Naz Mitrou-Long

Pacers Waive Naz Mitrou-Long, Josh Gray, Devin Robinson

The Pacers have reduced their preseason roster from 20 players to 17, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived guard Naz Mitrou-Long, guard Josh Gray, and forward Devin Robinson.

Mitrou-Long spent the 2019/20 season on a two-way contract with the Pacers, appearing in five regular season NBA games. Gray was on a two-way deal with the Pelicans last season and played in just two games with the team. Robinson has some previous NBA experience with the Wizards but spent the ’19/20 campaign in the G League.

All three players were on non-guaranteed contracts, so Indiana won’t be on the hook for any dead money after cutting them.

The Pacers’ roster now appears set for the regular season, with 14 players on guaranteed deals, one with a partial guarantee (Kelan Martin) and a pair on two-way contracts (Brian Bowen and Cassius Stanley).

Pacers Sign Guards Cassius Stanley, Naz Mitrou-Long

The Pacers have finalized agreements with two guards, signing rookie Cassius Stanley to a two-way contract and Naz Mitrou-Long to an Exhibit 10 deal, according to a press release on the team’s official site.
Indiana selected Stanley with the No. 54 pick in the 2020 draft out of Duke. The 6’6″ guard started all of his 29 games during his lone season with Duke in 2019/20, averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG, while converting on 36% of his 3.0 long-range attempts a night. After two seasons with the Jazz, Mitrou-Long appeared in five games for the Pacers last season, averaging 9.4 MPG.
The announcement also confirmed several other previously-reported signings. Forward JaKarr Sampson will return for his second season with Indiana on a fully-guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal. Wing Kelan Martin, formerly with the Timberwolves, will join the Pacers on a two-year deal, though the speculation is that it will not be fully-guaranteed.
Forward Brian Bowen II, who suited up for six games with the Pacers last season, will occupy the club’s second two-way player contract slot alongside Stanley.
Mitrou-Long joins center Amida Brimah and forward Rayshaun Hammonds as the Pacers with Exhibit 10 contracts. All three will join the team for training camp, with an opportunity to make the club’s opening night roster. These are one-year, minimum salary deals that can carry an optional player bonus ranging from $5K to $50K.

QO Updates: Wanamaker, Hernangomez, Fall, Chiozza, More

The Celtics won’t be making a qualifying offer to guard Brad Wanamaker, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The decision will ensure that Wanamaker becomes an unrestricted free agent on Friday, rather than an RFA.

The decision is a little surprising, as Wanamaker’s QO would only have been worth about $1.82MM. And he was a fairly reliable bench contributor in Boston in 2019/20, averaging 6.9 PPG and 2.5 APG on .448/.363/.926 shooting in 71 games (19.3 MPG). However, with Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard entering the mix, the Celtics don’t have a ton of roster spots to go around.

There’s still a chance that Wanamaker could return to the Celtics, particularly if Gordon Hayward ends up elsewhere, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Here are several more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves, as expected, tendered a qualifying offer to power forward Juan Hernangomez, making him a restricted free agent, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). That QO is worth about $4.6MM. Hernangomez could accept it, but is more likely to try to negotiate a new, longer-term deal with Minnesota.
  • The Celtics extended qualifying offers to both of their two-way players, Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, the team announced in a press release. Those QOs are for new two-way deals with $50K guarantees.
  • The Pacers won’t extend qualifying offers to big man Alize Johnson or two-way players Brian Bowen and Naz Mitrou-Long, tweets Scotto. All three players will become unrestricted free agents.
  • Among other two-way players, Nets guard Chris Chiozza will receive a qualifying offer, but Pelicans guard Josh Gray won’t, according to Scotto (Twitter links). The Heat also won’t send a QO to two-way player Kyle Alexander, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Pacers Notes: A. Holiday, Mitrou-Long, Sabonis, Brogdon

With their second-year point guard Aaron Holiday on a tear recently, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star notes that the Pacers will be sure to field a litany of trade offers. Nine months ago, team advisor Larry Bird apparently cautioned Indiana against including Holiday in a potential trade deal for Mike Conley with the Grizzlies. Bird was confident in the potential of Holiday, picked 23rd in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Magic and Suns apparently also expressed interest in making a move for Holiday around the 2018/19 trade deadline.

Following a performative hiccup at the start of the season, Holiday has picked up his play of late. Though he will return to the bench after starting in the injured Malcolm Brogdon‘s absence, Michael speculates that Holiday has displayed enough flashes to tantalize teams as a potential trade chip once again.

There’s more from Indianapolis:

  • Speaking of Brogdon, The Athletic’s Scott Agness tweets that the point guard will return to the floor for the Pacers tomorrow against the Grizzlies for the first time since injuring his back on November 15th against the Rockets. “I think I stepped wrong and my back reacted strongly to it,” Brogdon said, per Agness. “They said I strained a muscle and possibly a joint. But now the inflammation has gone away, my movement is all the way back, I have no pain and I feel great on the court.”
  • Two-way player Naz Mitrou-Long spoke with Mark Montieth of Pacers.com about his unlikely path to Indiana. A five-year college player for Iowa State, Mitrou-Long toiled in the 2017 Summer League and saw 15 games of NBA action as a two-way player for the Jazz in 2017/18 and 2018/19. He joined the Pacers on November 17th for emergency spot rotation minutes in a game against the Bucks before making the most out of the team’s next outing, a win against the Nets in which he scored 12 points in 25 minutes. “I know guys who have been in the league for three, four, five years who are looking to put a stretch together to reassure themselves,” Mitrou-Long said. “Playing a game like Brooklyn and getting my feet wet against Milwaukee, feeling the comfortability, it reassures me that I am an NBA player.”
  • According to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando, Pacers center/power forward Domantas Sabonis confirmed that he will appear for Lithuania in the FIBA Qualifying Tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It’s what we have to go through to qualify for the next Olympics,” Sabonis observed. “We’re going to battle for the tournament and get a ticket for Japan.”

Central Notes: Mitrou-Long, Markkanen, Griffin, Drummond

Injuries have thrust Pacers two-way players Naz Mitrou-Long and Brian Bowen into action more than anticipated in the early going, Mark Monteith of the team’s website notes. Backcourt injuries forced Indiana to play Mitrou-Long 14 minutes on Saturday one night after he scored 28 points for its G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Bowen made a five-minute appearance in the loss to Milwaukee.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen hasn’t reached the 20-point mark since scoring 35 points in the season opener and shooting guard Zach LaVine is looking to change that, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “He just doesn’t seem in rhythm right now man. It’s a new offense. And I think it has a part to do with it,” LaVine said. “We’ve just got to help him find it.”
  • Injuries to Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose have contributed greatly to the Pistons’ 4-9 start. With some days off and both stars back in action, coach Dwane Casey is hoping to get things back on track, Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. “We’ve got three or four days we can practice,” he said. “Before, there was one day in between.  … Sounds like an excuse. But it’s going to take a while for our guys to jell together, work together, learn each other. With Blake and Derrick back, for them to learn each other. It’s going to be a marathon.”
  • The Pistons will have to consider drastic changes if they don’t break the cycle of mediocrity soon, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. The trade for Griffin hasn’t resulted in a huge uptick in the team’s fortunes, Beard continues. Andre Drummond, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, hasn’t impacted winning significantly enough to warrant another long-term deal in many people’s minds, Beard adds.

Team Canada Dealing With Depleted Roster

Much has been made of the withdrawals from Team USA by prominent players as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup in China this summer. Team Canada has experienced similar issues.

Canada Basketball unveiled its training camp roster in a press release and many notable names are missing. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Luguentz Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mfiondu Kabengele, Naz Mitrou-Long, Trey Lyles, Dwight Powell, Marial Shayok, Nik Stauskas, and Tristan Thompson were among the invitees who opted not to participate.

Knicks lottery pick RJ Barrett and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray are on the roster but will only participate in training camp. Barrett is dealing with a mild calf strain, while Murray is nursing an ankle injury, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Among the NBA players who are on the roster and intend to participate in the tournament are Kings guard Cory Joseph, Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, Magic center Khem Birch and Raptors big man Chris Boucher. Toronto’s Nick Nurse is the head coach of the team, which will play seven exhibition games before its FIBA opener against Australia on September 1.

Pacers Sign Naz Mitrou-Long To Two-Way Deal

JULY 31: The Pacers have officially signed Mitrou-Long to a two-way deal, the team announced today (via Twitter).

JULY 30: The Pacers have reached an agreement to sign Naz Mitrou-Long to a two-way contract, league sources tell Scott Agness and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Agness adds (via Twitter) that Mitrou-Long is expected to formally sign his deal with Indiana on Wednesday as the team works to finalize a handful of contract agreements.

An undrafted free agent out of Iowa State, Mitrou-Long has appeared in 15 games for the Jazz over the past two seasons, having inked multiple two-way and 10-day contracts with Utah during that time.

The 6’4″ guard, who turns 26 years old this Saturday, saw far more action with the Jazz’s G League affiliate over the last two years. He averaged 18.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 4.7 APG on .432/.359/.845 shooting in 72 games for the Salt Lake City Stars during that stretch.

An impressive Summer League stint with the Cavaliers, in which Mitrou-Long averaged 16.8 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 5.0 RPG in four games, boosted the Canadian’s stock this offseason and helped earned him a new deal with the Pacers.

He and Brian Bowen II, who inked a two-way contract with Indiana on July 1, will occupy the team’s two-way slots for now.

Cavaliers Notes: Garland, Love, Blossomgame, Mitrou-Long

Darius Garland won over Cavaliers management with an impressive shooting performance in a workout last week, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Cavs sent a sizable contingent to Los Angeles to watch Garland in his first pre-draft session. He didn’t disappoint, sinking shots from all over the court and reportedly going five or six minutes without missing.

“We saw him take 30-footers and flick them like it was nothing,” general manager Koby Altman said.

The Cavaliers had been hoping to draft De’Andre Hunter, but didn’t have the resources to trade up to No. 4. They also liked Jarrett Culver, but Garland changed their minds with his shooting display. Vardon reports that new coach John Beilein was seen cheering on the Vanderbilt guard as he hit one shot after another.

“It was like, ‘OK, how could this work out?’” Altman said. “We started to get fascinated with the idea.”

There’s more Cavaliers news to pass along:

  • Cleveland is talking to teams interested in Kevin Love, but hasn’t made any progress toward a trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an appearance this week on WKNR in Cleveland (hat tip to Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report). “It’s hard to find the right deal for him,” said Windhorst, who put the odds of a trade at 50-50. He noted it would be easy to find a taker for Love if the Cavs just wanted to unload the four years and $120MM left on his contract, but because he’s one of their few tradable assets they want to get something of value in return.
  • The Cavaliers won’t extend a qualifying offer to two-way player Jaron Blossomgame, tweets Cleveland-based basketball writer Chris Manning. The 25-year-old small forward signed with the Cavs in December and played 27 games at the NBA level, averaging 4.2 PPG. He posted an 18.5/7.5/2.2 line in 35 G League contests. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
  • Naz Mitrou-Long, who had a two-way contract with the Jazz this season, will join the Cavaliers for Summer League, a source tells Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News (Twitter link). The 25-year-old shooting guard got into 14 games for Utah, averaging 6 minutes per night.

Jazz Sign Naz Mitrou-Long To Two-Way Deal

4:08pm: The signing is now official, the Jazz confirmed in a press release.

2:39pm: The Jazz will sign Naz Mitrou-Long to a two-way contract, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

“I’m just happy that the Jazz were so patient with me and just kept contributing to the fact that they wanted to see me grow,” the guard said (via Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News on Twitter).

Mitrou-Long earned two 10-day deals with the Jazz last season, as the team needed to add depth at the guard spot with Ricky Rubio battling injuries. He didn’t see any real action for the NBA club though, entering just one contest for a total of one minute.

Mitrou-Long also played for Utah’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, last season. The soon-to-be 25-year-old appeared in 40 games with the Stars, averaging 18.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per contest.

Nets Notes: FA Mini-Camp, RFA Market, LeVert

The Nets hosted a three-day mini-camp this week for veteran free agents, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), who identifies former Thunder guard Semaj Christon and 2016 first-round pick Brice Johnson as a pair of the participants.

Per Kennedy (Twitter link), other players with previous NBA experience who took part in Brooklyn’s mini-camp include Xavier Silas, Josh Gray, Naz Mitrou-Long, Jarrod Uthoff, and Byron Mullens. Walt Lemon Jr., who saw a little action with the Pelicans this season, was also in attendance, tweets NetsDaily.

While the Nets may not end up adding any of those players to their roster for next season, the mini-camp gives the club a chance to get a closer look at some players who might have flown under-the-radar, and perhaps some candidates for two-way contracts next season.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • The Nets have been the NBA’s most active club in restricted free agency over the past two years, with little success. The club signed Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas, and Otto Porter to offer sheets, but saw all four of those offers matched at the time (Crabbe was later traded to Brooklyn). With that recent history in mind, NetsDaily explores whether the club will foray into the RFA market again in 2018, with Aaron Gordon looming as a possible target.
  • The first draft pick of the Sean Marks era in Brooklyn, Caris LeVert showed impressive potential and versatility during his second NBA season in 2017/18, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. LeVert, who could become a long-term starter for the Nets, won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until 2020.
  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is on the wrong end of a lawsuit in New York State Court, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. Prokhorov is being counter-sued by Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistle-blower who exposed Russian cheating in the 2014 Olympics, for backing a libel lawsuit that Rodchenkov viewed as an intimidation tactic.