Alex Stepheson

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.

And-Ones: Anthony, Stepheson, Dunleavy Sr.

Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith feels for his former Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony and the struggles he’s endured, but he firmly believes that ‘Melo wants to stick it out and make things work in New York, Peter Botte of The New York Daily News writes. “I know it’s been hard on him,” Smith said. “It’s one of those situations when you’re a great player in the league and you just don’t have the support system, that cast that you’ve been accustomed to like when we were in Denver or the earlier years when he got to New York. I know it’s been a frustrating process, but if anybody can get through it, it will be Melo.”

And I know he absolutely wants to make it work here [New York],” Smith continued. “This is everything he asked for, I mean, except for not making the playoffs and stuff like that. But everything he’s doing for the city and for the Knicks, I think it’s harder for him now more than anything. He doesn’t have the whole supporting cast yet, but this year has been better than last year and I think they will continue to improve. And the way I know him, he’s committed there, for sure.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Alex Stepheson has returned to the Iowa Energy, which is the D-League affiliate of Memphis, after the Grizzlies declined to sign him to a second 10-day contract, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor relays (Twitter link). The 28-year-old made four appearances for Memphis and averaged 5.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per outing.
  • The fact that Pelicans big man Anthony Davis has played the past three seasons with a shoulder injury makes his performance all the more impressive, though it does raise questions about whether he is more injury-prone than previously believed, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report writes. The scribe posits that New Orleans may need to rest Davis more often in the future to help maintain his health but also points to Dwight Howard, who has dealt with similar shoulder issues since 2013, as a reason to believe Davis can continue to log significant minutes without being coddled.
  • Former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. has a verbal agreement in place to become the next head coach of Tulane University, Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com reports. Dunleavy has zero college coaching experience but owns a career NBA mark of 613-716 from his stints with the Lakers, Bucks, Trail Blazers and Clippers.
  • The Hawks have recalled Lamar Patterson from the D-League, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Patterson was assigned to the Canton Charge, the affiliate of the Cavs, via the flexible assignment rule.

Grizzlies Sign Ray McCallum To Second 10-Day

The Grizzlies have signed Ray McCallum to a second 10-day contract, the team announced. His first expired overnight. The move restores Memphis to a 17-man roster, meaning the club has received additional clearance from the league through the hardship provision to carry two more than the regular season 15-man maximum. However, Memphis has no immediate plans to re-sign Alex Stepheson, whose first 10-day contract also expired at the end of Monday, tweets Grizzlies sideline reporter Rob Fischer. The hardship exception they’d used to carry Stepheson as one of 18 players on Monday’s roster wasn’t renewed, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, who suggests it likely means Chris Andersen will return tonight from the left shoulder injury that’s kept him out for the last nine games (Twitter link)

The latest deal for McCallum, which costs $55,722, will cover four games, against the Lakers, Spurs (twice) and Nuggets. The third-year pro has seen plenty of action in Memphis, starting the last two games and averaging 8.5 points, 2.8 assists and 1.8 turnovers in 24.3 minutes per contest across six appearances overall. He’s canned nine of his 18 3-point attempts as he’s seen far more opportunity than he did with the Spurs, who had him for most of the season before waiving him to make room for Andre Miller. The Knicks reportedly considered signing him, but the Grizzlies instead scooped him up to deal with their many injury problems.

Nine Grizzlies were ailing at one point earlier this month, and six have some sort of injury at this point, including Andersen. Marc Gasol is out for the season with a broken foot, while Brandan Wright, P.J. Hairston, Jordan Adams and Mike Conley are also sidelined, according to the CBSSports.com injury log.

Teams can’t sign any player to more than two 10-day contracts per year, but only 13 days will be left in the season when McCallum’s latest pact expires. The Grizzlies only have 14 players signed through season’s end, so they have flexibility to retain McCallum if they choose.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Pondexter, Lee, Grizzlies

The Pelicans may decide to shut down Anthony Davis for the rest of the season, according to Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. The center/power forward hurt his left knee Friday when he collided with teammate Jrue Holiday and Portland’s C.J. McCollum. Davis is also dealing with a lingering shoulder problem. Coach Alvin Gentry said the Pelicans are waiting for more medical information before making a decision. “They’re going to talk to doctors this afternoon and we’ll know a lot more then … I just know that [his shoulder has been] bothering him,” Gentry said Saturday after practice. “We’re going to be on a conference call with doctors today. I think it’s something that’s kind of been there.”

New Orleans may decide not to take any chances with Davis’ health after he signed a maximum extension over the summer worth an estimated $145MM. The Pelicans expected to move up in the standings after reaching the playoffs last season, but they’re stuck in 12th place in the West at 25-43. They’re eight and a half games behind Dallas for the final playoff spot with 14 games remaining.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans small forward Quincy Pondexter, who has missed the entire season while recovering from knee surgery, vows to be ready by fall, Eichenhofer relays in the same story. “I guarantee I will be 100% by training camp,” Pondexter said, describing his status as “the beginning of a long rehab process, but it’s going really, really well so far.”
  • The MavericksDavid Lee, who faced the Warriors for the first time Friday since they traded him to Boston, is looking forward to next week’s trip to Golden State, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. That’s when Lee will receive the championship ring he earned with the Warriors last season. It wasn’t the path to a title that Lee wanted, as he fell out of the rotation during the season, but he doesn’t blame coach Steve Kerr for cutting his minutes. “Coach was always very up front and very fair to me last year,” Lee said. “And of course when he came to me and needed something in the playoffs, I was able to deliver.”
  • There will be a reunion of sorts tonight when the Grizzlies host the Clippers, according to Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times. The Memphis roster includes Matt Barnes, Lance Stephenson, Ryan Hollins and Alex Stepheson, all of whom spent time with the Clippers over the past three seasons.

Pacific Notes: Jones, Russell, Chalmers, Grizzlies

Tyus Jones has already played in more games since the All-Star break than he played before it, as the Timberwolves have decided it’s time to let last year’s 24th overall pick learn on the court. Ricky Rubio, a subject of deadline trade talk whom Jones is trying to eventually replace as Minnesota’s starting point guard, sees “great things” ahead for the rookie, observes Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune.

“He can really score the ball. I think he’€™s learning how to control, and play in this league,” Rubio said. “€œIt’€™s not like college. He’s learning how to play and he’s not afraid. That’€™s one of the main things you ask of a rookie. Don’€™t be afraid.™”€™

See more from the Western Conference:

  • Much consternation has surrounded the limited playing time Lakers coach Byron Scott has given No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell this season, but the combo guard is seeing 31.4 minutes per game since the All-Star break compared to 27.1 minutes per game before it, and he’s upbeat about the future, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “€œIt’€™s all about the opportunity,” Russell said. “€œEverybody has a different route toward reaching their potential. Some people bloom early and some people bloom late. If I’€™m a late bloomer and I’€™m around this league for a long time, I would prefer that.”€
  • Mario Chalmers was popular within the Grizzlies organization, as Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal, who believes his early-season acquisition was a plus for the team, writes in his Pick-and-Pop column. Chalmers cleared waivers after tearing his Achilles tendon last week.
  • The Grizzlies have filled gaps in their roster with such wizened veterans as Gilbert Arenas, Jason Williams and Keyon Dooling in past years, so the recent signings of Ray McCallum, Alex Stepheson and Briante Weber represent a shrewd pivot toward finding stopgaps with potential future value, Herrington argues in the same piece.

Grizzlies Sign Alex Stepheson To 10-Day Deal

2:28pm: The signing is official, the team announced via press release.

11:48am: The Grizzlies intend to sign power forward Alex Stepheson to a 10-Day contract today, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The team will add the big man via hardship exception, Charania notes. Memphis also plans on inking point guard Ray McCallum today, which would give the Grizzlies a roster count of 17 players. The plan to add the two likely means the NBA has granted, or will grant, two extra roster spots to the team.

There should be no issue with the Grizzlies securing the extra slots given the plague of maladies that has befallen the team’s roster. In addition to Mike Conley being lost for approximately a month due to Achilles woes, the team is already without Marc Gasol for the rest of the year, and backup center Brandan Wright is liable to miss another seven weeks, which would finish him for the season. Fellow big man Chris Andersen is dealing with a serious shoulder issue, Zach Randolph has missed the last three games with a knee injury, and Jordan Adams is out indefinitely with a knee injury of his own. Vince Carter left Friday’s win against the Pelicans with a left calf strain and is questionable for tonight’s game.

Stepheson, 28, just completed his second 10-day contract with the Clippers, who apparently declined to sign him for the remainder of the season. He made four appearances for Los Angeles and averaged 0.5 points and 0.5 rebounds in just 3.0 minutes per contest. He’ll almost assuredly see more burn for the Grizzlies given how thin they are in the frontcourt.

Clippers Sign Alex Stepheson To Second 10-Day

WEDNESDAY, 12:55pm: The signing is official, the team announced via press release.

TUESDAY, 11:46am: The Clippers will sign Alex Stepheson to a second 10-day contract, as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register reports and as a source confirms to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). The rookie power forward’s first 10-day deal expired Monday night. Woike and Turner indicate the signing is set to take place Wednesday, which would allow the contract to cover five games, against the Thunder (twice), Hawks, Mavericks and Knicks.

The deal will give Stepheson $30,888 but cost the Clippers that plus $77,220 in additional projected tax penalties. It’s a smaller price than if the team signed a veteran, but Stepheson didn’t see much action in his first 10 days with the Clippers, logging just nine minutes across two games.

The Clippers reportedly turned to him when they couldn’t find a defensive-oriented guard they liked. The 28-year-old former USC player has spent most of his career overseas. His appeal is as a rebounder, and his 13.8 boards per game in 31 appearances this season for the D-League affiliate of the Grizzlies is tops in that league by a wide margin.

Pacific Notes: Green, Varejao, Dawson

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers reportedly plans to try to re-sign Jeff Green this summer, and he’s glad to be reunited with his former Celtics player for several reasons. Rivers was effusive in his praise of Green to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, calling him one of the best NBA people ever (Twitter link), and he’s also a fan of what the combo forward can do on the court, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details.

“I really wanted more length,” Rivers said of his goals going into the trade deadline, according to Jones. “When you look at the teams we have to beat, we need to get longer, more athletic, and we need to increase our shooting. And I think with Jeff we did all three of those things. … I thought of all the things that were offered, he was the best available for us.”

See more from the Pacific Division:

Western Notes: Lee, Davis, Stepheson, Nuggets

The Mavericks will need more than just David Lee to start moving in the right direction, contends Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas is considered a heavy favorite to sign Lee once he clears waivers at 3 pm Central Time on Sunday, and Sefko says the Mavericks are believed to have a deal ready to present to him. Lee, who was waived Friday by the Celtics after falling out of their rotation, hasn’t played since January 10th. Sefko warns that Lee has lost some of the skills that made him a two-time All-Star and says other players will have to step up their games to keep the Mavericks from falling out of the playoff picture.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Jeremy Evans and Justin Anderson have been sent to the Mavericks‘ D-League affiliate, the team announced today. Evans has played in 29 games for Dallas, averaging 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds, while Anderson has been in 34 games, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry laughed at a report that the organization had trade talks with the Celtics about Anthony Davis, writes John Reid of The Times-Picayune. New Orleans gave Davis an extension last summer that will amount to the richest contract in league history, five years at $145MM.
  • Alex Stepheson, who signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers earlier today, can’t wait to play in his first NBA game, according to Robert Morales of The Long Beach Press-Telegram. The 28-year-old was the D-League’s leading rebounder with the Iowa Energy, the affiliate of the Grizzlies. “I’m excited,” Stepheson said. “I’m a little bit nervous. I think basketball-wise, I kind of know what I can do and can’t do, so I don’t think I’m going to be too nervous on the basketball court. Just being out there playing for the Clippers and stuff like that, man, it’s pretty big.”
  • The Nuggets created a tiny trade exception worth $135K from Thursday’s trade, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It’s of such diminutive value that it’s virtually unusable, but nonetheless, it comes via the difference between Randy Foye‘s $3.135MM salary and D.J. Augustin‘s $3MM pay. Denver took Steve Novak‘s $3,750,001 salary into its disabled player exception for Wilson Chandler, as I noted here and as Pincus confirms (on Twitter). The disabled player exception is thus extinguished, Pincus adds.
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