Andre Miller

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Report: Pelicans aggressively seeking ‘one of the higher level free agent guards left’

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The Pelicans will reportedly work out Lance Stephenson, and whether or not they’re serious about him, they seem serious about somebody at his position.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

I’m not sure who qualifies as “‘one of the higher level free agent guards left” other than J.R. Smith, who seems extremely likely to return to the Cavaliers. (The Pelicans don’t have cap space to pursue Smith, anyway.)

Norris Cole, whom New Orleans already renounced? Mario Chalmers coming off a torn Achilles? Kevin Martin who did little with the Spurs? Kirk Hinrich who’s over the hill? Andre Miller who’s five years older?

Making this harder to decipher: The Pelicans have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, most of whom signed this offseason. How will they make room for an additional guard on their regular-season roster, which is capped at 15 players? They don’t have money or roster spot to lure a quality guard, even if you grade quality on a curve for who’s left unsigned.

Does this signal another shoe to drop in New Orleans?

Vince Carter wins NBA’s Teammate of the Year

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Vince Carter has successfully transitioned from star to role player.

That’s not just learning to play with reduced athleticism, though Carter has. That’s being someone teams want around.

Carter is – and people noticed.

The Grizzlies forward won the 2015-16 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.

Twelve finalists were chosen by a panel of NBA legends, NBA executives and and National Basketball Players Association executives. Then, current players voted among the 12.

The full voting (first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-place votes, total points):

An important note: In previous years, players were banned from voting for their teammates. For a teammate award. That’s why I dubbed this the Hearsay Award.

But the Hearsay Award is no more. Players are now allowed to vote for their teammates, and you can bet Carter got plenty of support from his fellow Grizzlies.

Aldridge scores 29, Spurs bounce back with win over Wolves

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and seven rebounds to help the San Antonio Spurs bounce back from a rare loss with a 116-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points and the Spurs (54-10) led by as many as 26 points in a game they played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich. David West scored 18 points as the Spurs shot 55.3 percent and only turned the ball over nine times.

Andrew Wiggins had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns had 19 points and nine boards, and Zach LaVine scored 15 points.

The Spurs haven’t dealt with much losing this season, and they responded to their 10th defeat of the season with a workman-like dismantling of the Timberwolves defense. Even with their three mainstays out of the lineup and their peerless coach at home tending to a family issue, they didn’t miss a beat.

“The machine is a well-oiled machine,” assistant Ettore Messina, who has filled in for Popovich the last two games, said before the game. “It goes on. You try to sit at the wheel and steer and try not to mess it up. Keep it straight.”

Data curated by PointAfter

The Spurs shot a season-low 35 percent overall and 14 percent from 3-point range against Indiana on Monday night. They were much better against Minnesota’s young and porous defense. Aldridge got whatever he wanted, peppering the Wolves with midrange jumpers and throwing down an emphatic dunk on Towns to get the Spurs going in the second quarter.

San Antonio closed the half with a 9-0 run, then just leaned on the young Wolves in the third to break it open.

Andre Miller, who was bought out by the Timberwolves and joined the Spurs at the end of February, started for Parker (toe). Miller had 13 points and five assists in 25 minutes.

The Spurs turned the ball over just three times in the first three quarters and now head home for five straight games at AT&T Center, where they are 30-0 this season.

HOT COMMODITY

Messina’s name has started to come up in speculation about possible head coaching openings in the NBA, most notably with the Brooklyn Nets, who are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Messina coached Russian power CSKA Moscow, but he called the discussion just that – “speculation.”

When asked if he would be interested in pursuing a head coaching job in the league, Messina demurred.

“Look, I’m a soldier,” Messina said. “Whatever will happen in the future, the first person I will talk to is Pop and the second is R.C. And that’s it.”

TIP-INS

Spurs: Messina called Parker’s injury a day-to-day situation. Duncan and Ginobili rested on the second night of a back-to-back. … It was Miller’s first start since Dec. 9, 2013, when he was playing with the Nuggets against Washington.

Timberwolves: PG Ricky Rubio had a rough night with two points, four rebounds, three assists and four fouls in 20 minutes. … The Wolves were outrebounded 46-35 and committed 15 turnovers.

UP NEXT

Spurs: Host Chicago on Thursday.

Timberwolves: Visit Oklahoma City on Friday.

Report: Kevin Martin, Timberwolves agree to buyout

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Update: Marc Stein of ESPN:

 

Kevin Martin and the Timberwolves were reportedly in advanced buyout discussions Thursday, but there hadn’t been much word since.

Will Minnesota still waive Martin before tonight’s midnight deadline for him to eligible for another team’s playoff roster?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Martin’s player option for next season complicates matters. His buyout amount would be applied to Minnesota’s team salary either:

  • 22% this season, 78% next season
  • 22% this season, 26% each of the following three seasons

The Timberwolves should be leery of adding a cap hit in future seasons for a player who might just opt out anyway and leave them with no future financial obligations. Therefore, they should consent to a buyout only if Martin relinquishes a substantial portion of his remaining guaranteed salary.

Martin was reportedly likely headed to the Spurs if bought out, though it’s unclear whether San Antonio signing Andre Miller — already bought out by Minnesota — affected that plan.

 

Timberwolves open to buying out Kevin Martin — if he asks

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The Timberwolves are reportedly finalizing a buyout with Andre Miller.

He might not be the only Minnesota veteran headed out.

Kevin Martin could get a buyout if he requests one, according to Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.

Jerry Zgoda of the StarTribune:

Taylor said GM Milt Newton hasn’t called Martin’s agent, Dan Fegan, to negotiate a buyout.

But Taylor said he’d be “open” if Martin’s side calls and makes a proposal.

“I’m not pursuing that,” Taylor said. “You always need some guys with experience who can shoot threes.”

Do you, though? The Timberwolves still have plenty of experience with Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince, and Minnesota interim coach Sam Mitchell loathes 3-pointers relative to his coaching peers. Plus, Martin’s playing time stands in the way of developing younger players, and his productivity hurts the Timberwolves’ lottery position.

There’s a reason his name came up so frequently in trade rumors. Martin, 33, just doesn’t fit this rebuilding team.

But Martin’s case is much more complicated than Miller’s, because Martin earns more money and has a player option for next season. He’s still due $9,419,647 — $2,042,147 for the rest of this season and $7,377,500 next season if he exercises a player option.

If he’s bought out, the buyout amount would be paid one of two ways:

  • 22% this season, 78% next season
  • 22% this season, 26% each of the following three seasons

Minnesota’s would determine whether or not to use the stretch provision, but that’d likely be negotiated in buyout discussions.

If he hit the open market, Martin would draw plenty of suitors. He’s a quality outside shooter and good scorer overall. Plenty of teams can use wing depth. Just look at the interest in Joe Johnson.

But it’s hard to see a buyout number that makes sense for both sides.

Unless Martin is willing to leave a lot of money on the table, the Timberwolves probably don’t want to clog their cap in coming seasons. Martin might just opt out and leave without them owing him anything next year. Or, if he opts in, they might even be able to trade him for value — or at least dump his contract without attaching a sweetener — once the dust settles on a wild free agent market. With the salary cap set to spike, some teams will be left in the cold on free agents and might not see Martin’s $7,377,500 2016-17 salary as so bad.

This will come down to how badly Martin wants to leave Minnesota by Tuesday’s deadline for being waived to join another team’s playoff roster. The answer will probably have to be very badly for the Timberwolves to consent to a buyout.