And-Ones: Oladipo, Jordan, Bryant

October 25 at 10:30pm CDT By Cray Allred

There are a number of young up-and-coming small forwards in the league. John Zitzler of Basketball Insiders profiles the ones he thinks will have breakout seasons in 2014/15. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Victor Oladipo underwent surgery to repair a facial fracture and is expected to be out for a month, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Magic guard said that the surgery went well and vowed to come back strong in a pair of tweets.
  • $100K of Jerome Jordan‘s minimum salary was locked in today, as he remained on the roster beyond the partial guarantee date, as noted on the updated Nets salary sheet maintained by Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
  • The Nets used their trade exception of $788,872 to receive Casper Ware‘s $816,482 contract in the trade that sent Marquis Teague to the Sixers, tweets Pincus. The incoming salary is allowed to exceed the exception within $100K. The Nets created a new exception equivalent to Teague’s salary, as we noted last night.
  • If Kobe Bryant has indeed scared away potential free agents, then Lakers management is to blame for the state of the franchise, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com writes. One league executive tells Berger, “They’re [the Lakers] the ones that gave him a $48MM extension knowing that nobody wanted to play with him. And they were also the ones that gave away multiple first-round picks for an over-the-hill Steve Nash. Not to mention firing every coach that Magic [Johnson] decided he didn’t like.”
  • The WarriorsKlay Thompson has two outspoken allies in his quest for a contract extension, writes Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group. Thompson’s father Mychal, a former NBA player, has insisted that his son is worth a maximum-salary extension. The senior Thompson’s opinion was echoed earlier this week by former Warriors coach and current ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson. “It’s good to hear from guys like that because they both played in the NBA, and both were successful in the NBA and [have] been around the game for so many decades,” Klay Thompson said. “So if they think I’m that quality type of player, it makes me think highly of myself as well.”

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Sixers To Sign Malcolm Thomas

October 25 at 9:25pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Sixers have agreed to a deal with free agent Malcolm Thomas, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. While many signees this late in the preseason have been quickly waived as means of teams securing D-League rights to players that won’t make the regular season NBA roster, Wojnarowski writes that Thomas is assured of a spot on Philadelphia’s opening-night roster.

The terms of the deal are unclear at this time, but I would speculate that it is likely for the minimum and possibly non-guaranteed. Thomas spent time last year with both the Spurs and Jazz, appearing in a total of eight games and slightly upping his 5.9 MPG average for his three-year career. His non-guaranteed deal was shipped to the Cavs, then the Celtics, this summer before Boston waived it.

The move will bump the Sixers’ roster count up to 18, three more than the maximum they can keep for the regular season. The team waived three partially guaranteed contracts earlier today, and have at least seven deals without guaranteed money, not including Thomas’ contract.

Central Rumors: Thompson, Love, Pistons

October 25 at 9:04pm CDT By Cray Allred

Fearing a potential fine from the league, Bulls coach Tim Thibodeau decided to withhold his opinion when asked by Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com about proposed changes to the NBA’s draft lottery system. “The thing that I don’t like about it is it just seems like…I think it’s bad when…I guess it’s fine,” Thibodeau said, before adding, “I’ll try to save my money.” NBA owners voted down a proposal last week that would have shaken up the lottery, giving the league’s worst teams a smaller chance at the highest picks. Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • There has been “zero discussion” on a contract extension for the CavaliersTristan Thompson, a source tells Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group. Thompson, who like teammate LeBron James is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, would become a restricted free agent next summer if no deal is reached by Friday. Haynes says Thompson is invaluable to the team’s ongoing championship makeup, an opinion shared by teammate Kyrie Irving. “He’s very important to us,” Irving said. “That motor he has, it’s something that never stops. He’s always on the boards. We’re going to need that. He’s a big part of our team.”
  • It was a desire to win that brought Kevin Love to Cleveland, the star forward writes in a piece for The Players’ Tribune (H/T Dan Labbe of the Plain Dealer). In the first-person essay, Love explains why he agreed to the summer trade that brought him to the Cavaliers from the Timberwolves. “I’ve never played in a playoff game,” Love writes. “I came to Cleveland because I want to win. I’ll grab a broom and sweep the floors if it gets me an NBA title.” Love also thanked Timberwolves fans and referenced the “crazy summer” of overall No. 1 draft choice Andrew Wiggins, who went to Minnesota in the blockbuster trade.
  • Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy told David Mayo of MLive.com that he will make his final roster decisions this weekend, well before Monday’s deadline. Mayo cites Aaron Gray, Tony Mitchell, and Luigi Datome as possibile cuts, all of whom are on guaranteed contracts. Unless Detroit can send out a player in a trade, it will have to take the hit on one of its 16 guaranteed deals to get under the roster limit before the season starts.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Rivers, Powell, Beverley

October 25 at 8:06pm CDT By Cray Allred

In a preseason survey, NBA general managers ranked the Mavericks‘ luring of restricted free agent Chandler Parsons as the second most surprising personnel move of the summer, notes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The survey also tabbed the deal that brought Tyson Chandler back to the Mavericks as the most underrated move. Here’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn’t a fan of tanking, but he could envision a scenario where his team would use that strategy, he revealed in an interview on KESN-FM 103.3 (transcription via The Dallas Morning News). Cuban said too many teams commonly tank to make it effective. “Now, if nobody was doing it, then I would probably do it,” Cuban said. “But when six, seven or eight teams are doing it, I think it’s a horrible strategy.”
  • Nakia Hogan of The Times-Picayune tweets that Pelicans guard Austin Rivers “has a chip on his shoulder” in light of the team’s refusal to pick up his fourth-year option. Hogan also tweets that coach Monty Williams still has high regard for Rivers, whom the coach called the most scrutinized 10th pick in history.
  • Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, who will be a restricted free agent next summer, is becoming an increasingly important part of the team, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The third-year point guard has given coach Kevin McHale the toughness and tenacity he wanted to add in Houston, and Beverley’s improvement allowed the Rockets to deal Jeremy Lin to the Lakers in a cap-clearing move this summer. “The contract year is big for everyone,” Beverley said. “The biggest thing for me is to continue doing what I’ve been doing: playing defense, being aggressive, and leading this team. Then I’ll let the dominoes fall wherever they fall.”
  • Josh Powell was gracious upon receiving the news that he had been cut by the Rockets, but his close friend Dwight Howard could barely talk, reports Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. “He was speechless,” Powell said of Howard’s reaction. “He didn’t really have too much to say, to be honest.” Powell signed with Houston in April as a free agent after not playing in the NBA the past two seasons. The six-year veteran appeared in just one preseason game for the Rockets.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Rockets Waive Clark, Richmond

October 25 at 7:24pm CDT By Cray Allred

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that the Rockets have waived Earl Clark and Akeem Richmond, shortly after claiming and signing each, respectively, to their preseason roster.

The moves aren’t surprising, as the team is looking to reduce the size of its roster, which includes 15 guaranteed contracts and starting point guard Patrick Beverley on a non-guaranteed pact. Clark’s contract was non-guaranteed and won’t hit the Rockets cap sheet. It is unknown if Richmond’s deal contained any guarantees, although I would speculate that it would have been a partially guaranteed contract at best.

Clark has slipped considerably as an NBA commodity, in danger of falling out of the league after signing an $8.5MM deal just last year. Richmond wasn’t selected in the 2014 NBA Draft after declaring following his sophomore season at East Carolina. Houston will retain the D-League rights to both, provided they clear waivers. The maneuvers were most likely made with that end in mind, although that is also just speculation on my part.

Sixers Waive Lee, Gordon, Roberts Jr.

October 25 at 6:51pm CDT By Cray Allred

6:51pm: Philadelphia has officially waived all three players, the team announced via press release.

6:14pm: Although no team announcement has been made, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that the Sixers have waived Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, and Ronald Roberts Jr. All three were on low-risk, four-year contracts with Philadelphia.

The Sixers will be on the hook for partial guarantees of $35K, $40K, and $50K for Roberts Jr., Gordon and Lee, respectively. Coach Brett Brown has mentioned the D-League as a possibility for Roberts Jr., who broke off an overseas deal to join the Sixers in camp. The team is allowed to retain the D-League rights for up to four players cut before the season.

The cuts bring the Sixers roster down to 17, two above the maximum they can carry into the regular season. The team has plenty of flexibility as it approaches the deadline to trim the roster, with seven remaining contracts that aren’t guaranteed, as well as plenty of cap room to eat guaranteed salary if they choose to do so.

Heat Waive Khem Birch

October 25 at 6:39pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Heat have waived Khem Birch along with the trio of cuts made earlier this evening, according to a team release. Miami will be on the hook for $50K in partially guaranteed money from his contract, unless another team claims him.

Birch was in the running for one of the Heat’s 15 final roster spots, but ultimately wasn’t preserved for the 2014/15 season. If Birch clears waivers, the Heat will hold his D-League rights, and they are expected to invite him to join their D-League affiliate, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

The undrafted power forward was projected as a potential second-rounder out of UNLV, and he has impressed in stints with the Wizards summer league team and as a member of Miami’s preseason squad. Birch averaged 10.2 rebounds in his junior year, opting to declare for the draft rather than stay for his senior year.

Celtics To Waive Jarell Eddie

October 25 at 6:26pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Celtics are waiving Jarell Eddie, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Pincus indicates that the move has already taken place, though the team has yet to make an official announcement. The undrafted rookie was claimed off of waivers by Boston Thursday after the Hawks released him from their training camp roster.

His one-year contract was non-guaranteed, so Boston merely inherited his D-League rights and no actual costs by claiming and waiving the small forward. Of course, another team could still claim Eddie off waivers from the Celtics, which would remove those D-League rights from Boston. Eddie spent time with the Wizards summer league team, and he impressed Atlanta brass in his preseason tenure there.

Jeremy Tyler Signs To Play In China

October 25 at 6:19pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Center Jeremy Tyler has signed with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, his agents at Octagon Sports tell Enea Trapani of Sportando and confirm on their website. Adrian Wojnarowski reported a few days ago that Tyler had reached a deal to play in China and that he’d asked for the Lakers to release him from his non-guaranteed contract, a wish the team granted, but the identity of his Chinese team was unknown. It’s unclear how long Tyler’s contract runs or just how much he’ll earn, but with the short length of the Chinese season, he’ll likely have a chance to hook on with an NBA team for the stretch run of 2014/15.

Tyler spent the past month with the Lakers after the Kings let him go shortly following the trade that brought him to Sacramento from the Knicks. He played in 41 games for New York after signing December 31st, averaging 3.6 points in 9.7 minutes per night. The now 23-year-old has appeared in the NBA in each of the past three seasons after the then-Bobcats made him the 39th overall pick in 2011.

The Dragons signed center Daniel Orton earlier this month, but they also have fellow NBA veteran Von Wafer, and the league’s rules on international players prohibit the team from playing three Americans, as Trapani points out. So, that suggests a corresponding move is in order, though the Dragons’ plans are unclear.

Jazz Sign, Waive Tre’ Bussey

October 25 at 5:52pm CDT By Cray Allred

Although no team announcement was made regarding the signing of Tre’ Bussey, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that the rookie has been waived. Three Eye Sports reported that Bussey was signed yesterday (on Twitter).  It’s likely that Utah inked the Georgia Southern product with the sole intention of releasing him and securing his D-League rights.

In his senior year, Bussey averaged 16.2 PPG with a slash line of .457/.385/.662. The 22-year-old told Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com earlier this month that he is hoping to develop an NBA-caliber game at point guard in the D-League.