Mike Harris

Mike Harris Drawing NBA Interest

Mike Harris is running roughshod over the Chinese league since signing with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls late last month, and the Kings, Lakers, Jazz and Chicago Bulls are among the teams that have inquired about the 30-year-old power forward, reports Carson Sofro of HSB Camps. Sofro tells Hoops Rumors that Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin has been in touch with Harris on a weekly basis since Utah waived him in January, shortly before his contract would have become guaranteed for the season.

Harris struck for 55 points and 17 rebounds for Zhejiang on Sunday, and he’s averaging 32.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per contest with 45% shooting from three-point range. The long-range ability is a new wrinkle to his game, since he’s largely shied away from three-pointers in parts of four seasons with NBA clubs, missing all five career attempts.

Most Chinese contracts don’t include an NBA out, but China’s season ends early, and Harris is scheduled to return to the States shortly after the All-Star break, Sofro notes.

Ivan Johnson Becomes Free Agent

4:01pm: The Clippers might have interest in Johnson, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

10:13am: The Zhejiang Golden Bulls have waived Ivan Johnson, the team announced, allowing the power forward to become a free agent and pursue reported NBA interest from several teams, including the Hawks (translation via Shaopeng Shen on Twitter; hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The team also announced the signing of small forward Mike Harris, whom the Jazz waived earlier this month, in a corresponding move.

Johnson was averaging 26.0 points and 9.9 rebounds in China, so it’s unclear why the team released him other than as a favor. Perhaps Johnson and the team agreed to a buyout, though that’s just my speculation. He’d become a mainstay in Atlanta’s rotation the past two seasons before signing with the Chinese team in late August. The Knicks seemed to be the most engaged among the NBA clubs that eyed the Jeremiah Haylett client this past summer.

Any NBA team that signs Johnson will have to arrange for FIBA clearance before the move can become official, but that shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle. He could be in the market for a 10-day contract, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he commanded a deal for the rest of the season right away.

Harris made the Jazz out of camp, and while he averaged 4.2 points in 11.3 minutes per game for Utah, the team decided to waive the fourth-year NBA veteran before his contract became guaranteed. Unless he signed a multiyear deal, which ex-NBA players rarely do with Chinese teams, he could return to the NBA in another month or two, once Zhejiang’s season is complete.

Jazz Waive Mike Harris

The Jazz have waived Mike Harris in advance of today’s contract guarantee deadline, the team announced in a press release. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando passes along word from Puerto Rican team Leones de Ponce that Harris will sign with the team after leaving Utah.

Harris, a former MVP of the D-League, has spent parts of four seasons since 2007/08 with the Jazz, Rockets, and Wizards. In 20 contests for Utah this season (11.3 MPG), he recorded 4.2 PPG and 1.7 RPG, good for a solid 15.5 PER.

The move reduces Utah’s roster count to 14 players, creating a single opening. Ian Clark and Diante Garrett are also on non-guaranteed contracts, but with no announcement on either player yet, it looks like their spots on the roster may be safe.

Jazz Sign Mike Harris, Dominic McGuire

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News tweets that the Jazz have signed Mike Harris and Dominic McGuire to training camp deals. Harris, a 6'6 small forward, had participated in training camp for the Timberwolves last year before being waived in October. The 6'9 McGuire had three brief stints in New Orleans, Indiana, and Toronto last season. Having officially announced the signing of Scott Machado today as well, the Jazz now have 16 players on board for their camp roster. This number doesn't include the expected signings of Dwayne Jones and Justin Holiday, both whom Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune believes will be officially added before media day next Monday. 

It's worth pointing out that while Oram mentions Brandon Fortenberry as another player likely to be brought along for training camp within the next coming days, Genessy (via Twitter) says that the 6'3 guard will not be signed.  

Though Harris has totaled just 34 games in a span of three NBA seasons, the 30-year-old forward was named MVP of the NBDL back in 2010 and brings some experience from overseas, with stops in China and most recently Puerto Rico. McGuire, on the other hand, has been able to stick around in the league since being selected 47th overall in 2007, appearing in a total of 342 games with the Wizards, Kings, Bobcats, Warriors, Hornets, Pacers, and Raptors. 

Read more

Odds & Ends: Rockets, McLemore, Horford

The future looks very bright for the Rockets, and Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets hears from GM Daryl Morey that the organization is set on building around the current core of players: “We’re very excited about the foundation…We were careful to make sure all the key pieces could stay. People are going to see mostly the same team back next year because of that." Considering that they're a young team that pushed the Thunder to six games after being down three games to none – along with the emergence of Patrick Beverley - it's difficult to disagree with the optimism in Houston. Here are a few more miscellaneous links we've gathered up tonight: 
  • Eric Prisbell of USA Today reports that NBA draft hopeful Ben McLemore's AAU coach received cash and other benefits in order to help influence the former Kansas Jayhawk to leave college after one season and declare for the draft. 
  • Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler tweets that Al Horford is a player that the Hawks would like to keep rather than trade as the team handles a roster that could be in heavy flux. 
  • Kyler also says that the front runners to sign Josh Smith this summer will be the teams that miss out on Dwight Howard (Twitter link). 
  • Magic CEO Alex Martins doesn't foresee a long rebuilding period in Orlando and is confident that the team can return to title contention in the near future (John Denton of Magic.com). 
  • Hawks GM Danny Ferry feels that the 2012-13 season was a very significant year in terms of taking the initial steps toward becoming a contender and likes the flexibility that his team has moving forward (ESPN via the Associated Press). 
  • Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group looks back on the 10 most important moves the Warriors made to build the team that starts the second round Sunday against the Spurs.
  • According to a report from Sportando, Leones de Ponce of Baloncesto Superior Nacional in Puerto Rico have released Garret Siler and replaced him with Mike Harris

Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors contributed to this post. 

Wolves Waive Johnson, Harris

2:48pm: The Wolves have confirmed the cuts via Twitter.

11:26am: The Timberwolves are expected to waive center Chris Johnson and small forward Mike Harris, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.  Minnesota must shed two players by the Saturday deadline in order to get down to the 15-man maximum.

Johnson, who stands at 6'11", was released by the Trail Blazers last season when trade deadline acquisitions forced the club to trim down the roster.  The 27-year-old then hooked on with the Hornets but played in just seven games before suffering a concussion.  Harris, 29, last appeared in the Association in 2010/11 in a stint with the Rockets.

T-Wolves Sign Six To Finalize Camp Roster

The Timberwolves formally announced today that they have signed six players to fill out their roster for training camp. Besides Will Conroy and Seth Tarver, whose signings had been previously reported, Minnesota has also added Jermaine Taylor, Mike Harris, Chris Johnson, and Phil Jones, according to the team (Twitter link).

Of the four additions that we're hearing about for the first time, Taylor, Harris, and Johnson all have previous NBA experience, though only Johnson logged NBA minutes in 2011/12. Taylor, the 32nd overall pick in 2009 appeared in 65 games for the Rockets and Kings, while the undrafted Harris played for the Rockets and Wizards in parts of three seasons. Jones, meanwhile, played his college ball for the Charlotte 49ers, where his senior year was cut short in 2011 after he was ruled academically ineligible for the second half.

Conroy has a small guarantee on his contract, which should give him a slight advantage over the other five players for the T-Wolves' 15th and final roster spot. However, I expect the team would be happy to eat the $100K owed to Conroy if one of the other non-guaranteed players excels in training camp and preseason action.

With Minnesota's roster now at 20 players, it appears the T-Wolves are officially out of the running for Sean Williams, Hassan Whiteside, and various other big men that have been linked to the team in recent weeks.

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