We normally don't cover injuries here at Hoops Rumors, but when a star player goes down or there's an absence that could prompt a roster move, we're on it. After news earlier today that Brandon Roy, Kyrie Irving and Tyrus Thomas will miss significant time, Stephen Jackson has become the latest injury victim, as he'll miss four to six weeks with a fractured pinky finger, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman notes that it's a non-displaced fracture to his right pinky (Twitter link).
The timing is unfortunate for the Spurs, who are already without Kawhi Leonard for several more days. Jackson had been filling in for Leonard at small forward. The Spurs have limited options at the three with both out, though they could use Danny Green and Manu Ginobili, both 6'6", at the position. They have 14 players on the roster, so there's an open spot if they want to sign someone. It probably has to be a minimum-salary deal, since they're over the salary cap and have only $500K left on their mid-level exception. The Spurs are also about $1MM below the tax line.
Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News suggests Derrick Brown, one of the team's training camp invitees, could get a look (Twitter link). Wesley Witherspoon, who was also with the team in camp, is on the roster of the Spurs' D-League affiliate and may also receive consideration, though I'm only speculating. The biggest name on the Hoops Rumors list of remaining free agent small forwards is probably Mickael Pietrus, but he may not want to sign for the minimum. As I explained when news of Irving's injury broke, the trade market isn't a likely path, since most teams aren't looking to deal at this point in the season, and the Spurs might not want to tinker too much with their roster just to solve a short-term problem.
With a week until the regular season gets underway, the Spurs have cut two players from their roster, the team announced today. According to a press release, the team has waived camp invitees Eddy Curry and Derrick Brown, reducing the roster count to 16 players.
The decision to waive both players is a little surprising, considering coach Gregg Popovich seemed to indicate over the weekend that Curry and Brown were the top candidates to earn the team's 15th and final roster spot. Curry looked decent in camp, while Brown had a solid 2011/12 campaign for the Bobcats, so it wouldn't be unexpected to see either player draw interest, and perhaps a waiver claim.
With Curry and Brown no longer on the roster, Josh Powell and Wesley Witherspoon seem to be in contention to be the 15th man, assuming San Antonio decides to carry the maximum. In addition to Powell and Witherspoon, the Spurs also have DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal on non-guaranteed contracts, though neither player appears in any danger of being released.
Here are some rumblings out of the Western Conference tonight:
The first regular season action is just 10 days away, so it's crunch time for players gunning for the last spots on the end of an NBA bench. There's news about several training camp hopefuls this afternoon, and we've rounded it up here.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave strong indication before today's preseason game that the competition for the last roster spot in San Antonio is down to Eddy Curry and Derrick Brown, tweets Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Josh Powell and Wesley Witherspoon are also trying to make the team, while it appears DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal, the other Spurs without full guarantees, are safe.
- McDonald also notes, via Twitter, that Popovich said Curry has lost 20 pounds, and that's on top of the 100 pounds he lost while with the Heat last year, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- Curry said he didn't entertain the idea of returning to the Heat this summer, as Winderman reports in the same piece. "It was frustrating. It was bittersweet," Curry said of his season in Miami, during which he saw little playing time. "Got a ring out of it, but it definitely wasn't the year I was looking forward to and wasn't what I worked for."
- Winderman also writes that a hamstring injury has likely torpedoed any chance Jarvis Varnado had of making the Heat's regular season roster.
- The Trail Blazers are one of three teams left at the 20-player preseason roster limit, and GM Neil Olshey said he's going to wait as long as possible before making cuts, tweets Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge. "Some of it is strategic," according to Olshey, and Golliver interprets that remark to mean the team is trying to funnel some of its camp invitees to its D-League affiliate.
Much of the news this time of year has to do with players fighting for roster spots, and we've already passed along a few such items today. The Timberwolves and Cavaliers have also made cuts, indicating that time is running out for NBA hopefuls to make an impression. Here's a roundup on camp invitees across the league.
- Dionte Christmas hasn't seen much playing time in the preseason, but he's still the frontrunner to make the opening-night roster among the five Celtics without fully guaranteed deals, according to Greg Payne of ESPNBoston.com. At $237K, Christmas has the most partially guaranteed money of the team's camp invitees.
- Damien Wilkins is the most likely camp invitee to make the Sixers, writes John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Derrick Brown had a "handful" of other training camp invitations, but chose the Spurs even though they only have one roster spot available because of his affinity for the way the organization is run, reports Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
- In the same piece, McDonald also passed along a comment from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who indicated the battle for the final roster spot is a tight one.
- Justin Harper has a guaranteed deal with the Magic, but it's only for the minimum salary and, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes, he's competing for a roster spot.
- If 6'6" swingman Tony Mitchell beats out three other camp invitees for the last spot on the Kings, it will be because of his defense, writes Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
- Among several observations from the Heat's preseason loss to the Clippers in China, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wonders if Rodney Carney might have been better served signing with a team that wasn't so deep on the wing.
- Robert Sacre has proven competent as he's started in place of Dwight Howard during the preseason, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com argues the Lakers are better off going with younger, cheaper talent for the end of the bench instead of pursuing another veteran.
Of today's slate of preseason NBA games, three are scheduled for tonight, with one already in the books — the Heat defeated the Clippers 94-80 in Beijing in a contest that got underway at 6:30 CST this morning. As we await the rest of today's action, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the league….
The Mavericks were the first Southwest Division team to begin preseason play, doing so overseas yesterday with an 89-84 win over Alba Berlin in Dirk Nowitzki's native Germany. Before the game, commissioner David Stern said the league's revamped competition committee was cool to his idea of adopting the FIBA more liberal goaltending rules, noted Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Stern has pushed for changes to the way basket interference is called, so it's interesting to note that the commissioner apparently didn't get his way despite a new competition committee that some believe was restructured to give Stern more influence. Here's the latest from around the Southwest Division:
- It's still a long way until the Spurs have to make a decision, but Josh Powell appears to have an early lead on Eddy Curry and Derrick Brown for a spot on the regular season roster, according to Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News. The competition was thinned a bit Friday when the Spurs waived Sherron Collins, taking their camp roster down to 19 players.
- In the same piece, McCarney cautions readers not to get too caught up in what they saw from rookie Nando De Colo in the Spurs' victory Saturday over Italian club Montepaschi Siena, a slick passing performance that prompted teammate Stephen Jackson to call him "another Manu Ginobili."
- Jason Friedman of Rockets.com shares some observations from Rockets camp, and says rookie guard Scott Machado, with the team on a minimum-salary deal that's partially guaranteed for $237K, is making a strong impression.
- Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune chronicles the unlikely journey of Anthony Davis from a 5'9" eighth-grader in Chicago to the 6'10" Olympic gold medalist and No. 1 overall pick he is today, as he embarks on his first training camp with the Hornets.
The Spurs have officially unveiled their training camp roster, and there's at least one unexpected name on the list: Eddy Curry. Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News first reported that Curry was in camp with the Spurs (via Twitter).
Among the team's other additions, we'd previously heard about Tyler Wilkerson, Wesley Witherspoon, Josh Powell, and Derrick Brown. One new name on the training camp roster is Sherron Collins. It appears Collins may have taken the spot that previously appeared ticketed for fellow point guard Tre Kelley, whose name doesn't appear on the list.
While Brown, Powell, and the others should have a chance to earn a roster spot for the Spurs, Curry may be the most intriguing player among the new additions. According to Monroe, Curry has been playing all summer, looks fit, and has reportedly dropped 15 pounds (Twitter link). It would still be a little surprising to see the veteran big man earn a roster spot, but it appears he'll at least be given the opportunity.
The Spurs have reached an agreement with free agent forward Derrick Brown on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The Spurs, who worked out Brown earlier this month, "like him a lot and we feel comfortable about the opportunity," agent Calvin Andrews told Haynes.
Brown, 24, had his best season for the Bobcats in 2011/12, averaging 8.1 PPG with 3.6 RPG and a .518 FG% in 22.2 MPG. The 6'7" forward appeared in all but one game for Charlotte, making 17 starts and recording a solid 14.7 PER. Nonetheless, the team decided not to bring Brown back this season, withdrawing their qualifying offer in July to make him an unrestricted free agent.
The Spurs have only 14 players under contract before signing Brown, and not all of those deals are even guaranteed, so it would seem like the former Bobcat has a good chance to earn a spot on the club's regular-season roster. Still, San Antonio has worked out a number of free agents in recent weeks, and could make another veteran addition or two before training camp opens.
Unrestricted free agent Derrick Brown will work out for the Spurs next week and the Hawks the week after, in search of an NBA job, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. According to Haynes, Brown is also hoping to schedule a workout with the Nets, who appear to be back in the market for a small forward after Donte Greene suffered an ankle fracture.
Haynes adds that Brown, a three-year veteran, had been entertaining offers from teams overseas, but has shifted his focus back to landing an NBA contract. The 6'7" wing spent the 2011/12 season with the Bobcats, playing in all but one game and earning 17 starts. In 22.2 minutes per contest, Brown averaged 8.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and a 14.7 PER, shooting 51.8% from the field. Based on his solid production and his age (24), it's a little surprising he hasn't drawn more interest this offseason.
Brown started the summer as a restricted free agent, but the Bobcats decided to pull their $1.1MM qualifying offer in mid-July. Having drafted a pair of small forwards in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffrey Taylor, the Bobcats didn't figure to have Brown in their long-term plans.