Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore To Sign With Chinese Team

Ben McLemore has agreed to a one-year contract with the Shandong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

McLemore spent the past nine seasons in the NBA but there’s been little news regarding the veteran shooting guard since he became a free agent in the offseason. He participated in a free agent workout with the Warriors in September but obviously didn’t get signed by them or any other NBA squad.

McLemore spent most of last season in the Trail Blazers’ rotation, averaging 10.2 points in 20.1 minutes while appearing in 62 games.

The seventh overall pick of the 2013 draft, McLemore has 556 NBA games on his resume, with stops in Sacramento, Memphis, Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers as well as Portland. He’s averaged 9.0 points in 22.5 minutes during his career while making 36.3% of his 3-point attempts.

Warriors Working Out Ben McLemore, Elfrid Payton, Others

The Warriors are bringing in a number of veteran free agents this week for workouts, league sources tell Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

According to Charania and Slater, some of the free agents taking part in the workouts are Ben McLemore, Elfrid Payton, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kenneth Faried, Miye Oni, Ty-Shon Alexander, Wesley Saunders, and Jon Axel Gudmundsson.

Golden State also held similar free agent workouts in August, according to Charania and Slater, who say that Shabazz Muhammad, Solomon Hill, Tyler Cook, and Kelan Martin were among the players who participated in those sessions about two weeks ago.

The purpose of this week’s workouts is twofold — as Tim Kawakami of The Athletic tweets, the players currently on the Warriors’ roster are beginning their informal pre-camp work at the team’s facility this week, so the free agents who join them will help ensure there are enough bodies to play 5-on-5 scrimmages. Additionally, there’s an expectation that the Warriors could sign one or more of the auditioning veterans to their 20-man training camp roster, per Charania and Slater.

Golden State currently has 18 players under contract (13 on guaranteed standard deals), with Jerome Robinson expected to be the 19th. That leaves one spot available for now.

Andre Iguodala has yet to decide whether he’ll retire or return to the Warriors for another season, so it’s possible he could fill that 20th and final roster spot (and become the 14th man on the team’s projected regular season roster). Robinson, Mac McClung, Pat Spencer, and Trevion Williams are among the camp invitees who could compete for a place on the 15-man regular season roster, especially if Iguodala doesn’t return.

Charania and Slater also note that that, while Lester Quinones and Quinndary Weatherspoon are currently on two-way deals, those roster spots are flexible. According to The Athletic’s duo, the Warriors are high on Weatherspoon, who is a candidate to join the 15-man roster either this fall or later in the season

Northwest Notes: Favors, Barton, McLemore, Gobert, Mitchell

At age 30, Derrick Favors may seem out of place on a rebuilding team, but he said spending this season with the Thunder helped him enjoy the game again, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Favors, who was acquired from the Jazz in a salary dump trade last summer, only played 39 games and sat out the final month of the season with back soreness, but he still says the experience was important.

“It brought back that fun,” Favors said, “that joy of playing basketball and not worrying about the business part, not worrying about personal life stuff, just having fun and … feeling that energy of being around 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds.”

Favors has already indicated that he will pick up his option for next season, which is worth $10.18MM, much more than he would make in free agency. However, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll back. Mussatto expects Oklahoma City to explore a trade this summer and possibly waive Favors to open a roster spot for one of its four picks in this year’s draft. However, Favors said at his exit interview that he “expects to be back.”

“I’m glad I’m here,” he said. “It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I just enjoy watching these young guys. I enjoy watching them come out and improve every game. I enjoy talking to (coach) Mark (Daigneault), and I enjoy being in this atmosphere.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets might have to consider trading Will Barton this offseason to help upgrade their defense, suggests Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Barton, who has spent eight years with the team, has an expiring $14MM contract for next season and Denver may need a stronger defensive guard to pair with Jamal Murray as he returns from his ACL injury. Singer identifies Monte Morris and JaMychal Green as other players who might be moved.
  • The Trail Blazers could be tempted to re-sign Ben McLemore to serve as a veteran shooter, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. McLemore averaged 10.2 points per game and connected at 36.2% from three-point range after signing with Portland last offseason, and he can provide valuable roster depth for a team that hopes to bounce back next season.
  • It’s time for the Jazz to break up the combination of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, argues Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, who examines the potential trade market for each player.

Western Trade Rumors: Covington, Nurkic, Beverley, Culver, Lakers

Of the veteran Trail Blazers who are candidates to be traded by the February 10 deadline, Robert Covington has been described as the most likely one to be moved, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Ben McLemore‘s name has also emerged in recent trade discussions, Fischer adds.

Conversely, there doesn’t seem to be any momentum toward a trade involving Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, according to Fischer. Marc Stein said something similar in a recent Spotify Greenroom session, suggesting he hasn’t heard Nurkic’s name mentioned much in his recent conversations with teams. Stein gets the sense there’s not a “huge amount” of interest in the veteran center (hat tip to HoopsHype).

Nurkic himself recently told Jason Quick of The Athletic that he doesn’t think he’ll be traded this season. If the latest reports from Fischer and Stein are accurate, he may be right.

Here are a few more items from around the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves are exploring some possible trade avenues involving Patrick Beverley ahead of his upcoming free agency, Fischer reports. Responding to that report, Minnesota-based reporters Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links) said that head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta is casting a wide net and is willing to discuss anyone besides Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. However, neither Wolfson nor Krawczynski expects Beverley to be traded.
  • The Grizzlies aren’t considered likely to make any major moves at the trade deadline, but they may receive inquiries on fourth-year swingman Jarrett Culver, Fischer writes. There’s so much leaguewide interest in wings who can play defense that Culver – who isn’t currently part of Memphis’ rotation and will be a free agent this summer – could appeal to another team, Fischer explains.
  • The Lakers, who continue to shop veteran wing Kent Bazemore, have been mentioned as a potential suitor for big man Paul Millsap if he reaches the buyout market, says Fischer. Brooklyn is still looking to trade Millsap.

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

D’Angelo Russell, Three Blazers Enter Protocols

Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell has joined the growing list of Minnesota players in the health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Timberwolves now have eight players affected, including stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They’ve already signed a pair of replacement players – Chris Silva and Rayjon Tucker – using hardship exceptions, but will likely make at least one more roster addition before their next game on Monday.

Here are more COVID-19 protocol updates from around the NBA:

  • Three Trail Blazers players – Robert Covington, Ben McLemore, and Keljin Blevins – have entered the health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). That brings Portland’s total count to five affected players, all of whom have been placed in the protocols in the last two days.
  • Kevin Knox has exited the protocols, but Jericho Sims has entered, so the Knicks still have three players affected, according to the team (Twitter links). RJ Barrett is back in the starting lineup for New York today and Quentin Grimes is also expected to play, but Immanuel Quickley and Knox will need a little more time to ramp up their conditioning, says Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green has tested out of the protocols, but didn’t travel with the team to Utah and won’t play tonight, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Free Agency, Roster, McCollum

Asked on Friday in Tokyo about the Trail Blazers‘ moves in free agency, star point guard Damian Lillard suggested that the team missed out on some of its top targets, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays.

“You never know where guys are going to end up and why they go there. You just try to have conversations and convince guys to be a part of our team,” Lillard said. “And obviously, this go around, we weren’t able to go out there and just get some of the guys that we would have liked.

“(So) you go down the list and you go through the guys that are out there that you like who haven’t committed to a team or were a part of your plans in free agency and you get the ones that want to be a part of what you’re doing. And I think that’s what we did.”

The Trail Blazers’ free agent additions include Cody Zeller, Tony Snell, and Ben McLemore. According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, the team also had interest in Nicolas Batum, and made an effort to lure Kelly Oubre to Portland with the taxpayer mid-level exception. Oubre ended up elsewhere even though Damian Lillard made a pitch to him at the end of the regular season.

“It wasn’t anything deep other than ‘Would he be open to it?’ and he said he was,” Lillard told Quick. “I liked Oubre as a complement to other guys I thought we would be able to get. We didn’t get them.”

As Quick outlines, the Blazers’ “real” offseason will begin when Lillard finishes his Olympics run and returns to Portland to evaluate the roster and assess his options. There are three roads the rest of the Blazers’ summer could take, in Quick’s view: Portland convinces Lillard that running it back and being patient is the right approach; the team makes a major trade that changes Lillard’s view of the Blazers’ trajectory; or the All-NBA guard asks to be traded.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Quick confirms that the deals Zeller, McLemore, and Snell are signing are all worth the veteran’s minimum. The Blazers still have the taxpayer mid-level exception available, but aren’t aggressively pursuing any players left on the market and will likely hang onto that exception for now, Quick adds.
  • The Blazers have 13 players projected for the regular season roster for now. They plan to enter the season with 14, but they’re keeping that 14th spot open for now to maintain flexibility, according to Quick, who notes that the spot may be useful for a trade in which Portland takes back more players than it sends out.
  • While CJ McCollum is perhaps the most obvious trade candidate on the Blazers’ roster, it doesn’t sound like he’s being actively shopped, says Quick. Quick isn’t sure whether other teams simply don’t value McCollum like the Blazers do, but says the club won’t move him just to shake up the roster — a deal would have to improve the roster. So far, no opportunities fit that bill.

Trail Blazers Sign Ben McLemore

AUGUST 5: The team has officially signed McLemore, according to a team press release. It’s a one-year, minimum-salary deal.


AUGUST 2: The Trail Blazers will sign free agent shooting guard Ben McLemore, his agent Rich Paul has informed Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (via Twitter).

The athletic swingman flashed significant promise during his first few seasons with the Kings, who selected him with the seventh pick in the 2013 draft out of Kansas. He next proved himself to be a valuable role player while with the Grizzlies, and then suited up for an encore 2018/19 Sacramento season.

Armed with quickness and a reliable three-point shot, McLemore served as a helpful wing contributor on the Rockets’ most recent playoff team, operating as a role player to support All-Star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook, during the 2019/20 season.

After the Rockets began a midseason 2020/21 fire sale, they sent McLemore to the Lakers. McLemore averaged 8.0 PPG and 1.6 RPG in 21 contests for Los Angeles, connecting on 36.8% of his 5.4 three-point attempts a night. He should prove a valuable floor-spacing role player on the perimeter for Portland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

California Notes: McLemore, Cousins, Jones, Gasol

The newest Lakers addition, athletic veteran wing Ben McLemore, brings competent perimeter defense to the club, but more than that, his three-point shooting will fulfill a need for Los Angeles, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise for the new reserve: “Ben instantly elevates our ability to knock down 3s on the backside when double teams come and we can play the drive-and-kick game that the modern NBA is made on. So we’re thrilled about his addition and looking forward to getting him into some minutes and into our program.”

The latest Laker is a career 36.3% three-point shooter on 4.0 attempts per game. This season with the rebuilding Rockets, he converted a somewhat below-average 33.1% of his 5.2 long-range looks per contest. Last season, with Houston in the thick of a playoff hunt, McLemore was connecting on 40% of his 6.4 deep looks a night.

There’s more out of California:

  • Clippers All-Star forward Paul George conveyed his excitement for the club’s newest backup center, former four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“He’s still one of the most skilled bigs in the league,” George raved. Cousins discussed his focus on his fitness in striving to remain in the NBA following a string of major lower body injuries. “I’ve put an incredible amount of work to get to this place,” Cousins said. “I’m in probably the best shape I’ve been in my entire career.”
  • New Kings center Damian Jones, inked to a 10-day deal with the team, has observed similarities between Sacramento’s plays and those of his former team in Golden State, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. Kings head coach Luke Walton was an assistant coach on the Warriors bench before departing for his first head coaching opportunity with the Lakers.
  • Recently-demoted Lakers center Marc Gasol made a strong case for continued rotation minutes when he stepped in for new starting center Andre Drummond recently, writes Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. Gasol appeared to be more positive about his reduced role in Los Angeles alongside Drummond. “No matter if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, if it’s whatever position — if it’s some nights, I might not play,” Gasol acknowledged. “It’s been a process for me to reassess this situation a little bit, but like I said, I’m fully committed to this team. So, whatever is thrown at me, I’ll be ready.” Previously, Gasol had expressed frustration with the move. With Drummond now back, Gasol did not play at all in tonight’s 110-104 loss to the Heat.

VanVleet, Bembry, Horton-Tucker Receive One-Game Suspensions

The NBA has suspended three players – Raptors guards Fred VanVleet and DeAndre’ Bembry, along with Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker – for one game apiece, the league announced today in a press release.

The three players left the bench area during an on-court altercation during the Raptors/Lakers game on Tuesday (video link). After Dennis Schröder committed a foul on a OG Anunoby shot attempt, the two players got tangled up and Anunoby grabbed Schroder by the leg, flipping him to the ground. Players from both teams entered the fray at that point.

According to today’s announcement, Anunoby received a $30K fine for initiating the incident, while Lakers big man Montrezl Harrell has been docked $20K for aggressively entering the altercation and shoving Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, the one-game suspension will be costliest for VanVleet, who will forfeit $146,552 of his salary. Bembry ($11,980) and Horton-Tucker ($10,469) will also each lose one game’s worth of pay.

Horton-Tucker and Bembry will serve their suspensions tonight, while VanVleet will serve his one-game ban once he’s healthy and ready to return from his hip ailment.

Although they’ll be missing Horton-Tucker, and Kyle Kuzma is listed as questionable with calf tightness, the Lakers will get some reinforcements for Thursday’s contest vs. Miami, as head coach Frank Vogel said today that both Ben McLemore (protocols) and Andre Drummond (toe) will be available (Twitter link via Mike Trudell).