Greg Whittington

Eastern Notes: Telfair, Pacers, Weaver

Despite possessing solid assets like Paul George and Myles Turner, the Pacers are a team in search of an identity entering the summer, Keith P. Smith of RealGM writes in his offseason primer for Indiana. Given the team’s stated desire to play at a faster speed on offense, the scribe questions the hiring of Nate McMillan as head coach since McMillan’s teams have consistently ranked near the bottom of the league in pace.

Smith also notes that Indiana would be better served to add a starting-caliber shooting guard this summer and shift Monta Ellis to a sixth man role, given his declining three-point shooting and diminishing trips to the foul line. Ellis, 30, still has three years and approximately $33.68MM remaining on his current deal.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets have hired Will Weaver, who served as a special assistant to Sixers coach Brett Brown the past two seasons, to work in the same capacity under new head coach Kenny Atkinson, NetsDaily relays.
  • The Raptors held workouts today for Daniel Hamilton (UConn), Kyle Collinsworth (BYU), Perry Ellis (Kansas), James Webb III (Boise State), Guerschon Yabusele (France) and Chinanu Onuaku (Louisville), the team announced.
  • The Pistons are holding free agent workouts this week and some notable attendees include Phil Pressey, Jordan Crawford, Greg Whittington and Chris Douglas-Roberts, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets.
  • The Nets brought in veteran point guard Sebastian Telfair for a workout on Tuesday, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops relays (via Twitter). Telfair last played in the NBA during the 2014/15 campaign, appearing in 16 games for the Thunder.

Free Agent Notes: Durant, Rockets, Clippers

Kevin Durant would give himself a better chance at winning a title if he were to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors or sign with an Eastern Conference team, Bill Simmons of The Ringer writes. Many believe that Durant will sign a two-year deal with OKC that contains a player option for year two, as was reported earlier this week.

Simmons offers an unconventional viewpoint on Durant’s impending decision. Two years ago, Durant signed a $300MM deal with Nike. At the time, he and LeBron James had the best selling sneakers among all NBA players, Simmons points out. The 2014 MVP then injured his foot and missed a significant amount of time during the 2014/15 campaign. Durant’s comeback 2015/16 season was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant‘s retirement and the Warriors’ historic 73-9 record. Now, the conversation is between Nike with James and the Jordan Brand and Under Armour with Stephen Curry, Simmons adds. Simmons argues that Durant, his representatives and Nike know they won’t be competing with the top brands unless Durant wins a ring or he leaves the Thunder and he speculates that if Nike had its way, Durant would sign elsewhere this summer.

The piece, which is must-read, is a reminder that the NBA is a business and there are several off the court factors that play into basketball decisions. Selling sneakers likely won’t be the primary force that drives Durant to stay or leave, but it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Here’s more on the NBA’s upcoming free agency:

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Andersen, D-League

Center Hassan Whiteside, poised to hit free agency in the summer, is the biggest weapon for the Heat when opponents utilize smaller lineups against them, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald. Whiteside had 25 points and 15 rebounds when Miami staged a second-half rally  on Sunday against the Rockets, who tried to play small ball against them, Skolnick continues. “That’s the thing with Hassan, he’s a conventional center but he’s a mobile center,” point guard Mario Chalmers told the team’s beat reporters. “He’s able to move, get blocks, get out on the perimeter if he wants to. So [small-ball] plays into our hands a little bit.” Veteran shooting guard Dwyane Wade concurs that the Heat can handle the small-ball strategies by unleashing Whiteside, Skolnick adds. “I’m sure there will be moments where they’re gonna get us on it, and it’s gonna affect us, but we can’t take him off the floor,” Wade said to Skolnick. “He means so much to our defense.”

In other news regarding the Heat:

  • Backup center and trade candidate Chris Andersen did not play in the first three games but Spoelstra anticipates that he’ll soon get opportunities, Winderman adds in the same piece. “We’re not going to, on every night, suit up every center. That’s not an indictment on anybody,” Spoelstra said. “That’s not a storyline at all, it really isn’t. He practiced [Monday] and he’ll be ready, and when his number’s called, he’ll produce, as we have full confidence in that.”
  • All but one of the six players the Heat released during the preseason have joined their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Greg Whittington, Keith Benson, Briante Weber, Corey Hawkins and Tre Kelley are all on the Skyforce’s training camp roster. The only released player not to join the Skyforce is veteran point guard John Lucas III.  Miami claimed the D-League rights to Whittington, Benson, Weber and Hawkins through the affiliate player rule, while the Heat already had the D-League rights to Kelley.

Heat Cut Lucas, Benson, Kelley, Weber, Whittington

The Heat have waived the non-guaranteed deals of John Lucas III, Keith Benson, Tre Kelley, Briante Weber and Greg Whittington, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves reduce Miami’s roster to 15 players, the regular season maximum. James Ennis is the only remaining Heat player without any guaranteed salary, so today’s moves put him in strong position to make the opening night roster. If the team indeed keeps him through Monday, his salary would become fully guaranteed. Tyler Johnson is also with the Heat on a partially guaranteed deal. The rest of Miami’s 13 players have full guarantees.

Lucas was by far the most experienced of the Heat’s camp invitees, as the 32-year-old point guard was attempting to make it into his ninth NBA season. He didn’t impress in preseason action, going scoreless in about 16 minutes of action in his lone appearance, dishing out one assist and committing one turnover.

Benson, 27, joined Miami on his first NBA contract in three years. The center was efficient during the preseason, averaging 5.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 11.8 minutes across five appearances.

The 30-year-old Kelley was on his second contract with the Heat after having briefly joined the club before the 2008/09 season. The combo guard averaged 3.5 points, 4.0 assists and 1.5 turnovers in 13.8 minutes per game in a pair of preseason contests.

Weber, 22, signed with the team just this week after his inability to pass a physical scuttled an earlier deal between the sides. The undrafted combo guard who tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee while playing for VCU in January didn’t see any preseason playing time.

Whittington went undrafted this June and joined the Heat for summer league the next month. The 22-year-old power forward averaged 2.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game across four preseason appearances.

Heat Sign Greg Whittington For Camp

THURSDAY, 2:21pm: The deal is official, the Heat announced.

TUESDAY, 9:01am: The Heat and undrafted small forward Greg Whittington have reached agreement on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The 22-year-old from Georgetown had three partially guaranteed offers from NBA teams last month, as Charania reported then, so it’s surprising to see him take one without a guarantee, even though he played for Miami’s summer league squad. Still, the Heat seem to offer him a decent shot at the regular season roster, since they have only 13 fully guaranteed deals.

Whittington was a longshot for the draft, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranked him as only the 108th-best prospect. He nonetheless looked sharp during the Las Vegas summer league, averaging 13.0 points and 8.2 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per contest while nailing eight of 17 three-pointers in five appearances after a so-so four-game stint for the Heat in the Orlando summer league. He had seen limited action since an ACL injury to his left knee during the summer of 2013. Academic trouble clouded his time at Georgetown, and after his dismissal from the school, he joined the Westchester Knicks, though he never appeared in a game.

Tyler Johnson would appear to have the inside track on the 14th regular season roster spot for Miami, since he has a partial guarantee worth half of his minimum salary, but James Ennis, Keith Benson and Corey Hawkins all have non-guaranteed pacts. So, Whittington will ostensibly compete with that trio to make it to opening night.

Going into camp, who do you think is the favorite for the Heat’s last regular season roster spot? Leave a comment to let us know.

And-Ones: NBPA, Hackett, Whittington

NBPA head Michele Roberts released a statement today in response to commissioner Adam Silver’s recent comments where he indicated that several NBA teams were still losing money despite the salary givebacks and enhanced revenue sharing agreed upon in the last CBA (h/t RealGM). “Under the CBA, we do not have a gross compensation system. The players’ 50% share is calculated net of a substantial amount of expenses and deductions,” Roberts said. “New and renovated arenas around the league have proven to be revenue drivers, profit centers, and franchise valuation boosters. That has been the case over the past few years in Orlando, Brooklyn, and New York, to name a few. In some instances, owners receive arena revenues that are not included in BRI. Many teams also receive generous arena subsidies, loans and other incentives from state and local governments as part of their arena deals.

Roberts concluded by adding, “Virtually every business metric demonstrates that our business is healthy. Gate receipts, merchandise sales and TV ratings are all at an all-time high. Franchise values have risen exponentially in recent years, and the NBA has enjoyed high single digit revenue growth since 2010/11.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • A league source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link) that there are approximately 10 NBA teams that are currently losing money.
  • Terdema Ussery, a finalist for the union executive director position that went to Roberts, is leaving his position as president and CEO of the Mavericks effective August 30th, the team announced via press release. He’ll join Under Armour, the Mavs said.
  • Former Georgetown forward Greg Whittington has three partially guaranteed deals on the table from NBA squads, Shams Charania of RealGM tweets. The undrafted 22-year-old has averaged 15.7 points per game during Las Vegas Summer League play, Charania notes.
  • Shooting guard Daniel Hackett, who worked out for the Knicks, has officially signed with Olympiacos of Greece, the team announced (translation by Enea Trapani of Sportando).
  • Austin Rivers‘ two-year deal with the Clippers will pay him $3.1MM for next season, $3.3MM for the 2016/17 campaign, and the guard has a player option included in his contract for the final season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • The deal that Nemanja Bjelica inked with the Timberwolves will pay him $3.95MM for the 2015/16 season, $3.8MM the following year, $3.95MM during the 2017/18 campaign, and all three seasons are fully guaranteed, Pincus relays (on Twitter).

Nuggets Notes: Malone, Oubre, Turner

New Nuggets coach Michael Malone bristled at the suggestion that he’s not suited to directing the sort of up-tempo attack that the Nuggets traditionally employ, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays in his full story and via Twitter. Malone cited the efficiency of his controlled Kings team but insisted that he can show another side in Denver.
“I know what they want,” Malone said, referring to Nuggets management. “They made it clear from Day 1 that they want to play fast.”
The Nuggets were believed to be seeking a coach who could come in and help GM Tim Connelly and his staff with draft prep, Dempsey wrote last week, but Malone made it clear that he’ll have little to do with the draft. “My conversation regarding that is: Good luck Tim,” Malone quipped, as Dempsey notes via Twitter. There’s more on Malone amid the latest from the Mile High City:
  • Malone’s deal with the Nuggets is a four-year arrangement, including a team option on the final season, Dempsey reports (Twitter link).
  • The new coach doesn’t expect the roster to be the same when next season begins, Dempsey notes in his full story, and that should indeed be his hope, as fellow Post scribe Benjamin Hochman opines, believing that no coach would be able to turn the current Nuggets into contenders.
  • Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre and Texas center Myles Turner were the headliners at today’s Nuggets workout, as the team detailed on Nuggets.com. Joining them are point guards T.J. McConnell of Arizona and Keifer Sykes of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Georgetown power forward Greg Whittington and Delaware State big man Kendall Gray, according to the team.
  • The Nuggets previously worked out Arizona small forward Stanley Johnson, as MLive’s David Mayo relays via Twitter.

And-Ones: Martin, Boatright, Vaughn

LSU big man Jarell Martin has a mid-first-round draft promise from a team and will likely shut down all workouts, league sources have informed Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Martin is currently the No. 29 ranked prospect according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required), while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots the 21-year-old as the 41st best player in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • UConn point guard Ryan Boatright told Hoops Rumors’ Zach Links (Twitter link) that the Clippers, Blazers, and Nets are high on him as a potential draftee. Boatright worked out for Portland earlier this week, is in Los Angeles today, and has a workout scheduled with Brooklyn on Monday.
  • Duke point guard Tyus Jones has a workout scheduled for Wednesday with the Bulls, a second workout for the Rockets on Friday, and a showcase for the Suns on June 22nd, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. You can view our full prospect profile for Jones here.
  • With the free agent signing period looming on the horizon, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) runs down the ideal free agent fits for teams in the Eastern Conference. Doolittle didn’t neglect the other half of the league,  you can view his thoughts on the Western Conference here.
  • UNLV shooting guard Rashad Vaughn has a workout scheduled for today with the Hawks, and will show the Timberwolves what he is capable of this Monday, Jon Krawczysnki of The Associated Press relays.
  • Greg Whittington has taken an unorthodox path to the NBA thus far, and the former Georgetown Hoya hopes to overcome his injury woes and hear his name called on draft night, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes.“He’s kind of chosen a difficult path but he has some talent,” said Austin Ainge, the Celtics’ director of player personnel. “So we thought we’d check him out.” A torn ACL ended the big man’s college career, and saw him play in the NBA D-League last season for Westchester, the Knicks‘ affiliate, Blakely adds. “Feeling good,” Whittington said when asked about his recovery. “The knee is better now. It’s been two years since I played. Getting back into this is big.”

Atlantic Notes: Saric, Celtics, Daniels, Holmes

Dario Saric‘s buyout with Anadolu Efes after next season would cost about 800K euros, as USA Today and DraftExpress contributor Derek Bodner hears. That’s about $900K at today’s exchange rate, but much less than the $2MM-plus it would apparently take to buy Saric out of his deal for this coming season, as the Sixers are reportedly trying to do. Bodner breaks down the numbers involved with Saric’s potential buyout and his rookie scale contract, concluding that it would be most financially rewarding for Saric to stay overseas for two more years and sign with the Sixers in 2017, when he’d no longer be bound by the rookie scale. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge denied to reporters today that the team has had any substantial talks about trading picks, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. The C’s have reportedly been offering around their first-round picks, at Nos. 16 and 28, to move into the lottery. Still, Ainge admitted the team is at least exploring the idea of trading some of the four total picks it has in this month’s draft, among other options that would keep the team from having to bring four rookies onto the roster.
  • Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell, Florida’s Chris Walker, Wisconsin’s Duje Dukan, Butler’s Kameron Woods, and Georgetown’s Greg Whittington all worked out for the Celtics today, Forsberg notes (on Twitter). Jamal Jones, who spent last season in the D-League but remains draft-eligible, is also part of the workout, as Forsberg relays.
  • Draft-and-stash prospect DeAndre Daniels is hopeful that the Raptors will sign him for next season, and the team, which still sees him as part of its future, won’t rule out the idea, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca reports (Twitter links). The small forward who was last year’s 37th overall pick spent this past season with the Perth Wildcats of Australia.
  • The Knicks will soon work out Bowling Green forward Richaun Holmes, sources told Shams Charania of RealGM. Holmes spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors recently about his improved shooting and his goal to make the same strides in ball handling.