Derrick Walton

Bulls Sign Derrick Walton Jr.

AUGUST 14: The Bulls have made it official, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed Walton.

AUGUST 10: Former Heat two-way player Derrick Walton Jr. intends to sign a new contract with the Bulls, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Walton, 23, inked a two-way contract with the Heat last July after going undrafted out of Michigan. The 6’1″ point guard stuck with the franchise all season, appearing in 16 games for the NBA squad and 27 for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the G League.

Although his role for the Heat was very limited, Walton averaged 16.1 PPG, 7.0 APG, and 4.0 RPG with a .442/.377/.902 shooting line in the NBAGL.

When Walton’s two-way agreement with the Heat expired at season’s end, the club tendered him a qualifying offer, retaining the right of first refusal. However, Miami withdrew that QO during the second week of July, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

While details of Walton’s deal with Chicago aren’t yet known, the club has a little flexibility. The Bulls currently have 17 players under contract — 14 on fully guaranteed deals, two on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals, and one on a two-way pact. As such, the team could give Walton a camp deal and allow him to compete for the last spot on the 15-man regular season roster, or it could ink him to a two-way contract.

Central Notes: Arcidiacono, Dekker, Walton, Clarkson

The way that Ryan Arcidiacono‘s contract with the Bulls is structured to keep him eligible for the G League, Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus tweets. Arcidiacano has a $50K guarantee, which will allow him to play with the Windy City Bulls. He signed a minimum one-year deal worth $1,349,383. The 6’3” guard out of Villanova appeared in 24 NBA games last season as a two-way player, averaging 2.0 points in nearly 13 minutes of action. He posted a 13.8/4.5/8.6 line in 37 G League games.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • The Clippers will send $1,247,494 to the Cavaliers as part of the Sam Dekker trade, which was made official on Tuesday, Pincus reveals in another tweet. That amount isn’t random — it’s the exact difference between Dekker’s salary and a veteran’s minimum salary, essentially allowing the Cavs to take a flier on the forward at the minimum.
  • Derrick Walton Jr. gives the Bulls another alternative, along with Arcidiacono, to Cameron Payne as Kris Dunn‘s backup, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago notes. Walton is expected to sign with Chicago, according to his agent, after the Heat cut ties with the former University of Michigan floor leader last month. Walton is a better perimeter shooter than Payne, who is more comfortable having the ball in his hands and running pick-and-rolls, Michael Walton continues. The Bulls have a number of players who can create for themselves, so Walton might be a better fit behind Dunn, Michael Walton adds.
  • Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson is unlikely to play for Philippines in this month’s Asian Games, according to a Sportando report. Clarkson was a late addition to their national team but won’t be able to join them in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Heat Notes: Trade Rumors, Walton, Haslem, Free Agents

Don’t be surprised if the Heat keep their current roster together for a while despite a flurry of trade rumors surrounding the team, Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel writes in a mailbag column. Numerous Miami players have been mentioned in possible deals, with Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson among the most prominent.

Winderman notes that team president Pat Riley indicated in a media session that month that he would like to keep the current core together to see what it can accomplish. A deal could still happen before training camp opens in late September, but Winderman believes it would be more of a surprise, rather than something that has been rumored for weeks.

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • Derrick Walton may go on to better things with the Bulls, but the Heat didn’t have playing time to offer him, Winderman adds in the same piece. The 23-year-old guard is close to a deal with Chicago after Miami pulled his qualifying offer last month. The Heat have a crowded backcourt with Goran DragicTyler JohnsonWayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder all established, Waiters returning from ankle surgery and Dwyane Wade possibly wanting to play another season. Walton appeared in 16 games last year as a two-way player.
  • The Heat are giving up a roster spot by holding onto veteran forward Udonis Haslem if coach Erik Spoelstra refuses to play him, Winderman states in a separate mailbag. Haslem, 38, has developed into a virtual assistant coach, getting into 14 games last season and 16 the year before. Even so, he has a standing offer to return to the team if he wants to keep playing.
  • The Heat don’t have much playing time to offer combo guards or big men, which is why Mario Chalmers and Jahlil Okafor didn’t consider Miami before signing elsewhere, Winderman writes in another mailbag. Along with the logjam in the backcourt, the Heat have Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo all competing f0r playing time in the middle. Winderman speculates that the team could look for help at small forward if either Wade or Haslem doesn’t return.

Heat Notes: Trade Talks, Johnson, Whiteside

The Heat have been looking to shed salary, having made Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters available in trade talks, two rival high-ranking executives tell Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

According to those execs, however, Miami has been unwilling to attach a future first-round pick or a young player like Justise Winslow or Josh Richardson to those highly-paid veterans. As Jackson details, the Heat’s preference would be to move a big contract like Johnson’s for a lesser-paid – and perhaps less effective player – or a draft pick.

Whiteside, Johnson, and Waiters aren’t bad players, but they’re not positive trade assets on their current contracts, which span multiple seasons and will pay them $25.4MM, 19.2MM, and $11.6MM respectively in 2018/19. As such, the Heat will likely have to adjust their expectations and their asking price if they hope to move any of those players.

Here are several more notes out of South Beach:

  • In an article for The Miami Herald, Barry Jackson explores the Heat’s options with Tyler Johnson‘s contract and notes that agent Mark Bartelstein isn’t ruling the possibility of Derrick Walton returning to the Heat. Miami withdrew Walton’s two-way qualifying offer earlier this week.
  • Heat head coach Erik Spoeltra appears committed to a fresh start with Hassan Whiteside, telling reporters this week that he has been in “constant contact” with the veteran center this summer (link via The Miami Herald). “I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan. I know he’s looking forward to that,” Spoelstra said. “And we still have a good part of the summer to get better. I think Hassan having an opportunity to start off the season healthy will be a really big boost for us.”
  • The Heat remain on the lookout for under-the-radar free agents who are participating in the Las Vegas Summer League or holding individual workouts in Vegas this week, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Guys are getting two-ways during Summer League right now,” assistant GM Adam Simon said. “So those guys come off the table. So my job, our job, is to make sure we’re aware of all players that are available and then when it’s time to make decisions, then, as a group, we make those decisions.”
  • In a separate article for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman examines how the Heat will handle their logjam at shooting guard with Wayne Ellington re-signing and a Dwyane Wade return still in play.

Heat Withdraw Derrick Walton’s Qualifying Offer

The Heat have withdrawn Derrick Walton‘s qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions.

A two-way player for Miami last season, Walton received a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The qualifying offer was a one-year, two-way contract with a $50K guarantee, and gave the Heat the ability to match any offer sheet Walton signed with another team. However, Miami has apparently given up its right of first refusal by rescinding its QO.

Teams around the NBA have until this Friday to withdraw qualifying offers for NBA and two-way restricted free agents. If clubs keep their QOs on the table beyond that date, they can’t be withdrawn without the player’s consent for the rest of the summer.

[RELATED: Key 2018 NBA Offseason Dates, Deadlines]

Walton, 23, saw limited action in 16 games for the Heat last season, playing more extensively for the club’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In 27 NBAGL contests, the point guard averaged 16.1 PPG and 7.0 APG with a .442/.377/.902 shooting line.

Duncan Robinson is currently occupying one of the Heat’s two-way contract slots. With Walton seemingly no longer in the mix for the other spot, Miami should have a two-way opening going forward.

Two-Way QO Decisions: Walton, Cooke, Craig, More

Derrick Walton Jr. has received a qualifying offer from the Heat, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets. Walton, who had been on a two-way contract with the Heat, will thus be a restricted free agent next month. The undrafted 6’1” point guard out of Michigan appeared in 16 games with Miami last season.

As is the case for all two-way players who remain eligible to sign another two-way deal, the qualifying offer Walton received from the Heat will be a two-way contract offer with a $50K guarantee.

We have several other qualifying offer decisions involving two-way players to pass along:

  • The Pelicans will not make Charles Cooke a qualifying offer, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. Cooke, an undrafted 6’5” shooting guard out of Dayton, appeared in 13 games for the Pelicans.
  • The Nuggets made a qualifying offer to Torrey Craig, ensuring he’ll be a restricted free agent, Gina Mizell of the Denver Post writes.  The 6’6” Craig saw quite a bit of action with Denver last season, averaging 4.2 PP and 3.3 RPG in 16.1 MPG while making 39 appearances. The 27-year-old went undrafted in 2014, then played in Australia and New Zealand before the Nuggets signed him.
  • The Magic will not make a qualifying offer to Jamel Artis, Sportando tweets. The 6’7” Artis, who went undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2017, saw action in 15 games and averaged 5.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.2 APG in 18.6 MPG. Artis will be on the Cavaliers‘ Summer League squad, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets.
  • The Kings have issued a qualifying offer to two-way player JaKarr Sampson, per RealGM’s transactions log. No QO is listed for Jack Cooley, Sacramento’s other two-way player, so it’s possible Cooley will reach the market as an unrestricted free agent.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Heat Make Qualifying Offer To Derrick Jones

The Heat have tendered a qualifying offer to two-way player Derrick Jones, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

The move comes with minimal financial risk, as qualifying offers for players on two-way contracts are just $77K. Jones will now be a restricted free agent, and Miami will be able to match any offers he receives.

The rookie forward originally signed with the Suns last fall, but played just six games before being waived in December. He joined the Heat three weeks later and started eight games while the team was dealing with multiple injuries. Jones played 14 games in Miami, averaging 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per night.

The Heat will have to make a similar decision soon with guard Derrick Walton, their other two-way player, Winderman notes. They also must determine whether to pick up the guarantee on Rodney McGruder’s $1,544,951 contract for next season by June 29. They turned down their 2018/19 option on Jordan Mickey last month.

Southeast Notes: Batum, Fournier, Heat, Wade

In a mailbag piece for The Charlotte Observer, Rick Bonnell argues that despite the frustration voiced by fans over the contract of Nicolas Batum, who’s still owed $76.7MM in guaranteed money over the next three seasons, the Hornets should not even consider waiving the swingman.

That’s because under the new CBA rules, Batum’s salary would continue counting against the Hornets’ cap even after his release, as there is no longer an amnesty provision incorporated into the new CBA. Moreover, the Hornets had more issues this season than Batum.

Instead, Bonnell suggests that Batum’s contract, although troublesome, is not “untradeable,” and that the Hornets should be able to trade Batum away if they are willing to take on some other bad contracts in return.

And in another article for the Observer, Bonnell opines that Batum doesn’t necessarily need to be traded. Rather, the Hornets’ next head coach should look to resurrect Batum’s game, which may mean letting him handle the ball more as arguably the team’s top ball-mover and facilitator.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • After a tough season in which his team finished 25-57 and missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, Magic guard Evan Fournier plans on joining his countrymen on the French National Team for the third window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, he tells FIBA.
  • In a season-ending piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Ira Winderman gives his thoughts and other information on the 17 players who finished the 2017/18 NBA season as members of the Heat – including two-way players Derrick Walton Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr.
  • In another article for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman compares this upcoming offseason to the summer of 2016, when Dwyane Wade left the Heat for Chicago. Ultimately, Winderman believes that unlike two years ago, it’ll be wholly up to Wade as to whether he wants to play in Miami next season, as long as he’s willing to accept a reasonable contract.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Prince, Gordon/Isaac, Johnson

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is excited about the prospect of getting the team’s two-way players, Derrick Jones Jr. and Derrick Walton, back with the team this weekend, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

With the G League regular season concluding tomorrow, the 45-day restriction upon two-way players is lifted, freeing them to return to the NBA for the remainder of the regular season. Jones Jr. is back with the Heat for tonight’s game against Oklahoma City, with Walton joining the team before Sunday’s game in Indiana. As for the two-way system itself, Spoelstra is a fan, even though he thinks a few issues need ironing out.

“The system is a little bit clumsy, but I’m sure we’ll iron that all out in years to come. I’m a big fan of the two-way contract. I think it’s good for teams, it’s good for the player. We’ve seen the benefits of developing our guys with us (the Heat), but also getting those guys a lot of game reps in our culture, in Sioux Falls.”

Jones Jr., 21, is averaging 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game this season for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G League affiliate, while also starting eight games for the Heat during the team’s struggle through injuries. Asked whether his development is of importance to the team, Spoelstra said of course:

“Absolutely. We always envision where a player can go. We do that with an open mind and a commitment to our player development. He’s improved this year with us and that’s worth noting, because he’s committed to our (the Heat’s) process. I think he has to break into this program as a defensive-minded player. That’s really where his potential is. It’s been very intentional that we try to get him on the best wing opponent every night and really embrace that challenge regardless of how many minutes he plays and what his offensive responsibility is. He has to guard, he has to be able to impact on that side of the floor. And that got better. It still has a long ways to go, but he’s starting to understand where he can break through.”

As we’ve noted generally before, neither Jones Jr. nor Walton are playoff-eligible for the Heat unless signed to a standard contract before the final game of the regular season. This is unlikely as Miami already has 15 players on its roster.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks‘ forward Taurean Prince has improved his three-point prowess throughout his career, but no more so than this season, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, where he is shooting 40.4% from behind the stripe.
  • The Magic are excited to be able to play versatile forwards Aaron Gordon and rookie Jonathan Isaac together for the remainder of this season, writes John Denton of
  • Just in time for the playoffs, James Johnson is finally realizing the level of play the Heat expected when they signed him to a lucrative contract this summer, Winderman adds in another piece.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Heat, Howard, Wall

Heat center Hassan Whiteside believes his team’s lack of national exposure contributed to him being overlooked for the All-Star Game, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside is having a solid season, averaging 14.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per night, and the Heat are fourth in the East at 27-20, but Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love and Al Horford were selected ahead of him as reserve frontcourt players.

“You know, it’s confusing,” Whiteside said. “I get confused about it sometimes. Is it about stats? Or is it about winning?”

Of the 15 teams with the league’s best records, the Heat were the only ones not to have an All-Star. Whiteside suggested it’s because the team has barely appeared on national television. TNT hasn’t televised a single Miami game this season, while ESPN has shown just one, with another scheduled broadcast bumped for a Celtics-Timberwolves contest.

“The NBA pushes teams,” he said. “The NBA pushes guys. The media pushes people. There’s teams all got Christmas games that stink, so I’m not going to say what teams, but you all know those teams that shouldn’t be playing on Christmas.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
  • The Heat have taken a creative approach to getting maximum value out of their two-way players, Jackson adds in a separate story. Both are close to their NBA limit, with nine days left for Derrick Jones and six for Derrick Walton. Miami is conserving their time by not having them travel with the team on the flight home from Houston after Monday’s game and not having them at practice today. All two-way players will be eligible to join their teams after their G League season [or playoff run] is over, even if they have used all 45 days. For Jones and Walton, that will be March 24, unless Sioux Falls makes the postseason.
  • Gambling on Dwight Howard has turned out to be a good move, Hornets coach Steve Clifford tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Howard’s problems with free throws and turnovers haven’t gone away, but his coach contends the 32-year-old center has made a difference by still being a dominant rebounder and rim protector. “This might be his best [season] since his second year in Houston,” Clifford said.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is getting a strong reaction to his negative comments about John Wall, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. After the Wizards lost Monday in Dallas, Barea told reporters he doesn’t believe Wall is liked by his teammates. “I’ve never had a teammate say he didn’t like me,” Wall said to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). “If it’s true, nobody would be man enough to say it to me so I don’t believe it. … I don’t let that affect me.”