Nik Stauskas

Central Notes: Ellington, Stauskas, Oladipo

The Pistons used up the remainder of their mid-level exception to sign guard Wayne Ellington, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Detroit made a $2.4MM commitment to acquire Ellington, who was waived by the Suns after getting traded by the Heat last week. The team remains $252K under the luxury tax threshold and it has no player bonuses that would push it over the tax, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

The Pistons divvied up portions of the mid-level to sign free agent Glenn Robinson III and second-round picks Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown Jr. over the summer. Ellington got off to a slow start in his Pistons debut, shooting 1-for-8 from the field against Washington on Monday night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The signing of free agent guard Nik Stauskas technically pushed the Cavaliers over the luxury tax line but they’ll drop below it due to an unrelated acquisition, Marks notes in another tweet. Cleveland will get a $750K credit based on John Henson‘s bonuses being deemed unlikely at the end of the season. That will put the Cavs $722K below the tax line. Henson was acquired as part of the George Hill deal with the Bucks in early December but has yet to make his Cavs debut after undergoing wrist surgery in late November.
  • Stauskas is happy he would up back with the Cavaliers, believing he’ll get a chance to showcase his skills, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Stauskas was traded by Portland to Cleveland last week. He was included in two other deals, then waived before re-signing with the rebuilding club. “This team is not in a playoff position right now so they’re in the stage of developing guys and obviously it’s not like you look at the roster and have a bunch of All-Star talent,” Stauskas said. “I’m coming from Portland where I was playing behind guys like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum — established guys. You look at the roster here and you don’t necessarily have that. I look at the opportunity coming in and help this team win some games and maybe help show what I can do as well.”
  • Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending quad injury occurred in the same area of his right knee that forced him to miss 11 games earlier this season, according to an ESPN report. However, the Pacers star guard is unsure if the earlier injury led to the more serious one. The soreness Oladipo felt in November and December was just above the right knee. “Sure, it might be connected, but who knows,” Oladipo said. “I’m not focused on the past because I have no control over that, just like I have no control over the future.”

Cavaliers Re-Sign Nik Stauskas

10:00am: Stauskas has officially signed with the Cavs, the team confirmed today in a press release.

9:14am: Free agent shooting guard Nik Stauskas has reached a rest-of-season deal with the Cavaliers, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. While the Cavs have yet to officially announce the signing of Stauskas, he’ll fill the club’s open roster spot, according to Fedor.

It has been an eventful week for Stauskas, who was initially traded from the Trail Blazers to the Cavaliers last Monday. The former eighth overall pick was rerouted to Houston in a three-team trade on deadline day, then was sent from the Rockets to the Pacers in a separate Thursday deal. Indiana subsequently waived Stauskas, putting him on track to reach unrestricted free agency.

The rules of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibit a team from trading a player, then re-signing him once he’s waived by his new team. However, since the Rockets traded Stauskas again to the Pacers before he was released, Houston was the only team ineligible to re-sign him — Portland and Cleveland faced no such restrictions.

Stauskas, 25, hasn’t developed into the sort of reliable sharpshooter that many league observers expected when he selected in the 2014 draft. However, he has shown enough promise during stints in Sacramento, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Portland to earn a spot on the Cavs’ roster for the rest of the season.

In 44 games (15.3 MPG) for the Blazers this season, Stauskas averaged 6.1 PPG on .419/.344/.889 shooting.

Pacers Waive Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin

The Pacers have waived Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin, according to a team press release. The pair was acquired from the Rockets at the trade deadline and the move to waive them was expected.

Stauskas and Baldwin spent most of the season in Portland before being traded to the Cavs for Rodney Hood. Cleveland then sent the duo to Houston as part of a three-team agreement that also brought Iman Shumpert to the Rockets. Houston then dealt the two former first-rounders to the Pacers in separate trades.

The move to waive Stauskas and Baldwin opens up two roster spots, one of which will go to new addition Wesley Matthews. GM Kevin Pritchard said the Pacers are unlikely to fill the other spot right away.

Pacers’ Pritchard Talks Rockets Trade, Deadline, Outlook

It wasn’t an overly busy trade deadline for the Pacers, who were involved in a handful of rumors but only ended up making one small deal. Indiana took on Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from Houston along with a second-round pick, eating some salary in exchange for an asset.

Once Stauskas and Baldwin are officially waived, the Pacers will be in position to sign Wesley Matthews, who was released by the Knicks on Thursday and quickly reached an agreement with Indiana.

Speaking to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard couldn’t directly address the Matthews signing, since the veteran swingman remains on waivers. But Pritchard explained the thinking behind the trade with the Rockets, talked a little about whether the Pacers considered additional moves, and looked ahead to the rest of the season.

Here are the highlights from Pritchard, via Michael:

On why the Pacers were willing to take on Stauskas’ and Baldwin’s contracts:

“I wanted to start getting a little bit more asset-rich. We had the opportunity to pick up a second-round pick. I wanted to get a second-round pick out of this trade deadline for the future. I want to continue to do that so when we get into other trading deadlines we have multiple assets. We haven’t had that. I want to make that a full complement to how we acquire players.”

On whether the Pacers had any other potential deadline activity in the works:

“There were more inbound calls to us than outbound calls. Other executives thought there was a chance that we could blow it up. We cut that down very fast. We want to compete. We’re in third place in the East right now. It’s hard for me to walk into that locker room and say, ‘Guys, we’re going to trade four players and we’re going to look to the future.’ That’s not fair to these guys. … Players send messages in different ways. I know the last two games, at least the one before (a 42-point win over the Lakers) was sending a message.”

On the Pacers’ outlook for the rest of the season:

“When Victor [Oladipo] went down you could easily justify, ‘Let’s take it back, let’s look to the future.’ I don’t like ‘tank.’ I don’t like that word. We could’ve looked at that. That never got off anybody’s tongue. We never thought about that. … I spoke to the team today. I always speak to the team right after a trade deadline. The truth is I couldn’t be more proud of this team. This team is competing their butts off. Maybe we’re not the most talented team in the East but I can see it in their eyes. They feel like that they can compete with anybody.”

On whether the Pacers will make another signing after adding Matthews:

“I don’t think there’ll be another. I’m not opposed to keep looking at that. There’s going to be one and I think we’re going to like the one.”

Rockets Trade Stauskas, Baldwin To Pacers

10:00pm: The Pacers have officially completed their trade with the Rockets, acquiring Stauskas, Baldwin, Milwaukee’s 2021 second-round pick and the rights to Maarty Leunen for cash considerations, the team announced.

Indiana also waived Anigbogu to make the agreement official.

1:05pm: The Pacers are waiving second-year center Ike Anigbogu to make room for their incoming players, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

12:16pm: A day after acquiring Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin, the Rockets have reached an agreement to send them to the Pacers, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Houston will also ship a second-round pick to Indiana, Woj adds, and the Pacers plan to waive both players (Twitter link).

The Pacers only have one roster opening, so they will have to get rid of someone before they can take on Stauskas and Baldwin, notes Keith Smith of Real GM (Twitter link). The Rockets are making the deal for tax purposes, so it’s unlikely they will be getting anyone in return.

A flurry of trades over the past two days has put Houston $634K under the luxury tax, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The Rockets are down to 12 players, two below the league minimum, but are expected to be active on the buyout market. They will have two weeks to get their roster back to at least 14. Owner Tilman Fertitta has been saying that he wanted to get under the tax this season to avoid repeater penalties in the future, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Indiana will drop down to 13 players once if it follows through with plans to waive Stauskas and Baldwin and will also have two weeks to get back to the 14-player minimum.

The Rockets acquired both players last night in a three-team deal that also brought them Iman Shumpert. Houston had to take both players from the Cavaliers to help Cleveland stay below the luxury tax. This is the third trade in four days for Stauskas and Baldwin, who were also sent from the Trail Blazers to the Cavs in the Rodney Hood swap.

Shumpert To Rockets, Burks to Kings In 3-Team Trade

FEBRUARY 7, 11:33am: The trade is now official, the Cavaliers confirmed in a press release. Here are the full details:

  • Cavaliers acquire Knight, Chriss, the Rockets’ 2019 first-round pick, and the Rockets 2022 second-round pick.
  • Rockets acquire Shumpert, Stauskas, Baldwin, and the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cleveland).
  • Kings acquire Burks and lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ 2020 second-round picks.

FEBRUARY 7, 7:21am: The draft pick the Kings are receiving from Houston in the deal will be the lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ second-rounders in 2020, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California.

FEBRUARY 6, 8:10pm: The Cavaliers will also receive a lottery-protected 2019 first-round pick from the Rockets, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who states that the front office is “thrilled” by what it was able to get in return for Burks.

7:25pm: The Kings, Rockets and Cavaliers have agreed to a three-team deal that will send Iman Shumpert to Houston, Alec Burks and a second-round pick to Sacramento and Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight to Cleveland, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets will also receive Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from the Cavs, adds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both guards were acquired Sunday when Cleveland shipped Rodney Hood to Portland. Houston hasn’t decided whether to keep both players for the rest of the season, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Because they were just acquired, Stauskas and Baldwin can’t be aggregated in the same trade, so the Cavaliers and Rockets will have to make two separate deals, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Burks will be traded for Knight, while Chriss’ $3.2MM salary will be absorbed with the TPE that Cleveland created by sending Hood to the Trail Blazers.

The Cavaliers had to include both guards to remain below the luxury tax, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. They created a $1.5MM trade exception for each player and are now $1.2MM under the tax. Knight carries cap hits of $14.6MM for this season and $15.6MM for 2019/20, while Chriss has a $3.2MM expiring deal. Cleveland is dangerously close to tax territory for next season, Marks adds, hovering about $10MM below without accounting for a projected top five draft pick.

Houston will save $6.3MM in projected tax payments and bring its bill down to $6.1MM, Marks notes in a separate post. The total could drop even lower depending on what happens with $1.5MM in bonuses for Clint Capela, who is sidelined after thumb surgery. The Rockets will inherit Shumpert’s Bird rights and will sit about $4MM above the tax threshold with the addition of the three players.

The Rockets had been seeking veteran wing help and were hoping to unload the contracts of Knight and Chriss after acquiring them from Phoenix over the summer in a deal to unload Ryan Anderson‘s hefty salary. Shumpert has an $11MM expiring contract. Burks also has an expiring deal worth a little more than $11.5MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavs Trade Rodney Hood To Blazers For Stauskas, Baldwin, Picks

FEBRUARY 4: The trade is now official, according to press releases issued by the Blazers and Cavs. According to Cleveland’s announcement, the two picks included in the deal are Portland’s own 2021 and 2023 second-rounders. The Cavs also confirmed they waived Simmons from his 10-day contract to clear the necessary roster spot.

“Rodney is an accomplished NBA player that brings versatility, shot making and depth to our perimeter and will fit seamlessly into our culture and style of play,” Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in a statement.

FEBRUARY 3: The Cavaliers are trading guard Rodney Hood to the Trail Blazers for Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin and two future second-round picks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

The Cavs must release one player to make the trade work, with 10-day contract guard Kobi Simmons being a potential candidate. Cleveland will continue to explore the market for Alec Burks, who could be on deck for a trade, Wojnarowski adds. J.R. Smith also remains on the roster several weeks after he and the team mutually agreed to part ways.

Hood, 26, had to approve of the trade because he signed a one-year qualifying offer last offseason, as noted by Wojnarowski. He was enthusiastic enough about joining the Blazers to waive his Bird Rights, now focused on helping Portland advance as the postseason nears.

For Portland, Hood is expected to provide bench scoring behind the likes of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, currently holding per-game averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and two assists. He’ll be a free agent on July 1. The Blazers (fourth in the West at 32-20) also freed up a roster spot with the agreement.

Stauskas and Baldwin join the Cavaliers as two younger guards who will enter unrestricted free agency this July. Baldwin struggled shooting the ball (30% from the floor and 22% from 3-point range) in limited minutes with the Blazers this year, while Stauskas has shot a career-best 42% from the floor and pedestrian 34% from deep on the season.

With the trade, Cleveland has essentially turned Hood, Kyle Korver, George Hill and Sam Dekker into one first-round pick and six second-round picks for the future, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The first round pick is protected in 2021.

The NBA’s annual trading deadline falls on Thursday, February 7 this year. Today’s deal between the Cavaliers and Blazers is the 10th different trade of the 2018/19 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Northwest Division:

Raul Neto, Jazz, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $4.4MM deal in 2018
Neto’s $2.15MM salary for next season becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster after July 6. Even though it’s not much money, Neto has given the Jazz little reason to keep him around. He’s not in the rotation with Dante Exum backing up Ricky Rubio. Except for a blowout win over the Knicks in which he played 20 minutes, Neto has either been benched or seen fewer than four minutes over the past 10 games. With Rubio headed to unrestricted free agency, it’s conceivable Utah could exercise that option as insurance. The Brazilian native is more likely to continue his career elsewhere, probably overseas.

Trey Lyles, Nuggets, 23, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $10.4MM deal in 2015
Lyles has received rotation minutes but his offensive numbers have declined. He’s shooting just 41.1% from the field and 24.1% beyond the arc, compared to a 49.1/38.1 slash line last season. He was mired in a terrible slump last month, making just 32.3% (18.6% from distance) of his field goal attempts. Lyles will be a restricted free agent if the Nuggets extend a $4.63MM qualifying option. That may depend on some other factors. They hold a $30MM team option on Paul Millsap‘s contract. It’s also predicated on whether they believe Michael Porter Jr. will contribute significantly next season.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Thunder, 23, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.26MM deal in 2016
Luwawu-Cabarrot, a 2016 first-round pick by the Sixers in 2016, got some opportunities in his first two seasons with Philadelphia. His court time has diminished considerably in Oklahoma City. After playing in 69 games (19 starts) in his rookie year and 52 last season, Luwawu-Cabarrot has languished at the end of OKC’s bench despite Andre Roberson‘s injury issues. He’s played just 12 minutes since November 28. The Thunder didn’t pick up Luwawu-Cabarrot’s option during the offseason, so he’ll be unrestricted in July. It will be interesting to see if any team believes he has untapped potential or whether he’ll have to seek overseas opportunities.

Taj Gibson, Timberwolves, 33, PF (Up) — Signed to a two-year, $28MM deal in 2017
Gibson has become a more efficient offensive player in recent years while providing his usual toughness in the paint as well as rebounding. Gibson remains one of the top offensive rebounders in the league (2.7 per game) and has kept a positive attitude despite the addition of Dario Saric, which has cut into his minutes. If Tom Thibodeau remains in charge, the Timberwolves will likely try to re-sign him. Otherwise, Gibson will find work as a 25-30 minute option at power forward for a suitor looking for an upgrade at that position.

Nik Stauskas, Trail Blazers, 25, SG (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal in 2018
Stauskas is playing for his fourth organization in five seasons. He will be on the move again if his shooting doesn’t perk up. After a strong start, Stauskas has gone into an offensive funk. He made just 24.3% of his 3-point attempts in December and went scoreless in a nine-minute stint against Sacramento in his first 2019 appearance. Stauskas reached double figures in five of his first eight games with the franchise but has hit that mark just twice since that point. With first-rounder Anfernee Simons showing no signs of taking Stauskas’ rotation spot, the Blazers may try to acquire a wing player before the trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trail Blazers Sign Nik Stauskas

July 5: The Blazers announced in a press release that they’ve officially signed Stauskas.

July 1: The Trail Blazers have reached an agreement to sign former eighth overall pick Nik Stauskas, reports ESPN’s Chris Haynes (via Twitter). Stauskas will sign a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the club, Haynes adds (via Twitter).

Stauskas, who began his NBA career with the Kings, has been traded twice since then, first to Philadelphia and then to Brooklyn. The 6’6″ shooting guard posted decent numbers for the Sixers in 2016/17, putting up 9.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG with a .496/.368/.813 shooting line. However, he fell out of the team’s rotation early in the 2017/18 campaign and was sent to the Nets along with Jahlil Okafor.

In 35 games for Brooklyn, Stauskas averaged 5.1 PPG in 13.7 minutes per contest, with a .404 3PT%. The Nets opted not to issue him a qualifying offer this week, which allowed him to reach the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

Stauskas will earn $1,621,415 on his new deal, though Portland will only be on the hook for a $1,512,601 cap hit.

Nets Won’t Issue Qualifying Offer To Nik Stauskas

Former eighth overall pick Nik Stauskas is on track to become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the Nets won’t extend a qualifying offer to the 24-year-old guard.

Stauskas, who began his NBA career with the Kings, has been traded twice since then, first to Philadelphia and then to Brooklyn. Stauskas posted decent numbers for the Sixers in 2016/17, putting up 9.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG with a .496/.368/.813 shooting line. However, he fell out of the team’s rotation early in the 2017/18 campaign and was sent to the Nets along with Jahlil Okafor.

In 35 games for Brooklyn, Stauskas averaged 5.1 PPG in 13.7 minutes per contest, with a .404 3PT%. His qualifying offer would have been worth $4,333,932 after he failed to meet the starter criteria.

The Nets did issue a qualifying offer to two-way player Milton Doyle, per Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link). That QO is a one-year, two-way contract offer with $50K guaranteed, and gives Brooklyn the right of first refusal if Doyle signs an offer sheet with another club.