In addition to signing Bryce Cotton to another 10-day deal, the Jazz announced the signing of forward Jerrelle Benimon to a 10-day pact. Utah won’t have to release anyone as he’ll be taking over the roster spot previously occupied by Jack Cooley, according to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (on Twitter).
As the press release notes, Benimon is now the 32nd different player to be called up from the D-League this season. With the former Idaho Stampede standout in the fold, the Jazz are at the maximum 15-man roster.
The Towson product appeared in 35 games (29 starts) for the Stampede this season, averaging 19.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 1.0 SPG in 34.9 minutes per contest while shooting 62.4% from the floor.
The Jazz announced that they have signed guard Bryce Cotton to a second 10-day contract. Cotton signed his first 10-day with the Jazz on Feb. 24 and has appeared in one game.
Cotton, who had three points, two boards and one assist in seven minutes against the Nuggets on February 27th, was picked up after he impressed as a member of the D-League’s Austin Spurs. In Austin, Cotton averaged 22.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.3 SPG in 40.5 minutes per contest. His scoring average placed him third in the D-League this season.
Cotton reportedly turned down several offers to play in Europe that came his way earlier this season in hopes of landing an NBA deal, and he eventually found that opportunity with Utah. The 6’1″ guard signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Spurs in July and although he was waived in October, he did walk away with $50K for his time. Cotton first displayed his skills for Utah when he worked out for the Jazz prior to the 2014 draft.
The Bucks plan to sign guard/forward Chris Johnson to a 10-day deal, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Johnson, currently with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League, is on his way to Milwaukee.
Johnson, 24, was waived by the Celtics in September and claimed off waivers soon after by the Sixers. After some time in the D-League, Johnson returned to the NBA when he got a 10-day deal from the Jazz. In total, Johnson has seen time in eleven games this season, averaging 6.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 20.5 minutes per contest.
For his career, Johnson has averaged 5.9 PPG and 2.3 PPG across parts of three seasons with the Grizzlies, Celtics, Sixers, and Jazz. Johnson is not to be confused with the three-year NBA veteran center by the same name who recently signed to play in Turkey.
As the Hoops Rumors roster counts show, the Bucks have only 14 players under contract so they will not have to release anyone to make way for Johnson. Johnson is averaging 20.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists for Rio Grande Valley.
Brian Shaw would “absolutely” be “very interested” in coaching the Magic if that job were to become available, a person close to the former Nuggets coach told Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Shaw, 49 in a few weeks, spent three seasons (1994/95-1996/97) with the Magic during his playing career.
Of course, it’s no guarantee that the Magic will be looking at Shaw or any other coaching candidate. Recently, GM Rob Hennigan said that interim head coach James Borrego could be considered a candidate to be hired on a permanent basis, Schmitz writes. The Magic are 4-6 under Borrego, who previously served as Jacque Vaughn‘s top assistant.
Magic CEO Alex Martins, meanwhile, told the Sentinel scribe that the team would not begin any search until after the season. However, he indicated that the Magic have received substantial interest in the position.
Shaw was in his second year of a three-year deal with the Nuggets when he was fired earlier this week. Denver dropped 17 of its last 19 games under Shaw and even though GM Tim Connelly said in February that they had no plans of firing Shaw before season’s end, the organization apparently had a change of heart. Shaw finished his Nuggets tenure at a combined 56-85 between this season and last.
Soon-to-be free agent Wesley Matthews will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon in Thursday’s win against the Mavs, the Blazers announced (Twitter link). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the news. It’s a crushing blow not only to Portland’s title hopes but to the Jeff Austin client, who appeared poised for a lucrative contract in free agency this summer.
The 28-year-old was averaging 16.1 points in 34.0 minutes per game on 39.1% three-point shooting with a career-best 16.1 PER this season. The trade deadline acquisition of fellow shooting guard Arron Afflalo looms even larger for the Blazers in the wake of Matthews’ injury. It’s too late for Portland to apply for a disabled player exception, but the team does have an open roster spot, another product of that Afflalo trade.
Matthews hinted before the start of the season that he had no intention of leaving the Blazers when he hit the open market in July, and last month he made his preference to stay in Portland clear. The Knicks nonetheless apparently plan to give chase. The Cavs were reportedly a trade suitor for him this season, though it’s unlikely they end up with enough cap flexibility to make a competitive contract offer for him in the offseason.
Just what sort of money a healthy Matthews would have merited isn’t exactly clear, but he was probably set for a significant raise on his salary of more than $7.245MM this season, likely into eight-figure territory, though that’s just my speculation. The torn Achilles clearly hurts his value, though Matthews, a sixth-year veteran, has only missed 13 regular season games in his NBA career. He said tonight that he’ll try to heal within five months, according to Jabari Young of CSNNW.com (Twitter link), which would bring him back to the court in August. Matthews nonetheless acknowledged a more common timetable would encompass about eight months, Young also notes, putting him in line to miss the first few games of the regular season in 2015/16.
Nets CEO Brett Yormark told reporters, including John Brennan of The Record, that he does not “think anything’s gonna happen” and that “we have an ownership group that is very committed,” when asked about rumors of a sale of the team by Mikhail Prokhorov. Yormark also added to the pressures of the Nets, who dropped from the eighth seed to the 10th seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets, by saying he wants the team to “own” New York City.
“This market is very competitive,” Yormark said. “As much as I say we don’t compete against the Knicks or the Garden, we do. That’s the reality of it. I’m opportunistic, right? They’re struggling, and – it’s going to be cyclical. So I want to own this city. That’s critical for us. I think the way you own it is by winning and getting to the playoffs this year.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Andrea Bargnani, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and who missed all but two of New York’s first 51 games with leg injuries, has stepped up in scoring for the Knicks with Carmelo Anthony out for the season, Peter Botte of The New York Daily News writes. The veteran big man has averaged 17.8 PPG over his last five contests. Bargnani was a buyout candidate as the March 1st deadline for waived players to still be playoff eligible approached.
- Citing Kevin Garnett‘s sharp statistical decline, Andy Vasquez of The Record opines the Nets are a better team since they traded the future Hall of Famer for Thaddeus Young. In his first seven games as a member of the Nets, Young is averaging 12.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per night. Garnett has made four appearances for the Wolves, contributing 8.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 19.3 minutes per game since the swap.
- Marcus Smart, who was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February, is having a growing impact on the Celtics and as a result, Boston coach Brad Stevens’ confidence in the point guard has increased, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes.
Since being acquired in a February trade, Mo Williams has been thriving with the Hornets, who have won three straight and are currently clinging to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, writes Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. The Hornets are planning on playing both Williams and Kemba Walker together once Walker, who has been cleared to resume all basketball activities, returns to the lineup, Taylor adds. Williams, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, is averaging 21.6 points and 8.9 assists in 35.0 minutes per game, and, as Taylor notes, his leadership has been valued by Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Venezuelan club Marinos de Anzoategui tried to sign former NBA lottery pick Eddy Curry, but visa issues scuttled the deal, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (Twitter link). The 32-year-old big man last played in the NBA for the Mavs during the 2012/13 campaign.
- JaMychal Green‘s three year deal with the Grizzlies will pay him $134,295 for the remainder of this season, $845,059 in 2015/16, and $980,431 for the 2016/17 season, Eric Pincus of Basketball insiders notes (Twitter link). Green’s deal comes with a partial guarantee of $150K for next season, Pincus adds.
- Texas freshman center Myles Turner’s decision to play for embattled coach Rick Barnes has hurt the NBA prospect’s draft stock, writes Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM.
- University of Wisconsin sophomore forward Nigel Hayes might be headed to the NBA, writes Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. Woelfel has heard Hayes is viewed as a late first-round pick with upside. Hayes is not currently listed in the top 100 players by DraftExpress, and is the No. 80 prospect on Chad Ford of ESPN.com‘s (Insider subscription required) big board.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.
Despite the Grizzlies going on a 13-2 run after acquiring Jeff Green from the Celtics the forward has been a mild disappointment so far in Memphis, Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal (subscription required) writes. Herrington cites Green sinking multiple three-pointers in a game only once in February, and the starting lineup with Green in it being 12 points worse offensively, per 100 possessions, than when Tony Allen was the starter.
Here’s more from the Western conference:
- The Rockets are sending Nick Johnson down to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Johnson will likely rejoin the Rockets in Portland on Wednesday, he adds.
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr was coy when asked if Golden State had interest in signing free agent big man JaVale McGee, Tim Kawakami of The Bay Area News Group relays. Kerr did say that he didn’t want anything or anyone to disrupt the team’s excellent chemistry, Kawakami adds.
- Justin Hamilton, whom the Wolves claimed off of waivers from the Pelicans, has been on Minnesota’s radar for some time Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press tweets. The Wolves tried to work out a trade with Miami for the big man before he was dealt to New Orleans, Krawczynski adds.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed the focus for many franchises around the league will turn to tweaking rosters in preparation for the playoffs. For the less fortunate teams who will be sitting at home watching the playoffs on television like the rest of us, the remainder of the season will be spent evaluating players for the future. Despite not being able to swap players for the remainder of the season, teams will still be able to add free agents to their rosters. There are a handful of ways you can follow us to keep tabs on the latest news and rumors as these stories and transactions unfold.
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5:44pm: The moves are official, the team has announced.
4:41pm: The Timberwolves have claimed Justin Hamilton off of waivers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Pelicans waived the big man on Tuesday in order to ink Elliot Williams to a 10-day pact. Minnesota will waive Glenn Robinson III in order to clear the required roster spot, Stein tweets. The Pelicans are now off the hook for the remainder of Hamilton’s $816,482 salary for the 2014/15 campaign, with Minnesota now responsible for signing the seven-footer’s checks.
The 24-year-old out of LSU had been acquired by Minnesota as a part of the multi-team trade that sent Goran Dragic to Miami. Hamilton didn’t appear in a game for New Orleans prior to being waived. The big man did appear in 24 contests for the Heat this season, including five starts, and averaged 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game.
Minnesota will be responsible to pay the remainder of the rookie’s minimum salary deal if Robinson, 23, clears waivers. The 6’7″ swingman out of Michigan has appeared in 25 games this season for the Wolves, averaging 1.2 points in 4.3 minutes per contest.