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Rawle Alkins Agrees To Two-Way Deal With Bulls

The Bulls have agreed to a two-way deal with undrafted guard Rawle Alkins, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. The Arizona product spent the past few weeks with the Raptors‘ Summer League team.

Toronto liked Alkins’ summer performance where he averaged 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 2.0 APG. The Raptors offered Alkins a camp invitation but he chose the deal with the higher guaranteed money, per  TSN’s Josh Lewenberg.

As a two-way player, Alkins will spend most of his time with the Bulls’ G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. However, he is permitted to spend up to 45 days with the NBA team. The Bulls have the option to convert Alkins’ deal into a standard NBA deal if they choose.

In his sophomore season with the Wildcats, Alkins averaged 13.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.5 APG. Entering the 2018 NBA Draft, Alkins was ranked as the 49th-best prospect on Jonathan Givony’s top-100 list at ESPN.com.

Chinese Teams Interested In Jahlil Okafor?

Jahlil Okafor appears to have offers waiting in China if he can’t find an NBA team to sign him, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

The third player taken in the 2015 draft, Okafor washed out in Philadelphia and didn’t play much after being traded to the Nets in December. He got into just 26 games with Brooklyn and averaged 6.4 PPG in 12.6 minutes per night.

Okafor is working out in Miami, but the Heat aren’t interested in signing him, Carchia writes. We detailed several other franchises that have apparently withdrawn their interest earlier this week, including the Nets, Pacers and Bulls. However, four teams sent representatives to Okafor’s recent workout in Las Vegas and he remains hopeful of catching on with someone before training camps open.

Alex Len To Sign With Hawks

The Hawks are finalizing a deal with former Suns center Alex Len, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

The new contract will pay Len $8.5MM over two years, sources tell Charania (Twitter link). Both seasons will be fully guaranteed, reports Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who adds that the official announcement probably won’t come until a three-way trade with the Thunder and Sixers is finalized (Twitter link).

The Hawks are over the cap after a recent flurry of moves, but still have their $4.5MM room exception available. Several teams expressed interest in Len before he decided on Atlanta, Charania relays.

Len, 25, spent five seasons in Phoenix after being selected with the fifth pick in the 2013 draft, but never made the impact the Suns were hoping for. He accepted the team’s qualifying offer last summer after finding little interest as a restricted free agent. Phoenix renounced its rights to Len on July 2, shortly after the start of free agency.

Len averaged 8.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG last season as part of a crowded center rotation in Phoenix. He will enter the same type of situation in Atlanta, where he will compete for minutes with Dewayne Dedmon, John Collins, Miles Plumlee and Omari Spellman. The Hawks will have 13 players, all with guaranteed contracts, once the latest moves become official.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nemanja Bjelica Signs Three-Year Deal With Kings

JULY 21, 1:57pm: The deal is official, per a media release from the Kings.

JULY 20, 9:08pm: The Kings have reached a three-year, $20.5MM agreement with free agent forward Nemanja Bjelica, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. The third year will not be guaranteed, Charania adds.

This completes Bjelica’s unusual odyssey in free agency. The former Timberwolves reserve originally agreed to a one-year, $4.45MM deal with the Sixers early in free agency, then backed out of that agreement on Tuesday. He stated publicly he would likely head back to Europe, explaining that he wanted to create “some kind of stability” for his family.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac and other teams then reached out to Bjelica, trying to convince him to remain in the NBA. Sacramento’s offer won him over.

“The organization’s belief in and commitment to me overwhelmed me and my family,” he told Charania. “I am ready to do everything I can to help the Kings and be a part of the Sacramento community.”

It helped the Kings’ cause that EuroLeague powerhouses like Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow reportedly were not interested in him at this time.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor noted in a conversation last week with Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 that Bjelica entered the offseason seeking a multiyear NBA contract. The stretch four has been a rotation player with Minnesota the past three seasons. He averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 67 games last season, including 21 starts.

Where Bjelica fits in with the Kings is a mystery. Sacramento already has No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III, Zach Randolph and Harry Giles at the power forward spot. His path to playing time may be at small forward.

Clippers To Re-Sign Montrezl Harrell

Restricted free agent center Montrezl Harrell has agreed to a two-year, $12MM deal to return to the Clippers, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Harrell’s contract will be fully guaranteed.

Harrell, 24, was one of the last remaining restricted free agents on the market with a reasonable potential to sign a significant deal. Only Clint Capela and Rodney Hood now remain.

An over-the-cap team, the Clippers had already split their entire non-taxpayer mid-level exception on forwards Luc Mbah a Moute and Mike Scott, but were able to re-sign Harrell using his Bird rights.

Harrell had a breakout season in 2017/18, playing in 76 games while averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and shooting a blistering 63.5 percent from the field. His 24.73 PER was good enough for 12th best in the entire NBA among qualified players.

The Clippers lost big man DeAndre Jordan in free agency to the Mavericks, but did acquire center Marcin Gortat from the Wizards in a trade for Austin Rivers. Accordingly, Harrell and Gortat will now seemingly compete for time at the center position for the Clippers in 2018/19, with Boban Marjanovic providing reserve minutes.

Chinese Team Willing To Offer “Monster Deal” To Dwyane Wade?

As Dwyane Wade ponders whether or not he wants to return for a 16th NBA season, another option overseas reportedly may now exist. The Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are reportedly prepared to offer Wade a “monster deal” to join the team (via Sportando).

Wade, 36, returned to the Heat at midseason in 2017/18 following a trade from the Cavaliers. The 12-time All-Star averaged 12.0 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 21 games with Miami, showing flashes of his prior success. However, earlier this week, Wade — currently in the midst of a promotional tour in China — was mum on his future plans.

“When I get back from China, I’ll focus on that,” Wade told the Associated Press. “Right now, I’m focused on the game after basketball. Whatever happens in basketball, it happens. I’ve done everything that I can to this point to put myself that I’m in this position I am today, where I can do something that hasn’t been done globally yet.”

The Heat’s options to re-sign Wade are limited to their $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception and the $2.4MM minimum salary given Wade’s NBA tenure.

Wade’s longtime teammate and close friend, Udonis Haslem, has said he may continue his career overseas next season in search of more playing time. While Wade would still be a factor for the Heat if he returned, if his close friend considers playing in China, it may increase the odds of him following suit.

Clark Crum contributed to this post.

Hawks Waive Antonius Cleveland

The Hawks have waived Antonius Cleveland, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cleveland, 24, saw action in four games with the Hawks last season, averaging 3.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game. He was signed to a multi-year contract in March after signing consecutive 10-day contracts earlier in the season.

As Vivlamore noted previously, the Hawks essentially had to waive Cleveland in order to open up the cap room necessary to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Thunder and Justin Anderson from the Sixers.

Adding both Anthony and Anderson to the Hawks’ will increase the team’s total salary to approximately $102.8MM, about $1MM over the cap. Per CBA rules, this is not permitted, as the Hawks are using cap space to complete the trade. Waiving Cleveland lowers Atlanta’s total salary – with Anthony and Anderson – to $101.4MM, safely within the 2018/19 salary cap of $101.869MM.

Cleveland’s 2018/19 salary was fully non-guaranteed, so the Hawks will not be on the hook for any of his salary.

Celtics Waive Abdel Nader

The Celtics have waived swingman Abdel Nader, league sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Nader was chosen by Boston with the 58th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and spent a season with the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics’ G League affiliate, before signing an NBA contract with the Celtics last summer.

The Celtics will not be on the hook for Nader’s full 2018/19 salary, as his contract did not become fully guaranteed until August 1. He reportedly had a partial guarantee worth $450K.

The move leaves the Celtics with 14 fully-guaranteed contracts and a team salary of $125.85MM, about $2.07MM north of the tax line. Because the Celtics are in tax territory, they may be looking to enter the 2018/19 season with only 14 players on their roster, a la the Warriors. However, the C’s still have their full $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception to spend on a 15th player should they so choose.

Nader, 24, averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 48 contests (one start) with the Celtics in 2017/18, his lone NBA season.

Sixers Trade Richaun Holmes To Suns

7:09pm: It’s official, according to a Sixers press release.

11:29am: The Suns are sending $1MM to Philadelphia in the trade, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

10:55am: The Sixers have agreed to a trade with the Suns that will send Richaun Holmes to Phoenix, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Philadelphia will receive cash considerations in return for Holmes, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Holmes, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, has been a rotation player for the Sixers for the last three seasons. However, after averaging 20.9 minutes per contest and starting 17 games in 2016/17, the 24-year-old had his role cut back last season, as he played 15.5 MPG and started just two of his 48 games.

With Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson, and Mike Muscala in the mix at center for the Sixers in 2018/19, Holmes was unlikely to play a major role for the team. Instead, he’ll join a prospect-heavy Suns frontcourt that features Deandre Ayton, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, and veteran Tyson Chandler.

While the Suns’ acquisition of Holmes isn’t exactly a blockbuster, it has some interesting – albeit minor – cap ramifications. Phoenix wouldn’t have had the cap room to acquire Holmes without sending out any salary if not for the Jared Dudley/Darrell Arthur swap the club agreed to earlier today. Now, Holmes can slot into the team’s remaining cap space and its 15th roster spot.

As for the 76ers, there were reports in the wake of their three-team trade agreement on Thursday that the deal wouldn’t be completed right away because Philadelphia was working on another move. A Kyle Korver/Jerryd Bayless trade rumor hinted that the Sixers were looking to open up a little extra cap room themselves — they’ll do just that by moving Holmes’ $1.6MM salary, and now have the space to sign draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden to a four-year contract using cap room.

Without cap space, the Sixers wouldn’t have been able to offer Bolden – who will replace Holmes in the frontcourt – more than two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies Sign Yuta Watanabe To Two-Way Deal

The Grizzlies have signed rookie forward Yuta Watanabe to a two-way contract, according to a team press release.

The signing has international significance. Watanabe will likely become just the second player born in Japan to appear in an NBA game. Yuta Tabuse appeared in four games for the Suns during the 2004/05 season.

The Grizzlies opened up a two-way contract slot by waiving swingman Myke Henry earlier on Friday.

The 6’9” Watanabe played for the Nets’ summer league team after going undrafted and averaged 9.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 24.0 MPG over five games.

Watanabe played four years of college ball at George Washington University. Watanabe, 23, was named the 2017/18 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 16.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.6 blocks in 36.6 MPG.