Keifer Sykes

Atlantic Rumors: Casey, Raptors, Nets, 76ers

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri seemed confident on Monday at his season-ending press conference that the team would soon work out a new contract for head coach Dwane Casey, and the two sides are indeed making progress toward an extension, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links). Stein suggests that, while no agreement is in place yet, there’s optimism in Toronto that a deal could happen by the end of this week.

Locking up Casey to an extension would just be the start of what figures to be an eventful offseason in Toronto. As Bobby Marks of The Vertical details, the Raptors will face some tough decisions this summer — without a ton of cap flexibility, the team will have to take advantage of its extra first-round draft pick in order to make the most of its offseason.

Here’s more on Toronto and some other Atlantic clubs:

  • The Raptors will host the following six prospects at a pre-draft workout on Wednesday, according to the team (Twitter link): Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame), Gary Payton II (Oregon State), Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida), Jalen Jones (Texas A&M), Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga), and Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii).
  • Wiltjer also recently worked out for the Nets, who are quietly taking a closer look at a large number of projected second-round or undrafted prospects, per NetsDaily.com (Twitter links). NetsDaily.com also adds Keifer Sykes of the Austin Spurs to the Nets’ list of veteran mini-camp players (Twitter link).
  • 76ers head coach Brett Brown hasn’t come out and said he prefers Ben Simmons over any other prospect in this year’s draft, but both Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer get the sense that Brown may be favoring Simmons with the club’s No. 1 pick.
  • Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers explores whether the Sixers might be able to find a point guard solution in free agency this summer.

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Southwest Notes: Chandler, Mavs, Anderson, Sykes

It caught Tyson Chandler off guard when the Mavs pursued DeAndre Jordan instead of him, and Chandler felt as though he needn’t take a backseat to anyone, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News details. An extension was on the table before the start of last season, as Chandler and Mavs owner Mark Cuban both confirmed to Sefko, but Chandler elected to become a free agent, since doing so would have allowed him to re-sign with Dallas for five years instead of three, Sefko notes. Instead, the Mavs looked elsewhere, and Chandler signed with the Suns, a turn of events that left Chandler with a right to be bitter about what happened in Dallas, as Cuban said, according to Sefko.

“I would be, too,” Cuban said. “We had extension discussions for a reason. And then we went for it on a player that wasn’t ready to be gone for.”

Still, Cuban added he felt justified in going after Jordan, saying he’d “rather swing and miss than not step up to the plate,” as Sefko relays. See more on Chandler amid the latest from around the NBA:

  • Chandler made it clear Wednesday that he doesn’t feel animosity toward Cuban, observes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, though comments the center made on Tuesday that Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic conveyed showed that his feelings are still raw. “I definitely felt like, after winning a championship and [helping] bring it there, that I was going to be there for the long run,” Chandler said Tuesday. “I never heard of a championship team being broken up like that. When they traded for me to come back, I sat at the podium with everybody else and heard them say this was going to be a long-term deal and they weren’t going to make the same mistake as last time and blah-blah-blah. Seven months later, the same thing happens again. But I learned in this business that you can’t trust everybody. That’s why it is what it is.”
  • Ryan Anderson endured personal and physical hardships the last two years, but this summer, he finally had a chance to concentrate on his game, and new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is impressed so far, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel details. Anderson is entering the final season of his contract.
  • Spurs camp cut Keifer Sykes plans to join the team’s D-League affiliate once he clears waivers, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Spurs Waive Keifer Sykes

The Spurs have waived Keifer Sykes, the team announced via press release. He joins Jimmer Fredette, Deshaun Thomas and Youssou Ndoye on the waiver wire, as previous reports from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports foretold that the Spurs were cutting them, too. Sykes, a 21-year-old point guard who went undrafted out of Wisconsin Green Bay this year, was on a non-guaranteed contract, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Today’s moves leave the Spurs with 16 players, including 13 on fully guaranteed deals.

Sykes failed to score, record an assist or commit a turnover in nearly 19 minutes of preseason action spread over three games. He fared better with the Cavs in summer league, averaging 9.4 points in 18.3 minutes per contest.

San Antonio’s final roster spot appears to be a one-on-one battle between veterans Rasual Butler and Reggie Williams, presuming the Spurs keep Matt Bonner and his sizable partial guarantee. Neither Butler nor Williams has any guaranteed salary. The Spurs aren’t obligated to carry more than 13 players, a consideration since the team is over the luxury tax threshold, but most teams carry 15 on opening night.

Who do you think the Spurs should keep for the regular season? Leave a comment to let us know. 

Spurs Sign Rasual Butler, Deshaun Thomas

The Spurs revealed they’ve signed Rasual Butler today, listing him on a roster they handed out to reporters at media day, according to Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News. Deshaun Thomas, the team’s second-round pick from 2013, has also signed with San Antonio, the roster reveals. That roster also serves as the team’s first acknowledgement of previously reported deals with Youssou Ndoye and Keifer Sykes.

The leadership of the 36-year-old Butler, as well as his shooting, impressed the Spurs during voluntary workouts recenty, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). San Antonio had evidently been eyeing the veteran swingman for a while, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick identified the team’s interest shortly after free agency began in July. Butler had reportedly been wanting to re-sign with the Wizards or join the Heat or the Trail Blazers, but he’s ultimately chosen San Antonio, which has no more than the minimum salary to give him.

The same is true for Thomas, to whom the Spurs made their required tender of a one-year, non-guaranteed offer for the minimum salary earlier this month, as international journalist David Pick reported. It’s not clear whether Thomas signed that tender or the sides worked out different terms, but it’s no surprise to see him end up in Spurs camp, since he recently posted photos to Instagram showing him in Spurs workout gear and had been willing to play for the team if it made an offer, as Pick noted. The 24-year-old big man played in France and Spain the past two seasons after the Spurs made him the 58th overall pick in 2013.

Wojnarowski first reported that Ndoye, a 24-year-old center who went undrafted out of St. Bonaventure this summer, would join the Spurs for camp, though he noted that expectation was that Ndoye would ultimately end up with the Spurs D-League affiliate. San Antonio can keep the D-League rights to as many as four of the players it cuts at the end of the preseason.

Sykes seems ultimately destined for the D-League, too, though that’s just my speculation. The 21-year-old point guard went undrafted out of Wisconsin Green Bay in June. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports first reported his deal.

The moves give the Spurs a full 20-man camp roster, though only 13 have fully guaranteed deals.

Spurs To Sign Keifer Sykes

The Spurs have agreed to a deal with undrafted guard Keifer Sykes, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). The length and terms of the agreement are not yet known, but it is likely a minimum salary training camp deal, though that is merely my speculation. Sykes played in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Cavaliers, averaging 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 51.4% shooting.

San Antonio currently has a roster count of 17 players, including 13 fully guaranteed pacts, making Sykes a longshot to remain on the team’s roster past opening night. The Spurs may have designs on sending Sykes to the D-League next season, as teams can retain the rights for up to four players.

The 21-year-old played his college ball for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, making 33 appearances as a Senior, and notching averages of 18.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. His slash line was .452/.311/.780.

Central Notes: Blatt, Bucks, Love

LeBron James‘ attitude and demeanor toward Cavaliers coach David Blatt during the NBA Finals was unbecoming and inappropriate, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. Stein references LeBron essentially calling his own timeouts and making substitutions, as well as eschewing Blatt for assistant coach Tyronn Lue. James also nixed a number of plays that Blatt had drawn up during timeouts, which only served to undermine the coach in the eyes of the rest of the team, Stein notes.

Here’s more out of the Central Division:

  • While some have speculated that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert might make a play for former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a number of Cleveland’s front office personnel insist that Gilbert is Blatt’s biggest supporter, Zach Lowe of Grantland tweets. GM David Griffin downplayed any issues between Blatt and James in today’s season-ending news conference, saying, “Sensationalism sells. LeBron said David’s a hell of a coach,” Sam Amico of FOX Sports.com relays (Twitter link).
  • Griffin said that he expects James and Kevin Love to both opt out of their deals this summer, but he anticipates that both will re-sign with the Cavs, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group tweets. While this news isn’t a surprise as far as LeBron is concerned, it does run counter to what Love told Haynes back in January that he planned to do.
  • The Bucks held workouts today for Josh Gasser (Wisconsin), Keifer Sykes (Wisconsin-Green Bay), Olivier Hanlan (Boston College), Cady Lalanne (Massachusetts), Amere May (Delaware State), and TaShawn Thomas (Oklahoma), the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Cavs veteran forward Shawn Marion confirmed today that he is indeed retiring after 16 years in the league, Stein relays in a separate article. “I wanted to go out on my terms,” Marion said. “The biggest thing is having a son. I got attached to him. Seeing him periodically is hard. Watching him grow up on pictures and videos is hard.” The Matrix’s final career numbers through 1163 contests are 15.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.
  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd is excited about the team’s possibilities for tweaking its roster this offseason, Genaro C. Armas of The Associated Press writes. “Yeah, I like what [GM John] Hammond has done, the position he has put us in pre-draft,” Kidd said. “We’ll see what happens,” Kidd continued. ”You’ve got a lot of different things, possibilities that you’re not landlocked to get better, and that means not moving a major piece.

Nuggets Notes: Malone, Oubre, Turner

New Nuggets coach Michael Malone bristled at the suggestion that he’s not suited to directing the sort of up-tempo attack that the Nuggets traditionally employ, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays in his full story and via Twitter. Malone cited the efficiency of his controlled Kings team but insisted that he can show another side in Denver.
“I know what they want,” Malone said, referring to Nuggets management. “They made it clear from Day 1 that they want to play fast.”
The Nuggets were believed to be seeking a coach who could come in and help GM Tim Connelly and his staff with draft prep, Dempsey wrote last week, but Malone made it clear that he’ll have little to do with the draft. “My conversation regarding that is: Good luck Tim,” Malone quipped, as Dempsey notes via Twitter. There’s more on Malone amid the latest from the Mile High City:
  • Malone’s deal with the Nuggets is a four-year arrangement, including a team option on the final season, Dempsey reports (Twitter link).
  • The new coach doesn’t expect the roster to be the same when next season begins, Dempsey notes in his full story, and that should indeed be his hope, as fellow Post scribe Benjamin Hochman opines, believing that no coach would be able to turn the current Nuggets into contenders.
  • Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre and Texas center Myles Turner were the headliners at today’s Nuggets workout, as the team detailed on Nuggets.com. Joining them are point guards T.J. McConnell of Arizona and Keifer Sykes of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Georgetown power forward Greg Whittington and Delaware State big man Kendall Gray, according to the team.
  • The Nuggets previously worked out Arizona small forward Stanley Johnson, as MLive’s David Mayo relays via Twitter.

Draft Notes: Hornets, Looney, Jazz, Turner

The Hornets will work out Kevon Looney, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter links). The team owns the No. 9 selection in the upcoming draft. Looney’s agents believe his range is anywhere from No. 7 to No. 20, as the UCLA product tells Zach Links of Hoops Rumors. Looney is represented by both Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management and Todd Ramasar of Stealth Sports, as our agency database indicates.

Here’s more news on player workouts:

  • The Hornets are also scheduled to work out Jonathan Holmes, Jay Hook, Cady Lalanne, Josh Richardson and LeBryan Nash, as Bonnell reports in the same set of tweets.
  • Myles Turner has worked out for the Jazz, Aaron Falk of Salt Lake Tribune reports (Twitter link).  Falk notes that this was Turner’s first workout with any team. Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks the Texas product as the ninth best prospect, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranks him as the 13th. Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors has Kelly Oubre Jr. going to the Jazz with the No. 12 selection, but he mentions Turner as a possible alternative.
  • The Jazz will conduct workouts for Will Cummings, Rakeem Christmas, Kelly Oubre Jr., Keifer Sykes, Chris Walker and K.T. Harrell, according to the team’s Twitter feed.
  • Utah will also work out George de Paula, Royce O’Neale, Ousmane Drame, Levi Randolph, Derrick Marks and Jarvis Williams, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Wizards, Johnson

The Knicks‘ hope that either Duke big man Jahlil Okafor or Ohio State playmaker D’Angelo Russell will still be on the board when the team picks at No. 4 isn’t likely to pan out, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. According to a league source, the Sixers, who pick third, still have a firm top three of Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell, and Okafor, and Philly won’t let any of that trio slip past them, Berman notes. There is also little chance of New York gambling on Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis, who dazzled scouts during his Friday showcase, the Post scribe adds. “The body’s a long way off so he’s couple of years away from impact,’’ one NBA scout said of Porzingis. “He’s going to look great in a workout but he’s a young European who hasn’t played much. Too much risk at [No.] 4 for the Knicks.’’

Here’s more out of the NBA’s Eastern Conference:

  • The Pistons have workouts scheduled today for Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), Le’Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Dustin Hogue (Iowa State), and LaDontae Henton (Providence), the team announced (on Twitter).
  • Working out for the Wizards on Monday will be Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington), Rashad Madden (Arkansas), Jarell Martin (LSU), Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Jordan Sibert (Dayton), and Keifer Sykes (Wisconsin-Green Bay), the team announced.
  • The Knicks‘ scheduled workout for Arizona forward Stanley Johnson, who I recently profiled, was moved from Friday to today, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. New York has also been trying to bring in Murray State point guard Cameron Payne, who is suddenly a hot commodity, for a showcase, but the two sides have been unable to agree on a date, Begley adds.