Seth Curry

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Ingram, Curry, Lyles

While offseason reports of tension between James Harden and Chris Paul were viewed as one motivating factor for the Rockets‘ decision to acquire Russell Westbrook, general manager Daryl Morey has consistently denied that. Morey tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that Harden initially wanted to know if there was any way to acquire Westbrook without sending out CP3.

“Yeah, because I mean his mind is always (going) first to ‘How (can we be) completely stacked?’ So I had to sort of explain,” Morey said. “He gets it roughly, but obviously he leaves the details to us. Besides the high-level (talks) where he thought that Russ would be a great fit here, there’s not a ton of interaction after that point. He knows there’s a back and forth, just like we respect what he does I think he respects what we do and he sort of leaves the execution to us.”

While Morey spoke to Amick extensively about how that trade for Westbrook materialized and his first impressions of how the former MVP is fitting in with the Rockets, he declined to comment at all on the NBA/China controversy that was ignited by his tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors.

Here’s more out of the Southwest:

  • With Zion Williamson out to start the season, new Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is prepared to carry more of the offensive burden, as he tells Mark Medina of USA Today. Ingram also views New Orleans as a better fit for him than the Lakers were. “I would say this is a better environment,” he said. “There are a lot of genuine people here that are pretty solid. No shame to the Lakers because they are a high-class organization. They do everything well and have a good fan base. But I like this spot.”
  • Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, who had Seth Curry on his roster last season, views the sharpshooter as a “really good fit” for the Mavericks, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Trey Lyles, who as a child extensively studied film of Tim Duncan, is thrilled to get the chance to learn from the Spurs‘ new assistant coach this season, as Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News details. “I was definitely nervous,” Lyles said. “Somebody that you idolized growing up, and then you’re face to face with him, able to ask him whatever you want, whenever you want? It definitely helped settle me down, just to get the first question out.”
  • Chad Smith of Basketball Insiders explores which teams might make sense as a potential trade partner for the Grizzlies in an Andre Iguodala deal.

Southwest Notes: J. Jackson, Blossomgame, Curry

The Grizzliesdecision to have Josh Jackson skip training camp and start the season in the G League could be viewed as an ominous sign for his future in Memphis. However, executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman praised the former No. 4 overall pick for his willingness to embrace the unconventional plan, as David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal notes.

“I would give him a lot of credit,” Kleiman said. “I think Josh recognized that this could be a great opportunity for him. When I sat down with him, he was open and candid and he said, ‘whatever you want me to do, I’m going to do.”

Meanwhile, new Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins conveyed a similar sentiment when discussing Jackson, who has underachieved on the court and has run into trouble off of it since being drafted in 2017.

“He’s willing to come into this situation and really grow, both on the court and off the court,” Jenkins said. “With the support we’re going to provide him, I know he’s excited about it. I’ve got high hopes for him to just take it one day at a time and focus on being the best version of Josh Jackson that he can be. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

As we wait to see whether Jackson can get his career on track in Memphis, let’s round up a few more notes from out of the Southwest…

  • Former second-round pick Jaron Blossomgame has impressed the Rockets so far in training camp, according to Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic, who says that multiple coaches have raved about the young forward. Blossomgame looks like a strong candidate for one of Houston’s open two-way contract slots, per Bijani.
  • Seth Curry, who played for the Mavericks in 2016/17 and spent the 2017/18 season with the team while he rehabbed a broken leg, cited familiarity with the organization as a key reason why he signed in Dallas this summer, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com.
  • The Spurs‘ offseason free agent and trade acquisitions – DeMarre Carroll and Trey Lyles – were modest, but the most significant addition of the team’s summer might be a healthy Dejounte Murray, says Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Murray appeared to be a breakout candidate a year ago before he torn his ACL.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Iguodala, Melli

After years of whiffing in free agency, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes that the Mavericks may have finally got it right this summer despite not signing rumored targets Kemba Walker or Al Horford.

The difference this time around? The Mavericks already had their stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, so supporting cast acquisitions like Delon Wright and Seth Curry made more sense than finally signing the big free agent fish.

And, with the NBA beginning to highlight more twosomes as opposed to threesomes like what the Heat did back in the early 2010s, Doncic (20) and Porzingis (24) could have the brightest future of any pairings because of their youth.

There’s more notes to pass along from the Southwest Division:

  • Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian opines that the Dwight Howard buyout with the Grizzlies may have set a baseline amount for a potential Andre Iguodala buyout sometime before or during the 2019/20 season.
  • In a player profile piece for the upcoming season, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News highlights how the aforementioned Wright could fit nicely alongside Doncic for the Mavericks.
  • Speaking to Italian newspaper il Resto del Carlino (h/t to Sportando), Pelicans rookie forward Nicolo Melli spoke about his decision to leave Europe to come to the NBA. “(M)y agent Matteo Comellini sent me a message with the proposal made by the Pelicans. I felt a strong vibration. The same I had two years ago the first time I spoke with coach (Zeljko) Obradovic.” Melli says the choice to come to the NBA was never about money.

Texas Notes: Westbrook, Hartenstein, Curry, Carroll

The Rockets believe Russell Westbrook‘s talents will overcome what could be an awkward fit alongside James Harden in their backcourt, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston and Oklahoma City agreed to terms on this offseason’s latest blockbuster Thursday night, swapping the spectacular but inefficient Westbrook for steady veteran Chris Paul.

Westbrook is only two years removed from an MVP season, but his explosiveness doesn’t always make up for poor perimeter shooting and questionable decisions in the open court. He has shot below 30% from 3-point range in four of the past five seasons and is joining a team that relies on the long ball more than anyone in league history. However, Rockets officials are confident that he can reach the 33% to 35% range because he’ll be surrounded by shooters who’ll spread the floor and will be playing with an elite passer in Harden.

Feigen adds that Harden has reportedly agreed to play off the ball more often to help Westbrook succeed. Harden will continue to operate as the point guard in many possessions, but Westbrook will also be allowed to run the offense, similar to their relationship in Oklahoma City.

There’s more tonight out of Texas:

  • Rockets center Isaiah Hartenstein has agreed to extend his guarantee date beyond Monday, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic. July 15 was the original deadline for his $1,416,852 deal for next season to become fully guaranteed.
  • Seth Curry said in a radio interview this week (transcribed by The Dallas Morning News) that familiarity and his respect for coach Rick Carlisle were factors in his decision to return to the Mavericks. Curry signed a four-year deal this week that brings him back to Dallas after two years away. “I played some of my best basketball when I was there a couple of years ago, so I’m excited to rejoin the team and help get them back to the playoffs,” Curry said. “… I wanted to get back to playing with guys like Luka (Doncic) and (Kristaps Porzingis). Unselfish guys. Luka’s one of the best passers in the league right now. … I’m excited about the opportunity.”
  • DeMarre Carroll talked with the Bucks before joining the Spurs, but Milwaukee’s cap situation limited what the team could offer, relays Jabari Young of The Athletic. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, a former assistant in San Antonio, highly recommended the organization to Carroll, as did Nets GM Sean Marks, a former Spurs executive.

Mavericks Sign Seth Curry To Four-Year Contract

JULY 10: The Mavericks have officially signed Curry, the club announced today in a press release.

As we detailed earlier today, Dallas could use either cap room or the mid-level exception for over-the-cap teams to sign Curry.

JULY 1: Free agent guard Seth Curry has agreed to a contract with the Mavericks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The agreement between the sides is a four-year deal worth $32MM, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports. Curry can officially sign his contract once the moratorium period ends on July 6.

Curry is coming off an impressive season with Portland, averaging 7.9 points in 18.9 minutes per game. He has been one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters in recent years, making 45.0% of his outside shots in 2018/19 to increase his career rate to 43.9%.

The terms of Curry’s deal will allow the Mavericks to remain flexible. If the team decides to make use of its cap room, Curry’s signing can be completed using space. If Dallas opts to stay over the cap and make use of its $21MM trade exception, Curry’s deal could fit into the mid-level exception.

The Mavericks remain interested in free agent Danny Green, Stein adds in a separate tweet, but Green is determined to wait on Kawhi Leonard‘s decision before making a choice on where to sign.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Leonard’s Free Agency Could Go To End Of Week

Kawhi Leonard may not make a commitment in free agency until late this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the station’s Get Up program (Twitter link).

While the commitments of other top free agents Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler were made public before free agency officially began on Sunday night, Leonard will mull his options a little longer. The two Los Angeles teams and the Raptors are the contenders for his services.

“I’m told he is going to continue to take his time. … the teams who are involved are expecting that this could go even late into the week,” Wojnarowski said.

Leonard deliberation has already impacted the Lakers, who are looking to make a championship run next season. They’re interested in some lower-level free agents but have to await Leonard’s decision. Wojnarowski cited Seth Curry, who agreed to a contract with the Mavericks, as a player the Lakers were interested in signing.

“They’re going to keep losing guys off the board,” Wojnarowski said.

Leonard has spoken to Magic Johnson several times about the Lakers, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner, and there has also been a conversation with GM Rob Pelinka. Johnson can’t officially meet with Leonard on behalf of the organization after resigning his post as president of basketball operations but he’s free to speak in an unofficial capacity.

Turner told Spectrum Sportsnet that Leonard asked Johnson if the Lakers had make an attempt to trade for him prior to the Spurs’ deal with the Raptors (hat tip to SilverScreenAndRoll.com)

“There was one interesting question (Leonard) had for Magic: ‘Did you guys try to trade for me when I was in San Antonio?’ And the answer was ‘yes, but because it was Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and our history, they were asking for 2,000 draft picks — well, not 2,000 — like four draft picks, first-round draft picks, and we just couldn’t do that.’ And that was one of his questions.”

Johnson told Leonard and his uncle, who participated in the conversations, that the disharmony within the front office is a thing of the past. Johnson also emphasized the storied history of the franchise, according to Turner.

“It’s about all those great players. You can be another one, you can join LeBron James and you can win more titles, and you don’t have to put as much stress on your body to do that. We have two stars to work with you,’” Johnson said.

Leonard also asked if he might be allowed to bring in his own trainer.

Free Agency Rumors: Mavs, Rockets, Bulls, Wolves, C’s

It was a quiet first day of free agency for the Mavericks, but the team still has some irons in the fire and plenty of cap flexibility to work with.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets that he believes the Mavericks are “in the driver’s seat” with Danny Green, though he cautions that could change if Kawhi Leonard decides to stay in Toronto — Green could join him in that scenario.

Besides Green, Townsend identifies Kevon Looney, DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Seth Curry, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as some potential free agent targets to watch for the Mavericks.

Let’s round up a few more notes and rumors related to free agency…

  • The Rockets will be among the teams with interest in Andre Iguodala if the Grizzlies elect to buy out the veteran swingman, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Iguodala is being sent to Memphis from Golden State in a cap-clearing move.
  • Having used their cap room to land Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, the Bulls will be in the market for a shooter or another big man with some or all of their room exception ($4.8MM), tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Timberwolves missed out on top free agent target D’Angelo Russell, but did speak to their own RFA point guard Tyus Jones on Sunday, sources tell Jon Krawcznyski of The Athletic, who speculates that a Jones reunion may be more likely with D-Lo off the table.
  • In the wake of their sign-and-trade agreement for Kemba Walker, the Celtics are still working to determine which mid-level exception they’ll have at their disposal, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

Lakers Trading Wagner, Bonga, Jones To Wizards; AD Waiving Trade Kicker

The Lakers have found a way to maximize their projected cap room for free agency, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is sending Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards as part of the Anthony Davis trade. Additionally, Davis has agreed to waive his $4MM trade kicker, per Wojnarowski.

As a result of those developments, the Lakers will be able to generate just over $32MM in cap room based on the projected $109MM cap. That’s more than enough space for a maximum salary for a player with less than seven years of NBA experience ($27.25MM), and puts them in the ballpark of the max for a player in the 7-9 year range ($32.7MM).

[RELATED: NBA Maximum Salary Projections For 2019/20]

Here’s how the Lakers’ moves will work once the July moratorium lifts on July 6:

Prior to completing the Davis deal, the Lakers will have approximately $32MM in cap room after accounting for eight players, the cap hold for the No. 4 pick, and three empty roster charges. The team will use that room in free agency, with ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweeting that L.A. is still considering whether it will commit all that money to a single star or split it up among two or three players.

If the Lakers go after a single star, D’Angelo Russell and Kawhi Leonard are among the presumed targets. According to Wojnarowski, players like Danny Green, Terrence Ross, and Seth Curry could be among the club’s targets if it breaks up its cap space.

Once that space is used up, the Lakers will complete its agreements with the Pelicans and Wizards as part of a single three-way trade. In order to acquire Davis, whose salary is $27,093,018, the Lakers will have to send out at least $21,594,415 in total to meet salary-matching requirements as an over-the-cap team. They’ll do so with the following contracts:

Jones’ salary is non-guaranteed, which means it currently counts for $0 for salary-matching purposes. Without it, the Lakers would fall just under $200K shy of the salary they need, since the unsigned No. 4 pick would also count for $0 for matching purposes (draftees who sign rookie contracts can be used for salary matching, but can’t be traded for 30 days). As such, according to Marks (via Twitter), Jones’ salary will be partially guaranteed for $199K, allowing the Lakers to meet the necessary outgoing-salary threshold.

The Wizards, who will use trade exceptions to take on the incoming players, will also receive the Lakers’ 2022 second-round pick, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. In order to officially make it a three-team deal – and to incentivize the Pelicans to sign off – Washington will send $1.1MM in cash to New Orleans, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. That’s the minimum amount necessary to satisfy the “touch” rules in a three-team trade, tweets Marks.

While the Lakers’ motivation for the deal is obvious, it’s not a bad arrangement for the Wizards either. As an over-the-cap team, Washington didn’t have many other avenues to add talent this offseason, and have several rotation players facing free agency.

The Wizards will now get a chance to take fliers on Wagner and Bonga while also picking up a future second-round pick. They had interest in Wagner leading up to the 2018 draft, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that the big man will get an opportunity in D.C.

In other Davis-related news, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports that LeBron James has agreed to give up his uniform number (No. 23) to AD in an effort to make the big man as comfortable as possible in Los Angeles. Davis is “extremely grateful,” Haynes adds. It’s not clear yet which number James will wear in 2019/20, but he was No. 6 during his years with the Heat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Kuzma, LeBron, Free Agents

The Lakers would have benefited by waiting longer, but it appears their deal with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis will be completed when the moratorium ends July 6, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He adds that there’s still a chance it won’t be finalized until July 30, which would enable L.A. to operate over the cap and count its No. 4 pick, which is headed to New Orleans, as salary. As Wojnarowski explains in a full story, the Lakers would have $32.5MM in cap room to chase free agents under that scenario, but only $27.8MM if the trade becomes official earlier.

That figure would be reduced even further if Davis insists on a $4MM trade kicker, which he has the option to waive. Accepting it would leave L.A. with just $23.8MM, not nearly enough to compete for an elite free agent. Wojnarowski notes that delaying the deal wouldn’t benefit the Pelicans, who would have $19MM in cap space if the trade becomes official July 6, but only $15MM if they have to wait until July 30.

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • The Pelicans wanted Kyle Kuzma to be included in the deal, but the Lakers opted to part with future first-round picks so they could keep him, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Kuzma, who posted an 18.7/5.5/2.5 line in his second NBA season, was among the players rumored to be on the table when the teams negotiated in February.
  • Lakers GM Rob Pelinka had to make four phone calls yesterday before Pelicans executive David Griffin responded, Turner tweets. Pelinka’s willingness to include three first-round picks turned out to be too enticing for New Orleans to pass up.
  • The Lakers’ last attempt to combine two stars failed because of a personality conflict between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, but Ben Golliver of The Washington Post doesn’t believe that will happen this time. Davis already has a good relationship with LeBron James, appearing on his HBO show “The Shop,” and James has an added incentive to make the partnership work because they share the same agent in Rich Paul.
  • The Lakers will be seeking low-cost veterans to round out their roster, which might be good news for Reggie Bullock, observes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Bullock, who was acquired from the Pistons at the trade deadline, has a cap hold of just $4.8MM. L.A. holds his full Bird rights and can exceed the cap to re-sign him.
  • If the Lakers don’t land a third star in free agency, they will likely pursue another shooter such as J.J. Redick, Seth Curry or Bojan Bogdanovic, suggests Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Stotts, Offseason

Earlier today, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Trail Blazers are expected to sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension that would lock him up for four additional seasons beyond the end of his current contract.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst covered the same subject in his own article this morning, pointing out that the uncertain ownership situation in Portland is a potential wild card for Lillard and the Blazers. However, even though the star point guard would remain eligible to sign a super-max extension in 2020, he’s “at ease” with the ownership situation and is open to signing that new deal this offseason, sources tell Windhorst.

While Trail Blazers ownership – headed by Jody Allen, the sister of late owner Paul Allen – appears set to commit big money to Lillard, it’s unclear whether the team will continue to authorize future luxury-tax spending, Windhorst writes. For now, those in the organization have been informed that no short-term changes to spending are anticipated.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Terry Stotts‘ contract situation will be worth watching closely this offseason, as 2019/20 is the final year of his current deal. Sources tell Chris Haynes that Stotts wasn’t pleased about not being extended a year ago, so the team will likely have to put an extension on the table now in order to get him back for next season. Head of basketball operations Neil Olshey, who has two years left on his contract, may have earned an extension as well, Windhorst writes.
  • In his preview of the Trail Blazers’ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) explains why it will be tricky for the team to retain role players like Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter, and Seth Curry, and points out that CJ McCollum will be extension-eligible too.
  • Sean Deveney of Sporting News previews Portland’s upcoming summer as well, exploring whether the club can find a way to take another leap forward in 2019/20.
  • Jason Quick of The Athletic rounded up some post-game reactions from Blazers players on Monday, and took a look back at what was a memorable 2018/19 season for the franchise. “In the past few years, I’ve been much more like … hurt,” Lillard said, following Portland’s elimination. “Right now, a lot of the things that happened … like, I know how we lost. And not dominating how I would have liked to is disappointing. But to be where we are now — one of the final four teams — it doesn’t hurt as bad.”