Ryan Boatright

Danny Granger will be final cut from Pistons roster today

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Stan Van Gundy wanted to give Danny Granger a chance, to see if he could get healthy and be even a shadow of the former All-Star and Most Improved Player from his time with the Pacers, a guy who could help a rebuilding Pistons’ team.

But Granger has spent most of camp at his home in Arizona trying to recover from the multiple knee surgeries that have sidetracked his career. While it’s not yet official, Stan Van Gundy made it clear on Sunday that Granger would be the team’s final cut, as reported by Aaron McMann at Mlive.com.

The deadline to trim rosters down to 15 for the start of the NBA regular season is Monday and the Pistons, after the decision to waive guard Ryan Boatright and assign him to their D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, currently stand at 16. Danny Granger is likely to be the last one cut, a decision that could come soon after Van Gundy said Sunday he remains at home in Arizona rehabbing his knee. About the possibility of trading him? “It’s doubtful,” he said. “We’re probably sort of at the end of the road with him. We took it as far as we could, hoping to get a look at him, but he hasn’t been ready to come back. So we’ll go with the 15 guys that are here.”

This is not a surprise in the least. Granger was traded from Phoenix to Detroit this summer as part of the Marcus Morris deal that was a salary dump by the Suns to make their run at LaMarcus Aldridge. Granger has a fully guaranteed $2.2 million contract he opted into, and the Pistons will pay.

It’s sad to see this happen, but at age 32 this is likely the last shot for Granger. Maybe if he takes a full season off, gets his knee right, and tries to make a comeback a team will take a look. Maybe he beats the odds. But this is a guy who has played in just 76 games over the last three seasons and not had a PER above 10.9 in any of them (and that’s the kind of number you expect in 12-minute a night guy at the end of the bench at best).  He’s going to have to show he deserves a roster spot more than a young, developing player, and that’s not likely anymore.

Nets complete roster with Chris Daniels

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The Nets just put the finishing touch on the most expansive training-camp battle in the NBA.

Brooklyn has just 12 players with guaranteed salaries, presumably leaving three openings on the regular-season roster. The Nets have signed their eighth player on an unguaranteed or partially guaranteed contract, bringing their roster to the offseason limit of 20.

Nets release:

The Brooklyn Nets have signed center Chris Daniels, General Manager Billy King announced today.

The eight Nets competing for three regular-season roster spots:

Brooklyn could go a lot of ways with this, but it’s hard to see Daniels – who went undrafted out of at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2008 and has played overseas and in the D-League since – winning a spot.

Save Jones, Daniels is older than the rest of the group by four years. But Jones had a lengthy NBA career. Daniels never played in the league. If he didn’t look like an NBA player when he was younger, it’s unlikely Daniels becomes one at age 31.

Report: Nets signing Yanick Moreira

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Yanick Moreira averaged 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in the 2014 World Cup, each mark higher than any Team USA player – including Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins – posted.

Of course, the driving factor was Angola’s need for Moreira to carry the team. The Americans were more balanced. Three other players – Andray Blatche, Hamed Haddadi and Luis Scola – bested both Moreira’s scoring and rebounding numbers in the tournament.

But Moreira handling so much responsibility in the premier international basketball event outside the Olympics says something about his ability. All three of those other players (Blatche, Haddadi and Scola) have played in the NBA.

Will Moreira follow them?

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Moreira becomes the seventh Net without a fully guaranteed salary – joining Quincy Miller, Dahntay Jones, Willie Reed, Donald Sloan, Markel Brown and Ryan Boatright. That’ll be one heck of a training-camp competition for Brooklyn’s final three regular-season roster spots.

And I think Moreira has a chance, though we know more about him than his spectacular World Cup.

He also represented Angola in this year’s AfroBasket, spent a couple seasons at Southern Methodist and went undrafted in June. The 6-foot-11 center is a good athlete for his size, but at age 24, he’s not quite as polished as you’d hope. He can finish around the basket, though his rim protection – especially for his height – is questionable.

But there are flaws in the other six Nets vying to make the team. It might come down to Moreira vs. Reed to become the third center behind Brook Lopez and Andrea Bargnani.

51 Q: Can Brooklyn tread water, make playoffs again?

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PBT is previewing the 2015-16 NBA season by tackling 51 big questions that we can’t wait to see answered once play tips off. We will answer one a day right up to the start of the season Oct. 27. Today’s question:

Can the Brooklyn Nets tread water and make the playoffs again?

The Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs last season.

Barely.

They won just 38 games, in the East that — plus coming out on top of a tie-breaker Indiana —earned them the right to face Atlanta in the first round (and lose 4-2). It wasn’t exactly an impressive season, but they got an invite to the dance.

Then this summer the Nets’ bills came due — or rather, bills came due, and they scrambled to avoid paying them.

The repeater luxury tax bill was about to land on the doorstep of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian oligarch who had ordered a reckless, crazy spending spree a few years back. He did so in an effort to put together a contender that would open the Barclays Center and grab the attention of New York. (Well, they did open the Barclays Center, so that’s one out of three goals accomplished.)

This summer the goal was to try to avoid the tax, and GM Billy King did it — and in doing so the Nets got worse in the short-term. That doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do. They avoided paying the tax for a mediocre team, more importantly they freed up cap space and gave themselves the flexibility to chase free agents next summer (which they need to because of a dearth of draft picks). But make no mistake, this coming year the Nets are going to be worse.

Not quite bad enough for Williamsburg hipsters to think they’re cool, but bad enough to miss the playoffs.

It all comes back to the almighty dollar. Or ruble, if you prefer. Brooklyn dodged the luxury tax this summer by getting Deron Williams to agree to a buyout for just $27.5 million of the $43 million he was owed the next two seasons (he agreed to that just to get out of town). It was a great deal for Brooklyn. Using the stretch provision on the remaining sum, Williams now only hits the Nets cap for $5.5 million (for five years).

That allowed Brooklyn to re-sign Brook Lopez to a max deal (three-years, $60 million), keeping the big man as their anchor while not paying the tax. Keeping Lopez allowed the Nets to trade Mason Plumlee rather than pay him in a couple of years (they got rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson). They also re-signed Thaddeus Young (four-years, $50 million). Then the Nets made a lot of interesting gambles looking for rotation players, bringing in Dahntay Jones, Andrea Bargnani, Shane Larkin, and Thomas Robinson.

Why are they going to be worse? Because as much as he dragged the locker room down — fellow Nets players were not sad to see the morose D-Will head to Dallas — Williams was a solid to good NBA point guard who averaged 13 points and 6.6 assists per game, plus could hit the three. He knew how to run a team on the court.

They did not land a replacement. The Nets have one of the worst point guard situations in the NBA (Philly may win that argument right now, however). Jarrett Jack is a streaky, score-first point guard who works well coming off the bench but now will be entrusted with running the entire show. Behind him are the gambles — Shane Larkin and Ryan Boatright. It could be ugly.

While the point guard slot is the most glaring issues, a lot of other things need to go right if the Nets are going to hang around .500 and make the playoffs again. They need to find some defensive stoppers and become committed on that end (they were bottom 10 on defense last season). They need Joe Johnson to stay healthy and return to vintage form (in the last year of his contract). They need Lopez to stay healthy. They need Bojan Bogdanovic to have a breakout season — he didn’t impress at EuroBasket, where he battled a concussion and an ankle injury, and shot just 4-for-24 from three.

The more likely result is the Nets don’t tread water, they sink a little, down to 33 wins or so, and that’s not going to be enough to make the playoffs again. Even in the East.

There are reasons to spin this as the summer the Nets started to do things right. By stretching Williams and knowing Johnson’s $24 million salary comes off the books next summer, the Nets could have around $44 million to chase big name free agents in 2016. They will head into next summer with options.

But if they win in the mid-30s in games (and not controlling their own first round draft pick until 2019), can they sell Brooklyn as a “win now” destination? Will name free agents want to come there? Probably not, it’s going to be a rebuilding process.

That may be the ultimate tax bill from the Barclays Center spending spree. They gave away the assets and flexibility needed to build a contender in this NBA, under this CBA. They are working to get some of that back, but it’s going to be a long road, not a quick fix.

And it’s going to mean missing the playoffs a few times.

Report: Nets don’t extend Xavier Thames tender

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The Nets bought the rights to No. 59 pick Xavier Thames on draft night last year, but they didn’t sign him. He spent the season overseas and in the D-League.

To keep Thames’ rights, the Nets would have had to offer him the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the league minimum – by last Monday.

They didn’t do that.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:

The Nets didn’t extend the tender, because they feared Thames would have accepted it. If he had declined, they would have kept his rights for another year without having to pay him or use a roster spot on him.

If he had accepted, they could have waived him without paying him before the regular season. Essentially, Brooklyn would have gotten a potentially free training-camp tryout from Thames.

Emphasis on “potentially,” though. If Thames got hurt, his contract would have become guaranteed until he got healthy. Brooklyn obviously didn’t think Thames justified that risk.

This is good news for the six Nets without guaranteed salaries: Quincy Miller, Dahntay Jones, Donald Sloan, Willie Reed, Markel Brown and Ryan Boatright. They’ll compete with one fewer player for the three regular-season roster spots behind the 12 Nets with guaranteed salaries. (Unless Brooklyn signs another, better player now that Thames is out of the picture. Then, the six are obviously worse off.)