Alex Caruso

Malik Newman Signs Two-Way Deal With Lakers

JULY 1: The Lakers have officially signed Newman to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release. Having not tendered qualifying offers to Caruso or Payton, the Lakers appear poised to have new players in both two-way slots for 2018/19.

JUNE 22: The Lakers will add Kansas guard Malik Newman on a two-way contract, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Newman, 21, spent just one season with the Jayhawks after transferring from Mississippi State. He put up 14.2 points per game this year and shot 42% from 3-point range. He helped the Jayhawks reach the Final Four with a 32-point performance against Duke in the regional finals.

Alex Caruso and Gary Payton II are the Lakers’ current two-way players, with their contracts set to expire at the end of June.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Wear, Caruso, Fox, Thomas

Potential top pick DeAndre Ayton indicated during a radio interview that he and Devin Booker could form a duo similar to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant during their Lakers years if he winds up with the Suns, the team’s SB Nation blog The Bright Side tweets“Honestly, I could see myself in Phoenix,” the University of Arizona freshman center said in a CBS Sports Radio interview. “I could see a little Shaq and Kobe 2.0.” The Suns currently have the worst record in the league and will likely remain there. If they get the No. 1 selection, they could draft Ayton and then trade the first-rounders owed to them by the Heat and Bucks to move up and draft a point guard, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. If they fall to the No. 2 pick and Ayton is off the board, they would be happy to land Euro guard Luke Doncic and then move those same picks to get frontcourt help, Bordow adds.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have been forced to recall forward Travis Wear and guard Alex Caruso during the G League playoffs due to injuries, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register  notes. They will likely stay with the Lakers for their game against the Jazz on Tuesday if Brandon Ingram is still recovering from a concussion and Lonzo Ball remains sidelined with a knee contusion.
  • The Kings want to see rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox take ownership of the team and become a better playmaker during the remaining games, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports. Fox needs to realize he can impact the game without having a hot shooting night, coach Dave Joerger told Jones. “He’s got to demand from the rest of his team that he’s the leader, and going forward, set the tone for what he’s looking for,” Joerger said. “And get the ball out faster, or ‘give me some space and I’ll get you a shot.’ Those kinds of things where you go to the next level of leadership or you can kind of just finish the season.” 
  • Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas will be represented once again by Excel Sports Management, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. Sam Goldfeder will be his agent, Mullen adds. Excel had been representing Thomas before signing with Goodwin Sports last fall.

Injury Notes: Thomas, Paul, Booker, Simmons

The hip injury that caused Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas to miss nearly the first half of the season appears to be acting up again, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Thomas woke up this morning with stiffness in his right hip and will be held out of the final two games of the team’s road trip.

Thomas first suffered the injury last year in Boston, and the Cavaliers held him out of the first 36 games of this season while he was recovering. The latest flare-up could be a warning sign for any team interested in the 29-year-old guard when he becomes a free agent this summer.

There’s more news on the NBA injury front:

  • Down to eight players for tonight’s game, the Lakers will get some help tomorrow when two-way player Gary Payton II joins the team after the G League regular season ends. However, fellow two-way contract holder Alex Caruso is sidelined by a concussion, according to Bill Oram of The SoCal News Group (Twitter link).
  • Rockets guard Chris Paul will be held out of tonight’s game, but could return tomorrow, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Coach Mike D’Antoni said Paul is making progress after hurting his hamstring Tuesday night.
  • Devin Booker will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a sprained right hand, but coach Jay Triano is optimistic that he can play Monday, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). T.J. Warren is missing his third consecutive game with left knee inflammation after a non-contact injury last Saturday (Twitter link).
  • Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, who has missed the past two games with a right wrist contusion, will probably be held out another week, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Bulls guard Kris Dunn remains in a walking boot with a toe injury, but was able to exercise today on an elliptical machine, reports K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Swelling has gone down and he will join the team on its upcoming road trip, but coach Fred Hoiberg said Dunn will need to be “reconditioned” if the team doesn’t shut him down for the rest of the season.

Lakers, Alex Caruso Agree To Two-Way Deal

The Lakers are signing Summer League standout Alex Caruso to a deal, sources tell Sportando (Twitter link). Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com adds further details, reporting that Caruso will get a two-way, two-year contract from Los Angeles.

Caruso, a 6’4″ guard, went undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2016. He caught in with the Thunder for training camp, but was cut and ultimately landed with the club’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. In 50 games for the Blue, Caruso averaged 11.9 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 2.2 SPG, with a .459/.401/.749 shooting line.

Caruso’s G League performance last season earned him a shot with the Lakers in Summer League play this summer, and he has looked good in limited minutes in Vegas, averaging 6.5 PPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG in four games for L.A.

By securing him to a two-way contract, the Lakers will gain Caruso’s G League rights, so he’s on track to play primarily for the South Bay Lakers in 2017/18. For more details on how his two-way contract will work, be sure to check out our FAQ on the subject.

NBA D-League Affiliate Players For 2016/17

Throughout the offseason, and in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams before the season can be designated as affiliate players and assigned to their D-League squads.

The players have some say in the decision — if they’d prefer to sign with a team overseas, or if they get an opportunity with another NBA club, they’re free to turn down their team’s request to have them play in the D-League. Most NBA and international teams have fairly set rosters by late October though, so having the opportunity to continue playing in the same system is appealing to many of those preseason cuts. Especially since they’ll maintain NBA free agency while they play in the D-League.

There are a few other rules related to D-League affiliate players. A player whose returning rights are held by a D-League team can’t be an affiliate player for another club, which is why undrafted free agents from the current year are commonly signed and assigned. Additionally, an affiliate player must have signed with his team during the current league year, which explains why we often see players signed and quickly waived in the days leading up to the regular season. And, of course, not every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, so clubs like the Hawks, Nuggets, or Clippers have no place to send affiliate players.

With all that in mind, here are the NBA D-League affiliate players to start the 2016/17 season:

Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)

Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)

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Thunder Sign Reggie Williams, Waive Alex Caruso

The Thunder shuffled guards on their roster today, announcing via press release that Reggie Williams has been signed and Alex Caruso was waived. The details of Williams’ deal were not relayed, though it is almost assuredly a minimum salary arrangement that may include a small partial guarantee. Caruso’s minimum salary pact included a partial guarantee of $50K, which will remain on OKC’s salary cap unless he is claimed off waivers by another club.

Williams spent the 2015/16 campaign overseas with the Russian club Avtodor Saratov. He appeared in 16 contests and averaged 13.6 points on 58.8% shooting overall. The guard has appeared in 200 career NBA games (32 starts) with the Thunder, Spurs, Hornets and Warriors. He owns career averages of 7.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.3 minutes

Caruso, who went undrafted in June, played his college ball at Texas A&M, averaging 8.1 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.1 SPG in his senior year, while shooting 36.8% from three-point range. The 22-year-old was also named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team. He did not log a single minute of action during preseason play for the Thunder.

Contract Details: Brand, Rockets, Thunder, Pacers

With training camps underway, teams have now officially finalized the contract agreements with various camp invitees that had been reported over the past several weeks, meaning we have plenty of contract details to round up. As usual, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has been busy reporting those details, updating his salary pages for teams around the NBA.

Because we have so many updates to pass along from Pincus, we’ll divide them up by players who received some guaranteed money from their teams, and those who didn’t. All of the links below point to the Basketball Insiders team salary pages, so be sure to click through for additional information.

Here are the latest salary updates from across the league, via Pincus:

Players receiving guaranteed money:

These players aren’t necessarily assured of regular-season roster spots. In fact, many of them likely received guarantees as an incentive to accept a D-League assignment. Still, for some players, larger guarantees should increase their odds of making 15-man rosters.

  • Thomas Walkup (Bulls): One year, minimum salary. $69.5K guaranteed.
  • Keith Benson (Heat): Two years, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Henry Sims (Jazz): One year, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Alex Poythress (Pacers): One year, minimum salary. $35,381 guaranteed.
  • Kevin Seraphin (Pacers): Two years, $3.681MM. First year ($1.8MM) guaranteed.
  • Julyan Stone (Pacers): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Gary Payton II (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. First year ($543,471) guaranteed.
  • Isaiah Taylor (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Kyle Wiltjer (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. $275K guaranteed.
  • Cat Barber (Sixers): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Elton Brand (Sixers): One year, minimum salary. $1MM guaranteed.
  • Derrick Jones (Suns): Three years, minimum salary. $42.5K guaranteed.
  • Alex Caruso (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Kaleb Tarczewski (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Chris Wright (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $100K guaranteed.

Players receiving no guaranteed money:

The following players all signed one-year, minimum salary contracts with no guaranteed money. Many of these deals are “summer contracts,” which won’t count against a team’s cap unless the player earns a spot on the 15-man roster.

Thunder Sign Three Players, Finalize Camp Roster

The Thunder have officially finalized their roster for training camp, bringing their roster count to the maximum allowable 20 players. The team announced today in a press release that it has signed guard Alex Caruso, center Kaleb Tarczewski, and forward Chris Wright. Tarczewski’s and Wright’s camp invites had been previously reported.

[RELATED: Oklahoma City Thunder roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com]

Caruso, who went undrafted in June, played his college ball at Texas A&M, averaging 8.1 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.1 SPG in his senior year, while shooting 36.8% from three-point range. The 22-year-old was also named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team.

Tarczewski, meanwhile, also wasn’t selected in this year’s draft, following a senior year at Arizona in which he averaged 9.4 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Like Caruso, the seven-foot center is a strong defender, having been named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Wright, who turns 28 next Friday, previously appeared in a total of 32 NBA games for the Warriors and Bucks, but has spent most of his time during the past few years overseas. Most recently, Wright appeared in 34 Israeli League games last season for Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion, averaging 12.2 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 61.5% from the floor and playing solid defense.

The Thunder are currently carrying 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Joffrey Lauvergne on a partially-guaranteed pact and Semaj Christon on a non-guaranteed deal. Caruso, Tarczewski, and Wright likely won’t get more than small guarantees, if they get any guaranteed money at all, which means they’re long shots to make the team’s 15-man roster. An assignment to the D-League’s Oklahoma City Blue is possible for all three players.

Workouts Update: Suns, Hornets, Kings, Grizzlies

Two prominent power forward prospects had individual workouts with the Suns this weekend, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Croatian star Dragan Bender and Washington freshman Marquese Chriss both were in Phoenix for unannounced sessions that may influence the Suns’ thinking with the No. 4 pick. Coro adds that Bender worked out for Minnesota, which holds the fifth selection, on Thursday and will visit Boston, which has the No. 3 choice, early this week.

In addition, Phoenix held a workout Saturday for three players who may be options with the 13th pick: Michigan State power forward Deyonta Davis and shooting guard Denzel Valentine, along with small forward Timothe Luwawu of France. Also at the session were Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku and Arizona State center Eric Jabobsen.

There’s more workout news as draft day draws closer:

  • The Hornets, who have the 22nd pick, will welcome six players for a workout today, the team tweeted. The session will feature Virginia shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon, High Point combo forward John Brown, South Carolina small forward Michael Carrera, North Carolina power forward Joel James, UNLV shooting guard Patrick McCaw and Virginia center Mike Tobey.
  • The Kings are also planning to bring in six players today for a workout, the organization announced. Participants will be Arkansas-Little Rock point guard Josh Hagins, Arizona point guard Gabe York, Kansas small forward Brannen Greene, Oakland shooting guard Max Hooper, UC Santa Barbara combo guard Mike Bryson and Utah small forward Jordan Loveridge. The Kings hold pick No. 8.
  • The Grizzlies have a workout scheduled this afternoon with Texas A&M combo guard Alex Caruso, Oregon small forward Elgin Cook, Kansas center Cheick Diallo, Memphis power forward Shaq Goodwin, Baylor small forward Taurean Prince and LSU combo guard Tim Quarterman. Memphis has the 17th pick.
  • The Raptors, who own picks No. 9 and 27, will hold a workout today for Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
  • The Bulls held a workout Friday, tweets Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops. Attending were Maryland center Diamond Stone, UNLV center Stephen Zimmerman, Toledo power forward/center Nathan Boothe and Northern Iowa point guard Wes Washpun. The Bulls have the 14th pick.

Eastern Notes: Smart, Teague, Draft

Hawks point guard Jeff Teague relayed today that he played the entire 2015/16 campaign with a torn patellar tendon in his knee and that he “could barely jump or stop,” Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com writes. Teague won’t require surgery this offseason and is expected to be ready to go when training camp commences, Mazzeo adds. “He is kind of, for lack of a better word, managing his knee,” coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said. “I don’t know if it is knees and ankles. I would say it is hard to know what he shares and what he doesn’t. I think he was relatively healthy and he was good so many nights and he is such a good player. I do think he was managing it a little bit like a lot of NBA guys do.”

Teague, 27, appeared in 79 games in 2015/16, averaging 15.7 points and 5.9 assists and shooting 43.9% from the field and 40% from 3-point range. He has one year remaining on his current deal and is a potential trade candidate this offseason. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics held two group workouts today, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com tweets. The first group was comprised of Alex Caruso (Texas A&M), Juan Hernangomez (Spain), Damian Jones (Vanderbilt), Thon Maker (Australia), Georgios Papagiannis (Greece) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Forsberg notes. The second group included Robert Carter (Maryland), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette), Mamadou Ndiaye (UC Irvine), Nik Slavica (Croatia) and Troy Williams (Indiana).
  • The Heat have granted the Grizzlies permission to interview assistant coach Keith Smart for a position on the staff of former Miami assistant David Fizdale, who was recently named Memphis’ head coach, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays. Memphis was denied permission to interview Heat assistant coach Dan Craig, who is expected to take an elevated position on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff next season, Winderman adds.
  • The Hornets have workouts scheduled for Friday with Cat Barber (NC State), Nathan Boothe (Toledo), Jake Layman (Maryland), Isaiah Miles (St. Joe’s), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) and Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV), Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter).