There are so many NBA players both talking to and signing with overseas teams that we collect them in an occasional roundup. We bring you the Labor Day edition, because nothing says Labor Day like barbeque and bullet points.
• Corey Maggette has been flirting with Greek team PAOK for a while, but things are now looking serious. He flew to Greece to meet with team officials and talk about a salary that would be $415,000 per month plus a cut of jersey sales. Good sign — hundreds of fans greeted Maggette’s plane at the airport to cheer him on.
• Mavericks swingman Corey Brewer is in talks with a couple of teams in the Spanish ABC league. Brewer isn’t going to make in Spain the $5.2 million he’d make in the NBA next season, so there will be an out clause. Not that the Mavericks would really care if there were not.
• Josh Powell has signed with Liaoning in China, which means he is set to spend the full season in China. The power forward played for the Hawks last season but was not really in their plans going forward. He likely would have landed a minimum salary bench job somewhere in the league, but this is a guaranteed payday.
• The deal that was going to send Sundiata Gaines to Georgia has fallen through. Gaines would be a free agent but wants an NBA out clause, and not every Euro team wants to give him that.
• Raptors big man Alexis Ajinca is apparently close to a deal to play for Blancos de Rueda Valladolid in Spain. Ajinca would need an NBA out as the Raptors have him next season at $2.3 million. Ajinca is a guy with great NBA size and athleticism who is trying to learn the game still. He’s a good risk for the Raptors because of that.
• B.J. Mullens, the center who has spent the last two seasons in Oklahoma City unable to get off the bench, has signed to play with Panionios in Greece. He has a $1.2 million deal with the Thunder for next season, so he’ll have an NBA out. This is good for him, he needs to play if he is going to develop and get off that Thunder bench and contribute.
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.
The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.
The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.
Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.
A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.
The San Antonio Spurs have been very tight lipped about how serious Kawhi Leonard‘s ongoing quadriceps issue is. He hasn’t played in the preseason or now the start of the regular season, with no timetable for his return. Part of that is the nature of the Spurs organization, but it leads to the feeling there is something more there.
Now surfaces this video of Leonard gingerly, slowly making his way up some stairs to the team plane, and it’s concerning.
To be fair, there is a real lack of context here, but according to the San Antonio Express-News, he had just come out of a rehab session. That means he might have been especially sore (and could have been iced up for the flight).
Still, this video makes one think it could be a while longer before we see Leonard back on the floor for San Antonio. (By the way over the past three seasons, including this one, the Spurs are 15-4 when Leonard sits. They will be fine short term.)
In the team’s first preseason game, the jersey of the Lakers’ Tyler Ennis was torn in the back with a tug from an opponent. Everyone made tearaway jersey jokes and moved on, thinking it was a one-off situation.
Then LeBron James‘ jersey ripped down the back on opening night, on national television.
Now Nike is looking into the issue, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.
Nearly three days after one of its jerseys tore in the first regular-season game of its new deal with the NBA, Nike released a statement Friday expressing worry about the issue, without offering insight as to what happened or what will be done.
“The quality and performance of all our products are of utmost importance,” the company said in a statement. “We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear and are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”
This is the first year Nike has the NBA apparel contract, having just taken it over from Adidas. They made the jerseys similar to what had been done for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there were no issues, but these jerseys are lighter than the former Adidas ones. It’s unclear what, if any, changes could be coming.
Like many of the jerseys from opening night, LeBron’s ripped one is being auctioned by the NBA to raise money for hurricane relief.