Johnny O'Bryant

Johnny O’Bryant To Play In Israel

Former Bucks, Nuggets, and Hornets forward Johnny O’Bryant will continue his playing career overseas. According to an announcement from the team (hat tip to Sportando), O’Bryant has signed a one-year contract to join Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv.

“Johnny is a great addition for our team” Maccabi head coach Neven Spahija said in a statement. “He has experience in the NBA and he will a key role in the roster. I hope that together with him we’ll make another jump this season. He’s a hard worker and a great man.”

O’Bryant, a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, spent two seasons with the Bucks before being waived. After a training-camp stint with the Wizards in 2016, the former LSU standout signed multiple 10-day contracts with the Nuggets and Hornets in 2017, eventually landing a multiyear deal with Charlotte.

The 6’9″ forward averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 36 games (10.5 MPG) for the Hornets last season before he was included in the deadline deal that sent Knicks big man Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte. Having been acquired by New York in the trade, O’Bryant was subsequently waived.

This will be O’Bryant’s first stint overseas.

And-Ones: Kelly, O’Bryant, Leonard, Booker, Curry

Former Lakers and Hawks forward Ryan Kelly has signed a contract to play for SunRockeres Shibuya of Japan next season, according to a Sportando report. Kelly spent last season with Real Betis in Spain and averaged 13.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG.

Kelly, 27, last appeared in the NBA during the 2016/17 season with Atlanta, when he saw action in 16 games. He spent his first three seasons with the Lakers. The 6’11” power forward has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 19.2 MPG in his 163-game NBA career.

In other basketball news domestically and overseas:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv is close to signing power forward Johnny O’Bryant, according to another Sportando report. O’Bryant, 25, played 36 games last season with the Hornets, averaging 4.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 10.5 MPG. O’Bryant, 25, was traded to the Knicks in February and then waived. The 6’9” O’Bryant has also played for the Nuggets and Bucks, who selected him 36th overall in the 2014 draft.
  • Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, Victor Oladipo and Ben Simmons are among the dark-horse candidates to win the Most Valuable Player award, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A healthy Leonard would quickly become a prime MVP candidate, O’Connor opines, while Booker could have a breakout campaign after showing steady progress in his first three seasons.
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Warriors) and Isaiah Thomas (Nuggets) are obvious choices as the best bargains in free agency but as Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated notes, there are several other players who could fall into that category. Ed Davis (Nets), Seth Curry (Trail Blazers) and Brook Lopez (Bucks) should all provide production that far outweigh the deals that they signed, in Mahoney’s view.

Knicks Waive Johnny O’Bryant

FEBRUARY 8: The Knicks have officially waived O’Bryant, the team announced today (via Twitter).

FEBRUARY 7: The Knicks don’t intend to keep the player they acquired from the Hornets in the Willy Hernangomez trade, according to GM Scott Perry, who told reporters today that forward Johnny O’Bryant will be waived (Twitter link via Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv).

[RELATED: Knicks trade Willy Hernangomez to Hornets]

O’Bryant, 24, appeared in 36 games for Charlotte this season, averaging 4.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 10.5 minutes per contest. Before joining the Hornets as a free agent last March, the former LSU standout had also spent time with the Bucks and Nuggets over the course of his four-year NBA career.

Although Hernangomez has a modest $1.4MM cap hit, he’s earning more than the minimum, so the Hornets couldn’t have used the minimum salary exception to acquire him. With no cap space or trade exceptions available, Charlotte had to send out O’Bryant for salary-matching purposes. The Hornets will be ineligible to re-sign the young forward if and when he clears waivers.

As for the Knicks, the decision to cut O’Bryant signals that the Hernangomez was all about landing those two future second-round picks. New York will keep O’Bryant’s $1.52MM cap hit on the books, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, and will open up a spot on their 15-man roster once the transaction becomes official.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are committed to a core that hasn’t been able to get the franchise over the hump and likely won’t be able to do so as key components of the rotation age out of their primes.

Much of the organization’s most recent woes can be attributed to injuries and health-related struggles but week-by-week that plucky, purple-shirt-guy-inspired squad that pushed the Heat to seven games in the first-round of the 2016 postseason seems like a distant memory.

Making matters worse for Hornets fans is that there isn’t exactly help in sight. The club projects to break camp close to $20MM over the salary cap and the contracts set to come off their books don’t represent much relief.

Michael Carter-Williams of the Charlotte Hornets verticalMichael Carter-Williams, PG, 26 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal in 2017
Desperate for a reliable backup point guard, the Hornets tried their luck on a former Rookie of the Year. Still just 26 years old, Carter-Williams was an intriguing option to be had for the minimum but bringing him back after a (thus far) career-worst shooting year is a different story. In theory Carter-Williams can fill the stat sheet if given an opportunity, but it’s hard to imagine he’s moved the needle enough at this point in the season to convince the front office to bring him back.

Johnny O’Bryant, PF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $1.7MM deal in 2017
The Hornets, in need of healthy bodies to round out their rotation, have plugged O’Bryant into a bigger role of late and the forward has done a respectable job of producing in the time that he’s been given. If Charlotte continues to struggle in 2018, expect the organization to feature their younger players more often. That’s a perfect recipe for O’Bryant to make his case as one of the few in-house growth opportunities the franchise has available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Wall, Belinelli, Heat, Hornets

Wizards point guard John Wall hasn’t taken the court since November 22, having received platelet-rich plasma and viscosupplementation injections in his left knee a few days after that. While Wall’s return isn’t imminent, it’s getting close, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. A source tells Buckner that Wall could get back in the lineup by the middle of next week.

The Wizards’ initial timeline for Wall projected a two-week recovery, which would have put him on track to return this weekend. However, as that same source tells Buckner, the club’s All-Star point guard needs a little more time to get healthy.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • Hawks sharpshooter Marco Belinelli will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, and recently told Massimo Lopes Pegna of La Gazzetta dello Sport (English link via Sportando) that his goal is to sign a two- or three-year contract. Belinelli left the door open for a possible return to Europe down the road, but it would be a surprise if he left the NBA anytime soon — he’s still just 31 years old, and his .393 3PT% will appeal to potential suitors.
  • The Heat entered this season hoping that their 30-11 second-half record last year was more indicative of their true talent level than their 11-30 first half. So far though, they’ve essentially split the difference, with an 11-13 mark. As the club struggles to get above .500, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald explores whether it was a misstep to give lucrative, long-term deals to James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
  • With Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky both sidelined due to injuries, the Hornets will have to make some adjustments to their frontcourt rotation, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, who identifies Johnny O’Bryant and Mangok Mathiang as two players who could benefit. O’Bryant is in the final year of his minimum-salary deal with Charlotte, while Mathiang is on a two-way contract — he was transferred back to the Hornets today.

Hornets Sign Paige, Mathiang To Two-Way Deals

AUGUST 2: The two-way deals for Paige and Mathiang are now official, the Hornets announced today in a press release.

AUGUST 1: The Hornets will sign Marcus Paige and Mangok Mathiang to two-way contracts, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).

Paige, 23, spent four seasons at UNC, where he averaged 13.1 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 2.8 RPG in 141 games. The Nets drafted Paige with the 55th overall pick in last year’s draft but traded him to the Jazz as part of the deal that sent Isaiah Whitehead to his native Brooklyn squad.

After he was waived in early October 2016, Paige latched on with the Jazz’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. In 46 games, he averaged 12.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.2 APG in 32.7 minutes. Most recently, Paige was part of the Timberwolves‘ summer league team in Las Vegas.

As for Mathiang, the Lousiville product averaged 7.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.1 BPG in his senior year at the college. The 24-year-old appeared for Charlotte in five games during the summer league where posted 4.4 PPG, five boards and 53.3% from the field.

As a side note, the Hornets also guaranteed forward Johnny O’Bryant‘s $1.5MM salary for the 2017/18 season, per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). Today was the deadline for Charlotte to fully guarantee O’Bryant’s contract.

For more details on what two-way contracts are and how they work, be sure to check out our FAQ.

Hornets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To Multiyear Deal

1:15pm: The Hornets have formally confirmed O’Bryant’s new deal, which is a multiyear contract, according to a team release. Details haven’t been reported, but the pact likely includes a non-guaranteed salary for 2017/18.

9:08am: Johnny O’Bryant‘s second 10-day contract with the Hornets expired overnight, but the veteran forward won’t have to seek out a new team in free agency. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Charlotte intends to lock up Bryant with a deal for the remainder of the 2016/17 season.

O’Bryant, 23, spent time with the Nuggets earlier this season before catching on with the Hornets. He has been sidelined as of late with a sprained ankle, but has been decent in limited action during his time with the Hornets, averaging 4.5 PPG on 53.3% shooting in just 8.5 minutes per contest (four games).

Assuming O’Bryant signs for the minimum salary and his new deal is finalized today, it would count for $161,483 on the Hornets’ cap. Charlotte still has its prorated room exception available, so the team isn’t necessarily limited to the minimum salary, but I’d be surprised if O’Bryant gets more than that.

The Hornets will have a full 15-man roster once O’Bryant officially re-signs, though they could have a roster spot opening soon — Briante Weber‘s second 10-day contract with the team expires this weekend, so Charlotte will have to decide whether to retain him for the rest of the season as well.

Hornets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To Second 10-Day

MARCH 6, 9:23am: Following the expiration of his initial 10-day deal overnight, O’Bryant has formally signed a second 10-day contract with the Hornets, the team announced today in a press release.

MARCH 5, 10:38am: The Hornets will sign power forward Johnny O’Bryant to a second 10-day contract, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. The signing will take place Monday when his first 10-day deal expires.

O’Bryant had 15 points and six rebounds in a reserve role in Saturday’s win at Denver. He is averaging 8.5 points and 3.0 boards in two games with the Hornets.

The former LSU star spent seven games with the Nuggets earlier this season. He spent his first two years in the NBA with the Bucks.

Charlotte, which has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and Briante Weber also on a 10-day contract, will continue to have a full 15-man roster once O’Bryant officially re-ups.

Hornets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To 10-Day Deal

3:14pm: The Hornets have officially signed O’Bryant to a 10-day contract, the team announced this afternoon in a press release.

7:32am: After playing on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Nuggets earlier this season, Johnny O’Bryant is poised to join a new team, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back, who reports (via Twitter) that the Hornets will sign the free agent forward to a 10-day contract.

The Hornets have been carrying 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, along with a pair of players – Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey – on 10-day contracts. The latest 10-day deals for both McCallum and Tobey expired overnight, so it seems the Hornets won’t retain both players.

Assuming the team finalizes a deal with O’Bryant, there would still be one opening on the roster to sign McCallum, Tobey, or someone else. Since McCallum and Tobey each signed two 10-day contracts with Charlotte, they would need to be signed for the season to stick with the Hornets.

O’Bryant, 23, was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Bucks. In 100 games for the club, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The LSU product signed as a free agent with the Wizards prior to training camp last fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with the team.

O’Bryant subsequently joined the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, averaging 18.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 24 games for Phoenix’s affiliate this season. He even added a three-point shot to his game during his time in the NBADL, making 38.0% of his attempts and averaging more than one three-pointer per game. That earned O’Bryant a couple 10-day contracts with the Nuggets, for whom he appeared in seven games, averaging 2.9 PPG and 1.6 RPG.

Nuggets Re-Sign Johnny O’Bryant

10:55am: The Nuggets have officially signed O’Bryant to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release.

9:40am: After his first 10-day contract with the team expired on Saturday night, Johnny O’Bryant will sign a second 10-day deal with the Nuggets, league sources tell Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Assuming the agreement is finalized today, O’Bryant will be eligible to play tonight against Dallas, and will remain a Nugget through February 15.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 10-day contract tracker]

O’Bryant, 23, was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Bucks. In 100 games for the club, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The LSU product signed as a free agent with the Wizards prior to training camp last fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with the team.

O’Bryant subsequently joined the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, averaging 18.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 24 games for Phoenix’s affiliate this season. He even added a three-point shot to his game during his time in the NBADL, making 38.0% of his attempts and averaging more than one three-pointer per game. That earned O’Bryant a 10-day contract with the Nuggets, for whom he appeared in two games over the course of his 10-day deal. He averaged 3.5 PPG and 1.5 RPG in those games.

Once O’Bryant is officially re-signed, the Nuggets will again be carrying the maximum 15 players on their roster. If they want to keep the young power forward beyond his second 10-day deal, the Nuggets will have to commit to a rest-of-season contract.