Jazz reserve guard Dante Exum will miss at least two more weeks due to a bone bruise on his left ankle, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Exum hasn’t played since January 5. He was averaging 7.4 PPG and 2.7 APG with the second unit in 39 games. Exum signed a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $9.6MM over the summer.
- Dante Exum participated in his first practice with the Jazz on Thursday since suffering a left ankle sprain in January, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. “It was great,” teammate Rudy Gobert said about seeing Exum in practice, according to Woodyard. “I think when he’s playing well, he can have a big impact for us and having him back soon is going to help us a lot.” Exum was re-evaluated by the team and ruled out for Friday’s game against Oklahoma City, though his return date doesn’t appear to be far off. He’s missed 17 straight games with the injury.
Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Northwest Division:
Tyler Lydon, Nuggets, 22, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.45MM deal in 2017
Lydon was the 24th overall pick in 2017 and acquired from Utah in a draft-day deal. He didn’t make much of an impression as a rookie, as the Nuggets declined his third-year option in October. Lydon has appeared in 21 games this season, mostly during garbage time. At the G League level, Lydon has averaged 5.3 three-point attempts and made 36.7%. He’s also rebounded well (8.5 in 31.3 MPG). He’ll be seeking a fresh start this summer, most likely with a rebuilding team that can offer him a greater opportunity.
Anthony Tolliver, Timberwolves, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.75MM deal in 2018
Tolliver carved out a steady role under former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and delivered a career year last season. He averaged 8.9 PPG in 22.2 MPG and shot 43.6% from distance, and when he hit the free agent market, he drew interest from the Clippers, Mavericks, and Sixers as well as the Timberwolves. It hasn’t gone well in Minnesota, as Tolliver completely dropped out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation in mid-November. He’s seen more action under Ryan Saunders but hasn’t made an impact. He’ll likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum this summer to stay in the league.
Nerlens Noel, Thunder, 24, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $3.74MM deal in 2018
Noel has a player option worth less than $2MM and it’s likely he’ll decline it and take his chances on the open market. Noel has carved out a steady bench role with the Thunder and provided a defensive presence, along with an occasional scoring outburst. His Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating, according to Basketball-Reference, is an outstanding 5.8. He posted a 22-point, 13-rebound stat line in 22 minutes in a loss to New Orleans on Thursday. Noel, the sixth overall pick in 2013, has revived his career to some extent after a lost season in Dallas.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, 28, PF (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $30MM deal in 2015
The quintessential glue guy, Aminu never puts up big numbers but he does a little bit of everything for a playoff-bound team in the West. He’s averaging a career-best 7.9 RPG in 29.0 MPG and his defensive versatility makes him indispensable on a team lacking in stoppers. He’s also become a respectable – if not prolific – 3-point shooter (35.8%). It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if Aminu re-signs with Portland but he’ll have several suitors in July and shouldn’t have any trouble getting a multi-year deal.
Royce O’Neale, Jazz, 25, SF (Up)– Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
O’Neale, undrafted out of Baylor, has been a rotation player all season for Utah. He’s often the the last offensive option on the court but he’s pumped up his production this month. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG in the last four games prior to the All-Star break. He’s shooting an outstanding 43.9% from long range and advanced defensive metrics are also kind to him (2.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus). O’Neale’s $1.62MM salary for next season isn’t fully guaranteed until next January but the Jazz might do that a lot sooner and perhaps even negotiate an extension with the swingman.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Prior to the trade deadline, when the Jazz were said to have interest in Mike Conley, one report indicated that the veteran point guard wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea of heading to Utah. Conley denied the rumor, and Jazz owner Gayle Miller later suggested that she’s unconcerned about the idea that players might not want to come to Salt Lake City. “I think Utah is a great place to live,” Miller said, per Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. “It’s beautiful and I wish more people had a better perception of it, but I don’t feel it’s my mission to change that. I think we do that some with our basketball team by having great players, players of good character who conduct themselves well and I think they all like it here.”
The NBA confirmed today that 2019’s trade deadline set and matched some records. The 14 trades completed on Thursday were the most made on a deadline day in the last 30 years, and the 19 teams involved in those swaps was tied for the most over that same period.
In total, 34 players were involved in those 14 trades — and that doesn’t even count the eight deals completed during the week leading up to the deadline, as we detailed last night.
Needless to say, there has been plenty of roster upheaval around the NBA, so we’re going to use this space to take a look at all 30 teams’ roster situations to see exactly where they stand. Does your favorite team have a full roster? Or is their roster somehow only two-thirds full? Looking at you, Raptors.
Here’s a breakdown of all 30 clubs’ roster situations at the time of this post’s publication (more moves will be made in the coming days or even hours that won’t be noted here, so keep that in mind):
The Hawks entered the week with 15 players, but had to waive Daniel Hamilton to clear a spot to acquire Jabari Bird. They subsequently traded Tyler Dorsey for Shelvin Mack, then waived both Bird and Mack.
They currently have 13 players on their roster, leaving two open spots. They’ll have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.
After carrying 15 players all season, the Celtics traded Jabari Bird to create an open roster spot. They’ll explore the buyout market for candidates to fill that opening.
The Nets entered the week with 14 players on standard contracts and one (Mitch Creek) on a 10-day deal. Creek’s contract was terminated a few days early to make room for Greg Monroe, who was waived after being acquired from Toronto.
Brooklyn now has 14 players under contract and could opt to re-add Creek (albeit on a full-season contract), sign another player, or leave that spot empty for now.
The Hornets had a quiet week and continue to carry 14 players, leaving one open roster spot.
Subsequently, Cleveland flipped Stauskas and Baldwin to Houston in exchange for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, with Alec Burks heading to Sacramento in that three-team deal. The 3-for-2 move left the Cavs with 14 players and an open roster spot.
They’re currently at 15 players, but will be releasing Randolph very soon to create an open roster spot.
The Nuggets didn’t make any moves this week and continue to carry a full 15-man roster.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors didn’t make any moves this week and still have 14 players under contract, leaving an opening for potential buyout targets.
The Rockets’ latest moves prior to the trade deadline were mainly designed to open up a roster spot and find another piece on the buyout market, GM Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen (Twitter link). The Rockets also wanted to “create flexibility now and down the road,” Morey said.
The Rockets were involved in a three-way deal with the Kings and Cavaliers in which they shipped out Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss and acquired Iman Shumpert, Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin. They soon traded Stauskas and Baldwin to the Pacers and dealt James Ennis to the Sixers without receiving any players in return.
We have more on potential moves from around the league:
- The Spurs will be searching for a wing player via the buyout market, Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. They have mainly relied on journeymen Marco Belinelli, Quincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham as backups to leading scorer DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes.
- Power forward Derrick Favors is glad he wasn’t traded by the Jazz, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Favors was reportedly part of the package Utah offered to Memphis in its failed attempt to acquire point guard Mike Conley. He is likely to be a free agent this summer since his $16.9MM salary for next season is not guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through July 6th. “I’m happy I’m still here,” he said. “I’m glad this is over, and now I can focus on basketball.”
- Bulls players were sad to see power forward Bobby Portis go to the Wizards, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Portis was part of the package Chicago shipped to Washington for forward Otto Porter Jr. Though Portis had a much-publicized altercation with former teammate Nikola Mirotic early last season, he was regarded as an emotional leader by the players on the current roster. “Bobby’s pretty much the main glue of the team, a big-time voice,” shooting guard Zach LaVine said. “It (stinks). He’s one of my best friends on the team.”
“I’ll play anywhere,” the Grizzlies guard said during today’s shootaround. He claims he doesn’t know how speculation started that wants to head East, adding that he doesn’t have a preference for either conference.
Conley has been the subject of intense speculation since Memphis let it be known last month that it was willing to listen to offers for him and Marc Gasol. A report on Wednesday said the Jazz were making progress in a deal for Conley, but he and his representatives were resisting it, hoping to wind up in Indiana, Toronto or Detroit instead.
Memphis is seeking multiple first-round picks in any Conley deal. Utah reportedly offered a first-rounder and second-rounder, along with a pair of expiring contracts (believed to be Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors), but declined when the Grizzlies asked for Dante Exum.
6:05pm: The Raptors aren’t trying to trade for Conley, while the Pistons are pessimistic that a deal will get done before the deadline, Stein tweets.
5:02pm: The Jazz are closer to working out a trade for Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, but Conley and his representatives prefer to see him sent somewhere else, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Twitter link).
“Utah was making some progress in acquiring him, and I think that would have been a tremendous deal for Utah,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s “The Jump.” (video link via @The_6ix_man) “Mike Conley‘s agent has made it known that Mike Conley does not want to play in Utah. … If he’s going to be traded, he’d prefer to go the the Eastern Conference. Now Memphis is working on deals with Detroit and Toronto.”
A trade with the Raptors would mean Kyle Lowry may wind up with the Jazz, Windhorst adds. Utah has been interested in Lowry for a long time and Lowry has “a ton of respect” for Jazz coach Quin Snyder, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).
The report on Conley is backed up by Marc Stein of The New York Times, who tweets that he is resisting a trade to the Jazz. Conley has no ability to block a deal — he is under contract for more than $67MM over the next two seasons — but he’s making it clear that Utah isn’t his first choice.
The Pacers continue to talk to the Grizzlies about Conley, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link). However, Indiana and Toronto believe Memphis’ asking price is “prohibitively high.” Jones states that he heard the Pacers offered a young player and a veteran and were met with a counteroffer that they didn’t consider realistic.
A source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that the Grizzlies are asking the Pistons to include shooting guard Luke Kennard and a first-round pick in any package. Ellis speculates that Reggie Jackson would also be part of the deal, but notes that picking up Conley would limit Detroit’s financial flexibility going forward.
The Pelicans remain on the lookout for potential trades involving players besides Anthony Davis, but Will Guillory of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that Julius Randle seems unlikely to be moved this week. According to Guillory, Randle has developed a strong bond with the coaching staff in New Orleans and the club has interest in keeping him around long-term.
Another frontcourt Pelicans player, Nikola Mirotic, remains a trade candidate, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who names the Jazz, Trail Blazers, Nets, and Spurs as clubs that have expressed interest in Mirotic. League sources tell O’Connor that New Orleans is seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Mirotic, with one source calling the club’s asking price “excessive.”
Of course, the Pelicans gave up a first-rounder for Mirotic a year ago, but at that time they got a year and a half of team control rather than just a a half-season, and also shed Omer Asik‘s unwanted contract in the deal.
Here are more trade rumors from around the NBA:
- Although the Raptors have been linked to big names like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca that a move around the periphery of the roster is far more likely than a major deal. Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca confirms that a move involving Kyle Lowry is “highly unlikely,” but says the Raptors have been aggressive on the trade market and would move anyone on their roster if they feel like it makes them a better team. On the other hand, Toronto has no intention of moving Pascal Siakam unless the club gets a superstar-level return, Lewenberg notes.
- Before Thursday’s trade deadline, the Celtics may try to attach cash to Jabari Bird in a trade to lower their projected tax bill, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. However, Bird’s legal issues complicate matters. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) has heard that Boston wants the NBA to expedite a decision on Bird, but the league is in no rush to set a precedent under the CBA’s domestic violence policy.
- While Nuggets guard Gary Harris has been cited as a potential trade candidate, Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com hears from a source that Denver hasn’t engaged in any “substantive” trade talks involving Harris and doesn’t currently plan to (Twitter link). While it’s possible that stance could change, Moore thinks the Nuggets would only consider moving Harris in a deal that lands the club a clear upgrade.
A year ago, when Forbes released its annual NBA franchise valuations, the Knicks were reeling from the news that Kristaps Porzingis has suffered a torn ACL, but still earned the top spot on Forbes’ list of the league’s most valuable teams.
This time around, Knicks fans are reeling from the trade that sent Porzingis to Dallas. Once again though, the franchise is still considered the most valuable of any of the NBA’s 30 clubs, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen and Mike Ozanian of Forbes.
For the first time, all 30 NBA teams have a perceived worth of $1.2 billion or more, per Forbes’ annual report. While all 30 teams’ valuations cracked the $1 billion threshold for the first time last year, 10 franchises were below $1.2 billion.
The league-wide average of $1.9 billion per team in 2019 is also a new record, with franchise valuations up 13% in total over last year’s figures. NBA franchise values have once again tripled over the last five years, according to Badenhausen and Ozanian.
Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:
- New York Knicks: $4 billion
- Los Angeles Lakers: $3.7 billion
- Golden State Warriors: $3.5 billion
- Chicago Bulls: $2.9 billion
- Boston Celtics: $2.8 billion
- Brooklyn Nets: $2.35 billion
- Houston Rockets: $2.3 billion
- Dallas Mavericks: $2.25 billion
- Los Angeles Clippers: $2.2 billion
- Miami Heat: $1.75 billion
- Toronto Raptors: $1.675 billion
- Philadelphia 76ers: $1.65 billion
- San Antonio Spurs: $1.625 billion
- Portland Trail Blazers: $1.6 billion
- Sacramento Kings: $1.575 billion
- Washington Wizards: $1.55 billion
- Phoenix Suns: $1.5 billion
- Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.475 billion
- Utah Jazz: $1.425 billion
- Indiana Pacers: $1.4 billion
- Denver Nuggets: $1.375 billion
- Milwaukee Bucks: $1.35 billion
- Orlando Magic: $1.325 billion
- Atlanta Hawks: $1.3 billion
- Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.275 billion
- Detroit Pistons: $1.27 billion
- Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.26 billion
- Charlotte Hornets: $1.25 billion
- New Orleans Pelicans: $1.22 billion
- Memphis Grizzlies: $1.2 billion
The Sixers are this year’s big riser, moving from 21st on the 2018 list to 12th in 2019. Conversely, the Cavaliers fell the most. After losing LeBron James, Cleveland was the only franchise to see its valuation dip from year to year, as it decreased from $1.325 billion (15th) in 2018 to $1.275 billion (25th) in 2019.