Lamar Stevens

Central Notes: Markkanen, Diallo, Mobley, Stevens

The NBA’s investigation of the Bulls for possible tampering involving Lonzo Ball could complicate efforts to find a new team for Lauri Markkanen, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Because Markkanen is a restricted free agent, he will need cooperation from Chicago to go elsewhere, either by not matching his offer or working out a sign-and-trade, but Johnson doesn’t believe the league will permit sign-and-trade negotiations until the probe of the early agreement with Ball is wrapped up.

The Pelicans and Mavericks both have large trade exceptions, so they remain potential destinations for Markkanen, Johnson adds. The Bulls are asking for a first-round pick in any sign-and-trade deal, and they’re not willing to take on a large, lengthy contract in return. Another possibility is for Markkanen to accept his one-year, $9MM qualifying offer and remain in Chicago, but he has indicated that he prefers to play somewhere else next season.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will face a roster crunch if they keep restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo, observes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Detroit already has 15 guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season, and while Diallo is searching for a better deal than his $2.1MM qualifying offer, he will likely sign it if he can’t get more money elsewhere. Edwards expects Josh Jackson, Jahlil Okafor or Sekou Doumbouya to be traded or released if Diallo stays in Detroit.
  • Jordan Brink and Austin Dufault have been promoted to player development coaches with the Pistons, Edwards tweets. Brink has been with the team since 2016 and is the only remaining member of Stan Van Gundy’s staff. Dufault played collegiately at Colorado and spent six seasons as a player in Europe.
  • The Cavaliers were satisfied with their Summer League showing, which included the first on-court experience for No. 3 pick Evan Mobley, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. In three games, Mobley showed off the skills that made him one of the top prospects in the draft, but also displayed areas where he needs work, as he shot just 1 of 8 from three-point range and didn’t have reliable moves in the post. Summer League also provided a showcase for Lamar Stevens, Fedor adds, who could end up fighting for the final roster spot with Mfiondu Kabengele and Damyean Dotson if the team makes more roster additions.

Health Updates: Rockets, Nance, Cavs, Hachimura, Clifford

After missing the Rockets‘ last three games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, second-year wing Kevin Porter Jr. has rejoined the team and will be ready to play on Tuesday, head coach Stephen Silas said today (Twitter link via Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston).

Rockets big man Christian Wood, who missed Saturday’s game with a minor ankle injury, is also in position to return on Tuesday, Silas said (Twitter link via Berman). The team should get further reinforcements prior to the end of the season, according to Silas, who expressed optimism that D.J. Augustin (ankle), Sterling Brown (knee), and Eric Gordon (groin) will also be back in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more health-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr., who injured his right thumb on Sunday, has been diagnosed with a fracture in that thumb, according to a team press release. Nance has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. Toronto and will be re-evaluated daily as he undergoes treatment and rehab. Sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that Nance will probably miss at least a week or two. With less than three weeks left in the regular season, there’s no guarantee we’ll see him again in 2020/21.
  • Within the same release, the Cavaliers provided updates on several more players, announcing that Matthew Dellavedova (neck strain), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion symptoms), and Lamar Stevens (concussion symptoms) have also hit the injured list and will miss tonight’s game.
  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (knee) is set to return on Monday after missing the last four games, the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford, who registered a positive COVID-19 test, will remain out for Monday’s game vs. the Lakers, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who tweets that Tyrone Corbin will once again act as the club’s interim head coach. Clifford continues to be asymptomatic, Robbins notes.

Contract Details: Deck, Stevens, Olynyk

The Thunder used the remainder of this year’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception — a little over $3.87MM — in Gabriel Deck‘s creatively constructed four-year contract, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The remainder of Deck’s contract includes a non-guaranteed salary of $3,676,852 next season; a non-guaranteed $3,483,334 in 2022/23, with the guarantee kicking in if he’s on the roster after September 20, 2022; and a non-guaranteed $3,483,334 in the final season, including a team option. Assuming he plays out the contract – with the Thunder or another team – he’d be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023 or unrestricted free agency in 2024.

We have more contract-related news:

  • Lamar Stevens received more than triple of the prorated minimum, $652,366 rather than $203,043, from the Cavaliers for the remainder of the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, the remainder of Stevens’ four-year contract offers no salary protections or guaranteed dates in any of the years.
  • Rockets big man Kelly Olynyk earned a $1MM incentive bonus after playing his 1,493rd minute this season, Marks tweets. Olynyk will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • ICYMI, we broke down all the dead money teams are carrying on their caps this season, with the Pistons leading the pack. Check out our story here.

Cavs Promote Lamar Stevens To 15-Man Roster

2:52pm: The Cavaliers have officially announced Stevens’ new multiyear contract, issuing a press release to confirm the deal.


11:51am: It’ll be a four-year deal for Stevens, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), who says the contract won’t be guaranteed beyond this season and will include a fourth-year team option.


11:42am: The Cavaliers are signing forward Lamar Stevens to a multiyear NBA contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Stevens is already on Cleveland’s roster, but only on a two-way deal. His new agreement with the team will give him a spot on the 15-man squad.

A rookie out of Penn State, Stevens has appeared in 37 games so far for the Cavs, averaging 4.4 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 13.1 minutes per contest. He’s also regarded as a strong defender, having told Hoops Rumors earlier this year that one of his goals is to eventually make the NBA’s All-Defensive team.

Cleveland currently has 13 players on full-season standard contracts, with Mfiondu Kabengele on a 10-day pact, so there’s an opening on the 15-man roster for Stevens. As such, no corresponding move will be required for his promotion.

The Cavaliers still have a portion of their mid-level exception available, so they could sign Stevens to a three- or four-year contract. Once it’s official, the move will open up a two-way slot for the Cavs, who could fill that opening with a developmental player before the end of the season.

Lamar Stevens Discusses Rookie Season, Cavs, Team Culture, More

After going undrafted in 2020, rookie forward Lamar Stevens signed a two-way contract with the Cavaliers and has emerged as a rotation player for the team this season, providing depth off the bench in 27 games to date.

Stevens, who is averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game on the season, recorded a career-best 15 points and 11 rebounds in 17 minutes against the Spurs on Friday. The 23-year-old’s strong defense is a key reason why he’s received a consistent role.

Stevens recently spoke with Hoops Rumors to discuss his rookie season, his experience at Penn State, the Cavs’ culture and more:

What has your first NBA season been like?

“I think for me it’s been just a lot of learning. Just trying to be a sponge because everything happens so fast for me — really I think for all the rookies without summer league, a shortened training camp and jumping right into the season. It’s just been trying to adjust, trying to learn as much as you can really, really fast. Luckily I have great vets and great coaches that have really spent a lot of time in helping speed up my process. I would say the biggest thing for me is just trying to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can.”

How has playing for the Cavaliers shaped your rookie season? What in your mind is special about this organization in particular?

“I think what’s really special about the organization is really just the commitment to getting better. And I think each day is like, you know, you see the focus from top to bottom. From GM (Koby Altman) to coach J.B. (Bickerstaff). Everybody’s main goal is just to get better and be better than what you were yesterday. With this culture and the vets that we have, with Kevin Love, Larry (Nance Jr.), JaVale (McGee), Taurean Prince and guys like that leading the way for us, it’s been really special. It’s helped me a lot as a young player just to feel comfortable asking questions, or always being able to reach out to somebody to get into the gym at any time — that’s been special for me and has really allowed me personally to help my game grow and my mind grow as a basketball player.”

Take me through that game-winning basket you had against the Hawks. Firstly, just to be finishing a close game as a rookie — let alone an undrafted rookie — is impressive. What was it like for you to be part of such a key moment?

Read more

Cavs Sign Brodric Thomas To Two-Way Contract

9:45pm: Cleveland has officially signed Thomas and waived Bolden, Russo tweets.


1:45pm: The Cavaliers are signing G League guard Brodric Thomas to a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Thomas had been on a two-way deal with Houston, but was cut earlier in the month to open up a spot for Ray Spalding. Thomas saw very limited minutes in four games for the Rockets, but has been a regular starter for the club’s NBAGL affiliate, averaging 16.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.6 SPG in eight games (33.4 MPG) for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Cleveland will waive two-way center Marques Bolden in order to make room for Thomas, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bolden has played 29 total minutes in six games for the Cavs this season and has also had a limited impact at the G League level, recording 6.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in three games (17.0 MPG) for the Canton Charge.

After officially completing those two transactions, the Cavs will once again have a 16-man roster, with 14 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals. Dean Wade is the lone player on the standard roster without a fully guaranteed contract, but Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link) hears the club has no plans to waive Wade before today’s salary guarantee deadline.

Lamar Stevens, the Cavs’ other two-way player, has recently emerged as a regular part of the club’s rotation, and a source tells Fedor that Cleveland will likely consider converting Stevens’ contract to a standard contract at some point. However, the fact that the Cavs are clearing space for Thomas by waiving Bolden rather than promoting Stevens to fill the open spot on the 15-man roster suggests that’s a decision that will be made later in the season.

Cavs Place Randolph, Matthews, Mooney On Waivers

The Cavaliers have waived guards Levi Randolph, Charles Matthews and Matt Mooney, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets.

The most significant cut is Mooney, since he was on a two-way deal. That opens up a two-way slot, with the other occupied by Lamar Stevens.

The moves leave Cleveland with 16 players on the official roster, one over the limit. Big men Marques Bolden and Dean Wade are candidates for the two-way contract, though Wade would have to go through waivers before he could sign that deal.

Randolph was signed to an Exhibit 10 deal last month. He’ll likely wind up with their G League team, the Canton Charge.

Randolph, 28, has been trying to break into the NBA since graduating from Alabama in 2015. He has been part of Cleveland’s training camp the past two seasons and signed a two-way contract in January, but was waived six days later. Randolph led the Charge in scoring last year at 16.9 PPG.

Matthews was also on an Exhibit 10 contract. He spent one season at Kentucky in 2015/16 before transferring to Michigan, where he played for two seasons. Matthews declared early for the draft in 2019, but tore his ACL during a team workout.

Mooney signed a two-way contract with the Cavs last January after going undrafted in 2019. He made four brief appearances with Cleveland last season and saw action in 42 G League games, averaging 13.1 PPG and 5.1 APG in 31.2 MPG.

Cavaliers Sign Lamar Stevens To Two-Way Contract

NOVEMBER 28, 2:42pm: Stevens has officially inked his two-way deal, according to a team press release.


NOVEMBER 19, 12:13 am: Undrafted Penn State forward Lamar Stevens has agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Cavaliers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Stevens was a four-year starter for the Nittany Lions. In 135 career games, Stevens averaged 16.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG.

Last season, the 6’8” Stevens posted averages of 17.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 2.2 APG. His perimeter shot needs work — he made just 27.6% of his 3-point attempts during his college career.

Stevens can be active for up to 50 games in his rookie season.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Draft Notes: Russell, Williams, Vassell, Mays

Rhode Island guard Fatts Russell has declared for the draft but will maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, he wrote on an Instagram post. The junior averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.6 APG and 2.9 SPG this season. The 5’10” Russell averaged 14.2 PPG last season.

We have more draft news:

  • Cincinnati’s Keith Williams announced his intention to enter the draft and hire an agent on his Twitter feed. The 6’5” Williams averaged 12.6 PPG and shot 34.2% from long range as a junior this season. Williams has started two seasons for the Bearcats after being a rotation reserve as a freshman.
  • Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, Florida State guard Devin Vassell, Utah State guard Sam Merrill, Penn State forward Lamar Stevens and LSU guard Skylar Mays are five players who could make a surprising impact in the NBA, Jon Rothstein declares in a Yahoo Sports video post. Vassell, currently ranked No. 19 on ESPN’s Best Available list, is the only prospect among that group considered a likely first-rounder.
  • Potential lottery selection Killian Hayes has declared for the draft. Get the details here.