Alex Kirk

2016 NBA D-League Expansion Draft Results

The NBA D-League conducted its expansion draft today, allowing the league’s three new teams to add the rights to 12 players apiece. The league’s previously-existing 19 teams had been permitted to retain the rights to 10 players each, leaving the rest of their players unprotected and free to be drafted, as Chris Reichert of UpsideMotor.com explained earlier today.

As we noted on Tuesday, the D-League’s three new franchises this year are affiliates for the Nets (Long Island Nets), Hornets (Greensboro Swarm), and Bulls (Windy City Bulls).

The players those three teams added today won’t necessarily play for them this season — in fact, it’s somewhat rare for expansion draftees to suit up for their new clubs, as D-League Digest tweets. Many of those players will try to catch on with an NBA team or will end up playing overseas. Still, the expansion draft gives the D-League’s new teams some assets as they start to build their rosters for the coming season.

Per Reichert, here are the results of today’s expansion draft. The player’s former D-League team is noted in parentheses, and picks are ordered by round. The teams will hold their players’ rights for the next two seasons:

Long Island Nets (Twitter link)

  1. Gary Forbes (Grand Rapids Drive)
  2. Carrick Felix (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  3. Jamaal Franklin (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  4. Akil Mitchell (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  5. Peyton Siva (Delaware 87ers)
  6. Alex Kirk (Canton Charge)
  7. Austin Freeman (Westchester Knicks)
  8. Kendall Gray (Iowa Energy)
  9. Lazar Hayward (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  10. Dwayne Polee Jr. (Reno Bighorns)
  11. Matt Bouldin (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  12. Lewis Jackson (Salt Lake City Stars)

Greensboro Swarm (Twitter link)

  1. Josh Davis (Austin Spurs)
  2. Abdul Gaddy (Maine Red Claws)
  3. Tony Bishop (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  4. Scotty Hopson (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  5. Toure’ Murry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  6. Rodney Williams (Oklahoma City Blue)
  7. Josh Huestis (Oklahoma City Blue)
  8. Ralston Turner (Grand Rapids Drive)
  9. Keanau Post (Raptors 905)
  10. Damien Wilkins (Iowa Energy)
  11. Kris Joseph (Westchester Knicks)
  12. Dee Bost (Raptors 905)

Windy City Bulls (Twitter link)

  1. Wesley Saunders (Austin Spurs)
  2. Kiwi Gardner (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  3. Ralph Sampson III (Maine Red Claws)
  4. Booker Woodfox (Texas Legends)
  5. Jerel McNeal (Northern Arizona Suns)
  6. Akeem Richmond (Reno Bighorns)
  7. Casey Prather (Northern Arizona Suns)
  8. Jon Octeus (Canton Charge)
  9. Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends)
  10. Jamal Jones (Delaware 87ers)
  11. Xavier Thames (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  12. Ian Chiles (Salt Lake City Stars)

Free Agent Notes: Durant, Rockets, Clippers

Kevin Durant would give himself a better chance at winning a title if he were to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors or sign with an Eastern Conference team, Bill Simmons of The Ringer writes. Many believe that Durant will sign a two-year deal with OKC that contains a player option for year two, as was reported earlier this week.

Simmons offers an unconventional viewpoint on Durant’s impending decision. Two years ago, Durant signed a $300MM deal with Nike. At the time, he and LeBron James had the best selling sneakers among all NBA players, Simmons points out. The 2014 MVP then injured his foot and missed a significant amount of time during the 2014/15 campaign. Durant’s comeback 2015/16 season was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant‘s retirement and the Warriors’ historic 73-9 record. Now, the conversation is between Nike with James and the Jordan Brand and Under Armour with Stephen Curry, Simmons adds. Simmons argues that Durant, his representatives and Nike know they won’t be competing with the top brands unless Durant wins a ring or he leaves the Thunder and he speculates that if Nike had its way, Durant would sign elsewhere this summer.

The piece, which is must-read, is a reminder that the NBA is a business and there are several off the court factors that play into basketball decisions. Selling sneakers likely won’t be the primary force that drives Durant to stay or leave, but it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Here’s more on the NBA’s upcoming free agency:

And-Ones: Zanik, Kidd, Brown, Cousins

The Bucks will hire Justin Zanik as GM-in-waiting and are working on a contract extension for coach Jason Kidd, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Currently an assistant GM in Utah, Zanik will have a similar title with the Bucks. A provision of the move is that Zanik will eventually take over for Milwaukee GM John Hammond, although it’s uncertain when that will happen. Hammond has been GM of the Bucks since 2008 and has one year left on his contract.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • California forward Jaylen Brown worked out for the Bucks, Raptors and Sixers today, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. A source told Spears that Brown was in “great shape” and “super explosive.” He is expected to be a top 10 pick and could be in the running for the No. 3 choice. New Timberwolves GM Scott Layden also traveled to California to see Brown and came away impressed, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • Oklahoma point guard Isaiah Cousins worked out for the Suns on Friday, and has upcoming sessions with the Raptors on Tuesday and the Hawks on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
  • Anthony Bennett and Quinn Cook were the most recognizable players invited to a Nets mini-camp this week, according to NetsDaily. Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, played 19 games with the Raptors last season. Cook, the point guard on Duke’s 2015 NCAA title team, was cut by the Cavaliers in training camp. Also receiving invitations were Alex Stepheson, Scotty Hopson, Alex KirkJerrelle BenimonFuquan Edwin, D.J. Newbill, Will CummingsJarrid Famous, Victor Rudd, Josh Magette and Joel Wright. International journalist David Pick says the Nets are planning another session.

And-Ones: Noah, Nets Mini-Camp, Jovanovic

Despite the reports that Joakim Noah is ready to leave the Bulls when he becomes a free agent this summer, talks between the big man and the team have resulted in a “positive dialogue” about a new contract, a league source tells Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. Noah had reportedly told teammates in recent weeks that he’s done with the organization once free agency begins, adding that he “has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.” The big man’s agent disputed the reports, adding that his client has “great respect” for the city of Chicago, Bulls fans, and the organization. “Joakim and I speak on a daily basis about his future,” Duffy said. “There has been zero indication he doesn’t wish to return to Bulls.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Nets are planning on holding another free agent mini-camp next month and the invitees will include Quinn Cook, Alex Stepheson, Scotty Hopson, Jerrelle Benimon, Alex Kirk, Kwame Vaughn and McKenzie Moore, international journalist David Pick reports in a series of tweets. Moore is also scheduled to work out for the Mavericks, Pick notes.
  • USC junior big man Nikola Jovanovic has hired Bill Duffy of BDA Sports Management to represent him, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today relays (via Twitter). The 22-year-old is no lock to be selected this June and isn’t among the top 100 players, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
  • Former Oklahoma shooting guard Isaiah Cousins has a workout scheduled with the Raptors on May 31st, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv tweets. Cousins is a potential second-rounder, with Givony slotting him No. 67 overall.
  • D’Andre Downey (Stillman College) and Alec Wintering (Portland) have withdrawn from the 2016 NBA draft and are returning to school, Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com relays.

International Moves: Dragic, Oden, Kirk

NBA free agent deals are still getting done, as today’s agreements between the Wolves and Tayshaun Prince and the Mavs and JaVale McGee show, but plenty of action is going on overseas, where players are latching on as NBA roster spots grow scarce. Here’s the latest on familiar figures hitting the international market:

  • Zoran Dragic‘s contract with Khimki of Russia will pay him 1 million euros this coming season and 1.1 million euros next year, reports overseas journalist David Pick (Twitter link). That means he’ll make the equivalent of about $1.114MM this year, so the Celtics, who waived him this week, will be eligible for about $269K via set off rights.
  • Greg Oden will make $1.2MM after taxes on his new deal with Jiangsu of China, the Altius Culture agency says (Twitter link), citing a Sports Weekly report. However, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia indicates that the oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick still must go through a weeklong workout at the end of the month for the deal to take effect (Twitter link).
  • Former Cavaliers big man Alex Kirk will join Italy’s Giorgio Tesi Pistoia, the Sports ProMotion agency tweets. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reported earlier this week that Kirk, who spent the first part of last season with the Cavs, was expected to sign with a team from Italy, though it wasn’t clear which club he’d end up with.

Central Notes: Williams, Kirk, Douglas

The opportunity to play for an NBA title is what ultimately led to Mo Williams‘ decision to sign with the Cavs, Chris Fedor of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. “It feels home,” Williams said of Cleveland during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “There’s just that team where you kind of feel like, ‘You know what? I would never want to leave this organization.’ Obviously the business of basketball changes the landscape of a lot of people’s careers and mine was no different, but to have the opportunity to come back and finish my career there and have the opportunity to go out on top, I couldn’t ask for a better situation. There’s no monetary factor involved in any of my decisions. At this point of my career now it’s just playing winning basketball, playing for championships.

The Cavs’ young backcourt will also benefit from the addition of Williams, Fedor adds. “The reasons why the Cavs were confident to bring me back, I’m a strong voice and a team guy,” Williams said. “It’s about bringing everybody together collectively for one goal. That’s kind of my approach and just being around guys every day obviously you’re going to learn personalities. It’s just like any coach. You have to be able to manage those personalities and you have to be able to have everybody on your team like you. I think those things are important. Be able to relate to our guys. I’ve been the star of my team. I’ve been the second guy and the third guy. I’ve been the sixth man and the guy [expletive] off that he’s not playing. I can kind of relate to each guy.

Here’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Alex Kirk, who made five appearances for the Cavaliers during the 2014/15 season, is expected to sign a deal with an Italian team in the near future, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers guaranteed $600k of Toney Douglas‘ $1,185,784 salary for the 2015/16 season, and another $275k becomes guaranteed if the guard is on the roster come the season opener, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says he was not surprised by the team’s decision to fire him, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com tweets. Thibodeau also relayed that he had no regrets regarding his tenure with Chicago, and said he had no reaction to the disparaging comments made by team owner Jerry Reinsdorf when the Bulls announced his termination, notes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).

Knicks Notes: Shved, Carmelo, Boozer, Lopez

Alexey Shved has turned down an offer from the Knicks as he mulls returning to play in Europe, agent Obrad Fimic tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com, and Shved’s American agent, Mark Bartelstein, said to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com that it’s unlikely Shved re-signs with the Knicks (Twitter links). Shved has been seeking the $2.814MM room exception, but none of the three offers the Knicks have made were for that amount, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“We didn’t get to the right number with the Knicks,’’ Fimic told Berman. “Maybe next season. We are considering a return to Europe where we have two huge offers.’’ 

Fimic said to Russia’s Tass news outlet that three NBA teams made offers (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Here’s more on the blue-and-orange:

Eastern Notes: Kirk, Boylen, Porzingis

The Pistons got an early jump on their offseason today, acquiring Ersan Ilyasova from the Bucks in exchange for Caron Butler and Shawne Williams. Milwaukee GM John Hammond had nothing but praise for the departed big man, Charles F. Gardner and Matt Velazquez of The Journal Sentinel write. “Ersan always represented this organization and this community in a first-class manner,” Hammond said. “He gave 100% night in and night out. We wish Ersan nothing but the best as he continues his career in Detroit.” Here’s more out of the East:

  • The Bulls are pursuing San Antonio assistant Jim Boylen to become the top assistant on coach Fred Hoiberg‘s staff, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Chicago has received permission from the Spurs to speak to Boylen, league sources told Wojnarowski. Chicago has expressed a willingness to discuss the title of associate head coach with Boylen, the Yahoo! scribe adds.
  • The Nets held pre-draft workouts today for Dakari Johnson (Kentucky), George Lucas (Brazil), Lucas Dias Silva (Brazil), Josh Gasser (Wisconsin), and Luis Montero (Westchester CC), Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
  • Center Alex Kirk worked out for the Knicks today with the hope he can earn an invite to training camp, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv writes. “I’m not going to come in and try to score 30 points and try to do some of these amazing things that these other guys are going to try to do,” Kirk told Basketball Insiders (video link). “I just want to come in and be Alex Kirk and try to play as hard as I possibly can and hopefully that turns into some training camp offers and just see where that goes from there.” Kirk was waived by New York shortly after being acquired from the Cavaliers this past season.
  • The Knicks will be one of a number of teams attending a workout for Kristaps Porzingis in Las Vegas this Friday, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays (Twitter links). This is likely to be Prozingis’ only pre-draft showcase, Begley notes. Also participating in the workout will be Myles Turner (Texas) and Jarell Martin (LSU), the ESPN scribe relays.
  • Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre plans to work out for the Heat in the near future, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays. You can see our full prospect profile for Oubre here.

Knicks Waive Thomas, Kirk, Amundson

1:22pm: The moves are official, the team announced (on Twitter).

8:59am: The Knicks plan to waive Lance Thomas, Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson, according to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News and Newsday’s Barbara Barker (Twitter links). Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck reported late Monday that the team would waive Kirk and Amundson and keep Thomas. Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com said shortly thereafter that the Knicks would choose two of the three to let go and that Thomas was merely the most likely to be retained, but now it appears New York will release all three of the players it acquired in Monday’s trade. None of the three has any guaranteed salary, save for Kirk, who has a $65K partial guarantee but has already earned more than that amount, putting him on a de facto non-guaranteed contract. The team must waive them no later than 4:00pm Central today to avoid guaranteeing their minimum-salary deals for the rest of the season.

Thomas is the only one of the trio to have seen significant action this season. He started 13 games for the banged-up Thunder earlier this season, and in 22 appearances overall, he’s averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game. Still, Oklahoma City saw him as expendable now that most of its injured players, including Kevin Durant, are back in the lineup. The 26-year-old forward was supposed to have served a less prominent role like the ones Kirk and Amundson played in Cleveland. Kirk, an undrafted rookie center out of New Mexico, has hit the floor for just 14 minutes total in five games during the regular season. The ninth-year veteran Amundson saw 6.6 MPG in 12 appearances for the Cavs, but Cleveland shipped him out along with Kirk even though the team is starved for capable big men.

The Knicks, who have been carrying a full 15-man roster, are set to sign Langston Galloway to a 10-day contract, though that move couldn’t take place until the team makes its cuts. The subtraction of Thomas, Kirk and Amundson plus the signing of Galloway would put the Knicks at the 13-man roster minimum, with plenty of flexibility.

Fallout From Cavs-Thunder-Knicks Trade

Monday night’s three-team trade brought about significant changes to a title contender in each conference and was seemingly a signal that the Knicks are focused more on the future than the present. We’ll look at the ripple effects of the move as they’re felt in Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and New York.

  • The Knicks plan to waive two of the three players they acquired in the trade, and Lance Thomas is the most likely among that trio to be kept, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. The Knicks would look to fill the open roster spots that would create, coach Derek Fisher said, according to Newsday’s Al Iannazzone“I don’t think this in any way signals the end of our transition process,” Fisher said. “I think our front office will continue to look at what we can do to replace a couple of these guys, but also how we’re going to build our roster going forward in the short term and the long term. I think Phil [Jackson] is continuing to look at how we transition as we change the culture of the New York Knicks.”
  • The Cavs kept LeBron James informed about the move, and he understands it as a transaction necessary for the team, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group hears. The relationship between James and J.R. Smith, who’s spent summers training with James in the past, is solid, Haynes also reports.
  • Kevin Durant is excited about the addition of Dion Waiters to the Thunder and said that he doesn’t think the shooting guard has felt “wanted” the past couple of years, notes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Durant is intent on changing that. “I’m not saying he’s James [Harden]‘s replacement, we’re far past that,” Durant said. “But yeah, he can play, can come off the bench for us and score and make plays. He’s a really good player, man. A lot of people take him for granted, I think. Because he’s been around and you hear different things about him that’s not true. But he can play basketball. So he just needs to come out here and be himself, be aggressive and make plays.”
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