Tag: free agency

Brook Lopez

Report: Nets GM King “considered” shutting Brook Lopez down for season


Nets center Brook Lopez missed the first 32 games of this season with a broken right foot. Recently, Lopez sprained his right ankle. He is expected to be out for around 3 weeks, but Nets GM Billy King has reportedly considered shutting down his young center for the remainder of the season. From Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger:

Nets GM Billy King said the team is being cautious with Lopez and considered shutting him down for the entire season.

“We’ve got a young player, 23, and we’re gonna make a decision, do we keep him out the rest of the year? Because I think it’s important for us to have a healthy Brook Lopez,” King said. “He’s not going to be out for the rest of the year but at three weeks, if he still have a little soreness in the ankle, we’re going to hold him out. Because my main concern is about Brook Lopez, going forward at 23 years old. We want him as healthy as possible.”

It’s no secret that the Nets’ future is contingent on two things happening: the team keeping Deron Williams and acquiring Dwight Howard. Both players will be free agents at the end of this season, Howard has made it known he’d like to play in Brooklyn, and a Lopez-for-Howard swap has been the source of much discussion over the past few months.

Shutting Lopez down for the season would certainly decrease the chances of a Lopez-for-Howard trade at the deadline, but with the Magic looking like they might want to keep their franchise center for the season and risk free agency rather than trade him now. If that happens, the Nets would have an all-or-nothing off-season. If they can convince Howard to sign with them in free agency, they’ll likely be able to keep Williams and trade Lopez for some pieces that would fit well alongside the two superstars. If the team can’t get Howard, then there’s a high probability that Williams will leave and the Nets will return to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Right now, the team is only 12-26, and a high-lottery pick may actually be more beneficial for them in the long term than a semi-respectable record would be if Lopez returns but does not get traded for Howard at the deadline. It will be interesting to see what happens.

This 15 minutes in Jeremy Lin: Yes, the Knicks will be able to keep Jeremy Lin.

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

From the excellent Ken Berger of CBS:

On the phone with a basketball executive Tuesday to go over the mechanics of how the Knicks could keep Jeremy Lin beyond this season, the notion of how surreal the conversation was came up more than once.

But in answer to your question, Knicks fans: Yes, if Lin continues to perform at anything close to the level he’s displayed so far, New York will have the means and the inclination to retain him for next year — and most likely, beyond…

…Even if Lin settles somewhere in between All-Star and rotation player, the Knicks can expect the offer sheets to roll in. But due to the so-called Gilbert Arenas rule — instituted in the 2005 CBA to prevent teams from being outbid for their own restricted free agents with two or fewer years in the league — the Knicks will be insulated from such potential poachers.

The maximum that another team could offer in the first year of a multi-year offer sheet will be the average league salary, which is expected to be a shade under $5 million. The second year of the offer sheet would be subject to the 4.5 percent raise for non-Bird free agents. After that, the offer sheets can be back-loaded up to the max — 25 percent of the cap — but the Knicks would be able to match under league salary rules. In any event, it likely will cost them their mid-level exception for next season.

So even though the Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony contracts have all but tied up the Knicks’ salary cap for the forseeable future, the “Gilbert Arenas” rule will allow them to keep their brand-new superstar without having to pay him a crazy salary. Lin will definitely get a raise (he’s only making $613,000 this season), and he definitely deserves one, although there’s almost no way he’ll be able to keep up this level of play all season. (Lin is currently shooting 63% from the 16-23 foot range, which would be completely unprecedented over a full season — since Hoopdata started tracking stats, Kobe Bryant has never shot better than 44% from the 16-23 foot range.)

So don’t fret, New York fans — unless something completely crazy happens, Lin will be staying put for the foreseeable future.

Raymond Felton would like to sign an extension with the Blazers

Ray Felton
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From Hoopsworld’s Lang Greene:

At the end of this season the Blazers will once again have to make a major decision regarding their backcourt, as Felton is in the last year of his current deal and is set to become a free agent.

Felton readily lets it be known if the decision were up to him, he would be donning a Trail Blazers uniform over the long term.

“They [Blazers officials] know I want to be here,” Felton told HOOPSWORLD. “I’ve told them that and we talked about it earlier in the summer so they know that already. I love it here in Portland. I want to be here leading the team. I feel like we have a winning team here, so hopefully we can get something done.”

If Felton wants a long-term deal with the Blazers or any other team, he’s either going to have to take a large pay cut or start playing a lot better. The 27-year old Felton currently has a career-low PER of 10.31, which is well below the league average of 15, his true shooting percentage is an abysmal 41.8%, and his turnover rate is also worse than it has ever been before. And his salary for this season is 7.6 million dollars.

Felton says that adjusting to a new team after the lockout has been tough, but even if he “returns to form” it’s debatable whether he’s worth anywhere near 8 million dollars a year, especially as he gets closer to 30 — the 09-10 season and 10-11 season were the only ones where Felton’s PER was above 15, and he’s never been a particularly efficient scorer, even in Denver’s offense-driven system. It’s understandable that Felton wants some job security going forward, but it’s tougher to understand why any team would want to give Felton a long-term deal that pays anywhere near his current yearly salary.

Blazers will have to choose between Batum, Wallace

Dirk Nowitzki, Nicolas Batum, Gerald Wallace

From Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune:

The Blazers have until Jan. 25 to extend the rookie contract of Batum, 23, who is making a pro-rated $2.16 million this season and would be due a qualifying offer of $3.17 million as a restricted free agent next season. If the deadline passes without a deal, the Blazers can extend him beginning July 1, match an offer from another team or let him go.

Wallace, 29, is making $9.5 million this season and can opt out of a contract that calls for him to make $9.5 million again next season. The 6-7, 11-year veteran won’t say much about his feelings on the possibility of an opt-out.

As Eggers notes, Marcus Camby, Greg Oden, and Raymond Felton will all be free agents after this season, and if Wallace opts out, it could cost a combined $17 million or more to keep both of the team’s small forwards on the team next season.

This will not be an easy off-season decision for the Blazers, as it comes down to a classic case of production vs. potential. Wallace has had a tremendous impact for the Blazers ever since he was traded from the Bobcats, and currently leads the team in unadjusted +/-. If the Blazers let him walk, they will almost certainly suffer in the short-term. However, Wallace has a nasty injury history, has earned his nickname of “crash,” and is about to hit the big 3-0, which would make a lot of GMs hesitate to commit to him long-term, especially since Wallace’s game has always been more about energy and athleticism than outside shooting and passing, which are two qualities players tend to keep as they head into their 30s and lose their athleticism.

Batum, meanwhile, is shooting below 40% from the floor this season, but he’s 23, long, athletic, a great defender, and has a great three-point stroke, which is why he’s been all but untouchable for the Blazers for some time now.

The Blazers are currently having their cake and eating it too, but that won’t last long — at some point, likely this off-season, they’ll have to choose between Wallace’s production and Batum’s potential when making a long-term decision.

Jeff Green to be unrestricted free agent as Celtics pull qualifying offer

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Five

Whether it was a calculated maneuver to save themselves money or a generous move to help out a young player who caught an extremely bad break (but also found the break which was a wonderfully good break), the result is the same. Jeff Green will be an unrestricted free agent when he returns to the NBA. ESPN reports:

That’s because the Boston Celtics, in a move that was not made public, withdrew Green’s qualifying offer in mid-December, right around the time he failed his physical and had his one-year, $9 million contract voided. The move means Green is now an unrestricted free agent. Had the offer not been withdrawn, and the Celtics were under no obligation whatsoever to do so, Green would have been a restricted free agent, with the Celtics able to match any offer he might get from another team.

Asked about the decision on Friday, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, citing Green’s impending surgery, said he preferred not to discuss the matter. He did confirm it, however. It may have been nothing more than a goodwill gesture on the part of the Celtics to Green and his agent, David Falk, who said the team has been “phenomenal” in handling the situation.

via Boston Celtics withdrew qualifying offer, Jeff Green now UFA – ESPN Boston.

It’s impossible to know how this plays out. Green could be back as early as next year. It could be two years. It’s heart surgery, for crying out loud. His first priority ts to take care of himself and his family. But when he does get back, this could be a phenomenally good development for him. He’ll be eligible for more years and more raises, though obviously getting back from heart surgery will complicate those matters. It means locking up a larger deal off the bat rather than going through a year of struggles coming off, again, heart surgery.And it may mean finding a better fit for himself. He’s close to the players in Boston now, spending time with them this season. But Green is also being asked to do so much for Boston in a hostile environment, looking elsewhere might be the best plan for him. Even if he can’t return to OKC and his good friends there, he might be able to join a younger team or one a little more away from the spotlight.

Having this condition develop is one of the worst things that could have happened to Green. But at least the way it worked out in terms of his professional life seem to be pretty good. We’ll keep you updated on his status after surgery.