After cutting Kwame Brown and Darius Morris earlier today, the 76ers announced that they have signed free agent guards Elliot Williams and Lorenzo Brown.
Williams received a camp invite from the Cavaliers this season but was waived prior to the start of this season. Williams was selected by the Trail Blazers 22nd overall in the 2010 NBA Draft but appeared in only 24 games for the team – all during the 2011/12 season – in which he averaged 6.2 MPG and 3.7 PPG. Williams is represented by Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group.
Brown was the Timberwolves’ second-round pick in this year’s draft but was cut and signed by the team’s D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, prior to the season. Brown played point guard for North Carolina State last year. Brown is represented by Andy Miller of ASM Sports.
It is 76ers team policy to not disclose the terms of these signings but it is assumed both will be for the minimum salary.
Jonathan Nehring contributed to this post.
The Cavaliers appear to have finalized their roster for opening night, having released four players to reduce their roster count to 15 players. The team announced today in a press release that it has waived DeSagana Diop, Kenny Kadji, Jermaine Taylor, and Elliot Williams.
The roster decisions aren’t a huge surprise for the Cavs, who were expected to hang on to camp invitees Henry Sims and Matthew Dellavedova. Diop, Kadji, Taylor, and Williams were all believed to be on fully non-guaranteed contracts, so they won’t affect Cleveland’s books at all this season.
Elliot Williams has accepted an invitation to join the Cavaliers for training camp, giving him another chance to fulfill the promise that made him a 2010 first-round pick, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who confirms that the deal is non-guaranteed. Williams missed all of 2012/13 for the Trail Blazers after tearing his left Achilles tendon, and he didn't play in his rookie year because of surgeries on both knees.
Portland took Williams 22nd in the 2010 draft, but he wound up only appearing in 24 games with the club, all of them in 2011/12. The shooting guard from Memphis averaged just 3.7 points in 6.2 minutes per game during his time with the Blazers, who declined the fourth-year option on his rookie deal before last season. Williams didn't take part in NBA summer league action this year.
Fellow NBA veteran Jermaine Taylor appears set to take part in Cavs camp as well, so Williams will bring Cleveland's roster to 17 players. Williams is a client of Wasserman Media Group agent Thad Foucher, as the Hoops Rumors Agency Database shows.
Here are a few odds and ends from around the NBA on Wednesday night:
- Kris Joseph, who was waived last month by the Celtics, is weighing international offers in Italy, Russia and France as well as a few NBA invites, tweets Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest.
- Haynes also tweets that free agent guard Delonte West has impressed at a coach's camp in Las Vegas. West, who spent some time in the D-League last year, hasn't played in the NBA since his 2011/12 campaign with the Mavericks. West has also played with the Celtics and Cavs.
- The Heat have named advance scout Pat Delany the head coach of their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
- Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM evaluates the prospects of the eight 2010 first-round picks that are currently not on NBA rosters – Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, Luke Babbitt, Craig Brackins, Elliot Williams, Damion James, Dominique Jones and Lazar Hayward.
- Andrew Wiggins has the potential to single-handedly turn around an NBA franchise, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, adding that his ceiling has teams lining up to better their chances for his services. Kennedy names the Sixers, Magic, Suns, Bobcats, Kings and Jazz as the six teams who have positioned themselves for Wiggins, and Celtics and Raptors as outside possibilities.
Free agents continue to reach deals with teams across the NBA in advance of Wednesday, when agreements can become official. Here's the latest on the moves that could be next:
- The Mavs were in contact with Andrew Bynum even before Dwight Howard turned them down, and Stein tweets that Dallas is indeed pursuing the oft-injured Bynum now that Howard is out of the picture. Still, the Mavs will make a detailed and careful evaluation of the big man's health before reaching an agreement, according to Stein.
- Jeff Teague's camp is becoming increasingly frustrated with the Hawks, who have yet to engage in meaningful negotiations on a new deal, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). The point guard is a restricted free agent, so Atlanta controls his destiny.
- The Kings aren't considering Andrei Kirilenko, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.
- The Knicks remain in play for Elton Brand, as do other teams, but a decision could come this weekend, a source tells Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
- The Jazz and Grizzlies also made offers to Dorell Wright, who wound up agreeing to join the Blazers instead, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The Thunder also made an offer, as previously reported, Haynes notes.
- Decision makers within the Blazers front office have led The Oregonian's Joe Freeman to expect that the team won't re-sign Elliot Williams (Twitter link).
- Joe Dumars, fresh off his agreement to sign Josh Smith, has his sights on a perimeter sharpshooter for the Pistons, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (on Twitter). Keith Langlois of Pistons.com agrees, and hints that the team could hit the trade market as well (Twitter link).
Joe Freeman of the Oregonian was among the reporters addressed by Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey about the team's priorities for the upcoming offseason, among them finding a starting center and adding depth to the bench in spots six through ten. Although it isn't likely that Portland will tender a qualifying offer to Eric Maynor this summer, Olshey spoke as though the team still hopes to keep him as part of their future. Also, he said that the Trail Blazers would consider retaining Elliot Williams, whose team option for 2013-14 had been declined earlier this season (All Twitter links here).
Though the team finished with nearly a two percent drop in winning percentage compared to 2011-12, this season marked Olshey's first as well as head coach Terry Stott's tenure with the franchise. With the viewpoint that the current roster isn't talented enough, all signs point to another busy offseason, especially with a bevy of cap space at their disposal to continue building around Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard. Olshey relayed that he spoke with team owner Paul Allen yesterday and promised that the franchise would be more competitive next year.
The Lakers announced yesterday that Metta World Peace underwent successful surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus, and will miss six weeks. Whether or not the Lakers make the playoffs, World Peace's season could be over, and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wondered yesterday if the veteran forward has played his last game as a Laker.
World Peace isn't necessarily in the final year of his contract, since he has a player option for next season. However, if he exercises that option, he becomes a prime candidate to be amnestied. If he declines the option, he'll hit unrestricted free agency. Either way, the man formerly known as Ron Artest may sign a new contract before he plays in his next NBA game.
A number of players are in the same situation as World Peace, with potential free agency looming and an injury keeping them off the court. Here are a few guys who we may not see play for their current teams again, and whose free agent stocks could be affected by their current injuries:
- Leandro Barbosa (Wizards): If you'd forgotten Barbosa was on the Wizards' roster, you're probably not alone. Acquired for salary purposes in the deal that sent Jordan Crawford to Boston, Barbosa is on an expiring minimum-salary contract, and his ACL/MCL injury may hurt his chances of signing another deal this offseason. Having suffered the season-ending injury in February, he probably won't be healthy in time for fall camps.
- Rodrigue Beaubois (Mavericks): Eligible for restricted free agency this summer, Beaubois underwent surgery on his hand last week, and is unlikely to return this season. I doubt the Mavs will make him a qualifying offer, and there's a good chance he doesn't return to Dallas.
- Andrew Bynum (76ers): As well-documented as any non-Derrick Rose injury this season, Bynum's ongoing knee troubles will certainly hurt his earning potential in free agency this summer, and may also ensure he never plays a game with the Sixers.
- Richard Hamilton (Bulls): While Hamilton remains optimistic that he'll play again this season, his ongoing health problems will likely lead the Bulls to part ways with him this summer. Hamilton's $5MM salary for 2013/14 is partially guaranteed, so he figures to receive a $1MM buyout and hit the free agent market.
- Sasha Pavlovic (Trail Blazers): Pavlovic's quad injury has kept him out of action for more than a month, but even if he were healthy, he doesn't appear to be part of the Trail Blazers' plans. Although he's under contract for two more seasons, both years are non-guaranteed, so he may find himself seeking a new deal this July.
- A.J. Price (Wizards): Price earned 22 starts this season for the Wizards, so perhaps the team will have interest in bringing him back next year. He's eager to return to the court to try to improve his free agent stock, but for now, groin issues are keeping him out indefinitely.
- Brandon Roy (Timberwolves): All the time Roy has missed this season with knee problems ensured that the second year of his contract with the Timberwolves became non-guaranteed, and there's virtually no chance the Wolves will retain him and his $5.33MM salary. If Roy is forced to call it a career at season's end, it would be an unfortunate way for him to go out, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where we're headed.
- Brandon Rush (Warriors): After going down during the season's first week, Rush underwent knee surgery in January that ended his year. Fortunately for him, he's got a $4MM player option for 2013/14, so he figures to be returning to the Warriors rather than looking for work next year.
- Jason Smith (Hornets): Out for the season with a torn labrum, Smith, like Hamilton, has a partially guaranteed contract for 2013/14. The price to keep him wouldn't be exorbitant – $1MM of his $2.5MM salary is guaranteed – so we'll have to wait and see what the Hornets decide.
- Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace (Knicks): A pair of aging Knicks bigs on expiring contracts, it would be a little surprising to see both Thomas and Wallace playing in the NBA next year, even if they return in the playoffs. Even if Thomas and Wallace wanted to extend their playing careers, their latest foot issues would raise red flags for any interested teams.
- Elliot Williams (Trail Blazers): Unlike some other players on this list, Williams is no lock to receive an NBA contract, especially if he can't show that he's healthy before the fall. That's probably why, even after surgery on his achilles, he talked about wanting to return to the court in '12/13 and auditioning in the Summer League.
Miami's win streak has reached 20 after they survived a spirited effort from the 76ers in Philly. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant is out "indefinitely" after he suffered a severe left ankle sprain late in the Lakers loss in Atlanta. With Carmelo Anthony's return to Denver nearing halftime, let's round up the final links from around the league on Wednesday night here:
- The Blazers, who have a top-12 protected first round pick, are in a conflicting position at 3.5 games out of a playoff spot, writes Jason Quick of the Oregonian. If the season ended today they would retain their selection, and Blazers scouts are spread across the country accordingly, taking in the NCAA conference tournaments. Portland GM Neil Olshey implemented a new draft strategy in Portland, which consists of each scout watching a targeted group of 15 to 18 college players at least three times. The Blazers would currently pick 12th.
- Blazers guard Elliot Williams plans on using the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas as an audition this summer to prove his health, writes Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest. Williams tore his left Achilles in September in a voluntary team workout, but claims to be nearing a full recovery. Portland declined the fourth-year option on Williams in October, making him an unrestricted free agent come summer.
- St. John's freshman Jakarr Sampson, who is considering entering June's NBA draft, had a tough night against Villanova in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, going 5-of-18 from the field. The performance prompted Jonathan Givony of Draft Express to hope, via Twitter, that Sampson stays in school, opining that there is no guarantee that the 6-foot-8 swingman would even be drafted. Maurice Harkless left St. John's after his freshman season just under a year ago, before being drafted 15th by the Sixers and moved to the Magic in the Andrew Bynum deal.
When the Trail Blazers acquired Eric Maynor from the Thunder at last Thursday's trade deadline, the club needed to waive a player to make room on the roster for the new addition. Elliot Williams, who underwent surgery on his left Achilles last fall and was expected to miss the entire season, was the obvious candidate to be released, since the team didn't pick up his 2013/14 option, but Portland cut Ronnie Price instead.
While the move may have suggested that Williams remains part of the Blazers' long-term plan, that's not a decision that GM Neil Olshey has made yet, as he tells Joe Freeman of the Oregonian.
"Right now we just don’t have a big enough sample size to make a decision on whether Elliot is a part of the future or he isn’t," Olshey said. "We’ve been able to evaluate everybody else on the roster. But with him, there’s still some uncertainty there and we wanted to keep him in the fold going forward."
For his part, Williams is recovering well and hasn't given up hope that he could return to the court before the Blazers' season is over. While he acknowledges that it may not make sense for him to play this season and that he doesn't want to rush anything, the 23-year-old guard is still working to get to 100% before he becomes a free agent. As Freeman writes, the sooner Williams gets healthy, the sooner the team will be able to evaluate whether he'll be ready to contribute next season, and whether he'll be worth further investment.
Just as we crossed into the final month before the trade deadline, the first deal of the new year went down today, and the action will no doubt pick up going forward. Here are a few more notes from a busy evening.
- J.J. Redick, an unrestricted free agent at season's end, wants a raise on his $6.19MM salary, but the Magic want him to take a hometown discount, reports USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt. If the team doesn't believe it can re-sign him when the trade deadline rolls around, Zillgitt won't be surprised to see the Magic trade Redick, since they don't want to lose him without any return.
- The Wizards are looking to make moves, and Jordan Crawford is drawing the most interest of any of the players they'd make available, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler reveals, noting rookie Bradley Beal isn't among the players they're dangling, Kyler adds.
- Damion James is heading back to the D-League's Bakersfield Jam, as the Nets have opted not to renew his 10-day contract, which expires tonight, tweets NetsDaily.com.
- Jae Crowder's contract with the Mavs is fully guaranteed through next season, but he doesn't want that to be the end of his tenure in Dallas, where he wants to play his entire career, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reveals.
- Elliot Williams, who tore his left Achilles tendon in September, isn't ruling out the possibility he could return at some point this season, as he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The league, believing he was done for the year, has already granted the Blazers a disabled player exception, but the team will get to keep it even if he makes it back.
- Ben Baroff of SheridanHoops.com believes there will be more deals similar to today's Cavs-Grizzlies trade in the years to come, as luxury tax penalties become more severe.
- Amid another round of Dwight Howard rumors, Nets brass has assured Brook Lopez he won't be traded, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.