Denzel Valentine

Denzel Valentine, Allen Crabbe Sign G League Contracts

A pair of veteran wings have signed NBA G League contracts, according to reports. Jay King of The Athletic (Twitter link) says Denzel Valentine is headed to the NBAGL, while Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) says Allen Crabbe is doing the same.

Valentine will join the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate, sources tell King. The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Valentine has appeared in 256 total regular season games for the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Jazz.

The former Michigan State swingman had a promising 2017/18 season (10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, .386 3PT%) with the Bulls, but missed the entire ’18/19 campaign due to an ankle injury and has provided inconsistent production since then. After starting this season in Cleveland, Valentine was traded to the Knicks in the three-team Rajon Rondo deal and was subsequently waived. He spent 10 days with the Jazz on a hardship contract this month — that deal expired earlier this week.

Crabbe has been out of the NBA since the 2019/20 season, having been waived by Minnesota in February 2020. The 29-year-old has a solid résumé though, with 381 regular season appearances (24.0 MPG) for the Trail Blazers, Nets, Hawks, and Timberwolves. He averaged 9.1 PPG and 2.8 RPG with a .387 3PT% during his seven NBA seasons.

It’s unclear at this point which G League team Crabbe will join as he seeks an NBA comeback.

Jazz Sign Denzel Valentine To 10-Day Contract

JANUARY 10, 1:02pm: The Jazz have officially signed Valentine to a 10-day contract, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

Utah pivoted away from Ennis because he was a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and the Jazz wanted to make sure their newly-added player could be cleared in advance of Monday’s game vs. Detroit, Charania tweets.


JANUARY 9, 7:12pm: Utah no longer plans to sign James Ennis to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Instead, the team will sign forward Denzel Valentine in his place, Wojnarowski tweets.

Valentine holds five years of NBA experience and most recently played in Cleveland. He has appeared in 254 games in his career, averaging 7.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. In his 22 games with the Cavaliers this season, he averaged 2.9 PPG in 9.3 MPG, shooting 37.1% from the floor.


JANUARY 9, 5:52pm: The Jazz plan to sign veteran forward James Ennis to a 10-day contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Ennis most recently played on 10-day contracts with the Nets and Clippers.

Utah lost forwards Rudy Gay and Elijah Hughes to the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Sunday, opening space to add Ennis to the rotation. The team is also missing Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles due to the protocols.

For his career, Ennis has averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game across 392 appearances, making stops with nine different NBA teams. In 41 games with the Magic last season, the 31-year-old averaged 8.4 PPG and 4.0 RPG, shooting 43.3% from three-point range.

Utah owns the third-best record in the Western Conference at 28-12. The team is also 17-3 at home and has upcoming games against Detroit on Monday and Cleveland on Wednesday.

Knicks Waive Denzel Valentine

4:56pm: The Knicks have officially waived Valentine, the team tweets.


4:20pm: The Knicks are placing Denzel Valentine on waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Valentine was just acquired from Cleveland in a three-team deal but New York obviously had no plans to retain the five-year veteran guard.

The dead-money cap hit for waiving Valentine is $880,509. However, New York received $1.1MM from the Lakers in the trade, offsetting the move. Wayne Selden was also waived on Monday, so New York will now have an open spot on the 15-man roster.

Valentine appeared in 22 games off the bench for Cleveland, averaging 2.9 PPG in 9.3 MPG. Valentine, who played four seasons for Chicago, will now try to hook onto another team in free agency.

Cavs, Lakers, Knicks Officially Complete Rajon Rondo Trade

The Cavaliers, Lakers, and Knicks have officially completed the trade sending Rajon Rondo to Cleveland, the teams announced today in a series of press releases. The deal, which was first reported las Thursday and was expanded today to include New York, breaks down as follows:

  • Cavaliers acquire Rondo (from Lakers).
  • Knicks acquire Denzel Valentine (from Cavaliers), the draft rights to Wang Zhelin (from Lakers), the draft rights to Brad Newley (from Lakers), and $1.1MM in cash (from Lakers).
  • Lakers acquire the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie (from Knicks).

It’s a straightforward swap from Cleveland’s perspective — the Cavaliers simply acquired Rondo in exchange for Valentine. Both players are on minimum-salary contracts, but Rondo’s deal is guaranteed (Valentine’s isn’t) and he fills a greater need for a Cavs team that just lost veteran point guard Ricky Rubio for the season due to a torn ACL.

The Knicks waived Wayne Selden in order to make room on the 15-man room roster for Valentine. Both players are on non-guaranteed contracts, so if New York also cuts Valentine, the amount of money the team ended up paying to Selden and Valentine would work out to just over $800K, which is less than the $1.1MM in cash acquired from L.A.

The Knicks could also hang onto Valentine if they so choose, but that’s reportedly considered unlikely. Waiving him would open up the club’s 15th roster spot.

The Lakers, meanwhile, essentially decided to move on from Rondo and pay the Knicks a little money in order to reduce their end-of-season luxury tax bill and open up a roster spot. The exact amount of money Los Angeles saves will depend on how quickly that roster opening is filled, but the savings will exceed the $1.1MM the club sent to the Knicks. Stanley Johnson, who has played well on a 10-day contract, is a good candidate to become the team’s new 15th man.

The Lakers and Cavaliers will both create small traded player exceptions in the deal. L.A.’s will be worth about $1.67MM, while Cleveland’s will be worth approximately $858K.

This is the NBA’s first trade since October 6.

Knicks Waive Wayne Selden

The Knicks have placed veteran shooting guard Wayne Selden on waivers, league sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The team needed to open up a roster spot in order to complete its acquisition of Denzel Valentine and Selden was the most expendable player on the roster, since his minimum-salary contract isn’t fully guaranteed.

Selden, 27, has appeared in a total of 127 NBA games since making his debut in 2017, but only three of those appearances came this season. He had five points on 1-of-4 shooting in 19 total minutes for the Knicks in 2021/22.

Selden would’ve earned a $1,729,217 salary if he had remained under contract for the entire season. Because he’s being released now, he’ll instead make a prorated minimum of $785,104, which is also the amount that will apply to New York’s team salary. If Selden is claimed on waivers, he’d be back on track to earn his full salary and he’d be removed entirely from the Knicks’ cap, but that’s probably a long shot.

With a newly-opened roster spot, the Knicks are free to officially finalize their three-team trade with the Cavaliers and Lakers to acquire Valentine. Like Selden, Valentine doesn’t have a fully guaranteed salary, so the club will need to decide this week whether or not to keep him around beyond Friday’s salary guarantee deadline. New York is unlikely to hang onto Valentine for the season, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Cavs’ Rondo Acquisition Now Three-Team Trade Involving Knicks

10:29am: Along with Valentine, the Knicks are acquiring $1.1MM in cash in the deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links), who says New York will give up the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie and will acquire the draft rights to two other players, though none of them are expected to ever play in the NBA.

While we still need some gaps filled in here, I suspect it’s the Lakers – not the Cavs – sending the cash to New York and acquiring Labeyrie’s rights.

New York will decide soon on whether to waive Valentine or have him remain on the roster, Woj adds. As noted below, the Knicks will have to cut a player – likely Selden – in order to complete the deal.


10:20am: The trade sending Rajon Rondo from the Lakers to the Cavaliers, which hasn’t yet been officially finalized, is being expanded to include a third team, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, the Cavs will send Denzel Valentine to the Knicks rather than to the Lakers.

With Rondo going from Los Angeles to Cleveland and Valentine headed from Cleveland to New York, the Knicks will presumably need to send something to the Lakers to complete the deal.

The Lakers may also send a small extra asset to New York to incentivize the Knicks to take on Valentine, whom L.A. reportedly intended to waive. If the Lakers don’t have to acquire a player in the three-team swap, their tax savings will be greater than if they’d cut Valentine and been on the hook for his partially guaranteed cap hit.

Meanwhile, if the Knicks aren’t sending a player out in the deal, they’ll have to waive someone in order to acquire Valentine, whether or not they plan to keep him. Wayne Selden, whose salary isn’t fully guaranteed, is New York’s most likely candidate to be cut.

With a number of details still unclear, we’ll await more info for further clarity. But it sounds like the trade could be officially completed as soon as today.

Rondo Trade Notes: Grades, Finances, More Details

The Cavaliers are set to acquire Rajon Rondo from the Lakers in exchange for Denzel Valentine, which will mark the first trade of the 2021/22 regular season. Valentine, who’s on a partially guaranteed contract, is expected to be waived by Los Angeles.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter), Rondo is enthusiastic about the opportunity to play more minutes with the young Cavs and was happy to learn of the trade after the Lakers informed him that it was a possibility.

Here are some more details on the transaction, which has yet to be officially completed:

  • In an Insider article for ESPN-plus, Kevin Pelton grades the trade for both teams. He likes the Lakers’ side of things more and isn’t optimistic about Rondo’s performance for the remainder of the regular season.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic, however, thinks it’s a deal that makes sense for both the Cavs and the Lakers. Hollinger notes that Cleveland is desperate for another ball-handler after season-ending injuries to Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton, and with Darius Garland and Cedi Osman still in the health and safety protocols. With Rondo as a short-term solution, the Cavs will buy themselves some time to remain in the playoff hunt, but Hollinger thinks they’ll still be active on the trade market in search for more backcourt help. The Lakers, meanwhile, save approximately $3.1MM in luxury tax payments and free up a roster spot, presumably to sign Stanley Johnson.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN provides a video breakdown of his thoughts on the trade. Like Hollinger, Marks thinks the deal is a win-win for both teams, with the Lakers saving money and opening a roster spot, and Rondo providing leadership and high basketball IQ to the Cavs. He views it as a no-risk deal for Cleveland.

Cavaliers To Acquire Rajon Rondo From Lakers

DECEMBER 31, 11:17am: There are no other assets such as draft picks or cash included in the trade, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says it’s a straight swap: Rondo for Valentine.

Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link) provides some financial details on the deal, noting that each team will generate a small traded player exception.


DECEMBER 31, 10:08am: The Lakers will trade Rondo to the Cavaliers, according to Charania (via Twitter).

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Cleveland will send Denzel Valentine to Los Angeles in the deal. The Lakers are expected to waive Valentine, who has a partially guaranteed contract, Woj adds. That would open up a spot on L.A.’s 15-man roster and could save the team some money, depending on how long that roster spot remains open.

So far, there’s no indication that any other assets are involved in the swap, but it’s not yet official, so more details could trickle in.


DECEMBER 30, 5:30pm: The Cavaliers are in serious discussions with the Lakers to acquire point guard Rajon Rondo, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that the deal is expected to be completed as soon as Friday.

Cleveland lost Ricky Rubio to a season-ending torn left ACL on Wednesday and is seeking point depth in the veteran Rondo, who’s currently sidelined due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

In 18 games this season (16.1 MPG), the 35-year-old Rondo is averaging 3.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 3.7 APG. The four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion has seen his minutes and games played reduced in recent years, but he’s known for turning things up a notch in the playoffs. Given the Cavs’ lack of guard depth, acquiring Rondo could be a decent move, as Darius Garland has shown he can play well with other strong passers like Rubio.

Kevin Pangos, the only other point guard on Cleveland’s roster, will get his first career start Thursday against the Wizards, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Garland is currently sidelined in the protocols, leading to a big opportunity for Pangos. He was one of the better players in Europe over the past handful of years, so it will be interesting to monitor how he performs in his first prime-time action.

It’s not yet known what other pieces may be included in a Rondo deal, but a player technically isn’t required in return, since the point guard is on a one-year veteran’s minimum contract, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Lamar Stevens, Dean Wade and Ed Davis are all on non-guaranteed deals for the Cavaliers, while Denzel Valentine‘s contract is partially guaranteed at $500K (he’s already earned more than that by sticking with the team this long). Of the four players, I believe Valentine or Davis are the most likely to be traded/waived, as Wade and Stevens are both younger players the Cavs have developed over time.

Five More Cavaliers Players Enter Protocols

12:28 PM: The five players who have entered the protocols are Allen, Lamar Stevens, Dylan Windler, Denzel Valentine and RJ Nembhard, the Cavaliers announced (via Twitter). Their game with the Hawks Sunday has been postponed due to the outbreak.


11:24 AM: Tonight’s game between the Cavaliers and Hawks is expected to be postponed, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). It would be the third game of the season to be called off, following the Bulls’ games this week against the Pistons and Raptors.


11:21 AM: Center Jarrett Allen is among the five players being placed in the protocols, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Allen has been among the reasons for Cleveland’s turnaround, averaging 16.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 28 games.


10:30 AM: Five Cavaliers tested positive for COVID-19 today and there are concerns that the team may not have eight available players for tonight’s game in Atlanta, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Cleveland is already without Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro, who both entered the protocols this week.

Most players who would be eligible to join the team under the hardship provision are currently in Las Vegas for the G League Showcase, explains Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Travel issues would make it difficult for any of them to be in Atlanta by game time.

The Cleveland players haven’t been identified yet, but because they tested positive, they will have to spend 10 days in the protocols unless they can submit two consecutive negative tests for the virus at least 24 hours apart. The Cavaliers, one of the season’s early surprises with a 19-12 record, are scheduled to play four times in the next 10 days, including tonight’s game.

Follow all the latest COVID-19 updates in our daily tracker.

Central Notes: Cavs’ Rotation, Pacers’ TPE, Vaulet, Cunningham

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is planning on a 10-man rotation but the last two spots could change from game-to-game, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates.

“We’re working our way to what will be probably a 10-man rotation and then there’s different nights that are going to call for different things and we will go to those different guys,” Bickerstaff said.

By process of elimination, Denzel Valentine, Kevin Pangos, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and Mfiondu Kabengele are the players vying for those rotation minutes and each brings a different skill set to the table.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • The Pacers picked up a $7.33MM traded player exception from the Spurs in the Doug McDermott sign-and-trade but it’s highly unlikely they’ll use it this season, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. They were just $763,905 below the luxury tax line before dumping Edmond Sumner‘s contract on Wednesday, which moved them $2.8MM under the tax line. That’s still not nearly enough incentive to use the exception, since the franchise has no desire to be a taxpayer.
  • The Pacers received the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet in the Sumner trade with Brooklyn but he won’t be playing in the NBA this season, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star notes. He signed a two-year contract with AEK Athens in July. The 6’6” Vaulet was originally drafted by Charlotte in 2015.
  • Top pick Cade Cunningham sat out the Pistons‘ preseason opener against San Antonio on Wednesday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Cunningham is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.