Dakari Johnson

And-Ones: Barkley, J. Smith, D. Johnson, L. Brown

TNT analyst Charles Barkley has been outspoken about his desire to run an NBA team and he said in a recent interview that he thought the Magic were going to give him a chance last year, relays Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. Barkley told radio station 98.7 FM Arizona that he was hoping for an interview in Orlando before the organization decided on Jeff Weltman as president of basketball operations and John Hammond as GM.

“They hired another one of those analytical idiots instead of just getting the best players,” Barkley said.

Barkley expressed interest in taking over the Sixers‘ front office in 2012 and the Suns‘ in both 2010 and 2013. Barkley didn’t indicate whether he wants to be a candidate to replace Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough, who was fired earlier this week.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • At age 32, Josh Smith hasn’t give up hope of an NBA comeback, tweets Ben Stinar of AmicoHoops. Smith played three games for the Pelicans last year, but otherwise hasn’t been in the league since the end of the 2015/16 season. However, a source tells Stinar that Smith is working out and waiting for an opportunity.
  • Most teams made their final roster cuts before yesterday’s waiver deadline at 5pm Eastern, but a few still have decisions to make, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Players with non-guaranteed salaries have begun to receive daily payments that will count against their teams’ salary caps. The Suns, for instance, will owe Isaiah Canaan $19,858 if they wait until Monday to waive him.
  • The NBA has changed the way it will count days of service for two-way players, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Travel days to and from the G League will no longer count against the 45-day limit.
  • Former Thunder center Dakari Johnson has opted to remain with Qingdao in China, contrary to a report earlier this week that he planned to leave, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The team’s GM confirmed Johnson’s decision.
  • Former NBA and NCAA coach Larry Brown recently traveled to the United States for minor surgery, Carchia tweets. Brown currently coaches Fiat Torino and will be re-evaluated by doctors next week to determine when he can return to Italy.

And-Ones: Bennett, D. Johnson, G. Davis, Montreal

Former first overall pick Anthony Bennett appears set to continue his comeback attempt in the G League. According to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link), Bennett has signed an NBAGL contract for the coming season.

Bennett, who was drafted first overall by the Cavaliers in 2013, appeared in 35 G League games last season for the Northern Arizona Suns and Maine Red Claws, averaging 14.3 PPG and 6.7 RPG in 26.9 minutes per contest. As Johnson notes, the Red Claws still hold his G League rights, so they’ll have the option of bringing him back if they want to.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • A pair of former NBA big men are leaving their international teams, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Carchia reports that Dakari Johnson is parting ways with Chinese team Qingdao, while Glen Davis is no longer playing for Croatian club KK Zadar (Twitter link).
  • In advance of the Raptors‘ preseason game in Montreal, a group of Quebec business people announced that they’ve begun the process of convincing the NBA that the city is a viable location for expansion or relocation, reports Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun (Twitter links). The group believes the league will expand eventually, and would like to at least be considered as a “Plan B,” according to Wolstat, who says the plan would be to have the team play at Montreal’s Bell Centre (Twitter links).
  • Veteran NBA agent Calvin Andrews, who represents players like Aaron Gordon (Magic) and Josh Okogie (Timberwolves) has left BDA Sports to form his own agency called Serving Athletes with Integrity, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal.
  • The NBA will play additional preseason games overseas next year, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com, who tweets that the league is adding trips to Japan and Dubai/India to its preseason schedule.

Jonathan Gibson Signs With Chinese Team

Former Celtics point guard Jonathan Gibson and ex-Thunder big man Dakari Johnson have signed contracts to play in China during the upcoming season, according to a Sportando report.
The duo will join the Qingdao Eagles. Gibson signed with Boston late last season after its backcourt was depleted by injuries. He appeared in four games, averaging 8.5 PPG in 10 MPG. The former New Mexico State standout played 38 games for Qingdao last season, averaging 33.7 PPG with 6.8 RPG and 4.7 APG.

Gibson, 30, also appeared in 17 games for the Mavericks during the 2016/17 season but has otherwise spent his professional career playing for a variety of international teams since going undrafted in 2010. His resume includes stops in Turkey, Israel, Italy and Iran as well as China.

News of Johnson’s decision to play in China broke on Monday and the latest Sportando report confirms he’s officially heading overseas.

The 7-foot center was traded twice this summer before the Grizzlies waived him at the end of August. Oklahoma City shipped him to Orlando in exchange for Rodney Purvis on July 20. Three days later, the Magic sent Johnson and the rights to 2015 second-rounder Tyler Harvey to Memphis for Jarell Martin and cash.

The 48th pick in the 2015 draft, Johnson spent the first two years of his career in the G League with Oklahoma City Blue. He saw his first action for the Thunder last season, appearing in 31 games.

Dakari Johnson Headed To China

Dakari Johnson, who has been with the Thunder for the past three years, will play in China this season, relays Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. The 22-year-old center has agreed to sign with the Qingdao Eagles, according to a report in the Jinan Times.

Johnson was traded twice this summer before the Grizzlies waived him at the end of August. Oklahoma City shipped him to Orlando in exchange for Rodney Purvis on July 20. Three days later, the Magic sent Johnson and the rights to 2015 second-rounder Tyler Harvey to Memphis for Jarell Martin and cash.

The Grizzlies used the stretch provision to get rid of the final year of Johnson’s contract, creating a cap hit of about $450K for each of the next three seasons.

The 48th pick in the 2015 draft, Johnson spent the first two years of his career in the G League with Oklahoma City Blue. He saw his first action for the Thunder last season, appearing in 31 games and playing about 5 minutes per night.

Team USA Announces Camp Roster For September World Cup Qualifiers

Fourteen players will participate in a Las Vegas training camp beginning this Thursday, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. Of those 14 players, 12 will be named to Team USA’s roster for the club’s upcoming qualifying games for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

This set of games – the first window for the second round of qualifiers – will take place later this month. Team USA will face Uruguay on September 14, then play against Panama on September 17.

The following players will be vying for Team USA roster spots for these qualifying contests:

In the first round of qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup, Team USA was made up predominantly of G League players. That’s the case to some extent again this time, with guys like Hearn and Warney returning. However, many of the players this time around are currently under contract with NBA teams, including Bacon (Hornets), Ellenson (Pistons), Hicks (Knicks), Mason (Kings), Trice (Bucks), and White (Spurs).

“With our September second-round games marking the start of the most critical part of the World Cup Qualifying, I think it is imperative for us to look for players who possess mental fortitude, who are tough, and who have experience,” said Team USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “All of our second-round games are going to very, very difficult and competitive battles. Argentina, Panama and Uruguay are all really good and well coached.”

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers will take place over three windows of competition in September, November, and February. Team USA will play two games apiece vs. Argentina, Panama, and Uruguay during that stretch.

Having posted a 5-1 record during the first round of qualifiers, Team USA is tied for first with Argentina in Group E, which is made up of six teams. If Team USA remains in the top three of the Group E standings by the end of February’s games, the squad will qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in China next September.

Grizzlies Waive Center Dakari Johnson

7:05 pm: The team will use the stretch provision on Johnson, creating annual cap hits worth just under $450K per season for the next three years, Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com tweets.

4:39pm: The Grizzlies have waived center Dakari Johnson, according to a team press release.

Johnson never got a chance to play for Memphis, as he was acquired via a trade with the Magic in July. Memphis shipped out Jarell Martin and tossed in cash considerations in that trade. Orlando acquired Johnson a few days earlier from Oklahoma City in exchange for guard Rodney Purvis.

He appeared in 31 games, including six starts, as a rookie with the Thunder last season. The 7-footer was a second-round pick in the 2015 draft and played parts of three seasons in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue.

The Grizzlies could use the stretch provision on Johnson’s $1.378MM salary to help them create additional room below the luxury tax threshold. The deadline to use the stretch provision on his contract is today, since it’s an expiring deal. By waiving Johnson, Memphis also created a spot on the 15-man roster for point guard Andrew Harrison, whose deal is non-guaranteed.

Grizzlies Trade Jarell Martin To Magic

9:00pm: The trade is official, according to press releases from the Magic and Grizzlies.

3:31pm: The Grizzlies have agreed to a trade that will send Jarell Martin and cash to the Magic, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Memphis will acquire Dakari Johnson in the deal. Joshua Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel adds (via Twitter) that the Grizzlies will also receive the draft rights to 2015 second-rounder Tyler Harvey.

It’s the second time in the last week that Johnson has been traded. On Friday, Orlando acquired Johnson and cash from the Thunder in a deal that sent Rodney Purvis and his non-guaranteed contract to Oklahoma City. The move was a purely financial one for the Thunder, who figure to replace Johnson on their roster with a slightly cheaper rookie, reducing their projected tax bill.

Because Johnson wasn’t in the Magic’s plans, they’ll flip him to Memphis in another deal that has cap implications. The Grizzlies are right up against the luxury-tax line, so exchanging Martin and his $2,416,222 salary for Johnson ($1,378,242) will create a little extra breathing room for the club. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Grizz waive Johnson after acquiring him.

Martin, who was in danger of being cut by the Grizzlies last fall, had a strong camp and earned a spot in Memphis’ rotation for the 2017/18 season. In 73 games (36 starts), the 6’10” forward averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG with a .446/.347/.767 shooting line.

Having played primarily at power forward last season, Martin likely would’ve seen his role reduced in Memphis this year — JaMychal Green, Kyle Anderson, Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi, and Jaren Jackson Jr. could all see action at the four. It’s not clear whether the 24-year-old will get more opportunities in Orlando, with Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac expected to earn most of the power forward minutes.

Johnson, 22, was selected by the Thunder with the 48th overall pick of the 2015 draft but didn’t sign his first standard NBA contract until 2017. The seven-footer appeared in 31 games last season for Oklahoma City, averaging 1.8 PPG and 1.1 RPG in just 5.2 minutes per contest.

Thunder, Magic Swap Johnson, Purvis

6:41pm: It’s official, according to a Thunder press release.

3:51pm: The Thunder and Magic have agreed to a trade that will send Dakari Johnson to Orlando and Rodney Purvis to Oklahoma City, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). The Magic are also expected to receive cash considerations in the swap, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Both Johnson and Purvis are on the books for identical $1,378,242 salaries in 2018/19. However, Johnson’s contract was guaranteed, while Purvis’ is non-guaranteed, creating a little more flexibility for Oklahoma City.

The Thunder will still have to fill that roster spot if they waive Purvis, so the trade isn’t a major cost-cutting move. However, releasing Purvis and signing a 2018 second-rounder like Hamidou Diallo, Devon Hall, or Kevin Hervey in his place would allow OKC to replace Johnson on the roster with a slightly cheaper – and potentially more useful – player.

Johnson, 22, was selected by the Thunder with the 48th overall pick of the 2015 draft but didn’t sign his first standard NBA contract until 2017. The seven-footer appeared in 31 games last season for Oklahoma City, averaging 1.8 PPG and 1.1 RPG in just 5.2 minutes per contest.

Purvis, 24, joined the Magic down the stretch last season, parlaying a pair of 10-day contracts into a rest-of-season deal. The 6’4″ shooting guard posted 6.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 16 games (18.1 MPG).

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Nurkic, O’Neale

While making a decision on Nikola Jokic‘s team option – and possible subsequent free agency – will be the Nuggets‘ top priority this offseason, the club will face several challenges in the coming weeks and months, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (Insider link).

As Marks outlines, one of those challenges will be finding a way to bring back Will Barton next season, since it looks on paper like the Nuggets won’t be able to afford him. Still, with Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, and Darrell Arthur all expected to be on expiring contracts in 2018/19, Denver shouldn’t worry too much about going over the tax line, according to Marks, who points out that the team should be able to cut costs when those veteran contracts expire in the summer of 2019. That would mean avoiding multiple years in tax territory.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Six prospects participated in the Nuggets‘ latest pre-draft group workout, according to Chris Dempsey of Nuggets.com, who provides the list (via Twitter): Tyler Cook (Iowa), Jon Elmore (Marshall), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Mustapha Heron (Auburn), Charles Matthews (Michigan), and Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s).
  • Frank Urbina of HoopsHype examines four potential landing spots for restricted free agent Jusuf Nurkic, identifying the Mavericks, Hawks, Wizards as possible suitors. However, Urbina writes that a return to the Trail Blazers is the most likely outcome for Nurkic.
  • Dakari Johnson didn’t play a whole lot in his rookie season, but he’s still just 22 years old and may still have a place in the Thunder‘s long-term plans, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman.
  • After spending the 2017/18 season with the Jazz as an undrafted free agent, Royce O’Neale called his rookie year a “dream come true,” as Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News details. While O’Neale wasn’t a lock to stick with Utah for multiple years coming into the season, his $1.38MM non-guaranteed salary for 2018/19 looks like a bargain now, McDonald observes.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/1/18

Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers recalled Travis Wear from their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, after their playoff matchup against the Oklahoma City Blue on Saturday, the team announced on Twitter. Wear enjoyed a strong regular season for South Bay, averaging 16.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG in 33 games.
  • The Hawks recalled forward Tyler Cavanaugh to their affiliate in Erie, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.
  • The Thunder recalled rookie center Dakari Johnson from their Oklahoma City Blue affiliate after yesterday’s playoff game, the team announced in an email.