NBA News & Notes: Rudy Gay signs with Spurs, Clippers trade for Danilo Gallinari

July 7, 2017

The NBA offseason already has seen a flurry of activity, and things aren't close to being finished yet.  Below are the top free agent signings and trades thus far:

Celtics trade guard Avery Bradley to Pistons for Marcus Morris

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has acquired guard Avery Bradley and a 2019 second-round draft choice from the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Marcus Morris.

The Bradley deal was a necessary move for the Celtics in order to clear cap space for signing star free agent forward Gordon Hayward.

Still, Bradley's departure is not an easy blow for the Celtics to absorb, as he is a superior on-ball defensive player on the perimeter.  He was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in 2013, the All-Defensive First Team in 2016 and finished sixth in the 2015-16 voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Bradley, 26, averaged career highs in points (16.3 ppg), rebounds (6.1 rpg), assists (2.2 apg) and minutes (33.4 mpg) over 55 games for the Celtics last season.  He shot 46.3% from the field and 39.0% from three-point range.  In 18 postseason games, he averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 35.8 minutes per game.

Drafted 19th overall by Boston in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bradley has averaged 12.1 points (.442 FG, .366 3FG), 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 28.1 minutes in 413 career NBA games.  The seven-year guard has averaged 15.0 points and shot better than 35% from beyond the arc in each of the last four seasons.

The 6-2, 180-pound native of Tacoma, Washington, played collegiately for one season at the University of Texas where he averaged 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists and was named to the 2009-10 Big 12 All-Rookie Team.  As a high schooler, he led Las Vegas’ Findlay Prep to the National High School Championship as a senior and was named the High School National Player of the Year.  Bradley was also a McDonald’s All-American, Jordan All-American, and First-Team Parade Magazine All-American.

Morris, 27, was acquired from the Phoenix Suns in a 2015 offseason trade and averaged 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 159 games for the Pistons.  Last season he ranked as the club’s third-best scorer at 14.0 points per game, while also tallying 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 32.5 minutes in 79 games.

Detroit withdraws offer to Caldwell-Pope

In other Pistons news, the team announced that it has withdrawn its qualifying offer and renounced the rights to guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound shooting guard appeared in 76 games (75 starts) last season and averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, a career-high 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.  Caldwell-Pope led the team in scoring 17 times and among NBA league leaders, he ranked 37th in minutes per game (33.3 mpg).

Although Pope is not a star, he is a good outside shooter who is expected to command big numbers in free agency due to his youth and steady improvement.  Selected by Detroit in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft (#8 overall), the Georgia native compiled averages of 11.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 30.2 minutes in 314 career NBA games (274 starts).

Spurs sign Rudy Gay

The arms race to compete with Golden State is officially underway, as the San Antonio Spurs announced that they have signed high-scoring forward Rudy Gay.  Other outlets have reported that the deal is for two years at $17.2 million.

Gay (6-8/230) holds career averages of 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.34 steals in 35.6 minutes, while shooting .452 from the field and .345 from three-point range in 753 total appearances. He is one of four players in the NBA to average at least 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in each of the last 10 seasons, along with Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Assuming he can recover from his recent Achilles tendon injury -- which is no guarantee -- Gay also will provide another athletic body to match up defensively against Kevin Durant.

Last season with Sacramento, Gay averaged 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.47 steals in 33.8 minutes while shooting .455 (201-442) from the floor and .372 (42-113) from beyond the arc in 30 games. The 11-year veteran has spent the last three-plus years with the Kings, including the 2014-15 campaign when he averaged a career-high 21.1 points.

Gay is one of three players in the NBA, along with James and Russell Westbrook, to record at least 13,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 1,000 steals since 2006.

Clippers deal for Gallinari

Finally, Clippers coach Doc Rivers will have a legit small forward to pencil into his starting lineup.

The Los Angeles Clippers announced that the team has acquired forward Danilo Gallinari from the Denver Nuggets as part of a three-team trade that sends Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, and L.A.’s 2018 protected first round draft pick (via Houston) to Atlanta and a 2019 second round draft pick from Atlanta (via Washington) to Denver.

"Since we acquired Danilo in 2011, he has exemplified every positive aspect of the organization we are continuing to build,” said Nuggets President and Governor Josh Kroenke. “His hard work, professionalism, and efforts in the Denver community during his time with us will forever make him a fan favorite. On behalf of Nuggets fans everywhere and our entire organization, I would like to thank him for everything he did during his time with us and wish him nothing but the best in the future both in life and in basketball."

Gallinari, 28, averaged 18.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 63 games (all starts) last season with the Nuggets. An eight year NBA veteran, Gallinari has appeared in 460 career games (390 starts) with Denver and the New York Knicks, and owns career averages of 15.3 points, 4.7 rebounds 2.0 assists. The Sant’Angelo Lodigiano native was originally selected by the Knicks with the 6th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft after spending four-plus years playing internationally in Italy.

Gallinari is an average athlete who has had prior trouble with his knee, but he is a versatile offensive player who can space the floor.  Unfortunately, the team's top three guards from last year -- Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, and Crawford -- will no longer be available to get him the ball, as all three have moved on to different squads this offseason.

Crawford played five seasons for the Clippers after signing with the team before the 2012-13 season. The three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner averaged 12.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 82 games (one start) last season. Over his 17-year career, Crawford has averaged 15.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 1182 career games (433 starts).

Stone, originally acquired by the Clippers in a 2016 Draft Day trade from the New Orleans Pelicans after being selected 40th overall, played his Rookie season with the Clippers. In his first NBA season, Stone averaged 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds in seven games. The Milwaukee native played one season at the University of Maryland and averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 35 games (all starts), helping lead the Terrapins to the Sweet Sixteen.

Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Utah

The Minnesota Timberwolves continued their offseason overhaul, announcing that the team has acquired a 2018 first-round draft pick (originally belonging to Oklahoma City) from the Utah Jazz in exchange for point guard Ricky Rubio.

“We’d like to thank Ricky for his time in Minnesota over the course of the last six-plus years,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. “Ricky has been a consummate professional over my time in Minnesota and has done tremendous things in the community. We appreciate all he’s done for the organization and wish him the best of luck in Utah.”

Rubio, originally drafted by the Wolves with the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, is an outstanding passer who played in 353 games over six seasons with Minnesota averaging 10.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game.

Mavs sign Nowitzki

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-signed 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki.  Other outlets have reported the deal is for two years at the relative bargain price of $10 million.

Nowitzki (7-0, 245) will return for his 20th season with the Mavericks in 2017-18, joining Kobe Bryant (Lakers) as the sole members of the NBA’s 20-year-only-one-team club.

During his 19-year career in Dallas, Nowitzki has guided the Mavericks to many of the franchise’s greatest achievements. Nowitzki led Dallas to its first-ever 60 win season in 2002-03, its first NBA Finals appearance in 2006, a franchise-high 67 wins in 2006-07 and the organization’s first NBA championship in 2011. He also led the Mavericks to the playoffs 15 times in a 16-year span (from 2001 to 2016).

Nowitzki, who has scored 30,260 points in his illustrious career, is the NBA’s top foreign-born scorer of all-time, the league’s active leading scorer and the longest tenured player with one team.

In addition to appearing in a franchise-record 13 NBA All-Star Games, Nowitzki earned 12 consecutive All-NBA Team selections (2000-12), was named Most Valuable Player of the 2006-07 season and voted MVP of the 2011 NBA Finals.

The career Maverick holds averages of 21.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 34.9 minutes in 1,394 career games (1,363 starts). He is the franchise leader in several different categories including points (30,260), rebounds (10,893), field goals made (10,688), 3-pointers made (1,780), free throws made (7,104), games played (1,394), games started (1,363) and minutes played (48,673).

Last season, Nowitzki became the sixth player in NBA history and the first international player to reach the 30,000-point plateau against the L.A. Lakers on March 7. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) in the NBA’s exclusive 30,000-point club. Nowitzki also became just the third player in league history to score 30,000 points with one franchise, joining Malone (Jazz) and Bryant (Lakers).

Jeff Van Gundy to coach U.S. Men's Team

Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy  has been selected head coach of the USA Basketball men's national teams that will compete in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 (formerly known as the FIBA Americas Championship) and the FIBA World Cup Qualifying games. Additionally, current NBA G League Northern Arizona Suns head mentor Ty Ellis  and veteran international coach Mo McHone were named assistant coaches for the USA AmericCup Team.

"USA Basketball is excited and appreciative that coach Van Gundy is willing to undertake this challenge and help lead the United States in these competitions," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Men's National Team managing director.  "Qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup is the first step in our attempt to repeat as gold medalist, and we're delighted that we were able to secure a coach of Jeff's caliber to lead these USA teams."

Van Gundy will lead USA teams at the August 25-Sept. 3 FIBA AmeriCup 2017 and in the first four windows between November 2017 and September 2018 of the FIBA World Cup Qualifying games.

"I'm absolutely honored and humbled to be able to represent my country and USA Basketball in this summer's AmeriCup and the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers," said Van Gundy.  "I have a lot to learn about FIBA basketball and our competition and I can't wait to get started. I want to thank Jerry Colangelo, Gregg Popovich and ESPN for allowing me this opportunity."

Van Gundy boasts of 18 seasons of NBA coaching experience, including 11 seasons as head coach of the New York Knicks (1996-2001) and Houston Rockets (2003-07).  As an NBA head coach, he compiled an overall record of 430-318 (.575 winning percentage) and guided teams to nine NBA playoff appearances and one NBA Finals in 1999.

Timberwolves rookie Patton has surgery

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced rookie center Justin Patton underwent successful surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Patton suffered the injury during a recent workout. He will not play in the upcoming NBA Summer League 2017 in Las Vegas and will be sidelined indefinitely. The Wolves acquired the draft rights to Patton (selected 16th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft), along with Jimmy Butler, on June 22, 2017 from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft rights to Lauri Markkanen, the 7th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Patton, 6-11, played in 35 contests over one season at Creighton, averaging 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals per game en route to earning Big East Freshman of the Year honors. Patton, 20, led the Big East and ranked second nationally with a field goal percentage of 67.6%, which stands as the highest field goal percentage of any freshman from a major conference in NCAA history. The Riverdale, Georgia, native also shot 53.3% from the three-point during his line season as a Bluejay. Patton sat out the 2015-16 season as a redshirt.

NBA Sets New Salary Cap

The National Basketball Association announced that the Salary Cap has been set at $99.093 million for the 2017-18 season. The tax level for the 2017-18 season is $119.266 million.

The Salary Cap and tax level goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 1, when the league’s “moratorium period” starts and teams can begin negotiating with free agents. The moratorium period ends at 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6.

The minimum team salary, which is set at 90% of the Salary Cap, is $89.184 million for the 2017-18 season.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for three different mid-level exceptions depending on a team’s salary level. The non-taxpayer mid-level for this season is $8.406 million, the taxpayer mid-level is $5.192 million and the mid-level for a team with room under the Salary Cap is $4.328 million.

Clips Acquire Jawun Evans

The L.A. Clippers have acquired the draft rights to Oklahoma State University guard Jawun Evans from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for cash considerations.
In his final season at Oklahoma State, Evans, 20, led the Big 12 in scoring (19.2 ppg), was an AP All-America Honorable Mention selection and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. In 54 appearances over two seasons at OSU, Evans averaged 16.6 points, 5.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting 40.7% from three-point range.

Evans, 6’0”, 185 pounds, was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2015-16. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning USA Basketball team at the FIBA U19 World Championships and a McDonald’s and Parade All-American out of Kimball High School in Dallas.

By Staff of and news services

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