SATURDAY, 4:56pm: All three players have been officially waived, the team announced.
8:47pm: All three players have been waived, according to the RealGM transactions log. No announcement from the team has been made yet.
THURSDAY, 11:58am: The Heat are waiving Larry Drew II, Tyler Johnson and Shawn Jones, as coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters today, including Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). The team has yet to make a formal announcement, but Miami hopes that all three will sign with its D-League affiliate, tweets Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. The Heat has a $75K partial guarantee with Johnson and $25K with Drew, so the team will be on the hook for those amounts assuming they clear waivers. Jones has been on a non-guaranteed pact.
The athletic Johnson appeared in only one preseason game, but he performed well, scoring 17 points and coming up with four steals in more than 36 minutes of action. Jones averaged 3.0 points in 16.5 minutes per game in four preseason contests, while Drew, who signed on Monday, hasn’t played in any of the team’s exhibitions. Johnson and Jones went undrafted this summer, while Drew spent much of last season with the Heat’s D-League affiliate after joining Miami for camp last year.
The moves will leave Miami with 16 players, including 11 with fully guaranteed contracts. Three others have partial guarantees, while Shannon Brown and Andre Dawkins are on non-guaranteed deals.
The Celtics intend to take a good look at Jarell Eddie prior to the beginning of the regular season, Tom Layman of The Boston Herald writes. “He’s a player that we watched in college at Virginia Tech. He’s a player that we watched in his exhibition games with Atlanta and he’s always been a player that has been intriguing to us,” Boston GM Danny Ainge said. “We are going to evaluate him before training camp ends.” The Celtics claimed Eddie off of waivers from the Hawks on Friday.
Here’s more from the east:
- Jordan Vandenberg‘s minimum salary deal with the Knicks includes a partial guarantee for $27K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). Vandenberg was signed with an eye on sending him to the NBA D-League, as Pincus also notes.
- The Celitcs‘ preseason roster count currently sits at 17, meaning the team still has to waive a minimum of two players prior to the deadline. The staff over at CSNNE.com analyze Boston’s frontcourt situation, including where each player fits in the current rotation.
- With Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen slowed by injuries, Khem Birch could have the advantage for the Heat‘s 15th and final regular season roster spot, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel opines (Twitter link). Miami’s preseason roster count currently sits at 16 players.
The Heat front office wasn’t deflated when they learned that LeBron James and his talents were returning to the Cavs, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Miami’s brass looked at the departure as a new opportunity and a fresh chapter, notes Zillgitt. The team wasn’t interested in a long rebuilding process, and Zillgitt points to the team bringing back Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as signing Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng as proof that the team still intends to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s more from the east:
- The Hawks have hired Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to help facilitate the sale of the franchise, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link).
- With 16 players remaining on their preseason roster the Celtics have at least one more personnel move to make prior to the regular season commencing. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com hands out his preseason grades for the players and notes where each currently fits in Boston’s plans.
- New Bucks team owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry face their first major franchise decision, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times writes. The two have to decide the contract future of Brandon Knight, whom they have until October 31st to work out an extension with or else he is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer, notes Woelfel. Knight’s numbers and age compare favorably with Eric Bledsoe‘s, but many around the league feel that the Suns overpaid when the re-signed Bledsoe to a five year, $70MM deal, so Knight may be hard pressed to duplicate Bledsoe’s near $14MM per season average, the Journal Times scribe relays.
- The Sixers still have 20 players on their preseason roster and a number of decisions to make before Saturday’s deadline to waive players so that they’re off the team by the time opening-night rosters are set on Monday. Casper Ware is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, but has a very real shot to stick with the team, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I feel good about it,” Ware said. “I don’t know what they have planned, I just control what I can control and play hard.”
The Clippers tied for third among the teams most likely to win the NBA title as the league’s GMs see it, as John Schuhmann of NBA.com details amid the results of the league’s annual GM survey. Still, they figure to receive a strong challenge in their own division from the Warriors. While we wait to see how it plays out, here’s the latest from the Pacific:
- Jordan Hill confirmed rumors from this past spring that he wouldn’t have re-signed with the Lakers if Mike D’Antoni were still the coach, as he tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Medina adds the Heat, Spurs and Magic to the list of suitors who went after the power forward this summer.
- Byron Scott stopped short of acknowledging that Ronnie Price is a lock to make the opening-night roster for the Lakers, but the coach said that injuries to the team’s other point guards would make it tough to let him go, Medina notes in a separate piece. “If you look at it that way, we have to [keep him],” Scott said. “Ronnie gets more of an opportunity. So far in my opinion, he has taken full advantage of it.”
- The Suns told Isaiah Thomas when they pitched him in free agency this summer that they valued him as a starter even though they made it clear they wanted to retain Eric Bledsoe, as Thomas tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Thomas isn’t concerned with whether he starts, but he did express continued bitterness toward the Kings, telling Kennedy he wasn’t surprised that they didn’t re-sign him and that he always felt the Sacramento organization underappreciated him.
TUESDAY, 5:01pm: Drew’s deal with Miami is for the minimum but includes only $25K of guaranteed salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter).
MONDAY, 12:41pm: The Heat have signed Larry Drew II, the team announced. Miami is limited to giving out the minimum salary, but it’s not clear if there’s any guaranteed money involved for the 24-year-old. The timing of the move is odd, as most teams are paring down their rosters rather than adding to them, and Drew played for the Heat’s affiliate in the D-League last season, which means the team wouldn’t have to sign him to the NBA roster just to gain his D-League rights.
The 6’0″ point guard averaged 11.4 points and 7.0 assists in 35.5 minutes a game across 41 appearances with Miami’s D-League affiliate last year. Drew spent training camp on the Heat’s NBA roster last fall after going undrafted out of UCLA.
The move gives the Heat 19 players. Miami had been carrying only 11 fully guaranteed contracts and partially guaranteed arrangements with four others. Drew is the son of former Hawks and Bucks head coach and current Cavs assistant coach Larry Drew.
More NBA players will hit waivers in the next week than at any other time of the year, but the Heat and Wizards are bucking the trend and bringing new players aboard. The Heat signed Larry Drew II on Monday and the Wizards are poised to do the same with John Lucas III. Still, both teams will have to make cuts, too, and it appears Washington already has three players destined for the waiver wire. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division.
- Pau Gasol admits that Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade recruited him heavily but says that the Heat‘s situation was too “unclear” at the time he made his decision to sign with the Bulls, notes Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report (on Twitter).
- Danny Ferry seems unlikely to return to the Hawks from his leave of absence, but Jeff Teague is the latest player to come out in support of the embattled GM after Ferry made racially derogatory remarks about Luol Deng, as Sekou Smith of NBA.com chronicles. “Me, knowing Danny, he’s a good dude,” Teague said. “He’s never said or done anything disrespectful like that to me. So when those things came out I didn’t overreact or think he was a racist or anything like that. It’s a mistake that anybody could make. And he’s dealing with it right now. And hopefully, he can come back from it.”
- P.J. Hairston is considering switching agents for the second time since becoming a pro, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). Former UNC-Greensboro player Rodney Blackstock is among those the Hornets‘ rookie is considering, Bonnell adds. Hairston switched to Jonathan Stahler of Upside Media Group after the discovery that his first agent, UMG’s Juan Morrow, wasn’t union-certified.
Charlie Adams contributed to this post.
Henry Abbott of ESPN The Magazine hears from agents and team sources who say Kobe Bryant‘s rough-edged personality is driving free agents away from the Lakers. The Buss family receives more income from the team’s local TV deal if ratings are better, and that helped persuade the team to sign Bryant to his lucrative two-year extension 12 months ago and to eschew an aggressive rebuilding project, Abbott hears. Bryant’s popularity with powerful front-row celebrities also played a role, and co-owner Jim Buss is just “waiting for [Bryant] to leave,” a source tells Abbott, fearful of engaging in a public spat with the superstar. Steve Nash nearly decided against approving his sign-and-trade to the Lakers and Paul George signed his extension with the Pacers in part because of Bryant, sources tell Abbott. Chris Bosh was one of the Lakers’ missed free agent targets this summer, and there’s more on him amid the latest from around the league:
- The Thunder will join the Sixers in voting against the changes to the lottery, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, but Wojnarowski seconds Lowe’s report (below) that the measure still has enough support to pass.
- Bosh spoke of a desire to be paid at his full market rate as he explained his decision to turn down a four-year max deal from the Rockets for five years at the max from the Heat to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “It’s always business,” Bosh said. “Nothing is ever personal. I think 100% of those dudes would have taken the deal I took.”
- Another NBA team has joined the Sixers in opposition to the league’s lottery reform proposal as the Board of Governors meet today, but the measure is still expected to receive approval, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports (Twitter links).
- Players union secretary-treasurer James Jones is an opponent of shortening games and believes, as teammate LeBron James does, that players would instead like to see fewer games on the schedule, as Jones tells Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
- Former Hawks All-Star Dikembe Mutombo has met with a group of investors about joining their effort to buy the team, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Suns are giving Earl Barron legitimate consideration for a spot on the regular season roster, and while that would force the team to rid itself of a fully guaranteed contract, coach Jeff Hornacek says that’s a move the team would be willing to make. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic has the details.
“The one guy that sticks out and is really fighting for the team is Earl Barron,” Hornacek said. “He’s still on the roster for a reason. I know our guys are saying, ‘If he’s going to help us and we have to eat a contract somewhere, I think [owner] Robert [Sarver] is willing to do that.’ If it’s going to help us win games and he’s better than another guy, Robert is all for it.”
Hornacek’s comments sound familiar to the ones that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle made recently in which he insisted that owner Mark Cuban would be willing to sacrifice guaranteed salary to keep the non-guaranteed Charlie Villanueva. However, the Mavs are reportedly eager to open up an opening-night roster spot, which would appear to cut Villanueva out of the mix, and Sarver has never been particularly generous in his spending on the Suns. While we wait to see how it plays out in both Dallas and Phoenix, here’s more from around the league:
- Potential changes to the league’s revenue sharing system join the draft lottery among the major topics on the agenda for the NBA’s Board of Governors next week, tweets Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The board appears poised to implement a new lottery system for the 2015 draft.
- Erik Spoeltra this week called Heat signee signee Shawne Williams “one of the great surprises of the offseason” and raved about his shooting, notes Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. Williams has a fully guaranteed deal with Miami.
- Shawn Marion admits the Mavs reached out to him the instant he became a free agent this summer, as Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes (Twitter link). Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki and other Mavs figures retain a soft spot for the versatile Cavs addition who’ll be a free agent again at season’s end, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com details.
The deadline for teams to sign rookie scale extensions with their eligible players is two weeks from today, and while only six players came to deals last time around, that number has the potential to be much larger this year, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein has more on many of those extension hopefuls that adds to the storylines we’ve been following throughout the offseason:
- Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, and Norris Cole are among the players who are in active negotiations with their respective teams about rookie scale extensions, Stein reports. Klay Thompson, Ricky Rubio, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Reggie Jackson, Brandon Knight, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks are also in active extension talks, according to Stein, who advances earlier reports that all of them had engaged in talks.
- Iman Shumpert and the Knicks are also discussing an extension, Stein writes, countering a report from a few weeks ago that indicated that the sides hadn’t engaged in talks and that New York was content to let the swingman hit restricted free agency next summer.
- Klay Thompson’s camp is considering the idea of going after an offer sheet similar to the one the Mavs gave Chandler Parsons if Thompson and the Warriors don’t come to an extension this month, Stein hears. Parsons’ near-max deal runs three years and includes a player option and a 15% trade kicker. Rival GMs have expressed admiration for its structure and Rockets GM Daryl Morey pointed to the difficulty that trading such a contract would entail shortly after he decided against matching it. The player option would allow Thompson to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2017, which is when Stephen Curry‘s deal is set to end, as Stein points out.
- The Lakers have attempted to trade for Thompson in the past, Stein notes, though he doesn’t make any suggestion that they’re planning an aggressive push for the shooting guard if he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
The Pistons have an agreement on a trade with the Celtics, while they join the Pacers and Rockets with interest in taking Chase Budinger off Minnesota’s hands. The trade market is heating up as the start of the regular season draws near, and here’s more on Detroit’s rivals from the Eastern Conference:
- The Bucks quietly added hedge fund manager Jamie Dinan to their ownership team in July, reports Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dinan is a “substantial investor” in the franchise, though it’s not clear if his stake is equal to that of controlling owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. Seven additional new owners have bought shares of the Bucks, the team announced, and one of them is Jon Hammes, who was rumored to be in the running for a minority share this spring. Just how much of the team Hammes and the other new owners purchased is unknown.
- Shannon Brown is indeed a favorite to make the Heat‘s opening-night roster in spite of his non-guaranteed deal, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Brown says team president Pat Riley has praised his athleticism, toughness and defense, as Jackson notes.
- Phil Pressey is among a logjam of point guards in Boston with Will Bynum on the way, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge calls Pressey one of the team’s best perimeter defenders, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald relays.