Report: Pacers run out of cap room for Monta Ellis (but will sign him, anyway)


The Pacers agreed to sign Monta Ellis to a four-year, $44 million contract.

They also traded Roy Hibbert to the Lakers and agreed to sign Lavoy Allen, Rodney Stuckey and Jordan Hill.

Somewhere along the way, they made a mistake.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Former Nets general manager Bobby Marks:

It’s not clear where the Pacers messed up.

They signed second-round pick Joseph Young to a contract starting at $1,007,026, according to Basketball Insiders. Had they waited, they could have used the room exception and had Young count $0 against the cap in the meantime. (Update: As Nate Duncan helpfully pointed out, the room exception can be for just two years. So, the Pacers needed cap space to give Young this deal.)

It’s unknown how Allen’s three-year, $12 million contract is structured, but his lowest possible starting salary is $3,720,930. Until signed, his cap hold is/was $947,276.

It’s also unclear how the Pacers fix this issue – whether the NBA just lets them undo completed deals and the re-execute them in the proper order or whether they’ll have to change someone else’s deal. Ellis won’t be the casualty, but that doesn’t mean Indiana won’t pay some price for its error. (Or it might not. I’m unsure how forgiving the NBA is.)

This is different than the Kenneth Faried contract extension Lowe mentioned, because that was just plain illegal. There was no alternative order of events that would made that legal.

The Pacers’ problem is more of a bookkeeping issue, one that wouldn’t have affected anyone’s end result. I guess we’ll learn how seriously the NBA takes this.

Report: Nuggets want to extend Danilo Gallinari’s contract


The Nuggets just re-signed Jameer Nelson. They extended Wilson Chandler’s contract. Despite rumors, they have not traded Kenneth Faried.

Is Denver – with the probable exception of Ty Lawson, who could be replaced by the talented Emmanuel Mudiay – keeping the band together?

Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

they’d like to open talks on an extension for Danilo Gallinari as well, according to a league source.

Gallinari is slated to earn $11,559,225 next season. Unless the Nuggets clear cap space, they can’t renegotiate-and-extend, as they did with Chandler.

The most Gallinari could make in an extension is $40,074,388 three years. But that would mean the Nuggets can’t trade him for sixth months.

If they extend him for up to $24,702,353 over two years, they could trade him immediately.

To a certain degree, this might be about seeing what new coach Michael Malone can do with a talented roster. Denver’s front-office staff surely believes it assembled a strong group.

But it could also be about increasing Gallinari’s trade value. Teams should value him more highly if he’s not a pending free agent. His name has been on the rumor mill, including reports of recent talks with the Celtics.

For Gallinari, an extension provides security. He has had injury issues, and playing out next season without a long-term deal carries risk. But I think he’d get more as an unrestricted free agent in 2016, when the salary cap skyrockets. The forward played exceptionally well late last season.

This will come down to just how much Gallinari wants to gamble on his health. The Nuggets should be willing to offer his max extension – even that puts trade possibilities on hold. There’d be plenty of time to deal him January if they so desire.

Report: Lakers, Rockets, Pistons interested in trading for Ty Lawson


Ty Lawson’s trade value — already not very high, Denver has been trying to move him since the draft to no avail — plummeted this week when he was arrested for his second DUI this year.

But it is not dead.

At least three teams are still interested in potentially dealing for Lawson — the Lakers, Rockets, and Pistons, reports Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated.

While Lawson’s off-court problems have raised red flags, teams remain intrigued by his talent. Last season, Lawson averaged 15.2 points per game in 75 games with the Nuggets. His 9.6 assists per game was good for third in the NBA—the second straight season he finished in the top three in the category. And with this summer’s exploding salaries—five years, $80 million for Detroit’s Reggie Jackson; four-years, $70 million for Dallas’s Wesley Matthews—the two years, $25 million Lawson has left on his contract is a reasonable number.

As Mannix notes, do not leave Sacramento off the list of potential Lawson suitors. Kings coach Goerge Karl was a huge fan of Lawson and coached him in Denver, he might want him back (although with Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison why they would add Lawson is beyond me… or logic).

Any team that brings him in needs to be concerned about the potential locker room distraction, and what punishments he could face for the multiple DUIs. Maybe a fresh setting can change things for Lawson (especially if there is a potential playoff berth and something worth playing for on the line), but if he has an addiction issue a move alone will not be enough. There’s a lot for teams to assess.

There is not much interest in Lawson, but it is more than zero.

Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa in exhibition against Team World featuring Gasol brothers


We already knew Luol Deng (Team Africa) and Chris Paul (Team World) would serve as captains in the NBA’s first exhibition game in Africa.

Who else will participate in that Aug. 1 contest in Johannesburg, South Africa?

NBA release:

Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).


Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, NBPA President and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.),Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart(Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).

Five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches.  Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri are the Team Africa general managers, with Eric Waters (Washington Wizards) serving as the team’s athletic trainer.

Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World, with Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens serving as assistant coach.  San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is the Team World general manager, while Keon Weise (Orlando Magic) will be the team’s athletic trainer.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).

There’s a good amount of talent on both teams and coaching staffs – which speaks to just how far basketball has come in Africa and how committed the NBA is to growing it further.

Exhibition games are always hit or miss, but I’m looking forward to watching this one.

Report: Nuggets considering waiving Ty Lawson


Ty Lawson thought the Nuggets would trade him.

Now, after his second DUI arrest in the last six months, they might take an even more drastic step.

Mitch Lawrence of NBC New York:

Of course, the Nuggets would prefer to trade him. But I’m not sure they can deal him without adding a sweetener. So, waiving him might be their next option.

But Lawson has a guaranteed contract. It’s nearly impossible seeing Denver getting out of the $25,617,977 he’s owed.

The key question is how the Nuggets would handle waiving him, whether they’d use the stretch provision and when. Here are the cap hits they’d face in each scenario:

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
No stretch $12,404,495 $13,213,482
Stretch by Aug. 31 $5,123,595 $5,123,595 $5,123,595 $5,123,595 $5,123,595
Stretch after Aug. 31 $12,404,495 $4,404,494 $4,404,494 $4,404,494

Stretching Lawson’s remaining salary now would free nearly $7.3 million in cap space, but it’s hard to see how Denver would use that effectively. Most good free agents are already off the market. I’d rather pay more in what is shaping up to be a rebuilding year anyway and reduce long-term consequences.

Waiving him come September makes some sense, though the Nuggets already project to have plenty of cap space in 2016. And so will practically every other team, which will make it hard for Denver to compete for free agents.

That leaves waiving him without the stretch provision as potentially the most appealing method dropping him. In that case, if I were the Nuggets, I’d think strongly about keeping Lawson on the roster. They don’t have to have him around the team, which should limit his toxicity. But that route would give him a chance to get his personal and professional life in order. If Denver is going pay him the same amount over the next two years regardless, I think I’d rather have Lawson and hope he figures everything out than an additional roster spot. Who can the Nuggets sign who has a great chance of long-term success? Lawson, at his best, has proven to be only one notch below All-Star level.

For that same reason, I wouldn’t completely rule out a team with cap space – 76ers? – taking a chance by claiming Lawson on waivers. If there are multiple teams that would do that, maybe Denver can leverage a trade.

The Nuggets should know more about the situation than I do, but I think keeping Lawson and hoping for the best – even if that means banishing him from the facility for now – makes most sense.