Eric Griffin

Jazz Release Big Man Eric Griffin

The Jazz have released Eric Griffin, the team’s public relations department tweeted. The 27-year-old rookie was unloaded in order for the team to sign Erik McCree to a two-way contract.

[RELATED: Jazz sign Erik McCree to two-way deal]

Griffin has started 19 games with Utah’s G League affiliate so far this season, averaging 17.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for those Salt Lake City Stars.

Griffin was previously a training camp cut by the Heat, Mavs and Pistons in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Jazz Sign Erik McCree To Two-Way Deal

The Jazz have signed forward Erik McCree to a two-way contract, the team’s public relations department announced. McCree went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech last summer but played through training camp with the Heat.

In order to make room on the roster, the club had to release big man Eric Griffin, who had also been on a two-way deal with the franchise (their second two-way signee, who will remain under contract, is Nate Wolters).

Given that the contract is being inked partially through the season, McCree’s 45-day NBA service alotment will be pro-rated to around 30 days, as was the case with Sean Kilpatrick (who signed with the Bucks on December 16).

McCree profiles as a four with three-point shooting range and will look to pilfer some of Jonas Jerebko‘s minutes when up with the big league club. The rest of the time he’ll suit up for the team’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars.

 

Jazz Sign Eric Griffin To Two-Way Contract

JULY 20: The deal is now official, with the Jazz issuing a press release to formally announce the signing of Griffin.

JULY 17: The Jazz have agreed to sign forward Eric Griffin to a two-way contract, according to Chris Reichert of Two Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link). It’s the first reported two-way deal for Utah.

Griffin, 27, went undrafted in 2012, and has yet to make his NBA debut. However, he has an extensive professional resume that includes stints with teams in Italy, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Israel, and the G League.

This summer, Griffin turned some heads with his performance for the Jazz’ Summer League teams in the Utah and Las Vegas leagues. He averaged 8.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG with a .588 FG% in three games in the Utah league, then recorded 10.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG, and a .500 FG% in four Vegas contests.

On a two-way contract, Griffin will spend the majority of the 2017/18 season with Utah’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. However, he’ll be permitted to join the Jazz for up to 45 days as well. For more information on how two-way contracts work, be sure to check out our primer.

International Notes: Marbury, Randolph, Austin, Vesely, Goudelock, Griffin

Two-time NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury will reportedly sign with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Beikong Fly Dragons, reports international basketball journalist David Pick (link via Twitter). This will be Starbury’s ninth season playing in China.

Marbury had played for the Beijing Ducks since 2011, but is now set to join his fourth different Chinese team. Since coming over to China, the star point guard has won three CBA championships, made six all-star teams, and been named both a CBA Foreign MVP and a CBA Finals MVP.

What else do you need to know from the international basketball scene?:

  • Former NBA player Shavlik Randolph will be joining Marbury with the Fly Dragons, as he has signed a contract with Beikong, tweets 247 Basketball  (link via Sportando).
  • Former NBA prospect Isaiah Austin has also signed with a Chinese team, the Guanxi Rhinos, reports David Pick (Twitter link). The Rhinos play in the National Basketball League, which is the second-tier league to the Chinese Basketball Association. In November of 2016, Austin was medically cleared to return to basketball after his career had been on hold due to Marfan syndrome.
  • Three-year NBA veteran Jan Vesely is close to making a final decision that will keep him playing in Turkey despite NBA interest in him this offseason, according to Nikos Varlas of EuroHoops.net.
  • Former Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock announced on Twitter that he will be joining Olimpia Milano for next season, via Sportando. As first reported by EuroHoops, the deal is expected to be for two years.
  • Eric Griffin might opt out of his deal with the Italian team, Pallacanestro Cantù, as a result of the significant interest he is receiving from several NBA teams, including the Jazz, according to David Pick (Twitter link). Last season, Griffin was an Israeli Premier League All-Star.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, Griffin, Rubio, Towns

New Orleans has been selected to replace Charlotte as the host for the 2017 All-Star Game, reports Brett Martel of The Associated Press. An official announcement from the league is expected later today, tweets Brett Dawson of the New Orleans Advocate. The NBA announced last month that it was pulling the game from Charlotte in protest of a controversial new North Carolina law regarding protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. The league offered to give Charlotte the 2019 game if changes are made to the statute. New Orleans also hosted the event in 2008 and 2014. The game is scheduled for February 19th, which coincides with the start of Mardi Gras parades.

There’s more NBA-related news this morning:

  • Eric Griffin, a former D-League All-Star whose quest for the NBA was halted by an attempted murder charge, has agreed to a contract in Israel, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. The state of Florida dropped the charges against Griffin in June, clearing him to resume his basketball career. He will join the Galil Gilboa club, says his agent, Tod Seidel. Griffin had been charged with attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and spent a week in jail in May. The Florida state attorney’s office investigated the case and determined that Griffin had an alibi and did not match the victim’s description. Seidel says the incident cost Griffin the chance to play in the NBA’s summer league and in the Philippines.
  • The death of Ricky Rubio‘s mother made him consider skipping the Summer Olympics, writes Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press. The Spanish point guard talked regularly to his mother through video chats after Timberwolves games last season and was distraught over her battle with lung cancer. “Sometimes at night during the season I was going through hell,” he said. “Waking up in, who knows, Sacramento, in L.A., in the middle of the night alone in a hotel and thinking, ‘Why am I here? Is it really worth it?'”
  • Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns tops the list of the best NBA sophomores heading into 2016/17, according to Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. Both have the reigning Rookie of the Year listed at No. 1. Ford has Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis ranked second, while Pelton opts for Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

And-Ones: Drummond, Seattle, D-League, Griffin

Now that we’re more than two weeks into the 2016/17 league year, Bobby Marks of The Vertical takes a look back at this year’s spending spree and attempts to draw some conclusions about the impact of the $94MM+ salary cap. As Marks outlines, the salary cap spike has resulted in 10 teams with $100MM+ payrolls so far, but has made the luxury tax a virtual non-factor. Marks also observes that if the players’ union had accepted the NBA’s cap smoothing proposal, we likely wouldn’t have seen so much roster turnover this offseason, since more teams would’ve been inclined to keep their own free agents.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:

  • Andre Drummond‘s new five-year max deal with the Pistons includes an 8% trade kicker, league sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Players earning a max salary can’t exceed that salary via a trade kicker, but with the salary cap set to get another bump next year and in subsequent seasons, Drummond will technically be earning less than his max after the first year of the contract.
  • Steve Ballmer, who was part of the group attempting to bring the NBA back to Seattle before he bought the Clippers, doesn’t envision Seattle getting a franchise in the near future. Speaking at the Geek Wire Sports Technology Summit in Seattle, Ballmer said the NBA hasn’t had expansion talks at all recently, and added that the league “has really moved to favor teams staying in their current markets.” Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times has the quotes from the Clippers owner.
  • The D-League won’t see the same sort of league-wide salary increase that the NBA will in 2016/17, but the D-League is changing its salary structure, and players will earn more on the whole, as Chris Reichert of UpsideMotor.com details.
  • Sam Gardner of FOX Sports takes an in-depth look at former Campbell forward Eric Griffin, whose quest for a spot on an NBA roster was derailed when he was accused of attempted murder — those charges were dropped last month, and Griffin is still looking for a team willing to give him a shot.

And-Ones: Olympics, Griffin, Messina, Vesely

Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes will fill the last two spots on the U.S. Olympic basketball team, writes Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. The roster will be formally announced Monday in New York. Ten players committed earlier, but Mahoney reports that openings were left for Irving and LeBron James, who both asked for more time to decide after playing in the NBA Finals, which ended Sunday. James opted not to make the trip to Rio de Janeiro.

Barnes joins Warriors teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the roster, along with Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler and DeAndre Jordan.

There’s more news tonight from around the basketball world:

  • The State of Florida has dropped first-degree attempted murder charges against former D-League All-Star Eric Griffin, according to D-League Digest. Griffin last played in the D-League in 2014/15, when he was a third-team all-league selection and a second-team all-defensive choice. He played in Dubai this season and may be ready for a shot at the NBA now that his legal case has been resolved.
  • Despite rumors, Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina won’t be leaving to take a job in Spain, tweets international journalist David Pick. “I have no contact with Barcelona,” Messina said. “I’m a happy Spur.”
  • Several NBA teams are interested in former lottery pick Jan Vesely, according to Sportando. The Mavericks, Nets and Pelicans are the teams listed as suitors for Vesely, who was selected sixth overall by the Wizards in the 2011 draft. Vesely played for Fenerbahce in Turkey this season and is a free agent. He is expected to get offers in the range of $30MM over three years.
  • Greek star Giannis Bourousis is ready to take a shot at the NBA, reports Aris Barkas of Eurohoops“I would go to any NBA team,” said the 32-year-old seven-footer. “I just want to be there, after 14 years in Euroleague.”

And-Ones: Rabb, Meeks, Griffin, Appling

A desire to enter the NBA as a more polished prospect drove Ivan Rabb to decide against entering this year’s draft in spite of his strong chances of becoming a lottery pick, as he told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Rabb was widely considered the No. 1 player in this year’s class before suffering an injury in high school, Goodman writes, and the 6’10” power forward has heard the talk about the lack of stellar prospects in the draft, but in recent weeks he grew more attracted to the idea of returning for California for his sophomore year, as Goodman details.

“I know I need to get stronger,” Rabb said. “I want to come back better defensively, a better shooter, a better rebounder, more comfortable on the floor. I want to be the leader. I wanted to have a bigger role.”

Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranked him No. 11 among this year’s draft prospects and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him at No. 14 just before he announced he would stay in school. Multiple NBA executives told Goodman he was unlikely to fall out of the top 10 picks, and Cal coach Cuonzo Martin told Rabb that NBA personnel had said his draft range extended as high as No. 6. See more on the draft amid a look at news around the league:

  • Center Kennedy Meeks will withdraw from this year’s draft and return to North Carolina for his senior season, the school announced. The 6’9″ 21-year-old entered the draft without an agent last month, thus preserving his college eligibility. He was outside the top 100 in both Ford’s and Givony’s rankings.
  • Ex-Iona combo guard A.J. English will have predraft workouts with the Bucks, Cavaliers and Wizards, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
  • Xavier small forward Trevon Bluiett will work out for the Timberwolves on Saturday and the Celtics on May 14th, Goodman tweets.
  • Valparaiso power forward Alec Peters is working out with the Rockets today and the Celtics on Friday, according to Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Former Heat, Mavericks and Pistons preseason signee Eric Griffin pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder charges stemming from a Friday arrest, reports Sam Gardner of Fox Sports. Griffin allegedly fired gunshots at an Orlando man in the early morning hours of April 27th. The 25-year-old swingman has been in NBA training camps the past three seasons but has yet to make a regular season roster.
  • Keith Appling, who spent time with the Magic this season, faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor charges of possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle and possession of marijuana, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. An arraignment is set for today in Dearborn, Michigan, where police arrested Appling outside a strip club on Sunday night, MLive’s Kyle Austin notes.

Eastern Notes: Fisher, Griffin, Magic, Celtics

Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who was reportedly involved in a physical altercation with Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes last weekend, understands how some would question his focus on the team after he missed Monday’s practice session as a result of his West Coast jaunt, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “I think we all remember there are a ton of people that work in New York City that have families in other cities or back on the West Coast,” Fisher said. “You work six days, you have a seventh day off. You go back and visit family. You come back to work on Monday morning. That was my plan. It didn’t work out that way for reasons that were not in my control and I can’t change it at this point.”

Here’s more out of the East:

  • Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said it was the team’s wealth of power forwards that led to Eric Griffin being waived, writes Aaron McMann of MLive.com. “We thought it would be best for him to sort of give him the opportunity to move on and pursue other things,” Van Gundy said. “I really liked him, very good kid, hard worker, great attitude, really athletic. Certainly has the talent to be an NBA-level defender.
  • Heat power forward Chris Bosh believes that the Magic are poised to make a jump in the standings this season courtesy of the young talent the franchise has accumulated over the past few years, John Denton of NBA.com relays. “I mean, the talent is there, but it’s on them if they want to make the next step now or a couple of years down the line,’’ Bosh said. “That core of Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris, that’s about as young and talented as it gets. You’ve got everything there with playmaking, outside shooting, rebounding and athleticism. And with [coach] Scott Skiles and the new regime in there I’m sure they are trying to pump those guys up and tell them, `We may not be expected to win every night, but we can play hard and win games.’ I’ve been there in that spot before, but I think they will give themselves a chance to be really good this season.’’
  • David Lee, who was a member of the NBA champion Warriors last season, says that he sees a lot of similarities between the 2015/16 Celtics and his former squad, especially in the areas of team chemistry and depth, Tales Azzoni of NBA.com writes.

Pistons Waive Eric Griffin

The Pistons have waived combo forward Eric Griffin, the team announced via press release. Griffin, who signed with the team last month, faced long odds to make it to opening night on his non-guaranteed contract. The move takes the Pistons down to 19 players, 17 of whom have fully guaranteed deals.

Griffin, 25, didn’t see action in Detroit’s preseason opener Tuesday. The Mavs hold his D-League rights from last season, so the D-League affiliate of the Pistons would have to trade for him for Detroit to continue their partnership. He was Third Team All-D-League last season and a D-League All-Defensive Second Team selection, so it would seem he’d carry some level of intrigue for other teams on the NBA level or overseas, though that’s just my speculation.

The move means Jordan Bachynski is the only Pistons player without some guaranteed money on his contract, as our roster count shows. Adonis Thomas has a $60K partial guarantee, but he’s a long shot for the regular season, too.