Kurt Helin

Detroit Pistons v Orlando Magic

Greg Monroe on move out of Detroit: “I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted”

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The fact Greg Monroe was going to leave Detroit was right up there with “Jeb Bush might run for president” for the worst kept secret of the last couple months award.

We know four or five teams have meetings set up with Monroe — the Knicks are considered the strong front runners to land him — and none of them are the Pistons. While coach and GM Stan Van Gundy has given lip service to bringing Monroe back, Monroe himself confirmed he is moving on to the New Orleans Advocate. (Hat tip Eye on Basketball.)

He also said Van Gundy’s offense and the Pistons already having Andre Drummond sealed the deal with the move.

“I’m looking to be with a team that’s ready to win,” said Monroe during a timeout at his youth basketball clinic Saturday morning at the Delgado Community College gymnasium. “Hopefully it will be a team where I’m the missing piece….

“Stan had smaller teams in Orlando (Magic) years ago,” Monroe said. “Dre is like Dwight Howard. So Stan wants to put good players around him. The team has different plans, and I respect that. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted.”

In the next 48 hours, expect Van Gundy to deny he’s not wanted in Detroit, but that’s just part of the dance. SVG has a franchise anchor in the paint in Drummond and wants shooters and athletes around him to open up the floor and play off him. That system works (the Magic made it to the Finals, remember) and they just traded for Ersan Ilyasova, who is a much better fit than Monroe as a four in that system.

The Knicks have long been the front runners to land Monroe, but the Lakers, Celtics, and other teams want to get their foot in the door. One interesting possibility is Portland, where they are about to lose LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency and will be looking for another young, quality big man to put next to Damian Lillard. That team would be a lot closer to winning than the Knicks, Lakers or Celtics.

We’ll see in a couple days where Monroe’s meetings are.

 

Report: Nets, Grizzlies discussed trade to send Joe Johnson to Memphis, but deal fell apart

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets
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Memphis needs more help on the wings. They have an excellent, old-school front like with Marc Gasol — who almost certainly will re-sign in Memphis — and Zach Randolph, but they need to space the floor with shooting. They traded for Matt Barnes, who fits their grit-and-grind style but also shot 36 percent from three last season. They’ve been linked to talks for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari.

And they went after the Nets’ Joe Johnson.

However, the deal fell apart, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

The teams could not find a workable deal and have tabled discussions, but sources told ESPN.com that the Nets were encouraged enough in general to believe that they will ultimately find a trade taker for Johnson’s mammoth contract, which only has one season left to run but at a massive $24.9 million in 2015-16.

The Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons are among the other teams, like Memphis, to register exploratory interest in Johnson in recent months, but trades made recently by both teams — with the Hornets acquiring Nicolas Batum from Portland and the Pistons nabbing Ersan Ilyasova from Milwaukee — would appear to take them out of the Johnson mix.

The first takeaway here is that the Grizzles are serious about getting some more firepower on the wings this season. Finally.

The other (and it’s not a surprise, it’s been talked about before) is that the Nets want to move both Johnson and Deron Williams this summer as they remake their roster and work to get under the luxury tax line. It was always more likely that Johnson would be traded — while he is owed $24.9 million next season it is the last year of that deal. Plus he still provides value on the court, scoring 14.4 points a game and shooting 35.9 percent from three last season. While his game has slipped from its peak and he’s not super efficient, he can still make some plays.

Moving Deron Williams — whose game has slid farther and who is owed $43 million over the next two seasons — will be more challenging. Brooklyn also is shopping point guard Jarrett Jack.

Report: Wizards would love to trade Nene, but there isn’t much interest around league

Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers
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Much to the annoyance of Wizards fans, coach Randy Wittman stuck with a big front line of Marcin Gortat and Nene for much of the season — partially because it worked. The Wizards were +7.6 points per 100 possessions with those two on the court together. But come the playoffs the Wizards moved Nene to the bench and played Pierce at the four far more, and that spaced out the floor and opened things up for John Wall. The Wizards were simply better going small.

Which means the Wizards wouldn’t mind trading Nene this off-season.

The problem is, there isn’t much interest around the league, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.

The Wizards, CSNwashington.com has confirmed through two persons with knowledge of the situation, aren’t expected to move him during the offseason because there isn’t serious interest in the 13-year power forward who averaged 11 points and 5.1 rebounds. If Nene is eventually moved, it’ll likely occur closer to the trade deadline in February when most of his salary has been picked up by his current team and maybe a contender in need of a big man on an expiring deal could come calling.

The four spot will be what the Wizards try to deal with this summer. Paul Pierce has opted out and while the Wizards believe there is a 50/50 chance he returns, the feeling around the league is he is more likely to land in Los Angeles or another spot outside the nation’s capital.. The Wizards do not have anything resembling a stretch four on the roster and finding one is their off-season priority.

Wittman has said next season he wants to play Nene more at the five. Come the playoffs that meant more time as a backup to Gortat, and he saw minutes down the stretch of games because he worked better defensively against teams going small. That pattern likely continues. Once the Wizards find a stretch four.

Knicks, Celtics, Trail Blazers, Raptors, Pelicans all reportedly interested in Al-Faroqu Aminu

Al-Farouq Aminu, James Harden
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Al-Faroqu Aminu finally seemed to get it last season, and his big playoffs for the Mavs earned him a payday this summer. If you forgot, in the playoffs Aminu averaged 11.2 points, and 7.2 rebounds a game, shot 63.3 percent from three and had a PER of 20.3.

Dallas would like to retain his services, but a lot of other suitors are going to come calling, reports David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com.

Again, that’s the Knicks, Celtics, Trail Blazers, Raptors, Pelicans all trying to poach Aminu while the Mavericks try to keep him.

Aminu likely makes in the $4 million to $5 million range next season. Dallas may have trouble retaining him — they likely do not have their mid-level exception to offer, and the room exception ($2.81 million) likely will not be enough. There are personnel moves the Mavs may consider freeing up cap space to resign Aminu, but as of now those are all hypothetical.

What is not hypothetical is that Aminu is going to have options.

Report: Jimmy Butler wants to sign with Lakers. Sounds like someone’s agent wants leverage.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls
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There are two simple facts to consider with this story:

1) Jimmy Butler is a restricted free agent, and the Bulls can match any offer he signs with another team and retain him.

2) The Chicago Bulls are very, very high on Butler and want to keep him.

With that background, we pass the report that what Butler wants to do is play for the Lakers. Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Lastly, Chicago forward Jimmy Butler hopes to take his talents elsewhere and take advantage of the new television deal after his career year coincided with Tom Thibodeau’s firing and Derrick Rose’s chemistry issues. Although Butler wants to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with his thinking, the Bulls are expected to match any offer for the restricted free agent.

Two quick thoughts here. First, Butler does want to sign a shorter deal, not a five-year max contract, and the Lakers have been dropped as a team he is interested in before. Second, the Lakers cannot extend a one-year offer sheet. It’s part of the complexities of the salary cap, something the brilliant Mark Deeks breaks down here, if you want to read about it in detail. Just know it has to be at least a two-year offer from the Lakers.

This is an agent trying to use the Lakers to leverage the Bulls. There will be a lot of that this season, whether it is Dwyane Wade or a host of others, if an agent is looking to create leverage he’ll use the big market and wads of cash that the Lakers have to do it.

This is simply an effort to get the Bulls to offer Butler a shorter deal and not the five-year max, because like everyone Butler would love to tap into that television money that is about to start flowing into the NBA in 2016.

However, if Chicago does offer Butler a five-year max he will take it — everyone takes a max extension to his rookie contract (Greg Monroe was not offered that, according to the most reliable reports). That would be Butler’s first  huge contract, it is $90 million and that is “set your family up for generations” money. Players don’t walk away from that the first time it’s on the table. (LeBron James may leverage shorter deals now, but only after he got money in the bank off that first extension.)

If the Bulls offer the max, the Lakers would have to offer at least three years under the CBA, and the Bulls would just match that offer sheet if Butler signed it. If Butler really wanted out of Chicago, his only option would sign a one-year qualifying offer at $4.4 million and leave more than $85 million in guaranteed cash on the table, then he could be a free agent next summer. Not even the most deluded Lakers fan can picture that happening.

Butler is going to be a Bull next season. Nothing to see here, move along.