Bryce Alford

Thunder Waive Alford, McDaniels, Solomon

The Thunder have waived three players from their preseason roster, the team confirmed today in a press release, announcing that guard Bryce Alford, forward K.J. McDaniels, and center Richard Solomon have been released.

Although Alford, McDaniels, and Solomon joined the Thunder for training camp and the preseason, they were never considered likely to make the club’s regular season roster. However, they could end up playing in the G League for the Thunder’s affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, assuming they clear waivers.

After today’s roster moves, the Thunder now have 17 players under contract, including 14 on guaranteed salaries and two on two-way contracts.

While Oklahoma City could technically carry its current squad into the regular season, the club will likely leave its 15th roster spot open to start the season to avoid increasing its projected tax bill. Still, the team’s final non-guaranteed player – Abdul Gaddy – remains on the roster for now.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Roberson, Curry, Gibson

With a mammoth luxury tax bill looming at the end of the year, the Thunder plan on sticking with 14 players on their roster to begin this season, reports Erik Horne of The Oklahoman.

“Right now we’re going with what we have,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “If something changes, I’ve always said this with Sam (Presti) and Troy (Weaver), they’re always looking to improve, make our team better all the time… that would be something that if Sam decided to do that, we’d probably talk about that.”

As Horne notes, the decision to keep the roster at fourteen makes sense considering the Thunder would face major luxury tax implications with the signing of a fifteenth player.

Right now, both Bryce Alford and K.J. McDaniels are on training camp contracts with the Thunder, so they’ll ultimately be waived if Horne’s report is accurate unless one of them impresses enough to force the Thunder into waiving someone with a guaranteed salary.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • In another piece for The Oklahoman, Horne writes that Thunder swingman Andre Roberson has been looking good in practice despite not yet being cleared for contact. Because he’s still rehabbing, he’s mostly limited to shooting drills at this point.
  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports that all indications out of Trail Blazers practice is that new addition Seth Curry is looking good. Teammates are praising his jump-shooting and playmaking ability, while coaches are impressed with his basketball intelligence and versatility.
  • According to Nick Friedell of ESPNTimberwolves forward Taj Gibson was surprised at Jimmy Butler‘s trade demand, saying, “I worked out with him all summer, so when I said what I meant, it was like a right hook. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t know. I thought — it looked like from everything things were going good.”

Thunder Sign Four Players To Camp Roster

The Thunder have released their roster for training camp, and the list includes four new names beyond the players we already knew were under contract. According to the club (Twitter link via Brett Dawson), Abdul Gaddy, K.J. McDaniels, Richard Solomon, and Bryce Alford have also signed contracts.

Oklahoma City already had 14 players on guaranteed deals, plus two more on two-way pacts, so the four newly-added players almost certainly received non-guaranteed contracts for training camp. While it’s possible that one of those players could earn the team’s 15th roster spot for the regular season, the Thunder will likely carry just 14 players to start the year to avoid accruing additional tax penalties.

Of the four new additions, McDaniels has the only NBA experience, having appeared in 148 total regular season games for the Sixers, Rockets, and Nets from 2014 to 2017. The 25-year-old swingman averaged 5.3 PPG and 2.2 RPG in those games (14.1 MPG).

As for the others, Gaddy – a point guard – has played primarily in international league since going undrafted out of Washington in 2013. Former Cal big man Solomon – who has also played overseas – and ex-UCLA guard Alford have each spent time in past seasons with the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

Team USA Announces Camp Roster For September World Cup Qualifiers

Fourteen players will participate in a Las Vegas training camp beginning this Thursday, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. Of those 14 players, 12 will be named to Team USA’s roster for the club’s upcoming qualifying games for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

This set of games – the first window for the second round of qualifiers – will take place later this month. Team USA will face Uruguay on September 14, then play against Panama on September 17.

The following players will be vying for Team USA roster spots for these qualifying contests:

In the first round of qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup, Team USA was made up predominantly of G League players. That’s the case to some extent again this time, with guys like Hearn and Warney returning. However, many of the players this time around are currently under contract with NBA teams, including Bacon (Hornets), Ellenson (Pistons), Hicks (Knicks), Mason (Kings), Trice (Bucks), and White (Spurs).

“With our September second-round games marking the start of the most critical part of the World Cup Qualifying, I think it is imperative for us to look for players who possess mental fortitude, who are tough, and who have experience,” said Team USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “All of our second-round games are going to very, very difficult and competitive battles. Argentina, Panama and Uruguay are all really good and well coached.”

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers will take place over three windows of competition in September, November, and February. Team USA will play two games apiece vs. Argentina, Panama, and Uruguay during that stretch.

Having posted a 5-1 record during the first round of qualifiers, Team USA is tied for first with Argentina in Group E, which is made up of six teams. If Team USA remains in the top three of the Group E standings by the end of February’s games, the squad will qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in China next September.

Thunder Waive Alford, Brown, Thomas

The Thunder have waived three players from their preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that guard Bryce Alford, guard Markel Brown, and forward Rashawn Thomas are no longer part of the squad.

Alford, Brown, and Thomas all received training camp invitations from the Thunder, but didn’t appear in a game during the preseason. There’s a good chance that the trio will end up playing for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate. Alford and Thomas are particularly well positioned to head to the Blue, since they’re rookies whose G League rights haven’t been claimed by another team.

Following today’s roster moves, the Thunder still have 17 players under contract, with one of those 17 on a two-way deal. The club will have to make at least one more cut to its NBA roster before the regular season begins, and that decision figures to come down to Isaiah Canaan or Semaj Christon.

Thunder Sign Markel Brown, Finalize Camp Roster

The Thunder have announced their 20-man roster for training camp, confirming a few previously-reported agreements and announcing one new deal. The following players are now members of the Oklahoma City roster, according to the team:

Brown, the 44th overall pick in the 2014 draft, spent two seasons with the Nets from 2014 to 2016, averaging 5.3 PPG on an unimpressive .382/.297/.781 shooting line. Unable to find an NBA job last season, Brown signed with Russian club Khimki for the 2016/17 campaign. Now, he’ll get a chance to head to camp with the Thunder.

The signing of Brown signals that the Thunder won’t bring center Yannis Morin to camp at this point. Multiple outlets reported in July that Morin had reached an agreement with OKC, but the French big man isn’t listed on the team’s training camp roster.

Thunder Will Reportedly Sign Bryce Alford

The Thunder will reportedly sign guard Bryce Alford, Erik Horne of the Oklahoman writes. The UCLA product, Horne relays, stated as much in an Instagram post earlier today.

While there has been no formal verification, it’s not unlikely that the club added the point guard via a non-guaranteed to deal in order to get a good look at him at training camp. The addition of Alford brings Oklahoma City’s roster to 16 players.

The Thunder are in the market for a reliable backup point guard. After playing 2016/17 with Semaj Christon manning the position behind Russell Westbrook, Sam Presti has brought veteran Raymond Felton on board and now Alford, a volume three-point shooter that put up 7.5 triples per game in his senior season with the Bruins.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bucks, Wade, Pacers

A pair of Michigan prospects are among the players to work out for the Pistons this week, with both Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin getting a look from the club. Walton was part of a Tuesday workout group that also included Tony Bradley (UNC), Melo Trimble (Maryland), Davon Reed (Miami), Peter Jok (Iowa), and Luke Fischer (Marquette) (Twitter links via Rod Beard of The Detroit News and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com).

Meanwhile, Irvin’s pre-draft workout will take place today, as the Pistons audition a group that also features Tyler Lydon (Syracuse), Marcus Keene (Central Michigan), Bryce Alford (UCLA), Derek Willis (Kentucky), and T.J. Cline (Richmond), per Langlois (Twitter link).

As Detroit weighs its draft options, let’s round up a few more items from around the Central division…

Draft Notes: Knicks, J. Jackson, Suns, Lakers

There are a number of potential player/team matches in the top 10 of this year’s draft that might make sense on paper, but should be avoided in reality, according to the staff at The Ringer. Danny Chau identifies De’Aaron Fox as a less than ideal fit for the Sixers, while Jonathan Tjarks makes the case for why the Knicks should steer clear of Dennis Smith Jr.

Other picks to be avoided, in the views of The Ringer’s NBA writers? The Mavericks and Lauri Markkanen; the Kings and Jayson Tatum; and the Magic and Jonathan Isaac.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the basketball world:

Central Notes: Butler, Pistons, George

While his name has come up in trade rumors all year, K.C Johnson of the Chicago Tribune says a Jimmy Butler trade is unlikely for the Bulls. The scribe recently answered questions about the swingman in a weekly mailbag post.

Of note is that Johnson reaffirms a reader suggestion that even if a deal did get made, it likely wouldn’t involve the oft-rumored Celtics. Ultimately, however, Johnson doesn’t see enough on any particular roster that would entice the Bulls to part with their best player.

Throughout the comprehensive piece, Johnson weighs in on all aspects of a possible Butler deal and how it would impact the organization. In 76 games for the Bulls this season, the 27-year-old posted career highs of 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls find themselves in a familiar place as last year, a CSN Chicago panel concluded. They contemplate trading Jimmy Butler but hesitate to pull the trigger on an underwhelming package.
  • The Pistons will draft 12th in this summer’s NBA Draft, so Keith Langlois of the team’s official site has put together a rundown of the types of players who will likely be selected prior and thus not be available when Detroit is on the clock.
  • The Pacers will work out Bryce Alford, Ike Anigbogu, Trevon Bluiett, Vince Edwards, Davon Reed and Trevor Thompson on Monday, the team announced on its official website.
  • The Lakers aren’t likely to give up a lottery pick for a one-year Paul George rental, says Sam Smith of the Bulls official website, but the Pacers could potentially net Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and a matching salary should they decide to pull the trigger. Smith adds that Larry Bird‘s exit indicates that the franchise is eager to fully embrace a rebuild.