Tony Allen

2017/18 Buyout Market Summary

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, much attention is being paid to what is expected to be several weeks of busy buyout market activity. The last day that a player can be waived from their current team and still be eligible to play in the postseason with a new team is March 1.

Below are a series of lists breaking down the veterans who have already been bought out – or simply waived – by their respective teams since the trade deadline, along with those who are expected to be, and several more who really ought to be considered possible buyout candidates even if no reports have come out explicitly stating as much.

As the weeks unfold, we may see new names surface as buyout candidates, in such cases (and whenever a player is formally bought out) we’ll update the list.

Potential buyout candidates:

Expected to be bought out or released:

  • None

Veterans who have been bought out or released:

Thunder, Rockets Emerge As Suitors For Tony Allen

A week after having been shipped out of New Orleans, veteran wing Tony Allen has been waived by the Bulls. If the 36-year-old shooting guard clears waivers on Sunday, TNT’s David Aldridge says the Thunder and Rockets will be among the teams bidding for his services.

While Allen had been used marginally for the Pelicans through the first half of the season, he’s a famously effective perimeter defender, perfect for a Houston team in need of defensive depth on their second unit or a Thunder squad desperate to fill the vacancy left by Andre Roberson.

In 12.4 minutes of action for the Pelicans this season, Allen averaged 4.7 points per game. In 27.0 minutes per game during the 2016/17 campaign with the Grizzlies, however, The Grindfather put forth a respectable 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per.

Allen figures to be one of several big name players on the buyout market this season, so committing a roster spot now isn’t without its drawbacks, but Allen’s skill set will be an indisputably enticing one for team’s looking for depth on their bench.

Bulls Waive Tony Allen

A week after acquiring him from the Pelicans, the Bulls have waived veteran guard Tony Allen, the team announced today (via Twitter). Assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, Allen will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

Allen, 36, appeared in 22 games this season for the Pelicans, averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.1 RPG in a very limited role (12.4 MPG). He has been sidelined since mid-December due to a fracture in his leg, though he recently told TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) that he has been medically cleared to return to action.

The Pelicans included Allen in last week’s trade that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans in order to clear some salary and open up a roster spot. The veteran was never in Chicago’s plans, but the Bulls held onto him through the trade deadline in case they were able to include him a trade and extract a tiny bit of value, as they did with Jameer Nelson. Bulls executive John Paxson said on Thursday that the club would speak to Allen’s agent to determine whether or not he’d be waived — now, it seems Chicago is giving the 14-year veteran a chance to sign with a playoff team.

While it remains to be seen whether Allen will be scooped up right away by a contender, the Thunder were said to have some interest in him. Because he’s on a one-year, minimum salary contract, Allen could be claimed off waivers by any team besides the Pelicans. If he clears waivers, his modest 2017/18 cap hit will remain on the Bulls’ books.

Bulls Notes: Paxson, Lopez, Holiday, Allen, Dunn

The Bulls were relatively quiet as the trade deadline passed on Thursday, completing a pair of minor deals involving Noah Vonleh and Jameer Nelson. Chicago’s major move came when the team dealt Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans, which netted the team highly-coveted draft picks.

Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, is happy with the Bulls’ moves and is excited about the future, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. Paxson compared draft picks to gold for teams as his franchise restocks for the future. In particular, Paxson likes having future high picks to go along with the young talent already on the roster.

“We look at it this way: We got the three young guys [Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn] when we made the [Jimmy Butler] trade for last year, we’re going to have two [first-round] picks most likely in this draft, and we’ve got Bobby [Portis] and Denzel [Valentine] as young guys,” Paxson said. “That’s seven young pieces, and we just need to continue to develop them, grow, and make the smart decisions, not get in a rush.’’

Check out other Bulls news and notes below:

  • Paxson said that the Bulls were offered several multiyear bad contracts in trade talks, but the team was not comfortable taking on significant money that went beyond the 2018/19 season, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Paxson added that the Bulls were comfortable taking Omer Asik in the Mirotic trade because he is set to make just $3MM in 2018/19.
  • While the Bulls could have traded Robin Lopez and/or Justin Holiday, Paxson said their value as veteran leaders and teammates was too important to the club, Johnson tweets.
  • Tony Allen, who was acquired as part of the Mirotic trade, was reportedly set to be waived by Chicago. However, Paxson said the team will have a discussion with Allen’s agent before deciding on his future, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets.
  • Point guard Kris Dunn is out of concussion protocol but he is still not ready to return, per the Associated Press. Dunn has missed the Bulls’ past eight games; he’s averaging 13.7 PPG and 6.4 APG for Chicago this season.

Latest On Thunder’s Search For Wing Help

With Andre Roberson sidelined for the rest of the season, the Thunder are on the lookout for help on the wing. With less than 48 hours left until the arrival of this year’s trade deadline, let’s check in on the latest reports on OKC’s options…

  • There’s a “growing expectation” that the Thunder will make a move in advance of the trade deadline, since there’s a lot riding on this season, says ESPN’s Royce Young. Oklahoma City would prefer not to give up rookie Terrance Ferguson in a deal for a veteran rental though, Young adds.
  • TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) identifies Maurice Harkless and Tony Allen as two potential targets to watch for the Thunder. Harkless would be an interesting fit, though it may be difficult for the Trail Blazers and Thunder to figure out a deal, since both teams are projected taxpayers and will be reluctant to add salary. As for Allen, Aldridge tweets that the veteran swingman has been cleared to play after recovering from his broken leg, but will need some time to get back to full speed.
  • The Thunder have done “due diligence” on Clippers guard Avery Bradley and Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Mannix suggests that the Thunder might wait until closer to the deadline in the hopes that teams’ asking prices come down, noting that they could also wait until after the deadline and take their chances on what’s expected to be a “robust” buyout market.
  • Within his trade deadline preview, Jake Fischer of SI.com writes that the Thunder have shown interest in Clippers guard Lou Williams and expressed “serious” interest in Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans.
  • Oklahoma City has also been linked to Rodney Hood.

Robin Lopez Trade Talks Intensifying

After sending Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans last week, the Bulls remain on the lookout for more potential trades, with Robin Lopez among the candidates to be dealt. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, talks centering on Lopez have “intensified” as of late, with this year’s deadline just three days away.

Lopez, 29, is averaging a career-best 12.6 PPG this season to go along with 4.8 RPG, a career-high 2.1 APG, and a .525 FG%. While Lopez’s per-minute rebounding numbers in 2017/18 are the worst of his career, he continues to be a respected defender with a reputation for effectively boxing out opponents and allowing his teammates to grab boards.

A report last week suggested that the Bulls are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Lopez, which may be a tough sell. Although the veteran’s contract isn’t toxic, he’s Chicago’s highest-paid player, with cap hits of $13.79MM this season and $14.36MM next year. In order to have a chance at a first-rounder for Lopez, the Bulls would probably need to take on a bad contract, as they did in the Mirotic trade when they acquired Omer Asik.

Lopez isn’t the only trade candidate on the Bulls’ roster, according to Johnson, who notes that Jerian Grant continues to be available. Recently-acquired veterans Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson are also being kept on the roster in case they can be used in larger packages or traded on their own. Johnson reported over the weekend that the Bulls and Thunder have discussed Allen.

Bulls Notes: Nelson, Allen, Grant, Dunn

Newly acquired Bulls Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen shouldn’t get too comfortable in Chicago, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Both players served as salary fillers in the deal that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, and neither may remain with the Bulls after Thursday’s trade deadline.

‘‘We now have a situation where we’re invested in these young guys,’’ said VP of basketball operations John Paxson. ‘‘Our focus remains on growth and development of them. This is consistent with what we set out to do on draft night.’’

The term “young guys” doesn’t describe Nelson, who turns 36 next week, or Allen, who reached that age last month. They may be able to provide short-term help for a contender, but they don’t have a place on a rebuilding team like the Bulls. They also carry affordable, expiring deals, with salaries of about $1.43MM for Nelson and $1.47MM for Allen.

There’s more news today out of Chicago:

  • Cowley suggests in the same piece that Paxson would be willing to move anyone on the roster except Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn in exchange for a young player or draft pick, even if it means taking on a large salary in return. That’s what the Bulls did in the deal with the Pelicans, absorbing Omer Asik‘s contract to obtain a top-five protected first-rounder from New Orleans. “To acquire a [protected] first-round pick in the trade for Niko I think fits the direction this team is heading,” Paxson added. “Obviously, we’re going to have our pick, which will be a very high pick, and then we’ll see what happens with that New Orleans pick.’’
  • The Thunder have talked to the Bulls about acquiring Allen, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Oklahoma City needs defensive help in the backcourt after a ruptured patellar tendon knocked out Andre Roberson for the rest of the season. Chicago has been offering up point guard Jerian Grant around the league for several weeks, Johnson adds.
  • An illness has complicated Dunn’s return from a concussion he suffered January 17, Cowley writes in a separate story. Dunn was progressing through the early stages of concussion protocol before getting sick. He has been ruled out for Monday’s game at Sacramento and may not play again before the All-Star break. Dunn still needs to finish the protocol and get some practice time before he will be cleared to return.

Pelicans Acquire Nikola Mirotic From Bulls

The Pelicans and Bulls have finalized a trade that sends forward Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, with both clubs confirming via press releases that the deal is official. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) first reported that the Pelicans and Bulls had reached an agreement in principle.Mirotic vertical

The two teams appeared to be on the verge of a trade earlier this week, but hit a roadblock in the form of Mirotic’s $12.5MM team option for 2018/19. The veteran forward, who had veto rights unless that option was exercised, wanted New Orleans to pick it up, but the Pelicans were initially unwilling to do so due to concerns about their ability to retain Mirotic and re-sign DeMarcus Cousins without going into luxury tax territory.

The Pelicans have now guaranteed Mirotic’s $12.5MM salary for next season, which clinched the deal, per Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Omer Asik and a future first-round pick are headed to Chicago, as was the case in the initial agreement.

New Orleans needed to include at least one more salary to stay under a hard cap, so Tony Allen heads to Chicago too, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Allen will likely be waived by the Bulls, Woj tweets.

The Pelicans will open one extra roster spot by also adding Jameer Nelson to the trade, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Nelson may also be cut, but it probably won’t happen immediately, per Johnson, who tweets that the point guard’s future is unclear. Paxson said that there is a week left until the trade deadline so the Bulls still have time to decide on waiving players, Johnson tweets.

In order to complete a three-for-one deal, the Bulls will have to open up a roster spot, since they currently only have a single opening. Quincy Pondexter looks like the strongest candidate to be waived.

[RELATED: Bulls to waive Pondexter]

Speaking of Pondexter, according to Johnson (Twitter link), the Bulls will also be returning the Pelicans’ own 2018 second-round pick to New Orleans after initially acquiring it in a September trade that landed Pondexter in Chicago. That pick served as an incentive to convince the Pelicans to exercise Mirotic’s second-year team option, Johnson notes (via Twitter).

The first-round pick the Bulls are getting in the swap will be the Pelicans’ 2018 first-rounder, and it will have “minimal” protections, tweets Wojnarowski. TNT’s David Aldridge clarifies (via Twitter) that it’ll be top-five protected this year, while Johnson tweets that it’ll be top-eight protected in 2019. Finally, Woj adds that there will be a pick-swapping option in the 2021 draft, with the Bulls having the opportunity to swap their second-round pick for the Pelicans’ second-rounder.

“The draft asset we acquired was far and away the best thing we had got (in talks),” Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said to reporters, including Johnson. “It’s consistent with the direction and plan we talked about this summer.”

Mirotic, who has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the 2017/18 campaign, was sidelined with facial injuries to start the season after being punched by teammate Bobby Portis during an altercation in practice. Mirotic’s camp reportedly issued an ultimatum in the fall in an effort to get the Bulls to trade either Mirotic or Portis, but the power forwards were willing to bury the hatchet and coexist on the court when Mirotic got healthy.

Since returning to action, Mirotic has enjoyed the most productive year of his NBA career, averaging 16.8 PPG and 6.4 RPG to go along with a .474/.429/.823 shooting line. All of those numbers are career highs. Despite his solid play and the club’s improved record, Mirotic was still said to prefer a trade out of Chicago, and was pulled out of action this week as the Bulls attempted to finalize a deal.

As the Bulls explored the market for Mirotic, the Jazz and Pistons were cited most frequently as potential trade partners. However, Detroit landed a bigger fish on Monday, acquiring Blake Griffin from the Clippers, and Utah was reportedly unwilling to include a first-round pick in an offer for the stretch four.

The Bulls, who were said to be seeking a first-rounder for Mirotic all along, will get that pick from the Pelicans, though they’ll have to give up a second-rounder and take on an unwanted contract in the process. Asik, a former Bull, is earning about $10.6MM this season, with a guaranteed salary worth $11.29MM in 2018/19. The veteran center has one more year on his deal in 2019/20, but it’s only partially guaranteed for $3MM. Allen and Nelson are on expiring minimum salaries, so they won’t have any impact on the cap beyond this season.

As for the Pelicans, they’re set to fill the lineup hole created when Cousins went down on Friday with a season-ending Achilles injury, and they may not be done adding frontcourt help. New Orleans has been strongly linked to Greg Monroe, who is being bought out by the Suns, and Scott Kushner of The Advocate tweets that the acquisition of Mirotic won’t adversely affect the club’s pursuit of Monroe. In fact, by clearing a little salary and opening up a pair of roster spots in this deal, adding Monroe may be even more viable for the Pelicans, who have room to add two players on minimum salaries, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link) — still, the team may not be able to offer him as significant a role with Mirotic now in the mix.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DeAndre Liggins Gets Second 10-Day Deal With Pelicans

The Pelicans have signed guard DeAndre Liggins to a second 10-day contract, the team announced on its website.

Liggins appeared in just one game for New Orleans during the first 10-day deal, scoring four points in 11 minutes. The team needs roster depth with Alexis AjincaFrank JacksonTony Allen and Solomon Hill all sidelined by injuries. The Pelicans were granted a $2.75MM disabled player exception on Wednesday.

Liggins played 31 games for the Bucks, averaging 1.8 points per night, before being waived earlier this month. He has been with seven teams since entering the league in the 2011/12 season.

Once Liggins’ second 10-day contract expires, the Pelicans will either have to release him or sign him for the rest of the season.

Injury Updates: Harden, Millsap, Allen, Turner

James Harden is showing signs of improvement as he recovers from a strained hamstring, but the Rockets‘ star guard won’t get the chance to lobby for a quicker return to the court, Mike D’Antoni said on Wednesday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“I walk into there to the trainers,” the Rockets head coach said. “‘Can he play?’ ‘No.’ Then he can’t play. There is no challenge. He’s going to try to push the envelope because he wants to play. That’s on trainers and doctors. I don’t figure into it. He’d beat me up.”

The Rockets announced on January 1 that Harden would be re-evaluated in two weeks, so he’s likely still at least a few days away from returning to action.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Paul Millsap has been out of the Nuggets‘ lineup since undergoing wrist surgery in late November, but he recently had his cast removed and is progressing toward a return, writes Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. According to Mizell, Millsap is on track to get back on the court around the time of the All-Star break next month.
  • Pelicans guard Tony Allen suffered a setback in his recovery from a fibula fracture, per Jennifer Hale of FOX Sports New Orleans (Twitter link). Allen, originally expected to be back around this time, will likely miss another two to four weeks, says Hale.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner, who sat out last night’s game against Miami with a right elbow injury, will also miss Friday’s contest vs. Cleveland, the club announced in a press release.
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