Omari Johnson

Grizzlies Release Omari Johnson

The Grizzlies have waived forward Omari Johnson, per an official release from the team. Johnson signed a multiyear deal, his first in the NBA, with Memphis late in the 2017/18 season, but his salary for this upcoming season was non-guaranteed, meaning the Grizzlies won’t be on the hook for any of his 2018/19 salary.

Johnson, 29, came off the bench in four games with the Grizzlies as a rookie last season and averaged 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 18.8 minutes per game.

He began the 2017/18 season as a member of the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, where he appeared in 44 games and averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Johnson also previously spent time with the G League’s Maine Red Claws and internationally with C.B. Valladolid of the Liga ACB after being undrafted out of Oregon State in 2011.

Grizzlies Notes: Pera, Transactions, NBA Draft

The working assumption around the NBA is that Robert Pera will retain ownership of the Grizzlies franchise, Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal tweets. The scribe cites comments made by Marc Stein of The New York Times in a recent podcast.

As we covered last month, Pera is expected to have the opportunity to buy out minority stakeholders Steve Kaplan and Daniel Straus after they triggered a clause in the purchase agreement that forced him to either buy them out or sell at a valuation of their choosing.

Herrington also relays that if Pera remains in control of the franchise, J.B. Bickerstaff is a decent bet to retain the head coaching job.

There’s more out of Memphis tonight:

Grizzlies Sign Omari Johnson, Cut Marquis Teague

The Grizzlies have made a roster change today, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed forward Omari Johnson to a multiyear contract. To create an opening on the roster, Memphis has waived guard Marquis Teague.

Johnson, 28, went undrafted out of Oregon State in 2011 and has played for a variety of professional teams since then, spending time in Canada, Spain, and Lithuania, as well as in the G League. This season, the 6’9″ forward has played for the Grizzlies’ NBAGL affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, averaging 16.5 PPG and 6.4 RPG with a .460/.418/.824 shooting line in 44 games.

Johnson’s salary for 2018/19 will be non-guaranteed, notes Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (Twitter link).

As for Teague, he only signed his rest-of-season deal with the Grizzlies three days ago, so his stint on a standard contract didn’t last long. Memphis may have preferred to get a longer look at a forward instead of Teague this summer after signing another guard – MarShon Brooks – to a multiyear deal today. Or the Grizzlies may have simply wanted to reward Teague with an NBA salary despite him not being a part of their long-term plans.

It’s also worth noting, according to Wallace (Twitter links), that the Grizzlies will be without forwards Jarell Martin (ankle) and Chandler Parsons (knee) for the season’s final four games, creating a need for some frontcourt depth. Wayne Selden (knee) will miss the rest of the season too, Wallace notes.

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.

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Blazers Waive Phil Pressey, Omari Johnson

The Blazers have waived Phil Pressey and Omari Johnson, the team announced. Both had non-guaranteed deals. The moves leave Portland with 15 players, the regular season limit. Thus, Tim Frazier, Cliff Alexander and Luis Montero are in position to make the regular season roster despite the lack of full guarantees on their contracts, though the team can make additional moves between now and Monday before setting its roster for opening night. A dozen other Blazers have fully guaranteed salaries, as our roster count shows.

Pressey and Frazier were seemingly in a head-to-head battle for the third point guard job, as Jason Quick of CSNNW.com detailed. The 24-year-old Pressey, who signed with Portland shortly after the Celtics waived him this summer, averaged 4.8 points, 2.0 assists and 1.0 turnover in 16.4 minutes per game across four preseason appearances. Frazier, also 24, put up 5.0 points, 2.8 assists and 1.5 turnovers in 14.7 minutes per contest in his four preseason games. He’s one of the few holdovers on the Blazers roster from the end of last season.

Johnson, on his first NBA contract after going undrafted out of Oregon State in 2011, appeared to be much more of a long shot to make the Blazers opening night roster. The 25-year-old combo forward averaged 2.3 points in 5.9 minutes per game across four preseason contests.

Northwest Notes: Aldridge, Faried, Durant

Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said that the team has moved on from the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs this summer, and that he is excited for what the future holds for the franchise, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian relays. When asked if he felt betrayed by Aldridge, Allen said, “No. I think LaMarcus had a lot of options. We went down to Dallas, [GM] Neil [Olshey] and I pitched him and he chose to go a different direction. We made it to his last few choices and he was good enough to call me up and explain his decision and all that. It’s tough for a franchise, because we were all thinking that we had a real shot at getting him back. But in the end, he chose to go a different direction and now it’s a new day. We’ve moved on and I think you can feel the excitement and the energy in the gym now.

Allen said he enjoys the process of developing younger players, which makes the team’s current transitional period easier on him, Freeman adds. “It’s always a transition. I’m always trying to figure out how many times we’ve done a rebuild here. I think three. But you guys will probably correct me on that, I’m sure. I probably, more than a lot of owners, enjoy seeing young players develop. Always have. Always will. And that’s also been a hallmark of other teams like the Seahawks that I’ve been involved with. So seeing young players develop and I think if you watch some of the players that Neil has brought in here, we’ve been very lucky to be able to bring those in and be able to pivot from being a playoff team to being a team that’s going through a transition to hopefully being back in the playoffs before too long. So we’ll see.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The deals that Talib Zanna, Dez Wells, and Julyan Stone signed with the Thunder are all one-year, minimum salary arrangements that include no guaranteed salary, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Omari Johnson‘s pact with the Blazers is a one year deal for the league minimum and includes no guaranteed salary, Pincus relays (via Twitter).
  • Difficulties between Kenneth Faried and former coach Brian Shaw negatively impacted the forward’s performance for the Nuggets last season, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post writes. If you don’t have a coach that believes in you, then what’s the point of going out there and playing?” Faried said. “If your coach doesn’t have faith in you and puts you out in the fire against all these great players, you’re going to get torched.
  • Kevin Durant is a fan of new Thunder coach Billy Donovan, Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman tweets. Of Donovan, Durant said, “Great basketball mind, but more importantly, a better person. We’ve hit it off.” With Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, any added incentive for him to remain in Oklahoma City is certainly a boon for the franchise.
  • After a breakout season in 2014/15 for the Jazz, Gordon Hayward needs to become a better closer at the end of games in order to take his next step forward as a star player, Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune write.

Blazers Sign Omari Johnson

The Trail Blazers released their official training camp roster, and it indicates that Portland has signed forward Omari Johnson, whose name appears on the team’s official rundown of players. No details regarding his contract have been reported, though it is likely a minimum salary arrangement that includes little or no guaranteed salary, but that is merely my speculation.

Johnson, 25, went undrafted out of Oregon State back in 2011 after averaging 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds as a senior. His career NCAA numbers were 6.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 0.7 assists to accompany a slash line of .418/.293/.600. The 6’9″ forward spent the 2014/15 campaign playing for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate in Maine where he made 49 appearances, and notched averages of 15.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.3 APG in 26.2 minutes per night.

The addition of Johnson increases Portland’s preseason roster count to 18 players, including 13 possessing fully guaranteed salaries.