Ricky Rubio

Contract Notes: Embiid, Davis, Lillard, Lowry

When All-NBA voters decide whether or not to classify Anthony Davis as a forward or center on their ballots this year, they may indirectly impact the value of Joel Embiid‘s new contract by approximately $30MM.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN details, the extension Embiid signed with the Sixers last offseason will be worth 25% of the cap starting in 2018/19. However, the contract includes a clause that states his starting salary would increase to 30% if he’s named to the All-NBA First Team. That salary bump would increase his overall earnings by about $30MM over the life of the five-year deal, but it can probably only happen if Davis receives most of his All-NBA votes at forward. Otherwise, he seems like a good bet to beat out Embiid for the center spot on the First Team.

No player has more at stake as a result of All-NBA voting or various other benchmarks than Embiid. But that contract is just one of many that could be affected by a variety of award results, postseason outcomes, or other criteria.

Marks’ piece is worth checking out in full for all the details, but here’s a quick look at a few noteworthy contract situations:

  • Pelicans star Anthony Davis will become eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension in 2019 if he earns an All-NBA spot this year. However, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is among the players who would need another All-NBA nod in 2019 to qualify for a supermax deal, even if he’s on this year’s All-NBA squad. Those Designated Veteran Extensions are known as supermax contracts because they start at 35% of the salary cap instead of 30%.
  • Kyle Lowry (Raptors) and Victor Oladipo (Pacers) would get sizable bonuses if their teams make deep playoff runs. Lowry would receive $500K for reaching the Eastern Finals, another $500K for winning the East, and another $500K for a title. Oladipo would earn $250K if Indiana reaches the NBA Finals.
  • All-Defense honors would pay off for Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. Gobert will get a $500K bonus if he’s named to the All-Defense First Team, while Holiday would get $100K for a spot on the First Team or Second Team.
  • Among the players who have already earned bonuses: Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon ($900K for incentives related to points, rebounds, and games played), Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless ($500K for his three-point percentage), Bucks center John Henson ($500K for playing 75+ games), and Jazz guard Ricky Rubio ($175K for his field-goal and free-throw percentages).

Jazz Sign Naz Mitrou-Long To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 11, 11:20am: The signing is official, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune.

FEBRUARY 10, 2:55pm: The Jazz are expected to sign G League guard Naz Mitrou-Long to a 10-day contract in the wake of a left hip injury suffered by starting point guard Ricky Rubio in last night’s win over Charlotte, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

While the extent of Rubio’s injury isn’t known, it does not appear to be serious at this time (per Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune). Utah will not be required to make a corresponding roster move to accommodate Mitrou-Long after waiving Derrick Rose earlier today.

Mitrou-Long, 24, a rookie out of Iowa State, went undrafted over the summer but played briefly with Utah in training camp prior to being cut ahead of opening night. He signed a two-way deal with the Jazz in December but was waived less than a month later in favor of Georges Niang, who is still with Utah on a two-way contract.

In 32 games for the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate, Mitrou-Long has averaged 16.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 4.7 APG with a .405/.357/.841 shooting line.

Assuming his deal is finalized today, Mitrou-Long will remain under contract through February 19. After that, the Jazz are free to sign him to another 10-day deal, but would then have to decide whether to lock him up for the rest of the season or let him walk after the second 10-day deal expired.

Scotto’s Latest: Pelicans, Gordon, Carroll, Nuggets

Before sending Omer Asik to Chicago, the Pelicans explored trading the veteran center to a number of other teams, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. League sources tells Scotto that the Hawks and Pelicans recently talked about a deal that would have sent Asik and a first-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.

The Mavericks discussed a deal that would have seen them take on both Asik and Alexis Ajinca – along with a first-round pick – in exchange for Wesley Matthews, but Dallas was hesitant to take on two undesirable multiyear contracts, says Scotto.

Additionally, the Pelicans proposed a pair of trades to the Lakers, according to Scotto, who reports that one would have sent Asik and a first-round pick to L.A. for Jordan Clarkson, while the other would have sent Ajinca and a second-round pick to the Lakers for Julius Randle. That second deal could technically still happen, but I can’t imagine it would appeal to the Lakers.

Scotto’s piece for The Athletic is jam-packed with more noteworthy trade rumors, so let’s dive in and round up some highlights…

  • The Magic‘s front office has “left no stone unturned” as the team explores potential trades. Scotto hears that the club has even quietly gauged trade interest in Aaron Gordon, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. I imagine Orlando would require a pretty overwhelming offer to seriously consider moving Gordon.
  • Several teams have expressed interest in Nets forward DeMarre Carroll, according to Scotto, who identifies the Heat as one of those teams.
  • As we heard on Thursday, the Bulls are still very much open for business. Robin Lopez is a trade candidate, but Chicago wants a first-round pick in a deal for the veteran center, per Scotto.
  • Scotto names Malik Beasley, Kenneth Faried, and Emmanuel Mudiay as trade candidates for the Nuggets, noting that the team could be a suitor for Jazz guard Rodney Hood.
  • Hood isn’t the only Jazz guard who could be available at the deadline — Scotto hears that Utah has also explored the trade market for Ricky Rubio.
  • Several teams are monitoring Pistons forward Stanley Johnson. Scotto notes that Johnson was one player the Magic coveted when they discussed deals with Detroit earlier in the season, and adds that the Spurs have interest too.
  • Speaking of the Spurs, they’re one of the teams – as are the division-rival Mavericks – that has expressed interest in Knicks center Willy Hernangomez.
  • The Wizards are keeping an eye on the trade market and buyout market for a backup point guard, writes Scotto.
  • Fourth-year forward Noah Vonleh has been shopped by the Trail Blazers, according to Scotto. In addition to keeping tabs on DeAndre Jordan, Portland is also interested in acquiring a small forward.
  • Executives around the NBA believe that Raptors swingman Norman Powell could be a trade candidate during the offseason due to the emergence of rookie OG Anunoby.

Northwest Notes: KAT, Westbrook, Rubio, Jazz

The Timberwolves‘ moves this offseason have drastically improved the team and put the organization in a position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler and the free agency signing of Jeff Teague fusing with the current core of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns poses a serious threat to the Western Conference.

Towns spoke to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News to clarify his recent comments in which he referred to the Timberwolves as a budding dynasty. The former Rookie of the Year cited the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavaliers as real dynasties but maintained confidence in winning with Minnesota’s upgraded roster.

“For me, what everyone needs to know is that we’ve made great moves,” Towns said. “We made great moves to make ourselves better. I have been very fortunate to be with such a great franchise and the organization is going to do so well from here on out. I think we are building a team that has a great sense of what it wants to be, and also adding players who ooze greatness and ooze winning, it’s just something that is contagious.”

The team’s quest for improvement has been noticed by other stars, most prominently disgruntled Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who reportedly listed Minnesota as one of his four preferred destinations if he was traded. Playing in the same conference with the defending champion Warriors and perennial powerhouse Spurs will be difficult but a young, athletic, and hungry Minnesota squad could see a drastic improvement in 2017/18.

Below are additional notes around the Northwest Division:

  • Reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook recently visited Oklahoma City but he is not in the Thunder‘s home city to sign an extension, Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman writes. Westbrook, a Los Angeles native, primarily spends his summers in California but is known to visit OKC periodically during the offseason, Dawson adds.
  • Newest Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio no longer has to worry about trade talk after the deal that brought him Minnesota to Utah. After years of rumors involving Rubio, the six-year NBA veteran tells Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News that he was happy to be dealt to “an organization that really believed in me.”
  • After the losses of Gordon Hayward and George Hill, the Jazz may have an issue with spacing and three-point shooting next season, Benjamin Nehic of The Desert News writes. Utah’s spacing with its current roster is projected to dip and with less effective outside shooters, the team may have to adopt a new primary scoring method.

Northwest Notes: George, Patterson, Gobert

Make no mistake, Oklahoma City’s one mission this season is to convince Paul George to remain with the Thunder once he hits free agency next summer. But what, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman asks, does the All-Star forward want?

George and his representation have been nothing if not forthright about the 27-year-old’s desire to sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2018 but he still has a season under contract and a fresh, new change of scenery to enjoy with the Thunder until that time comes.

If George truly wants to play for a winner, the Thunder have a legitimate chance of positioning themselves as the better option than the Lakers, Horne writes. Oklahoma City has, after all, been competitive for the past five years while the Lakers have toiled in mediocrity.

The question is whether playing for a winner will ever actually trump George’s desire to return to his home state.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The move to sign Patrick Patterson will help the Thunder on the defensive end, the forward’s former coach Kevin McHale told The Oklahoman. He says Patterson is the type of player that excels at all the little parts of the game.
  • With Gordon Hayward on his way to the Celtics, it’s become clear that Rudy Gobert may have been the leader of the Jazz all along, Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes. The big man has long been more charismatic and vocal than his Beantown-bound counterpart.
  • The move that sent Avery Bradley from the Celtics to the Pistons has all but extinguished any hopes the Jazz had of pulling off a sign-and-trade connected to Gordon Hayward’s move to Boston, Jody Genessey of The Deseret News writes.
  • The Timberwolves saw an opportunity and seized it this offseason, bringing Jeff Teague into the fold at the expense of long-time point guard Ricky Rubio. “Ricky did a good job here; we’re happy for him,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau told the media, including Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. “We wish him well. He made a number of contributions to our team, our organization and community and we certainly appreciate that. For us where we are now, we have to get out of this hole and we felt we had an opportunity to improve our team, and that’s why we did what we did.”
  • An additional benefit the Timberwolves will enjoy after bringing Jimmy Butler aboard will be his contributions as a recruiter, Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago writes.
  • No team in the NBA shot worse when wide open beyond the arc than the Thunder did last season, that should change after the club welcomes Paul George and Patrick Patterson to its lineup, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes.

Free Agency Rumors: Reed, Hayward, Jazz, Hawks

Veteran big man Willie Reed, who spent the 2016/17 season with the Heat, is flying somewhat under the radar in free agency, but he has no shortage of suitors. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, having already reported that Reed was drawing interest from Miami, Philadelphia, Indiana, and Houston, has added the Hawks to the list of the teams interested in the unrestricted free agent. For his part, Reed says he want to prove he’s “worth every penny” he gets, no matter where he lands.

“I feel like I’ve gotten better every single year and my goal for next season is to win the Most Improved Player Award,” Reed said. “I have really high expectations for myself next year. With more minutes, I think I can be the Most Improved Player in the NBA. I want to be an elite shot-blocker and make a big impact. I think it’s just a matter of getting more minutes and experience.”

Here’s more on free agency from around the league:

  • Although reports last week suggested that Gordon Hayward wanted the Jazz to re-sign George Hill, Hayward also told the team he’d love to play with Ricky Rubio, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Utah is sitting down with Hayward today, and Rubio is part of the team’s contingent in that meeting, according to Shelburne, who says Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles are also in attendance.
  • If the Jazz are able to bring back Hayward, they won’t be done trying to upgrade their roster, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah would, at the very least, still have some form of the mid-level exception available in that scenario.
  • Many teams around the NBA appearing to be waiting for resolution on the Hayward situation before moving forward on lower-tier free agents, and the Hawks are among that group, says Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Timberwolves pursued Paul Millsap before he committed to Denver, and there was “lots of communication” between Millsap and the Wolves, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. However, according to Wolfson, the two sides never really came close due to Minnesota’ lack of cap room.

Knicks Rumors: Hill, Rubio, Lee, Baker, Griffin

George Hill appears to have emerged as the Knicks’ top free agent target, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. According to Begley, the team has been making an effort to unload some salary in order to make a competitive offer to a free agent point guard, and Hill has emerged as the name atop that list. Although the Knicks have made their interest in Hill known, they didn’t formally reach out to his camp during the early hours of free agency, says Begley.

Here are a few more Knicks-related rumors and notes:

  • The Knicks had some interest in trading for Ricky Rubio, but weren’t willing to part with a first-round pick for the veteran point guard, a source tells Begley.
  • If the Knicks are able to move a salary, Courtney Lee is the prime candidate, though Carmelo Anthony would be another option. We heard on Friday night that New York and Houston had discussed Anthony, but there’s currently no traction there.
  • Terms of Ron Baker‘s new deal with the Knicks aren’t yet known, but Begley says people in touch with the team expect New York to use an exception to re-sign Baker. That’s a little vague, but assuming the Knicks go under the cap, the exceptions available for Baker would be the room ($4.3MM), minimum ($1.3MM), and Non-Bird ($1.6MM).
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com provided an update on the Knicks’ front office situation on Friday, tweeting that if David Griffin were to join the franchise, he would likely become the general manager, with current GM Steve Mills ascending to president of basketball operations. It remains to be seen whether that situation would appeal to Griffin.

Wolves Trade Rubio To Jazz For First-Round Pick

4:22pm: The Jazz are able to absorb Rubio’s $13.6MM contract today, but only today. As of tomorrow, the official start of the 2017/18 campaign, a Rudy Gobert raise coupled with some cap holds would push Utah’s payroll higher.

4:16pm: Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press has tweeted that the deal is done and awaiting league approval. The 2018 first-rounder from OKC will be Top-14 protected, ESPN’s Marc Stein says.

4:05pm: Jody Genessey of the Deseret News has relayed a report from Zone Sports Networks’ Spencer Checketts that Utah will send Oklahoma City’s first-round pick to Minnesota in exchange for Rubio.

4:00pm: Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets that the Rubio trade “is happening”, noting that the deal is close to being done. It hasn’t, however, been formally confirmed yet.

3:45pm: The Jazz and Timberwolves are actively discussing a deal in which Ricky Rubio would head to Utah, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

It’s unclear what would be heading back to Minnesota in the exchange but the news that Rubio could be on the move isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Despite the fact that the Timberwolves have already traded away two point guards this month, Rubio’s name has been a mainstay in trade rumors since the Wolves drafted Kris Dunn last June.

Much can and has been inferred from the news of these ongoing Rubio negotiations. Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets that this could mean George Hill will be unlikely to return to Utah. If nothing else, he adds, it will give the team leverage in contract negotiations with the 31-year-old.

The deal also lends credence to a theory that the Timberwolves could be serious contenders to pursue Kyle Lowry. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post echoed the sentiments of The Athletic’s Eric Koreen suggesting as much shortly after the negotiations were made public.

In a separate tweet, Eric Koreen says that, Minnesota unloading Rubio, coupled with revoking the Shabazz Muhammads qualifying offer would free up about $32MM for the organization.


Trade Rumors: Celtics, George, Parker, Beverley

Although the Celtics are reportedly still hoping to pull off a trade for Paul George after the new league year begins, Boston considers the Pacers‘ current demand for George unrealistic, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter links). Murphy notes that the C’s are currently waiting to hear back from Indiana president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard.

According to Murphy, the Pacers’ most recent demand in talks with the Celtics included the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and the Lakers’ protected 2018 pick, plus at least one starting player. As we noted earlier today, Boston is willing to put multiple picks and players in an offer for George, but wants to retain its most valuable draft assets, such as those two aforementioned picks.

Let’s round up a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA…

  • Jabari Parker‘s latest ACL injury has complicated the Bucks‘ ability to potentially improve their roster this offseason, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, who says that Milwaukee had been considering including Parker in trades at the deadline in February. “His name definitely came up, and it was obvious they’d have a steep price, but they were willing to talk about him,” one league executive tells Deveney.
  • The Cavaliers have been eyeing Patrick Beverley for “quite some time,” but a source familiar with the team’s thinking tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com that the veteran point guard probably isn’t going anywhere now that he’s a member of the Clippers. According to McMenamin, L.A. likes Beverley and might not be willing to deal him after landing him in Wednesday’s Chris Paul blockbuster, even if Cleveland could offer a solid package.
  • One challenge the Timberwolves‘ front office faces if it wants to move Ricky Rubio comes in the form of owner Glen Taylor, per Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Wolfson tweets that every Wolves trade goes through Taylor, who “loves” Rubio.
  • Executives around the NBA have questions about the way the Paul deal between the Rockets and Clippers went down, though an Eastern Conference exec says that no one’s going to “rat anybody out” when it comes to tampering. Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times has the details and the quotes.

Celtics Working To Land Both Hayward And George

With the free agent period fast approaching, the Celtics are pursuing an “aggressive” plan that would include signing Gordon Hayward and acquiring Paul George in a trade, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The plan – first reported by Adam Kaufman of 98.5 The Sports Hub (Twitter link) – would require specific sequencing, and would hinge on getting a commitment from Hayward.

As Wojnarowski explains, the Celtics would want to get a verbal commitment from Hayward before attempting to finalize a deal with the Pacers for George. However, Indiana won’t necessarily be operating on the same schedule as Boston, and could look elsewhere in an effort to get something done with George while the C’s are waiting on Hayward.

Hayward is expected to start taking meetings with the Celtics and Heat on July 1, and the Jazz continue to fight to hang onto their star forward, according to Wojnarowski. The Vertical’s report indicates that Utah is exploring alternative offseason plans should Hayward leave, but is also working to upgrade its roster before July 1.

The Jazz have approximately $16MM in cap room that will expire on July 1, so that space could be used to accommodate a significant acquisition. For instance, ESPN’s Marc Stein has tweeted that Utah is among the teams to express trade interest in Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio. With their available cap room, the Jazz could absorb Rubio’s entire $13.5MM+ salary without having to send out any contracts.

If Hayward ultimately chooses Utah or Miami, the Celtics may look to substitute Clippers big man Blake Griffin in his place in an effort to land both Griffin and George, writes Wojnarowski. Griffin is also eligible for unrestricted free agency and can earn the same maximum starting salary as Hayward.

The Celtics and Pacers were said to be in “serious” talks involving George on draft night before those discussions stalled. As Wojnarowski points out, Boston is probably the Pacers’ preferred trade partner, since the C’s have a huge stockpile of young prospects and picks that would aid Indiana’s rebuilding process. Meanwhile, the Celtics also have a “growing confidence” that they could sign George to a contract extension and make him more than a one-year rental, which is “fueling” the team’s willingness to part with some of its assets, per The Vertical.

If the Celtics were to acquire George, he’d be eligible to sign an extension, but Boston would have to clear out even more cap room in order to renegotiate his contract and give him the sort a raise that might convince him to postpone his free agency. Like the rest of the Celtics’ plan, that wouldn’t be impossible, but there are a lot of moving parts involved that could complicate the situation.