe in me, and believe that I can do that. So it just adds a chip on the shoulder, and I’m ready to go after guys that go before me.”
  • Today’s move to exercise team options on Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell could lead to free agency decisions next summer, Pompey notes in another piece. Both will have non-guaranteed $1.6MM salaries next season then will become unrestricted free agents if they aren’t signed to extensions. “Like I said, I want to be here,” McConnell said. “So I’m excited they picked it up. But that’s not going to change how I approach every day.”
  • The Sixers are in contention for the top players on the free agent market, but Brown promises they won’t spend recklessly if they don’t get their main targets, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Sixers Exercise Team Option On Richaun Holmes

The Sixers have picked up their 2018/19 team option on big man Richaun Holmes, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). The option will pay Holmes a salary of $1,600,520 next season.

The move comes as no surprise for a couple reasons. For one, Holmes’ play has certainly justified a minimum-salary investment. In a part-time role in Philadelphia’s frontcourt, Holmes averaged 6.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.3 APG in 48 games (15.5 MPG) last season, and he was even more productive the year before, with 9.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 57 contests (20.9 MPG).

Additionally, exercising Holmes’ option for next season reportedly won’t actually lock in his $1.6MM salary. According to contract information from Basketball Insiders, Holmes’ salary remains non-guaranteed until January 10, even with his option picked up. T.J. McConnell‘s team option is said to have the same structure.

While exercising Holmes’ option may not provide any guarantees for the coming season, I’d be very surprised if he’s cut before his January guarantee date. Assuming he plays out the full 2018/19 season on his current deal, the 24-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers have made it quite clear that they’re ready and willing to accelerate their timeline and make a serious bid for an elite free agent. That’s ambitious and admirable, but to assume that a player like LeBron James is around the corner is like buying lottery tickets to fund your retirement.

It’s commendable that the Sixers have their sights set on big fish, but let’s assume that the King decides to re-up in Cleveland and Philly is forced to see their original process through to the end. Sure, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid weren’t enough to win the East in their first ever playoff appearances, that doesn’t mean the organization is in any less of an enviable place than they were a month ago.

In the event that Philly strikes out in their pursuit of James, they’d be wise to continue what they set out to do in 2017/18, surround their obnoxiously promising young core with solid veterans capable of helping them flourish into superstars.

J.J. Redick, SG, 34 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $23MM deal in 2017
The idea to overpay Redick for a one-year contract last summer was brilliant. The team was able to complement its young core with a capable veteran scorer while getting a feel for what the next phase of the process was. It turns out the next phase involves winning, though, which involves paying to keep the club’s young core in tact. Since July, when Redick signed his monster contract, the Sixers have extended both Embiid and Robert Covington, eating up $35MM in salary that they didn’t need to worry about this time last. While the club still has piles of cap room for 2018/19, Philadelphia may look to lock Redick down at a discounted rate now that the roster is looking less and less like a science fair project and more like a contender.

Marco Belinelli, SG, 32 (Up) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
Belinelli landed with the Hawks last offseason, a hired gun on a short-term deal, and eventually became one of the buyout market’s most desirable pieces. The Sixers prudently added the shooting guard in February and gave him a months-long opportunity to show what he’s capable of contributing to a contender. Belinelli is still young enough to command a contract in the $8MM-$10MM range and may be able to parlay his success in Philly into a longer-term contract. That could very well put him right back in a Sixers uniform.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF, 31 (Down) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
There are few players who fill an unheralded role more brilliantly than Ilyasova but that hasn’t helped him find any stability since getting traded away from Milwaukee in 2015. In the three years since, the veteran has plied his scrappy trade for five franchises, proving at every step along the way that he’s a solid rotation piece. Unfortunately for Ilyasova, the contenders that he could benefit most tend to be the ones with the least amount of cap space, so he may need to take a discount if he wants to win.

Amir Johnson, C, 31 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $11MM deal in 2017
The Sixers are in a drastically different place than they were when they inked Johnson, a reliable if unexciting veteran, to an eight-digit contract. For one, the win-now Eastern Conference contender need not get creative just to meet the league’s salary floor and they also don’t need to be quite as cautious when it comes to Embiid insurance. If Johnson wants to remain in Philadelphia – or on any serious playoff team – he may need to take a significant pay cut.

Richaun Holmes, C, 24 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $5MM deal in 2015
Thanks to Embiid’s reasonably healthy season, the Sixers didn’t utilize Holmes as much as they did the year prior but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still high on the athletic big man’s long-term role with the franchise. Picking up his $1.6MM team option is a no-brainer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Brown, Holmes, Ilyasova

It’s time for rookie guard Markelle Fultz to break his public silence and address the issues that have limited him to just four games this season, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The things Fultz needs to explain, according to Pompey, are whether a scapular muscle imbalance forced him to change his shot or whether it was done on the advice of his trainer, Keith Williams, and what teammate Joel Embiid meant when he said of Fultz, “I don’t feel like a lot of people … have had his back.”

Williams has denied making changes to Fultz’s shot and some people in the organization don’t believe it happened, but Fultz could easily clear up the situation if the team made him available to the media. However, he hasn’t granted any interviews apart from a brief one on TNT. A grievance was filed through the Pro Basketball Writers Association, but the NBA sided with the Sixers. The team may be trying to protect Fultz, Pompey adds, but the silence is just leading to more speculation.

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • This is the first time since coach Brett Brown took over five years ago that the Sixers haven’t dealt away or waived someone at the trade deadline, Pompey notes in a separate story. Not only did they keep their core intact, they added a shooter by picking up Marco Belinelli from the buyout market. “It’s something that from the city’s perspective, from the fans’ perspective and from the these guys’ perspective to take continuity and move it forward instead of hack away at it and chop it down,” Brown said. “We respect it. We appreciate it.”
  • Richaun Holmes made a rare appearance Saturday, relays Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The back-up center had sat out seven of the past nine games, but was scheduled for some minutes as Brown tries to prepare his whole roster for the postseason. Holmes responded with impressive defense in a win over the Magic. “Right now my motivation is I know that Richaun has value, I know that he has things that he can bring to the table and I respect how he’s handled himself when he wasn’t playing that much,” Brown said. “I know it’s my job to keep him alive and tonight was an example of that and I thought he did very very well.”
  • The Sixers could be an option for Ersan Ilyasova once he completes a rumored buyout with the Hawks, according to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports. Ilyasova spent 53 games in Philadelphia last season before being traded to Atlanta.