Alfonzo McKinnie

Bulls Waive Alfonzo McKinnie 

10:33pm: The move is official, the Bulls confirmed in a press release.


4:36pm: To open a roster spot for the addition of Tristan Thompson, the Bulls will waive forward Alfonzo McKinnie, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

McKinnie earned a standard contract with Chicago after signing a pair of 10-day hardship deals with the team in December. He appeared in 17 games, made three starts and averaged 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per night.

Because his release will come before March 1, McKinnie will be eligible for the playoffs if he signs with another team. The 29-year-old has played for five teams in his five-year NBA career, starting with the Raptors in 2017/18 and spending time with the Warriors, Cavaliers and Lakers as well.

Thompson is expected to officially join the Bulls soon after completing a buyout with the Pacers earlier this week.

Recap Of 2021/22 Salary Guarantee Decisions

Entering the new year on January 1, there were still 27 players who were signed to standard, full-season contracts but whose salaries for the 2021/22 campaign weren’t fully guaranteed.

The deadline for teams to waive those players and avoid having their full ’21/22 salaries become guaranteed was on Friday, January 7 at 4:00 p.m. CT. Although their salaries won’t technically become guaranteed until January 10, those players would still receive their full-season guarantees if they’re cut today or tomorrow, since they wouldn’t clear waivers until at least Monday.

Here’s a roundup of the decisions teams made with those 27 players:


Players who will have their salaries guaranteed:

Each player’s salary is noted here. His cap hit is identical to his salary unless otherwise indicated.

(*) cap hit of $1,669,178
(#) cap hit of $1,237,494
(^) cap hit of $1,016,856

All 19 of the players on non-guaranteed contracts who were retained are earning the minimum salary, so the financial impact of keeping them is relatively modest. Still, open roster spots are valuable at this time of year — at least a couple of these guys were fortunate not to be let go by a team prioritizing flexibility.

All of these decisions were reported in recent days with the exception of the Bulls keeping McKinnie. Since he played in last night’s game, he clearly wasn’t waived in time for the January 7 deadline, so we can safely assume Chicago is keeping him around.


Players who were waived before their salaries became guaranteed:

Each player’s cap hit is noted here. The team would no longer be on the hook for that cap charge if a player is claimed off waivers.

Of these eight players, only Deck was making more than the minimum salary. He would’ve earned $3,676,852 if he had survived the guarantee deadline, which is why his prorated cap hit is noticeably larger than the other players on this list, who were all earning the minimum.

Valentine and Oni were each traded before being waived, as the Lakers (who were set to acquire Valentine from Cleveland in the Rajon Rondo trade before the Knicks got involved) and Jazz avoided further increasing their projected tax bills by eating that dead money.

There were a handful of other players with non-guaranteed salaries who were waived earlier in the season. That group included Sam Dekker (Raptors), Georgios Kalaitzakis (Bucks), Alize Johnson (Bulls), and Brad Wanamaker (Pacers). Those moves didn’t go down to the wire like the others listed above, having occurred well in advance of the salary guarantee deadline.

COVID-19 Updates: Porzingis, SGA, Garland, Valanciunas, More

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. Denver, the team announced today (via Twitter).

The Mavericks got good news over the weekend, as Luka Doncic was cleared to play for the first time since December 10 and led the team to a win in Oklahoma City on Sunday. But now Porzingis is at risk of missing a few games due to the health and safety protocols, and he’s not the only Mav affected — the club still has four other players in the protocols too.

Here’s more COVID-related news from around the NBA:

  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is no longer in the health and safety protocols, acting head coach Mike Wilks said today (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Gilgeous-Alexander only entered the protocols on Saturday, so he may have registered a false positive test.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, who had been in the COVID-19 protocols since last Tuesday, was able to practice today, per head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (Twitter link via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic).
  • Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has cleared the protocols and will be available for Monday’s game against Utah, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • Damion Lee and James Wiseman have exited the protocols for the Warriors, per the NBA’s injury report. Wiseman remains sidelined while he recovers from right knee surgery, but Lee is no longer on the injury report at all, and Golden State doesn’t have any players in the protocols.
  • After briefly clearing the protocols, Hornets forward P.J. Washington reentered them on Sunday, according to the team (Twitter link). He’ll miss Monday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball and Alfonzo McKinnie of the Bulls have both exited the health and safety protocols and will be available to play on Monday vs. Orlando, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • Nets rookie Kessler Edwards is no longer in the COVID-19 protocols, according to the NBA’s injury report. Brooklyn was hit hard by an outbreak in December but currently has no players affected.
  • Lakers assistant David Fizdale, who briefly served as the club’s acting head coach during Frank Vogel‘s stint in the protocols, has now entered the protocols himself, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

COVID Updates: Joseph, Jackson, Murray, Johnson, Okeke, Rondo, Ball, Maxey

The league continues to be ravaged by COVID positives with an increasing number of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Here are the latest updates:

  • The Pistons, who already had six players in protocols, added guards Cory Joseph and Josh Jackson to the list, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. The Pistons are scheduled to play the Spurs on Sunday night. San Antonio will be without Dejounte Murray, who also entered protocols on Sunday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
  • The Magic, who already had a handful of players in protocols, won’t have B.J. Johnson and Chuma Okeke available against Miami on Sunday after they joined the list, the team’s PR department tweets. Moritz Wagner has exited the protocols but is going through a reconditioning period before returning to action, per the team (Twitter link).
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has entered protocols, joining three other Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.
  • Two-way player Jose Alvarado became the third Pelicans players to enter protocols, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets.
  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has entered protocols, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Bulls, who have experienced major COVID issues this month, also have Alfonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley in protocols, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tweets. McKinnie just signed a standard contract and he can be replaced via the hardship exemption, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Chicago has seen 14 players enter protocols this month.
  • On the positive side, the Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey was spotted at shootaround after exiting protocols, Keith Pompey of  the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Bulls Waive Alize Johnson, Sign Alfonzo McKinnie For Rest Of Season

10:43am: Both moves are official, the Bulls announced (via Twitter). Since Johnson’s $1.7MM salary was partially guaranteed, the prorated cap hit for Chicago will be about $706K, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. McKinnie will have a $1.09MM salary and a $1.02MM cap hit, leaving the team roughly $3MM below the luxury tax line.


9:06am: The Bulls will waive forward Alize Johnson, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The newly-opened roster spot will be used to sign Alfonzo McKinnie to a contract that covers the remainder of the season (Twitter link).

McKinnie becomes the league’s first COVID-19 hardship addition to earn a standard contract, Charania notes. The 29-year-old small forward signed a pair of 10-day deals and has averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in three games. This is the fifth NBA team for McKinnie, who has also played for the Raptors, Warriors, Cavaliers and Lakers after going undrafted in 2017.

Johnson, 25, signed a two-year deal with Chicago during the offseason and received a partial guarantee of $250K for making the opening-night roster. His $1.878MM salary for 2022/23 was non-guaranteed until July 2, 2022, so the Bulls won’t be on the hook for any more money beyond this season.

Johnson was among several Chicago players who entered the league’s health and safety protocols earlier this month, but he was cleared to return on Thursday. He appeared in 16 games for the Bulls, averaging 1.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 7.6 minutes per night.

Selected by the Pacers with the 50th pick in 2018, Johnson spent two years with Indiana, then played 18 games for the Nets last season after joining the team in March on a 10-day contract.

Zach LaVine, Four Other Bulls Exit COVID-19 Protocols

All the Bulls players who were in the health and safety protocols have now rejoined the team, head coach Billy Donovan said today (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). That group consists of Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, Matt Thomas, and Devon Dotson.

LaVine, Dosunmu, Johnson, and Thomas were all placed in the COVID-19 protocols at least 10 days ago. Dotson just entered the protocols on Tuesday, but has since tested out of them, according to Donovan (Twitter link via Johnson). That suggests that perhaps Dotson registered a false positive test earlier in the week.

It’s great news for the Bulls, who were one of the first teams to be affected by a coronavirus outbreak this month and who have had three games postponed. They’ll resume play on Sunday when they host Indiana.

The Bulls currently have three replacement players on 10-day hardship contracts. Alfonzo McKinnie signed his second 10-day deal on Monday and Ersan Ilyasova and Mac McClung inked their respective 10-day pacts on Wednesday.

While those contracts remain active for now, once all the Bulls players coming out of the protocols have been medically cleared to return to action, the team won’t be able to continue carrying those hardship signees, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). That means Ilyasova and McClung likely won’t get to play out their full 10-day contracts, and if Chicago wants to keep McKinnie around, the team would have to create room by trading or waiving someone from the 15-man roster.

Central Notes: Cavs, Matthews, Kalamian, McKinnie

Appearing on the HoopsHype Podcast alongside Michael Scotto, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com said he believes the Cavaliers will look to be buyers at this season’s trade deadline, and could be open to surrendering their 2022 first-round pick, which may not end up in the lottery as initially anticipated.

Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Terrence Ross are among the players who could appeal to the Cavaliers, per Fedor, though some of those players may be more attainable than others. While LeVert and Ross are believed to be available, I’d be surprised if Brooklyn parts with Harris.

Fedor also addressed several more topics during his conversation with Scotto, suggesting that Ricky Rubio has become more likely to be extended than traded and noting that the Cavaliers are comfortable going into restricted free agency with Collin Sexton. Cleveland recognizes that only a handful of teams will have cap room available in 2022 and is skeptical that any of those clubs will make it a top priority to pry away Sexton from the Cavs, Fedor explains.

Here are a few more notes from around the Central:

  • Bucks wing Wesley Matthews is no longer listed in the health and safety protocols, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Milwaukee still has three players in the protocols, including Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • Rex Kalamian, who has been an NBA assistant coach for 28 years, got a chance to serve as the Pistons‘ acting head coach on two occasions in the past week – including on Tuesday – when Dwane Casey was away from the team for personal reasons. As James L. Edwards III of The Athletic details, Kalamian appreciates the opportunity, but remains happy in his role as an assistant. “As an assistant coach, you do a lot more development with the players than the head coach,” he said. “The head coaches are not nearly as involved with the day-to-day development of players. But as an assistant, that’s something that has always been fun for me and a challenge to step in and get on the court every day with players.”
  • Carving out a role with the Bulls has been a “dream come true” for Alfonzo McKinnie, who is currently on his second 10-day contract with his hometown team. “I’m a West Side kid. I grew up like 10, 15 minutes down the way,” McKinnie said on Monday, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “House was a Bulls house. Watched the Bulls growing up. So just being able to compete on the highest stage in my hometown, on my favorite side of the city, the West Side, it’s been surreal to be honest. Just putting that jersey on has been everything for me.”

Bulls Sign Alfonzo McKinnie To Second 10-Day Deal

12:57pm: The Bulls have officially re-signed McKinnie to a second 10-day contract, the team announced (via Twitter).

That answers our question about whether McKinnie’s initial 10-day deal would be extended by a day to cover a third game — it seems it won’t be. His new contract will run through December 29, covering Chicago’s next five games (barring any additional postponements).


11:47am: The Bulls will re-sign forward Alfonzo McKinnie to a second 10-day contract after adding him via a hardship exception earlier in the month, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

McKinnie logged 29 minutes in his first game as a Bull on December 11 and played 17 more minutes in the team’s win over the Lakers on Sunday. The 29-year-old spent last season with the Lakers, but was waived in August with two non-guaranteed years left on his contract. He got into 39 games for L.A. and averaged 3.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per night.

Before catching on with Chicago, McKinnie had been playing this season for the Mexico City Capitanes, scoring 24.1 PPG and shooting 43.3% from three-point range for the G League’s newest team.

McKinnie signed his first 10-day contract on December 10, which means it should have expired overnight on Sunday. However, due to a pair of postponements, the Bulls only played two games during those 10 days. Typically, a 10-day contract must cover a minimum of three games, but it’s unclear if that rule still applies in this unprecedented scenario.

If McKinnie’s first 10-day deal is automatically extended to include a third game, he could sign his second 10-day deal on Tuesday or Wednesday. If not, he’ll sign that second contract later on Monday in order to be active for tonight’s game.

The Bulls, who had 10 players in the health and safety protocols at one point, remain shorthanded — half of those players are still in the protocols.

Bulls Sign Alfonzo McKinnie With Hardship Exception

11:35am: McKinnie has signed a 10-day contract, the Bulls announced (via Twitter).


8:34am: The Bulls will use a hardship exception to add veteran swingman Alfonzo McKinnie, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. 

McKinnie, 29, played for the Lakers last season, but was waived in August with two non-guaranteed years left on his contract. He got into 39 games for L.A. and averaged 3.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per night.

He is currently in the G League, where he’s playing for the Mexico City Capitanes and scoring 24.1 PPG while shooting 43.3% from three-point range.

After going undrafted out of Green Bay in 2015, McKinnie played overseas and in the G League before signing with the Raptors in 2017. He also spent a season with the Warriors and one with the Cavaliers.

The Bulls are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that has sapped their roster. They added Stanley Johnson under the hardship exemption earlier this week, but have since had a fifth player, Derrick Jones Jr. enter the league’s health and safety protocols.

Lakers Waive Alfonzo McKinnie

AUGUST 4: The Lakers have officially released McKinnie, the team confirmed today in a press release.


AUGUST 3: The Lakers will waive veteran forward Alfonzo McKinnie, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

McKinnie still had two more years left on his minimum-salary contract with the Lakers, but his salaries for the next two seasons were fully non-guaranteed. As such, the team won’t be on the hook for any dead money as a result of releasing McKinnie, who will get a chance to seek out a new opportunity.

McKinnie, who will turn 29 next month, averaged 3.1 PPG and 1.4 RPG on .516/.410/.556 shooting in 39 games (6.6 MPG) for the Lakers in 2020/21.

Although McKinnie had been on a minimum contract, his $1.91MM salary for 2021/22 would’ve been higher than the cap hit for a newly-signed one-year, minimum-salary contract. So the Lakers will likely replace McKinnie on the roster with a free agent and save a bit of money in the process. That’s not insignificant, since the club projects to be well over the tax line this season.