Recent NBA Player News

Wojnarowski: Hornets trade Dwight Howard to Nets for Timofey Mozgov and two second round picks

The Charlotte Hornets have traded center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for center Timofey Mozgov and two second round picks, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

What It Means:

Howard is entering the final year of his contract worth $23.8 million dollars, and with Mozgov's bloated contract, the Nets will end up saving $17 million in cap space for the summer fo 2019. This potentially gives them the ability to sign two max contracts next summer. For Howard it's another stop on his career-ending tour of the league, but he should get plenty of opportunity in Brooklyn if he stays there the whole year. However, the trade could stunt the growth of Jarrett Allen for the Nets. For the Hornets it should open up some more playing time for Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky at center.

Howard had another productive year for the Hornets in 2017-18. He averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.6 blocks over 30.4 minutes per game. He owned a 55.6 effective field goal percentage, and his nERD of 3.6 ranked him 51st in our rankings.

Cavaliers' LeBron James not fond of playing in Houston next season

Cleveland Cavaliers forward and potential free agent LeBron James reportedly does not want to play for the Houston Rockets next season.

What It Means:

According to ESPN's Steven A. Smith, James' pal Chris Paul has been telling people in Houston to not get their hopes up about James playing for the Rockets next season. CP3 expects the King to opt out of Cleveland and join the Los Angles Lakers next season with the possibility of building a superteam alongside Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

James dominated in his 15th NBA season, dropping 27.5 points along with a career-high 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game in 2017-18.

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.

What It Means:

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.

What It Means:

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.

What It Means:

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.

What It Means:

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.

What It Means:

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.

What It Means:

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.

Lakers' Lonzo Ball says he's 100 percent healthy

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (knee) said he is "100 percent and fully healthy."

What It Means:

Ball missed the final two weeks of the regular season after a PRP injection in his knee. He sat out about a month total, and says that he is fully healthy heading into the offseason. Ball put up some impressive numbers at times last season, but his efficiency and consistency will be two of the main things he needs to improve on in his second NBA season.

Ball averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks over 34.2 minutes per game in his rookie season. He posted a 44.0 effective field goal percentage, and his nERD of -3.6 ranked 6th-worst among all players last year.

Wojnarowski: Raptors promoting assistant Nick Nurse as new head coach

The Toronto Raptors are reportedly hiring assistant Nick Nurse as the franchise's new head coach according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

What It Means:

Nurse will be promoted to head coach after serving as an assistant under Dwane Casey. Nurse spent six seasons in the G League as a head coach, and before that he coached for 12 years in Europe, mostly in the British Basketball League. It's a somewhat surprising hire for the Raptors after they were the number one overall seed in the East, and swept by the Cavaliers in the second round.

The Raptors ranked second overall in numberFire's team power rankings with a 70.7 nERD in 2017-18. This was second only to the Golden State Warriors' nERD of 72.2.

Dwane Casey reportedly named Pistons' next head coach

The Detroit Pistons have agreed on a five-year deal with Dwane Casey to make him the team's next head coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

What It Means:

Casey, the NBA's reigning Coach of the Year, led the Toronto Raptors to a franchise-best 59-21 record this past season but was fired following a second-round sweep. His new deal will keep him in Detroit through the 2022-2023 campaign.

The Pistons finished 18th in numberFire's NBA Team Power Rankings last season. Toronto was 2nd.

Warriors repeat as NBA champs, Kevin Durant named Finals MVP

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 on Friday night to capture the NBA Finals 4-0.

What It Means:

In winning in a clean sweep, the Warriors took their second straight title and their third in four years. They outscored the Cavs by a margin of 60 points and 15 points per game. For his outstanding efforts, Kevin Durant was named Finals MVP with averages of 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

In being named MVP, Durant became the 6th player to receive the honor in back-to-back Finals. He joins esteemed company in LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Kings' Iman Shumpert will pick up his player option for the 2018-19 season

Sacramento Kings guard/forward Iman Shumpert will pick up his $11 million player option for the 2018-19 season, per Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports.

What It Means:

The move was a no-brainer for Shumpert as he played just 14 games in the 2017-18 season and none after being traded to Sacramento from the Cleveland Cavaliers in February. With the Kings rebuilding, Shumpert is not expected to see much action but will collect a nice paycheck next season.

Shumpert averaged 4.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 37.9% from the field in 2017-18.

Warriors list Andre Iguodala (leg) as probable for Game 4 on Friday

Golden State Warriors guard/forward Andre Iguodala (leg) is listed as probable for Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday.

What It Means:

Iguodala played in Game 3, his first action in over two weeks, staying on the court for nearly 22 minutes. He is expected come off the bench once again on Friday and see minutes in the low-to-mid 20s once again.

Our models project Iguodala for 19.8 FanDuel points in 25.7 minutes on Friday night.

Kevin Durant will re-sign with Warriors this summer

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant will re-sign with the team this summer.

What It Means:

Durant confirmed the news on Thursday in an interview with Rachel Nichols. He had the option to opt out of his contract after this season, but apparently he's already made the decision to forgo that clause.

Durant is coming off of a massive 43-point performance in Game 3. Our early projections for tomorrow night's Game 4 show him scoring 47.2 FanDuel points.

Source: ESPN

Pelicans, Alvin Gentry agree to two-year extension

The New Orleans Pelicans and head coach Alvin Gentry have agreed to a two-year extension, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

What It Means:

Gentry picked up his 2018-19 option prior to the playoffs, but this extension keeps him in New Orleans until 2020-21. Part of the extension will be performance-based, so Gentry will certainly be looking to build off of this year's success.

At 48-34, the Pelicans finished the season 10th in our power rankings. The franchise made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.

Kevin Durant leads Warriors to victory with 43 points in Game 3

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant erupted for a career playoff-high 43 points on 15-for-23 shooting, to go with 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal in a 110-102 Game 3 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

What It Means:

Durant has been on fire from the field over his last two games, and in the NBA Finals he owns a 63.6% effective field goal percentage. Durant and the Warriors will try to sweep the Cavs on Friday in Game 4 in Cleveland.

Our early models for Friday project Durant for 47.2 FanDuel points in Game 4.

LeBron James' triple-double not enough as Cavaliers lose Game 3

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James triple-doubled on Wednesday with 33 points (13-for-28 shooting), 11 assists, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a 110-102 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 3.

What It Means:

James did everything he could, but Kevin Durant's huge game was too much to overcome. Now down 3-0 and facing elimination in Game 4, James is likely to go scorched earth in Game 4 to try and extend this series back to Oakland for Game 5.

Our early models for Game 4 project James for 54.2 FanDuel points on Friday.

Andre Iguodala (leg) expected to play in Game 3 for Golden State

Golden State Warriors guard/forward Andre Iguodala (leg) is "likely" to lay in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, according to head coach Steve Kerr.

What It Means:

Iguodala is still technically a game-time decision, but it appears he will be making his 2018 NBA FInals debut on Wednesday. The veteran swingman is expected to come off the bench and see limited minutes in Game 3. Shaun Livingston will see less floor time with Iguaolda active.

Our models project Iguodala for 16.0 FanDuel points in 20.6 minutes in Game 3.

Rodney Hood expected to see more minutes in Game 3 for Cleveland

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Rodney Hood is expected to see more time on the floor in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, according to head coach Tyron Lue.

What It Means:

Hood has played just 7 minutes in the last 7 games, and only 4 in the NBA Finals. With the Cavs down 0-2, they are going to do all they can to keep the series alive on Wednesday and will "give Rodney a chance" to see what he can do, coach Lue told reporters. Extra minutes for Hood will likely come at the expense of J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver, as both have underwhelmed in the series so far.

Hood averaged 10.8 points and 1.2 three-pointers on 44.2% shooting from the floor with Cleveland during the regular season.

Warriors' Andre Iguodala (leg) a game-time decision for Game 3

Golden State Warriors guard/forward Andre Iguodala (leg) is a game-time decision for Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.

What It Means:

Coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala was likely to play on Wednesday but needed to make it through pre-game warmups without any issues. If the veteran returns to action, his first in over two weeks, expect him to come off the bench and face a minutes restriction. His presence will reduce the playing time for Shaun Livingston.

Our models project Iguodala for 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists for 16.0 FanDuel points in 20.6 minutes on Wednesday.

Warriors upgrade Andre Iguodala (leg) to questionable for Game 3 on Wednesday

Golden State Warriors guard/forward Andre Iguodala (leg) has been upgraded to questionable for Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.

What It Means:

Iguodala has been out of action since Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals with a leg contusion. If he plays, Shaun Livingston will see his minutes reduced while JaVale Mcgee may not stay in the starting lineup.

Our models project Iguodala for 19.8 FanDuel points in 25.7 minutes in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Warriors' Andre Iguodala (leg) returns to practice for the first time since the Western Conference Finals

Golden State Warriors guard/forward Andre Iguodala is participating in the full team practice on Tuesday.

What It Means:

Iguodala hasn't managed a full practice since injuring his knee in the last round, and this is a good sign that he is close to returning to game action as well. His next chance to play will be in Game 3 on Wednesday, and if he does return, look for JaVale McGee to return to the bench.

Accounting for his return, numberFire's models project Iguodala for 6.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists (good for 19.8 fantasy points) in 25.7 minutes of action on Wednesday.

Andre Iguodala (leg) is reportedly pain-free, could play in Game 3 for Warriors

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (leg) has been "pain-free" over the last few days and plans to return sometime during the NBA Finals.

What It Means:

Iguodala said after Game 2 that he is going to try to play in Game 3 Wednesday, but that may be more up to the team trainers than it is to Iguodala. The swingman has been out since Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, but he was able to get through a workout with some sprinting on Saturday prior to Game 2. If Iggy is able to make a return Wednesday, Kevon Looney and Nick Young would lose out on some playing time.

If Iguodala is able to play on Wednesday, our models project him for 19.8 FanDuel points across 25.7 minutes in Game 3.

Source: ESPN

Kevin Durant unloads 26 points as Warriors get Game 2 win

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant scored 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting, to go with 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks in a 122-103 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 Sunday.

What It Means:

The Warriors' big three combined for 79 points in a dominating Game 2 win. Durant had the same point total from Game 1, but he did it with 8 fewer shot attempts. He and the Dubs will have two days of before playing Game 3 in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Our early models for Wednesday project Durant for 47.2 FanDuel points in Game 3.

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