Dan Feldman

Spurs reportedly waive Tim Duncan, indicating they’ll pay him into retirement

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When Tim Duncan retired, he had one year and $6,393,750 remaining on his contract.

What will become of that money?

Here’s a major clue:

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Spurs didn’t have to pay Duncan. Teams aren’t obligated to pay players who stop showing up for work, and Duncan was clearly done working.

But with him waived — assuming he clears waivers — San Antonio is on the hook for the guaranteed portion of his salary. That was the full $6,393,750, though it’s possible the team and Duncan agreed to reduce his protected salary (a buyout). The Spurs can either pay Duncan’s protected salary all this season or stretch the payments and pay a third each of the following three years.

Presumably, this was all pre-arranged. Duncan and the Spurs know potential buyout terms, and they probably agreed to whether or not it will be stretched.

Unless Duncan suffered a career-ending injury, of which there’s no evidence, his salary will continue to count against the cap — assuming there’s remaining salary. It’s possible Duncan agreed to make his contract fully unguaranteed, because the process of waiving him was easier than excluding his salary due to him no longer reporting.

But my strong hunch is the Spurs will pay Duncan, who alleged a financial advisor stole more than $20 million from him. It’ll cut into their cap room, but it’s also a nice parting gift for the franchise icon.

Report: Bulls’ Jimmy Butler off trade market

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 05:  Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball up the court against the Houston Rockets at the United Center on March 5, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Rockets 108-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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Will the Bulls trade Jimmy Butler?

Asked about trading his most valuable player, Chicago general manager Gar Forman for whatever reason — potentially speaking honestly about his willingness to deal anyone no matter how unrealistic it would be to find suitable return or sending Butler a message — said, “We’ve got to explore all options.”

That opened a firestorm of speculation.

The Celtics tried to swing a deal. Timberwolves rumors persisted, though Chicago denied those. Fans of every team concocted ideas to land Butler.

But, as the signals pointed all along…

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Butler is off the market for now, per league sources

Butler is one of the NBA’s best wings, 26 and locked into a contract for three more years that was signed before the new national TV contracts kicked in. If the Bulls trade him, it’ll be for a haul.

In the meantime, they’ll lean on him — accompanied by Dwyane Wade, Robin Lopez and Rajon Rondo — to lead Chicago back into playoffs. How that mission goes could determine whether Chicago engages in serious Butler trade talk.

Report: Nets signing Luis Scola

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 18:  Luis Scola #4 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates after sinking a 3-pointer during the first half of an NBA game against the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre on March 18, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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Luis Scola started for a 56-win team last season.

And most in Toronto seem fine to let him move on.

So, Scoloa is going from the Raptors to the Nets.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Credit Scola for adding 3-pointers to his repertoire. That makes him so much more coveted.

But he was a tough fit with Jonas Valanciunas because neither was quick enough to defend pick-and-rolls at a high level. Toronto will now rely on Patrick Patterson (a better fit) and recently signed Jared Sullinger (another poor fit, but someone considerably younger).

Scola might start in Brooklyn, where he’ll help Brook Lopez on the glass. At 36, Scola could sharply decline at any moment, though.

But the Nets are off the hook after this season, and they have an abundance of cap space. They also don’t control their own first-round pick. So, if Scola makes them better, however marginally, this makes enough sense.

 

 

Celtics stashing No. 23 pick Ante Zizic overseas

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Ante Zizic shakes hands with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted 23rd overall by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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When the Celtics drafted Guerschon Yabusele with the No. 16 pick, it was widely presumed he’d remain in Europe.

No. 23 pick Ante Zizic was more of a question.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

It seemed Zizic wanted to join the NBA this season, and to maintain his rights, Boston had to offer him a contract.

But the Celtics had leverage. They had to offer just 80% of the rookie scale, not the 120% nearly every first-rounder makes. The rookie scale also might increase more than currently slotted next year if the Collective Bargaining Agreement changes. Plus, Boston appeared  to offer little playing time in a big-man rotation that includes Al Horford, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and maybe Tyler Zeller, who’s still a restricted free agent.

Zizic was good value at No. 23, and the Celtics can let him develop without occupying a roster spot or beginning the clock toward his free agency. This might not be his first choice, but it’s better for Boston.

Report: Knicks re-signing Sasha Vujacic

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 09:  Sasha Vujacic #18 of the New York Knicks handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on March 9, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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If the Knicks are building for 2011 with Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah, New York couldn’t afford to lose Sasha Vujacic. He was a solid bench scorer and outside shooter back then.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Vujacic, a curious signing by the Knicks last summer other than his ties to Phil Jackson, didn’t play as badly as I expected last season. He was part of New York’s rotation, even starting 25 games. Not that he played well, but Vujacic was tolerable. Meeting that low bar will be even harder at age 32, though.

When you’re getting so little production in the present, I’d generally prefer a player with upside.

But when you’re in win-now win-five-years-ago mode, you can’t afford to gamble on upside.