Report: Nets not interested in buying out contract of Deron Williams


Deron Williams had one stellar playoff game for the Nets, scoring 35 points during an incredible throwback performance that temporarily silenced all of his doubters.

But the resurgence was short-lived.

Williams came crashing back to reality in the games that followed, scoring just 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting combined in his team’s final two contests, both of which were losses to the Hawks that resulted in Brooklyn’s elimination from the postseason.

The Nets need to make changes in order to compete next season, but two contracts in particular seem to have them stuck. Joe Johnson has one year and close to $25 million remaining on his contract, while Williams possesses one even worse.

He’s owed $43 million guaranteed over the next two years, and Brooklyn could get out from under that by using the stretch provision to buy Williams out. But that reportedly isn’t in the team’s plans as free agency approaches.

From David Aldridge of

But a buyout of Williams, while potentially saving the Nets millions of dollars via the “stretch” provision, is not in the cards. The Nets are not interested in giving Williams $43 million to not play. The intriguing question is whether the Nets can deal Joe Johnson and his expiring contract, at $24.8 million next season. For one year, even at that price, Johnson would have suitors.

Devin Kharpertian at The Brooklyn Game broke down exactly how much could be saved by cutting Williams loose.

The primary reason the Nets should do this would be to remain out of repeater-tax territory. The team has claimed to be intent on re-signing Brook Lopez (which would almost certainly require a deal approaching the max), and plans to retain Thaddeus Young, as well — who has a player option for $10.2 million, unless he chooses free agency. Those two moves, with the rest of the current contracts still in place, would push the Nets over next year’s tax line somewhat certainly.

If Brooklyn can shed Joe Johnson’s deal in trade, then paying Williams to go away might not be necessary. That could be the plan for now, which would make sense given the team’s current stance that Williams won’t be bought out anytime soon.

Pelicans announce firing of head coach Monty Williams


The Pelicans won the late-season battle with the Thunder to obtain the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, and did so by beating a very good Spurs team in the final game of the regular season.

Ownership in New Orleans had reportedly told both GM Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams that making the postseason was necessary in order to retain their jobs. But at least with Williams, evidently, that changed.

The Pelicans informed Williams that he will not be back as head coach, the team announced on Tuesday via official release.

“I have the utmost respect for Monty Williams, not only as a coach but as a person,” said Pelicans Owner Tom Benson. “He represented our team, our organization and our city with tremendous class and dignity. Gayle and I grew very fond of Monty and his wife Ingrid and of course their five beautiful children. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

“Making a decision like this is never easy and is never done hastily, especially when you are dealing with a person of Monty Williams’ character. We thanked Monty for the tremendous work and commitment he made to our organization and the development of our young players, specifically Anthony Davis,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis. “While we continue to work towards improving our roster, we decided that now was the time to make this decision. We wish nothing but the best for Monty in the future.”

“We thank Monty for his dedication and leadership to our team both on and off the court,” Demps said. “He served as a great role model for our young team and worked tirelessly towards the development of all of our players. We endured a lot of change during the past season and Monty was a steady influence in our locker room. We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

The Pelicans improved under Williams in every season since the franchise traded Chris Paul in 2011. New Orleans posted 27, 34 and 45 wins in the seasons that followed, and Williams seemed to have built a strong relationship with the team’s cornerstone player, Anthony Davis.

This now becomes the most attractive open coaching position in the league, with Denver and Orlando the only other teams currently in need of filling vacancies.

Davis is emerging as one of the game’s top five players, and he’s under contract (at a bare minimum) for two more seasons. But the Pelicans are planning to offer him a monster $140 million contract extension this summer to lock him up for the foreseeable future.

2015 NBA Draft to be held in Brooklyn at Barclays Center


The 2015 NBA Draft will return to Brooklyn for a third consecutive year, the league announced on Tuesday via official release.

The event will be held at Barclays Center on June 25, and will begin at 7 p.m. ET.

Tickets starting at $20 will be available for public sale beginning Thursday, May 28 through or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets will also be available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center beginning Friday, May 29 at noon.

While the draft is of course nationally televised, it’s a fun event to attend in person if you’re in the area — at least for the first round. The buzz in the building between picks is palpable, there are always trades that go down which shake things up, and there are usually even a few surprises.

Pau Gasol ‘a gametime decision’ for Bulls in Game 5 vs. Cavaliers


Pau Gasol missed Chicago’s Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers with a hamstring injury, and his status remains in doubt for Tuesday night’s pivotal Game 5 contest.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Thibodeau said Gasol is gametime decision, feels a little better. Would have to do shootaround and warm up without incident.

Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago doesn’t seem optimistic about Gasol’s chances.

Gasol was big in the Bulls’ Game 1 victory, as Cleveland’s defensive coverage dictated doubling the ball-handler on screen-and-rolls, which left Gasol open for midrange jumpers time and again. He finished with 21 points, though was far less effective in Game 2, specifically on the defensive end of the floor.

There have been rumblings that Chicago is better-equipped to deal with the Cavaliers from an overall matchup standpoint with Gasol out of action, but I’m not sure that’s the case. The Bulls need what Gasol brings offensively, as evidenced by the two huge scoring droughts that Chicago experienced which let the Cavaliers back into Game 4 after a substantial lead was in place.

If Gasol can’t go, we’ll once again see plenty of Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic. But after a highly-productive Game 3, the pair combined to shoot just 3-of-16 from the field in Chicago’s Game 4 loss.

Bradley Beal, did Kyle Korver travel on Hawks’ final possession of Game 4? ‘Yeah, but they didn’t call it’


The Hawks held on for a Game 4 win over the Wizards on Monday, thanks in part to a wide-open three-pointer that was missed by Paul Pierce that could have tied it with just a few seconds left.

Atlanta’s Paul Millsap was fouled intentionally on the ensuing possession, and he calmly sank two free throws to seal the victory, and put the game out of reach.

But Millsap received the ball from Kyle Korver, who appeared to have traveled before he made the pass.

At least that’s how Bradley Beal saw it.

Beal was asked whether he thought Korver traveled in the closing seconds, right before Millsap was fouled and scored the game’s last two points.

“Yeah, but they didn’t call it,” Beal said. “Oh, well.”

It’s not a completely obvious travel, because the officials could have decided that Korver didn’t fully have possession as his feet were sliding into place.

But if the travel was called, the Wizards would have gotten one more chance at a game-tying three, and given Pierce’s recent history of heroics, who knows how that second chance might have turned out.