Drew Eubanks

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Northwest players.

Jordan Clarkson, G, Jazz

  • 2022/23: $13.34MM
  • 2023/24: $14.26MM player option
  • Stock: Up

Clarkson is expected to decline his player option to land a long-term contract in free agency, which makes a lot of sense. He’s averaging career highs in points (20.8) and assists (4.4) per game and has matched his career best in rebounds per night (4.0) while posting a .444/.338/.816 shooting slash line (.558 true shooting percentage).

The veteran guard will turn 31 years old in the offseason, so this might be his last chance to land a major multiyear payday. He is an all-around poor defensive player, but his play-making has improved this season, and his shot-creation ability is widely coveted.

I don’t have a great feel for how much Clarkson might get in free agency. His representatives could point to the contracts signed by Anfernee Simons (four years, $100MM) and Jordan Poole (four years, $123MM guaranteed) last summer, for example – Clarkson is much older and has less upside, but his strengths, weaknesses and production are fairly similar to those players.

If I were a GM, I would be very hesitant to pay Clarkson that much money, but he has earned a raise on his current deal, that much is certain.

Udoka Azubuike, C, Jazz

  • 2022/23: $2.17MM
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

A former first-round pick (No. 27 overall in 2020), Azubuike has unfortunately dealt with a few significant ankle injuries in his brief NBA career, which has impacted his development. Utah declined its fourth-year team option on the 23-year-old big man before the season started, sending a strong signal that he wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans.

Azubuike has only appeared in 26 games this season for an average of 5.9 minutes per contest. It’s hard to get much of a read on someone who plays so little, but he is a limited offensive player who struggles at the free throw line (he shot 41.6% in four college seasons and is at 55.2% on very low volume in the NBA).

The remaining 17 games will essentially serve as an audition for Azubuike. How he performs — and if he gets minutes — could very well determine whether or not he’s able to land a guaranteed contract in the offseason. The odds of that happening seem lower than 50/50 at the moment.

Naz Reid, C, Timberwolves

  • 2022/23: $1.93MM
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Reid’s per 36 numbers have been quite consistent in each of his four seasons. So why is his stock up?

The primary reason is he’s shown that his game is scalable, meaning his production doesn’t suffer with more playing time. The 23-year-old is averaging 16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 block in 11 games as a fill-in starter (26.1 minutes), with the team going 6-5 in those contests. Playing well against reserves is one thing, but doing it over the course of a full game against starters is something entirely different.

Reid has slimmed down considerably since going undrafted out of LSU in 2019 and has shown that he is a quality backup center capable of spot starts. Something in the range of $8-11MM annually seems within reach — a massive increase on his current minimum-salary contract.

Jaylen Nowell, G, Timberwolves

  • 2022/23: $1.93MM
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

I liked what I saw from Nowell last season and thought he should have gotten more minutes at times. He is shifty with the ball with a quick first step, and shows some nascent play-making ability.

Something has been off with him for nearly the entire ‘22/23 season, which is unfortunate because he had a big opportunity to establish himself after the Rudy Gobert trade freed up backcourt playing time.

Maybe that’s part of the problem. He often looks like he’s trying too hard and forcing the issue instead of letting the game come to him, often a sign of a player pressing. The steep decline in three-point shooting — from 39.4% last season to 29.3% in ‘22/23 — looks like another mental hurdle, as he hesitates at times even when he’s wide open, instead of trusting himself and letting it fly.

Nowell is only 23 and on a minimum deal. He will get more than that in free agency, but probably not as much as he was aiming for before the season began.

Drew Eubanks, C, Trail Blazers

  • 2022/23: $1.84MM
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Another player on a minimum-salary deal, Eubanks plays within a clearly defined, limited offensive role of setting hard screens, rolling for the occasional lob, and crashing the offensive glass. His averages of 6.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks don’t exactly jump off the page, though he is shooting an impressive 68.3% from the field through 62 games (19 starts, 19.9 minutes).

However, he is an above-average defensive player who moves his feet well for a big man, allowing him to switch onto smaller players better than most centers. The 26-year-old is also a solid rim protector, making up for his relative lack of height (he’s 6’9”) with powerful leaping ability and solid timing while challenging and blocking shots.

Eubanks isn’t the type of player who is going to land a major payday in free agency, but I do think he’s solidified himself as a quality backup due to his consistent energy and the self-awareness he brings of knowing his role. The Blazers have been better when he’s on the court, which is always a positive sign. A multiyear deal in the range of $4-7MM per season seems pretty reasonable.

Blazers’ Nassir Little Out Six Weeks With Hip Fracture

Forward Nassir Little exited Tuesday’s loss to the Clippers with what was initially deemed a right hip strain. Further imaging revealed that Little had sustained a mild femoral head impaction fracture, and he’s expected to miss six weeks, the Trail Blazers announced in a press release.

Little, 22, signed a four-year, $28MM rookie scale extension before the 2022/23 season started (it kicks in next season). Through 21 games (15.3 minutes per night) for Portland, he’s averaging 5.5 points and 2.4 rebounds on .473/.372/.667 shooting.

Part of the reason Little accepted a relatively team-friendly deal is because he wanted “security” and “peace of mind.” But he also admitted that his injury history had played a factor.

I’m not gonna lie, I think my talent level is worth more than that,” Little said of his $28MM contract. “But with me having an injury history, and them still taking a chance on me, I want to be here. I’ll probably perform at a level that’s worth more than that, but being in Portland is what I want.”

Little was having a breakout third season in ’21/22 but it came to an early end when he underwent surgery on February 1 to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. In May, he underwent abdominal surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

Overall, he averaged 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds on .460/.331/.734 shooting in 42 games (25.9 MPG) last season.

The Blazers are dealing with several injured players at the moment (Twitter link). In addition to Little, second-year guard Keon Johnson (left hip pointer), star guard Damian Lillard (right soleus strain), and guard Gary Payton II (return to competition conditioning) are out Saturday at Utah, while wing Josh Hart (left ankle sprain) is doubtful and center Drew Eubanks (right hip contusion) is questionable.

Lillard is reportedly targeting a Sunday return at home against Indiana.

Payton, a key free agent addition, has yet to play this season after undergoing core muscle surgery in September. It was initially thought that he’d be available for the start of the regular season, but his progress has been slower than anticipated. The last update on his status was two weeks ago.

Portland had a great start to the season, going 10-4, but has lost seven of its past eight games to currently hold an 11-11 record, the 10th seed in the West.

Contract Details: DiVincenzo, Brown, Warren, Eubanks, Pinson

Donte DiVincenzo‘s new two-year contract with the Warriors includes a 15% trade kicker, Hoops Rumors has learned. Golden State signed DiVincenzo using a $4.5MM chunk of its taxpayer mid-level exception, leaving a leftover portion of $1,979,000 on that MLE. DiVincenzo’s second-year player option is worth $4,725,000.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts:

  • Bruce Brown‘s two-year deal with the Nuggets is worth the full taxpayer mid-level exception ($6,479,000), with the maximum allowable 5% raise for his second-year player option ($6,802,950), Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • T.J. Warren‘s one-year contract with the Nets is worth the veteran’s minimum, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Warren will earn a $2,628,597 salary while Brooklyn takes on a cap hit of $1,836,090 for the veteran forward.
  • As expected, the new one-year contracts Drew Eubanks (Trail Blazers) and Theo Pinson (Mavericks) are also worth the veteran’s minimum. Both deals are guaranteed.

Trail Blazers Re-Sign Drew Eubanks

JULY 7: Eubanks’ new contract with the Blazers is now official, per a team release.

“Drew’s work ethic and style of play left an imprint on us last season,” general manager Joe Cronin said in a statement. “His toughness and ability to finish at the rim will be assets to our frontcourt depth.”

JULY 1: Drew Eubanks will return to the Trail Blazers on a one-year contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal was confirmed by Eubanks’ agent, James Dunleavy.

Eubanks started last season with the Spurs before being shipped to Toronto at the trade deadline. He caught on with the Trail Blazers in late February and remained with the team through the end of the season on five 10-day contracts. Eubanks started all 22 games that he played for Portland and averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per night.

The 25-year-old big man signed with San Antonio in 2018 after going undrafted out of Oregon State. He spent more than three seasons as a backup for the Spurs before being traded.

Blazers Sign Eubanks, Dunn To Rest-Of-Season Hardship Deals

2:45pm: The Blazers have officially signed Eubanks and Dunn for the remainder of the season, the team announced.

11:08am: Drew Eubanks and Kris Dunn will sign hardship contracts with the Trail Blazers that cover the rest of the regular season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Eubanks has taken over as Portland’s starting center after signing with the team in February. He has inked four 10-day contracts, the last of which expired Saturday night. In 18 games, he’s averaging 14.1 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 64.9% from the field. Eubanks became available when the Spurs traded him at the deadline to the Raptors, who immediately waived him.

Dunn hadn’t played at all this season before signing a 10-day deal with the Blazers on March 14. He was given a second 10-day contract on March 24 that expired last night. Dunn has appeared in 11 games, averaging 8.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 23.5 minutes per night.

Portland has a full 15-man roster, but qualifies for several injury-related hardship exceptions due to all the players who are out for the rest of the season. Reggie Perry is also under contract on a 10-day hardship deal.

Drew Eubanks Signs Fourth 10-Day Deal With Blazers

9:13pm: The signing under the hardship exception is official, according to a team press release.

12:40pm: The Trail Blazers intend to sign center Drew Eubanks to another 10-day contract, which will be his fourth consecutive deal with the team, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The 25-year-old has performed well through 13 games (28.1 minutes) with Portland, averaging 12.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists on .624/.286/.880 shooting (only seven attempts from deep). He’s started all 13 games in place of the injured Jusuf Nurkic.

Most of this year’s 10-day hardship contracts have been completed using the COVID-related hardship exception, but Eubanks has been signed multiple times using an injury-related hardship exception. A team qualifies for an injury-related hardship exception if it has at least four players who have missed three or more consecutive games, as long as those players project to remain sidelined for at least the next couple weeks.

Portland has at least six such players – Nurkic, Damian Lillard, Nassir Little, Didi Louzada, Joe Ingles, and Eric Bledsoe – and possibly as many as seven, if Anfernee Simons isn’t expected to return soon. That’s why the club is eligible for the hardship exception.

Eubanks’ last 10-day deal expired overnight. His new 10-day contract will pay him $99,380.

Blazers Officially Complete 10-Day Hardship Deals For Eubanks, Dunn

The Trail Blazers have officially signed big man Drew Eubanks and guard Kris Dunn to 10-day contracts, the team announced today in a press release. Both deals, which were previously reported, were completed using hardship exceptions.

It’s Eubanks’ third 10-day deal with the Blazers. He has started seven games at center for the team, averaging 9.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG in 26.0 minutes per contest.

Dunn is a new addition, having been called up from the G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. The former No. 5 overall pick spent last season with the Hawks, but was limited to four games due to an ankle injury. He was traded from Atlanta to Memphis in the offseason and was subsequently waived.

Most of this year’s 10-day hardship contracts have been completed using the COVID-related hardship exception, but Eubanks and Dunn were signed using injury-related hardship exceptions. A team qualifies for an injury-related hardship exception if it has at least four players who have missed three or more consecutive games, as long as those players project to remain sidelined for at least the next couple weeks.

Portland has at least six such players – Damian Lillard, Nassir Little, Jusuf Nurkic, Didi Louzada, Joe Ingles, and Eric Bledsoe – and possibly as many as eight, if Anfernee Simons and Justise Winslow aren’t expected to return soon. That’s why the club is eligible for multiple hardship exceptions.

The new deals for Eubanks and Dunn will run through March 23, covering the Blazers’ next six games. Eubanks’ 10-day contract will pay him $99,380, while Dunn earns $111,457.

Portland’s roster count now temporarily stands at 19 players — 15 on standard contracts, two on 10-day hardship deals, and a pair on two-way pacts.

Trail Blazers Signing Drew Eubanks To Third 10-Day Deal

Drew Eubanks will sign a third 10-day contract with the Trail Blazers, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Eubanks, whose second 10-day deal expires tonight, has been productive during his short time in Portland, averaging 9.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 10 games. The fourth-year big man turned in one of the best games of his career Saturday night with 20 points and 12 rebounds in a win over the Wizards.

Players are normally limited to two 10-day contracts with the same team in a single season, but the rules were relaxed this year in light of the COVID-19 outbreak that swept through the league. The Blazers, who are missing several players due to long-term injuries, completed Eubanks’ first two 10-day deals using an injury-related hardship exception, so he can continue to play under 10-day agreements.

The Trail Blazers’ next game is Monday, so if he signs his new contract tomorrow, Eubanks will be eligible for six games over the next 10 days.

Trail Blazers Sign Drew Eubanks To Second 10-Day Deal

1:47pm: Eubanks’ second 10-day contract is now official, the Blazers announced in a press release. Eubanks will earn $99,380 over the course of the deal, which will run through March 13.

8:11am: The Trail Blazers are signing big man Drew Eubanks to a second 10-day contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Eubanks’ first 10-day deal with the team expired overnight.

Eubanks appeared in three games during his first 10 days with Portland, averaging 9.3 PPG and 7.7 RPG on 70.6% shooting in 22.3 minutes per contest. He stepped right into the starting lineup at center due to Jusuf Nurkic‘s foot injury and the club’s limited depth at the position.

Eubanks began the season in San Antonio and was traded to Toronto at last month’s deadline in the Thaddeus Young/Goran Dragic deal. The Raptors immediately waived him, opening the door for him to join the Blazers.

Portland doesn’t have an opening on its 15-man roster, but qualifies for an injury-related hardship exception, since so many players on the roster are sidelined with long-term injuries. Damian Lillard (abdominal surgery), Didi Louzada (knee), Nurkic (foot), Nassir Little (shoulder), Joe Ingles (knee), and Eric Bledsoe (Achilles) are among the players unavailable for the Blazers.

A player is typically ineligible to sign more than two 10-day contracts with the same team in a given season. That restriction hasn’t applied to COVID-related hardship deals, but we haven’t gotten clarity on whether injury-related hardship deals are also exempt. If they are, the Blazers could continue signing Eubanks to short-term deals once his next 10-day contract expires. If they’re not, the team would have to sign him for the rest of the season or let him walk once his second 10-day is up.

The Blazers don’t play again until Saturday. If they wait until tomorrow to officially re-sign Eubanks, he’d be under contract for Portland’s next five games before becoming a free agent on March 15.

Blazers Sign Drew Eubanks To 10-Day, Brandon Williams To Two-Way

FEBRUARY 22: The Trail Blazers have issued a press release officially announcing the additions of Eubanks (10-day) and Williams (two-way).

FEBRUARY 21: The Trail Blazers are signing center Drew Eubanks to a 10-day contract and are also signing Brandon Williams to a two-year, two-way deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter links).

Eubanks’ 10-day contract will come via hardship exception due to multiple players being injured for an extended time period, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter). That means the Blazers, who have a full 15-man roster, won’t have to waive anyone to complete the signing.

Eubanks has ties to Oregon, having spent three seasons with Oregon State in college. He went undrafted in 2018, but caught on with the Spurs. He was on a two-way contract his first couple seasons before signing a guaranteed deal in 2020, which ran through the end of this season.

Eubanks was waived by the Raptors on February 10 after being acquired in the deal that sent Thaddeus Young to Toronto. He’s been productive in limited minutes during his four-year career. Through 49 games this season, he averaged 4.7 PPG and 4.0 RPG in just 12.1 MPG.

After promoting Trendon Watford to a standard contract earlier today, Portland had an open two-way spot, which it is using to sign Williams. He made a brief NBA cameo earlier this season with the Blazers after signing a 10-day hardship deal at the end of December, appearing in two games for a total of 12 minutes.

A former Arizona Wildcat, Williams has mostly been playing for the Westchester Knicks of the G League this season. Through 22 games with Westchester, he’s averaging 22.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 6.1 APG on .451/.349/.848 shooting.