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Wizards Sign Lavoy Allen To Camp Deal

Free agent center Lavoy Allen has signed a training camp contract with the Wizards, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Washington currently has 18 players under contract, so once the team completes its reported deals with both Allen and Chasson Randle, its 20-man offseason roster will be full.

According to Buckner, Allen has been in Washington for the last week working out with Wizards players. He seemingly made an impression on the team, and will now compete for the final regular season roster spot, Buckner adds.

Allen, 29, didn’t play an NBA game last season, but has extensive experience with the Sixers and Pacers over the course of a six-year career. Most recently, he averaged 2.9 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 61 games in a minor role for the Pacers in 2016/17.

The Wizards have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Allen, Randle, Tiwian Kendley, and Chris Chiozza on non-guaranteed deals. While Allen and Randle are seemingly the best bets for that 15th roster spot, it’s possible Washington will carry just 14 players to start the season due to tax concerns.

Nuggets To Sign Donald Sloan

The Nuggets appear set to fill the final spot on their 20-man offseason roster by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Denver has 18 players officially under contract, but has reportedly reached a contract agreement with free agent guard Xavier Silas as well.

Sloan, 30, has played more than 200 regular season games over the course of his career, but hasn’t appeared in an NBA contest since 2015/16, when he saw action in 61 games for the Nets. Last season, he averaged 18.8 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 4.2 RPG in 24 games (34.6 MPG) for the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G League affiliate, before heading to China for a third stint with the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

As Wojnarowski notes, the Nuggets’ deal with Sloan comes in the heels of reports questioning Isaiah Thomas‘ availability this fall following March hip surgery.

As Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports relayed on Tuesday (via Twitter), team president of basketball operations Tim Connelly was evasive when asked about the point guard’s status, suggesting that the Nuggets “want Isaiah to be right” before he returns to the court. Sam Amick of USA Today added (via Twitter) that Thomas is unlikely to be ready for training camp and his timeline remains unclear. “It might be a while,” Amick notes.

Of course, even if Thomas isn’t healthy for the start of the regular season, there may not be room on the 15-man roster for Sloan. The Nuggets are currently carrying 15 players on guaranteed salaries, and would have to trade or release one of those players to retain Sloan. Instead, second-year point guard Monte Morris could have the opportunity to earn a regular role for Denver to open the season.

Courtney Lee Says He’s Not Seeking Trade

Responding to rumors that he’s seeking a trade out of New York, veteran swingman Courtney Lee tells Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he’s happy to be a Knick, refuting the idea that he prefers to be dealt. According to Begley, Lee has not expressed a desire to be moved.

A story from Marc Berman of The New York Post jump-started the Lee rumor mill, though for what it’s worth, Berman’s report doesn’t say that the 32-year-old wants to be traded. If he gets traded, Berman writes, Lee’s preference would be to join a playoff team or contender. According to the Post scribe, the Knicks have explored the trade market in search of a possible Lee deal.

Trading Lee would make sense for the Knicks, who aren’t expected to be in the playoff mix this season with Kristaps Porzingis still recovering from his ACL tear. Lee, who will turn 33 next month, is under contract for two more years, but probably isn’t part of New York’s long-term plans, and he’s coming off one of his best seasons, meaning his trade value should be higher than in the past.

In 76 games (30.4 MPG) in 2017/18, Lee averaged 12.0 PPG on .454/.406/.919 shooting, chipping in 2.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.1 SPG. While he might not be a difference-maker for a contending team, Lee is the sort of three-point marksman on the wing that many playoff clubs could use.

While it remains to be seen if the Knicks will push to move Lee before the season or at the trade deadline, the franchise has been sending some subtle signals this season that he’s not a future building block.

A Knicks Instagram post in August on the “Future of New York” featured a montage of nine players, including Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Lance Thomas, but didn’t include Lee. Earlier this week, new head coach David Fizdale referred to Thomas as a “natural” lader, but didn’t mention Lee, who was a co-captain last season alongside Thomas.

Hawks Sign Cole Aldrich

SEPTEMBER 18: The Hawks have filled their offseason roster by officially signing Aldrich, the team announced today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 6: The Hawks have reached an agreement with free agent center Cole Aldrich on a contract, reports Charley Walters of The St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). According to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN (via Twitter), Aldrich will sign a non-guaranteed camp deal with Atlanta.

Aldrich, who will turn 30 next month, spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, playing a limited role for the Timberwolves. In 2017/18, he appeared in just 21 games and played only 49 total minutes. While his contract covered the 2018/19 season, Aldrich’s salary for the coming year only featured a modest partial guarantee, so the Wolves waived him in June before the full guarantee kicked in, making him an unrestricted free agent.

An eight-year veteran, Aldrich has never played a huge role for any NBA team since entering the league as the 11th overall pick in 2010, but he has logged 339 total games for six clubs. His most productive season came in 2014/15, when he averaged 5.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 61 contests (16.0 MPG) for the Knicks.

Before making their reported agreement with Aldrich official, the Hawks have two openings on their 20-man offseason roster. However, 15 of their 18 players currently under contract have guaranteed standard contracts for 2018/19, leaving no clear path for the veteran big man to make the regular season roster.

Still, Wolfson suggests that Aldrich is “motivated” to stick with Atlanta, so we’ll see if the club considers trading or waiving any players from its presumed 15-man squad to open up a spot for the former Timberwolf. Another former lottery pick, Thomas Robinson, will also be in camp with the Hawks on a non-guaranteed deal in the hopes of claiming a roster spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Hire Elton Brand As GM

The Sixers have promoted Elton Brand to general manager, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The team is expected to introduce Brand in his new role during a press conference on Thursday.

Brand held the role of VP of Basketball Operations while also serving as the GM of the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, prior to landing the position. He made a strong impression on ownership and head coach Brett Brown during the interview process, winning the job over several internal and external candidates, Wojnarowski adds.

Brand, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, spent 17 seasons as a player in the league, including two separate stints in Philadelphia. He signed as a free agent during the summer of 2008 and spent four years with the franchise before departing for Dallas in 2012. He re-joined the 76ers during the middle of the 2015/16 season, serving as a veteran mentor to the team’s young roster.

One of a handful of in-house candidates to receive consideration to replace Bryan Colangelo, Brand was promoted over fellow executives Ned Cohen, Marc Eversley, and Alex Rucker. The Sixers were also reportedly considering Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik and Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, as each executive received a second interview with the club.

During a media luncheon earlier today, Brown mentioned that Philadelphia was expecting to have a GM in place before the start of season. Brown also indicated that the idea of bringing back Sam Hinkie back in his old role was never under consideration, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.

Bulls Sign Kaiser Gates To Training Camp Deal

SEPTEMBER 18: Gates’ deal with the Bulls is now official, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

SEPTEMBER 14: Kaiser Gates has agreed to a training camp contract with the Bulls, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Gates was part of the Bulls’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, scoring 6.7 PPG. He went undrafted out of Xavier, where he averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a junior. He shot 37.8% from 3-point range last year.

The signing of Gates will bring the Bulls up to 19 players, one short of the roster limit for training camp. They have 14 guaranteed contracts.

 

Dion Waiters Unlikely To Be Healthy To Start Season

After missing much of the 2017/18 season with an ankle injury, Dion Waiters won’t be available for the start of training camp and likely won’t be ready to play on opening night, Heat president Pat Riley said today (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

“Dion will not be returning to the court until the Heat medical team and training staff deem him healed, rehabbed and physically conditioned for all basketball activities,” Riley added (Twitter link via Winderman).

While there’s no indication that Waiters’ absence will extend well into the 2018/19 season, this is still bad news for the Heat, who re-signed the veteran guard to a lucrative four-year contract last summer despite being aware of his potential ankle issues (Twitter link via Winderman). The 26-year-old was limited to just 30 games in the first season of that four-year deal, and now seemingly won’t be available to start the second year.

Despite Waiters’ absence, the Heat will have no shortage of options at the shooting guard spot. Newly re-signed veteran Dwyane Wade will rejoin a deep group of twos that also could include Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and Derrick Jones.

Heat Officially Re-Sign Dwyane Wade

The Heat have officially re-signed Dwyane Wade to a new contract, the team confirmed today in a press release. Word broke over the weekend that Wade had decided to return to Miami for one more season.

“We are very delighted that Dwyane decided to return,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “I believe that Dwyane can play a big part in us winning, that’s what he is all about. I’m glad he’s back.”

Wade, 36, has spent nearly all of his 15-year NBA career with the Heat since being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft. While he had brief stints with the Bulls and Cavaliers in recent years, all of Wade’s best seasons have come in Miami, including his 12 All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA nods, and three NBA championships.

Having rejoined the Heat down the stretch last season, Wade showed he was still capable of contributing to the club, averaging 12.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 21 regular season contests. He also looked like his old self in Game 2 of the Heat’s first round series against Philadelphia, leading the club to its only playoff victory with 28 points in 26 minutes.

Wade’s new – and likely final – contract with the Heat will be worth the veteran’s minimum ($2,393,887) for one season. Because the deal will only count for about $1.51MM on Miami’s cap, the tax impact will be reasonably modest, increasing the team’s projected tax bill by just shy of $2.6MM.

With Wade officially back in the fold, the Heat have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts and may leave the 15th spot on their roster open to start the season to avoid further increasing their tax bill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors, Eric Moreland Agree To One-Year Deal

2:24pm: It’s an Exhibit 10 contract for Moreland, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Exhibit 10 deals can be converted into two-way contracts, so Moreland could be a candidate for Toronto’s second two-way slot.

1:47pm: The Raptors, who have one spot still available on their 20-man offseason roster, appear set to fill that opening with a former Piston. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link), Toronto has agreed to terms with free agent big man Eric Moreland on a partially guaranteed one-year deal.

Moreland, 26, was leaned on as a rotation piece in Detroit last season after only playing sparingly for the Kings in two seasons earlier in his NBA career. In 2017/18, the forward/center averaged 2.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.2 APG in 67 contests (12.0 MPG) for the Pistons, emerging as a solid frontcourt option after Jon Leuer went down with an injury.

While Moreland’s new deal with the Raptors reportedly includes a partial guarantee, he’s no lock to make Toronto’s regular season roster. The club already has 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, and Lorenzo Brown – who has a sizable partial guarantee – is considered a strong bet to make the team as well. Moreland could vie for the 15th spot, but the in-the-tax Raptors may opt to start the season with just 14 players for financial reasons.

Derrick Williams Expected To Play In Germany

Former lottery pick Derrick Williams appears poised to spend the 2018/19 season in Germany, according to multiple reports from international outlets. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando hears from a source that Williams has agreed to terms with Bayern Munich, after Eurohoops first reported that the veteran forward was “very close” to signing with the German club.

The second overall pick in the 2011 draft, Williams has appeared in 428 regular season NBA games over seven seasons for six teams. The 27-year-old, who has played most extensively for the Timberwolves and Kings, last appeared in the league during the 2017/18 season, joining the Lakers on a 10-day contract and seeing action in a pair of games.

While his professional résumé features plenty of NBA stops, Williams has a little international experience as well. The 6’8″ forward appeared in 15 games for China’s Tianjin Gold Lions during the 2017/18 season, averaging 20.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG.

Assuming the two sides complete their reported deal, Williams will be joining one of Europe’s top teams in Bayern Munich — in addition to playing in Germany’s BBL, Bayern Munich is also the only German club in the EuroLeague.