Rudy Gobert

And-Ones: Telfair, Georges-Hunt, O’Bryant, Re-Draft

Former high school basketball prodigy and NBA veteran Sebastian Telfair was sentenced on Monday to three and a half years in prison in his New York City gun case, per The Associated Press. Telfair, 34, was convicted earlier this year of carrying a loaded handgun in his pickup truck.

This was not Telfair’s first brush with the law nor his first incident involving a loaded weapon. He and a friend were arrested in 2007 after a traffic stop during which police found a loaded handgun in the vehicle. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to three years’ probation.

While he never lived up to the hype from his prep career, Telfair did have a relatively successful NBA career. He played 564 games over 10 seasons and averaged 7.4 PPG and 3.5 APG.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along this evening:

  • Former Magic and Timberwolves guard Marcus Georges-Hunt, now fully healthy, recently worked out for the Nuggets as he looks to work his way back to the NBA. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the fully healthy 25-year-old Georgia Tech product also has several other workouts lined up the rest of the month.
  • As first reported by Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), top EuroLeague free agent and former NBA player Johnny O’Bryant has signed with Lokomotiv Krasnodar (Twitter link) of the Russian VTB United League. O’Bryant, a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, played four seasons in the NBA with the BucksNuggets, and Hornets.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic would draft Bucks forward and 2018/19 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jazz big man Rudy Gobert, and Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum with the top three picks in a re-draft of the 2013 NBA Draft. None of the three went higher than No. 10 overall six years ago.

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Grant, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jazz

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard believes he can bring out the best of Hassan Whiteside, the enigmatic center acquired from the Heat as part of the multi-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. Lillard has a good friendship with Whiteside and that should help prevent Whiteside from getting over-emotional, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic.

“I said, ‘So this is what this is going to come down to: If in the middle of the game, you are not getting the ball and you mad, and you felt like somebody should have done something, you come and say something to me,” Lillard said. “And if (Trail Blazers) Coach (Terry Stotts) is getting on you, or Coach takes you out and you get mad at Coach, me and you have to be able to communicate. Even if we argue, that’s fine. But we have to be able to get through to each other.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is thrilled with the acquisition of forward Jerami Grant from the Thunder, as he told Alex Labidou of the team’s website. He believes Grant will mesh well with franchise player Nikola Jokic and significantly improve the team’s defense. “Watching film, he’s guarded Damian Lillard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, the guy can guard anybody,” Malone said. “I think that versatility is exciting.”
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gives the Thunder a long-term answer at point guard who may have a better future than Paul George, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Gilgeous-Alexander is nine years younger than George, Tramel notes, and he displayed better defensive and shooting skills than Russell Westbrook did in his rookie year.
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert shrugs off the Clippers’ acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and George, confident that the Jazz have done enough this offseason to become serious contenders. “We don’t want to pay too much attention into what the other teams are doing,” Gobert told Tony Jones of The Athletic. “We want to keep working hard, and we want to stay hungry. We know what we have to do. Whenever we step out onto the court, the goal is to win. We know that we have a chance to do some good things this year. But we want to take things one step at a time.”
  • The Timberwolves have brought back Bryan Gates as an assistant coach under Ryan Saunders, according to an Associated Press report. Gates has been on the Kings’ staff the last three seasons but spent the 2015/16 season with Minnesota.

Gobert Repeats As Defensive Player Of Year

Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season at the league’s annual awards show on Monday.

Gobert topped two players who are also finalists for the Most Valuable Player award, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George. The anchor of the Jazz’s defense averaged 2.3 blocks for the second straight season. Utah’s 105.2 defensive rating was second only to Milwauekee’s 104.9. The Jazz also allowed the fourth fewest points.

Kawhi Leonard was the last player to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards (2015, 2016).

And-Ones: Durant, Superteams, French National Team

Multiple teams around the NBA still consider Kevin Durant a talent worth investing max money in, despite the ruptured Achilles that will sideline him through 2019/20. Ben Golliver of the Washington Post weighs in on several franchises that could entertain the idea this summer.

Golliver writes that the Clippers, backed by billionaire Steve Ballmer could afford to sign Durant, tinker with the impressive lineup that led them to the postseason this spring, and then hit the ground running with Durant in 2020/21. That’s a scenario that would be ever dreamier if they were able to land Kawhi Leonard this summer as well.

Of course Durant’s absence next season will still have some impact on his value. Could the revelation that Durant won’t play in 2019/20 derail a potential pairing with Kyrie Irving in New York? Would Irving prefer instead to work with a different star in Brooklyn?

These are questions we’ll get answers to eventually but for now one thing is clear, Durant’s value remains high but that’s not to say that his Achilles hasn’t still thrown the league for a loop.

There’s more from around the league:

  • Is this the beginning of the end of the Superteam Era? Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wonders as much in a video released on Instagram, suggesting players around the league are showing a greater interest in leading their own teams. For the past decade, star players have seemingly gravitated to one another to stack the deck and win championships but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, if the Raptors’ 2019 title plays a small role in the ushering out the Superteam Era, they’ll be walking right back into a climate that saw former Raptor star Tracy McGrady bolt the franchise for the chance to get out of Vince Carter‘s shadow and lead his own Magic squad.
  • Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas has received interest from a number of NBA teams and has several offers to join teams on non-guaranteed pre-season camp deals, international basketball reported Donatas Urbonas tweets.
  • The preliminary French national team for the 2019 World Cup has been revealed and a number of household NBA names will fortify a competitive roster. As seen at Sportando, Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier are the biggest names on the preliminary roster but they’re not the only ones with big league credentials.

Rudy Gobert Eligible For Designated Veteran Extension in 2020

Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named to the All-NBA Third Team earlier today, and while he was not named to an All-NBA team last season, he will still be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension in the summer of 2020, reports Tim Bontemps of ESPN, because he was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the 2017/18 season.

It’s always been clear that to be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension, a player must:

  • have 7 or 8 years of service at the time the extension is signed;
  • have 1 or 2 years remaining on his current contract;
  • play with the same team continuously since entering the league, unless he was traded during his first four years in the league; and
  • meet the 35% Max Criteria

Gobert clearly meets the first three requirements. In the summer of 2020, he will have played seven seasons in the NBA, all for the Jazz, and have one year left on his contract. The fourth requirement wasn’t so clear. Before today, it seemed to be generally understood (h/t to Larry Coon’s NBA Salary Cap FAQ) that a player qualified for the 35% Max Criteria if:

  • He was named to the All-NBA First, Second, or Third team in the most recent season, or both of the two seasons that preceded the most recent season;
  • He was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season, or both of the two seasons that preceded the most recent season; or
  • He was named the NBA Most Valuable Player in any of the three most recent seasons.

Gobert was named All-NBA Third Team this season, but did not make an All-NBA team last season. Gobert was named Defensive Player of Year last season, but that award hasn’t been handed out yet for this season. So how does Gobert meet the 35% Max Criteria?

Bobby Marks of ESPN provides the answer, tweeting that the NBA is allowing players to combine DPOY and All-NBA when factoring in whether a player met the criteria in “both of the two seasons that preceded the most recent season” (here, the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, as Gobert’s extension would kick in after the 2019/20 season).

So, because Gobert earned DPOY or All-NBA in both 2017/18 and 2018/19, he meets the 35% Max Criteria and is eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension in 2020.

If the Jazz are willing to put that super-max extension on the table for Gobert, it would go into effect in 2021/22 and would add five years and an estimated $247MM to his current contract.

NBA Announces 2018/19 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has formally announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2018/19 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden leading the way as the two unanimous selections for the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Antetokounmpo and Harden scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

As we detailed in March, this year’s All-NBA selections have significant financial implications for several players. Here’s a breakdown of how several All-NBA candidates were impacted:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo is now eligible for a super-max extension with the Bucks, which he can sign in 2020. It would start at 35% of the cap in 2021/22 and would extend his contract by five years.
  • Damian Lillard is now eligible for a super-max extension with the Trail Blazers, which he can sign in 2019. It would start at 35% of the cap in 2021/22 and would extend his contract by four years.
  • Kemba Walker is now eligible for a super-max contract with the Hornets, which he can sign in 2019. It would start at 35% of the cap in 2019/20 and would be for five years.
  • Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, and other super-max candidates who didn’t earn All-NBA honors aren’t eligible for super-max contracts (or a super-max extension, in Beal’s case). Thompson’s and Vucevic’s maximum contracts this summer would start at 30% of the cap.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns‘ extension with the Timberwolves, which goes into effect in 2019/20, will start at 25% of the cap, rather than 30%, because he didn’t earn All-NBA honors.

Beal and Thompson received the most All-NBA votes of any guards who missed out on the All-NBA teams, receiving 34 and 27 points respectively. Sixers guard Ben Simmons got seven points, while no other guards had more than four.

LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs) and Danilo Gallinari (Clippers) were the runners-up at forward, receiving 17 and seven points, respectively. Pascal Siakam (Raptors) had four points, while no other forwards had more than three.

At center, Towns received 20 points, followed by Vucevic at four and Pistons center Andre Drummond with three.

Interestingly, the 15 players named to the All-NBA teams for 2018/19 were the same 15 players that Hoops Rumors readers voted for in our end-of-season All-NBA polls last month. The only differences were George swapping places with Durant and Irving flipping spots with Westbrook.

The full and official All-NBA voting results can be found right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Announces 2018/19 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2018/19 season, with Jazz center Rudy Gobert once again coming in as the leading vote-getter.

Gobert, a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, was listed on 99 of 100 ballots, with 97 of those ballots giving him a First Team vote, for a total of 196 points (two points per First Team vote; one point per Second Team vote). The All-Defensive nod ensures that the big man receives a $500K bonus, which had been considered likely since he was named to an All-Defensive team last season, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Gobert was closely followed by fellow Defensive Player of the Year candidates Paul George (Thunder) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), who received 195 and 193 total points, respectively.

[RELATED: NBA Announces 2018/19 All-Rookie Teams]

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday secured a $100K bonus by earning a spot on the All-Defensive Second Team, notes Marks (via Twitter). Like Davis, he was an All-Defensive player last season as well, so that bonus had been considered likely — his cap hits for this year or next won’t be impacted by him earning it.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Raptors guard Danny Green actually totaled 66 points, including 19 First Team votes, while Clippers guard Patrick Beverley had 48 points (14 First Team votes). However, All-Defensive teams are determined by position, so they didn’t make the cut because they ranked fifth and sixth in voting among guards.

Pacers center Myles Turner (39 points), Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (38), Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (24), and Spurs guard Derrick White (15) were the other leading vote-getters.

You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Harden, Giannis, George Named MVP Finalists

Defending champion James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George are the finalists for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, the league announced in a press release.

The voting is expected to be close between Harden, who averaged 36.1 PPG and 7.5 APG during the regular season, and Antetokounmpo, who carried the Bucks to the best record in the league while averaging 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 5.9 APG. George averaged 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 4.1 APG.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 2019 NBA Award Picks: Most Valuable Player]

The league also released the finalists for its other awards. The winners will be revealed during a TNT broadcast on Monday, June 24. Here are the rest of the finalists:

Rookie of the Year:

Sixth Man of the Year:

Defensive Player of the Year:

Most Improved Player:

Coach of the Year:

  • Mike Budenholzer (Bucks)
  • Michael Malone (Nuggets)
  • Doc Rivers (Clippers)

Contract Bonus Notes: Lowry, Olynyk, Gobert, Harkless

Although he didn’t play in the Raptors‘ regular season finale on Tuesday night, Kyle Lowry appeared in 65 games in 2018/19, just barely reaching an important threshold for the bonuses in his contract, ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes.

Having met the 65-game criteria, Lowry has earned his $200K bonus for making the All-Star Game, which was deemed likely entering the season. He’s also eligible for another $1.5MM in incentives depending on how far Toronto advances in the playoffs — he’ll get $500K if the Raps win the Eastern Semifinals, another $500K if they win the Eastern Finals, and an additional $500K if they win the NBA Finals.

Here are details on a few more bonuses that have been resolved or are about to be:

  • Since the Heat failed to reach the postseason, Kelly Olynyk missed out on a $400K bonus that had been considered likely, Marks tweets. That will move Miami further below the tax line and will ensure that Olynyk’s 2019/20 cap hit adjusts from approximately $13.07MM to $12.67MM.
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert met a statistical threshold determined by his minutes divided by his rebounds, earning a $250K unlikely incentives, per Marks. If Gobert also earns a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team and secures a $500K likely incentive, his cap hit for 2019/20 is set to increase from $24.75MM to $25MM.
  • Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless has a $500K bonus in his contract for shooting at least 35.0% on three-point attempts, but he won’t earn it this season, having made just 27.5% of his threes. As Marks details, the incentives had been considered likely this season, but it will be adjusted to unlikely for 2019/20. Portland will slightly reduce its tax bill for this season and Harkless’ cap hit for next year will dip from about $11.5MM to $11MM.

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Exum, Wittman, Abrines

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and members of the organization are furious over his All-Star snub. Gobert told Aaron Falk of the team’s website and other media members that he can’t understand how coaches can preach defense and then leave him off their ballots. “It’s disrespectful not only toward me but toward the team, the organization and toward the game,” said Gobert, the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Jazz coach Quin Snyder echoed Gobert’s gripe, ESPN’s Tim McMahon tweets. “We talk about defense being valued, but when we have a chance to reward it, we reward scoring again and again.” Jazz president Steve Starks tweeted that there should be more transparency in the voting. The coaches select the reserves. “Complete nonsense and we need more integrity and accountability. If the coaches vote than their ballots should be made public.”

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Reserve Jazz guard Dante Exum will not return to action until sometime after the All-Star break, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Exum hasn’t played since suffering a left ankle sprain against Detroit on January 5th. He has been participating in on-court work but won’t even be re-evaluated until after the break. Exum signed a three-year, $33MM contract last summer.
  • The Timberwolves have hired former head coach Randy Wittman as an advisor to first-year coach Ryan Saunders, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Saunders was on the Wizards’ staff when Wittman was the head coach there. “He’s an ear for me,” Saunders told Hine. “Another basketball mind to bounce things off of. I’m comfortable with him, known him for a long time.”
  • Thunder shooting guard Alex Abrines has returned to action but he’ll have to work his way back into the rotation, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Abrines played six minutes against Orlando on Tuesday after missing 17 games due to an illness and a personal matter. During his absence, Abdel Nader seized a rotation spot. Abrines will have battle Nader and Terrance Ferguson for minutes.