June 29, 2016, 8:12 am
The NBA moves fast doesn’t it? Just 10 days after the Cavs shocked the world in the NBA Finals, we have already had a Championship parade in Cleveland, watched the NBA Draft and are now less than 40 hours away from the July 1 free agency period. J.R. Smith has barely had time to buy a T-shirt, let alone think about next season. Let’s get to free agency news and rumors.
THE DURANT SWEEPSTAKES ARE NEAR
All eyes are on Kevin Durant. With teams lining up at the door to roll out the red carpet, there are several suitors all but confirmed to host Durant as free agency begins. Oklahoma City will get their chance to make a pitch to their stud, and they are rumored to be joined by Golden State, San Antonio, Boston, Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers. Once Durant makes his decision, the free agency dominoes will fall where they may.
In addition to the six teams, teams with historic basketball meccas such as the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are vying for meetings with KD. Durant is spending a lot of time with his Team USA buddies, including Carmelo Anthony, who would stop at nothing to get the star on their NBA team or at least get his foot in the door for appearances.
I’d still pit OKC as the favorite to keep their superstar, especially since they were up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals over the Warriors. Not many other teams can offer better. OKC has beefed up their arsenal, too, by fleecing the Magic after trading Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantis Sabonis. Durant even went so far as to opine on the trade by calling it a “good move.” Call me crazy, but he just wants to be wined and dined. Who can blame him? This could be KD’s only chance to date around and feel special before that long-term commitment. I like OKC to put a ring on it.
AROUND THE ASSOCIATION
Defending champion LeBron James will not exercise his player option to return to the Cavs. Nothing to see here. He is staying home.
Lebron’s former teammate Dwyane Wade isn’t getting anywhere in his initial discussions with the Miami Heat. Everyone is taking a backseat to Kevin Durant, as he is obviously this offseason’s most eligible bachelor. He is every team’s primary goal. Things in Miami are in flux, as Hassan Whiteside is testing free agency and Chris Bosh‘s health is still a mystery. Wade is clearly seeking leverage, which is why Wade’s camp is making it know that he’s on the market. It would be hard to believe that he will actually leave, which is why Pat Riley is playing hard ball. This game of tug-of-war will be an interesting watch.
The Spurs are certainly playing musical chairs with their big man this offseason. Tim Duncan has exercised his player option of $5.6 million for the 2016-17 season, but he has not indicated whether he will play or not. Duncan is 40 years young and has been contemplating retirement for a few seasons now. His long time teammate Manu Ginobili is leaning toward playing next season, if that helps shed light on Duncan’s status. With Duncan’s uncertainty and David West testing free agency, the Spurs have made a qualifying offer to Boban Majanovic, which makes him a restricted free agent. They will have to match any offer if any teams want to mess with The Boban.
Unrestricted free agent Pau Gasol is on top of the Spurs’ free agent wishlist, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical. Gasol seems like a great fit for the Spurs (it’s a wonder why he hasn’t joined them sooner), but they might be lacking on defense when they play LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol side by side. Nevertheless, adding Pau Gasol to your contending squad is never a bad thing.
ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Hawks are weighing a run at unrestricted free agent Dwight Howard. The Dwight-to-ATL rumors have flown throughout his career, as he grew up and played his high school ball in Atlanta. With his numbers in decline, it will be interesting to see what kind of money Dwight receives in the inflated market.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said that the Nets will not trade Brook Lopez and that he wants Lopez to be a leader on the team. The Nets don’t have much to work with these days so it might be wise to give Lopez the boot, but to each his own. From a coaching perspective, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to lose your best player.
The Grizzlies declined Lance Stephenson‘s $9.4 million player option. That’s a wise move. Stephenson will have to blow ears in a different jersey.
That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish. For the latest NBA free agency news and rumors, follow @HoopBallTweets. I’m @RiazD on Twitter. Feel free to drop a comment or question about all walks of life. Enjoy the long weekend. Happy Birthday America!
April 24, 2019, 8:26 pmBlake Griffin - F - Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin (left knee) underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday night.
Griffin's knee obviously dogged him during the final stretch of the regular season and throughout the Pistons' brief playoff run. The Pistons said that he isn't expected to miss any off season training and should be good to go for the start of the 2019-2020 season.
Source: Mark Stein on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 6:54 pmClint Capela - C - Houston Rockets
According to head coach Mike D'Antoni, Clint Capela (illness) is feeling much better ahead of Wednesday's matchup against the Jazz.
Clint Capela has been struggling ever since he came down with this virus. He seems to be close to 100% according to his head coach. If Capela can get close to his season averages of 16.6 points on 64.8% shooting while grabbing 12.7 rebounds and blocking 1.5 shots per game, then the Jazz will have an even tougher to task to take down the Rockets on Wednesday in order to force a Game 6 back in Utah.
Source: Tim MacMahon on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 3:24 pmJaMychal Green - F - Los Angeles Clippers
JaMychal Green will remain in the starting lineup in Game 5 on Wednesday.
Green logged 22 minutes in the same role in Game 4, though it's not surprising that the Clippers will stick with the same group considering Ivica Zubac's tough fit in this matchup and Montrezl Harrell's fit in his current role.
Source: Andrew Greif on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 2:11 pmNate Tibbets - Team - Trail Blazers
The Suns have been given permission to interview Blazers assistants Nate Tibbets and David Vanterpool for their vacant head coaching position.
The Cavs have already been connected to the duo from Portland, and Tibbets interviewed for the Hawks' gig last summer. The Suns reportedly fired Igor Kokoskov so they could make Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams their top target before the Lakers got too deep into talks, but Phoenix will be looking at multiple candidates. It's a nice roster to work with but we can't imagine anyone will be too eager to work with the team's ownership group.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 2:00 pmDraymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green admitted that his right wrist has been hurt for "a while."
Green added that he got hit there in Game 4 and "it pissed it off" and said that he's going to play through any pain in the postseason. It's not like teams weren't sagging off Green on the perimeter already, but if his wrist continues to hamper him in any way we may see opponents get very aggressive in their defensive efforts on Golden State's other players. Green is going to have lots of open jumpers presented to him for the rest of the postseason.
Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 1:57 pmJarrett Allen - C - Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen will work on extending his range to the 3-point line this summer.
Him and every other big man. Allen went 6-for-45 on 3-pointers this season, so he's got some work to do. He's a quality young player who can protect the rim, but Allen isn't quite strong enough to crash and bang with the league's true behemoths and not quite gifted enough offensively to be anything more than a threat on the roll. It's a great base from which to work, however, and it's good to know that Allen is going to be putting in the work to make himself more of a weapon as the Nets look to build on a nice campaign.
Source: Bryan Fonseca on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 1:55 pmMarcus Smart - G - Boston Celtics
On Wednesday Brad Stevens said that Marcus Smart (torn oblique) is "doing great."
That's nice, but it's not much of an update. Smart was able to do some light shooting and treadmill work yesterday but we're still not expecting to see him until the tail end of the second round at the earliest. His tenacity and perimeter defense will be missed dearly in Boston's matchup with the Bucks.
Source: Jay King on Twitter
April 24, 2019, 1:48 pmKyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry suffered a dislocated finger on his right hand in the first half of Tuesday's Game 5 but was able to pop it back in and return to the game.
Lowry swiped at the ball and ended up hitting Evan Fournier's leg with his hand, which caused the injury The fact that he was able to return to the game, even in a blowout, bodes well for his status for the second round. It may affect his shooting to some degree but Lowry has been playing facilitator more often anyway, and we wouldn't expect his performance to suffer. After a scoreless Game 1, Lowry was all over the floor for the Raptors as they locked in and simply outclassed Orlando.
Source: The Athletic
April 24, 2019, 11:50 amJeff Hornacek - Team - Sacramento Kings
Sam Amick of the Athletic is reporting that former Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had an interview with the Kings for the lead assistant coach job.
Sacramento has already hired Luke Walton to be their new coach but the news about the sexual assault allegations he faces might put his status in danger. Walton should be able to assemble his coaching staff once he is out of the woods but we should know more once the NBA concludes with their investigation of the matter.
Source: The Athletic
April 24, 2019, 11:11 amLuke Walton - Team - Sacramento Kings
Sam Amick of the Athletic is reporting that Luke Walton still has the Kings’ support, despite the sexual assault allegations the newly-hired coach is facing.
The Kings are working with the NBA to investigate allegations made against Walton by his former colleague at Time Warner Cable, Kelli Tennant. The report adds that the two sides are moving forward with their working relationship and there doesn’t appear to be any momentum toward firing Walton, who was hired earlier this month just three days after he parted ways with the Lakers. The Kings confirmed that they were not aware of the accusations until TMZ reported the news and that they will wait for the facts before making a decision on Walton’s future. The investigation has been delayed because all parties haven’t been able to access Tennant’s lawsuit so more information should merge soon.
Source: The Athletic