The Raptors have waived D.J. Augustin, the team announced. The move is a precursor to the completion of the seven-player trade Toronto and the Kings agreed to last night. The deal left the Raptors with 16 players, forcing them to drop one before the swap becomes official. Augustin signed a one-year, $1.267MM deal in the offseason, and since it’s fully guaranteed, his cap hit will remain on Toronto’s books.
The move spares Dwight Buycks and Julyan Stone, who also appeared candidates to be cut. Stone might have made the most sense, since his partially guaranteed contract for the minimum salary has in essence become non-guaranteed, but he remains, as does Buycks, who also makes less than Augustin. There was “no chance” the Raptors would let go of Stone, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
It’s been a tough comedown for Augustin, the ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft who turned down an extension from the Bobcats a couple of years ago, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes (on Twitter). He underperformed after signing a one-year, $3.5MM contract with the Pacers last season, and was averaging just 8.2 minutes per game in 10 appearances for Toronto this year.
News of the pending trade between the Raptors and Kings overshadowed Kobe Bryant‘s return to the Lakers, which was supposed to be the story of Sunday night around the NBA. There are plenty of reverberations in the wake of the deal that featured Rudy Gay, and we’ll round them up here:
- The Raptors were at the 15-man roster limit before the trade, and since they’re acquiring four players and giving up three, they’ll have to cut someone. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun initially figured D.J. Augustin was ripe for the chopping block before hearing Dwight Buycks was most likely to go (Twitter links). HoopsWorld’s Steve Kyler pegs Julyan Stone as the probable cut, but Wolstat (on Twitter) thinks Stone is most likely to stick.
- There was increasing mutual dissatisfaction between the Raptors and Gay, note Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. It’s almost certain that Gay will exercise his $19.3MM option for next season, Wojnarowski and Spears write, and the Kings didn’t ask Gay about his plans regarding the option before agreeing to the trade, USA Today’s Sam Amick tweets.
- The Raptors might not be weakening their team this season, Kyler writes in his NBA AM piece, figuring the players they’re acquiring might be much better than the ones they’re sending out. Kyler also suggests the Kings may use the next couple of months to evaluate Gay to decide whether to flip him at the trade deadline.
- Raptors coach Dwane Casey remains on shaky ground, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The Raptors spoke to nearly every team in the league about Gay, Lowe writes, specifically mentioning the Pistons, Bucks and Cavs.
- Toronto brass had already decided to rebuild before they found a taker for Gay, but sources told SportsNet’s Michael Grange just two days prior to the deal that GM Masai Ujiri had essentially given up on what seemed like a futile search for a trade partner.
- In the same piece, Grange writes that league sources were stunned that the Kings were willing to take on Gay, with one executive asking rhetorically, “Doesn’t Sacramento watch the games?”
- Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro has been struggling to accept the idea of another losing season for Sacramento, which helps explain why he’s been so active on the trade market, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com has updated his salary database to account for every NBA team’s opening night roster, and in the process has provided several contract details that had previously been unreported. Let’s round up Deeks’ new info, which has now been incorporated into our list of non-guaranteed salaries and our schedule of guarantee dates….
- Daniel Orton and Brandon Davies were late additions to the Sixers‘ roster, but they received the same kind of deals that many of the team’s other offseason signees did: Non-guaranteed four-year pacts. Hollis Thompson, meanwhile, landed a $35K guarantee for this season on his four-year contract.
- When Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors listed the camp cuts who had been owed guaranteed money, he noted that the guarantees for Vander Blue, Khalif Wyatt, and Richard Howell were still unknown. Deeks fills in those amounts, reporting that the Sixers paid Blue $55K and Wyatt $35K. Howell received $50K from the Trail Blazers.
- Unlike most players on non-guaranteed contracts, A.J. Price won’t have to wait until the new year for his salary to become fully guaranteed. He’ll get his full minimum salary as long as he’s not waived by the Timberwolves on or before December 8th.
- Julyan Stone‘s two-year contract with the Raptors was initially guaranteed for $50K, but that amount was bumped up to $100K when he earned a spot on the regular season roster.
- Dionte Christmas (Suns) and Henry Sims (Cavaliers) both received partial guarantees worth $50K.
- The Hawks‘ agreement with Cartier Martin is just for one year, for a fully non-guaranteed minimum salary.
The Raptors have released Carlos Morais and Chris Wright, the team announced today in a press release. That will leave Julyan Stone as Toronto’s 15th man, and the only non-guaranteed player on the roster.
Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun had reported (via Twitter) that Stone was expected to survive this weekend’s roster cuts. The former Nuggets guard reached an agreement with Toronto earlier this summer, which was nixed when he failed a physical. It seems the team, and new GM Masai Ujiri, still liked him enough to offer a non-guaranteed contract and a regular season roster spot.
The New York Post’s Marc Berman (via Twitter) thinks it was a bad sign for C.J. Leslie’s chances of making the Knicks roster after the rookie forward didn’t receive any playing time during tonight’s pre-season game against the Wizards. On the other hand, Berman and Newsday’s Al Iannazzone both made note that Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was particularly pleased with training camp invites Toure Murry and Ike Diogu (Twitter links). It should be noted that Murry and Diogu are playing on non-guaranteed contracts, while Leslie has a partially-guaranteed deal.
Here are some more links to pass along out of the Atlantic Division:
- ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor writes that unless the Knicks are clearly the best option for a chance to win a ring, Carmelo Anthony would be foolish to not test the waters in free agency next summer. O’Connor argues that opting out would put pressure on GM Steve Mills to come up with a viable championship vision and abandon the idea of relying on J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani as the next best options on offense.
- Raptors head coach Dwane Casey tells Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that he wants the second unit to be able to increase leads or hold serve when they enter the game, and added that Landry Fields‘ ability to knock down shots – in addition to the other intangibles he brings to the table – would be a huge plus for the team.
- Casey also had this to say about training camp hopeful Julyan Stone: “He reminds me of a younger Nate McMillan with that long, lanky body that can defend. He showed that he can play,”
- Though ESPN had originally reported that Allen Iverson plans to officially announce his retirement before the 76ers host the Heat in their home opener, a team spokesperson could not confirm the report (Tom Moore of Bucks County Courier Times).
Mike Dunleavy was one of the first free agents to come off the board this July, inking a two-year deal with the Bulls worth the taxpayer’s mid-level exception. And as he tells K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, he isn’t regretting his decision.
“Everything I was hoping for, whether it be playing for [Tom Thibodeau] or playing with Derrick [Rose], has been better than I expected,” Dunleavy said. “And I had heard great things.”
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Within that same Tribune piece, Johnson suggests that Mike James is the probable frontrunner to be the Bulls‘ 13th man, while Dexter Pittman is also a candidate.
- The Bulls are prepared to move on from Marquis Teague, who probably could be had for cheap, according to Mark Deeks at The Score. Deeks says that Teague’s increased playing time in the team’s most recent preseason game was meant to be a showcase for potential suitors.
- Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld examines the Celtics and Rajon Rondo in his latest column, wondering if keeping Rondo through the 2013/14 season could slow down Boston’s rebuilding plan.
- Hollis Thompson is a long shot to make the Sixers on his non-guaranteed deal, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who examines the former Georgetown Hoya’s quest to beat the odds.
- Meanwhile, after tweeting yesterday that Vander Blue and Khalif Wyatt may be battling for a single Sixers roster spot, Tom Moore of Calkins Media goes into more depth on the competition, with quotes on both players from head coach Brett Brown.
- Not only is Larry Drew in his first year on the Bucks‘ bench, but he’ll have to “bring a whole new team together,” as he tells Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The team has yet to finalize its 15-man roster, but when it does, 11 of Milwaukee’s 15 players figure to be new additions.
- Julyan Stone is making a strong case to be the Raptors‘ 15th man, says Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
SEPTEMBER 19TH: The Raptors have officially confirmed the signings of Stone and Wright, via a press release. The release also includes confirmation of Carlos Morais' deal, which we heard about over the weekend.
SEPTEMBER 13TH: The Raptors have 14 players currently on guaranteed contracts, but figure to have at least 17 players in camp next month, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star (via Twitter). Smith identifies two of the team's camp invitees as Julyan Stone and Chris Wright.
Stone agreed to terms with the Raptors earlier in the offseason, but that deal fell through when the 24-year-old failed a physical with the club. A report last month indicated that the two sides had remained in touch, and the new arrangement suggests that the Raps still have interest in bringing Stone to camp if little or no guaranteed money is involved. As I noted when Toronto first reached an agreement with the guard, the presence of new GM Masai Ujiri in the team's front office was likely a significant factor in the signing the former Nugget.
As for the Raptors' other invitee, there are two Chris Wrights with NBA experience, so we'll have to wait for further word from Smith or confirmation from the team to be 100% sure which one is heading to Toronto. But I'm assuming the Wright in question is the forward from Dayton, rather than the guard from Georgetown. The Dayton product participated in camp with the Raps a year ago, so it makes sense that the team would bring him back for another look, and perhaps to give him another shot at a regular-season roster spot.
According to Hoopsworld.com's Alex Kennedy, the Heat have recently expressed interest in several free agents, including Von Wafer, Julyan Stone, Justin Holiday, Yakhouba Diawara, and Larry Drew II.
The 28-year-old Wafer last played in the NBA during the 2011/12 season as a member of the Magic. He averaged 5.9 PPG in 33 appearances. Only 24 years old and with two seasons under his belt with the Nuggets, Stone appeared in four games last year, but has reportedly agreed to a training camp deal with the Raptors.
The Heat have 13 players on guaranteed contracts, not including the recently signed Michael Beasley, who is on a non-guaranteed deal.
After the initial agreed upon contract fell through, Julyan Stone is still in discussions for the Raptors to honor their deal, a league source told Shams Charania of RealGM. Meanwhile, three other NBA teams have emerged as serious suitor for the point guard.
Toronto agreed to a two-year, $1.9MM deal with Stone last month but the deal was called off due to unknown issues with his physical. Since then, GM Masai Ujiri and Stone’s representatives have maintained an open dialogue. The 6-foot-6 guard wants to play for a club that will give him significant minutes, according to Charania.
Since breaking things off with Stone, the Raptors signed guards Dwight Buycks and D.J. Augustin in support of Kyle Lowry, creating some difficulty in reversing course on Stone. In 26 total NBA games, the 24-year-old has averages of 1.7 PPG and 1.5 APG.
The battle for the Atlantic Division title in 2013/14 figures to be an intra-city affair between the Knicks and Nets. The Raptors don't appear to be on their level, and the Celtics and Sixers have taken clear steps back, so while we await a Big Apple showdown, here's the latest from the Atlantic:
- As part of his mailbag column, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star confirms the Raptors' deal with Julyan Stone is off. Smith suggested as much earlier this week. Stone, who was reportedly in line for $1.9MM over two years, failed his physical, and the club doesn't have any plans to rekindle negotiations with him.
- Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has plenty of criticism for the Knicks front office, and notes that there's mutual displeasure between Iman Shumpert and the team. The report he references about owner James Dolan's desire to trade Shumpert was an off-the-record remark from Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.com that remains unsubstantiated, but it's clear that all is not rosy in Madison Square Garden.
- James White, whom the Knicks waived last month, appears to have no shortage of overseas opportunities. Chinese league teams arranged for him to fly to Las Vegas so they could explore the possibility of signing him, and the 30-year-old swingman has also met with Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv, reports David Pick of One.co.il. (All Twitter links).
- The Celtics' agreement to sign Phil Pressey could push Colton Iverson, the team's second-round draft pick last month, to play in Europe this season. Iverson's camp has indicated they're willing to accept a deal with an overseas team to help the C's save roster space, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes amid his weekly league roundup.