Carrick Felix Rumors

Robert Covington Tops D-League Draftees

November 1 at 4:59pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The NBA D-League Draft was held today and the event was kicked off with Robert Covington being selected first overall by the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons D-League affiliate. Covington’s selection was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The 23-year-old forward was arguably the most talented player in the D-League draft, though he isn’t expected to spend the full season in Grand Rapids, notes Chris Reichert of SB Nation, since he is on the radar of numerous NBA teams.

Covington spent much of last season with Houston’s D-League affiliate despite being on the team’s NBA roster the entire year. He earned himself a trip to the D-League’s All-Star game by averaging 23.2 PPG and 9.2 RPG in 34.1 minutes per game in 42 D-League appearances. He spent the preseason on Houston’s roster, though he was away from the team for weeks mulling offers to play in Europe before being waived. Covington came close to inking a deal with the Sixers, but decided to take the D-League route to begin the season.

Elliot Williams, a former 2010 first round pick of the Blazers, was selected by the Warriors affiliate with the second overall pick. The 6’5″ guard was a rotation player for the Sixers last year, averaging 6.0 PPG in 17.3 MPG, but was waived by Philadelphia when the team needed to pare its preseason roster count down to 15 players.

Other players selected in the opening round who had prior NBA regular season experience were Marquis TeagueBen HansbroughErik MurphyCarrick Felix and Damien Wilkins.

One other player to keep an eye on is Milos Milisavljevic, a 21-year-old Serbian point guard who was selected by the Texas Legends, who serve as the affiliate of the Mavericks. Milisavljevic will be NBA draft-eligible in 2015, and is on the radar of NBA scouts, though he isn’t currently projected to be taken in either round by DraftExpress.

Here is the full list of first round selections:

  1. Grand Rapids Drive (via Delaware) — Robert Covington
  2. Santa Cruz Warriors (via Erie) — Elliot Williams
  3. Austin Spurs — Erik Murphy
  4. Santa Cruz Warriors (via Maine) — Carrick Felix
  5. Grand Rapids Drive — Ben Hansbrough
  6. Texas Legends — Milos Milisavljevic
  7. Idaho Stampede — Tre’ Bussey
  8. Bakersfield Jam — Robert Vaden
  9. Oklahoma City Blue — Marquis Teague
  10. Reno Bighorns (via Westchester) — Joonas Caven
  11. Reno Bighorns — Brady Heslip
  12. Canton Charge — Michael Dunigan
  13. Santa Cruz Warriors — Melvin Johnson III
  14. Rio Grande Valley Vipers — Chane Behanan
  15. Sioux Falls Skyforce — Fuquan Edwin
  16. Iowa Energy — Damien Wilkins
  17. Los Angeles D-Fenders — Eloy Vargas
  18. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (via Fort Wayne) — Justin Jackson

Jazz Claim Hamilton, Ingles, Waive Felix

October 27 at 5:18pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Jazz have waived Carrick Felix, and they’ve claimed Jordan Hamilton and Joe Ingles off waivers, the team announced in a pair of releasesAdrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the waiver claims and tweeted the news that the team would release Felix. Utah had been carrying 14 players, so at least one had to go to accommodate the pair of claims. Hamilton, whose minimum-salary deal is partially guaranteed for $25K, comes from the Raptors, so Toronto is no longer on the hook for that money. The Clippers had placed their non-guaranteed contract with Ingles on waivers.

Hamilton made it tough on the Raptors this month, though they ultimately decided to go with Greg Stiemsma over both Hamilton and Will Cherry as they all battled for one open regular season roster spot with matching $25K guarantees. Hamilton averaged 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game in the preseason, more playing time than he had seen in any of his three regular seasons since becoming the 26th overall pick in 2011.

Ingles was a hot commodity after his showing for the Australian national team in the World Cup. The Jazz were among a host of teams that were eyeing the swingman as early as this past spring, and he ultimately decided on the Clippers, though it was surprising to see him fail to garner any guaranteed salary. He’ll make the minimum this year.

Felix’s minimum salary was fully guaranteed, so Utah is on the hook for that money unless he clears waivers. The 33rd overall pick from last year played nine D-League games and seven NBA contests last year with the Cavs, who sent him out primarily for financial reasons in the July trade that brought him to Utah. He has a non-guaranteed salary for 2015/16 that will disappear if he clears waivers.

Utah creeps closer to this year’s $63.065MM cap with today’s pickups, but the Jazz still have less than $60MM in committed salary for this season.

How The Cavs/Jazz Trade Worked Financially

July 24 at 12:20pm CST By Chuck Myron

It seemed from the moment that news of Tuesday’s trade between the Cavs and Jazz surfaced, the deal was somehow more significant than a swap involving four backups normally would be. The Cavs reportedly see some value in John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy as players rather than simply as non-guaranteed contracts, but an earlier report indicated the team had been looking for non-guaranteed deals specifically to strengthen its bid for Kevin Love. The trio doesn’t represent an overwhelming step toward Love, but the move gives the Cavs more options they can present to the Wolves, which might make the difference as Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders sorts through several competing packages.

A key part of the trade involves a separate transaction. The Cavs struck a deal that same evening with No. 33 overall pick Joe Harris worth precisely $2,710,369 for three years, including a guaranteed $884,879, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. That it runs three years indicates that the Cavs need to use cap space to complete the transaction, since neither the minimum-salary exception nor the room exception, the two vehicles other than cap space the Cavs have for signing free agents, allows for contracts longer than two seasons.

The Cavs have yet to officially announce their deal with Harris, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t officially signed him. Sometimes teams never make official announcements when they sign draft picks, for any number of possible reasons. The Bulls never announced having signed 2008 No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose to his rookie scale contract, as Deeks pointed out earlier this month (on Twitter). The RealGM transactions log shows the Harris signing as having taken place, and the presence of his salary figures on Deeks’ database is further indication that the Harris signing is official. That means the signing had to have taken place prior to the trade, which the Cavs did officially announce, since Cleveland wouldn’t have had the cap room necessary to sign Harris to his deal had they executed the trade first.

The Cavs entered Tuesday evening with $56,030,677 in salary and a cap hold of $4,592,200 for Andrew Wiggins, who remains unsigned. That left them with $2,442,123 worth of space beneath the $63.065MM cap. The Harris signing brought that room down to $1,557,244. The Cavs, as the NBA allows them to do, then appeared to split the Jazz trade into two parts. The first involves taking on Lucas’ $1.6MM salary and Murphy’s $816,482 salary in exchange for Felix’s $816,482 salary. Murphy and Felix essentially cancel each other out, so it amounts to an absorption of the $1.6MM Lucas salary, putting the Cavs over the cap by $42,756. The NBA lets teams complete trades that take them as much as $100K above the salary cap without conforming to salary-matching rules, so the Lucas salary just barely squeezes in under this requirement.

That move puts Cleveland over the cap, leaving the Cavs to execute the rest of the trade, a simple acquisition of Malcolm Thomas, using the salary-matching rules required of a capped-out team. The incoming $948,163 salary of Thomas is obviously greater than nothing, which is what Utah is getting in this side of the deal, but fortunately for Cleveland, players on minimum-salary contracts don’t count as incoming salary in the NBA’s matching game. Thomas makes the minimum, so the trade is kosher.

The Jazz needn’t worry about splitting the transaction or dealing with any salary-matching requirements, since they were well under the cap before the trade and are even further beneath it in the aftermath of the deal. The Cavs must continue to deal with the ripple effects of having landed over the cap. By all appearances, that bars them from aggregating Thomas in a subsequent trade for two months. While the Cavs can trade Thomas by himself, no trade limitation applies to either Lucas or Murphy, since Cleveland acquired them while under the cap. Cleveland nonetheless appears ready to sign Wiggins, triggering a 30-day waiting period before he can be traded, and since the Wolves are insistent that Wiggins be a part of any deal for Love, it doesn’t appear as though Cleveland is in any position to rush to make a Love trade official.

All of this hinges on the Harris signing truly having already taken place, as all indications suggest. If it weren’t official, it’s possible the Cavs could have structured the trade differently with the intent of later opening up the cap room necessary to formalize the Harris signing. Still, it appears as though deft management of timing gave Cleveland the opportunity to sign its second-rounder to a three-year deal, which is significantly more valuable to the team than a two-year contract would be, as I explained last year. The Cavs did so while still acquiring non-guaranteed contracts that they can flip, sooner or later. Utah receives some more cap space, as well as Felix, ostensibly the player with the most upside in this transaction, having been picked 33rd overall just a year ago. Time will tell if it was indeed a trade that helped both teams, but the deal has the makings of being just that.

Cavs Acquire Three In Swap With Jazz

July 22 at 7:21pm CST By Ryan Raroque

7:21pm: The Cavaliers have officially announced the deal, per a team press release.

7:16pm: Out of the three players heading to Cleveland, Minnesota actually had some interest in Murphy after he was waived by the Bulls last season, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

7:03pm: The pick that Utah will receive in the deal will be a 2015 second rounder from Cleveland, tweets Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune.

6:21pm: According to one Cavs source, Cleveland likes Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy and doesn’t necessarily view them as stepping stones to a bigger deal, tweets Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

6:00pm: The Jazz are expected to trade the non-guaranteed contracts of John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas, and Erik Murphy to the Cavaliers for Carrick Felix, a future second rounder, and $1MM, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Felix’s contract is guaranteed for $816K in 2014/15, whereas Lucas III, Thomas, and Murphy combined for roughly $3.3MM in non-guaranteed deals for the upcoming season. Wojnarowski adds that Cleveland had been looking to make this type of deal recently in order to help facilitate a trade for Timberwolves star Kevin Love (Twitter links).

Minnesota has been determined to unload Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea in a deal involving Love, says Wojnarowski, who also notes that the Cavs would have to find a third team in order to make it work. Nonetheless, whether Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy’s contracts are used to bring the former UCLA big man to Ohio or are included in a separate trade, this deal at the very least has given Cleveland some “buying power” (Twitter links).

Team Options And Restricted Free Agency

April 3 at 3:32pm CST By Chuck Myron

Every rookie scale contract in the league, by rule, includes a pair of team options. Otherwise, team options are rare. NBA clubs prefer the flexibility of non-guaranteed seasons instead, since they allow the team to cut ties with the player at any point before the leaguewide guarantee date of January 7th. Team options must either be exercised or declined before the NBA’s calendar flips over on July 1st. (Rookie scale options must be exercised or declined on October 31st the year before the option season would begin.) Players, too, can benefit from the greater flexibility of a non-guaranteed contract, since they can earn a portion of their salary if they remain on the roster for a partial season.

Still, a growing number of free agents are signing contracts with team options. Of the 13 existing NBA contracts that include team options for future seasons and aren’t rookie scale deals, 11 have been signed since this past July. A handful of those contracts last four seasons, and there’s a compelling reason for teams to structure deals that way for second-round picks and undrafted players.

Chandler Parsons is Exhibit A. The Rockets haven’t informed Parsons about whether they intend to decline his option, worth about $965K, for next season, as Parsons tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Under most circumstances, Houston’s decision would be a no-brainer. Parsons has far outperformed his deal, signed after the Rockets took him in the second round of the 2011 draft, and having him for an additional season at a cost of less than $1MM would give the team one of the league’s best bargains. What makes his case so intriguing is that undrafted players and second-round picks, like Parsons, can be restricted free agents if their contracts end before their fourth seasons. So, the Rockets could decline their option and have the right to match other teams’ offers for their small forward. Houston wouldn’t have that right in 2015 if the team exercised its option on Parsons, who’d become an unrestricted free agent when his contract ends after 2014/15.

The team option gives Houston a choice that a non-guaranteed season wouldn’t. If 2014/15 were a non-guaranteed year for Parsons, rather than an option year, the Rockets could only make him a free agent this summer if they waived him, and he’d be an unrestricted free agent, and not a restricted one, if he cleared waivers.

Three other teams did deals this year that mimic the Parsons contract, and it’s not surprising that the Sixers are one of them. GM Sam Hinkie was the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Rockets when they signed Parsons. Philadelphia signed two undrafted rookies this season to four-year contracts with a team option in the fourth year. The contracts for Brandon Davies and Hollis Thompson, just like the one for Parsons, aren’t fully guaranteed in the seasons leading up to the option. Davies signed his deal without any guarantee at all, while Thompson received a tiny partial guarantee of $35K for this season.

Neither Davies nor Thompson has guaranteed salary on his respective option year. That means that the Sixers could pick up their options and still cut ties with them before opening night without owing them any money that year, just as with a regular non-guaranteed season. Parsons has a partial guarantee on his salary next season. If the Rockets and Sixers exercise their options, those contracts will become just like any other deal that isn’t fully guaranteed. The only difference will be that their teams will have had a chance to make them restricted free agents, a valuable resource in case the player, as Parsons did, blossoms into a sought-after commodity.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey and his disciple aren’t the only ones who’ve caught on. Former Cavs GM Chris Grant signed Carrick Felix, the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 draft, to a four-year deal with a team option in the final season. In Felix’s case, the only non-guaranteed money is in the third year, and the fourth year is fully guaranteed providing the Cavs exercise their option. Hawks GM Danny Ferry, Grant’s former boss in Cleveland, produced the latest iteration of this trend when he pried 2013 second-rounder Mike Muscala from his Spanish league contract in February to bring him stateside. Muscala’s four-year deal is 50% guaranteed next season but henceforth completely non-guaranteed, and that includes the fourth-year option season.

Not every team has the flexibility to make four-year offers. Teams need either cap space or a portion of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception to sign rookies for four years. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more contracts like these in the future, especially if the Rockets use their team option on Parsons this summer and other teams hesitate to give him an offer. Teams may become more hesistant to use their full mid-level on veteran free agents so they can leave room to sign one or two intriguing young players to four-year deals.

It’s unlikely that Thompson, Davies, Felix or Muscala will ever become as valuable as Parsons is, and there’s a decent chance that their teams will waive them long before the option year comes around. Still, the Rockets, Sixers, Cavs and Hawks had nothing to lose, and neither would any team that does a similar deal. It’s a smart play that can look even smarter over time.

ShamSports and Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ were used in the creation of this post.

Odds & Ends: Pelicans, Cavs, Bennett, Wade

January 26 at 10:04pm CST By Zach Links

Pelicans owner Tom Benson bought in to the NBA at the right time, writes Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune.  The Pelicans, purchased for $338MM by Benson in April 2012, are now worth $420MM.  It wasn’t an attendance boost that helped fill out Benson’s wallet even further but rather the new Collective Bargaining Agreement which is more owner-friendly than the previous one. More from around the league..

  • The Cavs announced that they have recalled Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev from the D-League.  Both players were recalled and re-assigned to the Canton Charge last week but are back in the fold with the varsity squad today.  Felix has played in nine games for the Charge this season, averaging 11.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals in 28.7 minutes per game.  Karasev has appeared in six games for the Charge and is averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.8 minutes per game.
  • Meanwhile, NBA executives are stumped as to why the Cavs won’t demote Anthony Bennett, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.  The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft picked up yet another DNP-CD tonight.
  • In today’s mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wonders if Dwyane Wade might take a financial sacrifice for the Heat by opting out and re-working his deal.  Instead of taking $40MM over the next two seasons, Winderman suggests a five-year, $60MM deal for the veteran.

Odds & Ends: Stuckey, Teague, D-League

January 23 at 5:49pm CST By Ryan Raroque

Considering his expiring contract and recent stellar play, Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey could be a hot commodity on the trade market soon, especially for teams looking to add bench scoring or create some cap flexibility this summer, writes Brendan Savage of MLive.com. Despite the likelihood of being included in discussions as we inch closer to the February trade deadline, Stuckey insists that he’s strictly focused on playing basketball:

“Nah, I don’t think about that,..Whatever happens, happens. I’m here to play basketball. I’m a Detroit Piston right now…I have no control over that. My agent will take care of that. It’s up to the organization, what they want to do and what they’re looking at. I don’t think about it at all. I just try to come out every night and compete and try to win.”

Here’s more from around the league this evening:

  • Newly acquired Nets guard Marquis Teague said he wasn’t shocked about being dealt from the Bulls and admitted that he didn’t fit well with the style of former coach Tom Thibodeau“It just wasn’t clicking with Thibs the right way… trying to figure out the system was kind of tough for me. The way they play isn’t really my style, so it’s kind of difficult for me. But I’ve got a new start now, so I’m just looking forward to the future” (Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York).  
  • As per the team’s official website, the Suns have assigned Archie Goodwin to the Bakersfield Jam.
  • The Cavaliers recalled Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev from the Canton Charge earlier today (Twitter link).
  • According to Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com, former University of Miami forward Kenny Kadji has entered the NBDL player pool and will likely receive a claim from a D-League team.
  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun believes that if the Raptors sign Vince Carter as a free agent this summer, it could help the team’s perception with other free agents who may question why the franchise hasn’t honored its most decorated star.
  • ESPN’s Marc Stein forecasts the makeup of the 12-man Team USA roster which will compete in this year’s FIBA World Cup. Of the 28 names listed in the USAB’s national team player pool, Stein believes that 10 of them appear to be realistic locks (barring injury), leaving an interesting race for the final two spots.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

Central Rumors: Bulls, Green, Scola

January 22 at 5:44pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Bulls could take a couple of different paths regarding trade exceptions from Tuesday’s deal with the Nets. Chicago could absorb Tornike Shengelia’s $788,872 salary into the $2,025,000 exception they received in the Luol Deng trade, leaving that exception at $1,236,128 and creating a new exception worth the equivalent of Marquis Teague’s $1,074,720 salary. It seems more likely that they would leave the Deng exception alone and create a tiny $285,848 exception from the difference between Teague and Shengelia’s salaries, simply because a roughly $2MM exception is more useful than two exceptions worth about $1MM. Still, their choice remains unconfirmed. Here’s the latest from the Central:

  • Gerald Green isn’t upset with the Pacers for burying him last season or trading him over the summer, and says he has no intention of ever leaving the Suns, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
  • Luis Scola says the memories of his time with the Suns are painful, as Coro passes along in the same story. Scola nonetheless had concerns about how much of a role he’d have on the Pacers when the team traded for him this summer, observes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Frank Vogel assured the longtime starter he’d be a major part of the team, and Scola appears content as a key player off the bench.
  • The trade talk surrounding Greg Monroe is starting to bother him, as he tells Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News. “It does, to be honest. We’re still trying to get things right, here,” Monroe said. “To see that stuff … I just focus on what we’re doing here. I’m here. If that changes, then I’ll move forward. If it never does, I’ll focus on playing these games and trying to win these games.”
  • The Cavaliers have assigned Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev to the D-League, the team announced. It’ll be the fourth D-League stint this year for Felix, who just returned from the Canton Charge on Tuesday, and the third for Karasev.
  • No other NBA teams made an offer to Mike James, who jumped on a 10-day contract from the Bulls and harbors no ill will toward the team for waiving him earlier this season, as he tells reporters, including K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Odds & Ends: Lakers, James, Felix

January 21 at 9:57pm CST By Zach Links

There has been speculation that the Bucks could wind up leaving Milwaukee at some point as they’ve been unable to secure a new arena in the city, but Herb Kohl is working hard to make sure they stay put.  Kohl has been insistent that he is only seeking investment partners and doesn’t want to sell the team outright, but today we learned that there are four suitors with “serious interest” in buying the club from him.  There’s no word on a frontrunner, but one club is said to be comprised of local investors, which could give them an upper hand should Kohl have a change of heart and sell.  More from around the league..

  • The Lakers have had to rebuild on the fly before, but their current troubles will be tougher to fix, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Bulls brought Mike James back because he’s the candidate that coach Tom Thibodeau wanted more than anyone else, tweets Mark Deeks of Shamsports.com.  The Bulls re-signed the veteran after they traded one guard Marquis Teague to the Nets.  It’s not clear at this point if James got a ten-day pact or was inked for the rest of the season.
  • The Cavaliers have recalled Carrick Felix from the D-League, the team announced. The six-day stint was the third assignment to the Canton Charge for the 33rd overall pick in the NBA draft this past June.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Afflalo, Oden, Bennett

January 15 at 10:34pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Detroit’s “Big Three” of Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, and Andre Drummond haven’t been as successful as Joe Dumars anticipated writes Zach Lowe of Grantland. His offseason signing of Smith to a four-year, $54MM contract has resulted in a 16-22 record and has them currently sitting as the seventh seed in the weak Eastern Conference, just a half a game up on the Nets in the playoff race. This underachieving calls into question Monroe’s future with the team, with his contract set to expire after the season. The other alternative according to Lowe, is to try and find a taker for Smith, no easy feat considering the size of his deal. Smith said “It’s easy to use me as a scapegoat“, when speaking to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Zillgitt opines that improved shot selection from Smith would go a long way toward improving the team.

Some other notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel explores the idea of the Magic possibly trading Arron Afflalo. He says the main difficulty in making a trade is that teams want to get him for pennies on the dollar, and aren’t willing to sacrifice young players or draft picks, which would be the primary goal if a trade was made.
  • Greg Oden made his return to the hardwood this evening for the Heat, his first action since 2009, writes Joseph White of the Associated Press. His performance going forward will have a direct bearing on the possibility of the Heat signing Andrew Bynum.
  • The Cavaliers’ struggling number one overall pick, Anthony Bennett, stated he would be open to playing in the D-League, writes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. Bennett is averaging 2.4 PPG in just 10.4 MPG. His playing time doesn’t look likely to increase any time soon with the recent acquisition of Luol Deng. A stint in the D-League, and the chance to log some heavy minutes to get himself going might be just what Bennett needs. Despite Bennett’s willingness to take a trip to the D-League, and the Cavs having had discussions about the move, the team doesn’t have any immediate plans to send him, writes Jason Lloyd of Akron Beacon Journal.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned guard/forward Carrick Felix to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, according to a press release. Felix played in six games for the Cavs this season, and averaged 1.5 PPG. In a previous three game stint with the Charge, he averaged 9.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG.