Lorenzo Brown

Raptors Sign Lorenzo Brown To Two-Way Contract

The Raptors have filled the second two-way contract opening on their roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve inked free agent guard Lorenzo Brown. Malcolm Miller received the club’s other two-way deal earlier this month.

Brown, a second-round pick in 2013, appeared in 63 total NBA regular season games for the Sixers, Timberwolves, and Suns between 2013 and 2016. Last offseason, the 26-year-old battled for the Pistons’ third point guard spot in training camp, but lost out and was waived by the team.

After failing to earn a spot on Detroit’s regular season roster out of camp, Brown played in Russia and China. He eventually returned stateside and joined the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ D-League affiliate, with whom he averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 11 games down the stretch this season.

For more details on how two-way contracts work, be sure to check out our breakdown here. We also have a tracker that shows how teams are using their two-way openings.

Pistons Unable To Waive Beno Udrih, Sign Lorenzo Brown

11:45am: The Pistons won’t be waiving Udrih and signing Brown after all, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. According to Charania, league rules dictate that Sunday was the deadline for Detroit to cut Udrih and have him pass through waivers, so the Pistons were unable to complete the pair of transactions, despite the fact that Brown had been set to join the team.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical explains (via Twitter), multiple teams finish their regular season on Tuesday, so not every team would have the opportunity to claim Udrih if he were to clear waivers on Wednesday.

10:05am: A source tells Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link) that the Pistons signing Brown and cutting Udrih is “possible, but complicated,” so we’ll wait to see whether the team is able to make it official today.

9:46am: The Pistons will make a change at point guard with just two games left in the season, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will cut Beno Udrih and sign Lorenzo Brown.

Udrih suffered a right knee injury on Sunday, and hadn’t been expected to be available for the Pistons’ last couple games this week, so the move is designed to get a healthy body in to back up Ish Smith at the point guard position. Udrih had been on a one-year, guaranteed deal, so being waived now won’t affect his salary or his summer outlook. For the season, Udrih recorded 5.8 PPG and 3.4 APG in 39 games (14.4 MPG) for Detroit.

As for Brown, he returns to the Pistons after a 2016/17 season that saw him make a number of stops. After failing to earn a spot on Detroit’s regular season roster out of camp, Brown played in Russia and China. He eventually returned stateside and joined the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ D-League affiliate, with whom he averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 11 games down the stretch this season.

With Udrih out, the Pistons could have inserted Reggie Jackson back into their rotation for the final two games of the season. However, head coach Stan Van Gundy suggested last night that Jackson likely wouldn’t be an option, since the team had already committed to shutting him down for the season, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details.

And-Ones: Buyouts, Referees, Lorenzo Brown, Lottery

Some team executives have proposed changing the buyout process that favors successful organizations, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. That inequity was on display this week as the Cavaliers added Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut and the Warriors picked up Matt Barnes after Kevin Durant was injured.

Possible solutions include moving the date that players have to be waived to retain postseason eligibility to before the trade deadline or creating a “buyout wire.” The wire would allow teams with cap room to bid on players who get bought out, with the highest bidder winning regardless of the players’ wishes. Early Bird rights could even be tied to this system to encourage more bidding, Lowe states. If there are no bidders, then teams over the cap would be allowed to pursue the players, possibly in reverse order of record.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA announced several initiatives Thursday to improve the quality of officiating, relays Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. The league will introduce an Officiating Advisory Council and will expand the number of referees from 64 to at least 70 next season. There are also plans to change their travel schedule and the system of evaluation. Overseas officials will be among those considered for NBA jobs. “Twenty-five percent of our players now are international or not born in the U.S., so why shouldn’t we try to match some of that in terms of talent coming from international flavor into the ref population as well?” said Byron Spruell, the president of league operations.
  • Lorenzo Brown, who has played for three teams in three NBA seasons, has signed a contract with the D-League, tweets Chris Reichert of The Step Back. The Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s affiliate, owns the rights to the 26-year old point guard, who had been playing in China. Brown spent eight games with the Suns last season. He has also played for the Sixers and Wolves.
  • Joel Brighham of Basketball Insiders examines whether teams on the postseason bubble are better off making the playoffs or getting a lottery pick.

Lorenzo Brown, Royce White Join Non-NBA Teams

Former NBA draftees Lorenzo Brown and Royce White have signed with new teams, and will be headed to China and Canada, respectively, according to reports. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Zhang Duo) has the details on Brown, who will join China’s Zhejiang Golden Bulls, while Chris Reichert of The Step Back tweets that White has signed with the London Lightning in Canada’s NBL.

Brown, who was in camp with the Pistons this fall, was waived after losing the battle for the team’s third point guard spot, and reached an agreement with Russia’s Unics Kazan last month. However, the 26-year-old reportedly failed his physical with the Russian team, leaving him looking for work elsewhere.

The 52nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, Brown has logged 63 total NBA regular-season appearances for the Sixers, Timberwolves, and Suns. The former N.C. State standout spent much of the 2015/16 campaign with Detroit’s D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 assists and 2.9 turnovers in 33.3 minutes per game, before he signed with the Pistons near the end of the season.

As for White, the former 16th overall pick only ever appeared in three NBA regular-season games, back in 2014. An anxiety disorder, which included a fear of flying, complicated White’s ability to contribute to an NBA team, though a handful of clubs, including the Rockets, Sixers, and Kings, attempted to make it work. The 25-year-old continues to seek out professional basketball opportunities, but has acknowledged that advocating for mental health awareness is more important to him than trying to return to the NBA.

Ex-Piston Lorenzo Brown Headed To Russia

Point guard Lorenzo Brown will sign with Russia’s Unics Kazan in the Euroleague, league sources informed Chris Reichert of The Step Back (Twitter links).

Brown was forced to consider other options after being a late training camp cut by the Pistons. He battled Ray McCallum for the third point guard spot behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, a competition that McCallum won. It turned out to be a moot point when coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy opted to claim Beno Udrih off waivers from the Heat just before the season opener and waive McCallum.

Detroit signed Brown to a 10-day contract late last season and then decided to keep him during the postseason, when it was swept in the opening round by the Cavaliers. Brown, who had a non-guaranteed deal, never appeared in a game with the Pistons.

Brown’s last NBA action came in January, when he was on two 10-days with the Suns. He averaged 2.5 points, 1.4 assists and 1.1 turnovers in 7.6 minutes per game across eight appearances with Phoenix.

Brown spent much of the season with Detroit’s D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 assists and 2.9 turnovers in 33.3 minutes per game. The relationship between the Pistons and the former N.C. State standout, who was the 52nd pick in the 2013 draft, dates to the 2014 preseason, when Brown was on Detroit’s training camp roster.

Brown, 26, appeared in 29 games with the Timberwolves in 2014/15, including seven starts, and played 26 games for the Sixers in his rookie year.

Pistons Waive Lorenzo Brown, Trey Freeman

2:54pm: The Pistons confirmed the moves are official via press release.

1:49pm: The Pistons intend to waive Trey Freeman and Lorenzo Brown, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press reports (on Twitter). Neither player’s deal included any guaranteed money, so Detroit won’t be on the hook for any salary as a result of parting ways with the pair.

Freeman played for the Rockets summer league squad in Las Vegas this year, appearing in five games and averaging 5.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 18.4 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .265/.200/.750. The 23-year-old went undrafted after completing his senior campaign at Old Dominion. Freeman’s numbers for the 2015/16 season were 22.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 35.1 minutes per night. His shooting numbers on the year were .429/.349/.829.

Brown, 26, appeared in eight contests for the Suns a season ago, averaging 2.5 points, 0.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 7.6 minutes per night. His slash line was .320/.125/.750.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Pistons, LeVert, Green

Knicks team president Phil Jackson believes the acquistions of point guard Derrick Rose and center Joakim Noah poses “minimal risk and a great reward,” according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Jackson made that comment during a podcast with Shaquille O’Neal. Rose was acquired in a trade with the Bulls, while Noah signed a four-year, $72MM contract as a free agent. “Both of them, I think, have some career left, even though they’ve had injuries, and it’s what they call risk-reward,” Jackson said to O’Neal. “What was the risk and what was the reward? And I felt it was a minimal risk and a great reward if we were able to put together a good team.”

In other developments around the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy does not plan to carry both Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum on his opening-day roster, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Brown and McCallum are locked in a training-camp battle to back up point guard Ish Smith with starter Reggie Jackson sidelined the first month of the season by knee tendinitis. Neither one has a guaranteed contract. “It’s not going to be an easy decision,” Van Gundy told Langlois. “The way we’d love to start the year is to have them both because you want three point guards. But to do that, we’d actually have to cut somebody on a guaranteed contract. I don’t foresee that.”
  • Caris LeVert has been a limited participant in training camp as the rookie guard continues to progress from the foot injuries that cut short his final season at the University of Michigan, Cory Wright of BrooklynNets.com reports. New Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is still unsure when LeVert, the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft, will be able to go without any restrictions, Wright adds.
  • Jeff Green‘s ties to the Magic’s front office and the trade that brought Serge Ibaka to Orlando made it an easy decision for him to sign with the franchise, John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com writes. The well-traveled small forward signed a one-year, $15MM contract with the Magic after agreeing to the deal on the first day of free agency. “I knew (assistant GM) Scott (Perry) and (GM) Rob (Hennigan), too, from OKC,” Green told Denton. “I saw that the Magic had traded for Serge on draft day and I had played with Serge already. … I knew this would be a great situation.”

Community Shootaround: Pistons’ PG Situation

Last week, one Central division team faced some uncertainty at its point guard spot, when the Cavaliers received news of Mo Williams‘ decision to retire, which left the team with just Kyrie Irving and Kay Felder at the point. Cleveland subsequently signed Toney Douglas to provide veteran depth, and now one of their division rivals is facing similar questions at the same position.

Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy revealed today that Reggie Jackson, who is dealing with knee tendinitis and a bone bruise, could miss up to six to eight weeks of action. According to Van Gundy, Jackson is considering treatment options and will make a decision soon (Twitter link via Keith Langlois of Pistons.com). If the point guard undergoes platelet-rich plasma therapy, his recovery timetable would be in that six-to-eight-week range, but it’s possible he’ll be back before then.

Faced with the possibility of being without Jackson for the first few weeks of the regular season, the Pistons are exploring their options. However, Van Gundy said today that it’s unlikely the team would cut one of its young players to add another point guard to provide short-term coverage (Twitter link via Langlois). He added that a trade is also unlikely, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link).

Still, without Jackson, the Pistons are somewhat thin at the point. Ish Smith would move into the starting role, with someone like Ray McCallum, Lorenzo Brown, or Trey Freeman potentially backing him up. McCallum and Brown are both on non-guaranteed deals, so if the team wanted to keep both players for depth purposes, it would mean waiving a player with a guaranteed contract, as Van Gundy noted today (Twitter link via Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press).

Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net hears that Mario Chalmers and Steve Blake are among the players the free agents the Pistons are considering. Kendall Marshall, Andre Miller, and Kirk Hinrich are also available, and Van Gundy said that the team is keeping an eye on players on other rosters who may be cut before the regular season (Twitter link via Ellis).

What do you think the Pistons should do to address the point guard position, if anything? Are their in-house options fine, or should they add a free agent? If they sign someone, which player would be the best fit? Are Jackson’s knee issues worrisome enough that they should consider adding a veteran guard for the season, rather than for just a few weeks?

Take to the comments section below to weigh in and share your thoughts on the Pistons’ point guard situation.

Pistons Notes: Gbinije, Caldwell-Pope, Smith

To help ease Michael Gbinije‘s transition to the NBA, the Pistons won’t be playing him at point guard during camp, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. The 49th overall pick out of Syracuse, Gbinije brings great versatility to Detroit, both on offense and defense. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said the decision to use Gbinije solely as as a swingman in the early going was made after summer league. That’s why the Pistons signed Ray McCallum to compete with Lorenzo Brown for the No. 3 point guard slot. Gbinije, who may get to hone his point guard skills with the Pistons’ D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, said he accepts the decision. “I can just focus on one position at a time,” Gbinije said. “I’m sure the more comfortable I get, I might experience other positions. But right now, it’s good that I’m just limited.”

There’s more news from the Pistons’ training camp:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope doesn’t mind waiting until next summer for a new contract if that becomes necessary, writes Aaron McMann of MLive. The fourth-year shooting guard is eligible for a rookie extension through October 31st, and his agent, Rich Paul, is now negotiating with the team after a quiet summer. No word has leaked about how close they may be to an agreement. If they can’t reach a deal before the deadline, Caldwell-Pope will enter next summer as a restricted free agent. “That’s all on the organization here, if they would like to keep me or let me go into free agency,” he said. “Right now, my focus is on the season. I can’t worry too much about that.”
  • The decision on Caldwell-Pope is the most important one the franchise will face in the immediate future, contends David Mayo of MLive. Mayo estimates the Pistons could probably re-sign Caldwell-Pope to a contract starting at $15MM-$16MM annually if they hammer out an extension before the deadline. But if he has another good season, that price might be closer to $20MM in free agency.
  • Ish Smith was the first free agent the Pistons targeted over the summer, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. At 28, Smith is one of the oldest players on the roster and is expected to provide steady veteran leadership as the backup point guard. “It’s so much better than I thought,” Smith said of the situation in Detroit. “When I was in Philly, we played them four times and you see [the chemistry] from the outside looking in. When you get here and see the hard work everybody puts in and the dedication to win.”

Central Notes: J.R. Smith, Brooks, Pistons

The Cavaliers‘ mini-camp has gotten underway in California, with coaches and players in attendance, but one member of last year’s championship roster is noticeably absent, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com details. Head coach Tyronn Lue tells Vardon that the team misses J.R. Smith, who remains unsigned.

“I mean, you can feel it,” Lue said. “J.R., he’s the heart and soul of [the Cavaliers]. Usually when it’s anything involving the team, J.R. would be there and would be right in the middle of it. You’d hear him laughing or if it’s work, he’d be out there giving it his all. It’s hard.”

As we heard earlier this week, Smith isn’t in California with the rest of the Cavaliers, since contract talks between the two sides remain at an impasse. According to Vardon, it seems unlikely that Smith and the Cavs will reach a deal by the time the team meets the media on Monday for the start of training camp.

Here’s more from across the Central division:

  • Explaining why he chose to sign with the Pacers in free agency, Aaron Brooks suggests to Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star that he thinks the team’s roster is “loaded,” and that at this stage in his career he wants to play on “a team that’s winning games.” Brooks also knows his role in Indiana and believes he’ll be a an ideal fit off the bench behind starting point guard Jeff Teague.
  • As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes, 14 of the Pistons‘ 15 regular-season roster spots appear set, with just one up for grabs. That last opening figures to come down to Ray McCallum vs. Lorenzo Brown for the No. 3 point guard job. Langlois speaks to both players about the possible opportunity ahead of them as they compete for that roster spot.
  • In a separate piece for Pistons.com, Langlois fields Pistons-related questions from readers, discussing a possible extension for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, why Detroit chose Ish Smith as its backup point guard, and how the team’s roster might change over the next 12 months.