Tag: J.R. Smith

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market


At this point in what has been a fast-moving summer, most teams are just rounding out the final couple spots on their rosters. The guys at the end of the bench who may not see much playing time once the season tips off. Yet, there are still a few interesting free agent targets still on the market — a couple at the top of the list who could play significant roles for the Cavaliers next season. But even farther down are solid, veteran reserves still trying to find a chair for next season before the music stops.

Here’s our updated list of the top 10 guys still on the market.

1) Tristan Thompson — The Cavaliers and Thompson are still haggling, but a deal will get done — because LeBron James wants a deal to get done. Thompson is a restricted free agent but neither of the teams with a lot of cap space — Philadelphia and Utah — will use it to make him a big offer. He doesn’t have a ton of leverage. Plus the Cavs are deep into the luxury tax now, so every dollar spent on Thompson comes with an additional price. Kevin Love got maxed out and Thompson saw what Draymond Green got, but he’s going to have to take less than those guys to get a deal done.

2) J.R. Smith — He likely regrets opting out of the $6.4 million in the final year of his deal because he is going to take a pay cut (and very likely be on a one-year deal). He is still expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers, with whom he met last week, in part because there is not a strong market for the classic volume scorer (those Lakers rumors that popped up online Tuesday were pure fantasy, LA is not interested).

3) Jason Terry — In the wake of the Ty Lawson trade it has been expected around the league Terry would reach a deal as a reserve in Houston, but that has yet to be finalized. In fact, the Rockets renounced their rights to him (he can still sign with Houston, the Rockets cannot offer more than any other team now, however). He may not defend much anymore, but he did shoot 39 percent from three last season.

4) Carlos Boozer — He’s much maligned by fans for his shortcomings (particularly on defense), but he still averaged 11.8 points a game shooting nearly 50 percent last season for the Lakers. As a scoring big off the bench who can run the pick-and-pop Boozer has value. The Mavericks, Knicks, and Rockets are reportedly interested.

5) Kevin Seraphin — A solid, traditional, backup big who thought there was a healthy market for him outside Washington where he played behind Marcin Gortat. Turns out not really. The Knicks, Lakers, and Wizards are reportedly still interested on some level.

6) Darrell Arthur — Denver is expected to re-sign him this week. He averaged 6.6 points a game last season for the Nuggets, plus he is a solid defender who plays a smart game. As a reserve at the four he makes a lot of sense.

7) Dorell Wright — The small forward shot 38 percent from three last season for Portland, but he played a limited role for that team. Coming off hand surgery, there hasn’t been much of a market for him.

8) Andre Miller — He had some early talks with the Sacramento Kings, but it seems unlikely he goes back to his friend George Karl after the Kings picked up Seth Curry. Miller is a high IQ, veteran reserve point guard that some team will eventually pick up, but the league is deep at that position, and there aren’t many openings.

9) Norris Cole — He’s a restricted free agent who may end up playing in New Orleans next season on the qualifying offer, and then will test the market again next summer. He played pretty well for the Pelicans at the end of last season (9.9 points a game, shot 38 percent from three) and would back up Jrue Holiday. There have been talks with the Sixers, but are they going to make an offer large enough that the Pelicans will not match it? Not likely.

10) JaVale McGee — Dallas reportedly has shown interest, and other teams may as well, but only if he can pass a physical and prove he’s healthy. His contract was bought out by the Sixers, so he’s getting paid anyway, will he be motivated?

Phil Jackson says Knicks wanted Goran Dragic at trade deadline. Because he’s such a triangle fit?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:   New York Knicks president Phil Jackson watches from the stands as his team plays the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.   The Knicks won 101-94.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Rule No. 1 about winning in the NBA: It’s all about the talent.

Gregg Popovich is brilliant, but he’s not wearing rings without Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker and the others. Phil Jackson was the master at getting great players to buy into a team concept, but he had great players, from Michael Jordan through Kobe Bryant.

And Jackson knows if he wants to turn the Knicks around, he needs exceptional talent. Like maybe Goran Dragic — when healthy one of the better point guards in the NBA. In his conversations during the season with his old friend Charlie Rosen (now published at ESPN), Jackson talked about eyeing Dragic at the trade deadline last February.

“Goran Dragic, for one. I heard through the grapevine that he was open to coming here. We worked hard on that possibility, but the asking price was too dear. Maybe we worked on that possibility so much so that it distracted us. I mean, Dragic is every team’s current choice for a nuclear option — a guard who can penetrate and either score or kick. Guys like Chris Paul and James Harden. But, anyway, that’s not really the way I want us to play.”

As a reminder, the Jackson and the Knicks moved first, on Jan. 5, took part in a three-team trade that sent Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to Cleveland. On Feb. 19 the Suns moved Dragic to the Heat in another three-team trade, which netted the Suns Danny Granger, John Salmons, and the real prize of two future first round picks (2017 and 2021). Dragic then re-signed with the Heat this summer.

But it’s the last line that is the most interesting from Jackson: “But, anyway, that’s not really the way I want us to play.” Dragic, like any traditional point guard who needs the ball in his hands, is not a fit in the triangle.

Jackson wants to validate his vision of the triangle in a new era. He wants an unselfish team where players cut and move off the ball, where the system is as big a star as the players. Like the Hawks, I guess.

But the system is only going to be as good as the players in it. What both the Bulls and Lakers for Jackson did well was put in role players who fit and bought into the system around their elite stars. Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Pippen, etc. would have been successful regardless of the system. We can debate whether Carmelo Anthony can be one of those elite stars, but there is no debate the Knicks need more of them. Maybe Kristaps Porzingis can be, but we’re a few years from finding that out for sure. In the short term, the Knicks did a good job getting solid role players like Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez that will work in the triangle. That’s a start.

As much as changing the culture and putting in a system, Jackson knows he needs more elite players if he is going to bring a title back to NYC. Even if that means bending the triangle a little to make them work.

Jackson knows, he can talk all he wants about system and style, it comes down to talent first. Restock that cupboard and the triangle will look great again.

Report: Cavaliers sign Matthew Dellavedova

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Matthew Dellavedova – who played the best basketball of his life in the NBA Finalsreportedly wanted $4 million per season and a multi-year contract.

He’ll have to settle for a bit less.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

It sounds as if Dellavedova accepted his qualifying offer – $1,147,276.

I’d guess McMenamin just rounded generously. There’d be little incentive for the Cavaliers to offer Dellavedova more, even $52,724, than his qualifying offer on a one-year contract – especially because that amount would be multiplied in luxury-tax payments. I suppose it’s possible, Cleveland feared Dellavedova signing an unfavorable offer sheet elsewhere and bumped up his salary to avoid him doing that, but that seems unlikely.

The Cavaliers can make Dellavedova a restricted free agent again next offseason, because he’ll have fewer than four years of experience. Maybe he’ll draw better offers then with the salary cap skyrocketing, but it’s hard to see perception of his on-court value significantly rising after his impressive NBA Finals.

Dellavedova is a nice scorer with a steady jumper and a knack for finding creases in the defense. He works on defense, though he’s limited on that end due to his subpar athleticism. He’s a rotation-level player on an average NBA team, but Cleveland is well above average. He’ll probably be the third point guard behind Kyrie Irving and Mo Williams, though Dellavedova could earn more minutes when Williams slides to shooting guard. That’ll happen much more if the Cavaliers don’t re-sign J.R. Smith.

My guess: Cleveland continues to keep its core group together, with Smith and Tristan Thompson eventually following this re-signing.

Report: Cavaliers trade Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller, two second-round picks to Portland

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers

The question was not if but when and where the Cavaliers would trade Brendan Haywood — more accurately, his $10.5 non-guaranteed contract — and what would the price be.

The answers turned out to be Sunday, to Portland, and they threw in Mike Miller and a couple second round picks, for cash.

The expected trade of Haywood has been confirmed by everyone west of the Mississipi. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports had it first.

The Cavaliers will have two separate trade exceptions – $10.5 million and $2.85 million – that they’ll have one calendar year to use. The Cavaliers can use a trade exception to acquire a player under contract in a deal. Those salaries count against the salary cap, but don’t impact luxury tax payments.

The deal could spare the Cavaliers nearly $10 million in salary and luxury tax payments.

Let’s break down what everybody gets out of this and why they did it.

• The two trade exceptions, $10.5 million and $2.85 million, which can be used to bring in a player mid-season without sending anyone out.
• The Cavaliers likely never use those trade exceptions, making this a move about saving money — almost $10 million when all is said and done. The Cavaliers are already flirting with the $84.7 million tax line without having yet re-signed Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, and probably J.R. Smith. Former Nets executive Bobby Marks summed it up well on Twitter.

• Two second-round picks. The first in 2019 is the better of the Timberwolves or Lakers picks (the Cavs have the rights to both). The second is the Cavaliers own pick in 2020.
• Portland will waive Haywood, saving his non-guaranteed money.
• Portland is expected to negotiate a buyout with Miller, allowing the veteran to hook up with an interested contender (he cannot re-sign with the Cavaliers for a year). Whatever he takes less than the $2.85 million he is owed is money the Blazers saves.
• Bottom line, the Blazers just bought two second round picks at $1.4 million apiece.

Who won the trade? It’s not going to move the needle for either team on the court in the short term. So would you prefer to save money or pick up a couple extra future draft picks?

Report: Cavs re-sign James Jones to one-year deal

James Jones

The Cavs still have deals to make with Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith, but in the meantime, they’re quietly making moves to keep their depth at the end of the bench. On Thursday, they agreed to a deal to re-sign veteran forward James Jones.

From Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Small forward James Jones has reached an agreement on a one-year deal to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The contract, according to one source, is for the veteran’s minimum. The paperwork was faxed Thursday to Jones, who is in Florida with family. The contract is expected to be signed and finalized as early as Friday.

Jones isn’t a huge part of the Cavs’ rotation at this point, but he’s a beloved teammate and he’s still capable of coming in, playing spot minutes and knocking down three-pointers. For the veteran’s minimum, there’s nothing not to like about this signing.