Okaro White

Okaro White Suffers Broken Bone In Foot

Heat forward Okaro White is out indefinitely after breaking a bone in his left foot during Tuesday’s practice, the team announced in a tweet. Surgery is set for Thursday for White, who fractured his fifth metatarsal.

The second-year player has appeared in just six games this season, but started four times in late October and early November. He is averaging 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per night.

“It just kills you when you see something like this happen,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “He’ll be back, he has a lot of resiliency.” (Twitter link)

The Heat still have their $4.3MM room exception available, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks, but they would have to clear a roster spot to use it (Twitter link). Miami is already missing swingman Rodney McGruder, who had surgery last month on a left tibia stress fracture.

And-Ones: Lottery Ideas, White, BIG3

While the NBA recently voted to approve changes to the league’s draft lottery rules, Mavs owner Mark Cuban had a pair of other ideas to dissuade teams from tanking. Neither gained traction but the details that Cuban shared with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon are admittedly intriguing.

One of Cuban’s proposals would see the NBA draft eliminated outright with teams, instead, getting an allotted budget from the league to sign draft eligible players as free agents. The teams with the worse records would have the biggest budgets but wouldn’t necessarily be a lock to land the top talent if they don’t position themselves as an appealing destination.

The team with the worst record gets the most money and the team with the best record gets the least money,” Cuban said. “It’s like a free agency. It makes it a lot harder to tank because you don’t know if you get the best players if you’re horrible all the time. Nobody liked that at all, not a single person.

Cuban pitched the idea to the league’s board of governors but the concept didn’t have much of an impact.

The other idea that Cuban had was to lock the team with the worst record into a single draft position, potentially third or fourth. Doing so, Cuban argues, would give teams incentive to compete down the stretch to ensure that they didn’t finish the regular season with the worst record. By avoiding finishing 30th of all 30 teams, a team would effectively keep their chances of snagging the top pick in the draft alive.

Tuck the two Cuban ideas up on a shelf beside The Wheel for future speculation, however, considering that the league moved quickly and enthusiastically to adopts its relatively modest rejigging of the traditional draft lottery format.

There’s more news from around the league:

  • The NBA didn’t set a record for international players on opening day rosters but it came close. A total of 108 international players from 42 countries suited up for Game 1, Michael Yuan of ESPN writes, that’s down from 113 international players from 41 countries in 2016/17.
  • The G League returning rights to Heat forward Okaro White were acquired by the Long Island Nets in a trade with the Memphis Hustle, a press release on the Nets’ affiliate’s site reports.
  • The BIG3 will expand its rosters ahead of its second season of operation, the league announced. This year teams will have one additional slot for a co-captain… which could come in handy.

G League Notes: Bolomboy, E. Millsap, Tavares

The 2017 NBA G League draft will take place on Saturday, and former Jazz forward Joel Bolomboy is expected to be the first overall pick, a source tells Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside (Twitter link).

Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, made a trade earlier today with the Iowa Wolves that saw the Suns acquire the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for the returning rights to Elijah Millsap, among other pieces. However, Schmidt suggests (via Twitter) that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that first overall pick change hands again in the next 24 hours.

Here are a few more G League notes and updates, with a focus on more former NBA players like Bolomboy and Millsap:

  • Edy Tavares, whose returning rights are held by the Raptors 905, is headed back to the G League after being waived by Cleveland, according to a report from Gigantes (English link via Sportando).
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, sent a first-round pick to the Long Island Nets in exchange for R.J. Hunter‘s returning rights. Hunter, a former first-round pick, intends to suit up for the Vipers, his agent confirms to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link).
  • The Long Island Nets acquired the returning rights to Okaro White and Jamaal Franklin in a trade with the Memphis Hustle, according to a press release. White is still on the Heat‘s NBA roster and recently had his 2017/18 salary guaranteed, so Brooklyn’s affiliate seems unlikely to get its hands on him this season.
  • The Texas Legends, the affiliate of the Mavericks, has acquired Will Bynum‘s returning rights, suggesting the veteran guard could join the organization for the G League season, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was in camp with New Orleans earlier this month, had his returning rights traded to the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, per a team release. “Cliff is a highly-skilled big man who is among the best in the league at his position,” Herd GM Dave Dean said in a statement. “He has a tremendous upside and we are excited to add him to the Wisconsin Herd family.”

Heat’s McGruder, White Get Salary Guarantees

The Heat are guaranteeing the 2017/18 salaries for a pair of second-year players, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, who reports that Rodney McGruder and Okaro White will receive full guarantees for the season.

Both McGruder and White are in their second NBA seasons and have minimum salary contracts worth $1,312,611. Those contracts had only been partially guaranteed for about $453K before today, per Basketball Insiders.

As Basketball Insiders’ data indicates, both players were in line to have their salaries guaranteed if they remained on the roster through the first game of the regular season. We interpreted that as the Heat’s first game, listing an October 18 deadline on our salary guarantees calendar, but Winderman’s report suggests that both players are safe and already in line for their full guarantees.

Although McGruder and White received some good news in relation to their contracts, both players will be unable to play for the Heat in tonight’s season opener. White, who is battling a sprained left shoulder, expects to be back soon, as he tells Winderman. However, McGruder recently underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg and will likely be sidelined for a few months.

The Heat now have 15 players on fully guaranteed salaries for 2017/18.

Heat Notes: Winslow, Olynyk, Adebayo, Wade

For a team that brought back nearly all its key players over the offseason, the Heat head into training camp with a lot of unanswered questions. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines position battles and several other topics in his latest column:

  • The starting small forward position will be wide open when camp begins Tuesday, with Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder all having a shot at it. The Heat exercised their fourth-year option on Winslow this week as the former first-rounder tries to battle back from a shoulder injury that limited him to 18 games last season. Miami was only 3-12 when he started last year and he wasn’t part of the team’s surge after the All-Star break. Richardson, who received a four-year extension this week, came into the league as a guard, but played 80% of his minutes last season at forward.
  • James Johnson is the favorite to start at power forward, but free agent addition Kelly Olynyk will be an intriguing addition because of his outside shooting. Olynyk shoots .368 from 3-point range for his career, compared to .296 for Johnson, although he raised that number to 34% last season. Olynyk, who was used mainly in a reserve role in Boston, will see plenty of minutes in Miami whether he starts or not.
  • Johnson, Olynyk and Hassan Whiteside will take up most of the center/power forward opportunities, leaving little for first-round pick Bam Adebayo, whom the Heat believe has a bright future. Winslow may also be utilized as a stretch four in small-ball lineups, so Adebayo will need a strong showing in camp to earn playing time.
  • Okaro White and Jordan Mickey are likely to make the roster, with A.J. Hammons holding a slight edge for the 15th spot. However, the Heat have concerns about Hammons’ work ethic and he will be challenged by shooting guard Matt Williams. Former Michigan point guard Derrick Walton has been impressive over the summer, but he has a two-way contract and can’t spend more than 45 days in the NBA.
  • The front office isn’t unanimous in wanting Dwyane Wade back if he agrees to a buyout with the Bulls. There are concerns about his defense at age 35, and the Heat already have five guards who can make a case for playing time.

And-Ones: G League Expansion, Mayo, Van Gundy

The G League held its expansion draft to accommodate for the association’s four new franchises and Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days has broken down the results, recapping the nuances of the developmental league’s various processes.

As Reichert lays out, teams made their bids for each player’s returning rights for a period of two seasons. What that means is that the G League clubs will effectively reserve those players should they ever find themselves back in the league. Many currently ply their trade either for NBA squads or for teams overseas.

The current NBA crop selected in the G League expansion draft is headlined by Sean Kilpatrick and Okaro White. The big league rotation players, however, are unlikely to return to the G League, at least in 2017/18, rendering them ineffective selections.

There’s more from around the NBA:

  • Speaking of G League peculiarities, the Oklahoma City Blue (the G League affiliate of the Thunder) made a trade with the SLC Stars (Jazz affiliate) for the rights to Marcus Paige but, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer explains, Paige will actually suit up for the Greensboro Swarm (Hornets affiliate). Earlier this month the Hornets signed Paige to a two-way deal and that supersedes whichever team owns his G League rights.
  • With one more year left on his suspension, former Bucks guard O.J. Mayo could consider a gig in the G League, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways, 10 Days opines. There is, however, no guarantee that he would be permitted to do so.
  • It’s been a decade since he coached the Rockets, which makes Jeff Van Gundy‘s return to the bench with Team USA all that much more exciting. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently spoke with Van Gundy about his role with the USA Basketball World Cup qualifying team.

Southeast Notes: Gortat, White, Stone, Speights

Marcin Gortat, who expressed doubt about his future with the Wizards during his exit interview in May, now says he’s fully committed to the team, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. Gortat, who usually spends summers in Poland, joined the team for its informal summer mini-camp this year. Now in his fifth season with the team, Gortat is signed through the 2018/19 season.

“First of all, I knew it right away that I would be coming back,” Gortat said this week on the Wizards TipOff Podcast. “I still have a contract and at the end of the day, I’m a Wizards player. I still have two fully guaranteed years. When I went for the exit interview, I was just preparing myself for the worst. You’ve gotta be ready in this business. You’ve gotta be ready that one day you might get a phone call saying that ‘Hey, I appreciate everything that you did, but we’re going to go in a different direction and trade you.’ I’ve been traded twice in my life. I know how it is. So, at the exit interview I just said I was going to talk to my agent and whatever is going to happen. That doesn’t mean I wanted to be traded.”

There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat will have to keep Okaro White on their 15-man roster if they want to retain his rights, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The power forward appeared in 35 games for the Heat last season, but spent much of the season with the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls. White was claimed Wednesday in the G League expansion draft by the Memphis Hustle, the new affiliate of the Grizzlies. Because White has a guarantee of more than $50K, he cannot be deemed an affiliate player if he gets cut by Miami. He would have to either report to the Hustle or play overseas.
  • New Hornets guard Julyan Stone has an agreement not to discuss the details of his release from his Italian team, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Umana Reyer in Venice agreed to let Stone out of his contract so he could return to the United States to be closer to his ailing father.
  • Joining the Magic fulfills a long-time dream for Florida native Marreese Speights, relays Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. The nine-year veteran has been far from home recently, spending the past four seasons with the Warriors and Clippers. He is excited about the opportunity after signing a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with Orlando last month. “The arena is an hour and 20 minutes from my house in St. Pete,” Speights said. “I grew up watching them; I became a big fan of them as a kid and that’s when I fell in love with the game. I’ve always wanted to play for the Magic. This is a dream come true.”

2017 NBA G League Expansion Draft Results

The NBA G League conducted its expansion draft today, allowing the league’s four new franchises to add the returning rights to 11 players apiece. The league’s previously-existing 22 teams had been permitted to retain the rights to nine players each, leaving the rest of their players unprotected and free to be drafted, though no team can lose more than two players. Adam Johnson recently outlined the full details of the expansion draft process in a piece for 2 Ways & 10 Days.

The G League’s four new teams this year are affiliates for the Hawks (Erie BayHawks), Grizzlies (Memphis Hustle), Bucks (Wisconsin Herd), and Clippers (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario). The Erie BayHawks have been in the G League for years but are technically an expansion team since the old iteration of the BayHawks was purchased by the Magic and moved to Lakeland, Florida — the Lakeland Magic will retain returning rights for former BayHawks players.

The players added today by the G League’s four expansion teams won’t necessarily play for them this season — in fact, it’s not all that common for expansion draftees to suit up for their new clubs. Many of those players will try to catch on with an NBA team or will end up playing overseas, if they’re not already on an NBA or international roster. Still, the expansion draft gives the G League’s new teams some assets as they start to build their rosters for the coming season.

Listed below are the results of today’s expansion draft, per the G League’s official announcement. The player’s former G League team is noted in parentheses, and picks are ordered by round. The teams will hold their players’ rights for the next two seasons:

Erie BayHawks (Hawks)

  1. DeAndre Daniels (Raptors 905)
  2. Sean Kilpatrick (Delaware 87ers)*
  3. Ronald Roberts (Reno Bighorns)
  4. Terran Petteway (Maine Red Claws)
  5. Casey Prather (Windy City Bulls)
  6. Jordan Crawford (Grand Rapids Drive)*
  7. Jordan Sibert (Iowa Energy)
  8. Beau Beech (Long Island Nets)
  9. Raphiael Putney (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  10. Luke Harangody (Lakeland Magic)
  11. Will Bynum (Windy City Bulls)

Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies)

  1. Marquis Teague (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  2. Okaro White (Sioux Falls Skyforce)*
  3. D.J. Stephens (Iowa Energy)
  4. Omari Johnson (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  5. Jamaal Franklin (Long Island Nets)
  6. Adonis Thomas (Grand Rapids Drive)
  7. Manny Harris (Texas Legends)
  8. Mark Tyndale (Reno Bighorns)
  9. Jordon Crawford (Canton Charge)
  10. Jimmer Fredette (Westchester Knicks)
  11. Terrence Drisdom (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Wisconsin Herd (Bucks)

  1. Vince Hunter (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  2. Gracin Bakumanya (Northern Arizona Suns)
  3. Perry Ellis (Greensboro Swarm)
  4. Corey Walden (Maine Red Claws)
  5. Josh Davis (Greensboro Swarm)
  6. Michael Dunigan (Canton Charge)
  7. Jarvis Summers (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  8. James Siakam (Raptors 905)
  9. Kyle Casey (Northern Arizona Suns)
  10. Cady Lalanne (Austin Spurs)
  11. Tyler Harvey (Lakeland Magic)

Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers)

  1. Andre Dawkins (Texas Legends)
  2. Bryce Cotton (Oklahoma City Blue)
  3. Corey Hawkins (Delaware 87ers)
  4. Will Cummings (Delaware 87ers)
  5. J.J. O’Brien (Salt Lake City Stars)
  6. Jamil Wilson (South Bay Lakers)
  7. Keith Steffeck (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  8. Julian Jacobs (South Bay Lakers)
  9. Aaron Craft (Salt Lake City Stars)
  10. Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Westchester Knicks)
  11. Youssou Ndoye (Austin Spurs)

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are currently on an NBA roster. If they remain under contract and are assigned to the G League, they would join their current NBA team’s affiliate.

Latest On NBA’s Summer Salary Guarantee Dates

The Heat didn’t make any roster moves with Rodney McGruder or Okaro White on Tuesday, ensuring that both players remain under contract and received partial guarantees on their contracts for 2017/18, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

As Basketball Insiders details, McGruder and White are on minimum salary deals worth $1,312,611 for the coming season. By remaining with the Heat through August 1, both players are now in line for about $453K in guaranteed money. Their full salaries will become guaranteed if they stay under contract through the first game of the regular season.

Meanwhile, as we noted last night, the Hornets also kept Johnny O’Bryant on their roster beyond his August 1 salary guarantee deadline, making his $1,524,305 minimum salary fully guaranteed.

Other players, including Jordan Crawford of the Pelicans and Bryn Forbes of the Spurs, had August 1 salary guarantee deadlines in their contracts as well, per Basketball Insiders’ data. However, we haven’t received confirmation that their guarantees are locked in.

Neither Crawford nor Forbes was waived, but teams and players can sometimes agree to push back guarantee dates to create more flexibility for the club — the Trail Blazers recently did just that with Pat Connaughton, whose salary guarantee deadline is now August 31 instead of July 25.

For more details on which players have received salary guarantees this summer – as well as which players have been waived before those guarantees kicked in – be sure to check out our full breakdown.

Southeast Notes: Magic, McGruder, Wizards, Howard

Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman focused on versatile players who can play multiple positions in free agency, John Denton of the Magic’s website writes. Despite limited flexibility, the Magic struck quickly when the Spurs renounced their rights to Jonathon Simmons. Orlando also added center Marreese Speights, point guard Shelvin Mack and shooting guard Arron Afflalo to team-friendly deals, Denton continues. That improves the team’s depth and gives coach Frank Vogel a better chance to make in-game adjusments, Denton adds.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are likely to retain shooting guard Rodney McGruder and forward Okaro White and give them guaranteed money, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Both players will receive $453K if they remain on the roster by the end of the business day on Tuesday.  They each have $1.3MM contracts for next season amount but the guarantees are equal to half of what each player would have received for the 2017/18 season under the previous NBA veteran-minimum scale, Winderman explains.
  • The Wizards are comfortable with their decision to retain small forward Otto Porter and exceed the luxury-tax apron, Chase Hughes of MidAtlantic.com reports. Porter’s four-year, $106MM contract currently puts the team on course to pay $11.4MM in luxury tax but majority owner Ted Leonsis is willing to do that for a playoff team, as he told Hughes. “You have to be in the tax, but you’re keeping the team together,” he said. “That was a worthwhile thing to do.”
  • Dwight Howard‘s familiarity with Hornets coach Steve Clifford will help Howard focus on defense next season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer opines. Clifford coached Howard with the Magic and Lakers and knows how to dole out constructive criticism to the enigmatic center, Bonnell explains.
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