Jordan McRae

Wizards Notes: Roster Opening, McRae, Wall, Porter

After waiving Chasson Randle on Monday, the Wizards are now once again the only team in the NBA with two open roster spots. As we noted last night, the team will have to fill the 14th spot on its roster within the next two weeks, but Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington says not to expect any sort of major move.

Instead, the Wizards could take their time to re-add a 14th player, saving a little money on their projected luxury tax bill every day they keep that roster spot open. When they do get around to signing someone, Randle could be an option to rejoin the team, since he figures to remain in the organization with the Capital City Go-Go, as Standig observes. Following Randle’s release, Scott Brooks said the young guard is “definitely an NBA player.”

Two-way player Jordan McRae has also been cited as a candidate to join the Wizards’ 15-man roster, but he’s dealing with a groin injury at the moment, a source tells Standig. McRae is expected to be available later this week.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com lays out the case for why trading John Wall might be in the Wizards’ best long-term interests, pointing to teams like the Heat and Suns as potential trade partners. Woo is the second national reporter to make this argument this month, and his points are similar to ones ESPN’s Zach Lowe made last week — Bradley Beal is too valuable to move him, and Otto Porter wouldn’t bring back much in return.
  • Speaking of Porter, the Wizards’ highest-paid player was on the bench in the fourth quarter for a third straight game on Monday, as Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington details. Porter has been shooting well from three-point range lately, but Scott Brooks wants to see a more well-rounded game from the forward, particularly on defense, says Standig. “It’s just the way it is,” Brooks said when asked about Porter on Monday. “Some games Otto is not going to have good games. Tonight isn’t one of them. He’ll bounce back. The guy is a winner. He knows how to play.”
  • If the Wizards don’t get back up to .500, they’d join an ignominious group of taxpaying teams with losing records, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report recently spoke to executives and agents to get their thoughts on how to fix the struggling Wizards.
  • In case you missed it on Monday, several teams around the NBA are reportedly keeping a close eye on the Wizards to see if they make role players like Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre, or Jeff Green available via trade.

Wizards Likely To Promote From Within To Fill Roster Opening

After carrying just 13 players on standard NBA contracts for two weeks to open the 2018/19 season, the Wizards now face a deadline to add a 14th player to their roster. The team is considered “highly likely” to fill that opening by promoting a player from within the organization, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

As Hughes details, two-way players Jordan McRae and Devin Robinson are candidates to receive an NBA roster spot, but they’re not the only options for Washington. The Wizards may also consider calling up a player from their new G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.

Lavoy Allen, Chasson Randle, Chris Chiozza, and Tiwian Kendley all spent time with the Wizards during the preseason before being waived and heading to the G League, so they’d be the top candidates for a promotion. Both Allen and Randle have previous NBA experience.

NBA teams are generally required to carry at least 14 players on their 15-man regular season rosters, but league rules allow clubs to carry less than that amount for up to two weeks at a time. Because the Wizards have only had 13 players under contract since setting their opening-night roster, those two weeks are just about up.

Whichever player fills that 14th slot on the roster seems unlikely to get a guaranteed contract. The Wizards, who are off to a 1-5 start and have had the league’s worst defense so far, will probably want to maintain flexibility to add roster reinforcements via free agency or a trade down the road.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Clifford, McRae, Wizards

Heat president Pat Riley met with the team’s players this week and explained that he is “pulling the plug” on a potential Jimmy Butler trade, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Riley did not state a future trade was completely off the table.

The Heat and Timberwolves have discussed several packages centered around Butler in recent weeks, with Minnesota eager to acquire young players Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo in any potential deal. The Athletic’s Shams Charania (link) first reported the Heat’s plans to start the season with its current roster.

Butler played in the Timberwolves’ season opener in San Antonio on Wednesday, competing alongside Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns in the starting five. His grit-and-grind style appeals to a hardworking team like the Heat, explaining their longstanding interest in his services. It’s unclear whether Miami will revisit these discussions with Minnesota before the NBA’s trading deadline.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

Wizards Sign Jordan McRae To Two-Way Deal

SEPTEMBER 11: Washington has officially signed McRae, according to the RealGM transactions log.

AUGUST 9: The Wizards plan to sign Jordan McRae to a two-way contract, Marc Stein of The New York Times reports. The 2014 second-round pick last saw NBA action with the Cavaliers during the 2016/17 season.

McRae, now 27 years old, didn’t make much of an impact during his first two NBA stints with the Cavs and Suns after getting drafted by the Spurs, though he did win a title with Cleveland. He’ll return to the Association after an abbreviated stint playing professionally in Spain.

The shooting guard will occupy Washington’s second two-way slot, with the other currently held by small forward Devin Robinson.

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.