Thunder Sign Zavier Simpson

The Thunder have signed Zavier Simpson to an Exhibit 10 deal, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (via Twitter). The move was first reported yesterday by Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw.

Simpson will likely be waived before the start of the regular season. If he spends at least 60 days with the OKC Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate, he could earn a bonus of up to $50k.

Simpson, a 6’0″ point guard, went undrafted in 2019-20 after four seasons with the Michigan Wolverines. He played well as a senior, averaging 12.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 6.9 APG (33.7 MPG) in 30 games. He spent last season with the OKC Blue in the G League bubble, averaging 9.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 6.1 APG (28.5 MPG) in 15 games, all starts.

Kings Release Emanuel Terry

The Kings announced in a press release that they have waived Emanuel Terry. He had been signed to an Exhibit 10 deal. The Kings previously secured his G League rights in a separate transaction.

Terry, a 6’9″ power forward, played for the Kings in both Summer League and preseason. The plan is for him to join the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). If he spends at least 60 days with Stockton, Terry could earn a bonus of up to $50k.

Terry made three brief NBA appearances in 2018-19, two with Phoenix and one with Miami. He played for teams in Israel and Serbia in 2020. A veteran of 54 total G League contests, he averaged a double-double with the Agua Caliente Clippers last season.

The move leaves the Kings with a full 15-man roster, with both two way contracts filled.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Bridges, CP3, Klay, Kawhi

The Suns‘ run to the NBA Finals in 2021 caught some NBA fans and observers off guard, but team owner Robert Sarver is confident that his club is well-positioned to “compete at a very high level again,” as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. Sarver believe Phoenix has a solid foundation in place and that a handful of offseason roster tweaks will help the team remain in title contention.

“We added a few players that I think will help us,” Sarver said. “I think you’re seeing a little bit of that in the preseason so far. So I think between the additions, between the foundation and then between what I call the organic growth, which is just our younger players keep getting better and better and developing year by year, I think we have an opportunity to make another step.”

One of those “younger” players the Suns are counting on to play a big role is three-and-D wing Mikal Bridges, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension. Bridges and the Suns have until Monday evening to work out a new deal that would keep him off the restricted free agent market next summer, and he told reporters on Friday that his priority is to remain in Phoenix (video link via Rankin).

“We want to be here,” Bridges said of himself and teammate Deandre Ayton, who is also up for an extension. “Plain and simple. We love this team, love this organization, what it’s done for us.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Suns point guard Chris Paul said he’s not thinking about retiring anytime soon and doesn’t have a specific goal in mind for what how many more years he’ll play. “I don’t know how long I’m going to play,” said Paul, who signed a new four-year contract in the offseason. “I’m going to play until God willing, and he says, ‘You need to sit down somewhere,’ or my kids tell me, ‘Daddy, you’re embarrassing us.'”
  • Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson is expected to be cleared to practice in full within the next month or so, says Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). That’s a pretty vague timeline, and Charania cautions that Thompson will require a ramp-up period once he begins practicing, so it remains unlikely that he’ll be back in Golden State’s lineup before sometime in December.
  • The Clippers would rather have Kawhi Leonard on the floor, but while he’s recovering from ACL surgery, the team is glad he’s able to serve as a de facto coach on the sidelines, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “He’s not like the loudest one, but no, he knows what to say, what to do,” Nicolas Batum said of his star teammate. “When he has (something) to say, especially on the side when we play five-on-five … he’ll take guys on the side and tell you what he sees, what he just saw the last previous play.”

Bulls Sign Troy Baxter Jr.

The Bulls announced in a tweet that they have signed Troy Baxter Jr. Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed, but it’s likely to be an Exhibit 10 deal.

Baxter is a rookie after going undrafted in 2021, so the move secures his G League rights. It’s highly likely that he’ll be waived before the season starts, and if he spends at least 60 days with the Windy City Bulls, Baxter would be eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K.

Baxter, a 6’9″ forward, played for three different college teams prior going undrafted: UNLV, Florida Gulf Coast, and Morgan State. He averaged 15.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 27.0 MPG for Morgan State as a senior, with a .426/.350/.744 shooting line. He most recently suited up for the Bulls’ Summer League team, appearing in four contests with modest stats.

Celtics Waiving Ryan Arcidiacono, Juwan Morgan

The Celtics are releasing a pair of training camp invitees, according to Jay King of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that guard Ryan Arcidiacono and forward Juwan Morgan are hitting waivers.

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said before Friday’s preseason finale vs. Miami that the roster moves weren’t official yet, but acknowledged that Arcidiacono and Morgan wouldn’t be active for the game, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Arcidiacono and Morgan are both expected to join Boston’s G League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, as affiliate players, a league source tells Himmelsbach.

Arcidiacono, 27, has spent the last four seasons with the Bulls, averaging 4.8 PPG, 2.2 APG, and 2.0 RPG with a .431/.373/.807 shooting line across 207 total games (17.6 MPG). He signed a two-way deal with the team in 2017, a one-year contract in 2018, and a three-year pact in 2019. Chicago turned down its team option on the last year of that deal earlier this year.

A former Big Ten standout at Indiana, Morgan went undrafted in 2019 and caught on with the Jazz, first signing an Exhibit 10 deal with Utah and then agreeing to a multiyear deal with the team. In 50 total regular season games with the club across two seasons, the 24-year-old averaged 1.4 PPG and 1.1 RPG on 51.8% shooting in just 5.6 minutes per contest.

Knicks Waive Brandon Goodwin

The Knicks announced in a tweet that they have waived point guard Brandon Goodwin. He was signed to an Exhibit 10 deal yesterday.

Goodwin appeared in parts of the past three seasons with the Nuggets and Hawks. He played in 47 games as a backup for the Hawks last season, averaging 4.9 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG (13.2 MPG) with a .377/.310/.651 shooting line. He also played in 43 G League games from 2018-20, averaging 20.5 PPG, 6.6, and 6.2 APG in 35.1 MPG.

Goodwin would be eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least 60 days with the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate.

The move leaves the Knicks with 19 players under contract: 14 on guaranteed deals, both two-way spots filled, and three players (Wayne Selden, Aamir Simms and M.J. Walker) vying for the 15th roster spot, assuming the team carries 15 players to start the season.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Grizzlies, Rockets, Pelicans, Gordon

Appearing on the podcast 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he has a vaccine mandate for his employees.

“It is your choice. It is absolutely, positively up to you. But there are consequences that come with that,” Cuban said, per Selby Lopez of The Dallas Morning News. “If you work for me, I require my employees to be vaccinated unless there’s a doctor’s reason where they can’t be.”

Since the NBA doesn’t require its players to be vaccinated, that mandate doesn’t apply to the players on Dallas’ roster such as Trey Burke, who said during training camp he remains unvaccinated.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic interprets the Grizzlies‘ summer trades of Jonas Valanciunas and Grayson Allen as signals that the team isn’t feeling pressure to take another big step forward after making the playoffs last season. Hollinger expects his old club’s end-of-season record to look similar to last year’s, projecting a 41-41 finish.
  • Hollinger also recapped the offseason and previewed the upcoming season for the Rockets and Pelicans. He was confused by Houston’s four-year commitment to Daniel Theis, given that most other veterans on the roster seem to be on the trade block, but expects the Rockets to be entertaining in 2021/22, projecting 26 wins. Hollinger had mixed feelings on New Orleans’ offseason, but suggests the moves look better in totality than they did individually at the time, and forecasts 43 wins for the Pels.
  • Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle explores whether the Rockets should hang onto Eric Gordon or focus on trying to find a trade that gets him to a contender as soon as possible. As Huq observes, it’s difficult to find a good match for Gordon at this point, so it probably makes sense for the team to sit tight and see if more opportunities open up by the trade deadline or next offseason.

Timberwolves Sign Vince Edwards

The Timberwolves have signed forward Vince Edwards, per a team press release.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s almost certainly an Exhibit 10 contract. Edwards will likely be waived before the season starts and will be in line for a bonus of up to $50K if he sticks with the Iowa Wolves for at least 60 days.

Edwards was the 52nd overall pick of the 2018 draft after a very respectable four-year college career at Purdue. He played in two games for the Rockets in 2018-19, but only saw action for 16 total minutes. He’s spent the majority of the past three seasons in the G League, most recently with the OKC Blue.

Grizzlies Sign Stockton, Waive Caver

The Grizzlies announced in a press release that they have signed guard David Stockton and waived guard Ahmad Caver.

The terms of Stockton’s contract weren’t disclosed, but it’s almost certainly an Exhibit 10 contract. As with Caver, he will likely be waived before the season starts. The move is procedural in nature, as it will allow the Grizzlies to give Stockton a bonus of up to $50K if he sticks with their G League squad, the Memphis Hustle, for at least 60 days.

Stockton is a six-year veteran of the G League and has seen action in six total NBA games since going undrafted in 2014. He has also played for several overseas teams during the course of his career. In 184 G League contests, he holds career averages of 17.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 6.9 APG in 29.9 MPG, with a shooting line of .450/.369/.820. He suited up for the Hustle last season in the G League bubble in Orlando.

Caver spent the past two seasons with the Hustle after going undrafted out of Old Dominion in 2019. He had a productive run for the team last season, putting up 16.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 3.9 APG in 29.4 MPG off the bench.

The move leaves the team with the preseason maximum of 20 players under contract: 15 with guaranteed deals, Sam Merrill with a partial guarantee of $500K, and both two-way slots filled.

Timberwolves Waive Chris Silva, Three Others

The Timberwolves announced in a press release today that they waived Chris Silva, Brian Bowen II, Matt Lewis and Isaiah Miller.

All four players had been signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, which means that if they spend at least 60 days with Minnesota’s G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, they could earn bonuses of up to $50K.

Silva has the most NBA experience of the group, playing in 59 games with career averages of 2.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG (7.4 MPG) over the past two seasons with the Heat and Kings.

Bowen has 12 NBA games under his belt with the Pacers, but only saw action for 46 total minutes. His stats for the Pacers’ G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, were somewhat mixed. He most recently played for the Wolves in both Summer League and briefly in the preseason.

Lewis went undrafted in 2019-20 and was named CAA Player of the Year in his final season for James Madison University.

Miller also went undrafted in 2019-20 and was SoCon Player of the Year and SoCon Defensive Player of the Year in his last season for UNC Greensboro.

All four players figure to see time in the G League.

The Timberwolves’ roster now sits at 16 total players, with 13 under guaranteed contracts, Jaylen Nowell on a non-guaranteed deal, and both two-way slots filled.