LeBron James had been taking his time telling the Cavaliers he’d re-sign, though his agent rebuffing outside suitors sent a pretty clear message.
It has finally been sent directly to Cleveland.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
LeBron James has informed the Cleveland Cavaliers he will re-sign with the reigning NBA champions this summer but still has no timetable for negotiating or signing a deal, sources told ESPN.
Why wait? LeBron faces a decision: Make more this season on a two-year contract (not counting option years) that locks him into a 2017-18 salary or make less this season on a one-year deal and leave the door open for a bigger 2017-18 salary.
A lower-than-expected 2017-18 salary cap could push LeBron toward a two-year deal. Then again, the Collective Bargaining Agreement could be revised into a completely new system by then.
LeBron, a players union vice president, could have more information on the 2017 landscape later in the summer. He certainly won’t have less. So, he should take his time — just in case developments in CBA negotiations affect his decision.
Then, he can dictate his terms, because that’s how this will end: Rich Paul drawing up LeBron’s contract and the Cavs happily signing it no matter what it says.
If the Clippers trade Blake Griffin, they’ll be selling low on damaged goods.
That’s at least what one executive not with the Clippers wants you to believe.
Griffin injured his quad on Christmas, played in the playoffs knowing he could aggravate the injury, aggravated the injury, received bone-marrow treatment and will miss the Olympics.
The sequence obviously damaged the Clippers’ playoff run and kept a good player off Team USA. But how significant will it be going forward?
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
But, according to one opposing team exec, there is another question with Griffin.
“I still think there’s a concern with his leg,” he said, referring to a partially torn left quad tendon that cost Griffin serious time last season and never fully healed before causing him to miss the end of the playoffs. He reportedly received a bone marrow injection following the season, which is keeping him off the U.S. Olympic team.
“We looked into him, and we’re hearing that’s a pretty serious thing,” the source continued. “I’m not saying you don’t go after him, but you’d better be really sure about that leg before you go making any big commitments.”
Griffin can and likely will opt out of his contract next summer. So — whether it’s the Clippers or another team — managing his future is tricky. If he gets healthy and plays well next season, you still have to sign him as an unrestricted free agent. If his injury derails him, the situation becomes even more potentially hazardous.
This might be someone just trying to drive down demand, either from the Clippers in a trade or Griffin in 2017 free agency. But the chance that this is honest insight from a team that extensively researched Griffin makes this report interesting.
The Bucks signed Greg Monroe to a max contract. They gave John Henson a four-year, $44 million extension.
And Miles Plumlee might have been their most effective center.
Plumlee, a barely discussed part of the Brandon Knight–Michael Carter-Williams trade, played little in Milwaukee and was shopped last season. Then he moved into the rotation, fit well and entered restricted free agency positioned to earn some money.
Apparently, a lot of money.
Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
This is a far-bigger deal than expect for Plumlee, who turns 28 before the season. If it’s fully guaranteed, Milwaukee will be paying him a sizable amount as he exits his prime — concerning given Plumlee’s reliance on his athleticism. Plus, the Bucks had leverage with Plumlee restricted.
Still, his mobility and ability to protect the rim brought together Jason Kidd’s aggressive defense in a way the more-talented Monroe can’t. Plumlee re-signing for this salary will only increase chatter about a Monroe trade.
Miles also makes it official that, with Mason Plumlee (Trail Blazers) and Marshall Plumlee (Knicks), three Plumlee brothers are in the NBA.
The Wizards’ big outside signing of the offseason: Ian Mahinmi, who got $64 million over four years.
What does that mean for incumbent starting center Marcin Gortat?
J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Marcin Gortat is the starting center. Multiple league sources, as late as Friday night, told CSNmidatlantic.om that it’s not in the cards to make a move with the 6-11 center because of Ian Mahinmi’s signing (four years, $64 million). Of course, it’s never safe to say never but as for now that appears to be the case.
The Wizards built their roster to chase Kevin Durant, a small forward. When he rejected them, it created complications.
Mahinmi is solid value, and he might have been the best player who’d sign with Washington. But the Wizards didn’t exactly need another starting-caliber center, especially if they’re not trading Gortat. It was an awkward fit last season between Gortat and Nene. Now, Mahinmi slides into the role of Nene, who signed with the Rockets (though without the baggage).
Both Gortat and Mahinmi are ill-suited to play forward, a position handled by Markieff Morris and Andrew Nicholson anyway. Except occasional matchups, Gortat and Mahinmi will probably have to split 48 minutes at center.
That’s not the greatest use of resources, and Gortat is under contract three more years — which is why, despite this report of Washington’s intentions right now, a trade seems quite possible down the line.
The Thunder had been quiet since losing Kevin Durant to the Warriors.
Now, they’re using the cap space and minutes left vacant to sign another small forward: Alex Abrines, the No. 32 pick in the 2013 draft.
Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net:
Alex Abrines and Oklahoma City Thunder have a deal. The Spanish forward has agreed to terms for a three year contract which will pay him near $18 million in total.
Abrines has a 2 million Euro buyout, according to Varlas. Oklahoma City can contribute $650,000. The rest will come out of Abrines’ paycheck.
He could quickly earn a role with the Thunder, who were left with Kyle Singler and Josh Huestis at small forward (though shooting guards Victor Oladipo, Andre Roberson and Anthony Morrow could also slide down). Abrines, who turns 23 next month, has NBA skills But his thin frame could prevent him from showing them, especially early.
Oklahoma City drafted Abrines with a pick acquired in the James Harden trade. So, Abrines’ play will be another chance to revisit that deal. Abrines almost certainly won’t swing the result, but he’s promising enough that the Thunder might not look quite as bad.
Except for the whole starting-a-chain-of-events-that-led-to-Durant’s-departure thing.