With just eight days until the NBA regular season officially gets underway in Cleveland, Miami, and Los Angeles, let's round up a few updates from around the league....
As training camps are underway, injuries have begun to pop up throughout the league. Here are a few:
The Hawks have officially announced their training camp roster, and as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes, there are some new names on the list. In additions to signings we'd heard about before, such as James Anderson, Anthony Tolliver, and Damion James, the team has also added Keith Benson and Carldell Johnson to its camp roster.
Benson, 24, was the 48th overall pick in the 2011 draft, but didn't earn a spot on the Hawks' roster. The 6'11" big man ended up playing 20 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging 15.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG, and also signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors late in the season. He appeared in just three games for Golden State, playing limited minutes.
Johnson, 29, has played over 200 D-League games for the Austin Toros since going undrafted in 2006. The 5'10" point guard known as Squeaky finally made his NBA debut last season for the Hornets, appearing in 15 contests for New Orleans.
Benson and Johnson both figure to be on non-guaranteed deals, and it's unlikely either player will end up on Atlanta's regular season roster. While the team does have at least one open roster spot, with 14 players on fully or partially guaranteed contracts, I'd expect Anderson and James to have a leg up on Benson and Johnson for that final spot.
After narrowing his free agent options down to three yesterday, Anthony Tolliver has eliminated two more teams from the running and made his choice. According to Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida (Twitter link), Tolliver will be signing with the Hawks.
Tolliver tells Tomasson that he'll ink a one-year deal worth the minimum salary (Twitter link). It's a pay cut for the 6'8" forward, who made over $2MM last season, but the contract will be guaranteed (Sulia link). Despite not landing the sort of salary he was seeking, the 27-year-old believes Atlanta is a good fit for him.
"I just thought it was the best situation for me," Tolliver said to Tomasson (Sulia link). "I just think they don’t have a lot of players like me. I think it’s a great opportunity."
Tolliver, 27, had a down year in Minnesota in 2011/12, but has shown promise in the past. His best season came in 2009/10, when he averaged 12.3 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 32.3 MPG in 44 contests for the Warriors.
2:28pm: Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 hears that Tolliver has reached an agreement with a team besides the T-Wolves (Twitter link). He expects official word soon.
2:03pm: Unrestricted free agent forward Anthony Tolliver has narrowed his list of potential destinations to three teams, tweets Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida. According to Tomasson, the Hawks, Timberwolves, and Suns are still in the running for Tolliver, who expects to make a decision Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tolliver also confirmed Tomasson's report that Louis Amundson will sign with Minnesota, and acknowledged that Amundson's deal could affect the T-Wolves' offer. He added that all three offers he's considering are for one year and the minimum salary, which would be a step down from both his 2011/12 salary and his asking price.
"A lot of veterans are taking the minimum," Tolliver said. "That might be the new normal."
We heard last week that Greek team Panathinaikos had interest in Tolliver and that the 27-year-old was still considering playing overseas, but it appears he'll remain in the NBA for at least one more year. Tolliver has been linked to the Timberwolves for much of the offseason, and a late-August report cited mutual interest between Tolliver and the Hawks. The Suns are new to the mix, but make some sense as a suitor -- Phoenix still has about $8MM in cap space, and only 12 of its players are on fully guaranteed contracts. One of those 12, Channing Frye, may miss the entire 2012/13 season with a heart condition.
In 51 games last season for the Timberwolves, Tolliver averaged just 4.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 17.3 MPG, with an 8.3 PER. All those rates, among others, were his worst marks since his rookie season in San Antonio, when he appeared in just 19 games.
Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel checks in with several Bucks who are working out prior to the opening of training camp. Joining the workout are a few hopefuls who are auditioning for a formal invitation to camp, and that group includes Alando Tucker, the 29th overall pick in the 2007 draft, and Orien Greene, a four-year NBA vet who last played with the Nets in 2010/11. It's been a busy night as teams make their final moves before training camp, and we've got several more tidbits here:
As Anthony Tolliver continues to look for a job for the coming season, it appears his potential landing spots extend beyond the NBA. According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (via Twitter), Tolliver doesn't necessarily have plans to play overseas, but says it's an option while he continues to talk to NBA teams. A report out of Greece today suggested that Greek team Panathinaikos is targeting Tolliver (Twitter link).
After a down year with the Timberwolves, Tolliver hasn't drawn a ton of interest on the free agent market. The Hawks, Bulls, Wizards, Pacers, and T-Wolves were said earlier this month to be in play for Tolliver, but many of those teams could only offer minimum-salary deals. At this point, the 27-year-old appears unlikely to get any more than that.
As for Panathinaikos, the team reportedly had interest in Louis Amundson earlier in the offseason. Amundson also remains unsigned, though Panathinaikos agreed to terms with Hilton Armstrong in late August, so it's not clear how strong an interest the club has in additional frontcourt help.
Anthony Tolliver has been working out with several Timberwolves players, namely Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger (Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweets). Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter) looks at it as a sign that Tolliver "badly" wants to remain in Minnesota next year. In another tweet, Zgoda caught Nikola Pekovic's thoughts regarding Ricky Rubio, saying that while the Spanish point guard looks good and hopes to be running again next week, he is still aiming for a return in December. We've had quite a bit of updates tonight, so be sure to check out the newest tidbits from around the league here..
Based on recent reports, is seems as if the Timberwolves will add at least one more body to their frontcourt before training camp begins, and Mehmet Okur remains on the team's radar, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 (Twitter link). However, the T-Wolves can still only offer a minimum-salary contract, so unless Okur will accept such a deal or GM David Kahn can clear cap space by making a trade, it's unlikely Okur ends up in Minnesota, says Wolfson.
While the Timberwolves could comfortably bring aboard a player on a minimum salary, many of the free agents they've been linked to are seeking larger deals. Whether this suggests Kahn is considering moving salary or that the club is hoping one of its targets eventually settles for the veteran's minimum is unclear. However, Joan Niesen of FOX Sports North tweets that Anthony Tolliver continues to check in with the T-Wolves as well, to see if the team can bring him back.
The Timberwolves used their cap space this summer to sign Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, and Alexey Shved, then used their $2.575MM room exception on Greg Stiemsma. Okur, meanwhile, is coming off a year in which he earned over $10MM, but only appeared in 17 games due to back issues -- if he were to sign for the veteran's minimum of $1,351,181, it would be his lowest salary since he earned $1.1MM in 2003/04.