2014 NBA Draft Rumors

Semaj Christon To Play In D-League

October 7 at 8:59am CST By Chuck Myron

Second-round draft pick Semaj Christon has agreed to play for the Thunder’s D-League affiliate this year, agent Doug Neustadt tells Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Thunder will retain the NBA rights to the point guard, whom they acquired via trade from the Hornets, after Charlotte originally picked him up from the Heat. News about this year’s No. 55 overall pick was scarce during the summer, and Oklahoma City left him off its training camp roster, indicating that Christon was destined either for the D-League or an overseas deal.

The 6’3″ Christon, who turns 22 next month, was more of a scoring guard than a traditional point man in college for Xavier, having put up 17.0 points in 35.3 minutes per game as a sophomore this past season while balancing 4.2 assists against 2.6 turnovers each night. He added proficiency from behind the arc to his game this year, nailing 38.8% of his three-point attempts.

The Thunder are taking advantage of a new D-League rule that allows them to retain the D-League rights to Christon, who would have been subject to the D-League draft in years past. That’ll prevent the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s D-League team, from having to trade to secure his rights, as they did last year with Thunder second-rounder Grant Jerrett. Two of the three players the Thunder acquired through this year’s NBA draft will play for their D-League team this year, as Christon will join No. 29 overall pick Josh Huestis.

And-Ones: Allen, Thabeet, Arroyo, Ingles

September 2 at 3:15pm CST By Chuck Myron

Only a half dozen second-round picks from this June are without deals to play in the NBA, overseas or the D-League, as our log of this year’s draft pick signings shows, and Friday looms as a key date for them. That’s the last day their NBA teams have to make a required one-year tender for the minimum salary without losing their rights to them. Such glorified training camp invitations might not be ideal for draftees who’d hoped to establish more solid footing in the NBA, but if any are at an impasse in negotiations, the deadline could be a tipping point. While we wait to see how that plays out, here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Ray Allen has fielded recruiting calls from LeBron James and others, as the sharpshooter tells Don Amore of The Hartford Courant, but Allen cites a desire to stay around his family as he continues to insist that there’s a strong chance he’s played his last game. “I don’t want to go into a situation where I don’t understand the coaching, don’t understand the direction of the team,” Allen said. “My family is very important in making the decision. Right now, there is nothing that I need to do. If I ultimately decide this will be it for me, I’m content with that.”
  • Hasheem Thabeet remains on the Sixers roster, so it appears they’ve guaranteed his salary for the coming season. Monday was the last day they could waive him without owing him his $1.25MM pay for 2014/15, as Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman confirmed. Philadelphia was reportedly likely to waive him in advance of that deadline.
  • NBA teams would have to buy Carlos Arroyo out of his deal with Galatasaray in Turkey to bring him stateside for this season, and while he’d consider returning to the Association, no one from the NBA has shown serious interest, as he tells HoopsHype’s David Alarcon.
  • The widespread NBA interest in Joe Ingles is surprising, observes David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). The Australian small forward was having a tough time generating interest from European teams before this week’s strong FIBA World Cup showing, according to Pick.

Jordan McRae To Play In Australia

August 29 at 8:48am CST By Chuck Myron

Sixers second-round draftee Jordan McRae has signed with CTI Melbourne United of Australia, the team announced (hat tip to Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). The terms aren’t immediately clear, but it looks like this year’s 58th overall pick is set to spend the season overseas rather than with Philadelphia, which acquired his NBA rights in a draft-night swap with the Spurs.

The 23-year-old shooting guard gradually emerged as a scoring force over his time at the University of Tennessee, averaging 18.7 points per game as a senior this past season, 10.1 more than he’d poured in as a sophomore. McRae led the Volunteers in scoring this year, outpacing 35th overall pick Jarnell Stokes, and he also possesses a 7’0.5″ wingspan, according to DraftExpress, to aid him defensively. McRae prides himself on his versatility and is confident he can play point guard, too, as he told Zach Links of Hoops Rumors prior to the draft for our Prospect Profile Series. McRae will have a chance to refine his skills in Australia, where he’ll play for former Bulls and Mavericks center Chris Anstey, the CTI Melbourne United head coach.

Philadelphia was among the teams to have McRae in for a predraft workout, as McRae also informed Zach. The patiently rebuilding Sixers will wait to bring him stateside, just as they’re doing with No. 12 overall pick Dario Saric and 52nd overall pick Vasilije Micic, two others among the six 2014 draftees whose rights the team possesses. McRae will join fellow second-round pick DeAndre Daniels, whose NBA rights belong to the Raptors, in Australia this season.

Sixers Sign Joel Embiid

August 28 at 8:48am CST By Chuck Myron

SEPTEMBER 29TH: The team finally acknowledged the signing, including Embiid on its preseason roster.

AUGUST 28TH: The Sixers still haven’t made an official announcement, but the appearance of the move on the RealGM transactions log provides further confirmation that the signing has taken place.

AUGUST 26TH: No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid has signed his rookie scale contract with the Sixers, according to his verified Twitter account. The team has yet to make an official announcement, but it appears as though the last remaining first-round pick from this June who had yet to sign with his NBA team or agree to play elsewhere has inked his deal. He’ll make nearly $3.69MM, as our table of salaries for this year’s first-rounders shows.

Embiid was a strong contender, if not the front-runner, to become the No. 1 overall pick until he suffered a broken foot shortly before the draft. The most recent estimate has him out anywhere from between November and February, though it appears as though he’s in line to see action at some point this season for Philadelphia. A back injury that forced him to miss the final six games of his college career at Kansas sparked concern for much of the spring, but ultimately that didn’t seem to depress his draft stock nearly as much as his foot did.

Whenever he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll look to build upon last season’s breakout campaign, one in which he came to join college teammate Andrew Wiggins, a far more heralded prospect coming out of high school, and Jabari Parker as contenders for the top pick. The 7’0″ center only began playing basketball in 2011, so his skills are raw, but with a game that shows shades of Hakeem Olajuwon, his upside is vast, as Zach Links of Hoops Rumors examined this past April in his Prospect Profile of Embiid.

He’ll join fellow Cameroonian native and mentor Luc Mbah a Moute on the Sixers, and Mbah a Moute’s close ties to Embiid appeared to be one of the reasons Philadelphia acquired the veteran forward as part of its participation in the Kevin Love trade. The 20-year-old Embiid won’t encounter much in the way of immediate expectations in Philadelphia, which is in a long-term rebuilding effort, and while Embiid is a centerpiece of that project, the Sixers appear willing to wait for his skills to more fully develop.

The Sixers had been carrying 16 players after Tuesday’s acquisition of Hasheem Thabeet and before Embiid’s signing, though Philadelphia appears poised to waive Thabeet. Embiid is one of just eight players with fully guaranteed deals on Philadelphia’s roster.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Jazz Sign Brock Motum

August 26 at 3:00pm CST By Cray Allred

TUESDAY, 3:00pm: The deal is official, the team announced.

MONDAY, 8:34pm: The Jazz have agreed to terms with free agent Brock Motum in what is most likely a training camp arrangement, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The Sydney Morning Herald originally reported that Utah had extended a training camp invitation to Motum. Pincus suspects the deal will be non-guaranteed, which would line up with the latest moves out of Utah, as three players have been signed for training camp auditions at partially guaranteed salaries in Kevin Murphy, Dee Bost, and Jack Cooley.

The 6’10” Australian-born forward, who played alongside fellow Aussie Dante Exum for the Jazz in summer league, will face the daunting task of making Utah’s final roster. Motum becomes the 17th player on a team with 13 guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014/15.  The Jazz have a blend of youth and veteran talent at the power forward position, with Derrick FavorsTrevor Booker, Jeremy Evans, and Steve Novak on the team. GM Dennis Lindsey indicated that Utah would keep one or two roster spots open below the 15-man minimum for training camp competition, which bodes well for Motum’s chances.

Motum went undrafted in 2013 after finishing his senior year as a Washington State Cougar, and didn’t get any NBA traction beyond draft workouts and a summer league stint with the Sixers. The forward spent last year playing professionally in Italy. In his final college season, he averaged 18.7 PPG and 6.3 RPG.

Edy Tavares To Play In Spain

August 26 at 10:25am CST By Chuck Myron

AUGUST 26TH: Tavares will indeed remain with Gran Canaria of Spain, Vivlamore confirms after the No. 43 pick from this year’s draft spoke at a press conference he held today with his Spanish team.

JULY 28TH: It’s “very likely” that Hawks second-round draftee Edy Tavares, also known as Walter Tavares, will continue to play overseas next season, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It appears as though he’ll remain with Spain’s Gran Canaria, the club with which he spent 2013/14.

Atlanta drafted the 7’3″ center 43rd overall last month, and he spent time with the Hawks during summer league, averaging 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 16.8 minutes per game across six appearances. The 22-year-old expressed an openness to the idea of remaining overseas, where he would stand to see more playing time than he would with the Hawks this season, as he told Vivlamore earlier this month.

The Cape Verde native nonetheless started just 17 of 35 games for his Spanish club this past season, notching 6.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 21.5 MPG. Tavares remains raw, having only played the game for four years, as Vivlamore notes.

Lakers Sign Jordan Clarkson

August 25 at 8:36pm CST By Cray Allred

8:36pm: It is still unknown whether Clarkson’s contract is fully, partially, or non-guaranteed, but the total deal is for two years at the minimum salary, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

4:26pm: The Lakers have signed rookie Jordan Clarkson, according to a team release. Clarkson was the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, acquired by Los Angeles from the Wizards on draft night.

Terms of the deal weren’t announced, but it is presumably for the minimum, considering the Lakers are above the cap and have no exceptions to use. The 6’5″ guard averaged 15.8 PPG, 1.2 APG and 5.0 RPG for the Lakers in Summer League, with a slash line of .424/.421/.882 after putting up 17.5 PPG, 3.4 APG, and 3.8 RPG with a .501./281./831 slash line in his junior season with Missouri.

Clarkson’s path to minutes in Los Angeles will be affected by Steve Nash‘s health and how coach Byron Scott determines to use his roster. Scott was open to using Clarkson as a ball-handler when interviewed by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. Jeremy Lin, Nash, and Kobe Bryant stand as the guards ahead of Clarkson on the roster, with a handful of guard/forward wing players established in front of him as well.

Hornets Sign P.J. Hairston

August 22 at 12:33pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Hornets have signed 26th overall pick P.J. Hairston, the team announced via press release. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported the signing minutes before the team’s announcement (Twitter link). Hairston was one of two remaining unsigned first-round picks Thursday when I looked at the 2014 draftees who’d yet to strike a deal with their respective NBA teams. He’s likely to receive close to $1.15MM this season, as our chart of salaries for 2014 first-round picks shows.

Hairston had intially chosen an agent who wasn’t union-certified, and that appeared to be at the root of the delay as he went unsigned for almost two months following the draft. Charlotte acquired his rights on draft night in the trade with the Heat that also gave the Hornets the rights to 55th overall pick Semaj Christon, who’s yet to come to terms with the club. No. 9 pick Noah Vonleh, the other 2014 draftee whose rights belong to Charlotte, signed with the team last month. The signing gives Charlotte 14 guaranteed deals plus a pact with the undrafted Justin Cobbs that’s presumably non-guaranteed.

It’s quite possible that Hairston will go down as a steal, since he seemed destined to end up as a lottery pick had the University of North Carolina not decided to part ways with the shooting guard over NCAA-eligibility concerns. Hairston spent much of last season in the D-League with the Texas Legends, and he became the first former D-League player selected in the first round of the NBA draft.

Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranked Hairston as the 18th-best draft prospect in spite of his D-League detour, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him 20th, furthering the notion that the Hornets have a chance to make out well with the 26th pick. Our Alex Lee was also high on the 6’5″ 21-year-old, projecting him as the 16th pick in the final version of his Hoops Rumors Mock Draft.

Undrafted Players From 2014 With NBA Deals

August 22 at 11:40am CST By Chuck Myron

Going undrafted is far from a death knell for an NBA prospect’s hopes of joining the league. Last year, 17.4% of NBA players who appeared in a regular season game had never been drafted, as we noted earlier this week. The path of an undrafted player to an NBA roster is often easier than that of a second-round pick. Anyone passed over on draft night becomes a free agent, open to negotiate with all 30 teams, in stark contrast to a draftee, who can only sign with the team that selected his rights.

That helps explain why 14 players who were eligible for the 2014 draft but weren’t selected have agreed to terms with NBA teams this summer, while only 12 of this year’s second-round picks have done so. Of course, undrafted players rarely see any fully guaranteed seasons on their NBA deals, unlike second-rounders, who routinely command fully guaranteed salaries for at least their rookie seasons.

No team has come to terms with more players who went undrafted in spite of having been eligible for this year’s draft than the Kings, who’ve signed Sim Bhullar, Deonte Burton and Eric Moreland, perhaps compensating for their lack of a second-round pick. The Lakers have deals with a pair of undrafted players — Keith Appling and Roscoe Smith — even though they came away with the rights to No. 46 overall pick Jordan Clarkson on draft night and have yet to agree on a pact with him.

The players passed over for this year’s draft who have secured NBA deals anyway are listed below, followed by their NBA teams, and their predraft teams in parentheses.

  • Keith Appling, Lakers (Michigan State)
  • Jerrelle Benimon, Nuggets (Towson)
  • Sim Bhullar, Kings (New Mexico State)
  • Deonte Burton, Kings (Nevada)
  • Justin Cobbs, Hornets (California)
  • Bryce Cotton, Spurs (Providence)
  • Aaron Craft, Warriors (Ohio State)
  • Tim Frazier, Celtics (Penn State)
  • Tyler Johnson, Heat (Fresno State)
  • Alex Kirk, Cavaliers (New Mexico)
  • Eric Moreland, Kings (Oregon State)
  • Roscoe Smith, Lakers (UNLV)
  • Shayne Whittington, Pacers (Western Michigan)
  • Patric Young, Pelicans (Florida)

Update On Unsigned 2014 Draft Picks

August 21 at 5:49pm CST By Chuck Myron

Nearly two months have passed since this year’s draft, but it’s still unclear where 11 of the 60 draftees will play this year. Most have either signed with their NBA teams or agreed to play overseas or in the D-League, as our log of draft pick signings shows, but the fates of a significant portion of this year’s draftees are unknown. The Sixers, who’ve taken the past two summers at a glacial pace under GM Sam Hinkie, account for four of the unsigned draft picks, but they aren’t alone.

Here’s a look at where each unsigned draftee stands. The situations involving some of them have been well-documented, while others remain largely shrouded in mystery, so I’ve taken my best educated guess about the reasons behind the delays. The position in which each player was drafted is in parentheses.

  • Joel Embiid, Sixers (third overall) — Embiid won’t be hitting the court for a while, no matter when he signs. The latest timetable for his recovery from a broken foot would put him back in action sometime between November and February, so while it’s possible he plays a majority of the season, there’s a decent chance he won’t be back until after the All-Star break. In any case, it seems he’ll miss time, but probably not the entire season, as the highly drafted Nerlens Noel did for the Sixers last year. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sixers held off on signing Embiid until late September, the time of year when they inked Noel in 2013. Keeping Embiid unsigned maximizes Philadelphia’s flexibility, since the Sixers could exceed the salary cap to sign him if they find a way to use their ample room beneath the cap.
  • P.J. Hairston, Hornets (26th overall) — Hairston signed with an agent who wasn’t union-certified, and that appears to be at the root of the hold-up here. Charlotte is only carrying 14 players, so it would seem there’s a spot set aside for Hairston once his representation is in order.
  • K.J. McDaniels, Sixers (32nd overall) — There are no cap exceptions set aside specifically for second-round draftees as there are for first-rounders, so Philly’s plausible explanation for the lack of an Embiid signing doesn’t apply to McDaniels. Most picks at the top of the second round receive slightly more than the minimum salary, but perhaps the Sixers are holding out for the possibility that they’ll need to use the minimum salary exception should they manage to exhaust their cap room. McDaniels would probably prefer a deal with the rebuilding Sixers, for whom he could play a significant role as a rookie, rather than a trek overseas, so that could be behind his patience.
  • Jerami Grant, Sixers (39th overall) — What holds for McDaniels probably holds for Grant, too. Philadelphia’s apparent inclusion in the Kevin Love trade agreement also looms as a possible explanation for the hesitance the Sixers have shown to sign their draft picks.
  • Glenn Robinson III, Timberwolves (40th overall) — The Wolves reportedly would like to bring Robinson aboard, but they’re carrying 15 guaranteed contracts, and that number doesn’t appear set to change according to the latest reports on the structure of the Love deal.
  • Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (41st overall) — Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post wrote last month that Jokic wouldn’t be on the Nuggets roster for this fall, but definitive word on where he’ll end up remains elusive. The Nuggets have at least a partially guaranteed commitment to 16 players, so there’s little wiggle room for a change of plans on Denver’s end.
  • Dwight Powell, Cavaliers (45th overall) — The Love swap could be playing into Powell’s situation, too, and Cleveland has generally been slow to formalize deals with its free agent signings this summer. There’s been no report of an agreement between the team and Powell, but the dynamics of the Love trade agreement appear to set the Cavs up to have no more than 14 players with any guaranteed salary for this season. It’s conceivable that there will be news of a Powell signing soon after the Love trade becomes official.
  • Jordan Clarkson, Lakers (46th overall) — Multiple reports have indicated that the Lakers are expected to sign Clarkson before training camp begins, but there doesn’t appear to have been any agreement yet. The Lakers can offer no more than a two-year deal for the minimum salary, more or less locking in the terms for any deal, and the team is only carrying 14 players, so it’s tough to see why Clarkson remains unsigned.
  • Alec Brown, Suns (50th overall) — Brown originally appeared set to play overseas, but Channing Frye‘s departure apparently changed that, as Suns GM Ryan McDonough said last month. It still remains unclear whether Brown will end up with Phoenix this year, and the Suns appear to be putting much of their business on hold until Eric Bledsoe‘s restricted free agency is resolved. Phoenix is carrying 13 players, all on guaranteed deals.
  • Semaj Christon, Thunder (55th overall) — Oklahoma City has 14 guaranteed deals, but Hasheem Thabeet‘s non-guaranteed contract is set to become guaranteed next month, so there doesn’t appear to be room for Christon. It’s possible that the Thunder envision having Christon sign with the D-League and play with their affiliate, much like the team’s arrangement with 29th overall pick Josh Huestis. Grant Jerrett, the Thunder’s second-rounder from 2013, began last season on a D-League deal, so there’s plenty of precedent.
  • Jordan McRae, Sixers (58th overall) — McRae seems caught up in the same dynamics in which the other Sixers draftees find themselves, though as a player taken near the end of the second round, it’d be a long shot if he were to ink for more than the minimum salary, unlike McDaniels and Grant.