Matt Jones

Jazz Host 32 Free Agents At Veteran Mini-Camp

The Jazz are hosting a veteran mini-camp on Friday and Saturday, with 32 players set to participate in the event, the team announced in a press release.

While the list of participants isn’t exactly star-studded, there are a handful of intriguing names, including several players who have spent time in NBA training camps and some who have played in regular season games. Lavoy Allen, K.J. McDaniels, Diamond Stone, Jarrod Uthoff, and Mike Tobey are among the free agents at Utah’s mini-camp who have logged NBA minutes.

While many of the participants in this weekend’s mini-camp won’t ever play in an NBA game, the event has paid dividends for the Jazz in the past. As Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes, Royce O’Neale made a strong impression on the franchise during a free agent mini-camp in 2016, which eventually led to O’Neale signing a contract with Utah last summer and becoming a key part of the rotation in 2017/18.

“We tried to get him that summer (2016), tried to sign him but he decided to go to Spain and made the right choice for him because he got better over there and it ended up working out in the long run for him,” Jazz director of scouting Bart Taylor said. “Royce is a great story and we like to say it puts pressure on us to find another one.”

Taylor is optimistic about identifying another future contributor among this year’s group.

“There’s some good talent out here,” Taylor said. “I like to joke with all our guys and say there’s three or four guys out here that’ll play in the NBA, but you’ve got to find them. So there’s definitely a few guys out here that we like, a lot of guys actually that we really like but we’re just trying to see how they do over the course of the three practices and hopefully one of them does turn into Royce.”

Here’s the full list of participants for Utah’s free agent mini-camp:

Kings Waive Three Players

The Kings got down to the regular season roster limit on Saturday by parting with three players, according to RealGM’s official NBA transactions log. Sacramento waived camp invitees Matt Jones, David Stockton, and Reggie Hearn.

Jones, a 6’5″ guard out of Duke, received an Exhibit 10 contract when he signed with the Kings, so he’s a good bet to land in the G League with the Reno Bighorns as an affiliate player, earning him a modest bonus.

Stockton and Hearn, meanwhile, have been mainstays at Reno in recent years, so it makes sense that they’d return to the Bighorns for the coming season. Details of the contracts they signed with Sacramento earlier this week aren’t known, but there’s a good chance they include Exhibit 10 clauses as well, to ensure both players get a little extra bonus money for heading back to the G League.

With the three cuts, the Kings are now ready for the regular season, with 15 players on NBA contracts and two on two-way deals.

Kings Sign Matt Jones

SEPTEMBER 12: The Kings have officially signed Jones, per RealGM’s transactions log.

SEPTEMBER 10: Former Duke guard Matt Jones has agreed to a training camp deal with the Kings, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

Sacramento already has 15 players with guaranteed contracts, and both of its two-way slots are filled. That means Jones is likely to wind up with the team’s G League affiliate in Reno if he gets waived before the season and no one claims him.

Jones wasn’t taken in this year’s draft after putting up 7.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game as a senior with the Blue Devils.

Pre-Draft Workouts: Hart, Smith Jr., Kennard, Adebayo

It’s that time of the summer, days until the NBA draft, when your favorite team is doing its due diligence and working out every prospect and his brother. Here is the latest in pre-draft workout news:

Northwest Notes: Hill, Favors, Workouts

Keeping Gordon Hayward in Utah is the top priority for the Jazz this offseason, but re-signing him alone isn’t going to help the team climb in the Western Conference standings, Benjamin Mehic of the Deseret News writes.

The team must also shore up its point guard position. George Hill will be a free agent this summer and the team will have trouble finding a top-notch point guard replacement should he bolt. Hill has expressed a desire to return, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors mentioned in the team’s offseason preview. However, many players say flattering things about their current team as they head into free agency only to leave for another club.

If Hill is lured away, the most likely option for the Jazz is promoting Dante Exum to the starting unit, though that could hurt the team in the win column since Exum hasn’t quite proven himself in the league yet.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Bucks, Workouts

After a disappointing 2016/17 season, the Pistons will be looking this offseason for ways to improve the team’s outlook for next year. However, as Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press details, Andre Drummond doesn’t believe a roster overhaul is necessary.

“I don’t think we need to do any changes,” the Pistons center told reporters earlier this week. “We had a lot of bumps in the road last season with different things going on, and it took everybody out of sync. … With this summer coming up, we have to do a better job staying connected — the more stuff we do together, the better our camaraderie will be.”

Even if the Pistons were interested in making major changes to their roster, they would be tricky to pull off. Detroit has nearly $95MM in guaranteed salary on its books for 2017/18 without counting Aron Baynes‘ $6.5MM player option or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s $9.2MM cap hold, so the team won’t have cap room to work with.

Here’s more from around the Central division: