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:
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....
Just a week after waiving him, the Grizzlies will re-sign D.J. Kennedy to their training camp roster, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via Twitter). Kennedy had already been on a non-guaranteed contract, so I'm not 100% sure why it was necessary to sign him to a new deal, but according to Tillery, the new contract limits the Grizzlies' liability.
Kennedy was acquired by the Grizzlies two months ago in the swap that sent Jeremy Pargo to the Cavaliers. When the 6'6" wing was cut by Memphis, it appeared the deal had just been a salary dump for the Grizzlies, but it seems the team at least likes Kennedy enough to bring him to training camp.
Kennedy spent most of last season in the D-League playing for the Erie Bayhawks, with whom he averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 44 games. When the 22-year-old was released, Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wondered if a return to the D-League would be next. Kennedy probably isn't a strong bet to make the Grizzlies' regular season roster, so perhaps we'll see him on the Reno Bighorns when the D-League season gets underway.
The Spurs worked out unrestricted free agents Tracy McGrady and Josh Howard recently, and while San Antonio may not sign either player, the team has a history of signing veteran free agents, says LeAnna Kosub of the San Antonio Express-News. In a lengthy list, Kosub recalls some of the Spurs' more memorable veteran acquisitions, including Robert Horry, Michael Finley, and Antonio McDyess. As McGrady and Howard continue to look for work, here's the latest on a few other free agents that also remain unsigned:
The Grizzlies have waived forward D.J. Kennedy, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Kennedy was the only asset going the Grizzlies' way in the July 25th trade that sent Jeremy Pargo, a 2014 second-round draft pick, and cash to the Cavaliers. He had a non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract, so the swap will wind up amounting to a salary dump for Memphis. Pargo has a guaranteed deal for $1MM this season.
The 22-year-old, 6'6" Kennedy signed with the Cavs for the final week of the regular season, and appeared in just two games, posting a total of 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 59 minutes. He went undrafted out of St. John's in 2011 and spent most of last season playing for the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League, averaging 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 44 games.
Once he clears waivers, he'll be an unrestricted free agent, and the timing of the move allows him to catch on with another team before training camp. The Grizzles reached agreements with four camp invitees on Sunday, so getting rid of Kennedy brings the roster back down to 18 players, 13 of whom are believed to have at least a partial guarantee. Taking Kennedy's salary off the books lets the Grizzlies retain one of the camp invitees on a minimum-salary contract for the regular season, if they so choose, and stay below the luxury tax apron of $74.307MM, which allows for greater flexibility.
The Grizzlies have sent Jeremy Pargo, a 2014 second-round pick and cash to the Cavs for D.J. Kennedy, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports (Twitter link). Pargo is entering the final season of a two-year, $2MM contract, and his $1MM is guaranteed for 2012/13. Kennedy has two more seasons on his deal at the minimum salary, both of which are non-guaranteed. The Cavs put out a press release on their website confirming the move.
"Our approach remains consistent as we try to bring in young talent, create future opportunity with draft picks as potential assets and maintain flexibility," Cavs GM Chris Grant said in the release. "Jeremy adds depth to our backcourt. He is a young, aggressive, athletic guard who we feel fits well with our style of play, both defensively and offensively. We look forward to welcoming him to Cleveland."
Pargo, the younger brother of Jannero Pargo, made his NBA debut for the Grizzlies last season after going undrafted out of Gonzaga in 2009. He averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 assists in 9.6 minutes a game as a backup to point guard Mike Conley. The 6'6" Kennedy wasn't drafted last year out of St. John's, but caught on with the Cavs in the final week of the season and played in two games, scoring 12 points and pulling down seven rebounds in a total of 59 minutes. Kennedy spent most of the season in the D-League, putting up 15.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 4.4 APG in 37.4 MPG.
The Grizzlies are close to the luxury tax threshold of $70.31MM, so the deal might be a way for them to save money, since they could waive Kennedy without owing him anything. The Cavs have plenty of cap room to absorb the $1MM owed Pargo, and helps them at point guard, where the team is thin behind starter Kyrie Irving.
The Cavaliers announced that they have signed guard/forward D.J. Kennedy from the D-League for the remainder of the season. In 44 regular season games with the Erie BayHawks, the 22-year-old averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 37.4 minutes per game.
The swingman played four seasons at St. John’s, putting up 11.7 PPG on .436 shooting, 6.1 RPG, and 2.4 APG in 30.4 minutes per contest. Kennedy suffered a major setback in last year's NCAA tournament when he tore his ACL in the Red Storm's quarterfinal loss to Syracuse.