NBA PLAYER NEWS
Timberwolves' Jamal Crawford declines player option for 2018-19 season
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford declined his player option for the 2018-19 season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
The 38-year-old Crawford could have made $4.5M next season but has decided to pursue his options in free agency. The veteran could be looking to latch on to a title contender, even if he makes less money, as tries to end his career with a championship.
Crawford scored just 10.3 points per game on 41.5% shooting in 2017-18.
Rudy Gay opts out of his contract with San Antonio
San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay has declined his player option for the 2018-19 season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
With all the uncertainty in San Antonio with the trade demand by Kawhi Leonard, Gay may be looking for the chance to play for a contender, which the Spurs may not be sans Leonard. The 31-year-old is leaving $8.8M on the table and may need to take a lesser deal next season.
Gay was a mild disappointment as he averaged just 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 21.7 minutes per game with the Spurs last season.
Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) progressing to pool work in rehab
NBA Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) has progressed to training in a pool and running on a treadmill as part of his rehab from a ruptured Achilles.
Cousins ruptured his Achilles on January 26, so he is making great progress not yet six months removed from the injury. However, the injury came as Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so it will be interesting if he is still given long term deals from potential suitors. However, it does look like Cousins will return at some point in the 2018-19 season, but for which team remains a mystery.
Before his injury, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks over 36.2 minutes per game. His nERD of 2.3 ranked him 76th among all players in 2017-18.
Kawhi Leonard reportedly requests to be traded from San Antonio
Forward Kawhi Leonard does not want to remain a member of the San Antonio Spurs, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
Leonard missed almost the entirety of the 2017-2018 season with a quad injury, an issue that seemed to cause some tension between Leonard and the team. The Spurs were still expected to offer him a contract extension, but after his meeting with Gregg Popovich this week, a trade looks to be the most likely scenario.
Kawhi only played 210 minutes last year, bu in the 2016-17 season he averaged a career-high 25.5 points per game on a 54.1% effective field goal percentage while adding 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
Nuggets' Kenneth Faried could be heading to the Hawks
Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried is reportedly drawing interest from the Atlanta Hawks.
Denver has a lot of potential expenses coming up--including an extension of Nikola Jokic--and are looking to shed Faried's $13.76 million cap hit. Atlanta has plenty of cap space to work with, but they will want compensation in the form of picks or players if a deal is to happen.
The seven-year veteran averaged 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game in 2017-18.
Raptors not expected to trade Jonas Valanciunas
Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas is unlikely to be traded this offseason, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
Valanciunas has a strong relationship with new head coach Nick Nurse, making a trade unlikely. The two worked together last season to improve his outside game; Nurse and Valanciunas would launch 100 3-pointers after every practice. Jakob Poeltl is the only real threat to Valanciunas's starting job.
Valanciunas posted 12.7 points per game in 2017-18, with a career-high .590 Effective Field Goal Rate.
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