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NBA AM: Looking At The Draft Pick Debt For 2015

The 2015 NBA Draft looks to have more twists and turns than normal.

Steve Kyler



Who Owes What?:  With the salary cap system in the NBA getting harder and harder, the value placed on draft picks has increased exponentially. Over the years, teams amass a tremendous amount of “pick debt” – picks owed for long dead transactions. The 2015 NBA draft represents just one of the more complex years in terms of debt and how that debt is to be paid and structured.

Here is the current snap shot of what’s owed and how it’s to be paid.

Team First Round Second Round
Atlanta Hawks Have their own, plus the rights to swap with Brooklyn. Have their own, plus Toronto’s pick.
Boston Celtics Have their own plus LA Clippers’. Receives Philadelphia’s if it’s 15-30 and Dallas’ if it’s 4-14. Have their own if it’s 31-55, plus Cleveland’s pick if it’s 56-60, plus Philadelphia’s pick if Boston does not get Philly’s first, plus Washington’s pick if it’s 50-60.
Brooklyn Nets Atlanta has the rights to swap picks. Have their own.
Charlotte Hornets Have their own. Have their own.
Chicago Bulls Have their own, plus Sacramento’s pick if it’s 11-30 and the rights to swap with Cleveland if their pick is 15-30. More favorable of their own pick and Portland’s goes to Orlando, less favorable goes to Denver.
Cleveland Cavaliers Have their own if 1-14. If 15-30 Chicago has rights to swap at their choice, plus Memphis pick if 6-14. Conveyed to Utah. Have rights to Boston’s pick if it’s 56-60, plus Sacramento’s pick if it’s 56-60 and Philadelphia’s pick if it’s 51-55 and Philly’s first goes to Boston.
Dallas Mavericks Keep their own if it is 1-3 or 15-30, convey to Boston if it’s 4-14. Have their own.
Denver Nuggets Have their own. Less favorable of their pick and Minnesota’s goes to Houston. Have rights to Clippers’ pick if it’s 56-60, plus the rights to the less favorable of Chicago and Portland’s pick.
Detroit Pistons Have their own. Have their own.
Golden State Warriors Have their own. Conveyed to Philadelphia.
Houston Rockets Have their own if it’s 1-14, convey to LA Lakers if it’s 14-30. Plus rights to New Orleans’ pick if 4-19. Pick conveyed to Philadelphia. Have rights to Knicks’ pick, plus less favorable of Denver and Minnesota’s picks.
Indiana Pacers Have their own. Have their own.
Los Angeles Clippers Conveyed to Boston. Have their own if it’s 31-50, convey to Lakers if 51-55, to Denver if it’s 56-60.
Los Angeles Lakers Keep their own pick if it’s 1-5, convey to Phoenix if it’s 6-30. Have their own if it’s 31-40, convey to Orlando if 41-60. Plus rights to Clippers’ pick if it’s 51-55.
Memphis Grizzlies Have their own if it’s 1-5 or 15-30, convey to Cleveland if it’s 6-14. Have their own. Replaced pick debt to Denver with cash.
Miami Heat Have their own if it’s 1-10, convey to Philadelphia if it’s 11-30. Have their own, plus rights to Sacramento’s pick if it’s 50-55.
Milwaukee Bucks Have their own. Have their own.
Minnesota Timberwolves Have their own if it’s 1-12, convey to Phoenix if it’s 13-30. Keeps more favorable of their’s and Denver’s pick, conveys the lesser of the two to Houston. Plus Sacramento’s pick if it’s 31-49.
New Orleans Pelicans Have their own if it’s 1-3 or 20-30, convey to Houston if it’s 4-19. Conveyed to Philadelphia.
New York Knicks Have their own. Conveyed to Houston.
Oklahoma City Thunder Have their own. Have their own, plus rights to Philadelphia’s if it’s 56-60 and Philly conveys first to Boston.
Orlando Magic Have their own. Conveyed to Philadelphia. Plus LA Lakers’ pick if it’s 41-60, plus more favorable of Chicago/Portland’s pick.
Philadelphia 76ers Have their own if it’s 1-14, convey to Boston if it’s 15-30. Plus Miami’s pick if it’s 11-30. Conveyed to Boston if they do not provide first round pick. Plus New Orleans’, Golden State’s, Orlando’s and Houston’s picks.
Phoenix Suns Have their own plus Minnesota’s pick if it’s 13-30 and Lakers if it’s 6-30. Have their own.
Portland Trail Blazers Have their own. Orlando receives more favorable of Portland/Chicago’s picks, convey less favorable of the two to Denver.
Sacramento Kings Have their own if 1-10,conveyed to Chicago if 11-30. Convey to Minnesota if it’s 31-49, Miami if it’s 50-55, Cleveland if it’s 56-60
San Antonio Spurs Have their own. Have their own.
Toronto Raptors Have their own. Conveyed to Atlanta.
Utah Jazz Have their own. Have their own, plus rights to Cleveland’s pick.
Washington Wizards Have their own. Have their own if 31-49, convey to Boston if it’s 50-60.

For complete listing of what’s owed check out the Basketball Insiders Draft Pick Debt section. If you are curious how it all happened, here is where you can find a detailed history of NBA Trades.

What To Make Of Noah Vonleh?:  The Charlotte Hornets have assigned rookie Noah Vonleh to the D-League, announcing that the team felt he could use more playing time.

During the draft process, there was a narrative that suggested Vonleh could have been a top-four pick, that his stock was extremely high and teams were clamoring for him. On draft night, Vonleh took a mighty tumble all the way to Charlotte at number nine. The belief at the time was they got a steal.

Vonleh struggled during summer league play, shooting just 28.4 percent from the field and an even worse 12.5 percent from the three-point line.

That’s where the concerns really started. Vonleh wasn’t the knock down shooter he was marketed to be and he was really struggling to process the speed and pace of even summer league play.

The Hornets said all the right things, hoping that the time between summer league and training camp would help Vonleh adjust and then he suffered an injury. In early September, Vonleh was diagnosed with a sports hernia that required surgery, costing him all of September and all of training camp.

To say Vonleh feels behind is something of an understatement. He made his Hornets debut on November 15, logging just six minutes. He recorded seven minutes in the next game and did not play in next six.

Conditioning and timing were problems. Combine that with the Hornets being in free fall in the win/loss column and the coaching staff simply moved on, shifting their focus on trying to right the ship, leaving little to no time for Vonleh.

The ninth overall pick has logged time in just four games this season.

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford tried to rationalize the situation to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

”It’s the speed of the game: To play consistent, regular minutes you have to have a comfort level with how the NBA game is played,” Clifford said. “Unfortunately once the season starts you only have certain stretches of the year where you can practice a lot.

“He’s a 19-year-old who missed all of September, when the foundation was put in, and all of October and is now playing catch-up.

“The thing that gives him a chance is he’s very gifted and a great worker. But it would be tough for anybody to catch up quickly after missing his rookie preseason.”

Vonleh is trapped in a numbers game with sophomore big man Cody Zeller and veterans Marvin Williams and Jason Maxiell seeing the bulk of the minutes at his spot.

The Hornets have not given up on Vonleh, but it’s clear that after missing so much of the early part of the season that he is unlikely to play a big role for the Hornets this season.

Vonleh made his D-League debut last night, logging 16 minutes for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and kicking in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Vonleh played rather well in limited minutes, challenging at the rim and scoring his first points in the fourth quarter on a dunk.

Vonleh’s long-term future is still very cloudy; however, the Hornets’ stance is simply that Vonleh fell too far behind to be a meaningful contributor at this point. The hope is some extended time in the D-League will help move things along.

Time will tell if Vonleh can be that guy he was touted to be coming into the draft process. For now, he’s simply a rookie trying to get minutes.

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NBA Daily: Jonathan Isaac Proving to be Key Part of Orlando’s Future

Basketball Insiders spoke with Jonathan Isaac about his rookie season, injuries, areas to improve on, his faith and more.

James Blancarte



On January 13, the Orlando Magic were eliminated from playoff contention. This date served as a formality as the team has known for quite some time that any postseason hopes had long since sailed. The Magic started the year off on a winning note and held an 8-4 record in early November. However, the team lost their next nine games and never really recovered.

Many factors play a role in a young but talented team like the Magic having another season end like this. Injuries to franchise cornerstone Aaron Gordon as well as forward Evan Fournier and forward Jonathan Isaac magnified the team’s issues.

Isaac, a rookie selected sixth overall in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, started the season off reasonably well. On November 10, in 21 minutes of action, he registered an 11-point, six-rebound, one-assist, one-steal, two-block all-around effort against the Phoenix Suns to help the Magic get to that 8-4 record. Isaac then suffered an ankle injury midway through his next game and wouldn’t play again until December 17, by which time the team was already 11-20 with athe season quickly going sideways. From November until March, Isaac would only play in three games until finally returning to consistent action in the month of March with the season all but decided.

Basketball Insiders spoke to Isaac recently to discuss how he has pushed through this season, staying healthy, his impressive skill set and more.

“I’ve had a lot of time off from being injured so, I think my body is holding up fine along with how much I’ve played. I haven’t played a full season,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders “I feel good. I feel good.”

Isaac talked about what part of his game he feels strongly about and has improved on.

“I think defensively,” Isaac said. “I didn’t expect myself to make strides defensively like I have. I’ve been able to just be able to just do different things and help this team defensively and I didn’t expect that coming in so, that would be the one thing.”

Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise of Isaac’s defense and also focused on the rookie’s great defensive potential.

“His defense is out of this world. I mean it’s really something else,” Vogel said. “Just watch him play and everybody’s getting a taste of it right now. They haven’t seen him a whole lot but he’s an elite defender right now at 20-years old and the sky’s the limit for what he can be on that end of the floor.

While Isaac hasn’t logged a huge number of minutes on the floor this season, he has impressed in his limited action. As Coach Vogel stated, anyone who has taken the time to watch Isaac play this season has noticed his ability to guard other big men and his overall defensive impact.

“I think I’ve been able to do a good job on most of the people that I’ve had to guard,” Isaac said.

Missing Isaac’s defense impact and overall contributions partially explains why the Magic cooled off after their hot start. However, with the playoffs no longer an option, younger players like Isaac now have the opportunity to play with less attention and pressure. While it can be argued that the Magic aren’t really playing for anything, the truth is these late-season games can be an opportunity to develop these younger players and determine what to work on during the offseason.

There is more to Isaac than just basketball, however. Isaac discussed other parts of his life that are important to him, including religion and his faith.

“[M]y faith in Jesus is something that I put a lot of emphasis on,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders. “It’s a part of me.”

Isaac did not hesitate to credit his faith when asked if it helped him push through his injuries.

“I would say definitely,” Isaac said. “Especially with getting injured so early in the season and being out for 40 games. That’s a lot on somebody’s mental capacity and then just staying positive, staying joyful in times where joy doesn’t seem like it’s the right emotion to have. And I definitely [attribute] that to my faith.”

Looking forward, both Vogel and Isaac discussed the future and what the young big man can improve on.

“Offensively, he’s grown in confidence, he’s gained so he’s going to give us a big lift and our future’s bright with him,” Vogel stated.

Isaac gave a hint of his offseason training plans when asked what he looks forward to working on.

“I would say consistency with my jump shot. Really working on my three-ball and I would say ball-handling,” Isaac stated.

When asked if there was anything more he wanted to add, Isaac simply smiled and said, “Oh no, I think I got to get to church right now,” as the team prepared to play later that evening.

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Tyronn Lue’s Health Concerns Latest Bump In The Road For Cavaliers

Spencer Davies outlines Tyronn Lue’s decision to take a leave of absence to deal with health issues and covers the reaction around the NBA.

Spencer Davies



The win-loss record is not where they want it to be.

The performances have not been up to par with what they expect.

With that said, one thing is for certain: There is no other team that will have been more battle tested going into the playoffs than the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Day after day and week after week, there’s always something going on with the team. Between in-house arguments, on-court miscommunication, roster turnover, and more, it has been one giant roller coaster of a season.

Monday morning, another twist was added to the ride. In a statement released by the Cavaliers organization, Tyronn Lue and general manager Koby Altman announced that the head coach would be taking a leave of absence to address his health:

“After many conversations with our doctors and Koby and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.

“I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is. While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team.

“I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards. I greatly appreciate Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, our medical team and the organization’s support throughout.”

There were multiple instances where Lue either missed part of a half or an entire game this season. The symptoms are definitely not to be taken lightly. According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lue attempted to return to the bench Saturday night in Chicago but the team didn’t allow him to. Evidently, Lue was “coughing up blood” some nights.

Seeing it first hand after postgame press conferences, Lue was visibly exhausted and stress could likely be playing a part. He’s been fighting through the tough times the team has been going through and avoided stepping away twice this season.

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford had his own battle with health problems earlier this season and temporarily left the team for those reasons. He has attempted to reach out to Lue, a friend and former player of his.

Other head coaches around the league—Joe Prunty, Steve Kerr, and Luke Walton—have all gone to bat for Lue when discussing the rigors of an NBA schedule and the toll it takes.

Altman supports the decision for Lue to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

“We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues,” he said.

LeBron James is glad that Lue is going to take some time to get better.

“Obviously, health is the most important with everything in life,” James said Monday after shootaround. “Not surprised by it at all. I knew he was struggling, but he was never not himself. He was just dealing with it the best way he could, but he was never not himself when he was around.

“It doesn’t matter what’s going on here. We play a great sport, our coaches get to coach a great sport, and you guys get to cover a great sports. But health is most important right now and that’s what our coach is doing right now and we’re all in favor for it.”

The latest piece of news is a blow to the already injury-ridden Cleveland group. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over duties until Lue returns.

The good news for the Cavaliers is that Kevin Love can potentially return to the mix as soon as Monday night against Milwaukee.

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NBA Daily: Calderón’s Late NBA Start

Jose Calderón might be the only player in the league who didn’t grow up dreaming of playing in the NBA.

Joel Brigham



There are a lot of different ways to get to the NBA, but most of them involve lifelong scouting and an unceasing dream to play in the world’s premier basketball league.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard José Calderón didn’t really have either of those things.

“I never even thought of the NBA when I was a kid,” Calderón told Basketball Insiders. “I grew up in a small town in Spain, and I played basketball because my dad played and I loved it. I was having fun, always playing with the older guys because I was good at that age, but I never really even thought about playing any sort of professional basketball.”

Having grown up in Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, Calderón watched his father play for Doncel La Serena, which was his hometown team as a child. He was something of a prodigy, having attended practices and games with his father from a young age, and as burgeoning teenager he left home to play professionally for the lower-level Vitoria-Gasteiz team.

“They wanted to sign me at 13 years old, and we didn’t even know that they could sign people that young,” Calderón remembers. “So I did that, and I tried to get better. I tried to advance into the older clubs, but I never really did think about the NBA at all, honestly.”

That changed as he got older, though, especially after Spain finished 5th in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and Calderón started to get some stateside recognition.

“After that summer, [my agent and I] got a call from Milwaukee asking about my situation, and asked would I think about coming to play over here. It was sort of a let’s-see-what-happens sort of situation, but I couldn’t at that time because I was under contract. That was the first time I was really approached.”

As his teammates from the Spanish National Team made their way to the NBA, Calderón grew increasingly intrigued.

“Pau Gasol obviously opened a lot of doors for us,” he said. “Raul Lopez came, too. I was just playing basketball, though. I didn’t know anything about scouts. Later, when we started to get the calls from Toronto, I started to realize how possible it really was. That’s when I thought, ‘Hey, why not?’”

Despite being eligible for a few drafts in a row, Calderón never did get drafted, which was fine by him. Growing up the way he did, Calderón never had any dreams of his hearing his name called by Commissioner Stern, so playing his way through most of his deal with TAU Vitoria was no big deal for him. He could take or leave the NBA.

“Not getting drafted was the perfect situation for me,” he said. “In my satiation, coming from Europe, I was already playing professionally for a good team and making some good money. That was perfect for me at the time, and I was happy to be a free agent at 23, choosing where I was going to sign instead of going in the second round and having to play for one team.”

He signed with the Raptors in 2005 since they were the most aggressive in recruiting him to the NBA. As a 23-year-old rookie, he wasn’t overwhelmed physically the way a lot of rookies are, but he did find his new league challenging in other ways.

“The hardest part was just having to start over,” he said. “You start over from zero. It doesn’t matter if the other players know you or don’t, you have to prove yourself all over again. You could be the MVP of Europe, but to get respect in the NBA you have to gain it on the court.”

The talent differential was immediately noticeable, as well.

“There are so many guys out there that are better than you. It’s not just like a guy or two; there are six, seven guys on the floor any given time that are better than you.”

That meant making some changes in the way that Calderón played. He was asked to do a lot more offensively for his EuroLeague team. Playing with so many talented scorers completely changed his approach.

“I went from taking 20 shots a game to doing something else, and as a point guard in the NBA I had to approach that point guard role even more, to make those guys respect my game, to make them want to play with me. I had to be able to pass the ball, to do something different from all the other players, so I became a fast-first point guard to make sure we always played as a team. That’s how I get to where I am as a professional.”

Now 36 years old, Calderón is one of the league’s oldest players, making it easy for him to look back at where he came from to transform into the player he is today.

“I’ve grown so much, but I was lucky to be given the opportunity,” he said. “When you arrive from Europe, whether you’re good or bad, it doesn’t always matter if you don’t have the opportunity. Toronto gave me the opportunity to play 20 minutes a night, and that’s a lot. I made a lot of mistakes, but they let me play through those mistakes. All those little things added up for me, and I learned a lot.”

He owns two silver medals and a bronze in the three Olympics he’s participated in over the course of his career, as well as gold medals in FIBA World Cup and EuroBasket, but he’s never won an NBA championship. Joining up with LeBron James improves those odds, but that’s the thing that would really put an exclamation point on an excellent career.

Calderón could have stayed in Spain and been fine. He jokes that while the NBA has been very good to him, he and his family could have stayed in Europe and he could have made good money playing basketball there. He’s been happy with his career, though, however unorthodox his journey here, and he hopes his most prestigious accolades are yet to come.

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