Jeff Withey

Mavericks Sign Jeff Withey

AUGUST 21: The Mavericks have officially signed Withey, the team announced today in a press release. Dallas now has 19 players under contract, with the final spot on the Mavs’ offseason roster likely reserved for Noel.

AUGUST 18: The Mavericks have agreed to a deal with Jeff Withey, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The scribe adds that the pact will be for one season.

Withey spent the last two seasons backing up Rudy Gobert on the Jazz and Utah renounced the rights to the Kansas product last month after agreeing to terms with Jonas Jerebko.

Withey was accused of domestic violence this past spring, though authorities said that despite the presence of physical contact between him and his ex-fiancee, he was innocent of wrongdoing since they determined that he was simply defending himself. It’s possible that Withey is handed some sort of suspension for the incident. However, no word of any punishment has been reported.

Withey was selected with the No. 39 overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Blazers before being dealt to the Pelicans later that offseason. After two years in New Orleans, where he played just 9.9 minutes per game, he became a free agent and signed with the Jazz.

Dallas currently has a void at the center position, though it’s likely that Nerlens Noel fills that void once the RFA comes to terms with the teams. Withey will likely compete with Salah Mejri for the back-up five spot behind Noel.

Jazz Renounce Jeff Withey, Tyrone Wallace

The Jazz have renounced their rights to free agent center Jeff Withey and former second-round pick Tyrone Wallace, according to RealGM’s transactions log. The moves coincided with the club starting to make its recent signings official, having formally locked up Jonas Jerebko on Monday.

Withey, who appeared in 51 games for the Jazz last season, doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans for the 2017/18 campaign. Utah selected rookie center Tony Bradley in last month’s draft and has added Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh in free agency, fortifying the club’s depth behind Rudy Gobert. The Jazz could still re-sign Withey if they want to, but they can no longer use his Early Bird rights to do so.

As for Wallace, he was “Mr. Irrelevant” in the 2016 draft, selected with the 60th overall pick a year ago. The 23-year-old point guard spent last season with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate, while the Jazz maintained his NBA rights. Now, however, he’ll be free to sign with any team as an unrestricted free agent.

Removing Withey and Wallace from their books appear to be minor bookkeeping moves for the Jazz. While they won’t have much of an impact on the team’s roster, those moves further signal that Utah is creating as much cap room as possible in order to compete its signings of Jerebko, Udoh, Thabo Sefolosha, and Royce O’Neale. They also signal that the roster is just about full, with no room for players like Wallace to vie for a 15-man spot.

Free Agent Rumors: Clippers, KCP, Lakers, Casspi

Free agent big man Willie Reed is meeting today with the Clippers, league sources tell Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the meeting and adds (via Twitter) that Jeff Withey is also sitting down with the club today. Los Angeles doesn’t have a whole lot of financial flexibility left, having used most of its mid-level exception on Milos Teodosic, but the club remains in the market for a backup for DeAndre Jordan, with Marreese Speights having opted out.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Pistons‘ best offer to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was worth $80MM over five years, which “wasn’t even close” to what the free agent guard was seeking, a source tells Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) also hears the two sides weren’t at all close, though he doesn’t confirm those specific figures. Caldwell-Pope is now an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Lakers have shown some interest in Rodney Stuckey, but have only had preliminary discussions on that front, writes Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Alex Kennedy (Twitter link) first reported L.A.’s interest in Stuckey.
  • Before he agreed to sign with the Warriors on a minimum salary deal, Omri Casspi turned down a one-year, $4.5MM offer from a probable lottery team, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who notes that Casspi opted for a chance at a title instead of the bigger payday.
  • The Timberwolves are said to be trying harder to unload Cole Aldrich‘s contract in an effort to land C.J. Miles, but the team remains reluctant to attach a first-round pick, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Jeff Withey Accused Of Domestic Violence

APRIL 21, 8:10am: Withey’s attorney, Alan Jackson, has issued a statement calling the allegations against his client “salacious and patently false,” suggesting that it’s not a coincidence that the accusation came during the playoffs (Twitter link via HoopsHype). Jackson added that he’s confident the “falsity of the claims… will be exposed.”

APRIL 20, 4:06pm: Jeff Withey‘s former fiancee, Kennedy Summers, has filed a police report accusing him of domestic violence, according to TMZ Sports.  Sources tell the publication that the charges, which were filed in California on Tuesday, reference multiple incidents, though one 2016 incident is law enforcement’s focus.

Summers filed the police report this week because the Jazz are traveling to Los Angeles, where she lives, and she’s concerned for her safety, sources tell TMZ. “Given the ongoing circumstances, our client now needs to protect herself and come forward about everything so this doesn’t happen to her or others in the future,” Summers’ lawyers contends. The publication reached out to Withey, but received no response. The 27-year-old has seen extra playing time

The 27-year-old center has seen playing time this postseason with Rudy Gobert sidelined. In 18 minutes over Utah’s first two playoff games, he scored five points on four shot attempts. He also pulled down four rebounds.

Northwest Notes: Eighth Seed, Denver’s Defense, Towns

Jazz coach Quin Snyder is receiving contributions from seldom-used players Jeff Withey and Raul Neto, Jody Genessy of Deseret News writes.

“To be honest, we’ve been in these situations a lot, so there are different guys each night,” Snyder said. “When you have the right spirit, the game rewards you and that’s what happened with those two guys tonight. It’s easy to say, ‘Stay ready,’ and we say that stuff as coaches, but it’s hard to do. For those guys to literally be ready and contribute like they did, it was pretty good.”

The Jazz have won seven of their last 10, enjoying a successful 2016/17 campaign despite occasional injuries to George Hill, Derrick Favors, and Gordon Hayward.

“It’s tough because you never know when your name will be called, so you have to be ready,” Withey said. “On days off, I’m always in the gym running, trying to stay in shape, get shots up and stuff. It’s tough mentally also. It’s part of the business. It’s part of the job.”

More from the Northwest…

  • The Nuggets still hold the eighth seed of the Western Conference, but the team’s defense must improve to sustain a playoff run, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes. Denver’s opponent field goal percentage ranks 28th in the league since the All-Star break, Kosmider writes, and 24th in defensive rating. Coach Michael Malone is well-aware of the problem. “You go back to the start of the regular season, and we were playing good defense the first 10, close to 15 games. Obviously, the wheels have fallen off,” Malone said. Interestingly, Darrell Arthur was hesitant to blame his teammates for the defensive shortcomings: “We’re still learning. We’ve got a young team. It takes a while to go from a mediocre team to a good team to a great team. We’re trying to be great. We’re right there around good, but not so consistent.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns has taken charge of the “desperate” TimberwolvesJon Krawczynski of the Associated Press writes. Towns has been the key to Minnesota’s recent playoff push; winning seven of their last 10, climbing to within two games of the eighth seed. Following tonight’s crucial win over the Warriors, hopes are high for the young Wolves. “Desperation makes you do a lot of things you couldn’t normally do,” Towns said. “Being so close to the playoffs, I have a lot of desperation trying to play the best that I can so I can try to help us get to the playoffs and get that eighth spot.”
  • Tom Thibodeau praised his team’s defensive improvements, saying they’ve taken a “quantum leap” in the right direction. “We’re not where we need to be, but when you look at the past couple of years and where we are now, (the point differential) says we’ve made a big jump,” Thibodeau told AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today. “I believe we’re down to 13th now in points allowed (on the season), so that’s a quantum leap, and it’s still not where it needs to be, and we have to understand that.”

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Ford, Pekovic, Nuggets

After initially agreeing to terms with undrafted free agent Quincy Ford in June, the Jazz finally made the deal official this week, and according to Aaron Falk and Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, Ford’s three-year pact includes a modest guarantee of $75K. Despite the guaranteed money though, the Northeastern alum is a long shot for a roster spot.

As Jones writes, the Jazz already have 14 players on guaranteed contracts, and Jeff Withey is the favorite to earn the final opening on the 15-man roster. That means Ford will likely be ticketed for Utah’s D-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, to open the season.

Here’s more from out of the Northwest division:

  • In a recent episode of The Scoop podcast (hat tip to Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk), Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities notes that Nikola Pekovic worked out in front of Timberwolves personnel last week, but is “still not ready physically.” Pekovic, who continues to recover from an Achilles issue, has been plagued by health problems in recent years, significantly reducing his role in Minnesota and making him a potential release candidatae.
  • With Joffrey Lauvergne no longer in the mix, the Nuggets will likely have one open spot on their 15-man roster, so Adam Mares of DenverStiffs.com conducts a Q&A with D-League expert Chris Reichert to discuss the six prospects vying for that opening. Former Bucks and Pelicans guard Nate Wolters would be Reichert’s pick for the 15th spot on Denver’s roster.
  • Alex Roig of DailyThunder.com proposes three possible trades for the Thunder that could push the team back into contention in the Western Conference. While Roig’s ideas are probably long shots, with Paul George and Jimmy Butler among the suggested targets, it’s worth keeping in mind that Oklahoma City has a crowded frontcourt and an extra guaranteed salary, making Enes Kanter an intriguing trade chip.

And-Ones: Benson, Scott, Timberwolves

A judge’s ruling last year that Pelicans owner Tom Benson is mentally competent to run the team has been affirmed by the Louisiana Supreme Count, reports Katherine Sayre of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The higher court refused to hear an appeal Monday by his estranged family members to have the 88-year-old declared incompetent to run his affairs. Those family members have tried to convince the courts that Benson, who also owns the NFL’s Saints, has been unduly influenced by his third wife, Gayle, and a group of Saints executives.

In other news around the league:

  • Former Lakers coach Byron Scott admitted on Dan Patrick’s radio show that he was “a little blindsided” by their decision to let him go after the season (YouTube link). Scott was under the impression he would have “two or three years” to get the team headed in the right direction but added he didn’t have “any ill-will feelings towards the organization.”
  • The Timberwolves have never enjoyed more reason for optimism in the franchise’s history than now, opines Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. They have hired a top-level coach in Tom Thibodeau, possess a wealth of young talent and practice in a new, state-of-the-art facility, Souhan points out. All those factors provide real hope that the team will soon be a powerhouse in the Western Conference, Souhan concludes.
  • Power forward Trevor Booker, center Jeff Withey and small forward Chris Johnson have a cloudy future with the Jazz, writes Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News. None of those players has guaranteed contracts for next season and GM Dennis Lindsey strongly hinted that he expects Booker to sign with another team, Sorensen continues. Point guard Shelvin Mack is another player without a guaranteed deal, but the Jazz are expected to retain him on his salary of about $2.433MM.
  • Florida State combo guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes has opted to return to school, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Rathan-Mayes, who was not considered a Top 100 prospect by either ESPN Insider Chad Ford or DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony, decided to test the draft waters in early April.

Southwest Notes: Withey, Cunningham, Green

Former 39th overall pick Jeff Withey is seeing significant minutes with the Jazz this season after a parting of ways with the Pelicans that cast him into uncertainty, as Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders details. Executives from other teams have speculated about whether the Pelicans dealt fairly with the center, who said GM Dell Demps told him during the playoffs that the team wanted him back, Dowsett reports. The team made a qualifying offer to him but withdrew it shortly before re-signing Alexis Ajinca, making Withey an unrestricted free agent and leaving him “really confused,” as he said to Dowsett. Withey ultimately landed with Utah on a partially guaranteed deal that last week became fully guaranteed for the rest of this season, and he’s pleased with his new surroudings.

“In New Orleans, it was a tough place for me, just because the coach [Monty Williams], he didn’t really give me a shot, you know what I mean?” Withey said to Dowsett. “Even if I was playing, if I screwed up one time or anything like that, he would just take me right out. Here, Coach [Quin Snyder], he’ll come to you … it’s just a different type of coaching. More player-friendly, for sure.”

Withey has one more year left on his deal, with a non-guaranteed minimum salary for next season. See more on the Pelicans and the rest of the Southwest Division:

Jazz Waive Bryce Cotton, Treveon Graham

The Jazz have waived Bryce Cotton and Treveon Graham, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves reduce Utah to 15 players, the regular season limit, ostensibly a sign that Jeff Withey, Chris Johnson and Elijah Millsap will stick around for opening night despite the lack of full guarantees on their respective contracts. Graham has a $75K partial guarantee on his salary, though it’s more surprising to see Utah release Cotton and his non-guaranteed deal, since the move leaves the Jazz with only two healthy point guards.

Cotton totaled 13 points but just one assist against three turnovers in more than 34 minutes of action combined over two preseason games. The 23-year-old was a holdover from last season, when he joined the Jazz on a pair of 10-day contracts and eventually a deal for the rest of the season that included non-guaranteed salaries for 2015/16 and 2016/17. Graham, a 21-year-old swingman, signed a three-year deal with the Jazz in August after going undrafted out of VCU in June. He scored one point in more than 18 minutes of preseason action. The length of their respective deals makes it unlikely a team claims them off waivers, since many teams can’t claim any deal that runs longer than two.

The Jazz have 12 fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster count shows, plus Withey on a $200K partial guarantee. Johnson and Millsap don’t have any guaranteed salary. Utah isn’t obligated to carry more than 13 players for opening night, though most teams keep 15. Still, Johnson and Millsap will be in tenuous position until the leaguewide guarantee date in January. That’s especially so if the Jazz decide they want more depth at the point. Shooting guard Alec Burks seems likely to see time handling the ball in the meantime.

Northwest Notes: Chalmers, Jazz, Montero, Withey

Trading for Mario Chalmers makes sense for the Jazz, Kincade Upstill of the Deseret News opines. The Heat would prefer to offload salary, as they are about $5.66MM above the $84.74MM luxury tax threshold. Miami hasn’t ruled out trading Chalmers, who will make $4.3MM this season in the final season of his contract. The Jazz are nearly $7MM under the salary cap, so the team could acquire the point guard without sending any salary back. Upstill speculates that a second round pick from Utah would get a deal done due to Miami’s financial situation and its lack of future draft picks.

Dante Exum’s injury creates an opening in the team’s rotation. Trey Burke will slide into the staring lineup and Raul Neto, whose rights were acquired from Atlanta on draft night, will presumably be given the opportunity to run the second unit. The Jazz also have Bryce Cotton under contract, but his deal is non-guaranteed and he’s no lock to make the opening night roster. The team could also use Alec Burks as a de facto second unit point guard. That’s an intriguing option. It would also likely involve inserting Joe Ingles, whose a nifty passer who doesn’t need the ball in his hands, into the starting lineup next to Gordon Hayward and Burke, who can both be ball-dominant at times.

The options currently at the Utah’s disposal are all unproven. The team expects to compete for a playoff spot this season and if the cost of acquiring Chamlers, who has demonstrated he can contribute in the postseason, is as low as Upstill insinuates, then the Jazz might be smart to call Pat Riley and attempt to reach a deal.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Luis Montero’s deal with the Blazers only contains $100K in guaranteed salary this season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Montero signed a three-year contract worth $2.4MM in early July. Portland currently has 17 contracts on the books, as our 2015/16 Roster Count page shows. Of those 17 deals, only 12 contain fully guaranteed salary and two, including Montero’s deal, contain partially guaranteed salary, so the 22-year-old has a decent shot at making the opening night roster.
  • Jeff Withey’s deal with the Jazz, which is a minimum arrangement over two seasons, contains $200K in guaranteed salary, Pincus adds in a seperate tweet. The pact includes a team option on year two. Utah has 20 contracts on the books, with 15 of them, including Withey’s deal, containing at least some guaranteed salary.
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