A.J. Price

Norris Cole Released By Chinese Team

After starting the 2016/17 Chinese Basketball Association season with the Shandong Golden Stars, Norris Cole has been released by the team, according to LI Shuangfu of Lanxiong Sports (Twitter link). Zhang Duo reports that the Chinese club has signed former NBA guard A.J. Price to take Cole’s spot on its roster (link via Sportando).

The timing is interesting for Cole, who reached a deal with Shandong nearly two months ago. That contract was believed to include an NBA out, and a report surfaced this week – in the wake of Mike Conley‘s back injury – suggesting that the Grizzlies had expressed interest in bringing Cole back to the NBA. There’s no indication yet that Cole and the Grizzlies have an agreement in place, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see the veteran point guard sign with Memphis within the next few days.

Cole averaged a career-high 10.6 PPG and 3.7 APG last season in 45 games for the Pelicans, but was unable to land a deal with an NBA team as a free agent this offseason. The 28-year-old point guard, who started his career with the Heat when Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale was an assistant in Miami, played in nine games for the Golden Stars this season, averaging 19.1 PPG and 4.3 APG.

If the Grizzlies do intend to sign Cole, they’ll either have to waive a player from their 15-man roster, or wait until they’re eligible to apply for a hardship exception. Teams can become eligible to add an extra player to their roster if they have at least four players who are sick or injured. For a hardship exception to be granted, those four players must have missed at least three consecutive games apiece and must continue to be unavailable.

Currently, Memphis is without Conley, Chandler Parsons, James Ennis, and Brandan Wright, so the team will be eligible to apply for the hardship exception on Saturday, after Conley misses his third consecutive game.

As for Price, the 30-year-old guard started his NBA career with the Pacers back in 2009/10, and ultimately appeared in 261 regular season games for a total of five teams. He spent last season with the CBA’s Shanghai Sharks.

A.J. Price Signs With Chinese Team

SEPTEMBER 11TH, 4:53pm: Price has signed with the Sharks, Pick reports (via Twitter).

SEPTEMBER 5TH, 9:15am: A.J. Price is finalizing a contract to play in China with the Shanghai Sharks, international journalist David Pick tweets.

Pick reported in July that Price was mulling a move overseas and that Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade was a possible destination. The journeyman point guard turned down that offer, which led Red Star, also known as Crvena Zvezda, to a deal with fellow NBA veteran Gal Mekel.

Price played for three NBA teams last season. He appeared in 10 games with the Pacers in November, then was waived late that month. He was claimed by the Cavaliers and played 11 games for the Eastern Conference champions before he was waived in early January. He was out of the league until signing a 10-day contract with the Suns in March. Price came off the bench in five games for Phoenix but the Suns declined to offer him another 10-day contract.

The 28-year-old Price also had a 28-game stint with the Timberwolves in 2013/14 and appeared in 57 games, including 22 starts, for the Wizards in 2012/13. The former University of Connecticut guard began his career with the Pacers in 2009/10 and remained there his first three seasons.

For his career, Price has made 261 NBA appearances and averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 assists in 15.1 minutes. He’s a career 38.0% shooter overall and 31.6% from 3-point range.

And-Ones: Cavs, Raptors, Pistons

Cavs GM David Griffin told reporters, including Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group, that he is interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent J.R. Smith and restricted free agent Matthew Dellavedova. “In Delly’s case, the restricted free agency is a totally different process,” Griffin said. “With J.R., I wouldn’t want to characterize the discussion or anything, but he’s a player I’d like to have back. We just have to find a way to make it work.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The Raptors have hired Andy Greer as an assistant coach, reports Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski (on Twitter). Greer, who previously was an assistant with the Bulls under former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, will run the Raptors’ defense.
  • The Raptors let a leftover sliver of the Steve Novak trade exception expire Friday. It was initially a $3,445,947 exception created when Toronto sent Novak to Utah on July 10th, 2014. The lion’s share of it went toward the acquisition of Luke Ridnour last month, a move that failed to be of much efficacy for the Raptors, who simply waived Ridnour this past Thursday.
  • The Pistons plan to proceed with finalizing Reggie Jackson‘s five-year, $80 million contract later this week or early next week, Detroit coach/executive Stan Van Gundy told reporters including David Mayo of MLive.com. At around the same time, Gundy plans to address the topic of Andre Drummond‘s contract extension, Mayo adds. The Pistons expect to lock Drummond into a long-term extension, Mayo writes, though they would have about another $15MM in cap flexibility in 2016/17 if the 21-year-old center agrees to wait until 2016 to sign rather than inking an extension this summer.
  • Free agent guard A.J. Price, who was formerly with the Suns, is mulling a move overseas and might land with Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade, a source told David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter).
  • Anthony Randolph has decided to return to Russia and the former NBA forward re-signed with Kuban, Pick also tweets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Suns Sign Jerel McNeal To 10-Day Contract

WEDNESDAY, 2:38pm: The deal is official, the team announced.

TUESDAY, 7:07pm: The Suns intend to sign Jerel McNeal to a 10-day contract, and they will not re-sign A.J. Price, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reports (Twitter link). Price’s first 10-day deal with Phoenix expired last night. The Suns’ roster count will move back to 15 players once McNeal is officially signed.

McNeal is a 6’3″ shooting guard who went unselected back in the 2009 NBA draft. The 27-year-old had been playing for the Bakersfield Jam, the Suns’ D-League affiliate. In 27 games for the Jam, McNeal averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 32.6 minutes per contest. He has previously had NBA training camp stints with the Clippers, Raptors and Rockets. The Pelicans and Jazz have briefly carried him on regular season rosters in the past, but he didn’t see action during either stint, so he’s technically a two-year veteran even though he has yet to make his official NBA debut.

Price had also played for the Pacers and Cavaliers this season. He appeared in 10 games with Indiana, averaging 10.5 points, 2.7 assists and 19.3 minutes, before the club waived him in late November. Cleveland then claimed him off waivers and he appeared in 11 games with the Cavs, averaging just 2.0 points, 1.2 assists and 7.9 minutes, until they waived him in early January. In five appearances for the Suns, Price notched 1.2 PPG and 1.2 APG in 8.8 minutes per contest.

Suns Sign A.J. Price To 10-Day Contract

SATURDAY, 6:44pm: The Price signing is official, tweets Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Price will be on the Suns’ active roster for tonight’s game in Houston.

FRIDAY, 5:34pm: The Suns will release Seth Curry and sign A.J. Price to a 10-day contract, a league source told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).  Price played for the Pacers and Cavaliers this season. He appeared in 10 games with Indiana, averaging 10.5 points, 2.7 assists and 19.3 minutes, before the club waived him in late November. Cleveland claimed him off waivers and he appeared in 11 games with the Cavs, averaging just 2.0 points, 1.2 assists and 7.9 minutes, until they waived him in early January.

The former University of Connecticut guard played 28 games for the Timberwolves last season.  He played 57 games, including 22 starts, with the Wizards during the 2012-13 season.

Curry appeared in just two games with the Suns after signing a 10-day contract earlier this month. The younger brother of Warriors star Stephen Curry had been playing for the Magic’s D-League affiliate. His first tie to the Suns came when he joined the team for summer league action this past July. Curry averaged 23.5 points in 37.0 minutes per game with the Erie BayHawks before joining Phoenix.

Cavs Waive A.J. Price

4:40pm: Price has officially been released, the Cavs have announced.

4:14pm: The Cavaliers have waived guard A.J. Price, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Price’s contract was non-guaranteed, but if he wasn’t released by today’s deadline then Cleveland would have been on the hook for the remainder of his $866,789 salary. The Cavs had 15 players on their roster after the deal to acquire Timofey Mozgov, but this move will leave them with one open spot. The Cavs could conceivably bring Price back on a 10-day contract, though that is merely my speculation.

Price was signed by the Cavs prior to training camp, but was waived so that Cleveland could ink Will Cherry to a contract. The 28-year-old guard then was signed by the Pacers and appeared in 10 contests before being released when Indiana’s hardship provision they used to ink him had expired. The Cavs then brought Price full-circle when they claimed him off of waivers and waived Cherry, in order to bring Price back to Cleveland.

In 256 career games, Price has averaged 5.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. His career slash line is .382/.319/.742.

Cavs Claim A.J. Price, Waive Will Cherry

6:14pm: The Cavs made it official with a press release.

4:32pm: This time, it’s Price displacing Cherry from the Cavs’ roster.  The Cavs have waived Cherry, according to Chris B. Haynes of Cleveland.com (via Twitter).

Cherry, 24 in February, appeared in eight games and played a total of 69 minutes for the Cavs this season.  In that limited time, he averaged 1.9 PPG and 1.0 APG.  Cherry signed a two-year, non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary with Cleveland just weeks ago.

The guard averaged 12.8 PPG and 4.0 RPG while logging  25.3 minutes per contest in five games for the Cavs Summer League team in Las Vegas.  Cherry also played for the Cavs’ D-League affiliate last season, when he provided 11.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 4.5 APG in 30.4 MPG.

4:27pm: The Cavs have claimed A.J. Price off waivers, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).  The guard was let go by the Pacers last week.

It’s a return to Cleveland for Price, who opened the season on the Cavs roster only to be let go within the first week of the regular season in favor of Will Cherry.  The 28-year-old performed well in his brief 10-game stint with the Pacers, averaging 10.5 points, 2.7 assists and 1.0 turnover in 19.3 minutes per contest.

Even though Price played well, someone had to go in Indiana as the team’s hardship provision for a 16th roster spot had expired.  Pacers coach Frank Vogel was complimentary of Price and said that he’s deserving of an NBA roster spot somewhere.  The Excel Sports Management client has acknowledged that going overseas could be a possibility for him, but he’s undoubtedly happy to stay in the Association.

Pacers Waive A.J. Price

The Pacers have waived A.J. Price, the team announced. The move is no surprise, since the team’s hardship provision for a 16th roster spot had expired, and with players on their way back from injury, the team apparently elected not to attempt to renew it. Price joined the team as its 16th player earlier this month, presumably on a non-guaranteed contract, though that detail was never confirmed. His release brings Indiana back to 15 players.

Price was a capable fill-in during his 10-game stint, averaging 10.5 points, 2.7 assists and 1.0 turnover in 19.3 minutes per contest. The 28-year-old opened the season on the Cavs roster, but Cleveland let him go within the first week of the regular season to sign Will Cherry instead. A Chinese team reportedly made an offer to Price, and he was just “days away” from signing it when the Pacers swooped in, writes Wheat Hotchkiss.com of Pacers.com. The Excel Sports Management client has acknowledged that he’s ready to play overseas, though he’d like to land another deal in the NBA and Pacers coach Frank Vogel has said that he’s deserving of an NBA roster spot somewhere.

The league gave the Pacers a pair of 10-day clearances to carry 16 players, since they met the criteria for such a provision, which required the team to have four players who were expected to miss time with injury after three had already sat out at least three games. Paul George is likely to miss the entire season, George Hill continues to be out indefinitely with a bruised left knee, but Vogel said today that David West will return to action tonight against the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Roy Hibbert will miss the game with a sprained left ankle, Robbins also notes, but C.J. Watson will return, according to Autumn Allison of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Still, the Pacers could have spared Price and selected another player to release to trim the roster to the conventional 15-man limit, as the Thunder did when they cut Sebastian Telfair rather 16th man Ish Smith when their hardship exception ran out.

Eastern Notes: Price, Stephenson, Raptors

A.J. Price has probably played his last game with the Pacers, since the 10-day window of Indiana’s second hardship provision for a 16th roster spot has expired and the team’s injured players are on their way back, observes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star.

“I’m optimistic it’ll work out, if not here then somewhere else,” Price said. “Everything’s an option at this point. You can’t rule anything out at this point. If I’m not able to get a job here in the NBA, then overseas is definitely an option.”

Of course, the Pacers don’t have to waive Price, whom they picked up when the league granted the extra roster spot, just as the Thunder decided to keep their hardship addition, Ish Smith, and waive Sebastian Telfair instead. While we wait to see how it shakes out in Indiana, here’s the latest from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford has been reluctant to give Lance Stephenson crunch-time minutes in part because he doesn’t think the shooting guard has developed into a marquee player yet, despite the three-year, $27.405MM contract the shooting guard signed this summer. Michael Wallace of ESPN.com has the details. “To be fair, one of the things that’s made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar,” Clifford said. “He’s not a star. He’s a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years.”
  • This summer’s trade for Lou Williams was a win for the Raptors, as they snatched a player who has proven valuable on both ends of the floor so far in Toronto and whose departure has left the Hawks with an underwhelming bench, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
  • The Hawks plan to send John Jenkins and Adreian Payne to the D-League on Friday, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’ll be the second trip to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for Payne, as our log of D-League assignments and recalls shows, and the first of the season for Jenkins, though he went on assignment in each of the past two seasons.

Eastern Notes: Mudiay, Pacers, Kidd, Melo

With the Sixers well on the way to their 10th straight loss to start the 2014/15 season tonight, they’re undoubtedly keeping tabs on top prospect Emmanuel Mudiay, who recently recorded a triple double in China. Mudiay is a consensus top-five pick according to NBA scouts, says Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, who adds that the 18-year-old has displayed the type of skills in his time with the Guangdong Tigers that has some talent evaluators thinking he can play point guard in the NBA right now.

The bad news for Sixers fans, of course, is that they still have 72 games to endure until they can truly salivate over the 2015 draft class. Here are some other notes coming out of the East:

  • The Pacers have received clearance from the NBA to continue with 16 players on their roster, so A.J. Price remains with Indiana, the team announced. The allowance, which the Pacers merited because at least four players were expected to miss significant time, will provide for Price to stay with the club for at least three more games, according to Mark Montieth of Pacers.com.
  • Rumors indicated that Jason Kidd was angling for front office control before he jumped to the Bucks merely to coach this past summer, but Milwaukee GM John Hammond doesn’t feel threatened by Kidd’s presence, as he tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. “I wasn’t concerned,” Hammond said. “I am in a position in my life and professionally where I am secure in myself. I feel very fortunate about that, that I have been around the league for so long — this is my 25th year in the NBA. I know who I am and I know my abilities, so it is not about being concerned. You’re not looking over your shoulder, you’re just glad you have the opportunity. Obviously, you’d like to keep the opportunity, but I feel good about the chances I have.”
  • Carmelo Anthony recently had a helpful conversation with Knicks president Phil Jackson regarding his role in the team’s triangle offense, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Begley points out that, with triangle-enthusiasts Jackson and head coach Derek Fisher under contract through 2018/19 — the same season that Anthony’s deal ends — the forward knows the system is here to stay.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.