Weekend NBA rumors and deals (constantly updated)

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Just because you didn’t go to work today — you’re at home trying to hang Christmas lights, like that’s not work — doesn’t mean the wheels of NBA free agency and trades stopped. Not in the least.

This post is your one-stop shop for up-to-date, breaking info on what is happening around the league. (If you want a great wrap of what has happened up through Saturday morning, check out Matt’s post about how the league has gone nuts.)

8:47 pm: Eddie House recently had surgery on his left knee and will be out a couple weeks, possibly missing the start of the season for the Heat. With Battier and Miller and a versatile lineup, it will be interesting to see how much run House gets this season.

8:40 pm: The Boston Celtics have inked Jeff Green to a one-year deal worth $9 million. That is wildly overpaying for a nice player, which maybe is what they had to do to get him to take a one-year contract. There is a lot of potential in Green, he’s athletic, but in the end he is just average at everything — shooting, rebounding, defending, you name it. He’s not a bad player but the Celtics have given him a contract and will be giving him a role that is going to require him to grow a lot to fill. At least it’s just one year.

8:34 pm: Jason Richardson has agreed to a four-year deal to stay with the Orlando Magic, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. He was maybe the top swingman out there, but Caron Butler is headed to the Clippers and Rip Hamilton likely is headed to the Bulls, so the two prime landing spots are gone. Orlando may be rebuilding but J-Rich gives them a solid player and fan favorite on the court.

6:30 pm: J.J. Barea is not going back to the Mavericks — after his playoffs he was rightly ticked about getting a one-year offer — and it looks like it is down to the Knicks and Timberwolves are leading for his services.

6:09 pm: Dwight Howard has told the Magic that he wants to be traded. There is no uncertainty now.

That trade may be to the Nets, which is what Howard wants, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo. The Magic have said they will trade him where they can get the best deal going forward for the team.

4:23 pm: Jeremy Pargo — the brother of Jannero — has signed a two-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Pargo has played the last couple years for European powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.

4:04 pm: Mike Bibby has reached a one-year deal to join the New York Knicks, reports Sam Amick of SI. Knicks fans, if you think this is a good thing you have not watched Bibby play since 2005. You would rather have Toney Douglas on the court. Bibby is not going to solve any problems.

3:55 pm: Reports are that the Milwaukee Bucks will match the four-year offer Denver made to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. As they should have, this is less than $5 million a year for one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league.

3:50 pm: It’s official, Mike Dunleavy is a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Two years, $7.5 million deal. That’s nice and all, but they had better keep Mbah a Moute, that matters a whole lot more. (and they are.)

3:18 p.m. Yahoo reports Spencer Hawes will sign a one-year deal with Philadelphia. Philadelphia is very big on bringing back the same team that lost in five games to Miami in the first round last year. No, we don’t know why either.

1:41 p.m.: The Nuggets have tendered a four-year, $19 million offer sheet to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute is a restricted free agent, so Milwaukee has three-days to match the offer. You’d think they’d match, but Milwaukee’s done some weird things with their frontcourt in the past two years .

Brandan Wright is a Maverick. Good luck to all parties. 

Utah has reportedly made an offer for Josh Howard, which makes zero sense and a half.

1:26 p.m.: Aaron Gray has agreed to a deal with the Raptors, via Woj. The Raptors are going to be terrible, just a heads up.

12:05 pm: What are the Mavericks going to do with that massive $11 million trade exception from the Chandler to the Knicks deal? Rumor is try to get Samuel Dalembert in a sign-and-trade with the Kings, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. However, if the Kings renounced their rights to Dalembert (which Tom Ziller says they did) then this would only be able to be a four-year deal.

12:02 pm: Rasual Butler is about to sign with the Toronto Raptors, according to Yahoo.

12:00 pm: T.J. Ford is officially a member of the Spurs, backing up Tony Parker.

11:56 am: The Tyson Chandler to the Knicks deal is all-but done. There is a press conference where things get formalized later today. It’s a sign-and-trade that sends Andy Rautins and an $11 million trade exception back to the Mavericks (something they will use to try and land Dwight Howard or some other star).

This means Ronny Turiaf is officially a member of the Washington Wizards, where he can show Andray Blatche what hustling every night looks like.

11:26 am: The New Jersey Nets offered Nene a four year, $70 million deal, according to the New York Daily News (other sources say the offer is more like $64 million). That is a lot of money for a team that already has Brook Lopez at center, and a lot of money for a guy who has had a history of injuries. Make no mistake, Nene is the best big on the market right now, but that is overpaying. He is not Dwight.

11:13 am: The Hawks have signed Jerry Stackhouse to a deal. Feel pretty “meh” about that, but like it better than the Vladimir Radmanovic signing for them.

11:10 am: Brad Miller just had knee surgery and is slated to return to the Timberwolves the second half of January. He’s the guy with the old-man game who will spell Kevin Love and his old-man game.

11:00 am: A whole bunch of things happened while you were sleeping. Here is a quick rundown of the highlights:

• Dwight Howard’s agent Dan Fegan was given permission by the Magic to try and work a trade with either the Nets, Lakers or Mavericks.

• The Lakers, Hornets and Rockets are still trying to swing a three-team deal that gets Paul moved.

• Chicago is targeting Richard Hamilton — you call him Rip — after Detroit bought him out yesterday, reports our man Aggrey Sam with CSNChicago.com.

• Looks like the Celtics are going to land Delonte West.

• Grant Hill might have gone to the Knicks if they didn’t lowball him.

• Antonio McDyess is still trying to decide whether to retire or play another season. Didn’t he enter the league when George Mikan was still playing?

• The Spurs have not yet dropped the amnesty hammer on Richard Jefferson’s head.

• The Magic got Von Wafer as part of the Glen Davis/Brandon Bass trade. He was thrown in to soak up a trade exception. He got a three-year deal but only the first year is guaranteed.

• The Hawks have signed Vladimir Radmanovic. Yea, that is going to go well.

Australian NBL pumps breaks on report LaMelo Ball has bought a team

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It was a stunning headline, especially considering LaMelo Ball is just 18:

He bought a team in the Australian National Basketball League, specifically the Illawarra Hawks, the team he played for some last season. It’s an insane story.

And it’s not quite true. At least not yet. The NBL released a statement that pumped the breaks on the idea of a sale to Ball and his manager, Jermaine Jackson. Part of the statement reads:

“The league can confirm LaMelo Ball and his management had discussions about being involved with the club while he was playing in the NBL last season. At this point we are continuing to work with current licence holder Simon Stratford on a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL.

The NBL has final approval on any transfer of licence and no application has been made to date. The NBL has no further comment at this stage.

Did LaMelo and his manager jump the gun? Or, is this a negotiating ploy by the NBL and Stratford to get more money by jacking up the price on a sale?

Those two follow a host of other questions, including what percentage of the team would Ball and his manager own? What would their involvement be?

Ineligible for college stateside, Ball chose to play in Australia under the NBL’s Next Stars program. It worked, he’s projected to be a top-five, maybe top-three pick. He left the NBL after suffering a season-ending foot injury, although that came under a cloud of criticism from Hawks owner Stratford.

The ultimate revenge would be to buy the team, if that is actually happening.

Doc Rivers’ reaction when Clippers traded for Lou Williams, “I was not having Lou”

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Lou Williams is integral to the Clippers’ title dreams.

Since coming to the Clippers, he has averaged 20.6 points a game off the bench, twice winning Sixth Man of the Year, and his pick-and-roll with Montrezl Harrell is as smooth and dangerous a combo as there is in the league. Come the playoffs, while teams are trying to deal with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Lou Williams will be a change of pace scorer with a second unit that can quickly tilt the game towards Los Angeles.

But when Williams first got to the Clippers, Doc Rivers was not thrilled.

Rivers talked about Williams on The Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman Podcast (hat tip SI).

“When we traded for Lou, I was not having Lou,” Rivers said. “I saw a guy that kept getting traded. And I appreciated his offense, but not nearly, never thought it was this good… When he finally showed up three days before training camp, I was not having him. I was like, ‘We’re not gonna work’, you know?..

“I brought him up in the office and I told him my feelings,” Rivers said. “I said, ‘Lou, you’re one of these guys that wanna do whatever you wanna do, and you don’t want to buy-in. We asked everybody to come in. Everyone did except for you… I don’t know how this is gonna work.’ And he said, ‘I’ve been traded five years in a row. Why would I buy-in to you?’, and I didn’t have an answer.”

Both Williams and Rivers have bought into each other now. Williams has control of the offense when he is in and Rivers said he just wants Williams to “be in the right place” on defense. That defense leads to issues playing Williams at the end of big games, but used as a scorer Williams is tough to deal with.

He can still get buckets with the best of them.

 

For NBA coaches, the new game is a waiting game

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MIAMI (AP) — Orlando’s Steve Clifford figures he’s like every other NBA coach right now: Wake up, go to whatever now serves as the office, study his own team, maybe think about possible opponents, and resume planning.

Of course, nobody knows what they’re planning for — or when these plans will get used.

A stoppage in play doesn’t mean vacation time has arrived for NBA coaches, especially those like Clifford in position to take their teams to the postseason — assuming this pandemic-interrupted season is able to resume. They’re all spending more time at home, not able to run practices, but none seem to be sitting idly either.

“Not knowing the restart date is the toughest challenge professionally,” Clifford said. “Obviously, we’re all limited in what we can do, and basketball takes a back seat right now to family and health. But I will say this: When I talk to our guys, the one common question that comes up is ‘When do you think we can start again?’”

And that’s a question with no answer. The waiting game is the only game in town right now.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was coaching the fourth quarter against Charlotte on March 11 when the NBA announced it was suspending the season, a move made once it became known that Utah center Rudy Gobert was the league’s first player to test positive for COVID-19. Spoelstra found out right after the final buzzer, as he walked to the Heat locker room.

He instantly realized that losing to the Hornets that night didn’t ultimately matter much. Spoelstra and his staff are holding Zoom meetings every other day, but he’s also enjoying the benefits of time away — getting more time with his two young sons, his wife and grilling for the family most nights — and is emphasizing to his coaches and players that this is a time to help those less fortunate.

He’s checking the news as well, on a limited basis.

“My routine is checking after dinner, and I usually get on my computer, watch a little bit of what’s going on,” said Spoelstra, who often wears a T-shirt emblazoned with “Stay Positive” and like many coaches he taped a video telling fans the importance of hand-washing and other precautions. “So, I’m staying abreast of the current status of things, but I definitely do not try to start my day that way and I do not obsess about it during the day.”

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle also went the video-message route, doing one for the going-stir-crazy crowd to demonstrate his “Balance, Balance, Shot Drill” that allows players to work on their shooting form even when they don’t have access to a court or a rim.

Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan took advantage of downtime to appear on a virtual coaches clinic, and had a safety message for those who attended — online, of course — before spending about an hour breaking down his philosophy.

This is the first in-season stoppage of its kind in NBA history, but Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer is equating the unknown — in terms of when the next game will be — to what the league went through with lockout-shortened seasons in 1998-99 and 2011-12.

His message to his staff: Things may be slow now, but when the suspension ends the pace of everything will be frantic. So while some projects like things in the video room and breakdowns of his roster are being tackled, Budenholzer is also having staff get ready for potential playoff opponents with a first-round series against either Brooklyn or Orlando likely for the NBA-leading Bucks.

“Things happen really fast, whether it’s three games in three nights, or playoff series are shorter or the time between the end of the regular season to the first playoff game, everything can be shorter or can happen quicker,” Budenholzer said. “We can put a little bit of money in the bank now with preparation for first round but also if you go a little bit deeper, the East.”

For 30 teams, 30 coaches, there’s many ways to spend the down time.

And they all know that they’re in the same boat — waiting and wondering.

“It’s hard for all of us,” Clifford said. “It’s hard to set a plan for yourself that will have you ready. But that’s the parallel, not just for us, but for everyone around the world no matter what profession that you’re in.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci was a high school point guard

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You know Dr. Anthony Fauci as the guy trying to inject facts and reason-based decisions into the federal government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. You’ve seen him, the guy with the Sisyphean task of standing behind President Donald Trump at press conferences and not reacting with shock or disgust.

It turns out he was a high school baller.

In a profile of Fauci, the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen wrote about Fauci the high school point guard, who led his 1-16 team to a win against Fordham Prep, led by future Knicks executive Donnie Walsh.

Classic point guard, excellent ballhandler, pesky defender. Six of his classmates and teammates described him as a tenacious competitor in short shorts and striped socks whose feistiness on the court defied some parts of his personality and reflected others.

That sounds like a young version of the person he is now.

Dr. Fauci is one of the people the NBA is listening to as it tries to figure out if or when the league can re-start and what its next steps might be. Right now, all of that is beyond the NBA’s control and more in the hands of the rest of us and whether we as a society follow Dr. Fauci’s suggestions.