NBA “Deal Day” moves and rumors (constantly updated)

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Today is going to be the Black Friday Sales of the NBA — there will be deals happening fast here, there and everywhere. Just like at Wal*Mart, you might have GMs pepper spraying others to make sure they get the player they want.

It’s going to be hard to keep up with all the information, so this one post will have updates on everything that goes down. You’re going to read more details about a lot of them in other posts here at ProBasketballTalk, but this spot is your one-stop shopping — refresh this post and you will know what is going on as soon as we do. And watch out for Daryl Morey and the pepper spray.

11:19 pm: Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe had surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus and will be out at least another month. That means more Mo Williams minutes.

11:15 pm: LaMarcus Aldridge is going to to miss the first week of Blazers training camp due to an irregular heartbeat. He suffered from this during his rookie season but has been fine since then.

10:50 pm: David West is about to be a member of the Boston Celtics, according to David Aldridge at NBA.com. That’s an interesting choice — West is a power forward, the Celtics have one of those in Kevin Garnett. West is one of the best pick-and-pop forwards in the league, how he fits with Rajon Rondo is a question mark. But this is about one of the biggest name pickup the Celtics could make.

10:35 pm: Looks like the Knicks are finalizing a trade to send Ronny Turiaf to the Washington Wizards as part of their efforts to clear cap space for Tyson Chandler, according to the New York Post. Turiaf in Washington is interesting as he is the opposite of Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee — he’s not blessed with the best physical talent ever but his heart and effort are unquestionable.

9:45 pm: Is Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) the new Shawn Kemp? Lakers coach Mike Brown said World Peace was “obviously a little overweight.” Or, check out the quote from Artest himself:

Metta World Peace says he’s not in top shape. He thought season wouldn’t start until January, so he had “a little more martinis” in Nov.

9:05 pm: Vince Carter is headed to the Mavericks after being bought out by the Suns, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. As David Aldridge notes, he essentially takes over the DeShawn Stevenson role (with fewer tattoos).

8:53 pm: It was expected but now it is official — Tracy McGrady has signed with the Atlanta Hawks.

8:51 pm: Earl Watson was expected by many to sign with the Wizards (and back up John Wall), but he was popular in Utah and the Jazz figured out a way to bring him back for this season.

8:47 pm: Luis Scola and Kevin Martin were there for the first day of Rockets practice. Awk-ward.

8:32 pm: The Celtics have re-signed Jeff Green to a one-year contract, according to the Boston Globe. Most likely this is just the qualifying offer, but either way he will be a free agent next year. This year he will be key to the Celtics making any run at the title.

8:23 pm: Greg Oden has had another setback with his knee. This just makes me sad.

8:21 pm: The Magic are not going to file tampering charges against the Nets. Not yet, anyway.

7:56 pm: Tyson Chandler is going to the Knicks, but all the pieces were not in place for him to be signed Friday, so the Knicks were a bit shorthanded for their first day of practice.

7:52 pm: The Pacers have re-signed Jeff Foster to a one-year contract. Not surprising, but the Knicks and other teams had inquired.

7:39 pm: Kobe Bryant with the quote of the day, talking about Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and the blown up Chris Paul trade.

“”They’ll get over it. Don’t win back to back by being soft emotionally.””

6:38 pm: Golden State has waived Jeremy Lin, the second year player from Harvard. I’d like to think he can land somewhere, some limitations but he’s a guy who could stick in the NBA if somebody lets him develop.

6:26 pm: Marcus Thornton’s deal with the Kings has been finalized and at a more logical four years, $33 million according to Sports Illustrated. This was first leaked deal was five years and $40 million, which seemed steeo

6:13 pm: As expected, the Lakers have inked three-point specialist Jason Kapono to a one year deal for the veterans’ minimum (just more than $1 million, in this case).

5:56 pm: Kyrie Irving, the top pick in the last NBA draft, has inked his deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s going to get thrown into the fire to learn the hard way this season.

5:44 pm: The Sixers have agreed to a five-year, $43 million dollar deal to keep Thaddeus Young with the team, reports Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. That seems a fair price, good deal for both sides.

5:29 pm: Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard has inked his deal, according to Sports Illustrated. Spurs fans are going to like this guy.

5:19 pm: The Pistons have bought out and let go of Rip Hamilton. This was not an amnesty move, this was a straight buyout. Rip is a free agent so start the Heat speculation in 3…2…1

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on him becoming the Bulls new wing starter.

5:14 pm: Lamar Odom came late and left early from Lakers training camp Friday. He did not practice, but Pau Gasol did. (Odom came late and left early at a sporting event, that makes him a real Angelino.)

5:09 pm: Timberwolves guard Martell Webster is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. He had returned to play last season after a previous back surgery. Not good news for him.

5:05 pm: The Celtics have signed draftee E’Twaun Moore to a guaranteed deal. He will be a Celtic this year. Good team for a rookie to learn on if he pays attention.

4:52 pm: Gary Forbes is very close to a deal with Toronto, according to Yahoo.

4:51 pm: The Lakers, Hornets and Rockets are talking Chris Paul deal again, trying to find a way to “sweeten” it then resubmit it. And dare David Stern to veto it again.

4:19 pm: The Nets and Knicks are apparently in a competition to sign forward Shawne Williams. I don’t get it either.

4:09 pm: Chris Paul showed up for the first day of Hornets training camp today. Good for him. That was the right thing to do.

4:01 pm: In a surprise to nobody, the Suns waived Vince Carter on Friday. This was not an amnesty clause thing, this was business — Carter was owed $18 million on his deal but could be bought out for $4 million. Carter’s game isn’t worth the extra $14 million any more.

He is a free agent and may well land with the Miami Heat.

3:53 pm: That Marcus Thornton deal we talked about less than an hour ago (five years, $40 million with the Kings) apparently has hit a snag. How serious a snag remains to be seen, his agent told David Aldridge a deal would get done. But for now, snagged.

3:24: pm: Center Jeff Pendergraph, last seen as one of Portland’s injured big men, is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Pacers, reports Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated. That signing makes me think Jeff Foster is headed elsewhere.

3:22 pm: Rudy Fernandez continues to have trouble with his visa to return to the United States. He is expected to join the Mavericks on Monday.

3:21 pm: At age 38, Juwan Howard is coming back for one more season, this with the Heat, tweets Ira Winderman. If you see a lot of him on the court this season in anything other than mop-up duty, the Heat are in trouble.

3:19 pm: The Sixers are brining back veteran center Tony Battie for one more season.

3:12 pm: Thaddeus Young and the Sixers are apparently close to a deal that keeps the promising young forward in Philly. They should lock him up, he is part of the future of this team.

3:05 pm: The Sacramento Kings have reportedly signed Marcus Thornton for five years, $40 million. My gut reaction is $8 million a year is steep. They needed to lock him up, he shows promise and is just entering his third season, and he averaged 12.8 points per game last season… but $8 million a year? Maybe in a few years this is a steal. Maybe.

3:01 pm: Gilbert Arenas has been waived by the Orlando Magic under the league’s amnesty clause. In other news, the Pope remains Catholic.

He now enters a secondary waiver process where teams under the cap can bid to take over his deal at a reduced price. Don’t expect any takers, nobody wants him for three years.

2:16 pm: NBA teams will be able to dress 13 players — not the usual 12 — for the first part of the season, report Marc Stein of ESPN. Depth is going to matter in this condensed season, so the move makes some sense. Not that guy 13 is ever really going to see the court.

2:12 pm: Teams have until Dec. 16 to use the amnesty clause this year or it goes away until next year under the terms of the new CBA. Only about three or four players will get amnestied this year, but clock as started Cleveland so set Baron Davis free now.

2:06 pm: Golden State, after losing out on Tyson Chandler, is going to make an offer to Clippers restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan for around $10 million a year, reports Yahoo. The Clippers really want to bring back Jordan, but that price may be too rich for their blood.

2:01 pm: The Nets are going to offer Nene a four-year deal worth between $60 million and $65 million, reports Yahoo Sports. After flirting with a lot of teams Nene was expected to re-sign with Denver, but this could change that. The Nets made their move after the Magic started talking about filing tampering charges against them for talking to Dwight Howard, almost certainly killing that deal.

1:59 pm: The deal is finalized according to Yahoo — a signed-and-traded Glen Davis will be shipped to Orlando in exchange for Brandon Bass.

1:46 pm: Pau Gasol has arrived for the start of Lakers training camp. Lamar Odom has not.

Also, the Lakers are not going to join any legal action against the league over the trade, reports the Los Angeles Times.

1:34 pm: The live-in girlfriend of Jazz big man Al Jefferson was arrested after allegedly biting and hitting Jefferson, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

1:11 pm: Warriors guard Charlie Bell was arrested after Thursday after showing up drunk to court for his DUI hearing.

1:02 pm: The Orlando Magic are considering filing tampering charges against two teams for trying to deal with Dwight Howard, according to NBA.com. That would be big. More to come on that.

1:27 pm: Dwight Howard has dropped agent Dan Fegan and his father will now represent him. Last year Howard left Aaron Goodwin as an agent to go to Fegan on the advice of family members (so that family members could play a larger role). I will tell you now this will end badly. Good agents do a lot more for a player and can provide a better picture of things than family members (who often are out for their own self interests).

12:13 pm: The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic are talking a Glen Davis for Brandon Bass sign-and-trade deal, reports the Boston Herald.

11:59 am: Grant Hill has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Phoenix Suns, tweets Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. He has rejected the offer of the New York Knicks.

11:17 am: The Heat have re-signed three-point specialist James Jones to a three-year deal, reports ESPN.

11:33 am: The Phoenix Suns “improved their offer” — read: coughed up more money — to Grant Hill and now await his decision, reports the Arizona Republic. Hill is choosing between the Suns and the Knicks (or do you want to spend the winter in Phoenix or New York).

11:12 am: Mario Chalmers has agreed to a deal to return and be the point guard for the Miami Heat today, reports the New York Post. The Knicks might have made a run at him after they used the amnesty on Chauncey Billups, but the Heat would have matched any offer.

10:51 am: Shelden Williams is going to sign a one-year deal with the Nets, reports Yahoo.

10:47 am: Tyson Chandler will be signed by the New York Knicks today, the New York Times reports. Chauncey Billups will be waived and Ronny Turiaf will be traded to make room for this deal. It will put Billups into a secondary waiver where teams under the salary cap can bid for his services (and he cannot reject them if they have the winning bid).

10:37 am: The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to waive and amnesty Baron Davis today, according to Yahoo Sports.. Not a huge shock, this is Kyrie Irving’s team now.

10:19 am: The Toronto Star is reporting (via Sportando.net) that the Suns have agreed to send Mickael Pietrus to the Raptors in exchange for a conditional second round pick.

10:13 am: Brandon Roy is going to announce his retirement due to medical reasons (he has no cartilage in his knees), reports Chris Broussard of ESPN. Secondary reports say the decision is not yet final, but he is leaning toward retirement heading into a key meeting today. Much more to come on this, but I will always remember him in Game 4 against the Mavericks. That will be his encore, to me.

10:00 am: Teams cannot officially sign anybody until 2 p.m. Eastern, but to get us started here is a quick list of some of the things we expect to go down today:

• Shane Battier will sign a deal with the Miami Heat to join the big three there and provide some versatility — and high IQ hoops — to that team.

• Caron Butler is expected to sign a three-year deal with the Clippers for way more than he probably should get paid.

• Tracy McGrady will sign with the Hawks.

• Tayshaun Prince will sign a four-year deal to stay in Detroit.

• Jonas Jerebko also will stay with the Pistons.

• Mike Dunleavy will sign a two-year deal with the Bucks.

• Greg Oden will spend one more year on the Trail Blazers roster.

• Shannon Brown will sign a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Phoenix Suns.

• Sebastian Telfair is expected to sign with the Suns as well.

• Eddy Curry is about to sign a deal with the Heat. Yes, we are serious, but it is a make-good contract or training camp.

• Roger Mason is likely to sign with the Wizards. how u?

• Jamal Magloire is about to sign with the Toronto Raptors (which would make him the first ever Canadian born Raptor).

• Earl Watson is expected to sign with the Wizards.

Magic Johnson: Lakers might save cap space for 2019

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LeBron James seems to be tempering expectations of him signing with the Lakers.

Lakers president Magic Johnson – who has hyped signing two max free agents this summer – is doing the same.

Johnson on Spectrum SportsNet , as transcribed by Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation.

“I feel really good about it. Now, we have cap space for probably two max guys, but that’s not to say we’ll use both of them. We want to if we can, but we have a Plan A and we have Plan B. Say we only get one of those guys, then we’ll make a decision on not to use the cap space. We can do that and save it for the class that’s coming the next year. We’re not going to give money away just because we have the cap space. I’m not about that. If the guy can’t really take our team to another level, and we see what Kyrie Irving has done for the Boston Celtics. Put him with that young talent the Celtics have, and they’ve taken off. We feel the same thing can happen for the Lakers. If we get the right free agent, that guy can take our young talent to a whole ‘nother level.”

I don’t think this will be deemed tampering, though the league’s arbitrary enforcement leaves it questionable. But I’m surprised Johnson – who already played a role in the Lakers getting a $500,000 tampering fine – discussed Irving while suggesting the Lakers leave money available for 2019, when Irving will likely become a free agent. That’s just asking for trouble.

To the substance of Johnson’s comments, no, the Lakers won’t have double max cap space next summer. Not without other moves that will reduce their positive assets.

And rolling over cap space isn’t so simple. If the Lakers sign one max free agent, his 2019-20 salary will cut into 2019 cap space. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng and Kyle Kuzma are collectively due a raise of $5,895,550 from 2018-19 to 2019-20. Re-signing Julius Randle, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and/or Brook Lopez to multi-year deals would eat into 2019 cap space. It might not be possible to keep those players without multi-year guarantees, and losing them would hurt the team as it tries to impress free agents through quality play.

The Lakers shouldn’t spend just to spend this summer. But delaying would come with complications, too.

Joel Embiid takes blame for Sam Hinkie leaving 76ers

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In his letter resigning from the 76ers, Sam Hinkie wrote:

You can be wrong for the right reasons. This may well prove to be Joel Embiid.

Embiid never played for Philadelphia while Hinkie ran the team, sitting out his first two pro seasons due to injury. Then, Hinkie got ousted and Embiid got healthy. Now, Embiid – arguably the NBA’s best center – is leading the resurgent 76ers, and Hinkie is left to subtweet the franchise.

Embiid, in a Q&A with David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Me: Sam Hinkie drafted you. Do you keep in touch with him, call, text?

JE: Yeah, we text sometimes. We talk to each other sometimes. I mean, that’s the guy that drafted me, and he made sure he put everything in place so I could get healthy. And I got healthy and I got back on the court. And I feel like he basically kind of lost his job because of me, because I missed two years. So I feel like I owe him a lot. Yeah, we talk. We talk sometimes.

Hinkie’s patience in a long-term plan allowed Embiid to wait as long as necessary to play. (It also might have enabled Embiid to not take his rehab seriously enough.)

So, I get where Embiid is coming from.

But Hinkie knew what he was getting into when he drafted Embiid, who fell to the No. 3 pick in part due to injury concerns. The 76ers signed off on Hinkie’s Process then lost their appetite for the plan amid all the losing. It’s not Embiid’s fault Hinkie couldn’t persuade people to follow his direction. It’s not Embiid’s fault ownership got skittish.

Report: LeBron James won’t take discount from max salary

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In 2014, LeBron James made clear he’d accept no less than a max salary.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

James’ position on maximum contracts hasn’t changed, sources said.

Are we sure LeBron will even opt out next summer? If he opts in, he’ll earn $35,607,968 next season. If he opts out, his max starting salary projects to be $35,350,000.

Those numbers are obviously close, but LeBron will be working with imperfect information. He must decide on his player option by June 29. The salary cap, from which max salaries are derived, won’t be released until July 1.

But I doubt LeBron is fretting a few hundred thousand dollars. I don’t think he’s worried directly about the monetary difference between a max and near-max contract at all. He’s set financially, regardless.

I think this is about power. LeBron can demand a team give him as much money as allowed, and whichever one he picks will. That’s appealing from an ego standpoint, which is why I expect LeBron to opt out (or at least wield his player option to get where he wants, but more on that later).

Demanding a max salary also fits LeBron as player-union vice president. It sets a precedent teams must spend to acquire talent. That’s healthy for players as a collective.

It’s easy to say LeBron can afford to take a small discount to help his team win a championship, because that’s the paradigm. Instead, he’s challenging teams to think smartly and creatively to find a way to max him out and still build a strong supporting cast.

That doesn’t preclude LeBron from eventually relenting and taking a discount if it’s advantageous. After all, LeBron once said he’d take a discount to play with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. But he’s setting a far harder line than before.

LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh took discounts to join Miami in 2010. Heat owner Micky Arison delighted in the championships and recognition those stars provided – then cut corners on the rest of the roster to save money. LeBron noticed then left. He’s clearly not accepting that anymore.

So, every team is on notice – which is why it’s overly simplistic to say every team wants to sign LeBron. Of course, every team wants to sign LeBron. But not every team is willing to take the steps necessary to seriously pursue LeBron.

In 2014, the Cavaliers made a salary-dump trade before securing a commitment from LeBron. That paid off, but they could have just been frittering away assets if he signed elsewhere. Worse, if they didn’t make the trade, LeBron might not have returned.

The 76ers won’t necessarily have max cap space next summer, but they’re reportedly expected to chase LeBron. That suggests they’ll make proactive moves if necessary to have a chance. The Lakers should have max cap space, regardless.

And what about the Rockets? They’re another team linked to LeBron, but they’ll be hard-pressed to clear max space for him. They already have nearly $76 million committed to just five players (James Harden, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Nene) plus three starters (Paul, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza) headed into free agency.

But they could trade for LeBron if he opts in on condition of a deal, a la Paul last summer. How about Anderson and either Gordon or a signed-and-traded Ariza plus picks to the Cavs if they’re convinced LeBron would leave in free agency otherwise? Houston would have to send a load of picks, but it’s at least feasible.

That way, LeBron might earn more next season and re-sign for a larger max contract in 2019 – a projected $219 million over five years. That’s more than he projects to get if he re-signs with Cleveland long-term this summer ($205 million over five years).

However, that’s based on salary-cap projections that could change. And the Rockets might balk at spending so much. Of course, LeBron could also always execute the opt-in/re-sign-in-2019 plan with the Cavaliers. A trade to Houston won’t change how much money he can command from his team.

But it’s the type of no-settling thinking that might appeal to him.

Kevin Durant coming up ‘big’ for Warriors

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DETROIT – Soft. Scared. Cupcake.

Kevin Durant can’t help but hear his detractors.

“They’re trying psychoanalyze me when they don’t know me,” Durant said. “So, it’s like you have more information about the game of basketball than you do me as a person. So, ‘you’re soft,’ ‘cupcake,’ all that stuff comes from trying figure me out as a person, not worrying about my basketball skills. But if you watch me on the basketball court, then you come up with your own observation.”

That on-court observation no longer jibes with the unflattering perception of his mindset.

Durant’s height has long been a fascination. He’s listed at 6-foot-9, but he’s almost certainly taller. Durant once said he’s 7-foot when he talks to women. “He’s 7 feet,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says plainly.

Durant just didn’t play like it.

He entered the NBA as a finesse player. He couldn’t bench press 185 pounds a single time his pre-draft combine, and he spent his rookie year in Seattle playing shooting guard – as far from the paint as a player so tall could get.

Never mind that Durant improved greatly with the Thunder as a defender and rebounder, skills that require physicality. And never mind that he was a superstar on the perimeter, giving little reason to alter his style.

When he left Oklahoma City – where he settled in at small forward – for Golden State, Durant’s on- and off-court reputations merged to form a single image. Afraid of contact, afraid of competition.

Durant is making it much harder for his critics to paint him that way. He’s playing more like a traditional big than ever.

His 2.1 blocks per game are the most by a non-center, non-power forward since Andrei Kirilenko and Josh Smith more than a decade ago (minimum: two games). His 5.3 post touches per game are the most by a non-center, non-power forward in the NBA.com database (which dates back to 2013-14).

“Getting in the mix with the bigs a little bit, I think that’s one role that I always wanted to play and always appreciated about my teammates in the past – from Kendrick Perkins to Thabo Sefolosha to Draymond to David West to Serge Ibaka,” Durant said. “I appreciated those guys for doing the dirty work and allowing me to be the player that I am on the offensive end.”

The Warriors are spoiled to have Durant assume this responsibility.

Many of his post touches come on split cuts, an action Kerr popularized in Golden State. A player – often Andrew Bogut when Kerr first implemented the play – posts up while a teammate screens for another teammate on the perimeter. Most teams would kill to have a shooter like Durant set or receive the screen. But the Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to do that. So, Durant serves as the post man, surveying the screen carnage and occasionally just taking matters into his own hands. This video from Eric Apricot of Golden State of Mind excellently shows a few variations:

Defensively, Durant has become more comfortable defending power forwards and centers. Sometimes, he blocks their shots:

Other times, guarding a big just positions Durant to protect the basket:

“He’s just being active,” Kerr said. “When he’s active on the weak side of the play, he’s a devastating defender.”

Durant still just bottles up an opponent in a traditional wing matchup for him and blocks a jumper. He also blocks shots in transition.

But he leads non-centers, non-power forwards with 4.8 shots defended at the rim per game (minimum: two games). His block numbers aren’t telling a misleading story. Durant is doing work in the paint.

It helps that the league has shifted toward small-ball. When the slender Durant matches up against fours and fives, his opponents aren’t as big as they would have been a few years ago.

The Warriors played Durant at center to great effect in last year’s Finals, and it’d be a shock if they didn’t turn to him there again in high-leverage situations.

Make no mistake, though: Durant remains a generational perimeter player. He’s a dead-eye shooter with tight handles and jaw-dropping fluidity. Whatever time Durant spends moonlighting as an interior player, he can always switch into the style that made him a future Hall of Famer in the first place.

His ability to play both ways just makes him even more dangerous.

Still, Durant has made his name as a small forward. He says he has always played the role coaches gave him, but it’s tough to look past the fears of Kevin Garnett, another skilled tall player who worried when he was younger he’d get pigeonholed inside if he were listed as a 7-footer. As we talked, Durant picked up on my line of questioning and interjected.

“You trying to turn me into a four guy?” Durant said.

“Maybe even a five,” I said.

“Maybe,” Durant. “I don’t know. Maybe. That’s the way the league is going.”