Malcolm Thomas

Michael Beasley Ineligible To Sign With Chinese Team

SEPTEMBER 18: The Chinese Basketball Association has notified Shanxi that Beasley is ineligible to sign in China due to his NBA drug suspension, a source tells Carchia (Twitter link).

SEPTEMBER 17: The Shanxi Loongs are interested in bringing free agent forward Michael Beasley back to China, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, Shanxi would look to part ways with Malcolm Thomas if the club is able to sign Beasley.

This is the second time this offseason we’ve heard about Beasley drawing overseas interest. A report in early August suggested that the 30-year-old had an offer in the range of $5MM on the table from a team in the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s not clear if that team was Shanxi — or if Beasley would still be able to land a payday in that range.

Rather than accepting that reported offer, Beasley reached a tentative agreement to sign with the Pistons in mid-August. However, he never technically finalized that deal. With Detroit now poised to bring in Joe Johnson to fill the final spot on its offseason roster, the former No. 2 overall pick is the odd man out and won’t sign with the club after all, forcing him to resume his search for a new home.

Beasley has had multiple stints in the CBA in the past, playing for Shanghai in 2014/15, Shandong in 2015/16, and Guangdong earlier in 2019. So if he does sign with Shanxi, he’d be returning to a familiar setting.

It’s worth noting that Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last month that the CBA was in the process of implementing a new guideline that would bar a player facing a drug- or violence-related ban or suspension in another league from signing with a CBA team.

Charania cited Tyreke Evans, who has been banned from the NBA for at least two years due to drug violations, as a player who would affected by this rule, but it’s not clear if Beasley – who is facing a five-game NBA suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy – would also be impacted. Presumably, if Shanxi is interested, the rule either hasn’t been made official or wouldn’t specifically apply to a short-term suspension like Beasley’s.

International Notes: Hachimura, Delaney, Whitehead

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura won’t play in the final two games of the 2019 World Cup for Team Japan, according to a statement issued by the Wizards and Japan Basketball. After going 0-3 in round-one play, Japan has been eliminated from medal contention, but will continue playing in the classification round. They’ll do so without Hachimura, however.

“Rui experienced knee discomfort and general fatigue during the World Cup, which we have jointly monitored with the Wizards,” Japan Basketball said in a statement. “While everyone had hoped for Rui to finish the World Cup with Team Japan, the Wizards and Japan Basketball believe it is best for Rui to not play the final two games and have a short period of rest before he must start NBA training camp with the Wizards which begins only three weeks from now.”

Despite Japan’s lack of success in the 2019 World Cup, they’ve already secured a berth in the 2020 Olympics as the host nation. Hachimura is expected to suit up again for his home country in Tokyo next summer following his rookie season with the Wizards.

Here are a few more international basketball notes from around the globe:

  • Veteran guard Malcolm Delaney, who spent two seasons with the Hawks from 2016-18, is in negotiations with Barcelona, sources tell Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops (Twitter link). While a deal isn’t done yet, it sounds like Delaney will continue his career in Spain unless he gets an NBA offer.
  • Former Nets point guard Isaiah Whitehead, a second-round pick in 2016, is working out with China’s Jiangsu Dragons, according to Chinese basketball journalist Zhang Duo (Twitter link). Whitehead spent the second half of 2018/19 on a two-way deal with the Pistons, but didn’t appear in a game for Detroit.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer takes a look at some of the World Cup subplots that don’t involve Team USA, including the dominance of the Serbians, who have won their four games so far by an average margin of nearly 41 points per contest.
  • Former NBA forward Malcolm Thomas, who suited up for five teams from 2012-15, has signed with the Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association after spending the last two seasons in Russia, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Free Agent Notes: Durant, Rockets, Clippers

Kevin Durant would give himself a better chance at winning a title if he were to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors or sign with an Eastern Conference team, Bill Simmons of The Ringer writes. Many believe that Durant will sign a two-year deal with OKC that contains a player option for year two, as was reported earlier this week.

Simmons offers an unconventional viewpoint on Durant’s impending decision. Two years ago, Durant signed a $300MM deal with Nike. At the time, he and LeBron James had the best selling sneakers among all NBA players, Simmons points out. The 2014 MVP then injured his foot and missed a significant amount of time during the 2014/15 campaign. Durant’s comeback 2015/16 season was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant‘s retirement and the Warriors’ historic 73-9 record. Now, the conversation is between Nike with James and the Jordan Brand and Under Armour with Stephen Curry, Simmons adds. Simmons argues that Durant, his representatives and Nike know they won’t be competing with the top brands unless Durant wins a ring or he leaves the Thunder and he speculates that if Nike had its way, Durant would sign elsewhere this summer.

The piece, which is must-read, is a reminder that the NBA is a business and there are several off the court factors that play into basketball decisions. Selling sneakers likely won’t be the primary force that drives Durant to stay or leave, but it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Here’s more on the NBA’s upcoming free agency:

Atlantic Rumors: Anthony, Hardaway, Sixers

Unable to take the court because of knee surgery, the KnicksCarmelo Anthony is doing a little front office work, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Anthony is offering his input into free agents he would like to see the team pursue with projected cap space of at least $25MM. “He is very much a part of the process of trying to understand what we’re looking for, how we’re going about it,” New York GM Steve Mills said of Anthony’s role in the process.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The KnicksTim Hardaway Jr. is hoping to salvage what he can from a disappointing season, Begley writes in a separate story. Even though he has a wrist injury that hasn’t fully healed, Hardaway plans to be active for the team’s final six games. He offered a blunt assessment of his performance. “I’m not going to sugarcoat anything,” Hardaway said of his second season in the league. “It wasn’t the year I wanted to have. I know that, and I know the guys on my team know that, as well.” Still on his rookie deal, he is one of just five Knicks with guaranteed money for next season. He has been surrounded by trade speculation, as he is one of the few valuable trade pieces the Knicks have on their roster.
  • The Sixers will have a difficult decision if they wind up with the second pick in the draft, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. While centers Jahlil Okafor of Duke and Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky are considered the top two prospects, Philadelphia seems to be set in the frontcourt with Nerlens Noel, injured rookie Joel Embiid and the rights to Dario Saric, who is expected to join the team in 2016. With a need for backcourt help, the Sixers could opt for Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell or international point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, or they could look to trade the pick.
  • Malcolm Thomas, who was waived by the Sixers earlier this season, has signed with Piratas de Quebradillas in Puerto Rico, the team announced via Twitter (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Thomas averaged 2.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17 games with Philadelphia this season.

Sixers Claim Ish Smith, Waive Malcolm Thomas

MONDAY, 9:34am: Philadelphia acquired Smith via waiver claim, doing so Saturday instead of Sunday, according to the RealGM transactions log.

SUNDAY, 4:56pm: The Sixers confirmed both moves via press release, referring to Smith’s acquisition as a signing. That makes sense given the timing, since Smith would have cleared waivers Saturday.

4:40pm: To make room for Smith, the Sixers have waived Malcolm Thomas, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter).

Thomas signed a four-year, non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary with Philly back in December.  The deal was similar to the one he had just signed in October with the club, though that pact gave him a $474K partial guarantee.

Thomas, 26, appeared in 17 games for the Sixers this season, averaging 2.6 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 11.4 minutes per contest.  Over parts of four seasons in the NBA, Thomas has appeared in a grand total of 40 games with averages of 1.9 PPG and 2.4 RPG.

4:24pm: The Sixers have claimed guard Ish Smith off waivers, a league source told Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com (via Twitter).  The guard was waived by the Pelicans late last week.

Of course, Smith’s stay in New Orleans was incredibly short-lived. The Pelicans acquired Smith from the Thunder in one of the less-heralded deadline day trades.  In the swap, New Orleans received Smith, the rights to Latavious Williams, cash considerations, and a 2016 protected second round choice.  OKC made the deal to get their roster count to the league maximum of 15 players.

Smith appeared in 30 games this season for the Thunder, averaging 1.2 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game.  Since going undrafted out of Wake Forest back in 2010, Smith has appeared in 221 career games for the Suns, Magic, Rockets, Bucks and Grizzlies, averaging 2.7 points, 1.9 assists and 1.4 rebounds.  His career slash line is .388/.216/.581.

Atlantic Notes: McDaniels, Thomas, Knicks

Sixers rookie K.J. McDaniels could be a hot commodity this summer, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Coming out of Clemson, McDaniels expected to be drafted in the first round, but slipped all the way to the 32nd pick. He is playing on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract worth just $507,336 and can become a restricted free agent next summer. Philadelphia offered two guaranteed years and a little more cash, but he turned it down for an earlier shot at free agency.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The deal that Malcolm Thomas signed this week with the Sixers is a non-guaranteed four-year arrangement for the minimum salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The final season is both non-guaranteed and a team option, as Pincus denotes on his salary page for Philly.
  • Phil Jackson’s insistence on using the triangle offense may be sabotaging Knicks‘ coach Derek Fisher, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Fisher is off to a 5-25 start, the fifth worst winning percentage for anyone who has coached at least 30 games, and there are calls around the city to scrap the offense that Jackson used to win 11 NBA rings. However, a source close to Fisher contends the problem is the team’s lack of talent. “He has taken on a terrible roster situation thanks to owner meddling and mismanagement back to the Zeke [Isiah Thomas] days,” the unidentified source said. “There are at least a half-dozen terrible teams in this league, and they’re one of them.’’
  • The Celtics have more rotation players than they need right now, reports Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. After last week’s trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Boston for Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder, Boston now has 15 rotation-worthy players on its roster but no real stars. That can create headaches for coach Brad Stevens as he tries to allocate playing time. “[It’s] still going to take a lot of time,” Stevens said after Tuesday’s loss in Orlando. “… I think one of the things that I’m going to eventually be looking for is clear answers and I don’t think that we leave this road trip with those.”

Sixers Re-Sign Malcolm Thomas

5:04pm: The Sixers have officially re-signed Thomas, the team announced in a press release.

2:02pm: The Sixers will re-sign Malcolm Thomas, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported earlier this week that the team was thinking about bringing back the power forward, who began the regular season with the Sixers. Philadelphia has a full 15-man roster, but the team reportedly intends to waive Ronny Turiaf, whom the Sixers acquired via trade from the Timberwolves last week, as Turiaf is expected to miss the rest of the season as he recovers from right hip surgery. It’s unclear what sort of contract Thomas will receive, though he inked a four-year deal for the minimum salary with a partial guarantee of $474K when he signed with Philadelphia in October.

Thomas found himself on waivers on November 10th, two days after his 26th birthday, when the Sixers elected to reunite with Drew Gordon, whom they had carried during the preseason. Philly released Gordon less than a month later as GM Sam Hinkie continues to churn the roster, much as he did last season. Thomas, who’s played with four other NBA teams since going undrafted out of San Diego State in 2011, averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per contest during his five-game stint with the Sixers this season.

Philadelphia has been shorthanded of late, carrying Turiaf for the past few days as well as Andrei Kirilenko, who hasn’t played since the Sixers traded for him December 11th, even as Philly attempts to press him into action. The Sixers have also been without 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid all season as he recovers from a broken foot, and Jason Richardson, who hasn’t played since January 2013 because of multiple injuries.

Sixers Consider Re-Signing Malcolm Thomas

Power forward Malcolm Thomas is one of the candidates the Sixers are considering to replace the injured Ronny Turiaf on the roster, a team source tells Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia acquired Turiaf in Friday’s three-team trade with the Wolves and Rockets, and, as Pompey reported earlier, the Sixers intend to waive the 10th-year big man who’s expected to miss the rest of the season as he recovers from right hip surgery. The Inquirer scribe’s latest dispatch indicates that the Sixers have already released Turiaf, though the team has yet to make such a move official.

Thomas was with the Sixers for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the season after signing shortly before opening night. He was proficient on the boards, averaging 4.6 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game over five appearances, but Philadelphia waived him November 10th, eating a relatively sizable partial guarantee of $474K, to ink Drew Gordon at his position instead. The 26-year-old who went undrafted out of San Diego State in 2011 has appeared in the NBA with the Spurs, Bulls, Warriors and Jazz in addition to the Sixers over the past four seasons.

Philadelphia has made a habit this season of re-signing players who were previously on the roster, as Gordon, Malcolm Lee and Ronald Roberts Jr. have all had multiple stints with the team. The Sixers continue to have undoubtedly the league’s most flexible roster, with only 10 players in possession of fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster counts show, and a team salary of about $42.5MM, far beneath the league’s $63.065MM salary cap.

Sixers Re-Sign Gordon, Waive Malcolm Thomas

1:39pm: The team has officially re-signed Gordon, and in so doing, the Sixers have released Thomas, the team announced. That $474K partial guarantee for Thomas will remain on Philadelphia’s books for the rest of the season.

11:24am: The Sixers are set to bring back camp invitee Drew Gordon on a new deal, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). That means a corresponding move is on the way, since Philadelphia has been carrying the maximum 15 players, as our roster counts show. The 24-year-old has been playing for the Sixers D-League affiliate since Philly kept his D-League rights following his release from the NBA roster last month.

Gordon has played primarily overseas after going undrafted out of New Mexico in 2012. The power forward split last season between Italy and Turkey, showing efficiency on the boards in putting up 8.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per contest. He carried that sort of production over to the preseason this year, as he notched 6.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 20.3 MPG across six appearances. He’s the older brother of the Magic’s Aaron Gordon, the fourth overall pick from this past June.

It’s not easy to see who’ll be the Sixer to go, since they have five players on non-guaranteed contracts and another two with partial guarantees. All five of the non-guaranteed players have made at least one start for the team so far, with the exception of K.J. McDaniels, this year’s 32nd overall pick, who’d seem a most unlikely cut. JaKarr Sampson has made a pair of starts on his partially guaranteed deal, and while Malcolm Thomas has yet to make a start and is dealing with fluid in his left knee, his minimum salary is partially guaranteed for $474K, a larger guarantee than several of his teammates have.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Thomas, Outlaw, Melo

Outgoing Raptors executive Tim Leiweke is in talks with Irving Azoff, a confidant of Knicks owner James Dolan, about a deal that would see them have a stake in assets that are currently part of the Madison Square Garden company, reports Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg.com. MSG, which owns the Knicks, is considering splitting into a pair of companies, as Soshnick details, though Soshnick doesn’t indicate whether there’s a role for Leiweke on the Knicks under consideration. Leiweke, who’s leaving his job with the company that owns the Raptors by the end of June or as soon as a replacement is found, said he doesn’t think the company is close to finding it’s next chief executive.  More from the Atlantic Division..

  • Malcolm Thomas got a fairly substantial contract guarantee of $474K for this season on his four-year, minimum-salary deal with the Sixers, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).  Thomas, we learned yesterday, was getting set to play in China before Philly reached out to him over the weekend. The rest of his contract with the Sixers is non-guaranteed, as Pincus shows on the team’s Basketball Insiders salary page.
  • The Knicks received a $1,863,840 trade exception when they traded Travis Outlaw to the Sixers, tweets Pincus. That’s equivalent to the difference between the salaries for Outlaw and Arnett Moultrie, whom the Knicks acquired and immediately waived.
  • Carmelo Anthony is preaching patience when it comes to the Knicks, who had a 37-win season, traded Tyson Chandler, and have a first-year head coach, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.  “It’s a work in progress now. It’s going to be a work in progress until the end of the season,” Anthony said. “We’re not looking for nothing easy, but we know it’s a work in progress. We have a chance to create something here, and we’re excited about it.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.