Jawun Evans

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Miller, Brown, Tatum, Kurucs

The Knicks still haven’t settled on a starting point guard but Frank Ntilikina is “motivated” by the franchise’s decision to pick up his contract option for next season, as he told Marc Berman of the New York Post and other reporters. The Knicks took a cap hit of $6,176,578 to retain Ntilikina through the 2020/21 season. “It’s great here in New York to be part of this situation,” he said. “It’s motivation and a big excitement. It makes me willing to give even more on the court on a daily basis.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Malcolm Miller has made an NBA roster at the start of a season for the first time and he’s breathing a sigh of relief, Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays. The 26-year-old forward won a training camp battle for a spot on the Raptors’ roster. “Like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Like a huge exhale,” Miller said. “Two years of back and forth, but now it’s finally official. I feel like I’ve laid two years of groundwork, so I’m more than ready to attack it at full speed.”
  • Miller’s G League rights were traded to the Northern Arizona Suns along with the 21st pick in the G League draft for guard Jawun Evans, Murphy tweets. However, this won’t affect Miller’s status with the Raptors. They can still assign him to Raptors 905 despite not holding his G League rights because he’s on the 15-man roster.
  • The incentives on Jaylen Brown’s four-year extension include $8MM if he wins the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year award or makes one of three All-NBA teams, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Celtics and Brown reached an extension agreement on Monday. Another $4MM in more reachable incentives includes playing 65 or more games, the team winning 49 or more games and reaching the second round of the playoffs. As previously noted, the total guaranteed money in the deal is $103MM, but it could be worth up to $115MM.
  • The Celtics’ decision to give Brown a huge extension sends a clear signal that they’ll do the same for Jayson Tatum next year, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. That will give Boston a dynamic duo who will both be 23 years old or younger and have ample playoff experience, Blakely notes.
  • Nets forward Rodions Kurucs made a brief court appearance on Monday regarding a domestic assault charge, Andrew Denney of the New York Post reports. Kurucs was arrested in September over the June 27 incident in which he allegedly choked his ex-girlfriend. He was ordered back to court Nov. 19.

Thunder Claim Jawun Evans Off Waivers

8:05pm: The transaction is official, according to a team press release.

4:39pm: The Thunder have claimed point guard Jawun Evans off waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

This comes as a surprising development, as the Rockets were expected to claim Evans after the two-way player was waived by the Suns on Saturday. Oklahoma City, which has tumbled to sixth in the Western Conference standings, made a preemptive strike to prevent Evans from going to Houston. The Rockets are currently third in the West.

It’s a kind of homecoming for the 22-year-old Evans, who starred at Oklahoma State. He made seven brief appearances with Phoenix this season.

Oklahoma City had a two-way opening after converting Deonte Burton‘s two-way deal to a standard contract earlier this month. Two-way players are not eligible for the playoffs.

It’s unlikely Evans will get any significant playing time with Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder and Raymond Felton at point guard.

Houston was looking to fill a two-way slot after promoting Danuel House to its 15-man roster.

Evans spent a good portion of this season with Northern Arizona in the G League, posting a 15.1/3.8/5.8 line in 32 games.

The Clippers waived him in October just before the start of the regular season, although he had a guaranteed $1.378MM deal.

Suns Waive Jawun Evans; Rockets Expected To Make Claim

4:57pm: Phoenix has waived Evans, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic.

4:17pm: The Suns will waive two-way player Jawun Evans, who already has interest from the Rockets, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

Evans signed a two-way deal with the Suns in December, but has only appeared in seven games for Phoenix, playing about nine minutes per night and averaging less than a point per game. He was much more productive with Northern Arizona, posting a 15.1/3.8/5.8 line in 32 games.

The second-year point guard had a promising rookie season with the Clippers, but couldn’t earn a spot on this year’s roster. He was waived in October just before the start of the regular season, although he had a guaranteed $1.378MM deal.

The Suns won’t be able to replace Evans because the deadline for signing two-way players has already passed. The G League season ends this weekend, and Northern Arizona won’t be in the playoffs.

Houston has a two-way slot open after promoting Danuel House to the 15-man roster. No move would be necessary before adding Evans, but the Rockets’ record puts them toward the back of the line for waiver claims, so it’s possible another organization could seize Evans. Teams will have 48 hours to submit claims once Evans is officially waived.

Suns Notes: Kokoskov, Oubre, Rivers, Ewans, Arena

Over the weekend, the Suns struck a deal — which initially started as a failed three-team trade — that sent swingman Trevor Ariza to the Wizards in exchange for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers. The deal became official on Monday as both teams announced the move.

The Wizards reunited with a former player who has experience contending for the postseason. For the Suns, their return is more rooted in maintenance, head coach Igor Kokoskov told reporters (via Gina Mizell of The Athletic).

“We need somebody who’s gonna help us with maintaining,” he said.  “A lot of games, we can’t go through the 48 minutes…We’re gonna find their roles. We definitely can use the talent and experience they have.” 

Kokoskov’s comments are reflective of the Suns’ NBA-worst 6-24 record. It’s possible that Phoenix trades one or both of their new players closer to the trade deadline but in the meantime, they should help the Suns at least appear competitive.

Check out more Suns notes below:

  • Kokoskov is an 18-year NBA assistant coach currently in his first season as a head coach. In that short stint, the Suns have made seven different roster moves, showing the team’s state of influx. As Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes, Kokoskov is involved in the process of all those moves. “NBA organization is a serious organization,” Kokoskov said. “I’m always asked for opinion and my job description is to run the team and coach the team and get us ready and prepared for Minnesota.”
  • Jawun Evans, currently on a two-way deal with the Suns, has shown the ability to be an effective player in the G League. Ewans’ hope is to translate that success with Phoenix, where he was carved out a role off the bench, Cody Cunningham of NBA.com writes. “I just hope to bring grit to the team,” Evans said. “Somebody that on the defensive and offensive end, just to play faster and get everybody involved. Go out there and just have fun playing basketball.”
  • Rebekah L. Sanders of the Arizona Republic examines the Suns’ arena situation and why it might be one of the worst in the NBA. As various NBA franchise attempt to sway the NBA into new arenas, the Suns’ 26-year-old Talking Stick Resort Arena will be the oldest arena in the NBA not to be renovated or rebuilt in the past five years, Sanders writes.

Suns Sign Jawun Evans To Two-Way Deal

5:55pm: The Suns have officially signed Evans, the team announced in a press release.

5:00pm: The Suns will sign guard Jawun Evans to a two-way contract, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets.

Evans has been playing for the team’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. The 6-foot Evans, 22, has appeared in 14 G League games this season, averaging 18.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.6 APG and 1.6 SPG in 30.4 MPG.

The Suns have been searching for a short-term solution at point guard with Devin Booker, who had been moved to the point in the starting lineup, nursing a hamstring injury.

Phoenix had an open two-way slot. George King, a shooting guard, has the other two-way deal.

The Clippers waived Evans in mid-October despite having a guaranteed contract worth approximately $1.378MM after they acquired swingman Wesley Johnson. Evans underwent sports hernia surgery last spring after appearing in 48 games with the Clippers as a rookie. He averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.1 APG in 16.2 MPG.

The Oklahoma State product was the 39th pick of the 2017 draft and was traded by the Sixers to the Clippers in a draft-night swap.

Clippers Trade Wesley Johnson To Pelicans, Cut Two Players

4:11pm: The Clippers have officially announced their trade with the Pelicans and confirmed that they’ve waived both Ajinca and Evans. L.A. is now in compliance with the regular season roster limit.

2:19pm: The Clippers and Pelicans have reached a trade agreement that will send Alexis Ajinca to Los Angeles and Wesley Johnson to New Orleans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Marc Stein of The New York Times first reported (via Twitter) that the two teams were in advanced discussions on a swap involving Ajinca and Johnson.

From the Clippers’ perspective, the trade will simply be about saving a little money before they make their final roster cuts. Ajinca ($5.29MM) earns a more modest 2018/19 salary than Johnson ($6.13MM) and both players are on expiring deals.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Clippers will waive Ajinca after acquiring him. 2017 second-round pick Jawun Evans will be Los Angeles’ other cut, Wojnarowski adds. That means that non-guaranteed players Patrick Beverley and Tyrone Wallace will both open the regular season on the Clips’ roster.

There are some teams that like Evans, according to Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link), but those clubs opted not to trade for the second-year guard, who could draw interest on waivers or as a free agent if he goes unclaimed.

As for the Pelicans, they weren’t expecting to get much out of Ajinca, who missed the entire 2017/18 season with knee issues and still hadn’t been cleared for contact at the start of training camp. By swapping him for Johnson, New Orleans will add some veteran depth at a position of need, without sacrificing future cap flexibility.

Johnson, 31, was the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, but has never been more than a role player at the NBA level. Last season, the 6’7″ wing averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG with a .408/.339/.741 shooting line and solid defense in 74 games (40 starts) for the Clippers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers Exploring Trades To Clear Roster Logjam

With the roster deadline for the 2018/19 season just a few days away, the Clippers are exploring the trade market in the hopes of finding a deal or two that will help them clear their roster logjam, reports Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link). According to Smith, the club had been hoping to address the issue in a potential Jimmy Butler trade, but that seems like a long shot at this point.

The Clippers have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, but likely won’t end up keeping those specific 15 players on their regular season squad. Patrick Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal and Tyrone Wallace has a partial guarantee worth $300K, and both guards are strong candidates to make the roster.

Of the players with guaranteed salaries, Wesley Johnson ($6.13MM) and Jawun Evans ($1.38MM) are among those who may not be locks for the 15-man squad. Neither player projects to have a major role in the Clippers’ 2018/19 rotation.

The Clippers already found a trade that allowed them to clear one guaranteed salary when they sent Sam Dekker to Cleveland in August. If the team can’t find similar deals in the coming days, two players will need to be waived in order to get the roster down to 15 (plus a pair of two-way players) for opening night.

Pacific Rumors: Bagley, Thornwell, Ariza, Cousins

Kings lottery pick Marvin Bagley III has a pelvic bone bruise and will miss the remainder of summer-league action, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets. Bagley, who suffered the injury during the Kings’ game against the Suns on Saturday, will be able to resume basketball activities after 1-2 weeks of rest. The 6’11” Bagley was the No. 2 pick in the draft after one season at Duke.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns signed Rockets free agent forward Trevor Ariza to provide guidance to a young team, according to an Associated Press report. Ariza left the Western Conference powerhouse for a one-year, $15MM contract with Phoenix. “We need his defensive ability and versatility, his shooting ability but I think as much as anything, maybe more than anything, we need his leadership and his winning pedigree,” GM Ryan McDonough said.
  • Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans face a logjam in the Clippers’ backcourt and will have to fight for playing time, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times notes. The duo played a combined 121 games last season but the team currently has eight guards on the roster with the addition of first-round picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. Both Thornwell and Evans have guaranteed contracts worth approximately $1.378MM for next season. “In this game, you can’t worry about nobody else,” Thornwell said. “You can’t come in and worry about what the next man got going on and what the next man is doing.”
  • DeMarcus Cousins says he’s not bothered by the reduced offensive role he’ll have with the Warriors, as he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “I’m sure there will be many games where I may have, you know, four attempts. Then there may be other games where I’m the leading scorer,” he said. “I look at that as a positive. I don’t have to be the guy. I’ve dealt with that my entire career. I’ve always wanted a team where everything doesn’t rely on me. Now I’m in that position.”

Injury Notes: Butler, Kawhi, Hayward, Evans

Jimmy Butler‘s return date remains unclear, but it looks like the Timberwolves forward is getting closer and closer to getting back into the lineup. According to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link), Butler took part in five-on-five action during practice today for the first time since injuring his knee in February.

The Timberwolves only have four games left in the regular season, but Butler is still expected to return before the playoffs. Minnesota’s next game is on Thursday in Denver, and the Wolves would certainly like to have their veteran star back for that contest, which will be big for playoff purposes.

If Butler can’t suit up for the Timberwolves on Thursday, he could aim to return Friday against the Lakers, next Monday against the Grizzlies, or for next Wednesday’s finale against the Nuggets once again.

Let’s round up a few more injury updates from across the NBA…

  • Asked on Sunday for the latest on Kawhi Leonard‘s status, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said there has been no word on the star forward since he headed to New York last week for rehab purposes. “I don’t know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go,” Popovich said, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “If I knew, he’d be here. When he and his group feel he’s ready, then he’ll be ready.” Leonard has already been ruled out of San Antonio’s Tuesday game against the Clippers (Twitter link via Jeff McDonald of The Express-News).
  • Gordon Hayward took another key step forward in his rehab from ankle surgery today, jogging up and down the Celtics‘ practice court. Although head coach Brad Stevens has said Hayward won’t return this season, the forward himself hasn’t ruled out the possibility. “I think every day where he can accomplish something new is a big deal,” Stevens acknowledged today, per Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com. Still, the Celtics’ coach cautioned that Hayward remains “a long, long way away.”
  • Jawun Evans‘ rookie year with the Clippers has come to an early end, according to head coach Doc Rivers, who said today that Evans will undergo sports hernia surgery and won’t play again this season (Twitter link via Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times). Evans averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.1 APG in 48 games for L.A. this season.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Rivers, Williams, Thornwell, Evans

Isaiah Thomas has made it clear that he sees himself as a starter and not a reserve player, the role he has occupied since he was traded to the Lakers. The Lakers will have ample cap space this summer with the intention of luring at least two top free agents. Unless the Lakers want to start Thomas alongside Lonzo Ball, it’s unlikely that Thomas re-signs with Los Angeles.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report opines that while a Thomas reunion with the Lakers is unlikely, it should not be ruled out. LeBron James and Paul George will be the Lakers’ top two targets; James and Thomas were teammates for 15 games in Cleveland this season. If James decides to sign with the Lakers, Thomas re-signing likely becomes more unlikely, Pincus writes.

“Of course, if Thomas insists he’s a starter and will only re-sign on that contingency, the Lakers would presumably need to start him alongside Ball,” Pincus writes. “If George and Ingram are forwards, perhaps [Julius] Randle slides over to start at center.”

Starting two point guards — including a 29-year-old coming off an injury-riddled season — does not sound like something the Lakers would prefer.

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was fined $15K for criticizing the officials in the team’s loss to the Rockets on Thursday, per ESPN. Rivers was critical of the referees’ lack of calls for his team.
  • Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans were prepared for the G League this season and were not expecting significant minutes with the Clippers. A rash of injuries have given Thornwell and Evans key roles, in which they have excelled, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.
  • Suns big man Alan Williams was assigned to the G League’s Northern Arizona Suns this week. However, he will not play for the NBA team until he gets into a game with the G League affiliate, which is expected on Wednesday, tweets Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports.