It has been said that when one door closes, another one opens. In the case of Shavlik Randolph, the door doesn’t really seem to close with the Boston Celtics.
Randolph was in his second stint with the team this season. He first played for the Celtics in 2013, and was re-acquired from the Phoenix Suns as part of the three-team Austin Rivers trade in January.
On Monday, the Celtics waived Randolph and subsequently signed Chris Babb to a multi-year contract. That afternoon the team discussed the situation with Randolph, who had an expiring contract, and he expressed he would not want to sign a non-guaranteed deal for the upcoming season. Randolph would like to keep his options open, including the possibility of returning overseas to China with the intention of returning to the NBA in February, as he has done in the past.
“As much as I would have loved to finish the season and playoff run with this team, I just wasn’t willing to commit to a non-guaranteed deal for next season,” Randolph told Basketball Insiders. “So they had to do what was best for them, which I completely understand.”
Randolph and the Celtics parted ways for a second time on good terms, he said.
“I said, ‘I don’t know who I’ll be with next season or whatever is going to go on, but I want you guys to know I would welcome any opportunity to come back here if it presented itself,’” Randolph recounted. “They told me the feeling was the same, I was always welcome back here, and that was something we could explore down the road.”
This season Randolph, 31, was happy to be back in the city he had enjoyed so much two years earlier. The last time he was on the Celtics, he was part of a veteran team that had head coach Doc Rivers and veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. This time around, he was playing for an emerging head coach with young teammates fighting for a postseason berth.
“The Celtics’ fans are so loyal,” Randolph said. “I’m getting messages like you would’ve thought I averaged 20 and 10 and got two rings or something. I loved the guys and I loved working under Brad Stevens. He is a better coach than advertised. He’s going to be hugely successful in the NBA.”
Randolph suffered a strained left hamstring early into his return, which sidelined him as the Celtics established successful rotations. He appeared in five games, averaging 1.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in five minutes. The playing time didn’t deter him; he was glad to be part of a group that was hitting its stride as the playoffs neared.
“I was so happy to join the team around the time they kind of turned it around to see how well the guys were playing,” Randolph said. “Although my time on the court was limited, I absolutely cherished getting to learn under Brad Stevens. I took a lot from that. I sincerely do hope at some point I will get the opportunity to do that again for a longer period of time.”
During his time on the sidelines, Randolph formed a special bond with another veteran. He sat next to Gerald Wallace and got to know the 14th-year player well.
“Oh man, that’s my guy,” Randolph said. “I might miss our analysis and our talks at the end of the bench during the games more than anything these last four games. We were the two oldest guys on the team by a long shot. I didn’t know him well before this, but he’s a great basketball mind and we had great banter and challenged each other from a basketball point of view. I loved hearing his opinion, he liked hearing what I had to say, we just had some great discussions. I feel like I became more knowledgeable about basketball from my conversations with him.”
Randolph will take what he learned from his time on the Celtics to his next basketball destination. He has had success playing in China, and will weigh his options from the NBA and overseas for next season. His objective is to earn a spot in a rotation, a goal he has been working toward since breaking his ankle during his second year, and understands he may be able to get the necessary minutes by spending time in China first.
“I still have a few years left to be in my prime and that’s something I want to prove,” he said. “In the NBA, it is 100 percent about timing and opportunities.”
Randolph will return home to North Carolina and get an early start on his offseason training. He has learned over the years the road to the NBA isn’t always a direct route, but he knows where he wants to end up again.
Bulls’ guard Zach LaVine desires respect for new contract
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine wants the respect he deserves for his contract extension. On Monday morning before Team USA’s practice to prepare for Tuesday’s match against Spain, the 26-year-old guard said to reporters, “I just want my respect, that’s the main thing. I outplayed my contract. I’ve been very loyal to Chicago. I like Chicago. I just want my respect. If that’s now or later, it’s something we’ve got to work out internally.” In the 2020-21 season, in 58 games played, LaVine averaged 27.4 points, five rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He also shot 50.7 percent from the field and was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game.
Regarding the “outplayed my contract” comment, his argument his fair. Last season, with 200 three-point field goals made, he ranked ninth overall in the league. Despite the Bulls finishing 31-41 (.431) last season, he led the team in points and assists. Per ESPN, they are also reporting that Chicago is trying to work out a four-year, $105 million contract extension for their star guard. Though, this deal is expected to fall below his market value. In terms of signing available free agents this offseason, some Bulls fans are speculating the organization will pursue either Knicks’ shooting guard/small forward Reggie Bullock, Lakers’ power forward/center Markieff Morris or Pelicans’ point guard Lonzo Ball.
Zach LaVine says he "wants his respect" in contract extension & will stay in touch with Bulls in coming days as they face challenging decisions with cap space: https://t.co/36T2RpAtZu
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 2, 2021
On July 13, 2018, the 2014 13th pick of the draft signed a four-year, $78 million contract with the Bulls. LaVine earned $19,500,000 last season, and he is set to earn $19,500,000 in the upcoming season. It is not urgent for Chicago to extend LaVine’s contract this offseason. The organization will have the full rights to re-sign him to a new deal for next season in 2022.
However, the guard will also become an unrestricted free agent next year, so the Bulls should work towards fixing their salary cap issues right now. Referencing Spotrac, center Nikola Vucevic has a cap figure of $24 million. Of this amount, his future guaranteed cash is $22 million. One notable 2021-22 cap hold is Lauri Markkanen. His qualifying offer is $9,026,952, and his cap figure is $20,194,524. On March 2, 2020, Markkanen was recalled from the Windy City Bulls of the G League.
Furthermore, on March 25, 2021, center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu were traded by the Orlando Magic to the Bulls in exchange for Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr., a 2021 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick. This is quite the gamble for the Bulls organization, considering they traded away two future first-round picks. Vucevic is set to earn $24 million for the 2021-22 season. Chicago has $56,679,846 available in cap space. Their current luxury tax space is $29,405746.
Rockets decline Avery Bradley’s $5.9 million team option
First reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Houston Rockets are declining Avery Bradley’s team option for the 2021-22 NBA season. On November 23, 2020, the 30-year-old guard signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat. He signed a two-year, $11.6 million deal. On March 25, 2021, the Heat traded Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for two-time NBA All-Star guard Victor Oladipo. The 2022 first-round pick is an option to trade for a potential Heat or Nets pick. Plus, Houston received a trade exception, too.
Moreover, Bradley earned $5,635,000 this previous season; the Rockets declined his 2021-22 team option of $5,916,750 for next season. In other words, both sides have mutually agreed to part ways, so the six-foot-three guard is now an unrestricted free agent. In early February, it was first reported that the Washington native would miss three to four weeks due to a calf strain. Before this injury, he averaged 8.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for Miami. Furthermore, he also shot a career-high percentage of 42.1 percent from behind the arc last season.
The Rockets are not picking up guard Avery Bradley’s $5.9 million team option for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Sides mutually agreed to part ways.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 31, 2021
Though, Bradley disappointed both of his teams last season, leading to the Rockets finishing 17-55 (.236), ranking 15th overall in the Western Conference. Last season was the first time since the 1982-83 season that Houston failed to win at least 20 games. Since the 2011-12 season, it was the first time the Rockets had failed to qualify for the playoffs. In only 27 games played, the 11-year NBA veteran averaged 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He shot 37.4 percent from the field as well.
Likewise, the Miami Heat finished 40-32 (.556) last season, regressing from the team’s 44-29 (.603) record and sixth NBA Finals appearance from the 2019-20 season. Fans across social media are already speculating that the 2010 19th overall pick will end up playing for the Los Angeles Lakers next season. If this happens, he would join the team’s newly established big three: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.
After Bradley signed with the Lakers for the 2019-20 season, he joined the list of players in the league’s history who played for both the Celtics and Lakers. The list includes Brian Shaw, Clyde Lovellette, Mel Counts, Rick Fox, Don Nelson, Bob McAdoo, Isaiah Thomas, Charlie Scott, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal and Rajon Rondo. According to Bleacher Report, the Lakers are also interested in signing Carmelo Anthony this offseason.
Mavericks will pick up Willie Cauley-Stein’s $4.1 million option
Per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the Dallas Mavericks are planning to pick up center Willie Cauley-Stein’s $4.1 million option for the 2021-22 NBA season. The deadline is tomorrow. Last season, in 53 games played, the seven-foot big man averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The sixth-year player also shot 63.2 percent from the field last season.
On July 8, 2019, Cauley-Stein signed a two-year, $4.46 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. Then, on January 25, 2020, Cauley-Stein was traded to the Mavericks for a 2020 second-round pick. If everything goes smoothly, the 27-year-old center is set to earn $4.1 million next season. The 2015 sixth overall pick’s contract consumes less than three percent of the team’s total salary cap.
Source says Mavs are leaning toward picking up center Willie Cauley-Stein's $4.1 million option for next season. Deadline is Sunday and Mavs are waiting to see if situation unexpectedly materializes to make that cap space worth parting with a big man they like.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 31, 2021
This news comes right after Dallas received center Moses Brown from the Boston Celtics. Brown is a seven-foot-two, 2019 undrafted player out of UCLA. In 2021, Brown was named to the All-NBA G League First Team and All-Defensive Team. On March 28, 2021, the 21-year-old center signed a four-year, $6.8 million contract with the Thunder.
However, on June 18, 2021, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Brown, Al Horford, and a 2023 second-round pick to the Celtics for Kemba Walker, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick. With Boston, Brown was set to earn $1,701,593 next season. Of course, the Mavs organization is finalizing a trade to send Josh Richardson to the Celtics as well. In other news, today is Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s 63rd birthday.
Referencing Spotrac’s 2021-22 luxury tax totals, the Mavs’ current luxury tax space is $52,326,531. The 2021 NBA salary cap maximum is $112,414,000. Their current cap space is $27,595,632. Cauley-Stein’s contract is recognized as a club option, not a player option or guaranteed money. Richardson’s deadline is also tomorrow, so because he is getting traded to Boston, the team will not collect his $11,615,328 player option.
Plus, Jalen Brunson’s deadline is also August 1st. His guaranteed value is $1,802,057. Leading into the 2021-22 season, Kristaps Porzingis has the highest cap figure on the team, which is an amount worth $31,650,600, consuming 22.73 percent of the team’s total salary cap. At the moment, Porzingis is a popular name in trade rumor articles. Bettors and NBA analysts are predicting a possible trade to the Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings or Philadelphia 76ers.
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