Trey Lyles

Contract Details: Celtics, Matthews, T. Harris, Lyles, More

The Celtics stretched Guerschon Yabusele‘s $3MM+ cap hit for 2019/20 when they waived him last week in order to create a little extra room under the cap, tweets Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights. While that decision may seem curious, it helped allow Boston to complete a couple less glamorous signings.

For one, the Celtics’ new two-year deal with French center Vincent Poirier isn’t worth the minimum, but rather has a value of $4.65MM over two years, per Siegel (Twitter link). Poirier’s deal starts at around $2.27MM, which wouldn’t have been possible without cap space, since the team has already committed its full room exception to Enes Kanter.

Meanwhile, second-round pick Carsen Edwards also benefited from the Celtics’ leftover cap room. According to Siegel (Twitter link), the former Purdue standout will earn $1,228,026 in his rookie season, rather than the rookie minimum of $898,310. By using their cap room, the C’s were also able to lock up Edwards to a four-year contract.

Here are some details on a few more contracts that were recently made official:

  • Wesley Matthews‘ new minimum-salary contract with the Bucks includes a second-year player option, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Tobias Harris has a trade bonus in his five-year contract with the Sixers, according to Siegel (Twitter link). That bonus will be worth either $5MM or 5% of the remaining money left on his contract (whichever is lesser). The bonus can’t exceed Harris’ maximum salary.
  • Trey Lyles‘ two-year, $11MM contract with the Spurs has a partial guarantee of just $1MM for the second year, tweets Siegel.
  • No. 42 overall pick Admiral Schofield got a three-year contract from the Wizards with the first two years guaranteed and a $300K guarantee on year three, tweets Siegel. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), Schofield’s deal starts at $1MM in his rookie season.
  • The three-year, minimum-salary contract for Raptors second-round pick Dewan Hernandez has a $500K partial guarantee on year one, and is non-guaranteed for years two and three, tweets Siegel.

Spurs Sign Forward Trey Lyles

JULY 12, 5:41pm: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

JULY 11, 6:39pm: The Spurs have reached a contract agreement with free agent forward Trey Lyles, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). It’ll be a two-year deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jabari Young of The Athletic adds (via Twitter) that it’ll be worth about $11MM in total.

Lyles will be joining the Spurs in place of Marcus Morris, who tentatively agreed to a two-year, $19MM contract with San Antonio but will instead be signing a one-year, $15MM deal with New York. Wojnarowski suggests that the Spurs pulled their offer to Morris, but the veteran forward had reportedly been re-evaluating his options for at least a couple days.

Lyles is coming off a down year in Denver, having posted just 8.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG with a shooting line of .418/.255/.698 in 64 games (17.5 MPG). However, he flashed promising stretch-four potential in 2017/18, when he posted marks of 9.9 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .491/.381/.706 shooting.

The Nuggets originally tendered him a qualifying offer, but rescinded that QO after they acquired Jerami Grant in a trade with the Thunder, making Lyles an unrestricted free agent.

The Spurs had initially planned on signing DeMarre Carroll using their mid-level exception, but restructured that agreement to acquire Carroll via sign-and-trade, sending Davis Bertans to Washington and opening up the full mid-level for Morris. With that deal no longer happening, I’d expect Lyles to be signed using some of that MLE, though specific terms aren’t yet known.

Lyles may not provide the same sort of immediate impact that Morris would have, but he’s still just 23 years old and his ’17/18 performance suggests he has room to improve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Rescinding Trey Lyles’ Qualifying Offer

The Nuggets are withdrawing their qualifying offer to free agent forward Trey Lyles, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move will allow Lyles to become an unrestricted free agent.

The timing of the decision makes sense, as word broke this morning that the Nuggets would acquire Jerami Grant in a trade with the Thunder. Grant figures to play most of the power forward minutes that Lyles would have seen if he had returned to Denver. Instead, the 6’10” Canadian will likely sign with another team that might be positioned to give him a larger role.

The 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Lyles had his best year as a Nugget in 2017/18, when he averaged 9.9 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a .491/.381/.706 shooting line in 73 games (19.1 MPG). However, he took a step backward this past season, as those numbers slipped to 8.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG and .418/.255/.698 shooting.

Despite his struggles in 2018/19, the Nuggets issued Lyles a qualifying offer worth about $4.49MM this summer, which made him a restricted free agent and gave Denver the right of first refusal if he had signed an offer sheet with a rival suitor. Having decided not to accept that one-year qualifying offer, the former Kentucky Wildcat will now get the opportunity to try to top it on the open market.

Nuggets Extend Qualifying Offer To Trey Lyles

The Nuggets remain busy ahead of free agency. Denver exercised the $30.35MM team option on Paul Millsap earlier today and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that the team will extend a qualifying offer to Trey Lyles.

Lyles’ qualifying offer comes in at approximately $4.46MM. After exercising Millsap’s option, the team won’t sniff any available cap space, though they still have to be wary about staying below the tax line.

Lyles came to the Nuggets during the 2017 draft as part of a trade that allowed the Jazz to move up to No. 13 overall. Utah selected Donovan Mitchell with the pick and Denver came away with Tyler Lydon at No. 24.

During his two years in Denver, Lyles played 137 games, starting four contests. His showcased solid three-point shooting to begin his career, though he hasn’t matched or surpassed his career-high 38.3% from behind the arc since his rookie season.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Western Conference

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we turn our attention to the Western Conference:

Trey Lyles, Nuggets, 23, PF (Down) — Signed to a four-year, $10.4MM deal in 2015
Following an uninspiring regular season, Lyles has been a forgotten man in the postseason. He’s only made three cameos as coach Michael Malone has gone with a nine-man rotation with Mason Plumlee serving as the primary big man off the bench. Denver can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $4,485,665 qualifying offer, though his cap hold is $10.1MM. With hopes that Michael Porter Jr. can play next season, it’s no sure thing that Lyles will get that offer. Whether the team picks up Paul Millsap‘s $30MM option – or brings him back at a reduced rate – will also impact Lyles’ future in Denver.

Rodney Hood, Trail Blazers, 26, SG (Up) — Signed to a one-year, $3.47MM deal in 2018
No free agent has boosted his stock in the conference semifinals more than Hood, who is a big reason why Portland’s still alive. He poured in 25 points in Game 6 against Denver and has scored at least 14 points in five of the six games in the series. He drained crucial shots in the fourth overtime of the Blazers’ epic 140-137 victory in Game 3. This is same guy who averaged 3.2 PPG in the first-round series against Oklahoma City. Whether he receives offers as a starter or sixth man, Hood will get paid handsomely this summer.

Iman Shumpert, Rockets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Shumpert is making $11MM this season. No one is going to pay him that much on the open market anymore, but after battling injuries the past two seasons, he has once again become a valuable role player. While he barely got off the bench in the first-round series against Utah, he has been a factor in the last three games against Golden State. Shumpert has averaged 8.7 PPG in 18.3 MPG while going 7-for-13 beyond the arc during that span. He’s also helped to contain the Splash Brothers. Shumpert shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work as a second-unit player.

Kevon Looney, Warriors, 23, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.56MM deal in 2018
With DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Jones nursing injuries, Looney has received steady minutes during the postseason. On the star-laden Warriors, Looney’s offensive contributions have been limited to putbacks and dunks. But the 2015 first-round selection has been a factor on the boards (nine rebounds in Game 5) and at the defensive end. It’s estimated that Looney will receive offers in the $3-$5MM range, which might make him affordable for the capped out Warriors, who own his Bird Rights.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Potential 2019 RFAs Whose Qualifying Offers Will Be Impacted By Starter Criteria

The NBA’s rookie scale, which determines how much first-round picks earn during their first four NBA seasons, also dictates how much the qualifying offers will be worth for those players when they reach restricted free agency after year four. However, the value of those qualifying offers can fluctuate depending on whether or not a player has met the “starter criteria.”

Here’s how the starter criteria works:

A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency.

A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency. For instance, if a player started 50 games in 2016/17 and 32 in 2017/18, he’d meet the starter criteria, since his average number of starts over the last two seasons is 41.

A player’s ability or inability to meet the starter criteria can affect the value of the qualifying offer he receives as a restricted free agent, as follows:

  • A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A player picked between 10th and 30th who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.
  • For all other RFAs, the standard criteria determine the amounts of their qualifying offers.

Extending a qualifying offer to a player eligible for restricted free agency officially makes that player an RFA, ensuring that his team has the right of first refusal if he signs an offer sheet with another club. It also gives the player the option of signing that one-year QO.

Generally, the value of a restricted free agent’s qualifying offer isn’t hugely important, since very few RFAs accept those offers outright. There are exceptions though.

Two years ago, for instance, both players who signed their one-year QOs – Suns center Alex Len and Mavericks center Nerlens Noel – failed to meet the starter criteria heading into restricted free agency, reducing the value of their QOs to approximately $4.2MM (from $6.4MM and $5.85MM, respectively). Had Len and Noel met the starter criteria and been eligible for those larger QOs, their free agencies could have played out differently.

Top-14 picks who failed to meet starter criteria:

With that in mind, let’s check in on how this year’s RFAs-to-be will be impacted by the starter criteria. Listed below are the former top-14 picks on track for restricted free agency who have not met the starter criteria. These players will be eligible for qualifying offers worth $4,485,665.

No player was hit harder by missing out on the starter criteria than Porzingis, who had no chance at meeting the playing-time requirements due to his torn ACL. If he’d stayed healthy, the former No. 4 overall pick would’ve been in line for a qualifying offer worth just over $7.5MM. Of course, it may not matter much, since Porzingis is expected to sign a long-term deal with the Mavericks anyway.

For Johnson, Kaminsky, and Lyles, falling short of the starter criteria was more about their roles than health issues.

First-round picks between 10-30 who met starter criteria:

Only one player falls into this group this season.

Because Oubre was selected between No. 10 and No. 30 in the 2015 draft and met the starter criteria, he’s eligible for a qualifying offer worth $4,915,726 instead of $4,485,665. No other players fit the bill this year, as many of the players drafted between Nos. 10 and 30 in 2015 have either already been extended or are no longer on their rookie contracts.

Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the 23rd overall pick in 2015, was the strongest candidate to join Oubre in this group, but fell just short of meeting the criteria, having started 80 games over the last two seasons — he needed to get to 82. Wizards forward Bobby Portis, the 22nd overall pick, also would have had a shot if he stayed healthy, but injuries limited his minutes over the last two seasons.

Second-round picks and UDFAs who met starter criteria:

The players listed below signed as second-round picks or undrafted free agents, but have met the starter criteria and are now eligible for a qualifying offer worth $3,021,354.

Tomas Satoransky (Wizards) was another player who qualified for this group, but because his initial NBA contract was more lucrative than most, his qualifying offer will already be worth $3,911,484 based on other criteria.

There were a few second-round picks and UDFAs who just missed out on meeting the starter criteria, including Dorian Finney-Smith of the Mavericks (1,985 minutes played), Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono (1,961 minutes), and Clippers center Ivica Zubac (37 starts).

Those players, and the rest of this year’s restricted free agents, won’t have their projected qualifying offers impacted by the starter criteria.

Northwest Notes: Exum, Wolves’ Search, Middleton, Towns

Jazz reserve guard Dante Exum will miss at least two more weeks due to a bone bruise on his left ankle, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Exum hasn’t played since January 5. He was averaging 7.4 PPG and 2.7 APG with the second unit in 39 games. Exum signed a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $9.6MM over the summer.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves have yet to contact any potential executives or coaches as possible replacements for GM Scott Layden and interim head coach Ryan Saunders, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Saunders, son of former Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, was elevated when owner Glen Taylor fired Tom Thibodeau. Taylor is expected to use the rest of the regular season to evaluate Layden and Saunders, Krawczynski adds.
  • The Thunder showed a lot of interest in Bucks swingman Khris Middleton prior to the 2012 draft, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Middleton tore the meniscus in his right knee in early November of his final college season with Texas A&M and it affected his play, causing his draft stock to tumble. He was selected in the second round by Detroit with the 39 overall pick.
  • The Trail Blazers are in a better spot than they were last season entering the stretch run, an Associated Press story notes. They were sixth in the West a year ago at the All-Star break but held the fourth spot this season. Moreover, the Blazers picked up some reinforcements this winter by signing center Enes Kanter and trading for guard Rodney Hood.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if Nuggets forward Trey Lyles signs his $3.7MM qualifying offer, Mike Singer of the Denver Post opines. Lyles’ production has fallen off recently and he may not even stay in the playoff rotation, Singer continues. The Nuggets are thin at the power forward spot, which would increase the odds of them extending the qualifying offer and making Lyles a restricted free agent. However, he’s a poor 3-point shooter and will probably have a tough time attracting an offer sheet, Singer adds.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns has entered the league’s concussion protocol after being involved in a car accident on Thursday, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. The Timberwolves’ star big man will not play against the Knicks on Friday. That will end his streak of 303 straight starts.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Northwest Division:

Raul Neto, Jazz, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $4.4MM deal in 2018
Neto’s $2.15MM salary for next season becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster after July 6. Even though it’s not much money, Neto has given the Jazz little reason to keep him around. He’s not in the rotation with Dante Exum backing up Ricky Rubio. Except for a blowout win over the Knicks in which he played 20 minutes, Neto has either been benched or seen fewer than four minutes over the past 10 games. With Rubio headed to unrestricted free agency, it’s conceivable Utah could exercise that option as insurance. The Brazilian native is more likely to continue his career elsewhere, probably overseas.

Trey Lyles, Nuggets, 23, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $10.4MM deal in 2015
Lyles has received rotation minutes but his offensive numbers have declined. He’s shooting just 41.1% from the field and 24.1% beyond the arc, compared to a 49.1/38.1 slash line last season. He was mired in a terrible slump last month, making just 32.3% (18.6% from distance) of his field goal attempts. Lyles will be a restricted free agent if the Nuggets extend a $4.63MM qualifying option. That may depend on some other factors. They hold a $30MM team option on Paul Millsap‘s contract. It’s also predicated on whether they believe Michael Porter Jr. will contribute significantly next season.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Thunder, 23, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.26MM deal in 2016
Luwawu-Cabarrot, a 2016 first-round pick by the Sixers in 2016, got some opportunities in his first two seasons with Philadelphia. His court time has diminished considerably in Oklahoma City. After playing in 69 games (19 starts) in his rookie year and 52 last season, Luwawu-Cabarrot has languished at the end of OKC’s bench despite Andre Roberson‘s injury issues. He’s played just 12 minutes since November 28. The Thunder didn’t pick up Luwawu-Cabarrot’s option during the offseason, so he’ll be unrestricted in July. It will be interesting to see if any team believes he has untapped potential or whether he’ll have to seek overseas opportunities.

Taj Gibson, Timberwolves, 33, PF (Up) — Signed to a two-year, $28MM deal in 2017
Gibson has become a more efficient offensive player in recent years while providing his usual toughness in the paint as well as rebounding. Gibson remains one of the top offensive rebounders in the league (2.7 per game) and has kept a positive attitude despite the addition of Dario Saric, which has cut into his minutes. If Tom Thibodeau remains in charge, the Timberwolves will likely try to re-sign him. Otherwise, Gibson will find work as a 25-30 minute option at power forward for a suitor looking for an upgrade at that position.

Nik Stauskas, Trail Blazers, 25, SG (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal in 2018
Stauskas is playing for his fourth organization in five seasons. He will be on the move again if his shooting doesn’t perk up. After a strong start, Stauskas has gone into an offensive funk. He made just 24.3% of his 3-point attempts in December and went scoreless in a nine-minute stint against Sacramento in his first 2019 appearance. Stauskas reached double figures in five of his first eight games with the franchise but has hit that mark just twice since that point. With first-rounder Anfernee Simons showing no signs of taking Stauskas’ rotation spot, the Blazers may try to acquire a wing player before the trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Notes: Season Outlook, Barton, Lyles, Beasley

Offensive prowess and chemistry could carry the Nuggets to the playoffs, Jordan Hicks of Basketball Insiders declares in his detailed season preview.  They finished sixth last season in points per game and fifth in assists and that should only improve with the free agent addition of Isaiah Thomas, Hicks continues. They also have a handful of core players who have been together for at least one season and their 0n-court chemistry is a major plus, Hicks adds.

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Swingman Will Barton should move into the lineup at small forward, the first time he’s had a full-time starting spot, according to Nuggets insider Chris Dempsey. Barton re-signed with the club this summer on four-year, $53MM contract and that spot opened up when Denver traded away Wilson Chandler to the Sixers. Barton will essentially give the Nuggets a three-guard lineup, a look that was highly effective for them a season ago, Dempsey notes.
  • Forward Trey Lyles could be the team’s breakout player this season, Dempsey writes in another profile. Lyles could average 25 or more minutes per game and will be counted on, along with Thomas, to provide scoring punch off the bench, Dempsey continues. Lyles excelled in nearly every offensive action last season, Dempsey notes, providing the best combination of 3-point shooting and post-ups other than Nikola Jokic.
  • Shooting guard Malik Beasley is poised to see an uptick in minutes, Dempsey predicts in still another player profile. Beasley showed defensive tenacity during summer league games and he’s worked diligently on his jump shooting and ball-handling, Dempsey adds. Beasley appeared in 62 games last season but averaged just 9.5 MPG.

Western Notes: Capela, Durant, Leonard, Williams

Clint Capela‘s new five-year contract with the Rockets on Friday, initially reported to be worth $90MM, is technically guaranteed for $80MM with $10MM in incentives, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. Those annual incentives include $1MM for reaching the Western Conference finals, $500K for finishing with a 30% defensive rebounding rate, and $500K for shooting at least 65% from the free throw line, according to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post (Twitter link).

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Kevin Durant‘s decision to take a one-plus-one contract with the Warriors kept his options open beyond the upcoming season, as he explained to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Durant will make $30MM the first year with a $31.5MM player option for the 2019/20 season. “The [one-plus-one] was the perfect thing for me to do, to keep things open for me — financially and what I want to do,” he told Charania. “It’s just one of those things.”
  • The Celtics offered at least two of the first-round picks they own from other teams for Kawhi Leonard, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. Those picks, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports writes, include the higher of the Kings’ and 76ers’ pick next summer, unless it’s the top overall pick; the Grizzlies’ first-rounder, which is top-eight protected next summer and top-six protected in 2020; and the Clippers’ pick, which is lottery-protected the next two summers and then converts to a second-rounder. The Spurs instead decided to take another All-Star, DeMar DeRozan, in a package for Leonard. The way the Spurs organization treated Leonard may have had more to do with his departure than any issues with his teammates, Feldman notes in a separate piece, relaying reporting from Lowe and ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
  • C.J. Williams is a perfect waiver claim candidate, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Williams, who was waived by the Clippers on Friday, is on a $1.4MM non-guaranteed contract with $125K in protection if he’s not waived by opening night, Marks continues. His $1.6MM salary in 2019/20 has a $200K guarantee if he’s not waived by the first game, Marks adds.
  • The Nuggets’ second unit will likely be led by Mason Plumlee, Isaiah Thomas, Trey Lyles and Torrey Craig, Chris Dempsey of the team’s website predicts. Dempsey dispenses his views on recent developments involving the club in his latest mailbag.