Alonzo Gee

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Speights, Bacon

The Heat will be eligible to apply for a hardship exception after tonight’s game, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. To qualify, teams must have at least four players miss three consecutive games with injuries and be ruled out for at least two more weeks by an independent medical specialist. Dion Waiters will sit out his third straight game tonight with a sprained ankle, joining Justise Winslow, who has missed eight games with a left knee sprain, and Rodney McGruder and Okaro White, who are both recovering from surgeries.

Miami, which signed White under similar circumstances last season, has a roster candidate playing for its G League affiliate, Winderman notes. Veteran swingman Alonzo Gee is averaging 17.8 points in five games with Sioux Falls. The 30-year-old, who last appeared in the NBA when he signed a 10-day contract with the Nuggets in January, has played for six teams in eight years.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • John Wall and Bradley Beal both used the word “selfish” to explain why the Wizards frequently suffer letdowns like the one that resulted in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, relays Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Washington was expected to be among the top teams in the East, but has dropped games to the Mavericks, Suns, Lakers, Clippers, Nets [twice] and Hawks, who all have losing records. “We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats,” Wall said.
  • At age 30, Marreese Speights has become a leader on a young Magic team, notes John Denton of NBA.com. Speights, who signed with Orlando this summer, has been around seasoned veterans throughout his career and is passing on the knowledge he gained to his new teammates. “You never know when this game is going to get taken away from you, and that happens to a lot of people, so you have to cherish it every time you get to play,’’ he said. “You have to understand this is bigger than what you think it is. I never take it for granted putting that jersey on.’’
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon will have a short stay in the G League, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The rookie out of Florida State made an impression Thursday with 45 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Swarm. “Barring injury to a Hornets player [Friday against Golden State], the plan is to have Bacon play in Greensboro tonight [i.e. Thursday] against Wisconsin, and then on Saturday in Iowa,” GM Rich Cho wrote in a text message. “We would then recall him after the game on Saturday and have him join [the Hornets] in LA.”

And-Ones: Doncic, Gee, Mexico City, NBPA

A highlight of Real Madrid star Luka Doncic crossing over former Trail Blazers forward Victor Claver went viral on Thursday, and representatives from a number of NBA teams were on hand to see it in person. According to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link), the Sixers, Suns, Clippers, Magic, Mavericks, Pelicans, Wizards, and others all had officials in attendance.

Of course, given how highly regarded Doncic is, most of these teams are unlikely to have a shot at him in the 2018 NBA draft. In singling out some of the risers and fallers in the latest update to their 2018 big board, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) explain why Doncic is at the top of their rankings.

According to Givony and Schmitz, who refer to Doncic as “the most productive European prospect of all time,” the 6’8″ guard could have a legit chance to win the EuroLeague’s MVP award this season. Some scouts worry about his athleticism, his defense, or his ability to create shots, so it’s not a lock that he’ll go No. 1 in June. But Doncic, at age 18, is already one of the best scorers and facilitators in Europe, in the eyes of Givony and Schmitz.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran NBA swingman Alonzo Gee is headed to the G League, according to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days, who tweets that the Heat‘s affiliate (the Sioux Falls Skyforce) has claimed Gee off waivers. The 30-year-old, who has appeared in regular season games for six NBA clubs, last played for the Nuggets in 2016/17.
  • After reporting last week that the NBA intends to establish a G League franchise in Mexico City, Marc Stein of The New York Times takes a deep dive into the issue and outlines why the league is more seriously considering the viability of eventually expanding to Mexico — not just with a G League team, but with an NBA club. The fact that Mexico City shares a time zone with so many current NBA clubs is a major plus, as commissioner Adam Silver observes.
  • The players’ union and former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter have reached a settlement in their legal battle, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter links). After the NBPA fired Hunter in 2013, the longtime executive director sued the union for $10MM+, and the union counter-sued. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but Hunter said in a statement that he’s happy about “moving forward after years of hard-fought litigation on both sides.”

Nuggets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To 10-Day Deal

JANUARY 26: The Nuggets have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed O’Bryant to a 10-day contract.

JANUARY 24: The Nuggets intend to sign free agent power forward Johnny O’Bryant to a 10-day contract, reports Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Denver was previously believed to be lining up another 10-day deal for Alonzo Gee when a roster spot became available, but it seems the club has opted to go in another direction.

O’Bryant, 23, was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Bucks. In 100 games for the club, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The LSU product signed as a free agent with the Wizards prior to training camp last fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with the team.

O’Bryant subsequently joined the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, and has averaged 18.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 24 games for Phoenix’s affiliate this season. He has even added a three-point shot to his game, making 38.0% of his attempts and averaging more than one three-pointer per game.

With O’Bryant set to join the Nuggets, Mo Williams has been waived by the team to create a roster spot. The move was expected after Denver claimed Williams off waivers on Monday. Earlier today, I explained why Williams’ contract appeals to the Nuggets, who have now traded for, cut, and reclaimed the point guard. Denver will hope that he passes through waivers this time around.

Stein’s Latest: Nurkic, Millsap, Gay, Tucker

The latest column from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is filled with fresh rumors as next month’s trade deadline approaches. We’ve already shared the Bulls’ interest in Chris Bosh and the Magic’s offer for Goran Dragic. Here are some more intriguing trade tidbits:

  • Nuggets big man Jusuf Nurkic is almost certain to be traded before the February 23rd deadline. Denver officials admitted that pairing Nurkic with Nikola Jokic didn’t work, and they want to ship him to a team where he has a chance to be a starting center.
  • Teams are very skeptical about the Hawks‘ assertion that All-Star forward Paul Millsap has been pulled from trade consideration. The 31-year-old has a player option worth nearly $21.5MM for next season and is expected to test the free agent market.
  • The Kings had numerous offers for Rudy Gay, mostly during the offseason but also more recently, but elected to keep him in hopes of earning a playoff spot. The Thunder, Heat and Blazers were the most interested teams last summer. Gay is out for the season after tearing an Achilles tendon Wednesday night.
  • The Kings would like to find teams willing to take Ben McLemore and Arron Afflalo.
  • The Clippers offered the Suns a future second-round pick for P.J. Tucker, but Phoenix is holding out for a first-rounder. The Clippers owe their first-round pick this year to Toronto and in 2019 to Boston, so the next first-rounder they could offer would be in 2021.
  • Tucker and Brandon Knight are considered the most available Suns. Coach Earl Watson said this week that the team will not trade veteran center Tyson Chandler.
  • The Nuggets would like to sign Alonzo Gee to another 10-day contract once Mo Williams clears waivers. Gee’s first 10-day contract expired Wednesday, the same day Williams was waived after being acquired in a trade with the Hawks.

Nuggets Re-Sign Alonzo Gee To 10-Day Deal

The Nuggets re-signed Alonzo Gee to a 10-day contract just two days after waiving him, Denver announced on its official team websiteChristopher Dempsey of The Denver Post had first reported that the Nuggets were interested in bringing back Gee.

Gee will be with the team for Thursday’s game vs. Indiana in London. Denver had parted ways with Gee to avoid Saturday’s deadline that would have guaranteed his contract for the rest of the season.

Gee has appeared in just 13 games for the Nuggets, averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 6.8 minutes per night. Denver signed him in November after he was waived by New Orleans. The 6’6″ forward has played for six franchises in his eight-year NBA career including stops with the Spurs and Cavs.

Nuggets May Bring Back Alonzo Gee

The Nuggets may not be done with veteran swingman Alonzo Gee, who was waived Friday, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post.

Denver parted ways with Gee to avoid Saturday’s deadline that would have guaranteed his contract for the rest of the season. However, he could be brought back on a 10-day deal later in the year.

“We love Alonzo,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “He was terrific. So that move by no means was an indication of how we feel about him. The front office made a move that going forward gives us flexibility.”

Gee has appeared in just 13 games for the Nuggets, averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 6.8 minutes per night. Denver signed him in November after he was waived by New Orleans. Gee has played for six franchises in his eight-year NBA career.

Nuggets Waive Alonzo Gee

The Nuggets have waived Alonzo Gee, according to a team press release. Denver’s roster count is now at 14 players, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates.

Gee joined Denver in November and his deal was partially guaranteed, though had he remained on the roster through Saturday, it would have became fully guaranteed. The cap hit for the move is $418K, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets.

Gee played sparingly for the team, appearing in only 13 contests. The veteran has played for six different franchises in his seven-year career.

And-Ones: Gee, Douby, Favors, Love

Nuggets coach Mike Malone believes the addition of Alonzo Gee brings “defensive versatility”, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes.  “I’ve been a fan of him from afar for many years,” Malone said. The team signed Gee on Tuesday.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Quincy Douby has signed in the D-League and will play for the Westchester Knicks, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports (Twitter link).
  • Derrick Favors‘ MRI confirmed a bone contusion on his left knee and he won’t play for the Jazz in Thursday’s game, according to the team’s website. Utah didn’t provide a concrete timetable for Favors’ return.
  • Kevin Love has no regrets about signing his five-year contract with the Cavs, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Love could have signed a one-year deal during the summer of 2015 and positioned himself to take advantage of this past summer’s exploding salary cap. Instead, Love chose security over taking a risk to maximize his earnings. “When it’s your time [to sign], it’s your time. You’ve got to figure it out,” Love said. “Maybe the shoulder had something to do with it, but you’ve got to think about risk adversity. How much risk do you want to take? Knowing I could be with this team, locking in for five years, it was an easy choice.”

Nuggets Sign Swingman Alonzo Gee

WEDNESDAY, 10:55 am: The Nuggets officially announced the signing of Gee on their Twitter feed.

TUESDAY, 6:54 pm: The Nuggets are finalizing a deal to add Alonzo Gee to the team, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (Twitter link). Denver has only 14 players on the books after waiving Jarnell Stokes earlier today.

Gee spent last season with the Pelicans and nearly made New Orleans’ roster this year before being waived right before the season started. He’s previously played for Denver during the 2014/15 season, though he was traded mid-season to the Blazers in the Aaron Afflalo deal.

Wing depth is an area of concern for the Nuggets. Will Barton remains sidelined because of an ankle injury and his absence has led to Jameer Nelson playing alongside Emmanuel Mudiay in the starting lineup. Earlier today, we learned that Denver could be without Gary Harris for up to four weeks because of a foot injury.

Pelicans Waive Alonzo Gee, Keep Lance Stephenson

The Pelicans have made their final cut, reducing their roster to 15 players by waiving Alonzo Gee, the team announced today in a press release. The move ensures that there’s room on the roster for Lance Stephenson, who was believed to be vying with Gee for that final opening.

While Gee was long viewed to be on the roster bubble in New Orleans, it’s still a slightly surprising decision, since his salary for 2016/17 was fully guaranteed, while Stephenson had only received a $100K guarantee so far. Unless Gee is claimed on waivers this week, the Pelicans will be on the hook for his full $1.4MM salary.

Interestingly, the Pelicans only would have owed Gee about $980K if they’d signed him to a minimum salary benefit contract, which still would have paid the veteran forward about $1.315MM (the minimum salary benefit rule calls for the NBA to make up the difference). As I wrote back in July, the Pelicans’ curious decision to pay Gee $1.4MM instead of the minimum salary appeared to be a result of his decision to decline a $1.379MM player option in June — by giving him a raise, New Orleans allowed him to save face on that decision.

Of course, it’s possible there was another explanation for the Pelicans, but at the time it cost them nearly $420K to give Gee an extra $85K or so. Now that he hasn’t even made the 15-man roster, the signing looks a little more costly.

In any case, the Pelicans appear poised to head into the season with Stephenson in the mix. The 26-year-old will look to build upon a second-half stint in Memphis that saw him averaged 14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 26 regular season games. The ex-Pacer figures to get a decent amount of playing time to start the season, with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans sidelined.

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