The Wizards finally have some optimism surrounding the team, after making it to the second round of the playoffs in their first trip to the postseason following a five-year absence.
Washington wants to build on that success by bringing back as many of the key pieces to last year’s team as possible, and even though there could have been a financial savings in buying out Miller’s deal for less than it will be guaranteed for if he stays, keeping a reliable backup for John Wall on the team was more important than achieving a small amount of savings that could have been used to pursue others in free agency.
From Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
If the Wizards let Sunday’s deadline pass without requesting waivers, the team will guarantee his contract for $4.6 million next season. A league source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said the Wizards are “leaning in that direction.” …
The Wizards could have bought out Miller for $2 million and had more money under the salary cap as they approach free agency. But with Miller returning, the Wizards would have six players under contract — Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene, Martell Webster and Otto Porter — combining for almost $46 million in salaries.
CSN Washington reports that Miller was informed that he will in fact be retained for next season.
The two players not mentioned there are Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat, both of whom were instrumental in helping the Wizards reach last season’s level of success. Both are unrestricted free agents this summer, but that extra $2 million or so that would have been saved by waiving Miller isn’t likely to make a difference in the team’s ability to retain those players if they so choose.
Miller is a crafty veteran who can be temperamental at times, but seems to be happy with his fit in the Washington locker room. His production on the floor has rarely been called into question throughout a career that’s spanned 15 NBA seasons, and if the Wizards retain him as expected, it would appear to be the best possible scenario for both sides.
The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.
First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.
The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.
The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.
Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.
David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).
Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.
This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style. Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.
Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.
Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.
Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.
The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.
What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.
While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.
Kawhi Leonard just won again.
He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.
Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.
Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.
Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.
Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.