Quincy Miller is one of a handful of players whose contract will become guaranteed by virtue of earning a spot on his team’s opening day roster, as our schedule of guarantee dates shows. Now that he’s breathing a little easier, Miller can focus on contributing to the Nuggets, particularly with players ahead of him in the rotation sidelined with injuries, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post.
Here are a few more Sunday odds and ends:
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
5:02pm: The Mavs have waived Renaldo Balkman, Devin Ebanks, D.J. Kennedy and Fab Melo, the team announced via press release. The move makes official the news about Balkman that he himself revealed earlier today, and leaves Mickey McConnell as the team’s only camp invitee left. McConnell, a 24-year-old guard, was the only player without NBA experience that Dallas brought to camp, but it appears as though he might have made the strongest impression. Still, it seems unlikely he’ll remain with the club through the end of the week, since the Mavs would have to cut someone on a fully guaranteed deal to keep him.
It’s the second time in two months that Melo has hit waivers, after the Grizzlies let him go in late August. That was shortly after Memphis acquired him from the Celtics, and it appears the NBA career of the center whom Boston drafted 22nd overall in 2012 is in jeopardy. Ebanks turned down a $650K offer from China to sign with the Mavs, so perhaps he’ll head overseas, if the Chinese club is still interested. An Italian team had interest in Kennedy before he indicated he would prefer to sign in the NBA, so he could be headed for international ball, too.
Balkman admits his violent incident while playing in the Philippines last year could make some front offices squeamish, but his camp stint with the Mavs, where coach Rick Carlisle counted him as a welcome presence, could help his chances of returning to the NBA at some point. All four players the Mavs waived today were on non-guaranteed deals, so the team isn’t on the hook for any of their salaries.
4:57pm: Renaldo Balkman has told Puerto Rican radio station TAB Deportes 101.3 that the Mavs have let him go (Twitter link; translation via Sportando). The team has yet to officially announce the move, but the subtraction would be no surprise, since he’s one of five players with non-guaranteed deals on the Mavs, who have 15 others on fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster counts show.
Few NBA teams had less roster turnover this offseason than the Grizzlies. As our free agent tracker shows, the only player who signed with the team for more than the minimum was Tony Allen, who has played in Memphis since 2010 and emerged as one of the club's leaders. However, the team will be in for some changes on the bench, where former assistant Dave Joerger takes over the head coaching job from the departed Lionel Hollins. Joerger tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld that while he'll stick to many of the things that made last year's team successful, he expects to add a few new wrinkles to the mix as well.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Former Pistons head coach John Kuester is currently the top candidate to be hired as Brett Brown's lead assistant with the 76ers, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype spoke to Ricky Rubio, who identified the Timberwolves' new deals with Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger as the club's best signings of the summer.
- Rebuilding is often a necessary process, but it has to give way to something substantial eventually, writes Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com. Deeks examines the free agent fates of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, noting that the Hawks were able to land Millsap for fewer years and dollars than the Bobcats signed Jefferson in part because Charlotte is paying a sort of "Bobcats tax" based on its reputation as a perennial lottery team.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Larry Coon lists the Nets, Bobcats, and Rockets among the winners of the league's new CBA, while placing the Celtics, Bulls, and Thunder in the losers column.
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside takes a look at D.J. Kennedy's persistent quest to earn a spot on an NBA roster. Kennedy will be in camp with the Mavericks in October.
According to the team, the Mavericks have officially signed Fab Melo, D.J. Kennedy, and Mickey McConnell, upping their roster total to 18 players.
Earlier today, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that Melo and Dallas had reached a deal. Kennedy made the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star game as a representative of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the league's 2013 champions. He has experience with the Cavaliers.
McConnell spent last season playing for Tezenis VE in Italy, averaging 13.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 2.7 APG in 32 games.
As we continue counting down the days until NBA training camps open, let's round up a few Friday odds and ends from around the Association….
- In an interesting piece at ESPN.com, Kevin Arnovitz speaks to Bucks executives John Hammond and David Morway about Milwaukee's aversion to tanking, and the team's "build-on-the-go" approach.
- Sportando passes along a Gazzetta di Reggio report suggesting that Italian team Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia no longer seems to be pursuing D.J. Kennedy, who is focused on landing an NBA camp invite. Justin Holiday, who was released by the Sixers earlier this summer, may be a target for the Italian club, according to the report.
- Despite the fact that Jeremy Tyler underwent foot surgery and will likely miss the next two months, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com argues (via Twitter) that the Knicks should wait to see how he heals rather than cutting him anytime soon. Begley notes that New York has made a "financial commitment" to Tyler already, though only $100K of the big man's $884K salary is guaranteed.
- Whether or not the Knicks hang on to Tyler, the team appears likely to add another big man to compete for a roster spot, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
- It's not out of the question that Gal Mekel turns out to be a better point guard for the Mavericks than Shane Larkin, according to Bryan Gutierrez of ESPNDallas.com, who gives the Mavs a grade of B for the team's signing of the Israeli guard.
- In addition to working out for the Nets, 6'10" forward Kyle Hunt will also audition for the Pacers, says Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside.
- Recent Clippers signee Brandon Davies is prepared to make an impression in camp and earn a roster spot, as he tells Eric Patten of Clippers.com.
As we noted earlier this morning, one of the more intriguing big men still available in free agency came off the board today, when Ivan Johnson signed with China's Zhejiang Golden Bulls. Today's round of international updates includes more tidbits on Johnson's decision, along with notes on a couple other former NBA players. Let's dive in….
- Johnson's one-year deal in China doesn't include an opt-out, but the CBA season ends before the NBA season does, so the ex-Hawk is hoping to catch on with an NBA team after his run with the Golden Bulls ends, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
- The Bulls, Knicks, Clippers, and Pacers all had some interest in Johnson, according to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. However, agent Jeremiah Haylett tells Zwerling that Zhejiang's offer was "so lucrative" that it persuaded his client to opt for China (Twitter links).
- Enea Trapani of Sportando, citing Meidan Katsnelson, reports that Shelden Williams has turned down offers from Euroleague teams in search of a more lucrative deal. Williams, who played in France last season, may end up in China, according to Trapani.
- Sportando also passes along a Gazzetta di Reggio report suggesting that Italian team Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia is targeting D.J. Kennedy, and keeping an eye on Cory Higgins and Lazar Hayward as possible alternatives. All three players have at least a little NBA experience, and may be more inclined to seek out NBA offers if those are available.
Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News has tons of interesting bits in his latest column and we have the highlights..
- There has been talk about the Nets looking for a “fresh face" rather than going with an established coach and Italian coach Ettore Messina would fit the bill, along with Pacers assisstant Brian Shaw. A group of Russian Nets executives who report to Mikhail Prokhorov is quite familiar with Messina, which could help his candidacy. Communication also won't be an issue for Messina as he speaks English fluently. “Players will find that Ettore has the technical mind to do the job, he can do the X’s and O’s, so strategically, it would not be hard for him at all,’’ said Spurs GM R.C. Buford.
- The Pacers know they need outside shooting help and would love to add Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick. Both players, of course, will be free agents on July 1. The club's other free agents, Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin, are expendable, which can give them some extra breathing space this offseason.
- David Stern plans to step down from the competition committee – which has the power to make rules changes – once he's done being commissioner. Lawrence's bet, however, is that he’ll still be used by the committee as a consultant.
- Lionel Hollins wants to paint Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerger like the bad guy if he doesn’t get a new deal in Memphis, but people in the NBA feel that he hasn’t done anything to bounce Hollins and get the job for himself. The Memphis front office doesn’t want Hollins back unless it’s on the cheap and he starts buying into the club's statistical analysis.
- New Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wants to hire Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman to be his top assistant. Weltman and former Knick president Scott Layden were up for the Suns gig that went to Ryan McDonough.
With the NCAA tournament approaching, it won't be long before we begin to receive reports on college underclassmen declaring their intent to enter this year's NBA draft. One player who may leave school early is Louisville junior Gorgui Dieng, who I profiled back in December. As Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reports, Louisville coach Rick Pitino is nearly certain that Dieng will enter this June's draft class.
"If he is projected as a first-rounder, he is leaving," Pitino said. "And I'm almost sure he'll be taken in the first round."
Here are a few more Wednesday afternoon odds and ends:
- "Every indication" is that if Andre Iguodala opts out of his contract this season, he'll do so to lock up a long-term deal with the Nuggets, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Iguodala has a 2013/14 player option worth about $16.15MM.
- Count George Karl among those who is hoping the Kings remain in Sacramento, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. "I think everybody knows I'm a Seattle guy and I want basketball back in Seattle, but I don't want basketball out of Sacramento," the Nuggets coach said. "It's a politically correct answer, but it's a truthful answer on how I feel."
- Dwight Howard told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, that he'd thought "plenty of times" about how the season may have played out if he hadn't returned from back surgery so quickly. However, Howard doesn't regret his decision to come back early. D12 also mentioned that he has received encouragement from Phil Jackson via text messages.
- Ian Thomsen of SI.com ranks the top ten most powerful people in the NBA, with David Stern beating out LeBron James for the No. 1 spot.
- The Rio Grande Valley Vipers (the Rockets' D-League affiliate) have acquired D.J. Kennedy in a five-player trade, as Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside details. Kennedy, who had a brief NBA stint at the end of last season with the Cavaliers, had been having an excellent year for the Erie BayHawks, averaging 18.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 5.5 APG.
- ESPN.com's Chad Ford fielded exclusively draft-related questions in his usual Wednesday chat.
The latest on various moves and happenings from around the D-League on Sunday afternoon:
The annual NBA D-League draft takes place tonight, as the league's 16 teams look to stock up their rosters for the coming season. Former first-round pick JaJuan Johnson is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, but there are plenty of familiar names among the list of players eligible to be drafted. Let's round up a few D-League updates as the draft approaches….
- The D-League's official site has the complete list of draft-eligible players, with its picks for the top 25 prospects in bold.
- As we've discussed in previous posts, NBA teams are permitted to retain the rights to three camp invitees and assign them to their D-League affiliates. For instance, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets, the Cavaliers protected the rights to Micheal Eric, Kevin Jones, and Kevin Anderson. These players are ineligible to be drafted by a rival team tonight, though they could still be signed by another NBA team, if the club was willing to use one of its 15-man roster spots.
- D-League teams have announced their camp invitees in advance of the draft, as Gino Pilato of Ridiculous Upside writes. Among the notable names: Justin Dentmon and Luther Head of the Austin Toros, Seth Tarver of the Idaho Stampede, Troy Hudson and Keith Benson of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and D.J. Kennedy of the Erie BayHawks.