Jazz Rumors

Jazz To Sign Trevon Bluiett On Camp Deal

The Jazz are bringing back Trevon Bluiett on an Exhibit 10 deal, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets.

Blueitt was with the club in training camp prior to last season but got waived. He’ll likely wind up with G League’ Salt Lake City Stars if his longshot bid to make the opening night roster doesn’t pan out.

The 26-year-old swingman played for the Stars last season. He saw action in 41 G League games, averaging 14.9 PPG.

Bluiett spent the previous season with the Pelicans on a two-way contract.

Jazz Notes: Gobert, Favors, Bogdanovic, Azubuike

Asked today during a media session about the possibility of signing Rudy Gobert to a contract extension in the coming weeks, Jazz executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey declined to offer any specifics, but suggested the team would be happy to get something done.

We don’t comment on past, present or future negotiations, but we love Rudy,” Lindsey said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). “We want Rudy to be here for the rest of his career.”

Tony Jones of The Athletic, who has said repeatedly that Gobert and the Jazz are actively discussing a new contract, reiterated that point today (Twitter link).

Gobert is eligible to sign an extension anytime before he reaches free agency during the summer of 2021, though if the Jazz are willing to give the All-Star center a super-max deal starting at 35% of the cap (which seems unlikely), they’ll have to get it done by December 21.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Lindsey said today that the Jazz’s decision to bring back Derrick Favors in free agency was motivated by feeling undersized defensively last season against teams with multiple big men, such as the Lakers (Twitter link via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune).
  • Bojan Bogdanovic‘s recovery from wrist surgery is progressing well, according to Lindsey, who said the team will decide in about a week whether the veteran forward is ready to progress to contact workouts (Twitter link via Walden).
  • Addressing Utah’s decision to use the No. 27 pick in the draft on Udoka Azubuike, Lindsey said the team took the “best player available” route (Twitter link via Walden). The Jazz’s analytics models ranked the former Kansas center as the second-best prospect in the draft, while the club’s scouts ranked him in the top 10, Lindsey added.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic provides a training camp primer for the Jazz, discussing Gobert’s contract situation, Donovan Mitchell‘s new extension, and the club’s goal of getting back into the top 10 for overall team defense in 2020/21.

And-Ones: Season, Coronavirus, Extensions, G League

The NBA released a 139-page memo to its 30 teams outlining the COVID-19 regulations for the 2020-21 season, listing important rules to follow and explaining the procedure to follow when someone tests positive for the virus, Shams Charania and Sam Amick write for The Athletic.

The league acknowledged it will receive positive tests among its players this season, something that didn’t happen in the controlled Orlando campus last fall.

“It is likely that some staff, players, and other participants in the 2020/21 season nonetheless will test positive or contract COVID-19, particularly as the virus remains prevalent in particular team markets and surrounding communities,” the memo read, according to The Athletic. “The occurrence of independent cases (i.e., cases not spread among players or team staff) or a small or otherwise expected number of COVID-19 cases will not require a decision to suspend or cancel the 2020/21 season.”

The memo described the procedure for a positive test in length, specifying that the individual would miss a minimum of 12 days. It also outlawed miscellaneous activities for team traveling parties, including using hotel amenities such as spas or gift shops.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Celtics and Jazz would’ve benefited from declining to give Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell fifth-year player options, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes. Hollinger believes the clubs had leverage to push for straight five-year deals with no options, given that they were willing to include favorable Rose Rule language and 15% trade kickers.
  • NBA G League writer Adam Johnson provided further clarity (via Twitter) on the G League’s potential bubble idea this season, adding that the idea of a January campus in Atlanta (similar to Orlando) is being discussed. A minimum of 12 games would be played, with daily testing and quarantine periods required for each of the participants. Teams would likely have a $500K entry fee in the proposed idea, with the league hopeful of adding more games over time, Johnson tweets.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Thunder, KAT, Nnaji

Jazz reserve center Derrick Favors didn’t need much convincing around before deciding to return to Utah, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake City Tribune.

“I just came to the decision: ‘You know what, man? It feels better going back to Utah,’” Favors said in a Wednesday afternoon Zoom conversation. “Utah is like a second home to me — I’ve been there since I was 19, [since] around 2010. It just felt right. So once they came with the opportunity, I jumped on it.” 

Favors inked a three-year, $27MM contract with the Jazz to back up All-Star center Rudy Gobert at the start of free agency. Favors previously spent 8.5 seasons with Utah before being dealt to the Pelicans last season. He averaged 9.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 0.9 BPG in 24.4 MPG during the 2019/20 season.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Besides Maurice Cheeks, who already left for a job with the Bulls, Brian Keefe and Vin Bhavnani are the only Thunder assistants not returning to be part of Mark Daigneault‘s new coaching staff, notes Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. The Thunder previously announced Daigneault’s group, which will include former Knicks interim coach Mike Miller.
  • The Timberwolves are playing a delicate balancing act, as they strive to keep star center Karl-Anthony Towns happy while taking pains to improve the team’s roster long-term, as Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star Tribune details.
  • New Nuggets rookie forward Zeke Nnaji hopes to become a lockdown defender in Denver, Sean Keeler of the Denver Post reports. “My ultimate goal is to be able to guard one through five consistently,” the 19-year-old out of Arizona said. “I want to be a lockdown defender no matter who I’m guarding. But the biggest thing right now is working on that three through five and just being versatile, no matter what role I’m playing.”

Kings Among Teams Hoping To Sign Glenn Robinson III

The Kings are among a group of four teams that have expressed the most interest in adding Glenn Robinson III, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Sources tell Anderson that the Lakers, Clippers and Jazz are considered Sacramento’s main competition to sign the free agent forward. Sources also say new Kings general manager Monte McNair and assistant GM Wes Wilcox have been diligent in their pursuit of Robinson.

Sacramento could offer regular playing time to Robinson, who is one of the top free agents still left on the market. The Kings need wing depth after declining to match the offer sheet Bogdan Bogdanovic received from the Hawks, and Robinson would get an opportunity to compete for back-up minutes at small forward.

Robinson, 26, averaged 11.7 points and shot 39.1% from three-point range last season in a combined 62 games with the Warriors and Sixers. Philadelphia acquired him at the trade deadline to add bench depth, but his numbers declined after the deal and he was barely used in the playoffs.

A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson has also played for the Timberwolves, Pacers and Pistons.

Donovan Mitchell Talks Extension With Jazz

Earlier this week, the Jazz officially extended franchise cornerstone Donovan Mitchell on a five-year, designated rookie max extension that could be worth up to $195MM. It was a major move for Utah, ensuring that the 2017 first-round pick will remain with the organization for the foreseeable future.

The Jazz’s focus will now look to establish itself as a formidable postseason threat for years to come, led by the New York native. Coming off his first All-Star game selection, Mitchell talked about the Jazz’s early exit from the playoffs this past season and his hopes for the future.

Eric Walden of The Salt Lake City Tribune also relays Mitchell’s thoughts on his personal on-court improvement and his ultimate legacy off of it.

Mitchell on his mindset now that he’s signed for the long haul:

“We have good pieces to make a real push for this thing. We blew a 3-1 lead [in the playoffs] this year. I look at it as we need to find a way to get over that hump in the first round and find a way to push and get to a championship. That’s really on the forefront of my brain.”

Mitchell on what he wants his lasting legacy to be:

“Championships are great, games are great, but at the end of the day, I’m a Black man first. That’s the legacy I want to be able to tell my kids, ‘Look, your dad was a part of this, your dad was a part of that.’ This game is great, this game has allowed my family to live the way we live. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t hide you from being Black, doesn’t hide you from the injustices of the world.”

Working with assistant coach Johnnie Bryant to improve his shooting ability:

“There are times where I take bad shots. Being able to hear his honesty and let me know that it’s a bad shot — more than my teammates would — that’s where our relationship really had accelerated.”

Jazz Trade Rayjon Tucker, 2027 Second-Round Pick To Cavs

NOV. 28: The Cavaliers have waived Tucker, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). As a result, they’ll only carry his $340K partial guarantee on their cap.

NOV. 27: The Jazz are trading wing Rayjon Tucker to the Cavaliers along with a future second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that Utah is receiving cash in return.

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the Cavaliers will get the Jazz’s 2027 second-rounder in the swap. The Cavs have issued a press release confirming the deal, making it official.

Tucker, 23, appeared in 20 games as a rookie for Utah last season, averaging 3.1 PPG and 1.0 RPG in a very limited role (8.1 MPG). His $1.52MM salary for the 2020/21 campaign will become guaranteed if the Cavs keep him under contract through November 29, but for now it’s just partially guaranteed for $340K, per Marks.

The Jazz will open up a spot on their projected regular season roster and clear a little money from their salary cap. Meanwhile, if the Cavs don’t intend to hang onto Tucker, they’re essentially just buying a future second-round pick for $340K (his partial guarantee), plus whatever amount of money they sent to Utah in the deal.

NBA Teams With Hard Caps For 2020/21

The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $109,140,000 threshold once their room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury-tax limit of $132,627,000 as well — the Warriors project to have a nine-figure tax bill this season as a result of their spending.

The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows a club like Golden State to build a significant payroll without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped, as we explain in a glossary entry.

When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion ($5,718,000) of the mid-level exception, that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.

When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the “tax apron” at any point during the rest of the league year. The tax apron was set $6MM above the luxury tax line in 2017/18 (the first year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement) and creeps up a little higher each time the cap increases. For the 2020/21 league year, the tax apron – and hard cap for certain clubs – is set at $138,928,000.

More than half the teams in the NBA have been willing to hard-cap themselves this offseason, and in some cases, it will significantly impact a team’s ability to add further reinforcements later in the league year. The Bucks and Lakers are among the teams right up against the hard cap, which may prevent them from being players in free agency during the season unless they can shed salary.

For other clubs, the hard cap is just a technicality that won’t affect their plans. The Hawks and Thunder are among the hard-capped clubs that will have zero practical concerns about reaching that threshold in 2020/21.

Listed below are the hard-capped teams for the 2020/21 league year, along with how they created a hard cap.

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Charlotte Hornets

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

  • Acquired Jerami Grant from the Nuggets via sign-and-trade.

Houston Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Serge Ibaka.

Los Angeles Lakers

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Phoenix Suns

  • Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Jae Crowder.

Portland Trail Blazers

Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

  • Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Robin Lopez.

This list could continue to grow during the offseason if other teams acquire a player via sign-and-trade, use more than the taxpayer portion of their mid-level exception, or use their bi-annual exception.

Glenn Robinson III Receiving Interest From Lakers, Clippers, Others

Free agent swingman Glenn Robinson III has received interest from several playoff teams, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who identifies the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Nets, and Jazz as the teams eyeing Robinson.

Robinson, who turns 27 in January, began last season with the Warriors and played some of the best basketball of his career in Golden State. In 48 games (all starts) for the Dubs, he averaged 12.9 PPG and 4.7 RPG on .481/.400/.851 shooting in 31.6 minutes per contest.

After being traded from Golden State to Philadelphia at February’s deadline, Robinson saw his role cut back significantly and his numbers dipped accordingly (7.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 19.3 MPG). He only logged 36 total minutes in the 76ers’ first-round playoff series, a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston.

While Robinson is unlikely to start for a playoff team in 2020/21, he’d offer solid depth on the wing for any of the potential suitors listed above. Not all of those clubs are limited only to minimum-salary offers, but it won’t be a surprise if the former Michigan Wolverine ends up signing for the minimum.

Jake Toolson Signs Exhibit 10 Contract With Jazz

The Jazz have inked ex-BYU/Utah Valley rookie guard Jake Toolson to an Exhibit 10 contract, according to an official team press release. The news was first reported by Ben Anderson of KSL Sports.

Toolson will have an opportunity to join Utah for the club’s training camp. Should he make the Jazz’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, Toolson could earn a bonus between $5K-$50K .

Toolson started out at BYU from 2014-16, transferred to Utah Valley, finally reunited with BYU for his 2019/20 senior season.

As a fifth-year senior, Toolson averaged 15.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.9 APG for the Cougars. The 6’5″ guard also shot 47.2% from the floor and converted and 47.0% of his 5.7 long range attempts during his senior year season. Toolson was named a 2019/20 All-WCC First Team selection.