Tyreke Evans

Central Notes: Evans, Hood, Cavs, Pistons

An unrestricted free agent over the summer, Tyreke Evans received interest from teams like the Hornets and Lakers, but elected to join the Pacers. As J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star relays, the fact that the Pacers won 48 games and gave the eventual Eastern champs all they could handle in the postseason played a significant role in Evans’ decision.

“I figured out with the run they had, watching how they played and how the chemistry was, I thought I would fit well,” Evans said of the Pacers. “Even though a lot of people think it was a Cinderella run for them, I watch basketball a lot and I could tell the heart they played with in that first round. Throughout the season they played hard every night. I saw the fight in them. I wanted to be a part of that.”

Evans also said that he has no problem playing for a smaller-market team, noting that he could’ve ended up in L.A. but felt like the Pacers were a better fit for him.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

  • Speaking to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Rodney Hood acknowledged that it was tough to watch many of his fellow restricted free agents receive big-money deals this offseason while those lucrative offers didn’t materialize for him. Jabari [Parker] is like a brother to me and I know Marcus [Smart] — we came in the league together,” Hood said. “So I’m happy for them getting money and stuff like that. But I had to understand restricted free agency. At first, it was hard because I really didn’t. And I was thinking, ‘Alright, he got paid and I was supposed to.'” As Hood prepares for the biggest year of his career, the Cavaliers still want him to be part of their future beyond 2019, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com.
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic takes a closer look at the camp invitees vying for a roster spot with the Cavaliers, a group that includes Kobi Simmons, John Holland, Isaiah Taylor, and others.
  • Pistons camp invitee Zach Lofton has impressed the team this fall, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details. Detroit has 15 players on guaranteed salaries and two on two-way deals, but Lofton may be making a case to take over one of those two-way contract slots, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.
  • In a piece for The Free Press, Ellis notes that the Pistons have been giving second-round pick Bruce Brown a look at point guard during the preseason, a move endorsed by Brown’s college coach Jim Larranaga. “The more I observed him and evaluated him, the more I realized his long-term potential is really as a point guard,” Larranaga said of the former Miami Hurricane. “I think he’s going to be a point guard in the NBA.”

NBA GMs Weigh In On 2018/19 Season

NBA.com has completed its annual survey of NBA general managers, with John Schuhmann of NBA.com asking each of the league’s 30 GMs to answer an array of questions about the league’s top teams, players, and coaches. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors are once again viewed by the NBA’s general managers as the overwhelming favorites to be the last team standing, with 26 of 30 GMs (87%) picking Golden State to win the NBA championship for the fourth time in five years.

While there are many responses in the GM survey worth checking out, we’ll focus on rounding up some of the more noteworthy ones related to rosters and player movement. Let’s dive in…

  • LeBron James (30%) and Kevin Durant (27%) are viewed as the frontrunners for the 2018/19 MVP award, but two younger players led the voting for the player GMs would most want to build a franchise around starting today. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (30%) and Pelicans big man Anthony Davis (23%) led the way in that category. Interestingly, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t receive a single vote this year after leading the way with 29% of the vote in 2017.
  • The Lakers‘ signing of James helped them earn 70% of the vote for the team that made the best overall moves this offseason. The Raptors, buoyed by their acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, finished second at 20%.
  • A ton of different signings and trade acquisitions received votes for the most underrated addition of the summer, with the Pacers‘ signing of Tyreke Evans barely leading the way with four votes. The Spurs‘ trade for DeMar DeRozan, the Bulls‘ signing of Jabari Parker, the Pelicans‘ addition of Julius Randle, and the Thunder‘s acquisition of Dennis Schroder received three votes apiece.
  • DeMarcus Cousins‘ decision to join the Warriors (35%) was considered the most surprising move of the offseason, followed by the Spurs/Raptors blockbuster trade (29%) and Paul George remaining with the Thunder (19%).
  • While Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is the strong frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, GMs expect Suns center Deandre Ayton and Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. to be the best players five years from now. Meanwhile, the Clippers‘ selection of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at No. 11 was viewed by the most GMs as the steal of the draft.
  • The Sixers (47%) and Celtics (33%) dominated voting for the teams with the most promising young cores.

Warriors Notes: McCaw, Durant, Cousins, Evans

Accepting the Warriors’ $1.7MM qualifying offer remains the most likely scenario for shooting guard Patrick McCaw, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. In a column that offers a list of questions for each Golden State player, Slater notes that McCaw’s other options are extremely limited with training camp starting next week.

Despite the summer-long contract standoff, McCaw still enters a positive situation if he returns to the Warriors. The team held a roster spot open for him, and regular playing time appears to be available. Slater reports that Golden State originally planned to pursue Tyreke Evans in free agency, which would have made McCaw expendable, but changed direction when DeMarcus Cousins became an option.

Coach Steve Kerr has expressed a desire to give more rest to his veteran players, which should mean more minutes for younger guys like McCaw, who won’t turn 23 until October. It will also give him a chance to improve on his 4.0/1.4/1.4 career line before taking another shot at free agency next summer.

There’s more on the Warriors, all courtesy of Slater:

  • This is the first time since Kevin Durant came to Golden State that his re-signing doesn’t seem like a sure thing. Durant’s latest contract includes a $31.5MM player option for next season that he is expected to turn down in pursuit of a long-term deal. Durant has made it clear that he has an open mind about where he might play next year, and Slater notes that an early-season trip to New York should amp up the discussion.
  • Cousins has a long way to go until he can play again, and the Warriors can’t begin to answer questions about his fit with the team until that happens. Cousins was considered a major steal when he agreed to sign with Golden State for the $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception. However, nobody knows how much the Achilles tear he suffered last season will affect his game or how he will handle a reduced role in the Warriors’ offense.
  • First-round pick Jacob Evans was just 2 of 18 on 3-pointers during Summer League, which raises concerns about how well he can fit into the offense. The Warriors like the defensive versatility that Evans provides and he’ll be one of the players Kerr is counting on to reduce the veterans’ minutes, but he has to shoot better to get regular playing time.

Central Notes: Forman, Ellenson, Evans, Kanter

Bulls GM Gar Forman has done a good job of acquiring young talent but the hard part is yet to come, as Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times explains. Chicago will need to use its cap room and land at least one star player to become a major threat in the Eastern Conference, Cowley continues. Forman’s reputation around the league is shaky and he’s never been able to land such a player in his current position. That could eventually wreck this rebuilding project, Cowley concludes.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons power forward Henry Ellenson is entering a pivotal year in his career, Ansar Khan of MLive.com notes. Ellenson is expected to his minutes increase under new coach Dwane Casey and Ellenson has been working diligently to become a stronger defender and improve his ball-handling. However, the third-year big man out of Marquette struggled with his new shooting motion during summer league games, particularly from long range, and that’s disconcerting, Khan adds.
  • Free agent additions Doug McDermott and Tyreke Evans, along with first-round pick Aaron Holiday, should facilitate the Pacers’ desire to increase their 3-point production, according to Greg Rappaport of Pacers.com. McDermott closed out last season in Dallas by making nearly 50% of his long-range attempts in the final 24 games, while Holiday posted solid 3-point percentages during his college career, Rappaport continues. Evans has improved his long-range shooting over the last three seasons and will be an upgrade over Lance Stephenson, Rappaport adds.
  • Knicks center Enes Kanter took a shot at the Bucks franchise and said he never considered joining them this summer, Royce Young of ESPN reports. Kanter posted a deer emoji on his Twitter account, then deleted it minutes later, the night before he decided to opt in and stay in New York. But Milwaukee was never on his radar. “I know I was not going to go to the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s the Milwaukee Bucks,” he told Young. “Unless they give you good, good money, then go, but you don’t leave New York for Milwaukee.”

Southwest Notes: Capela, Anderson, Harden, Mejri

Clint Capela‘s five-year contract with the Rockets includes $1.5MM in yearly incentives that he’s likely to reach and another $500K in yearly incentives he’s unlikely to attain, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports.

As previously noted, Capela’s $90MM is technically guaranteed for $80MM with $10MM in incentives. He’ll receive $1MM annually if he plays 2,000 minutes or if the Rockets make the Western Conference Finals. He also has a $500K annual incentive for reaching 2,000 minutes played and a defensive rebound percent greater than 30 percent. Pincus considers those incentives well within reach. As a point of reference, Capela logged 2,034 minutes in 74 regular-season games last season with a defensive rebounding percentage of 30.8.

He also has a $500K annual incentive for taking at least 150 free throws and making 65% or more, which Pincus considers unlikely. Capela shot a career-high 56% from the line last season.

If he reaches the likely incentives, the cap hits on Capela’s contract will be $15.3MM, $16.4MM, $17.5MM, $18.6MM and $19.7MM (Twitter links).

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies lost some scoring punch with the departure of Tyreke Evans but they’ll gain two-way versatility and playmaking efficiency from Kyle Anderson, according to Grizzlies website reporter Michael Wallace. Anderson will start at small forward but he can help Memphis at as many as four positions, Wallace continues. Anderson ranked sixth among qualifying NBA players in defensive rating last season, Wallace adds. Anderson was acquired in free agency when the Spurs declined to match a four-year, $37.2MM offer sheet.
  • Rockets star and league MVP James Harden is under investigation by Scottdale, Ariz. police over a nightclub incident, BrieAnna J Frank of the Arizona Republic reports. According to a TMZ report that Frank relayed, a woman was recording a scuffle involving someone in Harden’s entourage. Harden then alleged grabbed the woman’s phone and threw it onto a roof so she couldn’t sell the video footage.
  • Salah Mejri is once again looking at defensive-oriented reserve role with the Mavericks, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. The 32-year-old Mejri will back up DeAndre Jordan, though Dirk Nowitzki will also cut into Mejri’s minutes when he gets shifted to center. Mejri signed a one-year veteran’s minimum contract earlier this month.

Grizzlies’ Hollinger Talks Offseason, Evans, Brooks, Tax

After winning just 22 games in 2017/18, the Grizzlies entered the summer as a capped-out team with limited resources to make major upgrades. Still, the club made use of its lottery pick, the mid-level exception, and various trade assets in an effort to improve its roster and return to playoff contention for 2018/19.

Grizzlies executive vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger spoke to Peter Edmiston of The Memphis Commercial Appeal about the club’s offseason, addressing Memphis’ major personnel moves, the decision not to bring back Tyreke Evans, the team’s proximity to the tax line, and more.

The conversation is worth checking out in full, particularly for Grizzlies fans, but here are a few highlights from Hollinger:

On whether the Grizzlies’ achieved their primary offseason goals:

“People have this idea that you come in with a plan, when you really need about 20 or 30 different plans that are contingent on other things that may or may not happen. I’d say the outcome here was close to our best- or better-case scenario. We were able to get a player we really wanted (Jaren Jackson Jr.) with our pick, using our mid-level exception to get what we see as a long-term piece in Kyle Anderson. Those were two huge things for us, not just for the present but for the future of this team. I guess it’s too early to say whether we nailed those or not, but we feel pretty good about the outcomes we had from that. Those were probably the primary goals and we achieved them.”

On the Grizzlies’ decision not to trade Tyreke Evans at last year’s deadline because they planned to re-sign him:

“Hindsight is always 20-20. You make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. We had no idea that MarShon Brooks was going to emerge as a potential bench scorer for us that could make it easier for us to go in a different direction and go after someone like Kyle with our mid-level.

“I look at it like it was a stock option. We knew there wasn’t a 100% chance we were going to be able to re-sign Tyreke. There was some percentage chance we had to estimate based on the factors in the market, and we had to weigh that relative to the return that we were looking at on trading him, which was likely to be pretty paltry. 

“When you’re dealing with second-round picks in the 50s that end up on playoff teams, now you’re getting into a scenario where there’s been six rotation players picked in the last 10 years, so you’re getting into pretty low odds you can get anything out of that.”

On the impression Brooks made on the Grizzlies late in the 2017/18 season:

“There’s obviously an eye test element to this, because we’ve all seen people do things in April that aren’t necessarily replicable in November. But at the same time, these weren’t garbage games for our opponents on most nights. Minnesota’s fighting for a playoff spot, and he’s basically our go-to guy in the fourth quarter to help win that game. Utah, at Utah, is playing for seeding with their best players, an elite defensive team, and he’s getting buckets.”

On the Grizzlies’ team salary currently sitting narrowly below the tax line:

“We’re comfortable where we’re at, there may be one or two small moves still coming as we optimize things a bit, but I don’t really see any haymakers coming. I think we’re pretty happy with how our offseason has gone, and the types of guys we’ve brought in. The luxury tax dance is one I’m familiar with — this is my seventh season, and in six of them we’ve danced right up to the line, so this is not unfamiliar territory.”

Central Notes: LaVine, Pacers, Cavaliers, Calderon

Fresh off the Bulls officially matching the Kings’ fully guaranteed, four-year $78MM offer sheet to Zach LaVine, the 23-year-old combo guard says he is ready to prove all of the doubters wrong who wonder whether he is worth the nearly $80MM in guaranteed money that he will earn from the Bulls, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I’m my hardest critic,” LaVine said Sunday during the Bulls’ summer league game against the Lakers in Las Vegas. “There’s nothing that any of you guys can say to me that I [don’t] take harder upon myself. I go back and critique my game every year. I’m used to people sleeping on me, and I’m also used to waking them up as well. I’m happy that I have this contract, and I’m happy that I have a little extra motivation to go out there and prove it to some people that don’t believe in me.”

“At the end of the day, I believe in myself, I believe in my work, and I’m going to show the city of Chicago it’s a good choice and I’m here to stay. I’m going to be their guy, and I’m ready to do whatever to help this team get back to that spot.”

And despite saying publicly that he was disappointed the Bulls hadn’t done more to lock him in as a restricted free agent when the free-agency period opened, LaVine backtracked from those comments after the deal with the Bulls became official, saying that he simply meant he never wanted to sign an offer sheet because he wanted to stay in Chicago so badly.

“I think a lot of that got taken out of context,” LaVine said. “The main thing that I wanted to get my point across was I wanted to just deal with Chicago. I never wanted to get [to] a point of [having to sign] an offer sheet. Regardless of whatever happened, I’m going to put that behind us. I’m happy as hell that I’m going to be able to play for the team that I want to play for.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers found unexpected success this past season and the front office deserves credit for avoiding complacency, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com opines. Indiana brought in Kyle O’Quinn, Tyreke Evans, and Doug McDermott on mid-sized deals, all moves designed to help them compete in a now-weakened Eastern Conference.
  • The Cavaliers, who are still searching for another assistant coach on head coach Tyronn Lue‘s bench, interviewed Warriors assistant coach Willie Green and Sixers assistant coach John Bryant recently, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Green has since re-upped with Golden State.
  • Because he signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, Jose Calderon likely could have chosen to play wherever he wanted to this upcoming season, opines Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. But he ended up picking the Pistons simply because he believes they can be a good team. And although he’ll likely slot in behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith on the depth chart, it’s possible new coach Dwane Casey could play two point guards at the same time, thereby opening up playing time for Calderon.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Contract Details: Curry, Evans, Exum, Favors

Since the July moratorium lifted on Friday, more and more official contract details are surfacing for completed deals. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders and Bleacher Report has been relaying many of those details on his Twitter feed as he updates his salary database at Basketball Insiders, so we’ll pass along several of his notes on 2018’s free agent and draft pick signings.

Via Pincus, here are some specifics on the deals completed within the last several days:

Free agent signings:

  • Seth Curry‘s agreement with the Trail Blazers was originally reported as a two-year contract with a second-year player option, but it appears to just be a one-year, $2.795MM deal (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers‘ deal with Tyreke Evans has a cap hit of $12.4MM, which includes $100K in likely incentives (Twitter link).
  • Dante Exum can technically only earn the full $33MM on his three-year deal with the Jazz if he maxes out his incentives. The base value of the deal is $9.6MM per year, but it can drop to $9.1MM annually or increase to $11MM depending on his bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Derrick Favors can earn up to $18.8MM per year in his deal with the Jazz, or as little as $16MM annually (Twitter link). The cap hit for now is $16.9MM per year, with a July 6 guarantee date for year two.
  • Raul Neto‘s pact with the Jazz also includes modest incentives — he has an annual cap charge of $2.15MM, which can increase or decrease by $50K depending on his bonuses (Twitter link). Neto’s second year has a July 6 guarantee date.
  • Isaiah Briscoe‘s agreement with the Magic is a three-year, minimum-salary contract with a $500K guarantee in year one (Twitter link). It uses part of Orlando’s mid-level exception.

Draft pick signings:

  • The Suns signed No. 31 pick Elie Okobo to a deal that starts at $1.2MM, then is worth the minimum for the next three years (Twitter link). Two seasons are guaranteed, with a non-guaranteed third year and a fourth-year team option.
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s three-year deal with the Hornets is worth approximately $4.07MM (Twitter link). The first two years are guaranteed for the 34th overall pick, who was signed using part of Charlotte’s mid-level exception.
  • The Magic‘s three-year contract with No. 35 pick Melvin Frazier starts at $1.05MM and is guaranteed for two years, with a third-year team option (Twitter link). It also uses part of Orlando’s mid-level exception.
  • Gary Trent Jr., the 37th overall pick in the draft, got a fully guaranteed three-year deal from the Trail Blazers (Twitter link). Although all three years are worth the minimum salary, Portland had to use part of its mid-level exception to go more than two years for Trent.
  • The Lakers‘ deal with No. 39 pick Isaac Bonga starts at $1MM and includes two guaranteed seasons (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Robinson, Pacers’ Plans, Thomas, Bucks Cap

The addition of swingman Glenn Robinson III filled the Pistons’ biggest need this offseason, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The Pistons didn’t anticipate an early commitment but a phone call from new coach Dwane Casey as the start of free agency helped to seal the deal with the ex-Pacers wing. Robinson received a two-year, $8.3MM contract. “We didn’t expect we would get Glenn that quickly,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We felt getting the two-year commitment was huge to us. To find a young wing who can make a shot, they’re hard to find in the league. When the opportunity came up that quickly, we felt we had to make a move. If it wasn’t for him, we would still be out there looking for a guy.”

In other news involving Central Division teams:

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard hopes to use a majority of next summer’s cap space on his own free agents, Mark Monteith of Pacers.com reports. Rotation players Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Tyreke Evans could all be free agents next summer, which would free up as much as $57MM in cap space, Monteith notes. But Pritchard would prefer to use most of the money to re-sign some of those players, as he told Monteith. “We have the season like we want to have, our free agents will be the priority,” he said. “I think this team has a chance to grow this year. … We already know these guys. They become our priority in free agency.”
  • Rookie second-round pick Khyri Thomas could get playing time with the Pistons through his defensive prowess, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. The swingman out of Creighton views himself as a defensive specialist. “When I was younger, I didn’t get the ball a lot playing with older people so I just stole the ball to get it,” he told Beard.
  • The addition of center Brook Lopez gives the Bucks 13 guaranteed contracts for next season but they’re still $15MM away from being hard-capped, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Lopez reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Sunday. Milwaukee still has to deal with restricted free agent Jabari Parker‘s status, as he remains unsigned, but they could gain more flexibility since the contracts for Tyler Zeller and Brandon Jennings are not guaranteed, Marks adds.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Love, Polinsky, Evans

The Pacers offered a better contract to swingman Lance Stephenson than he received from the Lakers, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said on Friday (Twitter link via Mark Monteith). Stephenson agreed to a one-year, $4.5MM deal from the Lakers. A phone call from LeBron James influenced Stephenson’s decision to choose L.A., Monteith adds. However, the Pacers declined Stephenson’s team option of $4.36MM prior to free agency, so it seems odd Pritchard then turned around and offered more in the open market.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • The Cavs don’t plan on tanking or trading their top remaining player Kevin Love, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. GM Koby Altman said he’s intent on keeping the team competitive despite the loss of LeBron James“Kevin is an All-Star and you don’t get better by moving Kevin,” Altman said. “Kevin’s been incredible for us for four years and he wants to be here, and to me that’s a big part for guys that are here and the guys that we’re gonna acquire, is that they want to be here and be a part of this new chapter and culture that we’re creating.”
  • The Pistons have hired Nets executive Gregg Polinsky as their director of player personnel, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Pistons senior advisor Ed Stefanski and Polinsky worked together in Brooklyn, Wojnarowski adds. Polinsky had the same title with the Nets but his role will expand in Detroit. Pat Garrity and Andrew Loomis, who were assistant GMs under former team president Stan Van Gundy, will continue in their roles, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. The Pistons could bring in another assistant GM to focus on analytics, Beard adds.
  • Tyreke Evans is content with coming off the bench for the Pacers, Monteith writes for the team’s website. Evans joined the Pacers on a one-year, $12MM deal. Pritchard didn’t have to coax Evans into being a sixth man. “Not one bit,” he said. “We told him, ‘Here’s your role, does that interest you?’ He said, ‘Yes, I’m in.’ I think in his mind he’s going, ‘Boy, I’ve been scoring a lot of points and doing a lot of good stuff against starters, this is going to be fun.'”
  • Tim Grgurich is likely to join Dwane Casey’s coaching staff with the Pistons, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Grgurich, 76, has a long career as an NBA assistant and most recently was a consultant with the Bucks.