Ryan Anderson

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Haslem, Jack, Anderson

Heat center Hassan Whiteside is accepting his new reserve role without complaining, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside came off the bench Monday for the first time since he signed a four-year, $98MM contract in July of 2016. Whiteside, who missed the prior three games because of a hip injury, hasn’t been told how long the change will last.

“I came off a 29, 11 game, got hurt. This is what [coach Erik Spoelstra] wants to go with,” Whiteside said. “Can’t do nothing [but] just accept [it] and come out and dominate.”

That represents a change from last season, when Whiteside was vocal about his reduced playing time. Jackson notes that Spoelstra likes the inside combination of Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk and may give them more time to see how they perform as starters. Whiteside, who has a $27MM player option for next season, is trying to make the best of the situation.

“I’m going to keep coming in and try to play the best I can out there,” he said. “It’s going to be a different unit out there. I get to play with (Dwyane Wade) more. I get to look at the bright side. You’re going to play against the backup guys. It’s a little different. You can read the game a little more, kind of see what’s going on, who’s hot, what kind of schemes they’re going with. It gives you some advantages.”

There’s more today from Miami:

  • After barely playing all season, 38-year-old Udonis Haslem has gotten first-half minutes in three of Miami’s last four games, Jackson adds in the same story. Haslem, who has indicated he would like to play another year, has appeared in just seven games and logged 28 minutes. “In short bursts, he has given our team a great emotional boost,” Spoelstra said. “Not only do I trust him, but the players trust him.”
  • Spoelstra said the Heat have always been “intrigued” by veteran guard Jarrett Jack, Jackson tweets. However, the organization has no plans to add Jack, even though it has two open roster spots. The 35-year-old signed a G League contract last week and was claimed yesterday by Miami’s affiliate in Sioux Falls.
  • Ryan Anderson has only played four games and 16 minutes since being acquired from the Suns last month and he probably won’t see much more action, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. The Heat plan to waive Anderson before his $21.26MM salary for next season becomes fully guaranteed on July 10, and they don’t want to risk an injury that might complicate that strategy.

Southeast Notes: Walker, Dragic, Fultz, Bryant

It’s not a guarantee that he’ll stay with the Hornets, but Kemba Walker is serving as Charlotte’s unofficial host for All-Star Weekend, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “Welcome everyone to my city!” Walker tweeted today as a greeting to the thousands of visitors headed to Charlotte for three days of festivities.

“This city has embraced me so much over the years,” Walker said. “Allowed me to be who I am. Allowed me to play through my mistakes early in my career, to become the player I am today. The fans have just been top notch, and I respect that because we haven’t been a top organization, haven’t gone to the playoffs every year. … Through that, they still embrace us, still embrace me. You have to respect that.”

Walker, who holds nearly every franchise scoring record, will be one of the hottest names on this year’s free agent market. A three-time All-Star, he is in the middle of his most productive season, averaging career highs with 25.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per night. Despite Walker’s affection for Charlotte, Bonnell states that it’s hard to predict what will happen this summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat guard Goran Dragic is “making a lot of progress” after having knee surgery in December, but coach Erik Spoelstra tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald there’s still no timetable for his return. Miami has been expecting him to be ready soon after the All-Star break. In the same story, Spoelstra says Ryan Anderson, who has only played two minutes since being acquired from the Suns, is ready for a larger role if needed.
  • Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, both top six selections in the 2017 draft, have a chance to prove themselves with the Magic after battling injuries early in their careers, notes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando’s front office believes Fultz, who was acquired from the Sixers last week, can become a standout point guard because of his strength, explosiveness, court vision and playmaking.
  • Wizards center Thomas Bryant reached starter criteria this week by starting his 41st game of the season, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The qualifying offer for the upcoming free agent has been increased to $3MM and Washington’s cap hold has been raised as well. Dwight Howard was supposed to be the starting center after signing with the Wizards last summer, but Bryant seized the opportunity when Howard was injured.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

Kevon Looney, Warriors, 22, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.57MM deal in 2018
Looney has received rotation minutes throughout the season, providing defense and rebounding while the stars do most of the scoring. Looney, who had back-to-back 12-rebound games this week, has made the most of his limited offensive opportunities (62.6%) though he doesn’t shoot threes or make enough of his free throws. Efficiency ratings and advanced defensive metrics are above-average. It remains to be seen how much DeMarcus Cousins‘ return will impact his minutes but for now, he’s enhanced his resume.

Patrick Beverley, Clippers, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23MM deal in 2015
Beverley missed most of last season due to right knee surgery. Beverley’s offensive numbers are down but that’s not the strength of his game. He has resumed his role as a pesky, on-the-ball defender and Doc Rivers has played him an average of 26.9 MPG this month. Beverley posted one of the oddest stat lines of the year for a guard on Monday — three points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in 25 minutes against New Orleans. His ability to get under opponents’ skin will help him land a multi-year deal in the summer.

Ryan Anderson, Suns, 30, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $80MM deal in 2016
Anderson will make a substantial amount of money next season, yet he’ll probably sign for the veteran’s minimum. How does that work? He’s guaranteed $15.6MM in the last year of his contract and the Suns have until July 10th to decide whether to give him a $21.2MM full guarantee. Considering that Anderson never plays anymore, that will likely be an easy decision for the Suns. Anderson cashed in at just the right time the last time he entered the market but he’s gone from starter on one of the league’s top teams one season to spectator on one of the league’s worst clubs this year.

Ivica Zubac, Lakers, 21, C (Up) — Signed to a three-year, $3.9MM deal in 2016
Coach Luke Walton and the front office didn’t appear to have any faith in their young big earlier this season, as evidenced by the early-season signing of Tyson Chandler. When finally given a chance a month ago, Zubac has delivered some solid performances. He erupted for 26 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes against Oklahoma City on Thursday. Zubac needs to become a more physical defender but he has a deft touch around the rim. A restricted free agent, Zubac’s status with the franchise hinges on how much cap space they want to free up this summer. His qualifying offer is just over $1.9MM.

Kosta Koufos, Kings, 29, C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $32.9MM deal in 2015
Considering how the Kings have been collecting young bigs through the draft in the last couple of years, it was almost inevitable that Koufos’ role would diminish. That’s especially true this month, as Koufos hasn’t seen the court in the last four games. Koufos is a traditional center who doesn’t shoot threes and he’s also a poor free throw shooter. Defense and rebounding are the areas where Koufos can help a team in a backup role but offers on the open market will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Rondo, Anderson, Warren, Kings

Despite fracturing his hand last week, Rajon Rondo continues to help the Lakers progress through their tumultuous start to the 2018/19 season on the sidelines. His veteran leadership, locker room mentality and 13 years of experience have positively impacted several players, particularly the team’s group of younger talent.

“My whole life I ain’t never played with someone like him, or LeBron [James],” teammate Lonzo Ball said of Rondo, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “It’s new to me to just try and follow in their footsteps in a way, just because you can see them get the most out of everybody and the practices are way better than they were last year because they are always challenging people.

“I mean, he’s the best leader that I’ve ever played with — between him and LeBron.”

Rondo was at the Lakers’ practice facility the morning after fracturing his hand, according to Youngmisuk, instructing teammates and being present for guidance when needed. It’s those kinds of traits that helped him win a championship with the Celtics in 2008, and it’s exactly why the Lakers value his services so much.

“Rondo’s a natural leader,” James said. “I think he just was brought into this world to lead.”

Rondo underwent surgery on Thursday and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks. He’s averaged 8.5 points, 6.5 assists and 25.3 minutes in 11 contests this season, playing most of his games off the bench.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Ryan Anderson has found comfort in his new role with the Suns, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “When I was first starting off like some of these guys,” Anderson said, “I was ready when my name was called, and I performed and that’s what led to me getting more minutes and I was eventually starting. Those are moments that coaches really notice. If I can bring that out of a guy, I can help work after practice, that’s more important than me playing 10 minutes in a game.”
  • T.J. Warren‘s efforts to improve his three-point shooting have paid off this season, Cody Cunningham of NBA.com writes. Warren has connected on 46% of his threes through 14 games. “It’s a testament to the work I put in,” he said. “I really wanted to lock-in and really focus on it. Seeing where the league is going, just wanted to challenge myself and prove to myself that if I put my mind to it, I can do it.”
  • The Kings‘ improving culture is a noteworthy change this season, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays. “Winning begins with culture and character matters,” general manager Vlade Divac said. Sacramento has started the 2018/19 season with an 8-8 record.

Bulls Surrendered Potential Trade Chip By Waiving Asik

Veteran center Omer Asik, acquired in last season’s Nikola Mirotic with the Pelicans as a salary-matching piece, was unlikely to play at all this season for the Bulls. Still, Chicago’s decision to release him over the weekend in order to sign Shaquille Harrison was “stunning” to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), who referred to Asik’s contract one of the best trade pieces in the league.

[RELATED: Bulls sign Shaquille Harrison, cut Omer Asik]

Of course, Asik didn’t have trade value in the way that star players have trade value, but his contract was an intriguing potential trade chip for a couple reasons: It was signed under the league’s previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, and he was owed a partial guarantee of just $3MM on his $11.98MM salary for 2019/20.

Under the league’s new CBA, a team trading a player with an $11.98MM salary with a $3MM partial guarantee would only get to count that contract for $3MM for salary-matching purposes, limiting its appeal in a potential deal. However, if that same contract was signed under the old CBA – like Asik’s – it counts for its full $11.98MM for salary-matching purposes. That would have made it appealing to teams looking to cut costs during the summer of 2019.

For instance, let’s say that the Knicks wanted to make a run at Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019 and needed to move as much salary as possible to clear a maximum-salary slot. Cap rules would have allowed Chicago and New York to swap Courtney Lee (who has a $12.76MM salary for 2019/20) straight up for Asik. The Knicks then could’ve waived Asik, stretching his $3MM partial guarantee across three years and leaving just $1MM on their cap.

The Bulls might not have wanted Lee, and more parts may have been required to make such a deal acceptable for both sides, but that’s just one example of how Asik’s modest partial guarantee – and his old contract – provided some value. That $11.98MM cap hit could be useful for salary matching in all variations of trades and wasn’t a negative asset since it wasn’t guaranteed.

By comparison, a player like Avery Bradley has a contract structure similar to Asik’s for next season ($2MM partial guarantee on a $12.96MM salary), but signed his deal under the league’s current CBA. If the Clippers wanted to trade Bradley after the season, he’d only count for $2MM for salary-matching purposes rather than $12.96MM, making a deal tricky.

It’s possible that Chicago wouldn’t have found any use for Asik on the trade market next summer, especially since the team may be far enough below the cap to take on contracts in trades without matching salaries. Harrison will also certainly help the club more in the short term, and the Bulls may eventually be able to remove Asik’s contract from their cap altogether if he’s deemed medically ineligible to continue his career. Still, it’s somewhat surprising that the team didn’t wait a little longer before deciding to cut bait on him.

With Asik no longer under contract, there are just two notable players who signed contracts under the old CBA and have partial guarantees for next season — one is Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith ($3.87MM guarantee on $15.86MM salary) and the other is Suns forward Ryan Anderson ($15.64MM guarantee on $21.26MM salary). If either of those players is dealt during the summer of 2019, he’d count for his full salary for trade purposes, rather than just his guarantee amount.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Anderson, Wallace, Kleber, Randle

Suns forward Ryan Anderson lowered his guaranteed salary to $15.4MM for the final year of his contract in 2019/2020 but it can be traded for the prior fully guaranteed value of $21.4MM, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Anderson agreed to the reduction to facilitate the trade from the Rockets. However, since his contract was signed under the previous CBA, its trade value remains unchanged. The Suns will have until July 10, 2019 to decide whether they want to guarantee Anderson’s full salary for the final year of his contract or waive him, in which case they’d still have to pay the reduced guarantee.

In other news from around the Western Conference:

  • Shooting guard Tyrone Wallace can’t be traded by the Clippers without his consent as a result of Los Angeles matching his offer sheet, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. The restricted free agent signed a two-year, $2.9MM offer sheet with the Pelicans but the Clippers opted to match it on Wednesday despite a roster logjam. The Clippers are prohibited from trading Wallace to the Pelicans for one year, Nahmad adds.
  • Maxi Kleber needs to improve his long-range shooting to earn rotation minutes with the Mavericks during the upcoming season, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Kleber will be competing with Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri for playing time with DeAndre Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki guaranteed to play steady minutes. The 6’11” Kleber shot 31.3% from deep in his first season with the club.
  • Anthony Davis called Julius Randle three times after Randle hit the free agent market to ensure the former Laker would sign with the Pelicans, William Guillory of The Athletic reports. Randle had his rights renounced by the Lakers after LeBron James agreed to sign with Los Angeles and Randle quickly agreed to a two-year, $18MM deal with New Orleans. Randle had more lucrative deals on the table, Guillory adds, but Randle wants to remain with the franchise even though he has an opt-out next summer.

Western Rumors: Rozier, Williams, Durant, Rockets

The Celtics’ Terry Rozier and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie are two of the logical trade targets for the Suns in their search for a point guard, according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Rozier is a solid two-way player coming off a career year but the Suns would likely have to offer a package that included an unprotected first-rounder to catch Boston’s attention. A trade for Dinwiddie would be more plausible and he’d be a good fit with Phoenix considering his size, perimeter shooting and pick-and-roll prowess, Urbina continues. The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Cavaliers’ George Hill and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker are some of the other names Urbina throws out as potential targets. The Suns are searching for a starting point guard after trading away Brandon Knight to the Rockets last week.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans signed Troy Williams, Kenrich Williams and Garlon Green to partially-guaranteed contracts in the hope of finding one reliable small forward, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate notes. That trio will compete for a roster spot, though the potential addition of swingman Tyrone Wallacesigned to an offer sheet on Monday — could change that. “They just told me they’re bringing some guys in and having them go head-on to see who wins a spot,” Kenrich Williams told Kushner.
  • By buying out Luol Deng‘s contract and using the stretch provision, the Lakers gave themselves a chance to offer Kevin Durant a max salary in free agency, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders examines. The Lakers now project to have $38.2MM in cap space, which would be just enough to afford Durant, Pincus continues. If they can’t land Durant, they’ll certainly have enough to bring in another All-Star level talent. Other high-level potential free agents, including Kawhi Leonard, Klay ThompsonDeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Walker and Kyrie Irving, could command a first-year salary of $33MM, leaving the Lakers with another $5MM to spend in other ways, Pincus adds.
  • The Rockets took a frugal approach this summer and it could cost them a title, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They traded away Ryan Anderson and allowed two key wing players to walk in free agency. In turn, they signed three players on veteran’s minimum deals and adding a couple of bench players in the Anderson trade, Bontemps notes. So while Houston execs had said they were unconcerned about the luxury tax, their actions showed they wanted to save some money, Bontemps adds.

Rockets Notes: Anderson, Knight, Gentile, Rosas

Trading power forward Ryan Anderson to the Suns did more for the Rockets than just shed salary, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explains. Anderson didn’t have a clearly defined role with the addition of Carmelo Anthony, while acquisitions Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss could contribute, albeit in a limited fashion. As an added bonus, the Rockets only had to toss in second-rounder De’Anthony Melton instead of packaging a future first-rounder to move Anderson’s contract, Feigen continues. Though Houston tends to play mostly a three-guard rotation, Knight could emerge as the backup point guard if he beats out Michael Carter-Williams. Chriss could become part of the mix as a backup big man if he beats out second-rounders Zhou Qi and Isaiah Hartenstein, Feigen adds. The teams reached an agreement on the trade Thursday.

In other news regarding the Rockets:
  • Knight had a minor cleanup on his knee approximately six weeks ago and may not be ready for start of training camp, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweets. Knight, who missed last season with a torn ACL, expects to be ready for the start of the season, Gambadoro adds. Knight is excited about the chance to play for a championship contender, Gambadoro relays in another tweet.
  • Swingman Alessandro Gentile will not join other team members during a team bonding week in the Bahamas during the first week of September because he’s still recovering from right hand surgery, according to a Sportando report. Gentile expects to be fully cleared to practice by the end of the month, the report adds. Gentile, a 2014 second-round pick who has played in Europe since 2009, recently revealed he will join the team in training camp in an uphill battle to gain a roster spot.
  • The Rockets have granted the Sixers permission to interview executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas for their GM opening. Get all the details here.

Rockets Trade Anderson, Melton To Suns For Knight, Chriss

AUGUST 31: The trade is official, the Rockets and Suns announced in separate statements.

AUGUST 30: The Rockets and Suns have agreed to a trade, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Phoenix will acquire Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton from Houston in exchange for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss.

Anderson has been on the trade block in Houston for over a year, with his expensive long-term contract having stood in the way of a deal until now. While the Rockets will finally shed the two years and $41.69MM remaining on Anderson’s deal, they’ll take back another pricey multiyear contract — Knight is owed $30.28MM over the next two seasons.

Chriss will earn $3.21MM in 2018/19 and has a team option worth just over $4MM for 2019/20. The Rockets will have to make a decision on that option by October 31 of this year. As for Melton, he has yet to sign his first NBA contract, so Houston is technically trading his draft rights to Phoenix. The Suns will have the opportunity to lock him up once the trade is official.

While the in-the-tax Rockets will save some money as a result of the swap, the on-court implications are even more interesting than the financial ones. Anderson’s impressive three-point range allowed Houston to stretch the floor on offense, but his defensive shortcoming made him unplayable in certain matchups — he didn’t see much action in the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors last season, for instance.

In place of Anderson and Melton, the Rockets will be receiving two players with intriguing upside. Knight missed the entire 2017/18 season with an ACL tear, but isn’t far removed from averaging 19.6 PPG and 5.1 APG in 52 games for the Suns in 2015/16. Assuming he’s back to full health, Knight could provide Houston with scoring and play-making off the bench behind Chris Paul and James Harden.

Chriss, meanwhile, has yet to develop into the sort of difference-making big man the Suns hoped for when they drafted him eighth overall in 2016. However, he’s still just 21 years old and has shown flashes of potential during his first two NBA seasons. It’s not clear how he’ll fit into the Rockets’ plans.

The Suns, apparently not ready to bet on Chriss taking significant steps forward, will replace him in the frontcourt with Anderson, a veteran stretch four capable of playing alongside No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. Phoenix will also add Melton, a 2018 second-round pick who had an impressive Summer League showing for the Rockets, filling the box score with 16.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.0 SPG in five games in Las Vegas.

The deal will leave the Suns lacking in experience and depth at point guard. Second-rounders Melton and Elie Okobo could see minutes immediately, with Shaquille Harrison and Isaiah Canaan also in the mix.

It will be interesting to see whether Phoenix has another move up its sleeve to fortify that point guard position or if the club simply plans to lean more heavily on Devin Booker as its primary play-maker. In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski notes that the Suns may envision a larger role for Harrison.

The Rockets will create a modest traded player exception worth about $2.58MM in the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Anderson Agreed To Reduce 2019/20 Guarantee

As part of the trade that will send him to the Suns, Ryan Anderson has agreed to reduce the guaranteed portion of his 2019/20 salary, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski, Anderson has agreed to reduce the guarantee on his $21,264,635 salary for the 2019/20 season to $15.6MM. Woj notes that this is the same amount that Brandon Knight will earn in ’19/20 — Knight, acquired by the Rockets in the trade, has a $15,643,750 cap hit for that season. Anderson’s salary for 2018/19 will remain unchanged.

While the agreement makes the trade a little more appealing for Phoenix, the team could still face a tricky decision next summer. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Suns will have to decide by July 10, 2019 whether they want to guarantee Anderson’s full $21MM+ salary for the final year of his contract or waive him, eating the guaranteed portion ($15.6MM).

Anderson’s reduced guarantee may also make him a more appealing trade chip for the Suns before that final-year salary becomes fully guaranteed. If Phoenix cuts the veteran forward after this season, the team would have the option of stretching his 2019/20 guarantee across three years.

For more details on the trade between the Rockets and Suns, be sure to check out our full story, along with a few additional notes on the deal.