Going to Europe is a surefire way to drop off the NBA fan radar for a bit, but don’t think for a second that teams have forgotten about Linas Kleiza.
We haven’t seen Kleiza play stateside since the 2009 playoffs, but there’s a possibility he’ll make his return to the NBA next season through restricted free agency this summer. Everything is still very tentative, even at this stage; according to Lithuania Basketball, Linas is still weighing his options and determining whether a return to the NBA now is in his best interest:
Linas Kleiza arrived in the United States to wait for news about his future just before the start of the NBA free agency. Despite numerous Greek media reports about the Lithuanian player staying in Olympiacos Piraeus, there is a possibility that he will be returning to play basketball in NBA. “It’s split at 50-50 on whether I’ll play in Greece or return to NBA,” Kleiza told the Lietuvos Rytas daily. [The] Denver Nuggets have confirmed that they would like to see the forward in their jersey for next year, but the the financial terms of the offer weren’t revealed. It’s also not clear if any other club would like to also bid for the player.
If Kleiza commits to a return, it’s likely that he’ll receive a number of offers. Linas is quite a handful for a combo forward, as he’s capable of being both a physical slasher and a decent outside shooter. Either way, he plays an aggressive brand of ball that makes him valuable and endearing to his teammates.
As noted in the report, the Nuggets are the obvious favorite to (re-)sign Kleiza should he return to the NBA, and they’ll have the right to match any offer sheet Linas signs. That means another team will have to overpay Kleiza for the chance to lure him away, and while that offer may not match the $6ish million he’d make overseas, it could be competitive enough to entice him back to the L, regardless of whether the Nuggets choose to match.
The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.
Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.
Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).
But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.
Could those issues derail his career?
Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”
On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.
But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.
The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.
Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.
A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.
This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.
The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.
But New York didn’t stop there.
The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.
But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.