Faried Reaches A Deal, Who Is Next?: Denver Nuggets big man Kenneth faired reached a deal with the Denver Nuggets on a new five-year, $60 million deal, which according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is guaranteed to pay out $52 million, as the final year is a partial guarantee.
Faried was one of several 2011 Draftees negotiating terms on a rookie scale extension. Last week the Phoenix Suns reached multi-year deals with both Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, who agreed to a four-year, $32 million and a four-year, $20 million deal, respectively.
Several other member of the ’11 draft class are at the table. Here is what we know about most of them:
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota
While Rubio was not a 2011 draftee, he is eligible for a rookie scale extension after joining the Wolves two years after being drafted in 2009. The Wolves and Rubio have been talking and it seems both sides would like to reach a deal. Given the stance both parties have on reaching a deal, an extension seems more likely than not. The biggest issue for the Wolves is length of the deal, with reports saying the Wolves want a four-year pact, while Rubio naturally wants as long a term deal as possible, especially if the Wolves are not going to offer a full max contract.
It seems likely that a deal with Rubio is going to get reached, the question is how much and how long? It seems everyone involved understands the price on Rubio likely goes up if he hits restricted free agency next July. This one isn’t a home run, but it does look promising for a deal to be reached.
Enes Kanter, Utah
The Jazz and Kanter are talking extension, which might be surprising for Jazz fans that have been less than enamored with the Turkish big man. This isn’t a case of offering major money, rather a case of locking in a player the Jazz like and continue to see promise in. This one will come down to years and dollars, and if Marcus Morris’ deal is the barometer, something in the $25-$30 million over four or five years seems like the price point Utah would do a deal on.
Kanter’s camp has to weigh the option of testing free agency in July, or locking in Kanter’s future today. If Kanter comes at a discount, he could get a deal before the deadline.
Tristian Thompson, Cleveland
Word is Thompson and the Cavs are tabling extension talks, with some reports saying both sides haven’t engaged in talks at all. However, sources close to the Cavs say that there has been an open two-way conversation on a Thompson extension and that the team remains committed to Thompson as a long-term member of the Cavs. Not doing an extension now is more about keeping the Cavs’ flexibility to add players next summer, with Thompson likely getting the wink-nod on a new deal after the Cavs take care of business in July.
Don’t read into a lack of a deal now as lack of interest long-term, the Cavs’ plan to manage their cap carefully to ensure they can continue to add players and talent. Thompson will have full Bird rights, so after the Cavs complete their business next summer Thompson likely gets his payday after proving some things this summer.
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee
The Bucks and Brandon Knight have talked contract extension. The Bucks like Knight a great deal and with new head coach Jason Kidd looking for guys to build around, Knight is viewed as one of them. Eric Bledsoe’s $70 million, five-year deal with Phoenix set the high end of the contract bar for guards, but word is the Bucks and Knight are talking about a deal in the $7-$8 million a season range. The question becomes can Knight’s camp nudge that number higher or are they better off letting the season play out and see what restricted free agency brings.
There is an interest from the Bucks in doing a new deal, but it does not seem like they are going to go nuts on Knight, but that could change as the deadline gets closer.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte
Very much like Brandon Knight, the Hornets would like to do a new deal with Kemba Walker, but like Knight, the Eric Bledsoe deal may have skewed the market value. Walker and Bledsoe logged similar numbers last season, and the Hornets had one of the best seasons in franchise history, so Walker’s camp has a lot of reason to push for the bigger number.
Walker has become the player the Hornets hoped he’d be, so the question is do they pay him now or wait and let restricted free agency set a price that could be higher? Kenneth Faried’s deal might have put some perspective on the situation, but it seems like Walker is willing to play this out, even if it means waiting out this season.
Both sides seem open to a deal, so the atmosphere for a deal is there. Four years and $40-$45 million seems like the number that gets done.
Klay Thompson, Golden State
Thompson and the Warriors have been talking extension for most of the summer and it seems that a deal between both sides is likely. The terms on a potential pact are not clear yet, though.
A likely deal should come in close to where Faried landed, four-five years at $12 million plus per season.
There was talk that Thompson and his camp were seeking a max level deal, however it seems unlikely that a max deal gets reached before the deadline.
Alex Burks, Utah
Like Kanter, the Jazz are talking with Burks on a new deal. They’d like to keep him long-term, but only at the right price. Burks is unlikely to get a major dollar deal, however both sides are talking and a deal is not out of the realm of possibility.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio
The Faried deal should help get a Leonard deal a little closer. His camp is seeking a max level offer; it’s likely that the Spurs and Leonard reach a deal just under that, which is typical of the Spurs’ process.
Both sides want to reach a deal and the process is playing out, so Leonard reaching a new deal before the deadline seems likely.
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando
The Magic and Vucevic are talking. The Faried deal should help set a ceiling on an early extension for Vucevic. The Magic’s stance has been to try and reach a deal before the deadline, but the Magic have made it clear that if they do not reach a deal now, they would extend the qualifying offer and focus on reaching or matching a deal next summer. The number that makes the most sense for Orlando is something in the $10-$11 million per season range. The question is will Vucevic take a deal structured that way or will he wait for restricted free agency and try to swell that number upwards?
Tobias Harris, Orlando
The Markieff Morris deal didn’t help Harris’ case for a bigger payday. $8 million per year seems like the right number, however, the question is will Harris look at this season as a case to play his value upwards or will he take a deal in the $30 million range? Like Vucevic, the Magic are talking to him and they’d like to reach a deal, but are in no hurry to outbid themselves. If the Magic do not reach a deal before the deadline, they will look to restrict Harris’ free agency and revisit contract talks next summer.
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City
Jackson and the Thunder have been talking about an extension. The problem for the Thunder is that Jackson is seeking starting point guard money, and that may not work for the Thunder. If something can get done in the $7-$8 million a year range, it seems likely the Thunder make a deal. If they don’t reach a deal before, expect them to restrict Jackson’s free agency and resume talks in July.
Jimmy Butler, Chicago
The Bulls started things in the $7-$8 million per year range and with Markieff Morris taking a deal in that range, Butler may have to play out the season if he wants something significantly higher. It doesn’t hurt Butler’s case that head coach Tom Thibodeau has become a big advocate of his and he led the team in minutes played last year.
The Bulls and Butler want to reach a deal; the question is will it clock in over the $8 million per year believed to be on the table? A strong preseason could go a long way towards cementing the right number. Something in the four-year, $35-$40 million range likely gets done.
NBA teams have until October 31 to reach rookie scale extensions before talks must close and discussions can resume in July. If a team does not reach a deal before the deadline, they still have the option to restrict a player’s free agency with a qualifying offer, which most of the players on the list above would likely receive. Historically, a flurry of deals have gotten done in the 11th hour over the last few years, so while some deals are getting done now, don’t mistake a deal today as lack of progress or interest. The calendar tends to favor the team in this situation.
New TV Deal Done?: The NBA is expected to announce today it has reached new deals with its media partners. It’s expected that new long-terms deals with Turner Sports and ESPN/ABC would swell the annual rights fees that the league collects from the estimated $930 million a year to well over $2.6 billion per year. The deal is expected to run through the 2024-2025 season and is estimated to be worth more than $24 billion.
One aspect of the new deal according to the Wall Street Journal is that the NBA and ESPN will launch a joint online venture that will allow non-cable subscribers to gain access to NBA games online.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.
NBA PM: Hornets Rookies May Become Key Contributors
Some key injuries may force Charlotte’s rookies into becoming effective role players earlier than expected, writes James Blancarte.
As the NBA finally gets underway tomorrow evening, the 2017 rookie draft class will get their first taste of regular season action. Teams reliant on young rookie talent might produce an exciting brand of basketball but that rarely translates into a winning formula. Having rookies play a key role for a team hoping to make the playoffs can be a risky endeavor.
Out West, the Los Angeles Lakers are relying on both Lonzo Ball as well as Kyle Kuzma, who may have worked his way into the rotation with his surprising preseason play. However, the Lakers are, at this point, not realistic contenders in the competitive Western Conference. In the East, the Philadelphia 76ers have more realistic playoff hopes. The team is relying on this year’s top overall draft pick, Markelle Fultz, and 2016’s top pick, Ben Simmons, for meaningful production. Although Simmons has been in the league for over a year, he is still classified as a rookie for this season since he didn’t play last season.
The Charlotte Hornets are looking to return to the playoffs after narrowly missing the cut this past season. The team will likely feature not one, but two true rookies as a part of their regular rotation. Like the Lakers, the Hornets feature a highly touted rookie with the talent and poise to contribute right away in Malik Monk. The team also features Dwayne Bacon, a rookie that has flashed scoring potential as well as maturity — key attributes that will allow him to quickly contribute to the team.
Both players will be given the opportunity to contribute as a result of the unfortunate and untimely injury to forward Nicolas Batum. Batum tore a ligament in his left elbow in an October 4 preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. Initial speculation was that the injury would require surgery. However, it was announced on October 10 that surgery would not be necessary, and that he is projected to return in six to eight weeks. Assuming that there are no setbacks in Batum’s recovery, the Hornets will be looking to replace his perimeter scoring, playmaking abilities and perimeter defense. Enter Monk and Bacon.
Monk and Bacon have both shown the ability to score the ball, which is not exactly a common trait in Hornets rookies. Bacon, the 40th pick in the 2017 NBA draft, has made it a point to look for his shot from the outside, averaging 7.8 three-point shots per game while knocking down 33.3 percent of his attempts. As Bacon gains more experience, he presumably will learn how to get cleaner looks at the basket within the flow of the team’s offense. Doing so should help him increase his shooting percentage from beyond the arc, which would turn him into an even more effective contributor for Charlotte.
Bacon spoke to reporters after a recent preseason game against the Boston Celtics. Bacon was placed in the starting lineup and went 4-4 from three-point range in 34 minutes of action.
When asked what are some of the things he wanted to work on, Bacon focused on one end of the court in particular.
“Definitely defense. I’m trying to perfect the defensive side, I want to be one of the best two-way players to ever play the game,” Bacon stated. “I feel like I got the offensive side so just keep getting better on defense, I’ll be fine.”
Lack of consistency and defense are key factors that prevent many rookies from playing and being successful on winning teams right away. Based on Bacon’s size (6-foot-6, 221 pounds with a long wingspan) and physicality, he has the physical tools necessary to play passable defense. Combine that with his ability to score (he led the team in scoring in three of its five preseason games) and the unfortunate injury to Batum, it’s apparent that Bacon will get an opportunity to make the rotation and contribute.
Reliable two-way players on the wing are crucially important, but are not always readily available and are even less common on cheap contracts. The Los Angeles Clippers went through the entire Chris Paul/Blake Griffin era swapping small forwards on a nearly annual basis, struggling to find this kind of contribution from the wing. With little cap flexibility, the Clippers were unable to acquire a forward that could effectively and consistently play both end of the court, which caused issues over the years. As a second round pick, Bacon is set to make $815,615 in his first year. If Bacon is able to contribute at even a league average level, that will be a major boost for the shorthanded Hornets. Bacon is smart to focus on improving as a defender as Steve Clifford is a defensive-minded coach who will leave talented players on the bench if they aren’t making a positive impact on the defensive end of the court.
In fact, Clifford offered some strong simultaneous praise and criticism of Monk when it came to his scoring and defense.
“He can score, he can score, he can score [speaking of Monk],” Clifford stated. “I think his defense will come because he’s willing, he’s a good guy. I think that being a good player is very important to him.”
It’s apparent in Clifford’s comment that he values scoring, but that defense is also extremely important and essential to any player that wants to be a “good player.”
“He knows and understands that the way he has played in the past [in college], he can’t play in this league if he wants to be a good player,” Clifford said about Monk. “The big thing is, I told him, when people say, ‘he’s a talented offensive player’ that is a lot different than somebody saying, ‘he’s a talented NBA player.’”
Point guard Michael Carter-Williams also suffered an injury (bone bruise in his left knee), which received less attention than Batum’s injury. While Carter-Williams is not the same caliber of player as Batum, the Hornets are alarmingly thing at backup point guard. Without Carter-Williams, the team was going to lean on Batum to act as a playmaker more than he has in the past, which would have, at least in part, addressed the lack of an established backup point guard. But with Batum sidelined, Coach Clifford has given Monk time at the point guard position. If Monk proves capable of playing both guard positions and playing alongside Walker, that could go a long way towards mitigating the loss of Batum and Carter-Williams. It’s not reasonable to expect Monk (or Bacon) to produce as consistently as a seasoned veteran, but having them contribute at a league average level would constitute a big win for a Charlotte team with serious playoff aspirations.
Teams Refuse To Back Down To Stacked Warriors
Golden State got better over the summer, but that didn’t stop others from trying to stop them from repeating as champions
Opening week is finally upon us.
Appropriately enough, the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will kick off the 2017-18 NBA season tomorrow night, as will the defending champion Golden State Warriors when they host the improved Houston Rockets.
The clear-cut favorites to win the league title are the ones who have done so two out of the past three years, and rightfully so. Warriors general manager Bob Myers has done a masterful job of assembling a juggernaut. They’ve kept their insanely talented core intact and—aside from Ian Clark and Matt Barnes—haven’t lost any of their key bench pieces to free agency.
In fact, Golden State has added to that dangerous second unit. Jordan Bell was bought from the Chicago Bulls and will bring another Draymond Green-esque impact almost immediately. Nick Young and Omri Casspi were brought in to fill the void of backup wings, which is an improvement at the position anyway. With the same roster as last year and better reserves to give the starters a breather, there’s no reason Steve Kerr and company can’t repeat if they stay healthy.
Knowing what the Warriors are capable of and how well they are set up to truly be a dynasty, there are some league executives out there who are hesitant to make significant moves that could potentially flop against such a powerhouse.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported back in middle June that select teams don’t want to risk a big play because of it. What that basically translates into is: We’re throwing in the white towel until that ball club disbands.
But luckily for fans and for parity’s sake, there was a handful of general managers that refused to take that path. Just looking down the list in the Western Conference, there were organizations that swung for the fences this summer.
The aforementioned Rockets are one of them.Daryl Morey pieced together multiple trades to allow him to land Chris Paul to play next to James Harden and form a dynamic backcourt tandem. Houston also signed a pair of veteran two-way players in Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker to provide depth and defense.
What about the Oklahoma City Thunder? Just when we thought Russell Westbrook’s MVP season was enough to maybe build off, the unthinkable happened. Sam Presti unloaded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana after just one season with the team to add All-Star forward Paul George, who is in a contract year.
That blockbuster move was followed up with another two months later, as Presti decided to deal fan favorite Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott to the Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony. The creation of a Westbrook-George-Anthony big three forms an elite trio that is determined to prove championship worthiness.
Top tier Eastern Conference counterparts did their due diligence as well. The Cavaliers and Celtics are essentially rivals and became trade partners in an attempt to re-tool their respective rosters, in addition to gaining important pieces outside of that.
Boston inked Gordon Hayward to a maximum contract to create a bolstered starting unit alongside Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford until madness happened.
Firstly, Bradley got moved in a swap with the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris to address the hole at power forward. After that—with reports of Kyrie Irving’s unhappiness in Cleveland swirling around the basketball universe—Celtics general manager Danny Ainge acted immediately and swung a deal for the All-Star point guard in exchange for his All-Star point guard, a vital member of his team in Jae Crowder and the coveted Brooklyn Nets first-round pick.
It’s almost a brand new squad, but Brad Stevens has a versatile group to work with to try and finally dethrone the conference champions of the last three years.
As for the East’s cream of the crop, the Cavaliers moves are well known because wherever LeBron James goes the spotlight follows. Thomas and Crowder were huge gets for first-time general manager Koby Altman, especially after the outside growing doubt in the franchise’s front office. The rookie executive was also instrumental in signing Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, and Dwyane Wade to veteran minimum contracts.
Rose and Green have plenty of motivation because their critics think they’re washed up, meaning Tyronn Lue won’t have to give them a reason to play their hearts out. Wade simply made the decision to come to Cleveland because he can play with his best friend and potentially add to his collection of championship rings.
Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman, and Jose Calderon are also now a part of the roster that all-of-a-sudden is now deep at almost every position. It’s a new flavor for a team that may have only one year left to compete for a title with James’ pending free agency next summer.
Those four teams feel great about their chances to get in the way of the Warriors. It doesn’t stop there though. The West in general loaded up.
The Minnesota Timberwolves executed the first big move of the year when they traded for Jimmy Butler. The Denver Nuggets signed Paul Millsap to provide leadership and a veteran voice in a young locker room full of talent. The San Antonio Spurs lost Jonathan Simmons but brought in a very capable Rudy Gay under-the-radar as Kawhi Leonard’s backup.
Nobody expected the league to completely fold and hand Golden State another championship, but it was surprising (and relieving) to see so many teams have the fortitude to pull off the moves that they did. There was definitely risk involved for some of them, however, one thing is for certain.
The Warriors will not have a cakewalk to the NBA Finals. They will have to go through a rigorous set of teams in the West throughout the regular season and the playoffs.
If any team is up to the task, it’s Golden State. But we’ll see how it plays out starting about 24 hours from now.
See you at tip-off.
NBA League Pass Debuts for 2017-18 Season
NBA League Pass has launched for the 2017-18 season. Basketball Insiders has the details.
The NBA and Turner Sports have launched NBA League Pass for the 2017-18 season, with several new features and pricing options available. NBA League Pass, a subscription-based service, will be available to users across 19 different platforms, from television and broadband to tablets, mobile and a plethora of connected devices.
In addition, an important note: As of Monday, NBA League Pass subscribers who have already purchased their access through a TV provider (Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, etc.) are now able to link their account to the NBA’s streaming service at no additional charge. The link to do this can be found here.
Basketball Insiders has you covered with a breakdown of all the new details immediately available. We will also be bringing you a detailed breakdown of certain important technological areas later in the week.
New or improved features of NBA League Pass include:
- Improved video quality for streaming League Pass content developed by iStreamPlanet, a high-level video streaming entity working in partnership with NBA Digital. Included among these improvements are faster delivery time for live feeds, reducing notable lag time present in previous versions. More detail on these video quality improvements will be featured in our breakdown later this week.
- A new premium package that includes continuous in-arena coverage, even during commercials. This allows fans to view team huddles, live entertainment and other venue features that make them feel closer to the experience.
- A season-long virtual reality subscription package via NBA Digital and NextVR, available to all premium and traditional NBA League Pass subscribers (also available to international subscribers and single-game purchasers beginning in week two of the NBA season). Access will be available across Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream and Windows Mixed Reality.
- Coverage of pre-game warmups and other in-arena events.
- Spanish-language video coverage for select games, as well as Spanish-language audio continuing for select games.
- NBA Mobile view will contain a zoomed-in, tighter shot of game action that’s optimized for mobile devices.
Pricing for NBA League Pass has not changed for traditional access, and will remain at $199.99 for the full season. New monthly-based subscriptions are now also available, both for the full package and for individual teams. Full pricing will be as follows:
- Traditional NBA League Pass (full league): $199.99
- Premium NBA League Pass: $249.99
- NBA Team Pass: $119.99
- Single Game Pass: $6.99
- Virtual Reality package: $49.99
- Premium monthly subscription: $39.99
- Traditional League Pass monthly subscription: $28.99
- NBA Team Pass monthly subscription: $17.99
As previously reported by Basketball Insiders, upgrades are also expected on the TV side of NBA League Pass, particularly through Comcast, which has had the largest share of customer issues for this product in recent years. While only a single nightly HD channel was available via Comcast XFINITY League Pass previously, sources tell Basketball Insiders that all games will be available in HD through Comcast’s Beta channel package by the end of November (or earlier).
This Beta package does have limitations, however, including users’ inability to record, pause or rewind games. The package that was available in previous season will continue to be available until (and after) the Beta package is active, and subscribers will get access to both for no additional charge.
Check back with Basketball Insiders later in the week for a full rundown of the technological improvements being made to NBA League Pass.