Tag: New Orleans Pelicans

Andre Drummond, Ersan Ilyasova

Report: Bucks trade Ersan Ilyasova to Pistons for Caron Butler and Shawne Williams


It’s not very often you see a trade happen during the NBA Finals. Teams that aren’t still playing are allowed to make deals as soon as their seasons are over, but it’s just not something that happens frequently. However, hours before Game 4, the Bucks traded veteran Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Pistons, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

Ilyasova is an interesting fit in Detroit. He can fill the same stretch-four role that Ryan Anderson played on Stan Van Gundy’s Magic teams. He’s a career 37 percent three-point shooter and shot 38.9 percent from deep last season. Given Andre Drummond’s offensive limitations and Van Gundy’s system being heavily reliant on shooters, Ilyasova is a better frontcourt partner for Drummond than Greg Monroe. This trade is just the latest indication that Monroe will not be back in Detroit next season.

For the Bucks, this is a purely money-saving deal. Caron Butler’s $4.5 million and Shawne Williams’ $1.3 million for next season are fully unguaranteed. Assuming they are waived, the Bucks open up another $5.8 million in cap space. They already had plenty of room to make moves, but this extra cap space will allow them to add pieces even after they match a max or near-max offer for restricted free agent Khris Middleton.

Super agent Arn Tellem to join Pistons as executive

arn tellem

Arn Tellem is the star agent of the powerhouse Wasserman Media organization, which represents Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, and the two biggest free agents on the market this summer: Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Actually, we should say Tellem was the star agent for Wasserman.

He is leaving his role as an agent to become a powerful force in the Pistons front office and business side, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Wasserman Media Group’s Arn Tellem, one of the most powerful and prominent player agents in the history of the NBA, is finalizing an agreement to become vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Detroit Pistons, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Tellem will answer directly to billionaire owner Tom Gores, but will not become the ultimate authority on the Pistons’ basketball decisions, sources said. That responsibility will remain with president and coach Stan Van Gundy, who signed a five-year, $35 million deal a year ago.

If you believe that Tellem will be able to keep his hands off of basketball operations, well, I have a little bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

Tellem does have ties to Michigan, having gotten his law degree at the University of Michigan. And as the face of ownership with the Pistons he’s going to have a lot more to do than simply deal with the basketball side of things. He will spend more time on the business side.

But this is a change in the power structure in Detroit, which could have a lot of ramifications down the line.

Chandler Parsons recruiting Patrick Beverley to Mavericks

Gal Mekel,Patrick Beverley

Chandler Parsons said he was ready to recruit free agent to the Mavericks.

Unless Parsons has gone rogue, Dallas hopes to poach another Rocket – Patrick Beverley.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

With Pat Beverley heading into free agency, the Rockets point guard said he is already seeing the renowned recruiting talents of former teammate Chandler Parsons first hand.

“I hear from Chandler every day,” Beverley said. “It’s hard, but I try not to think about it. I can’t talk about contracts. It’s going to be a fun summer. I have put myself in a position to be set for life and that’s something that I never thought was possible growing up.”

Beverley would be an excellent fit with the Mavericks.

The Rockets exposed Dallas’ defensive holes in the playoffs, and Beverley would at least fill one. As the Rajon Rondo experiment and subsequent success showed, Rick Carlisle’s system works better with a point guard who can make 3s and doesn’t dominate the ball. That’s Beverley.

How much money would the Mavericks offer Beverley, who will be a restricted free agent?

Al-Farouq Aminu will definitely opt out, and last check had Monta Ellis doing the same. Let’s assume they both do. Let’s also assume Dallas renounces all its free agents and waives Dwight Powell, who has an unguaranteed salary.

Using data from Basketball Insiders, the Mavericks would project to have about $30.9 million in cap space.

A max contract for DeAndre Jordan (who’s reportedly interested in Dallas) or LaMarcus Aldridge would start at about $19 million. With or without one of those top free agents, Dallas would lose cap space by re-signing any of its own free agents like Ellis, Aminu and/or Tyson Chandler.

The Mavericks have room to chase Beverley. It just limits their flexibility elsewhere.

Dallas probably must offer more than $10 million per season to convince Houston not to match.

Because Beverley has been in the league three seasons, the Gilbert Arenas Provision does not apply. A team can sign him to an offer sheet worth up to a max contract, and it can’t balloon like the Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin deals.

The Rockets definitely value Beverley. But as the Parsons saga showed last year, they might place more value in the flexibility to chase a third star to complement James Harden and Dwight Howard.

I hope Dallas chases Beverley – to see how he’d fit in the Mavericks’ system, to see how Houston would build its roster and to see one more Mark Cuban-Daryl Morey clash.

Warriors’ video staff pranked Alvin Gentry about Pelicans

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

With the lengthy break between Golden State eliminating Houston and the start of the NBA Finals, Alvin Gentry had time to seal the deal on becoming the next coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, and still get back to do the scouting on Cavaliers.

The Warriors clubhouse is a loose and fun place — they are serious on the court, their system shows discipline, but a former player like Kerr is not going to let things get too heavy.

In that spirit, the Warriors and their video crew pranked Gentry. He had spent time breaking down the Cavaliers and how the Warriors want to attack them. But when it came time for showing the video to the team… we’ll let Gentry take it from there, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

“I start in like, ‘Guys, here are some of the plays we ran against them that really worked well,'” Gentry says. “And I look at the screen and it’s all a bunch of fricking Pelicans highlights.

“They’ve got captions under the plays like, ‘Boy, this team has a lot of potential.’ There’s this play with Anthony Davis dunking and the caption says, ‘God, this guy is GOOD!'”

The whole room started rolling…

“At the end of the tape, there’s a milk carton with my picture on [it] that says, ‘Have you seen this guy? He’s been missing in action,'” he says.


Kerr had encouraged Gentry to talk to the Pelicans and go get that job. Like any good boss, he wants those under him to succeed. Even if in a few years he’s going to have trouble with Gentry’s Pelicans.

At points in these playoffs the Warriors have seemed a little tight at home, Kerr has set a tone and is trying to make sure they are loose. They will be rusty (both teams will be after that layoff), but Kerr is trying to make sure his team — which has no players with Finals experience — is not overwhelmed by the moment.

Steve Kerr and David Blatt meet again, this time as rookie coaches in the NBA Finals

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors
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When they first met last June (something set up by their shared agent), David Blatt and Steve Kerr found they had a common vision for how the game of basketball should be played — ball movement, spacing, player movement off the ball, playing uptempo. All of it designed to create just a little space, which is all the best players need to make the defense pay. The two became fast friends and got along so well that after a couple of meetings Kerr offered Blatt a seat next to him as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

But before Blatt accepted, his phone rang. That call ultimately became owner Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers offering Blatt their head coaching job.

Now Blatt and Kerr meet again, but this time as opposing head coaches in the NBA Finals — the first time rookie head coaches have met in the NBA Finals since 1947, the first season the league existed.

However, the pairs’ paths from when they first met to this point couldn’t be much different.

Kerr, patient in taking over for Mark Jackson, got his budding superstar Stephen Curry to buy into all those offensive philosophies he had discussed with Blatt. With the help of lead assistant Alvin Gentry (who will take over as the head coach in New Orleans after these Finals), Kerr built a thoroughly modern NBA offense around Curry and a variety of versatile weapons. The Warriors had the second best offense in the NBA, won 67 games and have been the best team in the Association since the season tipped off. Kerr was a serious candidate for Coach of the Year.

Blatt’s path changed dramatically just a couple weeks after he took the job when LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland — this went from a rebuilding project to a team that could win the title instantly (especially with the addition of Kevin Love). Blatt’s offensive system had to bend to the weight of the NBA’s star system — and that process was not fast and not always pretty. Blatt took criticism at every turn (deserved or not), it seemed everything that went wrong was on him, everything good was on LeBron. The offense struggled some early until the Cavaliers went with something more conventional and comfortable for LeBron and Kyrie Irving. After LeBron James’ mid-season sabbatical, the Cavaliers’ became an offensive force with those conventional looks. From the All-Star Game through the end of the season, the Cavs had the third best offense in the NBA scoring 108.9 points per 100 possessions (trailing only the Spurs and Warriors).

Both teams are in the Finals because of their defense. Again the Warriors have been phenomenal on that end all season. Meanwhile the Cavaliers have started to finally peak on that end in the playoffs (and especially since Tristan Thompson replaced the injured Kevin Love).

What will be most interesting these playoffs is how the two coaches — the two friends — will probe and test those defenses.

Kerr will use the depth and versatility of his offense to find weaknesses in that Cavalier defense. One matchup to watch early is whomever Kyrie Irving is guarding — Irving is not 100 percent, and there is nowhere to hide a player defensively against the Warriors. If he starts out on Stephen Curry, well, Curry will test him both off the dribble and keeping up with him off the ball. Same with Klay Thompson. Maybe the best bet is to hide Irving on Harrison Barnes, but he is another guy who moves incredibly well off the ball, and one who has the size and strength to score on Irving inside.

Golden State also is a team that makes opponents pay for ball watching — and key Cavaliers will do that. Specifically J.R. Smith and LeBron, both of whom could end up trying to track Klay Thompson at times — lose him and the result will be three Warriors points.

Finally, in the regular season the Cavaliers defense — even after the additions of Timofey Mozgov and Iman Shumpert — struggled to move laterally well if the ball switched sides quickly. Good passing would lead to good shots against Cleveland. However, no team has exploited that in the postseason — the Celtics and Bulls were not really built to do so, and the Hawks team that shared the ball to 60 wins didn’t show up for the postseason. Golden State will be a real test of how far Cavaliers defense has come.

On the other sideline, Blatt’s European roots have shown at times in these playoffs, both in good and bad ways.

The most talked about instance led to criticism. In Europe it is common on key late-game possessions to have your best passer — even if it’s your best player — take the ball out of bounds, finding the open man. With the score tied 84-84 in Game 4 against Chicago, and just 1.1 seconds on the clock, Blatt called for LeBron to take the ball out of bounds. LeBron overruled him. LeBron called his own number, which ended up being a step-back corner three to win it for the Cavaliers. After the game, it was LeBron who told the media how that play came to be, reinforcing the idea in the minds of some that he was the real guy in charge. He may well be.

But Blatt has also made decisions — ones influenced by his European roots — that have worked brilliantly for Atlanta. Because there is no real star system in Europe coaches will simply go with the player they think is best, regardless of contract, which is how James Jones has been on the court and playing well instead of guys like Mike Miller in the postseason.

Blatt also has had strong defensive game plans. He looked at a star-less Atlanta team — one that had shot the three ball well most of the season but was not the same by the time of the Eastern Conference Finals — and decided to dare Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and basically any Hawk not named Kyle Korver to beat them from three. The Cavaliers went under picks and stayed back. The January Hawks would have carved up that defensive strategy, but these were not the same Hawks. They couldn’t take advantage.

Blatt will need a different defensive strategy this round (I don’t recommend going under picks against Curry), but he has his team peaking at the right time. And he has LeBron’s endorsement (at least publicly). Kerr’s advantage is he has more pieces on the chess board, more and more versatile players he can use to find matchups that work — and he has done that with adjustments each round that the opposing coach simply could not counter.

However the series ends, Blatt and Kerr will hug it out as friends. That hasn’t changed since they first met last June. It’s just everything else since then that has been different.