Ryan Anderson

Latest On LeBron James’ Future

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert cannot offer LeBron James a stake in the franchise in an effort to retain his services, Michael McCann and Jon Wortheim of Sports Illustrated point out. The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits players from holding direct or indirect interest in the ownership of a team, thus the NBA would not approve a contract with any type of ownership provision, the story continues. The league has also been vigilant in preventing players and owners from intermingling their business interests, the SI duo notes. James can opt out of his contract or try to force a trade to a desired destination this summer.

Here’s some other interesting notes regarding the possibility of James playing elsewhere next season:

  • The Rockets would need to either gut their roster or make a trade with the Cavaliers to add James, but the latter option is complicated by the team’s roster composition, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Cavaliers would likely want quality young talent to kick-start a rebuild in any James trade and the Rockets don’t have enough of those players while trying to match up salaries to absorb James’ $35MM contract, Feigen adds. The most desirable option for the Rockets is to dump Ryan Anderson‘s contract ($20.4MM next season and $21.3 MM in 2019/20) on a team with ample cap room, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN. But Houston probably doesn’t have enough first-round picks to package with Anderson to get a third party to bite, Pelton adds.
  • There are major obstacles to any possible pursuit of James’ services by the Celtics, DJ Bean of NBCSports.com notes. It’s highly unlikely that Boston would include Gordon Hayward in any deal, considering the high-level free agent chose Boston last summer and hasn’t even played a full game with the franchise, Bean continues. There’s also the sticky problem of trying to reunite James with Kyrie Irving, who asked out of Cleveland last summer. Acquiring James now would likely damage the team’s long-term prospects for being the dominant team in the league, given the assets they’d likely have to trade, Bean adds. Logically, the only big contract the Celtics would be willing to move is Al Horford‘s deal, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
  • James’ decision will have more to do with his family than basketball, former teammate Dwyane Wade predicts, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald writes. “I don’t really think for him the basketball decision is ‘Oh, let me go team up with three All-Stars.’ I think at this point in his life it’s more so of a lifestyle thing,” Wade said. “Where is my family going to be the most comfortable at? Where am I going to be the happiest at? Because basketball-wise he’s so great, he can take along whoever.”
  • The Lakers and Sixers are the favorites to land James while the Cavs are just a 5-1 shot to retain him, according to Bovada sports book, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The odds rundown can be found here.

Rockets To Revisit Ryan Anderson Trade Options

Ryan Anderson will be a trade candidate once again this offseason, according to Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire, who hears from two sources with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking that GM Daryl Morey is “intent on moving” Anderson. One source told Iko that the club could explore a buyout if no viable trade options arise.

Anderson, 30, signed a four-year, $80MM contract with the Rockets as a free agent in 2016. In two seasons with the Rockets, Anderson has delivered the kind of outside shooting the club sought from him, averaging 2.4 3PG with a .396 3PT%. However, the floor spacing and three-pointers provided by the veteran forward have been offset by his struggles on the defensive end of the floor.

The Rockets’ defensive rating with Anderson on the court in 2017/18 was approximately five points worse than the team’s rating when he sat. The former Pelican even fell out of Houston’s rotation during the postseason last month, playing less than 29 minutes over the course of the Rockets’ seven-game series against Golden State.

Anderson has been on the trade block in the past and the Rockets have struggled to find a taker. For instance, his inclusion in a potential package was a sticking point when Houston and New York discussed a Carmelo Anthony trade last summer. The Rockets will likely have to include at least two future first-round picks in order to incentivize a team to take on Anderson’s contract, and even that might not do the trick.

Still, finding a way to reduce their commitment to Anderson figures to be a top priority this offseason as the Rockets look to re-sign Chris Paul and Clint Capela. New deals for those key free agents would send team salary skyrocketing over the tax line, so moving on from Anderson wouldn’t just get Houston out from under his salary — it would also greatly reduce the team’s projected tax bill.

Southwest Rumors: Jordan, Anderson, Leonard, Mavs Pick

The Mavericks are unlikely to pursue DeAndre Jordan again, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Jordan was listed among the big men Dallas would seek out in free agency in a story from The Ringer. Sefko cannot imagine owner Mark Cuban going after the Clippers center after Jordan backed out on a verbal agreement with the Mavs three summers ago.

Seth Curry‘s return to the Mavericks seems less likely than it did late in the season, Sefko adds, speculating that the Warriors or another legitimate contender will secure the guard’s services. Curry will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • Ryan Anderson continues to be the odd man out in the Rockets‘ rotation, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports. The high-priced power forward has only played 14 minutes during the first three games of the Western Conference Finals and his status is unlikely to change. “Ryan’s ready to go, but it’s a different type of series,” coach Mike D’Antoni told the media. “So he’ll just have to wait until his time.”
  • Kawhi Leonard‘s image has taken a big hit but it won’t be difficult to repair, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News. Marketing experts believe Leonard can patch things up with Spurs fans if he remains with the team and tells them that his past issues with the staff and front office are behind him. Doing charitable work in the community would also hel mend fences, Orsborn adds. Leonard only played nine games this past season due to a quad injury, even though the team’s medical staff cleared him to play the second half of the season.
  • The Mavericks are in a tricky spot in the lottery, Sefko writes in a separate pieceDeandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson are likely to be drafted ahead of Dallas’ pick at No. 5, Sefko continues. If that’s the way the draft it unfolds, there’s no obvious choice at No. 5 and Dallas doesn’t have the assets to move up, Sefko adds.

Injury Updates: Hayward, Embiid, George, Anderson

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is ready for the next step in his rehab process, writes Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge announced this morning that Hayward is going to Indianapolis to work with a top specialist in running mechanics. The goal of the visit is to help him improve his form as he continues to recover from a fractured left ankle. The Celtics and Hayward both have prior experience with the specialist.

Ainge added that Hayward continues to make encouraging progress from the brutal opening-night injury that wiped out his first season in Boston. Hayward was shown jogging on the court with Celtics trainer Jason Smeathers in a recent video.

There’s more injury-related news to pass along:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters a “unified effort” is being conducted to determine when Joel Embiid can return to the court, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. The team, Embiid’s representatives and the doctor who performed his facial surgery are working together to monitor his progress. Begley adds that Embiid, who had the operation March 31, still hasn’t been medically cleared for full contact and doesn’t have a target date to start playing again. Embiid will go through a scripted practice today, his first since suffering a fracture of the orbital bone, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Embiid wrote on Instagram Monday that he is “sick and tired of being babied” regarding the injury.
  • Paul George was held out of contact in today’s practice because of a right hip contusion, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). George will receive further evaluation after Wednesday’s shootaround.
  • Rockets forward Ryan Anderson is on the practice court today for the first time since spraining his ankle, tweets Jerry Zgoda of The Star-Tribune. Anderson, who missed the final four games of the regular season and the playoff opener against the Timberwolves, said the ankle remains swollen and he’ll see how it responds before deciding if he can play tomorrow. “It’s one more shooter that you would have on the floor,” coach Mike D’Antoni said to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle about getting Anderson back. “If a couple guys aren’t going well, we have another guy to go to. It gives us a lot better chance.”
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has been downgraded to doubtful for tonight’s game with the Wizards, reports Jared Greenburg of NBA TV (Twitter link). VanVleet has been experiencing soreness in his shoulder since a collision in the team’s final regular season game, but X-rays taken this week were negative.

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Anderson, Harkless, Irving

Jazz star rookie guard Donovan Mitchell is questionable to play in Game 2 against the Thunder because of a left foot contusion, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Mitchell, who scored 27 points with 10 rebounds in his playoff debut, is optimistic he’ll play Wednesday after undergoing an MRI. “I can walk. I’m good. I’m not limping,” Mitchell told Woodyard and other media members.

In other injury-related news:

  • Rockets power forward Ryan Anderson could return from an ankle sprain to play in Game 2 of their series against the Timberwolves, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. He missed the last four regular-season games and Game 1. “The last I heard is he had a good workout before the game,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told Feigen. “He has a real good shot [to play on] Wednesday and definitely on Saturday.” Anderson shot well against Minnesota this season, averaging 12 PPG while making 50% of his 3-point tries.
  • Trail Blazers small forward Maurice Harkless has been upgraded to questionable for Game 2 against the Pelicans, Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest tweets. Harkless missed the last 10 games with a left knee injury. Harkless averaged 14.8 PPG in his last six outings prior to the injury.
  • Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is already walking around without a noticeable limp just a little over a week after knee surgery, Taylor Snow of Celtics.com writes. Irving underwent season-ending knee surgery April 7 to remove two screws in his left knee. “I had just got done literally 10 minutes ago talking to our training staff and the people who are working most closely with him, and they feel great about his early [progress] a week in, or whatever it is,” coach Brad Stevens said. “That’s exciting, that’s encouraging. Again, he’s going to make a full recovery.”

Rockets Notes: Harden, D’Antoni, Anderson, James

In the midst of another MVP-worthy season, James Harden continues to impress people around the league, including his head coach, Mike D’Antoni. As Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports writes, after the Rockets defeated the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, D’Antoni labeled Harden as “the best offensive player I’ve ever seen.”

Harden posted 42 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in the win, just the latest standout performance in a season filled with them. For D’Antoni, who has coached the likes of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony, Harden offers an all-around skill set that is unmatched.

“He’s a hell of a player, first off,” D’Antoni said. “It’s a combination of everything. There are other players who might be better at this, or a little bit better at that. But when you put everything together, and the way he passes, the way he sees teammates, the way he can lob, the way he can fight through a foul. I mean even on an off night, he’s probably getting 30, 40 points, and I mean efficiently. And he doesn’t even have anything going. But he’s so efficient, and he gets other guys involved. … He’s got one flaw. He does get tired some. He’s mortal. And that’s it. Other than that …”

Harden is averaging 31.2 PPG, 8.7 APG, and 5.2 RPG for the Rockets. After finishing as the runner-up to Russell Westbrook in MVP voting one season ago, Harden looks like the clear-cut favorite this year’s award.

Check out more news and notes out of the Rockets organization:

  • Tyronn Lue took a leave from his coaching post with the Cavaliers due to health concerns, and D’Antoni understands how the rigors of the job can require someone to take a needed step back, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “Especially if you lose, you wonder what you could do differently. My first 20 years in coaching, even more, I couldn’t read books, for sure,” D’Antoni said. “I could read short articles, but I had a hard time escaping. I think I’ve gotten to a point I can read books and escape more than I used to. I try not to drive myself crazy.”
  • Ryan Anderson has seen a lot of time at center since he returned from injury and the Rockets anticipate him continuing to play the position going forward, Feigen writes in a separate story. “We’ll look at all possibilities, but he’ll play some five for sure,” D’Antoni said. “Then, we’ll see. Matchups, maybe in the playoffs, will be different here and there, but right now we’re going to look at this.”
  • LeBron James will be a free agent this offseason and his decision figures to be the NBA’s story of the summer. The Rockets are one of several teams that have been linked to James, prompting Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report to examine how the Rockets can add the four-time MVP without sacrificing Chris Paul and other assets.

Injury Notes: Hill, Wall, McCaw, Gordon, Anderson

After missing the Pelicans‘ first 69 games this season due to a torn left hamstring, Solomon Hill returned on Sunday and said he “felt way better than I thought I would,” per William Guillory of The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Despite the fact that he hadn’t appeared in a regular season game since last spring and only played eight minutes, Hill said he felt comfortable on the court.

“I kind of felt after a while that it was like my fifth game back,” Hill said. “It kind of just came and went. … When it was over, (I) was really thinking I can play more. It’s a good sign.”

As New Orleans works Hill back into its rotation, let’s round up a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA…

  • It’s not “etched in stone,” but John Wall could participate in five-on-five practice by the end of this week, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said today (Twitter link via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post). Wall, sidelined since January 25, remains on track to return from his knee injury in advance of the playoffs.
  • Patrick McCaw is set to return to action on Monday night against San Antonio, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t expect the second-year guard to just sit on the bench. Expect McCaw to play about 15 to 20 minutes, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “We need him,” Kerr said.
  • Having passed the concussion protocol, Aaron Gordon will be available to play for the Magic on Tuesday night vs. Toronto, the team announced today (via Twitter). Gordon, a restricted free agent this summer, last appeared in a game on March 7.
  • Ryan Anderson played in both of the Rockets‘ games over the weekend after missing the previous nine contests with hip and groin injuries. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Anderson struggled a little with his rhythm in his first game back, but said he felt “no pain.”

Rockets Explore Market For Ryan Anderson

The Rockets are exploring the market for power forward Ryan Anderson, ESPN Rockets Insider Kelly Iko tweets. This comes as no surprise, since Houston has been open to moving Anderson’s big contract since last summer. Anderson is making $19.6MM in the second year of his four-year contract and is owed $20.4MM and $21.3MM over the next two seasons.

Anderson was a hot commodity during the summer of 2016 in a league that covets stretch fours. But Houston seemingly experienced buyer’s remorse just months after signing him.

Anderson appeared in 72 games last season, averaging 13.6 PPG and 4.6 RPG. He has started 49 of 50 games this season but has seen his role in the offense shrink. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG, his lowest output since the 2009/10 season when he played for the Magic. He has been a bigger factor on the boards at 5.4 RPG.

He’s still shooting a solid 37.9% from long range and a majority of his shots have come from beyond the arc. He averages 5.6 3-point attempts per game, compared to 2.4 attempts inside the 3-point line.

Anderson’s name was prominently mentioned in trade talks this summer involving the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. One of the reasons New York turned down offers from Houston is that it wasn’t interested in taking on Anderson’s deal.

In order to move Anderson’s contract, the Rockets would likely have to part with at least one first-round pick. Last summer, teams were reportedly asking for two first-rounders from Houston in order to acquire his hefty contract.

Texas Notes: Okafor, Barea, Anderson, Paul

The Mavericks may have a long-term need at center, but they don’t plan to pursue Jahlil Okafor, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Okafor wants to be bought out or traded after the Sixers declined to pick up his option for 2018/19. The Mavs “are not particularly interested in kicking the tires” on Okafor, according to Sefko.

Dallas brought in one former Philadelphia center when it traded for Nerlens Noel in February. Noel wasn’t able to work out a long-term deal with the team as a restricted free agent this summer. He opted to take a one-year qualifying offer and will be unrestricted in July of 2018.

There’s more basketball news out of Texas:

  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea says the “crazy minutes” he played early last season contributed to a left calf muscle tear that bothered him throughout the season, Sefko relays in a full story. Barea is coming off his first summer since 2011 without international basketball and is playing just 23.3 minutes per game. His average was about 10 minutes higher during the first nine games of last season because of injuries in the Dallas backcourt.
  • Rockets forward Ryan Anderson was in New York tonight after a summer filled with trade rumors involving the Knicks, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Anderson was a key figure in Houston’s quest to acquire Carmelo Anthony, but he says he never believed a deal was close. “I don’t think that was too much of a realistic thought to a lot of people because it was so much of what you believe,” Anderson said. “There were so many different news articles. Maybe in preseason there was a little bit of a thought because it was so fresh, but not at all now, I’m ready to move forward this year. We have a battle tonight. We have to focus on that. That’s 100 percent where my mind is now.”
  • Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni expects Chris Paul to return in about two weeks, Feigen tweets. Paul has been sidelined since opening night with pain in his knees.
  • The Spurs are still waiting for their investment in Patty Mills to pay off, according to Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. The veteran point guard, who received a four-year, $50MM deal to re-sign with the team over the summer, is averaging 6.1 points and 2.9 assists in a reserve role this season and is shooting just 32% from the field.

Southwest Notes: Asik, Parsons, Rockets, Noel

Pelicans center Omer Asik, who appeared in just 31 games during the 2016/17 season, won’t be ready to start training camp this week, according to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, who tweets that Asik is being treated for Crohn’s disease. General manager Dell Demps indicated today that Asik will be away from the team for camp, and there’s no timetable for his return to the court (Twitter link via Daniel Sallerson).

For his part, the Pelicans big man says even with no timetable for his return, he’s feeling much better. Asik’s health problems, which began with a parasite, have persisted for much of 2017, and he didn’t start feeling normal until last month (Twitter links via Kushner).

Here’s more from around the Southwest division:

  • Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace confirmed at the club’s Media Day that Chandler Parsons is healthy and ready to go for camp. Parson, who has been playing five-on-five ball, will be a full participant, tweets Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • While some NBA observers have concerns about how Chris Paul and James Harden will mesh in Houston, Rockets president of basketball operations Daryl Morey isn’t worried, suggesting today that the club is “100% certain” it will work (Twitter link via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Ryan Anderson was able to breathe a sigh of relief this weekend when New York sent Carmelo Anthony to a team besides the Rockets. Speaking today to reporters, including Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter links), Anderson said he talked frequently to the Rockets’ brass and believed there was a “low probability” of being dealt, which he appreciated, since he and his family “love” Houston.
  • Addressing Nerlens Noel‘s role with the Mavericks, head coach Rick Carlisle said today that the big man will likely come off the bench, adding that Noel is okay with that (Twitter links via Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com). When he took center stage at Media Day, Noel was asked about signing the one-year qualifying offer with the Mavs and replied, “I love the city of Dallas. I do. But we all know what happens with this business.”