Morning shootaround — Sept. 16

VIDEO: Recapping the 2015 FIBA EuroBasket quarterfinals


Jazz unlikely to add another guard | McHale: Lawson must earn starting gig | Report: Cole, Pelicans reach deal after standoff

No. 1: Jazz unlikely to add point guard for now  The Utah Jazz suffered a downer in the offseason when second-year point guard Dante Exum suffered a torn ACL and was essentially lost for the season. As the Jazz close in on training camp, there had been some talk that Utah may try to add another point guard to its mix — either via free agency or trade — to shore up a young backcourt. As Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune reports, though, the Jazz will wait to first see what Trey Burke, Raul Neto and Bryce Cotton can do before they make a move:

the Tribune has learned the Jazz fully plan to go into training camp and the preseason with Burke, Neto and Cotton as their floor leaders. If things don’t work out, the front office could take another course of action once the regular season begins in November. Or if someone makes a trade offer the Jazz would be fools to turn down, but that’s a remote possibility. For now, Utah’s content to go with its trio of playmakers and let them…

There are reasons for this. The Jazz love Neto’s passing ability. They also think he’ll be able to defend at a high level. They think he’s a crafty pick and roll player and is someone who may not be the typical rookie, because he’s already played against intense competition overseas.

In Burke’s case, he’s facing a personal back-to-the-wall kind of season for him. And if anyone has followed Trey Burke throughout his career, he kinda does pretty well with his back against the wall. He and Neto have been working out at the Jazz facility extensively over the past two months. The Jazz are happy with the work he’s put in over the summer and typically, NBA point guards tend to blossom in year three.

This is year three for Trey Burke.

Cotton played so well during the end of the regular season and in summer league, he’s earned a long look. The point guard out of Providence proved in large measure that he can play in the NBA.

Together, the three offer differing abilities. Burke is a scorer and a cerebral playmaker. He can make shots, and he can put points up in bunches. Neto is by far the best passer of the three, and probably the best defender as well. He’s the biggest of the three, but he’s the one that’s a spotty jump shooter, although Jazz insiders say he’s been shooting it better in individual workouts than his overseas percentages the last few seasons.

Cotton is the best raw athlete of the three, and is probably the best of the three when it comes to pace, although Neto isn’t bad at pushing the ball in the least.

But a lot of it comes down to fit with the remainder of the starting lineup. Specifically, who can spot up and make shots, letting Gordon Hayward/Alec Burks/Rodney Hood be playmakers, because those three are all outstanding playmakers for wings. Who can get the ball to Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert where they like it? And maybe most important, which one of the three can stop people?

VIDEO: Trey Burke’s best game from 2014-15



No. 2: McHale: Lawson not guaranteed starting spot — The Houston Rockets made a deal this summer to pickup point guard Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets and he is expected to give Houston a boost in the backcourt. But Lawson joins a backcourt that already has Patrick Beverley in the mix and, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Lawson will have to earn a starting gig with the Rockets:

Rockets coach Kevin McHale raved about the skills Ty Lawson will bring and how well those skills will fit. He would not, however, assume that Lawson will start over the incumbent at the point, Pat Beverley, or how the minutes will be distributed.

“They’ll determine that,” McHale said before a Rockets event on Tuesday to unveil three new alternate uniforms. “We’ll find out. Can we play them together? Maybe. We’ll put them out there. We had 28 days of camp. We’ll decide who will get the lion’s share of the minutes. One will and one will be a backup.”

When he spoke to the crowd later, McHale praised Lawson, but said he has to return to his level of play prior to last season.

“Ty last year had a very average year in Denver compared to what he had done before,” McHale said. “(Former Nuggets coach) George Karl runs a little bit more of an open offense like we run here, get up and down, attack. We want Ty to do what he does best, get in the paint, make plays for others, scoring.

“Since we had (Goran) Dragic, he’ll probably be our best guy at getting in the paint and then throwing out from the paint. He can make all the passes. And he’s got to get back to playing better defense. He’s got to be the head of the snake defensively. He can. I’ve seen him.

“If he just does what he does well, he’ll be a fit for us.


No. 3: Report: Cole, Pelicans at standstill — The New Orleans Pelicans have enjoyed continuity in big doses in the offseason as much of last year’s team will be back for 2015-16. Yet despite them having signed most of their free agents from last season’s team, point guard Norris Cole remains on the market and not quite back in the fold in New Orleans. John Reid of The Times-Picayune has more on why Cole and the Pelicans haven’t reached a deal:

UPDATE, 12:20 p.m. ET — Cole has reportedly signed a 1-year qualifying offer to stay in New Orleans:

It has been more than 11 weeks since the New Orleans Pelicans extended restricted free agent point guard Norris Cole a $3 million qualifying offer.

He remains unsigned, but the Pelicans have not given up in their push to bring him back.

But a source close to Cole said talks pretty much remain at a standstill with training camp only two weeks away from starting at The Greenbrier in West Virginia on Sept. 29.

Sticking to his policy, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps does not provide updates regarding ongoing negotiations. Other than Cole, Demps met his objective in bringing back all of their key players that led to a 45-37 finish last season and first playoff berth since 2011.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said they definitely want Cole back for this upcoming season, but he didn’t have an update on negotiations.

It’s all but apparent that Cole believes his value on the open market is worth more than the Pelicans’ $3 million qualifying offer. But at this point, a majority of teams have already used up most of their cap space.

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the teams with significant cap space that also expressed an interest in Cole earlier this summer. But knowing the Pelicans could match any offer Cole receives as a restricted free agent, the 76ers signed point guard Kendall Marshall to a four-year deal, which included $2.1 million guaranteed this upcoming season.

The Lakers also expressed interest in Cole earlier this summer, but they signed Brazilian point guard Marcello Huertas to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract six days ago.

It’s likely the Pelicans’ qualifying offer will be the most money Cole will be offered on the open market for this upcoming season. Another possibility is a sign-and-trade, but that appears unlikely at this point.


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Danilo Gallinari is having himself quite a EuroBasket 2015James Harden will soon no longer be allowed to wear anything Nike off the court … Former Hawks and Mavericks forward Ivan Johnson has signed with Gipuzkoa in Spain … Golden State has signed former Summer League standout Ian ClarkJan Vesley is trying to return to the NBA


  1. Harriethehawk says:

    The Utah Jazz are doomed.

  2. michael says:

    Gentry is a good coach but i would’ve rather gone after a more defensive-minded coach like a tom thibodeau scotty brooks or mark jackson. Ant davis is a one in a lifetime talent and you have to do your best to keep him happy. Alvin gentry? They could and should have done better.

  3. michael says:

    If Ty can get his personal life on track and if Beverly is willing to accept a back role with the team, Houston will have the best 1 2 3 guard combination in the league and possibly challenge the Warriors and Spurs for the west crown

  4. onlyavoice says:

    Gentry does NOT have the players to run D’Antoni’s system effectively,
    & it starts with a point guard.