Michael Frazier

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Murray, Westbrook, Hartenstein

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma expects big things from three ex-teammates who were shipped to the Pelicans in the Anthony Davis trade, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, both former No. 2 picks, were sent to New Orleans along with Josh Hart in the deal to get another star to pair with LeBron James. Kuzma thinks the freedom of a new environment should benefit all three players.

“They were excited,” Kuzma said. “It’s a little bit less pressure. They didn’t (actually) say that. But obviously being in L.A., there’s more pressure. They can be themselves now. They can go to New Orleans and develop into the superstars they were supposed to be.”

There had been rumors for months that the Lakers were willing to part with young talent, including Kuzma, to acquire Davis. Kuzma said management told the players they weren’t eager to give up so much of their young core, but everyone understands that Davis is a rare talent.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Injured Spurs guard Dejounte Murray tweeted today that he has received medical clearance to continue his summer workouts. It’s the latest encouraging sign for Murray as he tries to work his way back from a torn right ACL he suffered during a preseason game last October. Murray was coming off a promising 2017/18 campaign in which he earned second-team All-Defense honors while posting an 8.1/5.7/2.9 line in 81 games. He is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.
  • As part of his trade from the Thunder to the Rockets, Russell Westbrook agreed to alter his contract, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The changes will make his deal “more team-friendly and less front-loaded,” sources tell Stein.
  • Isaiah Hartenstein and Michael Frazier are trying to seize opportunities with the Rockets through extensive offseason workouts that are heavy on 3-point shooting, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Both players will come to camp next month without fully guaranteed deals. Hartenstein has a 50% guarantee on his $1,416,852 contract for this season, while Frazier has the same salary with no guarantee.

Rockets Notes: Faried, Frazier, Luxury Tax

On January 16, Kenneth Faried – who had appeared in just 12 games and averaged fewer than 10 MPG for the Nets at that point – noticed something about Brooklyn’s opponent that night. As Zach Lowe of ESPN.com writes, the injury-plagued Rockets were starting P.J. Tucker at center while Faried once again got a DNP-CD for the Nets.

“(I remember thinking) ‘They are not even playing a big!'” Faried said to Lowe. “‘I could come here and play right away.’ It sucked [Clint] Capela was hurt, but it opened a door for me.”

League sources tell Lowe that Faried’s realization helped accelerate his buyout discussions with the Nets. The veteran big man ultimately made his debut for the Rockets just five days later and has been a fixture in the rotation since then. The 29-year-old has averaged 12.9 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 25 games (24.4 MPG) for Houston.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Michael Frazier‘s new contract with the Rockets isn’t just a rest-of-season deal, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports, who tweets that the pact will run through 2020/21, though it’s unlikely to feature any guaranteed money beyond this season. Since it’s a three-year contract, the Rockets had to use a portion of their mid-level exception on it.
  • When the Rockets signed Chris Chiozza last month, it appeared the team was putting itself in danger of surpassing the luxury-tax threshold if Clint Capela achieves certain incentives. However, a source tells David Weiner of ClutchFans.net (Twitter link) that the public tax figures for Houston are slightly off, and the Chiozza signing didn’t jeopardize the club’s standing below the tax. Presumably, Frazier’s deal didn’t either.
  • It’s still not clear exactly which Rockets tax figures are off, but a couple cap experts offered up theories. Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights wonders if Gary Clark‘s converted two-way contract doesn’t count quite as highly for tax purposes as previously believed; Albert Nahmad (Twitter link) hypothesizes that perhaps the NBA made an accommodation for the Rockets after having held up their Carmelo Anthony trade for several days due to a federal holiday.

Michael Frazier Signs With Rockets

APRIL 7: The deal is official, the Rockets tweeted.

APRIL 6: The Rockets will sign G League guard Michael Frazier for the rest of the season, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Frazier was honored as the league’s Most Improved Player after posting 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 45 games for Houston’s Rio Grande Valley affiliate. He has bounced around the G League since leaving Florida in 2015, but hasn’t played any games at the NBA level. Frazier also played for Team USA in this year’s World Cup qualifiers, alongside Chris Chiozza, who will be his teammate in Houston.

The Rockets only have 14 players under contract, so no move will be necessary before adding Frazier.

And-Ones: Team USA, Walton, J. Crawford, Draft

USA Basketball has announced its 13-man roster for the upcoming 2019 World Cup qualifiers, with the squad once again made up of NBA G League players. Of the 13 players on the roster, Reggie Hearn, Xavier Munford, Cameron Reynolds, and Travis Trice have suited up for previous World Cup qualifiers.

They’ll be joined by nine newcomers, including players with a little NBA experience like Chinanu Onuaku and Emanuel Terry.

Josh Adams, Kyle Casey, Chris Chiozza, Charles Cooke, Michael Frazier II, D.J. Hogg, and Tanner McGrew round out the roster.

Team USA, having gone 8-2 in previous qualifiers, has already earned its spot in the 2019 World Cup, so there won’t be as much pressure on this group for the games taking place in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 22 (vs. Panama) and February 25 (vs. Argentina).

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Michigan and Heat point guard Derrick Walton, who recently left his team in Lithuania, has signed with ALBA Berlin in Germany, according to the club (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). Walton was on a two-way contract with Miami last season and was in training camp with the Bulls in the fall before heading overseas.
  • Veteran NBA guard Jordan Crawford saw his one-month contract with Israeli club Ironi Nahariya expire and is once again a free agent, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando relays.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has released an updated 2019 mock draft at ESPN.com, with Murray State’s Ja Morant moving up to No. 3 to break up a run of Duke prospects at the top of the draft.
  • In an entertaining piece for SI.com, Jake Fischer spoke to a number of role players who have been traded along with stars to find out what it’s like to be an afterthought at an introductory press conference.

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Pacific Notes: Kerr, Frazier, Eddie, Lakers

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who is currently on a leave of absence while recovering from two offseason back surgeries, hopes to make his return to the bench prior to January, Janie McCauley of The Associated Press writes. “I am feeling better, so that’s the good news. The bad news is I’m not feeling well enough to coach yet,” Kerr said. “It’s hard because I don’t know when that will be. There’s no timetable. It’s not a sprained ankle, two-to-four weeks type thing. When I feel better, I’ll feel better. It’s very frustrating but I am improving. I’m able to physically work out now, which has helped quite a bit the last couple weeks. But I know I’m not healthy enough yet to do this. It’s a demanding job and it wouldn’t be fair to the team and it wouldn’t be smart for me. We’ll see.

Here’s the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Shooting guard Michael Frazier, who was waived by the Lakers last week, has signed with the team’s D-League affiliate, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (via Twitter).
  • Jarell Eddie will rejoin the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, Adam Johnson of D-League Digest relays (Twitter link). Eddie was waived by the Warriors this past Friday.
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott said that it was an agonizing decision to choose between Jabari Brown and Metta World Peace for the team’s final roster spot, which ultimately went to World Peace, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. Scott called it a “very, very, very … difficult decision” to waive Brown and added that “It was probably the most difficult cut that I’ve ever had to make,” Holmes notes. But Scott added that with such a young roster, it was important to add a veteran who could mentor the team’s plethora of younger players, the ESPN scribe relays.

Pacific Notes: Karl, Lakers, Upshaw, Frazier

Kings minority owners would be reluctant to pay the salary of yet another fired coach, Grantland’s Zach Lowe hears, suggesting George Karl‘s job is safe. The minority owners have talked about their frustrations over Ranadive’s management of the team, though they don’t have the power to usurp his decision-making unless Ranadive sells, Lowe adds.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Robert Upshaw has cleared waivers and will sign with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the D-League affiliate of the Lakers, Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports (Twitter link). The Lakers waived Upshaw earlier this week.
  • Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) hears that Michael Frazier will be signing with the Lakers‘ D-League affiliate as well.
  • The Lakers currently have 16 players under contract, as our Roster Count page shows, and Metta World Peace is one of four players on a non-guaranteed deal. The team is embracing the 35-year-old’s presence and his role as a mentor may help him to make the opening night roster,  Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. “We’re a better team with Metta,” said Julius Randle, who praised World Peace for teaching him about offensive and defensive rotations, footwork, mental preparation and playing off the ball. “It’s not our decision if he’s on the team or not. But Metta’s knowledge and wisdom that he brings to this team is amazing. It’s fun playing with him.”

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post

Lakers Notes: Buss, Upshaw, Frazier, Roster

Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss admits his pitches to free agents in recent years have lacked oomph because he couldn’t promise them immediate success, but he’s confident he has the core in place now to change that, as he explains to Sam Amick of USA Today. Buss is particularly high on No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell, Amick notes.

“I think we’ve done a great job [rebuilding],” Buss said. “Yeah, I think we’re in dynamite position. Not good position – dynamite. I think we’ve turned the corner. I don’t know if you discount that terminology, ‘turn the corner.’ But when you’re headed down the wrong road, and you can finally get off that road and turn the corner, that’s huge in my opinion.”

Buss set a timeline for turning the Lakers around that his sister Jeanie, the team’s primary owner, interprets as a mandate to get to the Western Conference Finals by 2017, and he believes the team is ahead of schedule and just needs to land a major free agent this summer, as Amick details. See more on Buss and the Lakers:

  • Warriors consultant Jerry West thinks the criticism of Buss is off-base, as he tells Amick for the same story. “He’s really smart … but he’s the easiest target there is,” West said of Buss. “And I will tell you, it’s grossly unfair sometimes. Grossly unfair. It’s almost like they want him to be a reincarnation of his dad, but he can’t.”
  • Issues surrounding Robert Upshaw “that go beyond talent” proved too worrisome for the Lakers, who waived the big man today, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, though whatever the issues are, they aren’t outrageous, Pincus cautions. Coach Byron Scott cited a “big-time learning curve on both ends” for Upshaw, according to Times colleague Mike Bresnahan (Twitter link). In any case, Scott said the Lakers hope Upshaw and Michael Frazier, whom they also cut today, clear waivers and sign with the team’s D-League affiliate, notes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (on Twitter).
  • Both Bresnahan and Oram speculate that Metta World Peace and Jabari Brown are on the bubble for the last regular season roster spot on the Lakers, with Bresnahan suggesting that World Peace has a slight lead (Twitter links).

Lakers Waive Robert Upshaw, Michael Frazier

The Lakers have waived Robert Upshaw and Michael Frazier to drop their roster to 17 players, the team announced. Upshaw, a troubled but intriguing prospect, has a $35K partial guarantee while Frazier is assured of $50K. The Lakers will be responsible for those amounts if they clear waivers. The team still has 12 fully guaranteed contracts plus five more without full guarantees, so more decisions await before the team has to cut down to 15 players for opening night.

It appeared Upshaw would sign with the Lakers much sooner than he did this past offseason as he continued to deal with personal matters. Both Fresno State and Washington dismissed the now 21-year-old center as he dealt with substance abuse issues, and he went undrafted this past June in spite of talent that would suggest he would have merited a pick. He struggled on offense, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times points out (Twitter link), averaging just 2.5 points in 14.1 points per game across four preseason appearances, laying to rest speculation that he would beat out Robert Sacre, who has a fully guaranteed salary, for a regular season roster spot.

Frazier, 21, also struggled to score in his four preseason games, posting 2.0 PPG in 13.4 MPG. The shooting guard went undrafted out of Florida this year, though he was the 55th-best prospect, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com.

Tarik Black, Jabari Brown, Marcelo Huertas and Metta World Peace are still with the Lakers on non-guaranteed deals, while Jonathan Holmes has a partial guarantee worth $100K. Holmes dislocated his right shoulder during Monday’s game, and he’ll be immobilized for the next couple of weeks, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. The partial guarantee covers about a month’s worth of games, but if he’s still unable to play after that, the Lakers will have to shell out more of his salary until he’s able to play, regardless of whether they waive him, as Pincus explains.

Who do you think the Lakers should keep for opening night? Leave a comment to let us know.

Lakers Sign Michael Frazier

AUGUST 25TH, 1:22pm: The deal is official, the team announced.

AUGUST 16TH, 4:33pm: The Lakers have reached a contract agreement with Florida’s Michael Frazier, agent Matt Ramker told Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders is hearing it is a two-year, minimum-salary deal with a partial guarantee for $50K (Twitter link).

Frazier weighed his options with the Jazz and Sixers before deciding on the deal with the Lakers, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets.

The team signed Jonathan Holmes to a similar deal on Thursday. In addition, Tarik Black, Jabari Brown and Robert Upshaw are expected to battle for two to three open roster spots, tweets former Nets executive Bobby Marks.

The 6’4″ Frazier, who left school as a junior, was not selected in June’s draft. As a sophomore, he set a school record with 118 3-pointers in a season as the Gators reached the Final Four, but missed part of his junior season with a high ankle sprain.