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.

Nets reportedly sign Donta Hall for restart games in Orlando

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Donta Hall went undrafted out of Alabama last June, then made the most of the opportunities he was given. The 6’9″ big man tore up the G League for the Grand Rapids Drive, averaging 15.4 points a game on 66.9% shooting, plus gabbing 10.6 rebounds a night. It was good enough to get him a call up to the Pistons and getting in four games for them.

Now he’s going to play in the NBA restart for the Brooklyn Nets, a story broken by Marc Stein of the New York Times.

The shorthanded Nets are without big men DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, and Nicolas Claxton (Jarrett Allen was the only center on the roster). Donta Hall will get the chance to impress the Nets — and other teams — and try to earn a contract for next season (he will be a free agent when the Nets are eliminated).

Hall is a tremendous athlete, he’s bouncy and long (7’5″ wingspan). If his skills develop, he has a role in the NBA.

The Nets were hit hard by injuries and had to make substitute signings such as Jamal Crawford and Michael Beasley. Here is what the final Nets roster looks like in Orlando.

After four months off, first NBA teams practice in restart bubble

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ASSOCIATED PRESS — Nikola Vucevic had to raise his voice a bit to answer a question. He had just walked off the court after the first Orlando Magic practice of the restart, and some of his teammates remained on the floor while engaged in a loud and enthusiastic shooting contest.

After four months, basketball was truly back.

Full-scale practices inside the NBA bubble at the Disney complex started Thursday, with the Magic — the first team to get into the campus earlier this week — becoming the first team formally back on the floor. By the close of business Thursday, all 22 teams participating in the restart were to be checked into their hotel and beginning their isolation from the rest of the world for what will be several weeks at least. And by Saturday, all teams should have practiced at least once.

“It’s great to be back after four months,” Vucevic said. “We all missed it.”

The last eight teams were coming in Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers among them. Lakers forward LeBron James lamented saying farewell to his family, and 76ers forward Joel Embiid — who raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he said he was “not a big fan of the idea” of restarting the season in a bubble — showed up for his team’s flight in what appeared to be a full hazmat suit.

“Just left the crib to head to the bubble. … Hated to leave the (hashtag)JamesGang,” James posted on Twitter.

Another last-day arrival at the Disney campus was the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, who boarded buses for the two-hour drive from Naples, Florida — they’ve been there for about two weeks, training at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers — for the trip to the bubble. The buses were specially wrapped for the occasion, with the Raptors’ logo and the words “Black Lives Matter” displayed on the sides.

Brooklyn, Utah, Washington and Phoenix all were down to practice Thursday, along with the Magic. Denver was originally scheduled to, then pushed back its opening session to Friday. By Saturday, practices will be constant — 22 teams working out at various times in a window spanning 13 1/2 hours and spread out across seven different facilities.

Exhibition games begin July 22. Games restart again for real on July 30.

“It just felt good to be back on the floor,” said Brooklyn interim coach Jacque Vaughn, who took over for Kenny Atkinson less than a week before the March 11 suspension of the season because of the coronavirus. “I think that was the most exciting thing. We got a little conditioning underneath us. Didn’t go too hard after the quarantine, wanted to get guys to just run up and down a little bit and feel the ball again.”

Teams, for the most part, had to wait two days after arriving before they could get on the practice floor.

Many players have passed the time with video games; Miami center Meyers Leonard, with the Heat not practicing for the first time until Friday, has been giving fans glimpses of everything from his gaming setup to his room service order for his first dinner at Disney — replete with lobster bisque, a burger, chicken strips and some Coors Light to wash it all down.

The food has been a big talking point so far, especially after a handful of players turned to social media to share what got portrayed as less-than-superb meals during the brief quarantine period.

“For the most part, everything has been pretty good in my opinion,” Nets guard Joe Harris said. “They’ve done a good job taking care of us and making sure to accommodate us in every area as much as possible.”

Learning the campus has been another key for the first few days, and that process likely will continue for a while since teams will be using all sorts of different facilities while getting back into the practice routine.

“We have to make the best out of it,” Vucevic said. “You know, this is our job. We’re going to try to make the best out of it. I really think the NBA did the best they could to know make this as good as they can for us. And once we start playing, you’re not going to be thinking about the little things.”

Zion Williamson’s stepfather accused of taking $400,000 before Zion’s season at Duke

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ASSOCIATED PRESS — The legal fight over NBA rookie Zion Williamson’s endorsement potential now includes an allegation that his family received $400,000 from a marketing agency before his lone season for Duke.

Prime Sports Marketing and company president Gina Ford filed a lawsuit last summer in a Florida state court, accusing Williamson and the agency now representing him of breach of contract. That came a week after Williamson filed his own lawsuit in a North Carolina federal court to terminate a five-year contract with Prime Sports after moving to Creative Artists Agency LLC.

In court filings Thursday in North Carolina, Ford’s attorneys included a sworn affidavit from a California man who said the head of a Canadian-based firm called Maximum Management Group (MMG) told him he paid Williamson’s family for his commitment to sign with MMG once he left Duke for the NBA.

The documents include a marketing agreement signed by Williamson with MMG from May 2019, a December 2019 “letter of declaration” signed by Williamson and his stepfather agreeing to pay $500,000 to MMG president Slavko Duric for “repayment of a loan” from October 2018, and a copy of Williamson’s South Carolina driver’s license — which listed Williamson’s height as “284” and his weight as “6′06.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, Williamson attorney, Jeffrey S. Klein, said those documents were “fraudulent.”

“The alleged ‘agreements’ and driver’s license attached to these papers are fraudulent – and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family know these individuals nor had any dealings with them,” Klein said. “We had previously alerted Ms. Ford’s lawyers to both this fact and that we had previously reported the documents to law enforcement as forgeries, but they chose to go ahead with another frivolous filing anyway.

“This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to smear Mr. Williamson at the very time he has the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional basketball.”

The affidavit is from Donald Kreiss, a self-described entrepreneur who worked with athletes and agents in marketing relationships. He had recently contacted Ford then provided the affidavit last week outlining interactions with MMG and Williamson’s family, according to one of the filings.

Ford’s attorneys have sought to focus on Williamson’s eligibility. His lawsuit stated that Prime Sports violated North Carolina’s sports agent law, both by failing to include disclaimers about the loss of eligibility when signing the contract and the fact neither Prime Sports nor Ford were registered with the state.

Ford’s attorneys have argued the Uniform Athlete Agents Act wouldn’t apply if Williamson was ineligible to play college basketball from the start.

Ford’s attorneys had sought to have last summer’s No. 1 overall NBA draft pick and New Orleans Pelicans rookie answer questions in Florida state court about whether he received improper benefits before playing for the Blue Devils. They had also raised questions about housing for Williamson’s family during his Duke career in a separate filing in North Carolina.

A Florida appeals court last month granted a stay to pause the proceedings there, shifting the focus to the North Carolina case.

Duke has repeatedly declined to comment on the case because it isn’t involved in the litigation, but issued a statement in January that school had reviewed Williamson’s eligibility previously and found no concerns.

Russell Westbrook, James Harden do not fly to Orlando with Rockets, will join team later

Russell Westbrook James Harden
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The Houston Rockets have landed in Orlando to be part of the NBA’s restart bubble.

Except for stars Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Neither was on the team’s charter flight from Houston, but both plan to join the team soon. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news, with the story confirmed by others soon after.

Just-signed Luc Mbah a Moute and assistant coach John Lucas also did not fly with the team and will catch up soon, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Westbrook and Harden are not the only stars to delay their arrival in Orlando, the Clippers Kawhi Leonard did the same for personal reasons. The teams have agreed to this, but with limited practice time in the run-up to the eight seeding games, coaches want everyone in camp to work on rebuilding chemistry as fast as possible.

Coach Mike D’Antoni did fly with the team and was cleared to be in the bubble. D’Antoni, 69, was subject to extra consideration for entrance into the bubble by the NBA due to his age and the risk factors for people older than 65 with COVID-19.

The Rockets are one of the most interesting teams to watch in Orlando because of their all-in commitment to small ball — 6’5″ P.J. Tucker will play a lot of center. In the uncertain world of the NBA’s restart, that unconventional approach could get them upset wins. Or, they could get bounced early. There is no more high-variance team in Orlando than the Rockets.