Cameron Oliver

Trail Blazers Cut Payton, Oliver, Onuaku

The Trail Blazers have waived Gary Payton II, Cameron Oliver and Chinanu Onuaku, according to an official release from the team. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. All three players were on fully non-guaranteed contracts, so Portland won’t be on the hook for any money.

With the moves, the Trail Blazers have lowered their roster count to 15 players in anticipation of the upcoming regular season. Portland could have kept one or two of Payton, Oliver, and/or Onuaku as two-way players, but with no G League affiliate, the team decided not to go that route.

Payton, 25, is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton. He has seen a little NBA action over the last two seasons with the Lakers and Bucks, but spent most of his time in the G League.

Oliver, 22, signed a training camp contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in 2017, but was waived before the regular season.  He averaged 10.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 39 total G League games last season.

Onuaku, 21, was selected in the second-round of the 2016 NBA Draft, but has only appeared in six NBA regular season games in his first two NBA seasons. Like Payton and Oliver, he has extensive G League experience, playing in 83 total games for the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers the past two seasons.

Trail Blazers Sign Three Players To Camp Deals

SEPTEMBER 4: The Trail Blazers have officially announced their deals with Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton, confirming the signings in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 3: Three free agents are set to join the Trail Blazers on training camp deals, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that Chinanu Onuaku, Cameron Oliver, and Gary Payton II have all reached agreements with Portland.

Onuaku, a 2016 second-round pick, appeared in just six NBA regular season games in two seasons with the Rockets. The former Louisville center has spent most of his two professional seasons in the G League, playing in 83 total games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and averaging 12.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG to go along with 2.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.1 SPG, and a .617 FG%. The 21-year-old was traded from Houston to Dallas earlier this offseason, with the Mavericks subsequently waiving him.

Oliver, a former Nevada standout, signed a training camp contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in 2017, but was waived by Houston just before the regular season began. The 6’8″ forward spent his rookie season in the G League with Delaware and Wisconsin, averaging 10.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 39 total games.

Payton, meanwhile, is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton. The 25-year-old point guard has seen a little NBA action over the last two seasons, appearing in 29 total contests for the Lakers and Bucks. Like Onuaku and Oliver, he also had a stint with the Rockets earlier in his career and has extensive G League experience.

The Trail Blazers already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, meaning there might not be any opportunities for their camp invitees to earn regular season roster spots. Portland also doesn’t have its own G League squad, so Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton won’t become affiliate players for the Blazers.

Still, the Blazers haven’t filled either of their two-way contract slots, and Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton would all qualify for a two-way deal. It’s possible that one or two of them could have their camp contracts converted to two-way pacts if they look good in the preseason.

And-Ones: NBA Draft, International Play, Oliver

The NBA Draft is seven months away but that doesn’t mean hoops writers can’t weigh in on what Sam Vecenie of The Athletic refers to as a year-round process. The scribe’s initial mock draft does a fine job weighing in on the biggest prospects on the draft radar while digging admirably deep for a comprehensive 60-pick projection.

Expected to fall in the No. 1 slot is the much-hyped Slovenian star, Luka Doncic. The Real Madrid swingman has shown a remarkable feel for the game at a young age and could make an impact for a team like the Bulls, who currently sit most likely to land that top spot come next June.

It’s after the first pick where Vecenie’s mock gets particularly interesting. The writer opts to put Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton in the No. 2 spot, ahead of the likes of Marvin Bagley III and Michael Porter Jr.

With analysis for each of the first 30 projections, the early look at the draft can’t be missed. Especially considering that he has college basketball’s biggest villain, Grayson Allen, falling directly into the laps of the world champion Warriors.

There’s more from around the league:

  • The number of fringe NBA players who opt to sign overseas in international leagues following NBA training camps has dropped precipitously. Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype writes that the trend can be attributed to a depressed European economy and the leaps and bounds that the G League has made over the course of the past 10 years.
  • The fifth edition of FIBA’s 3×3 World Cup will take place June 8-12, the governing body’s official site says. This year the competition will take place in the Philippines.
  • A Rockets training camp invitee has been picked up by the G League affiliate of the Bucks. Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days tweets that the Wisconsin Herd have claimed Cameron Oliver off waivers.

Rockets Cut Cameron Oliver, Danuel House

In advance of the regular season opener, the Rockets have waived rookie forward Cameron Oliver, and second-year forward Danuel House, according to a press release from the club (Twitter link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).

Oliver, a sophomore at Nevada in 2016/17, declared for the draft after a productive season in which he averaged 16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 BPG. He went undrafted but caught on with the Rockets, who gave him a two-year deal with a $300K guarantee.

House, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M a year ago, spent most of the season with the Wizards, but only appeared in one game for the club. A fractured right wrist sidelined him for a good chunk of the year.

Houston’s investment in Oliver makes it surprising that the team chose to take him off the roster. However, the rookie forward is currently recovering from a fractured right hand and isn’t expected to be re-evaluated until November, which may have impacted the Rockets’ decision.

House is a candidate to end up with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League team. However, Oliver is ineligible to be assigned to the Vipers as an affiliate player, since he received a $300K guarantee. His contract also wasn’t eligible to be converted into a two-way deal.

The Rockets are now carrying 15 total players, including one (Demetrius Jackson) on a two-way contract.

Western Notes: Paul, Thompson, Mitchell, Oliver

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer had a feeling last spring that Chris Paul wanted to move on, he told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A session. Ballmer’s feelings were confirmed shortly after the season but he didn’t get a final decision from Paul until a phone conversation while Ballmer was vacationing in the Greek Isles. Ballmer has stayed in touch with Paul since he was traded to the Rockets but doesn’t believe the team is necessarily worse off without the All-Star point guard, he told Turner. “Chris is an awesome player. But we’re such a different team,” he said. “We are younger. We are more athletic than we were. We are longer than we were. … But we’re different and we’ll see whether we’re different good or not.”

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Klay Thompson said he’s willing to give the Warriors a discount when his contract expires after the 2018/19 season, he told Marcus Thompson and Tim Kawakami of The Athletic in a podcast that was relayed by NBCSports.com’s Kurt Helin. Thompson hedged when asked if he’d take a $9MM cut, as Kevin Durant did this summer, but asserted that he’s willing to make a sacrifice to keep the core group together. “I would definitely consider it cause I don’t want to lose anybody,” Thompson said of a potential team discount.
  • First-round selection Donovan Mitchell has impressed Jazz coach Quin Snyder with his defensive tenacity, Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News writes. The No. 13 overall pick enjoys playing defense, as he told Sorensen, and his head coach has noticed. “Donovan’s defense — if you’re on the wing and trying to get open, you better be ready, because he’s going to make it hard for you to catch the ball,” he said. The shooting guard will battle Alec Burks and Rodney Hood for playing time.
  • Rockets rookie forward Cameron Oliver underwent surgery to repair a fractured right hand, the team tweets. Oliver, who went undrafted out of Nevada, will be re-evaluated in approximately 4-6 weeks, the team adds. Oliver signed a two-year minimum contract that includes a $300K guarantee.

Contract Details: Teodosic, Curry, Durant, Harden

Milos Teodosic‘s new contract with the Clippers is worth $6MM in year one and $6.3MM in year two, with the team using a chunk of its mid-level exception to complete the signing, per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Pincus explains, however, the deal isn’t quite that simple. It also features a 15% trade kicker, a partial guarantee of $2MM in year one, a partial guarantee of $2.1MM in year two, and a second-year player option (Twitter links).

What does that mean in practical terms? Well, Teodosic’s first-year salary will become guaranteed in a matter of days. It only features a partial guarantee initially so that a partial guarantee could be included on the second year as well. That second year will now function as a mutual option of sorts — if Teodosic picks up his option, the Clippers would still have a window to waive him and only be on the hook for a third of his salary ($2.1MM of $6.3MM).

Here are more details on new contracts from around the NBA, with all information via Pincus:

Western Conference:

  • The new super-max contract signed by Stephen Curry (Warriors) includes a 15% trade kicker and has no options (Twitter link). Kevin Durant‘s two-year deal with the Warriors also features a 15% trade kicker, though he’s even less likely than Curry to be dealt (Twitter link).
  • As for James Harden‘s super-max extension with the Rockets, the final year of that deal (2022/23) is a player option (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets signed undrafted rookie Cameron Oliver to a two-year, minimum salary contract that includes $300K in guaranteed money (Twitter link).
  • George Hill‘s deal with the Kings is frontloaded, with a $20MM cap hit in year one and $19MM in year two. Hill’s third-year salary of $18MM is only guaranteed for $1MM (Twitter link).

Eastern Conference:

  • J.J. Redick would earn an even larger salary on his one-year contract with the Sixers if he’s traded this season. The $23MM pact includes a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).
  • The Magic signed Shelvin Mack to a two-year contract worth an even $6MM annually, but only $1MM is guaranteed in year two (Twitter link).
  • Undrafted free agent Alfonzo McKinnie signed a two-year, minimum salary contract with the Raptors that features a $100K guarantee (Twitter link).

Cameron Oliver Signs With Rockets

JULY 8, 5:38pm: The signing is official, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26.

JUNE 22, 11:45pm: Undrafted rookie free agent Cameron Oliver has found an NBA home, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com, who tweets that Oliver has agreed to a free agent contract with the Rockets. Oliver will get a multiyear deal from Houston later in the offseason, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).

Oliver, a sophomore in 2016/17, declared for the draft after a productive season in which he averaged 16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 BPG. The 6’8″ forward ranked as the 55th-best prospect on DraftExpress’ big board, but wasn’t selected on Thursday night.

Once his deal becomes official, Oliver figures to head to training camp with the Rockets as a member of the 20-man roster. It remains to be seen whether he’ll have a legit chance to earn a spot on the team’s regular season roster.

New York Notes: Rose, Workouts, Porzingis

Although Derrick Rose‘s first season with the Knicks can’t be viewed as a true success, given the team’s record, the veteran point guard doesn’t necessarily want it to be his only season in New York. Agent B.J. Armstrong tells Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report that his client is interested in re-signing with the Knicks in free agency this summer.

“Derrick loves New York and wants to be there,” Armstrong said. “We’ve expressed that to them and been very consistent about it. Whether it happens is on them; all we can do is be clear.”

As we wait to see if Rose’s interest in the Knicks is reciprocated, let’s round up a few more notes on the two New York teams…

  • In addition to featuring Armstrong’s comments on Rose, Weitzman’s Bleacher Report piece on the Knicks (linked above) explores possible directions the club could go with its roster this offseason, and is worth checking out in full.
  • Nevada’s Cameron Oliver worked out for the Nets (Wednesday) and Knicks (Thursday) this week, league sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN.com. The 6’8″ power forward comes off the board at No. 50 in DraftExpress’ latest mock draft.
  • Dallas Moore, J.J. Frazier, Malcolm Hill, Isaiah Hicks, and Moses Kingsley are among the other prospects to work out for the Nets this week, per NetsDaily (Twitter link).
  • As Marc Berman of The New York Post details, Kristaps Porzingis will be the subject of an E-60 documentary that will air on ESPN later this month. Berman adds that the documentary will address Porzingis’ “cold war” with the Knicks, with the last scene having been filmed in April after the big man skipped his exit meeting with the club.

Pacific Notes: Fox, Kings, Suns, Lakers, Warriors

The Kings may be willing to trade both their No. 5 and No. 10 picks to move up in the draft so that they can move up to select De’Aaron Fox, according to Chad Ford of ESPN (link via Sporting News’ Joe Rodgers). Sacramento has apparently become infatuated with Fox and does not believe that he will be available at No. 5, prompting internal discussions about the possibility of trading up.

Here is more from the Pacific division:

  • On Wednesday, the Kings will host their fifth pre-draft workout, per the team’s official website. Attendees will be Donovan Mitchell (Louisville), Dominique Hawkins (Kentucky), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), Cameron Oliver (Nevada), Erik McCree (Louisiana Tech), and Jabari Bird (California).
  • Beyond bringing back the Warriors‘ core, “every non-core player might end up elsewhere if the price is too high,” writes Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. As Kawakami states, the Dubs have shown in the past “they can be fairly cut-throat in evaluating the middle-to-bottom of their roster.” The Kawakami piece also includes +/- statistics for the Warriors and Cavaliers this postseason, this year’s NBA Finals, and the Finals from a year ago.
  • Malik Monk worked out for the Suns on Tuesday, per the team’s official Twitter account.
  • Yoan Granvorka will work out for the Suns on Wednesday, according to Sportando (link via Twitter).
  • The Lakers worked out point guard Jawun Evans and are considering him at No. 28, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com reports (link via Twitter). Howard-Cooper adds that Evans is “getting interest in the 20s, including from the Blazers with two in that range.”

Pacific Notes: J. Jackson, Isaac, Tatum, Thompson

The Suns potentially have a difficult decision to make when they find themselves on the clock with the fourth overall pick, writes Doug Haller of AZCentral Sports. Three talented freshman small forwards could be available: Josh Jackson, Jonathan Isaac, and Jayson Tatum. Defense and three-point shooting are likely the Suns’ two most glaring weaknesses, and one of these athletes could certainly help.

Haller writes that Jackson’s real impact could come defensively. The scribe adds that, while Tatum is nowhere near the defender that Jackson is, the Duke freshman may be the most polished scorer in the draft. As for Isaac, he can play both forward positions, with many believing that he will also be able to man the center position when his body fills out. Furthermore, the departing Seminole would contribute defensive versatility, having defended all over the floor for Florida State.

Here are some more pertinent notes from the Pacific division: