Spencer Hawes

Lakers Notes: Walton, Ingram, Hawes, Playoffs

Firing coach Luke Walton at this stage of the season would be unnecessary and cruel, Marc Stein of The New York Times opines. A coaching change now wouldn’t improve the Lakers‘ short-team prospects beyond appeasing frustrated fans, Stein continues. It’s generally assumed around league coaching circles that Walton will likely lose his job after the season, followed by the Lakers resuming their trade quest for the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, Stein adds.

We have more on the struggling Lakers:

  • Forward Brandon Ingram has been putting up big numbers over the last six games, averaging 27.8 points and 7.5 rebounds, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register notes. “He’s at the point where he kind of took his destiny in his hands, being more aggressive and being himself,” Suns coach Igor Koskoskov said. “We know he’s a talented player, versatile player.” The club has until opening night next season to reach a contract extension with Ingram, who is still on his rookie deal.
  • The G League’s South Bay Lakers claimed big man Spencer Hawes off waivers, according to a press release. Hawes last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he saw action in a combined 54 games for the Hornets and Bucks.
  • Missing the playoffs would be a complete organizational failure, ESPN’s Zach Lowe argues. Despite the team’s injury issues and the uneasiness in the locker room over the Davis trade talk, there’s no other way to look at LeBron James‘ first season with the Lakers should they fail to make the postseason, Lowe adds.
  • The Lakers have to keep their minds off the Davis situation to finish the season on a positive note, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

And-Ones: White, Adams, Hawes, Withey

Former first-round pick Royce White still plans to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league this summer despite making a jump to mixed martial arts, the 27-year-old told Hoops Rumors.

White, who last played in the NBA with Sacramento in 2014, entered his name to the BIG3 player pool in early February. White first made his intentions of starting a career in MMA known during an interview with ESPN’s Greg Rosenstein.

“I’m one of the best athletes in the world,” White told ESPN. “Among the NBA community, part of my appeal as a draft prospect was my unique size, athleticism, vision and that I probably have one of the 10 biggest set of hands in the NBA. I think all of those things will translate beautifully to the UFC.”

White released a book this week titled “MMA x NBA: A Critique of Modern Sport in America”. He was drafted 16th by the Rockets in 2012 after a standout season at Iowa State, later moving on to hold stints with the Kings and teams overseas before temporarily stepping away from the court last August.

White, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward, joins Shannon Brown, Kendrick Perkins, Lamar Odom and other former NBA players who are set to play in the BIG3 this summer.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent Jordan Adams has been acquired by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, G League affiliate of the Rockets, agent Shasta Scott told Hoops Rumors. Adams appeared in 32 games with the Grizzlies from 2014-16, averaging 3.2 points per game in limited time. He was drafted with the No. 22 pick by Memphis in 2014.
  • Former NBA player Spencer Hawes has signed a contract in the NBA G League and is available to be claimed off waivers, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days tweets. Hawes, a 10-year NBA veteran, has made stops with the Kings, Sixers, Cavaliers, Clippers, Hornets and Bucks during his professional career.
  • Jeff Withey has agreed to a deal with Greek team Lavrio B.C. for the rest of the season, the team announced (hat tip to Sportando). Withey started the season in Turkey with Tofas Bursa, but left the team following their elimination in the EuroCup. He last played in the NBA with the Mavericks during the 2017-18 season.

And-Ones: BIG3, Stretch Provision, Hawes

Changes are coming to Ice Cube‘s BIG3 basketball league for the 2019 season, as the BIG3 announced today (via Twitter) that it will expand from eight teams to 12. According to Ice Cube (via Twitter), the first of those four new franchises – the Triplets – will be coached by longtime WNBA star Lisa Leslie.

In other BIG3 news, the league is lowering its age minimum from 30 years to 27 and will allow current NBA or international pros to participate. The BIG3 will also play games twice a week in 2019, appearing in a total of 18 cities.

In 2018, a team featuring longtime NBA players Corey Maggette, Glen Davis, Cuttino Mobley, and Quentin Richardson – and coached by Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman – won the BIG3 title.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • In an interesting piece for SI.com, Jake Fischer takes a closer look at the pros and cons of the NBA’s stretch provision from the perspective of players impacted by it.
  • Within that same story, Fischer notes that veteran NBA center Spencer Hawes continues to seek another shot in the league. “I don’t want to go out getting cut,” said Hawes, who was waived by the Bucks in September 2017. “I know it’s a rare thing to kind of go out on your terms. But I still have a lot in the tank. I don’t want to look back and say I was done at 29 and just kind of gave up on it.”
  • Teams that still have mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available will see those exceptions prorate daily by 1/177th starting today, ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter). For instance, the $8.641MM mid-level exception will decline in value by about $49K per day for the rest of the season. Proration won’t impact trade exceptions or disabled player exceptions.
  • After some confusion on Wednesday, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days confirms (via Twitter) that Orlando’s G League affiliate has waived rookie Justin Jackson following his season-ending injury. The Lakeland Magic have added Anthony Brown to replace Jackson, notes Johnson.

Five Notable Veteran Free Agents Still Available

While most noteworthy free agents came off the board in July, September brought with it a wave of pre-camp signings that saw the last few restricted free agents locked up, along with veteran unrestricted free agents like Tony Allen, Dante Cunningham, Aaron Brooks, and Shabazz Muhammad.

That wave of pre-camp signings created a scarcity of viable options on the list of 2017 free agents, but the shrinking group of available options still features a handful of intriguing vets. Here’s a breakdown of five names worth keeping an eye on:Deron Williams vertical

  1. Deron Williams, PG: While the former third overall pick is obviously no longer the player he was seven years ago – when he averaged 20+ PPG and 10+ APG – it was just last summer that he received $9MM from the Mavericks to be the club’s starting point guard. For the season, Williams averaged a respectable 11.0 PPG and 5.6 APG, with a .363 3PT% in 64 games for the Mavs and Cavs, but a disastrous showing in the NBA Finals against Golden State diminished his value heading into 2017/18. Still, he’s only 33 years old, and it would be surprising if he didn’t get an opportunity with an NBA team as a backup point guard this year.
  2. Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis is facing a five-game suspension to start the 2017/18 season and is coming off his worst year (8.5 PPG) since his rookie season. He’s not far removed from a 2014/15 campaign in which he averaged 18.9 PPG though, and while he’ll likely never match that figure again, this is only his age-32 season. He should still have something in the tank and could appeal to a team seeking a scorer off the bench.
  3. David Lee, PF: Like Ellis, Lee posted his worst scoring average since his rookie year last season, recording just 7.3 PPG. But Lee’s declining numbers were mostly a result of his new role in San Antonio — his .590 FG% was his best mark in a decade, and his per-minute averages weren’t far off from his career rates. Given how the value of offensive-minded, low-post bigs around the NBA has declined in recent years, however, it’s not a huge surprise that Lee has had trouble finding work.
  4. Derrick Williams, PF: Williams, of course, hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he was selected second overall in the 2011 draft. But he was a part of the Cavaliers team that went to the NBA Finals last season, and was solid when he saw action for the team, scoring 6.2 PPG on 50.5% shooting in 25 regular season contests. If former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett can get a training camp invite from an NBA team, it seems like Williams should be on a roster too.
  5. Spencer Hawes, C: Hawes’ contract made him an expendable piece in 2017, first in Charlotte and then in Milwaukee. After acquiring him at the trade deadline, the Bucks waived and stretched him in August to avoid the luxury-tax threshold. Like most of the other players on this list, Hawes’ best days are probably behind him, but his ability to knock down the occasional three-point shot (.350 career 3PT%) and to help out on the glass (9.0 career rebounds per 36 minutes) could make him a target for teams in need of frontcourt help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Hawes, Markkanen, Bulls, ‘The Q’

Former Bucks center Spencer Hawes officially cleared waivers Saturday, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. The veteran center was waived Thursday just before the deadline to stretch his salary, allowing Milwaukee to pay the $6MM he’s still owed in $2MM increments over the next three seasons. The 10-year veteran is now free to sign with anyone and has a little more than three weeks to find a team before training camps open. Hawes saw his playing time drop sharply after the Hornets traded him to the Bucks in February. He averaged just 9 minutes per game in Milwaukee, putting up 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds.

There’s more this morning from the Central Division:

  • Bulls officials aren’t concerned about an injury that rookie Lauri Markkanen suffered during Saturday’s EuroBasket tournament, according to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago (Twitter link). Playing for Finland, Markkanen hurt his leg on a shot at the buzzer that could have tied the game and had to be helped off the court by teammates. However, the seventh pick in this year’s draft appears to be fine and is expected to play today.
  • A series of offseason moves has left the Bulls without the talent to compete for a playoff spot, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE in his “30 teams in 30 days” series. Chicago signaled the start of a rebuilding project on draft day when it traded Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the chance to draft Markkanen. That leaves the team with two veterans in Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez, surrounded by a lot of unproven talent. Blakely criticizes the front office for several bad deals that turned two first-round picks, four second-rounders and Taj Gibson into a group of youngsters with Cameron Payne as the “prize” addition.
  • A proposed $140MM renovation of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena is a good deal for the city, claims Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. He points out that the $70MM in public financing comes mainly from admission taxes on tickets, meaning it will be paid for by people who use the arena. The deal extends the Cavaliers‘ lease from 2027 to 2034.

Bucks Waive Spencer Hawes

SEPTEMBER 1, 11:24am: The Bucks have issued a press release confirming that Hawes has officially been waived.

SEPTEMBER 1, 8:21am: While there hasn’t been any official word from the Bucks on Hawes, a report ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicates that Milwaukee has waived the veteran center. Presumably, the move was finalized on Thursday in order to stretch Hawes’ 2017/18 salary.

AUGUST 31, 4:25pm: The Bucks are likely to waive and stretch Spencer Hawes, David Aldridge of TNT tweets. Today, of course, marks the deadline for teams to part ways with a player while stretching his 2017/18 salary.

By waiving and stretching Hawes, the Bucks would free up over $4MM in cap space this year which would serve them well as they currently sit just above the tax line.

The stretch provision allows teams to spread a waived player’s contract over twice the number of years remaining on the contract, plus an additional year. In Hawes’ case, owed $6MM through one season, his cap hit would become $2MM annually through three seasons, ending at the culmination of the 2019/20 campaign.

Hawes, a 29-year-old center with three-point range, played half a season for the Bucks after moving alongside Roy Hibbert in the Miles Plumlee trade. Hawes averaged 4.4 points per game in 19 contests for Milwaukee but ultimately saw his role reduced by the emergence of Thon Maker.

Five Candidates To Be Waived With Stretch Provision

NBA teams have about two more weeks to apply the stretch provision to the 2017/18 cap hits for players they waive. After August 31, teams will no longer be eligible to stretch salaries for the coming season, and the stretch provision will only apply to future seasons on a player’s contract.

The stretch provision is a CBA rule that allows teams to stretch a player’s remaining salary across additional seasons. For July and August, the rule dictates that a team can pay out the player’s salary over twice the number of years remaining on his contract, plus one. So a contract with three years left on it could be stretched out over seven years. After August 31, only the future years on the contract can be stretched in that manner.

In practical terms, here’s what that means for a player who is earning $6MM in each of the next two years ($12MM total):

Year Current contract Stretched by August 31 Stretched after August 31
2017/18 $6,000,000 $2,400,000 $6,000,000
2018/19 $6,000,000 $2,400,000 $2,000,000
2019/20 $2,400,000 $2,000,000
2020/21 $2,400,000 $2,000,000
2021/22 $2,400,000

In some cases, it can be advantageous to wait until September to waive a player and use the stretch provision. If a team isn’t close to the tax line and can’t clear additional cap room by stretching a player’s current-year salary, it may make more sense to be patient, since that extra immediate cap room wouldn’t be useful.

However, there are several teams around the NBA who may be motivated to waive and stretch players prior to that August 31 deadline. Here are five stretch provision candidates to keep an eye on during the next couple weeks:

Read more

Central Notes: Bucks, Williams, Drummond, Pistons

The Bucks have a couple of options beyond making a trade to drop back below the luxury-tax line, as Gery Woelfel of WoelfelPressBox.com points out. Citing sources, Woelfel calculates the current Milwaukee payroll at $120.6MM, which would put it approximately $1.4MM over the tax threshold. The Bucks could shed some payroll by either releasing point guard Gary Payton Jr., who has a non-guaranteed $1.3MM deal, and/or waiving Spencer Hawes $6.5MM contract. By using the stretch provision, the Bucks could reduce Hawes’ 2017/18 cap hit by more than $4MM.

In other items involving the Central Division:

  • Unrestricted free agent forward Derrick Williams could wind up back with the Cavaliers, Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net reports. Williams has drawn little interest in the open market but the Cavs could sign him to a one-year, $2.4MM contract once they decide whether to trade Kyrie Irving, Amico adds. Williams averaged 6.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG on 51% shooting in 17.1 MPG over 25 regular-season games with Cleveland but was used sparingly in the playoffs.
  • Andre Drummond has already noticed a significant difference in his breathing and stamina since undergoing sinus surgery this summer to correct a deviated septum, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Playing at a high altitude in the NBA Africa Game in South Africa, the Pistons center said he was breathing much easier on and off the court, as he told Beard. “Just being able to breathe, I can’t even explain how great it feels to sleep easier and breathe easier when I play,” Drummond said. “I’m not worried about gasping for air when I go hard.” Drummond had been breathing mainly through one nostril during his NBA career prior to the surgery.
  • Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will have difficult decisions on his power forward rotation, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Tobias Harris could wind up splitting his time between both forward spots and the rest of the power forward minutes will be soaked up by a combination of Jon Leuer, Anthony Tolliver and second-year man Henry Ellenson. Leuer, who signed a four-year contract last summer, could wind up as the starter despite slumping badly after the All-Star break, Langlois continues. Tolliver signed up for his second stint with the franchise this summer and brings the elements of toughness and 3-point shooting, while Ellenson put his shot-making ability on display in summer-league action, Langlois adds.

Spencer Hawes Opts In, Stays With Bucks

Bucks power forward/center Spencer Hawes has decided to opt in and retain his $6MM salary for next season, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

Hawes’ decision gives Milwaukee, which is already over the cap, an even higher payroll. Greg Monroe, the team’s second highest-paid player, had already chosen to opt in for next season and retain the remaining $17.88MM on his deal. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be paid $22.47MM in the first year of his extension, while four other players will make between $14.1MM (Khris Middleton) and $9.6MM (Matthew Dellavedova).

Milwaukee is now sitting approximately $11MM below the luxury tax line and still has to decide by Thursday whether to extend a qualifying offer to swingman Tony Snell, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes.

Hawes, 29, appeared in only 19 games for the Bucks after he was acquired from the Hornets in early February in a trade that sent Miles Plumlee to Charlotte. He averaged 4.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 9.0 MPG. He played in 35 games with the Hornets, averaging 7.3 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 17.9 MPG.

Early Decision Dates For 2017/18 Player Options

By default, NBA players who hold player options for the following season generally don’t have to make an official decision on those options until June 29, just two days before the new league year gets underway. However, that date can be altered on a contract-by-contract basis, which is why many of the 25 players who have player options or early termination options for 2017/18 will be making their decisions prior to June 29 this year.

Several of those player option decisions are due either on a specific date or a certain number of days following a team’s final regular season game. For instance, Rudy Gay‘s player option calls for him to make a decision either on June 10, or five days after the Kings’ last game — whichever comes later. Kyle Lowry, meanwhile, has to make a decision on his player option by June 19, or within seven days of the Raptors’ last game — whichever comes earlier.

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has done an excellent job keeping tabs on these early player option decision dates, so we’ll use his data to break down the schedule of upcoming decision dates. If a player who holds a 2017/18 player option isn’t listed here, that means his decision is due on June 29, or his decision date hasn’t been reported.

Here’s the list of early decision dates for 2017/18 player options:

Potentially dependent on when team’s season ends:

  • June 10 (or five days after team’s last game): Rudy Gay (Kings)
  • June 19 (or seven days after team’s last game): Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  • June 20 (or two days after team’s last game): Aron Baynes (Pistons), C.J. Miles (Pacers)

The rest:

For details on how much these player options are worth, check out our list of 2017 free agents by position or by team.