DeAndre Liggins

And-Ones: Summer Olympics, Liggins, Pokusevski

It appears inevitable that the Summer Olympics will be delayed, possibly until 2021, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Even though organizers in Tokyo have been insisting they will be ready on time, Newberry can’t envision how the world will be able to compete when so many regions are currently devoting their resources to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC, which admitted this week that the virus situation is “changing day by day,” has considered holding the events at empty venues or canceling the games altogether. Newberry doesn’t see either solution as fair to the athletes who have worked years to prepare or to the Japanese people who bought tickets well in advance.

The U.S. men’s basketball team continues to prepare as if the games are being held this summer, but there’s a strong level of uncertainty, assistant coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters, including Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“(Head coach Gregg Popovich) and I have spoken a couple of times over the last week or so,” Kerr said. “And everything’s just up in the air. There’s no sense of whether things are going to be delayed or anything. We’re all kind of sitting here wondering what’s going to happen, and so is the rest of the world. We’re just going to plan as if this is going to happen, and we’re going to try and put together a roster, and that’s all we can do.”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • FIBA is examining alternatives if the qualifying tournaments to fill the four open Olympic spots can’t be played, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The World Cup final standings or the FIBA rankings may be used to select the four teams.
  • Former NBA swingman DeAndre Liggins is involved in a controversy with his Panionios team in Greece, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Flex Basketball Management, which represents Liggins, tweeted a statement today claiming that he has not been registered with the Greek Basketball Federation and isn’t eligible to play, even though he has been with the team since February 12 and is under contract for the rest of the season. “The club was very misleading and did not pay him or agents, and did not cover flight expenses as agreed upon,” the agency claims. “They didn’t help him in his return flight due to the virus pandemic and league suspension, and didn’t help other players as well while ignoring all communication.” (Twitter links)
  • Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas tells Aris Barkas of EuroHoops that 7-footer Aleksej Pokusevski will likely enter the NBA draft. He’s projected as the 25th pick in the latest ESPN mock draft.

International Notes: Thybulle, Liggins, Patterson, Smith

Ben Simmons, who spoke in November about wanting to play for Australia in the 2020 Olympics under Sixers head coach Brett Brown, is looking to bring one of his NBA teammates with him. As Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia details, Simmons said over the weekend that he’s confident rookie swingman Matisse Thybulle will play for the Boomers this summer in Tokyo.

Thybulle, the Sixers’ first-round pick last June, is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. He has yet to make a decision regarding his international status, but playing for Australia would create a much clearer path to being a part of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I can’t say I’ve put too much thought into which one I’d like to go to, which (opportunity) I’d like to take,” the Sixers rookie said last week, per Uluc. “But I think this season is going to be a good opportunity to showcase myself and figure out what opportunities I have at the end of the season.”

Here are a few more notes from around the basketball world:

  • NBA journeyman DeAndre Liggins, who suited up for seven different teams over the course of five NBA seasons, is joining Panionios B.C. in Greece, according to an Instagram post from agent Vassilis Kouros (hat tip to Sportando). Liggins last appeared in the Association in 2017/18, when he appeared in 58 total games for Milwaukee and New Orleans.
  • Veteran swingman Lamar Patterson, who appeared in 40 NBA games for Atlanta between 2015-17, is continuing his professional career in Puerto Rico with Piratas de Quebradillas, the team announced on Sunday (hat tip to Sportando). This will be Patterson’s second stint with a Puerto Rican club.
  • Russ Smith, a second-round pick out of Louisville in 2014, will also play in Puerto Rico, having signed with Los Cariduros de Fajardo (hat tip to Sportando). The 28-year-old guard appeared in 27 NBA games from 2014-16 for New Orleans and Memphis.

International Updates: Loyd, Liggins, Zipser

After clearing waivers on Sunday, former Raptors two-way player Jordan Loyd has now officially signed with Valencia, the Spanish team announced today in a press release. Toronto’s release of Loyd was classified by the club as a mutual parting of ways, with the defending NBA champions giving the 26-year-old a chance to pursue a new international opportunity.

Loyd will head to the EuroLeague after starring in the G League for Raptors 905 in 2018/19. He averaged 22.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 5.8 RPG in 41 games en route to a spot on the All-NBAGL First Team.

Of course, Loyd’s most memorable moment at the NBA level may have come in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, when he was captured in a viral photo next to Kawhi Leonard as the Raptors and Sixers waited to see if Leonard’s series-winning buzzer beater would fall through the net.

Here are a few more updates on former NBA players signing with non-NBA teams:

  • Former Bulls forward Paul Zipser has signed a new two-year contract with German club Bayern Munich, per a press release. Zipser played for Bayern Munich for three seasons before being drafted in 2016. After spending two seasons in Chicago from 2016-18, the German nearly signed a two-way contract with Brooklyn in 2018/19, but ultimately joined Spanish team San Pablo Burgos in January.
  • NBA journeyman DeAndre Liggins has signed with Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in Spain, the team announced today in a press release. Liggins, who has appeared in regular season games for seven NBA clubs, spent time in the G League and in Greece in 2018/19. He last played in the NBA in the spring of 2018, when he finished the season with the Pelicans.
  • As we relayed earlier today, veteran NBA guards Wayne Selden and Jerian Grant both appear to be on track to join teams in China.

DeAndre Liggins Headed To Greece

After spending this season in the G League, DeAndre Liggins has signed with Kolossos Rhodes of the Greek A1 league, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Liggins, 30, was in training camp with the Heat, but was waived before the start of the season in Ocotober. He went to Miami’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls and averaged 10.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 25 games.

Liggins had brief stays with seven NBA teams dating back to the 2011/12 season, but was never able to turn any into a long-term arrangement. He played a combined 58 games last year for the Bucks and Pelicans. He has previous international experience in Russia and Germany.

And-Ones: Team USA, Jefferson, Jennings, Bass

With another round of World Cup qualifiers scheduled to begin next week, USA Basketball has officially announced its latest 12-man roster for games against Argentina (November 29) and Uruguay (December 2). The roster is made up primarily of G League players, though NBA free agents Tyler Zeller, Jarnell Stokes, and Eric Moreland are also on the squad. Other former NBA players on the roster include Chasson Randle, DeAndre Liggins, and John Jenkins.

With one more qualifying window scheduled for February after next week’s set of games, Team USA is in prime position to secure a spot in the 2019 World Cup. Team USA currently has a 7-1 record in qualifying contests, which puts the club in a tie with Argentina for first place in Group E. Puerto Rico and Uruguay are tied for third at 5-3. The top three teams in the group will earn spots in the World Cup, and the fourth-place team will have a chance to qualify as well.

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

  • With some help from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, longtime NBA forward Richard Jefferson published a piece on ESPN.com this week, sharing some of his memories from his NBA career and discussing his move into broadcasting.
  • After becoming a free agent this week, veteran guard Brandon Jennings may take the G League route as he tries to work his way back into the NBA, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. However, Smith notes that nothing’s official yet.
  • Smith also checks in a pair of former NBA forward playing in China, reporting (via Twitter) that Brandon Bass is hoping to return to the NBA later in 2018/19, once the Chinese Basketball Association season ends. Jared Sullinger is also putting up huge numbers in China and is in good shape, according to Smith, who tweets that the former Celtic may be ready for another shot in the NBA.
  • Former Trail Blazers guard Tim Quarterman signed this week with Israeli team Ironi Nahariya, per his agency Prostep Sports (Twitter link). Quarterman was waived by the Rockets this past April.

Heat Sign Purvis, Putney; Waive Cooke, Liggins

The Heat continue to make changes at the back of their 20-man preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed guard Rodney Purvis and forward Raphiael Putney. The club waived Charles Cooke and DeAndre Liggins in order to open up the necessary roster spots.

The latest series of transactions by Miami appears designed to award Purvis and Putney a little bonus money. The Heat already held both players’ G League returning rights, with the Sioux Falls Skyforce acquiring them in a pair of September trades. However, assuming both Purvis and Putney signed Exhibit 10 contracts, they’ll now be in line for bonuses worth up to $50K if they stick with the Skyforce for at least two months.

It has been a busy offseason for Purvis, who was traded from the Magic to the Thunder and then later to the Celtics before being waived by Boston. The former UConn standout appeared in 16 NBA games last season for Orlando, averaging 6.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 18.1 minutes per contest. His numbers were more impressive in the G League, where he posted 20.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 39 games for the Lakeland Magic.

As for Putney, he recorded 16.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 2.3 BPG in 36 games (36 starts) for the Erie BayHawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate, last season. The former UMass big man, who went undrafted in 2014, has played in several international leagues over the last few years, spending time in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Venezuela, Italy, France, and Puerto Rico.

Heat Sign Charles Cooke, DeAndre Liggins

The Heat have signed guards Charles Cooke and DeAndre Liggins and waived Marcus Lee and Malik Newman, the team announced on Twitter.

Lee and Newman are both expected to wind up with Miami’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The Heat already have 14 players with guaranteed contracts, so it’s possible that Cooke and Liggins will eventually be joining them.

Cooke was a two-way player with the Pelicans last season and got into 13 NBA games, playing less than 3 minutes per night. He became a free agent when New Orleans elected not to make him a qualifying offer.

Liggins has bounced around the league since 2011, seeing brief stays with seven franchises, including one game with the Heat in 2013/14. He split last season between the Bucks and Pelicans and was waived by New Orleans at the end of August.

Pelicans Waive Swingman DeAndre Liggins

The Pelicans have waived swingman DeAndre Liggins, according to a team press release.

The 6’6” Liggins appeared in 27 games, including three starts, for New Orleans last season after being originally signed on January 10. He averaged 1.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG in 9.0 MPG.

The Pelicans save a little money by cutting Liggins loose, as he was due to receive $75K if he remained on the roster at the beginning of September. Liggins was due to make $1.8MM if he had remained on the roster through January 10.

Liggins played on a pair of 10-day contract with New Orleans then was signed to a two-year deal on February 4.  He also appeared in 31 games with the Bucks last season, then was waived in early January before the Pelicans snapped him up.

Liggins has also worn five other uniforms in NBA regular-season games. He started his career with the Magic in 2011/12, then moved on to the Thunder, Heat, Cavaliers and Mavericks. He’s appeared in 177 games but has just a 2.0 PPG average while shooting 35.2% on 3-point tries.

The Pelicans still have eight other players at the wing spots and five players with partial or non-guaranteed contracts.

 

Few Early NBA Salary Guarantee Dates This Fall

Over the summer, NBA teams faced a number of decisions on whether to keep a player and guarantee his salary or waive him and avoid that extra cost. In total, nearly 50 players had some sort of guarantee deadline on their contracts in June, July, and August.

Typically, that pattern continues to some extent in the fall. All NBA contracts for a given year become guaranteed on January 10 (not counting 10-day deals), but several contracts include trigger dates that come before the new year, most frequently around the start of the regular season.

A player with a mid-October salary guarantee date in his contract receives a sizable bonus if he makes his club’s regular season roster, perhaps even having his entire salary guaranteed. If he doesn’t earn a spot on his team’s 15-man squad, he’s waived without getting that guarantee, but has the opportunity to seek a new job elsewhere.

For the 2018/19 league year though, fall salary guarantee dates are scarce. While there are plenty of players on non-guaranteed contracts around the NBA, virtually all of those contracts will remain non-guaranteed until January 10.

According to data from Basketball Insiders and ESPN, the Knicks are one of the few teams carrying players with salary trigger dates this fall. Trey Burke, whose deal is currently partially guaranteed for $100K, will have that partial guarantee bumped to $400K if he remains under contract for the first game of the regular season. Noah Vonleh, on a non-guaranteed contract for now, will receive a $100K partial guarantee if he’s not waived by September 25.

Outside of those two dates, September 1 represents the other deadline of note for salary guarantees. The Thunder and Abdel Nader reportedly agreed to push his guarantee deadline from August 1 to September 1, so Nader – who currently has a $450K partial guarantee – should be in line for a fully guaranteed salary if he’s not waived by Saturday.

Elsewhere, there’s some conflicting info on a pair of Pelicans players. Emeka Okafor and DeAndre Liggins have $100K and $75K partial guarantees, respectively, according to Basketball Insiders. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks indicated this week (via Twitter) that those partial guarantees won’t actually lock in until after September 1. If Okafor remains under contract through October 16, his guarantee would increase to $200K, per Basketball Insiders.

Salary details are still trickling in for some recent signees, and it’s possible that a few more free agent deals between now and the start of the season will feature trigger dates. For now though, there aren’t many salary guarantee deadlines worth keeping an eye on this fall.

Pelicans Sign DeAndre Liggins To Two-Year Deal

FEBRUARY 5: The Pelicans have officially re-signed Liggins, the team announced today in a press release. The club now has a full 15-man roster once again.

FEBRUARY 4: The Pelicans are bringing back guard DeAndre Liggins on a two-year deal, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Liggins has inked a pair of 10-day contracts with the Pelicans already this season, with the most recent one expiring late in January. Woj noted that Liggins’ perimeter defense impressed the Pelicans, paving the way for a guaranteed contract.

Liggins, 29, started the season with the Bucks after a merry-go-round of an offseason. He was traded from the Mavericks to the Rockets; traded to the Hawks and waived; claimed by the Heat and waived; and finally claimed off waivers by the Bucks.

In 31 games in Milwaukee, Liggins averaged just 1.8 PPG. In four games with the Pelicans during his two 10-day deals, Liggins averaged 4.3 PPG.