On the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast, host Michael Scotto is joined by Yossi Gozlan, HoopsHype’s salary cap expert. Gozlan and Scotto previewed the offseason for each Eastern Conference lottery team. The duo shared intel on the free agencies of Jarrett Allen, Kyle Lowry, Doug McDermott, TJ McConnell, and others. The pair also discussed coaching candidates for the Orlando Magic to keep an eye on, extension candidates this summer, and more.
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1:00 Indiana Pacers offseason: Nate Bjorkgren fired, Aaron Holiday’s availability, free agencies of Doug McDermott and TJ McConnell, and extension possibilities for Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and TJ Warren
Scotto on the firing of Nate Bjorkgren: To me, it seemed like the writing was on the wall when Pacers President Kevin Pritchard didn’t give him a vote of confidence one way or the other at his season-ending press conference.
Scotto: Previously, around the trade deadline, I reported on HoopsHype that Indiana was open to moving Aaron Holiday for a first-round pick around the deadline. He’s one player among several that, whether it’s executives you talk to or other league sources, believe that he will be available on the market.
Gozlan on McDermott and McConnell’s value in free agency: I think McDermott should get around the full mid-level exception and up, and McConnell I see getting something close to the full mid-level.
Gozlan on extension possibilities for Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and TJ Warren: The only one for sure I don’t see signing an extension would be TJ Warren just because his extension would have him making around $17 million annually, and based on how well he played last season in the bubble, I think he’s worth more than that… Brogdon’s (extension) would get him at three years averaging about $29 million per year. I think that’s a bit high for Brogdon… Turner’s (extension) would be for three years and averaging about $22-23 million a year. I could see him maybe taking it. That’s a good amount of money, especially for a big man.
9:05 Charlotte Hornets offseason: Adding a center in free agency, assistant coaching staff, and Malik Monk’s free agency
Scotto: In talking with executives around the league and agents that are repping free agents going into the market, everyone is expecting the Hornets to go after a big man or two. They’ve got their free-agent centers on the market in Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo. Among the guys that have been linked is Richaun Holmes, Sacramento Kings free-agent center.
Gozlan on Holmes’ fit in Charlotte: Charlotte’s got the biggest need (at center). As we mentioned in a recent podcast, the Kings are going to have some difficulty in trying to retain Holmes. There are a lot of ways they can try and get around that to give him a fair offer. Charlotte jumps out to me as a team that could be the most aggressive for him.
Scotto: They’ve been keeping some continuity with Charlotte picking up James Borrego’s option. HoopsHype has learned several assistant coaches also will have their team options picked up after they did a great job working with Devonte Graham last year, and LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier this year.
Scotto: It’s also worth noting that one of the guys on Charlotte’s staff as an assistant coach, Jay Hernandez, who also wrote a G League Bubble Diary for HoopsHype, quietly was a finalist for the Hofstra University men’s basketball head coaching position that ultimately went to Speedy Claxton, league sources told HoopsHype.
Gozlan on Malik Monk’s free agency: With Charlotte’s cap space there are a few things I think will happen. I think they’ll hold onto the Martin twins and McDaniels on their non-guarantees. They’ll try to re-sign Graham. He’s got a small cap hold and with that held, they can get up to $23.5 million in cap space. In regards to Malik Monk, he’s not in the picture with that cap space projection. He’s got a large $16 million cap hold, which would basically take away their cap space. If they want to bring him back and they want to get the best of both worlds and use cap space, what they’ll want to do is re-sign Monk early on in free agency and make that the first move once free agents can be signed. Let’s say you get him for half that cap hold. If you have a $16 million (cap hold) interfering with cap space, and you re-sign him to an $8-10 million contract, then you’re getting an additional $6-8 million added to your cap space.
16:35 Chicago Bulls offseason: Lauri Markkanen and Daniel Theis free agencies, and Zach LaVine’s future
Scotto: From what I’m told, Daniel Theis is looking for the right balance of an opportunity to play, be on a winning team, and have some respect shown through money. The expected value I’ve heard for him from talking with people around the league is he could command interest from teams above the mid-level exception in free agency. This is a guy that’s been a starter, has playoff experience, can shoot the three if he has to, and a leader in the locker room. He does all the intangibles for a team to win. We saw it in Boston when they were doing well.
Gozlan on Markkanen: For now, he’s tentatively maybe a sign-and-trade asset for the Bulls because they’ll be trying to do some things to build around Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine.
Scotto: The guy people are going to be monitoring in Chicago is Zach LaVine. He’s eligible for an extension, but it’s not for that much. He can get more on the open market or re-signing with Chicago after the season. That (extension) probably isn’t going to happen. The x-factor there is going to be how does he pair with Nikola Vucevic? Do they fit, and does Chicago take that next step to become a playoff team? Because, at a certain point, LaVine wants to win.
25:45 Toronto Raptors offseason: The futures of Kyle Lowry, Rodney Hood, Chris Boucher, and Aron Baynes
Scotto: From my perspective, I think Baynes’ non-guaranteed salary with Toronto is the least likely of the three out of Hood, Boucher, and Baynes. I think Boucher is a lock (to have his salary guaranteed).
Gozlan: I’ll take it a step further. I think Boucher is the only one who, out of those three, still be on the roster mainly because the Raptors are looking to have cap space this summer… They can get to about $23 million. That’s with Boucher staying. I’m guessing he’d be the only non-guaranteed player out of the seven (non-guaranteed players) total that gets guaranteed. That also includes Gary Trent’s cap hold so they can re-sign him after using their cap space.
Scotto: Kyle Lowry’s future is going to be the biggest topic. With what happened with Victor Oladipo in Miami, it didn’t pan out after the trade. He got hurt. It’ll be interesting to see if Jimmy Butler is banging on the drum to improve that roster. Kyle was heavily linked there. We had reported previously on HoopsHype on those talks and some of the names that were dangled at the time such as Kendrick Nunn. It’ll be interesting to see if they make a run at Lowry this summer. I don’t see Mike Conley or Chris Paul going anywhere.
Gozlan: Miami could sign Lowry outright with cap space. They’d have to decline Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala (both team options) to have cap space. They have tiny cap holds on Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn. They can re-sign those guys after.
Scotto: If you’re a shooter like Duncan Robinson is, and you’re looking at the money Joe Harris and Davis Bertans got, you’ve got to be salivating as you get ready to enter the free-agent market.
33:35 Cleveland Cavaliers offseason: Free agency for Jarrett Allen and Isaiah Hartenstein, Collin Sexton’s extension eligibility, and the chances of trading Kevin Love and Taurean Prince
Scotto: Some executives around the league believe the Charlotte Hornets could make a play for him (Jarrett Allen) as they need a center and have cap space, even though he’s a restricted free agent. Some have floated out Dallas. Ultimately, I see him staying in Cleveland because they can match anything and gave up a pick to get this guy. They believe in him as the long-term future starting center and a member of their core going forward.
Scotto: Another guy who doesn’t get talked about as much in Cleveland, but quietly had a nice year for them after being acquired is Allen’s backup, Isaiah Hartenstein. He played about 18 minutes and got eight points and six boards with a couple of assists and a block. I’m told he plans to opt out of his player option since his qualifying offer is going to be a little over $2 million and it’ll be worth more than the minimum salary he’d have with his player option. Then, he’d become a restricted free agent. Ideally, they’d like to negotiate something long-term with Cleveland. If not, take the qualifying offer and then become an unrestricted free agent next year. Ultimately, expect him back in Cleveland.
Gozlan: One of the bigger mistakes I think they made was trading for Andre Drummond. It didn’t look like they gave up much. On the surface, it didn’t feel like they gave up anything, but looking back at it, they lost a big opportunity cost. They were going to have $20 million in cap space in the 2020 offseason. By trading for Drummond, they were over the cap. Now, Allen’s about to get a new contract. Collin Sexton is extension eligible and then you’ve got Darius Garland’s coming up next. They’re not going to have cap space this offseason and once all these guys get paid, they’re never going to have an opportunity to have cap space, maybe within the next five or six years. You brought up Kevin Love and Taurean Prince. One thing I think the Cavs should consider is talking to OKC. Maybe they do give up a future pick to get off Love and Prince. If they can get off those salaries, this can be their only window to have cap space. If they can get off Love and Prince, they can get close to $50 million in cap space, and that’s before signing Allen.
42:45 Orlando Magic offseason: Coaching candidates, James Ennis’ free agency, and the young core
Scotto: Some names to watch for the Orlando Magic head coaching position that I’ve heard are Ime Udoka and Kenny Atkinson – a guy who’s proven he can lead a rebuilding effort as he did with the Nets and change the culture. Another name I’ve heard is Darvin Ham, the Milwaukee Bucks assistant. If that team loses to the Nets, there are a lot of people around the league who think that can be the end for Mike Budenholzer and some members of his staff. Darvin came with him from Atlanta. Another guy is Dan Craig, who got some coaching interviews last year, and is expected to get more this year.
Scotto: James Ennis, HoopsHype has learned, is looking for a three-year deal if he can but is open to a two-year deal. He wants to get some stability. He’s bounced around a little bit. Ideally, he’s looking for near the non-taxpayer to the taxpayer exception in that range coming off a year where he shot 43 percent from three.
Gozlan: They got a trade exception for Evan Fournier. The Magic probably won’t have cap space this summer, but they do have a $17 million trade exception for Fournier and a $4 million trade exception for Al Farouq-Aminu. They can still facilitate some salary dumps while over the cap and get some extra draft incentives or young players too while being plenty of room below the luxury tax to take on these bad salaries.
52:20 Detroit Pistons offseason: Dennis Smith’s qualifying offer, Cory Joseph, Wayne Ellington, and Hamidou Diallo
Scotto: Dennis Smith has a $7.7 million qualifying offer. Many around the league don’t see that being extended, which would make him an unrestricted free agent.
Scotto: I think Cory Joseph ($12.6 million non-guaranteed salary) has a chance to be back. He played well with them when he came over there.
Scotto: Wayne Ellington is a guy that’s going to be a coveted shooter on the market. I think he’s going to have no shortage of suitors. He’s an older veteran who’s a good locker room guy with a good three-point shot.