Jared Harper

Pelicans Sign James Banks, Malcolm Hill; Waive Zylan Cheatham, Jared Harper

The Pelicans have signed James Banks and Malcolm Hill, the team announced in a press release. In order to create the roster space to sign both players, the team waived Zylan Cheatham and Jared Harper.

Both of the signings were previously reported, and are now official.

Banks, a 6’10” center, went undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2020 after making the ACC All-Defensive Team in both his junior and senior seasons. He spent last season in Israel with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, playing 13 games while averaging 5.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game. He most recently played for the Cavaliers at the Las Vegas Summer League.

Hill, a 6’6″ wing, is a well-traveled international veteran. He’s played for teams in the Philippines, Germany, Kazakhstan and Israel over the past four seasons. During the 2020/21 season, Hill played for Hapoel Jerusalem.

Harper, a 5’10” point guard, spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with the Suns in 2019/20, then spent most of last season on a two-way pact with the Knicks. Harper rarely saw NBA action, but he played well in the G League, averaging 20.5 PPG and 5.9 APG in 30 MPG across 46 games the past two seasons.

Cheatham spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with Pelicans. He played very well at the G League level, but only saw action in four NBA games. He received a full minimum salary last season as part of the Steven Adams sign-and-trade, but was waived by OKC before he ever played a game for the team. After being waived, Cheatham briefly spent time with Minnesota on an Exhibit 10 contract, then appeared in 15 G League games for the Iowa Wolves.

The Pelicans have 15 players with guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots are filled, so Banks and Hill are probably long shots to make the regular season roster. However, because both players are on Exhibit 10 deals, if they’re waived before the start of the regular season and spend at least 60 days with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron, they’d be eligible for bonuses worth up to $50K in addition to their G League salaries.

Pelicans Sign Zylan Cheatham To Camp Roster

The Pelicans officially announced their 20-man training camp roster today, issuing a press release that lists all their players.

The team, which had officially been carrying 18 players, confirmed the previously-reported signing of Jared Harper and also revealed that it has signed free agent forward Zylan Cheatham to fill out the roster.

Cheatham, who spent his rookie season in 2019/20 on a two-way contract with New Orleans, appeared in just four games at the NBA level that year, but he played well in 34 contests for the Erie BayHawks in the G League, averaging 16.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 2.7 APG in 32.6 minutes per contest.

Although Cheatham didn’t play in the NBA at all last season, he technically received a full minimum salary, since he was signed-and-traded from the Pelicans to the Thunder in the Steven Adams trade for salary-matching purposes. After being waived by OKC, Cheatham briefly spent time with Minnesota on an Exhibit 10 contract, then appeared in 15 G League games for the Iowa Wolves.

Two Pelicans signings that were previously reported have not yet been finalized. Our JD Shaw confirms (via Twitter) that the team still plans to sign big man James Banks III to an Exhibit 10 contract at some point, and I’d imagine that’s the case for small forward Malcolm Hill too. NBA teams shuffle roster spots frequently in the weeks leading up to the regular season in order to secure G League rights to certain players or to ensure that others receive bonuses for playing in the NBAGL.

Pelicans Signing Jared Harper, James Banks To Camp Deals

The Pelicans are signing free agent guard Jared Harper and big man James Banks III to training camp deals, agent Kshaun Daley of Verus Basketball tells our JD Shaw (Twitter link).

Harper, who is celebrating his 24th birthday today, was on a two-way contract with the Suns during his rookie season in 2019/20, then spent most of the ’20/21 campaign on a two-way deal with the Knicks. The former Auburn standout saw limited NBA action in those two seasons, logging just 24 total minutes in 11 games, but he played regularly at the G League level.

In 46 total games for the Westchester Knicks and Northern Arizona Suns from 2019-21, Harper averaged 20.5 PPG and 5.9 APG on .429/.370/.802 shooting in 30.0 minutes per contest.

Banks, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2020 after making the ACC All-Defensive Team in both his junior and senior seasons. The 6’10” center spent his first professional season in Israel with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, then suited up for the Cavaliers at the Las Vegas Summer League last month.

The Pelicans currently have 18 players under contract, including 15 on guaranteed deals, one on a non-guaranteed contract (Wenyen Gabriel), and two on two-way deals (Jose Alvarado and Daulton Hommes). Signing Harper and Banks will bring New Orleans to the 20-man preseason limit, though the team has also reportedly reached a deal with Malcolm Hill, so more moves are likely on the way before opening night.

Both Harper and Banks will be on Exhibit 10 deals, which will make them candidates to join the Birmingham Squadron – New Orleans’ G League team – if they don’t earn spots on the Pelicans’ 17-man regular season squad. In that scenario, they’d be eligible for bonuses worth up to $50K in addition to their NBAGL salaries.

Knicks Sign Luca Vildoza To Four-Year Deal

MAY 6: The Knicks have officially signed Vildoza, the team announced in a press release. While the deal has been finalized, it remains unclear exactly when the 25-year-old will be able to report to the team.

New York now has a full 17-man roster.

MAY 5: The Knicks and Argentinian guard Luca Vildoza have reached an agreement on a four-year deal worth $13.6MM, agent Alex Saratsis of Octagon Sports tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

According to Wojnarowski, Vildoza intends to fly to New York once he clears the immigration process, but it remains unclear exactly when he’ll complete his deal or whether he’ll be available for the Knicks at all this season. His exact timeline will depend on how long it takes him to go through the immigration process, to undergo a physical, and to clear the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Wojnarowski reports that only the first year of Vildoza’s contract will be guaranteed. New York will have a chance to evaluate him in the Olympics, Summer League, and training camp before having to commit to a second-year guarantee, Woj notes.

Vildoza, 25, has been playing basketball professionally since 2012, having started his career with Quilmes in Argentina. He joined Baskonia in 2017 and has spent the last four seasons in Spain, playing a key role in the club’s backcourt. In 31 EuroLeague games in 2020/21, he averaged 10.1 points and 3.4 assists in 25.2 minutes per contest, posting a shooting line of .410/.376/.761.

Reports last week indicated that the Knicks were eyeing a deal with Vildoza, who had reportedly agreed to a buyout with Baskonia. The club still has cap room available, which will be used to accommodate a long-term contract worth more than the veteran’s minimum. The signing will push the Knicks above the minimum salary floor for 2020/21, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Once Jared Harper‘s 10-day contract expired on Sunday night, the Knicks had one open spot on their 15-man roster and one open two-way contract slot. The team announced that Harper received a second 10-day deal, but the league’s official transactions log showed that he was actually re-signed to a two-way contract, which Hoops Rumors has confirmed. As such, there’s an open spot on the 15-man squad for Vildoza.

New York Notes: Dinwiddie, Nets, Noel, Harper

Injured Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has been pushing all year to make it back from his ACL injury in time to contribute in the playoffs, but head coach Steve Nash isn’t counting on having Dinwiddie available in the postseason, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes.

“I don’t think so,” Nash said. “We haven’t seen him since the turn of the year almost. It’s very difficult to, one, expose him to full NBA playoff basketball with the type of injury he has. We want to look out for his long-term health, first and foremost. And second of all, adapting back to the team environment.”

Dinwiddie suffered a partial tear of his ACL in just the third game of the season on December 27. ACL injuries are typically season-enders, but the fact that Dinwiddie only sustained a partial tear and was able to go under the knife quickly created some hope that he wouldn’t have to wait until 2021/22 to return. While Nash didn’t rule out that possibility, he’s skeptical that the veteran guard will be part of Brooklyn’s playoff rotation.

“It seems like it’s probably very unlikely,” Nash said, per Lewis. “But who knows? Stranger things have happened.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • The Nets, who have lost their last three games, don’t view James Harden‘s eventual return as a cure-all, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Having seen Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving play together in just seven games this season, Brooklyn is still hoping there will be a chance to establish some continuity in the coming weeks, as Malika Andrews of ESPN details.
  • Knicks center Nerlens Noel is expected to return for Wednesday’s game vs. Denver, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Noel was sidelined on Monday after spraining his left ankle on Sunday.
  • Although the Knicks announced Jared Harper‘s new contract with the team on Monday as a second 10-day contract, Hoops Rumors has confirmed via a source that it was actually a two-way deal, as our JD Shaw first reported. That means no corresponding move will be necessary for New York to complete the signing of Luca Vildoza, since New York has an opening on its 15-man roster.

Knicks Re-Sign Jared Harper

The Knicks have signed point guard Jared Harper to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). Harper had his two-way deal turned into a 10-day contract on April 23rd. That 10-day contract expired on Sunday night.

NBA.com’s official log of transactions lists Harper as having signed a two-way deal, but the Knicks’ announcement suggests he’s back on the 15-man roster. Assuming that’s the case, the team still has an open two-way slot.

Harper, 23, has made six brief appearances with New York in 2020/21 after seeing action in three games with Phoenix last season.

Harper was claimed off waivers in June. Though he hasn’t seen much NBA action, he excelled in the G League season at the Orlando bubble. In 12 G League contests this season, Harper averaged 21.3 PPG and 7.0 APG and was named to the All-NBA G League First Team.

Harper has received more money by having his initial two-way contract converted. He was earning $3,076 per day on his two-way, while a 10-day deal pays him $9,902 per day.

Harper spoke to Hoops Rumors earlier this season about his experience in the G League and the time he has spent on the Knicks’ roster.

Knicks Turn Jared Harper’s Two-Way Deal Into 10-Day Contract

6:09pm: It’s official, the team’s PR department tweets.

4:20pm: The Knicks are converting Jared Harper‘s two-way contract into a 10-day contract, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. Since New York has an open spot on its 15-man roster, no corresponding move is required.

It’s likely that Harper will eventually receive a second 10-day, which would last until the end of the regular season or very close to it.

It’s a nifty raise for Harper. He was making $3,076 per day on his two-way. He will make $9,902 per day on a 10-day contract.

The 23-year-old point guard out of Auburn has made four brief appearances with New York. He saw action in three games with Phoenix last season.

Harper was claimed off waivers in June. Though he hasn’t seen much NBA action, he excelled in the G League season at the Orlando bubble. In 12 G League contests this season, Harper averaged 21.3 PPG and 7.0 APG and was named to the All-NBA G League First Team.

Harper spoke to Hoops Rumors earlier this season about his experience in the G League and the time he has spent on the Knicks’ roster.

Knicks’ Jared Harper Looking To Build On All-NBAGL Season

Knicks two-way guard Jared Harper has shifted his focus to the rest of the 2020/21 NBA season after an impressive stint in the G League bubble, one that earned him an honor few players obtain: a spot on the All-NBA G League First Team.

Harper, a 5’10” point guard who went unselected in the 2019 draft, spent part of last season on a two-way contract with Phoenix before being claimed off waivers by New York in June. After signing a new two-way deal with the Knicks in the offseason, the 23-year-old has seen limited action at the NBA level, but he excelled in the G League with Westchester and is enjoying his time on an NBA roster.

“It’s definitely been a great experience,” Harper told Hoops Rumors in a phone interview. “For one, just being able to be in the NBA. Two, being with an organization as storied as the Knicks and all that goes along with it. Just the opportunity of making history. We’re trying to make a push to continue to stay in the playoff race and go from there. I think there are a lot of positives in this situation.”

In 12 G League contests this season, Harper increased his averages nearly across the board, recording 21.3 points (up from 20.2) and 7.0 assists (up from 5.5) per game. His shooting also improved, going from .413/.362/.787 as an NBAGL rookie to .473/.403/.854 in his second year.

“I just think that next year (helped),” Harper said. “Last year I was able to learn a lot just by playing professional basketball on the fly, even though I was able to play well. But coming into this year, I saw areas that I needed to improve to help me be more efficient — passing the ball, or even scoring.

“Better yet, just trying to win more games. So I think I just took what I did well last year and tried to perfect those things. Plus the things I didn’t do as well, I tried to make better, so everything overall would come together.”

Along with Harper, the G League First Team consisted of Kevin Porter Jr., Mamadi Diakite, Moses Brown, and MVP Paul Reed — all players who are on standard NBA contracts or two-way deals. Every member of the Second Team and Third Team is also under contract with an NBA team or has previous NBA experience. The overall talent level in the bubble made his spot on the First Team this season even more special, Harper said.

“It’s definitely great just knowing how much talent was down in the G League bubble this year,” he explained. “To be recognized as one of the top players down there is just helping me get closer to my goal of being able to play on an NBA court.”

The Knicks have exceeded expectations under head coach Tom Thibodeau this season and currently hold the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 25-27. The team is just two games behind the fourth-seeded Hornets and could make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Harper hasn’t received many chances on the court to contribute to the Knicks’ playoff push so far, having appeared in just four NBA games this season. However, he has gotten the opportunity to learn from veteran guards such as Derrick Rose and Alec Burks, and he has remained supportive of his teammates in practices and on the sidelines. The plan now, he says, is to stay ready in case his number gets called on a more regular basis.

“When I get my opportunity with this team, I just want to take full advantage of it,” Harper said. “My main priority is to continue to get better and do anything I can do to help us make it to the playoffs. Whatever that role will be, that’s my main goal.”

NBA G League Announces 2020/21 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year on Monday, Delaware Blue Coats forward Paul Reed – who is on a two-way contract with the Sixers – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Reed was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by MVP runner-up Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, as well as Oklahoma City Blue big man Moses Brown, Lakeland Magic forward Mamadi Diakite, and Westchester Knicks guard Jared Harper. All of those players are currently on either standard NBA contracts or two-way deals.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently under contract with NBA teams or have past NBA experience.

The complete list of the 2020/21 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Jared Harper (Westchester Knicks) ^

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Malachi Flynn (Raptors 905) *
  • Brodric Thomas (Canton Charge) ^
  • KJ Martin (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Tahjere McCall (Lakeland Magic)
  • Gary Payton II (Raptors 905)

Of the 18 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Brissett, Uthoff, McCall, and Payton – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’20/21 season began. All four of them have previous NBA experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: DSJ, Brazdeikis, Harper, Harden, Shumpert

The Knicks have granted Dennis Smith Jr.‘s request to be sent to the G League bubble, announcing today (via Twitter) that the former lottery pick is among the players being assigned to the Westchester Knicks. Smith reportedly asked to be sent to Westchester in order to get some regular minutes, since he hasn’t been part of the rotation in New York this season.

In addition to Smith, the Knicks have assigned second-year forward Ignas Brazdeikis to the G League and transferred two-way player Jared Harper there as well. Those three members of New York’s 17-man NBA roster will join a Westchester squad that also features former NBA first-round picks like Skal Labissiere and James Young.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York-based teams:

  • Unlike Harper, Theo Pinson – the Knicks‘ other two-way player – will remain with the NBA team rather than heading to the G League. As Marc Berman of The New York Post explains (via Twitter), Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, who formerly represented Pinson at CAA, loves the 25-year-old as a locker-room presence.
  • James Harden missed Sunday’s game vs. Washington due to a left thigh contusion, but it’s not expected to be an injury that lingers or keeps the Nets star sidelined for much longer, according to head coach Steve Nash. “I think it’s pretty manageable, but just a precautionary measure not to get it banged again and make it severe,” Nash said on Sunday, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “… Hopefully, it’s just this game.”
  • In a separate story for The New York Post, Lewis examines how offseason acquisition Bruce Brown has established himself as a regular part of the Nets‘ rotation.
  • Barring a setback in the health and safety protocols, Iman Shumpert – who signed with the Nets over the weekend – should be available by Saturday’s game vs. Philadelphia, says Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. As Schiffer notes, besides playing for the Nets last season, Shumpert has also played alongside Harden and for Mike D’Antoni in the past, giving him a level of comfort in Brooklyn.