Isaiah Whitehead

Isaiah Whitehead Signs With BC Astana

1:06pm: Whitehead has officially joined Astana, the team announced today on its website.

10:11am: After finishing the 2018/19 season on a two-way contract with the Pistons, free agent guard Isaiah Whitehead has signed with BC Astana, a source tells Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). The club is based on Kazakhstan plays in Russia’s VTB United League.

Playing in the VTB United League won’t be a new experience for Whitehead, who signed with Lokomotiv Kuban in August of 2018 and spent the first half of the season with the club. He parted with the Russian squad in January and caught on with the Pistons about a week later.

Whitehead, the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, has appeared in a total of 89 regular season NBA games for the Nets, but didn’t see the floor at all for Detroit last season. Instead, he played for the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ G League affiliate, averaging 18.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 3.8 APG in 25 games (29.2 MPG).

Several other players who spent the ’18/19 season in the NBA have signed with Russian teams this offseason. Whitehead will join players like Timofey Mozgov (Khimki), Kosta Koufos (CSKA Moscow), Jonas Jerebko (Khimki), and Sam Dekker (Lokomotiv Kuban) in the Russian league this season, as our list of overseas signings shows.

International Notes: Hachimura, Delaney, Whitehead

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura won’t play in the final two games of the 2019 World Cup for Team Japan, according to a statement issued by the Wizards and Japan Basketball. After going 0-3 in round-one play, Japan has been eliminated from medal contention, but will continue playing in the classification round. They’ll do so without Hachimura, however.

“Rui experienced knee discomfort and general fatigue during the World Cup, which we have jointly monitored with the Wizards,” Japan Basketball said in a statement. “While everyone had hoped for Rui to finish the World Cup with Team Japan, the Wizards and Japan Basketball believe it is best for Rui to not play the final two games and have a short period of rest before he must start NBA training camp with the Wizards which begins only three weeks from now.”

Despite Japan’s lack of success in the 2019 World Cup, they’ve already secured a berth in the 2020 Olympics as the host nation. Hachimura is expected to suit up again for his home country in Tokyo next summer following his rookie season with the Wizards.

Here are a few more international basketball notes from around the globe:

  • Veteran guard Malcolm Delaney, who spent two seasons with the Hawks from 2016-18, is in negotiations with Barcelona, sources tell Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops (Twitter link). While a deal isn’t done yet, it sounds like Delaney will continue his career in Spain unless he gets an NBA offer.
  • Former Nets point guard Isaiah Whitehead, a second-round pick in 2016, is working out with China’s Jiangsu Dragons, according to Chinese basketball journalist Zhang Duo (Twitter link). Whitehead spent the second half of 2018/19 on a two-way deal with the Pistons, but didn’t appear in a game for Detroit.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer takes a look at some of the World Cup subplots that don’t involve Team USA, including the dominance of the Serbians, who have won their four games so far by an average margin of nearly 41 points per contest.
  • Former NBA forward Malcolm Thomas, who suited up for five teams from 2012-15, has signed with the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association after spending the last two seasons in Russia, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

And-Ones: Trades, Antetokounmpo, World Cup

Jae Crowder would be a nice contingency plan for the Warriors should they lose Kevin Durant in free agency, Kevin Pelton contends in a piece for ESPN+. Pelton argues a deal that sends Crowder, who has one year left on his contract, to Golden State for Shaun Livingston and a future first-rounder makes sense for both sides.

Other ESPN insiders write about the trade they’d like to see this summer, with Bobby Marks breaking down a Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade that sends Eric Gordon to Philadelphia and Clint Capela to Sacramento. The whole piece is worth checking out.

As we brace for an offseason of change, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo will play for Greece in the Basketball World Cup, according to Demetris Nellas of the Associated Press“Whether I play the 1 [point guard] or the 5 [center], I don’t care,” the NBA MVP said. “I’m a basketball player. I want to help the team any way I can.”
  • The NBA has announced that the Academy Games will be in the United States for the first time in history. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com provides a detailed look at the games in Atlanta, relaying that the camp will feature eight teams and approximately 90 players from around the world.
  • Isaiah Whitehead will play for the Trail Blazers‘ Summer League team, The Athletic’s Michael Scotto relays (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks have announced their Summer League roster and former first-rounder Cameron Payne is among the notable players. Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Giannis, is also playing for the team in Las Vegas.
  • Semaj Christon will play for the Kings‘ Summer League team, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia tweets.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has been invited to join Team USA’s Select Team, which will hold training camp in Las Vegas this summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports passes along (Twitter links). Nets center Jarrett Allen has also been invited.

[In case you missed it: Team USA Announces 20-Player Roster For World Cup]

Pistons, Isaiah Whitehead Agree To Two-Way Deal

12:17pm: The Pistons will be removing Evans’ two-way deal from their roster to make room for Whitehead, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

11:18am: The Pistons have reached an agreement with free agent guard Isaiah Whitehead on a two-way contract, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Detroit will have to waive one of its current two-way players – Keenan Evans or Zach Lofton – in order to make the deal official.

Whitehead, 23, was selected by the Nets with the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft and spent two seasons with the team, appearing in 89 overall games. The former Seton Hall standout was a regular part of Brooklyn’s rotation in his rookie season, but saw his playing time cut back in 2017/18 as he spent more time with the Long Island Nets in the G League. Whitehead averaged 22.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 30 games for the Nets’ NBAGL affiliate last season.

The Brooklyn native was was sent to Denver in an offerson trade and was waived a few days later, making him an unrestricted free agent. Whitehead quickly caught on overseas with Lokomotiv Kuban, but parted ways with the Russian club last week. Now, he’ll return to the NBA on a two-way deal.

Today is the deadline for NBA teams to sign players to two-way contracts for the 2018/19 season, so Whitehead’s deal should be finalized within the next several hours.

Isaiah Whitehead Leaves Russian Team

Former Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead is a free agent again after parting ways with his team in Russia, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Whitehead, who joined Lokomotiv Kuban in August, averaged 11.6 points and 3.3 assists during his time with the club.

The 42nd pick in the 2016 draft, Whitehead played two seasons in Brooklyn. He had a promising rookie year, posting a 7.4/2.5/2.6 line in 73 games, but fell out of the rotation last season and spent most of his time in the G League.

Whitehead was sent to Denver in a July 13 deal that brought Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and a pair of draft picks to Brooklyn, but the Nuggets only wanted Whitehead for his non-guaranteed contract. He was waived four days later.

NBA teams were permitted to start handing out 10-day contracts over the weekend, so it’s possible that will be Whitehead’s route back to the league.

Isaiah Whitehead Signs With Russian Team

AUGUST 6: Whitehead’s deal is now official, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

AUGUST 3: Former Nets point guard Isaiah Whitehead will spend the 2018/19 season in Russia, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), who hears from sources that Whitehead has signed a one-year, $1.1MM contract with Lokomotiv Kuban.

As Kennedy details, Whitehead – released by the Nuggets last month – hopes to have a strong season as a lead guard for the Russian club and show he’s fully healthy in 2018/19 before attempting to return to the NBA a year from now.

Whitehead, 23, was selected by the Nets with the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft and spent two seasons with the team, appearing in 89 overall games. The former Seton Hall standout was a regular part of Brooklyn’s rotation in his rookie season, but saw his playing time cut back in 2017/18 as he spent more time with the Long Island Nets in the G League. Whitehead averaged 22.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 30 games for the Nets’ NBAGL affiliate.

The Brooklyn native was included in the trade last month that saw Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, and a pair of draft picks head from the Nuggets to the Nets. Whitehead was sent to Denver as part of that swap, but only because his non-guaranteed contract allowed the Nuggets to avoid taking on any salary — Denver waived him a few days later, making him an unrestricted free agent.

As our 2018 free agent tracker shows, Whitehead is far from the first NBA free agent to take his talents overseas this summer. Al Jefferson, Shane Larkin, Marreese Speights, and Joffrey Lauvergne are among the others moving to international leagues.

International Moves: Bass, Webb III, Clavell

Veteran NBA power forward Brandon Bass has re-signed with Liaoning in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a Sportando report. Bass averaged 21 PPG and 9.5 RPG last season after going overseas. Bass, 33, played 12 seasons in the NBA with stops in New Orleans, Dallas, Orlando, Boston and both Los Angeles teams. In his most recent NBA season, Bass appeared in 52 games with the Clippers in 2016/17, averaging 5.6 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 11.1 MPG. In 758 career games, Bass averaged 8.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG.

We have more news from overseas:

  • Forward James Webb III is expected to sign with Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantù, according to another Sportando post. Webb played 10 games with the Nets last season after signing a two-way contract in January.  The 6’9” Webb, 24, averaged 1.6 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 12.0 MPG with the Nets.
  • Former Mavericks shooting guard Gian Clavell has joined Argentina’s Estudiantes de La Plata, according to an ACB.com post. Clavell, 24, appeared in seven games with Dallas on a two-way contract last season, averaging 2.9 PPG in 9.1 MPG. Clavell played in Turkey after the Mavericks released him in mid-November.
  • Former Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead will play in Russia next season. Get the details here.

Nuggets Waive Isaiah Whitehead

As expected, the Nuggets have waived recently-acquired guard Isaiah Whitehead, per the NBA’s official transactions log. Whitehead had been included in the trade between Denver and Brooklyn, which sent Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, and draft picks to the Nets.

Whitehead, 23, was selected by the Nets with the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft and spent two seasons with the club, appearing in 89 overall games. The former Seton Hall standout was a regular part of Brooklyn’s rotation in his rookie season, but saw his playing time cut back in 2017/18 as he spent more time with the Long Island Nets in the G League.  Whitehead averaged 22.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 30 games for the Nets’ NBAGL affiliate.

A Brooklyn native, Whitehead was disappointed to be included in last week’s trade, but there was no room for him in a Nets point guard rotation that will include D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Shabazz Napier. Similarly, the Nuggets had no need for another point guard with Jamal Murray, Isaiah Thomas, and Monte Morris in the mix.

Whitehead’s $1.54MM salary for 2018/19 was non-guaranteed, so Denver won’t be on the hook for his cap charge. He’ll become a free agent later this week, assuming he’s not claimed on waivers.

Nets Notes: Russell, Napier, Faried, Whitehead

Nets GM Sean Marks won’t rule out the possibility of giving guard D’Angelo Russell an extension but it seems unlikely, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter links). “For now, we’re going to see how this group plays together, how it all unfolds…I’m not going to rule out anything,” Marks said in a news conference, adding, “As we stand now, this is the group and we have no plans to make any crazy changes, whether that’s an extension or signing or trade anyone else. But things happen quickly.” Russell will make a little over $7MM this season and the team would have to decide whether to extend a qualifying offer of $9.16MM next summer if they don’t sign him to an extension.

In other news regarding the Brooklyn franchise:

  • The Nets will have to figure out how Shabazz Napier will fit into their backcourt but he’s not worried about it, Tom Dowd of the team’s website reports. The team already has Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie to play the point and Caris LeVert can also fill in at that spot. Napier was Damian Lillard‘s primary backup with the Trail Blazers last season. Napier signed a two-year contract on Tuesday. “That’s something I’m going to figure out when training camp starts,” Napier told Dowd about his role. “Right now, I’ll just continue to be who I am and come into training camp with an attitude of competing at the end of the day.”
  • Brooklyn took on Kenneth Faried‘s contract in a Nuggets salary dump but Marks feels Faried can be a major contributor next season, Dowd relays in a separate story. Faried has an expiring $13.76MM contract. “I think he fits with that Brooklyn grit that we talk about in terms of how he plays; he plays with high intensity, obviously at a fast pace,” Marks said. “His game will transition well to Brooklyn and what [coach] Kenny’s [Atkinson] wanting to do here.”
  • No one was more disappointed about the trade with the Nuggets than guard Isaiah Whitehead, the player shipped to Denver in the deal, as Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily relays. Whitehead appeared in 89 games for his hometown team over the past two seasons. A source close to Whitehead sent a text to Fonseca after the trade that stated, “Being in Brooklyn meant everything to him.”

Nuggets Trade Faried, Arthur, Picks To Nets

JULY 13, 8:42pm: The trade is official, according to a Nets press release.

JULY 12, 5:18pm: The Nuggets have found a team willing to take on their unwanted contracts, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that Denver is sending Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, a protected 2019 first-round pick, and a 2020 second-round pick to the Nets in exchange for Isaiah Whitehead.

It’s a salary-dump deal for the Nuggets, who intend to waive Whitehead after acquiring him, Wojnarowski adds. Whitehead’s salary guarantee deadline was recently pushed back, so his $1.54MM salary for 2018/19 remains non-guaranteed — Denver won’t be on the hook for it.

Having reached a deal with Isaiah Thomas earlier in the night, the Nuggets were poised to have 16 players on guaranteed NBA contracts and were well into luxury-tax territory. Their deal with the Nets will solve both issues, reducing their roster count to 14 players after Whitehead’s release and getting their total team salary below the tax threshold.

Bobby Marks of ESPN.com has the full details, noting that the Nuggets should be about $8.7MM below the tax line after the trade, giving the team room to use the rest of its mid-level exception to fill the last spot on its roster, if it so chooses. So far, Denver has committed $2MM of its MLE to Torrey Craig and is believed to have used about another $1MM on Jarred Vanderbilt.

As Marks observes, trading Faried, Darrell Arthur, and Wilson Chandler (to Philadelphia) projects to save the Nuggets approximately $90MM in salary and tax payments. The team gave up a first-round pick and two second-rounders in those two deals.

The Nuggets have also created three sizable traded player exceptions to work with — those TPEs are equivalent to the salaries for Faried ($13.76MM), Chandler ($12.8MM), and Arthur minus Whitehead ($5.92MM)

Meanwhile, from the Nets’ perspective, they’ll rent their cap room in order to add a pair of draft assets. The big prize is the 2019 first-rounder, which is top-12 protected, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Coming into the day, Brooklyn didn’t have the cap room necessary to absorb both Faried and Arthur, but the club created that space by trading Jeremy Lin to the Hawks in another deal. It’s not clear whether Faried and/or Arthur are in the Nets’ plans for 2018/19 or if they’ll become buyout candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.