Omari Spellman

And-Ones: Evans, Spellman, Buyouts, Lauvergne, Mathias

The Pelicans’ NBAGL affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, has acquired guard Jacob Evans and forward Omari Spellman to replace Jordan Bell, who was recently called up to the Wizards on a 10-day deal, and Rawle Alkins, whom the BayHawks waived, per Michael Somrak of GLeague.com.

Evans and Spellman will join the BayHawks for the G League’s 2021 season in an Orlando “bubble” campus environment. Evans has logged parts of the last two seasons with the Warriors and Timberwolves. Spellman has played for the Warriors and the Hawks across his two years of NBA action.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic takes an early gander at buyout possibilities around the NBA, two months before most buyouts transpire. Harper expects contenders like the Nets, Lakers, Clippers, Sixers and Bucks to be aggressive in seeking to build out their contending rosters. Harper anticipates the list of available names to potentially include veterans like Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, Pistons point guard Derrick Rose, Hornets center Cody Zeller, Cavs center JaVale McGee, and Bulls forward Otto Porter.
  • Former NBA big man Joffrey Lauvergne has inked a two-year extension with Lithuanian EuroLeague club Žalgiris, the team announced on its site. The deal, which includes a guaranteed season and an option, will keep him under contract through the 2022/23 season. Lauvergne is averaging 11.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.5 APG with Žalgiris. The 6″11″ center/power forward enjoyed NBA stints with the Nuggets, Thunder, Bulls and Spurs, averaging 5.6 PPG (on 47.9% shooting from the floor), 3.8 RPG, and 0.9 APG across 208 total NBA contests.
  • Ex-Sixers shooting guard Dakota Mathias is set to join the Team USA roster for the AmeriCup qualifying tournament for two games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on February 19 and 20, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Fellow NBA alumni Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson will also represent USA Basketball. By benefit of a 4-0 record across prior qualifying contests, Team USA has technically already qualified for the 2022 AmeriCup tournament.

Omari Spellman Headed To G League

The G League will be the next stop for center/power forward Omari Spellman, who started this season with the Knicks, tweets freelance journalist Adam Zagoria. Spellman will be in the “bubble” with the Erie BayHawks, the G League affiliate for the Pelicans, a source tells Zagoria.

The Timberwolves traded Spellman to New York in November and he remained on the Knicks’ roster until January 7, even though he didn’t appear in any games. He was waived so the team could sign Taj Gibson.

Spellman was a first-round pick by the Hawks in 2018 and spent his first NBA season in Atlanta. He was traded to the Warriors in the summer of 2019 and appeared in 49 games for Golden State last year, averaging 7.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He was shipped to Minnesota at last February’s trade deadline, but never suited up for the Wolves before being sent to New York.

Spellman has experienced brief stays in the G League during the past two seasons, averaging 18.6 points and 9.0 rebounds in 10 total games.

Knicks Waive Omari Spellman, Sign Taj Gibson

9:59pm: The Knicks officially announced in a press release that they’ve waived Spellman. The signing of Gibson is also official, per NBA.com’s transactions log.


1:46 pm: The Knicks are waiving big man Omari Spellman to clear room to sign a veteran free agent, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), the club plans to sign Taj Gibson to fill its newly-opened roster spot.

As we detailed earlier today, the Knicks were said to be one of many teams keeping an eye on Gibson, who reportedly worked out for seven clubs, including the Wizards. With Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel, and Spellman all battling injuries, New York had been monitoring the free agent market for help in the frontcourt, eyeing Gibson and Tyson Chandler, among others.

While it’s not official yet, it sounds like the team will reunite with Gibson, who was a Knick in 2019/20 and has played for head coach Tom Thibodeau for much of his NBA career, including in both Chicago and Minnesota. It seems unlikely that Gibson’s new deal will be worth more than the minimum, but the Knicks – armed with $18MM in cap room – certainly have the flexibility to go higher.

Gibson, 35, started 56 of the 62 games he played for New York last season, averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 16.5 minutes per contest. The club reportedly liked the job he did as a veteran mentor for young center Mitchell Robinson.

As for Spellman, the third-year big man came over from Minnesota in an offseason trade that sent Ed Davis to the Timberwolves. He was cited as a possible release candidate in December when the Knicks were mulling the possibility of retaining Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the regular season, and also had his fourth-year team option for 2021/22 declined last month, so it comes as no surprise that he’ll be the odd man out.

Spellman, a former first-round pick who has struggled with conditioning during his NBA career, will still receive his $1.99MM salary for 2020/21, since his contract is fully guaranteed. Having declined his fourth-year option, the Knicks won’t be on the hook for any money beyond this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks, Others Keeping Eye On Taj Gibson

10:06am: Gibson has worked out for seven teams, including the Wizards, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Berman adds that Tyson Chandler is among the free agent big men on the Knicks’ radar and that the team has had some internal discussions about bringing him back.


8:04am: The Knicks waived Taj Gibson back in November before his salary for the 2020/21 season could become fully guaranteed, but the two sides had mutual interest at that time in a possible reunion, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Although the Knicks didn’t re-sign Gibson during the offseason, they’ve continued to keep an eye on the veteran big man and have recently touched base with him, sources tell SNY. According to Begley, New York is one of a handful of clubs keeping Gibson on its radar, as he’s being monitored by “a few contenders.”

Gibson, 35, started 56 of the 62 games he played for the Knicks in 2019/20, averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 16.5 minutes per contest.

According to Begley, some people within the organization like the idea of bringing Gibson back in part because he was viewed as a good mentor for young center Mitchell Robinson — if he returns this season, he could also be a positive influence on rookie Obi Toppin. Of course, Gibson also has a history with Tom Thibodeau, having played for the Knicks’ new head coach in Chicago and Minnesota.

Although the Knicks are off to a surprisingly strong start this season, their frontcourt depth chart is somewhat thin, particularly with Toppin, Nerlens Noel, and Omari Spellman all battling injuries. According to Jonathan Macri of Knicks Film School (Twitter link), the club is eyeing a few other big men in addition to Gibson and may meet with some.

New York currently has a full 15-man roster and would have to waive a player to make room for Gibson or another free agent. Spellman, whose rookie scale option for 2021/22 was turned down last month, would probably be the most obvious release candidate in that scenario.

Knicks Exercise Contract Options On Barrett, Knox

The Knicks have exercised their 2021/22 contract options on recent lottery picks RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox, the team’s PR department tweets.

Barrett, the third pick of last year’s draft, will make approximately $8.6MM in his third season. Knox, chosen ninth in the 2018 draft, will make $5.85MM in his fourth season during the 2021/22 campaign.

Barrett was the third-leading scorer among rookies last season at 14.3 PPG in 30.4 MPG while appearing in 56 games.

Knox’s playing time and production regressed dramatically in his second season, but the Knicks’ new regime thinks enough of him to lock in his salary through the next two seasons. He has averaged 9.9 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 140 career games.

Notably, the Knicks’ announcement didn’t mention recently-acquired big man Omari Spellman, the team’s other player with a 2021/22 rookie scale option. New York has until December 29 to make a decision on Spellman, but teams generally announce all their exercised options at once, so the team may be declining that one.

Atlantic Notes: MKG, Spellman, Sixers, Nets, Durant

The Knicks have 15 players with guaranteed salaries for the 2020/21 season, which means that – on paper – their roster for the regular season appears set. However, if the team wants to hang onto veteran forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, whose deal isn’t guaranteed, one of those 15 others will have to be traded or released.

“You know who (Kidd-Gilchrist) is and he’s trying to find a way onto the roster,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said over the weekend, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Michael’s always been a terrific competitor. Health comes first, we want him healthy and then we’ll go from there.”

It’s not clear yet whether the Knicks are committed to getting Kidd-Gilchrist – who has missed the first two preseason games with an illness – onto the regular season roster. But if he makes the team, Omari Spellman appears to be a candidate to be waived to make room, sources tell Bondy.

Spellman was dealt to New York last month along with Jacob Evans and a second-round pick in exchange for Ed Davis. That trade appeared to be mostly about the future draft pick for the Knicks, who have already cut Evans.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic liked the Sixers‘ offseason moves, which created better fits on the roster while giving the team more long-term cap flexibility. However, he still wants to see proof that the team can be more than the sum of its parts rather than less, as it was last season.
  • With a left knee contusion sidelining Caris LeVert for the Nets‘ preseason opener on Sunday, Spencer Dinwiddie got the start in his place. Head coach Steve Nash isn’t sure whether or not that arrangement might become permanent, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “Caris is a starter. Will he start for us? I’m not sure,” Nash said. “He’s so good with the ball in his hands. There’s a case to be made that he plays that (Manu) Ginobili role, where he’s clearly a starter. Manu played in All-Star games, started on the bench, ran the second unit and closed games.”
  • Kyrie Irving‘s return and Kevin Durant‘s debut for the Nets on Sunday couldn’t have gone much better, says Lewis in a separate New York Post story. While Durant didn’t quite look like peak KD, he score 15 points in 24 minutes and said after the game that he felt healthy, calling it a “good first step.”

Knicks Trade Ed Davis To Wolves For Spellman, Evans, Pick

NOVEMBER 24: The Timberwolves have officially acquired Davis from the Knicks in exchange for Spellman, Evans, and a future draft pick, the team confirmed today in a press release. According to the Wolves, the pick going to the Knicks is Minnesota’s 2026 second-rounder.


NOVEMBER 22: The Knicks will trade big man Ed Davis to the Timberwolves for big man Omari Spellman, shooting guard Jacob Evans and the rights to a future second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Evans and Spellman, sent by the Warriors to Minnesota at the 2020 deadline as part of the D’Angelo RussellAndrew Wiggins deal, will earn a combined $4MM in 2020/21. Davis, meanwhile, is set to make $5MM this season.

Given the added money and the fact that the Timberwolves are surrendering a draft asset in the deal, it looks as if the Wolves like Davis and intend to retain him. At just 31 years old, the athletic journeyman could help spell sharpshooting star center Karl-Anthony Towns.

Davis had career-lows in minutes (10.8 MPG in just 28 games), points (1.8 PPG) and rebounds (3.8 RPG) during his 2019/20 season with the Jazz. Utah agreed to send him to New York earlier this week in a salary-dump deal.

Considering that the Knicks acquired two 2023 second-round draft picks for taking on Davis’ salary originally, it is impressive that the club has now added a third second-round draft pick in moving off his salary.

With these new additions, the Knicks now have 16 players on their roster, aside from their two-way players. Marc Berman of the New York Post has said the Knicks like Spellman, but it’s not clear whether or not Evans will be retained.

Luke Adams contributed to this report.

Atlantic Notes: Rose, Hayward, Brown, Spellman

New Knicks president Leon Rose has exuded patience during free agency with an eye toward next offseason’s potentially star-studded free agent class, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Though the Knicks had some interest in Fred VanVleet and Gordon Hayward, they were not going to shell out the money and multi-year contracts that those top-level free agents received. New York could still trade for Russell Westbrook if the Rockets’ asking price drops but Rose isn’t inclined to make any panic moves, Popper adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Hayward posted a message on Twitter, thanking Celtics fans for their support during his three seasons there.I know there were some ups and downs, but I will always cherish my experience in Boston. I am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to wear a Celtics uniform and play in front of the Garden faithful,” said Hayward, who also posted a tweet about his excitement to play for the Hornets.
  • The Nets are looking at Bruce Brown as a defensive stopper, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Brown was acquired from the Pistons in a three-team deal and slots in as a combo guard. “Bruce, we’ve talked about adding some defensive players,” Nets GM Sean Marks said. “A toughness, a mindset, that’s what we’ll certainly be looking for in Bruce.”
  • The Knicks will retain big man Omari Spellman and he’s got a pretty good shot to make the opening-night roster, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. New York has an agreement to acquire Spellman, shooting guard Jacob Evans and the rights to a future second-round pick from the Timberwolves in exchange for Ed Davis. Berman’s note indicates Spellman’s salary wasn’t simply thrown in to make a trade work.

In-Market Bubble Updates: Pistons, Wolves, Cavs

As the NBA’s bottom eight teams gear up to conduct group workouts starting next week, the Pistons have 15 players in attendance for the first phase of their in-market bubble. However, that 15-man group includes five G Leaguers, with a number of notable names from the NBA roster absent.

As Eric Woodyard of ESPN details, head coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday that Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, and Langston Galloway aren’t participating.

“All of our young guys are here. Derrick Rose and Blake are not here, which is totally understandable,” Casey said. “Both are working out, and it’s nothing physical. They’re both 100 percent. Blake’s working out in LA, and Derrick is in and out of town.”

As for Wood and Galloway, both players are set to reach unrestricted free agency this fall, so Casey said he understood why they’d be reluctant to participate in workouts with the club over the next few weeks.

“We’re not reading anything into that either way,” Casey said, per Woodyard. “So it’s just something I totally get because if I’m a free agent, I wouldn’t attend anyway to the team you’re not under contract with.”

Here’s more on those mini-camps taking part in “bubbles” across the country:

  • The majority of the Timberwolves‘ key players, including Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and restricted free agent Malik Beasley, are participating in their in-market bubble, as are G Leaguers Canyon Barry and Lindell Wigginton (Twitter link via Woodyard). Free-agent-to-be Evan Turner, Omari Spellman, and Juan Hernangomez won’t be in attendance. Hernangomez is an RFA and is currently overseas, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), while Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that Spellman’s camp is hoping to find the big man a new home.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com provides details on the Cavaliers‘ in-market bubble plans for the next two-and-a-half weeks, with group practices set to begin next Wednesday. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, both eligible for free agency, won’t attend, but G Leaguers Levi Randolph, Marques Bolden and Vince Edwards have been invited to participate.
  • A personal matter will also prevent center Andre Drummond from attending the Cavaliers‘ mini-camp, though he wanted to be there, sources tell Fedor. “He’s been pretty engaged in everything,” one source said of Drummond. “It’s not like he’s gone dark. He wanted to be there. It’s nothing malicious. It’s not a sign or anything like that. It’s not going to cause a rift.”
  • The NBA sent a memo to the league’s bottom eight teams warning them that if they “require or coerce” players to participate in the optional workouts, they’ll be subject to league punishment, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/19/20

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Also on the transactions log: