Okaro White

Spurs Waive Okaro White, Nick Johnson

The Spurs have removed a pair of players from their preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived forward Okaro White and guard Nick Johnson.

White, who missed a good chunk of the 2017/18 campaign with a broken foot, was waived by the Cavaliers in August and joined the Spurs for camp. Formerly a member of the Heat, the Florida State alum has appeared in 41 NBA games over the last two seasons for Miami, averaging 2.9 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest.

Johnson, meanwhile, hasn’t played in the NBA since a 28-game stretch with the Rockets during the 2014/15 season. However, he has thrived in the G League, earning NBAGL Finals MVP honors last season for the Austin Spurs. Given the injuries to San Antonio point guards Dejounte Murray and Derrick White this fall, Johnson seemed to have an increased chance of making the Spurs’ roster to start the season, but he’ll hit waivers instead.

San Antonio now has 15 players on standard contracts and one on a two-way deal. I believe Manu Ginobili, who announced his retirement this summer, is also technically still under contract with the team, since his release has yet to show up in the NBA’s transactions logs. If so, the Spurs figure to release him by Monday to finalize their regular season roster.

Spurs Sign Okaro White To Exhibit 10 Deal

The Spurs have made another addition to their training camp roster, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, who tweets that veteran forward Okaro White has signed an Exhibit 10 contract with San Antonio. Per RealGM’s transactions log, the Spurs have also officially completed reported deals with Drew Eubanks, Olivier Hanlan, and Jaron Blossomgame.

White, who signed a two-year contract with the Cavaliers during the final week of the 2017/18 season, was waived by Cleveland in August before the team owed any guaranteed money for that second year. Formerly a member of the Heat, White has appeared in 41 NBA games over the last two seasons for Miami, averaging 2.9 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest.

The Florida State alum, who missed a good chunk of the ’17/18 campaign with a broken foot, talked earlier this year about how he’s still working to mentally get over that injury. It appears he’ll have the opportunity to work on it this fall with San Antonio.

The Spurs now have a full 20-man roster, with 15 players on fully guaranteed salaries, four on non-guaranteed deals, and one (Eubanks) on a two-way pact. However, one of those 15 guaranteed contracts is Manu Ginobili‘s — the club will still need to officially release him at some point after he announced his retirement.

And-Ones: O. White, T. Black, Trail Blazers

Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv appears to be eyeing free agent NBA big men as it looks to fill out its roster for the 2018/19 season. A rumor last week indicated that former Heat and Cavs power forward Okaro White may be nearing a deal with Maccabi, but such an agreement is unlikely to happen, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.

Cauchi reported last week that the Israeli club had interest in former Rockets center Tarik Black, who remains an unrestricted free agent. However, despite rumors that the two sides are closing in on a deal, Black’s agent denies that his client has any sort of agreement in place with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

As we wait to see what’s next for Maccabi, White, and Black, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world….

  • In the latest installments of their Summer Forecast series, ESPN’s panel projects the Eastern and Western Conference standings and champions for the 2018/19 season. While the teams at the top of those lists aren’t surprising, the playoff predictions in the West are noteworthy — ESPN’s panelists have the Spurs and Trail Blazers outside the top eight.
  • The Trail Blazers also show up in Matt John’s list of teams that could regress in 2018/19 in his latest piece for Basketball Insiders. John suggests that the Rockets, Timberwolves, and Sixers could also take a step back.
  • After several years at Yahoo Sports, top NBA reporter Shams Charania is headed to The Athletic. Paul Fichtenbaum of The Athletic conducted a Q&A with Charania about his own free agency decision.
  • Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders weighs in on some of the best one-year contracts of 2018’s free agent period.

International Notes: White, Eriksson, Pasecniks, Radicevic

After being waived by the Cavaliers earlier this week, Okaro White is nearing a deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, according to Stavros Barbarousis of EuroHoops. White has prior overseas experience, playing in Italy and Greece before signing with the Heat in 2016.

He played in 41 games in a season and a half with Miami before being traded to the Hawks at this year’s deadline and then waived on the same day. He signed with the Cavaliers in March, but never made it on the court and was released before a partial guarantee on his 2018/19 salary kicked in. White played seven Summer League games for the Cavs, averaging 6.0 PPG and 7.4 RPG.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Marcus Eriksson, a draft-and-stash player whose rights are owned by the Hawks, re-signed with Herbalife Gran Canaria in Spain, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. A 24-year-old Swedish forward, Eriksson was the 50th player taken in 2015.
  • Anzejs Pasecniks, a 2017 first-rounder whose draft rights are owned by the Sixers, also re-signed with Herbalife Gran Canaria, according to Smith (Twitter link). Orlando took the 7’2″ center with the 25th pick and traded him to Philadelphia.
  • Nikola Radicevic, a second-round selection in 2015, signed with Dolomiti Energia Trento in Italy, Smith adds (Twitter link). The Nuggets own the draft rights to the 24-year-old point guard.
  • Jonathan Holmes, who spent part of last season with Maine in the G League, has signed with Hapoel Tel Aviv, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. He averaged 7.3 PPG and 7.4 PG in 11 games with the Red Claws.

Cavaliers Waive Okaro White

The Cavaliers have waived Okaro White to avoid guaranteeing half of his 2018/19 salary, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

White, who signed a multiyear contract with the Cavs during the final week of the 2017/18 season, had a non-guaranteed salary for the coming year. However, $772,476 of that $1,544,951 salary would have become guaranteed if he had remained under contract through August 5. That essentially made today decision day for the Cavs — according to Vardon, the team asked White if he’d considering pushing his guarantee date back to the start of the regular season, but he declined.

Formerly a member of the Heat, White has appeared in 41 NBA games over the last two seasons for Miami, averaging 2.9 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest.

The Florida State alum, who missed a good chunk of the 2017/18 campaign with a broken foot, talked earlier this month about how he’s still working to mentally get over that injury. If another team is confident that he’s fully healthy, White could get another shot on a training camp invite or a two-way deal.

The Cavaliers have already lined up a replacement for White on their roster, as they’re in the process of finalizing a deal to acquire Sam Dekker from the Clippers.

Cavaliers Notes: Smith, Korver, White, Love

The Cavaliers’ expected deal with free agent guard David Nwaba doesn’t change the status of J.R. Smith or Kyle Korver because both players were already on the trading block, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Appearing on a podcast with Chris Fedor from the same organization, Vardon says the Cavs would like to unload at least one veteran guard to cut down on their cap commitments. Smith will make $14.72MM in the upcoming season and has a $15.68MM player option for 2019/20. Korver has a $7.56MM salary with a $7.5MM player option the following year.

Cleveland is looking for a first-round pick in exchange for Korver, says Vardon, who adds that Philadelphia’s reported offer to swap Jerryd Bayless straight up for Korver wouldn’t have benefited the Cavs.

There’s more news from Cleveland:

  • Today marks a salary guarantee date for Okaro White, Vardon tweets. Half of the $1,544,951 he is owed for the upcoming season will become guaranteed if he isn’t waived by 5pm Eastern time. White, who missed much of last season with a broken foot, didn’t see any game action after signing with the Cavaliers in March, but he was able to play for their Summer League team.
  • LeBron James‘ departure has left Kevin Love as clearly the top talent on the roster, but he shouldn’t try to go back to being the player he was in Minnesota, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Although Love put up impressive numbers with the Timberwolves, averaging 26.1 PPG in his final season there, he was often lazy on defense and was never able to lead that team to the playoffs, Pluto notes. He suggests that Love should embrace the lessons he has learned in four years with the Cavaliers and become an example to younger players of how to play winning basketball.
  • While losing James is obviously a huge step back for the organization, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report identifies a few Cavaliers who could benefit from LeBron’s absence. He states that more playing time and a greater responsibility in the offense should help Love, along with Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood.

Upcoming NBA Salary Guarantee Dates To Watch

Over the last month or so, we’ve seen a number of players traded or waived before their salary guarantees for the 2018/19 season kicked in. Players who sign contracts that feature non-guaranteed salaries in future years often have June or July trigger dates, forcing teams to make decisions fairly early in the offseason — that way, if the player is waived, he’ll still have the opportunity to catch on with a new club well before the new season begins.

We’ve been tracking those decisions using our list of guarantee dates for the summer of 2018. While most of those deadlines are now in the rear-view mirror, a few teams will have decisions to make within the next week.

Here’s a quick rundown of the decision dates to watch this week:

Brandon Jennings (Bucks): $2,222,803 salary becomes guaranteed after August 1.

Jennings’ salary was initially set to become guaranteed if he remained under contract through July 1, and there were reports at the start of the month suggesting he believed that would happen. Instead, the Bucks pushed back his guarantee date until the start of August, giving the team time to assess whether it needed the veteran guard on the roster once it was done making other offseason moves.

The Bucks recently agreed to add Pat Connaughton to their backcourt and haven’t been able to trade Matthew Dellavedova this summer, which may not bode well for Jennings’ roster spot. Even if Milwaukee decides to cut him though, Jennings could return on a new minimum-salary contract at some point — his current deal calls for a $2.22MM cap hit, but the Bucks could give him the same salary on a new one-year contract with a $1.51MM cap charge.

Brandon Paul (Spurs): $1,378,242 salary becomes guaranteed after August 1.

The Spurs tend not to throw in the towel early on developmental projects, preferring to give them time to ease their way into larger roles. Paul only averaged 9.0 minutes per contest last season, but he appeared in 64 games, signaling that San Antonio had enough confidence in him to continue giving him NBA minutes rather than hiding away in the G League. That’s a positive sign for Paul as decision day approaches.

Abdel Nader (Thunder): $1,378,242 salary becomes guaranteed after August 1. Already partially guaranteed for $450,000.

The Thunder went out of their way to acquire Nader from the Celtics in a trade last week even though the young wing already has a partial guarantee of $450K. Oklahoma City’s luxury-tax issues are well documented and the club wouldn’t have traded for him if it didn’t intend to keep him, so Nader looks like a virtual lock to have his full salary guaranteed.

Okaro White (Cavaliers): $1,544,951 salary becomes partially guaranteed for $772,476 after August 5.

White, who missed a good chunk of the 2017/18 season with a broken foot, talked earlier this month about how he’s still working to mentally get over that injury. He was physically healthy enough to play for the Cavaliers‘ Summer League team, but his performance in Las Vegas was a mixed bag. He showed off his energy and rebounding ability with 7.4 RPG in 23.9 minutes per contest, but struggled to put the ball in the basket, averaging just 6.0 PPG on 33.3% shooting.

The Cavs have roster spots to spare and could stick with White, but if they’re still unsure about his place on the roster, they’ll likely waive him by next Sunday to avoid guaranteeing half his salary for 2018/19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavaliers Notes: White, Doncic, Parker, Love

Okaro White has a chance to win a roster spot with the Cavaliers, but first he has to overcome the effects of a broken left foot he suffered in November, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. White’s foot has fully healed, but he is still struggling with the psychological aspects of the injury and admits he’s “babying” it.

“I just gotta get through,” said White, who is part of the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. “I’m old enough, I’m not young anymore, so I gotta get over it [mentally] and try to find a way to showcase my ability.”

White started four games for the Heat before the injury, but it wound up ending his season. He was shipped to the Hawks at the trade deadline, then signed with the Cavs in March, but never took the court for either team. The 25-year-old forward has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 contract for 2018/19.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers passed on an opportunity to trade up on draft night and snag Luka Doncic, Vardon reports in a separate story. A source tells Vardon that Cleveland had an offer from Atlanta that included the No. 3 pick and Kent Bazemore, who will make more than $18MM next season with a $19.27MM option for 2019/20. However, the Cavs wanted Collin Sexton and were confident they could get him at No. 8.
  • With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers should take a gamble on Jabari Parker, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. The second player taken in the 2014 draft, Parker could become a dynamic scorer and rebounder if he can fully bounce back from his second ACL surgery. Swartz suggests Cleveland should use its $8.6MM mid-level exception to offer Parker a two-year contract. That would give him $13.3MM more in guaranteed money than if he accepts his $4.3MM qualifying offer with the Bucks, and it would put him back on the open market in 2020 when he’ll only be 25. Swartz recommends a few other moves for the Cavs, including re-signing Rodney Hood, working out an extension with Larry Nance Jr., trying to trade veterans such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson and taking on unwanted contracts to stockpile draft picks.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests several trades involving Kevin Love, listing the Trail Blazers, Heat, Lakers, Suns and Jazz as possible destinations.

Cavaliers Notes: Nance, Clarkson, Hill, Leonard

The Cavaliers aren’t likely to launch a complete rebuilding project if LeBron James leaves in free agency, writes writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Three of the players Cleveland acquired at this year’s trade deadline — Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and George Hill — are all under contract for next year, and the Cavs want to see what they can do when they’re with the organization from the start of the season.

Cleveland is likely to discuss an extension with Nance, who will make $2.3MM next season on the final year of his rookie contract. Teams have called about trading for Nance, Pluto states, but the Cavaliers seem committed to keeping him. Clarkson struggled in the playoffs, but was a valuable bench scorer during the regular season and the Cavs recognize that this was his first postseason experience. Hill has limited trade value with a $17MM contract.

The future is more unpredictable for Rodney Hood, who seemed like a good young player in Utah but had a miserable time after the trade. Pluto expects the Cavaliers to tender a $3.4MM qualifying offer, giving them the right to match any offer Hood receives in free agency.

There’s more Cavaliers news this morning:

  • Cleveland is among the teams trying to pry Kawhi Leonard away from the Spurs, but assembling a workable offer won’t be easy, Pluto adds in the same story. Kevin Love, who will make $24.1MM next season with a player option close to $25.6MM for 2019/20, would be useful for salary-matching purposes, but San Antonio seems more interested in acquiring young talent than an established player like Love.
  • Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t think LeBron James should let the pursuit of more championships guide his free agency decision, relays Scott Gleeson of USA Today. “My problem toward the end of my career was I was trying to shut everybody up and I was greedy [for more championships],” O’Neal said. “After I got to three [titles], everybody was saying I couldn’t get another. So I got four. After I got the fourth, they were saying I couldn’t get another one. So I was trying to make quick stops to get it. Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston.” O’Neal adds that it will be difficult for James to overcome the Warriors no matter where he goes.
  • James’ decision will dominate the summer, but the Cavs have some under-the-radar moves to make as well, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Cleveland has a team option on veteran center Kendrick Perkins that must be exercised by June 29. His $2.4MM salary for 2018/19 would be non-guaranteed. Okaro White, who was signed late in the season, will get a chance to show what he can do during summer league. Half of his $1.5MM salary for next year will become guaranteed if he is still on the roster Aug. 5.

Cavaliers Notes: Lue, Rotation, White, Blatt

Tyronn Lue is the latest example of a coach who expects his players to keep themselves in top shape, but doesn’t do the same for himself, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Lue returned to the Cavaliers’ sideline Thursday after missing nine games with health-related issues. Twice this season, he hasn’t been able to come out of the locker room for the second half because of his health.

Lue had been experiencing severe anxiety and sleep deprivation. He admitted having a poor diet and not working out to stay fit. Doctors wouldn’t have let Lue start coaching again if they weren’t convinced his physical problems were under control, Pluto adds, but he says Lue and other coaches with access to trainers and healthy meals shouldn’t let themselves get in such bad condition.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs’ playoff rotation is virtually set, with George Hill and Rodney Hood projected to start in the backcourt, alongside LeBron James, Jeff Green and Kevin Love, Pluto adds in the same story. That assumes Hill, who is sidelined with a sprained ankle, can be ready for the start of the playoffs. If not, Jose Calderon will take over. Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance will likely be competing for the final rotation spot.
  • Okaro White‘s new contract includes a non-guaranteed $1.5MM for next season, according to a post from Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. The 25-year-old forward will get a partial guarantee if he is still with the team in early August and a full guarantee if he is on the roster for the season opener. He will earn a little more than $37K for the rest of this season, plus any playoff bonuses the team collects. In addition to reaching the NBA-mandated roster minimum, the main purpose of the deal is to give the Cavs a chance to evaluate White during summer league play.
  • Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt wants to be considered for an NBA job next season, relays Nicola Lupo of Sportando“I want to get a position in the NBA again when this season ends,” Blatt said in an interview with TV channel Tivibu Sport in Turkey. “I want to get another chance in the NBA. If it happens, I’ll be thrilled. If it does not, I’ll still be thrilled because I’ll still be in Europe where I am comfortable and happy.” Blatt has been coaching Darussafaka in the Turkish Super League and the Euroleague since Cleveland fired him midway through the 2015/16 season.