Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes Signs With Chinese Team

Jarnell Stokes, who played briefly for the Nuggets last season, has signed with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Dario Destri of Sportando.

The 23-year-old center/power forward signed with Denver shortly before last year’s training camp and appeared in two games before being waived in mid-November. He joined the Sioux Falls franchise in the G League in March.

Stokes was selected 35th overall by Utah in 2014 and traded to Memphis on draft night. He played 19 games as a rookie, then had short stints with the Grizzlies and Heat in 2015/16. Stokes has spent most of his career in the G League and won both regular season and playoff MVP honors in 2016.

Free Agent Rumors: Teague, Rose, Olynyk, Waiters

Much has been made of Paul George‘s approaching free agency, but the Pacers star won’t be eligible to hit the open market until 2018. Another key Indiana player – Jeff Teague – will see his contract expire this summer, and if Teague leaves the Pacers as a free agent, that probably increases the likelihood of a George departure as well, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

One league source who spoke to Deveney predicted that Teague will seek a contract close to the max, pointing to Mike Conley‘s five-year, $150MM+ deal with the Grizzlies as one that Teague’s camp will probably bring up in contract negotiations. However, Deveney notes that Teague grew up in Indianapolis and would like to stay with the Pacers, which means a hometown discount isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Here are a few more notes from around the NBA related to current free agents or players whose contracts will be up this summer:

  • In a video for The Vertical, Bobby Marks and Chris Mannix identify Knicks point guard Derrick Rose and Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk as two free agents whose value is very hard to pin down. Mannix suggests he wouldn’t commit to Rose for more than one or two years, while the duo agrees that Olynyk will likely command an annual salary worth at least $10MM, a substantial price to pay for a player whose production has been inconsistent.
  • It has been a tale of two seasons for Dion Waiters, who is enjoying perhaps his best year as a pro in Miami, but has also been slowed by various injuries, including the ankle sprain that currently sidelines him. Still, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel doesn’t expect those injuries to give the Heat much additional leverage in contract talks this summer with Waiters, since they’re not serious, long-term ailments.
  • Former NBA players Solomon Jones and Jarnell Stokes are currently NBA free agents, but both players have signed D-League contracts, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back (Twitter links). Stokes’ D-League rights are held by Sioux Falls, so last year’s NBADL will return to the Skyforce. The club waived former NBA center Johan Petro in a corresponding move.

Nuggets Waive Forward Jarnell Stokes

The Nuggets have waived forward Jarnell Stokes, league sources informed Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com confirms the transaction in a tweet.

Stokes, who missed the last two games with a foot injury, appeared in just two games this season and played a total of seven minutes. The 6’9” power forward appeared in 21 games with the Grizzlies over the last two seasons and another handful with the Heat. He has averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.4 minutes in 28 career games.

He was signed by Denver in September to a two-year contract and received $150K in guarantee money. His $980K salary for this season would have been fully guaranteed if he had remained on the roster through January 10th.

The University of Tennessee product was originally drafted by the Jazz with the No. 35 overall pick in 2014.

Contract Details: Warriors, Nuggets, Celtics, Pistons

Teams signing players to training camp deals in the hopes that those players will eventually land with their D-League affiliates often incentivize their offers by including partial guarantees. That appears to be the case with the Warriors — as we noted earlier today, Golden State awarded $50K guarantees to Cameron Jones, Scott Wood, and Elgin Cook, who all seem like good bets to end up with Santa Cruz. Given how modest D-League salaries are, that extra guaranteed money can motivate players to accept D-League assignments rather than seeking more lucrative jobs overseas.

According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), another Warriors camp invitee, Phil Pressey, also received a small guarantee, worth $35K. However, JaVale McGee‘s contract with the team is fully non-guaranteed. Of course, McGee seems more likely to earn a spot on Golden State’s regular-season roster than many of his fellow camp invitees, in which case he’d have an opportunity to earn his full $1.4MM+ salary.

Here are a few more salary details from around the NBA, via Pincus:

  • According to Pincus’ salary information, the Nuggets signed Robbie Hummel and Jarnell Stokes to two-year, minimum-salary contracts, while Nate Wolters got a three-year, minimum-salary deal. Hummel and Stokes received guarantees worth $150K apiece, while Wolters received $50K in guaranteed money.
  • The Celtics signed Damion Lee to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that features $50K in guaranteed money, while Jalen Jones got a one-year deal with a $25K guarantee, per Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The one-year, minimum-salary deals Nikola Jovanovic and Trey Freeman inked with the Pistons are both worth about $543K, the rookie minimum. However, Jovanovic got a $30K guarantee from the team, while Freeman’s deal is fully non-guaranteed, Pincus notes.

Nuggets Sign Jarnell Stokes

SEPTEMBER 15: Stokes’ deal with the Nuggets is now official, the team announced today in a press release. Terms of the deal still aren’t known, but it’s likely a minimum-salary pact that includes little to no guaranteed money.

SEPTEMBER 4: The Nuggets are close to a deal with reigning D-League MVP Jarnell Stokes, tweets Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. Stokes played briefly for the Grizzlies and Heat last season.

The 6’9″ center/power forward helped Sioux Falls win a D-League record 40 games in 2015/16, posting averages of 20.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per night in 28 games. At the NBA level, Stokes appeared in two games with Memphis before being traded to Miami in November. The Heat shipped him to New Orleans in February, but the Pelicans released him the next day.

Stokes, 22, was a second-round pick in 2014 by the Jazz, who traded him to Memphis on draft night. He has spent most of his career in the D-League. Dempsey expects him to have a legitimate shot at earning a roster spot in Denver Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Bosh, Stoudemire, Stokes

It’s unlikely the Heat will use the stretch provision on Chris Bosh this year, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Teams face an August 31st deadline to trigger that option for the 2016/17 season, and Miami officials don’t appear ready to commit to such a move. The stretch provision is a relatively new rule that allows teams to ease the burden of an unwanted contract by waiving the player and stretching his cap hit for double the number of years left on his deal, plus one. Bosh has three years remaining at $75,868,170, so the Heat could choose to pay him $10,838,750 each year through 2022/23.

One consequence of using the stretch provision is it erases the possibility of a medical retirement, which could happen if an independent doctor rules that Bosh, whose past two seasons have been cut short by blood clots, cannot continue playing in the NBA. That must occur at least one year after a player’s final game, which in Bosh’s case was February 9th, 2016, and would take the entire remaining contract off the Heat’s cap.

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • Bosh continues to send positive messages to teammates about resuming his career, Winderman notes in the same story. If the Heat decide to use the stretch provision on Bosh, he could immediately sign with any other team, most likely one with fewer objections than Miami about letting him play again.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire would have preferred more time in the NBA before joining the Israeli team that he co-owns, Winderman adds in the same piece. Stoudemire appeared in 52 games for the Heat last year and became a regular starter by the end of the season. “I started 37, 38 of the last 40 [regular-season] games,” he said at a press conference in Jerusalem. “My stats were pretty good. But teams want to go younger and have a different mindset about basketball.”
  • Jarnell Stokes, who appeared in five games for Miami last season, hired Priority Sports as his new agent and turned down offers in excess of $500K to play in Europe, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. The 6’9″ center/power forward was acquired in a trade with Memphis last November, but spent most of the season in the D-League, where he earned MVP honors. Miami traded him to New Orleans in February, and the Pelicans promptly released him. The Lokomotiv Kuban franchise in Russia is among the teams interested in signing Stokes, according to Sportando.

Heat Trade For Luke Babbitt

5:32pm: The trade is official, the Heat have announced.

JULY 10th, 5:16pm: The Heat are in “advanced trade discussions” with the Pelicans for combo forward Luke Babbitt, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. New Orleans will receive draft considerations and cash in return.

The draft considerations involve the heavily protected 2018 pick the Pelicans sent to Miami in a February deal for Jarnell Stokes, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The draft choice was protected unless it fell out of the top 55 (Twitter link). Miami is also sending the first of its allowable cash outlays for next season to New Orleans (Twitter link).

The 6’9″ Babbitt has six years of NBA experience with the Pelicans and Trail Blazers. He played in 47 games last season, averaging 7.0 points and 3.1 rebounds.

And-Ones: USA Basketball, Ingram, Lakers, Turiaf

In the wake of reports earlier this week that Stephen Curry and other stars won’t be playing for Team USA this summer in Brazil, USA Basketball announced today that there are plenty of young players set to participate in next month’s training camp as part of a 25-man select team. The select team will train with the Olympic squad as it prepares for the 2016 Olympics, and is made up of players with three years or less of NBA experience, as well as a handful of incoming rookies.

The full roster of Team USA’s select team can be found right here. Among the most interesting names? Top prospects Brandon Ingram and Kris Dunn; dunk contest standouts Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon; and former top picks Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from across the NBA…

  • Within a piece that focuses on D’Angelo Russell and his NBA future, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times writes that Brandon Ingram – the favorite to be selected second overall in this year’s draft – is scheduled to have dinner with Lakers officials on Wednesday night and to work out privately for the club on Thursday.
  • In an interview with BasketUSA.com (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando), former NBA big man Ronny Turiaf expressed some interest in returning to the court following a hip injury that has sidelined him since 2014. According to Sportando’s translation, Turiaf is leaving the door open to a possible return to the NBA or to a major European club.
  • Coming off a season in which he won the D-League’s MVP award, Jarnell Stokes is looking forward to trying to get another shot from an NBA team this offseason, as he tells Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. Since being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, Stokes has been traded three teams and has yet to find a good NBA fit.
  • Former Sixers guard Pierre Jackson will work out this week at the Knicks‘ free agent mini-camp, and is lined up to work out for the Trail Blazers and Mavericks later this month, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

Heat Notes: Dragic, Wade, Johnson, Stokes

Goran Dragic‘s performance in today’s Game 7 win over the Hornets showed why Miami traded two first-round picks to get him last season, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Dragic scored 25 points and handed out four assists as the Heat easily dispatched Charlotte. It was a welcome performance after an uneven season that had many observers questioning whether Dragic was a good fit alongside Dwyane Wade. Both guards need to control the ball to be effective, and although they were friendly off the court, their styles of play sometimes clashed. But today Dragic was at his best, connecting on 11 of 17 shots from the field while holding Hornets point guard Kemba Walker to just 3 of 16. “That’s the Goran Dragic we all love,” Wade said. “He puts so much pressure on the defense and allows the other guys to chill out, especially me. When he’s playing that way for us, we’re a tough, tough team to beat.”

There’s more on a victorious day in Miami:

  • After being sidelined since late January, Tyler Johnson was happy to get back on the court today, relays Christy Cabrera Chirinos of The Sun-Sentinel. Johnson scored five points in his first action since having surgery on his left rotator cuff in February. “The last couple games, I’ve been available, but to finally get in there was a blessing,” Johnson said. “It was good to see the ball go in the basket for the first time in a while.” 
  • The Heat not only won their first playoff series since LeBron James left in 2014, they showed they could succeed without Chris Bosh, writes Dave Hyde of The Sun-Sentinel. Bosh has been out of action since the All-Star break when doctors reportedly discovered blood clots in his left calf.
  • The fate of Jarnell Stokes will help shape the role of the D-League in the future, contends Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Stokes, who played for Miami’s affiliate in Sioux Falls, was the league’s MVP for both the regular season and the championship series, a feat he accomplished despite being part of three organizations during the year. However, Winderman says the D-League’s reputation will take a hit if Stokes can’t turn those awards into a steady NBA job.

And-Ones: Salary Cap, Draft, Jersey Ads

Croatian power forward Marko Arapovic will enter this year’s NBA draft, as he announced on Twitter, and the same is true for Slovenian shooting guard Blaz Mesicek, as his agent, Benjamin Stevic, told Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Both hold a degree of intrigue, with Givony having slotted the 6’6″, 18-year-old Mesicek at No. 32 in his 2017 mock draft, though he’s not in Givony’s top 100 prospects for this year. The 6’9″, 19-year-old Arapovic is 96th among this year’s prospects, as Givony ranks them, and he’s No. 100 with Chad Ford of ESPN.com. International prospects aren’t bound to NCAA rules, so they can hire agents and withdraw from the draft as late as June 13th.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The latest official projection for next year’s salary cap is $92MM, according to a memo the NBA sent to executives around the league, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link). That’s an increase on the $90MM projection reported in February, though many had already estimated the cap would wind up in the $92MM to $95MM range.
  • Owners sense the league is prosperous and the collective bargaining agreement is working, commissioner Adam Silver said today about this week’s board of governors meetings, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com relays (Twitter link). Silver remains optimistic about avoiding a work stoppage next year as negotiations with the players union progress toward a new labor deal, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
  • The addition of jersey ads, which the board of governors have formally approved for the start of the 2017/18 season, are liable to raise the salary cap $2MM to $3MM annually based on projections circulating around the league, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Silver estimates the ads will generate $100MM in annual revenue, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • French power forward/center Mathias Lessort intends to enter the 2016 NBA draft, YouFirstBasket.com announced (via Twitter). The 20-year-old is a long shot to be selected, not appearing among the top 100 players on either Ford’s or Givony’s rankings.
  • Vanderbilt junior center Damian Jones intends to enter the draft and will sign with Austin Brown of CAA, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com relays (Twitter links). Jones is ranked as the No. 21 overall prospect by Givony and comes in at No. 43 according to Ford. Jones has long planned to go into the draft this year, having said as much in October.
  • Former Pelicans big man Jarnell Stokes was named the MVP of the NBA D-League, the Sioux Falls Skyforce announced. In 28 D-League appearances, Stokes averaged 20.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per contest.
  • Wichita State senior shooting guard Ron Baker has signed with agent Aaron Mintz of CAA, Goodman tweets. The 23-year-old is the No. 98 overall prospect in this year’s draft according to Givony.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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