A year ago today, the NBA lockout had just officially ended and we were immersed in a compressed and frantic period of free agency. As fun a week as that was, I'll take this year's December 10th, which features an evening slate of six NBA contests, including a Southeast battle between the Hawks and Heat. As we await tonight's games, let's round up a few afternoon odds and ends:
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports via Twitter that Ben Uzoh is working out today for the Wizards, who will be without point guard A.J. Price for four to six weeks because of a broken hand, as Michael Lee of The Washington Post reveals. Shaun Livingston is the only healthy point guard left for Washington, which is at the 15-man roster limit, meaning someone would have to be waived if Uzoh is to be signed. That would most likely be Earl Barron, who's on a non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary.
Uzoh, who was in training camp with the Nuggets, is currently with the D-League's Springfield Armor. He's appeared in 60 games over the past two seasons with three NBA teams, including a 16-game stint with the Raptors last year in which he started eight contests and averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 assists in 22.3 minutes per game.
Lee, when he reported the news of Price's injury, didn't expect the team to sign another point guard, instead believing Washington would simply shift more ball-handling duties onto Jordan Crawford. The Wizards are already on the hook for the partial guarantee of $300K on the contract of Jannero Pargo, whom they waived to sign Livingston. They're paying the same amount to point guard Shelvin Mack after cutting him loose at the end of training camp. The team has had issues at point guard all season long in the absence of John Wall, who has no timetable for his return from a left patella injury.
The Wizards, who are over the cap, have $3.1MM of their mid-level exception and their full $1.957MM bi-annual exception at their disposal if they want to add someone for more than the minimum salary. Yet given the dearth of intriguing options on the list of available free agent point guards, it seems unlikely they'll have to dip into either exception.
Both Carter and Uzoh were signed to the Nuggets' camp roster back on October 1st, the only two players the team brought in on summer contracts. Carter appeared in three preseason games for Denver, while Uzoh played in just one. Neither player was in a great position to earn a spot on the club's regular season roster, since there are 14 Nuggets on fully guaranteed contracts, plus Julyan Stone, whose deal has a partial guarantee.
Carter told HoopsWorld last week that Nuggets coach George Karl had offered him a job as an assistant, so it'll be interesting to see if the veteran guard transitions into coaching or attempts to continue his playing career with another team.
The Nuggets have signed Anthony Carter and Ben Uzoh to deals that will bring the pair of point guards to training camp, according to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post (Twitter link). The additions bring Denver's roster count to 17 players.
Both Carter and Uzoh played for the Raptors in 2011/12, though their career trajectories don't have much in common besides that. Carter is 37 years old and averaged just 8.7 minutes per game in his 24 contests last season. Uzoh, meanwhile, made his NBA debut just two seasons ago and has split time between the NBA and the D-League since then. It appeared the 24-year-old was heading overseas for the year before he parted ways with French team Cholet last week.
Of the Nuggets' 17 players, 14 are on guaranteed contracts. Besides Uzoh and Carter, the only other player without a full guarantee is third-string point guard Julyan Stone, which seems to suggest that both Uzoh and Carter will receive the chance to outplay Stone this month and earn that final roster spot.
According to the team's official website, Lakers guard Steve Blake suffered a puncture wound after stepping on a spike strip in a parking lot. The statement says Blake will be restricted from team activities for at least three weeks. Despite not being one of the bigger names on Los Angeles' roster, Blake's role as the team's veteran backup point guard is quite important, especially considering incoming starter Steve Nash's inability to log major minutes.
Here are a few more Monday odds and ends from around the NBA:
At various points during the offseason, Mehmet Okur has been linked to the Timberwolves and other clubs, but the reports usually point to the same roadblock: Okur is seeking more than the minimum salary. It's possible some NBA team makes Okur an offer worth more than the minimum, but it appears he may have a better chance at that kind of money overseas. TrendBasket.net passes along a Turkish report suggesting that Galatasaray Medical Park of Turkey is interested in Okur, and could potentially offer him $2-3MM per year. Here are a few more of the morning's international notes and rumors:
As free agents continue to come off the board, not all of them are signing their new contracts with NBA teams. Here's the latest on a handful of notable names landing non-NBA deals:
The Raptors have officially re-signed Ben Uzoh and Alan Anderson, according to a team press release. Both players saw their second 10-day contracts expire today, so their new deals will keep them with the team for the remainder of the season.
With a number of Raptors regulars missing time with injuries, both Uzoh and Anderson have entered the starting lineup, with Anderson starting the seven games and Uzoh starting the last two. Overall, Anderson, who I named one of the best 10-day signings of 2012, is averaging 8.4 points and 1.4 threes in 22.4 minutes per game. Uzoh has averages of 4.1 PPG, 2.8 APG, and 2.6 RPG in 11 contests with Toronto.
As our 10-day contract tracker shows, Justin Dentmon also had his deal with Toronto expire today, but the team chose not to bring him back. The series of moves leaves the Raptors with 14 players on their roster.
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Thursday evening:
The Raptors have re-signed guards Ben Uzoh and Alan Anderson to 10-day contracts, according to releases from the team. It's the second 10-day contract from the team for both players. Toronto also signed Justin Dentmon to a 10-day deal this morning, so the team has three players on the shortest of contracts as it looks to bolster its backcourt.
Anderson has seen significant playing time in his six games for the Raptors, getting the start against the Sixers the other night and averaging 5.8 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 16 minutes a game. Uzoh has somewhat better numbers, though, putting up 3.2 PPG and 2.6 APG in 12 minutes a game.