Chris Clemons

COVID-19 Updates: Grizzlies, Harrell, Thybulle, Bolmaro, More

All the Grizzlies players who were recently placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols have now been cleared, head coach Taylor Jenkins said on Thursday evening (Twitter link via Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal). After three Memphis players exited the protocols on Wednesday, John Konchar and Xavier Tillman were the only players still affected — they’re apparently out of the protocols now too.

Here are more updates on COVID-19 and the health and safety protocols:

  • Wizards big man Montrezl Harrell has cleared the protocols and is questionable to play on Friday in Chicago, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Matisse Thybulle is no longer on the Sixers‘ injury report, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets, which is a good indication he’s out of the protocols.
  • Timberwolves rookie Leandro Bolmaro has entered the COVID-19 protocols, according to the team (Twitter link). He’s the only Minnesota player in the protocols for now.
  • The NBA’s latest injury report lists Mavericks guard Isaiah Thomas as simply “not with team” and Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman as probable to play on Friday in Portland as he takes part in return to competition reconditioning, so it sounds like both players have exited the protocols. However, Thomas has been ruled out for tonight’s game and his 10-day contract will expire overnight.
  • Hawks guard Chris Clemons has entered the protocols, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Clemons’ 10-day deal expires tonight, so his time in Atlanta could be over.
  • The NBA will continue daily COVID-19 testing of players who haven’t received a booster shot through the All-Star break, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. All players and coaches, regardless of vaccination status, will also continue to be tested daily through January 15, Wojnarowski adds.

Hawks Sign Cameron Oliver, Chris Clemons To 10-Day Contracts

DECEMBER 29: Oliver and Clemons have officially joined the Hawks on 10-day deals, the team announced in a press release. Atlanta is now carrying an unprecedented nine extra players via hardship exceptions and 26 players in total.


DECEMBER 28: With their roster ravaged by COVID-19, the Hawks will sign Cameron Oliver and Chris Clemons to 10-day contracts under the hardship provision, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Atlanta already had 10 players in the league’s health and safety protocols, and that number grew today when Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gorgui Dieng and Malik Ellison were all added, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Trae Young cleared protocols Monday after submitting two negative COVID-19 tests.

Oliver, a 25-year-old forward, has been in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, averaging 14.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 14 games. He was in training camp with the Lakers, but was waived before the season began. He played four games for the Rockets last season after signing a 10-day deal in May.

Clemons, a 24-year-old guard, was playing for the Maine Celtics in the G League, where he averaged 16.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 14 games. He was with the Celtics in training camp and played 33 games for the Rockets during the 2019/20 season.

Celtics Waive Mathews, Pinson, Kornet, Clemons

The Celtics have waived guard Garrison Mathews, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). The team is also cutting Theo Pinson, Luke Kornet, and Chris Clemons, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). All four players were on non-guaranteed contracts.

According to Weiss, the plan is for Pinson, Kornet, and Clemons to report to the Maine Celtics in the G League, along with Ryan Arcidiacono and Juwan Morgan, who were released on Friday. However, it doesn’t sound like Mathews will join them — he’ll become an unrestricted free agent if and when he clears waivers.

The moves will leave the Celtics with 16 players under contract, including 15 on standard deals. Jabari Parker and Bruno Fernando, who were battling to hold off those camp invitees for spots on the regular season roster, will remain with the team, Weiss notes.

Boston still has an open two-way slot.

Celtics Sign Luke Kornet, Chris Clemons To Camp Deals

The Celtics officially completed their previouslyreported deals with big man Luke Kornet and guard Chris Clemons on Friday, signing both players to training camp contracts, per RealGM’s transactions log.

Kornet, 26, has appeared in a total of 133 regular season games for the Knicks, Bulls, and Celtics since entering the NBA in 2017/18 out of Vanderbilt. The 7’2″ forward/center was traded from Chicago to Boston at the 2021 deadline and played a semi-regular role for the Celtics down the stretch, putting up 4.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 18 games (14.1 MPG).

Clemons played on a two-way deal with Houston two seasons ago after going undrafted out of Campbell. He appeared in 33 games that year but he tore his Achilles prior to the 2020/21 campaign. He was waived in January after Houston acquired Kevin Porter Jr.

Both Kornet and Clemons will likely be waived shortly, and are good bets to join the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate.

Celtics To Sign Chris Clemons To Camp Deal

The Celtics are signing Chris Clemons to an Exhibit 10 contract, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets.

Clemons played on a two-way deal with Houston two seasons ago after going undrafted out of Campbell. He appeared in 33 games that season but he tore his Achilles prior to the 2020/21 season. He was waived in January after Houston acquired Kevin Porter Jr.

Clemons will likely be waived and play for the Maine Celtics in the G League, where he could earn a $50K bonus if he remains on their roster for 60 days.

Cavs Trade Kevin Porter Jr. To Rockets

JANUARY 22: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Rockets and Cavaliers. Houston confirmed in its announcement that Clemons has been released to make room for Porter.

“After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said in a statement. “Given the culture and environment we have worked to cultivate here in Cleveland, we feel this move is in everyone’s best interest. Kevin has a bright career ahead of him as a professional basketball player and, at his core, is a good person.”


JANUARY 21: The Cavaliers are sending second-year swingman Kevin Porter Jr. to the Rockets, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter).

In exchange, the Cavs will receive a future protected second-round draft pick from Houston, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter). Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets that the pick is top-55 protected and will most likely never actually be conveyed to Cleveland.

As Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com notes, the primary benefit of the deal for the Cavs is to open up a roster spot and to move off Porter’s guaranteed rookie-scale salary for this season ($1.72MM) and 2021/22 ($1.78MM). Since Houston can absorb Porter’s salary into a traded player exception, Cleveland won’t have to take a player back in the deal.

After throwing a locker room tantrum on January 15 when he discovered his locker had been relocated, Porter was instructed by the Cavaliers to clean out his locker and expect to be waived or traded.

Porter, who initially dropped in the 2019 draft due to off-court concerns, has had a tough second season. In November, he was arrested on charges of mishandling a firearm (a felony), plus driving without a license and marijuana possession (both misdemeanors). Last month, a grand jury cleared Porter of all charges.

Porter has not suited up for the Cavaliers at all this season. During a solid rookie outing, however, the No. 30 2019 draft pick out of USC impressed with averages of 10.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.2 APG and 0.9 SPG across 50 contests.

The Rockets, now in asset-accrual mode after sending perennial MVP candidate James Harden to the Nets in a four-team trade last week, are taking a flyer on a talented player in this deal. The hope, according to Fedor and MacMahon (Twitter link), is that veteran player development coach John Lucas can help Porter get his career back in track in Houston.

In order to open up a roster for Porter, the Rockets will waive injured guard Chris Clemons, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Clemons’ minimum salary for 2020/21 was initially non-guaranteed, but Houston will be obligated to pay it in full after he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear. The Rockets are in better position to eat that money following the Harden deal — team salary is now comfortably below the luxury tax line rather than above it, and the club is no longer right up against its hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Latest On Rockets’ Roster Situation For Opener

Half the Rockets‘ roster appears to be in jeopardy for the team’s opener against the Thunder, according to reports. As we relayed earlier today, James Harden may not be able to play tonight due to an apparent violation of the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, while several other players are caught up in contact tracing after KJ Martin returned a positive COVID-19 test.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explains (via Twitter), Martin tested positive and then returned a negative test in the last 24 hours. Martin and the Rockets are now awaiting the results of another test.

Several players that were in close contact with Martin have reportedly been sent home for contact tracing purposes as the team awaits the latest test results. Earlier today, we learned that group of players includes John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Jae’Sean Tate. Wojnarowski (Twitter link) adds two-way player Mason Jones to that list. However, there’s no indication that any of those players have tested positive.

In addition to the six players noted above, the Rockets are also missing Chris Clemons (torn Achilles) and Ben McLemore (self-isolating due to COVID-19). That would leave just eight players of the team’s 16-man squad available for tonight’s game — as Wojnarowski points out (via Twitter), that’s the minimum number of active players mandated by league rules.

Since this is the first instance of a potential positive test affecting an NBA regular season game since March 11, we’re in wait-and-see mode to see how the team and the league will handle it. If Martin returns another negative test and it’s determined that his positive test was a false positive, it would seemingly open the door for him – and those players in close contact with him – to be activated.

Meanwhile, Harden – who had COVID-19 over the summer prior to the restart, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon – tested negative on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

According to Shelburne, the league is still reviewing Harden’s situation and potential eligibility for tonight’s game. Harden, who was captured in a video that appears to show him partying at a Houston club this week – told investigators that he believed he was in compliance with the NBA’s healthy and safety protocols, Shelburne adds (via Twitter).

As Shelburne details, Harden told the league he attended a seated dinner for a friend who had been promoted at work and took a photo with her when he gave her a gift. He claimed he came in through a separate entrance and sat in a separate section of the venue with his security detail, then left after about 30 minutes (all Twitter links).

Rockets Waive Gerald Green, Others

9:30pm: All the roster moves detailed below are now official, per the Rockets and RealGM’s transactions log.


11:46am: Veteran swingman and Houston native Gerald Green will be among the players waived by the Rockets today as they ready their roster for the regular season, reports Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Green has spent most of the last three years with the Rockets, though he was unable to play at all during the 2019/20 season due to a broken foot. He signed a non-guaranteed deal with Houston prior to training camp and was a candidate to make the roster, but cap constraints will make it impossible for now.

The Rockets only have enough room under their hard cap to carry 14 players for the time being, and Chris Clemons will be one of those players since his salary will now be guaranteed due to his season-ending Achilles tear. Houston still had some flexibility to cut a non-guaranteed player besides Green, but the team – unsurprisingly – will hang onto DeMarcus Cousins, Jae’Sean Tate, and Bruno Caboclo ahead of the 34-year-old wing.

The Rockets are open to bringing back Green later in the season if other roster moves make it possible, a source tells Feigen.

Meanwhile, Houston will also waive Trey Mourning and William McDowell-White, according to Feigen. McDowell-White just signed a two-way contract this week, but the plan is for Brodric Thomas to fill that two-way slot — he’ll have his Exhibit 10 deal converted into a two-way contract, says Feigen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rockets Notes: Clemons, Wall, Cousins, Wood, Harden, JVG

A few of Chris ClemonsRockets teammates know exactly what the second-year guard is going through, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Like Clemons, who tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, and David Nwaba have all had to attempt to make their way back to full health after suffering a torn Achilles.

“I spoke with him last night after the game,” Cousins said. “My only message was just take your time. One thing I noticed with professional athletes and injuries, we love our craft, we love the game itself. Once you have tough off, you’re always itching to get back and play that game.

“… We’re so used to playing through pain. Sometimes, we feel like we’re in a good place when it’s not necessarily the case. My only message is take his time, get everything right, he has a lot of basketball left to play in his career.”

The only silver lining of the injury for Clemons is that he’ll now be assured of his $1.52MM salary for 2020/21 — it was previously non-guaranteed. The Rockets, who are up against a hard cap, figure to keep Clemons on their roster since they don’t currently have the flexibility to replace him with a free agent if they cut him.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN details (via Twitter), Houston could attempt to make room for another player by trading Clemons (along with a second-round pick) to another club. If the Rockets are uninterested in such a move, they’ll likely have to waive either Gerald Green or Bruno Caboclo before the regular season begins in order to stay below the hard cap.

Here’s more from out of Houston:

  • John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will sit out the Rockets’ preseason finale on Thursday vs. San Antonio, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The club is handling both players carefully, since they’re coming off major injuries. Meanwhile, Christian Wood – who missed Houston’s first three preseason contests with a sore left elbow – is considered questionable to play.
  • It’s a bit of a worrisome sign that James Harden said during his media session on Wednesday that he hasn’t had a conversation at all with new Rockets GM Rafael Stone, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Even if Harden remains dead-set on being traded, a deal of that magnitude will require some communication between the superstar guard and the Rockets’ head of basketball operations, Iko says.
  • Sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post that Jeff Van Gundy probably could have had the Rockets’ head coaching job this offseason, but “was indifferent toward it.” Van Gundy was said to be owner Tilman Fertitta‘s top choice, though it seemed as if the team’s front office and players preferred other candidates. Either way, Van Gundy sounds happy with his current job, telling Berman that he’s  “real fortunate to be able to work at ESPN/ABC.”

Rockets’ Clemons Suffers Torn Achilles, Out For Season

DECEMBER 16: An MRI confirmed that Clemons has torn his Achilles tendon, according to Charania, who reports (via Twitter) that the second-year guard will undergo season-ending surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.


DECEMBER 15: Rockets guard Chris Clemons left the team’s preseason game on Tuesday night in a wheelchair after suffering a right lower leg injury. The initial diagnosis for Clemons is a torn right Achilles tendon, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says the team will conduct an MRI on Wednesday to confirm.

Assuming the initial diagnosis holds up, it’s a brutal blow for Clemons, who flashed some upside as a rookie in Houston last season. He averaged 4.9 PPG on .401/.346/.909 shooting in 33 games (8.8 MPG) and may have been in line for an increased role in 2020/21. However, if his Achilles is torn, he’ll almost certainly be ruled out for the season.

The Rockets don’t have a ton of depth at point guard behind starter John Wall – who is coming off a torn Achilles himself – and might have to address the position at some point if Clemons is out for the season.

Houston could take a look at the free agent market — as we detailed earlier today, Shabazz Napier is among the notable veteran point guards who remains unsigned. However, the Rockets don’t have much wiggle room below their hard cap, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), so adding a free agent probably isn’t a viable option for the time being.

Although Clemons’ contract for 2020/21 had been non-guaranteed, he’ll now be paid his minimum salary until he’s healthy or until the end of the season (whichever comes first).