HoopsHype rumors


November 1, 2014 | 05:19 AM ET Update

Ricky Rubio has reached an agreement on a four-year, $55 million contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The contract includes $1 million in possible incentives, a source said. Rubio, 24, will make nearly $14 million a season for the Wolves, a package comparable to Eric Bledsoe’s five-year, $70 million extension with the Phoenix Suns. "I am really thrilled," Rubio wrote in an email to Yahoo Sports. "I couldn't be happier. They showed they believe in me and I'm up for the challenge. I want to lead this young team." Yahoo! Sports

The clock was ticking down toward the deadline for reaching agreement on an extension of his rookie contract, and just like he does on the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio took charge. "I was talking with my agents and I told them I really wanted to stay here," Rubio told The Associated Press in a phone interview late Friday night. "I told them to make something work. At the end of the day it did happen and I'm happy about it." Associated Press

Rubio averaged 10.1 points, 8.1 assists and 2.3 steals but shot just 37 percent in his first three seasons. The shooting numbers led some to say the Timberwolves would have been better off waiting to see how Rubio performs this season before extending him an offer given that they would have had the ability to match any offer that he received on the open market next summer. But owner Glen Taylor has long been big on loyalty, and he reached out directly to Rubio earlier this week to make one last push. "I want to call Minnesota home for a long time," Rubio said. "That's why I signed the contract. My mom's going to get mad at me, but I don't leave home when I'm here. This is my second home. I really feel very welcome here." Associated Press

Rubio’s deal essentially is the same first four years of the contract that Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe signed in September. His is a five-year, $70 million contract that pays him $55 million for the first four seasons. Bledsoe did receive five years from the Suns because he played out the process of becoming a restricted free agent that Rubio avoided. The Wolves remained adamant they would not pay a max salary at any length of contract throughout negotiations that started with them aiming to sign Rubio to contracts similar to what Golden State’s Curry and Denver’s Lawson signed in 2012. Lawson agreed to a $48 million extension, Curry to a $44 million deal. Rubio’s extension follows a series of other such extensions for guards across the league. Lowry signed a four-year, $48 million contract with Toronto last summer. In recent weeks, the Suns signed Bledsoe, Charlotte signed Kemba Walker for $48 million, Utah signed Alec Burks for $42 million and on Friday, Golden State paid Klay Thompson a maximum four-year, $70 million extension. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Royce Young: Jackson and the Thunder were never close on a deal. They're tabling the talks for next summer while letting the market decide his value. Twitter @royceyoung

“Bottom line,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports, “how much are they willing to pay for Westbrook’s backup?” The loss of Westbrook to a fractured hand on Thursday night – possibly for a month – will give Jackson a chance to showcase his skills in the near future, a platform that could make Jackson’s case for a free-agent deal. Some teams believe Jackson could command a deal in the $13 million-$14 million-plus annual range – especially because of a belief that investing more into an offer sheet could cripple the Thunder’s chances of matching it. Yahoo! Sports

Jimmy Butler’s agent told the Tribune before the Bulls game with the Cavaliers that Butler rejected a final offer and that stance didn’t change. Sources said the Bulls offered a multi-year deal averaging $11 million during lengthy, cordial conversations. Butler will be a restricted free agent next summer, meaning the Bulls can match any offer he receives. Unlike when Omer Asik entered restricted free agency, the Bulls own Butler’s full “Bird” rights so offers can’t be as back-loaded prohibitively as Asik’s poison pill deal with the Rockets. “This is where I want to be,” Butler said. “I love my teammates, the fan base, the organization, everybody. I think I still will end up in this city. Chicago Tribune

“Jimmy loves Chicago and hopefully is there long-term. But his future is in his hands, not the Bulls’,” said Happy Walters, Butler’s agent. “He’s ready to prove wrong the questions they have about his shooting.” General manager Gar Forman said the Bulls are confident they eventually will reach a deal because they control the process. “Jimmy knows how we feel about him,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s a pro. Everyone loves Jimmy.” Chicago Tribune

Thompson's agent, Rich Paul, and the Cavaliers failed to reach and agreement on a rookie-scale extension by the Oct. 31 deadline. On Wednesday, owner Dan Gilbert said the plan was to lock Thompson up long-term and he was hopeful a deal could be struck this week. Northeast Ohio Media Group was told that each side valued Thompson differently, which will result in the 22-year-old forward becoming a restricted free agent on July 1. It is believed that Paul always preferred to go the route of restricted free agency, understanding there will be more money to be had for his client in the summer. His contract situation is the least of his worries. "I'm just focused on helping my team win," Thompson said to NEOMG. "If I can do that, we'll be fine." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris is on track to become a restricted free agent in July after Harris and the Magic did not reach a contract extension agreement before the 11:59 p.m. Friday deadline, according to an industry source familiar with the situation. Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, teams have until the end of Oct. 31 to reach a contract extension with former first-round picks who have completed three seasons and have had their third- and fourth-year team options exercised. Harris has said he wants to remain with the Magic long term, and Magic GM Rob Hennigan has said he envisions Harris remaining with the team long term. Orlando Sentinel

Only six of the 14 players taken int the lottery beat the deadline and got richer. That means the draft was so-so at best and disappointing at worst. But complicating matters is the smell of big money down the road. Thanks to the new TV deal and the looming labor negotiations in a few years, some players are willing to place bets on themselves and hold out for a few extra dollars. It’s also known as the Kawhi Leonard route. The MVP of the 2014 Finals and 15th overall pick had hoped for a max deal, didn’t get one from the Spurs, and will try the market next summer during restricted free agency. But he was the big exception, and so, we survey the scene for the first-round winners and losers. Winners: Klay Thompson (drafted No. 11): Got four years and $70 million from the Warriors to make a big, umm, splash. NBA.com

Earlier this week Alex Kennedy revealed that after a year away from the game, Tyrus Thomas is trying to work his way back into the league. Thomas, the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, was amnestied by the Charlotte Bobcats after the 2012-13 season. Following that season, Thomas was forced to undergo surgery to have a cyst removed from his back and also dealt with issues away from the court that made him think his career was done. But, he’s healthy now and training twice a day at a minimum in San Antonio, Texas, waiting for a phone call from an NBA team that needs him. Basketball Insiders was able to film a Thomas workout and talk to him more in-depth about why he feels ready to make his comeback now in this two-part video feature. Basketball Insiders

Who could forget the former NBA commissioner citing "basketball reasons" for vetoing the trade that was supposed to send Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom to New Orleans in December 2011? The Lakers appeared to have acquired their most dynamic point guard since Magic Johnson, but then small-market owners raised a racket, Cleveland's Dan Gilbert in particular calling the trade a "travesty" in a lengthy letter to the league. David Stern said no. The deal was off. "Sometimes you want to say, 'Dammit, David Stern,'" Lakers Coach Byron Scott said before Friday's game. "When they made the trade, before David kind of X'd it, I was like, 'Wow, that's going to be fantastic.'" Los Angeles Times

Chandler is so high on Aminu that he compares him favorably to former Chicago Bulls superstar Scottie Pippen. “The first day I saw him I told him he should go back and watch Scottie Pippen, watch the tapes on him because that athletic, long built of being able to really hound guys with long arms and strength, I feel like he has that,” Chandler said. “And he has the motor to stay after it as well.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Derrick Rose, who injured his left ankle in the second quarter after a stellar start to his night, eventually was pulled in the third when he felt as if the injury limited him. “Right now, I’m feeling good,’’ Rose said after the loss dropped the Bulls to 1-1. “My ankle is throbbing a little bit, but [I’m] just playing basketball. “Go to Minnesota, try and give it a go [Saturday]. If not, we still have [79 games]. I guess it’s part of the process. I guess the gods are testing me. It’s fine. I’ll get through it.’’ Rose said X-rays were negative. Chicago Sun-Times

As you can imagine, the last thing anyone wants to see is Rose getting hurt again. Late in the second quarter of the Bulls’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Rose landed funny, rolled his ankle, and pulled up hobbling. You could actually hear everyone saying “Nooooooooo.” For The Win

After turning the ball over 19 times against the Knicks led to 26 points for New York -- turnovers Blatt called "irresponsible" and "borderline inexcusable" -- the Cavs cut that number to just 12 against Chicago. Blatt also told the team he wanted more ball movement, as well as player movement, on offense going forward. "Fiery and to the point," one source told ESPN.com when asked to characterize the meeting. "[Blatt] was very direct with the group about the expectations and what we need to do day in and day out." ESPN.com

"Today in our meeting, we said we have to play better than the way we played last night," Anderson Varejao said. "We have to play harder, tougher, and that's what we did tonight." Blatt said his team "kind of dropped off the map" after its initial emotional surge against the Knicks. He demanded a more sustained effort from the group. "There are some things that have nothing to do with X's and O's," Blatt said. "That's a good part of what we were talking about, and there were other things that were very, very basketball related and we addressed those as well. I don't know exactly the numbers, but I'm sure we were 70 or 80 percent in 50/50 balls tonight." ESPN.com

When Blatt entered the locker room, Irving handed him the game ball and the rest of team along with the coaching staff circled around him shaking his hand, messing up his hair, congratulating him on his first NBA win. Blatt has won over 600 games during his professional coaching career and now he can add the supreme level to his coaching resume. "We're all just happy for him," Shawn Marion told Northeast Ohio Media Group. "We wish we could have done it for him the other night, but you can tell he was very happy so it's all good." Cleveland Plain Dealer

One area the Celtics don't have questions about is on the sideline. Brad Stevens impressed NBA-types with his calm demeanor -- think the anti-Rick Pitino -- and solid play calling last season. Entering his second year, the former Butler coach said he feels far more comfortable than he did a year ago. “Offensively, defensively, I was playing different than I ever had before,” Stevens told SI.com. “The first time you do that, you usually are not coaching the Celtics. The biggest adjustment for me was the schedule. You can implement things at a slower rate in college. You have to implement things quickly and own them here. That’s the way we are approaching it this year. We are trying to implement it and then fix the things that need to be fixed.” Sports Illustrated

Adam Silver: (...) Sports betting, if done in an appropriate regulatory environment, is not necessarily an evil. (...) Like alcohol, or other substances, there's the potential for abuse, but I don't necessarily think that means that for the 95% of the population that can do it in a controlled, enjoyable way and be entertained by it, that it necessarily should therefore be excluded for everyone." YouTube

Adam Silver: "I do think that sports betting on a widespread legalized basis in the United States is inevitable in part because States like New Jersey are pushing hard to generate additional revenue in the same way that lotteries have expanded to virtually every State now. I think sports betting will follow behind. My view is that if that is inevitable, and it's gonna happening, then we need to participate in the regulatory framework that will be designed around our game. I mean, ultimately we have the responsability for the integrity of the game, to ensure the competition is pure, to ensure that no one in the NBA family -a team, a referee- is in any way influenced by gamblers. We of course do all these things now, but frankly because the industry is not transparent, we can't do as good a job I believe as we could if it were all highly regulated. I mean for example, right now, there's a huge offshore online business in sports betting." YouTube

Adam Silver: “I’ve learned the hard way, not necessarily to trust my gut and look at the data. I think that’s where analytics came in. When we were kids guys took the entire summer off and training camp was the chance to lose a few pounds that you gained over the summer, and truly get back in shape. I don’t think anyone would suggest today that the fact that guys did virtually nothing during the summer was better health wise. Finding that right balance, even if players don’t participate with their national teams during the summer or aren’t actively playing, they’re working out hard. Sometimes what I’ve heard from some trainers is the repetitiveness of some of the things they’re doing on their own instead of playing games isn’t necessarily good for their tendons or muscle. We need more science here, that’s something the league is taking more seriously." Basketball Insiders

Adam Silver: “I realize you can’t just take the existing 82 game schedule, regular season plus playoffs then just plop another tournament down on top of it. I think you’d have to take a serious look at the All-Star break if it were a midseason tournament, the game itself, events around All-Star, but conceivably what a midseason tournament could look like is some number of teams, you could either begin with all the teams and have a single-elimination tournament, it’s another area where through floating the idea, I’ve gotten some really interesting suggestions. It may be an opportunity to bring in international clubs, there’s been talk about the NBA sponsoring a world championship, of course there’s a world cup now which the United States participates in, but for the NBA, club championships are very different. We, I and others at the league office have studied the champions league for European soccer. They have other types of cups and midseason tournaments. Basketball Insiders


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