NBA PLAYER NEWS
Utah's Rudy Gobert focused on offensive improvement this offseason
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is focused on improving his post and mid-range games during the offseason.
In addition to being more efficient in those areas, Gobert has been improving his lower body strength and quickness. This all comes after Gordon Hayward's departure in free agency, which will force the Jazz to replace his offensive production one way or another.
In 2016-17, 14.4% of Gobert's shot attempts came from 3-to-10 feet while he made just 27.8% of those shots. Still, his 17.8 nERD ranked second in the NBA and first among centers, so will be interesting to see if Gobert's improvements can make him even better next season.
Bulls, Dwyane Wade expected to reach buyout
The Chicago Bulls and guard Dwyane Wade are expected to reach a buyout agreement in the next few months.
Coach Fred Hoiberg previously said that he doesn't expect Wade to be bought out during the summer, but that doesn't prevent the two sides from reaching an agreement early on this season. It would make sense given the Bulls' move toward a rebuild.
In 2016-17, Wade's -0.7 nERD ranked 8th on the team despite averaging 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for Chicago.
Cavaliers targeting Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis
The Cleveland Cavaliers have made New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis a "primary target", according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
As Cleveland looks to unload a disgruntled Kyrie Irving, the Knicks have emerged as a possible destination. However, it appears that the Cavaliers are more interested in bringing on Porzingis than they are Carmelo Anthony. After all, the 22-year-old is set to make just $4.5 million compared to Anthony's $26.2 salary for 2017-18.
With averages of 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, Porzingis' 0.3 nERD ranked third on the Knicks and was much better than Anthony's mark of -0.7. On the other hand, it is far worse than Irving's 8.2 nERD this past season.
Pistons willing to go into tax for Avery Bradley
The Detroit Pistons are willing to go into the luxury tax to retain guard Avery Bradley, per head coach Stan Van Gundy.
As Detroit's coach and President of Basketball Operations, you have to think that Van Gundy is entirely in tune with what ownership is looking to do moving forward. Assuming that's the case, the Pistons would likely offer Bradley a max deal in free agency next season. Such a deal would presumably put the Pistons over the projected tax line ($123 million) if they were to retain all their current assets.
In 2016-17, Bradley averaged a career-high 16.3 points per game on 46.3% shooting and 39% from deep. His -1.4 nERD represented the third-best season of his career but ranked 133rd of all NBA guards a year ago.
Pistons' Andre Drummond has lost 20 pounds this offseason
Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond has lost 20 pounds since the end of the 2016-17 season, according to The Vertical's Michael Lee.
Just a week ago, Drummond acknowledged that he did not live up to the expectations of his new contract extension. However, it looks like the big man's doing all he can do better himself this offseason. He's undergone surgery to repair a sinus issue that has prevented him from playing for longer periods of time and keeping weight off. Now that the problem has been rectified, Drummond says that he's in better shape and will look to improve his range in 2017-18.
Drummond's 29.7 minutes per game were the lowest since his rookie year. In addition, he shot just 38.6% from the free throw line and 2-of-7 from three in 2016-17. Nonetheless, his 3.5 nERD was second-best on the team and 29th among all centers.
Pistons' Boban Marjanovic to see more run in 2017-18
Detroit Pistons center Boban Marjanovic is expected to see expanded minutes in the 2017-18 season, according to head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Van Gundy said that he envisions Marjanovic and Jon Leuer as a "two-headed monster" behind starting center Andre Drummond. While Leuer is expected to play most of his minutes from the four spot, Marjanovic will stay in the lineup for longer periods of time, as Van Gundy vows to leave him compete against smaller lineups.
With Aron Baynes gone, Marjanovic should exceed 293 minutes and the 8.4 per game he averaged a year ago. In that limited time, the 7'3" Serbian put together a 2.4 nERD, which ranked 40th of 119 center-eligible players in numberFire's database.
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