Tag: New Orleans Saints

Chris Copeland

Report: Pelicans may try to snatch Copeland away from Knicks


Chris Copeland proved a real value for the Knicks last season, especially when they went small — remember he dropped 13 points on the Pacers in Game 5 of that series. Mike Woodson seemed a little slow to warm to him, but Copeland brought hustle and size to the court and that won over Knicks fans.

The Knicks want to keep the 29-year-old rookie this summer.

But the Pelicans have plans to swoop in and snatch him up — and thanks to the Knicks cap situation that could happen. Marc Berman at the New York Post has the report.

According to an NBA source, the newly named New Orleans Pelicans are planning to make a strong bid for the 6-foot-9 sniper as they are well under the salary cap and can make an offer that will blow Knicks owner James Dolan out of the water…

The Pelicans are thin at small forward, having started Al-Farouq Aminu this season. The former Hornets love the inside-outside game Copeland displayed as a Knicks rookie out of the Ethias League in Belgium.

Copeland is a restricted free agent but the Knicks do not have his Bird rights — that means they can match any offer he gets but only up to $3.1 million, the expected amount of their tax-payers mid-level exception. Because the Knicks are over the tax apron ($4 million over the tax line) there are restrictions on what they can offer a free agent, even a restricted one. (Welcome to the new CBA, Knicks fans.)

The Pelicans are under the cap, so they can come in and bid $4 million a year (or whatever they want) and the Knicks can’t match. There are other teams interested in Copeland as well.

Copeland has said he really wants to stay with the Knicks, but the Post reports he wants a contract in the Steve Novak range (four years, $16 million). The Knicks can’t go that high and money talks. If the Pelicans or some other team are willing to pay Copeland could fly out of Manhattan before next season.

Miami has to get bigger, better if they dream of a three-peat

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 7

Odds makers already have the Miami Heat as the favorites to win the NBA championship again next year — 2-1 odds at Bovada online.

But if the Heat thought this title run was like climbing Mount Everest, wait until next year. The Bulls get Derrick Rose back. The Pacers are not going to get any shorter over the summer. And if the Heat get out of the East the Thunder will have Russell Westbrook again, or maybe it will be these Spurs or an improved Clippers team waiting for them.

Miami won the title but their flaws were exposed in the process — they need more size (at least off the bench) and they need some depth to do things such as rest Dwyane Wade’s knees more during the season.

The Heat are going to have to adapt and improve this summer if they want to three-peat.

And with the full force of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place now, improving is not going to be easy for Miami to do.

Even with the less-than-max salaries that LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Wade took, the big three still have a cap number of $56.8 million next season — that gets them almost to the salary cap already. With the other guys that are locked in (Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and others) the Heat are committed over the tax line and over the apron ($76 million even if every option were rejected, and that’s not going to happen). They will be limited in what moves they make.

After back-to-back titles and with limited options, don’t expect Miami to blow this thing up and trade Chris Bosh this summer. That said Pat Riley and the Heat brain trust have to be thinking now about what this team looks like in three years. He needs to be thinking about how to restructure  around LeBron  (he’s not bolting, sorry Cleveland), but don’t expect the drastic changes to come this offseason.

Miami will enter next year with roughly the same overall strategy as the last two seasons — LeBron, Wade and Bosh and try to put enough inexpensive pieces around them to get the job done.

There are clear areas that need to be improved.

First, they need to get bigger and have more toughness inside. The Pacers are only getting better and teams will try to go big against the Heat. Bosh defended Tim Duncan fairly well in the finals (Duncan scored because he is really good and has a plethora of counter moves). But the Pacers and even Bulls showed that size can be an issue for the Heat. Miami has to get bigger.

Chris Andersen helped fill that role somewhat this past season, and he came in on a 10-day contract — the Birdman is going to get a pay raise. The Heat would like to keep him but the most they can offer him is the roughly $3 million taxpayer’s mid-level exception (that’s the most the Heat can offer any free agent). The Birdman is going to want that money, but another team under the tax line can offer more and could snatch him.

To me, the Heat need to go after free agent Samuel Dalembert — a veteran, defense-first center who doesn’t take a lot of shots but is efficient when he does. He’s battled some injuries and he’s not young, but the Heat are not going to do better finding a fit than with him inside.

Other guys such as Jermaine O’Neal and Elton Brand are also out there. Or they could snag Spurs bench rider DeJuan Blair and give him more minutes (but there is a reason he rode the bench in San Antonio).

Next the Heat need to add some depth on the wing, guys that maybe can contribute minutes and will lessen the load on Wade but will play for the minimum. They have Ray Allen on the roster with a player option, it’s his call if he comes back and most likely he will. Certainly his game slipped this year (lowest PER since his rookie season) and he will be 38, but are they really going to find someone better for a minimum salary?

Could they lure Chauncey Billups to join their veteran core? What about a younger player like Xavier Henry?

The Heat also have a Mike Miller decision — they can amnesty him and save his $6.2 million salary, plus the tax. But if they do amnesty him it will not get their salary down to the point they can offer a larger mid-level to someone else, all he does is save them some money. Can they replace his production with a minimum player?

At some point in the next couple years Pat Riley and the Heat are going to make some bold decisions to keep winning. Wade is starting to show his age and Bosh is becoming marginalized in the Heat system.

But don’t expect that to come this summer — the Heat will come back next year with the same strategy that won them back-to-back titles, they just hope with some more depth and size to help out.

We’ll see if that is enough to get the Heat a three-peat.

Irving, Lillard highlight guys heading to Team USA mini-camp this summer

East All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers competes in the three-point contest during the NBA basketball All-Star weekend in Houston

This summer is when USA Basketball brings in its prospects — guys it wants to get a closer look. Next summer Team USA will be heading off to Spain for the World Championships with a roster that could include a handful of the guys from this camp (mixed with some big name NBA stars).

USA Basketball formally released the list of invitees on Wednesday, although a number of them had already been leaked out):

Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz)
Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls)
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers)
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
Ty Lawson(Denver Nuggets)
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons)
Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets)
Larry Sanders(Milwaukee Bucks)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats)
John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Tyler Zeller (Cleveland Cavaliers).

Irving is one guy likely headed to Spain next summer — last summer as part of the USA Select team that practiced against the London-bound Team USA he turned a lot of heads. Plus, the former Duke player has a pretty good relationship with Coach K,

But other guys can fit, too. Shooting always matters so guys like Klay Thompson have value. Guys like Chandler Parsons have the kind of all-around game that could work well in international ball.

USA Basketball’s mini-camp that will be held July 22-25 in Las Vegas. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski will be joined by new assistant coaches Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams for the camp.

Report: Pelicans have interest in Trey Burke at No. 6 in draft

Trey Burke

The Pelicans have the guy they think will develop into a franchise anchor in the paint in Anthony Davis (who flew under the radar this year but showed the signs of being a very special player in a couple years). But you can’t succeed in the NBA on the inside without some balance on the outside. Say, a good point guard.

How about Trey Burke of Michigan?

The Pelicans are interested if he falls to them at No. 6, reports the Times-Picayune.

Sources say the Pelicans like Burke because he has the potential to get them in their offensive sets quicker and he could provide more versatility in their backcourt that could include starting point guard Greivis Vasquez playing off the ball.

Burke is someone more ready to play now then most of the guys in this draft — he is a good point guard off the pick-and-roll, both as a scorer and a creator for others. He’s not going to be an NBA star, but ask Memphis how well you can do with a smart, quality point guard surrounded by good players.

We are a long way from the draft — the Pelicans haven’t even started working players out yet. Things will shift. The Pelicans could trade down, a team above them could decide Burke is their guy.

One thing that this suggests (but that we already suspected) — New Orleans isn’t looking at Austin Rivers as a long-term answer.

Pelicans’ Greivis Vasquez will have surgery on both ankles

Greivis Vasquez, Jae Crowder, Vince Carter

If I’d had a vote, Greivis Vasquez would have gotten mine for Most Improved Player award — the third-year guard averaged 13.9 points and 9 assists per game for the then Hornets (now Pelicans) this past season, playing smart basketball along the way for a team that was grooming Anthony Davis and waiting for Eric Gordon to play up to promise (or play at all, for a while).

The Times-Picyune reports Vasquez will have some off-season surgery on his ankles. Both of them.

The surgery, which will occur in Los Angeles, is similar to what starting shooting guard Eric Gordon underwent earlier this month to remove bone spurs in his left ankle. There was no confirmation of Vasquez’s possible recovery time, but El Universal, a newspaper based in Caracas, Venezuela reported that he is expected to be sidelined 12 to 16 weeks. If that’s the case, Vasquez would be fully recovered before training camp begins in October.

This is a pretty minor surgery, there shouldn’t be any impact going forward.

Vasquez sprained both ankles over the course of the season. This should have everything cleaned up and him ready to go next season.