Justin Jackson

Atlantic Notes: Layman, J. Jackson, Celtics, Raptors, Sixers

When they signed with the Celtics, Jake Layman and Justin Jackson both received one-year, minimum-salary contracts that are non-guaranteed. However, the terms of those agreements are slightly different — Layman got an Exhibit 10 clause in his contract, while Jackson’s deal is an Exhibit 9, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Both Layman and Jackson are ineligible to have their contracts converted into two-way deals because they have too many years of NBA service under their belts. But Layman’s Exhibit 10 contract makes him eligible to receive a $50K bonus if he’s waived before the season and then spends at least 60 days with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League team.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

Celtics Officially Sign Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, Denzel Valentine

The Celtics have officially completed three previously reported deals with veteran free agents, signing forward Jake Layman, swingman Justin Jackson, and guard Denzel Valentine to their training camp roster, according to RealGM’s NBA transaction log.

A report in August indicated that Valentine would be signing an Exhibit 10 contract with Boston. The exact terms of the team’s agreements with Layman and Jackson, which were reported more recently, aren’t known, but those are presumably non-guaranteed camp deals as well.

All three veterans are expected to take part in a preseason competition for one of the Celtics’ back-end roster spots. The club currently has 10 players with guaranteed standard contracts, plus Al Horford with a significant partial guarantee. That leaves three – or possibly four – spots available on the regular season roster for a group of players with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries.

Besides Layman, Jackson, and Valentine, those camp invitees vying for roster spots includes Noah Vonleh, Luke Kornet, and Bruno Caboclo. Two-way players Mfiondu Kabengele and JD Davison could also be in the mix for promotions to standard contracts. Boston has one more open spot on its 20-man offseason roster, with restricted free agent Brodric Thomas among the top candidates to fill it.

A second-round pick in 2017, Layman has appeared in 243 regular season games across six NBA seasons in Portland and Minnesota. In total, the former Maryland forward – who is a Massachusetts native – has averaged 4.8 PPG and 1.7 RPG on .460/.300/.719 shooting in 12.8 minutes per contest over the course of his NBA career.

Jackson, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2017 draft, signed two 10-day contracts with the Suns last season and one with the Celtics, appearing in seven total games (just one with Boston). In Las Vegas this July, he averaged 15.0 PPG in four appearances (29.0 MPG) for Boston’s Summer League squad.

The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Valentine spent the first five years of his NBA career in Chicago before signing last offseason with the Cavaliers. He played a minor role in 22 games for Cleveland, then was dealt in January to the Knicks, who waived him. Following a 10-day contract with the Jazz, Valentine played in the G League for the rest of the 2021/22 season. Considered a strong three-point shooter, Valentine has made 36.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc in 256 NBA appearances (18.8 MPG).

Celtics Expected To Sign Jake Layman, Justin Jackson

The Celtics intend to sign free agent forward Jake Layman to a training camp contract, a source tells Bobby Manning of CLNS Media. The report has since been confirmed by Souichi Terada and Brian Robb of MassLive.com.

A second-round pick in 2017, Layman has appeared in 243 regular season games across six NBA seasons in Portland and Minnesota. Although he was a regular rotation player for the Timberwolves in 2019/20 after signing a three-year contract with the team, Layman was limited to 23 appearances that season due to a toe injury and didn’t have a consistent role during the following two seasons.

In total, the former Maryland forward – who is a Massachusetts native – has averaged 4.8 PPG and 1.7 RPG on .460/.300/.719 shooting in 12.8 minutes per contest over the course of his NBA career.

Within his report on Layman, Manning says the same source confirmed that Justin Jackson will be joining the Celtics for training camp as well. Jackson, a forward who was drafted with the No. 15 overall pick in 2017, had a strong Summer League run with Boston in July and has long been rumored as a possible camp invitee.

Jackson signed two 10-day contracts with the Suns last season and one with the Celtics, appearing in seven total games (just one with Boston). In Las Vegas this summer, he averaged 15.0 PPG in four appearances (29.0 MPG) for Boston’s Summer League squad.

Assuming the Celtics make it official with both Layman and Jackson, the two veterans join the competition for one of the team’s open regular season roster spots. Boston has 10 players with guaranteed contracts, plus Al Horford with a significant partial guarantee. That leaves three – or possibly four – spots available for a group of players with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries.

Luke Kornet, Noah Vonleh, and Bruno Caboclo have already been added to the Celtics’ training camp roster. Layman, Jackson, and Denzel Valentine are expected to join them. If all three officially sign, the club will have 19 total players under contract, including JD Davison and Mfiondu Kabengele on two-way deals.

Celtics Notes: R. Williams, Roster Spots, Ryan

There aren’t any long-term concerns about the knee injury that forced Celtics center Robert Williams to undergo late-season meniscus surgery, sources close to the team tell Brian Robb of MassLive. Williams experienced soreness and swelling in his left knee throughout the postseason, but was able to take part in 17 of Boston’s 24 playoff games.

No follow-up surgery was needed during the offseason, and Williams is expected to be 100% when training camp opens in about five weeks. Robb adds that Williams has been posting some of his workouts on Instagram, and they include a lot of strength training.

Robb doesn’t expect Williams’ role to change much in the upcoming season, but the coaching staff would like to see him become more aggressive with finishing around the rim on the theory that opposing defenses will be stretched further by the team’s improved outside shooting.

There’s more from Boston:

  • The Celtics will likely keep one roster spot open at the start of the season due to luxury tax considerations, which sets up an intense battle heading into camp, Robb adds in the same piece. Robb sees Noah Vonleh and Justin Jackson as the most likely candidates to make the final roster, but he expects Bruno Caboclo, Brodric Thomas and possibly other players to make it a difficult decision.
  • Matt Ryan, who ended last season on a two-way contract, won’t be with the Celtics in training camp, Robb writes in a separate story. A source tells Robb that a “roster crunch” doesn’t leave any room for Ryan. The 25-year-old small forward signed the deal at the end of February and appeared in one NBA game.
  • Heat guard Duncan Robinson and Bucks guard Pat Connaughton are both critical of the Celtics’ set-up for visiting teams. Appearing on Robinson’s “Long Shots” podcast (hat tip to Thomas Darro of Heavy), Connaughton said the TD Garden is “the worst visiting team locker room in the NBA.”

Celtics’ Final Roster Spots Expected To Be Up For Grabs In Camp

The Celtics are currently carrying 12 players on standard contracts who are considered virtual locks to make their 15-man regular season roster and are preparing to hold an open competition for the final spots, according to Jay King of The Athletic.

Former first-round picks Noah Vonleh and Bruno Caboclo recently agreed to training camp contracts that will give them an opportunity to fight for roster spots this fall. According to King, two-way restricted free agent Brodric Thomas and former Celtics forward Justin Jackson are also considered “strong candidates” to join the competition for those roster openings.

Assuming Vonleh and Caboclo officially completed their reported deals and Thomas and Jackson sign contracts of their own, the Celtics would still have two spots available on their 20-man offseason roster, so they could further expand the competition.

Free agent swingman Matt Ryan, who is fully recovered from a summer ankle injury, appears less likely to return to Boston, despite finishing last season on a two-way deal with the team and playing for the Celtics’ Summer League squad in Las Vegas, says King.

Additionally, while it’s possible the Celtics will add at least one more frontcourt player to vie for a roster spot, the team isn’t expected to go after a veteran like DeMarcus Cousins or Dwight Howard, according to King, who says the front office seems to prefer younger players who have room to improve and are willing to accept modest roles. Currently, Luke Kornet projects to be a rotation player in the frontcourt, with two-way big man Mfiondu Kabengele providing depth.

The Celtics’ projected tax bill will be worth keeping in mind as the club auditions players for its open roster spots. If ownership is concerned about the rising cost of the roster, Boston could enter the season with just 14 players on standard contracts instead of 15, meaning only two spots would be up for grabs this fall instead of three.

As King observes, current two-way player JD Davison could also emerge as a candidate for a promotion if he looks good in the preseason, since rookie minimum contracts for a team’s second-round draftees cost less for tax purposes than identical contracts signed by undrafted free agents.

Eastern Notes: Jackson, Celtics, Hornets, Magic

The Celtics may consider adding swingman Justin Jackson to their training camp roster this fall, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Boston thought about signing Jackson in March, but the team ultimately signed Nik Stauskas instead.

Jackson played summer league with the Celtics this month. In his final game, he recorded 16 points and five assists, shooting 6-of-15 from the floor.

“Ever since [December], me and my agent have kind of stayed in touch with the Celtics,” Jackson said. “Kind of built that relationship. Came out here to join and kind of play a little bit of basketball, so it worked out.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

NBA G League Announces 2021/22 All-NBAGL Teams

Rockets two-way player Trevelin Queen, who was named the NBA G League MVP and the G League Finals MVP this season, has added two more honors to his impressive 2021/22 résumé.

Queen headlined this year’s All-NBA G League First Team and also earned a spot on the NBAGL’s All-Defensive team, as the league announced today in a press release.

The complete list of the 2021/22 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players who finished the season on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team

All-NBAGL Second Team

All-NBAGL Third Team

NBAGL All-Rookie Team

  • Charles Bassey (Delaware Blue Coats) *
  • Luka Garza (Motor City Cruise) *
  • Carlik Jones (Texas Legends)
  • Mac McClung (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Micah Potter (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

NBAGL All-Defensive Team

  • Charles Bassey (Delaware Blue Coats) *
  • Braxton Key (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Tacko Fall (Cleveland Charge)
  • Shaquille Harrison (Delaware Blue Coats)
  • Trevelin Queen (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) ^

All 19 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year were on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract during the 2021/22 season.

Of those 19, Tillman is the only player who has yet to make his NBA debut, as he didn’t appear in any games after signing a 10-day deal with Atlanta in December.

Suns Release Abdel Nader, Justin Jackson

The Suns have officially waived Abdel Nader, the team announced today in a press release (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Phoenix had to remove a player from its 15-man roster in order to accommodate its acquisition of Aaron Holiday.

Nader, 28, was sent from Oklahoma City to Phoenix during the 2020 offseason in the Chris Paul trade. Since then, he has appeared in 38 games with the team, averaging 5.1 PPG and 2.3 RPG on .457/.386/.723 shooting in 13.2 MPG.

Injuries marred Nader’s time with the Suns. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April 2021, and while he returned from that injury in the playoffs and was available to start the 2021/22 season, that knee continued to give him problems. Nader hadn’t played for Phoenix since November and was being listed on the injury report as out due to right knee injury management.

The Suns will be on the hook for the rest of Nader’s $2MM this season, but won’t owe him any money beyond that. He had a $2.16MM team option for 2022/23.

Phoenix also terminated the 10-day contract of Justin Jackson, per today’s announcement. Jackson’s deal, signed last Tuesday, would’ve expired at the end of the day, so he’ll become a free agent a day early. Unlike Nader, Jackson won’t have to pass through waivers.

Justin Jackson Signs Second 10-Day Deal With Suns

The Suns have signed forward Justin Jackson to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). Last month, Phoenix signed Jackson to a 10-day deal via a hardship exemption, as the team had several players in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols at the time.

The Suns don’t currently have any players in the protocols, but they also have a full 15-man roster. It seems likely that Phoenix was granted a more traditional (non-COVID) hardship exception due to its injury situation. Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, Abdel Nader, and Cameron Payne are all currently sidelined with longer-term ailments.

Jackson, 26, was selected with the No. 15 pick in the 2017 draft out of North Carolina in 2017 and spent his first season with the Kings. He next suited up for the Mavericks, Thunder, and Bucks.

Earlier this season, Jackson signed a 10-day hardship exception deal with the Celtics, appearing in one game for Boston. He then joined the reigning Western Conference champs in Phoenix in January. Across three games with the Suns, Jackson is averaging 4.3 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 7.7 MPG, shooting 71.4% from the field and 60% on 1.7 looks from the three-point line per game.

In 252 total NBA games, the 6’8″ tweener forward holds career averages of 6.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 1.1 APG, with shooting splits of .428/.323/.799.

Justin Jackson Signs Hardship Deal With Suns

JANUARY 4: The Suns have officially signed Jackson to a 10-day deal, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Phoenix has four players in the health and safety protocols (Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, JaVale McGee, and Abdel Nader) and four players signed to 10-day hardship deals (Emanuel Terry, M.J. Walker, Paris Bass, and Bismack Biyombo), so the team was ineligible for another hardship addition without either another player entering protocols or one of its current 10-day deals being terminated.

As it turns out, both of those things have occurred. The Suns have released Terry and also placed Landry Shamet in the protocols, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter links).

DECEMBER 30: Justin Jackson is close to signing a 10-day contract with the Suns, tweets veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein. Jackson signed a 10-day deal with the Celtics on Dec. 18, appearing in one game (two minutes) with the team prior to entering the league’s health and safety protocols.

The 15th pick of the 2017 draft, Jackson has appeared in 248 NBA games. Last season, he played 33 games for the Thunder and another for the Bucks. He began his career with the Kings and also played one full season and part of another for Dallas.

The Mavericks waived Jackson during training camp prior to the season. In 10 games this season with the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G League affiliate, Jackson averaged a stellar 22.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.9 APG in 36.1 MPG.