Kelan Martin

Central Notes: Sexton, Pangos, Cunningham, K. Martin

A maximum-salary rookie scale extension wouldn’t have been a realistic starting point for the Cavaliers in their negotiations with Collin Sexton, and it wasn’t something Sexton’s camp ever demanded, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

According to Fedor, Sexton’s representatives initially sought a contract in the $100MM range, but wasn’t stuck on that number and was open to negotiating a deal with a lower total salary. However, the two sides ultimately couldn’t reach an agreement, putting the fourth-year guard on track for restricted free agency in 2022.

“The approach is still the same,” Sexton said after Monday’s extension deadline passed, per Fedor. “I’m just coming in ready to work. We’ve got one goal and that’s to win and get to the playoffs. I was disappointed. But that doesn’t take away from the teammates itself. We’re going to figure it out, and we’re going to win basketball games together and have a good season. … I know they want me here. So, just a little disappointed, but at the end day, we move on.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Since going undrafted out of Gonzaga in 2015, Kevin Pangos has spent six years overseas, gradually becoming one of the top guards in Europe. Now, having signed this summer with the Cavaliers, Pangos is finally getting to live his NBA dream, Fedor writes for Cleveland.com. “Every single year I would have liked to be in the NBA. But I just tried to control what I could control and know that the spot I was in, I was there for a reason and I hadn’t quite earned it yet,” Pangos said. “There was a lot of growing I had to do on and off the floor, as a person and a player. I think that allowed me to get to the point where I am today.”
  • No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who is recovering from a minor ankle injury, won’t play in the Pistons‘ regular season opener on Wednesday, but he could make his NBA debut before the end of the month. As Rod Beard of The Detroit News relays, general manager Troy Weaver said during a radio appearance on Wednesday that he anticipates “hopefully seeing (Cunningham) when we get back off the road.” Following Wednesday’s home opener, Detroit has a three-game road trip, then returns home on October 30, so that could be a tentative target date.
  • Pacers wing Kelan Martin, who pushed his guarantee date back twice this offseason in the hopes of making the team, did so again after earning a 15-man roster spot, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Although Martin’s $1.7MM still isn’t fully guaranteed, he did receive a partial guarantee this week, says Agness.

Central Notes: Holiday, LeVert, Martin, Jackson, Gonzalez, Cavs

Justin Holiday injured his left ankle in Friday’s preseason game but the Pacers guard is optimistic he’ll play in the October 20 season opener at Charlotte, David Woods of the Indianapolis Star reports. Holiday will likely miss the remaining preseason games.

Caris LeVert, who has been sidelined by a stress fracture in his back, isn’t participating in scrimmages yet but he’s “doing a little more each week” in practices, according to Pacers coach Rick Carlisle. Kelan Martin, who has twice agreed to push his salary guarantee date back in the hopes of making Indiana’s 15-man squad, is dealing with a hamstring injury.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It’s hard to envision Frank Jackson, who is battling Josh Jackson and Hamidou Diallo for minutes as the Pistons’ backup wings, being out of Dwane Casey’s rotation, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. He provides instant offense off the bench as a penetrator and spot-up 3-point shooter. “His activity on the offensive end is hard to keep up with,” Casey said of the veteran guard. Jackson re-signed with the Pistons as a restricted free agent on a two-year deal with a team option for 2022/23.
  • Former Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez is joining the Pistons as a scout, Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets. His role will focus on college scouting, with the Big East and Atlantic 10 among the conferences he’ll monitor, Adam Zagoria of Forbes tweets.
  • The Cavaliers aren’t well-positioned cap-wise despite their status as a rebuilding team, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes in his season preview. In part due to Kevin Love‘s bloated contract, the team is currently only $3MM below the luxury tax threshold. Their situation improves next season but that could change, depending upon a potential extension for Collin Sexton and the price tag. Hollinger projects Cleveland to finish 13th in the Eastern Conference.

Central Notes: Gores, Bucks, K. Martin, T. Brown

Speaking to Jabari Young of CNBC, Tom Gores admitted that he made a mistake early in his tenure as the owner of the Pistons by trying to take shortcuts to contention instead of being willing to be patient and endure some losing seasons while building the right way.

“I should’ve been better about the idea that you can’t always win, and you don’t win fast,” Gores said. “I think I’ve grown from that perspective. I’m not sure I understood the magnitude of the responsibility when you own a sports team in a town that is looking to you for inspiration.”

After spending several years in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, Gores has embraced what general manager Troy Weaver calls a “restoration” of the franchise in the last couple years. The Pistons’ 20-52 record last season was their worst mark since 1993/94, but the team was able to add potential cornerstone Cade Cunningham to a promising young core this offseason, creating optimism for the future.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks are on track to be a taxpayer for the second consecutive season in 2021/22 and could face some tough roster decisions a year from now, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that Bobby Portis, Donte DiVincenzo, and Grayson Allen are all on expiring contracts and will be in line for raises on their next deals.
  • Following the trade of Edmond Sumner, there’s a clearer path to a regular season roster spot for Pacers wing Kelan Martin, but he’s not taking anything for granted, as David Woods of The Indianapolis Star writes. Martin has twice agreed to push his salary guarantee date back in the hopes of making Indiana’s 15-man squad.
  • Former 15th overall pick Troy Brown, who was traded from Washington to Chicago at last season’s deadline, is hoping to claim a bigger role with the Bulls in his first full season with the team, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I feel like me and Coach (Billy Donovan) have a good dynamic in the sense of me being like a Swiss Army Knife,” Brown said. “Whatever he needs on the court, that’s what I go do — whether it’s playmaking, rebounding, playing defense, hitting 3s. I feel like that’s my job on the team, and I just try to accept that role and do it as best as I can.”

Pacers, Kelan Martin Push Back Salary Guarantee Date

The Pacers won’t have to make any decisions on Kelan Martin yet, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files, who reports that the team and player agreed to push back the salary guarantee date on Martin’s contract.

Martin’s $1.7MM minimum salary for 2021/22 had been scheduled to become guaranteed if he remained on the roster through August, but the two sides moved that deadline to October 19, the first day of the regular season, a league source tells Agness.

Martin, a 6’5″ small forward who signed with the Pacers during the 2020 offseason, appeared in 35 games during his first year with the club, averaging 4.5 PPG and 2.2 RPG on .449/.400/.900 shooting in 9.2 minutes per contest.

A player on a non-guaranteed deal will typically agree to push back a salary guarantee deadline if the most likely alternative is being waived. Martin will now get the opportunity to prove during training camp and the preseason that he deserves one of the spots on Indiana’s 15-man roster this season.

The Pacers are currently carrying 13 players on guaranteed deals, plus Martin and Oshae Brissett on non-guaranteed contracts, Keifer Sykes and Terry Taylor on Exhibit 10 deals, and DeJon Jarreau and Duane Washington on two-way pacts.

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).

Eastern Notes: Harris, Irving, Harden, Bucks, Martin

Sixers forward Tobias Harris has become a reliable secondary option on offense for the franchise, Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times writes.

Harris, a respected leader in the team’s locker room, is averaging 23.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 34.6 minutes per game during the playoffs. He’s shot 54% from the floor during those contests, trailing only Joel Embiid in points per game.

“I would list him right now as one of my favorite teammates ever,” teammate George Hill said. “He has a great sense of awareness of how things are going. He’s very open-minded, he listens (and is) just a great guy to be around. I think he’s a big leader for us and we’re going to continue to lean on him as we go through this journey.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets won’t allow Kyrie Irving‘s ankle sprain to impact James Harden‘s return from a hamstring injury, head coach Steve Nash said, as relayed by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Harden missed most of Game 1 and hasn’t played since, with Brooklyn now missing two of its top three players due to injuries. “I think it’s an independent case. I don’t want James to be rushed back,” Nash said. “If he’s able to play next game and the game after, that’s fantastic.” As of Sunday night, no return timeline has been issued for either player.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic examined how the Bucks can improve their offense prior to Game 4 on Sunday. Milwaukee bounced back with a much better offensive effort in the contest, winning 107-96 while shooting 44% from the floor. The team also recorded 27 assists in the outing.
  • Brendan Rourke of Pacers.com reviews the season from Kelan Martin, who appeared in a total of 35 games. The 25-year-old Martin joined the Pacers last November after playing 31 games with the Timberwolves in 2019/20.

Eastern Notes: Schofield, Magic, Cavs, Heat, Pacers

Word broke last Thursday that the Magic intended to sign Admiral Schofield to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception, but two days later, we learned that the deal had fallen through.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explains (via Twitter), there were “inconsistencies” in Schofield’s COVID-19 testing that held up his signing and forced the Magic to move on. Orlando ended up bringing back Donta Hall, while Schofield was eventually confirmed to be negative for the coronavirus, per Wojnarowski.

It’s a tough break in what has been a difficult season for Schofield. After spending his rookie season with the Wizards, the 24-year-old was traded and waived in November, struggled in the G League after being selected first overall in the NBAGL draft, and – barring a last-minute signing – ultimately won’t end up playing any NBA games in his second professional season.

Here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic argued on Monday that the Cavaliers made a mistake by signing Anderson Varejao to a ceremonial contract rather than trying to develop a young prospect using that roster spot, but Evan Dammarell of Forbes says the Cavs have already proven this season that they’re capable of developing young talent, based on the growth of youngsters like Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens, and Mfiondu Kabengele. While I’m not sure that’s a convincing case to not try to develop another player, it’s worth noting that Varejao was signed using a short-term hardship exception — if the Cavs had opted for a prospect instead, they wouldn’t have been able to sign that player to a multiyear contract.
  • Victor Oladipo (knee) still isn’t traveling with the Heat on their current road trip, but the recent return of Tyler Herro to the backcourt has given the team a boost, writes Khobi Price of The Sun Sentinel.
  • Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files makes the case for why letting veteran assistant coach Dan Burke go was the worst move of the Pacers‘ 2020 offseason, while J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star suggests that Pacers swingman Kelan Martin – who began the season on a partially guaranteed contract – has earned more playing time.

Contract Details: Temple, Vonleh, Sixers, T. Johnson, More

Garrett Temple‘s new one-year contract with the Bulls is worth exactly the amount of the room exception ($4.767MM), according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). However, Chicago is an over-the-cap team without the room exception available and used a portion of its mid-level exception to complete its deal with Temple.

Meanwhile, Noah Vonleh‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Bulls is entirely non-guaranteed for the time being, per Smith (Twitter link). Vonleh won’t have to wait too long to find out whether or not that money will be guaranteed though — if he’s still on the roster through opening night, he’ll receive his full guarantee, Smith says.

Here are several more details on newly-signed contracts from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Justin Anderson‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Sixers has a $125K partial guarantee in year one, while Ryan Broekhoff‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the club is non-guaranteed, according to Smith (Twitter links).
  • Tyler Johnson is already assured of his salary for 2020/21, as his one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nets is fully guaranteed, per Smith (Twitter link).
  • Kelan Martin‘s new two-year deal with the Pacers features a $723K partial guarantee in year one and is non-guaranteed in year two, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Indiana is now over the luxury tax line by $577K, though I expect the team will look to sneak back below that line later in the season, whether or not Martin remains on the roster.
  • Oshae Brissett‘s new multiyear deal with the Raptors features a $300K guarantee for year one, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. That guarantee signals that Brissett probably has a leg up in battle for Toronto’s 15th regular season roster spot.

Pacers Sign Guards Cassius Stanley, Naz Mitrou-Long

The Pacers have finalized agreements with two guards, signing rookie Cassius Stanley to a two-way contract and Naz Mitrou-Long to an Exhibit 10 deal, according to a press release on the team’s official site.
Indiana selected Stanley with the No. 54 pick in the 2020 draft out of Duke. The 6’6″ guard started all of his 29 games during his lone season with Duke in 2019/20, averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG, while converting on 36% of his 3.0 long-range attempts a night. After two seasons with the Jazz, Mitrou-Long appeared in five games for the Pacers last season, averaging 9.4 MPG.
The announcement also confirmed several other previously-reported signings. Forward JaKarr Sampson will return for his second season with Indiana on a fully-guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal. Wing Kelan Martin, formerly with the Timberwolves, will join the Pacers on a two-year deal, though the speculation is that it will not be fully-guaranteed.
Forward Brian Bowen II, who suited up for six games with the Pacers last season, will occupy the club’s second two-way player contract slot alongside Stanley.
Mitrou-Long joins center Amida Brimah and forward Rayshaun Hammonds as the Pacers with Exhibit 10 contracts. All three will join the team for training camp, with an opportunity to make the club’s opening night roster. These are one-year, minimum salary deals that can carry an optional player bonus ranging from $5K to $50K.

Pacers, Kelan Martin Agree To Deal

The Pacers and free agent wing Kelan Martin have agreed to a deal, agent Mike Lindeman tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski indicates the agreement covers two years. However, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Indiana had been about $1.12MM below the luxury tax line with 14 players on guaranteed contracts. As such, Martin’s deal – which would count for $1.62MM for tax purposes – seems unlikely to be fully guaranteed unless the team has another move lined up to sneak back below the tax line.

Martin emerged as a rotation player in Minnesota last season, averaging 6.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 31 games (16.0 MPG), though he struggled with his shot (.392 FG%, .260 FT%).

The 25-year-old initially received a qualifying offer from the Timberwolves, making him a restricted free agent. The club withdrew that QO on Sunday though, allowing him to become unrestricted and to sign outright with Indiana.