Adreian Payne

And-Ones: Free Agent Market, Payne, Perkins, Booker

The bull market for free agents has ended and there will be few free-spending teams this summer, according to Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks of ESPN. Many organizations are paying the price for the huge contracts that were handed out in 2016 as cap issues are forcing much of the league to take a more frugal approach.

This season, five teams are on pace to pay the luxury tax, which kicks in with a payroll topping $119MM. Twelve teams are projected to be in tax territory for 2018/19 and several more are in danger of getting there just by re-signing their own free agents. The authors list the Bucks as one team that will cross the line if they hold onto Jabari Parker.

“The luxury tax was not designed for this many teams to pay it,” a league executive told Windhorst and Marks. “Many of those owners probably didn’t think they’d be paying it. Quite a few of those teams are probably going to take steps to get out of the tax or limit new spending.”

When teams were handing out big contracts in the summer of 2016, they were expecting a salary cap in the range of $108MM for next season. That projection has been revised down to $101MM, leaving many in an unexpected dilemma. Only seven teams — the Lakers, Sixers, Bulls, Hawks, Mavericks, Suns and Nets — will have more than $10MM available to chase free agents, and virtually all of those teams are in rebuilding mode.

NBA agent Mark Bartelstein expects the situation to improve in 2019 and 2020 when those 2016 contracts start to expire.

There’s more NBA-related news this morning:

  • Max and “supermax” deals are the reason more stars seem to be on the trade market, writes Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer. Clippers consultant Jerry West had been urging owner Steve Ballmer to trade Blake Griffin ever since Chris Paul let the team know he wouldn’t be re-signing. Ballmer was convinced after Griffin’s latest injury, recognizing the risks of paying him $171MM over five years, including nearly $39MM in the 2021/22 season when he will be 32. Teams are taking stock of their future and weighing whether maxing out a star is worth giving up financial flexibility. O’Connor predicts fewer mid-sized deals, like the approximately $17MM the Magic are giving to Bismack Biyombo and Evan Fournier, in favor of more non-taxpayer midlevel exceptions, which are valued at $8.4MM an will rise to about $10MM before the current CBA expires.
  • Adreian Payne, who was waived by the Magic last month in the wake of the Michigan State scandal, had signed to play in Greece, relays the Associated Press. Payne had a two-way contract and played just four games for Orlando.
  • Veteran center Kendrick Perkins has decided to leave the G League Canton Charge, tweets Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Several teams have contacted him about signing after the deadline, and he may consider playing in China or Japan next year, depending how the rest of this season turns out, adds Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Perkins officially “retired” from the G League so the Charge can receive compensation, according to 2 Ways & 10 Days.
  • Sixers forward Trevor Booker has changed agents in advance of his upcoming free agency, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Booker has signed with Jim Tanner’s Tandem Sports + Entertainment.
  • Lavoy Allen, who played 61 games for the Pacers last season, has joined the Northern Arizona Suns of the G League, the team tweeted.

Magic Release MSU Alum Adreian Payne

The Magic have waived two-way player Adreian Payne, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Payne’s name has surfaced in the unfolding Michigan State scandal after an alleged sexual assault.

Payne, a four-year veteran, had played sparingly for Orlando’s big league club, seeing action in just five games for the Magic. In 107 career games he’s averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game.

Payne is the second NBA personality to be impacted by the developing scandal, which Shaker Samman of The Ringer has more details about.

Earlier today, the Clippers put G League assistant coach Travis Walton on leave of absence due to allegations against him (per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times).

Southeast Notes: J. Johnson, Hezonja, G League, Batum

James Johnson may be the latest addition to the Heat’s long list of injured players, writes Ira Winderman of The-Sun Sentinel. Johnson will have an MRI today to determine the extent of a lower-leg issue that forced him to leave Saturday’s game. He is in the midst of another productive season, averaging 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 28 games, and an extended absence would be a significant blow to a team already reeling from injuries.

Miami is without center Hassan Whiteside, who has missed two weeks with a bone bruise on his left knee and won’t join the team for a two-game road trip, along with Justise Winslow [strained knee], Okaro White [foot surgery] and Rodney McGruder [leg surgery]. The injuries have created more playing time for rookie Bam Adebayo and free agent additions Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Mickey.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with J.J. He’s talked to me a lot,” Mickey said. “He’s always said, ‘Eventually your number will get called.’ I’m not happy in this particular position [with Johnson out], but I’ll be ready, Coach needs me and I’m already ready.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Injuries are also creating an opportunity for Magic small forward Mario Hezonja, notes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. With Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and Arron Afflalo all sidelined, Hezonja has started the past three games with uneven results, Robbins notes. The fifth player taken in the 2015 draft, Hezonja may be looking at his last chance to prove himself before unrestricted free agency next summer. Orlando declined to pick up his fourth-year option in October. “You’ve just got to find your own rhythm but still be in the system,” Hezonja said. “If I go out [and try to excel] individually, I’m going to look good, but we’re going to lose. We’re not going to win a lot of games like that. Everybody has to step up like that, has to have that mindset.”
  • The Magic are enjoying the benefits of having a G League affiliate close to home, relays John Denton of The organization moved its affiliate from Erie, Pa., to Lakeland, Fla., over the summer, which is paying off with the recent rash of injuries. Jamel Artis and Adreian Payne were able to attend practice with the Magic Tuesday morning, even though they had a G League game that night, then were available for Wednesday’s NBA contest.
  • Nicolas Batum offered a reminder of why the Hornets gave him a five-year, $120MM contract with with a season-high 23-point performance Saturday, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. For most of this season, Batum has been deferring to other players on offense after returning from a torn ligament in his left elbow that he suffered in the preseason. “I was trying to adjust myself to the other guys way too much,” he said, “when sometimes I have to let them adjust to me.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/9/17

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

Southeast Notes: Oubre, Payne, Porter

The Wizards have benefited from third-year swingman Kelly Oubre‘s energy so far this season and the 21-year-old is earning a more substantial role with the squad, Chris Gehring of the team’s official site writes.

On a team built around core trio John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, Oubre has managed to average 11.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and almost a block per game since sliding into the starting lineup. That spot in the first unit may not last but the impact Oubre’s had on the team could.

He has the ability, and at times last year it went up and down. But he hasn’t had those dips yet this year, though it’s early,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s definitely improved with all of the hard work he put in.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • After going 15th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Adreian Payne‘s NBA opportunities have come few and far between. Now a member of the Magic, the Michigan State product is excited to earn another shot. “I haven’t really gotten a chance to play the whole time I’ve been in the NBA,” Payne told Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. “Being able to spend some time down in the G League, to work on my game, to get better, to just be able to become a better person and a better player, on the court and off the court. I think it is going to help me grow, and then when I get called up and be able to play with the Magic team, I’ll be that Adreian that I was when I was in college.”
  • Don’t expect the Hornets to make a play for somebody like Eric Bledsoe, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. A lateral move to add another point guard to the mix alongside Kemba Walker wouldn’t be worth what the Suns would presumably want for him.
  • The Wizards paid big bucks to bring Otto Porter back and, to this point, LeBron James believes he’s earned his $107MM contract. “He’s worked on his game extremely well and he’s earned the big paycheck that he got,” James told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Magic’s Adreian Payne Suffers Fracture To Left Hand

Magic power forward Adreian Payne fractured a bone in his left hand during today’s practice, the team tweeted. The injury was to the fourth metacarpal, and team doctors aren’t sure how long Payne will be sidelined.

Payne is in his first season with Orlando after signing a two-way contract in August. He spent the past two years with the Timberwolves, but only played 18 NBA games last season. He missed nearly two months because of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count).

Drafted 15th overall by Atlanta in 2014, Payne spent most of his rookie season in the G League and played just three games for the Hawks before being dealt to Minnesota. He is the highest-drafted player to agree to a two-way deal, which limits his time in the NBA this season to 45 days. Orlando still has another two-way slot available.

Magic Sign Adreian Payne To Two-Way Contract

The Magic have signed power forward Adreian Payne to a two-way contract, the team announced in a press release.

Payne, 26, recently declined an offer from Guangdong in the Chinese Basketball Association worth $900K.

The former Michigan State standout has been a disappointment since he was selected by the Hawks with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 draft. He played just three games for Atlanta before he was shipped to the Timberwolves during his rookie year. Payne made 22 starts with Minnesota as a first-year player, then saw action in 52 games (including two starts) the following season.

He appeared in just 18 games last season, averaging 3.5 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 7.5 MPG. Payne also spent time with the G-League’s Erie BayHawks.

Payne is the first player to sign a two-way deal with Orlando. The Magic are eligible to sign one more player to such a contract.

Adreian Payne, Magic Close To Deal

The Magic and Adreian Payne are close to an agreement that will bring the big man to Orlando, international journalist David Pick reports (Twitter links). Pick adds that the 26-year-old recently turned down an offer from Guangdong in the Chinese Basketball Association worth $900K.

Payne’s deal with the Magic will be a two-way deal, according to Darren Wolfson of (Twitter link).

Payne was drafted by the Hawks with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Atlanta sent him to Minnesota during the 2014/15 season for a future first round pick. In two-plus seasons with the Wolves, Payne has seen just 13.5 minutes per game. He averaged 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest while shooting 40.0% from the field.

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Adams, Payne

Jusuf Nurkics presence on the court has opened up the Blazers‘ offense and his energy has helped the team on the defensive end, Mike Richman of the Oregonian writes. Coach Terry Stotts praised the big man after Tuesday’s win over the Thunder.

“There’s no question he’s had an impact,” Stotts said of Nurkic. “I don’t want to undersell that. But I do think everybody is playing well off of him. But I think he has infused some energy and a different look. His style of play is obviously different than [Mason Plumlee]. The way he’s been able to integrate with our team on both ends of the court has made a huge difference.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The addition of Nurkic has helped the Blazers get back into the playoff picture and Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (podcast link)  wonders if the big man can be the team’s center long-term. Nurkic is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 54.9% from the field since coming to Portland.
  • Steven Adams, who signed a $100MM extension during the offseason, admits that he’s struggled on the defensive end lately, but added that the Thunder‘s issues go beyond his poor play, as Erik Horne of the Oklahoman relays. “Even though your defensive coverages aren’t perfect or everything, the backside’s still got to be there. It’s literally a five-man thing. It ain’t really on one guy on the team. It ain’t so much scouting. It ain’t scouting at all. It’s our discipline to the defensive system we have going on.” Oklahoma City has lost four straight games.
  • Adreian Payne, who missed the last 13 games for the Wolves while being treated for thrombocytopenia, has been cleared to practice and the big man is thrilled to be back on the court, as Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press passes along. “I’m feeling good,” Payne said. “Healthy. I’m just trying to get back in shape. I’m happy to be with the team.”

Adreian Payne Out Indefinitely

The Wolves announced that Adreian Payne will be out indefinitely with a blood disorder, as USA Today passes along. The team said that Payne has thrombocytopenia, a condition that results in a low platelet count. It can cause bleeding, bruising and slow blood clotting after an injury, according to the publication.

Minnesota said that Payne has a good prognosis for recovery and he should be able to play basketball again once that happens. He’s currently receiving care from team doctors.

Payne hasn’t played much this season, seeing action in just 12 games. He was drafted by the Hawks with the 15th pick in the 2014 draft and Atlanta traded him to the Wolves during the 2014/15 season.