DeSagana Diop

Western Notes: Knight, Diop, Douglas

Suns coach Earl Watson has already named his starting lineup for the regular season and second-year player Devin Booker received the nod at shooting guard, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reports. This means that Brandon Knight will shift into the sixth man role, Coro adds. “That’s the starting lineup for the season,” Watson said. “We’re not wasting time. We’re not lingering with inner-competition. Brandon Knight is not a bench player. He’s a starter in this league. He’s sacrificed the most for our group. He took it like the pro he is because he understands the opportunity that we have to be special. Do players like coming off the bench? No, and we embrace that. That’s the inner-competitive nature that we need.”

I knew at one point in my career I’d be a starter,” Booker told Coro. “I didn’t know it’d be this soon but I have put in that work to be one.” Here’s more from out West:

  • The Pelicans waived Chris Copeland earlier today in an effort to free up more minutes for players who are on the bubble to make the team’s regular season roster, according to coach Alvin Gentry, Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate relays. New Orleans had two healthy scratches, Robert Sacre and Alonzo Gee, in its preseason opening victory over the Mavericks on Saturday, the scribe notes.
  • The Jazz have hired former NBA player DeSagana Diop as a coaching associate, the team announced. As a coaching associate, Diop will assist the Jazz coaching staff in a variety of capacities including work on the court during practices and individual player workouts, video editing and analysis, and other team preparation, according to the press release.
  • Toney Douglas, who signed with the Cavaliers earlier today, also drew interest from the Nuggets and the Suns, Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net relays (via Twitter).

Wizards Likely To Sign Drew Gooden

TUESDAY, 8:23am: J. Michael of CSNWashington adds Antawn Jamison and Justin Hamilton to the list of others the Wizards are considering, but Michael confirms that Gooden is the favorite to land a 10-day deal. The team may also hold off on signing anyone to give Chris Singleton a shot at playing time, Michael writes.

MONDAY, 5:11pm: Gooden will be in D.C. tomorrow to ink his deal with the Wizards, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.  Meanwhile, Michael Lee of the Washington Post (on Twitter) hears that it’s “unlikely” that Washington will sign anyone before tomorrow night’s game against the Magic.  He cites Lou Amundson and DeSagana Diop as other 10-day possibilities for the Wizards.

4:11pm: It’s likely that the Wizards will sign Drew Gooden to a 10-day deal, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  The 32-year-old hasn’t stepped foot on an NBA court since April of last year but he could help fortify Washington’s frontcourt depth in the wake of Nene‘s injury.

We learned last month that Gooden was working out in hopes of landing an NBA deal.  Over his 16 games in Milwaukee last season, the 11-year veteran averaged 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game, which added up to a PER of 18.88.  The Bucks wound up using the amnesty clause on the 6’11” big man over the summer, taking his $13.37MM salary between this season and next off of their books.

While other amnesty victims from this past summer like Metta World Peace and Mike Miller were able to hook on elsewhere, there were few, if any, nibbles on Gooden.

Cavs Waive DeSagana Diop, Three Others

The Cavaliers appear to have finalized their roster for opening night, having released four players to reduce their roster count to 15 players. The team announced today in a press release that it has waived DeSagana Diop, Kenny Kadji, Jermaine Taylor, and Elliot Williams.

The roster decisions aren’t a huge surprise for the Cavs, who were expected to hang on to camp invitees Henry Sims and Matthew Dellavedova. Diop, Kadji, Taylor, and Williams were all believed to be on fully non-guaranteed contracts, so they won’t affect Cleveland’s books at all this season.

Eastern Notes: Mason, Irving, Cavs, Magic

It took a while for Roger Mason Jr. to land with an NBA team this offseason, as Mason didn’t sign with the Heat until late September. However, that doesn’t mean there was no other interest in the veteran shooter. According to Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report (via Twitter), Mason had also been considering the Bulls before a 45-minute conversation with Ray Allen sold him on Miami.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • When asked by a young fan at a community event if he’d leave Cleveland like LeBron James did, Kyrie Irving said he wouldn’t, as Sean Highkin of USA Today details. While we probably shouldn’t assume that’s set in stone, it’ll likely be a while before the Cavs guard hits the open market anyway. Irving still has two seasons remaining on his rookie contract and will be a strong candidate for a long-term extension a year from now.
  • While some observers believe that DeSagana Diop has the inside track on securing a reserve roster spot with the Cavs, Kenny Kadji is making a pretty strong case for the job, writes Bob Finnan of The Plain Dealer (Sulia link). We heard yesterday from another Cleveland scribe, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, that Henry Sims may be Kadji’s primary competition for a roster spot.
  • The Magic see Jacksonville as a good location for a potential D-League affiliate, but it’s not the only possibility, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic’s D-League affiliate for the 2013/14 season is the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, a team they share with the Bobcats, Pistons, Pacers, Grizzlies, and Bucks.
  • New Celtics big man Vitor Faverani isn’t the most verbose guy in the league, but he offers Boston a lot in the way of physical play and pick and rolls, according to Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Cavs Notes: Diop, Waiters, Dellavedova, Brown

Almost 12 years after being selected by Cleveland with the 8th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft, DeSagana Diop discusses his opportunity to play for the Cavaliers again (Bob Finnan of The News-Herald and Morning Journal). The seven-foot center is on a make good, non-guaranteed contract. 

Head coach Mike Brown offered his take on Diop's chances to make the roster: (Diop) was brought in to have an opportunity to make this team…I don’t think he’s guaranteed, so this is going to be a process for him of trying to make this team. We like his size…Obviously, he’s an NBA veteran who has played heavy minutes in this league at the center position. If he can go, it can help us not only at game time but at practice time, too."

Here are some more notes to share out of Cleveland tonight: 

  • Dion Waiters is in much better shape and has a better frame of mind heading into his sophomore season, writes Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com
  • The Plain Dealer's Jodie Valade profiles guard Matthew Dellavedova, who has a two-year partially-guaranteed deal with the Cavs. The 6'4 point guard had reportedly first caught the eye of coach Brown at St. Mary's while Brown's son Elijah had been attending a recruiting visit last year.
  • Valade had more comments to relay from Brown, who implied that money and position won't be a factor when determining the final roster: "If I think somebody can help us play and win? He's gonna make the team…Just because a guy has a little bit of money or something like that, that doesn't necessarily mean he's on the team." 
  • Brown added that big men won't necessarily have the edge over guards, even with the injury history of Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao, and Anthony Bennett: "Yeah, with the history of (Bynym, Varejao, and Bennett), you want to make sure you have some depth (in the frontcourt)…(but) I'm not going to take a big who can't play just to fill depth in that area. So it's going to come down to who I think is going to help us win, and the right fit for the team." 
  • With that being said, Brown still hasn't ruled out anyone yet (Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio). 
  • Mary Schmitt-Boyer of The Plain Dealer notes that Brown is thrilled with the progress his team has made after five grueling practices so far. 

Read more

Cavs Sign DeSagana Diop, Michael Lee

The Cavaliers have increased their training camp roster to the maximum allowable 20 players, rounding out their list of camp invitees with DeSagana Diop and Michael Lee, the team announced today in a press release.

Several Cleveland camp invitees have been reported within the last couple days, including Elliot Williams, Jermaine Taylor, and Henry Sims. Diop and Lee will join those players and others in a competition for the final couple spots on the regular season roster.

Diop, 31, was drafted by the Cavs eighth overall back in 2001, and spent four underwhelming seasons with the team before heading to Dallas as a free agent. Diop has spent the last few years with the Bobcats, and while he never developed into more than an extra rebounder and defender off the bench, he earned $7.37MM in 2012/13.

Lee, meanwhile, played his college ball at St. Bonaventure before going undrafted in 2008. He has played internationally since then, spending time on clubs in Ukraine, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, and France.

Read more

Knicks Split On Signing Earl Barron

While the Knicks coaching staff would like to add free-agent big man Earl Barron, the team's front office is not in any hurry to do so, writes Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report.  This is not the first time we have heard that the Knicks like Barron from Zwerling, who cites several sources in his story, presumably making Barron a solid candidate to land one of the last three Knicks roster spots should they bring him aboard. 

Zwerling also confirms what we heard yesterday; that the Knicks have worked out a slew of free agents in preparation for training camp, which he says is contributing to the disagreement on Barron.  Zwerling reports that center Hamed Haddadi, who worked out for the Knicks last month, hopes to find a team this week but that team is unlikely to be New York.  Cole Aldrich and DeSagana Diop are another pair of free agent big men that have worked out with the Knicks.

Apparently, Barron shot the ball well in his Monday workout with the Jazz.  According to Zwerling's source close to Barron, while the free agent hopes to land in New York and may use Utah's interest as leverage to speed up the process, he is not waiting on the Knicks.

Knicks Worked Out Diop, Aldrich, Others

2:29pm: Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Reports adds DeSagana Diop to the list of players who participated in the Knicks' workouts this week (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld isn't sure if Hassan Whiteside worked out for the Knicks, but says the team has expressed interest in the former King (Twitter link).

1:47pm: The Knicks may have 16 players under contract, but the team is still eyeing free agents and weighing the possibility of adding a few more bodies to its camp roster. The club has conducted mini-camp workouts this week, and according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter links), Ike Diogu, Cole Aldrich, and Josh Powell are among the players who have auditioned.

Reports yesterday indicated that Ricky Davis and Justin Brownlee were also working out as part of the Knicks' mini-camp, so the team seems to be casting a wide net as it searches for potential contributors.

Despite the fact that the Knicks are already carrying more than 15 players, only 12 of those contracts are fully guaranteed. C.J. Leslie and Jeremy Tyler have small guarantees – $200K and $100K, respectively – which could give them an inside track at roster spots, but Tyler is recovering from foot surgery, so it's no surprise that New York is still auditioning big men.

If we assume Leslie will earn a roster spot, that would leave two possible openings for Tyler, Chris Smith, Toure Murry, and up to four more camp invitees.

Cavs Rumors: Irving, Harangody, Jones, Varejao

The Cavaliers have given their fans some thrills the past two nights, upsetting the Hawks on Alonzo Gee's game-winner on Friday and losing a heart-breaker Saturday in double overtime to the Blazers. The excitement in Cleveland is more often coming in the form of close games than in victories, as the absence of Kyrie Irving has prompted the Cavs to fall into a tie with the Raptors for the league's second-worst record. As Cleveland tries to tread water amid Irving's absence, there's more on the second-year point guard, and we've got that along with other news on the team right here:

  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald looks ahead to Irving's next contract, and interprets recent comments from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to indicate the team would trade Irving if he's unwilling to sign an extension when he's eligible in the summer of 2014.
  • One agent called the Cavs' qualifying offer this summer to Luke Harangody "a $1MM gift," and the Cavs are now on the hook for that deal, actually worth a little more than $1.054MM, even though the team waived Harangody this week to make room for Kevin Jones, as Finnan documents. The Cavs wanted to snatch up before other NBA clubs got a chance, Finnan also notes.
  • It's easy to tell the Cavs aren't thinking about the playoffs this year judging by the free agents they signed this summer, Finnan opines, observing that coach Byron Scott misses Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker.
  • Teams that would covet Anderson Varejao in a trade with the Cavaliers are top-tier clubs with late first-round draft picks, making them unlikely partners in a deal, notes Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer.
  • Omri Casspi is disheartened by his lack of playing time for the Cavs, after having spent the summer working on his game as prescribed by Scott, and the Israeli small forward is looking forward to free agency next summer, as HoopsWorld's Lang Greene details.
  • Greene also checks in with DeSagana Diop, the eighth overall pick by the Cavs in the 2001 draft. Diop, now with the Bobcats, is also set to hit free agency in the offseason, but the 30-year-old center wants to stay in Charlotte until he retires, which he figures will happen in a couple of years. "I like Charlotte a lot," Diop said. "I get along with the coach (Mike Dunlap), the general manager (Rich Cho) and the good people of Charlotte. I’m just going one day at a time this season and see what happens this summer."

Bobcats Unlikely To Sign-And-Trade For Landry

The Bobcats and Warriors were said to be "neck and neck" in the race for free agent forward Carl Landry, with Charlotte potentially able to offer more money via a sign-and-trade deal. However, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, it's unlikely the Bobcats will be able to pull off a sign-and-trade to acquire Landry (Twitter link).

There are a number of obstacles in the way of a sign-and-trade involving Landry, the Bobcats, and the Hornets. Not only would Landry have to agree to go to the Bobcats, but the Hornets would have to agree to send him to Charlotte, which would mean acquiring a palatable package in return. One report suggested that DeSagana Diop's expiring contract could interest the Hornets, and I'd imagine New Orleans would also acquire a draft pick in any Diop/Landry swap. But based on Bonnell's tweet, it doesn't appear those talks have much momentum.

If the Bobcats fall out of the running for Landry, the Warriors certainly look like the odds-on favorite to land him. Golden State probably can't use its full $5MM mid-level exception, but should be able to offer at least a portion of it to Landry. As I wrote last week, the 28-year-old forward now has the best 2011/12 PER of all the remaining free agents.