Brandon Sampson

Rockets Set Roster For Regular Season

OCTOBER 15: The two-way contracts for Edwards and Clark are official, the Rockets confirmed today. Houston’s roster is now set for the regular season.

OCTOBER 13: The Rockets have waived Bruno Caboclo, and forward Tim Bond, along with guards Angel Rodriguez and Brandon Sampson and forward , sources tell Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Additionally, Houston plans to convert Vince Edwards and Gary Clark to two-way players, Feigen adds.

Edwards, 22, was the Jazz’s second-round pick in this year’s draft but was immediately traded to Houston. He saw limited action in the preseason, playing double digits in minutes just once as he posted six points, four rebounds and two blocks in 29 minutes on Tuesday against China’s Shanghai Sharks.

As for Clark, the undrafted forward out of Cincinnati signed with the Rockets and made a case for the team’s final roster spot. Instead, both he and Edwards appears set to split the year between the G League and NBA. Two-way deals permit players to spend up to 45 days in the NBA with the rest coming with the G League affiliate.

Houston elected to keep its 15th roster spot vacant for the time being to allow for both roster and financial flexibility.

Of the four waived players, Caboclo has the most significant NBA experience, appearing in 37 games with the Raptors over the past four seasons. The Rockets signed Rodriguez, Sampson and Bond to Exhibit 10 contracts, so the club will have the opportunity to make them affiliate players with the G League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, assuming they go unclaimed on waivers.

Rockets Sign Brandon Sampson To Exhibit 10 Deal

4:25pm: The Rockets have officially signed Sampson, the team confirmed in a press release.

4:05pm: The Rockets have agreed to terms with former LSU guard Brandon Sampson on an Exhibit 10 deal, league sources tell Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic (Twitter link). Houston has multiple openings on its 20-man preseason roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to complete the signing.

Sampson, who declared for the 2018 NBA draft following his junior year at LSU, was not selected in June. During his final college season, he battled an ankle injury and averaged just 7.7 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 27 games (18.9 MPG). Sampson joined the Hawks for Las Vegas Summer League play in July, averaging 6.7 PPG and 3.7 RPG in three games (16.0 MPG).

The Rockets almost certainly don’t envision Sampson as part of their regular season roster, but his Exhibit 10 contract creates a couple other potential paths — he could have that deal converted into a two-way contract, or he could be in line for a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived and then spends two months with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate.

Draft Workouts: Sixers, Grizzlies, Pacers, Hornets, T-Wolves

The Sixers will host Kentucky forward Kevin Knox and Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith for the second time on Tuesday, according to a team release. Knox’s workout will be separate from the other six players they will bring in, including Smith. The Sixers hold the No. 10 selection in the lottery. Knox is currently ranked No. 9 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Smith is slotted at No. 16.

The other members of the group workout are all guards, including B.J. Johnson (La Salle), De’Anthony Melton (USC), Tyler Nelson (Fairfield), Malik Newman (Kansas) and Landry Shamet (Wichita State). Melton (No. 24, Givony) is a possibility for the Sixers with their other first-rounder at No. 26.

We have numerous other draft workouts to pass along:

Draft Workouts: Walker, Clippers, A.J. Davis, Hawks

Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV, considered a potential lottery pick, had his first pre-draft workout on Sunday when he met with the Hornets, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. According to Bonnell, Walker indicated that he’ll audition for about six more teams, all of whom are picking in the 10-to-20 range in this month’s draft.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com has Walker going to the Clippers at No. 13 in his most recent mock draft, noting that the former Hurricane is a candidate to increase his stock during the pre-draft process due to his ” youth, strong frame, wingspan, and ability to shoot with his feet set or off the dribble.”

Here are more updates on pre-draft workouts, including another note on the Clippers:

East Draft Notes: Hawks, Wizards, Raptors, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday and Villanova floor leader Jalen Brunson headline the list of six players the Hawks will work out on Friday, according to a team press release. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Brunson is rated No. 26 overall.

Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Juwan Morgan (Indiana) and Tony Carr (Penn State) are the other players trying to make a favorable impression. The Hawks hosted Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech), Jalen McDaniels (San Diego State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Doral Moore (Wake Forest) and Brandon Sampson (LSU) on Thursday.

In other draft workouts by Eastern Conference clubs:

Draft Updates: Bitadze, Sampson, Weatherspoon

In addition to Dzanan Musa, whose early entry into the 2018 NBA draft we noted earlier today, another Misko Raznatovic client is declaring for the draft early. Georgian center Goga Bitadze has entered the 2018 draft, per a tweet from Raznatovic (hat tip to Sportando).

While Bitadze probably isn’t a first-round option like Musa, he ranks 65th on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com, making him a viable candidate to be drafted, assuming he doesn’t withdraw his name. The young big man is currently playing for Mega Bemax in Serbia.

Here are a few more draft updates:

  • LSU guard Brandon Sampson has signed with an agent and declared for the NBA draft, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter link). A top-50 recruit coming out of high school, Sampson saw his playing time reduced in his junior year, averaging 7.7 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 18.9 MPG.
  • After initially indicating that he would test the draft waters this spring, Nick Weatherspoon announced on Wednesday that he’ll return to Mississipi State for his sophomore year (Twitter link). That’s probably the right move for the guard, who posted 10.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG during his freshman season with the Bulldogs.
  • Indiana junior forward Juwan Morgan is entering the 2018 draft without hiring an agent, the program announced today in a press release. Morgan had a breakout season for the Hoosiers in 2017/18, increasing his averages to 16.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.4 BPG.
  • Auburn junior guard Bryce Brown will test the draft waters this spring, according to a press release from the school. “I had a dream to play in the NBA one day and I want to pursue that dream,” Brown said. “Testing the waters will be a great opportunity for me and my family to see where I’m at in the process.”
  • Georgetown junior center Jessie Govan announced in a post on his Instagram account that he’ll enter the draft without an agent. Govan averaged a double-double for the Hoyas in 2017/18, with 17.9 PPG and 10.0 RPG.