Malik Fitts

Jazz Waive Two-Way Forward Malik Fitts

The Jazz have waived two-way forward Malik Fitts, the team announced. Fitts recently suffered a fractured wrist that will sideline him for at least four weeks, and with Utah struggling (four consecutive losses) with COVID-related absences, the team opted to waive Fitts to likely add a healthy player to the roster.

Fitts hasn’t been a regular part of Utah’s rotation this season, having logged just 14 minutes in six games entering last Friday’s contest in Toronto. With a depleted roster, the Jazz leaned on Fitts for a rotation role vs. the Raptors and he responded with six points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes. However, he also sustained his wrist injury during the game.

Fitts entered training camp with the Jazz on an Exhibit 10 deal which was converted into a two-way deal prior to the season. The 24-year-old spent three games (11 total minutes) as a rookie with the Clippers last season after going undrafted out of Saint Mary’s in 2020.

Obviously it’s an unfortunate turn of events for the second-year pro, who will hopefully recover well from the wrist fracture in order to try and earn another shot in the league. For Utah, it optimizes roster flexibility with six players currently in the health and safety protocols.

Malik Fitts Out At Least Four Weeks With Wrist Injury

Jazz forward Malik Fitts will be sidelined for the foreseeable future, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link), who says the former Saint Mary’s standout has been diagnosed with a fractured right wrist.

Fitts hasn’t been a regular part of Utah’s rotation this season, having logged just 14 minutes in six games entering last Friday’s contest in Toronto. With a depleted roster, the Jazz leaned on Fitts for a rotation role in that game vs. the Raptors and he responded with six points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes. However, he also sustained his right wrist injury.

Now that X-rays have confirmed Fitts’ wrist is fractured, he’s wearing a hard cast and will be out for at least four weeks, Walden says. The four-week mark is when the 24-year-old will be reevaluated and will have his status updated by the Jazz, so his absence could extend well beyond that date.

Fitts, who was on a two-way contract, won’t have much of a role once the Jazz get healthier, but he could have seen more minutes in the short term with several players sidelined due to injuries or positive COVID-19 tests, so the injury is an unfortunate turn of events for the second-year pro.

Jazz Convert Malik Fitts’ Contract To Two-Way, Waive Nino Johnson

Malik Fitts, who came to camp on an Exhibit 10 contract, has earned a two-way deal with the Jazz, the team announced in a press release.

The 24-year-old power forward, who played three games for the Clippers last season, signed with Utah in late September, just before the start of training camp. He appeared in four preseason games, averaging 3.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 11.8 minutes per night.

Fitts, who also spent time in the G League last season, impressed Jazz officials with his play during camp and the preseason, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic.

The Jazz waived Nino Johnson, who signed with the team on Thursday, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). Johnson is likely headed to Utah’s G League affiliate in Salt Lake City.

Marques Bolden, Malik Fitts Join Jazz For Training Camp

8:04pm: The Jazz confirmed the additions of Bolden and Fitts in a press release.

4:57pm: The Jazz have agreed to add a tandem of frontcourt players, center Marques Bolden and power forward Malik Fitts, ahead of training camp, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Though terms of the deals have yet to be divulged, they are most likely Exhibit 10 contracts, generally the standard practice of training camp agreements. This brings Utah’s total training camp tally to 20 players.

After going undrafted in 2020 out of Saint Mary’s, the 6’8″ Fitts joined the training camp roster of the Clippers ahead of the 2020/21 season. He suited up for Los Angeles’s NBA G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers, during the 2021 NBAGL “bubble” in Orlando. Fitts averaged 11.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.4 APG. He joined Los Angeles on a 10-day contract in the spring of 2021, appearing in just three games, averaging 3.7 MPG.

The 6’10” Bolden, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Duke in 2019. After playing for the Cavaliers’ Summer League club in 2019, he joined Cleveland’s training camp team before ultimately being waived. He then joined Cleveland’s NBA G League affiliate club, the Canton Charge (now the Cleveland Charge). He joined the Cavaliers on a 10-day deal and suited up for one game.

During the 2020/21 season, Bolden served as a two-way player for Cleveland, appearing in six games as a deep bench reserve. Cleveland waived him from its roster, but added him again to its G League affiliate later. Bolden averaged 9.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 2.1 BPG across 10 games for the Charge during the truncated 2020/21 G League “bubble” season.

Both players will be able to compete for roster spots with the Jazz. Utah has 13 players inked to fully guaranteed contracts, although one player, third-year swingman Miye Oni, is on a non-guaranteed deal until January and may have the edge in claiming an eventual roster spot. Both of the team’s two-way contract slots are currently occupied.

Pacific Notes: Kawhi, Metu, Batum, Fitts

The Clippers will have most of their key players from last season coming back in 2021/22, but Kawhi Leonard‘s health remains a major question mark. Leonard, of course, suffered a partially torn ACL in the playoffs this spring, an injury that could force him to miss much (or all) of next season.

As Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes, it’s been one month since Leonard underwent surgery on his right knee. He’ll need a significant amount of time to rehab the injury, but it’s possible he could be ready to play before the 2022 postseason begins in mid-April.

“In Kawhi’s case it will be a little less than a year, which is very doable,” said Alan Beyer, executive medical director and orthopedic surgeon at Orange County’s Hoag Orthopedic Institute. “No two players are alike, so some would take seven or eight months to come back. With the caliber of these players, I would not rush. But I certainly would give him the full nine to 10 months at least before I’d expect to see him back.”

Leonard recently signed a new four-year deal with the Clippers, cementing his long-term status with the franchise. He averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 52 games last season, shooting 51% from the floor.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • Kings center Chimezie Metu swung at Mavericks two-way player Eugene Omoruyi during the team’s summer league game on Sunday, as relayed by ESPN (video link). Such a play typically warrants a suspension from the NBA. Metu’s frustration stemmed from Omoruyi’s hard foul, one that occurred as Metu was in mid-air. The 24-year-old Metu suffered a broken wrist last season after being fouled in mid-air by Jonas Valanciunas.
  • Nicolas Batum‘s new contract with the Clippers is a two-year, $6.49MM deal, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). The deal, completed using his Non-Bird rights, includes a player option worth $3.3MM in the second season.
  • The Clippers are adding forward Malik Fitts to their summer league team, according to Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link). Fitts signed a 10-day contract with the team back in April.

Clippers Ink Malik Fitts To 10-Day Deal

APRIL 9: The signing is official, the Clippers announced on Twitter.

APRIL 8: The Clippers are set to ink 6’8″ rookie forward Malik Fitts to a 10-day deal, writes Law Murray of The Athletic.

Murray notes that Fitts showed promise on both sides of the ball, as both a shooter and defender for the Agua Caliente Clippers in this season’s NBAGL Orlando bubble.

The 23-year-old tweener forward went undrafted out of Saint Mary’s College in 2020. Across 14 games, Fitts averaged 11.1 PPG on .468/.348/.938 shooting splits in just 26.3 MPG for the club’s G League affiliate. As Murray observes, once Fitts became the starting power forward for the club’s final six contests, he averaged 18.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.7 APG, on .531/.435/1.00 shooting splits in 37.1 MPG.

Beyond the tantalizing shooting numbers, Fitts emphasized his focus on the other side of the floor in comments made after the Agua Caliente Clippers’ final game of the 2021 season last month.

“By the end of this (condensed G League season), I wanted to be known as a guy who really locks up on defense,” Fitts said. “That was the emphasis that I had prior to this season. I thought it played out pretty well.”

Adding Fitts will give the Clippers a full 15-man roster, with swingmen Amir Coffey and Jay Scrubb occupying the two-way slots.

Clippers Waive Ky Bowman, Malik Fitts, Jordan Ford

The Clippers have cut three training camp invitees, announcing today that they’ve requested waivers on guard Ky Bowman, forward Malik Fitts, and guard Jordan Ford.

Bowman spent last season with the Warriors after going undrafted out of Boston College, averaging 7.4 points, 2.9 assists and 22.6 minutes in 45 games, including 12 starts. Bowman had his two-way contract converted into a multiyear standard deal in February, but only the 2019/20 salary was guaranteed. Golden State waived him last month.

Fitts is an undrafted rookie out of St. Mary’s. In 68 total games with the Gaels, Fitts averaged 15.9 PPG and 7.3 RPG.

Ford is also an undrafted rookie out of the same college. A two-time member of the All-WCC team, he was the second-leading scorer in the West Coast Conference in 2019/20, averaging 21.9 PPG.

Los Angeles now has 17 players under contract, including 14 on guaranteed deals and a pair on two-way pacts. Rayjon Tucker, the Clippers’ other player without a fully guaranteed salary, remains under contract for now, but could also be waived soon if the team doesn’t intend to open the regular season with a full roster.

Any of the waived players could eventually resurface with the Clippers’ G League team, Agua Caliente.

Malik Fitts Joins Clippers On Exhibit 10 Deal

NOVEMBER 29: Fitts’ Exhibit 10 contract with the Clippers has become official, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

NOVEMBER 21: The Clippers have agreed to sign Saint Mary’s forward Malik Fitts to an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Under his Exhibit 10 deal, Fitts will come to Clippers training camp on a non-guaranteed one-year, minimum salary contract. The deal allows a bonus of up to $50K if he is waived and remains on the franchise’s G League squad for at least 60 days.

After transferring from South Florida following the 2016/17 campaign, Fitts joined Saint Mary’s and displayed impressive scoring and shooting ability across two seasons. In 68 total games with the Gaels, Fitts averaged 15.9 PPG and 7.3 RPG while shooting 47.3% from the field and 40.7% beyond the arc.

“Clipper Nation let’s get it!” Fitts wrote in a tweet about joining the Clippers.

Draft Updates: Bey, Robinson-Earl, Fitts, Crutcher, More

Villanova head coach Jay Wright expects both Saddiq Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to test the NBA draft process, he told reporters on Wednesday (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). Bey currently ranks 21st overall on ESPN’s big board, while Robinson-Earl is at No. 66, so it makes sense that they’re considering going pro.

Because neither player has made that decision official and Wright only “expects” them to declare, we’re not yet adding their names to our running list of early entrants. However, that list continues to grow. Here are details on some other players we’re adding today:

  • Saint Mary’s forward Malik Fitts will forgo his final year of college eligibility and go pro, signing with agent Charles Briscoe for representation, per Evan Daniels of 247Sports. Fitts, who averaged 16.5 PPG and 7.1 RPG on .472/.408/.799 shooting as a junior, made his decision official in a Twitter post.
  • Dayton junior guard Jalen Crutcher will test the draft waters, he tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) and announced on his own Twitter account. He’s coming off a season in which he averaged 15.1 PPG and 4.9 APG with a .424 3PT%.
  • St. Joe’s junior guard Ryan Daly, who averaged 20.5 PPG in 30 games this season, will declare for the draft while retaining his college eligibility, he tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).
  • North Carolina State’s D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels, who each have one year of NCAA eligibility remaining, will test the 2020 draft waters, head coach Kevin Keatts announced today, per R. Cory Smith of 247Sports. “They will learn a lot more about what the NBA folks think about them,” Keatts said of the Wolfpack duo. “They will take the feedback and make an informed decision.”
  • Butler sophomore forward Jordan Tucker announced today on Twitter that he’s entering the 2020 NBA draft pool. “Being able to play in the NBA has been my dream since I was kid and I am excited to take this next step toward reaching it,” Tucker wrote.