This is the best indication yet the Thunder believe they can re-sign Kevin Durant.
Ersan Ilyasova – acquired from the Magic in the Serge Ibaka trade – will make $8.4 million season unless he’s waived by July 1. If dropped by then, his salary is just $400,000 guaranteed.
Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:
If Durant re-signs, the Thunder wouldn’t have cap space anyway. All they’d accomplish by waiving Ilyasova is saving money and losing a useful role player (maybe their starting power forward).
If Durant leaves, Oklahoma City might want to free the extra cap space to pursue other free agents. (There’s a chance they’d keep Ilyasova, anyway. He’s not bad value at $8.4 million. But they’d probably prioritize wing help and someone better fit to play up-tempo with Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo.
Because the Thunder have to decide on Ilyasova before Durant likely makes his decision, they’re signaling how they feel about their odds of keeping Durant.
Update: Beal declined:
Of the 12 roster spots on Team USA for the Olympics, 10 are known to be filled.
USA Basketball is apparently waiting on Bradley Beal for one of the others.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
The Wizards reportedly plan to offer Beal a five-year max contract July 1, but it could be a while until they’d make it official. Because Beal’s cap hold is about $7.5 million lower than a max salary, Washington wants to spend that $7.5 million first then exceed the cap to re-sign Beal using his Bird Rights.
But what if Beal gets hurt in Rio or preparing for the Games? Might Washington pull the offer?
I wouldn’t blame Beal, who has never earned more than his rookie-scale salary, for not wanting to find out.
And I wouldn’t blame the Wizards for not promising to pay him in that scenario. As long as they’re clear about their intentions, they can let him make an informed decision.
Some intriguing players went undrafted, but many of them are still getting NBA contracts.
Gary Payton II:
James Webb III:
A rule of thumb: Longer contracts are almost always better for teams in these situations. The final years rarely have any guarantees. So, if the player pans out, he’s locked into a below-market deal. If he doesn’t, he gets waived and earns nothing for those additional years.
That’s why teams offer partial guarantees in the first season – to incentivize the player to accept more years.
Many of these players will wind up in training camp, cut then assigned to the D-League. But for now, NBA teams have locked them down.
The Warriors’ plan to chase Kevin Durant is well-known.
But Golden State might also be willing to break up its 73-win team for less-productive free agents than Durant (everyone else besides LeBron James).
Marcus Thompson of The Mercury News:
According to sources familiar with free agent talks, the Warriors are looking at Al Horford, Joakim Noah and even Hassan Whiteside
Free agents Nicolas Batum and Evan Turner are among the players being considered at small forward, per sources, if the Warriors don’t get Kevin Durant.
Horford would be an awesome fit with the Warriors. His defense would keep them strong on that end, and he’d be far more of an offensive threat than Andrew Bogut.
Noah works defensively if he’s willing to take a discount, but his offense has regressed significantly. At his age, he might be better off without playing huge minutes.
Whiteside would be a major talent upgrade, but either he or Golden State’s defensive system would have to change. That’s a major undertaking.
Batum would be an upgrade over Harrison Barnes, but Barnes’ ability to defend bigger opponents makes the Warriors’ death lineup click. Again, this would be a big adjustment on something known to work.
Turner… I don’t quite get unless he’s willing to take less and Golden State plans to add him to its existing core rather than disrupting the core for him.
Horford and Durant would be a no-brainers. The rest would require more deliberation. All in all, keeping the band together — even if the supporting cast is aging — wouldn’t be so bad.
Thon Maker going No. 10 to the Bucks was shocking (at least until you consider Maker’s agency).
But it wasn’t the only big development with Maker yesterday.
Jake Fisher of Sports Illustrated:
Maker on NBA TV:
I know it’s not true. And if it were true, it would have made me angry. Somehow, it made me sideways, somehow. But I know it’s not true. Obviously, it’s not true, and that’s why it didn’t get to me. It didn’t get to me.
I’m 19. I should have brought my mom in to tell everybody.
There’s at least circumstantial evidence to support Maker. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:
Maker was born in Sudan and grew up in Australia. The age of foreign prospects – sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly – will keep getting questioned.
I don’t know how old Maker is, but what I do know:
I didn’t like drafting Maker that high if he’s 19. If he’s older, it’s even worse.