Cliff Alexander

International Notes: Alexander, Paul, Costello

Former Trail Blazers forward and Kansas standout Cliff Alexander will continue his playing career in Germany. Alexander has signed a two-year contract to join German team Brose Bamberg, the club announced today in a press release.

While Alexander only appeared in a total of eight regular season NBA games for Portland, he has spent time with a handful of teams. The ex-Jayhawk was in camp with the Magic in 2016 and the Pelicans in 2017, and signed a 10-day contract with the Nets near the end of the 2016/17 season.

Here are a few more notes on one-time NBA players who are playing – or may play – in international leagues this season:

  • Having been waived by the Spurs on Tuesday, shooting guard Brandon Paul appears to already be drawing interest from teams in Europe. Orazio Cauchi of Sportando relays a report from El Mundo Deportivo suggesting that Barcelona and Baskonia of the Spanish League may have their eye on Paul.
  • Matt Costello, another former Spurs player who spent last season on a two-way contract with the club, is weighing offers from Italy’s Avellino and Turkey’s Galatasaray, a source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Costello intends to take some time to make his decision, per Cauchi.
  • Former second-round pick Tibor Pleiss, who appeared in 12 NBA games for the Jazz back in 2015/16, will continue to play in Europe. The big man signed with Turkish club Anadolu Efes on a one-year deal featuring a second-year option, according to an announcement from the team (Twitter link).

G League Notes: Bolomboy, E. Millsap, Tavares

The 2017 NBA G League draft will take place on Saturday, and former Jazz forward Joel Bolomboy is expected to be the first overall pick, a source tells Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside (Twitter link).

Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, made a trade earlier today with the Iowa Wolves that saw the Suns acquire the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for the returning rights to Elijah Millsap, among other pieces. However, Schmidt suggests (via Twitter) that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that first overall pick change hands again in the next 24 hours.

Here are a few more G League notes and updates, with a focus on more former NBA players like Bolomboy and Millsap:

  • Edy Tavares, whose returning rights are held by the Raptors 905, is headed back to the G League after being waived by Cleveland, according to a report from Gigantes (English link via Sportando).
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, sent a first-round pick to the Long Island Nets in exchange for R.J. Hunter‘s returning rights. Hunter, a former first-round pick, intends to suit up for the Vipers, his agent confirms to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link).
  • The Long Island Nets acquired the returning rights to Okaro White and Jamaal Franklin in a trade with the Memphis Hustle, according to a press release. White is still on the Heat‘s NBA roster and recently had his 2017/18 salary guaranteed, so Brooklyn’s affiliate seems unlikely to get its hands on him this season.
  • The Texas Legends, the affiliate of the Mavericks, has acquired Will Bynum‘s returning rights, suggesting the veteran guard could join the organization for the G League season, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was in camp with New Orleans earlier this month, had his returning rights traded to the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, per a team release. “Cliff is a highly-skilled big man who is among the best in the league at his position,” Herd GM Dave Dean said in a statement. “He has a tremendous upside and we are excited to add him to the Wisconsin Herd family.”

Pelicans Waive Perry Jones, Cliff Alexander

The Pelicans have made a pair of cuts, according to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, who reports (via Twitter) that the club has waived Perry Jones and Cliff Alexander.

Jones, a former Thunder first-round pick, got off to a decent start in the preseason for the Pelicans, picking up 10 points and seven rebounds against his old team in Oklahoma City. However, in his next two games, Perry went scoreless in 17 total minutes.

A Kansas product, Alexander averaged 2.0 PPG and 3.8 RPG in limited minutes in four preseason games.

The Pelicans are now at 17 players, with 15 on NBA contracts and two on two-way deals, so they’re all set for the regular season. Since New Orleans doesn’t have a G League affiliate, Jones and Alexander will have to look elsewhere for opportunities.

Cliff Alexander Signs With Pelicans

SEPTEMBER 25: Alexander’s deal is now official, the Pelicans announced.

SEPTEMBER 24: The Pelicans have agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with Cliff Alexander, Michael Scott of Basketball Insiders tweets.

The free agent forward signed a pair of deals with the Magic and Nets last season but hasn’t seen time on the court since the 2015/16 campaign in which he played eight games for the Trail Blazers.

Alexander hasn’t found much traction at the NBA level but the 21-year-old isn’t far removed from a highly touted high school career.

The addition of Alexander brings the Pels roster up to 20 players.

Trey Burke, 15 Other FAs Attend Bucks’ Mini-Camp

The Bucks are hosting a free agent mini-camp on Tuesday and Wednesday this week as they look to fill out their training camp roster and identify candidates to play for their G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, according to Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The mini-camp, which will give the club a chance to evaluate possible camp invitees, includes a handful of notable names among its 16 participants.

Former lottery picks Trey Burke and Hasheem Thabeet are among the first-rounders who will be in attendance at the mini-camp, as Velazquez details. MarShon Brooks, Toney Douglas, Archie Goodwin, R.J. Hunter, John Jenkins, Perry Jones, and James Young are also set to get a look from the Bucks.

The Bucks don’t have a ton of flexibility to add more players to their offseason roster, having already locked up 16 players to NBA deals and two more to two-way contracts. That leaves just a pair of openings on the team’s 20-man training camp roster. Still, two of those roster players – Gary Payton II and JeQuan Lewis – are on non-guaranteed contracts, so Milwaukee has some flexibility if it wants to make changes at the back of its roster.

In addition to the players listed above, the following free agents are attending the Bucks’ mini-camp, per Velazquez: Cliff Alexander, Gracin Bakumanya, Trahson Burrell, Jeremy Evans, Aaron Harrison, Luke Petrasek, and Jacob Pullen.

Any player that signs with the Bucks figures to get a minimum salary deal that is non-guaranteed or features a very modest guarantee, since the Bucks are currently slightly above the luxury tax line.

And-Ones: Free Agents, D-League, Bennett, Oden

Several under-the-radar players who will be free agents this summer are improving their bargaining position with their performance in the playoffs, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. He identifies six players, starting with Golden State big man JaVale McGee, who is averaging 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks through five games despite playing just 11.8 minutes per night. McGee signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Warriors for the veteran’s minimum and could be in line for a huge pay raise in July. The others that Kennedy singles out are Serge Ibaka of the Raptors, Joe Ingles of the Jazz, Nene of the Rockets, Andre Roberson of the Thunder and Deron Williams of the Cavaliers.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • The Texas Legends, the Mavericks‘ affiliate in the D-League, have given coach Bob MacKinnon a two-year extension, tweets D-League Digest. The D-League veteran is in his first season with the Legends.
  • Invitations have been issued for the D-League’s Elite Mini Camp, which will be held May 8-9 in Chicago, relays Chris Reichert of FanSided. Many players have used this showcase to earn spots on summer league rosters, with alumni such as Jonathon Simmons, Hollis Thompson and DeAndre Liggins. Among the best-known names at this year’s camp will be Russ Smith, JaKarr Sampson, Ray McCallum and Cliff Alexander.
  • Former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, who played 23 games for the Nets this season, has been replaced on his Fenerbahce team in Turkey, according to Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops. Taking his spot on the roster is Pero Antic, who played for the Hawks from 2013 to 2015. Bennett will remain with the club and is expected to be part of the upcoming EuroLeague Final Four.
  • Greg Oden, another former No. 1 pick, is hoping to be part of The Basketball Tournament this summer on ESPN, relays Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. Oden’s team is called Scarlet and Gray and is made up of Ohio State alumni. “We think we’re a team that can win it,” he said. “We look at the talent we’ve had here in the last 10 years or so, and we can match up with anybody. We want the state of Ohio supporting us. We’re called Scarlet and Gray, but this team is a representation of the whole state.”

Nets Signed, Waived Cliff Alexander, Prince Ibeh

Before signing Archie Goodwin to a rest-of-season contract to fill their 15th roster spot, the Nets made a series of moves designed to honor commitments made to a pair of players this season. As Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders tweets, the club signed and waived Cliff Alexander, then did the same thing with Prince Ibeh.

[RELATED: Nets re-sign Archie Goodwin]

According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, a former Nets executive, the team made commitments to both Alexander and Ibeh at some point this season to sign them to 10-day contracts (Twitter links). However, injuries on the Nets’ roster forced the team to change its plans. Although Brooklyn wasn’t able to carry Alexander or Ibeh on its roster this season, the club wanted to honor its commitments.

As Marks observes (via Twitter), the Warriors made a similar move earlier this season with Jose Calderon. Golden State had reached an agreement to sign Calderon, but when Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury, the team opted to sign Matt Barnes instead. Before finalizing their deal with Barnes, the Warriors signed and waived Calderon, ensuring that he’d receive the rest-of-season salary he was promised. Alexander and Ibeh will receive full 10-day salaries from the Nets.

While the moves were not announced by the Nets and will go unnoticed by many fans, there’s little downside from the team’s perspective. Making good on those commitments will help strengthen the Nets’ relationships with agents and players, and won’t cost the team any extra money — Brooklyn remains under the salary floor for 2016/17, so the club will have to pay the difference at season’s end anyway. The deals for Alexander and Ibeh simply moved the Nets a little closer to the floor, slightly reducing their year-end bill.

Alexander and Ibeh both spent time this season with the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s D-League affiliate.

And-Ones: Draft, Doncic, Villanueva, BIG3

In the view of NBA general managers and scouts, The league’s 2017 draft is poised to be the strongest in a decade, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider-only link), who has updated his big board with profiles of this year’s top 30 prospects. Washington guard Markelle Fultz remains atop Ford’s board, though he acknowledges that it’s no slam dunk that Fultz will be the No. 1 pick in June. Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson, other candidates for that top spot, held their respective positions at Nos. 2 and 3, while Dennis Smith and Jonathan Isaac moved up to round out Ford’s top five.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Givony’s latest prospect profiles for The Vertical include a player who may be the early frontrunner to come off the board first in the 2018 draft. According to Givony, 17-year-old Luka Doncic is making waves in Europe with his play for Real Madrid this season, having become the youngest player to secure a rotation spot for a Euroleague team since Ricky Rubio in 2007. And so far, Doncic’s production is blowing away Rubio’s, Givony writes.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • After appearing in 62 games last season for the Mavericks, longtime NBA big man Charlie Villanueva didn’t re-sign with Dallas or land with a new team in free agency. However, Villanueva doesn’t appear to be ready for retirement yet. The 11-year veteran issued the following tweet on Tuesday: “I want back in #NBAcomeback.”
  • Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams will co-captain one of the eight BIG3 teams this summer, according to a press release from the league. The team featuring Lewis, Williams, and three additional players will be known as the 3 Headed Monsters.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was in camp with the Magic in the fall and has spent the season with Orlando’s D-League affiliate, was traded on Tuesday. According to a press release, the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s NBADL affiliate, acquired Alexander from the Erie BayHawks in exchange for Long Island’s third-round pick in 2017. In 22 D-League games this season for Erie, the Kansas product has recorded 11.9 PPG and 8.0 RPG.

NBA D-League Affiliate Players For 2016/17

Throughout the offseason, and in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams before the season can be designated as affiliate players and assigned to their D-League squads.

The players have some say in the decision — if they’d prefer to sign with a team overseas, or if they get an opportunity with another NBA club, they’re free to turn down their team’s request to have them play in the D-League. Most NBA and international teams have fairly set rosters by late October though, so having the opportunity to continue playing in the same system is appealing to many of those preseason cuts. Especially since they’ll maintain NBA free agency while they play in the D-League.

There are a few other rules related to D-League affiliate players. A player whose returning rights are held by a D-League team can’t be an affiliate player for another club, which is why undrafted free agents from the current year are commonly signed and assigned. Additionally, an affiliate player must have signed with his team during the current league year, which explains why we often see players signed and quickly waived in the days leading up to the regular season. And, of course, not every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, so clubs like the Hawks, Nuggets, or Clippers have no place to send affiliate players.

With all that in mind, here are the NBA D-League affiliate players to start the 2016/17 season:

Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)

Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)

Read more

Players Catch On With D-League Franchises

Several players who were recently waived out of the NBA have reached agreements with D-League teams, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back:

  • Spencer Dinwiddie, released on Friday by Chicago, has signed with the Windy City Bulls (Twitter link). Chicago, which acquired Dinwiddie in a deal with the Pistons, then waived and later re-signed him, parted ways with the guard again despite being at the roster limit of 15.
  • Johnny O’Bryant, who was waived by the Wizards on Friday, has signed a D-League contract and will be eligible for the draft (Twitter link). The 23-year-old power forward spent the past two seasons with the Bucks.
  • Vince Hunter, who was waived by the Bulls and Grizzlies this month, will return to the Reno Bighorns (Twitter link). Hunter, 22, is a 6’8″ forward out of Texas-El Paso who has yet to play in the NBA.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was released by the Magic, has signed with the Erie BayHawks (Twitter link). The 20-year-old power forward played eight games for the Trail Blazers last season.
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts will return to the Texas Legends, where he finished the 2015/16 season (Twitter link). The 29-year-old swingman last played in the NBA in 2014/15, when he spent 12 games with the Clippers.
  • Josh Childress, who has been out of the NBA for almost three full seasons, signed with the Texas Legends (Twitter link). The 33-year-old swingman’s last NBA experience was four games with New Orleans during the 2013/14 season. He finished last season with the Legends after playing in Australia. (Update: Report denied by Childress’ agent; Reichert has removed his tweet)

Also, from the D-League Digest:

  • Axel Toupane, who was waived by the Nuggets, will return to Raptors 905 (Twitter link). The 6’7″ small forward played 21 games for Denver last season.
  • Jarell Eddie, who was released by the Wizards on Friday, will return to the Austin Spurs (Twitter link). Eddie, 24, appeared in 26 games for Washington a year ago.
  • J.J. O’Brien, who was cut by the Bucks, has signed with the Salt Lake City Stars (Twitter link). A 24-year-old small forward, he got into two games with the Jazz last season.
  • Egidijus Mockevicius, who was waived last week by Brooklyn, will play for the Long Island Nets (Twitter link). The 24-year-old Lithuanian forward has no NBA experience.
  • Veteran point guard Jannero Pargo has signed with Oklahoma City Blue (Twitter link). The 37-year-old last played for the Hornets in 2014/15.