The Cavaliers are likely to buy out Mo Williams’ contract eventually, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Per the Beacon Journal: “And guys around the league are sure to be waived before Jan. 10, the day when all non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season. But those guys usually comprise roster filler at the end of the bench. More useful veterans will surely be bought out of their contracts following the Feb. 23 trade deadline, but it’s safe to assume that even in a worst-case scenario, Smith should be back around then.” (Full report.)
In that same piece, the Beacon Journal noted: “The short-term replacement for J.R. Smith will be DeAndre Liggins. Whether or not that changes long term depends on whether General Manager David Griffin makes a move.” (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: “With the exception of Philadelphia, there appears to be little interest across the league in Jordan McRae. And the 76ers are only ‘slightly’ interested, according to a league source. So you may as well see what the guy can do here.” (Full column.)
Cavaliers forward LeBron James on the Bucks: “The next several years they could be really, really good. For me, I’m ready for whatever matchup. It doesn’t matter if it’s this year, or if it’s several years — I’m going to be ready for it. If I’m even fortunate enough to be in the playoffs at that point in time, so, we’ll see.” (Full interview.)
Per ESPN: “Asked about a potential playoff series with the Bucks, Kyrie Irving said, ‘I hope, man. I hope. They’re a great young team. It would be great to go four games against them. I’m fired up to go against them every time now, for real. Ever since they kicked our ass in Milwaukee, it’s been personal, and it’s going to continue to be personal.'” (Full report.)
Per the Plain Dealer: “Matthew Dellavedova made his return to The Q for the first time since Game 6 of the Finals, and first time ever as a Buck. Dellavedova was Mozgoved as he was about to get his 2016 championship ring before the game from Cleveland general manager David Griffin, which means his former Cavs mates mobbed him near midcourt.” (Full report.)
Per Bleacher Report: “While no one can offer certitude, sources who spoke with Bleacher Report in recent weeks — including team executives, medical experts, sports ethicists, player advocates and other league personnel — painted a grim picture. There are doubts that any team doctor will clear Chris Bosh to play — or that it would be wise or even ethical to do so.” (Full report.)
Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. is out indefinitely with a bone bruise in his left knee, per the team.
Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “It’s obvious the 76ers have just about had their fill of Nerlens Noel, but just as apparent that he isn’t going to be allowed to talk his way out of town.” (Full column.)
Per CSN Philly: “The Sixers are pleased with the progress that Ben Simmons is making in his rehab from a right foot fracture suffered in training camp, but president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo reiterated Monday they’re not putting a timetable on his expected return.” (Full report.)
Per the Dallas News: “Dirk Nowitzki is scheduled to go through his first full practice in nearly a month Thursday in Los Angeles. He went down the day after Thanksgiving in Cleveland when he aggravated his right Achilles tendon. Since then, it’s been a slow, arduous recovery process.” (Full report.)
Per the Associated Press: “A new labor deal in the NBA is on the verge of being finalized, after owners voted Wednesday to approve a proposed seven-year collective bargaining agreement that was tentatively agreed to last week.” (Full report.)
Per the Associated Press: “The NBA will open an academy in Africa next year, its latest move to unearth talent from outside the United States and extend the league’s reach into new territories.” (Full report.)
Former D-League guard Anthony Beane (Southern Illinois) has agreed to a contract with Lukoil Academic of Bulgaria, per Amico Hoops.
Per Yahoo Sports: “The National Basketball Association’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a special provision that grandfathers Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook into the windfall of super-max contract extensions available to several star players this summer, league sources told The Vertical.” (Full report.)
Per Yahoo Sports: “In the aftermath of Kevin Durant’s free-agent departure to Golden State, the NBA is trying to financially motivate players to remain with existing teams. With the new Designed Player Veteran Exception, stars meeting a set of predetermined standards can be paid as much as 35 percent of a team’s salary cap. Those standards include inclusion on one of the three All-NBA teams, or winning the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year awards.” (Full report.)
Per Yahoo Sports: “The National Basketball Players Association informed player agents that the salary cap is projected to rise to $120 million in 2020, which would be a jump from $94.1 million in 2016 and its projection of $103 million in 2017, sources told The Vertical.” (Full report.)
The Wizards and Pelicans have contacted the Nuggets about the availability of shooting guard Will Barton, per ESPN.
The Rockets are exploring the trade market for big men following the injury to center Clint Capela, per Yahoo Sports.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent successful knee surgery Tuesday, per the Los Angeles Times. Griffin is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Per Basketball Insiders: “Kings forward Rudy Gay continues to be the name most NBA insiders feel will be moved. Gay is battling some injuries, but it’s believed he’ll be moved before the trade deadline.” (Full report.)
Per Basketball Insiders: “Speaking of the Kings, there is a growing rift brewing between Arron Afflalo and the coaching staff. He is also growing unhappy with his role in Sacramento, and there is a belief he has joined a few other Kings players in asking for a trade. Afflalo became trade eligible on December 15, so it’s a situation to watch.” (Full report.)
Per Basketball Insiders: “There are a couple of teams to watch on the Nerlens Noel front, the biggest being the Toronto Raptors. It is unlikely that the Raptors mess with their team chemistry in moving a core player, but if the 76ers want some of the Raptors’ young players or non-core parts, Toronto would have interest in Noel, according to sources close to the situation.” (Full report.)
Per Philadelphia Magazine: “The Sixers find themselves in a very difficult situation, with no clear-cut way to resolve the festering problem in a way that’s positive for the team. How did they get here, and who’s at fault? There’s plenty of that to go around.” (Full column.)
Per Basketball Insiders: “The prevailing belief outside of Miami is at the deadline, the HEAT will explore Goran Dragic’s trade value in an effort to remove his salary from their books for a run through free agency this summer when Chris Bosh’s deal is expected to be off the books as well.” (Full report.)
Ex-NBA forward James Singleton has agreed to a contract with the SK Knights of South Korea, per Amico Hoops.
Former Michigan State power forward Erazem Lorbek is nearing a deal with French club Limoges, per Amico Hoops.
Former Miami (Fla.) big man Anthony King has agreed to a contract with the Rhein Stars of Germany, per Amico Hoops.