Derrick Williams

Turkey Next Stop For Derrick Williams

Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, will join defending Turkish Cup champion Fenerbahce, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Williams has reached agreement on a one-year contract.

It will be the third overseas team for Williams, who was never able to find a long-term NBA home. He signed with China’s Tianjin Gold Lions in 2017 and spent this season in Germany with Bayern Munich.

The 28-year-old forward was ticketed for stardom after two stellar years at Arizona, but lasted a little more than two seasons in Minnesota before being traded. He played for six teams in seven seasons, and his last NBA experience came in a 10-day contract with the Lakers in March of 2018.

Derrick Williams Expected To Play In Germany

SEPTEMBER 27: The agreement with Williams has been confirmed by Bayern Munich managing director Marko Pesic, Carchia reports. Williams traveled to Germany last week, but has not completed his physical because of an infection.

SEPTEMBER 18: Former lottery pick Derrick Williams appears poised to spend the 2018/19 season in Germany, according to multiple reports from international outlets. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando hears from a source that Williams has agreed to terms with Bayern Munich, after Eurohoops first reported that the veteran forward was “very close” to signing with the German club.

The second overall pick in the 2011 draft, Williams has appeared in 428 regular season NBA games over seven seasons for six teams. The 27-year-old, who has played most extensively for the Timberwolves and Kings, last appeared in the league during the 2017/18 season, joining the Lakers on a 10-day contract and seeing action in a pair of games.

While his professional résumé features plenty of NBA stops, Williams has a little international experience as well. The 6’8″ forward appeared in 15 games for China’s Tianjin Gold Lions during the 2017/18 season, averaging 20.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG.

Assuming the two sides complete their reported deal, Williams will be joining one of Europe’s top teams in Bayern Munich — in addition to playing in Germany’s BBL, Bayern Munich is also the only German club in the EuroLeague.

And-Ones: Superteams, Cook, Williams

With the 2018 NBA Finals now officially wrapped, the offseason has begun. Now, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report writes, players and teams around the league will waste no time scraping away for ways to conquer one of the sport’s greatest rosters. One of those options? Find a way to form an even more powerful superteam.

Berger writes about the rise of the modern superteam era, one that he says traces back over a decade to when the Celtics brought All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen aboard to team up with Paul Pierce and win a title. A feeling of futility matched up against those Hall of Famers, Cavaliers forward LeBron James says, contributed to his decision to in turn team up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade with the Heat.

More recently, it was what Berger calls a flaw in the salary cap system that allowed the Warriors to add Kevin Durant mere months after setting the all-time record for regular season wins. A boost in broadcasting revenue after the 2011 lockout precipitated a massive spike in the salary cap.

At the time, Berger writes, league commissioner Adam Silver pushed to spread the increase out over several seasons but the player’s union fought to keep the increase in one lump sum. The result? A $24MM salary cap increase that allowed the Warriors to sign a fourth superstar without giving up any major roster pieces.

There’s more from around the league:

  • Former Heat swingman Daequan Cook has signed an extension to return to Ironi Ness Ziona in Israel, international basketball reporter David Pick tweets. Cook last saw NBA action in 2012/13.
  • Though it’s only been seven years since he was drafted with the No. 2 pick, Derrick Williams has seen the NBA landscape around him do an about-face with regard to how it values the hybridization of player positions. Keith Langlois of Detroit’s official team site writes about how the journeyman forward auditioning for the Pistons is hoping that being a “tweener” can help him land another gig in the league.
  • Legendary hoops analyst Hubie Brown suffered a knee injury prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals and wasn’t able to broadcast over the radio, an ESPN report says. There’s no indication that the 84-year-old’s injury was self-inflicted after letting his emotions get the best of him.

Pistons Hosting Free-Agent Mini-Camp

While most NBA teams are spending their time hosting pre-draft workouts for draft-eligible prospects, the Pistons are concentrating their energy on the free agent market already, holding a free-agent minicamp today for multiple NBA hopefuls and a few former NBA players.

Bereft of a first round selection in the 2018 NBA Draft as a result of the club’s mid-season trade for Blake Griffin, the Pistons are surely hoping to get a jump start on the competition for the services of some lesser known free agents this summer.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com provides a look at the minicamp roster, with the most well-known name having to be former No. 2 overall pick, Derrick Williams, who holds career averages of 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 428 career contests.

Other invitees with NBA experience include Williams’ former teammate with the Cavs during the 2016/17 season, Jordan McRae, as well as five-year veteran John Jenkins, the No. 40 overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft – Diamond Stone, and a 10-day contract recipient from this past season – Marcus Thornton.

Lakers Sign Derrick Williams To 10-Day Deal

5:44pm: The signing is official, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet tweets. Williams will be available to play tonight.

7:54am: The Lakers are adding another former lottery pick to their roster, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who reports that free agent forward Derrick Williams is signing a 10-day contract with the club. No corresponding move will be necessary — the Lakers have 13 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Travis Wear on a 10-day deal, leaving one open roster spot.

Williams, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, has yet to play an NBA game this season. After playing for the Heat and Cavaliers in 2016/17, Williams went unsigned on the NBA free agent market and eventually headed to China to join the Tianjin Gold Lions. In 15 games in China, Williams posted 20.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG.

Before heading overseas to continue his career, the 26-year-old had appeared in 426 NBA regular season games, averaging 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG for the Timberwolves, Kings, Knicks, Heat, and Cavs. Although he has at times shown that he’s capable of being a solid rotation piece, Williams has never developed into the impact player Minnesota hoped for when the team drafted him one spot after Kyrie Irving seven years ago.

It remains to be seen whether Williams will get a chance to play regular minutes with the Lakers, but he’ll at least provide some frontcourt depth while Brandon Ingram recovers from a groin injury. He’ll be joining a roster littered with former lottery picks like himself — Williams will become the eighth current Laker who was a top-10 draft pick, and the third who was a No. 2 overall selection.

And-Ones: Jackson, Bennett, Williams, Clippers

Maryland sophomore forward Justin Jackson, a projected first-round pick, will miss the reminder of the season with a torn labrum, according to a school press release relayed by Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Jackson first suffered the injury before he joined the Terrapins and aggravated it numerous times this season. He’ll soon undergo surgery. The 6’7” Jackson was ranked as the No. 18 overall prospect by Jonathan Givony of ESPN earlier this month. He was averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

In other news from around the league:

  • Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, was acquired by the Celtics’ G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, according to the G-League team’s website. He was dealt by the Northern Arizona Suns. Bennett appeared in 14 games with Northern Arizona, averaging 11.7 PPG and 5.6 RPG.
  • Former NBA forward Derrick Williams has signed with the Tianjin Gold Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an ESPN report. Williams, 26, played a combined 50 games for the Cavaliers and Heat last season. The second overall pick in the 2011 draft also played for the Timberwolves, Kings and Knicks. He averaged 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG in his NBA career.
  • The Clippers have gotten lost in the shuffle in Los Angeles and it’s not going to get better considering the current state of the team, as Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register examines in a column. Owner Steve Ballmer has threatened to move the team to Inglewood but the Clippers’ lease at the Staples Center runs through 2024, Heisler continues. Seattle would be a natural landing place considering Ballmer’s roots there but he has brushed aside that speculation in the past, Heisler adds.

Five Notable Veteran Free Agents Still Available

While most noteworthy free agents came off the board in July, September brought with it a wave of pre-camp signings that saw the last few restricted free agents locked up, along with veteran unrestricted free agents like Tony Allen, Dante Cunningham, Aaron Brooks, and Shabazz Muhammad.

That wave of pre-camp signings created a scarcity of viable options on the list of 2017 free agents, but the shrinking group of available options still features a handful of intriguing vets. Here’s a breakdown of five names worth keeping an eye on:Deron Williams vertical

  1. Deron Williams, PG: While the former third overall pick is obviously no longer the player he was seven years ago – when he averaged 20+ PPG and 10+ APG – it was just last summer that he received $9MM from the Mavericks to be the club’s starting point guard. For the season, Williams averaged a respectable 11.0 PPG and 5.6 APG, with a .363 3PT% in 64 games for the Mavs and Cavs, but a disastrous showing in the NBA Finals against Golden State diminished his value heading into 2017/18. Still, he’s only 33 years old, and it would be surprising if he didn’t get an opportunity with an NBA team as a backup point guard this year.
  2. Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis is facing a five-game suspension to start the 2017/18 season and is coming off his worst year (8.5 PPG) since his rookie season. He’s not far removed from a 2014/15 campaign in which he averaged 18.9 PPG though, and while he’ll likely never match that figure again, this is only his age-32 season. He should still have something in the tank and could appeal to a team seeking a scorer off the bench.
  3. David Lee, PF: Like Ellis, Lee posted his worst scoring average since his rookie year last season, recording just 7.3 PPG. But Lee’s declining numbers were mostly a result of his new role in San Antonio — his .590 FG% was his best mark in a decade, and his per-minute averages weren’t far off from his career rates. Given how the value of offensive-minded, low-post bigs around the NBA has declined in recent years, however, it’s not a huge surprise that Lee has had trouble finding work.
  4. Derrick Williams, PF: Williams, of course, hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he was selected second overall in the 2011 draft. But he was a part of the Cavaliers team that went to the NBA Finals last season, and was solid when he saw action for the team, scoring 6.2 PPG on 50.5% shooting in 25 regular season contests. If former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett can get a training camp invite from an NBA team, it seems like Williams should be on a roster too.
  5. Spencer Hawes, C: Hawes’ contract made him an expendable piece in 2017, first in Charlotte and then in Milwaukee. After acquiring him at the trade deadline, the Bucks waived and stretched him in August to avoid the luxury-tax threshold. Like most of the other players on this list, Hawes’ best days are probably behind him, but his ability to knock down the occasional three-point shot (.350 career 3PT%) and to help out on the glass (9.0 career rebounds per 36 minutes) could make him a target for teams in need of frontcourt help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Bucks, Williams, Drummond, Pistons

The Bucks have a couple of options beyond making a trade to drop back below the luxury-tax line, as Gery Woelfel of WoelfelPressBox.com points out. Citing sources, Woelfel calculates the current Milwaukee payroll at $120.6MM, which would put it approximately $1.4MM over the tax threshold. The Bucks could shed some payroll by either releasing point guard Gary Payton Jr., who has a non-guaranteed $1.3MM deal, and/or waiving Spencer Hawes $6.5MM contract. By using the stretch provision, the Bucks could reduce Hawes’ 2017/18 cap hit by more than $4MM.

In other items involving the Central Division:

  • Unrestricted free agent forward Derrick Williams could wind up back with the Cavaliers, Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net reports. Williams has drawn little interest in the open market but the Cavs could sign him to a one-year, $2.4MM contract once they decide whether to trade Kyrie Irving, Amico adds. Williams averaged 6.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG on 51% shooting in 17.1 MPG over 25 regular-season games with Cleveland but was used sparingly in the playoffs.
  • Andre Drummond has already noticed a significant difference in his breathing and stamina since undergoing sinus surgery this summer to correct a deviated septum, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Playing at a high altitude in the NBA Africa Game in South Africa, the Pistons center said he was breathing much easier on and off the court, as he told Beard. “Just being able to breathe, I can’t even explain how great it feels to sleep easier and breathe easier when I play,” Drummond said. “I’m not worried about gasping for air when I go hard.” Drummond had been breathing mainly through one nostril during his NBA career prior to the surgery.
  • Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will have difficult decisions on his power forward rotation, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Tobias Harris could wind up splitting his time between both forward spots and the rest of the power forward minutes will be soaked up by a combination of Jon Leuer, Anthony Tolliver and second-year man Henry Ellenson. Leuer, who signed a four-year contract last summer, could wind up as the starter despite slumping badly after the All-Star break, Langlois continues. Tolliver signed up for his second stint with the franchise this summer and brings the elements of toughness and 3-point shooting, while Ellenson put his shot-making ability on display in summer-league action, Langlois adds.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Griffin, Luxury Tax, Lue

LeBron James had opposition within his family when he decided to return to the Cavaliers in 2014, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. James shares the information in an episode of “Uninterrupted,” his web-based production, which was taped during All-Star weekend and posted Friday. Gloria James remained angry about a derisive letter written by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert when LeBron left Cleveland for Miami. “Some people was on the fence,” James explains. “Even my wife was like, I ain’t, my mom and my wife was like I ain’t with that. … I had to finally just be like, you know mom it ain’t even really about [the Gilbert letter]. For me, going back is more of this. It’s more of a bigger picture. It’s more of all these kids, all these people, that need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I am that way out.”

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • If the Cavs wind up losing in the Finals, it won’t be easy to improve for next year’s run at the Warriors, according to Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The first decision will involve whether to re-sign GM David Griffin, whose contract runs out at the end of the month. Griffin was sought after by Orlando and Atlanta before they hired other candidates, as well as Milwaukee, which trimmed its GM search to three finalists this week. McMenamin and Windhorst talked to several anonymous sources to get player personnel advice, with suggestions including trading away Kevin Love and trying to acquire Paul George from the Pacers. Cleveland’s biggest obstacle in making any roster moves is its cap situation. The franchise paid $24MM in taxes this year and because of the repeater tax would be looking at a $38MM bill if they keep the same payroll next season. The salary commitment could be even higher if the team brings back free agent Kyle Korver, who the authors say can expect a deal similar to the $14MM per year that Jamal Crawford received last summer.
  • Coach Tyronn Lue deserves credit for not changing the team’s rotation or style of play in Game 4, notes Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com. After hearing public outcry to slow down the tempo, the Cavs responded with 49 points in the first quarter and 86 in the first half of a 137-116 win. That meant only two minutes for Derrick Williams, who will be a free agent this summer, and no playing time for Channing Frye, who has one year left on his deal at about $7.4MM.

NBA Finals Notes: Warriors Centers, Williams, Kerr

After being forced to unload Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli to create enough cap room to sign Kevin Durant, the Warriors were able to put together a competent center rotation for $4.9MM, writes Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated. Golden State devoted seven roster spots to the center position after adding Durant, with Zaza Pachulia, David West and JaVale McGee earning most of the playing time. All three signed one-year deals last offseason and will be free agents again this summer, as will James Michael McAdoo, who also saw playing time in Game 1.

There’s more this morning from the NBA Finals:

  • After six seasons of bouncing around the league on bad teams, Derrick Williams is enjoying his chance to play for a championship, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, Williams spent a little more than two seasons with the Timberwolves before being traded to the Kings. He played for the Knicks in 2015/16, then signed with the Heat last summer. He joined the Cavaliers after being waived in February. “That’s the thing, you’re learning from other greats, All-Stars on this team,” said Williams, who turned 26 last week. “The difference between this organization and others I’ve played in is we know which direction we’re going in. We know what the goal is each and every year, coming back individually better, playing together as a team, getting better as a team.”
  • Even with their convincing win in the opener, the Warriors miss having Steve Kerr on their bench, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Kerr, who is dealing with chronic pain from back surgery in 2015, is considering a return for tonight’s Game 2. “We miss his voice, obviously,” Klay Thompson said. “His knowledge of the game is incredible. Just his demeanour — he has such a calming demeanour. No moment is too big for him. And he just knows how to keep us in line, keep us focused. So does [interim coach] Mike Brown. Mike is doing a great job. But we definitely miss Steve.”
  • Adam Silver talked about the need for parity when he took over as commissioner, but he is presiding over his third straight Cavaliers-Warriors Finals matchup, notes Paul Flannery of SB Nation. It’s also the seventh straight year that LeBron James has been in the Finals, which raises questions about the NBA’s long-term popularity if it remains dominated by a few teams. “From a league standpoint, you always want to see great competition,” Silver said. “It’s what our fans want to see. It’s what we provide in this league. But having said that, this is real life. It’s not scripted, and it happens. So, sure, the fan in me would love to see more competition at times, but on the other hand, I’ve said it before, I think we should also celebrate excellence.”