Anthony Bennett

Rockets Waive Anthony Bennett

The Rockets have parted with former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Bennett’s fate was sealed with the announcement last week that he will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his sore left knee, but today’s move makes it official.

The first player selected in the 2013 draft, Bennett was hoping to revive his career in Houston after four failed stops with the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Raptors and Nets. He was coming off a promising G League season and appeared to have a legitimate chance to win a roster spot as a back-up power forward before the knee flared up  and the Rockets brought back Ryan Anderson.

Cutting Bennett leaves Houston with 19 players, one below the league limit for the preseason. The Rockets are free to make another addition ahead of the October 21 cutdown date, when all rosters must be trimmed to a maximum of 15 players.

Anthony Bennett To Undergo Knee Surgery

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston ChronicleRockets forward Anthony Bennett will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his sore left knee that is expected to prevent him from earning a roster spot during training camp this month.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, who had been hoping for a successful NBA comeback after spending the past two seasons in the G League following a disappointing start to his professional career.

Last season, Bennett averaged 12.2 points on 54.6 percent shooting and 4.5 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game with the Clippers’ G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds that Bennett’s non-guaranteed contract has an Exhibit 9 provision in it that protects Houston in case of an injury. As such, the Rockets will only be on the hook for $6K after Bennett is waived.

Rockets Notes: Bennett, Pinckney, Anderson

While outside shooting was always part of Anthony Bennett‘s game, he has spent the past few seasons refining his three-point shot in preparation for his next NBA opportunity. That opportunity has come with the Western Conference contender Houston Rockets.

Bennett will have to wait to showcase the improvements he’s made to his game, however. As Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes, the 26-year-old will begin training camp on the sidelines recovering from left knee tendinitis.

The Rockets currently have just 11 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, which leaves ample room for a player like Bennett to stick with the squad when the regular season begins. If Bennett’s impact when he returns to health is anything like it was in the G League when he shot 45.3% from beyond the arc last season, there’s a good chance that he does just that.

There’s more out of Houston today:

  • The Rockets came up with a creative way of structuring big man Nene‘s contract to increase his potential trade value but the NBA threw a wrench their plans. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, franchise owner Tilman Fertitta respects the league’s decision and doesn’t intend to question it.
  • The Rockets have hired former NBA assistant coach Ed Pinckney as a scout, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets.
  • Not only has the offensive system not changed since Ryan Anderson last donned a Rockets jersey, but he still owns the same condo that he used to live in. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes about Anderson’s smooth transition back to Houston.

Anthony Bennett Signs With Rockets

JULY 25: The Rockets have officially signed Bennett, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions.

JULY 12: Forward Anthony Bennett has agreed to a non-guaranteed contract with the Rockets, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Bennett would appear to be a long shot to make the 15-man roster.

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 draft bided his time in the G League last season with the Agua Caliente Clippers. He appeared in 25 games last season and averaged 12.2 PPG in 20.9 MPG. He played in 35 G League games the previous season.

After the Cavaliers gave up on him, Bennett played for the Timberwolves, Raptors and Nets. He also played in Turkey for part of the 2017 season. In 151 NBA games, Bennett has averaged 4.4 PPG in 12.6 MPG.

And-Ones: Team USA, McAdoo, Bennett, Drafts

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Pacers coach Nate McMillan and Villanova coach Jay Wright have been named assistant coaches of the 2019-20 USA Basketball Men’s National Team, USA Basketball announced in a press release. The three assistants will join Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to round out the coaching staff of the Olympic team.

“Led by coach Popovich, we have assembled an incredible coaching staff for the USA National Team, and we are excited to have Steve Kerr, Nate McMillan and Jay Wright join the team as assistant coaches,” said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball Men’s National Team. “It’s special that each coach has prior USA Basketball experience as either a player or coach, and each coach has compiled a successful and impressive resume. I’m very confident that the USA Basketball National Team is in excellent hands the next two years.”

Popovich, Kerr, McMillan and Wright share decades of combined coaching and playing experience, with each coach highly respected by their peers and by players across the NBA.

“I am honored and fortunate to have such gifted coaches share this USA Basketball responsibility with me,” Popovich said. “Steve Kerr, Nate McMillan and Jay Wright are not just knowledgeable, dedicated individuals, but they exhibit the creativity, tenacity and respect for the game needed to compete in the international arena.

“I look forward to joining them as USA Basketball attempts to extend the stellar success they’ve enjoyed over the past 12 years.”

The USA National Team has won 76 straight games, including three straight gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The impressive coaching staff – followed by an expected All-Star team of talent in 2020 – puts Team USA in a good position to win a fourth straight gold medal.

There’s more news around the basketball world:

  • The Maine Red Claws completed a trade today in the G League, sending the returning player rights of Anthony Bennett to the Agua Caliente Clippers in exchange for the returning player rights to James McAdoo and a 2018 third-round pick in the upcoming G League Draft. The Maine Red Claws are the G League affiliate of the NBA’s Celtics, while the Agua Caliente Clippers are the Clippers‘ affiliate.
  • ESPN.com writers Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz published a detailed story on young prospects, focusing on players from the 2019 recruiting class who could become draft-eligible in 2020. Class of 2019 center James Wiseman remains an intriguing talent, with the 7-footer still considering offers from a handful of schools.
  • We discussed several more basketball odds and ends in our last And-Ones roundup, including an update on the NBA’s new international plans for the 2019 preseason.

And-Ones: Bennett, D. Johnson, G. Davis, Montreal

Former first overall pick Anthony Bennett appears set to continue his comeback attempt in the G League. According to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link), Bennett has signed an NBAGL contract for the coming season.

Bennett, who was drafted first overall by the Cavaliers in 2013, appeared in 35 G League games last season for the Northern Arizona Suns and Maine Red Claws, averaging 14.3 PPG and 6.7 RPG in 26.9 minutes per contest. As Johnson notes, the Red Claws still hold his G League rights, so they’ll have the option of bringing him back if they want to.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • A pair of former NBA big men are leaving their international teams, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Carchia reports that Dakari Johnson is parting ways with Chinese team Qingdao, while Glen Davis is no longer playing for Croatian club KK Zadar (Twitter link).
  • In advance of the Raptors‘ preseason game in Montreal, a group of Quebec business people announced that they’ve begun the process of convincing the NBA that the city is a viable location for expansion or relocation, reports Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun (Twitter links). The group believes the league will expand eventually, and would like to at least be considered as a “Plan B,” according to Wolstat, who says the plan would be to have the team play at Montreal’s Bell Centre (Twitter links).
  • Veteran NBA agent Calvin Andrews, who represents players like Aaron Gordon (Magic) and Josh Okogie (Timberwolves) has left BDA Sports to form his own agency called Serving Athletes with Integrity, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal.
  • The NBA will play additional preseason games overseas next year, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com, who tweets that the league is adding trips to Japan and Dubai/India to its preseason schedule.

And-Ones: Stoudemire, Bennett, Gambling

After playing in Israel during the 2016/17 season, former Suns and Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire announced his retirement last September. Stoudemire has since reversed course though, with Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem confirming this week that the six-time NBA All-Star will play for them again in 2018/19. Stoudemire, who co-owns Hapoel Jerusalem, helped lead the team to an Israeli League title in 2017 and said on Instagram that he’s aiming to do the same this season.

“I am looking forward to returning to Hapoel Jerusalem and bringing home titles,” Stoudemire wrote. “I have a great love for all the people of Israel: past, present and future, and it’s humbling to represent the city of Jerusalem, which has inspired so many around the world.”

Here are a few more basketball odds and ends:

  • The representatives for former first overall pick Anthony Bennett have offered the big man to Italian clubs Reggio Emilia and Virus Bologna, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. For now though, the 25-year-old – who played for the Cavaliers, Raptors, Timberwolves, and Nets – is without a home for the 2018/19 season.
  • In the wake of the investigation into workplace misconduct within the Mavericks‘ organization, the NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams encouraging them to hire more women – particularly in leadership roles – and to improve their policies for reporting workplace harassment. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has the details.
  • Professional sports leagues – including the NBA – are largely taking a wait-and-see approach to the legalization of sports gambling, as Mike Fish and David Purdum write for ESPN.com. The ESPN report looks extensively at the lack of information surrounding LeBron James‘ reported hand injury in last year’s Finals and how that would have impacted betting odds if it had been public.

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.

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, LeBron, Leonard, Oladipo

Most of Tristan Thompson‘s recent headlines have been for his off-court behavior, but that isn’t why he has fallen out of the Cavaliers’ playoff rotation, writes Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. Thompson, who played just two minutes at the end of the Game 1 loss to Indiana, is coming off his worst statistical season since he was a rookie and may still be hampered by a torn calf muscle he suffered in November.

According to Swartz, Thompson’s playing time has declined because of his inability to handle the two priorities of a modern center: protecting the rim and shooting from long distance. He averaged just 0.3 blocks per game this season and hasn’t made a 3-pointer in his seven-year NBA career.

Kevin Love has taken over as the starting center, with Jeff Green at power forward. The back-up minutes in Game 1 went to Larry Nance Jr., who was acquired from the Lakers in a February trade. Thompson is a huge expense to keep on the roster if he doesn’t play, with two seasons and more than $36MM left on his contract.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • LeBron James believes the Cavaliers’ roster uncertainty throughout the season may have impacted them in the playoff opener, relays Dave McMenamin on ESPN Now. “I think we spent so much time trying to figure out who we were in the regular season and getting the right lineups and guys in and out and things of that nature, we could never build for the playoffs,” James said. “It was kind of like, build for the next game. So the postseason finally hit us and it hit us very well. And I think that can be the best teacher for us to know exactly what we should be ready for tonight.”
  • If the Spurs decide to trade Kawhi Leonard, that could affect James’ strategy in free agency, suggests Brian Windhorst of ESPN. In a video posted on Twitter, Windhorst says if the Cavaliers fail to reach the NBA Finals, James and Leonard will have about six weeks to discuss their future and plot a way to end up on the same team. Windhorst names the Sixers and Lakers as teams with the assets to acquire both.
  • With Victor Oladipo shredding the Cavs for 32 points in Game 1, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert wanted Oladipo instead of Anthony Bennett with the top pick in the 2013 draft, but decided to listen to the front office. Bennett, who is now out of the NBA, played just one season for the Cavaliers before being traded to Minnesota.

And-Ones: Jackson, Bennett, Williams, Clippers

Maryland sophomore forward Justin Jackson, a projected first-round pick, will miss the reminder of the season with a torn labrum, according to a school press release relayed by Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Jackson first suffered the injury before he joined the Terrapins and aggravated it numerous times this season. He’ll soon undergo surgery. The 6’7” Jackson was ranked as the No. 18 overall prospect by Jonathan Givony of ESPN earlier this month. He was averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

In other news from around the league:

  • Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, was acquired by the Celtics’ G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, according to the G-League team’s website. He was dealt by the Northern Arizona Suns. Bennett appeared in 14 games with Northern Arizona, averaging 11.7 PPG and 5.6 RPG.
  • Former NBA forward Derrick Williams has signed with the Tianjin Gold Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an ESPN report. Williams, 26, played a combined 50 games for the Cavaliers and Heat last season. The second overall pick in the 2011 draft also played for the Timberwolves, Kings and Knicks. He averaged 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG in his NBA career.
  • The Clippers have gotten lost in the shuffle in Los Angeles and it’s not going to get better considering the current state of the team, as Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register examines in a column. Owner Steve Ballmer has threatened to move the team to Inglewood but the Clippers’ lease at the Staples Center runs through 2024, Heisler continues. Seattle would be a natural landing place considering Ballmer’s roots there but he has brushed aside that speculation in the past, Heisler adds.