Suns Rumors

Suns Plan To Sign Ray Spalding To 10-Day Contract

The Suns intend to sign free agent forward Ray Spalding to a 10-day contract, reports Gina Mizell of The Athletic (Twitter link). Phoenix has a pair of open roster spots, so no corresponding move will be necessary.

Spalding, who will turn 22 next month, was selected with the 56th overall pick in the 2018 draft and spent most of his rookie season with the Mavericks. While the former Louisville standout appeared in just one game for Dallas, he was a starter in the Texas Legends’ frontcourt, averaging 15.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.2 BPG, and 1.7 SPG in 29 games (30.1 MPG) for the Mavs’ G League affiliate.

The Mavericks released Spalding about three weeks ago when they needed to open up a roster spot to accommodate the incoming players in the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster. Despite a team-friendly contract, he cleared waivers and has been an unrestricted free agent since then.

The Suns will get a look at the rookie and will get back to the NBA-mandated roster minimum of 14 players as a result of the signing. Phoenix had been at 13 players since waiving Wayne Ellington on February 7, and had a two-week window to re-add a 14th man.

Teams That Must Add Players Within Next Week

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires teams to carry at least 14 players on their rosters during the regular season, not counting two-way players. However, clubs are allowed to dip below that line for up to two weeks at a time.

At the February 7 trade deadline, with so many players on the move, a handful of teams around the league fell below that 14-player threshold, meaning they have until February 21 – give or take a day – to get back up to 14.

Here’s a breakdown of which teams must make at least one roster move within the next week or so:

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks dipped to 13 players when they released Shelvin Mack and Jabari Bird last Friday, and went down to 12 when they cut Jeremy Lin on Monday. They’ve reached a deal to sign two-way player Jaylen Adams to a standard contract, but even after they finalize that agreement, they’ll still have to add one more player by next Friday.

Houston Rockets

A series of salary-dump deals on deadline day left the Rockets with just 12 players under contract. They’ll have to sign two more – either to standard deals or 10-day contracts – by next Thursday.

Miami Heat

The Heat had been carrying 14 players for a while, but dropped to 13 when they traded Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington for Ryan Anderson on Wednesday. They’ll have until next Wednesday to fill that 14th roster spot.

New York Knicks

The Knicks released Wesley Matthews and Enes Kanter on deadline day to drop to 12 players. They signed John Jenkins to a 10-day contract on Monday, but that still only leaves them with 13.

By next Thursday, Jenkins’ 10-day deal will have expired, so the Knicks will need to fill two roster spots at that point, either by re-signing Jenkins and adding someone else, or by signing two new players.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns‘ roster count has been at 13 since they waived Wayne Ellington on Thursday. They have until next Thursday to get back to 14 players.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors dropped all the way down to 10 players last week, which forced them to sign two players – Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller – to standard contracts. Toronto also inked Jeremy Lin to a rest-of-season deal and now has until next Thursday to add one more player.

Ben McLemore is a candidate, since the two sides were seemingly in agreement on a 10-day deal, but that deal no longer looks like a lock to get finalized.

Stein Criticizes Suns' Trade For Tyler Johnson

  • Stein argues that the Suns‘ trade for Tyler Johnson was “far tougher to digest” than their decision to buy out Tyson Chandler so early in the season, since the deal with Miami saved the Heat a ton of money and didn’t address Phoenix’s most glaring need (a true point guard).

    [SOURCE LINK]

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Davis, Trade Deadline, Allen

The Knicks were surprised to discover how much Kristaps Porzingis‘ trade value had dropped when they started shopping him, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Some of that was because of the ACL injury that has sidelined him for a year with still no clear date for a return. But some executives also expressed reservations about “where his mind was at and his actual skill set,’’ a source tells Berman.

The Knicks had three criteria in any trade for Porzingis: a good young prospect, which they got in Dennis Smith Jr.; enough expiring contracts to offer two max deals in free agency, which Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan provided; and future first-round picks. Of eight to 10 offers that were available, the Dallas deal was the best one that checked all three boxes.

But New York could have gotten much more if it had traded Porzingis prior to the 2017 draft, when former team president Phil Jackson first raised the idea. Berman reports that the Celtics offered a package of young assets, while the Suns were willing to part with Devin Booker along with a draft pick swap that could have brought Lauri Markkanen to the Knicks.

There’s more this morning from New York City:

  • Signing two elite free agents is just one way the Knicks can take advantage of their cap space, Berman notes in the same story. They could also use that money to absorb Anthony Davis‘ $27MM salary in a potential trade with the Pelicans. New York attempted to convince New Orleans GM Dell Demps to accept Porzingis as part of a package for Davis rather than wait for a trade this summer, a source close to Demps tells Berman, but the Pelicans didn’t believe Porzingis would be willing to re-sign in a smaller market. Berman states that the Knicks will become a serious contender for Davis if they land a top-two pick on lottery night.
  • A lack of interest in their available players led to the Knicks being quiet on deadline day, Berman adds. Virtually no one wanted to take on Enes Kanter‘s $18.6MM contract when a buyout was expected; offers for Frank Ntilikina “underwhelmed;” Damyean Dotson sparked some inquiries, but not enough for New York to act; and few teams made offers for Noah Vonleh.
  • G League callup Kadeem Allen continues to impress, Berman and Howie Kussoy write in a separate story. Allen, who signed a two-way contract with the Knicks last month, played in his seventh straight game last night and produced career highs with 14 points and six assists. “He’s a tough little runt. I love him. I really do. He fits my personality,” coach David Fizdale said. “He’s a grimy kid. He’s really worked his way to where he’s at. He keeps getting better and better.”

Every NBA Team’s Post-Deadline Roster Situation

The NBA confirmed today that 2019’s trade deadline set and matched some records. The 14 trades completed on Thursday were the most made on a deadline day in the last 30 years, and the 19 teams involved in those swaps was tied for the most over that same period.

In total, 34 players were involved in those 14 trades — and that doesn’t even count the eight deals completed during the week leading up to the deadline, as we detailed last night.

Needless to say, there has been plenty of roster upheaval around the NBA, so we’re going to use this space to take a look at all 30 teams’ roster situations to see exactly where they stand. Does your favorite team have a full roster? Or is their roster somehow only two-thirds full? Looking at you, Raptors.

Here’s a breakdown of all 30 clubs’ roster situations at the time of this post’s publication (more moves will be made in the coming days or even hours that won’t be noted here, so keep that in mind):


Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks entered the week with 15 players, but had to waive Daniel Hamilton to clear a spot to acquire Jabari Bird. They subsequently traded Tyler Dorsey for Shelvin Mack, then waived both Bird and Mack.

They currently have 13 players on their roster, leaving two open spots. They’ll have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.

Boston Celtics

After carrying 15 players all season, the Celtics traded Jabari Bird to create an open roster spot. They’ll explore the buyout market for candidates to fill that opening.

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets entered the week with 14 players on standard contracts and one (Mitch Creek) on a 10-day deal. Creek’s contract was terminated a few days early to make room for Greg Monroe, who was waived after being acquired from Toronto.

Brooklyn now has 14 players under contract and could opt to re-add Creek (albeit on a full-season contract), sign another player, or leave that spot empty for now.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets had a quiet week and continue to carry 14 players, leaving one open roster spot.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls created an open spot on their roster by trading Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker for Otto Porter, and are now carrying 14 players.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers acquired two players – Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin – for Rodney Hood, which required them to terminate Kobi Simmons‘ 10-day contract early to stay at 15 players.

Subsequently, Cleveland flipped Stauskas and Baldwin to Houston in exchange for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, with Alec Burks heading to Sacramento in that three-team deal. The 3-for-2 move left the Cavs with 14 players and an open roster spot.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks, already at 15 players, acquired two veterans – Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson – in exchange for Harrison Barnes, and had to waive Salah Mejri to make the deal work.

They’re currently at 15 players, but will be releasing Randolph very soon to create an open roster spot.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets didn’t make any moves this week and continue to carry a full 15-man roster.

Detroit Pistons

Both of the Pistons‘ trades this week were 1-for-1 swaps in terms of players, with Thon Maker and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk replacing Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson.

However, with the team closing in on a deal for Wayne Ellington, someone will need to be waived to stay at the 15-man limit. That player will reportedly be Henry Ellenson.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t make any moves this week and still have 14 players under contract, leaving an opening for potential buyout targets.

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Suns Waive Guard Wayne Ellington

4:11pm: The move is official, according to a team press release.

4:06pm: The Suns will place newly-acquired Wayne Ellington on waivers today, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix tweets.

Ellington and guard Tyler Johnson were dealt to Phoenix for forward Ryan Anderson but the Suns had no intention of retaining the veteran shooting guard. Ellington was caught in a logjam of wings with the Heat, bouncing in-and-out of the rotation. He’ll now be free to seek a team that can offer him more playing time.

Ellington had the ability to veto a trade, so he wouldn’t have agreed to it unless he would end up in a more favorable situation. The Pistons, who just traded starting shooting guard Reggie Bullock to the Lakers, are expected to pursue Ellington. The Thunder have also been mentioned as a potential suitor.

Ellington has an expiring $6.27MM contract. The 31-year-old guard, who appeared in 25 games with Miami this season, is a career 38% 3-point shooter.

Buyout Market: Ellington, Kaminsky, Gortat, Smith

The Pistons will be an aggressive suitor for Wayne Ellington once he reaches the buyout market, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Suns are expected to reach a buyout and waive the shooting guard, whom they just acquired from the Heat. The Thunder are also reportedly interested in Elllington. Detroit is seeking a veteran addition at shooting guard after trading starter and impending free agent Reggie Bullock to the Lakers.
We have plenty more buyout market developments:
  • The Hornets will look to reach a buyout with big man Frank Kaminsky after failing to trade him, Sean Deveney of Sports Illustrated tweets. The little-used Kaminsky is making $3.62MM this season.
  • Veteran center Marcin Gortat is interested in joining the Warriors but Golden State will take a wait-and-see approach regarding the waiver wire and buyout market, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Gortat, a starter most of the season, is expected to be waived by the Clippers.
  • The Cavaliers have no plans to discuss a buyout with J.R. Smith and failing to find a trade partner for the shooting guard, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Smith is making $14.72MM this season but his $15,68MM salary for next season is not guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through June 30th.
  • The Raptors’ flurry of activity, including an agreed-upon trade with the Grizzlies for center Marc Gasol, will make them an active participant in the buyout market, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Toronto will be down to just 10 players on the active roster, plus two two-way players. That means there will be playing time available for free agents that will soon clear waivers.
  • The Celtics do not have an immediate target to fill their open roster spot, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Enes Kanter, expected to be bought out by the Knicks as early as today, isn’t believed to be on their radar screen, a source tells Murphy.

Trade Rumors: Gasol, Conley, Hornets, Wolves, Suns

The Grizzlies hold two of the NBA’s biggest trade chips as today’s trade deadline approaches, and the two teams linked most frequently to Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, respectively, remain in the hunt for those players, according to reports.

Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted this morning that the Hornets continue to engage the Grizzlies on a potential deal for Gasol, which has been rumored throughout the week, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that the two teams are still trying to bridge the gap in those talks.

Meanwhile, on the Conley front, the Jazz have been most frequently cited as a potential landing spot for the veteran point guard. Despite whispers that Conley prefers not to end up in Utah, the Jazz haven’t abandoned their efforts to acquire him, according to Stein, who tweets that Memphis has considered waiting until the offseason to revisit Conley trade talks.

Even if Gasol and/or Conley stay put, it could still be an active deadline in Memphis. Stein notes (via Twitter) that JaMychal Green is attracting trade interest. Garrett Temple and Justin Holiday have also been mentioned as potential trade candidates.

Here are a few more trade rumors from across the league:

  • While their focus is on Gasol for now, the Hornets were in the mix for Harrison Barnes before he was sent to Sacramento, according to Stein (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves haven’t made any serious progress on any deals, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who observes (via Twitter) that the Jeff Teague, Gorgui Dieng, and Taj Gibson contracts won’t be easy to move due to large cap hits and – in the case of Teague and Dieng – multiyear commitments. Anthony Tolliver, on a smaller expiring contract, has generated interest and could be moved today, Wolfson adds.
  • League sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that the Suns haven’t talked to the Lakers about a Lonzo Ball deal and that Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren aren’t expected to go anywhere today.
  • Although there may be an outside perception that Anthony Davis‘ trade request has destabilized the Pelicans, none of his teammates have shown even a hint of animosity toward him, as Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com details. Head coach Alvin Gentry called Davis “a great kid,” while teammate Jrue Holiday said, he “loves” having AD around. “He’s like my big brother. He takes care of me,” Jahlil Okafor said of Davis. “… Selfishly, I would love to be by him every day like I have been this year. But at the end of the day, I just want him to be happy.”

Trade Rumors: Davis, Randolph, Wolves, Morris

The Knicks and Lakers are equal on Anthony Davis‘ list of preferred destinations, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The Clippers and Bucks also remain in the top four, Stein adds. New York may make a bid for Davis before the deadline, but it should be in a stronger position after the draft lottery when everyone knows where its first-rounder will fall (Twitter link).

League sources tell Stein that Davis doesn’t expect to sign his next contract before he reaches free agency in 2020, no matter where he is by then (Twitter link). That means anyone who trades for Davis won’t be assured of a long-term extension.

He has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but Davis intends to resume playing regardless of what happens at the trade deadline (Twitter link). He has received medical clearance to return to action, but the Pelicans haven’t divulged their plans for Davis if there’s no trade on Thursday. He was held out of two games this week to avoid further injury.

Here’s a roundup of rumors heading into the trade deadline:

  • The Lakers are running out of hope that a Davis trade will be completed before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Pelicans GM Dell Demps hasn’t responded to Magic Johnson’s latest offer, and it appears New Orleans is content to run out the clock. The Pelicans may never have been serious about dealing with L.A. and might have been trying to sabotage the Lakers as revenge for what they consider to be tampering, tweets Rachel Nichols, host of ESPN’s “The Jump.” “It’s not just possible, it’s what happened,” colleague Brian Windhorst said today in an appearance on the show.
  • The Mavericks will have buyout talks with newly acquired Zach Randolph, Wojnarowski tweets. The 37-year-old hasn’t played yet this season, but he may be able to help a contender.
  • The Timberwolves continue to look for someone to take Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng, sources tell Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Teague has a $19MM player option for next season, while Dieng still has two seasons left on his four-year, $63MM deal. Minnesota hasn’t found much interest, but it may be willing to attach Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver or Luol Deng as incentives.
  • New Pelican Markieff Morris could become a buyout candidate once he’s fully recovered from a neck injury, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • The Thunder plan to watch what the Suns do with Wayne Ellington and may be interested if he hits the buyout market, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link).

Heat Trade Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington To Suns

6:27pm: The trade is official, according to a tweet from the Suns.

3:49pm: Bartelstein is working with the Suns to get Ellington to a playoff contender after this deal is completed, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski. While a trade is possible, the veteran sharpshooter could also be waived.

3:30pm: The Heat are also sending Wayne Ellington to Phoenix in the trade, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That makes the deal more interesting, as the Heat are now in position for significant savings this season as well as next season.

The lottery-bound Suns likely don’t have much use for Ellington, but could flip him in another trade before the deadline, as long as they don’t aggregate his salary with another player’s.

Ellington has the ability to veto a trade, so in order to sign off on the deal, he may expect Phoenix to subsequently trade or release him. He has given his approval, agent Mark Bartelstein confirms to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Additionally, as cap expert Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter), Johnson will have to waive most or all of his trade bonus to make the trade work from a salary-matching perspective if Ellington’s salary is included.

2:41pm: The Heat are in agreement with the Suns on a trade that will send guard Tyler Johnson to Phoenix, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Ryan Anderson will head to Miami in the deal, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

Johnson, 26, has averaged 10.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a shooting line of .426/.353/.693 in 44 games (25.5 MPG) for the Heat this season. Although he has been a solid role player in Miami, Johnson’s salary far exceeds his on-court production.

Due to a back-loaded offer sheet from the Nets, which the Heat matched in 2016, the fifth-year guard is earning approximately $19.25MM this season, with a 2019/20 player option worth the same amount. His current-year cap charge will increase a little more when he’s dealt, since his contract features a 15% trade kicker. That bonus will amount to another $1MM+ on his ’18/19 cap hit, assuming he doesn’t waive it. His option year will be unaffected.

Anderson, who has a $20.4MM cap hit of his own, was the only player on the Suns’ roster making more than $11.75MM this season, making him the logical returning piece for Johnson.

The 30-year-old was traded from Houston to Phoenix during the offseason and has played sparingly for the Suns, averaging 3.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 15 games (18.5 MPG). While Anderson has been a lethal outside shooter in past seasons, he has hit just 20.6% of his three-pointers this season after entering the year with a 38.2% career rate.

Anderson has a $21.26MM cap charge for 2019/20, the final year of his four-year contract, but that figure is only partially guaranteed for about $15.64MM. That will save the Heat some money next year, and they could reduce Anderson’s cap hit by $10MM+ more if they elect to release him and stretch his contract by July 10.

It’s hard to imagine Anderson will have a role in a crowded Heat rotation, but the Suns presumably plan to feature Johnson. He’s not a traditional point guard, but Johnson is capable of handling the ball and Phoenix – which lacks an answer at the point – will likely give him a chance to do so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.