Perry Jones III

Jazz Host 32 Free Agents At Veteran Mini-Camp

The Jazz are hosting a veteran mini-camp on Friday and Saturday, with 32 players set to participate in the event, the team announced in a press release.

While the list of participants isn’t exactly star-studded, there are a handful of intriguing names, including several players who have spent time in NBA training camps and some who have played in regular season games. Lavoy Allen, K.J. McDaniels, Diamond Stone, Jarrod Uthoff, and Mike Tobey are among the free agents at Utah’s mini-camp who have logged NBA minutes.

While many of the participants in this weekend’s mini-camp won’t ever play in an NBA game, the event has paid dividends for the Jazz in the past. As Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes, Royce O’Neale made a strong impression on the franchise during a free agent mini-camp in 2016, which eventually led to O’Neale signing a contract with Utah last summer and becoming a key part of the rotation in 2017/18.

“We tried to get him that summer (2016), tried to sign him but he decided to go to Spain and made the right choice for him because he got better over there and it ended up working out in the long run for him,” Jazz director of scouting Bart Taylor said. “Royce is a great story and we like to say it puts pressure on us to find another one.”

Taylor is optimistic about identifying another future contributor among this year’s group.

“There’s some good talent out here,” Taylor said. “I like to joke with all our guys and say there’s three or four guys out here that’ll play in the NBA, but you’ve got to find them. So there’s definitely a few guys out here that we like, a lot of guys actually that we really like but we’re just trying to see how they do over the course of the three practices and hopefully one of them does turn into Royce.”

Here’s the full list of participants for Utah’s free agent mini-camp:

And-Ones: Bennett, Evans, P. Jones, Varejao

After being waived by the Suns last month, Anthony Bennett is back in the G League to earn another shot at the NBA, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star-Tribune. The top pick in the 2013 draft, Bennett had a brief and checkered career, spending a year each with the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, then partial seasons with the Raptors and Nets.

At age 24, Bennett is with the Suns’ affiliate in Northern Arizona and believes he can work his way back to the big leagues. “I guess my focus is different,” he said. “I wouldn’t say this is my last chance, but, you know, I just have to prove to everybody that I can play.”

There’s more news from the G League and overseas:

  • Jeremy Evans, best known as the winner of the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contest, signed a G League contract and was claimed off waivers by the Reno Bighorns, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. Evans, who played five seasons for the Jazz and one with the Mavericks, was waived by the Hawks before the start of the season. He played in Russia last season.
  • Perry Jones III, a first-round pick in 2012, has signed a G League contract and will join the Iowa Wolves, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Jones, who spent three years in Oklahoma City after the Thunder selected him with the No. 28 pick, has previous experience with the Iowa franchise, along with a one-game stay in Russia.
  • Brazilian center Anderson Varejao may finish his career in his home country, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. Varejao, 35, had been hoping to return to the NBA, but is now considering an offer from the Flamengo team in Brazil. He was waived by the Warriors in February.

Pelicans Waive Perry Jones, Cliff Alexander

The Pelicans have made a pair of cuts, according to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, who reports (via Twitter) that the club has waived Perry Jones and Cliff Alexander.

Jones, a former Thunder first-round pick, got off to a decent start in the preseason for the Pelicans, picking up 10 points and seven rebounds against his old team in Oklahoma City. However, in his next two games, Perry went scoreless in 17 total minutes.

A Kansas product, Alexander averaged 2.0 PPG and 3.8 RPG in limited minutes in four preseason games.

The Pelicans are now at 17 players, with 15 on NBA contracts and two on two-way deals, so they’re all set for the regular season. Since New Orleans doesn’t have a G League affiliate, Jones and Alexander will have to look elsewhere for opportunities.

Perry Jones Signs Camp Deal With Pelicans

SEPTEMBER 14: Jones’ deal with the Pelicans has been finalized, per RealGM’s official log of NBA transactions.

SEPTEMBER 11: Forward Perry Jones has agreed to a training camp deal with the Pelicans, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Jones, 25, has not appeared in an NBA game since the 2014/15 season. The Thunder used a late 2012 first-round selection on him and he remained on their roster for three seasons. He played 143 games for Oklahoma City, averaging 3.4 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 14.7 MPG.

He played in Russia and the G-League last season. He appeared in 24 games with the Iowa Energy, posting averages of 6.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.8 APG in 21.8 MPG while shooting just 31.3% from the field.

Jones faces an uphill battle in making the roster, even though forward Solomon Hill could miss most of the season with a hamstring tear. The Pelicans are reportedly finalizing a contract with veteran swingman Tony Allen.

Morrow, Burke, Other FAs Work Out For Wolves

2:26pm: Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders has added several names to the list of players working out for Minnesota, tweeting that the Wolves also auditioned Thomas Robinson, Alan Anderson, Trey Burke, Isaiah Canaan, and Perry Jones III. John Jenkins is expected to come in to work out for the club next week, tweets Wolfson.

10:12am: Veteran sharpshooter Anthony Morrow is one of a handful of free agents working out this week for the Timberwolves, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Minnesota remains on the lookout for veteran wings, in addition to a backup point guard.

Morrow, who will turn 32 later this month, is a career 41.7% shooter from beyond the arc, which should make him a tantalizing target for teams in need of shooting like the Timberwolves. However, Morrow’s accuracy on three-pointers dipped last season — his 30.8% success rate in 2016/17 was easily the worst mark of his career.

Although Morrow struggled in 49 games for the Thunder and Bulls last season, he’s only a year removed from a .387 3PT%, and has been a reliable option on the wing for most of his career. Minnesota, of course, has a pair of talented scorers on the wing in Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins, but neither player is a particularly strong outside shooter, so the Wolves continue to seek three-point threats, with Morrow having been linked to the club for much of the offseason.

When we examined five noteworthy wings still on the market in late July, Morrow was one of the players we singled out, along with Shabazz Muhammad, Brandon Rush, Gerald Green, and Tony Allen. All of those players remain unsigned, and a few could be fits in Minnesota.

With 11 players on guaranteed contracts, the Wolves have been looking to add a couple wings and a point guard to their roster — Wolfson tweets that those positions are the focus of this week’s workouts. Minnesota is reportedly getting antsy waiting on decisions from notable free agents like Muhammad and Dante Cunningham, which may prompt the team to look closer at free agents a tier or two below the top available players.

Trey Burke, 15 Other FAs Attend Bucks’ Mini-Camp

The Bucks are hosting a free agent mini-camp on Tuesday and Wednesday this week as they look to fill out their training camp roster and identify candidates to play for their G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, according to Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The mini-camp, which will give the club a chance to evaluate possible camp invitees, includes a handful of notable names among its 16 participants.

Former lottery picks Trey Burke and Hasheem Thabeet are among the first-rounders who will be in attendance at the mini-camp, as Velazquez details. MarShon Brooks, Toney Douglas, Archie Goodwin, R.J. Hunter, John Jenkins, Perry Jones, and James Young are also set to get a look from the Bucks.

The Bucks don’t have a ton of flexibility to add more players to their offseason roster, having already locked up 16 players to NBA deals and two more to two-way contracts. That leaves just a pair of openings on the team’s 20-man training camp roster. Still, two of those roster players – Gary Payton II and JeQuan Lewis – are on non-guaranteed contracts, so Milwaukee has some flexibility if it wants to make changes at the back of its roster.

In addition to the players listed above, the following free agents are attending the Bucks’ mini-camp, per Velazquez: Cliff Alexander, Gracin Bakumanya, Trahson Burrell, Jeremy Evans, Aaron Harrison, Luke Petrasek, and Jacob Pullen.

Any player that signs with the Bucks figures to get a minimum salary deal that is non-guaranteed or features a very modest guarantee, since the Bucks are currently slightly above the luxury tax line.

And-Ones: Trump Backlash, Jones, Lue

The Bucks, Grizzlies and Mavericks have stopped staying at Donald Trump-branded hotels in order to avoid being associated with the businessman, Marc Stein and Zach Lowe of collectively report. Sources tell the duo that another Eastern Conference team set to stay at the Trumo SoHo in New York this season has already decided to switch to a different hotel once its contract expires at the end of the season. Seven other teams are currently scheduled to stay at Trump-branded hotels this season. ESPN has declined to reveal which teams will be staying at the locations.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Perry Jones III has signed with the Iowa Energy of the D-League, sources tell Chris Reichert of The Step Back (Twitter link).
  • Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he will not try to mend the fence between LeBron James and his former coach Phil Jackson, Dave McMenamin of tweets.
  • Before signing with the Hawks, Dwight Howard told his mother he was going to sign with the Jazz and she didn’t take the fake news too well, as Koster Kennard of the Deseret News relays. “I played a prank on my mom,” Howard said to Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports Radio. “I wanted to see her reaction, so I told her, I said, ‘Mom, I just got this big contract, $150 million.’ And she was like, ‘Oh my God, from who?’ I said, ‘Utah Jazz,’ and she started crying.”

Perry Jones Drawing NBA Interest?

Russian team BC Khimki announced today (via Twitter) that they’ve used their option to release Perry Jones from their roster, making him a free agent able to sign with any team. Jones joined the club in August, and played in just one regular-season game before he was cut.

A former first-round pick, Jones spent three seasons with the Thunder from 2012 to 2015, averaging 3.4 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 143 regular-season contests. Oklahoma City sent him to the Celtics in a trade last July, but Boston waived him prior to the regular season. The 6’11” forward ultimately landed with the D-League’s Iowa Energy, but only appeared in five games for the team, recording 13.2 PPG and 7.4 RPG in those contests.

While Jones’ NBA track record wasn’t great, he has reportedly drawn some interest from clubs around the league. Sam Amico of reports (via Twitter) that several teams, including the Nuggets, have been in touch with Jones’ agent. With the regular season just two weeks away, those clubs are likely just checking in on Jones’ health and perhaps his willingness to play for a D-League affiliate.

As Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor tweets, the Iowa Energy still hold Jones’ D-League rights — Iowa is the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate.

And-Ones: Jones, Buycks, Stephenson

Perry Jones III  has agreed to play in Russia this upcoming season with Khimki Moscow, international journalist David Pick reports (Twitter link). Jones spent last season with the Iowa Energy of the D-League after being waived by the Boston Celtics. He was selected by the Thunder with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Dwight Buycks will play in China for Fujian Quanzhou, Pick reports in a separate tweet. Buycks played for the team last season before coming stateside to join the Oklahoma City Blue of the D-League.
  • Lance Stephenson may have to look overseas if he wants to play next season, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes. Washburn contends that Stephenson has the talent to play in the NBA, however, his personality may be scaring teams away.
  • Stephenson made a bet on himself back in 2014 when he bypassed a five-year, $44MM deal from the Pacers in favor of a shorter deal with the Hornets. Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders revisits the shooting guard’s decision and examines the decisions of other players whom have taken shorter deals with the hope of cashing in on a big payday only to be disappointed by what the market offers.

And-Ones: D-League Showcase, Cavs, Terry

Former Nuggets point guard Erick Green heads the list of free agents at the D-League Showcase event that begins on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports opines. Shooting guard Elliot Williams, who was with the Pelicans, Hornets and Jazz last season, is second on Spears’ list, followed by point guard Lorenzo Brown, shooting guard Orlando Johnson and power forward Perry Jones. Brown saw action for the Timberwolves last season, Johnson played for the Pacers and Kings from 2012 to 2014 and Jones appeared in 43 games with the Thunder last season. Players at the Showcase are angling for opportunities to sign 10-day contracts.

In news around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers are leaning toward retaining combo guard Jared Cunningham, a source informed Dave McMenamin of ESPN.comUnless Cleveland waives Cunningham by the close of business Thursday, his $981,348 salary for the remainder of the season is guaranteed. It’s a bigger money commitment than that, since his salary would cost the Cavs approximately $3.8MM in luxury tax if no other changes are made to the roster. Cunningham will accompany the Cavs on their upcoming road trip, McMenamin continues, and is viewed by them as a young, versatile bench player who has endeared himself to his teammates. Joe Harris potentially season-ending injury will not influence Cleveland’s decision, McMenamin adds.
  • Jason Terry could be closing out more games for the Rockets, considering the way interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff gushed about him to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Terry, who has shared the point guard spot with Ty Lawson and Patrick Beverley, made a key basket and assist that lifted Houston to a two-point win over the Jazz on Monday. “Jet is clutch,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s been that way since I can remember, since he was in college at Arizona. In the big moments, when a big shot is needed, Jet makes those plays.”
  • The Thunder assigned small forward Josh Huestis to their D-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team’s website. Huestis has already appeared in 10 games for the Blue.