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NBA Vet Chase Budinger Headed To Europe

Forward Chase Budinger, the final training-camp cut by the Nets, has signed with Baskonia of Spain, international journalist David Pick tweets. The news was also reported by Sportando and Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Budinger will join two other former NBA players who previously signed with Baskonia in the Euroleague, center Andrea Bargnani and point guard Shane Larkin.

Budinger signed a non-guaranteed contract with Brooklyn just prior to camp. The 6’7” Budinger, who was originally drafted in 2009 by the Pistons and then immediately shipped to the Rockets, has bounced around the league in recent years. After playing three seasons in Houston, he was a reserve for the Timberwolves for three consecutive campaigns.

He appeared in 49 games with the Pacers last season before he was waived in early March. He was quickly snapped up by the Suns and came off the bench in 17 games for them as the season wound down.

Budinger averaged 7.9 points, 3.0 rebounds in 19.7 minutes over 407 NBA games. A career 35.2% shooter from 3-point range, Budinger shot under 30% from beyond the arc last year for both Indiana and Phoenix, which cooled interest in him on the free-agent market. It’s possible now that Budinger, 28, has played his last NBA game.

John Wall, Bradley Beal Discuss Relationship

When John Wall admitted earlier this year that he and Bradley Beal had “a tendency to dislike each other on the court,” it led to a series of reports and columns suggesting that perhaps the Wizards wouldn’t be able to keep both players for the long term. But with Beal beginning a new five-year contract and Wall not going anywhere anytime soon, the duo is looking forward to a productive future, as Michael Lee of The Vertical writes.

“This is my brother at the end of the day,” Beal said of Wall. “Nothing is going to change. If I didn’t want to be here, if we did beef, I wouldn’t have signed my contract. That’s what it ultimately comes down to.”

Wall agreed with Beal’s assessment of the situation, pointing out that he “wouldn’t have begged him to come back” if he wasn’t optimistic about the long-term outlook in D.C. The Wizards’ point guard also believes his comments about the duo’s on-court growing pains were somewhat misconstrued.

“I think everybody blew it out of proportion for no reason,” Wall said. “I mean, if you look at any two great teammates, and two young, great guys, that’s talented and want to be great, you’re going to have ups and downs. Everything is not going to be perfect.”

Beal’s new five-year contract with Washington is a maximum-salary deal that will pay him nearly $128MM, an enormous sum for a player who has been plagued by injury issues and hasn’t had a true breakout season yet. But Wall is hoping that Wizards fans will be patient with Beal and allow him to continue to improve.

“He had injuries the last couple of years and they’re like, ‘He don’t deserve it.’ Let him get a chance to earn it,” Wall said. “Let him be an All-Star. Let him see if he can be healthy for a whole season and see what he can do. … I want him to be an All-Star, just like I am. It’s no fun when it’s just one guy. If another guy is there, it makes it more fun.”

Players Who Can’t Be Traded Until January 15

The NBA’s in-season trade market typically doesn’t pick up until the winter, since players who signed free agent contracts in the offseason aren’t eligible to be moved until December 15. By that point, with the regular season approaching the two-month mark, teams have a better idea of where they stand, how they want to approach the rest of the season, and which players they might want to trade.

While most players around the NBA will be trade-eligible at that point, not all of them will be. The NBA’s rules for recently-signed players dictate that those players can be dealt as of December 15 or three months after they signed, whichever comes later. So a player like Metta World Peace, who signed with the Lakers on September 23, wouldn’t be eligible to be traded until December 23.

Finally, there’s a separate group of players that won’t become trade-eligible until January 15, and those are the guys we’ll focus on in this post. These players all meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous team this offseason, but they got a raise of at least 20%, their salary is worth more than the minimum, and their team was over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

Here’s the list of players who cannot be traded until January 15, 2017.

Note: Players marked with an asterisk also have the ability to veto trades during the 2016/17 league year.

Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Community Shootaround: NBA Expansion

As the NBA and NBPA work toward reaching a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the topic of expansion has become a popular one. The new CBA isn’t expected to necessarily open up the door for cities to apply for an expansion franchise, but with the league’s revenue stream at an all-time high and an intriguing arena proposal on the table in Seattle, there have been whispers that the NBA may be willing to consider the possibility of adding a team or two.

Seattle, with Chris Hansen‘s investment group still leading the charge on an arena project, is the city mentioned most frequently when expansion or relocation is discussed, but it’s not the only metropolis out there with possible NBA appeal. A recent report identified Louisville, Pittsburgh, Omaha, Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Mexico City as cities that could become viable candidates if investors and city leaders were to pursue a franchise.

Whether or not the league’s 30 current team owners would be willing to split their share of the league’s earnings with another franchise or two remains to be seen, but for the sake of today’s discussion, let’s say most team owners are on board.

Assuming that’s the case, how do you feel about the possibility of expansion? Should the NBA add more teams, or would the league risk diluting its player pool too significantly? If the NBA were to move forward with expansion, would it make sense to add multiple teams, or just one at a time? Is Seattle the only logical candidate for a 31st team, or would another city deserve a long look?

Weigh in below in the comments section to share your opinions on the topic. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

And-Ones: Stephens, Seattle, Childress, NBPA

Former University of Memphis standout D.J. Stephens has been arrested and charged with domestic aggravated assault, writes Yolanda Jones of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Stephens, who was in camp with the Grizzlies this month before being waived last weekend, is accused of attacking his child’s mother. The alleged incident reduces Stephens’ chances of getting another shot with an NBA team, but if he does sign with a club at some point, he could be facing a suspension, depending on the outcome of the case.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the NBA…

  • One NBA team owner tells Sam Amico of that getting a franchise back in Seattle is “a big priority” for the league. A new arena proposal from Chris Hansen‘s investment group has created renewed optimism about getting the NBA back to the city, though it doesn’t sound as if the league has gone too far down the road on planning potential expansion or relocation. “I don’t think it’s been thought out that far along yet,” a source tells Amico.
  • A Wednesday report from Chris Reichert of The Step Back suggested that former Hawks forward Josh Childress, who last played in the NBA during the 2013/14 season, had signed a D-League contract. However, Reichert has since removed his tweet, and Childress’ agent – Daniel Moldovan of Entersport – denied the report (Twitter link).
  • Jon Wertheim of spoke to NBPA executive director Michele Roberts about the optimism surrounding the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, and what she and the players’ union hope to get out of a new deal.

Southeast Notes: Batum, Magic, Schroder, Heat

Nicolas Batum drew interest this summer from several potential suitors, such as Dallas and New York, but he never seriously considered any team besides the Hornets, as Shams Charania of The Vertical details. “There were options with other teams and different scenarios,” Batum said. “But I tried to look at what suited me best, and look at this franchise long term. Having Kemba [Walker] under contract, having [Michael Kidd-Gilchrist] under contract, having Frank [Kaminsky] under contract, having Coach [Steve] Clifford under contract, we have the same core.”

Here’s more from out of the Southeast division:

  • The Magic expect to choose the location for their new D-League affiliate within the next month or so, CEO Alex Martins tells Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando hopes to have a D-League affiliate ready to begin play in 2017/18, and the team has narrowed the potential location down to two Florida-based candidates: Kissimmee (Silver Spurs Arena) and Lakeland (Lakeland Center).
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical has the details on Dennis Schroder‘s new deal with the Hawks, who will carry a $15.5MM annual cap hit for the point guard for four years, from 2017/18 through 2020/21. According to Marks (via Twitter), the extension features $2MM per year in unlikely incentives, so the total value could max out at $70MM.
  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel isn’t sure there’s room in the Heat‘s rotation for Derrick Williams, who joined the team on a one-year, $4.6MM deal in July.
  • The Hornets‘ first game of the season showed that new center Roy Hibbert, who signed a one-year deal with the team this summer, can impact games in a way that no Charlotte player could last season, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

NBA Teams With 15 Fully Guaranteed Salaries

With R.J. Hunter poised to officially join the Bulls, the only NBA team with an open roster spot will be adding a 15th man, meaning every one of the league’s 30 clubs will be at the regular-season roster limit. However, that doesn’t mean those teams are locked into those 15 players for the season.

As we saw in the days leading up to opening night, plenty of teams were willing to cut ties with players on fully guaranteed salaries, with the increased cap giving clubs a little extra flexibility to eat salary. Still, generally speaking, teams will be less inclined to waive a player if his 2016/17 salary is already fully guaranteed, preferring to cut a non-guaranteed salary if they need to make an addition.

So, with the season underway, it’s worth taking a look at which teams have 15 fully guaranteed salaries on their roster and which teams are carrying a non-guaranteed contract or two. Those non-guaranteed deals will perhaps give those clubs a little extra flexibility up until January 10, at which point everyone still on an NBA roster has his salary become fully guaranteed.

Here are the teams with 15 fully guaranteed salaries on their roster:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Detroit Pistons
  4. Indiana Pacers
  5. Los Angeles Clippers
  6. Milwaukee Bucks

Meanwhile, the following teams are carrying 14 fully guaranteed salaries, with just one player on a non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed deal:

  1. Atlanta Hawks: Mike Muscala (partial)
  2. Dallas Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith (partial)
  3. Denver Nuggets: Jarnell Stokes (partial)
  4. Golden State Warriors: JaVale McGee (partial)
  5. Miami Heat: Rodney McGruder (partial)
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves: John Lucas III
  7. New Orleans Pelicans: Lance Stephenson (partial)
  8. New York Knicks: Ron Baker (partial)
  9. Oklahoma City Thunder: Semaj Christon (partial)
  10. Phoenix Suns: Derrick Jones (partial)
  11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tim Quarterman (partial)
  12. Sacramento Kings: Ty Lawson
  13. Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet (partial)
  14. Utah Jazz: Jeff Withey

That leaves nine teams dedicating multiple roster spots to players on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries early in the season. That doesn’t necessarily mean these teams are more likely to make back-of-the-roster moves over the next couple months, but it gives them a little more financial flexibility to do so. Here are those nine teams:

  1. Charlotte Hornets: Treveon Graham (partial), Aaron Harrison
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers: DeAndre Liggins (partial), Jordan McRae
  3. Houston Rockets: Kyle Wiltjer (partial), Bobby Brown
  4. Los Angeles Lakers: Thomas Robinson, Metta World Peace
  5. Memphis Grizzlies: Vince Carter (partial), JaMychal Green (partial), Troy Williams (partial)
  6. Orlando Magic: Arinze Onuaku, Damjan Rudez
  7. Philadelphia 76ers: Robert Covington (partial), Jerami Grant, T.J. McConnell, Hollis Thompson
  8. San Antonio Spurs: Bryn Forbes (partial), Nicolas Laprovittola
  9. Washington Wizards: Danuel House (partial), Sheldon McClellan (partial), Daniel Ochefu (partial)

The 30th team? Those aforementioned Bulls, who had been carrying 13 guaranteed salaries, as well as Cristiano Felicio‘s non-guarantee deal. Depending on whether or not R.J. Hunter‘s new contract is guaranteed, Chicago will either fall into the second or third group above.

Pacific Notes: Goodwin, Jones, Clippers, D’Antoni

Former Suns guard Archie Goodwin cleared waivers today at 5 pm Eastern time and is now officially a free agent. Phoenix released Goodwin on Monday after being unable to deal him to another team. The 22-year-old out of Kentucky spent three seasons with the Suns. He appeared in 57 games last season, averaging 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night.

There’s more news out of the Pacific Division:

  • Derrick Jones overcame long odds to earn a spot on the Suns‘ roster, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The 19-year-old wasn’t taken in the draft after being ruled ineligible at UNLV, then missed all of summer league with an injury. Jones signed a four-year contract that could be worth up to $3.6MM, but all he is guaranteed for now is $42.5K of his $543,471 salary. Still, he is elated about the opportunity. “When I was the last one here from training camp, I knew there was a reason I am here,” Jones said. “I feel as though I’m a NBA player. I have NBA athleticism. My game is going to come a long way. I just got to be able to knock down my jump shots consistently. That’s one thing I’m going to put in work to do.”
  • The Clippers understand they may be facing their final season with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, relays Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Both are expected to opt out next summer and become free agents. With J.J. Redick also headed toward free agency and L.A. well over the salary cap, it will create a serious financial strain to keep the current core together. “We’re not really worried about what happens after this season. We’re worried about what happens in the season,” Griffin said. “Every year, if you don’t have a sense of urgency, if it takes somebody being like ‘This could be the last year to have a sense of urgency,’ then you’re already kind of playing from behind. I don’t think it really affects us.”
  • New Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni thought his career might be over when he left the Lakers in 2014, writes Bill Oram of The Orange Country Register. Not only did that team underachieve, but D’Antoni spent much of the season fighting with Kobe Bryant. D’Antoni revived his career as an assistant with the Sixers last season before being hired by Houston over the summer. “It’s a privilege to be able to coach in this league,” D’Antoni said. “It’s very rare you can dictate where you want to go, and usually where you’re going they have problems or you wouldn’t be going there. You just try to find the right situation, and if it’s not the right situation, try to make it work. If it doesn’t work out, try to live to fight a battle someplace else. It was a privilege to coach the Lakers. It was a privilege to coach Kobe and those guys. I’m better for it.”

Ben Simmons Determined To Play This Season

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons doesn’t have a definite timetable to return to action after fracturing his right foot, but he tells ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that he definitely plans to play this season.

There has been speculation in some areas that Simmons’ best course of action might be to sit out the rest of the season and come back fully healthy next year.

“There’s a lot of talk; somebody put that out there,” Simmons said. “But I will come back when I am ready. There is no timetable on getting healthy. I am working every day to get back. As soon as they tell me I can play, I will be out there.”

Simmons suffered the injury, a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal, in a practice scrimmage and underwent surgery on October 4th. He recently had his sutures removed, and the team says he is making progress with his rehabilitation. With no complications, he is expected to return in January.

The rookie out of LSU also answered charges that a 33-pound weight gain over the offseason contributed to the injury. Simmons now carries 250 pounds on his 6’10” frame.

“I came down on somebody’s foot, so it wasn’t anything weight-wise or anything to do with that,” he said. “My playing weight was fine. I know a lot of talk was about that. It happened.”

Players Catch On With D-League Franchises

Several players who were recently waived out of the NBA have reached agreements with D-League teams, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back:

  • Spencer Dinwiddie, released on Friday by Chicago, has signed with the Windy City Bulls (Twitter link). Chicago, which acquired Dinwiddie in a deal with the Pistons, then waived and later re-signed him, parted ways with the guard again despite being at the roster limit of 15.
  • Johnny O’Bryant, who was waived by the Wizards on Friday, has signed a D-League contract and will be eligible for the draft (Twitter link). The 23-year-old power forward spent the past two seasons with the Bucks.
  • Vince Hunter, who was waived by the Bulls and Grizzlies this month, will return to the Reno Bighorns (Twitter link). Hunter, 22, is a 6’8″ forward out of Texas-El Paso who has yet to play in the NBA.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was released by the Magic, has signed with the Erie BayHawks (Twitter link). The 20-year-old power forward played eight games for the Trail Blazers last season.
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts will return to the Texas Legends, where he finished the 2015/16 season (Twitter link). The 29-year-old swingman last played in the NBA in 2014/15, when he spent 12 games with the Clippers.
  • Josh Childress, who has been out of the NBA for almost three full seasons, signed with the Texas Legends (Twitter link). The 33-year-old swingman’s last NBA experience was four games with New Orleans during the 2013/14 season. He finished last season with the Legends after playing in Australia. (Update: Report denied by Childress’ agent; Reichert has removed his tweet)

Also, from the D-League Digest:

  • Axel Toupane, who was waived by the Nuggets, will return to Raptors 905 (Twitter link). The 6’7″ small forward played 21 games for Denver last season.
  • Jarell Eddie, who was released by the Wizards on Friday, will return to the Austin Spurs (Twitter link). Eddie, 24, appeared in 26 games for Washington a year ago.
  • J.J. O’Brien, who was cut by the Bucks, has signed with the Salt Lake City Stars (Twitter link). A 24-year-old small forward, he got into two games with the Jazz last season.
  • Egidijus Mockevicius, who was waived last week by Brooklyn, will play for the Long Island Nets (Twitter link). The 24-year-old Lithuanian forward has no NBA experience.
  • Veteran point guard Jannero Pargo has signed with Oklahoma City Blue (Twitter link). The 37-year-old last played for the Hornets in 2014/15.

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