Zach Randolph

Knicks Have Explored Kanter, Parker Trade Scenario

As the Knicks attempt to find a new home for Enes Kanter, one scenario recently discussed by the team would see New York acquire Bulls forward Jabari Parker, reports Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Both Kanter ($18.6MM) and Parker ($20MM) are on pricey expiring contracts, and the Knicks were previously cited as one of the teams that expressed interest in the former No. 2 overall pick. However, Chicago is unlikely to have any interest in Kanter, since the team is headed for the lottery and wants youngsters like Wendell Carter, Lauri Markkanen, and Bobby Portis to handle the brunt of the frontcourt minutes.

Bondy acknowledges as much, writing that finding a third team to take Kanter represented a “snag in the framework” of a deal involving Kanter and Parker. It’s unclear if discussions ever really got off the ground and advanced beyond the preliminary stages, Bondy adds.

Like the Bulls, the Knicks are currently focused on player development rather than playoff contention, and Kanter has made it clear he’s not on board with that approach, so the team has been on the lookout for potential trades.

The Knicks reportedly talked to the Kings about a possible swap involving Kanter and Zach Randolph, who has an $11MM+ expiring contract. Bondy suggests that Sacramento would like to add Kosta Koufos – another veteran on an expiring contract – to that hypothetical deal, but says the Knicks would require a sweetener (ie. a second-round pick) to make it work.

It’s not clear how much interest the Knicks really have in Parker, but if they like him as a player and view him as a better long-term fit than Kanter, acquiring him in a trade would give them some options in the offseason. His $20MM team option will certainly be declined, but whichever team has him at the end of the season would hold his Non-Bird rights and could offer him a starting salary ranging from anywhere between the minimum and $24MM.

Knicks, Kings Discussing Enes Kanter, Zach Randolph

The Knicks and Kings are discussing a potential trade that would see the teams swap the expiring contracts of Enes Kanter and Zach Randolph, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

However, according to Wojnarowski, nothing is close yet, as Sacramento would prefer to send out more expiring money in any such trade. Getting a third team involved could help pave the way to a deal, Woj adds.

Kanter, 26, has had an inconsistent role for the Knicks this season as the team focuses on developing young bigs like Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson. Kanter has spoken repeatedly about how much he likes playing in New York and hasn’t requested a trade, but he may welcome the opportunity to get more regular playing time for a team in the playoff hunt as he approaches unrestricted free agency.

[RELATED: Enes Kanter met with Knicks’ GM to discuss role]

The Kings fit that bill, remaining in the race for a postseason berth despite a recent slump. The 20-21 squad is currently tied with Utah and Minnesota, two games back of the Lakers for the No. 8 seed. Sacramento also has approximately $11MM in cap room, which means the club could comfortably take on Kanter’s $18.6MM salary in exchange for Randolph’s $11.7MM contract without having to worry about salary matching.

That may not be the best use of the Kings’ cap space though — that space figures to be a valuable asset at next month’s trade deadline, since every other NBA team is over the cap. It’s also not clear why the Knicks would be incentivized to make a Kanter/Randolph swap, besides some modest financial savings in 2018/19, but perhaps the club is simply ready to move on from its veteran center.

In 41 games (26.5 MPG) this season, Kanter has been his usual productive self, posting 14.4 PPG and 11.0 RPG. While he can score and is an excellent rebounder, the former third overall pick isn’t a strong defender or rim protector, which will limit his value on the trade market.

As for Randolph, the 37-year-old hasn’t appeared in a single game for the Kings so far in the final season of his two-year contract with the club. At this point, he’s a trade candidate simply for his expiring deal, and would certainly emerge as a buyout candidate if he’s not moved by February 7.

The Kings also have veterans like Kosta Koufos ($8.7MM) and Ben McLemore ($5.5MM) on expiring contracts and could look to make the most of those deals in trades in the coming weeks. Iman Shumpert ($11MM) is in the final year of his contract too, but has emerged as a reliable on-court contributor and off-court leader for Sacramento, reducing the odds that he’d be used as a trade chip.

Dinwiddie Extension Good News For Rozier, Russell?

League executives at last week’s G League Showcase in Las Vegas were “raving” about the Nets‘ deal to lock up Spencer Dinwiddie to a three-year, $34.3MM extension, comparing it to the Clippers‘ three-year, $24MM agreement with Lou Williams, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider-only link).

According to Marks, two teams he spoke to in Vegas had Dinwiddie ranked as the third-best point guard in the 2019 free agent class before he signed his extension, placing him behind only Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. That would have put Dinwiddie ahead of younger players like Terry Rozier (Celtics) and D’Angelo Russell (Nets), both of whom are on track for restricted free agency.

Rozier and Russell should benefit from Dinwiddie’s deal, since it takes one of 2019’s top FA point guards off the board and could create additional competition for their services. According to Marks, league execs in Vegas last week identified the Magic and Suns as probable suitors for Rozier and Russell, though the Celtics and Nets will have the upper hand until an offer sheet is on the table.

Here’s more from Marks:

  • Teams are monitoring Markelle Fultz, not just to keep an eye on his health and future, but also to see how Fultz’s status will impact Sixers teammate T.J. McConnell, according to Marks. McConnell is headed for unrestricted free agency and is unlikely to get an in-season extension if Philadelphia intends to maximize its 2019 cap room. McConnell could command a salary in the $5-7MM range, Marks notes.
  • Teams around the NBA believe there could be a strong group of buyout candidates available later this season. According to Marks, the veteran players that clubs are keeping an eye on include Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Zach Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, Enes Kanter, Kenneth Faried, Jerryd Bayless, Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos, Alec Burks, J.R. Smith, and Jabari Parker. Some of those vets may be traded and some figure to remain with their current teams, but I could definitely see several of them ending up on the buyout market.

Kings Eyeing Otto Porter Jr.

The Kings are “closely monitoring” the Wizards with an eye toward potentially making a play for forward Otto Porter Jr., league sources tell Jason Jones of The Athletic.

Sacramento has long been fond of Porter, pursuing him when he reached restricted free agency in 2017. Although the Kings made Porter a maximum-salary contract offer at that point, he ultimately decided to sign a similar offer sheet with the Nets, which was subsequently matched by Washington.

Now, with the Wizards reportedly willing to listen to inquiries on any of their players and the Kings still seeking a long-term answer at small forward, the time might be right for Sacramento to go after the 25-year-old once again.

Porter’s contract, which features a $26MM cap hit for 2018/19 and is worth $55.7MM over the following two seasons, is considered onerous, but the Kings’ books are clear of significant long-term commitments. They’re about $11MM under the cap right now, and project to have a ton of cap room in 2019. With Sacramento not viewed as a realistic player for 2019’s star free agents, it makes sense that the team would be open to the idea of sacrificing some of that potential cap space by acquiring a possible core piece in a trade.

The Kings also have several veterans on expiring contracts who could be used for salary-matching purposes, including Zach Randolph ($11.69MM), Kosta Koufos ($8.74MM), and Ben McLemore ($5.46MM).

It remains to be seen what approach the Wizards will take to in-season trade negotiations, since they’re still very much in the mix for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, despite their slow start. If they do decide to shake things up, Porter appears to be the likeliest trade candidate of the Wizards’ “Big Three.” He’d have more trade value than John Wall, and Washington would be more inclined to move him than Bradley Beal.

Grizzlies Notes: Parsons, Roster Spot, Randolph, Anthony

The Grizzlies will give serious consideration to using the stretch provision to unload Chandler Parsons‘ contract after this season ends, writes Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. Parsons will make $25.1MM in 2019/20, the final season of a four-year, $94MM deal that he signed during the free agent bonanza of 2016.

Memphis has gotten minimal production from Parsons, who has been plagued by injuries for most of his time with the organization. He played a combined 70 games over the past two years and has  appeared in just three this season because of knee and back soreness.

Stretching Parsons’ contract would allow the Grizzlies to break it up into $8.4MM payments over the next three seasons and could give the team enough room to offer a max contract next summer. However, that depends on other financial factors as well, such as whether Marc Gasol decides to opt out of his $25,595,700 deal.

There’s more Grizzlies news to pass along, all courtesy of Herrington:

  • Memphis probably won’t fill its open roster spot, even after the MCL sprain that could sideline Dillon Brooks for up to eight weeks. Omri Casspi‘s impending return from a knee injury will help ease the shortage, and the Grizzlies believe Yuta Watanabe can become a contributor on defense. The front office recently explored the idea of adding former Knicks center Joakim Noah, but no signing is planned, at least not right away. Like many teams with cap issues, Memphis has been keeping one roster spot unfilled to help save on tax penalties.
  • There may be sentiment to bring back Zach Randolph, who hasn’t gotten off the Kings’ bench this season, but that comes more from fans than from the organization. Randolph had his best years in Memphis, but he seems to have accepted his situation in Sacramento and there’s little incentive for the Kings to buy him out before they try to trade him. Randolph has an expiring $11.7MM contract that could make him attractive to a contender by the February deadline.
  • The Grizzlies are an intriguing possibility for Carmelo Anthony once his time in Houston officially ends. Memphis could use another shooter and has both a veteran core and a strong foundation on defense that could help Anthony excel. However, Harrington notes that power forward is now probably Anthony’s best position, and the Grizzlies are already well stocked there with Jaren Jackson Jr., JaMychal Green and Kyle Anderson.

Kings Notes: Bagley, Randolph, Koufos, Labissiere

Willie Cauley-Stein‘s improved performance may have taken away some of the need for Marvin Bagley, but the Kings would have drafted him second overall anyway, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Sacramento could use another creator on offense, a role that could have been filled by Luka Doncic, who went one pick later, but Jones believes Bogdan Bogdanovic will help in that area when he recovers from his knee injury.

Kings management views Bagley as a positionless frontline player who won’t be limited to center or power forward. Doncic was in the top three on their draft board, along with Deandre Ayton, but Jones states that the Kings were sold on Bagley’s combination of athleticism, energy and rebounding, along with his potential to develop into a reliable scorer.

There’s more out of Sacramento, all courtesy of Jones:

  • Veteran forward Zach Randolph may not play all season if he remains on the Kings’ roster. The front office informed him that it planned to concentrate on giving time to its young big men, and the team is already having difficulty finding enough minutes for all of them. Randolph averaged 14.5 PPG and 6.7 RPG last season, so he believes he can still contribute, even after turning 37 this summer. He is currently away from the team, but his expiring contract worth nearly $11.7MM could prove useful in a trade.
  • Kosta Koufos, who recently returned from a hamstring injury to add to the logjam of big men, is a strong candidate to be re-signed after the season ends. Coach Dave Joerger and GM Vlade Divac are both strong supporters of Koufos, who is making $8.7MM in the final year of his current deal.
  • The Kings considered trading away Skal Labissiere last season, but it would take a strong offer now for them to consider parting with him. With Cauley-Stein and Koufos both heading into free agency, a rotation spot would open up for Labissiere if either of them leaves.
  • Joerger was planning to experiment with a three-guard rotation in training camp before Bogdanovic hurt his knee. With Buddy Hield playing well, that could be an option once Boganovic is back on the court.
  • The Kings are willing to use their cap space to facilitate deals, but only if they get a significant asset in return. Sacramento would love to acquire a first-round pick after giving theirs up in a 2015 deal with the Sixers.

Grizzlies Notes: Roster Opening, Noah, Randolph

The Grizzlies‘ Thursday announcement that they’ve waived third-year guard Andrew Harrison came as a bit of a surprise, given the fairly prominent role he has had in the team’s rotation in recent seasons. Cutting Harrison opens up a spot on Memphis’ 15-man NBA roster, but the move wasn’t made with a specific signing in mind, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link). Herrington adds that he wouldn’t expect that roster spot to be filled immediately.

While teams can carry up to 15 players on standard NBA contracts, many clubs opt not to fill their rosters near the start of the season — as our roster counts page shows, only 19 of 30 teams have full 15-man rosters at the moment.

Leaving that last spot empty allows for roster flexibility and saves some money. Plus, with a pair of players on two-way contracts also available if needed, teams generally have plenty of depth without having to carry a 15th man.

Here’s more out of Memphis:

  • The Grizzlies currently have a greater need in the frontcourt than the backcourt, as Herrington notes (via Twitter). According to Herrington, the team “had some contact” with free agent center Joakim Noah recently, but have no plans to sign him at this point.
  • Despite Memphis’ desire for a little more frontcourt help and the strong possibility that Zach Randolph will eventually get a buyout in Sacramento, don’t expect a reunion between Randolph and the Grizzlies, Herrington writes in a mailbag for The Daily Memphian. Herrington believes the club is more likely to target a defensive option in the middle, and may not make a move unless Marc Gasol goes down for an extended period.
  • The Grizzlies’ strong start can be attributed in part to improvements on their bench, as Drew Hill of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details. Offseason additions like Shelvin Mack and Omri Casspi are among the players making an impact in Memphis’ second unit.

Kings’ Frontcourt Logjam Worth Monitoring

The Kings are projected by most oddsmakers and NBA analysts to be the Western Conference’s worst team in 2018/19, but there are several young players on the roster who should be fun to watch. Marvin Bagley III, 2018’s second overall pick, is one of those players, while 2017 first-rounder Harry Giles, who generated buzz with his play this summer after missing his entire rookie season, is another.

However, Bagley only played 12 minutes in Sacramento’s opening-night game on Thursday, while Giles saw just 10 minutes of action. It’s certainly not unusual for rookies to have modest roles to start the season, but the Kings’ frontcourt rotation in their first game highlighted the logjam that exists at the four and five, as Jason Jones of The Athletic details.

With Willie Cauley-Stein and Nemanja Bjelica starting at center and power forward, respectively, and Justin Jackson also playing at the four in some lineups, head coach Dave Joerger suggests it may be “tough” to find minutes for Bagley, especially since the club is thinking long-term with its top pick, Jones writes. For his part, the No. 2 overall pick said he’s “trying to stay patient” when it comes to his playing time.

“I can only control what I can control,” Bagley said after Thursday’s loss. “And whenever my number is called, I’ve just got to go hard, go 100%, and try to do whatever I can to try to help us win. I think I did all right for what I did tonight, how much time I played tonight.”

Besides Cauley-Stein, Bjelica, Jackson, Bagley, and Giles, there are a few more big men on the Kings’ roster who would like to earn some minutes up front. Skal Labissiere didn’t play in the club’s opener, and neither did veteran Zach Randolph, who wasn’t even active for the game. Throw in Kosta Koufos, who should be healthy soon after battling a hamstring injury, and you have seven or eight players vying for playing time at two positions.

In other words, there will likely be “unhappy bigs every night” in Sacramento this season, as Jones tweets.

The Kings, who don’t have serious playoff aspirations, are unlikely to address their frontcourt logjam right away, but this is a situation worth monitoring over the course of the season. At least one trade before the deadline seems likely, and vets like Randolph and Koufos could ultimately be strong buyout candidates if they’re not moved by February. Stay tuned.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Chriss, Harrell, Randolph

When the Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball, they acquired a package deal that included his outspoken father, LaVar. In his rookie season, Lonzo has fielded questions about his father’s critiques of the Lakers, the Big Baller Brand, and his brothers’ basketball careers.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne outlines a tense, if not somewhat hostile, environment since the Ball infiltrated the Lakers organization. Among the issues Shelburne reports: The Lakers didn’t allow the family’s production team to film games for their ‘Ball In The Family’ Facebook show for free, charged Lonzo regular price for tickets, and privately admonished LaVar when poor reviews of BBB’s products were directed to the team.

While the organization has stayed mostly silent in regards to LaVar’s comments, privately, the team views him as a major distraction. One official tells Shelburne that LaVar is viewed as someone that, “reaches out with one hand and slaps us with the other.”

It has been a tumultuous, injury-filled rookie season for Lonzo, but he has shown signs of promise. While it remains to be seen whether he’ll deliver promise on that promise to an extent that makes his father’s presence worth tolerating, Magic Johnson has plenty of confidence in the partnership and no regrets about drafting the young point guard.

“He’s everything we thought he would be and more,” Johnson said. “Things are gonna work out for the Lakers and for Lonzo.”

Check out other Pacific Division news and notes below:

  • While it appeared that Marquese Chriss turned a major corner less than two months ago, his game has seemingly regressed back to rookie status in his second season with the Suns, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes.
  • Acquired in last summer’s Chris Paul trade, Montrezl Harrell has played well for the Clippers and has solidified his role as the backup center. It’s not easy to pinpoint one specific thing Harrell does well, but he says he just maximizes his minutes, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I just took the minutes I had and made the best of it when I got in,” Harrell said. “I just kept working on my game, off the court and on the court.”
  • In spite of his team’s youth movement, Kings veteran Zach Randolph has played more than expected in recent weeks, which has allowed him to get into a groove offensively, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. “You get a good rhythm,” Randolph said. “Especially something that I’m not used to, the team developing our young players. So you get into a good rhythm, it’s important, playing and getting that feel.”

Kyler’s Latest: Nuggets, Whiteside, Mavs, Kings

Nuggets veterans Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay could be had in trades at this year’s deadline, league sources tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who suggests that the asking prices for those players likely wouldn’t be too high. I identified both Faried and Mudiay as potential trade candidates in my look at the Northwest on Wednesday.

If the Nuggets become a seller, Will Barton would also be a very intriguing trade chip, Kyler writes. However, that may be wishful thinking on the part of rival teams. Denver currently holds a playoff spot in the West and Barton has played the second-most minutes on the club, so it seems unlikely that the Nuggets would move him. Ultimately, the team may not end up trading anyone — Kyler suggests there’s a sense around the NBA that Denver isn’t looking to make a deal as aggressively as several other teams.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • Sources close to the Heat acknowledge that teams have called about Hassan Whiteside, but say he probably won’t be made available at the deadline, writes Kyler.
  • The Mavericks “have had eyes” for Julius Randle, and would be a potential trade partner for L.A. if the Lakers move the big man. Kyler refers to Dallas a “open for business” in terms of trades.
  • According to Kyler, the prevailing thought around the NBA is that Willy Hernangomez is the player most likely to be moved by the Knicks, though he’s unlikely to net a significant return.
  • While many league insiders think Nikola Mirotic will end up in Utah, the Jazz don’t currently seem to be on board with sending a first-round pick to the Bulls, says Kyler.
  • Team sources tell Kyler that Garrett Temple and Zach Randolph are more likely than not to finish the season in Sacramento, but the Kings have been “very open and receptive” to trying to find their veterans new homes.
  • Although the Magic are viewed as a team that could be active at the deadline, the team is reluctant to take back long-term salary and would be happy to ride out the season and make changes in the summer if necessary, per Kyler.