Jordan McRae

Western Notes: Clippers, Nuggets, Bjelica, Musa

The Clippers will bring in some first-round candidates for a pre-draft group workout on Wednesday, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Scotto, Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Aaron Holiday (UCLA), and Mitchell Robinson will participate in the session.

The Clippers currently hold the 12th and 13th overall picks in the draft, presenting a number of potential opportunities and directions for the club. Bridges and Knox are viewed as two potential lottery picks who may still be on the board at No. 12, while Holiday and Robinson are ranked slightly lower on most big boards.

Let’s round up a few more Western Conference notes…

  • Speaking last week to reporters, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the team will target a strong defensive player with two-way versatility with the No. 14 pick, and didn’t rule out the possibility of trading or waiving highly-paid players to maintain cap flexibility. Matt L. Stephens of The Denver Post has the story and the quotes.
  • The Jazz and Suns are among the teams that could show interest in power forward Nemanja Bjelica this summer, a source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Bjelica is eligible for restricted free agency, so the Timberwolves have the chance to match any offer he receives, assuming they extend a qualifying offer.
  • Bosnian wing Dzanan Musa, a potential first-round pick who will be keeping his name in the 2018 NBA draft, has workouts on tap with the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Spurs, and Jazz, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News passes along word of a few more of the players who participated in the Timberwolvesveteran mini-camp on the weekend, tweeting that that Hollis Thompson, Dorell Wright, and Jordan McRae took part, among others.
  • Veteran guard Rodney Stuckey is participating in a free agent mini-camp with the Trail Blazers, a league source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Pistons Hosting Free-Agent Mini-Camp

While most NBA teams are spending their time hosting pre-draft workouts for draft-eligible prospects, the Pistons are concentrating their energy on the free agent market already, holding a free-agent minicamp today for multiple NBA hopefuls and a few former NBA players.

Bereft of a first round selection in the 2018 NBA Draft as a result of the club’s mid-season trade for Blake Griffin, the Pistons are surely hoping to get a jump start on the competition for the services of some lesser known free agents this summer.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com provides a look at the minicamp roster, with the most well-known name having to be former No. 2 overall pick, Derrick Williams, who holds career averages of 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 428 career contests.

Other invitees with NBA experience include Williams’ former teammate with the Cavs during the 2016/17 season, Jordan McRae, as well as five-year veteran John Jenkins, the No. 40 overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft – Diamond Stone, and a 10-day contract recipient from this past season – Marcus Thornton.

Jordan McRae To Play In Spain

12:05pm: McRae will earn more than $700K on his new deal with Baskonia, according to Pick (Twitter link).

11:49am: Former Cavaliers guard Jordan McRae will play in Spain in 2017/18, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that McRae has signed with Baskonia.

McRae, 26, spent most of the 2016/17 season in Cleveland after joining the Cavaliers down the stretch in 2015/16. In 37 games last season, the 6’6″ guard averaged 4.4 PPG and 1.1 RPG with a shooting line of .387/.353/.794. The club waived McRae shortly after the All-Star break in order to create room on the roster to sign Andrew Bogut, whose time in Cleveland was short-lived.

McRae is the second NBA free agent landed by Baskonia this offseason, as the team also signed point guard Marcelo Huertas. McRae and Huertas will help fill the backcourt void created when Shane Larkin departed to sign with the Celtics — Larkin was one of the Euroleague’s top point guards last season, and was Baskonia’s leading scorer in both Euroleague and Spanish League play.

According to Pick, McRae turned down offers from Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv before reaching an agreement with Baskonia. Maccabi continues to scour the NBA free agent market for backcourt help, having reportedly extended an offer to veteran guard Norris Cole, as we detailed earlier today.

International Notes: Lessort, McRae, Garino, Cook

One of the Sixers‘ second-round picks in 2017, French forward Mathias Lessort, has bought himself out of his deal with Bamberg and is negotiating with Red Star Belgrade, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick. Lessort is expected to play at least one more season – and perhaps more – overseas before heading to Philadelphia.

Here are a few more international items of interest:

  • As we noted earlier today, Spanish team Baskonia was pursuing C.J. Wilcox before he agreed to a two-way contract with Portland. According to Chema de Lucas of Gigantes.com (Twitter link; translation via Sportando), Baskonia is also eyeing Jordan McRae, who played 37 games last season for the Cavaliers.
  • Recently waived by the Magic, Argentinian swingman Patricio Garino is drawing interest from Italian team Pallacanestro Reggiana, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, who passes along a report out of Italy.
  • Former NBA shooting guard Daequan Cook, who appeared in 328 games for the Heat, Thunder, Bulls, and Rockets, has a new deal with Ironi Nes Ziona in Israel, the team has confirmed (via Twitter). The 30-year-old has spent the last several years overseas, having last played in the NBA during the 2012/13 season.
  • All-EuroLeague guard Brad Wanamaker is nearing an agreement with Turkish club Fenerbahce, according to team president Aziz Yildirim, who says his club will land Wanamaker if the former Pitt standout doesn’t sign an NBA deal. Sportando has the details.

Cavaliers Notes: Sanders, James, Liggins, Williams

LeBron James would endorse the signing of free agent center Larry Sanders to improve the Cavaliers’ bench, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. A story broke Friday that Cleveland was in “serious discussions” with the former Buck, who hasn’t played in the league since the 2014/15 season. The Cavs need a rim protector after losing Andrew Bogut to a broken leg in his first game with the team. Sanders is only 28 and had talks about joining the organization before Bogut became available. “An athletic big guy, incredible shot-blocking skills, anticipation around the rim, can finish around the rim and block shots and being able to guard perimeter guys as well,” James said. “… It looks like he wants another opportunity and hopefully if we’re the team, hopefully we give him an opportunity. Why not? Everyone deserves a second chance and it looks like he wants to get back to playing the game he loves and hopefully this is his destination.”

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs chose defense over offense when they decided to keep DeAndre Liggins instead of Jordan McRae, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. McRae, a second-year guard, was waived March 1 to create a roster spot for Bogut. Cleveland believes Liggins is more useful because he can match up with Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, Kyle Lowry or Stephen Curry in a playoff series. In addition, Vardon says some people in the organization questioned McRae’s work ethic.
  • Kyle Korver will be out of action for about a week with a recurring foot injury, Vardon writes in a separate story. Tests this week showed inflammation of a tendon, which is an injury that has affected Korver before. Coach Tyronn Lue said Korver will be re-evaluated “in a few days.”
  • Deron Williams continues to look like he will play a major role in the postseason, relays Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The backup point guard, who signed with the Cavaliers after agreeing to a buyout with Dallas, posted 10 points and four assists in 25 minutes Saturday in a win over Orlando. “That’s perfect for our team, and he’s able to learn the sets on the fly,” James said. “He’s putting us in position, and every game he’s getting an opportunity to get his legs back up underneath him because he didn’t play much before the All-Star break. And then you have the break, which is another week, and then I think he took like another week after that. So he’s using these games to get back into game mode and game shape, and it’s helping him every time out.”

Cavaliers Notes: McRae, Bogut, Dellavedova, Williams

Second-year guard Jordan McRae expressed no bitterness on his way out the door after being waived today, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He was released to open a roster spot for the signing of free agent center Andrew Bogut. McRae appeared in 37 games for the Cavs this season, starting four, but was only playing about 10 minutes per night. He will receive all of his nearly $1.15MM salary. “All smiles here,” McRae posted on his Instagram account. “Not a bad thing to say about any player or anybody that has anything to do with this organization. I’m proud to say I am a part of Cleveland’s first-ever NBA championship. The memories I will take with me for the rest of my life. Best of luck to this great group of guys, brothers for life love you guys. Thanks Cleveland.”

There’s more tonight out of Cleveland:

  • Former Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova played a role in helping Bogut, a fellow Australian, choose Cleveland, tweets TNT analyst David Aldridge. Dellavedova, who spent three seasons with the Cavs before a sign-and-trade sent him to Milwaukee over the summer, gave a glowing recommendation to Bogut about the players and the organization.
  • Deron Williams, who signed with the Cavaliers on Monday, said the defending champions were the “best fit” for him, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The veteran point guard, who committed to Cleveland after agreeing to a buyout with the Mavericks, said he considered the city when he was in a similar situation in 2015. He also cited a friendship with guard Kyle Korver, who was a former teammate in Utah. “I just feel like I’ll be comfortable here,” Williams said. “I’ll have a significant role here, with the need for a backup for Kyrie [Irving] and also being able to play with Kyrie. We get a chance to play together and of course competing for a championship is something that I haven’t had a chance to do.”
  • James believes it’s too early to say whether this year’s roster is now better than last year’s, Vardon writes in a separate piece. This week’s signings of Williams and Bogut added two accomplished veterans to an already-talented team and filled the primary needs for a backup point guard and an extra big man. “Yeah, we’re pretty deep and the biggest thing is just trying to get everyone to mesh together and who plays well together and who doesn’t,” said coach Tyronn Lue.

Cavaliers Waive Jordan McRae

Andrew Bogut will clear waivers today and is expected to sign with the Cavaliers shortly thereafter, meaning the team has to clear a spot on its 15-man roster. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Cleveland will create that opening by waiving Jordan McRae. The Cavs have since confirmed the transaction in a press release.

McRae, who will turn 26 later this month, appeared in 37 games for the Cavs this season, averaging 4.4 PPG in 10.4 minutes per contest. Although the club guaranteed McRae’s full-season salary by keeping him on the roster through January’s guarantee deadline, the 6’6″ guard was mentioned in multiple trade rumors in recent weeks, suggesting he may not finish the season in Cleveland.

After initially joining the Cavs down the stretch in 2015/16, McRae earned a minimum salary (about $875K) for the team this season. Assuming McRae goes unclaimed on waivers, the Cavs will remain on the hook for that cap hit, but won’t carry any dead money beyond the current league year — the former second-round pick had been on track for restricted free agency this summer.

If McRae does catch on with another NBA team, he’ll retain his playoff eligibility, having been waived before the end of the day on March 1.

Cavaliers Notes: Shumpert, Mack, Sanders

Iman Shumpert has been the subject of trade rumors with the Wolves and Rockets among the teams showing interest, but coach Tyronn Lue believes the Cavaliers will keep him on the team, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com relays. “You wish you could trade and get all the people you say you can get, but it never happens. … If you hear about 200 trades, there’s probably two that happens,” Lue said.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Back-up point guard isn’t as much of a need for the Cavs as it was earlier in the season, Vardon writes in the same piece. “In the playoffs you can always get away with playing [LeBron James] at the backup point guard,” Lue said. “The backup point guard situation was more so to not play Bron and [Kyrie Irving] so many minutes throughout the regular season, but, I mean we just gotta go with what we got.”
  • The Cavs recently engaged in trade talks with the Jazz regarding a swap of Shelvin Mack and Jordan McRae, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Haynes adds that the discussions have stalled out.
  • Lue said he was impressed with Larry Sanders, who worked out for the Cavs today, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. Lue added that the biggest question with the big man is whether he loves the game or not.

Atlantic Notes: McConnell, Rose, Nogueira

The Sixers have rejected a trade offer from the Cavaliers that would have sent starting point guard T.J. McConnell to the defending champions, says Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The proposed Philly-bound package was said to have included Jordan McRae.

McConnell has become a significant part of the Sixers’ rotation of late, averaging 7.5 points and 8.9 assists per game in January. The Cavs are in the market for a backup point guard, at least according to LeBron James, so it’s not surprising to hear that they’ve inquired about the 24-year-old sophomore.

Under contract for just $800K, McConnell has quickly become one of the best bargains in the NBA. His role in the Sixers’ recent success — the team has won 10 of their past 14 — is one of the major reasons why he’s become a possible trade target ahead of the February 23 trade deadline.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • After a healthy first few months of the season, Derrick Rose has come up limping. The point guard sprained his ankle Friday night and has been wearing a protective walking boot. According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is doubtful he’ll see the guard return before Tuesday.
  • Though they lost Bismack Biyombo to free agency over the summer, the Raptors have a suitable replacement in Lucas Nogueira, says Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Nogueira rivals Biyombo in terms of rim protection, Ganter says, but their playing styles deviate from there. Nogueira’s offensive awareness and soft hands are traits Biyombo never displayed in Toronto.
  • The fact that the Celtics need to improve their rebounding is not lost on general manager Danny Ainge, says A. Sherrod Blakeley of CSN New England. “I knew going into the year that rebounding would be an issue for us,” Ainge said. The reporter adds that Ainge wasn’t ready to start discussing possible trade scenarios, however.

Cavs Notes: Korver, Liggins, McRae

The Cavs figure to make at least one or two more transactions before the playoffs begin in April after acquiring Kyle Korver Saturday in a trade, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal writes. It was a shrewd deal for the Cavs because the game has evolved into focusing more on small-ball and relying on three-pointers, Lloyd surmises. Trading a future first-round pick for a veteran comes with risk, especially since LeBron James could bolt in the 2018 summer, Lloyd cautions.

Here is more out of Cleveland:

  • Korver is with the Cavs in Phoenix for the game against the Suns, but cannot play or be on the bench because Mike Dunleavy Jr.‘s physical hasn’t been completed yet, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com reports (ESPN NOW link). The Cavs hope the medicals will be completed by Monday so that Korver can go through his first practice with the team, McMenamin adds.
  • There was virtually no chance DeAndre Liggins would have been waived prior to his salary becoming fully guaranteed Saturday, but Jordan McRae‘s situation wasn’t as predictable, Joe Vardon of Northeast Ohio Media Group relays. The Cavs kept both players; they’re salaries are approximately $1MM each. While Liggins is a starter as a top-notch defender, McRae was a fringe rotation player and the latter’s chances of staying on the Cavs grew when Mo Williams was traded, as Vardon explains. Cleveland could’ve waived McRae to avoid paying his full salary (along with the tax penalty on his salary) and freed up a roster spot, as Vardon notes.