Dan Feldman

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Report: Magic signing Jonathon Simmons to three-year contract


The Spurs essentially told Jonathon Simmons they were done with him – or at least ready to be done with him – by rescinding his qualifying offer and letting him become an unrestricted free agent.

So, Simmons will go to Orlando.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Magic had about $8 million-$9 million in cap space. I’m guessing Simmons, who turns 28 before the season and has received the minimum his first two NBA seasons, got nearly all of it. A starting salary of $8,406,000 is the demarcation line. Any higher, and Orlando couldn’t have made this offer while Simmons was still restricted.

The Magic are loading up on athleticism – Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Terrence Ross, Bismack Biyombo, Elfrid Payton and now Simmons. There are a lot of tools for Frank Vogel to craft a nasty defense. (Scoring could remain a problem with a lot on the plate of Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic.)

The Spurs will miss Simmons, as they have no mechanism to replace him. But they knew that when they rescinded his qualifying offer, allowing him to get paid elsewhere. While loading up wings like Simmons appears to be the best way to match up with the Warriors, San Antonio is going a different direction.

Report: Bucks and John Henson want him traded

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The Bucks have too many centers – Thon Maker, Greg Monroe, John Henson and Spencer Hawes – and too high of a payroll.

As Milwaukee looks to duck the luxury tax, a center is likely to get moved. Maybe one center in particular.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Big man John Henson could be a prime trade candidate.

There is mutual interest and motivation from both sides on finding the 6-11 center a new home, league sources tell ESPN.

But is there any interest from another team in acquiring Henson, who’s owed $31,732,398 over the next three years?

That’s not an awful price for the 26-year-old Henson in a vacuum. Few teams need centers, though.

Henson is an excellent shot-blocker who’s still learning how to balance that skill with still grabbing defensive rebounds. He isn’t strong and can get pushed around inside, and he’s only OK defending pick-and-rolls. He’s at his best on hook shots offensively, though last year, he took way more jumpers than usual, which drove down his efficiency.

Monroe and Hawes (both surely also trade candidates) will be free agents next year. So, maybe Milwaukee would be glad to have Henson behind Maker a year from now.

But the luxury-tax concerns are more pressing.

Rumor: Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers’ work ethic not up to snuff

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Doc Rivers was supposed to put the Clippers over the top.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were bona fide stars. DeAndre Jordan became a third star, and J.J. Redick thrived in a complementary role.

But Rivers’ Clippers never advanced further than Vinny Del Negro’s Clippers, topping out in the second round. Paul left for the Rockets, sparking numerous theories of what went wrong in L.A.:

Poor team chemistry. Western Conference being too good. Bad luck. Favoritism toward Austin Rivers.

Here’s another potential culprit.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Rivers remains charming, but team sources say his work ethic as a coach and executive lags far behind the championship rep he built on the shoulders of veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Insiders complained about a lack of accountability — about practices and shootarounds starting late

Rivers would be far from the first person to rest on his laurels after securing a loftier job. Is that the case here? This ignores the heavy burden Rivers carried in guiding the franchise through the Donald Sterling scandal. I can’t speak definitively to Rivers’ work ethic outside that crisis, but the fact that these leaks – true or not – are even getting out shows Rivers isn’t running the tightest ship.

Rivers’ multiple job titles only exacerbate the potential problem.

Coaching well takes immense work. Running a front office well takes immense work. I’m not sure any one person can successfully handle both tasks. Someone with a poor work ethic definitely can’t.

There is some circumstantial evidence to support these claims, especially for Rivers as executive. Even in a desirable market with a contending team, he routinely failed to find the quality role players who could put a good team over the top. Rivers frequently targeted players he previously coached or who played well against his teams in the playoffs, which always felt lazy.

The Clippers have added front-office help, shifting Lawrence Frank upstairs and hiring Jerry West. Maybe that will allow Rivers to focus more on coaching – a necessity this year.

Paul is a basketball genius and natural leader. He practically demands everyone get in line behind him.

With his departure, L.A. has built an intriguing hodgepodge around Griffin, adding Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Milos Teodosic, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell. The Clippers are now a team without an identity, but with a roster of versatile players that could go in any number of directions.

It’s on Rivers to experiment, assess and ultimately pick a style. Whatever happened in the past, the next step will require a lot of work.

Report: Carmelo Anthony dismayed over trade developments

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Remember when Carmelo Anthony was confident he’d be traded to the Rockets?

It’s almost as if he forgot he played for one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional franchises.

The Knicks have paused trade talks with Houston, reportedly because they hope Anthony – who possesses a no-trade clause – will accept a trade to a team he wants to join less than the Rockets. Maybe finalizing terms to hire Scott Perry will get the ball rolling, but for now, Anthony is left in limbo.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Anthony is concerned about his public image and doesn’t want a messy divorce from the Knicks. He is said to be dismayed over the events of the past 24 hours.

Anthony has already put up with so much from the Knicks. Ousting Phil Jackson obviously didn’t end Anthony’s troubles.

But, remember, Anthony chose to sign with the Knicks in 2014 knowing full well what he was he was getting into. He can block a trade, maybe even demand one (and take the subsequent fine). But he can’t force one. He chose the money and all that comes with it.

Report: Celtics sign D-League Rookie of the Year Abdel Nader to four-year, $6 million contract

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Abdel Nader – the No. 58 pick in the 2016 NBA draft – could have forced the Celtics’ hand by signing the required tender (a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must extend to retain a second-rounder’s draft rights) last summer. In a roster crunch, Boston would have likely waived Nader and let him hit unrestricted free agency. It’s also possible the Celtics would have found a spot for him, in which case he’d be a free agent this summer.

Instead, Nader declined the required tender and signed with the D-League to play for Boston’s affiliate, allowing the Celtics to retain his exclusive NBA rights.

He had an excellent season – Nader won D-League Rookie of the Year – and would hold interest around the NBA. But he’s still stuck negotiating with only Boston.

After doing the Celtics this tremendous favor last year, Nader is betting against himself this year and allowing Boston to reap the potential rewards.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

A four-year minimum contract would pay Nader $5,123,913. So, it seems he secured a little more than that.

In exchange, he granted Boston control of his career for the next four years at a low – probably not fully guaranteed – salary.

That might be a fine tradeoff. For all the intrigue he has generated, Nader is still a former late second-rounder who turns 24 before the season begins. There’s no guarantee he becomes an NBA contributor.

At 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Nader is a versatile perimeter player, especially defensively. He’ll have to adjust from a major role offensive in Maine to be a role player in the NBA, but that might help his efficiency.

If Nader pans out, the Celtics will derive plenty of value from him. If not, it won’t cost them much to move on.