Darrun Hilliard

Free Agent Notes: Pasecniks, Jefferson, Teodosic, More

Shortly after having his draft rights renounced by the Sixers, 2017 first-round pick Anzejs Pasecniks has joined the Wizards‘ Summer League roster, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

Pasecniks, a 7’2″ center out of Latvia, has played professionally in Spain for the last few years, but is reportedly interested in making the move to the NBA this season. Since the 76ers didn’t want to carry his cap hold on their books, they made him an unrestricted free agent, giving him the ability to sign with another team. While it remains to be seen if the Wizards will be that team, it seems they’ll give him a look this month.

Here are more updates on a handful of NBA free agents:

  • Could we see Richard Jefferson back in the NBA in 2019/20? After retiring as a player last fall, Jefferson said on Tuesday night (via Twitter) that he wants to come out of retirement to play for one more year. If Jefferson is serious, we’ll see whether there will be an NBA team willing to add him to its roster. If not, he at least made his way into a Hoops Rumors free agent round-up one last time.
  • Veteran point guard Milos Teodosic, who spent a season and a half in the NBA before being waived by the Clippers in February, has reportedly received a two-year contract offer from Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Teodosic is also said to be drawing interest from EuroLeague clubs Olympiacos and Anadolu Efes, as well as Italy’s Virtus Bologna.
  • Free agent guard Darrun Hilliard, who appeared in 91 NBA game from 2015-18 for Detroit and San Antonio, has signed with EuroLeague club CSKA Moscow, the team announced in a press release.
  • Shortly after last month’s draft, word broke that undrafted Boston College guard Ky Bowman will sign with the Warriors. According to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle, Bowman’s deal is expected to be a two-way contract.

Former Spur Darrun Hilliard To Play In Spain

Former Spurs two-way player Darrun Hilliard has signed a contract with Spanish club Baskonia, the team announced today (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal.

Hilliard, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, spent two seasons with the Pistons before being dealt to the Rockets in June 2017. Houston used him as a salary-matching piece in the Chris Paul trade with the Clippers, who subsequently waived him.

The Spurs signed Hilliard to a two-way contract last September, and kept him under contract for the entire 2017/18 season. The 6’6″ swingman appeared in just 14 games for San Antonio, but played well in 36 contests for the team’s G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, averaging 20.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.8 APG with a shooting line of .475/.400/.845.

Hilliard received a qualifying offer from the Spurs at season’s end, making him a restricted free agent, and it doesn’t appear San Antonio ever withdrew that offer.

This is the first summer that two-way qualifying offers have been an option for teams and players, so we’re still figuring out how they’ll be used going forward. Assuming they function like standard QOs, the Spurs should have the option of keeping that offer on the table next offseason before Hilliard can sign another NBA contract. The Raptors have taken this approach with Nando De Colo for the last several years, tendering him a qualifying offer every year in case he decides to return to the NBA.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Jackson Jr., Metu

The Pelicans added a pair of young building blocks in Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton this summer and the new personnel could lead to an even faster pace of play, William Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes.

The addition of two athletic young players  – Randle is still just 23 years old while Payton is 24 – will serve the Pelicans well. Guillory writes that New Orleans led the league in pace after DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury in January.

We want to play fast, we want to defend, we want to get out in transition,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said. “The other thing is these two guys are very unselfish players, which would fit great with our group.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

Spurs Issue QOs To Anderson, Forbes, Hilliard

The Spurs have extended qualifying offers to Kyle Anderson, Bryn Forbes, and Darrun Hilliard, according to RealGM’s official transactions log. A previous report indicated that San Antonio also issued a QO to Davis Bertans, so all four players are on track to become restricted free agents on Sunday.

Anderson, 24, stepped into the starting lineup in Kawhi Leonard‘s place in 2017/18, making 67 starts for the Spurs during the regular season. As a result, he met the starter criteria, increasing the value of his qualifying offer to $4,749,591.

The Spurs’ other qualifying offers are more modest. Forbes and Bertans will receive identical QOs worth approximately $1.7MM, while Hilliard – a two-way player – will receive a one-year, two-way contract offer with a $50K guarantee.

Any of those four players could simply sign their one-year qualifying offer, but they’ll have other options, including negotiating a new agreement with the Spurs or seeking out an offer sheet from another team. If any of the four RFAs signs an offer sheet with a rival suitor, San Antonio would have the right of first refusal, and would have to decide within two days whether to match it.

Of the Spurs players eligible for qualifying offers, only one – Matt Costello – hasn’t received one. Assuming Costello doesn’t get a QO, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, while San Antonio would open up one of its two-way contract slots.

Spurs Sign Darrun Hilliard To Two-Way Contract

The Spurs have filled the second two-way player opening on their roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed free agent swingman Darrun Hilliard to a two-way contract. San Antonio previously signed big man Matt Costello to the club’s first-ever two-way deal.

Hilliard, 24, was involved in several NBA roster moves this summer, including being included in one of the biggest trades of the offseason. A Piston to end the 2016/17 campaign, Hilliard was sent to the Rockets in a June swap, then flipped to the Clippers as part of the package Houston traded for Chris Paul. The Clippers waived Hilliard to avoid having his salary for 2017/18 become guaranteed.

A former 38th overall pick, Hilliard appeared in 77 games for the Pistons over the last two seasons, playing sparingly. He also appeared in seven total games for the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s G League affiliate, averaging 24.4 PPG in those contests. The Villanova alum added some national experience to his professional résumé this summer, earning a spot on the Team USA squad that won a gold medal at the FIBA AmeriCup earlier this month.

With Hilliard officially locked up, the Spurs now have 18 players under contract — 16 on NBA deals and a pair of two-way players. That leaves two openings on San Antonio’s 20-man offseason roster.

USA Basketball Announces AmeriCup Roster

After taking 17 players to training camp, USA Basketball has narrowed that group down to 12 players for its official AmeriCup roster, the program announced in a press release. The players representing Team USA in next week’s AmeriCup tournament will be as follows:

The five players who missed the cut for the final roster were Rod Benson, Will Davis II, Ra’Shad James, Darius Morris, and Derek Willis.

“All 17 guys that came to camp in Houston had a strong case that they could have made that they should have been selected, but unfortunately, we could only take 12,” said U.S. coach Jeff Van Gundy. “It was very, very difficult getting down to that number, but we feel very happy with the guys that we have selected. We feel we have positional versatility, we have a good balance between size and quickness, so it will be interesting for us to go to Uruguay and see what we can do.”

As we detailed in an earlier story, FIBA has changed its format for qualifying for marquee events like the World Cup and the Olympics, and many of the qualifier tournaments will now take place during the NBA season. For those events, Team USA intends to primarily use players who have been spending time overseas and in the G League, with the bigger-name players taking over for the main events in 2019 and 2020.

Team USA doesn’t need to win the AmeriCup to qualify for the next World Cup and Olympics, but it’s a tournament the U.S. must participate in to eventually play in more crucial events. Van Gundy’s squad will participate in preliminary round games in Uruguay starting next Monday. If Team USA wins its group – which also includes Panama, the Dominican Republic, and host Uruguay – it would advance to the semifinals in Argentina in early September.

The program won’t face real pressure to win until November, when Team USA need a top-three finish in a pool that includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba in order to start advancing to later qualifiers. For more in-depth details on how those qualifiers work, be sure to check out FIBA’s breakdowns for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

17 Players Vying For Spots On USA’s AmeriCup Roster

USA Basketball has begun the process of selecting its roster for the AmeriCup 2017, the first of a series of qualifying tournaments under FIBA’s new format. As Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press details, Team USA doesn’t need to win the AmeriCup to qualify for the next World Cup and Olympics, but it’s a tournament the U.S. must participate in to eventually play in more crucial events.

Because upcoming qualifiers will take place during the NBA season, Team USA is putting together a roster primarily made up of G League players and veterans who have been playing overseas, as we previously learned. With training camp set to begin on Thursday, 17 hopefuls are suiting up for Team USA, with the program poised to eventually pare that group down to a 12-man roster.

Here are Team USA’s training camp participants, via USA Basketball:

Although there are no high-profile names in this group, several players have some NBA experience. Hilliard is currently a free agent, but appeared in 77 games over the last two seasons for the Pistons. Drew, Munford, and Plumlee have all played in at least a dozen NBA games.

Marshall, Morris, and Reggie Williams are perhaps the most notable names on the list, having played regular rotation roles for various NBA teams in recent years. Marshall was a lottery pick in the 2012 draft, while Williams has appeared in more than 200 NBA games since 2010.

None of the players on Team USA’s training camp roster are currently under contract with an NBA club, but Willis – the only player of the group who has yet to play professional ball – has reportedly agreed to a training camp deal with the Pistons.

The club will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy, an international rookie himself, and will eventually participate in preliminary round games in Uruguay later this month. If Team USA wins its group – which also includes Panama, the Dominican Republic, and host Uruguay – it would advance to the semifinals in Argentina in early September.

As Mahoney outlines in his report, Team USA won’t face real pressure to win until November, when the club need a top-three finish in a pool that includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba in order to start advancing to later qualifiers. For more in-depth details on how those qualifiers work, be sure to check out FIBA’s breakdowns for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

West Notes: Cash Considerations, Dudley, Zhou

As the smoke clears from the chaos of the Chris Paul trade, details have emerged regarding the numerous side deals that went down in order for the Rockets to acquire the superstar point guard from the Clippers.

We broke down the math behind the trades but Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has provided insight as to the exact financial details of the deals that brought players on non-guaranteed deals to the Rockets in exchange for cash considerations.

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Veteran Suns forward Jared Dudley underwent surgery to repair a lingering toe issue and will be sidelined 3-4 months, ESPN relays.
  • Although he’s justifiably upset about the end of Lob City, Doc Rivers isn’t ready to give up competing for a title. “That part is over. And that bugs me,” Rivers told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “But we’re not done trying to reach our goal. Sometimes you gotta do it a different way. Because the way we tried to do it didn’t work.”
  • The Nuggets will get a good idea of where they stand in the eyes of free agents this summer, Chris Dempsey of  Altitude Sports writes. The scribe asks whether Nikola Jokic‘s breakout campaign will be enough of a foundation for the club to recruit off of.
  • The Rockets could look to sign Zhou Qi to a multiyear deal by using a portion of their mid-level exception, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes, but they wouldn’t be opposed to siging him to a shorter deal if that meant landing another coveted free agent.

Clippers Waive Darrun Hilliard

Darrun Hilliard, part of the package the Clippers received from Houston in Wednesday’s Chris Paul trade, has been waived, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times.

Hilliard began Wednesday in Detroit, where he had spent the past two seasons with the Pistons. His non-guaranteed $1,471,382 salary for next season made him a target for the Rockets, who were looking for easily waived players to help match Paul’s salary. Houston acquired Hilliard for cash considerations and sent him to L.A.

The 38th pick in the 2015 draft, Hilliard spent much of the past two years in the G League. He got into 39 games with the Pistons this season, averaging 3.3 points in 9.8 minutes per night.

Clippers Trade Chris Paul To Rockets

Reversing his decision to head to the free agent market, Chris Paul has opted into the final year of his contract as part of a trade. The Clippers have sent Paul to the Rockets in exchange for a massive trade package, Houston confirmed today in a press release. The Clippers will receive the following pieces in the deal:Chris Paul vertical

“Since winning back-to-back championships, the pursuit of a third title has remained the ultimate goal for our franchise,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement. “We feel that combining two of the league’s greatest players in James Harden and Chris Paul, operating in Coach [Mike] D’Antoni’s system, gives us a championship caliber team that will compete at the highest level for years to come.”

The move is a bombshell, particularly since Paul had been expected to reach free agency this weekend — a report last week indicated that he had made the decision to opt out of his contract. However, CP3 had yet to formally file the paperwork to exercise that early termination option. Instead, he’ll waive the ETO, which will allow him to play out the final year of his deal and become eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, unless he signs an extension with Houston before next July. Paul is currently set to earn $24,268,959 in 2017/18.

According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers and Rockets reached an agreement after Paul informed L.A. that he intended to sign with Houston in free agency. From the Clippers’ perspective, the trade with Houston is a way to recoup some value for the star point guard and avoid losing him for nothing. Meanwhile, the Rockets will no longer have to worry about trying to dump a salary or two in order to create enough room for a maximum salary slot for Paul.

The Rockets, who were reported on Tuesday to be a “serious” threat in the Paul sweepstakes, have now secured their man before the free agent period even gets underway. The club’s star-studded backcourt will create an intriguing dynamic, since Harden is coming off an MVP-caliber season in which he served as Houston’s primary ball-handler. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Paul and Harden were “determined” to play together, so the duo is presumably unconcerned about how the ball-handling duties will be shared going forward.

It will be interesting to see if Rockets president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has anything else up his sleeve for the team in July. According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the club is still on the lookout for a third star to complement Paul and Harden. Houston was reportedly involved in Paul George trade talks, though the club surrendered some valuable assets in today’s move, so it’s not clear whether Morey still has enough pieces to interest the Pacers.

With Paul now headed to Houston, the Spurs – who were rumored to be a contender for Paul – will have to look elsewhere if they intend to sign a marquee free agent point guard. Teams around the NBA hoping to re-sign their own star point guards, such as the Pelicans (Jrue Holiday) and Raptors (Kyle Lowry), may also be breathing a little easier, since the Rockets were viewed as a team capable of shaking up the point guard market.

As for the Clippers, it’s not clear yet if today’s deal will be the first domino to fall in a full-fledged rebuilding process for the club, or merely a retooling of the roster. In Beverley and Williams, the Clips will acquire a pair of effective and affordable veteran guards who figure to step into key roles right away. Dekker is more of a wild card, but the 23-year-old big man flashed some upside in a rotational role for the Rockets last season, as did Harrell.

Paul’s departure also figures to be a factor in Blake Griffin‘s impending free agency. Unlike Paul, Griffin has formally exercised his ETO with the Clippers, so he’s on track to become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday. Given the reported tension between Paul and Griffin over the years, it’s possible that the trade of CP3 makes Griffin more likely to re-sign — Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter link) spoke to several league executives who speculated as much.

[RELATED: Clippers confident about re-signing Blake Griffin]

Because the combined salaries of Beverley, Dekker, and Williams – the package reported initially for the Clippers – weren’t enough for the Rockets to land Paul, Houston spent most of the day acquiring players with non-guaranteed salaries from other teams to include in the deal. Liggins and Hilliard will be flipped to the Clippers, but Tim Quarterman, Shawn Long, and Ryan Kelly, who were all traded to Houston earlier today, won’t be part of this transactions — Houston instead included Harrell and Wiltjer.

I explained the math from the Rockets’ perspective earlier today. By structuring the deal as they did, the Rockets will remain over the cap and will have the mid-level exception ($8.4MM) and bi-annual exception ($3.3MM) available to pursue free agents when the new league year begins.

The Clippers waived retiring forward Paul Pierce in order to adhere to the NBA’s offseason roster limit of 20 players.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links) broke news of the trade. Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle and Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times were among those who reported key details along the way.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.