International Notes: Christon, Nogueira, Llull, Melli

Semaj Christon, who appeared in 64 games for the Thunder during the 2016/17 season, will play in Israel this season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Hapoel Be’er Sheva has announced the signing of the 25-year-old point guard, who split last season between China and Puerto Rico.

Christon was part of Oklahoma City’s rotation two seasons ago, averaging 2.9 points and 2.0 assists in about 15 minutes per game. The 55th pick in the 2014 draft, he was waived by the Thunder prior to the start of last season. A former star at Xavier, Christon played in the G League and Italy before coming to Oklahoma City.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Lucas Nogueira‘s contract with Fuenlabrada in Spain has been approved, tweets Varlas Nikos of Eurohoops.net. Nogueira’s former Estudiantes club in Madrid had objected to the signing, claiming it still owned his rights, but the team refused to send documentation to ACB. Nogueira spent four seasons with the Raptors, who paid a $650K buyout to Estudiantes to get his release. Nogueira was with Estudiantes from 2009 to 2014.
  • Sergio Llull has turned down numerous opportunities to join the Rockets and is now talking about staying with Real Madrid for the rest of his career, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “It is difficult to say to the NBA because it is an important League,” Llull said in a recent interview with Radio Marca. “But I have said several times that I am happy with Real Madrid. I want to remain here and win again. I would love to finish my career with Real Madrid. I have a contract for a lot of my year. But my goal now is to play a huge season.”
  • The Jazz, Hawks and Nets all have interest in signing Nicolo Melli for next season, tweets Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Atlanta and Brooklyn both made contact with him this summer, Cauchi adds.

Warriors Notes: West, Myers, Jerebko, Cousins

David West was a team leader and legitimate tough guy with well-rounded off-the-court interests, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The 38-year-old big man announced his retirement today after a 15-year NBA career that included the past two seasons with Golden State, where he won two titles.

In addition to his longevity, West will be remembered for a decision in made in 2015 to bypass an option year with the Pacers and sign with the Spurs in pursuit of a championship. The choice cost him about $10MM, but West felt it was worth it to pursue a ring. He joined the Warriors a year later and became the perfect veteran leader for a team coming off a disappointing finals loss.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • In a post on the team website, GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr talked about how much West’s presence with the team will be missed. “There should be a picture in the dictionary of David under ‘pro’s pro’,” Myers said. “He’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met. His depth of character is unmatched. We are all better for having spent the last two years with him. There is no doubt the best is ahead of him.” Kerr added: “David was a consummate professional throughout his entire career and was a huge presence in our locker room the last two years. The respect that he commanded was palpable every single day he walked in the door and the leadership that he provided to our team was critical to our success.”
  • Free agent addition Jonas Jerebko is prepared to do anything he can to help the Warriors stay on top. In a recent appearance on the Bay Area Sports Warriors Insider Podcast, Jerebko said he’s more confident than ever in his 3-point shot and believes he can help the team in other ways as well. “I’ve been in the league for 10 years now,” he said. “I know Steve [Kerr] and those guys have watched me and know what I can do on the court. I’m going to help every which way I can. If that’s on the defensive end, getting steals or rebounds, whatever it may be, hustling, you’re going to see me all over the court.”
  • The signing of DeMarcus Cousins gives the Warriors a potentially dominant big man once he’s fully healthy, but the team doesn’t plan any changes in its approach, writes Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re not going to change our style of play,” Kerr said. “We’ll definitely add a few plays for DeMarcus down on the block. But for the most part, we’re not going to change who we are.”

Hoops Rumors Glossary: Designated Veteran Extension

The NBA’s maximum salary is determined by a player’s years of NBA experience. Players with between zero and six seasons under their belts are eligible for a starting salary worth up to 25% of the salary cap. That figures increases to 30% for players with seven to nine years of NBA experience, and to 35% for players with 10+ years of service.

However, there are certain scenarios in which a player can be entitled to a higher maximum salary than his years of service dictate. When a player who would normally qualify for the 30% max becomes eligible for a starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap before he gains 10+ years of NBA experience, he can sign a Designated Veteran Extension.

A player who has seven or eight years of NBA service with one or two years left on his contract becomes eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension if he meets the required performance criteria.

A Designated Veteran contract can also be signed by a player who is technically a free agent if he has eight or nine years of service and meets the required performance criteria.

However, a player can’t sign a Designated Veteran deal with a new team — only his current team. If he has been traded at any time since his first four years in the NBA, he becomes ineligible for such a deal. That’s why players like DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Kawhi Leonard lost their potential Designated Veteran eligibility within the last couple years. Even if they had met the required performance criteria, being traded would have disqualified them.

Speaking of that performance criteria, here’s what it looks like. At least one of the following must be a true for a player to be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension:

  • He was named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.
  • He was named NBA MVP in any of the three most recent seasons.
  • He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.

Given the exclusivity of the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards, players typically qualify for the Designated Veteran Extension by earning All-NBA nods. For instance, before the Spurs traded him to Toronto, Leonard was eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension with San Antonio since he had been named to the All-NBA teams in 2016 and 2017.

Here are a few other rules related to Designated Veteran Extensions:

  • Even if a player qualifies for a Designated Veteran Extension, his team isn’t obligated to start its extension offer at 35% of the cap. The player is eligible for a salary up to that amount, but the exact amount is still a matter for the two sides to negotiate.
  • A Designated Veteran Extension can’t exceed six years, including the number of years left on the player’s contract. So if a player signs a Designated Veteran Extension when he has two years left on his current contract, he could tack on four new years to that deal.
  • A player signing a Designated Veteran contract as a free agent can’t sign for more than five years.
  • A team can carry no more than two players on Designated Veteran contracts at a time, including no more than one who has been acquired in a trade.
  • A Designated Veteran Extension can only be signed between the end of the July moratorium and the last day before the start of the regular season.
  • If a player signs a Designated Veteran Extension, he is ineligible to be traded for one year.

Here are the players who have signed Designated Veteran Extensions since the rule took effect in 2017:

Note: This is a Hoops Rumors Glossary entry. Our glossary posts will explain specific rules relating to trades, free agency, or other aspects of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.

Northwest Notes: O’Neale, Thibodeau, Collison, Murray

After two years of trying to earn an NBA job, Royce O’Neale broke through in a big way with the Jazz last season, writes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. After unexpectedly making the roster in training camp, O’Neale played in 69 games and was part of the rotation right through the playoffs. As he prepares for his second NBA season, O’Neale hasn’t changed his mindset of fighting to prove he belongs on the team.

“I can’t rest,” O’Neale said. “I still have to come out here and play with a chip on my shoulder.”

O’Neale has dedicated the summer to working on ball-handling and 3-point shooting, as well as spending time in the weight room. He heads into this year’s camp with a contract in hand, even though both seasons are non-guaranteed. O’Neale will receive $1,378,242 this season and $1,618,520 in 2019/20 if he remains on the roster.

There’s more tonight from the Northwest Division:

  • Coming off a difficult season with the Timberwolves, coach/executive Tom Thibodeau feels refreshed after a summer away from the team, relays Jim Souhan of The Star-Tribune. Minnesota entered the season with high expectations after trading for Jimmy Butler and signing Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson, but the pieces didn’t always fit together well and the Wolves had to win on the final night of the regular season to reach the playoffs. “I know I have to recharge,” said Thibodeau, who spent much of the summer traveling. “Now that I’m back here, I walk around the lake quite a bit. It’s beautiful here in the summer.”
  • The Thunder should honor Nick Collison‘s years of service to the organization by retiring his number, contends an article in The Oklahoman (subscription only.) Collison was the 12th pick in the 2003 draft by the SuperSonics and remained with the team for a full decade after its move to Okahoma City. He announced his retirement in May.
  • Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray has proven he can excel on offense, but he still needs to improve at the other end of the court, contends Joel Rush of Forbes. Rush runs the numbers and shows that Murray’s ineffectiveness on defense negates much of what he contributes on offense.

Atlantic Notes: Rozier, J. Brown, Nets, Sixers GM

“Scary Terry” isn’t afraid of returning to a bench role now that Celtics teammate Kyrie Irving is healthy again, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN. Terry Rozier became a postseason star in Boston with Irving sidelined after knee surgery, starting all 19 games and posting a 16.5/5.3/5.7 line as the Celtics reached Game 7 of the conference finals. Irving’s recovery will make Rozier a reserve again, but he won’t let that affect his outlook for the season.

“I’m not worried about [his role],” Rozier said today at his youth basketball camp. “Kinda control what I can control. We all got one goal, and that’s to win. We all get love when we win. That should be everybody’s mindset. It’s going to be a lot of fun. If you want to win a championship, that’s what it’s going to take — sacrifice. … We’re all going to have one goal, and it’s going to lead us to the promised land.”

Rozier’s attitude should help the Celtics, but it may not keep him in Boston beyond this season. He will be a restricted free agent next summer, and the organization may not want to make a large financial commitment to another guard with Irving also headed for free agency and Marcus Smart re-signing last month for $52MM over four years.

There’s more today from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jayson Tatum, who is coming off a stellar rookie season, expressed similar sentiments in an interview with Nicole Yang of Boston.com. Tatum was also outstanding for the Celtics in the playoffs, averaging 18.5 points per game, but he’s expected to lose his starting role whenever Gordon Hayward is healthy enough to take over. “I understand how deep our team is,” Tatum said. “I just care about winning and doing what I can while I’m on the floor.”
  • The Nets will probably focus on big men with their two open slots for training camp, according to an article on NetsDaily. Both players will likely wind up in the G League, and Brooklyn’s affiliate in Long Island is short on centers with an injury to Kamari Murphy, a starter last season, and the uncertain status of Prince Ibeh. The story mentions Luke Petrasek and Byron Mullens, who both attended the Nets’ free agent mini-camp this summer, as possibilities.
  • The Sixers are looking for a GM who won’t demand the final say on personnel moves, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Appearing on a podcast with Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, Pompey said the organization wants to keep the group dynamic in the front office that it’s had since getting rid of Bryan Colangelo in June.

Celtics Notes: Irving Trade, Hayward, Morris, Brown

One year has past since the Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics, and the aftershocks are continuing throughout the league, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Irving demanded a deal last summer because he was tired of being in LeBron James‘ shadow in Cleveland. He wound up going to Boston in a move that may have launched a rebuilding project for the Cavs and set the Celtics up to be an elite team for several years.

The final deal sent Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s unprotected first-rounder that became Collin Sexton. The Cavaliers received a 2020 second-round pick as added compensation when they claimed Thomas’ hip was in worse shape than they were led to believe.

The addition of Irving changed the Celtics’ prospects, Blakely notes. It gave them more size in the backcourt and ended the need to compensate for Thomas on defense. It upgraded the talent level and gave Boston a chance to compete with the Warriors if they should meet in the Finals. And it validated Danny Ainge’s decision not to go all in with trade offers for Paul George or Jimmy Butler earlier in the summer.

There’s more tonight from Boston:

  • Gordon Hayward has made significant progress in recovering from a severe ankle injury, but his greatest challenges still lie ahead, Blakely notes in a separate story. Blakely talks to Chauncey Billups and Reggie Jackson, who have both been through long rehab processes, about the difficulty involved. “You’re a shell of yourself when you first come back,” Jackson said. “That’s the toughest part … every player that makes it here, has some type of greatness. So, you can’t be that until you’re full-go again.”
  • Marcus Morris is the latest NBA player to speak out about mental health issues, sharing his story with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN in her five-part series running this week. Morris discusses the trauma of growing up in a violent North Philadelphia neighborhood and said he never sought help until Ainge and coach Brad Stevens urged him to see a psychologist. “I know lots of guys who are dealing with some kind of anxiety and depression — not knowing if they have a job next season, not knowing if they’re going to get traded,” Morris said. “It’s so stressful. Everyone is pulling at you. They want your time, your money, a piece of your fame. … If you have depression, you should be trying to get rid of it instead of bottling it up and letting it weigh on you and weigh on you and weigh on you.”
  • Jayson Tatum looks ahead to training camp and talks about his offseason work with Kobe Bryant in a question-and-answer session with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Pacific Notes: Mykhailiuk, Warriors, Gallinari, Kings

The Lakers were “terrified” that Kansas sharpshooter Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk would be gone before they could draft him in the second round, owner Jeanie Buss tells Mike Trudell of NBA.com. L.A. acquired the 39th pick from the Sixers, but opted for German guard Isaac Bonga at that spot. Mykhailiuk was still on the board when they picked again at No. 47.

“We felt like he was basically a first-round talent,” Buss said. “We were surprised he was there at 39, and much more surprised he was there at 47.”

Mykhailiuk showed why the Lakers value him so highly with his performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 16.6 PPG in seven games and earning second team all-league honors. The Lakers signed him to a three-year deal last month worth about $4.6MM.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have several options if they can’t reach a deal with restricted free agent Patrick McCaw, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Golden State made a $1.74MM qualifying offer in June that now can’t be pulled without McCaw’s consent. If the second-year shooting guard finds a better deal elsewhere and the Warriors choose not to match, Poole outlines the team’s alternatives, which include re-signing veteran guard Nick Young. Other possibilities are Corey Brewer, Jamal Crawford, Josh Huestis or if he can get medical clearance, Chris Bosh.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari looked good in the NBA Africa Game, but he won’t be playing for Italy in a pair of upcoming FIBA qualifying contests, tweets Italian journalist Davide Chinellato. “After consulting with the Clippers, medical staff and my agent, the conclusion has been made that it is best to stay in the U.S. in preparation for the upcoming NBA season, rather than participate in these international games,” said Gallinari, who finished last season with a fractured right hand. “I am excited to take on a leadership role with this team and to have a strong start going into training camp.”
  • Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley III could give the Kings a pair of contenders for Rookie of the Year honors, notes Noel Harris of The Sacramento Bee. No Sacramento rookie has claimed the trophy since Tyreke Evans in 2010.

Texas Notes: Ginobili, DeRozan, Anderson, Jordan

Manu Ginobili‘s announcement on whether he plans to play another season could come this week, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Speaking at a basketball clinic, Ginobili’s older brother, Sepo, suggested the veteran Spurs guard is nearing a decision, tweets Spanish-language broadcaster Carlos Altamirano.

The 41-year-old is entering the second season of a two-year contract he signed with the Spurs last summer. He will make $2.5MM if he decides to play in the upcoming season, which would be his 17th in San Antonio.

There’s more NBA news out of Texas:

  • DeMar DeRozan feels like he has something to prove after being traded from the Raptors to the Spurs this summer, and Jakob Poeltl thinks that should be frightening for opponents, Orsborn relays in a separate piece. Poeltl came to San Antonio with DeRozan in the Kawhi Leonard deal and knows what his teammate is capable of. DeRozan is a four-time All-Star and may push his game to greater heights in response to the trade. “It’s a little bit scary, to be honest,” Poeltl said, “because I know what he can do when he has a chip on his shoulder, when he gets that extra motivation. Yeah, I think he’s going to be ready.”
  • The Rockets are running into dead ends in their quest to trade Ryan Anderson, according to Ashith Mathur of AmicoHoops. Teams are reluctant to take on Anderson’s contract, which pays him more than $20.4MM this season and nearly $21.3MM in 2019/20. “They’ve done everything short of posting an ad on Craigslist,” a rival executive said. Anderson slipped out of Houston’s rotation late last season and saw his scoring average fall below 10 points per game for the first time in eight years.
  • The addition of free agent center DeAndre Jordan solves two glaring problems for the Mavericks, notes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News in his latest player profile. Jordan should help with rebounding and offensive efficiency as he has led the NBA in effective field-goal percentage in five of the past six seasons.

Heat Notes: Trade Rumors, Walton, Haslem, Free Agents

Don’t be surprised if the Heat keep their current roster together for a while despite a flurry of trade rumors surrounding the team, Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel writes in a mailbag column. Numerous Miami players have been mentioned in possible deals, with Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson among the most prominent.

Winderman notes that team president Pat Riley indicated in a media session that month that he would like to keep the current core together to see what it can accomplish. A deal could still happen before training camp opens in late September, but Winderman believes it would be more of a surprise, rather than something that has been rumored for weeks.

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • Derrick Walton may go on to better things with the Bulls, but the Heat didn’t have playing time to offer him, Winderman adds in the same piece. The 23-year-old guard is close to a deal with Chicago after Miami pulled his qualifying offer last month. The Heat have a crowded backcourt with Goran DragicTyler JohnsonWayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder all established, Waiters returning from ankle surgery and Dwyane Wade possibly wanting to play another season. Walton appeared in 16 games last year as a two-way player.
  • The Heat are giving up a roster spot by holding onto veteran forward Udonis Haslem if coach Erik Spoelstra refuses to play him, Winderman states in a separate mailbag. Haslem, 38, has developed into a virtual assistant coach, getting into 14 games last season and 16 the year before. Even so, he has a standing offer to return to the team if he wants to keep playing.
  • The Heat don’t have much playing time to offer combo guards or big men, which is why Mario Chalmers and Jahlil Okafor didn’t consider Miami before signing elsewhere, Winderman writes in another mailbag. Along with the logjam in the backcourt, the Heat have Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo all competing f0r playing time in the middle. Winderman speculates that the team could look for help at small forward if either Wade or Haslem doesn’t return.

Southeast Notes: Len, Whiteside, Adebayo, Wall

After growing up as a Hawks fan, Alex Len hopes to revive his NBA career with his favorite team, writes Kevin L. Chouinard of NBA.com. A Ukrainian native, Len was attracted to the Hawks because of their connection to countryman Alexander Volkov and was happy when Atlanta expressed interest in free agency last month.

The fifth player taken in the 2013 draft, Len spent five years in Phoenix but never lived up to the Suns’ expectations. At 25, he believes he is still young enough to be part of the rebuilding plan in Atlanta.

“It’s a young team,” Len said. “I think I fit well with the guys and mesh with the young core, so for the long term I thought it would be the best team. It’s an opportunity right there. In the East, I think there’s — what, maybe four or five teams that are really good? I think we can surprise a lot of teams.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat center Hassan Whiteside calls the week he spent in Africa “life changing,” relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside was among the stars of the NBA Africa game, making all five of his shots from the field, but the week of volunteering beforehand made a larger impression. “Life changing, life changing,” he said, “from building houses with kids, from seeing kids playing basketball, from taking selfies with all the kids around the world. It’s a dream come true. I never thought that kids in Africa or anybody in Africa would know my name. It takes me back. It’s crazy.”
  • Whiteside’s performance in Africa shows he can still be effective when he’s “active and engaged,” Winderman writes in a mailbag column. Whiteside clashed with coaches over playing time last season, but Winderman states that he still has the talent to be part of the rotation, even if that forces the team to make tough choices in other areas.
  • Bam Adebayo spent a lot of time in Summer League at power forward, which may be his natural position, Winderman adds in the same piece. His playing time during the upcoming season will depend on how effectively he can operate in tandem with Whiteside or Kelly Olynyk.
  • John Wall believes the Wizards may benefit from reduced media attention heading into next season, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Even after adding Dwight Howard and Austin Rivers to a talented lineup, Washington isn’t being touted in the same class with the Celtics, Sixers and Raptors. “When we were that team that was flying under the radar, we came out and showed people what we was capable of,” Wall said. “Then, when we were the team that everyone was talking about and everyone had so much high expectations for, we kind of failed those expectations.”