Kings Rumors

Anthony/Schroder Trade May Not Be Completed Right Away

The three-team trade that will send Carmelo Anthony to the Hawks (briefly), Dennis Schroder to the Thunder, and Mike Muscala to the Sixers may not be officially completed for several days, according to reports from Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links).

As Vivlamore notes, the Hawks will almost certainly waive Antonius Cleveland and his non-guaranteed salary in order to create the cap room necessary to make the deal work, but that shouldn’t hold things up much. Pompey hears from one source that the delay may be the result of the 76ers working on another move.

While it’s not clear what that Sixers move might be, the club does have a tiny sliver of cap room still available. It’s not enough space to be useful at this point, but perhaps Philadelphia wants to explore all its options before officially going over the cap and closing certain doors.

Whether the trade is ultimately finalized today, this weekend, or next week sometime, Anthony looks like a strong bet to eventually land in Houston once he’s acquired and then waived by Atlanta. Anthony has reportedly considered both the Rockets and Heat, but Houston has been viewed as the strong frontrunner for the last week or two.

David Aldridge of TNT provides more evidence in favor of Anthony joining up with James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston, citing a source who says that Carmelo has been telling people for over a week that he’ll wind up with the Rockets (Twitter link).

When the deal becomes official, the Hawks will use up their remaining cap room, leaving the Kings as the only NBA team with any meaningful space available. Sacramento still has more than $20MM in open cap room.

Kings, Nemanja Bjelica Discuss Possible Deal

JULY 19, 8:54am: The Kings and Bjelica are discussing a two-year contract worth about $13MM with roughly $2MM guaranteed for 2019/20, sources tell international writer David Pick (Twitter link).

JULY 18, 2:57pm: Kings general manager Vlade Divac reached out directly to Bjelica to explain his value, tweets Charania. Krawczynski expands on that point, tweeting that the Kings and other teams have expressed to Bjelica that he’s “too good to go back to Europe.”

Meanwhile, international basketball reporter David Pick tweets that Bjelica felt “devalued” in his agreement with the Sixers. With EuroLeague powerhouses like Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow not interested in him at this time, Sacramento may represent his best bet for a big payday, Pick adds.

2:36pm: The Kings and free agent forward Nemanja Bjelica intend to discuss a potential contract, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Bjelica, who initially agreed to a one-year, $4.45MM deal with the Sixers early in free agency, backed out of that agreement on Tuesday. Reports at the time indicated that the former EuroLeague MVP would likely head back to Europe, with Bjelica explaining that he wanted to create “some kind of stability” for his family.

However, as Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor noted in a conversation last week with Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500, Bjelica entered the offseason seeking a multiyear NBA contract. His interest in remaining in the NBA seemingly waned when he was only able to secure a one-year deal, as he suggested in his interview with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

If the Kings are willing to give him two or three guaranteed years, that may prompt the 30-year-old to reconsider his plan to head back overseas, particularly since not many EuroLeague clubs are in position to make a competitive offer, per Sportando (Twitter link).

It’s not clear yet what sort of deal the Kings would be willing to do with Bjelica, but they have more than $20MM in cap room available with only two roster spots still open, so they’ll have plenty of flexibility if they decide they want to bring the stretch four aboard.

Meanwhile, the Sixers figure to be less than thrilled about Bjelica’s about-face if he ends up signing on with another NBA club rather than playing in Europe.

McLemore, Davis Won't Stay Long

Shooting guard Ben McLemore and power forward Deyonta Davis probably won’t stick around with the Kings, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. That duo was acquired, along with a future second-rounder, from the Grizzlies on Tuesday for veteran guard Garrett Temple. Adding a draft pick and clearing a little more cap space attracted Sacramento to the deal, Ham continues. McLemore joins a crowded backcourt and he could be waived or his $5.4MM contract could be bought out. Davis has a team-friendly $1.5MM salary but also doesn’t have an obvious role with the current roster.

  • The Temple trade gives the Kings more than $20MM of cap room, making it a smarter move for them than the Grizzlies, in the eyes of Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Sacramento can use that additional wiggle room take on bad contracts or chase a restricted free agent, Pelton continues. The 2021 pick it acquired could very well wind up being at or near the top of the second round if Memphis goes into rebuild mode, Pelton adds.

More Reactions, Notes On Jabari Parker’s Bulls Deal

In the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst discuss Jabari Parker‘s move from Milwaukee to Chicago at length, suggesting that if Giannis Antetokounmpo badly wanted the Bucks to keep Parker, the team would have found a way to do it.

Despite Parker’s end-of-season dismissal of the idea that the Bucks ever offered an extension in the range of $18MM per year, both Lowe and Windhorst insist that was the case, though they acknowledge that a handful of scenarios were discussed, and Milwaukee’s multiyear offers from last fall may not have been fully guaranteed. In any case, Parker managed to exceed that annual salary on his new deal with the Bulls, albeit on a shorter-term contract.

Before he signed with the Bulls, Parker received interest from the Kings and the Nets, according to Windhorst, who suggests that Brooklyn kicked the tires on the veteran forward after lining up the Jeremy Lin trade with Atlanta. However, the Nets ultimately decided Parker’s price was too high and used their remaining cap room to take on unwanted contracts and draft picks in a deal with Denver, helping clear the path for Parker to land in Chicago.

Here’s more on Parker’s move back to his hometown:

  • Parker “means more playing for the Bulls than he ever could anywhere else,” according to Jeremy Woo of, who suggests that the former No. 2 overall pick is already “the most recognizable face on the team.” The on-court fit may not be as strong as the optics, but the Bulls are at a stage in their rebuild where it makes sense to take a chance on Parker, says Woo.
  • There’s reason to believe that Parker isn’t yet a finished product, since his development has been slowed by multiple knee injuries, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Still, Johnson acknowledges that the Bulls may have to “win some shootouts” next season, since Parker won’t improve a mediocre defense.
  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, it will be important for the Bulls to limit Robin Lopez‘s minutes in 2018/19. As O’Connor explains, Lopez isn’t part of the “future equation” in Chicago, and there are only so many minutes to go around in the team’s frontcourt. The less Lopez plays, the more minutes Parker could see at the four, which is probably his best position.
  • Parker tells Nick Friedell of that Chicago native and former Bulls MVP Derrick Rose is “still a hero for a lot of people, including myself.” However, Rose’s time as a Bull didn’t end well, prompting Friedell to explore whether Parker could have more success with his hometown team.

Kings Trade Garrett Temple To Grizzlies

3:03pm: The trade is now official, the Grizzlies and Kings announced in a pair of press releases.

10:44am: The Kings and Grizzlies are in the process of finalizing a trade that will send Garrett Temple to Memphis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Sacramento will receive Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis, and cash in the deal. The Kings will also get a 2021 second-round pick from the Grizzlies, tweets Chris Herrington.

The move will add a established, versatile contributor to Memphis’ rotation. Temple, who is a strong defender and can play multiple backcourt and wing positions, averaged a career-best 8.4 PPG last year for the Kings, chipping in 2.3 RPG and 1.9 APG with a .392 3PT%.

While Temple has seen most of his minutes on the wing in recent years, Grizzlies starting point guard Mike Conley is coming off an injury-plagued 2017/18 season and Memphis doesn’t have a reliable veteran behind Conley on the depth chart, with Andrew Harrison, Jevon Carter, and Kobi Simmons in the backup mix. Temple could provide the club with another ball-handler when Conley is on or off the court.

The Grizzlies will add a little money to their payroll as a result of the deal, but the salary difference is minimal, and won’t have an impact beyond 2018/19. Temple is earning $8MM in the final year of his contract and McLemore is on an expiring deal worth $5.46MM. Temple and McLemore will be unrestricted free agents next summer, while Davis – who is earning about $1.54MM this year – will be eligible for restricted free agency.

Memphis is now less than $1MM away from the luxury-tax line, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes that recently-signed second-rounder Carter received a guaranteed two-year minimum-salary deal from the club.

For the Kings, the move represents a reunion with former seventh overall pick McLemore, who spent the first four years of his NBA career in Sacramento. He battled health issues and struggled last season for Memphis, averaging a career-worst 7.5 PPG on 4.21/.346/.828 shooting.

As for Davis, he showed some promise in a part-time role for the Grizzlies last season, posting 5.8 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 62 games (15.2 MPG). I wouldn’t expect either McLemore or Davis to take on a major role for the Kings, but they could earn spots in the rotation with strong showings in training camp.

The trade will open up a little extra cap room for the Kings, who now have about $20.5MM in space, easily the most in the league. Sacramento has 14 players under contract, so it will be interesting to see what the club has in mind for its remaining cap room and its final open roster spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hood, Nwaba Could Be Targets

  • Restricted free agent Rodney Hood and unrestricted FA guard David Nwaba are potential targets for the Kings in the dwindling market, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. Sacramento could also ease its frontcourt logjam via a deal or simply wait until the market heats up again during the February trade deadline, Ham adds.

Georgios Papagiannis May Return To Europe

After two unproductive NBA seasons, Georgios Papagiannis is considering a return to the EuroLeague, according to Aharale Weisberg of Walla, an Israeli news site.

Papagiannis is still under contract with the Trail Blazers, but his $1,544,951 salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until July 19. He appeared in just one game for Portland after signing with the team in March.

The 21-year-old center was the 13th pick by the Kings in the 2016 draft, but was never able to establish himself in Sacramento. Papagiannis spent most of his time in the G League before being released in February. He appeared in 38 total games for the Kings, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG per night.

If Papagiannis does return to Europe, his former team, Panathinaikos is among the front-runners to sign him, along with Olympiacos.

NBA Teams With 2018/19 Cap Room Remaining

Last Wednesday, we noted that only three NBA teams still had significant cap room available. Depending on your definition of “significant,” that’s still the case. One of those three teams – the Kings – made a player for another’s restricted free agent, but the Bulls matched Sacramento’s offer sheet for Zach LaVine and still have plenty of flexibility themselves.

While the Kings, Bulls, and Hawks are still the only teams that can create more than $15MM in cap space without trading any players or waiving and stretching any guaranteed salaries, a number of other clubs technically still have cap room available too.

Using our own data and salary information from Basketball Insiders, our current cap room estimates – as of July 12 – are below. If you have any questions or notice any errors, please let us know in the comment section.

Here’s a breakdown:

Atlanta Hawks

  • Current space: $17.9MM
  • Space if they waive non-guaranteed salaries and renounce UFAs: $23.91MM
  • The Hawks have had a quiet offseason so far, but could clear the most cap room if any team if they renounce Malcolm Delaney and waive the non-guaranteed contracts of Jaylen Morris and Antonius Cleveland.

Sacramento Kings

  • Current space: $19.53MM
  • The Kings already renounced their free agents and waived Nigel Hayes‘ non-guaranteed salary in order to help accommodate LaVine’s offer sheet. With LaVine’s offer matched by the Bulls, Sacramento will have to find another use for its space.

Chicago Bulls

  • Current space: None
  • Space if they waive non-guaranteed salaries and renounce UFAs: $18.94MM
  • The Bulls continue to technically operate as an over-the-cap team since they haven’t renounced their trade, mid-level, and bi-annual exceptions, or Noah Vonleh‘s $10MM+ cap hold. Once they decide they want to use their cap room, they could clear up to almost $19MM without withdrawing David Nwaba‘s qualifying offer.

Brooklyn Nets

  • Current space: $9.97MM
  • Space if they waive non-guaranteed salaries and renounce UFAs: $12.17MM
  • The Nets aren’t about to waive Spencer Dinwiddie‘s non-guaranteed salary, but cutting Isaiah Whitehead and renouncing Quincy Acy would create a little extra space if they need it. Once the Nets use their cap room or decide they don’t need it, they’ll finalize deals for Joe Harris (Early Bird rights) and Ed Davis (room exception).

Dallas Mavericks

  • Current space: $5MM
  • Space if they waive non-guaranteed salaries: $5.54MM
  • It’s not clear if Dorian Finney-Smith‘s salary is still non-guaranteed — he had a reported July 5 salary guarantee deadline, but there has been no confirmation that that date wasn’t pushed back. If Finney-Smith doesn’t have his full guarantee yet, the Mavericks could get to $6MM+ in space. The team figures to use either its cap room or its room exception to re-sign Dirk Nowitzki.

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Current space: $1.69MM
  • Space if they waive non-guaranteed salaries: $4.89MM
  • Getting up to $4.89MM in room would mean waiving T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes, which is probably unlikely. Still, the Sixers could use that $1.69MM in room to sign a player like Jonah Bolden to a long-term deal if they so choose. They’ll eventually finalize Nemanja Bjelica‘s deal using their room exception.

Phoenix Suns

  • Current space: $1.18MM
  • Space if they waive non-guaranteed salaries: $3.25MM
  • The Suns could create a little extra flexibility by waiving Shaquille Harrison and Davon Reed, but the team may not need that remaining room either way.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Examining How A Carmelo Anthony Trade Could Work

The Thunder have talked to the Nets about a possible trade involving Carmelo Anthony, according to Mitch Lawrence of Forbes and The Sporting News, who reports (via Twitter) that Brooklyn would be looking to move Jeremy Lin in such a deal. The Nets, who would want draft picks, would buy out or waive Anthony if they acquired him, Lawrence adds.

While it may be true that the Thunder and Nets have explored a potential trade, it’s hard to see how it would work with Lin as the primary outgoing piece. After buying out Dwight Howard, the Nets reportedly have a little less than $11MM in cap room available, so they wouldn’t necessarily have to match Anthony’s $27.93MM salary, since salary-matching rules only apply to over-the-cap teams. Still, they’d have to send out more than Lin’s $12.5MM expiring contract in order to remain under the cap after completing a deal.

The Nets could create a little extra space by waiving Isaiah Whitehead, who has a non-guaranteed $1.54MM salary, but they’d still be about $4MM short of having enough outgoing salary to complete a Lin-for-Anthony swap while remaining under the cap.

The Nets players who earn less than Lin are youngsters with positive value, so the team wouldn’t simply throw them into an offer to make the money work. Adding a highly-paid vet like Allen Crabbe or DeMarre Carroll wouldn’t make much sense from the Thunder’s perspective, since their goal is to cut costs.

On top of all the cap-related roadblocks in the way of a potential swap, Brian Lewis of The New York Post notes (via Twitter) that Lin has been told the Nets will tell him if they plan to trade him. As Lewis relays, Lin hasn’t gotten a call at this point, so if there have been trade discussions, they likely haven’t gotten serious.

“My agent called me just to clarify,” Lin told Lewis. “But no, I don’t think there’s any… I don’t think that has any truth to it.”

While a Thunder/Nets swap seems like a long shot, we know that Oklahoma City is exploring potential trade options involving Anthony before simply buying him out or waiving him. The Lin example is instructive for laying out how a potential deal could work.

Although no team has the cap space necessary to absorb Anthony’s contract outright, the Nets and three other teams – the Kings, Bulls, and Hawks – have enough room to send out significantly less salary than they receive. That makes them potential trade partners for the Thunder, who are looking for ways to reduce a potential record-breaking tax bill.

For instance, the Kings are currently about $19MM below the cap. That means they could trade a player like Iman Shumpert ($11MM salary) to Oklahoma City and take back Anthony without going over the cap. That would be ideal for the Thunder, who could waive and stretch Shumpert across three seasons and create an annual cap hit of about $3.67MM instead of the $9.31MM annual cap charge that waiving Anthony would create (assuming neither player gives back money in a buyout). The tax savings for OKC in 2018/19 would be massive, and the smaller annual cap charges would help reduce the team’s tax bills in future seasons too.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Stretch Provision]

So what would be in it for the Thunder’s trade partners? They wouldn’t be hanging onto Anthony, who has a no-trade clause and almost certainly wouldn’t approve a trade to a non-contender unless he knew he’d be waived shortly thereafter. So presumably any team willing to talk trade with the Thunder would be seeking draft picks and/or young players along with Carmelo.

The problem is that Oklahoma City isn’t exactly asset-rich on either front. Terrance Ferguson is really the only intriguing young prospect on the Thunder’s roster, and the team’s 2020 first-round pick (top-20 protected) is committed to Orlando.

The Stepien rule prevents teams from trading back-to-back future first-round picks, so the Thunder wouldn’t be able to trade their 2019 first-rounder outright, and would have to get creative with conditions in order to trade any other first-rounder before 2022.

It’s possible that 2022 and 2024 first-round picks would entice one of those teams with cap room to use up the rest of their space on Anthony, only to subsequently waive him. But the further in the future those picks are, the less they’ll appeal to current general managers, who have no assurances they’ll even still hold their jobs by 2022 or 2024.

One intriguing option would be for one of those teams with cap room to trade a multiyear contract to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony. That way there would be a little more incentive for OKC’s trade partner to make a deal, since that club would be clearing cap room for future free agent periods. It also wouldn’t necessarily hurt the Thunder, who could spread the player’s money across more than three seasons using the stretch provision if he’s on a multiyear deal.

Omer Asik of the Bulls would be a perfect target for the Thunder in this scenario. Asik is earning $11.29MM in 2018/19, then has a $3MM guarantee on his 2019/20 salary. If the Thunder acquire him, they could stretch his remaining guaranteed money ($14.29MM) across five seasons for an annual cap hit of just $2.86MM.

The Bulls, meanwhile, would be able to clear $3MM from their books for the summer of 2019 — that’s not a huge amount, but if the team wants to be players in free agency next year, that added flexibility could come in handy. Of course, from Chicago’s perspective, including a contract like Cristiano Felicio‘s ($24MM over three years) in such a deal would probably be preferable to moving Asik’s.

Another way for the Thunder to increase trade interest in Anthony would be to attach its 2020 first-round pick with reverse protection. The 2020 selection traded to the Magic will only change hands if it falls between 21 and 30, so OKC could theoretically send that pick to another team if it lands in the top 20.

Given the lack of teams with cap room around the NBA and the dearth of appealing assets the Thunder could attach to Anthony, a trade ultimately seems unlikely. Simply waiving and stretching Carmelo would create upwards of $90-100MM in tax savings for Oklahoma City, and that number could increase if the veteran forward accepts a buyout. That’s probably where we’re headed, as interesting as the trade scenarios are to consider.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rockets Sign Forward James Ennis

JULY 13, 6:57pm: The signing is official, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

JULY 11, 4:36pm: The Rockets will sign free agent forward James Ennis, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that Houston and Ennis have agreed to a two-year deal. The second year will be a player option, Charania adds.James Ennis of the Detroit Pistons

Ennis is a logical three-and-D addition for a Rockets team that has lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute on the wing so far this offseason. A career 35.9% shooter from three-point range, Ennis averaged 7.1 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 72 total games last year with the Grizzlies and Pistons.

Although Ennis was inconsistent from beyond the arc after arriving in Detroit in a deadline trade, the Pistons were said to have “significant interest” in re-signing him entering free agency. Upon officially hitting the market, Ennis reportedly drew interest from the Sixers, Nets, Pelicans, Timberwolves, and Rockets. The Kings also made a strong push for Ennis in recent days, per Charania, but Houston ultimately won out.

According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, the Rockets were able to secure Ennis for the veteran’s minimum, which means his deal will be worth about $3.47MM over two years. That would be a big win for Houston, as the team will still have its full taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.337MM) available to offer other free agents.

According to Ian Begley of though, Ennis’ two-year deal will be worth about $4MM, which would require a portion of the MLE unless some generous rounding is involved. We’ll await further clarification.

Having re-signed Chris Paul and Gerald Green, Houston’s main focus in free agency now will be retaining restricted free agent Clint Capela. However, as their deal with Ennis shows, the Rockets still have the flexibility to fill in other holes in their roster while they try to find common ground with Capela. The club is viewed as the frontrunner to land Carmelo Anthony when he reaches the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.