Johnathan Williams

Wizards Waive C.J. Miles, Promote Anzejs Pasecniks

11:54am: The move is official, the Wizards announced in a press release.

“We appreciate CJ’s contributions to our team this season and wish him and his family the best as he continues his career,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “He is a consummate professional who provided a great example for our younger players despite having his season cut short by an unfortunate injury.”

The team also confirmed that Pasecniks has been signed to a multi-year contract and Williams received a two-way deal.

8:12am: The Wizards will waive injured swingman C.J. Miles, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. His roster spot will be used to convert Anzejs Pasecniks‘ two-way contract to a standard deal, and Johnathan Williams will be re-signed to fill the two-way slot.

Miles, who is making $8.73MM in the final year of his contract, was acquired from the Grizzlies in a trade last summer. He played just 10 games for Washington before suffering a wrist injury in November that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

The 32-year-old has been a positive presence in the locker room, Buckner adds, but the Wizards have been dealing with a string of injuries and need more healthy players (Twitter link).

The team will keep the $4.4MM Disabled Player Exception it received in the wake of Miles’ injury, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The DPE is not affected by the decision to part with Miles.

Pasecniks, a rookie center, has played 13 games for the Wizards, averaging 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in about 22 minutes per night. Washington waived him before training camp, then signed him to the two-way deal in December. Buckner reported last week that the team hoped to promote him to the 15-man roster.

Williams recently had a brief stint with the Wizards as a hardship player, and impressed team officials enough that they wanted to give him another chance. He averaged 5.5 PPG and 6.3 RPG in six games, starting five of them, but was waived last week when the hardship exception expired. He’ll rejoin the roster in advance of the January 15 deadline for two-way signings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Hope To Promote Anzejs Pasecniks Soon

The Wizards made a pair of roster moves over the weekend, waiving Justin Robinson and Johnathan Williams, but they may not be done. According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, the Wizards would like to promote Anzejs Pasecniks to the 15-man roster, then sign a new two-way player in his place.

Pasecniks, a former first-round pick, began the season as a G League player with the Capital City Go-Go before signing a two-way deal with the Wizards in December. Forced into regular action due to Washington’s frontcourt injury issues, the Latvian center has held his own, with 7.7 PPG and 6.3 RPG in 11 games (21.0 MPG).

Currently, Washington has a full roster, with 15 players on standard contracts and Pasecniks and Garrison Mathews on two-way deals. While there’s not necessarily any rush to promote Pasecniks to the 15-man squad, the deadline to sign players to two-way contracts is January 15. So if the team waits until after that date, it won’t be able to sign a new two-way player to replace the big man. As such, the Wizards are likely to take action within the next eight days.

Assuming Gary Payton II isn’t released today, all 15 players on the Wizards’ standard roster will have guaranteed contracts, but that doesn’t mean one can’t be waived to make room for Pasecniks. Ian Mahinmi, C.J. Miles, Isaiah Thomas, Jordan McRae, Isaac Bonga, and Payton are among the Wizards who have no guaranteed money owed to them beyond this season and could be candidates to be traded or cut.

The Wizards were previously permitted to carry two extra players on their roster via the hardship provision, but with Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant on the verge of returning, the club is no longer believed to qualify for an extra roster spot.

If Washington does open up a two-way slot by promoting Pasecniks, Williams is a prime candidate to return on a two-way contract of his own after being waived on Sunday, according to Buckner.

Southeast Notes: Nunn, Robinson, Wizards, Goodwin

Several players around the NBA with non-guaranteed contracts have already been waived or remain in danger of being cut as this week’s salary guarantee deadline approaches. However, Heat youngsters Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson have nothing to worry about.

While their contracts still aren’t technically guaranteed, Nunn and Robinson have started all season for the 26-10 Heat and will, of course, be retained through the January 7 deadline. While it’s a mere formality at this point, Nunn and Robinson are happy to assure themselves of those full guarantees, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

“It’ll definitely be a relief,” Nunn said, admitting that he had “kept an eye on” the guarantee deadline. Robinson, meanwhile, said he isn’t taking his seven-figure salary for granted.

“I hope I never get used to that or that it ever becomes normal,” he said. “Well, I guess I hope it does. Well, you know what I mean: I hope I have the perspective to appreciate that it’s not normal. Every two weeks, I just try to be appreciative of it.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hassan Whiteside seemed “genuinely confused” by the frequent boos he heard from Heat fans during his return to Miami this weekend, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Shortly after he was traded from Miami to Portland this summer, Whiteside filmed himself yelling, “We’ve got shooters!” on social media, a phrase Heat fans chanted back at him near the end of Sunday’s game. “I didn’t really realize they felt it was a diss,” Whiteside said after the game, per Reynolds.
  • Ben Standig and Fred Katz of The Athletic examine why the Wizards elected to keep Gary Payton II, a 27-year-old on a one-year contract, over Justin Robinson, a 22-year-old who had been on a team-friendly three-year deal. Washington released Robinson on Sunday before his 2019/20 salary could become guaranteed. The Athletic duo also pointed out that the Wizards don’t have the G League rights for Robinson or Johnathan Williams, who was cut on Sunday too.
  • Hawks point guard Brandon Goodwin, who is on a two-way contract, logged just five total minutes before Christmas, but has averaged 14.8 MPG in the team’s last five games. Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at what sort of impression Goodwin is making in Atlanta.

Wizards Waive Johnathan Williams

JANUARY 5: The move is official, the Wizards announced in a press release.

JANUARY 4: The Wizards will waive Johnathan Williams, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Williams is on a non-guaranteed contract, so only a portion of his minimum salary will count against Washington’s cap.

The second-year center signed with Washington on December 26 under the hardship provision. He appeared in five games, starting four, and averaged 4.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per night.

Williams broke into the league last season on a two-way contract with the Lakers. He also played briefly with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion in Israel.

The Wizards had been carrying 17 players after being granted a pair of hardship exceptions. Those remain in effect only as long as the team has at least four or five players who have missed three or more games due to injury or illness and are expected to miss at least two more weeks.

Wizards Sign Johnathan Williams

Earlier in the week, it was reported that the Wizards were close to signing Johnathan Williams and according to the team, the deal is official.

Washington will use the hardship provision to bring the big man on without a corresponding roster move. This will be the second player added via the hardship provision, as the team signed Gary Payton II earlier in the week.

As we explained in our story on Payton, the NBA can grant a team a hardship exception when that team has at least four players who have missed three or more games due to injury or illness and are expected to miss at least two more weeks. If a team has five players who fit that bill, a second additional roster spot can be granted.

Williams played with the Lakers last season on a two-way contract. Before that, the center split his college time between Missouri and Gonzaga.

As a free agent this past offseason, Williams signed with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion, where he had averaged 12.2 PPG and 10.4 RPG in nine Israeli League games.

Wizards, Johnathan Williams Close To Deal

The Wizards are close to a deal with former Lakers two-way player Johnathan Williams, sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, Katz cautions that the signing won’t get done immediately.

The injury-plagued Wizards have already qualified for one extra roster spot via the hardship provision and used it today to sign Gary Payton II. Now, per Katz, they’ll apply for a second extra roster spot to accommodate Williams.

As we explained in our story on Payton, the NBA can grant a team a hardship exception when that team has at least four players who have missed three or more games due to injury or illness and are expected to miss at least two more weeks. If a team has five players who fit that bill, a second additional roster spot can be granted.

Assuming the Wizards get approval for that second extra roster spot, they’ll use it on Williams, who was a two-way player for the Lakers in 2018/19, spending most of his time with the South Bay Lakers in the G League. The young forward/center averaged 15.3 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 36 NBAGL contests (27.3 MPG), and appeared in 24 games for the NBA club, posting averages of 6.5 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 15.5 minutes per contest.

As a free agent this past offseason, Williams signed with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion, where he had averaged 12.2 PPG and 10.4 RPG in nine Israeli League games.

The Wizards have had some success in recent years with big men who were former Lakers prospects, as Thomas Bryant and Moritz Wagner have both blossomed in Washington. Williams is unlikely to replicate their success, but could help bridge the gap for the Wizards until they start to get healthier.

Johnathan Williams To Play In Israel

Former Lakers two-way player Johnathan Williams is headed overseas to continue his playing career. Israeli team Maccabi Rishon announced today (via Twitter) that it has signed Williams to a contract for the 2019/20 season.

After going undrafted out of Gonzaga last spring, Williams spent the 2018/19 season on a two-way deal with the Lakers, spending most of his time with the South Bay Lakers in the G League. The young forward/center averaged 15.3 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 36 NBAGL contests (27.3 MPG).

Williams also saw some playing time in the Lakers’ frontcourt near the start and end of the season. He appeared in 24 games for the NBA club, posting averages of 6.5 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 15.5 minutes per contest.

The Lakers initially tendered Williams a two-way qualifying offer, but withdrew it and renounced his rights early in the free agent period, making him an unrestricted free agent. Zach Norvell Jr. and Kostas Antetokounmpo are now L.A.’s two-way players.

Free Agency Notes: Cap Holds, Williams, Magic, Wizards

Nearly half the teams in the NBA renounced their rights to multiple free agents this week as they prepared to make new roster moves official, per RealGM’s transactions log. In some cases, like when the Clippers renounced the rights to Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler, those free agents already new homes lined up, and removing their cap holds was simply a formality to create cap room for incoming additions.

In other cases, the housekeeping moves were a bit more noteworthy. The Pacers, for instance, renounced Darren Collison‘s Bird rights, so if the 31-year-old – who announced his retirement before the start of free agency – ever attempts an NBA comeback, Indiana will no longer have a leg up to re-acquire him.

Besides those two teams, the Hawks, Bucks, Nets, Jazz, Sixers, Clippers, Pelicans, Lakers, Kings, Celtics, Wizards, and Bulls also renounced various free agents, according to RealGM’s log.

Here are a few more notes related to free agency:

  • The Lakers have withdrawn their qualifying offer to two-way player Johnathan Williams and renounced his rights, according to RealGM. That doesn’t preclude the Lakers from bringing back Williams on a new two-way deal, but he’ll be able to sign outright with a new team if he so chooses.
  • At least nine teams are now confirmed to attend the Amar’e Stoudemire/Monta Ellis workout taking place in Las Vegas on Monday, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. We previously relayed word of Stoudemire’s and Ellis’ attempts to make NBA comebacks.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides salary cap updates on a pair of Southeast teams, tweeting that the Magic and Wizards are both safely out of luxury tax territory for now. According to Marks (Twitter links), Orlando has $3.5MM in breathing room under the tax line, counting Khem Birch‘s $1.8MM cap hold, while Washington is about $4MM below that threshold after cutting Jonathon Simmons.

Lakers Tender QOs To Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams

The Lakers have ensured that a pair of their players will be restricted free agents this summer, announcing in a press release that they’ve issued qualifying offers to guard Alex Caruso and forward Johnathan Williams. Both players finished the 2018/19 season on two-way deals.

Caruso, 25, has been with the Lakers on a two-way contract since the start of the 2017/18 season. In 2018/19, he appeared in 25 games for the club, primarily after the All-Star break, recording 9.2 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.7 RPG, and a .445/.480/.797 shooting line in 21.2 minutes per contest.

Because he has spent two seasons with the Lakers on a two-way deal, Caruso’s qualifying offer will be worth the veteran’s minimum (about $1.6MM). The two-way salary portion of that QO must be guaranteed.

As for Williams, the 24-year-old averaged 6.5 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 24 contests (15.5 MPG) for the Lakers last season. His qualifying offer will be a one-year, two-way contract, with a $50K guarantee.

Cap holds for Caruso and Williams will slightly cut into the Lakers’ projected cap room, but if the team needs that space, it won’t hesitate to renounce the duo. If they’re interested, they could each agree to return on new minimum-salary (Caruso) or two-way (Williams) contracts, and could finalize those deals once the Lakers use up their cap room.

Lakers Notes: Walton, Lue, Pelinka, Caruso

Luke Walton‘s fatal mistake with the Lakers was not insisting that everyone else defer to LeBron James, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Tyronn Lue, who won a title with LeBron in Cleveland and is considered among the top candidates to replace Walton in L.A., established a clear order when he took over for David Blatt in 2016. Lue demanded that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love set aside any individual agendas and let James run the show.

Walton never made similar demands after LeBron came to the Lakers, according to Vardon. He was fine with several players serving as the primary ball-handler and didn’t adjust the offense much to feature his new weapon.

“We had our system coming into training camp, and it was similar to the last few years,” former Lakers center Ivica Zubac said after being traded in February. “We all knew LeBron was the guy, but no, that’s not how it was. Luke wants to play fast and he said it right after camp started. I think we played the right way until LeBron got hurt, and then we just didn’t have enough to win.”

There’s more news from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers haven’t contacted Lue about their coaching job yet, but he is in much better health now than when he had to take a leave of absence last season, Vardon adds. Lue has lost 35 pounds, changed his diet and works out twice a day.
  • GM Rob Pelinka will be in charge of the search for a new coach, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. That’s one more sign that Pelinka’s position with the organization is secure after the departure of team president Magic Johnson. The front office talked briefly to Walton’s representatives to see if they could work out an agreement to retain him as coach, Shelburne adds (Twitter link). However, discussions didn’t go very far.
  • Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams and Jemerrio Jones may not return next season, but they provided an inspiring effort after the Lakers’ playoff hopes were extinguished, relays Kevin Ding of NBA.com. After making his NBA debut March 31, Jones thanked Walton after each game for giving him a chance to play. Caruso expressed similar gratitude to Walton and Pelinka in his exit interview on Wednesday. Caruso also credits South Bay Lakers president Joey Buss for helping him to land a two-way contract last season. “Might not be here now,” Caruso said. “It’s all butterfly effect getting to this point.”