C.J. Leslie

G League Notes: Moreland, Select Contracts, Harrison, Draft

Several NBA teams secured returning rights for players who were in camp with them but failed to make the 15-man roster. Raptors 905 acquired center Eric Moreland from the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s affiliate, for forward Kyle Wiltjer, according to a G League release. The Raptors waived Moreland a week ago. Raptors 905 pulled off a similar deal with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks’ affiliate, to acquire guard Kyle Collinsworth, who was waived at the same time as Moreland. Texas acquired the returning player rights to forwards C.J. Leslie and Kennedy Meeks, according to a G League release. The Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ affiliate, gained the returning player rights of forward Cory Jefferson in a three-team swap with the Agua Caliente Clippers and the Legends, according to another G League post. The Sixers waived Jefferson on October 13th.

We have more from the G League:

  • The league is putting together a “working group” that will determine which players are eligible for select contracts, G League president Malcolm Turner said in a Q&A session posting on the league’s website. “That group will be charged with identifying appropriate, eligible, elite talent, not only in terms of on-court performance and potential, but also in terms overall readiness for the G League. In addition to identification, that working group will really help us monitor the rollout and execution of this professional path … that working group will be charged with developing its own framework and lens for eligible players.” Beginning next year, the G League will offer “select contracts” worth $125K to top prospects who are at least 18 years old but aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft.
  • Numerous NBA and G league executives, coaches, agents and players feel the select contract concept is intriguing, but there is widespread skepticism how much appeal the program will have to top-level prospects and how it will be implemented. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the topic in a lengthy analysis piece.
  • The Arizona Suns traded away the returning player rights of Shaquille Harrison to the Memphis Hustle in a deal involving four players and a draft pick, according to another G League release. Harrison was the odd man out in the Suns’ point guard competition, as he was waived early this week. It was still somewhat surprising they traded away his rights. The Grizzlies gave themselves a little extra depth at the G League level as protection against another Mike Conley injury.
  • NBA veterans such as Willie Reed, Hakim Warrick, DeJuan Blair, and Arnett Moultrie could be among the higher selections in the annual G League draft, which takes place on Saturday, Adam Johnson of 2Ways10Days.com reports. The Salt Lake City Stars own the top pick.

D-League Notes: Brown, Magette, Patterson

Forward Anthony Brown has signed a D-League contract and will be eligible for its draft on Sunday, a league source told the D-League Digest (Twitter link). Brown was the final training-camp cut by the Lakers. Los Angeles ate his guaranteed $874,636 contract, opting to keep two more experienced forwards on the bubble, Thomas Robinson and Metta World Peace. Brown, 24, was selected 34th overall in the 2015 draft by the Lakers, and appeared in 29 games during his rookie season, including 11 starts. The Stanford product averaged 4.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 20.7 minutes but shot just 31.0% from the field.
In other D-League developments:
  • Point guard Josh Magette has signed an NBADL contract, the D-League Digest tweets. Magette was a late training-camp cut by the Hawks. The Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the D-Fenders, owns his rights. Magette, 26, made three preseason appearances for Atlanta, spanning 17 minutes. He averaged 11.5 points and 9.1 assists in 45 games last season for the D-Fenders, with whom he has played the past two seasons.
  • Shooting guard Lamar Patterson has signed a D-League contract and will be an affiliate player for the Kings’ Reno Bighorns, according to another tweet from the D-League Digest. Patterson appeared in four preseason games for the Kings, averaging 5.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game, before he was waived. He spent much of the 2015/16 season playing in the D-League and the Hawks waived him in July.
  • Yogi Ferrell plans to open the season with the D-League’s Long Island Nets, according to Jeff Rabjohns of Scout.com. The former Indiana University standout was Brooklyn’s final training-camp cut. He appeared in three exhibition games, logging 28 minutes.
  • Forward C.J. Leslie has signed a contract with the Raptors’ D-League affiliate, the Raptors 905, Chris Reichert of The Step Back tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Young, 76ers, Leslie

When the 76ers last clinched a playoff berth, they finished the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season with a 35-31 record and reached the second round before getting eliminated. The only member of that team still remaining on the roster is Thaddeus Young, who at that time started just one of 63 games but produced 12.8 PPG and 5.2 RPG in nearly 28 MPG as a reserve.

Now at 25-years-old, Young stands as the third-oldest player on the team and has started all but one game this season – posting career highs in points (17.7), steals (2.2), and field goal attempts per game (15.4). Despite that, the 15-45 Sixers are clearly in rebuilding mode and will face another offseason of significant decisions to make. Aside from the draft, Philadelphia’s biggest question mark moving forward has to do with whether or not they’ll keep their former lottery pick, says Keith Pompey of The Inquirer.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight, including more from the above piece:

  • Young tells Pompey he understands that other teams could be targeting him but insists he’s remaining focused: “Guys always talk and they always say [that at] any given time and given moment, you are auditioning for 29 other teams…I just took it as going out there and playing and focusing in and me doing the job and the task at hand…I didn’t look at it as I was auditioning or anything like that…It crosses your mind. But at the end of the day, you have to just play basketball and things will work out.”
  • Philadelphia would be wise to avoid any marquee free agent who isn’t named LeBron James this summer, argues John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News, who examines the paths that may lead the team back to respectability.
  • In addition to severing ties with Chris Smith earlier today, it’s worth noting that the Bayhawks recently traded the D-League rights of forward C.J. Leslie, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Leslie, who had been a top target on New York’s draft board last June, was reportedly unhappy with his role on the Knicks’ D-League affiliate.

Knicks Notes: Leslie, Davis, D-League

After falling to the Bulls on a last second Carmelo Anthony miss, the Knicks look to avoid moving below .500 tomorrow when they face the Timberwolves in New York. As we look forward to Sunday night’s game, a few other newsworthy notes around the Knicks organization.

  • The Knicks began to fill out the roster of their D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks by adding among others, forwards C.J. Leslie and Justin Brownlee. The Knicks continue to show interest in Leslie who was a member of the Knicks training camp until they released him last week. The NBA allows for teams to retain the D-League rights of up to three camp invitees which is how the Knicks were able to add Leslie and Brownlee to the Erie roster.
  • Ian Begley of ESPN New York reports that another member of the BayHawks’ roster, a former NBA first-round pick and Erie’s sixth-round pick in Friday’s D-League draft, Ricky Davis had a “strong showing on defense” in a workout with the Knicks this summer. Davis will be trying to make his way back on to an NBA roster since the 2009/10 NBA season when he was a member of the Clippers.
  • Charles Barkley, who previously faulted Carmelo Anthony for starting the conversation about his pending free agency next summer, has now blamed the media for distracting the team.

Knicks Waive Five Players

12:50pm: The Knicks have officially released C.J. Leslie, Josh Powell, and Ike Diogu, as well as Chris Douglas-Roberts and Jeremy Tyler, according to the team (Twitter link). So Chris Smith, Toure Murry, and Cole Aldrich have snagged the three open roster spots.

Tyler’s deal reportedly included a $100K guarantee, so the Knicks will owe both him and Leslie some money.

12:22pm: The Knicks have also cut Leslie, according to Zwerling (via Twitter). While the move had been telegraphed over the last few days, it’s still somewhat surprising, since nearly half of the rookie’s first-year salary was guaranteed.

Zwerling adds that Aldrich appears to have locked up a roster spot, meaning Smith, Tyler, and Murry are likely vying for the final two openings.

11:16am: The Knicks have begun to trim their roster down from the 20-man preseason maximum, according to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, who tweets that the club has released Josh Powell and Ike Diogu. The pair of cuts leaves New York with 18 players under contract, so three more will need to be released by Monday.

Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork, Al Iannazzone of Newsday, and Zwerling all hear that the Knicks are going young with their last few open roster spots. According to both Begley and Iannazzone (Twitter links), Toure Murry, Chris Smith, and Jeremy Tyler are likely to make the regular season roster. Presumably, that would mean that the Knicks would waive Cole Aldrich, C.J. Leslie, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, though Begley adds (via Twitter) that it’s not clear if the club will be making all its moves today.

As for Powell and Diogu, neither player appeared in an regular season NBA game in 2012/13, but they earned camp invites from the Knicks after working out for the team this fall. New York won’t be on the hook for any salary for either player, since they were on non-guaranteed contracts.

Odds & Ends: Favors, LeBron, Leslie, Smart

With Derrick Favors now locked up, Gordon Hayward is the next domino to fall for the Jazz, writes Tom Ziller of SBNation.  Extending Hayward would further cut into Utah’s cap space for 2014, but ZIller notes that if they don’t work out a new deal with him, he’ll also affect their flexibility with an $8.6MM cap hold.  Here’s more from around the Association..

  • A veteran NBA scout told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel that he doesn’t see the Heat staying on top forever as he expects LeBron James to bolt at some point.
  • As C.J. Leslie fights for a roster spot with the Knicks, coach Mike Woodson told reporters that he views the forward as a project, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.  “He is a project,” Woodson said after Leslie saw no playing time in Thursday’s preseason contest. “No doubt about that. Right now the game is somewhat quick for him in terms of catching on to what we’re doing. I’ve seen that over the years since I’ve been coaching, a lot of young guys they struggle early because you throw so many things at them, it’s too fast. So we’re trying to slow it down a little a bit, spend more time with him in the classroom.”  Leslie has a reported guarantee of ~$200K.
  • Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart says that he’s motivated by people crowning Andrew Wiggins as the best player in college basketball before he has even played a game, writes Eric Prisbell of USA Today.  Wiggins is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft while Smart is currently No. 5 on DraftExpress‘ mock draft.
  • Ryan Gomes is pushing for a job with the Thunder and he says that he is encouraged by the support he has gotten from GM Sam Presti, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Carmelo, Fields

The New York Post’s Marc Berman (via Twitter) thinks it was a bad sign for C.J. Leslie’s chances of making the Knicks roster after the rookie forward didn’t receive any playing time during tonight’s pre-season game against the Wizards. On the other hand, Berman and Newsday’s Al Iannazzone both made note that Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was particularly pleased with training camp invites Toure Murry and Ike Diogu (Twitter links). It should be noted that Murry and Diogu are playing on non-guaranteed contracts, while Leslie has a partially-guaranteed deal.

Here are some more links to pass along out of the Atlantic Division:

  • ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor writes that unless the Knicks are clearly the best option for a chance to win a ring, Carmelo Anthony would be foolish to not test the waters in free agency next summer. O’Connor argues that opting out would put pressure on GM Steve Mills to come up with a viable championship vision and abandon the idea of relying on J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani as the next best options on offense.
  • Raptors head coach Dwane Casey tells Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that he wants the second unit to be able to increase leads or hold serve when they enter the game, and added that Landry Fields‘ ability to knock down shots – in addition to the other intangibles he brings to the table – would be a huge plus for the team.
  • Casey also had this to say about training camp hopeful Julyan Stone: “He reminds me of a younger Nate McMillan with that long, lanky body that can defend. He showed that he can play,” 
  • Though ESPN had originally reported that Allen Iverson plans to officially announce his retirement before the 76ers host the Heat in their home opener, a team spokesperson could not confirm the report (Tom Moore of Bucks County Courier Times).

Knicks Working Out Aldrich, Wing Players

The Knicks are looking to fill out their roster for the upcoming season and they would like to use their final spot(s) to reinforce some positions of need.  Center Cole Aldrich will be brought back for a second workout this week after looking strong in his last audition, according to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report (via Twitter).  Meanwhile, the club is also eyeing some athletic wing players (link) as they will be without J.R. Smith for at least the early part of the season.

A source told Zwerling that the Knicks "are definitely taking a long look at the Kansas product."  Aldrich could wind up filling a major role for the Knicks this season as they have no true backup at center.  Other notable names that have been linked to the job include DeSagana Diop, Ike Diogu, and Hassan Whiteside.  

Meanwhile, the Knicks will comb the open market for athletic wings because they have some questions about undrafted rookie C.J. Leslie in the long-term.

Contract Details: Ginobili, Knicks, Bogans

CBA guru Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com passed along a few specific figures on some recently signed contracts today, including the new salary for the real winner of the Celtics/Nets blockbuster. Let's round up Deeks' updates….

  • Manu Ginobili's two-year contract with the Spurs will pay him $14.5MM over two seasons, and the first-year salary will be slightly higher than the second-year figure (Twitter links).
  • The Knicks used $1,591,350 of their mini mid-level exception to re-sign Pablo Prigioni, which leaves $1,591,650 for Metta World Peace (Twitter link).
  • C.J. Leslie's two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Knicks will guarantee him $200K for 2013/14, but is fully non-guaranteed for year two (Twitter link).
  • In a full blog post, Deeks goes into detail on Keith Bogans, the biggest beneficiary of the Celtics/Nets deal. Because he needed to be signed-and-traded to help match salaries, Bogans will receive a three-year contract. Only the first year is guaranteed, but for 2013/14, he'll earn a staggering $5,058,198.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Cavs, World Peace

A source tells Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com  that the Knicks have expressed interest in Samuel Dalembert. Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was chatting with Dalembert’s agent from Pinnacle Management Corporation, at Summer League yesterday (Twitter link). 

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News believes Isiah Thomas is the best chance the Knicks have to snag Metta World Peace, if he clears waivers, with the remaining $1.7MM from their mini mid-level exception.

Metta recently spoke with Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. They discussed Metta’s working with LeBron James and Kevin Durant as a player development coach, what competition means to him, and why he’s such a big fan of LeBron (all Sulia links)

Here's some more from around the Eastern Conference…