Iguodala says playoffs will help decide if he opts out of contract

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Smart money says Andre Iguodala will opt out this summer, forgoing the last year of his deal to get longer, more secure one (even if he takes a haircut on his one-year salary.

Iguodala is set to make $16.1 million next season but said the other day he plans to opt out at the end of this season to seek a more stable long-term deal (likely four years).

However, speaking with Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post Iguodala backed off that a little.

“I’m going to explore every option,” Iguodala said. “Ideally, you would want to opt out. The business of the NBA says you opt out and get a deal you like. But I think that’s still to be determined, depending on our success in the playoffs. I can’t make that decision now.

“The goal is to try to win a championship right now, and then everything else (falls into place). It would be hard for me to win a championship here, or get to the (league) Finals or get to the Western Conference finals and say, ‘You know, I’m out.’ I don’t want to make any guarantees, but if that happens, it would be obvious, (Nuggets executive) Masai (Ujiri) and them would understand my worth to the team and we could come to an agreement. But who knows what is going to happen? I could get hurt tomorrow and then have to opt in.”

We’ll see how far Denver can go as they face a rash of injuries — Ty Lawson is out with a torn plantar facia but could be back for the playoffs, Danilo Gallinari appears done for the year with an ACL injury.

I still expect Iggy will opt out then re-sign in Denver. With Iguodala off the books Denver would have about $52.5 million in committed salary for next season, so they have the room to bring Iggy back (say four years, $50 million give or take) and tweak the roster in other places. The Nuggets will not want to pay the luxury tax, a line that likely will be in the $72 million a year ballpark next season.

Just something to watch as Iguodala is wisely keeping his options open.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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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.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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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.