Author: Kurt Helin

Houston Rockets v New York Knicks

Report: Sixers, Bucks likely landing spots for Jeremy Lin if Rockets pull trigger


Whether it is Carmelo Anthony (not very likely) or Chris Bosh (still not likely) or Pau Gasol or Luol Deng or anyone else of note, the Houston Rockets need to clear out more cap space to make the signing.

Having already moved Omer Asik, next up was trying to find a home for Jeremy Lin, finding a team where the Rockets can ship him and get no salary back (just picks or a player who can be waived).

That appears to be the Philadelphia 76ers. Or maybe the Bucks. That according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

Sources told that the Sixers, who have ample room on their payroll to absorb Lin’s contract, have emerged as a leading contender to take on Lin in a trade that sends no salary back to the Rockets, which would enable the Rockets to extend a rich offer in free agency to either Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh.

Sources say that the Milwaukee Bucks are another team that would consider trading for Lin if the Rockets add a sweetener or two to the deal for the privilege of shedding Lin’s contract to a team that can comfortably absorb it.

Why would the Sixers do this? A future first round pick. They are rebuilding and GM Sam Hinkie is a pick hoarder. They get a backup point for a year (who they can use as a trade asset down the line) but mostly it’s about the pick.

Just something to watch. First, the Rockets need to land that star free agent to need the space. There has been a lot of flirting at the bar that is very different from going home with someone.

Sixers’ Pierre Jackson sufferers apparently severe Achilles injury at Summer League

Pierre Jackson

That does not look good. At all.

Pierre Jackson, a second round pick in the 2013 draft who split time between Europe and the D-League last season (the Pelicans had his rights and chose not to call him up despite some good numbers), came to Orlando as part of the Sixers’ Summer League team. He was there fighting for his NBA dreams.

Then this happened.

A non-contact injury, just a cut and then clearly a lot of pain in his Achilles.

The Sixers will only say that Jackson has an injured Achilles. However, Joshua Robins of the Orlando Sentinel reports that it was a ruptured Achilles, which would end Jackson’s season.

That’s a rough way to start off Summer League.

On the bright side for Sixers fans, Nerlens Noel looked good — he moved well and ran fast up and down the court, finishing with 19 points.


Report: Spencer Hawes reaches four-year, $23 million deal with Clippers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

On the list of Clippers needs this summer has been depth along the front line. Last season Doc Rivers’ best option for most of the year was Ryan Hollins, at least until they upgraded to Glen Davis when Orlando decided to buy him out. So yes, the Clippers best big off the bench was a guy the Magic wouldn’t play.

The Clippers have upgraded now have upgraded.

Los Angeles has reached a deal to bring in Spencer Hawes, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Free-agent 7-footer Spencer Hawes has reached agreement on a four-year, $23 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Hawes was determined to sign with a contender and his commitment to the Clippers on Friday becomes a tremendous coup for president and coach Doc Rivers.

Doc Rivers is trying to turn this into a sign-and-trade, which would leave his mid-level exception to chase Paul Pierce for the three (another Clippers need).

The Clippers offered Hawes the full mid-level exception. In a world where Marcin Gortat gets $12 million and big men are routinely overpaid, this is a good value pickup for the Clippers. Hawes will come off the bench behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

Hawes is a skilled big comfortable at the arc — 35 percent of his shots last year were threes and he knocked down 44.8 percent of them. That said, he can rebound and he is a very good passer. He has a complete offensive game and creates matchup problems if you don’t lean on him to

This is a huge offensive upgrade for the Clippers bench — and the Clippers had the best offense in the NBA last season.

The key for the Clippers is Hawes needs to defend, that is the end of the court where the Clippers need to improve. Hawes will block some shots but the Clips need consistent effort out of him, and Hawes’ middle name has never been consistency.

In addition, this does raise some questions about the Clippers future up front.

Report: Atlanta makes pitch to Luol Deng

Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

Luol Deng (along with Pau Gasol and others) is among the free agents in the green room, waiting for Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James to get off the stage so they can get their turn. Deng is in a second tier of free agent who has interest from teams but it is on a condition.

The Atlanta Hawks have changed that.

As much as the Hawks might like to be, they are not in the Carmelo/LeBron sweepstakes and they have turned their focus to Deng, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Deng was expected to speak with Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer about the possible partnership on Thursday night. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks.

The Hawks are slated to have about $11.5 million in salary cap room once the free agency moratorium lifts on July 10. Their recent agreement with former Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha on a four-year, $12 million deal appears to have helped their efforts to land Deng. The two players were together with the Chicago Bulls from 2006 to 2009 and had a very good relationship. The same goes for Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was with Deng in Chicago from 2010 to 2012. Deng spent his first nine seasons in Chicago before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January.

Deng would start at the three and give the Hawks an interesting starting five of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Deng, Paul Millsap and Al Horford with Thabo Sefolosha, Mike Scott, rookie Adreian Payne, Pero Antic, Dennis Schroder and others off the bench. The Hawks were clear and away the third best team in the East until Al Horford was injured last season and they would take a step forward with that group. It has to be a tempting offer for Deng.

But he is going to wait until the Carmelo/LeBron situations play out, to see what other teams make a run at him.

The Clippers would like to make a sign-and-trade for Deng and he is intrigued by that idea. The Heat have interest but there are questions about what they can pay. Dallas and Houston also are reportedly interested, as might the Wizards be if they don’t bring back Trevor Ariza.

Report: Raptors trade Steve Novak to Utah Jazz

Steve Novak

The Utah Jazz have some interesting young pieces up front — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans — but none who can really stretch the floor. In general the Jazz were one of the worst three point shooting teams in the NBA.

They have a shooter now — Steve Novak.

The Raptors have traded him to the Jazz, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

In a move to create salary cap space, the Toronto Raptors have reached an agreement to send Steve Novak to the Utah Jazz, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Along with Novak and the two years and $7.2 million left on his contract, the Raptors will send a future second-round draft pick to Utah, sources said. The deal can’t be completed until the league’s moratorium ends on Thursday. The Jazz will send the Raptors guard Diante Garrett, who, with a $915,000 non-guaranteed deal for this season, will be waived, sources said.

That clears out cap space for the Raptors, who just agreed to pay Kyle Lowry $12 million a season starting next year.

Novak is a stretch four who is a career 43.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc but didn’t really fit in the Raptors rotation much last year, lost behind Patrick Patterson.