Carrick Felix

Wizards Waive Donald Sloan, Retain Carrick Felix

The Wizards have waived veteran point guard Donald Sloan, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Washington has confirmed the move in a press release.

This move paves the way for Carrick Felix to enter the regular season holding Washington’s final roster spot, Bucker notes. Washington’s roster now appears set at the 17-player maximum, with 15 on the NBA roster and two under two-way contracts.

Sloan, 29, did not play in the Wizards’ preseason finale on Friday, a 110-103 win over the Knicks. Sloan has made appearances in five different uniforms, suiting up for the Hawks, Hornets, Pacers, Cavaliers, and Nets.

As for Felix, 27, the former Cavaliers second-round pick (33rd overall) is looking to complete a full comeback from a series of knee injuries. He has not appeared in a regular season NBA contest since his rookie campaign when he averaged 2.7 PPG in seven games.

“Things like that, the injury I suffered, it happens to one percent of the world,” Felix said to reporters, including Bucker, earlier this week. “A lot of people break their knee cap and it kind of stays together [but] mine had a really big displacement, so I just had to take the time and really rest and let my body heal at once.”

Felix played in 66 minutes during the preseason, posting 32 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks in four games. Felix figures to replace Sheldon Mac on the depth chart after the young shooting guard suffered a potentially season-ending left Achilles’ tendon tear last week.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Zeller, Hezonja

The battle for the Wizards‘ final regular season roster spot figures to come down to Donald Sloan and Carrick Felix, and head coach Scott Brooks calls it one of the “toughest” roster decisions he’s had to make in recent years, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The decision may ultimately come down to what sort of player the Wizards want to keep around, since Sloan, a veteran point guard, and Felix, an athletic swingman, would play different roles.

In theory, the Wizards could keep both players on the roster. The team only has 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, leaving two openings. However, a 14th player – Sheldon Mac – has been ruled out for most or all of the season with a torn Achilles, and Washington will be on the hook for his salary until he recovers, whether or not he’s on the roster. By waiving him and keeping both Sloan and Felix, the Wizards would essentially be paying 16 players, an undesirable outcome for a club already well over the luxury-tax line.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • Having signed a new four-year extension with the Heat this offseason, Josh Richardson is now determined to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2016/17 season, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.
  • The offseason arrival of Dwight Howard supplanted Cody Zeller from the starting lineup, but the Hornets‘ backup center remains valuable to the team as he enters the first year of a new contract. Sam Perley of Hornets.com has the story on Zeller.
  • Mario Hezonja, 2015’s fifth overall pick, took a step backward during his second NBA season last year. However, he has been solid in the preseason as he looks to cement a role in the Magic‘s rotation, says John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com.
  • Backup Hawks point guard Malcolm Delaney spoke to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about making the leap to the NBA last year, his decision to join the Hawks, and his expectations for Atlanta in 2017/18. “With our system and the way we move the ball, we could surprise a lot of people,” Delaney said. “My goal is always going to be to win. I don’t believe in rebuilding. I certainly don’t believe in tanking. I’m going out to win every game because this is my contract year and I’ve gotten to this point because of winning.”

Wizards Sign Carrick Felix

SEPTEMBER 11: Felix’s deal with the Wizards is official, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

SEPTEMBER 9: The Wizards are signing swingman Carrick Felix to a training camp deal, according Chris Reichert of 2Ways10Days.com (Twitter link).

A former second round pick of the Cavaliers in 2013 (33rd overall), Felix has considerable experience in the G League. He has made G League appearances for affiliate teams of the Nets, Cavaliers, and Warriors.

Felix, 27, made his lone NBA experience came during the 2013/14 season, appearing in seven games for the Cavaliers. He averaged 2.7 PPG in just over five minutes per game. Felix was traded to the Jazz that offseason and was eventually waived.

The Wizards currently have 18 players under contract, but have also reached reported agreements with Felix and Kris Jenkins, which would take their roster count to 20, the offseason maximum.

Eastern Notes: Terry, Sanders, Wall, Forbes

A shot at playing time may have been what most attracted Jason Terry to the Bucks, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. Terry appeared in 72 games and averaged 17.5 minutes per night for the Rockets last season, and apparently he’s not ready for a reduced role, even with his 39th birthday looming next month. After missing out on free agent guards Kent Bazemore and Dwyane Wade, the Bucks turned to Terry, who ranks third on the list of most 3-pointers made in a career. “Whether he gets 40 minutes, four minutes or no minutes, he’ll accept it and be professional about it,’’ said Terry’s agent, Ryan N. Davis. “He’s excited to be with Milwaukee and help them.’’

There’s more news tonight from the Eastern Conference:

  • Former Bucks center Larry Sanders has no interest in signing a deal that is only guaranteed for training camp, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Sanders, who hasn’t played since leaving the NBA in December of 2014 because of anxiety and depression, is looking for a situation that offers a real opportunity to make a 15-man roster.
  • Wizards point guard John Wall is going through intense rehab as he tries to bounce back from two knee surgeries in May, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. Wall, who is expected to be ready for the start of next season, promises “the beginning of the new John Wall era” and says he’s trying to get in the best shape of his career.
  • Former Nuggets and Raptors wing Gary Forbes is among the most likely players taken by the Long Island Nets in this week’s expansion draft to actually play for the D-League team, according to NetsDaily.com. Most of the draftees have overseas contracts for next season, but the 31-year-old Forbes doesn’t. Other possibilities are swingmen Carrick Felix and Akil Mitchell.

2016 NBA D-League Expansion Draft Results

The NBA D-League conducted its expansion draft today, allowing the league’s three new teams to add the rights to 12 players apiece. The league’s previously-existing 19 teams had been permitted to retain the rights to 10 players each, leaving the rest of their players unprotected and free to be drafted, as Chris Reichert of UpsideMotor.com explained earlier today.

As we noted on Tuesday, the D-League’s three new franchises this year are affiliates for the Nets (Long Island Nets), Hornets (Greensboro Swarm), and Bulls (Windy City Bulls).

The players those three teams added today won’t necessarily play for them this season — in fact, it’s somewhat rare for expansion draftees to suit up for their new clubs, as D-League Digest tweets. Many of those players will try to catch on with an NBA team or will end up playing overseas. Still, the expansion draft gives the D-League’s new teams some assets as they start to build their rosters for the coming season.

Per Reichert, here are the results of today’s expansion draft. The player’s former D-League team is noted in parentheses, and picks are ordered by round. The teams will hold their players’ rights for the next two seasons:

Long Island Nets (Twitter link)

  1. Gary Forbes (Grand Rapids Drive)
  2. Carrick Felix (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  3. Jamaal Franklin (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  4. Akil Mitchell (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  5. Peyton Siva (Delaware 87ers)
  6. Alex Kirk (Canton Charge)
  7. Austin Freeman (Westchester Knicks)
  8. Kendall Gray (Iowa Energy)
  9. Lazar Hayward (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  10. Dwayne Polee Jr. (Reno Bighorns)
  11. Matt Bouldin (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  12. Lewis Jackson (Salt Lake City Stars)

Greensboro Swarm (Twitter link)

  1. Josh Davis (Austin Spurs)
  2. Abdul Gaddy (Maine Red Claws)
  3. Tony Bishop (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  4. Scotty Hopson (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  5. Toure’ Murry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  6. Rodney Williams (Oklahoma City Blue)
  7. Josh Huestis (Oklahoma City Blue)
  8. Ralston Turner (Grand Rapids Drive)
  9. Keanau Post (Raptors 905)
  10. Damien Wilkins (Iowa Energy)
  11. Kris Joseph (Westchester Knicks)
  12. Dee Bost (Raptors 905)

Windy City Bulls (Twitter link)

  1. Wesley Saunders (Austin Spurs)
  2. Kiwi Gardner (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  3. Ralph Sampson III (Maine Red Claws)
  4. Booker Woodfox (Texas Legends)
  5. Jerel McNeal (Northern Arizona Suns)
  6. Akeem Richmond (Reno Bighorns)
  7. Casey Prather (Northern Arizona Suns)
  8. Jon Octeus (Canton Charge)
  9. Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends)
  10. Jamal Jones (Delaware 87ers)
  11. Xavier Thames (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  12. Ian Chiles (Salt Lake City Stars)

Robert Covington Tops D-League Draftees

The NBA D-League Draft was held today and the event was kicked off with Robert Covington being selected first overall by the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons D-League affiliate. Covington’s selection was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The 23-year-old forward was arguably the most talented player in the D-League draft, though he isn’t expected to spend the full season in Grand Rapids, notes Chris Reichert of SB Nation, since he is on the radar of numerous NBA teams.

Covington spent much of last season with Houston’s D-League affiliate despite being on the team’s NBA roster the entire year. He earned himself a trip to the D-League’s All-Star game by averaging 23.2 PPG and 9.2 RPG in 34.1 minutes per game in 42 D-League appearances. He spent the preseason on Houston’s roster, though he was away from the team for weeks mulling offers to play in Europe before being waived. Covington came close to inking a deal with the Sixers, but decided to take the D-League route to begin the season.

Elliot Williams, a former 2010 first round pick of the Blazers, was selected by the Warriors affiliate with the second overall pick. The 6’5″ guard was a rotation player for the Sixers last year, averaging 6.0 PPG in 17.3 MPG, but was waived by Philadelphia when the team needed to pare its preseason roster count down to 15 players.

Other players selected in the opening round who had prior NBA regular season experience were Marquis TeagueBen HansbroughErik MurphyCarrick Felix and Damien Wilkins.

One other player to keep an eye on is Milos Milisavljevic, a 21-year-old Serbian point guard who was selected by the Texas Legends, who serve as the affiliate of the Mavericks. Milisavljevic will be NBA draft-eligible in 2015, and is on the radar of NBA scouts, though he isn’t currently projected to be taken in either round by DraftExpress.

Here is the full list of first round selections:

  1. Grand Rapids Drive (via Delaware) — Robert Covington
  2. Santa Cruz Warriors (via Erie) — Elliot Williams
  3. Austin Spurs — Erik Murphy
  4. Santa Cruz Warriors (via Maine) — Carrick Felix
  5. Grand Rapids Drive — Ben Hansbrough
  6. Texas Legends — Milos Milisavljevic
  7. Idaho Stampede — Tre’ Bussey
  8. Bakersfield Jam — Robert Vaden
  9. Oklahoma City Blue — Marquis Teague
  10. Reno Bighorns (via Westchester) — Joonas Caven
  11. Reno Bighorns — Brady Heslip
  12. Canton Charge — Michael Dunigan
  13. Santa Cruz Warriors — Melvin Johnson III
  14. Rio Grande Valley Vipers — Chane Behanan
  15. Sioux Falls Skyforce — Fuquan Edwin
  16. Iowa Energy — Damien Wilkins
  17. Los Angeles D-Fenders — Eloy Vargas
  18. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (via Fort Wayne) — Justin Jackson

Jazz Claim Hamilton, Ingles, Waive Felix

The Jazz have waived Carrick Felix, and they’ve claimed Jordan Hamilton and Joe Ingles off waivers, the team announced in a pair of releasesAdrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the waiver claims and tweeted the news that the team would release Felix. Utah had been carrying 14 players, so at least one had to go to accommodate the pair of claims. Hamilton, whose minimum-salary deal is partially guaranteed for $25K, comes from the Raptors, so Toronto is no longer on the hook for that money. The Clippers had placed their non-guaranteed contract with Ingles on waivers.

Hamilton made it tough on the Raptors this month, though they ultimately decided to go with Greg Stiemsma over both Hamilton and Will Cherry as they all battled for one open regular season roster spot with matching $25K guarantees. Hamilton averaged 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game in the preseason, more playing time than he had seen in any of his three regular seasons since becoming the 26th overall pick in 2011.

Ingles was a hot commodity after his showing for the Australian national team in the World Cup. The Jazz were among a host of teams that were eyeing the swingman as early as this past spring, and he ultimately decided on the Clippers, though it was surprising to see him fail to garner any guaranteed salary. He’ll make the minimum this year.

Felix’s minimum salary was fully guaranteed, so Utah is on the hook for that money unless he clears waivers. The 33rd overall pick from last year played nine D-League games and seven NBA contests last year with the Cavs, who sent him out primarily for financial reasons in the July trade that brought him to Utah. He has a non-guaranteed salary for 2015/16 that will disappear if he clears waivers.

Utah creeps closer to this year’s $63.065MM cap with today’s pickups, but the Jazz still have less than $60MM in committed salary for this season.

How The Cavs/Jazz Trade Worked Financially

It seemed from the moment that news of Tuesday’s trade between the Cavs and Jazz surfaced, the deal was somehow more significant than a swap involving four backups normally would be. The Cavs reportedly see some value in John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy as players rather than simply as non-guaranteed contracts, but an earlier report indicated the team had been looking for non-guaranteed deals specifically to strengthen its bid for Kevin Love. The trio doesn’t represent an overwhelming step toward Love, but the move gives the Cavs more options they can present to the Wolves, which might make the difference as Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders sorts through several competing packages.

A key part of the trade involves a separate transaction. The Cavs struck a deal that same evening with No. 33 overall pick Joe Harris worth precisely $2,710,369 for three years, including a guaranteed $884,879, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. That it runs three years indicates that the Cavs need to use cap space to complete the transaction, since neither the minimum-salary exception nor the room exception, the two vehicles other than cap space the Cavs have for signing free agents, allows for contracts longer than two seasons.

The Cavs have yet to officially announce their deal with Harris, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t officially signed him. Sometimes teams never make official announcements when they sign draft picks, for any number of possible reasons. The Bulls never announced having signed 2008 No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose to his rookie scale contract, as Deeks pointed out earlier this month (on Twitter). The RealGM transactions log shows the Harris signing as having taken place, and the presence of his salary figures on Deeks’ database is further indication that the Harris signing is official. That means the signing had to have taken place prior to the trade, which the Cavs did officially announce, since Cleveland wouldn’t have had the cap room necessary to sign Harris to his deal had they executed the trade first.

The Cavs entered Tuesday evening with $56,030,677 in salary and a cap hold of $4,592,200 for Andrew Wiggins, who remains unsigned. That left them with $2,442,123 worth of space beneath the $63.065MM cap. The Harris signing brought that room down to $1,557,244. The Cavs, as the NBA allows them to do, then appeared to split the Jazz trade into two parts. The first involves taking on Lucas’ $1.6MM salary and Murphy’s $816,482 salary in exchange for Felix’s $816,482 salary. Murphy and Felix essentially cancel each other out, so it amounts to an absorption of the $1.6MM Lucas salary, putting the Cavs over the cap by $42,756. The NBA lets teams complete trades that take them as much as $100K above the salary cap without conforming to salary-matching rules, so the Lucas salary just barely squeezes in under this requirement.

That move puts Cleveland over the cap, leaving the Cavs to execute the rest of the trade, a simple acquisition of Malcolm Thomas, using the salary-matching rules required of a capped-out team. The incoming $948,163 salary of Thomas is obviously greater than nothing, which is what Utah is getting in this side of the deal, but fortunately for Cleveland, players on minimum-salary contracts don’t count as incoming salary in the NBA’s matching game. Thomas makes the minimum, so the trade is kosher.

The Jazz needn’t worry about splitting the transaction or dealing with any salary-matching requirements, since they were well under the cap before the trade and are even further beneath it in the aftermath of the deal. The Cavs must continue to deal with the ripple effects of having landed over the cap. By all appearances, that bars them from aggregating Thomas in a subsequent trade for two months. While the Cavs can trade Thomas by himself, no trade limitation applies to either Lucas or Murphy, since Cleveland acquired them while under the cap. Cleveland nonetheless appears ready to sign Wiggins, triggering a 30-day waiting period before he can be traded, and since the Wolves are insistent that Wiggins be a part of any deal for Love, it doesn’t appear as though Cleveland is in any position to rush to make a Love trade official.

All of this hinges on the Harris signing truly having already taken place, as all indications suggest. If it weren’t official, it’s possible the Cavs could have structured the trade differently with the intent of later opening up the cap room necessary to formalize the Harris signing. Still, it appears as though deft management of timing gave Cleveland the opportunity to sign its second-rounder to a three-year deal, which is significantly more valuable to the team than a two-year contract would be, as I explained last year. The Cavs did so while still acquiring non-guaranteed contracts that they can flip, sooner or later. Utah receives some more cap space, as well as Felix, ostensibly the player with the most upside in this transaction, having been picked 33rd overall just a year ago. Time will tell if it was indeed a trade that helped both teams, but the deal has the makings of being just that.

Cavs Acquire Three In Swap With Jazz

7:21pm: The Cavaliers have officially announced the deal, per a team press release.

7:16pm: Out of the three players heading to Cleveland, Minnesota actually had some interest in Murphy after he was waived by the Bulls last season, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

7:03pm: The pick that Utah will receive in the deal will be a 2015 second rounder from Cleveland, tweets Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune.

6:21pm: According to one Cavs source, Cleveland likes Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy and doesn’t necessarily view them as stepping stones to a bigger deal, tweets Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

6:00pm: The Jazz are expected to trade the non-guaranteed contracts of John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas, and Erik Murphy to the Cavaliers for Carrick Felix, a future second rounder, and $1MM, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Felix’s contract is guaranteed for $816K in 2014/15, whereas Lucas III, Thomas, and Murphy combined for roughly $3.3MM in non-guaranteed deals for the upcoming season. Wojnarowski adds that Cleveland had been looking to make this type of deal recently in order to help facilitate a trade for Timberwolves star Kevin Love (Twitter links).

Minnesota has been determined to unload Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea in a deal involving Love, says Wojnarowski, who also notes that the Cavs would have to find a third team in order to make it work. Nonetheless, whether Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy’s contracts are used to bring the former UCLA big man to Ohio or are included in a separate trade, this deal at the very least has given Cleveland some “buying power” (Twitter links).

Team Options And Restricted Free Agency

Every rookie scale contract in the league, by rule, includes a pair of team options. Otherwise, team options are rare. NBA clubs prefer the flexibility of non-guaranteed seasons instead, since they allow the team to cut ties with the player at any point before the leaguewide guarantee date of January 7th. Team options must either be exercised or declined before the NBA’s calendar flips over on July 1st. (Rookie scale options must be exercised or declined on October 31st the year before the option season would begin.) Players, too, can benefit from the greater flexibility of a non-guaranteed contract, since they can earn a portion of their salary if they remain on the roster for a partial season.

Still, a growing number of free agents are signing contracts with team options. Of the 13 existing NBA contracts that include team options for future seasons and aren’t rookie scale deals, 11 have been signed since this past July. A handful of those contracts last four seasons, and there’s a compelling reason for teams to structure deals that way for second-round picks and undrafted players.

Chandler Parsons is Exhibit A. The Rockets haven’t informed Parsons about whether they intend to decline his option, worth about $965K, for next season, as Parsons tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Under most circumstances, Houston’s decision would be a no-brainer. Parsons has far outperformed his deal, signed after the Rockets took him in the second round of the 2011 draft, and having him for an additional season at a cost of less than $1MM would give the team one of the league’s best bargains. What makes his case so intriguing is that undrafted players and second-round picks, like Parsons, can be restricted free agents if their contracts end before their fourth seasons. So, the Rockets could decline their option and have the right to match other teams’ offers for their small forward. Houston wouldn’t have that right in 2015 if the team exercised its option on Parsons, who’d become an unrestricted free agent when his contract ends after 2014/15.

The team option gives Houston a choice that a non-guaranteed season wouldn’t. If 2014/15 were a non-guaranteed year for Parsons, rather than an option year, the Rockets could only make him a free agent this summer if they waived him, and he’d be an unrestricted free agent, and not a restricted one, if he cleared waivers.

Three other teams did deals this year that mimic the Parsons contract, and it’s not surprising that the Sixers are one of them. GM Sam Hinkie was the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Rockets when they signed Parsons. Philadelphia signed two undrafted rookies this season to four-year contracts with a team option in the fourth year. The contracts for Brandon Davies and Hollis Thompson, just like the one for Parsons, aren’t fully guaranteed in the seasons leading up to the option. Davies signed his deal without any guarantee at all, while Thompson received a tiny partial guarantee of $35K for this season.

Neither Davies nor Thompson has guaranteed salary on his respective option year. That means that the Sixers could pick up their options and still cut ties with them before opening night without owing them any money that year, just as with a regular non-guaranteed season. Parsons has a partial guarantee on his salary next season. If the Rockets and Sixers exercise their options, those contracts will become just like any other deal that isn’t fully guaranteed. The only difference will be that their teams will have had a chance to make them restricted free agents, a valuable resource in case the player, as Parsons did, blossoms into a sought-after commodity.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey and his disciple aren’t the only ones who’ve caught on. Former Cavs GM Chris Grant signed Carrick Felix, the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 draft, to a four-year deal with a team option in the final season. In Felix’s case, the only non-guaranteed money is in the third year, and the fourth year is fully guaranteed providing the Cavs exercise their option. Hawks GM Danny Ferry, Grant’s former boss in Cleveland, produced the latest iteration of this trend when he pried 2013 second-rounder Mike Muscala from his Spanish league contract in February to bring him stateside. Muscala’s four-year deal is 50% guaranteed next season but henceforth completely non-guaranteed, and that includes the fourth-year option season.

Not every team has the flexibility to make four-year offers. Teams need either cap space or a portion of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception to sign rookies for four years. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more contracts like these in the future, especially if the Rockets use their team option on Parsons this summer and other teams hesitate to give him an offer. Teams may become more hesistant to use their full mid-level on veteran free agents so they can leave room to sign one or two intriguing young players to four-year deals.

It’s unlikely that Thompson, Davies, Felix or Muscala will ever become as valuable as Parsons is, and there’s a decent chance that their teams will waive them long before the option year comes around. Still, the Rockets, Sixers, Cavs and Hawks had nothing to lose, and neither would any team that does a similar deal. It’s a smart play that can look even smarter over time.

ShamSports and Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ were used in the creation of this post.

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