Darrell Arthur

Suns Waive Shaquille Harrison, Darrell Arthur

The Suns waived a pair of players on Monday to reach the regular season roster limit, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Shaquille Harrison and Darrell Arthur have been cut by the team.

Arthur’s release comes as no surprise, since he was never part of the Suns’ plans for this season. Still, by waiving him now, before receiving resolution on their disabled player exception request, the Suns are no longer eligible for that DPE, as Keith Smith of RealGM confirms (via Twitter). Given that there was little evidence that Arthur had recently sustained a season-ending injury, that DPE was unlikely to be approved anyway.

[RELATED: Suns apply for disabled player exception for Arthur]

Harrison’s release is a little more surprising, given the Suns’ lack of depth at point guard. However, he was one of three players – along with Richaun Holmes and Isaiah Canaan – who was on a non-guaranteed contract, making him somewhat expendable. The Suns will now retain Canaan, Elie Okobo, and De’Anthony Melton at the point, with combo guard Jamal Crawford set to enter the mix as well.

Speaking of Crawford, the Suns will need to make one additional roster move when he officially signs his contract, which hasn’t happened yet. Davon Reed is expected to be traded or waived to accommodate Crawford.

With today’s moves, the Suns will create $7.5MM+ in additional dead money on their cap for 2018/19 — Harrison had a modest $50K guarantee, which Phoenix will eat, along with Arthur’s $7,464,912 salary.

Suns Plan To Trade Or Waive Davon Reed

The Suns, who need to remove three players from their roster in order to officially sign Jamal Crawford and reach the regular season roster limit, continue to work on trade scenarios, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. One player involved in those trade talks is second-year guard Davon Reed, who is expected to be traded or released today by Phoenix, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Suns, Jamal Crawford agree to deal]

Reed, 23, was the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, but missed a significant chunk of his rookie season due to a knee injury. While there was some uncertainty about his place on the Suns’ roster heading into the summer due to the partial guarantee on his 2018/19 salary, he played well in five Summer League games in Las Vegas, posting 13.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, and a .489 FG% in Vegas.

That Summer League showing helped earn Reed the rest of his ’18/19 guarantee and secure his roster spot temporarily, but it appears he won’t make the regular season squad.

Besides Reed, Darrell Arthur also appears likely to be waived by the Suns today, per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). The team will have to trade or waive one more player in addition to Reed and Arthur, with non-guaranteed players like Richaun Holmes, Shaquille Harrison, and Isaiah Canaan among the candidates due to their contract status. Gambadoro adds that Dragan Bender‘s place on the roster isn’t necessarily totally secure either.

Several Teams Must Make Moves Before Monday’s Roster Deadline

Saturday was a busy day in terms of NBA transactions, with most of the league’s 30 clubs making cuts and getting their rosters down to the regular season limit. As we explained over the weekend, players on non-guaranteed contracts must clear waivers before the first day of the regular season in order to avoid counting at all against a team’s salary cap, which is why most of those players were released on Saturday instead of today.

However, not every team now has a roster in compliance with NBA rules. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the Clippers, Suns, Bucks, Pistons, and Spurs still need to make roster moves by 4:00pm CT today in order to get down to the regular season limit. Teams are permitted to carry no more than 15 players on standard contracts and two more on two-way deals entering the season.

Here’s a quick look at the decisions facing those five teams:

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers need to trim their roster from 17 standard contracts to 15. Normally, the guys on non-guaranteed contracts would be the most obvious candidates to be cut, but I’d be surprised if the team parts ways with Patrick Beverley or Tyrone Wallace.

Instead, players on guaranteed salaries like Jawun Evans, Wesley Johnson, and Sindarius Thornwell could be in trouble if the Clips can’t find any trades they like.

Phoenix Suns

Like the Clippers, the Suns have 17 players on standard contracts, with multiple vets on non-guaranteed deals whom they’d like to keep. If Phoenix keeps all 14 players with guaranteed salaries, that would leave just one spot for Richaun Holmes, Shaquille Harrison, and Isaiah Canaan.

Of the players with guarantees, Darrell Arthur is the most obvious release candidate, but if the club keeps him before getting an answer from the league on its disabled player exception request, it won’t be eligible for that DPE.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Suns will be granted that disabled player exception anyway. Marks wrote on Saturday that multiple team executives were “dumbfounded” by what season-ending injury Arthur could have suffered since being acquired by Phoenix in July. While the big man has been bothered by recurring knee injuries in recent years, the team hasn’t announced any new ailments or listed him on its injury report.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have 16 players on standard contracts, meaning one player will need to be traded or released today. Christian Wood, who has one of the team’s two non-guaranteed contracts, appears likely to make the team. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the other player on a non-guaranteed deal – Tim Frazier – will be waived though.

The decision may come down to Frazier vs. former first-round pick D.J. Wilson. Although Wilson has a guaranteed salary for 2018/19, his roster spot is “far from secure,” per Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link).

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons have 15 players on guaranteed contracts and two on two-way deals, leaving no clear openings for the club’s final non-guaranteed player, Zach Lofton. The undrafted free agent has impressed Detroit this fall though, so we’ll see if the club can find room for him, perhaps by having him supplant one of the current two-way players (Reggie Hearn and Keenan Evans).

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs‘ final move is a mere formality. Manu Ginobili, who announced his retirement this summer, technically remains on the roster, but he should be quietly waived today. Once that happens, San Antonio will have 15 players on standard contracts – including partially guaranteed veteran Quincy Pondexter – and one on a two-way deal.

Note: The Bulls and Rockets also still need to officially convert players on Exhibit 10 contracts to two-way deals. Chicago will reportedly do so with Tyler Ulis, while Houston will do so with Gary Clark and Vince Edwards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns Apply For Disabled Player Exception For Darrell Arthur

The Suns have applied for a disabled player exception for Darrell Arthur, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As we outline in our glossary entry on the disabled player exception, a team can apply for a DPE to replace a seriously injured player. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15 of that league year. If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser.

In the case of the Suns and Arthur, it’s not clear what specific injury will keep the veteran big man sidelined for the entire season. However, he has been plagued by knee issues in recent years, including last season. The 30-year-old was traded from Denver to Brooklyn to Phoenix during the offseason.

Arthur is earning a salary of $7,464,912 in the final year of his contract, so if the Suns are granted a disabled player exception, it would be worth $3,732,456. Phoenix would have until March 10 to use the exception, which could be used to sign a free agent to a one-year deal or to trade for a player in the last year of his contract.

A disabled player exception doesn’t allow a team to carry an extra player — it just gives an over-the-cap club some extra spending flexibility. So the Suns would still be limited to 15 players on their regular season roster, plus two players on two-way contracts.

Rockets/Suns Trade Notes: Grades, Knight, Melton

The Rockets and Suns agreed to an unusual trade late on Thursday night, with Houston poised to send Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix in exchange for Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss. Both teams are essentially acquiring a potentially useful veteran on an expensive multiyear contract, plus a young prospect with some upside. That kind of straight two-for-two swap without any draft picks or other assets included is pretty rare, particularly between a title contender and a lottery team.

In an Insider-only piece at ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton tries to make sense of the deal for both clubs, and has an easier time doing so for the Rockets, assigning them a grade of B+ for shedding Anderson’s contract and acquiring a pair of intriguing players. Pelton isn’t as bullish on the trade for the Suns, who get a C- grade from the ESPN scribe.

While the Suns may view the deal as an opportunity to acquire a starting power forward and a promising young prospect in exchange for two players who weren’t in their plans, they probably could’ve driven a harder bargain with the in-the-tax Rockets, says Pelton.

Here’s more on the Rockets/Suns trade:

  • If the Rockets were to finalize the trade and waive Knight today, the team could greatly reduce its projected tax bill for 2018/19. However, ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link) hears that Houston has no plans to waive-and-stretch Knight.
  • Lowe’s other observations on the deal: The Suns paid a high cost to acquire Melton, but people around the NBA are “super-high” on him (Twitter link). The Rockets, who haven’t used their first-round pick for a few years, did well to avoid including their 2019 first-rounder in an Anderson deal, says Lowe (Twitter link). That pick could now be available for another trade at the deadline if necessary.
  • As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), it will be interesting to see what kind of contract Melton signs with the Suns, who are now over the cap. Without cap room, they’re limited to a two-year offer. While Phoenix could potentially open up cap space by buying out Darrell Arthur, he’s unlikely to give up much salary without lining up another landing spot, per Marks. Waiving and stretching Arthur today would also work, but adding an annual $2.5MM charge to their cap for two additional years may not be worth gaining the ability to give Melton an extra year or two.
  • In the view of Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link), the Suns made the trade with Igor Kokoskov‘s up-tempo, three-pointer-heavy offense in mind. Kokoskov’s system calls for a stretch four like Anderson, and Melton’s play-making ability figures to be a good fit too.

Suns Trade Dudley, Second-Round Pick To Nets For Arthur

2:16pm: The Nets and Suns have officially completed their trade, according to a press release issued by the Nets. Dudley, who told Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link) that he’s not a fan of buyouts, expects to play for Brooklyn. Wojnarowski suggests the Nets may envision Dudley as a stretch four in their lineup.

9:16am: The Nets and Suns have agreed to a trade that will send Jared Dudley to Brooklyn and Darrell Arthur to Phoenix, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Nets will acquire a top-35 protected 2021 second-round pick in the deal, according to Wojnarowski.

The deal appears to be financially motivated, with Wojnarowski indicating that Arthur and his $7.46MM expiring salary will likely be bought out by the Suns. Dudley, who is on a $9.53MM expiring contract, could have a similar conversation with the Nets, Woj adds.

The savings in the trade are minimal for the Suns, but it’s possible they have another move or two up their sleeves. According to Basketball Insiders’ salary data, Phoenix will have a team salary of $98.63MM after the deal, which is good for $3MM+ in cap room.

[UPDATE: Suns to acquire Richaun Holmes from Sixers]

According to John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports (Twitter link), the Suns had been trying to buy out Dudley for the last couple weeks. Arthur is a little cheaper and it’s possible he’ll be more amenable to a buyout.

As for the Nets, they remain in asset-collection mode after having acquired a pair of draft picks from the Nuggets in a salary-dump deal that included Arthur earlier this month. Today’s move will ensure that Brooklyn once again has a second-round pick in the 2021 draft — the club traded its own ’21 second-rounder in the Dwight Howard deal with Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Trade Faried, Arthur, Picks To Nets

JULY 13, 8:42pm: The trade is official, according to a Nets press release.

JULY 12, 5:18pm: The Nuggets have found a team willing to take on their unwanted contracts, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that Denver is sending Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, a protected 2019 first-round pick, and a 2020 second-round pick to the Nets in exchange for Isaiah Whitehead.

It’s a salary-dump deal for the Nuggets, who intend to waive Whitehead after acquiring him, Wojnarowski adds. Whitehead’s salary guarantee deadline was recently pushed back, so his $1.54MM salary for 2018/19 remains non-guaranteed — Denver won’t be on the hook for it.

Having reached a deal with Isaiah Thomas earlier in the night, the Nuggets were poised to have 16 players on guaranteed NBA contracts and were well into luxury-tax territory. Their deal with the Nets will solve both issues, reducing their roster count to 14 players after Whitehead’s release and getting their total team salary below the tax threshold.

Bobby Marks of ESPN.com has the full details, noting that the Nuggets should be about $8.7MM below the tax line after the trade, giving the team room to use the rest of its mid-level exception to fill the last spot on its roster, if it so chooses. So far, Denver has committed $2MM of its MLE to Torrey Craig and is believed to have used about another $1MM on Jarred Vanderbilt.

As Marks observes, trading Faried, Darrell Arthur, and Wilson Chandler (to Philadelphia) projects to save the Nuggets approximately $90MM in salary and tax payments. The team gave up a first-round pick and two second-rounders in those two deals.

The Nuggets have also created three sizable traded player exceptions to work with — those TPEs are equivalent to the salaries for Faried ($13.76MM), Chandler ($12.8MM), and Arthur minus Whitehead ($5.92MM)

Meanwhile, from the Nets’ perspective, they’ll rent their cap room in order to add a pair of draft assets. The big prize is the 2019 first-rounder, which is top-12 protected, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Coming into the day, Brooklyn didn’t have the cap room necessary to absorb both Faried and Arthur, but the club created that space by trading Jeremy Lin to the Hawks in another deal. It’s not clear whether Faried and/or Arthur are in the Nets’ plans for 2018/19 or if they’ll become buyout candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Looking To Trade Chandler, Arthur, Faried

With a potentially huge luxury tax bill looming, the Nuggets are hoping to find someone willing to take on the contracts of Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur or Kenneth Faried, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. He adds that Denver isn’t finding many interested teams and may have to put center Mason Plumlee on the trade block too.

Chandler contributed to the cap crunch when he decided to opt in to the final year of his contract at $12.8MM for next season. Combined with a sizable new deal upcoming for Nikola Jokic and the apparent decision to re-sign free agent Will Barton, the Nuggets could have a team salary in excess of $140MM, well above the projected $123MM luxury tax threshold for 2018/19.

Denver can reduce that figure by unloading Faried, who will make nearly $13.8MM next season, or Arthur, whose salary is set at nearly $7.5MM. Both are on expiring contracts, as is Chandler. Plumlee has two years left on his current deal at $12.9MM and $14MM.

Draft Rumors: Bridges, Knox, Nuggets, Jackson, Clippers

Villanova forward Mikal Bridges is at the top of the Sixers’ wish list if they don’t move out of the No. 10 spot, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Kentucky forward Kevin Knox and his college teammate, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, are the likely alternatives if Bridges is off the board, Pompey continues. Knox came in for a solo workout with the Sixers on Tuesday, his second visit with the team. The Sixers are reportedly trying to move into the top five of the draft.

Here’s more draft news to pass along with the big night fast approaching:

  • The Nuggets are actively shopping the No. 14 pick attached to a big salary, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated tweets. Denver is seeking suitors for the expiring contracts of Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur, Fischer adds. Faried is due to make $13.76MM next season while Arthur has $7.46MM remaining on his deal.
  • The Grizzlies will have a tough decision regarding Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. at No. 4 if the Hawks select Luka Doncic at No. 3, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Doncic has reportedly moved into the lead on the Hawks’ draft board, while Jackson has refused to work out for the Grizzlies and hasn’t provided his medical information, Givony continues. That could increase the chances of Memphis trading the pick, something it has shown little interest in doing up to this point, Givony adds (Twitter links).
  • The Clippers like Jackson and could try to move to the No. 4 spot, but they’ve refused thus far to take Chandler Parsons bad contract as part of any proposed deal, Givony reports in another tweet.

Nuggets’ Darrell Arthur Exercises Player Option

Nuggets power forward Darrell Arthur has opted into his contract for the 2018/19 season, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Arthur will earn a salary of $7,464,912 next year after exercising his player option.

Arthur, 30, enjoyed perhaps the best year of his career in 2015/16, his first season in Denver, when he averaged 7.5 PPG and 4.2 RPG with a .452/.385/.755 shooting line in a rotation role for the team. However, he has seen his playing time cut back significantly over the last two years.

In 2017/18, Arthur appeared in just 19 games for Denver, averaging 2.8 PPG and 0.8 RPG in 7.4 minutes per contest. With Paul Millsap, Trey Lyles, Kenneth Faried, Juan Hernangomez, and Wilson Chandler all seeing time at the four while Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee handled the five, there simply wasn’t a role for Arthur.

Since Arthur was unlikely to command more than the minimum salary on the open market, his decision to pick up his player option comes as no surprise. It doesn’t assure of him spending the 2018/19 season in Denver though.

With the Nuggets potentially looking to lock up Jokic and Will Barton to lucrative new deals this summer, the team will probably need to cut costs elsewhere, making Arthur a candidate to be traded or released. The Nuggets could reduce Arthur’s 2018/19 cap charge by nearly $5MM by waiving and stretching him. The club is also said to be exploring trades involving Faried.

Arthur’s player-option decision continues an offseason trend that reflects the lack of league-wide cap room available this summer. After only eight total veterans picked up their player options in 2016 and 2017, Arthur becomes the 10th veteran to do so in 2018, and he won’t be the last. The full list of player option decisions can be found right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.