Troy Daniels

Pacific Notes: Harrell, Kings, Daniels, Temple

The Clippers are 11-4 since the beginning of February, have moved into the eight place spot in the Western Conference, and are only 2.0 games back of fourth place New Orleans and a first-round home playoff series. Part of the improved play for the Clippers has been the emergence of pleasant surprise Montrezl Harrell, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

“You just learn more and more about him as you coach him,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “You never know a guy until you coach a guy. When we got him, we looked at him as an energy guy, a guy that can play defense. That’s what he did everywhere he’s been. And then every practice he gets in, he keeps scoring. And scoring. And then we started thinking, ‘Maybe he can score a little bit.’ He’s been better than that. He’s been great.”

Harrell is averaging a career-high 10.3 points and shooting 63.1% from the field for the Clippers while only playing 16.2 minutes per game, and has improved upon those numbers lately, averaging 17.8 PPG in his last five games.

There is more news out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings have officially been eliminated from playoff contention, leading Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee to analyze the team’s plan of attack in free agency this summer. Jones opines that while certain restricted free agents like Aaron Gordon, Rodney Hood, Julius Randle, and Clint Capela may be appealing, their current teams will all but assuredly match any reasonable offers the Kings may put on the table.
  • Despite the season the Suns are battling through, veteran guard Troy Daniels believes that it’s still important to put in the work and stay professional, writes Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Daniels also hopes to rub off on some of the younger guys on the team, saying, “It’s hard to stay motivated for games sometimes going through a season like this. (But) I think it’s something these young guys will learn. To survive in this league, even if you’re a lottery pick, you always have to be working on your game, tuning it up.”
  • In another piece for The Sacramento Bee, Jones notes that he doubts a scenario where Garrett Temple leaves the Kings this offseason. Temple, who has an $8MM player option for next season, is unlikely to find more money on the open market, and has become an important locker room voice for a young Sacramento team.

Trade Rumors: Suns, Smart, Pistons, Ferguson

While Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is working the phones, one source tells Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic that there hasn’t been a whole lot of Suns-related chatter this week. The odds of Phoenix completing a major deal in advance of the deadline appear slim, according to Bordow.

Still, as Bordow details, there are a few Suns players who make some sense as trade candidates. The team would like to shed Tyson Chandler‘s contract, which includes a $13.6MM guaranteed salary for 2018/19, a source tells Bordow. Alex Len, who wants to be a starter – or at least a backup on a contender – next season, is another trade candidate. As is Troy Daniels, who says he’s prepared to move if necessary, but would rather stay in Phoenix for now.

“I’m prepared for whatever. I’ll be prepared to play wherever it is,” the fifth-year Suns guard told Bordow. “Everything is smooth running right now. If I was going to get traded I would like it to happen in the summertime.”

Here are a few more trade notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Marcus Smart trade rumors may be somewhat overblown, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, who writes that the Celtics will likely only move Smart if they can land a player who helps the team more this season — or if they can acquire a draft pick that can be flipped to secure a player who fits that bill. Bulpett also expressed skepticism that Boston will surrender Smart solely for a rental player.
  • Based on the Pistons‘ cap situation, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press believes it’s “highly unlikely” that either Luke Kennard or Stanley Johnson gets moved before Thursday’s deadline. Both players will attract interest from other teams, but their affordable contracts are valuable to the Pistons, who are on the hook for a few big contracts, including Blake Griffin‘s.
  • Several teams have expressed interest in Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. However, those teams came away with the impression that Oklahoma City has no desire to move Ferguson, as we heard earlier this week.

Western Notes: Daniels, Booker, Nuggets, Paul

Shooting guard Troy Daniels is one of the players the Suns could move before the trade deadline, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Daniels is averaging 8.3 PPG off the bench this season while shooting 42.5% from long range. He is signed through next season for a very affordable $3.25MM but if rookie Davon Reed comes on strong this month, Daniels becomes expendable, Bordow continues. Veterans Tyson Chandler, Greg Monroe and Jared Dudley could also be moved during the next five weeks, Bordow adds.

In other Western Conference developments:

  • The Suns have been using Devin Booker at the point during crunch times situations, Bordow notes in the same piece. Interim coach Jay Triano believes Booker could eventually become a playmaker in the mold of James Harden.
  • A friendly schedule could boost the Nuggets over the two next months, as Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website points out. They play 17 of their next 25 games at home, where they have gone 12-4 this season. “Hopefully we can use January, which is a lot of home games, to kind of build and get ahead and not be two games over .500,” coach Michael Malone told Dempsey. “I’m pretty satisfied with where we are, but we have a lot of work to do.”
  • Gerald Green was surprised how much he was able to contribute after signing a non-guaranteed contract with the Rockets last week, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Green scored 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench on Friday in Washington, his first NBA game since a preseason stint with the Bucks. “I am very surprised about my wind,” he told Feigen. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m actually happy with myself about the work I’ve been putting in. That’s really been paying off.”

Suns Acquire Troy Daniels In Trade

The Grizzlies have traded shooting guard Troy Daniels to the Suns in exchange for a second-round pick, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, also privy to the deal, adds that the Suns will also acquire a second-round pick in the deal and that the pick the Grizzlies will acquire is heavily protected.

As details emerged, Charania has summarized the deal as follows: Phoenix receives Daniels and the middle of Memphis’ second-rounders (they hold their own, Charlotte’s and Miami’s). The Grizz, in contrast, who free up nearly $4MM in cap room this season by pulling the trigger here, acquire the top-55 protected second-rounder.

Shipping Daniels to Phoenix drops Memphis down to 19 players (15 guaranteed), freeing up a roster spot and creating a little extra spending flexibility as they pursue a deal with restricted free agent JaMychal Green.

Having spent time with four franchises over the course of his four-year career, Daniels’ impact on the court is negligible. He hasn’t, however, been given a significant chance to showcase his abilities.

Daniels’ best season in the NBA thus far was his first. As a rookie with the Rockets, he posted 8.4 points in 17.7 minutes per game.

Southwest Notes: Capela, Gordon, Daniels

After two long months, Clint Capela is set to make his return for the Rockets. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Capela could return as early as Tuesday, depending on how he feels after Monday’s practice.

On December 17, Capela fractured his left tibula and has been sidelined ever since. Though the Rockets have continued to win ball games in his absence, they’ll welcome the 22-year-old center back with open arms. Before going down with the injury, Capela had been averaging 11.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Halfway through the 2016/17 campaign, it appears as though the Rockets found themselves a bargain in Eric Gordon. Scott Cacciola of the New York Times writes that the shooting guard has thrived in head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system. “I think he knew, more or less, the type of basketball we’d be playing, with the free rein on 3-pointers and all that,” D’Antoni said. “But I don’t think I could even articulate in the summertime exactly what we’d be doing, because I didn’t know we’d be doing this.”
  • Unheralded offseason addition Troy Daniels has given the Grizzlies little choice but to expand his role with the organization, writes Blake Meyer of FanSided’s Beale St. Blues. Through 31 games, Daniels has given Memphis 10.1 points in less than 20 minutes per game and, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN, has had a dramatic impact on the team’s plus-minus.
  • It’s been nearly two years since Wesley Matthews tore his Achilles and over a year since he returned, but Zach Lowe of ESPN thinks the Mavs veteran is continuing to make progress.

Southwest Notes: Motiejunas, Grizzlies, Barea

The Rockets haven’t cut ties completely with Donatas Motiejunas even though they pulled their latest contract offer today, relays Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game, coach Mike D’Antoni said he understands the business aspects of Motiejunas’ situation. He added that the Rockets are moving on without the 26-year-old power forward, but will adjust if necessary. “You always move on; we’re not waiting for him,” D’Antoni said. “You try to develop guys and develop roles, and we are doing that. At the same time, he’s that good that if things change we’ll welcome him in.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Injuries are testing the Grizzlies‘ depth at small forward, writes Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Chandler Parsons, who joined the team on a max contract this summer, has a bone bruise on his left knee, and backup James Ennis is suffering from a strained right calf. Both are expected to be out of action for about two weeks. Troy Daniels started tonight for Memphis, but veteran Vince Carter, undrafted free agent Troy Williams and second-year forward Jarell Martin may all see increased playing time.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is optimistic about his timetable after a severe calf strain, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Barea was originally projected to be sidelined for two months, but he believes the recovery time will be closer to six weeks.
  • Spurs veteran guard Manu Ginobili said a less intense attitude played into his decision to return to the NBA for another season. The 39-year-old, who pondered retirement this summer before accepting San Antonio’s offer, said winning and losing used to bother him so much that he couldn’t even enjoy being in the NBA Finals. “I decided the last few years not to let a win or a loss affect my everyday life, my family’s life, and all that,” Ginobili said. “So I’m way more relaxed. I decided to come back because I feel I still enjoy it. I can still help the team. That’s it.”

Grizzlies Acquire Troy Daniels

JULY 12TH, 4:06pm: The deal is official, the Grizzlies announced via press release. Daniels was acquired for an undisclosed amount of cash, per the announcement.

JULY 9TH, 6:50pm: The Grizzlies are finalizing a three-year, $10MM deal with free agent shooting guard Troy Daniels, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Daniels will join Memphis in a sign-and-trade with the Hornets (Twitter link).

Daniels appeared in 43 games with Charlotte this season, averaging 5.6 points in a little over 11 minutes of playing time. The 24-year-old 3-point specialist connected on 48% of his shots from beyond the arc.

By sending Daniels to Memphis via trade, the Hornets will create a trade exception worth half of his salary in the first season of the new deal, tweets The Vertical’s Bobby Marks. That exception will be $1.6MM, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The Grizzlies will be Daniels’ fourth NBA team in his three-year career.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Qualifying Offers: Sullinger, Daniels, Barnes

If an NBA team wishes to ensure a player who is eligible for restricted free agency actually becomes one, that team must issue a qualifying offer before the new league year begins on July 1st. Clubs are gradually making those qualifying-offer decisions official, with the latest round of offers noted below:

  • The Warriors submitted qualifying offers to Harrison Barnes ($5,194,227) and Festus Ezeli ($3,013,123), making both restricted free agents, the team announced via press release.
  • The Kings have submitted a qualifying offer for combo guard Seth Curry, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee relays (via Twitter). Curry’s offer is worth $1,215,696, with the 25-year-old having earned $947,276 for his 44 appearances this past season.
  • The Celtics submitted qualifying offers to frontcourt mates Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald tweets. Sullinger’s offer is worth $4,433,683, while Zeller’s comes in at $3,695,169.
  • The Hornets officially announced today that a qualifying offer worth $1,215,696 was submitted for shooting guard Troy Daniels, making him a restricted free agent.
  • The Raptors submitted a qualifying offer to Nando De Colo in order to retain his rights, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star tweets. De Colo isn’t likely headed stateside anytime soon, having signed a three-year contract extension with CSKA Moscow earlier this month. The cap hold for the 29-year-old is $1,901,900.
  • The Grizzlies submitted a qualifying offer to guard Nick Calathes, as the RealGM transactions log shows. The 27-year-old, who is under contract from the Greek club Panathinaikos, last played in the NBA during the 2014/15 campaign. The move by Memphis was merely a procedural one in order to retain Calathes’ rights.
  • The Nets have submitted a qualifying offer worth $1,180,431 to Markel Brown, making him a restricted free agent, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com tweets. Brooklyn declined to submit a qualifying offer worth $1,215,696 to Willie Reed, making him an unrestricted free agent, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops tweets.
  • The Warriors declined to submit a qualifying offer worth $1,180,431 to James McAdoo and the player will now become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group tweets. The team also passed on submitting a qualifying offer worth $1,215,696 to Ian Clark, Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
  • The Pelicans won’t tender a qualifying to James Ennis ($1,180,431), but remain interested in re-signing him if the price were reasonable, Scott Kushner of The Advocate tweets.
  • The Sixers declined to submit a qualifying offer to Isaiah Canaan ($1,215,696), making him an unrestricted free agent, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group tweets.

And-Ones: Daniels, Shved, Towns

The amount of cash the Thunder sent the Pelicans in the Ish Smith trade is $801K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The 2015 second-round pick headed from Oklahoma City to New Orleans is Philly’s top-55 protected pick, as Pincus shows on his Pelicans salary page. The 2016 second-rounder headed to the Thunder is the less favorable of Sacramento’s top-55 protected pick and the Pelicans’ pick, according to RealGM.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Hornets gave up Gary Neal two weeks ago in the trade that netted Mo Williams and Troy Daniels, but Steve Clifford can envision Daniels developing into the sort of role Neal has played in the NBA, notes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Bonnell’s piece examines just what the Hornets have in Daniels, who has a fully guaranteed minimum salary for next season.
  • The Heat sent the Suns $2.2MM in cash in the Goran Dragic trade, according to Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The Knicks did indeed take Alexey Shved‘s $3,282,057 salary into their $3,637,073 Raymond Felton trade exception as part of their trade with the Rockets, reducing that exception to $355,016, as Pincus tweets. The move allowed New York to create a new $1,662,961 trade exception worth the equivalent of Pablo Prigioni‘s salary, Pincus adds.
  • A number of NBA GMs and scouts are beginning to view Karl-Anthony Towns as having greater long-term potential than Jahlil Okafor, and the freshman could play his way into being drafted No. 1 overall this June, Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Hornets Acquire Mo Williams

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves12:28pm: The Timberwolves have followed with a official announcement of their own (on Twitter).

12:09pm: The trade is official, the Hornets announced. Williams, Daniels and some cash go to Charlotte. Neal and the Heat’s 2019 second-round pick that the Hornets had acquired from a previous trade go to Minnesota, according to the statement. The Hornets have released Elliot Williams from his 10-day contract to make room on the roster, the Hornets also announced.

“We are excited to be adding two quality players to our organization,” Hornets GM Rich Cho said.  “Mo Williams is a proven NBA player who gives us additional versatility and depth in the backcourt, both while Kemba Walker is out and after Kemba returns.  Troy Daniels is an outstanding shooter who we are already familiar with from having had him in our training camp last season.”

11:50am: The Hornets and Wolves have reached agreement on a deal that would send Mo Williams and Troy Daniels to Charlotte and Gary Neal plus a second-round pick to Minnesota, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Shams Charania of RealGM originally reported the deal was close (Twitter link). The move represents Charlotte’s effort to make the playoffs and avoid having Lance Stephenson play point guard in the absence of the injured Kemba Walker, Wojnarowski tweets.

The Wolves acquired Daniels via trade from the Rockets on December 19th, so they can’t aggregate his salary in any deal until February 19th, the day of the trade deadline. However, since Williams’ salary of $3.75MM is within 150% plus $100K of Neal’s $3.25MM salary, that part of the swap can go as its own trade, and Charlotte can take in Daniels, who makes the minimum, using the minimum-salary exception. The Daniels part can function as its own trade, meaning he can go out on his own and the trade can become official before the deadline.

Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities on Monday identified the Hornets as a likely suitor for Williams, shortly before Wojnarowski reported that talks between the Wolves and Hornets regarding Williams and Daniels had reached an impasse after having taken place recently. It seems the sides worked out their differences within the past day, with Charlotte, coming off back-to-back losses to the Sixers and Pacers, likely the party that reignited talks, though that’s just my speculation.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported late last month that rival teams believed Wolves were making Williams available in exchange for a draft pick, and Wolfson identified the Cavs, Clippers and Heat among the “teams to watch” regarding the 32-year-old point guard. There was also a slight chance the Pistons would become involved, according to Wolfson. Ultimately it was the Hornets who emerged with him, and Williams tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he can see himself finishing his career in Charlotte (Twitter link). However, Williams, who’ll be a free agent at season’s end, said earlier this week that he wouldn’t ask for a trade and wanted to sign a multiyear deal with Minnesota, as Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press wrote.

“This was a difficult decision because of what Mo brought to our team and the impact he had on our young guys,” Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders said of the move in the team’s statement. “As a coach, you wanted to keep him because of his professionalism and understanding of what you wanted out of him as a player. He scored 52 points against Indiana and did everything we asked him to do. On the other side, we knew we were moving in a different direction with our youth so we felt it was in our best interest to make the deal. We thank Mo and Troy for their contributions and wish them the best of luck in Charlotte.”

The Hornets were reluctant to give up future-focused assets for a short-term fix, GM Rich Cho told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer shortly after the Walker injury, but Bonnell argues the 2019 second-rounder isn’t much of a compromise from that position (Twitter link). Daniels, who’s averaged just 2.8 points in 7.3 minutes per game split between Houston and Minnesota this season after a breakout performance in the playoffs last year, comes at the cost of a guaranteed minimum salary for next season, but that, too, isn’t much of a sacrifice.

Neal, who’s enduring the worst three-point shooting season of his five-year career, departs Charlotte almost a year after the then-Bobcats acquired him from the Bucks in part because of the long-range threat he represented. He’s set to hit free agency in the summer, though Minnesota appears ready to trade him or work a buyout, so there’s a decent chance his stay with the Wolves will be a brief one.

Elliot Williams was on day No. 7 of the 10-day contract that the Hornets waived Jannero Pargo in order to accommodate. Today’s trade leaves the Hornets with 15 contracts that are guaranteed through the end of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.