Trevor Ariza

Western Notes: Hield, Kings, Grizzlies, Poole

As the Kings mull over whether to offer fourth-year guard Buddy Hield a contract extension, Hield has received strong praise from a major voice in the organization: De’Aaron Fox.

“Everybody deals with their own, so it’s something I worry about, but obviously I want to continue to play with a guy like that,” Fox said, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California. “For me, just hopefully they get it done.”

Hield has expressed interest in signing an extension with the Kings, and the 26-year-old hasn’t demanded a max-salary offer to this point, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. He averaged a career-high 20.7 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season, appearing in all 82 contests.

“As a player, you want to have that trust that the franchise has your back and we’re just waiting for them to make a move and come to an agreement,” Hield said last week. “They’re talking, but nothing is moving yet. Nothing has moved. I’m ready to make things happen, man. I want to make Sacramento my home. I’m ready to get this s— done. I want to be here and if it doesn’t happen, then things can go the other way.”

Hield, who would become a restricted free agent next summer if the two sides fail to reach an extension, is due to make $4.8MM with the Kings this season. The deadline for teams to reach decisions on rookie-scale extensions is October 21.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Kings forward Trevor Ariza underwent a successful procedure to remove a lipoma from his back last week, the team announced, as relayed by James Ham (Twitter link). He is expected to miss the remaining two preseason games and be reevaluated after the Oct. 16 game against Melbourne United. Sacramento also announced that Harry Giles (sore left knee) is expected to miss the rest of the preseason after an Sept. 30 MRI revealed no new findings on the injury.
  • Michael Wallace of NBA.com evaluates where every Grizzlies player stands as the team crosses the halfway mark of the preseason. Wallace examines the likes of No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant, veteran forward Jae Crowder, third-year guard Dillon Brooks and more.
  • The Warriors’ overall confidence in rookie guard Jordan Poole is gradually beginning to grow, Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes. “He’s really advanced,” Draymond Green said of his teammate on Thursday, moments after Poole scored 19 points in 21 minutes against the Timberwolves. “He’s very good with the basketball and he can shoot it, which is obviously at a premium in this league today. But he can really create shots for himself and can really stretch and space the floor out.”

Kings Notes: Ariza, Centers, Dedmon

Trevor Ariza, who joined the Kings this summer on a two-year, $25MM contract, understands he might not get a chance to see the type of minutes he’s accustomed to while in Sacramento, given the club’s crowded frontcourt.

“As a player, as a competitor, you always believe you can compete at any level, against anybody and I’m one of those players that feels that way,” Ariza told James Ham of NBC Sports. “But I also understand that this is a team sport and a team game and whatever works best for the team is the road that you have to play.”

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • In the same piece, Ariza spoke about why he choose the Kings in free agency. “The main reason I chose Sacramento is because it’s closer to home for me, I’m familiar with the coaching staff and I believe in what [head coach] Luke [Walton] has to offer and what he’s doing,” said Ariza, who was raised in Los Angeles.
  • In a separate piece, Ham writes that the Kings’ center position will have its share of healthy competition. “We can go with [Dewayne Dedmon] who can space the floor for us, which can allow [De’Aaron Fox] to have that funnel right to the paint as often as we need him to,” Walton said. “We’ve got [Richaun Holmes], who is one of the most dynamic rollers in-game to play at the five. We have Harry [Giles], who is one of the best playmakers on our team from what I can tell from last year.”
  • Dedmon signed a three-year, $40MM contract with the Kings and the big man believes Sacramento’s offensive approach fits his game well. “This definitely fits my style of play,” Dedmon said. “Fast, get up and down, run, it’s going to be fun.”

Pacific Notes: Ballmer, Ariza, Caruso, Howard

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer invested $100MM in the city of Inglewood, California this week, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com.

The investment was created as part of the city’s new arena development agreement, with the Clippers labeling it as the largest funding commitment for community programs related to a sports or entertainment venue in California.

“We’re close to a residential neighborhood and we are being very mindful,” Ballmer told ESPN in July about building a potential arena in Inglewood. “Investing well into the community, being a good citizen of the community. No homes need to get moved but we need to be a good neighbor.”

Ballmer’s proposal for a new Clippers arena, according to Youngmisuk, would include a corporate headquarters, team training facility, sports medicine clinic and much more.

“I want it to be beautiful,” Ballmer said. “But I want it to be about basketball. I want it to be comfortable. But I want it to be about basketball.”

There’s more today out of the Pacific Division:

  • James Ham of NBC Sports Sacramento examines how Trevor Ariza could fit in a crowded Kings rotation this season. Ariza, a veteran 3-and-D forward, signed a two-year, $25MM deal to join the Kings in free agency this past summer.
  • Mike Trudell of Lakers.com discusses several Lakers-related items in his mailbag, including the possibility of Alex Caruso starting at point guard this season. Caruso was better than Rajon Rondo while playing alongside LeBron James last season, though head coach Frank Vogel also has the option of testing Quinn Cook at starting point guard in training camp.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com examines whether former All-Star Dwight Howard could help solve the Lakers‘ depth issues at the center position. Howard is expected to fill in the role that injured center DeMarcus Cousins was supposed to fill before tearing his ACL, likely playing back-up center behind JaVale McGee to start the season and controlling the team’s interior presence on defense.

Contract Details: Porter, Rozier, Spurs, Kings, Raptors

For the first time in several years, a first-round pick has accepted below the standard maximum of 120% of his rookie scale amount, tweets Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights. According to Siegel, No. 30 overall pick Kevin Porter Jr. will only earn 80% of his rookie scale amount during his first season and will continue to get less than 120% of the rookie scale amount in years two through four.

The rookie scale amount this year for the No. 30 pick is $1,613,700, so Porter’s expected salary for his rookie season would have been $1,936,440. Instead, he’ll get just $1,290,960, according to Siegel.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2019 First-Round Picks]

While this is just my speculation, it seems likely that the Cavaliers would have checked in with Porter and his agent before drafting him to see if he’d be okay with that reduced first-year salary, given how rare it is. Porter, the final pick in the first round, will still earn significantly more than the rookie minimum of $898K that many early second-rounder selections will receive, while the Cavs, who are up against the luxury-tax line, will put themselves in better position to avoid potential repeater penalties.

Here are more contract details from around the NBA, all courtesy of Siegel unless otherwise indicated:

  • Terry Rozier‘s three-year, $56.7MM contract with the Hornets has a declining structure (Twitter link). It starts at $19.9MM in 2019/20 before eventually dipping to $17.9MM by 2021/22.
  • The base value of Rudy Gay‘s two-year deal with the Spurs is $28MM, with $2MM in annual bonuses to bring the potential total value up to $32MM (Twitter link). DeMarre Carroll‘s deal, meanwhile, only has a partial guarantee of $1.35MM in the third year (Twitter link). The Spurs tacked on that third season when they pivoted to acquiring Carroll via sign-and-trade rather than signing him outright.
  • Trevor Ariza‘s two-year, $25MM contract with the Kings only has a $1.8MM partial guarantee in year two (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Sacramento’s deal with Dewayne Dedmon has a base value of $40MM over three years, with $300K in annual incentives (Twitter link).
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic provides details on a pair of Raptors contracts, tweeting that Patrick McCaw‘s new two-year deal is worth $8MM, while Matt Thomas‘ three-year, minimum-salary contract is non-guaranteed in year three. Both of those deals will come out of Toronto’s mid-level exception — Stanley Johnson‘s might too, though if the team has plans in mind for the rest of the $4.36MM on its MLE, Johnson could be signed using the bi-annual exception instead, notes Murphy.

Kings Sign Trevor Ariza

JULY 7: The Kings have officially signed Ariza, according to a press release.

JUNE 30: Free agent Trevor Ariza plans to sign a two-year, $25MM contract with the Kings, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The second season of the deal contains a partial guarantee, as reported by The Athletic’s Sam Amick.

Sacramento also reached agreements with forward Harrison Barnes and center Dewayne Dedmon at the start of free agency. Barnes was awarded a four-year, $85MM deal, while Dedmon was given a three-year deal worth $41MM.

Ariza, who is celebrating his 34th birthday today, averaged 12.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 3.7 APG last season in 69 total games for the Suns and Wizards. He was dealt from Phoenix to Washington early in the season after spending the previous four years with the Rockets.

Rockets Rumors: Butler, Rivers, Faried, FA Targets

While the odds appear to be stacked against them, the Rockets are “extremely confident” in their ability to acquire Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade deal, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in his preview of Houston’s free agency. According to Iko, team sources not only believe that the Rockets have a good shot at Butler, but also feel as if they’re in the lead for him.

In order for the Rockets to sign-and-trade for Butler, the Sixers would have to be on board, which is a big “if.” But Sam Amick of The Athletic hears from a source that Philadelphia would likely be open to cooperating if necessary, since the team has a “strong desire” to avoid losing Butler for nothing.

As ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst pointed out on a recent podcast, in order for the Sixers to believe that losing Butler for nothing is a real possibility, the swingman would likely need to have a potential alternate landing spot besides Houston. That alternate landing spot could be Los Angeles, as Amick also reports that the possibility of Butler and Kawhi Leonard both joining the Clippers is a scenario that’s viewed by sources as “increasingly possible.”

The Clippers would have to move Danilo Gallinari‘s salary to clear space for a second max player, but there are strong indications that Leonard would welcome Butler as a running mate, according to Amick. That echoes a Wednesday report from Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

As we wait to see what Butler’s future holds, here are some more Rockets-related notes and rumors:

  • The Rockets are targeting mid-level players whom teams might not be able to pay, according to Iko. Houston also hopes that the opportunity to compete for a title might convince certain free agents to take a little less than they might be able to earn elsewhere. The team refers to these as “contender contracts” and points to P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute as past examples, says Iko.
  • Team sources tell Iko that the Rockets have a list of about 30-to-50 potential targets. GM Daryl Morey has spoken to James Harden and Chris Paul via FaceTime about many of those players, Iko adds.
  • It’s 50/50 that Austin Rivers will return to Houston, according to Iko, who says team sources are resigned to the fact that it will be difficult to bring back Rivers and Kenneth Faried.
  • Trevor Ariza, who previously played for the Rockets, and Houston native DeAndre Jordan are potential targets for the club, Iko writes. According to Iko, there’s still “love” for Ariza within the Rockets’ organization, and team sources believe Jordan would be interested in playing for his hometown team — especially if Clint Capela gets dealt.

Western Notes: Thompson, Spurs, Allen

Klay Thompson would be open to a meeting with the Clippers should the Warriors not present him with a max salary offer at the start of free agency, Adrian Wojnarowski said on the network’s free agency special. Thompson is expected to re-sign in Golden State.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • San Antonio could be a fit for Trevor Ariza, Jabari Young of The Athletic writes. Ariza earned $15MM last season on a one-year deal and the Spurs had interest in him last summer, Young hears. Ariza is a candidate for the mid-level exception.
  • The Spurs have kept a close eye on Amir Johnson since he played in Toronto, Young adds in the same piece. Young speculates that the 32-year-old big man could be a fit in San Antonio, citing his close relationship with DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay.
  • Grayson Allen, who was traded to the Grizzlies in the Mike Conley deal, aims to improve his defense during Summer League, as he tells David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “When I tell you I’m going to work on defense this summer, I don’t think many people picture guys in summer workouts doing defensive slides,” Allen said. “…But for me it’s going to be continuing to work on that footwork on the defensive end, getting my body in great shape, great conditioning going into summer league and the season.”

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Ibaka, Celtics, VanVleet

Tim Bontemps of ESPN recently wrote an in-depth piece on Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard, and while the entire piece is worth a read, several anecdotes stick out, particularly one involving Wizards veteran forward Trevor Ariza.

At some point between his freshman and sophomore seasons at San Diego State, Leonard received word that Ariza, already a six-year NBA veteran and NBA champion, would be working out on the Aztecs’ campus.

Leonard, always one to do whatever he can to be the best he can be, asked Ariza if he could take part in the veteran’s workouts. Ariza agreed, and was immediately impressed with Leonard’s talent and immeasurable work ethic.

“Man, my first impression of him was, this kid is here to work, period… No matter what… I prided myself on being there first person in all the time,” Ariza said. “And, when I got there, (Leonard) was already there. He’d done everything he needed to do, and he was ready to work out again… When I saw the work ethic he had, I knew he was going to be special.

Leonard was even able to win some one-on-one drills against the NBA veteran as a 19-year-old college sophomore-to-be, Ariza admits, telling ESPN that “(Leonard) was an NBA player when he was a freshman in college.

There’s more from Toronto this afternoon:

  • After an up-and-down season in which big man Serge Ibaka became a bench player for the first time since the 2010/11 season, his second in the NBA, Ibaka’s superb play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals was instrumental in the Raptors taking a commanding 3-1 lead against Warriors, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Ibaka finished with 20 points, four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
  • The Raptors remarkable run to the cusp of the franchise’s first NBA championship has to resonate painfully with the Celtics, where Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, and company envisioned making a similar run, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The biggest difference? Perhaps the gap between Leonard and Kyrie Irving is larger than we all realized.
  • While Fred VanVleet concedes that there is an increased mental focus and sense of responsibility that comes from the birth of your child, he denies the correlation between the birth of his son, Fred Jr., and his improved play in these playoffs, write Michael Lee and Dan Robson of The Athletic. Rather, Fred Sr. credits his own hard work and unbreakable confidence for helping him transform his game this postseason.

Wizards Notes: GM Search, Wall, Ariza

The Wizards will be vying this spring with the Suns, Pelicans, and possibly the Timberwolves for general manager candidates. And while Washington may not have the promising cap outlook or collection of young players out of those teams, it still may be considered the best opportunity for GM hopefuls, writes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“We really care about two things: Is the boss invested in his team, and will he prove it by spending the money we ask him to spend?” one longtime executive said to Golliver. “(Wizards owner) Ted (Leonsis) is two-for-two. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. He paid John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Ian Mahinmi. He paid Andray Blatche and then paid him to go away. What more could you want?”

Leonsis says there’s no list of candidates yet to replace former president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld, but league executives tell Golliver that the search figures to include “past and present top decision-makers, as well as up-and-coming executives.” Besides some of the names already mentioned as candidates, Golliver identifies Thunder vice president Troy Weaver and Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik as a couple more options for the Wizards.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Firing Grunfeld was the right move, but the Wizards did it for the wrong reasons, contends Tom Ziller of SBNation.com. In a separate article for The Washington Post, Golliver writes that a number of Grunfeld’s personnel missteps continue to loom large over the franchise.
  • While head coach Scott Brooks is expected to return for the 2019/20 season, he acknowledges that it could be a difficult year of transition for the Wizards. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for the next general manger to come in and shape the team,” Brooks said, per Lisa Redmond of NBC Sports Washington. “… We have five players and plus a first-round pick coming up and so it’s going to be a very important summer with John (Wall) being out. You know, we have to be very creative. Not going to make an excuse that it’s going to be a tough year, but it’s going to be a challenging year.”
  • Speaking of Wall, even though his Achilles injury is bad news for the Wizards, there’s a possible silver lining, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. As Buckner outlines, the franchise will only be on the hook for 20% of Wall’s 2019/20 salary until he returns to the court, with insurance picking up the other 80%. Of course, Wall’s full super-max salary (projected to be worth $37.8MM) will still count against the cap.
  • Wizards forward Trevor Ariza is likely done for the season due to his groin injury, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team has previously expressed interest in retaining Ariza – an unrestricted free agent this summer – beyond this season, but it’s not clear how the front office shakeup will affect the veteran.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Winslow, Ariza, Carter-Williams

The Heat may have to make their final push for the playoffs without Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow, relays Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Neither player traveled with the team on its two-game trip to New York and Boston, and there’s no guarantee that either will return over the final week and a half of the regular season.

Richardson, Miami’s leading scorer at 16.7 PPG, suffered a bruised left heel when he was undercut in Tuesday’s game. He has been wearing a walking boot for protection and because he’s not able to put pressure on the heel.

Winslow missed his eighth straight game tonight with a bruised right thigh. The team hoped to have him back this week, but he hasn’t made enough progress to resume playing. Rodney McGruder also didn’t make the trip because of an aching left knee, and coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed that they’re all getting “as much treatment and work they can get around the clock. That’s their focus.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The short-handed Heat are turning to rookie power forward Duncan Robinson to help fill the gap until their injured players return, Jackson adds in the same story. Robinson signed a two-way contract last summer and has only appeared in 12 NBA games. However, he played 22 minutes Thursday night. “He’s certainly gotten better,” Spoelstra said. “He had a phenomenal year in the G League, but he’s improved his defense, his body, conditioning, his strength. He’s improved his ability to work on the move for catch and shoot opportunities. He’s become much more dynamic.”
  • Bradley Beal‘s competitive nature will likely prevent him from taking any nights off, even though the Wizards are out of playoff contention, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. However, Trevor Ariza appears to be done for the year after aggravating his left groin strain on Tuesday.
  • The Magic have been so impressed by Michael Carter-Williams that they would like to have him on the postseason roster if they qualify, but that will require a difficult decision next week, notes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Orlando received an injury hardship waiver that enabled it to sign Carter-Williams to a pair of 10-day contracts. His second deal expires Thursday, and he must be added to the 15-man roster to be eligible for the playoffs. Robbins identifies Jerian Grant and Isaiah Briscoe as candidates to be waived to make room.