Kurt Helin

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17:  Nikola Jovanovic #32 of the USC Trojans reacts in the second half against the Providence Friars during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Detroit Pistons sign Trey Freeman, Nikola Jovanovic to deals for training camp

Leave a comment

The Detroit Pistons have 14 guaranteed contracts set going into training camp at the end of the month. They could carry one more player into the season, but they may not (teams like having that room to make moves as needed). The Pistons are also pretty loaded at the center and point guard spots heading into camp.

But Trey Freeman and Nikola Jovanovic are going to get their chances, they have both signed training camp deals with the Pistons. Jovanovic, who was an undrafted big out of USC, confirmed his deal himself on Twitter.

Both of these guys are longshots to make the team.

At the five, the Pistons already have Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes, and Boban Marjanovic. That’s plenty of traditional bigs. At the four they have plenty of depth as well (Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer, and Henry Ellenson).

At the point, Reggie Jackson will get the bulk of minutes, with Ish Smith behind him. If the Pistons keep a third point guard on the roster (no guarantee), the smart money is on Ray McCallum. (As an aside, the Jackson trade rumors with the Sixers floating around the Web are preposterous and not happening. As in not being discussed.)

Dwyane Wade takes out billboard to thank fans in Miami

Chicago Bulls player Dwyane Wade speaks during a news conference Friday, July 29, 2016, in Chicago. Wade who played at Miami Heat for 13 years, joined his hometown team for a two-year contract worth about $47 million. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim)
4 Comments

Well done, Dwyane Wade.

This summer, after feeling lowballed and underappreciated by Heat management, Wade left the only professional team and city he had ever known to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls. But on his way out the door, he wanted to thank Heat fans, and did it with a billboard. (Mike Ryan, executive producer of the Dan Le Batard Ahow, was the first to post it that I saw.)

It was indeed classy. And classically Wade.

Report: Marc Gasol cleared for basketball in time for start of Grizzlies training camp

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 24:  Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates against the Oklahoma City Thunder during  Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 24, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee. 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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Marc Gasol went down with a broken foot last season, the Grizzlies dreams of a playoff run went down with him.

This season the Grizzlies are bringing “grit and grind” back with the re-signing of Mike Conley, and they are adding a pretty new face to it in the form of Chandler Parsons. The team has potential — but only if Gasol is the anchor in the middle.

On that front, good news for Grizzlies fans via Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal.

Center Marc Gasol has been cleared to play after recovering from a broken right foot.

The 7-footer suffered the injury in February and subsequently missed playing for his native Spain in the Rio Olympics. However, Gasol recently returned to Memphis for strength and conditioning. Gasol is also playing pickup games, according to sources with knowledge of his progress. The Griz took a cautious approach to Gasol’s rehabilitation and are upbeat about his return to form on the basketball court, according to the sources.

This also is good news for anyone who likes to watch smart, well-played basketball.

Memphis is going to be an interesting team to watch this season. If healthy, if they can come together for new coach David Fizdale in a system that fits their needs, if Zach Randolph can outrun father time a little longer, this is a good and dangerous team in Memphis. But their margin for error (and injury) is small. At some point it feels like this team will take a couple of steps back, but that may not be this season.

Dirk Nowitzki says he’s taking retirement “year by year”

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 21:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder during game three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 21, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Dirk Nowitzki has 50 million reasons to play two more years in the NBA before hanging it up.

The big German who has been the cornerstone of the Dallas Mavericks for 18 seasons signed a two-year deal to stay in Dallas this summer for more money than he requested. Mark Cuban wanted to show loyalty to the man who has shown great loyalty to him.

But is Nowitzki, now 38, going to play both seasons of that deal? He hasn’t decided yet, something he told the media Thursday, as reported by TodaysFastBreak.com.

“I always said I wanted to kind of take it year-by-year. Signing a two-year deal doesn’t mean I necessarily have to play those two years. I think we’ll see how next year goes, how the body responds and then we’ll make that decision again next year,” Nowitzki said. “But obviously, I would love to play the next two years and then just see how it goes.”

Nowitzki still brings plenty to the table. Last season he averaged 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and he still spaces the floor as well as any big in the game — 59 percent of his shots came from 16 feet or farther out, and he hit an impressive 46.1 percent on long twos and 36.8 percent from three.

While he says he’s not sure about the 2017-18 season, I say $25 million is a big motivation to play out this contract. If he’s healthy, he’ll be there.

This is a Mavericks team that is transitioning, Harrison Barnes was brought in from Golden State and will be given the chance to be the man. Andrew Bogut will be anchoring the paint, Wesley Matthews will be back at the two. This is a pretty good team now — one that should battle for a playoff spot in the West — while laying groundwork for future years.

But don’t think the Dirk Nowitzki era is over in Dallas quite yet.

Hawks to sign Richard Solomon to training camp deal

PULLMAN, WA - FEBRUARY 12:  Richard Solomon #35 of the California Golden Bears pulls in a rebound against the Washington State Cougars during the game at Beasley Coliseum on February 12, 2014 in Pullman, Washington.  (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

The Atlanta Hawks have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, the max they can carry into the season. They are also loaded at the power forward spot with Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, Mike Muscala, and Kris Humphries.

Which means while they are bringing Richard Solomon to training camp, he’s not making the team.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the report:

The Hawks will sign Richard Solomon to a non-guaranteed contract and the forward will join the team for training camp in two weeks, according to several people familiar with the situation….

Solomon went undrafted out of the University of California in 2014 and signed to go to training camp with the Thunder. He was waived and spent the entire 2014-15 season with the Oklahoma City’s NBA Development League affiliate Blue. In 28 games, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 18 minutes.

Last season Solomon played in Japan, and he played in the Las Vegas Summer League with Oklahoma City. Solomon will make a little money with the Hawks and get the chance to turn heads and see if another team will give him a look.