Malcolm Lee

Eastern Notes: Schroder, Lee, Magic, Heat

With last season’s starter Jeff Teague traded to the Pacers, point guard Dennis Schroder has big shoes to fill. The front office has full confidence in the young player, but his performance will be closely scrutinized since his play thus far has been inconsistent and his brash attitude has occasionally rubbed opponents and teammates the wrong way, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “Dennis (Schroder) has an incredible talent,” teammate Thabo Sefolosha told Vivlamore “He’s going to be great. He’s going to be the point guard. It’s going to be tough. I think we are all going to help him. I think it’s a tough position to be so young and to have so much on your shoulders. I think it’s going to be on all of us to help him.

The Hawks will also have a tough decision to make involving Schroder, with him eligible for a rookie contract extension, Vivlamore adds. Atlanta could wait to see how he performs in 2016/17 and issue Schroder a qualifying offer next summer, which will likely be around $4.5MM if he maintains his starter criteria. making him a restricted free agent, the scribe adds. The deadline to agree to an extension is October 31st, and if the team does decide to float Schroder an offer, it would likely be close to that deadline, Vivlamore opines.

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • Malcolm Lee, who last appeared in the NBA during the 2014/15 season when he played in one game for the Sixers, has signed with the Turkish club Trabzonspor, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (via Twitter). The 26-year-old guard spent last season playing in Puerto Rico for Brujos de Guayama, appearing in 19 games and averaging 13.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
  • After adding a number of veterans this offseason, the Magic aren’t necessarily more talented than they were a season ago, but their current roster should be smarter and better defensively, Shaun Powell of writes in his season preview of Orlando. The scribe does question the team’s logic in trading away Tobias Harris and adding Jeff Green for roughly the same salary, even if Green’s deal is only for one season.
  • Though the loss of Josh Richardson to start the season is a blow to the Heat‘s continuity, it does open the door for Tyler Johnson or Dion Waiters to step up and seize the starting shooting guard spot, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel opines in response to a reader query. The scribe also notes that it also provides Briante Weber to show that he can be a viable rotation option for the team.

Where Are They Now?: Ex-Sixers From Hinkie Era

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie likes to point to Robert Covington, whom the team signed in mid-November last year, as symbolic of the value in trolling the fringes of the NBA’s talent pool for overlooked talent. The team has had other successes, notably with camp invitee T.J. McConnell, but it’s taken a lot of work to sort through the chaff. A whopping 45 players are no longer with the Sixers after having appeared on their regular season roster at some point since the team hired Hinkie in May 2013, and only 16 of them, barely more than a third, are still in the NBA. Eleven of the 45 are playing overseas, 10 are in the D-League, six are free agents and two have announced their retirements.

Hinkie inherited Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, so if you discount them, he’s cycled a dozen current NBA players through his regular season roster. A few, like former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams and Ish Smith, have played prominent roles for other NBA teams this season, but none is approaching stardom.

This list of ex-Sixers who’ve appeared on the team’s regular season roster during Hinkie’s tenure includes players who never actually suited up for the team, like Andrei Kirilenko, but it doesn’t include camp invitees or players who passed through the team’s hands during the offseason. Still, it demonstrates the volume of moves the team has made and the lack of eye-popping names involved. Their current whereabouts are noted, with bold text marking those still in the NBA:

Sixers Waive Malcolm Lee

The Sixers have waived Malcolm Lee, the team announced in the same press release in which it confirmed its acquisition of Andrei Kirilenko. The move is a bit surprising, since reports indicated that Philadelphia would instead waive Kirilenko upon the completion of the trade. However, John Gonzalez of reported late Wednesday that the Sixers had interest in keeping Kirilenko in hopes of using him in a subsequent trade near the deadline. Lee, whom the Sixers re-signed just last week, is instead the roster casualty as Philadelphia needed to cut a player to accommodate its trade with Brooklyn. The Sixers, who had been carrying the maximum 15 players prior to the trade, acquired two players and gave up one in that move, so the team had to let go of someone.

Lee was on a four-year non-guaranteed contract with a team option on the fourth year, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The 24-year-old shooting guard appeared in just one game for a total of two minutes during his latest stint with the Sixers, missing his only shot attempt. He was with Philadelphia during the preseason and received a $50K partial guarantee on his initial contract, one the Sixers waived before opening night. Lee was the 43rd overall pick in the 2011 draft and spent the following two seasons in Minnesota, but he was without an NBA contract last season when he sat out following a series of injuries.

Philadelphia remains at 15 players after today’s moves. Nine have fully guaranteed deals, while another three are on partially guaranteed contracts, leaving plenty of flexibility for more in-season movement, one of the staples of GM Sam Hinkie‘s tenure.

Sixers Sign Malcolm Lee, Waive Drew Gordon

4:12pm: The signing of Lee is official, the Sixers announced in a press release. The team also confirmed that Gordon has been waived in the same announcement.

3:03pm: The Sixers are signing Malcolm Lee and waiving Drew Gordon to make room, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Pompey’s tweet indicates that the move has already taken place, though the team has yet to make an official announcement. Philadelphia wanted to add a point guard with both Tony Wroten and Alexey Shved out with injuries for tonight’s game against Oklahoma City, Pompey adds (on Twitter). Gordon signed a four-year non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary nearly a month ago, while Lee returns to the team after having spent the preseason with Philadelphia.

Lee, a two-year NBA veteran, has been playing with the Sixers D-League affiliate since Philly kept his D-League rights when it waived him in October. The 24-year-old was averaging just 6.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 turnovers in 22.5 minutes per game in four D-League appearances this season. His production in the minor league is relatively similar to the numbers he put up in 35 NBA games over two seasons with the Timberwolves, for whom he averaged 4.0 PPG, 1.4 APG, 0.8 TPG in 15.2 MPG.

Gordon has been in his second stint with the Sixers, who brought him to camp and originally released him at the same time they made identical moves with Lee. The power forward, who’s also 24 years old, saw little playing time in nine games with Philadelphia over the past few weeks, putting up 1.9 PPG and 2.0 rebounds per game in 7.9 MPG. He’s the brother of Magic rookie Aaron Gordon, this year’s No. 4 overall pick.

The Sixers will continue to carry 15 players in the wake of this move, though only eight have full guarantees and two more have partially guaranteed pacts. Philadelphia also appears to be close to adding draft-and-stash prospect Furkan Aldemir, a 6’9″ rebounding ace who plays Gordon’s position of power forward.

And-Ones: Cavs, D-League, Temple

Not surprisingly, three of the NBA’s four unbeaten teams reside in the Western Conference, where the Warriors, Rockets and Grizzlies are all 3-0. The East’s lone unbeaten is the franchise that’s won the last four conference championships, but it’s nonetheless surprising to see the Heat back atop the conference standings after they lost LeBron James this past summer. While we wait to see if Miami will continue to reign without King James, here’s the latest from around the league:

  • The Cavs feel like they made concessions in their final extension offer to Tristan Thompson, which exceeded $48MM over four years, but neither side has any hard feelings in the wake of the failed negotiations, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.
  • NBA teams kept the D-League rights to 47 players cut during camp this year, the D-League announced, listing all of them. The Mavs, Warriors and Suns used all four spots available to each NBA team to reserve the rights to such players, so they can’t keep the D-League rights to anyone they waive during the regular season, unlike the rest of the teams in the NBA. Renaldo Balkman, Bernard James, Doron Lamb, Hasheem Thabeet, Peyton Siva, Malcolm Lee and Earl Barron are this year’s “affiliate players” with NBA experience.
  • Garrett Temple refrains from drinking, smoking and tattoos, and he’s convinced the straight-arrow approach has helped him win jobs during his career, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post observes. Injuries to others have thrust Temple into the starting lineup for the Wizards, who re-signed him this summer for two years at the minimum salary.

Sixers Waive Lee, Gordon, Roberts Jr.

6:51pm: Philadelphia has officially waived all three players, the team announced via press release.

6:14pm: Although no team announcement has been made, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that the Sixers have waived Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, and Ronald Roberts Jr. All three were on low-risk, four-year contracts with Philadelphia.

The Sixers will be on the hook for partial guarantees of $35K, $40K, and $50K for Roberts Jr., Gordon and Lee, respectively. Coach Brett Brown has mentioned the D-League as a possibility for Roberts Jr., who broke off an overseas deal to join the Sixers in camp. The team is allowed to retain the D-League rights for up to four players cut before the season.

The cuts bring the Sixers roster down to 17, two above the maximum they can carry into the regular season. The team has plenty of flexibility as it approaches the deadline to trim the roster, with seven remaining contracts that aren’t guaranteed, as well as plenty of cap room to eat guaranteed salary if they choose to do so.

Eastern Notes: LeBron, Caldwell-Pope, Brand

LeBron James and the Heat organization didn’t always see eye to eye, but he doesn’t harbor bitterness toward the team even though he’s entirely comfortable with his choice to head back to the Cavs, writes Brian Windhorst of His departure from Miami this summer surprised the Heat organization and left his old teammates feeling stung, but it’s a stretch to say there’s true animosity between them and the four-time MVP, as Windhorst explains. Chris Bosh backtracked an earlier claim that he hadn’t spoken to James since he left for Cleveland and said today that they did talk briefly in August, Windhorst notes in a separate piece.

Here’s more from the east:

  • Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has signed with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, Brian Windhorst reports (Twitter link). Caldwell-Pope was formerly represented by Thad Foucher of The Wasserman Media Group.
  • Veteran forward Elton Brand is entering his 16th season, but he’s not ready to say that this will be his last in the league, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). Brand re-signed with the Hawks this summer for one year, $2MM after averaging 5.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG last season. Brand also told Vivlamore (Twitter link) that he talked to “five or six” teams before deciding to return to Atlanta.
  • Sixers signees Malcolm Lee and Drew Gordon are on four-year deals that pay the minimum salary each year, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). They have partial guarantees of $50K and $40K, respectively, for this season, but their money is otherwise non-guaranteed. The Sixers also put a team option on the final season of each of their contracts.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Sixers Sign Lee, Gordon, Cut Bogans, Varnado

The Sixers have signed Malcolm Lee and Drew Gordon, and they waived Keith Bogans and Jarvis Varnado to make room on the 20-man preseason roster, the team announced (Twitter link). The team reportedly came to agreements with both Lee and Gordon prior to camp, but they were left off the team’s roster when training camp began. The dismissal of Varnado is somewhat surprising, since he had a $75K partial guarantee and the team had been carrying eight players with non-guaranteed contracts. Bogans was one of those eight, and his nearly $5.3MM salary was the largest by far, so it’s certainly not a shock to see Philadelphia part ways with him. The Sixers have plenty of capacity to exceed the minimum salary in their new arrangements with Lee and Gordon, but the terms aren’t immediately clear.

Lee was one of a handful of players to work out for the Lakers in late August, and he also worked out for the Nets earlier in the summer, though that audition seemed to be geared mostly toward summer league. The 24-year-old guard appeared in summer league with the Raptors, but the two-year NBA veteran will attempt to officially return to the league with the Sixers after sitting out 2013/14, in part because of injury. Gordon, a 24-year-old power forward, was with the Sixers in summer league after splitting this past season between Italy and Turkey. He also had a stop in Serbia after going undrafted out of New Mexico in 2012, and this will be his first NBA preseason experience.

Bogans joined the Sixers after a pair of trades brought him from the Celtics through Cleveland. He sat out much of last season as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge sought to use his sizable non-guaranteed deal in a trade. Varnado hooked on with both the Bulls and the Sixers via 10-day contracts last season, and Philadelphia elected to keep him for the balance of 2013/14 when its short-term deal with the power forward ran out, tacking the partially guaranteed 2014/15 season onto his contract.

The moves leave the Sixers with a full 20-man preseason roster. Only nine of their players known to have fully guaranteed deals, and the release of Varnado makes it an even more wide open race for the final regular season roster spots.

Sixers Sign K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant

9:47am: McDaniels will make the minimum salary this year, as Wojnarowski reveals in his full story, one that suggests that the small forward simply signed the required tender that teams must make in order to retain the rights to their second-round picks. He rejected a long-term offer with terms similar to what Grant has in his contract, as agent Mark Bartelstein explains to Wojnarowski.

“The 76ers have a philosophy that they’re adhering to, and we totally respect that, but it doesn’t fit for K.J. and us,” Bartelstein said. “I just totally disagree with the idea of doing a four-year deal that includes a structure of two non-guaranteed years. We think K.J. is going to be a good player, and it came down to doing a one-year deal and letting the market determine his value. There’s no hard feelings. The Sixers’ philosophy has worked for them. It just doesn’t work for us.”

WEDNESDAY, 8:51am: McDaniels is getting a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, setting himself up for restricted free agency next summer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 9:10pm: McDaniels hasn’t signed his contract as of this afternoon and didn’t report to training camp Tuesday, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey implies that McDaniels isn’t happy with the team’s offer, but adds that the Sixers do expect him to sign it soon.

MONDAY, 4:22pm: The Sixers have signed K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant, two of the team’s second-round picks from June, the team acknowledged as it released its training camp roster via press release. The team has plenty of cap space, but it’s not immediately clear how much of it goes to McDaniels and Grant, nor is it known whether their deals are guaranteed. The roster also serves as an official announcement of previously reported deals with No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid, Ronald Roberts Jr. and JaKarr Sampson. Absent from the roster are Malcolm Lee, Drew Gordon and Pierre Jackson, whom offseason reports indicated the Sixers had agreed to sign, so presumably those deals are off.

McDaniels, the 32nd overall pick, is a small forward who’s a heady player with a strong motor who seems poised to outperform his draft position, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors wrote when he examined the former Clemson Tiger’s prospect profile. Grant, a combo forward from Syracuse, carries plenty of athleticism but plenty of unknowns, too, though he appears to be a strong value as a second-rounder, as Eddie’s profile of the No. 39 overall pick reads. Vasilije Micic and Jordan McRae, the team’s other second-round picks, are playing overseas, as our list of draft pick signings shows.

Philadelphia is bringing 20 players to camp, though only eight are known to have fully guaranteed salary. Roberts, Sampson and Jarvis Varnado have partially guaranteed deals, but it’s seemingly an otherwise wide-open competition for opening-night roster spots.

No Deal For Sixers, Malcolm Lee

SEPTEMBER 29TH: Lee is not among the players listed on the preseason roster the team sent via press release, so presumably the deal is off.

SEPTEMBER 24TH: The Sixers have reached agreement with Malcolm Lee, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s likely a standard non-guaranteed camp deal for the 24 year-old out of UCLA. This brings Philadelphia’s preseason roster count to 18, with eight of those players having fully-guaranteed contracts, and four whose deals carry partial guarantees.

The 6’5″ shooting guard worked out for the Lakers and the Nets during the Summer, and his most recent appearance in the league was with the Timberwolves during the 2012/13 campaign. In 35 career games, including 12 starts, Lee has averaged 4.0 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.5 APG. His career slash line is .385/.294/.703.

Lee will get a look in camp at the the wing as a potential backup to projected starter Tony Wroten, and with the Sixers expected to challenge the league record for losses in a season, the roster is wide open for Lee to stick around through opening night.