Eastern Notes: Whiteside, Roberts, Russell

January 28 at 4:48pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Hassan Whiteside is finally getting an opportunity to prove that he is an NBA-caliber player after toiling away overseas and in the D-League, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. When asked how he feels about getting his chance to play for the Heat, Whiteside said, “It’s a blessing, you know. I told my teammates, man, you won’t believe how things work out in life. Three months ago, you can ask anybody in Charlotte at the downtown [YMCA], I was just there. At the downtown Y, just chillin’. Workin’ on my game. I couldn’t even get a team to pick up the phone.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With starting point guard Kemba Walker expected to miss a minimum of six weeks due to a a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Brian Roberts is the player who will be called upon to contribute more for the Hornets, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “Here’s another opportunity for me to step up and help this team win games,” Roberts said. “It’s a challenge and everybody has to step up and take a little bit more ownership. Filling that void will be a group effort.
  • The Pacers are high on Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell, but even as Indiana’s lottery chances improve, Russell’s improvement will make it tough for a team without a top-five pick to nab him, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes amid a chat with readers.
  • The Pacers have assigned rookie big man Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This will be Indiana’s first utilization of the D-League this season. In 13 appearances for the Pacers this season,Whittington has averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game.

Wolves Cut Raduljica, Sign Lorenzo Brown

January 28 at 4:36pm CST By Chuck Myron

4:36pm: The Wolves have released Raduljica, the team has announced.

WEDNESDAY, 4:02pm: The Wolves have officially signed Brown to a 10-day deal, the team has announced (Twitter link). No official announcement has been made regarding Raduljica being released yet. Unless the Wolves have released Raduljica without making a formal announcement, it seems there’s more to the story, since the team wouldn’t have room on its roster unless the league granted an extra roster spot via hardship

TUESDAY, 11:13am: The Wolves are ending their 10-day contract with Miroslav Raduljica early to clear the way for the team to sign Lorenzo Brown, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Brown has indeed committed to ink with Minnesota in spite of interest from the Pistons as well as the Heat, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter links). The team has been planning to sign Brown to a 10-day deal, likely in advance of the team’s game on Wednesday, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Raduljica’s deal isn’t up until the end of Wednesday, but it appears Minnesota will eat the last day or two of his 10-day deal, worth $48,028, to have Brown in place.

Brown rejoins the club that drafted him 52nd overall out of N.C. State in 2013. The Wolves brought him to training camp that year, but they cut him before opening night. The combo guard hooked on with the Sixers, but he saw just 8.6 minutes per game across 26 appearances for Philadelphia, which waived him in March. He’d been averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 31.8 MPG for Detroit’s D-League affiliate this season after the Pistons had him on their NBA roster for the preseason.

Raduljica won’t go on waivers and will simply become a free agent immediately when the team makes the move, as is the case when clubs terminate 10-day pacts. He’s seen just 4.6 minutes per game in five appearances on a pair of 10-day contracts with Minnesota. Raduljica occupies the final roster spot for the Wolves, who have 14 other players signed for the balance of the season, so his deal is the easiest for coach/executive Flip Saunders to let go.

Atlantic Notes: Bargnani, Galloway, Ross, Nets

January 28 at 1:44pm CST By Chuck Myron

The idea of waiving Andrea Bargnani looks like it’s off the table for the Knicks until the trade deadline, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks are reportedly shopping the former No. 1 overall pick who’s missed all but two games this season because of injury, but finding a trade partner will be difficult, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors examined last week. There’s more on the Knicks amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are trying to find use for the trade exceptions they picked up when they sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavs earlier this month, according to Berman, who writes in the same piece. The Smith exception is worth more than $5.982MM and the Shumpert exception nearly $2.617MM, but they don’t expire until January 5th, 2016.
  • Langston Galloway is assured of $275K for next season if he remains on the Knicks roster July 1st, and “well more” than half of his $845,059 salary for 2015/16 would be guaranteed if he’s still under contract at the start of training camp, Berman hears.
  • Raptors coach Dwane Casey‘s decision to bench Terrence Ross isn’t a harbinger of a trade, as league sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News the team isn’t making it any easier to deal for the former eighth overall pick.
  • Mirza Teletovic is set for discharge from a Los Angeles hospital today, and Nets team doctor Michael Farber expects him to make a full recovery from the multiple blood clots in his lungs discovered shortly after a game against the Clippers last week, the team announced. Teletovic, due for restricted free agency this summer, is out for the year thanks to the blood thinners he’s taking to treat the issue.

Hornets Eye Cole, Sessions Amid Walker Injury

January 28 at 1:02pm CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 1:02pm: Walker will miss a minimum of six weeks, the team confirmed via press release.

MONDAY, 5:21pm: Hornets coach Steve Clifford acknowledged the possibility that the Hornets would sign a player to help offset the loss of Walker, but while he said Walker has been “by far our best player,” he added that he believes the club has “more than enough” internally to maintain its performance. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has the details, and notes that the club is without an open roster spot to accommodate a would-be signee.

5:12pm: The Hornets have Ramon Sessions and Norris Cole on their radar as they pursue trade possibilities to replace injured point guard Kemba Walker, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Walker will have surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, the team announced, and while Charlotte didn’t provide a timetable for his recovery, the team hopes he’ll be back in six weeks, Wojnarowski tweets. The team isn’t looking to trade Walker, but merely to find someone to replace his production during his absence, Wojnarowski clarifies (Twitter link).

Charlotte is familiar with Sessions, having signed him in 2012, and he spent a season and a half with the club, a tenure that ended with a trade at last year’s deadline. Sacramento recently engaged in discussions regarding a swap of Sessions for Jordan Farmar before the Clippers waived Farmar, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who at that point pegged Sessions as the King most likely to be traded. The 28-year-old makes $2.077MM this season and is in line for more than $2.17MM next year.

Cole makes roughly the same amount, drawing slightly more than $2.038MM this year in the final season of his rookie-scale contract. Heat president Pat Riley insists he hasn’t made any offers to any teams, in spite of a report that indicated Miami had proposed a deal for Brook Lopez that would have sent Cole to the Nets. Cole “pretty much knows” that the Heat are ready to trade him, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio wrote last week as reported that Miami had put the 26-year-old soon-to-be restricted free agent on the trade block.

The Hornets appear to be active in talks of late, many of them involving Lance Stephenson. Charlotte holds a half-game lead over the Nets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and is a game and a half back of the Heat. It’d seem unlikely that Miami would want to help a team it’s competing against for a playoff spot, though that’s just my speculation.

Heat To Ink Tyler Johnson To Second 10-Day Deal

January 28 at 12:44pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Heat are signing Tyler Johnson to a second 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. The guard’s first 10-day deal with the Heat expired a week ago, but a source told Hoops Rumors then that while the club wouldn’t re-sign him for the time being, another deal was a possibility as soon as one week later. Johnson will move back into the open roster spot vacated when his initial 10-day run expired.

Miami had Johnson on its summer league squad after he went undrafted out of Fresno State this summer, and he impressed enough to merit a contract partially guaranteed for $75K so he could join the team for the preseason. He failed to make the opening night roster, but Miami retained his D-League rights, and Johnson averaged 18.5 points in 34.5 minutes per game with 42.6% three-point shooting for the Heat’s affiliate. The 22-year-old had a stint of less than two minutes in one game for the Heat’s big club on his first 10-day contract.

The Heat won’t be able to sign the Pedro Power client to any more 10-day deals once this one expires, so any subsequent contract between the sides this season would have to cover the rest of the season. The other 14 players on Miami’s roster already have contracts for at least the rest of the season, and the Heat’s desire to maintain flexibility in case of a trade factored into their decision to wait on a new 10-day deal for Johnson.

Wizards Interested In Will Bynum

January 28 at 11:52am CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards have joined the Cavs among the teams interested in point guard Will Bynum, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The seven-year veteran is in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, who haven’t lost since he joined them in early December. The regular season ends February 1st for the Tigers, but the playoffs could keep him off-limits for NBA teams until late March, Charania adds.

Bynum has put up strong numbers in China, averaging 23.2 points and 7.4 assists against 3.3 turnovers per game. The longtime Piston went to the Celtics in a preseason trade, but the Celtics waived the Mark Bartelstein client amid a roster crunch before opening night in spite of a guaranteed salary of nearly $2.916MM.

Washington has an open roster spot, and though it seems the club would prefer to use it to sign Ray Allen, for whom the Wizards are reportedly the most aggressive suitor, it’s still seems a long shot that Allen would head to the nation’s capital. Washington, just like Cleveland, is limited to handing out the prorated minimum salary to Bynum, Allen or any other free agents.

Spurs Sign Reggie Williams To 10-Day Contract

January 28 at 11:48am CST By Chuck Myron

11:48am: The deal is official, the Spurs announced via press release.

11:35am: The Spurs are closing in on signing Reggie Williams to a 10-day contract, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The five-year veteran swingman would take the place of JaMychal Green, with whom the Spurs failed to reach agreement on a new deal after his 10-day arrangement expired Tuesday night. Williams has been playing for the Thunder’s D-League affiliate.

The 28-year-old was with the Heat on a non-guaranteed training camp deal, but he failed to make the opening night roster and hooked on with the Oklahoma City Blue late last month. A career 37.1% three-point shooter in the NBA, he’s nailed a sizzling 49.2% of his three-point attempts in 13 D-League games so far this year.

The relationship between the Thunder organization and Williams dates back to last season, when he also played for Oklahoma City’s D-League affiliate and was briefly on the NBA roster, but without a current NBA contract, the Herb Rudoy client is free to sign with any NBA team. The Spurs have 14 players, all of whom have contracts that cover at least the rest of the season, leaving a single open roster spot created when they ate the rest of Austin Daye‘s guaranteed contract to sign Green.

Jazz Sign Chris Johnson To 10-Day Contract

January 28 at 11:17am CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 11:17am: The deal is official, the team announced.

TUESDAY, 2:04pm: The Jazz are setting up a 10-day contract for swingman Chris Johnson, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The former member of the Grizzlies, Celtics and Sixers is not to be confused with the three-year NBA veteran center by the same name who recently signed to play in Turkey. The Chris Johnson who’s apparently headed to Utah would fill the roster spot vacated when the team’s second 10-day deal with Elliot Williams expired Monday night, so there won’t be a need for a corresponding move. Utah isn’t planning another deal for Williams, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported late Monday (on Twitter).

Johnson has been playing with the D-League affiliate of the Rockets since December, not long after the Sixers waived him the previous month. He spent the preseason with the Celtics, who released him before opening night, but Philly claimed him off waivers and kept him for a little more than two weeks. The 24-year-old averaged 20.8 minutes per game during his brief time in Philly, so it was surprising to see the Sixers let him go. He put up 6.3 points per game in 19.7 MPG across a career-high 40 appearances for Boston last season.

The Jazz are in need of help on the wing, with Alec Burks expected to miss the rest of the season and Rodney Hood out until at least the All-Star break. Rookie Joe Ingles, who’s on a minimum-salary deal, has started the past 12 games.

Latest On Celtics, Tayshaun Prince

January 28 at 10:43am CST By Eddie Scarito

JANUARY 28TH: Sources tell Bulpett that Prince will push to leave the Celtics, a notion that the forward hinted at publicly.

“Obviously I want to be in a winning situation,” Prince said. “Everybody wants to be in a winning situation, make no mistake about it, especially toward the end of your career. But at the end of the day, it’s about doing what’s right and going out there and having fun. If you get to the point where I am in my career after all these years, you just want to go out there and have a chance to win and do the right things.”

JANUARY 24TH: The Celtics still wish to trade Prince prior to the February deadline, and are seeking a future draft pick in return, Bulpett reports. There have been reports that Boston would attempt to work out a buyout deal if they failed to find a taker for Prince. But Celtics coach Brad Stevens may lobby for the team to keep the forward if a trade fails to materialize, Bulpett adds. Stevens believes that Prince can help the franchise with both with his talent and leadership, Bulpett notes. Stevens also added, “I think there’s no question about his value, but also there’s the fact that he’s a veteran who knows how to,” the coach said. “The other thing is he just has such great poise and presence. Tayshaun just knows how to play. There’s a lot of things that come very natural to him. I think natural is right, but also he’s been in the league for 13 years.

JANUARY 19TH: A buyout deal with Prince is likely in the event the Celtics don’t end up trading him, Bulpett writes.

JANUARY 18TH: The Celtics are expected to attempt to trade Prince, and perhaps do a buyout deal if they can’t find a taker, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Prince told reporters including Bulpett that all options remain in play, adding that talks about his future with Boston took place today for the first time. The Clippers and Prince reportedly have mutual interest, though the Clips would rather sign him post-buyout than trade for him.

“But the most important thing is, even though all options are on the table, my job is to be a Boston Celtic at this point in time and help where help is needed,” Prince said. “So that’s the main thing, and I can’t have one foot in and one foot out the door right now — even though everything’s on the table. That would be wrong on my behalf. So we’ll see how it plays out.”

4:40pm: Ainge and Prince will meet in Los Angeles during Boston’s upcoming trip to the West Coast to discuss Prince’s future with the club, and it’s not out of the question that Prince would remain with the Celtics, Murphy tweets.

JANUARY 15TH, 9:14am: The Celtics are exploring potential trades involving Prince as they seek more draft picks, and a buyout is a “secondary option,” according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. They can’t aggregate his salary in a swap, since they just acquired him via trade, but they’re otherwise still allowed to flip him.

JANUARY 13TH, 6:44pm: Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link) reports that “no substantive talks” have taken place between Prince and the Celtics regarding a buyout yet.

6:27pm: Prince is unlikely to ever don a Celtics uniform, and the two sides are making progress on reaching a buyout agreement, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe reports (Twitter link).

4:43pm: The Celtics continue to reshape their roster with an eye on the future. Boston and newly acquired forward Tayshaun Prince are negotiating toward a buyout arrangement, Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (Twitter link). No agreement has been reached just yet, Mannix adds. Prince is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and is making $7,707,865 in the final year of his deal.

Prince came to Boston as part of the three-way deal between the Celtics, Grizzlies, and Pelicans that sent forward Jeff Green to Memphis. But with Boston obviously building toward next season and wanting to get a better look at younger assets, Prince seemed like an obvious candidate to be dealt to a contending team or to reach a buyout arrangement that would allow him to try and catch on with a squad in the playoff hunt. The Cavs have been reported to have interest in the 34-year-old if he were to become a free agent.

In a career spanning 908 games, Prince has averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. His slash line is .455/.368/.758. He was averaging 7.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG for Memphis this season prior to being dealt.