Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (July 5) -- Latest NBA Summer League and free agency news staff reports

Latest NBA headlines and free-agency news:

Single dad fuels Dennis Smith’s rise to Mavericks’ top pick — Dennis Smith’s road to the NBA was paved by a single father dedicated to his two children and whatever it would take to ensure they had opportunities for success in life. In a Draft where fathers and sons became a daily conversation (see LaVar and Lonzo Ball), the story of Dennis Smith, Sr. and his son should not be overlooked. Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News has more:

The cry pierced the black silence inside apartment 229G, waking Dennis Smith Sr.

How could it not? The Smith family’s second-floor confines at Tera Gardens, a Section 8 complex, measured 1,000 square feet. Dennis Sr. was the sole parent, a reality that Dennis Jr. and sister De’Aira couldn’t yet comprehend.

“I want my momma!” came the cry from Dennis Jr.’s bedroom.

Yes, being a single parent was difficult, Dennis Sr., now 47, recalls, but that still-vivid episode was one of the few times he felt helpless.

“Junior didn’t know where she was at,” he says “I didn’t know where she was at, so I didn’t know how to give her to him.”

Dennis Sr. is sitting in the living room of his spacious rental home in north Fayetteville, in North Carolina’s Sandhills. His neighborhood, framed by majestic pine trees, is a mere 2.2 miles yet a world away from Tera Gardens.

On Dennis Sr.’s wall-mounted TV is a paused image from Dennis Jr.’s introduction-to-Dallas news conference as the Mavericks’ No. 9 overall draft pick.

And sitting on a sofa a few feet away is Dennis Jr. in the flesh — Junior, as he’s known here — placidly listening to this brief discussion about his mother, Helena.

“I didn’t grow up with any mom,” Junior says, politely. When asked what happened to her, he says, “That’s a story for another day.”

At present, what matters to Mavericks fans is 19-year-old Junior’s mesmerizing basketball skill and freakish athleticism.

The Mavericks barely concealed their glee upon drafting him, immediately anointing the 6-3, 190-pounder as their present and future point guard and potential franchise torch recipient from Dirk Nowitzki.

Despite suffering a torn ACL that cost him his senior season at Trinity Christian School, Junior earned ACC Freshman of Year honors during his only season at North Carolina State, along the way becoming a YouTube sensation with his knifing drives, 48-inch vertical leap and tomahawk slams.

By way of personal introduction, however, there is something Junior wants Mavericks fans to know. Already, they might have noticed that he sometimes refers to himself in third person. And when he does, he always includes the “Jr.”

There is a reason he does so, a profoundly personal one, and it’s why he will insist that “Jr.” be included with his name on the back of his No. 1 Mavericks jersey.

“It’s just appreciating who I am,” he says. “I know that everything that has happened to this point happened because of my dad, who raised us by himself.

“Him being Dennis Smith Sr., he did this. He basically put me in this position to have the life that I have now. I’ve got to appreciate being Dennis Smith Jr. It means a lot.”

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Report: Celtics shopping players to make room for Hayward — In an effort to create room salary-cap wise for Gordon Hayward, Boston is reportedly eyeing trades involving Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, according to ESPN. Hayward announced on Tuesday via The Players’ Tribune he was joining the Celtics, who are wasting no time searching for trade partners to clear space. At least six teams have been contacted less than 24 hours after Hayward’s decision to join the Celtics on a reported four-year, $128 million contract.

Update 9:30 p.m: The Celtics and Jazz have discussed a possible a sign-and-trade deal for Hayward, as reported by Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The move could be beneficial for both teams as Utah could get a player in return — possibly Jae Crowder — after the departure of Hayward, while Boston could create needed cap room. Hayward would indeed have to agree to briefly inking a contract with the Jazz to facilitate a sign-and-trade with Boston.

The process of clearing contracts and salary-cap space started Tuesday, when Boston renounced Kelly Olynyk. But even if the team renounced the rights to Jonas Jerebko, James Young and Gerald Green, waived Jordan Mickey, left 2016 first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele in Europe this season and traded Demetrius Jackson‘s partially guaranteed contract and Terry Rozier, Boston would have $29,444,533 to sign Hayward, which is still about $300,000 short of his max.

Crowder — who finds himself in a logjam at small forward with the Hayward signing, Jayson Tatum draft pick and 2016 lottery pick Jaylen Brown — would appear to represent the most logical move. He is owed $6,796,117 this year, $7,305,825 next year and $7,813,533 in 2019-20.

Bradley is in the last year of his contract, at $8,808,898, and is extension eligible. Smart is in the final year of his rookie contract, at $4,538,020, and also is eligible for an extension.

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Report: Roberson agrees to 3-year deal with OKC — Defensive-minded shooting guard Andre Roberson has agreed to a three-year deal to stay in Oklahoma City, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski‏.

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Report: Warriors agree to deal with Young — The Golden State Warriors have reportedly added another sharp-shooter to their championship roster. Veteran guard Nick Young will reportedly sign a one-year deal with Golden State, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

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Report: Heat agree to deal with Waiters — Dion Waiters played some of the best basketball of his young career as a member of the Miami Heat last season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, he will be back for more in ’17-18 and beyond after reportedly agreeing to a four-year deal with the Heat:

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Report: Pacers waive Ellis — Veteran guard Monta Ellis will hit the open market after reportedly being waived by the Pacers, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical:

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Report: Clippers, Grizzlies talk Allen — The LA Clippers are reportedly looking to bolster their backcourt after trading Chris Paul to Houston. As our own David Aldridge reports, LA has its eyes on the Grizzlies’ Tony Allen:

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Hayward signing saves offseason for Celtics — Jimmy Butler was gone. Paul George, too. The only remaining option for the Boston Celtics to make the superstar splash they’d planned for this offseason was Gordon Hayward, the only free agent of the bunch. And Danny Ainge saved the Celtics’ offseason by successfully recruiting Hayward to join Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and the crew as they challenge Cleveland for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Brian Robb of the Boston Globe explains:

For the first few days of free agency, not a lot went right for the Boston Celtics. To start, rumored trade target Paul George was dealt away to the Oklahoma City Thunder for an underwhelming return, a package the Celtics could have easily topped. Top-tier free agents (Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka) quickly agreed to contracts with other suitors. Even second-tier free agents (Danilo Gallinari) found homes quickly while the Celtics patiently put all of their eggs in the Gordon Hayward basket, waiting on his decision. On Tuesday, the patience paid off as Hayward announced on the Players Tribune that he would be teaming up with Brad Stevens in Boston after agreeing to a four-year deal.

Danny Ainge and his staff planned masterfully for this moment over the past couple years. Ainge and company combined young talent and overlooked veterans to create a formidable squad in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics improved in the standings at a rate that most people would never have expected given the talent level on paper. The front office found the parts that fit for Brad Stevens and also did so while maintaining an emphasis on future flexibility and salary cap space. Assets would not be cashed in early and long-term salaries would not be taken on for the sake of a few regular season wins. Landing a name like Hayward in free agency was always going to be the goal, particularly after the Celtics landed another top free agent target in Al Horford in 2016.

Chasing free agents in the NBA, especially big stars, generally, is a low odds play. The NBA sets up a lot of incentives for players to stay with their original teams, whether it be more money or more years those teams can offer in a contract. The Celtics were able to overcome those obstacles by creating a winning culture where All-Stars are eager to come aboard. The challenge of building with youth and attracting talent is a tricky combo, but one that Ainge has balanced well over the last two summers.

While the Celtics waited on the sidelines as bystanders for the start of free agency, it’s fair to say now that other moves made by Western Conference teams only strengthened their pitch to Hayward. The Rockets (Chris Paul), Thunder (Paul George) and Nuggets (Paul Millsap) all added top-30 players to a dominant collection of playoff teams out West. Even if Hayward returned to the Jazz, there was no guarantee that Utah would be getting out of the first round in the West anytime soon, making the road to even challenge the Golden State Warriors a daunting one.

In the East with the Celtics, Hayward faces a far more appealing path. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the heavy favorites, but there are plenty of rumblings that LeBron James could be on the move in another year. Outside of Cleveland, there’s not a lot for a player to worry about. A Thomas/Hayward/Horford core will have to battle with the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors for positioning at the top of the East, but neither of those teams have the future assets and lottery talent in the wings that Boston can rely upon to continually improve in the next few years.

Ultimately, the Celtics were going to be stuck in no man’s land if Hayward passed on them this summer. 2017 was the team’s last chance at having serious salary cap room for the foreseeable future. Next year, the payroll math starts to get complicated. Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart will all be looking for new contracts. Paying them all market value wouldn’t be a wise move for a team trying to build a contending core. Tough decisions are coming now, but they get a lot easier now with a star like Hayward in place.

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Heat’s Bosh saga, Big 3 era, officially ends — It’s finally over, the Miami Heat’s Big 3 era and Chris Bosh’s health saga. The Heat waived Bosh Tuesday, ending his time with the franchise and finally severing ties with the last member of the historic trio — that also included Dwyane Wade and LeBron James — that changed the face of the NBA and South Florida sports forever. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel provides some context:

The Miami Heat’s Big Three era formally has come to a close, with the team requesting waivers Tuesday on forward Chris Bosh and Heat President Pat Riley announcing that Bosh’s No. 1 eventually will be retired.

The move is procedural, with the Heat having already reached an agreement with the NBA and the players’ union that Bosh’s salary-cap hit would not return to the team’s payroll going forward. The agreement allows Bosh to sign with any team at any time if he is not claimed during the league’s waiver period.

The timing of the move allows the Heat to spend the created cap space at Thursday’s noon start of the free-agency signing period.

Bosh has not played since the 2016 NBA All-Star break due to a recurrence of blood clots.

“Chris changed his life and basketball career when he came to Miami,” Riley said in a statement. “And he changed our lives for the better, in a way we never would have imagined, when he joined the Miami Heat. We will forever be indebted to C.B. for how he changed this team and led us to four trips to the NBA Finals and two NBA championships. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise.

“The number ‘1’ will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters. Today, we are both moving on but we wish Chris, Adrienne and their family nothing but the best. They will forever be part of the Miami Heat family.”

The request for waivers clears Bosh’s $25.3 million 2017-18 and $26.8 million 2018-19 salaries from the Heat’s salary cap. Bosh will receive the full payoff of that amount, through a combination of payments from Heat and contract insurance.

The salaries are the final two years of the NBA-maximum contract Bosh signed with the Heat in the 2014 offseason, shortly after forward LeBron James departed in free agency for a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last summer, guard Dwyane Wade, the third component of the Big Three lineup that helped push the Heat to four consecutive NBA Finals and championships in 2012 and ’13, signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bulls. The lone remaining Heat player from those Big Three rosters is power forward Udonis Haslem, who currently is a free agent.

In addition to Bosh’s No. 1, the Heat are expected to retire Wade’s Heat No. 3 and James’ Heat No. 6, with neither of those numbers issued since their departures.

Bosh and James joined Wade with the Heat in the 2010 offseason, with Bosh leaving the Toronto Raptors and James the Cavaliers.

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Nets make play for Porter, force Wizards to respond — The max offer restricted free agent Otto Porter was looking for came from the Brooklyn Nets, whose $106 million offer puts the Washington Wizards on the clock. After saying all along that they would exercise their right to match any offer to Porter, the Wizards can now take their time responding, as Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post details:

The Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night offered a four-year, $106 million contract to restricted free agent Otto Porter Jr., the maximum they could give the Washington Wizards forward, following a meeting between the two sides the day before.

Because the NBA is still in its moratorium to begin free agency, the offer won’t become official until noon Thursday, when deals are first allowed to be signed. And the Wizards would then have until 11:59 p.m. Saturday to match the offer and retain Porter’s services. If Washington chooses to match the offer — something several sources reiterated Tuesday that the Wizards have every intention of doing — the Wizards would keep Porter and he would not go to Brooklyn.

The Sacramento Kings had also offered Porter a maximum contract after meeting with him Sunday. But after the Kings agreed to a pair of big-money contracts with a pair of veterans early Tuesday — first a three-year, $57 million deal with point guard George Hill and then a two-year, $24 million deal with big man Zach Randolph — combined with a prior three-year, $27 million agreement with Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose rights they acquired in a trade last year with the Phoenix Suns, they no longer had the cap space to offer Porter a maximum deal.

When those moves happened, the expectation was that Porter had told Sacramento he wasn’t going to sign there — meaning that he had another maximum offer in hand from a more desirable team. And, as expected, it turned out the Nets were that team, with their offer coming after their own meeting with Porter.

Now the ball is in Washington’s court. And, barring a reversal from what several sources have maintained for months, Porter will return to the Wizards as the team’s highest-paid player next season.

In fact, not only do the Wizards plan on keeping Porter, there is a possibility that they will keep the money from Porter’s offer sheet on Brooklyn’s books for as long as possible. In addition to the two days the Wizards will have to match Porter’s offer initially, there also is a two-day window in which Porter will need to report to the team and have a physical, and another two-day window after that for the team to announce he has passed the physical.

So, in theory, the Wizards could wait to officially announce Porter has passed his physical and re-signed until 11:59 p.m. on July 12 — tying up Brooklyn’s cap space for a full 6 1/2 days.

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Clippers rebuild with Gallinari? — The Los Angeles Clippers are undergoing a mini-tear down and rebuild that centers on Blake Griffin retiring to his role as the centerpiece of the franchise now that Chris Paul has bolted for Houston. The next phase of that rebuild includes adding Danilo Gallinari to an interesting frontcourt trio that includes Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. It’s not Lob City, but its a start, as Bill Oram of the Orange County Register highlights here:

When Chris Paul bolted for Houston, the general sentiment around the NBA was he slammed the franchise’s championship window on his way out.

But then the Clippers coaxed Blake Griffin to stay on a maximum contract, and on Monday night, the Clippers were close to another free agency win, finalizing a three-team sign-and-trade deal that would net Denver’s leading scorer last season, forward Danilo Gallinari.

According to reports, the Clippers were prepared to send out Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone and a future first-round pick to absorb Gallinari in a three-team sign-and-trade with Atlanta and Denver. As part of the deal, Denver would land All-Star Paul Millsap, who agreed to a three-year, $90 million deal with the Nuggets on Thursday.

One source Monday evening described the deal as “close and almost final.”

The Clippers made Gallinari, who averaged 18.2 points in 63 games last season, their top priority after retaining Griffin. They also courted free agent wings Rudy Gay and Joe Ingles, among others.

Gallinari, 28, gives the Clippers the small forward they’ve long coveted, and helps balance a new-look lineup that now includes defensive-minded point guard Patrick Beverley. The deal meant saying goodbye to Crawford, who in five years with the Clippers averaged 15.3 points and twice was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The deal required trading out salary because the Clippers would have otherwise only had an $8.4 million mid-level exception to spend.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Emotions are all over the place in Utah, where the post-Gordon Hayward era is fueling responses from far and wide … Folks in Memphis are finding it difficult to say goodbye to Zach Randolph, the greatest of all Grizzlies … Patrick Patterson is joining the revival in Oklahoma City … The Clippers have interest in Derrick Rose, who could replace Chris Paul at point guard … Foot surgery has Minnesota rookie center Justin Patton out indefinitely