Greg Smith

And-Ones: ASM, Free Agency, Leonard, G. Smith

A Thursday report from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical isn’t exactly a traditional “Woj bomb,” but it’s one of the more unusual stories to find its way onto the pages of The Vertical so far this year. According to Wojnarowski, Christian Dawkins – an employee at prominent player agency ASM Sports – has been fired for repeated use of an unknown NBA player’s credit card.

As Wojnarowski reports, between July 2015 and May 2016, Dawkins racked up approximately $42K in charges on the player’s personal credit card via an Uber account — a probe by the National Basketball Players Association determined that worked out to 1,865 Uber rides, and “all but a small number” of those charges were made without the player’s permission.

The player wasn’t an ASM client, and after investigating the matter, the NBPA found “no evidence that any ASM employee knew about Mr. Dawkins’ conduct until after it was discovered in May 2016,” Wojnarowski writes. The player was reimbursed at the conclusion of the probe.

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

  • It has been a busy week for Bobby Marks of The Vertical, who has ranked and taken a closer look at the pending free agent point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards. We’ll have our own rankings of free agents by position a little closer to July 1.
  • With free agency less than two months away, Eric Pincus of Baskeball Insiders takes stock of salary cap situations around the NBA. Based on Pincus’ calculations, seven teams already project to have no cap room, and many more clubs will join that list if they re-sign one or two of their own players. The Kings could create the most cap space of any team, at $60MM+.
  • Is Spurs star Kawhi Leonard the best non-lottery draft pick of all-time? Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com examines that question and others in his latest mailbag feature.
  • Former Rockets big man Greg Smith isn’t just playing basketball in the Philippines these days — he may also represent the country’s national team as a naturalized player, as Rey Joble of BusinessWorld Online details (hat tip to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando).

Greg Smith To Play In Turkey

Veteran NBA big man Greg Smith will head overseas for the next few months, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, who writes that Smith has signed in Turkey with Istanbul BSB. The team has confirmed that Smith will be joining the roster on a three-month contract, replacing the injured Jarvis Varnado.

Smith, 25, has appeared in 149 total NBA regular-season games over the last five seasons, spending time with the Rockets, Mavericks, and Timberwolves. Last season, he played 18 games for Minnesota, averaging 2.4 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 10.7 minutes per contest. He was waived by the Wolves in June before his salary for 2016/17 became guaranteed.

Assuming Smith’s new team doesn’t extend his contract beyond its current three-month term, the Fresno State product should have the opportunity to catch on with an NBA team later in the season. His stint with the Wolves in 2015/16 began with a pair of 10-day contracts, so Smith could get a look once teams are permitted to hand out 10-day deals this season.

Smith’s new deal in Turkey removes another name from our list of 2016 NBA free agents, a list that is growing increasingly thin.

Wolves Waive Greg Smith

4:31pm: The Wolves officially announced that they have waived Smith.

4:24pm: The Timberwolves have waived center Greg Smith, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (via Twitter). Provided he clears waivers, the big man will become an unrestricted free agent as a result of the team parting ways with him.

The 25-year-old signed a multiyear deal with the team in March after his second 10-day pact with the club expired. Smith earned $137,380 for his work after inking the pact and was set to be paid $1,139,123 in 2016/17. The contract called for no guaranteed money, so Minnesota will not be on the hook for any salary by waiving Smith.

In 18 appearances for the Wolves Smith averaged 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .563/.000/.412.

Northwest Notes: Burks, Gallinari, Smith, Thunder

Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks hopes to return to the court this week for the first time since December, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Burks, who underwent surgery in early January for a broken fibula, is hoping to be ready Tuesday. Although he will probably be under a minutes limitation, Burks will be a welcome addition for Utah, which is in a battle to make the playoffs. In a sixth-man role, Burks was averaging 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game before the injury. “There’s a jump between being OK and healed and being able to compete at a high level,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said in explaining why the team is being cautious with Burks.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets combo forward Danilo Gallinari is happy with the progress on his injured right ankle, but he tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post that he doesn’t plan to play again this season. With Denver far out of the playoff race, there’s little reason for Gallinari to take risks with the injury. “We’re not fighting for anything right now,” he explained. “As a player, it’s one of the worst feelings ever because if you’re not fighting for anything, it’s even tougher to find the motivation to play a game.” Gallinari hasn’t played since February 26th after tearing two lateral ligaments in the ankle and spraining another.
  • Greg Smith has quickly earned a spot in the Wolves‘ rotation because of his ability to play center and power forward, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Smith, who recently signed for the remainder of the season, had to overcome knee surgery and a two-month stint in the D-League to earn his way back into the NBA. “I know my role, I know my game,” he said. “I know what they want from me.”
  • The Thunder’s ongoing verbal war with the Pistons has intensified, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. The dispute started when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant blasted former teammate Reggie Jackson for an exuberant celebration after Detroit’s win over Oklahoma City this week. Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson is the latest to join the fray, saying Durant shouldn’t have skipped the contest if he was concerned about the outcome. “If he wanted to have an impact on the game, he should have just played,” Johnson said. “No one is scared of playing against him on this side of town.”

Wolves Sign Greg Smith For Rest Of Season

WEDNESDAY, 11:14am: The signing is official, the team announced (Twitter link). Minnesota’s press release also confirms that Smith’s second 10-day signing took place on March 12th, not March 13th.

TUESDAY, 12:12pm: The Timberwolves will sign Greg Smith for the rest of the season, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter link). The big man previously signed a pair of 10-day contracts with Minnesota. His second 10-day deal expired overnight, according to Krawczynski, and that jibes with the information on the RealGM transactions log, which shows Smith as having signed the pact March 12th. The team didn’t give a formal announcement until March 13th, making it seem as though today, and not Monday, is the final day of the contract. Regardless, it appears Smith will be sticking around as Minnesota’s 14th player.

Smith has averaged 10.3 minutes per game across nine appearances with the Wolves so far, though he hasn’t had much of a role in the team’s offense, averaging just 2.3 points per contest. His size has come in handy as fellow big men Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic deal with knee and Achilles tendon injuries, respectively.

Keeping Smith still leaves Minnesota with an open roster spot, one of two the Wolves reaped through buyouts with Kevin Martin and Andre Miller. A minimum-salary contract for Smith would cost the Wolves no more than $128,161 if it doesn’t carry into next season. Even on top of the $111,444 total for the two 10-day contracts, it’s still much less than the $609,083 the team saved in the buyouts.

Wolves Ink Greg Smith To Second 10-Day Pact

SUNDAY, 12:54pm: The signing is official, the team announced. It’ll cover four games, against the Suns, Grizzlies, Rockets and Warriors.

SATURDAY, 10:35am: The Timberwolves intend to sign Greg Smith to a second 10-day contract, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Teams can only sign players to two such deals per season and if Minnesota wishes to retain Smith when this second agreement ends, it will have to sign him for the remainder of the campaign. The power forward’s initial 10-day pact expired on Friday.

It’s not a surprise that the Wolves would elect to retain Smith for another 10 days, as the team is still thin in its frontcourt. Kevin Garnett is dealing with knee issues and Nikola Pekovic isn’t slated to return until at least April as he struggles to recover from his torn Achilles tendon. Minnesota still has an open roster spot after reaching buyout arrangements with Andre Miller and Kevin Martin, so the flexibility remains to add another player in addition to Smith.

Smith has seen appeared in six contests and averaged 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per game during his time in Minnesota so far. The 25-year-old is shooting an outstanding 87.5% from the field, connecting on seven of the eight shots he has taken since joining the squad.

Timberwolves Sign Greg Smith To 10-Day Deal

WEDNESDAY, 3:46pm: The signing is official, the team announced.

TUESDAY, 2:06pm: The Timberwolves plan to sign big man Greg Smith to a 10-day contract, a league source tells Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter link). The four-year veteran has been with the D-League affiliate of the Raptors since January, a couple of months after failing a physical that nixed his preseason contract with the Pelicans. Minnesota has an open roster spot in the wake of its buyout with Andre Miller, while talks have reportedly taken place about a buyout for Kevin Martin that would create a second roster vacancy.

It’s no surprise to see Minnesota strike a deal after interim coach Sam Mitchell complained the team was “awfully thin” up front, and while Mitchell also indicated a signing wouldn’t take place until well after today, adding a 10-day contract allows the team to preserve flexibility to sign others who might enter the market. The team also reportedly had internal discussion about signing Chris Copeland, another frontcourt player.

Smith, 25, has averaged 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game with Toronto’s D-League team, proving his health in the wake of the torpedoed deal with New Orleans. He’s shown efficiency on the boards in 131 NBA games with the Rockets and Mavs, averaging 3.4 in 12.5 minutes per game for his NBA career. The 10-day contract will pay him $59,731 and cost the Wolves $55,722. The league foots the bill for the difference.

Greg Smith To Play For Raptors D-League Team

TUESDAY, 11:36am: Smith is joining the affiliate of the Raptors, a league source tells Reichert (Twitter link).

SUNDAY, 4:36pm: Four-year NBA veteran Greg Smith, who played on the Mavs last season, has signed with the D-League, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor reports (Twitter link). The D-League has yet to make an announcement, but Reichert indicates Smith has put pen to paper. The Mavs’ affiliate, the Texas Legends, hold waiver priority so it would get the first chance to land Smith, Reichert tweets.

Smith, a center, had signed with the Pelicans in October, but the deal was voided after he failed his physical. Smith, who will turn 25 this week, did not generate much interest in free agency this summer after he saw little playing time for the Mavs. He then failed to impress in a workout last month for China’s Guangdong Southern Tigers, as international journalist David Pick reported.

Smith spent most of his career so far with the Rockets, but they waived him shortly before the 2014 playoffs. He saw 15.9 minutes per game with Houston in the 2012/13 season and scored six points per game. Both numbers remain career highs.

Pelicans, Greg Smith Deal Nixed

11:59pm: The sides had a signed contract, and the Pelicans voided it, according to the RealGM transactions log.

9:30pm: Smith has failed his physical, which means the pending agreement between the two sides has been canceled, John Reid of The Times-Picayune reports.

2:29pm: The Pelicans are bringing aboard four-year NBA veteran Greg Smith, sources tell Scott Kushner for The New Orleans Advocate, who indicates that the big man has already put pen to paper on a non-guaranteed contract. The team has yet to make an official announcement, but the Pelicans yesterday revealed that starting center Omer Asik is set to miss three weeks with a right calf strain, and they’re also without backup center Alexis Ajinca for about four to six weeks as he deals with a strained right hamstring. The move will give New Orleans 19 players, 13 of whom have full guarantees, as our roster count shows.

Smith, 24, didn’t appear to generate much interest in free agency this summer after he saw little playing time for the Mavs, who didn’t re-sign him in spite of their need at center. He failed to impress in a workout last month for China’s Guangdong Southern Tigers, as international journalist David Pick reported. He’s spent most of his time in the NBA with the Rockets, who gave him 15.9 minutes per game in 70 contests, including 10 starts, during the 2012/13 season, but they waived him shortly before the 2014 playoffs. The Bulls snapped him up just days later and signed him to a deal that included a fully guaranteed 2014/15 season, but he never made it into a game for Chicago before a trade sent him to the Mavs.

The Pelicans focused on the backcourt with their camp invitees, as power forward Jeff Adrien had been the only frontcourt player without a full guarantee on the New Orleans roster. Shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is the sole Pelican with a partial guarantee, as he’s assured of $50K, so Smith would appear to have a decent chance to hang around into the regular season.

Do you think the Pelicans should keep Smith into the regular season even if Asik is back for opening night? Leave a comment to tell us.

And-Ones: Nets, Clippers, Blazers

The non-guaranteed deal that 11-year veteran Dahntay Jones signed with the Nets earlier this month doesn’t fit with the rest of the team’s offseason signings, NetsDaily writes, because he is the oldest Net at 34 and averaged less than a point, less than a rebound and less than an assist per game in a mere 33 games for the Clippers. Jones, however, is known for his toughness and leadership and those are the kind of qualities coaches like on a contender, not a rebuilding team, NetsDaily adds.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • D’Angelo Russell, whom the Lakers chose with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, believes he can win the Rookie of the Year award this season and that the Lakers will be in the playoffs, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes.
  • With size, strength and athleticism, there’s a decent chance Cliff Alexander, who has a non-guaranteed contract worth a reported $525,093, will be a low-risk, high-reward building block for the Blazers‘ future, Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes.
  • Former Mavs center Greg Smith did not have an impressive showing in a workout for the Guangdong Tigers, international correspondent David Pick reports (via Twitter).
  • The Kentucky Wildcats will showcase their players to league executives in a combine on October 11th, tweets Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy, who cites sources.
  • After a productive offseason that was highlighted by the re-signing of DeAndre Jordan and the additions of Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Pablo Prigioni, the 2015/16 version of the Clippers is the most talented team the franchise has ever assembled, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders opines.