Author: Dan Feldman

Philadelphia 76ers v Minnesota Timberwolves

Report: 76ers, Trail Blazers considering claiming Anthony Bennett


Anthony Bennett reportedly agreed to a buyout with the Timberwolves.

But that won’t make him just a free agent just yet.

A buyout is a player agreeing to reduce his salary guarantee if he clears waivers.

Bennett hasn’t yet cleared waivers. If he does, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

But three teams – the 76ers, Trail Blazers and Cavaliers – have the cap room to claim him first.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Philadelphia and Portland plan to look carefully at the possibility of claiming Bennett, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The 76ers would have priority, because they finished with a worse record than the Trail Blazers last season.

I also wouldn’t eliminate the Cavaliers from placing a waiver claim. It’s possible Wojnarowski and Charania just don’t have sources to confirm Cleveland’s interest. But I’d also be surprised if the Cavs claimed Bennett. Though they drafted him No. 1 in 2013, they’ve since replaced the general manager who made that selection, Chris Grant, with David Griffin.

If any team gets Bennett on waivers, it would inherit his existing contract – a $5,803,560 guaranteed salary for this season and a $7,318,289 team option for 2016-17 that must be decided by this Nov. 2. It’s unlikely anyone would exercise Bennett’s option, but it’s nice to know you could if he has an amazing preseason.

Philadelphia, deep in the rebuilding process, is the type of team to take a chance on a young talent like Bennett. He’s just 22, and the consensus rated him in the top 10 of the 2013 draft. In fact, when the 76ers traded Jrue Holiday for the No. 6 pick in 2013 (Nerlens Noel), they reportedly would have done so only if Bennett, Noel or Victor Oladipo were available.

Portland is also rebuilding, and two of its assistant coaches – Jay Triano (head) and David Vanterpool (assistant) – coached Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship this summer. Maybe they could help Bennett recreate his success in that tournament.

Bennett would probably get less than his current deal on the open market, but then he could pick any team. The 76ers and Trail Blazers must weigh whether getting Bennett without negotiating is worth the additional cost.

I think he might be, but it comes down to a question Philadelphia’s and Portland’s front offices are much more equipped to handle: How else would they use the cap room?

Report: Timberwolves, Anthony Bennett agree to buyout

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves

Anthony Bennett and the Timberwolves were reportedly talking about a buyout.

It appears the talking is done.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Bennett will go on waivers, where three teams have enough cap room or a trade exception large enough to claim his $5,803,560 salary – the 76ers, Trail Blazers and Cavaliers. If Bennett clears waivers, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

It’ll be interesting to see how much money Bennett sacrificed for his freedom. He could have waited for the Timberwolves to waive him without a buyout and collected his full salary for this season, but by the time that happened, other teams could have filled out. Minnesota might have also kept him and buried him behind Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Garnett, Adreian Payne and Nemanja Bjelica.

This is a huge fall for the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Bennett hasn’t lived up to expectations – even the more moderate ones by the many outlets that ranked him around fifth in his class, let alone those by the top-picking Cavaliers. He settles for far too many long 2s, squandering his 6-foot-8 frame and athleticism.

But he’s just 22, and teams should line up to take a flyer on him on a minimum contract. Some might even offer a little more to separate themselves from all the suitors – at least if he clears waivers.

The Timberwolves now have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, making it easier to trim their roster to the regular-season limit of 15. Hope they’re happy keeping Damjan Rudez and Tayshaun Prince over Bennett.

Italy, Turkey bidding to host Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Leave a comment

Eight men’s basketball teams have qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics: United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Spain, Lithuania, Nigeria and Australia.

That leaves four spots up for grabs.

One will go to the winner of the FIBA Asia Championship, which begins tomorrow.

The other three will be determined by three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. The winner of each advances to Rio.

Fifteen of the 18 teams in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments are determined by finish in the continental tournaments, the best teams that didn’t secure Olympic bids. So far, 12 teams are ticketed for the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • France
  • Serbia
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Czech Republic
  • Angola
  • Tunisia
  • Senegal
  • New Zealand

The second through fourth teams in the FIBA Asia Championship will also go to the Olympic Qualify Tournaments.

Italy and Turkey are each bidding to host an Olympic Qualifying Tournament, according to Sportando.

Here’s why that’s important: The host of an Olympic Qualifying Tournament plays in it.

So, hosting an Olympic Qualifying Tournament would be Turkey’s only chance of making the 2016 Rio Olympics. Turkey – which went 3-3 at EuroBasket with wins over Italy, Germany and Iceland – is good enough to win an Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Ersan Ilyasova is an alright No. 1 option, and the team has intriguing young players like Cedi Osman.

If Italy – already qualified for the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments – gets to host, the next-best team from its zone would get a bid. That’d be great news for Latvia, which finished eighth at EuroBasket.

Danilo Gallinari, Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli give Italy a fairly loaded roster. Home-court advantage could push the Italians over the edge, but no matter where they play, they’re at least in a Qualifying Tournament.

The stakes are a bit higher for Turkey and Latvia.