Akil Mitchell

Nets Make Roster Cuts

The Nets have waived Milton Doyle, Jeremy Senglin and Akil Mitchell, according to a team press release. The team’s roster now sits at 17 players.

Doyle and Senglin each signed partially guaranteed deals with Brooklyn back in August and neither player was expected to make the opening night roster. The duo is expected to head to the Long Island Nets, as the affiliate owns each player’s G-League rights.

Mitchell came to the Nets late last month to round out their training camp roster. The Virginia product may also be heading to the franchise’s G-League affiliate, a team he played for last season.

Nets Sign Akil Mitchell

The Nets have signed Akil Mitchell, the team announced on Twitter, bringing their training camp roster up to 20 players.

The forward went undrafted out of Virginia in 2014 and has bounced around the G League and international scene ever since.

Mitchell will break camp with a Nets team that boasts a number of serviceable options at the four but few outside of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to write home about.

This isn’t Mitchell’s first exposure to the Nets franchise, he suited up for the club’s Summer League squad in 2015 and was acquired by the club’s G League affiliate last February.

Eastern Notes: Terry, Sanders, Wall, Forbes

A shot at playing time may have been what most attracted Jason Terry to the Bucks, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. Terry appeared in 72 games and averaged 17.5 minutes per night for the Rockets last season, and apparently he’s not ready for a reduced role, even with his 39th birthday looming next month. After missing out on free agent guards Kent Bazemore and Dwyane Wade, the Bucks turned to Terry, who ranks third on the list of most 3-pointers made in a career. “Whether he gets 40 minutes, four minutes or no minutes, he’ll accept it and be professional about it,’’ said Terry’s agent, Ryan N. Davis. “He’s excited to be with Milwaukee and help them.’’

There’s more news tonight from the Eastern Conference:

  • Former Bucks center Larry Sanders has no interest in signing a deal that is only guaranteed for training camp, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Sanders, who hasn’t played since leaving the NBA in December of 2014 because of anxiety and depression, is looking for a situation that offers a real opportunity to make a 15-man roster.
  • Wizards point guard John Wall is going through intense rehab as he tries to bounce back from two knee surgeries in May, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. Wall, who is expected to be ready for the start of next season, promises “the beginning of the new John Wall era” and says he’s trying to get in the best shape of his career.
  • Former Nuggets and Raptors wing Gary Forbes is among the most likely players taken by the Long Island Nets in this week’s expansion draft to actually play for the D-League team, according to NetsDaily.com. Most of the draftees have overseas contracts for next season, but the 31-year-old Forbes doesn’t. Other possibilities are swingmen Carrick Felix and Akil Mitchell.

2016 NBA D-League Expansion Draft Results

The NBA D-League conducted its expansion draft today, allowing the league’s three new teams to add the rights to 12 players apiece. The league’s previously-existing 19 teams had been permitted to retain the rights to 10 players each, leaving the rest of their players unprotected and free to be drafted, as Chris Reichert of UpsideMotor.com explained earlier today.

As we noted on Tuesday, the D-League’s three new franchises this year are affiliates for the Nets (Long Island Nets), Hornets (Greensboro Swarm), and Bulls (Windy City Bulls).

The players those three teams added today won’t necessarily play for them this season — in fact, it’s somewhat rare for expansion draftees to suit up for their new clubs, as D-League Digest tweets. Many of those players will try to catch on with an NBA team or will end up playing overseas. Still, the expansion draft gives the D-League’s new teams some assets as they start to build their rosters for the coming season.

Per Reichert, here are the results of today’s expansion draft. The player’s former D-League team is noted in parentheses, and picks are ordered by round. The teams will hold their players’ rights for the next two seasons:

Long Island Nets (Twitter link)

  1. Gary Forbes (Grand Rapids Drive)
  2. Carrick Felix (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  3. Jamaal Franklin (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  4. Akil Mitchell (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  5. Peyton Siva (Delaware 87ers)
  6. Alex Kirk (Canton Charge)
  7. Austin Freeman (Westchester Knicks)
  8. Kendall Gray (Iowa Energy)
  9. Lazar Hayward (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  10. Dwayne Polee Jr. (Reno Bighorns)
  11. Matt Bouldin (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  12. Lewis Jackson (Salt Lake City Stars)

Greensboro Swarm (Twitter link)

  1. Josh Davis (Austin Spurs)
  2. Abdul Gaddy (Maine Red Claws)
  3. Tony Bishop (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  4. Scotty Hopson (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  5. Toure’ Murry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  6. Rodney Williams (Oklahoma City Blue)
  7. Josh Huestis (Oklahoma City Blue)
  8. Ralston Turner (Grand Rapids Drive)
  9. Keanau Post (Raptors 905)
  10. Damien Wilkins (Iowa Energy)
  11. Kris Joseph (Westchester Knicks)
  12. Dee Bost (Raptors 905)

Windy City Bulls (Twitter link)

  1. Wesley Saunders (Austin Spurs)
  2. Kiwi Gardner (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  3. Ralph Sampson III (Maine Red Claws)
  4. Booker Woodfox (Texas Legends)
  5. Jerel McNeal (Northern Arizona Suns)
  6. Akeem Richmond (Reno Bighorns)
  7. Casey Prather (Northern Arizona Suns)
  8. Jon Octeus (Canton Charge)
  9. Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends)
  10. Jamal Jones (Delaware 87ers)
  11. Xavier Thames (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
  12. Ian Chiles (Salt Lake City Stars)

Rockets Sign Geron Johnson, Waive Akil Mitchell

The Rockets have signed former University of Memphis shooting guard Geron Johnson and waived power forward Akil Mitchell, the team announced via press release. The terms of the deal for Johnson aren’t immediately clear, but it’s probably a minimum-salary arrangement, perhaps with a nominal guarantee. Houston will be stuck with the $150K partial guarantee on Mitchell’s contract unless another team claims him off waivers.

Johnson went undrafted this past June, but he’s been on Houston’s radar for a while. The Rockets were among the teams that worked him out prior to the draft, and he joined Houston’s summer league team in July. The now 22-year-old Johnson averaged just 8.9 points in 27.9 minutes per game as a senior with the Memphis Tigers last season, but he grabbed 4.9 rebounds per contest even though he’s only 6’3″.

Mitchell also went undrafted this summer and scored his deal with the Rockets shortly before training camp began. Still, he didn’t play in any of the team’s preseason games and a report last week indicated he hadn’t been with the Rockets for several days.

Houston still has 20 players on its roster, and with 15 fully guaranteed contracts plus a non-guaranteed pact with starting point guard Patrick Beverley, the Rockets have a logjam they must resolve by Monday’s deadline for teams to set their opening-night rosters. Johnson seems unlikely to remain with the team into the regular season, so it appears the Rockets are signing him chiefly to be able to claim his D-League rights, though that’s just my speculation.

Texas Notes: D-League, Mitchell, Dorsey, Spurs

The Spurs have officially announced that they have renamed their D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs. The team was formerly known as the Austin Toros. “The rebranding of the Austin franchise is a terrific opportunity to capitalize on the substantial equity of the Spurs brand,” said Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations, Rick Pych.  “The name change creates an instantly recognizable link between the two franchises and is a natural progression based on the important role the Austin team plays in the development of young players, general managers and coaches who are on their way to reaching their dream of making it to the NBA.”

Here’s more from the “Lone Star” state:

  •  Akil Mitchell and Robert Covington have not been with the Rockets for several days, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. It was previously noted that Houston intended to part ways with Convington, and was exploring possible trade options for the player. Feigen also speculates that Houston intends to send both Covington and Mitchell to their D-League affiliate. Teams can retain the D-League rights for up to four players that they waive, and the Rockets preseason roster count currently sits at 20.
  • Joey Dorsey is still working his way back from foot and ankle issues that have caused him to miss extended time during Houston’s training camp, Feigen writes. “I have just been trying to figure out the guys on the team and not look for my shot,” Dorsey said. “One of the coaches told me, ‘Joey, just go out there and play. Do what you do. Do what you did in Europe.’ I was like, ‘OK, forget it. I am going to look to score. If I look to score and they double-team me, then I will kick it out for a shot.’ That is the biggest thing. He told me to just go out there and stop trying to worry about playing perfect and just go out and play.
  • Despite their sustained run of excellence, one thing the Spurs have never accomplished is winning back-to-back titles. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) breaks down San Antonio’s anticipated regular season roster as the team sets out to defend its crown.
  • The Spurs have remained contenders for so many years thanks to their ability as a franchise to turn players no one anticipated into stars, such as Kawhi Leonard, opines Kevin Spain of USA Today.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Rockets, Baynes

The absence of Nick Calathes for the first 13 games because of his suspension will leave the Grizzlies thin at the point, and there’s a decent chance it’ll have an effect on how many players the team carries out of camp, coach Dave Joerger admits. Joerger shared his thoughts in a subscription-only Q&A with Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal.

“We might need an insurance policy,” Joerger said. “But you’ve got some guys that come in and one area affects the other because we have 14 spots [filled]. We can only keep one. If one guy wows you in an area, then you’re dealing with risk/reward. You might be kind of naked with two point guards. Can Courtney [Lee] swing over there? I don’t know. Being at the [luxury] tax and having 14 roster spots, it’ll be interesting.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets granted Akil Mitchell a partial guarantee worth $150K on his deal, which runs two seasons at the minimum salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports. The guarantee, fairly sizable for a player of his caliber, might be an enticement for Mitchell to end up playing for the team’s D-League affiliate, Pincus speculates.
  • John Holland has a $20K partial guarantee on his minimum-salary contract with the Spurs, which runs for two seasons, Pincus reports (Twitter link).
  • In the same tweet, Pincus confirms his earlier report that the Spurs used part of their $5.035MM mid-level exception rather than Early Bird rights to sign Aron Baynes. That’s even though he’ll make precisely $2.077MM, the amount of the biannual exception, on his one-year deal. It’s curious, since using Early Bird rights would have allowed the Spurs to preserve their mid-level, and thus greater flexibility for signing free agent target Ray Allen or someone else, so perhaps there are more details at play that have yet to be reported.
  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban believes his team has been the beneficiary of the unwillingness of other NBA clubs to show patience with young talent that’s yet to blossom, as he told reporters, including Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “I think one of the things we’ve been really good at is finding what I call fallen angels, guys who other teams had a lot of aspirations for but for whatever reason couldn’t fit,” Cuban said. “Al [Al-Farouq Aminu] was the first call I made when free agency hit. These are guys that I think, even though they don’t have big names and not everybody knows who they are, are going to have big impacts, and I think that’s one way you get younger.”

Rockets Sign Akil Mitchell For Camp

FRIDAY, 11:07am: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.

WEDNESDAY, 2:02pm: The Rockets are set to sign former Virginia power forward Akil Mitchell, reports Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link). The team has its biannual exception available to give him more than the minimum, but it seems most likely that it’s a minimum-salary deal for training camp that includes a nominal guarantee, at best.

The 6’8″ Mitchell spent time with Houston’s summer league team in July after going undrafted in June. He averaged 3.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game for the Rockets in the Orlando summer league, numbers that reflect what he did in college, where he put up 6.8 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 25.7 MPG as a senior. He had an expanded offensive role in his junior season, when he scored 13.1 PPG.

Mitchell, 22, is probably the final addition to the camp roster for Houston, which had been carrying deals with 19 players. It’ll be a tough road for him and the other camp invitees to make it to opening night, since 15 Rockets have fully guaranteed deals and Patrick Beverley, the projected starter at point guard, is on a non-guaranteed contract.

Atlantic Notes: Cartwright, Walton, Sixers

Bill Cartwright is waiting to hear from either Phil Jackson or Steve Kerr about an assistant coaching position, writes Mitch Abramson of The New York Daily News. According to the article, Cartwright had met with Jackson back in April about joining the Knicks bench if Kerr was hired as coach. On his lack of recent contact with Jackson, Cartwright said, “We’re waiting for them to make a decision, obviously about the head coach and there’s nothing going on.” On possibly working as an assistant under Derek Fisher, Cartwright said, “That’s a Phil question, not my question. I’m looking to coach. There’s really nothing more to say, outside of that. I’m looking to coach.”

More from the Atlantic Division:

  • Luke Walton also hasn’t heard from Jackson since Kerr spurned the Knicks for the Warriors, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Jackson was possibly interested in bringing in Walton to help coach the triangle offense, and according to Begley, Jackson said that Walton would make a great head coach someday.
  • With an abundance of picks in this year’s draft, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie needs to take a bold approach to jump start the team’s rebuilding process, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media.
  • The Knicks worked out Johnny O’Bryant, Semaj Christon, DeAndre Kane and Akil Mitchell, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.

Draft Notes: Vonleh, Stauskas, McDermott, Harris

Indiana big man Noah Vonleh looked impressive in a workout this week, and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com adds the Magic to the list of teams auditioning the potential top-five pick (Twitter link). There’s news on a few other projected lottery selections among the latest on the draft:

  • Nik Stauskas will work out for the Lakers and Celtics, Goodman reports, adding that the same two teams are on Doug McDermott‘s agenda (Twitter links).
  • Gary Harris will show off for the Suns and Lakers, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
  • Adreian Payne is set to audition for the Celtics, Suns and Jazz, Goodman hears (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks worked out Nick Johnson on Thursday, notes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Jahii Carson, Justin Cobbs, Cory Jefferson, Artem Klimenko and Akil Mitchell are all performing for the Bucks today, the team announced (on Twitter).
  • The Suns will audition Lamar Patterson today, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Phoenix is also getting a look at De’Mon Brooks, according to agent Keith Kreiter (Twitter link).
  • The Sixers worked out Patterson, Semaj Christon, Devon Saddler, Casey Prather and Langston Galloway, reports Tyler R. Tynes of the Philadelphia Daily News. The Pacers had a look at Galloway, Jabari Brown, Markel Starks and C.J. Wilcox, as Tynes also writes.
  • The Celtics and Bulls will audition Kadeem Batts, Sportando’s David Pick tweets.