Okaro White

Okaro White Signs 10-Day Deal With Cavaliers

MARCH 19: The Cavs have officially signed White, according to a press release from the team. The signing was finalized on Sunday, so White’s 10-day deal will run through next Tuesday, March 27.

MARCH 18: The Cavaliers will sign forward Okaro White to a 10-day contract, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

White, 25, started the season with the Heat, but played just six games before being traded to the Hawks and then waived last month. He appeared in 35 games for Miami last season and is averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds throughout his career.

The Cavaliers needed to make a roster move to reach the NBA minimum of 14 players. The league permits teams to drop down to 13 for up to two weeks, which is where Cleveland has been since Marcus Thornton‘s 10-day deal expired March 3.

The Cavs are short handed with Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman and Rodney Hood all injured and Kyle Korver away from the team on a family emergency, but have been hesitant to add anyone to the roster because each move increases their tax penalties.

Cavaliers Notes: Lue, White, Calderon, LeBron

For the third time this season, an undisclosed illness has kept Tyronn Lue from coaching, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Lue remained in the locker room after halftime of Saturday’s win over the Bulls as chief assistant Larry Drew ran the team. LeBron James called Lue’s condition one more distraction in a season filled with them.

“I mean he’s the captain of the ship, so absolutely,” James said. “We worry about his health, obviously. That’s way more important than this game of basketball. We know he’s been doing everything he needs to do to stay healthy — [maybe he should] take even more measures to get himself right. Everything that’s been going on with our year, it’s just another one.”

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • Between salary and tax penalties, today’s signing of Okaro White will cost Cleveland about $400K, Vardon tweets. The 10-day contract for the former Heat forward was necessitated by a league rule that allows teams to drop their roster to 13 players for just two weeks at a time.
  • Veteran point guard Jose Calderon continues to be a steady, if often overlooked, producer for the Cavs, notes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. With Kyle Korver tending to a family emergency and Rodney Hood sidelined with back issues, Calderon posted nine points, six assists and seven rebounds Saturday while playing a season-high 36 minutes. Cleveland is 18-8 this year when he starts and 21-10 when he plays at least 10 minutes. “I know everything lately is about stats, but it’s more than that,” said Calderon, who will be a free agent this summer. “Just for me, like I always say since Day 1, my job is to be ready, to help these guys in whatever situation they need.”
  • James, who has a chance to play all 82 games for the first time in his career, seems to be healthier than ever at age 33, relays Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. He no longer takes anti-inflammatory injections for his back and he has gotten past the knee pain that used to force him to take time off during the season. “I’m having a heck of a time playing the game right now no matter who’s in the lineup for us,” James said. “We’re not winning as much as we would like, but we’re still figuring out ways to get wins, which is very tough in this league. We already know that. But the joy of the game is very high for me right now.”

Hawks Waive Okaro White

After acquiring him earlier today from the Heat, the Hawks have requested waivers on forward Okaro White, the team announced today in a press release.

White, 25, appeared in 41 games with the Heat since the start of the 2016/17 season, but has been sidelined for most of this season due to a broken foot. He’ll clear waivers and become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday, but he’ll have to get back to 100% health before resuming his playing career.

By waiving White, the Hawks will open up a roster spot to complete their Sheldon Mac trade with the Wizards. They’ll subsequently release Mac as well, leaving a spot open to sign another player.

Hawks Trade Luke Babbitt To Heat For Okaro White

1:31pm: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Heat. Atlanta intends to waive White, according to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

11:15am: The Hawks will trade veteran forward Luke Babbitt to the Heat for Okaro White, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

This will be a return to Miami for Babbitt, who spent the 2016/17 season there. He signed a one-year, veterans’ minimum contract with the Hawks this summer and is averaging 6.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 37 games.

White is in his second season with the Heat, but has appeared in just six games, spending most of the year in the G League. He also has a minimum deal, so salary matching won’t be a problem.

A larger trade could be in the works as Miami continues to talk with Atlanta about Marco Belinelli, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Belinelli would give the Heat another wing shooter after losing Dion Waiters for the season.

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.