Darren Collison, Isaiah Thomas

Darren Collison signs three-year, $16 million contract with the Kings


Darren Collison, scheduled to earn less than $2 million next season, opted out of his contract seeking two things:

  • To re-sign with the Clippers
  • To make more money

The Clippers are most concerned with upgrading at small forward, leaving Collison hanging in the open.

At least he’ll get paid.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

Forget the Kings re-signing Isaiah Thomas and remaining under the luxury tax. They’re now hard-capped, and even if they waive Quincy Acy and Willie Reed, I project they could offer Thomas a stating salary of less than $5,745,652 – which could max out at $33,037,499 over a five-year contract. However, that starting salary must be lowered by the amount of Carl Landry’s potential incentives, an amount I do not know.

Even if Landry’s incentives are only $1 – an exaggeratedly low figure – that’s not enough space to keep Thomas. Unless the Kings make another deal, they’re likely rolling with Collison as their starter and Ray McCallum as his backup.

Essentially, if another team offers Thomas, a restricted free agent, a contract that would take the Kings over the hard cap, they can’t match. I bet someone does that, unless Sacramento makes other moves to clear room before Collison’s deal becomes official July 10.

The Clippers will miss Collison, especially the relief he provided for Chris Paul. This might make the them hesitant to trade Jamal Crawford now. Though a starting small forward is a bigger concern than having a scoring guard off the bench, both matter.

Update: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

That would be the other shoe to drop. Jason Terry, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Travis Outlaw are all candidates. (Man, Sacramento has a lot of bad contracts.)

That could give the Kings room to re-sign Thomas below the hard cap. Perhaps more importantly, it could give them room to leverage a sign-and-trade for Thomas.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.

Report: Hawks co-owner made more money by exposing Danny Ferry’s Luol Deng comments

Michael Gearon, Bruce Levenson
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A terribly kept secret: Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wanted to get rid of general manager Danny Ferry.

Many believe that’s why Gearon made such a big deal about Ferry’s pejorative “African” comment about Luol Deng – that Gearon was more concerned about ousting Ferry than showing real concern over racism.

Gearon had another, no less sinister, reason to raise concern over Ferry’s remarks.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

While Gearon felt that Ferry, as he wrote in the June 2014 email to Levenson, “put the entire franchise in jeopardy,” Gearon also figured to benefit financially from a Sterling-esque fallout.

In the spring of 2014, Gearon was in the process of selling more of his interest in the team to Levenson and the partners he had sold to in September. The agreed-upon price for roughly a third of Gearon’s remaining shares valued the Hawks at approximately $450 million, according to reports from sources.

“We accept your offer to buy the remaining 31 million,” Gearon wrote in an email to Levenson on April 17, 2014. “Let me know next steps so we can keep this simple as you suggested without a bunch of lawyers and bankers.”

Approximately five weeks later — just a little more than a week before the fateful conference call — Steve Ballmer agreed to pay $2 billion for the Clippers, a record-smashing price that completely changed the assessed value of NBA franchises. Gearon firmly maintains he was acting out of the sincerity of his convictions to safeguard the franchise from the Sterling stench, but such a spectacle also allowed him to wiggle out of selling his shares at far below market value.

Gearon and his legal team later challenged the notion that the sell-down was bound by any sort of contractual obligation and that any papers were signed. Once the organization became involved in the investigation, the sale of the shares was postponed.

Arnovitz and Windhorst did an incredible amount of reporting here. I suggest you read the full piece, which includes much more background on the Gearon-Ferry rift.

Considering the Hawks sold for $850 million, Gearon definitely made more money than if he’d sold his shares at a $450 million valuation.

Did that motivate him? Probably, though it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Most likely, his actions were derived from at least three desires – making more money, ousting Ferry and combating racism. Parsing how much each contributed is much more difficult.

What Ferry said was racist, whether or not he was looking at more racism on the sheet of paper in front of him. His comments deserved punishment.

But if Gearon didn’t have incentive to use them for his own benefit, would we even know about them? How many other teams, with more functional front offices, would have kept similar remarks under wraps or just ignored them?