Dairis Bertans

International Notes: Bertans, Mozgov, Mirotic, Motiejunas

Having being waived by the Pelicans on Sunday, Dairis Bertans didn’t waste much time in lining up a new home, with a report indicating that he had reached an agreement to sign with Russian club Khimki.

The Moscow Region-based team made it official earlier today, announcing (via Twitter) that Bertans is joining Khimki on a two-year deal. The veteran shooting guard technically hasn’t even cleared NBA waivers yet – that won’t happen until Tuesday – but presumably agent Arturs Kalnitis and Khimki management are both confident that no team will place a claim on Davis Bertans‘ older brother.

Here are a few more international notes related to NBA veterans:

  • Bertans isn’t the only player on NBA waivers receiving interest from Khimki. A source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando that the Russian club is also trying to bring center Timofey Mozgov back to his home country, and hopes to reach a deal in the near future. Artem Komarov (Twitter link) first reported the talks between Khimki and Mozgov, who was released by the Magic on Saturday.
  • Nikola Mirotic officially signed with Barcelona on Saturday, with the club issuing a press release to announce the deal. According to the team, Mirotic’s contract will span three years, with a fourth-year option for the 2022/23 season. The veteran power forward was expected to receive a three-year offer in the $45MM range from Utah, but opted to return to Spain instead.
  • After appearing briefly in three games for the Spurs down the stretch in 2018/19, power forward Donatas Motiejunas appears likely to head back overseas. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Motiejunas is receiving significant interest from the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Motiejunas’ former CBA team in Shandong must decide by July 15 whether to make him a restricted free agent, as Carchia explains.

Pelicans Waive Dairis Bertans

4:27pm: Bertans’ release is now official, per NBA.com’s transactions log. According to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), the 29-year-old has already reached an agreement to sign with Russian club Khimki.

3:04pm: According to his agent, Arturs Kalnitis (Twitter link), the Pelicans will waive guard Dairis Bertans. Per Kalnitis’ tweet, it appears unlikely that Bertans will be claimed off waivers by another NBA team.

The news isn’t entirely unexpected, as the Pelicans would have had 17 players on standard contracts after the team’s trade for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, reported trade for Derrick Favors, and reported signings of J.J. Redick, Darius Miller, and Nicolo Melli all came through.

Teams are permitted to have as many as 20 players on their roster during the offseason, but the Pelicans didn’t have the necessary cap space to sign Redick and trade for Favors without trimming some salary from their roster. By waiving Bertans, the Pelicans now figure to be able to complete those two deals, depending on the value of the first-year salary of Redick’s new contract.

Based on my math, the Pelicans can sign Redick to a starting salary of $12,853,641 after waiving Bertans (assuming Melli is signed with the room exception). With standard 5% raises, the total value of Redick’s contract would be just under $26.35MM, which is in line with the reported $26.5MM value.

As for Bertans, the 29-year-old Latvian will likely return to Europe after his one-year stay in the NBA, where he averaged 2.8 PPG in 12 games with the Pelicans.

Pelicans Notes: Bertans, Holiday, Resiliency

Dairis Bertans‘ new two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Pelicans will be non-guaranteed for next season until August 1, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). If Bertans remains under contract through that date, he’ll receive a $150K partial guarantee. That partial guarantee will subsequently increase to $300K if he’s still on his deal through November 4. It’ll become fully guaranteed next January.

It’s not clear yet whether Bertans will be part of the Pelicans’ 2019/20 plans — that could hinge in part on what sort of pieces the club receives in its eventual Anthony Davis trade. Based on the structure of Bertans’ contract though, New Orleans won’t be forced into making any early decisions. The team could theoretically audition him throughout training camp and the preseason and only be on the hook for $150K if he’s waived just before the regular season begins.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • While fans and league observers may have expected the Pelicans to start bottoming out after Davis’ trade request, the team has been resilient over the last few weeks, winning recent road games in Denver and Utah. This isn’t what tanking looks like, says Scott Kushner of The Advocate.
  • Will Guillory of The Athletic makes a similar argument as Kushner, identifying Jrue Holiday and head coach Alvin Gentry as the driving forces that have helped the Pelicans stay focused and competitive. New Orleans has “dodged the toxicity” that has affected fellow lottery teams like the Lakers, Guillory writes.
  • After previously locking in a $255K bonus for surpassing the 2,075-minute threshold for 2018/19, Holiday has now secured another $255K bonus by playing in 66 games, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. As Marks notes, Holiday should also earn another $510K in performance-based incentives this season.

Pelicans Waive Tim Frazier, Sign Dairis Bertans

MARCH 1: Both Frazier’s release and Bertans’ signing are now official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

FEBRUARY 28: The Pelicans are making a change to their roster, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team has waived guard Tim Frazier and is working to sign EuroLeague guard Dairis Bertans.

Although neither move has been officially announced yet, Wojnarowski suggests Frazier was released on Wednesday night, while Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that Bertans has agreed to a two-year deal with a team option for 2019/20. Will Guillory of The Athletic notes (via Twitter) that Bertans will require FIBA clearance, but the hope is that he can join the Pelicans later this week.

Bertans, 29, is the older brother of Spurs sharpshooter Davis Bertans. Like his brother, Dairis is most dangerous from beyond the arc — while Davis ranks second in the NBA with a .469 3PT%, Dairis leads the EuroLeague with a .536 3PT% in 22 games this season for Italian team Olimpia Milano.

Once the elder Bertans exercises the out clause in his deal with Olimpia Milano and officially joins the Pelicans, he’ll be able to sign for a deal worth up to about $274K in 2018/19, ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter). However, that figure is only possible if New Orleans uses the remainder of its bi-annual exception, having given most of it to Elfrid Payton last summer. The Pelicans used their full mid-level exception on Julius Randle.

If New Orleans opts for a minimum salary contract instead, it’ll be worth approximately $199K for this season. Both that figure and the bi-annual number are based on Bertans signing today, so they’d dip a little each day if the move is delayed. Either contract will include a minimum salary (about $1.42MM) for 2019/20. Even if the Pelicans had wanted to go beyond two years for the Latvian guard, they wouldn’t have been able to due to their limited available exceptions.

Meanwhile, Frazier will retain his playoff eligibility for a new team, since he’s being waived before the end of March 1. It’s not clear whether he’ll catch on somewhere else right away, but he could provide some depth at the point for a contender. In 47 games (19.3 MPG) this season, he has averaged 5.0 PPG and 4.4 APG with a .451/.351/.780 shooting line.

These two moves will represent the first two transactions for new Pelicans interim GM Danny Ferry.

Eastern Notes: Monroe, Harrington, George, C’s

The idea that Greg Monroe would take a max offer from the Pistons isn’t necessarily true, as Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said last month, according to Vincent Goodwill (Twitter link). A resolution to Monroe’s restricted free agency still seems a ways off, as we passed along earlier today. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Al Harrington hopes to sign with the Wizards after he returns from China, as he tells J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. He’ll make much more on his deal with China’s Fujian Sturgeons than he would have on an NBA minimum-salary contract, the forward also said in his conversation with Michael. The Wizards were unwilling to commit to re-signing Harrington before he inked the Chinese deal, Michael hears, though Washington was open to having him return as an assistant coach. Other NBA teams were interested in him as a player, Harrington said, but none of them were title contenders.
  • Pacers executive Larry Bird isn’t ruling out a return to action for Paul George at some point this season, even though the team is “sort of expecting him [to be] out all year,” as Bird said today to reporters, including Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). We rounded up more of Bird’s remarks right here.
  • Celtics draft-and-stash prospect Colton Iverson has signed with Laboral Kuxta of Spain, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). David Pick of Eurobasket.com first reported the agreement (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the 53rd overall pick from 2013, his agent tells Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com (Twitter link).
  • Celtics summer leaguer Dairis Bertans received invitations to training camp from NBA teams, but he’ll continue to play in Spain instead, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
  • Ray Allen has expressed a wish in past years that he could wait until September to decide whether to play the following season, so his unwillingness to commit to a team for 2014/15 is no surprise, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his mailbag column.