Isaiah Whitehead

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.

Guarantee Dates Pushed Back For Whitehead, Reed

The Nets have pushed back the salary guarantee date for Isaiah Whitehead and the Suns have done the same for Davon Reed, according to reports. Both players were initially on track to have their salaries for 2018/19 guaranteed if they remained under contract through Saturday.

[RELATED: NBA Salary Guarantee Dates For Summer 2018]

Whitehead, a former second-round pick who has spent his first two NBA seasons in Brooklyn, has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 salary for 2018/19. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Nets have moved his guarantee date to July 31, so Whitehead will receive his full salary if he remains on the roster through the end of the month.

The move will allow Brooklyn to assess how much cap room it has after acquiring and negotiating a buyout with Dwight Howard — if the team wants to maximize its space at that point to try to add a certain player via trade or free agency, Whitehead could be waived to create a little more flexibility. If not, he has a decent chance of sticking with the club.

As for Reed, Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic reports (via Twitter) that the Suns have pushed back the guarantee date for his $1,378,242 salary until after the conclusion of Summer League, giving the young guard a chance to play for the Suns in Las Vegas.

Reed, a second-round pick in 2017, only appeared in 21 games in his rookie year due to a knee injury, so the Suns probably want to take a closer look at him this summer before making any final decisions. The 23-year-old’s salary is reportedly partially guaranteed for $689K, so it wouldn’t cost Phoenix much to keep him around. The Suns already parted ways with one young guard, cutting Tyler Ulis on Saturday.

Nets Notes: Harris, Lin, Marks, Cap Room

The Nets are committed to re-signing free agent Joe Harris this summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The fourth-year swingman is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting .419 from 3-point range. He emerged as a rotation player in Brooklyn last season after two years of trying to earn a role in Cleveland, and said “I don’t really envision myself being anywhere else” during a media session last week.

Scotto talked to eight NBA executives who estimate Harris will get offers between $4MM and $7MM per season. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Nets, who will have up to $20MM in available cap space. Harris just wrapped up a two-year veterans’ minimum deal he signed with Brooklyn in 2016.

“I think Joe made it pretty clear in some of the statements he made that he’d love to be back here,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s how the organization feels about him, too. As [coach] Kenny [Atkinson] alluded to before, we’ve got some decisions to make on several, but definitely, Joe is a guy we see in a Nets uniform.”

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeremy Lin‘s season was wiped out by a ruptured patella tendon on opening night, but the front office believes he will be an impact player next season, Scotto relays in the same story. Injuries limited Lin to 36 games during 2016/17 in his first season with Brooklyn, so he feels like he has something to prove heading into the final year of his contract. “I would say I wouldn’t bet against Jeremy,” Marks cautioned. “The way he’s attacked his rehab over the course of the last six to eight months is really impressive. He’s come back with a little bit of a new lease on life, which is great.”
  • The Nets plan to remain patient in the rebuilding process, Scotto adds. The team raised its victory total from 20 to 28 this season and is aiming for modest improvements over the summer. Brooklyn’s cap room will be reduced by about $8.5MM if it makes a qualifying offer to Nik Stauskas and picks up non-guaranteed salaries for Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead. Lin’s contract expires next summer and Allen Crabbe can opt out, giving the Nets much more flexibility in the 2019 free agent market.
  • Atkinson is happy with the progress that Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen all made during their first year with the franchise, but he wants them to improve on defense, especially with forcing turnovers, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Injury Notes: Gallinari, Ball, Nowitzki, Kanter

Both Los Angeles teams may be without key players for the rest of the season, according to various reports. For the Clippers, Danilo Gallinari is once again back on the shelf. Having recently returned from an 18-game absence due to a hand injury, Gallinari re-aggravated that hand injury during a fall in Sunday’s game against Indiana.

According to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times, the Clippers are simply calling Gallinari’s injury a sore right hand for now, and the forward will travel with the club for Thursday’s game in Utah. However, the club doesn’t expect to get Gallinari back during the regular season after his latest setback, Turner says.

Meanwhile, the Lakers will “most likely” be without rookie point guard Lonzo Ball for Wednesday’s game against San Antonio, per head coach Luke Walton. As Bill Oram of The Orange County Register details, Walton acknowledged that a left knee contusion could keep Ball sidelined for the rest of the season. “Could he play?” Walton said. “Probably, but with six games left we’re not going to put him back out there when his knee’s hurting like that. Wait until he’s all the way healthy – if that happens.”

Here are more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek isn’t sure whether Enes Kanter – who is dealing with a back injury – will return to the court this season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. If Kanter doesn’t make it back, it’s possible he has played his last game as a Knick, since he can opt out of his contract this offseason. However, the veteran center is considered a good bet to exercise that option.
  • Dirk Nowitzki didn’t accompany the Mavericks on their final road trip of the season as he battles a left ankle impingement, per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. While Nowitzki could still join the team on the road trip or play in the regular season finale in Dallas, the lottery-bound Mavs may play it safe with the franchise icon and hold him out for their final four games. Nowitzki has said he hopes to play one more year in 2018/19.
  • Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist, the team announced in a press release. The procedure brought Whitehead’s second NBA season to an early end. He appeared in just 16 NBA contests this year after playing 73 in his rookie season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/20/18

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Suns have assigned veteran big man Alan Williams to their G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, as part of his rehab process in returning from a torn right meniscus, per an official press release. In his first rehab assignment last week, Williams scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Northern Arizona.
  • The Magic have assigned 10-day contract recipient Rodney Purvis to their G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, per an official tweet from the team. Purvis, 24, has averaged 20.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 37 G League games so far this season.

Also, two other G League assignments transpired on Sunday:

  • The Rockets assigned Zhou Qi to their G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, per the G League’s official transaction log. Qi, 22, is averaging 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in 21 G League contests this season.
  • The Nets have assigned Isaiah Whitehead to the Long Island Nets of the G League, according to the G League’s official transaction log. In 27 G League games this season, Whitehead, 23, is averaging 20.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.7 APG.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/13/18

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

9:50 pm: 

  • After assigning him earlier today (as noted below), the Jazz have recalled Exum from the Salt Lake City Stars, according to Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News (Twitter link). Woodyard added that the former No. 5 overall pick could play for Utah at some point this week.

3:05 pm:

  • The Jazz have assigned point guard Dante Exum to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. Exum, who has missed the entire 2017/18 season due to a shoulder injury, is aiming to return to the court later this week, so he’s participating in a practice with the Salt Lake City Stars as part of his rehab process.
  • The Nets have recalled Isaiah Whitehead from the G League, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Whitehead, who has seen far more action in the NBAGL this season than in the NBA, racked up 27 points on Sunday in his most recent game with the Long Island Nets.