The New York Knicks have decided to emphasize developing their younger players in what has quickly become a lost season, and that could mean parting ways with veteran center Enes Kanter.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Knicks and Sacramento Kings are discussing a potential trade involving Kanter and Zach Randolph, both of whom are playing on expiring contracts. The Kings are looking to shed more expiring deals than just Randolph’s, so they may try to involve a third team.
New York and Sacramento discussing an Enes Kanter-Zach Randolph trade of expiring contracts, but nothing close yet, league sources tell ESPN. Kings would want to send out more expirings in a deal. A third team could be helpful.
Randolph is still having a productive season even at age 37, as he is averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in his first year with Sacramento. He’s making just under $12 million this season. Kanter, who is in his second season with the Knicks, is on the books for more than $18 million.
Of course, there are issues with Kanter in New York beyond just his salary. Despite averaging 14.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per game (numbers that are at or near his career-best), Kanter recently lost his starting job and did not seem happy about it. The Knicks are 10-31 and heading for a lottery pick in next year’s draft, so they essentially have no use for someone like Kanter. A trade would make sense if they are able to find a suitor.
The NBA trade deadline has passed, but we are far from the end of the player movement. It has become normal that a robust buyout market emerges after the deadline, as players who weren’t moved — or were moved to match salaries — are set free to sign with contenders for the minimum. These buyout players are valuable weapons for cap-limited teams in need of more depth.
Who will end up on the buyout market this year? Here are ten potential candidates of varying likelihood.
1) Derrick Rose, Jazz
Derrick Rose was sent to Utah as part of a three-way trade the Cavs made on deadline day. Reports have said he is likely to seek a buyout and receive one from the Jazz. If that happens, the Minnesota Timberwolves have been mentioned as a potential landing spot. He has great familiarity with his former coach Tom Thibodeau and ex-teammate Jimmy Butler, and is said to have interest in a reunion.
Sure, it’s fun to observe how superstar talent adjusts to a new habitat — Chris Paul finding his wings in Houston, Jimmy Butler howling at the moon in Minnesota, and Kyrie Irving projecting Force ghosts in Boston. But often times, the more rewarding exercise is pinpointing the summer acquisitions who have given their new teams the best bang for their buck in spite of little fanfare and infrequent appearances on World Wide Wob’s Twitter feed. Here are 10 players who have best exemplified that latter category so far this year.
*Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com*
Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana Pacers
If you love somebody, set them free from Russell Westbrook. That’s exactly what Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti did this offseason in dealing Oladipo to the Indiana Pacers as part of the Paul George trade, and the fifth-year guard has been on a killing spree ever since. Oladipo’s 24-5-4 averages this season are close to Miami Heat-era Dwyane Wade-type production out of the 2 spot. His 42.5 percent shooting from deep is a wonder of the modern world. Oladipo has become Indiana’s starter, finisher, and Messiah all wrapped up in one. An All-Star nod this February is probably a realistic expectation, which is saying something considering how much Indiana was questioned when they made the trade.
Enes Kanter, C, New York Knicks
While we’re on the topic of Oklahoma City refugees, here is another one who is having himself a nice little season. In between becoming The Empire State’s most beloved enforcer, Kanter is producing career-highs in rebounds (10.1) and assists per game (1.7) while also bumping up his shooting efficiency to a DeAndre Jordan-esque 60.2 percent. His defense isn’t just Shaqtin’ A Fool fodder anymore either, as Kanter is finally in positive territory in defensive box score plus-minus for the first time in seven NBA seasons. A fitting blue-collar bopper alongside the unicorn superstardom of Kristaps Porzingis in the Knicks frontcourt, Kanter is the sidekick that America needs right now.
Green knows Randolph’s playstyle as well as anybody, having done one-on-one battle with him for many years in the Western Conference playoffs when Randolph was still with the Memphis Grizzlies. That coupled with Green’s well-established affinity for smack talk made for one heck of a troll job here.
Zach Randolph opened up recently about just how embarrassing his offseason marijuana arrest was, and how much it affected his preparation for the season.
The Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin wrote a feature on Randolph, who is in his first season with the Kings. Though his team is 2-8, Randolph is doing well and leads the Kings with 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. That’s all the more impressive when you consider his offseason felony marijuana arrest impacted his conditioning.
“It’s embarrassing,” Randolph told Voisin regarding his arrest. “But I tell the young guys, ‘Things happen in life. You grow from adversity.’ For me, just taking care of everything, dealing with all that stuff, really threw me off. I’ve got the type of body that’s top heavy, like Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins). But even though you’re built differently than slim guys like Skal or Willie (Cauley-Stein), that’s no excuse. You’ve got to be in shape.”
Randolph says he came into the season out of shape and is making an effort to lose weight. Voisin says he even hired a personal chef for that reason.
Even at 36, Randolph is still getting it done. He got his marijuana charge reduced to a misdemeanor, and it can be dismissed if he completes a program and community service.
Zach Randolph has avoided jail time after striking a plea deal in his marijuana case.
Z-Bo was arrested on felony marijuana possession charges with intent to distribute in August after he was busted with two pounds of weed. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanor possession and resisting arrest.
Now TMZ says Randolph was able to arrange a plea deal in which the marijuana charges were dropped and Randolph pleaded no contest to resisting arrest. The Sacramento Kings forward avoided jail time but will have to serve 150 hours of community service and avoid trouble for 12 months to get the arrest removed from his record.
“As we have said from the beginning, the reports regarding Zach Randolph were false and misleading,” Randolph’s agent said in a statement. “After being accused of marijuana possession, all charges have been dropped. He was never arrested with any marijuana in or on his possession. He has been cited for delaying a police officer. It’s defamatory for someone to say anything to the contrary.”
Randolph is entering his first season with the Kings after eight seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Zach Randolph appeared in court on Thursday stemming from his drug arrest earlier this month, and the NBA veteran had his charges reduced to misdemeanors.
Randolph was arrested on Aug. 9 following an incident where a mob of people at a housing project assaulted police officers and damaged their cruisers. When the melee was broken up, Randolph was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, which is a felony. On Thursday, the 36-year-old had the charges reduced to misdemeanor possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, according to TMZ.
Randolph signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Sacramento Kings this offseason. He averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game with the Memphis Grizzlies last season. This is not the first time the big man has been in trouble with the law, as he was suspended two games in 2009 following an arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement stipulates that a player will be “dismissed and disqualified” from the league “if he is convicted of (including a plea of guilty, no contest, or nolo contendere to) … a felony involving the distribution of marijuana.”
The 36-year-old Randolph, who has played in the league for 16 seasons, was arrested earlier this week in Los Angeles for felony marijuana possession with intent to sell (full details here). The circumstances are slightly different than they were in Mayo’s case, but if the two-time All-Star is ultimately convicted and banned, it will be worth wondering if he has already seen an NBA court for the last time in his career.
Sacramento Kings power forward Zach Randolph was arrested in Los Angeles late Wednesday night and charged with felony drug possession with the intent to sell.
CBS2 reports that police confronted a large group of people gathering at the Nickerson Garden Housing Project at roughly 10:00 p.m. and things rapidly got out of control.
After responding, a mob formed and the officers quickly found themselves under assault. Up to five police cruisers were damaged, while officers were forced to dodge objects being thrown at them, prompting a call for backup.
When the smoke cleared, Randolph and another man, Stanley Walton, were taken into custody. Walton was arrested on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Additionally, police recovered two guns, impounded two vehicles and seized narcotics.
Randolph was booked into Los Angeles County Jail just prior to 4:30 a.m. and held on $20,000 bail.
Raymond Brothers, who serves as Randolph’s attorney and agent, told ESPN the charges are false and misleading. He added that they’re currently looking into options to resolve the matter.
Randolph, who signed a two-year $24 million deal with the Kings this offseason, has a long history of legal issues and was suspended two games by the NBA in 2009 following an arrest for suspicion of drunken driving.
According to online records, Randolph is due in court on August 31.
Hill spent last season with the Utah Jazz. The team acquired Ricky Rubio in a trade upon learning it was unlikely for them to re-sign Hill. He is a career 45.3 percent shooter and has averaged nearly 12 points per game, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game — though those numbers have been higher in recent seasons as he’s started and played more minutes.
Randolph is turning 36 but is still a productive frontcourt player. He averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season for the Grizzlies. He had been with Memphis since 2009.