Trail Blazers To Sign Carmelo Anthony

The Portland Trail Blazers intend to sign Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed deal, Adrian Wojnaowski of ESPN reports. Anthony has been out of the league since he was traded by the Houston Rockets last season.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks adds that Anthony’s deal will become guaranteed if he remains on the roster through January 7. He’ll join the squad for their upcoming road trip, Wojnarowski adds.

Portland’s interest in Anthony has been well documented but the forward didn’t appear eager to sign on with the squad when presented with opportunities to do so over the years. Now, as the short-handed Blazers struggle to fill vacancies created by players like Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic, Anthony represents a potentially solid replacement.

Anthony will be in the mix for reps at the four with Mario Hezonja and Anthony Tolliver.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports that Blazers guard Damian Lillard was notified of the move last night and has always been supportive of bringing Anthony to town.

Given that the Blazers already had a roster spot open, they don’t need to make any moves to facilitate the signing. They are, however, a team already deep into the luxury tax that will now be in line to pay considerably more with an additional player on board, especially if Anthony ends up sticking around for the duration of the 2019-20 campaign.

While Anthony held his own in ten contests with the Rockets in 2018-19, two of them starts, the team opted to cancel the experiment and traded the former All-Star to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls promptly released the 35-year-old and he’s been on the outside of the league looking in since.

While Anthony didn’t latch on with a team throughout the offseason, it wasn’t because of a lack of interest. At various times through the summer Nets players were advocating for their squad to sign the veteran and the Knicks alluded to the notion that they’d have reached out to Anthony if their initial, more ambitious free agency plans had come to fruition.

To his credit, Anthony has remained committed to returning to the league and apparently kept himself in good enough condition through mid-November to convince a team to give him another shot. Last week he re-iterated his interest in playing again.

Having bounced around several franchises since he was dealt by the New York Knicks back in 2017, all eyes will be on Anthony as he looks to help jumpstart a Blazers squad that’s limped to a 4-8 start this season.

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Iman Shumpert Inks Deal With Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets have signed Iman Shumpert to a minimum contract, the team has announced in a press release. The 29-year-old will help fill the vacancy created by Caris LeVert’s thumb injury.

The Nets, who already have 15 players on their roster, don’t need to waive a player to accommodate the veteran. Brooklyn was permitted to move Wilson Chandler to the suspended list after the fifth game of his suspension.

Brooklyn can have a 16th player until Chandler’s suspension expires in mid-December.

Shumpert joins the Nets after a campaign split between the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings in 2018-19. He served a valuable role as a locker room leader for the young Kings and eventually joined the Western Conference contender Rockets at the trade deadline.

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Tyrone Wallace Claimed By Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have claimed recently released wing Tyrone Wallace, Adrian Wojnarowksi of ESPN reports. The 25-year-old was the odd man out in Minnesota at the end of training camp.

Wallace will hop aboard a young Hawks team eager to load up on young assets. Wallace has a reputation as a perimeter defender and played himself into the Los Angeles Clippers’ rotation the past few seasons.

The Hawks will have until January 7 to release Wallace if they so choose, after which his minimum salary will become guaranteed.

Wallace averaged 9.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Clippers back during the 2017-18 campaign.

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Raptors Ink Shamorie Ponds To Two-Way Deal

The Toronto Raptors have announced in a press release that they’ve signed Shamorie Ponds to a two-way contract. The St. John’s product had caught on with the Houston Rockets after going undrafted but was cut last week.

Ponds, once considered a potential first-round target for the 2019 NBA Draft, will fill Toronto’s last available two-way contract slot, the other having been filled by Oshae Brissett earlier this week.

Ponds played summer league action and part of preseason with the Rockets and will split time between Toronto’s big league club and their G League affiliate in nearby Mississauga.

In three season’s at St. John’s, the guard averaged 19.5 points per game.

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Ivan Rabb, Knicks Agree to Two-Way Deal

The New York Knicks have agreed to a deal with 22-year-old big man Ivan Rabb, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Rabb was among the final cuts for the final roster spot on the Memphis Grizzlies last week.

Rabb showed potential over the course of two campaigns with the Grizzlies and will join the Knicks with a pre-established relationship with head coach David Fizdale.

Rabb will split time between New York’s big league club and their G League affiliate in Westchester, giving him ample opportunity to showcase the raw skills that made him such an interesting prospect in the Grizzlies organization.

In games where he saw at least 20 minutes of action last season, Rabb averaged 11.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for Memphis. Additionally, he averaged 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in the six G League games he played with the Hustle.

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Who’s Getting Traded? An evaluation of the entire Thunder roster’s trade value

Coming into the 2019-2020 NBA season not a lot
is sure for the Thunder franchise.  One
thing that does seem pretty certain though is that they’ll likely be an active
participant in the trade market given the newly started rebuild and some of the
veteran talent the team can offer.  To
add the Thunder start the season just a hair over the luxury tax (about $900000
by Keith Smith’s salary cap sheets) and have no reason to remain so.  Given that the team has a lot to offer up for
bidders, from big contracts to small and from good players to…well not so
good.  Since there is such a variance the
following are how I’d say some of the players the Thunder have stack up in
terms of trade value.

Tier 1: Long term salaries

Sub-tier 1.1: HE’S PAID WHAT!?!?

Also known as Chris Paul.  Paul is a likely top-25 player and has the tenth largest contract of any NBA player.  To add to it, he’s on the downside of the aging curve and hasn’t played more than 61 games the last three seasons.  And the season before that?  Yeah, he got hurt and missed the last two playoff games as the Clippers were eliminated.  He hasn’t been the picture of health.

Given these concerns, Paul’s market is pretty limited. He’s going to need a team that has contracts to send back to match salary, who has a desire to win now, and who might be able to convince themselves he’s going to make a significant difference for them in the near future.  This would probably limit it to a very select few teams who wouldn’t offer much of any real value other than salary relief unless Sam Presti really works some magic or takes back long term money in return.

The only teams I could consider falling into a deal for Paul are the Heat (who’ve been heavily rumored) or maybe the Magic or Timberwolves if they get desperate.  I’d certainly take Miami’s shorter contracts in exchange for getting off the longer term salary, and definitely wouldn’t mind something from Orlando built around Evan Fournier/D.J. Augustin/Markelle Fultz or similar.  Would Presti consider the oft-mentioned Andrew Wiggins-for-Paul swap as well? (Please no.) Would the Wolves consider something built around Jeff Teague and Gogui Dieng?  Heck, if they’d toss in a couple second round picks just to give some perceived value I’d be all for it.

In the end the real hope is to move Paul
without having to give up assets, and Presti certainly won’t be willing to do
that at this point in the rebuild.  For
that reason I think he sticks out the season in OKC.

Sub-tier 1.2: Useful but overpaid

Another one player sub-tier, this one occupied by Steven Adams. Adams is a leser player than Paul, but he’s also paid quite a bit less, is younger, and more durable.  Therefore the margin between his actual value and his contract is much smaller.  He’s the sort of player a team like the Clippers or Celtics would love as a true difference maker. He’s overpaid by something like $5-8 million a year, a lot but not such a gap as to negate any value.  I could see Adams retrieve actual value in a trade, and for that reason he’s more likely than Paul to be traded (even if I don’t think either is terribly likely).  Something around the range of another overpaid role player with a pick and/or young player should get a deal done pretty readily.  Boston could make salary work with Gordon Hayward or, for a different landing spot, he’d look pretty solid helping out Atlanta’s defense.  Would the Hawks move some bad expiring money and a later first-rounder if they’d rather not play the free agency game?

Sub-tier 1.3: Yuck

Then there’s the last one player sub-tier, reserved for Dennis Schroder.  Schroder was paid off of a solid postseason in Atlanta and quickly became a bad value.  He’s not a starting caliber point guard on even a mediocre team and is best served as a backup. Even in that role he struggles with tunnel vision, middling efficiency and poor defense.  Strangely enough, some people do talk as if a team could talk themselves into him, but paying $15.5 million a year for this doesn’t sound appealing to me:

If Presti can just get someone to take his money away it’s a win, but given how he was valued when he was traded to OKC I could even see a team valuing his counting stats and giving a small asset if the Thunder take back some salary. Or maybe they could swap him out for an expiring? A team like Dallas taking him back for Courtney Lee gets OKC out of a year of paying Schroder and cuts a touch of salary this year as well.

Tier 2: Expirings

Now we get to one or two players likely gone this season.  Danillo Gallinari is almost certainly going to be off the Thunder by the deadline, and should be by far the most valuable of the available players.  He’s coming off a career year where he was the best player on a playoff team and also had one of his healthier seasons.  As an expiring contract, the risk isn’t incredibly high as his new team wouldn’t be stuck with longer term money, and he brings incredible spacing from the power forward position.  Gallinari should be able to fetch a first round pick from any contender pretty easily, doubling as a quick and clean way to shed some salary if the Thunder can take back a little less in return.

I’d suggest the Trailblazers as an interested party, and could see the Heat inquire if they’d rather upgrade their forward rotation and not spend money long term on Chris Paul.  Or the Suns (who honestly nobody knows what they’re going to do). Phoenix fans always seem interested in Blake Griffin or Kevin Love, why not a shooting forward who’s got a much friendlier contract than either of those options? An easy swap of Tyler Johnson (or Dario Saric and Kelly Oubre, Jr.) plus a first round pick likely gets Presti to pull the trigger.

Another alternative after January 14th, 2020 would be Gallinari and Schroder for Johnson, Oubre, and a first, again shedding salary while picking up an asset.

The question mark in this tier is a player I’d have thought a year ago would have similar value by now.  Andre Roberson was in the running for Defensive Player of the Year honors 21 months ago when he got injured.  At that point LeBron James was still a Cavalier, Blake Griffin a Clipper, and the entire Kawhi Leonard saga hadn’t taken place.  He was projected to return early last season before a setback. Then another, then another.  As I write this, he was just held out of all preseason games and I’m not entirely convinced he still exists. How surprised would you be if you saw him at the arena looking like this? 

At this point, given his health, it’s tough to imagine Roberson has any value at all other than to help match salary.

Tier 3: Small salary role players/salary filler

I don’t really think there’s much value here.  The group of Nerlens Noel, Mike Muscala, and Justin Patton have limited to no trade value. Of the three, only Noel could possibly fetch a second round pick.  Otherwise these players could also become salary filler in a bigger trade, or fodder to offload if OKC ends up a hair over the tax, but that’s it.

Tier 4: Young prospects

Sub-Tier 4.1: Probably worth more to
the Thunder than another team

Most of the Thunder’s prospects are here. They’re either very unproven or very fringe-y players who don’t project to be stars in the future. Darius Bazley is entirely unknown (admittedly I’m a fan, but have no clue what to expect), Terrance Ferguson seems to be a 3-and-D player who’s entirely reliant on others for offensive creation, Hamidou Diallo and Deonte Burton are interesting players who don’t currently have a ton of skill and were in limited in roles last year. Luguentz Dort was an undrafted free agent pickup who I like, but it’s rare that these types of players become true difference makers.  Abdel Nader isn’t even really a prospect at age 26. He hasn’t shown he’s even a decent rotation player to this point on either of his teams and is probably on his last real shot in the NBA.  I’d be pretty surprised if any of them are traded because I don’t think any other team would value them as highly as the Thunder.

Sub-Tier 4.2: Need a Godfather offer

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Between him being the centerpiece to the start of the rebuild and having the fantastic rookie season he did, it’s tough to even envision a scenario where Gilgeous-Alexander is traded any time soon. Would Presti deal him for Luka Doncic?  I’m sure he would, but most likely nobody’s offering that value for him.

The big picture

Looking through all the players on the current roster and trying to figure out who’s going to be around at the end of the season is an oddly difficult exercise for a franchise that’s gone the last nearly ten years with a mostly steady core, but the Thunder are going through a major overhaul.  Whether dealt this season or not, I don’t expect hardly any of the players in tiers one through three to be around the next time they see the playoffs.

Jazz Agree To Extend Joe Ingles’ Deal By One Year

The Utah Jazz have agreed to a one-year contract extension with Joe Ingles, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The extension will take effect for the 2021-22 season given that Ingles has two more years left on his current deal.

Ingles has become a vital piece of the core that the Jazz have assembled and averaged 12.1 points and 5.7 assists per game for the franchise last season. He’ll earn $14 million in the extension season.

Ingles inked a four-year, $52 million pact with the franchise back in the summer of 2017 and the 32-year-old hasn’t disappointed. Ingles is a veteran presence and versatile forward.

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