San Antonio Spurs

Trade Deadline Outlook: Southwest Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic, Northwest, Southeast, Pacific, and Central. Today, we’re examining the Southwest.

Buyers:

The Spurs (43-13) lead the way among the Southwest’s group of buyers, but R.C. Buford typically isn’t all that active around the deadline. Even though San Antonio has been a perennial title contender in recent years, the team’s only in-season trade since 2013 came three years ago, when the Spurs sent Nando De Colo to Toronto in exchange for Austin Daye. It wasn’t exactly a franchise-altering move. While it’s possible the Spurs do something small at this year’s deadline, there’s a strong chance they’ll simply stand pat.Terrence Jones vertical

The Rockets (40-18) have also expressed reluctance to make major changes and upset team chemistry, but Daryl Morey is always exploring potential upgrades, and has a long history of making deadline deals. Houston technically didn’t make a move at the deadline a year ago, trading for Josh Smith in January rather than February. But before 2016, Morey had made at least one deadline deal every year since taking over as the club’s GM in 2007. This year, the club has been linked to veterans like Wilson Chandler, and reportedly has some interest in adding a ball-handler.

It may be a quiet deadline for the Grizzlies (34-24), who had been on the lookout for a backup point guard and an athletic big man. Toney Douglas has been solid in the backcourt since rejoining the club, and Brandan Wright has been effective in the frontcourt since getting healthy, so those needs may not be quite as pressing now. Memphis has already traded away its 2017 and 2019 first-round picks, which doesn’t leave a lot of ammo for the club to go after a legitimate impact player this week.

Speaking of legitimate impact players, the Pelicans (23-34) already made their big move this week, swinging a deal with Sacramento for All-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins. That trade signaled that New Orleans is a strong buyer this month, despite being 11 games below .500, and the club may not be done yet. Having sent out three guards in the Cousins swap, the Pelicans are in the market for backcourt help, and have reportedly Terrence Jones available as they search for deals.

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Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

Pistons Rumors: Drummond, Jackson, Johnson

The Pistons have “quietly explored” the trade market for Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, two of their roster’s centerpieces, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reports in his latest piece, which is a deep dive into the situation in Detroit. According to Lowe, the Pistons came away disappointed with what teams might be willing to offer for Drummond or Jackson, reducing the likelihood of either player being moved in the next eight days.

Still, while a Drummond trade remains an “extreme long shot,” a deal involving Jackson isn’t entirely off the table. Lowe suggests the Timberwolves, Magic, and Pelicans are among the potential suitors for the veteran point guard, if Detroit is willing to settle for a modest return. Per Lowe, Jackson’s value has “cratered,” and a player like Ricky Rubio is one of the few solid starters the Pistons could get in any trade package. Lottery teams seeking a long-term solution at point guard are unwilling to move their first-round picks for Jackson, and Detroit isn’t ready to simply dump him for a collection of expiring contracts.

In his attempt to find a potential trade partner for a Jackson deal, Lowe identifies the Magic and Nuggets, pointing to players like Elfrid Payton and Emmanuel Mudiay as possible trade pieces. However, while Mudiay is believed to be available, Denver doesn’t appear to have interest in Jackson. Lowe notes that Orlando is an “intriguing” possibility, since GM Rob Hennigan was in Oklahoma City’s front office when the team drafted Jackson.

Here’s more from Lowe on Jackson, along with a few other intriguing Pistons-related tidbits:

  • The Pelicans have kicked the tires on Jackson, but never engaged in serious talks, league sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, several Pistons players criticized Jackson during a December players-only meeting for his apparent lack of effort on defense. Drummond tells Lowe that the criticism “wasn’t cool,” since Jackson was coming off an injury and wasn’t yet 100%. However, both Drummond and Stan Van Gundy acknowledge that the team has struggled to adjust to Jackson’s presence on the court this year after finding a groove early in the season with Ish Smith handling the point.
  • According to Lowe, a fear that top free agents won’t come to Detroit has pushed the Pistons to acquire solid players on good contracts when they become available. Those players aren’t always a fit with Drummond and Van Gundy, which has contributed to some of the team’s roster issues.
  • Multiple teams, including the Spurs, made an effort to nab Stanley Johnson in a trade after Van Gundy publicly called out the second-year forward earlier in the season. Although the Pistons rebuffed those efforts, the team has been frustrated by Devin Booker‘s development in comparison to Johnson’s, since the draft room was “almost deadlocked” between those two players in 2015, says Lowe.
  • The Pistons are unlikely to make a major move until closer to the draft, since they want to make the playoffs and are reluctant to do anything that will adversely impact their odds of earning a postseason spot, says Lowe. The ESPN analyst notes that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s pending restricted free agency will be an interesting case to follow this offseason, since the Pistons may have to shed a salary – perhaps Tobias Harris‘ or Boban Marjanovic‘s – if they need to match a max offer sheet for Caldwell-Pope.

Spurs Sign Joel Anthony For The Rest Of The Season

After inking him to a pair of 10-day contracts, the Spurs have signed veteran center Joel Anthony for the remainder of the season, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

Anthony’s second 10-day deal expired Saturday, so San Antonio had to either part ways with the 34-year-old or sign him for the rest of the year. Anthony will earn $498K in total and will count $346K against the Spurs’ cap, according to The Vertical’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Anthony has averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in eight games since first joining the team in late January. He has provided front-court depth with Pau Gasol sidelined by a broken hand.

The Spurs are Anthony’s fourth franchise in a 10-year NBA career.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/10/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Sixers have assigned rookie guard Chasson Randle to the Delaware 87ers, the team announced today in a press release. Randle joined the Sixers about a month ago but has seen his minutes fluctuate during that stretch. He’ll have the opportunity to get plenty of playing time for Philadelphia’s D-League affiliate tonight against Canton.
  • The Spurs have recalled Bryn Forbes from the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. Forbes posted 22 points in his most recent game with the Austin Spurs on Thursday.
  • The Raptors made a series of D-League moves today, recalling Delon Wright and assigning Jared Sullinger and Fred VanVleet (Twitter links). Assuming their assignment lasts until tomorrow, Sullinger and VanVleet will play in Saturday’s game for the Raptors 905.
  • The Jazz have recalled Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars, per a team release. Bolomboy had been on his 13th D-League assignment of the 2016/17 season.
  • The Wizards have assigned Danuel House to the Delaware 87ers via the flexible assignment rule, the team announced in a press release. House, who has appeared in just one NBA game this season, has had his rookie season curtailed by a right wrist fracture. A former member of the Texas A&M Aggies, House has averaged 15 points in two D-League games.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/6/17

Here are Monday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the league:

2:26pm:

12:06pm:

  • The Pistons have recalled rookies Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije from the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. The duo played a significant role in Grand Rapids’ Saturday win over the Raptors 905, with Gbinije scoring a team-high 29 points, while Ellenson added 25.
  • Speaking of the Raptors, they’ve sent point guard Delon Wright to their D-League affiliate, the team announced today (via Twitter).
  • Rookie forward Georges Niang has been assigned to the D-League by the Pacers, the team announced in a press release. Niang, who has played sparingly in 21 games for Indiana, has averaged 17.8 PPG in four games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
  • With their D-League affiliate not in action until Wednesday, the Nets have recalled Chris McCullough, per a team release. It’s already the 17th time this season that Brooklyn has recalled McCullough from Long Island.

Sixers Notes: Noel, Okafor, Henderson, Brown

Philadelphia’s desire to deal Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor is complicated by their declining trade value, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel is in the final year of his rookie deal and will be a restricted free agent after the season is over. Any team that acquires him faces the risk that he will receive a large offer that it would have to match to keep him. Okafor’s value is driven down by a hurting right knee, defensive problems and the feeling that his old-school game is only effective in certain systems. The Bulls have reportedly contacted the Sixers about Okafor, but Pompey suspects the best Philadelphia could hope for is a young player and a mid- to late-first-round pick.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Okafor has heard about the Bulls’ interest, and says trade talk is nothing new for him, Pompey relays in a separate story. “Trade rumors are something that’s going to be a part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA,” Okafor said. “I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about being traded.”
  • Many of the players who are helping the Sixers improve now understand that they won’t be around when the team expects to become a contender, notes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. One example he cites is Gerald Henderson, a 29-year-old guard who has has been an important contributor, averaging 9.7 points per night and starting 29 games. “That’s what the NBA is,” Henderson said. “… You come in and do your job. Focus on that, and you go home. The future of this franchise will be what it’s going to be. They’ll make a decision to get whoever they want to be in this locker room. But for the group that we have, we play for each other. We try to do our jobs and win every night, and that’s it.” 
  • Brett Brown’s former boss, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, has noticed the challenges Brown has faced in managing a team through “The Process” that involved three straight years of losing and rebuilding, writes Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com“There’s nobody that could do the job that he’s doing, considering the situation as it has been,” Popovich said. “His demeanor and ability to stay positive and just teach, and get satisfaction out of watching young players absorb things is beyond my comprehension. He’s a consummate teacher, and upbeat individual.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/4/17

Here are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls:

  • The Celtics assigned power forward Jordan Mickey to their affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Mickey has appeared in 14 games with the Celtics but didn’t get any playing time in the last three games.
  • The Hawks recalled rookie forward Taurean Prince from the Long Island Nets, according to a press release from the D-League team. Prince played for the Nets’ affiliate on Friday under the flexible assignment rule and tallied 16 points, four rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes at Greensboro. He’s played five games for the Nets’ D-League club and 29 games for the Hawks, averaging 3.4 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 10.1 MPG.
  • The Kings recalled center Georgios Papagiannis from their affiliate in Reno, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweets. The 7’2” center is averaging 12.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 2.3 BPG in 18 D-League games.
  • The Spurs recalled guards Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray from their affiliate in Austin, according to a team press release. The duo was sent down to get some game action. Forbes had 20 points and seven rebounds against Rio Grande on Friday night, while Murray racked up 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
  • The Bulls recalled rookie guard Denzel Valentine from the Windy City Bulls, according to a team release. Valentine averaged 30.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 7.0 APG in two games with Windy City.

Gasol Could Return After All-Star Break

  • The Spurs could have Pau Gasol back in the lineup after the All-Star break, posts Michael C. Wright on ESPN Now. The veteran center underwent surgery January 20th after breaking a finger on his left hand.

Spurs Re-Sign Joel Anthony

Joel Anthony‘s 10-day contract with the Spurs expired last night, but the team didn’t waste any team in locking him up to a new deal, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). Young reports that Anthony inked a second 10-day contract with the Spurs this morning.

Anthony, 34, had yet to catch on with an NBA team this season before signing with the Spurs a week and a half ago. San Antonio had been in the market for some frontcourt depth after losing Pau Gasol to a broken hand. Gasol’s initial timeline projected a recovery of four to six weeks, so he may not return to the club until after the All-Star break.

During his first 10-day stint with the Spurs, Anthony appeared briefly in three games, averaging 1.3 PPG and 1.7 RPG in those contests. The games in which Anthony played were decided by double-digit margins, so he doesn’t have a substantial role with the team — that shouldn’t change during his second 10-day deal, though LaMarcus Aldridge will miss Thursday’s game with a sore knee, thinning out San Antonio’s frontcourt a little.

If the Spurs want to retain Anthony when his second 10-day contract expires, they’ll have to sign him to a deal for the rest of the season.

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