Andrew Nicholson

Andrew Nicholson, Russ Smith Sign With Chinese Team

A pair of former NBA players, Andrew Nicholson and Russ Smith, have both signed with the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association, per a report from Sportando. We relayed yesterday that Nicholson was expected to sign with Fujian.

Nicholson teamed with former NBA veteran Yi Jianlian and Donald Sloan last year for Guangdong Tigers. He posted 22.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 46 CBA games. The Tigers went to the CBA semifinals before being eliminated by the Liaoning Flying Leopards.

A former Magic first-round pick (19th overall), Nicholson appeared in 285 total NBA regular season games from 2012 to 2017 with Orlando, Washington, and Brooklyn before heading to China last September.

As for Smith, the former second-round pick (47th overall) by the Pelicans spent last season with the Sturgeons. Smith is arguably best known for his 81-point game last July in the Chinese National Basketball League. Smith appeared in 27 NBA games with the Pelicans and Grizzlies from 2014-16, averaging 2.0 PPG.

Scola, Nicholson Expected To Continue Playing In China

Former NBA power forwards Luis Scola and Andrew Nicholson are expected to continue their playing careers in China, according to a pair of reports relayed by Sportando.

Scola, who initially signed with the Shanxi Brave Dragons last July, is signing with the Shanghai Sharks for the 2018/19 Chinese Basketball Association season, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The news comes on the heels of Trevor Booker‘s announcement that he’d be joining Shanxi, presumably taking over Scola’s old role.

In his first CBA season, Scola averaged 27.8 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG in 37 games for the Brave Dragons, though the team only managed a 16-22 record. Scola, a longtime NBA big man who played for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers, Raptors, and Nets from 2007 to 2017, will be joining a Sharks team that was led by Jimmer Fredette (36.9 PPG) last season.

As for Nicholson, he’s expected to sign with the Fujian Sturgeons after playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in 2017/18, according to a Chinese report passed along by Sportando.

Nicholson, who teamed with fellow NBA vets Yi Jianlian and Donald Sloan last season for Guangdong, recorded 22.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 46 CBA contests. The Tigers advanced to the CBA semifinals before being eliminated by the Liaoning Flying Leopards.

A former Magic first-round pick, Nicholson appeared in 285 total NBA regular season games from 2012 to 2017 with Orlando, Washington, and Brooklyn before making the leap to China last September.

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Andrew Nicholson To Play In China

Free agent power forward Andrew Nicholson is headed to China, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that Nicholson has signed a deal in the $1MM range with the Guangdong Tigers. Nicholson’s agreement with Guangdong was first reported by Chuckie Maggio (Twitter link).

Nicholson, 27, was a beneficiary of the 2016 salary cap spike, having inked a four-year, $26MM contract with the Wizards during free agency last summer. After signing that deal, Nicholson endured his worst season as a pro, appearing in just 28 games for Washington and averaging 2.5 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 8.3 minutes per contest.

Nicholson was included as a salary dump in a deadline deal with the Nets in February, and ultimately finished the 2016/17 season with averages of 2.6 PPG and 1.6 RPG to go along with a .387 FG% in 38 games. Those numbers were all career worsts.

Earlier this offseason, Nicholson was once again included in a trade as a salary dump, making his way from the Nets to the Trail Blazers in the swap that sent Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn. However, Portland opted not to keep Nicholson on its roster, waiving him last week and stretching his remaining salary across seven years.

Nicholson will join a Guangdong squad that finished as the Chinese Basketball Association’s runner-up in 2016/17, having been led by former NBA players Carlos Boozer, Donald Sloan, and Yi Jianlian.

Trail Blazers Waive Andrew Nicholson

As expected, the Trail Blazers have waived Andrew Nicholson from their roster, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. According to Wojnarowski, Portland will use the stretch provision on Nicholson, spreading out his remaining salary across the next seven years. The Blazers confirmed this afternoon that Nicholson has been waived (Twitter link).Andrew Nicholson vertical

Nicholson, 27, was a beneficiary of the 2016 salary cap spike, having inked a four-year, $26MM contract with the Wizards during free agency last summer. After signing that deal, Nicholson endured his worst season as a pro, appearing in just 28 games for Washington and averaging 2.5 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 8.3 minutes per contest.

Nicholson was included as a salary dump in a deadline deal with the Nets in February, and ultimately finished the 2016/17 season with averages of 2.6 PPG and 1.6 RPG to go along with a .387 FG% in 38 games. Those numbers were all career worsts.

Earlier this offseason, Nicholson was once again included in a trade as a salary dump, making his way from the Nets to the Trail Blazers in the swap that sent Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn. Reports at the time indicated that Portland would waive and stretch Nicholson, but the team didn’t make it official for more than a month.

As we detailed earlier today, waiving Nicholson before the end of August allows the Blazers to reduce his 2017/18 cap hit by more than $3.5MM, which also slashes the club’s projected year-end luxury tax bill by more than $5MM. Nicholson will now count against Portland’s cap for about $2.844MM for the next seven seasons.

Once he clears waivers, Nicholson will be free to sign with any NBA team except for the Blazers or Nets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Five Candidates To Be Waived With Stretch Provision

NBA teams have about two more weeks to apply the stretch provision to the 2017/18 cap hits for players they waive. After August 31, teams will no longer be eligible to stretch salaries for the coming season, and the stretch provision will only apply to future seasons on a player’s contract.

The stretch provision is a CBA rule that allows teams to stretch a player’s remaining salary across additional seasons. For July and August, the rule dictates that a team can pay out the player’s salary over twice the number of years remaining on his contract, plus one. So a contract with three years left on it could be stretched out over seven years. After August 31, only the future years on the contract can be stretched in that manner.

In practical terms, here’s what that means for a player who is earning $6MM in each of the next two years ($12MM total):

Year Current contract Stretched by August 31 Stretched after August 31
2017/18 $6,000,000 $2,400,000 $6,000,000
2018/19 $6,000,000 $2,400,000 $2,000,000
2019/20 $2,400,000 $2,000,000
2020/21 $2,400,000 $2,000,000
2021/22 $2,400,000

In some cases, it can be advantageous to wait until September to waive a player and use the stretch provision. If a team isn’t close to the tax line and can’t clear additional cap room by stretching a player’s current-year salary, it may make more sense to be patient, since that extra immediate cap room wouldn’t be useful.

However, there are several teams around the NBA who may be motivated to waive and stretch players prior to that August 31 deadline. Here are five stretch provision candidates to keep an eye on during the next couple weeks:

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Nets Acquire Allen Crabbe From Blazers

A year after aggressively pursuing shooting guard Allen Crabbe as a restricted free agent, the Nets have landed their man. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), the Trail Blazers are trading Crabbe to Brooklyn in exchange for forward Andrew Nicholson. Upon acquiring Nicholson, Portland will waive him and stretch his contract, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter).Allen Crabbe vertical

When Crabbe reached restricted free agency in 2016, he was one of a handful of players to sign an offer sheet with the Nets. That deal, worth nearly $75MM over four years, looked like an awfully steep price to pay for a player with 17 career starts to his name. However, the Blazers thwarted Brooklyn’s attempts to poach Crabbe, matching the Nets’ offer sheet and bringing him back to Portland.

A year later, that decision to match Crabbe’s deal – while retaining other RFAs and adding Evan Turner – looks like it may have been a mistake. The Trail Blazers were in position to pay a huge tax penalty in 2018 if team salary remained as high as it was, and dumping a contract or two appeared to be an inevitability. By swapping Crabbe for Nicholson and stretching the $19MM+ left on Nicholson’s contract over the next seven seasons, the Blazers will clear approximately $16.5MM from their 2017/18 cap, ending up only about $3MM above the tax threshold.

It remains to be seen if the Blazers have another move up their sleeves — the club has been linked to Carmelo Anthony, despite Carmelo’s apparent unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal to Portland. Even if no second deal is coming though, the Blazers should be happy with this trade from a financial perspective. It will allow the club to shed more than $50MM in total projected salary and tax penalties.

From the Nets’ perspective, the deal will allow them to land a player they loved at a slightly lesser cost, albeit a year after they had hoped to acquire him. Once the Blazers matched Crabbe’s offer sheet last July, he was ineligible to be traded to Brooklyn for a full year, but once those 365 days passed, it made sense for the two teams to engage on trade discussions.

By sending out Nicholson in the swap, the Nets appear to have the cap room necessary to absorb Crabbe’s salary without having to make any corresponding roster moves. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Crabbe also waived his trade kicker, making things a little simpler for both teams. That decision will cost the 25-year-old some money, but he’ll have a chance to assume a larger role in Brooklyn than he had in Portland.

In 79 games last season for the Blazers, Crabbe set new career bests with 10.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, a .468 FG%, and a .444 3PT%. While it remains to be seen how Brooklyn’s starting lineup will shake out, Crabbe figures to see plenty of minutes alongside D’Angelo Russell in a new-look Nets backcourt.

The Blazers will generate a trade exception worth $12,969,502 in the deal. That figures represents the difference between Crabbe’s and Nicholson’s salaries for 2017/18.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: C. Lee, Celtics, Raptors, Nicholson

A year after signing Courtney Lee to a four-year, $48MM contract, the Knicks are “absolutely open” to the idea of dealing him, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who tweets that the club is “moving in a different direction.” Lee didn’t have a great first season in New York, but he’s still a capable three-point shooter, and his contract isn’t as much of an albatross as some of the other deals signed following 2016’s salary cap spike. He’ll be a player worth keeping an eye on if the Knicks delve into the trade market in the coming weeks.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • Guerschon Yabusele, who was selected with the No. 16 overall selection in the 2016 draft, appears to be on his way to joining the Celtics, Olivia Healy of WEEI writes. Yabusele will miss this year’s summer league as he recovers from surgery, but Healy believes that the French native could find himself in Boston’s rotation next year due to his size and strength.
  • Gary Tanguay of CSNNE.com makes the case for why the Celtics‘ top – and only – target this summer should be Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, and why Danny Ainge should be willing to deal any pick and/or player to make it happen.
  • The Raptors find themselves at a crossroads this summer, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, who breaks down many of the crucial personnel decisions facing the team, as well as the increasing “cost of being good.”
  • Andrew Nicholson was a throw-in when the Nets sent Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington at the trade deadline earlier this year. Since Nicholson remains under contract for a few more seasons, Charles Maniego of Nets Daily explores whether Brooklyn can salvage some value out of the former first-round pick.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Nets Notes: Lopez, Lin, Dinwiddie, Nicholson, McDaniels

Nets GM Sean Marks spoke to the press about Brooklyn’s trade deadline activity. While the team held onto Brook Lopez and Trevor Booker (each of whom have another year left on their contract), Marks was involved in a few lower-profile transactions.

“We’re very familiar with Andrew [Nicholson]…he’s a system fit for us,” Marks said. “He’s a stellar young man and another guy with high character and that’s exactly we’re trying to do.”

The Nets acquired Nicholson along with a first-round pick and Marcus Thornton (who was subsequently waived) in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough. Bogdanovic performed well for the 9-47 Nets, but was a restricted free agent-to-be, and was dealt for an invaluable draft pick. Marks spoke about his team’s position in the upcoming draft.

“Now having two first round picks, it all helps,” Marks said. “It helps give us another vehicle where were can be systematic with the draft and see what happens. We obviously value the draft or we wouldn’t have done it. It’s about being strategic and having two picks now gives us an opportunity to move up with those picks, you can hold them where you are if your players are there at the time.”

More from Brooklyn…

  • One of the reasons Marks held onto Lopez at the deadline was to see how well he played with Jeremy Lin, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Lin has been limited to just 13 games this season due to injury, and hasn’t had an opportunity to be properly assessed by coach Kenny Atkinson. “To have a healthy Jeremy and a healthy Brook out there together with this team, it’ll be nice to evaluate that,” Marks said. “It’s something we started the season off with, and unfortunately, we only got a handful of games under our belt seeing that. We all know what those two bring to the table: They lift everybody else’s play.”
  • Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post profiled Spencer Dinwiddie, a former collegiate star at University of Colorado Boulder. Dinwiddie suffered a torn ACL during his junior year at CU, falling to the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Still just 23 years old, Dinwiddie has averaged more than 20 MPG for the first time in his career with Brooklyn. “He’s steadily getting better,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie. “He played pretty well before the all-star break, started shooting it better and getting to the rim. We like his defense. He’s been a pleasant surprise, quite honestly.
  • Nicholson and K.J. McDaniels– each acquired at the deadline- are ready to step in right now for the rebuilding Nets. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me,” McDaniels told Greg Logan of Newsday“I’ll be able to show Brooklyn what I do, and play both ends of the court and just try to bring energy.” McDaniels’ acquisition was commended by writers across the league. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post gave the trade an “A” grade, describing the transaction as low-risk, high-reward. “If he doesn’t do anything, the Nets can simply decline his option for next season. If he does something, then it’s found money. For a team with no talent or assets to speak of, it’s a good move to make — and saves them money to boot, as they were below the salary floor.”
  • Dan Favale of Bleacher Report echoed Bontemps’ sentiments, praising Marks for taking a flier on McDaniels. “Getting K.J. McDaniels for absolutely nothing is a great encore to parlaying Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough into Andrew Nicholson and a first-round pick,” Favale wrote. “Although McDaniels is beyond raw, he has the length and lateral gait to be a lockdown defender across all wing positions.”

Nets Trade Bojan Bogdanovic To Wizards

7:53 PM: The trade is official, according to a Nets’ press release.

3:01 PM: The Nets and Wizards have agreed to a deal that will send Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Wojnarowski had previously identified the Wizards and Kings as teams with interest in the Brooklyn sharpshooter.Bojan Bogdanovic horizontal

In exchange for Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, who will also head to Washington in the deal, the Nets will receive Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton, and the Wizards’ 2017 first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter links). The pick will be lottery protected, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

Bogdanovic, who will turn 28 in April, was the 31st overall pick in the 2011 draft and eventually arrived stateside to join the Nets in 2014. The 6’8″ forward is is enjoying a career year this season, with 14.2 PPG and a .357 3PT% in 55 games so far.

Although Bogdanovic is on an expiring deal, he’ll be eligible for restricted – rather than unrestricted – free agency this summer. His matching rights will now be held by the Wizards, rather than by Brooklyn, and that has some value. The Nets know first-hand that it can be difficult to steal an RFA away from another team — the club had offer sheets for Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson, and Donatas Motiejunas matched in 2016.

Depending on whether the Wizards want to commit to Bogdanovic beyond the 2016/17 season, they may have to worry about re-signing two key RFAs in the summer, as Otto Porter is also on track for restricted free agency.

From the Nets’ perspective, the club gets another first-round pick in what’s expected to be a deep and talented draft. That probably makes the deal a win for GM Sean Marks, even though the Wizards’ pick currently projects to fall just 24th overall, as our reverse standings show. The Nets, of course, don’t have their own first-rounder, but they’ll also get Boston’s pick, setting them up for two selections in the 20s.

As for the financial details of the trade, the Nets had been well below the salary floor, but they’ll inch about $2.3MM closer to that mark by taking on Nicholson and Thornton, who combine to earn more than $7MM. Meanwhile, the Wizards will cut costs a little by taking on Bogdanovic ($3.57MM) and McCullough ($1.19MM). Washington should also be able to create a traded player exception in the deal worth about $2.5MM.

While Bogdanovic and Thornton are free agents at season’s end, Nicholson and McCullough are controllable through the 2018/19 season. McCullough will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of ’19, while Nicholson has a player option for the ’19/20 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.