Keifer Sykes

Pacers Sign Three Players, Waive Three

The Pacers are doing some last-minute roster shuffling ahead of the regular season deadline, announcing on Friday night that they’ve waived three players and signed three more to fill their roster spots.

According to the team’s press release, camp invitees Keifer Sykes, Terry Taylor, and Nate Hinton are out, while Justin Anderson, Bennie Boatwright, and Derek Culver are in.

It’s unlikely that any of the six players will actually make the Pacers’ 15-man regular season roster — Anderson, Boatwright, and Culver will probably be released shortly.

They are, however, all good bets to play for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana’s G League team. They’re receiving Exhibit 10 deals in order to secure their G League rights and/or ensure that they’re eligible for bonuses of up to $50K if they spend at least 60 days with the Mad Ants.

Teams are only eligible to carry up to four “affiliate players” on their G League rosters, but some of the six players involved in this series of transactions will qualify as returning-rights players, rather than affiliate players. Last month, Fort Wayne acquired the G League returning rights for Anderson (from the Long Island Nets) and Boatwright (from the Memphis Hustle).

As for the Pacers’ NBA roster, it appears mostly set, with 12 players on guaranteed contracts, a pair on two-way deals, and non-guaranteed players Kelan Martin, Oshae Brissett, and Brad Wanamaker still sticking around for now. Indiana could carry all three into the regular season, or waive one and begin the season with 14 players on standard contracts.

Central Notes: Giannis, Sykes, Nance

Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has bought a stake in MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers, the Brewers announced on Friday (link via ESPN). He certainly has the means: the 6’11” reigning Finals MVP inked a five-year, $228MM+ supermax extension with Milwaukee ahead of his championship 2020/21 season with the Bucks.

“This is a dream come true for a kid from Sepolia, Athens, Greece, born from immigrant parents. I could have never imagined I would be in this position,” Antetokounmpo said during a news conference about the purchase on Friday. “I want to be involved in the community as much as possible. I know Milwaukee invested a lot in me, and I want to invest a lot of me back into the city of Milwaukee.”

For more on Antetokounmpo’s foray into MLB ownership, check out the story at MLB Trade Rumors.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

Central Notes: Cunningham, Sykes, K. Martin, Caruso

Cade Cunningham will have his first game as a pro when the Pistons begin Summer League play tonight, but James L. Edwards III of The Athletic cautions that fans shouldn’t expect too much right away. The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft went several months without playing five-on-five before Detroit’s team started practice this week. Edwards expects him to adjust to the situation gradually rather than try to dominate right away.

“I don’t want to come in and force anything,” Cunningham said. “I want to get a flow for the team. I want to get a feel for everyone on the team. I know what the No. 1 pick perception is coming in, so I think the biggest thing for me is coming and reassuring the team that I’m about playing winning basketball and not living up to the hype or whatever. I want to be able to blend in.”

Summer League may be crucial for Sekou Doumbouya after two up-and-down seasons, Edwards adds. The offseason additions of Kelly Olynyk and Trey Lyles will mean fewer minutes available in the front court, and Doumbouya may need a strong performance this week to show the Pistons that he should still be part of their future.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Summer League veteran Keifer Sykes hopes to show the Pacers that he’s worthy of a spot on their roster, writes Jonathan X. Simmons of The Indianapolis Star. Sykes reached an agreement on an Exhibit 10 contract this week, shortly after hitting a game-winning shot to wrap up The Basketball Tournament. “This is my fourth time in summer league, so I’m really excited after last year with COVID and we didn’t have it,” Sykes  said. “I’m just excited to continue to show people my game, and to continue to have endurance in my pro career while I’m getting into my prime.”
  • The guarantee date has passed for Pacers small forward Kelan Martin, so unless the two sides quietly agreed to push that deadline, Indiana will owe him $1.7MM this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Martin played 35 games for the Pacers last season after starting his career with the Timberwolves in 2019/20.
  • Due to NBA rules regarding Base Year Compensation, the Bulls‘ trade exception in the deal that sent Daniel Theis to Houston will be his 2020/21 salary of $5MM instead of his new outgoing salary of $8MM+, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. That means Chicago will have to sign Alex Caruso outright, rather than arranging a sign-and-trade with the Lakers. The Bulls will presumably use their mid-level exception for Caruso, adds K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

Pacers Announce Three Signings

The Pacers have officially confirmed three previously-reported signings, announcing today in a press release that they’ve added Duane Washington, Terry Taylor, and Keifer Sykes to their roster. Washington received a two-way deal, while Taylor and Sykes are believed to have signed Exhibit 10 contracts.

Washington, a 6’3″ shooting guard, went undrafted last Thursday out of Ohio State. A second-generation NBA pro, Washington is the son of former journeyman shooting guard Duane Washington Sr. and the nephew of five-time Lakers champion point guard (and current Sparks coach) Derek Fisher. Our full story on his two-way deal is here.

Taylor, a 6’5″ wing, who worked out for more than half the teams in the NBA during the pre-draft process, had a big senior year in 2020/21 for Austin Peay, averaging 21.6 points and 11.1 rebounds in 27 games (37.0 MPG). The full story on his training camp agreement with Indiana is here.

An undrafted free agent out of Green Bay in 2015, Sykes has spent most of the last several seasons playing in international leagues. The 27-year-old point guard participated in this summer’s The Basketball Tournament and hit the game-winning three-point shot on Tuesday night to clinch the title and the $1MM prize for Boeheim’s Army (video link). Our story on his Exhibit 10 deal is here.

Indiana’s roster is now officially at 16 players, with deals for T.J. McConnell, Torrey Craig, and Isaiah Jackson still to be finalized and Cassius Stanley‘s contract situation still to be resolved (he’s a two-way RFA). Teams can carry up to 20 players in the offseason.

Pacers, Keifer Sykes Agree To Exhibit 10 Deal

Free agent point guard Keifer Sykes has agreed to sign with the Pacers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sources tell Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link) that it’ll be an Exhibit 10 deal for Sykes, who will play for Indiana in Summer League.

An undrafted free agent out of Green Bay in 2015, Sykes has spent most of the last several years playing in international leagues. He has spent time in Korea, Turkey, Italy, China, and Greece, and is coming off a one-year stint with the South East Melbourne Phoenix in Australia’s National Basketball League.

Sykes also participated in this summer’s The Basketball Tournament and hit the game-winning three-point shot on Tuesday night to clinch the title and the $1MM prize for Boeheim’s Army (video link).

Sykes and undrafted rookie Terry Taylor will reportedly be among the Pacers’ training camp invitees this fall.

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.