Chris Chiozza

Atlantic Notes: Calipari, Knicks, Brown, Nets

Kentucky’s John Calipari doesn’t seem like a realistic option to be the next coach of the Knicks because of the money it would take to land him, Ian Begley of writes. Calipari has a strong relationship with team president Leon Rose, so nothing can be ruled out. However, many other names, such as coach Tom Thibodeau and Kenny Atkinson, appear to be more realistic fits.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes the Sixers should give Brett Brown at least one more year. Ford argues that Brown has held this team together and is not the problem in Philadelphia.
  • Chris Chiozza, who is on a two-way contract, joined the Nets earlier in the season and the franchise is impressed with the point guard. Yet, if he is going to join the team for a playoff run, Brooklyn will need to waive somebody — Theo Pinson could be the odd man out, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post explains.
  • The Nets haven’t fully realized Taurean Prince‘s potential, Lewis contends in a separate piece. Brooklyn acquired and extended Prince last offseason and he has spent most of his time playing the four, which is not his natural position.

Nets, Chris Chiozza May Have Found Long-Term Fit

Chris Chiozza, who joined the Nets in January on a two-way deal, has made a good impression in Brooklyn, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Some have compared Chiozza’s progress with the Nets to that of Fred VanVleet with the Raptors. Lewis adds that those comparisons are likely premature, though the point guard could certainly earn a standard deal once the NBA returns to action.

Being on a two-way contract, Chiozza, who spent time with the G League’s Capital City Go-Go earlier this season, isn’t eligible to play for the Nets in the postseason. However, if the NBA returns this season, the franchise could waive a player to give Chiozza a spot on the postseason roster.

In his 11 games with Brooklyn, the former University of Florida point guard was averaging 16.3 points and 5.7 assists per 36 minutes. He knocked down 44.0% of his shots from downtown.

Atlantic Notes: DSJ, Raptors, Allen, Nets

Dennis Smith Jr., who will miss his 13th consecutive game on Monday night due to an oblique strain, is due to be re-evaluated on Tuesday, at which point the Knicks may have a clearer idea of when he might be able to return, says Greg Joyce of The New York Post.

“He is progressing well,” Knicks head coach Mike Miller said of Smith. “He has been practicing some. With games every day, we haven’t practiced anything steady. So he’s been able to get some practices in, but not a lot of contact and not much full court.”

It has been a disappointing first full season in New York for Smith, who is averaging just 5.2 PPG on .325/.293/.500 shooting in 21 games (16.1 MPG). The former lottery pick will also have to compete with fellow Knicks point guards Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for minutes when he’s ready to return.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic:

  • The Raptors will approach the trade deadline viewing themselves as buyers, but a significant deal is unlikely, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.
  • As Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily details, Jarrett Allen isn’t holding any sort of grudge toward Kyrie Irving after the Nets‘ point guard failed to mention the big man when he listed several of the team’s core players. “What do I expect him to do, name the whole team? That’s really the only comment I have on that,” Allen said. “… We talked about it. He ended up saying everything is fine, so no bad blood.”
  • In a pair of stories for NetsDaily, Chris Milholen checks in on Nets youngsters Chris Chiozza and Jeremiah Martin. The two point guards are aiming to earn a longer look from the NBA club after recently replacing Henry Ellenson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot as Brooklyn’s two-way players.

Nets Sign Chris Chiozza To Two-Way Contract

JANUARY 4: Chiozza has been signed to a two-way contract, the Nets announced in a press release.

JANUARY 3: After being waived by the Wizards in December, point guard Chris Chiozza is expected to sign with the Nets, reports Ben Standig of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Brooklyn is shaking up the back of its roster this week, having already released injured swingman David Nwaba, with two-way player Henry Ellenson expected to follow him to waivers. Those moves opened up one spot on the 15-man roster and one two-way contract slot. With Justin Anderson reportedly set to sign a 10-day contract, the Nets and Chiozza may be on track for a two-way deal, though that remains unclear.

Chiozza, 24, has appeared in a total of 17 NBA games for Houston and Washington since going undrafted in 2018, having spent most of the last season-and-a-half in the G League. The former Florida Gator has struggled with his efficiency this season in 10 games (31.1 MPG) for the Capital City Go-Go, averaging 10.8 PPG on .333/.328/1.000 shooting. However, he has contributed in other ways, recording 6.4 APG and 2.7 SPG.

The Nets’ backcourt depth has been hit hard by injuries this season. Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert have been sidelined since mid-November and Garrett Temple currently day-to-day with a knee issue. The club is on track to get LeVert back on Saturday though, and Chiozza and Anderson should provide added depth.

Wizards Notes: Bertans, Smith, Payton, Chiozza

General manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that the Wizards plan to re-sign Davis Bertans, but Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington believes they may rethink their position before the trade deadline. Bertans has emerged as one of the league’s top 3-point shooters, hitting a career-best 44.7% through the season’s first 27 games. But his eventual price tag could be a concern to a franchise that has already made expensive long-term commitments to Bradley Beal and John Wall.

A league executive predicts Bertans will command a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $51MM over three seasons. Hughes states that the Wizards can easily afford to give Bertans around $15MM per season, especially with Ian Mahinmi‘s $15.5MM salary coming off the books after this season. However, if the price gets closer to $20MM annually, Washington might have to reconsider to avoid a repeat of the salary cap crunch it escaped at last year’s deadline.

Hughes hears that the Sixers, Hawks and Lakers would be the most interested teams if the Wizards opt to shop Bertans. Washington will want at least a first-round pick in return, but any contender would be offering a choice very late in the draft. Unless someone comes through with a sweeter offer, Washington may opt to keep Bertans and take its chances in free agency.

There’s more from D.C.:

  • Ish Smith is excelling off the bench and making a strong case for a full-time starting job, observes Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington. Last night in Toronto, Smith became the first reserve in franchise history with a perfect shooting night on at least nine shot attempts since the stat started being kept in 1971.
  • Gary Payton II, who is reportedly close to re-signing with the Wizards, got a strong endorsement from his coach this week at the G League Showcase, relays Sam Gordon of The Las Vegas Review-Journal“It’s dependent on fit and timing. He has the skills. He has the talent. He has the mentality,” said Coby Karl of the South Bay Lakers. “He’s an elite athlete at the NBA level. He can do so many different things on the court.”
  • Chris Chiozza, who was released earlier this week, has joined Washington’s G League affiliate in Capital City after clearing waivers, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Wizards Sign Anzejs Pasecniks, Cut Chris Chiozza

The Wizards have signed former first-round pick Anzejs Pasecniks to a two-way contract, waiving two-way player Chris Chiozza to make room for Pasecniks, the team announced today in a press release.

Pasecniks, who will turn 24 this Friday, was drafted 25th overall by the Sixers in 2017 but never suited up for Philadelphia, having spent the next two seasons overseas. After the 76ers renounced his rights earlier this year, the 7’1″ center joined the Wizards’ Summer League team, then reported to Washington’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, this fall.

In 12 NBAGL games, Pasecniks has averaged 10.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG with a .604 FG%.

As Fred Katz of The Athletic explains (via Twitter), the Wizards “really like” Chiozza, but felt they had to add another center to the mix with Thomas Bryant and Moritz Wagner both injured. Ian Mahinmi is currently the club’s only healthy player at the five.

Chiozza, who appeared in 10 games for Washington this season, will become a free agent if he clears waivers on Thursday. The point guard is expected to return to the Go-Go if he goes unclaimed, tweets Katz.

Wizards Notes: Centers, Miles, Schofield, Ratings

The Wizards are trying to survive with no healthy centers on their roster, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The foot injury that sidelined Thomas Bryant for at least three weeks was terrible news for a team that is already missing Ian Mahinmi because of an Achilles injury and Moritz Wagner with a sprained left ankle.

Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans both started in the frontcourt in Tuesday’s loss to the Magic, while 6’5″ Admiral Schofield was called up from the G League for reinforcement. Katz notes that Wagner should return soon, but he’s averaging more than seven fouls per 36 minutes, so he may have a problem staying on the court.

The Wizards aren’t likely to make a roster move to address the predicament, Katz adds. Jordan McRae and Justin Robinson have partially guaranteed contracts, but management likes both players and isn’t likely to cut them for short-term help. The same holds true for two-way players Chris Chiozza and Garrison Mathews. After a 6-13 start, the focus of this season will remain on player development rather than wins and losses.

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • C.J. Miles had successful surgery today to fix damaged ligaments in his left wrist, the Wizards announced on Twitter. No timeline has been set for Miles’ return, and there were concerns that surgery might keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
  • Before Schofield joined the Wizards last night, he played 38 minutes in a G League game for the Capital City Go-Go, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. He became the first player in franchise history and one of only a handful throughout the league who have appeared in two games in one day. “This is one of those days where you get to fall in love with the game again because it’s so much basketball,” said Schofield, who played 7:19 against Orlando. Robinson was also called up after playing in the early game, but wasn’t used.
  • The Wizards have suffered the largest decline in local television ratings of any NBA team, tweets John Ourand of Sports Business Journal. Washington’s games are drawing a 57% smaller audience than they did last season.

Wizards Convert Chris Chiozza To Two-Way Deal

The Wizards have converted Chris Chiozza‘s Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way deal, league sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move ensures that Washington now has 15 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way pacts, making the roster regular-season-ready.

Chiozza, who will turn 24 a month from today, began his professional career last fall by attending training camp with the Wizards, then spent most of his rookie year with the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G League affiliate. The former Florida guard later signed a 10-day contract and a rest-of-season deal with Houston, making his NBA debut with the Rockets. However, he was waived in July and made his way back to the Wizards this fall.

In 47 total G League games last season for the Go-Go and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston’s affiliate), Chiozza averaged 13.2 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 4.8 RPG with a .437/.409/.760 shooting line.

With John Wall on the shelf due to an Achilles tear and Isaiah Thomas recovering from thumb surgery, Chiozza will provide the Wizards with some extra depth at the point guard spot behind Ish Smith to open the season. His two-way contract will limit him to 45 days at the NBA level, but that clock won’t start until G League training camps get underway next week.

Wizards Waive Pasecniks, Jones

The Wizards have waived center Anzejs Pasecniks and forward Jalen Jones, the team’s media relations department tweets.

Both players were recently signed to Exhibit 10 contracts and will likely wind up with the team’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.

Pasecniks, a seven-footer from Latvia, was acquired by the Sixers on draft night in 2017 after he was selected with the 25th overall pick by Orlando. He played overseas the last two seasons for the Spanish team Gran Carania. Philadelphia renounced his NBA rights, clearing a path for him to join the Wizards for Summer League play.

Jalen Jones, a 6’7″ forward out of Texas A&M, has appeared in 32 total games for the Pelicans, Mavericks, and Cavaliers over the last two seasons. He was waived from his two-way contract with Cleveland in January and finished the 2018/19 season with Baskonia in Spain.

Jordan McRae and Justin Robinson are likely to get the last two roster spots now that Pasecniks and Jones have been waived, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. McRae’s veteran minimum salary includes a guarantee of $600K if he’s on the opening night roster. His $1.6MM contract would fully guarantee if he’s still on the Wizards through December 20th.

Robinson’s $988K contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th. Robinson, a 6’2” guard, was signed in July after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech.

Guard Chris Chiozza will likely receive the team’s other two-way contract, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Chiozza was signed to a training camp deal last month. The Wizards’ other two-way player is guard Garrison Mathews.

Wizards Sign Chris Chiozza

The Wizards have finalized their training camp roster, signing free agent point guard Chris Chiozza to the fill the 20th and final spot on the squad, the team announced today in a press release. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington first reported last week that Chiozza would be joining the club for camp. He signed an Exhibit 10 contract, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

Chiozza is a familiar face for the Wizards, who initially signed him to their Summer League team and then to their preseason roster in 2018 after he went undrafted out of Florida. The 6’0″ guard subsequently spent most of his rookie season with Washington’s G League affiliate, averaging 13.6 PPG and 6.8 APG on .435/.420/.777 shooting in 43 games (33.5 MPG) for the Capital City Go-Go. He was named to the NBAGL’s All-Rookie team at season’s end.

Chiozza also spent some of his rookie season with the Rockets, signing a 10-day contract with the club in February and then a rest-of-season deal in March. His contract with Houston included a non-guaranteed second year, but he was waived in July after playing limited minutes in seven NBA games as a Rocket.

Since the Wizards only have 13 players with fully guaranteed salaries and one on a two-way contract, it’s possible Chiozza will be among the players to start the regular season in D.C. His odds of making the team may hinge in part on how Isaiah Thomas‘ injury recovery progresses — Thomas underwent surgery on his thumb earlier this month and isn’t expected to return by opening night.