Caleb Swanigan

Caleb Swanigan Passes Away At Age 25

Former NBA forward Caleb Swanigan died on Monday night, according to an announcement from his alma mater of Purdue (Twitter link). Swanigan was 25 years old.

Swanigan spent two seasons with the Boilermakers from 2015-17, enjoying a breakout season as a sophomore. He averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 35 games in 2016/17, earning consensus first-team All-American honors and the Big Ten Player of the Year award.

The 26th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Swanigan spent his rookie year the Trail Blazers, then was traded to Sacramento midway through his second NBA season. He was sent back to Portland about a year later. In total, he appeared in 75 NBA games across three seasons, averaging 2.3 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 8.7 minutes per contest for the Blazers and Kings.

Swanigan battled obesity and spent time in homeless shelters during his childhood before becoming a star at Purdue, as Myron Medcalf of ESPN detailed in a 2017 profile.

Our condolences go out to Swanigan’s friends and family.

And-Ones: International Games, ASG, Barea, Marijuana, Swanigan

While the NBA often plays preseason games in China and regular season games in Mexico and Europe, that won’t be possible during the 2020/21 season due to the coronavirus — plans for a regular season contest in Paris had to be tabled. However, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, the league is looking into scenarios that would allow games to be played overseas again in ’21/22.

“We do anticipate that once it becomes healthy and safe to be able to do that that we’ll return to a schedule of international preseason and regular-season games,” deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said.

Meanwhile, the 2021 All-Star Game is also in jeopardy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but it sounds like the NBA hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility that some sort of All-Star event could still take place. Commissioner Adam Silver said on TNT on Tuesday that the status of the All-Star Game is “yet to be decided depending on how things go,” as Adam Zagoria of Forbes tweets.

Here are more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Although no deal appears imminent for J.J. Barea, the veteran free agent guard is staying in game shape and remains intent on playing this season, either in the U.S. or internationally, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • It seems likely that the NBA and NBPA will eventually negotiate the reduction or removal of marijuana-related penalties in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but Adam Silver is wary of creating issues for players in cities where the drug has not yet been legalized or decriminalized, writes Bill Shea of The Athletic. “We want to make sure we’re not creating a trap for our players and putting in place rules that will put them in the crosshairs of the law,” Silver said.
  • NBPA executive director Michele Roberts made it clear, within Shea’s story, that she’ll push for the removal of marijuana testing before the current CBA expires. “I don’t see any reason to test for marijuana or cannabis. That’s just nuts. Same for alcohol,” Roberts said. “Are we in the 21st century or what? What are we doing here? I think it’s absurd.”
  • Speaking of marijuana, former Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan received a reminder that he’s not in Oregon anymore, having been arrested for marijuana possession early on Wednesday morning in Indiana, reports Justin L. Mack of The Indianapolis Star. Police said they found over three pounds of marijuana in Swanigan’s vehicle following a traffic stop.

List Of Players Opting Out Of NBA’s Restart

The NBA will resume its 2019/20 season in July, with the league’s top 22 teams taking part in the restart at Walt Disney World in Florida. However, not every player on those 22 clubs’ rosters will be participating in the resumption of the season.

Players will be permitted to voluntarily opt out of the restart for any reason without facing a fine or suspension from the NBA or their respective teams. A player who opts out would lose a portion of his pay for 2019/20, forfeiting 1/92.6th of his salary for each game missed (up to a maximum of 14 games). Otherwise though, he wouldn’t receive any additional penalty.

If a player voluntarily opts out anytime before August 14, his team can sign a “substitute player” to replace him. The replacement player will receive a rest-of-season, minimum-salary contract and will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, regardless of how many years of NBA service he has. Meanwhile, the player being replaced becomes ineligible to participate in the remainder of the ’19/20 season.

We’ll use this space to keep tabs on the players opting out and the substitute players replacing them. Here are the players who have voluntarily withdrawn from participating:

Trevor Ariza, F, Trail Blazers (story)

Ariza would have missed a one-month visitation period with his son if he had opted to play this summer, since family members aren’t permitted to join players on the NBA’s Disney campus until the end of August.

Jaylen Adams, who finished second this season in NBA G League MVP voting, will take Ariza’s spot on the roster as a substitute player.

Ariza, meanwhile, has a $12.8MM salary for 2020/21, but it’s only partially guaranteed for $1.8MM, so he’s no lock to remain on Portland’s roster beyond this season.

Avery Bradley, G, Lakers (story)

Bradley is the most intriguing player to have opted out so far, since he’s the only one who’s a member of a legitimate championship contender. Although Bradley has been among the players voicing concerns about the resumption of the season drawing attention away from the fight for social justice, family considerations – including the well-being of his three children – were said to be the primary factor in his decision.

Bradley has a $5MM player option for 2020/21, so he could return to the Lakers next season. As for his replacement, L.A. has signed J.R. Smith to a rest-of-season deal.

Davis Bertans, F, Wizards (story)

The first player to opt out of the restart, Bertans did so because he has a history of ACL injuries and doesn’t want to jeopardize his health ahead of a potentially big payday this summer. He projects to be one of 2020’s top unrestricted free agents, following a career year, and his decision won’t affect the Wizards’ desire to re-sign him — it’s still considered a top priority for the franchise.

If Washington were higher in the standings, Bertans may have made a different decision, but the team faces long odds to even make the playoffs. And even if the Wizards do defy those odds and claim the No. 8 seed, the Bucks would likely make quick work of them in round one.

Point guard Jerian Grant has replaced Bertans on the Wizards’ roster as a subsitute player.

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Mavericks (story)

Cauley-Stein and his partner are expecting a newborn child in July, prompting him to skip the restart to spend time with his family. With a $2.29MM player option for 2020/21, he could still return to Dallas next season.

Despite missing Cauley-Stein and injured big man Dwight Powell in their frontcourt, the Mavs didn’t make it a priority to add another center. With Courtney Lee and Jalen Brunson also on the shelf due to injuries, Dallas instead focused on adding backcourt depth, reaching a deal with veteran guard Trey Burke to become the substitute player for Cauley-Stein.

Wilson Chandler, F, Nets (story)

An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Chandler has decided to use the summer to spend more time with his family, including his grandmother (who raised him) and his three children.

Like the Mavs, Brooklyn has been hit hard by injuries, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Nicolas Claxton also sidelined for the return to play. Those injured players aren’t eligible to be replaced by a substitute player, but Chandler is. That substitute player is Lance Thomas, who has now signed with the Nets.

Thabo Sefolosha, F, Rockets (story)

Sefolosha, who opted out on July 1, had previously expressed concerns about heading to Walt Disney World for an extended duration of time, away from his family with the coronavirus pandemic still on the rise, calling it a “huge commitment.” He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this fall, so it’s possible he has played his last game with Houston.

The Rockets have signed Luc Mbah a Moute as a replacement player for Sefolosha. Mbah a Moute has previous experience with Houston, so it should be a quick readjustment for the veteran forward.

Caleb Swanigan, F, Trail Blazers

Swanigan cited person reasons when he decided to opt out of the NBA’s restart back on July 1. He rarely saw any action for the Blazers, who decided not to sign a substitute player to replace him. Swanigan will be an unrestricted free agent this fall.

In addition to the players who are voluntarily opting out of the restart for a wide variety of reasons, there will also be players who opt out or are replaced as a result of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Here are the players who won’t participate in the remainder of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test:

  • Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Nets (story)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Nets (story)
    • Jordan was immediately ruled out for the summer after testing positive for the coronavirus. He has been replaced in Orlando by big man Donta Hall.
  • Taurean Prince, F, Nets (story)
    • Prince tested positive just before the Nets were scheduled to travel to Orlando. The team ruled him out because his chances of recovering in time to contribute were in jeopardy and signed Michael Beasley as a substitute player.
  • Michael Beasley, F, Nets (story)
    • Beasley became the first substitute player who needed to be replaced, having tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he signed with the Nets. Brooklyn signed Justin Anderson after voiding Beasley’s new contract.
  • Josh Gray, G (story)
    • The Pelicans announced in early July that they’d signed Sindarius Thornwell as a substitute player, without indicating which player Thornwell was replacing. Three Pelicans had tested positive for COVID-19 at that point, and a subsequent report suggested one of those players was being replaced by Thornwell. When the NBA announced New Orleans’ official roster, Gray wasn’t on it, so it appears that he was the one replaced by Thornwell.
  • Gary Payton II, G (story)
    • The Wizards signed Jarrod Uthoff as a substitute player without announcing which player he’d be replacing. However, Payton reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and wasn’t on the team’s official roster when it was announced, so it looks like he was the one replaced by Uthoff.

Players who have been ruled out of the restart due to injuries won’t forfeit their salaries and aren’t eligible to be replaced by substitute players, so they’re not listed here. However, that growing list of players is not insignificant — it includes Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall, among others.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Kings, Wolves, Whiteside, Noel

New Trail Blazers trio Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan and Wenyen Gabriel are excited for their opportunity in Portland, according to Casey Holdahl of And their new teammates are looking forward to integrating them into the team’s system as 19-27 Portland competes for the eighth seed in the West.

The Trail Blazers are currently the No. 11 seed, just 2.5 games shy of the current eighth seed, the 21-24 Grizzlies. The 34 year-old Ariza appears the most likely new player to be incorporated into the current rotation. He is in the first of a two-year, $25MM contract he signed with the Kings in 2019.

“At this point, we’ve really simplified everything that we’ve done over the years, so… I don’t think it will be that hard to catch on to,” said star Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. “Like today at practice, they put in some of the sets that we’ve been running, the things that we do a lot and we didn’t have to stop practice to be like ‘Alright, this what we gotta do.’ [Ariza] just kinda remembered it, it was pretty simple for him.” 

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • During halftime of a seventh straight Timberwolves loss, irked coach Ryan Saunders berated his team, according to Chris Hine of the Minnesota Star Tribune. Much of that frustration was directed at disappointing $148MM wing Andrew Wiggins. “He was yelling at me a lot of the time,” Wiggins confirmed. “I needed it. The first half was a bad first half. I wasn’t aggressive.”
  • Though the Trail Blazers are clearly eager to cut more contracts to get under the luxury tax this spring, The Athletic’s Jason Quick suspects that GM Neil Olshey may have trouble offloading $98MM center Hassan Whiteside. Quick puts Whiteside’s odds of remaining in Portland through the February 6 trade deadline at 50/50.
  • Thunder backup center Nerlens Noel will miss tonight’s tilt against the Timberwolves due to a surgical procedure for a left cheek fracture, according to an ESPN report. The timeline on Noel’s absence will be updated next week. Noel, the No. 6 pick in 2013, has been productive in limited minutes for Oklahoma City, averaging 8.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG.

Kings, Trail Blazers Complete Five-Player Trade

JANUARY 21: The trade between the Kings and Trail Blazers is now official, according to press releases issued by both teams.

JANUARY 18: The Kings and Trail Blazers have agreed to a trade that will send Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the Blazers are trading Bazemore to Sacramento.

The Kings will also receive Portland’s second-round picks in 2024 and 2025 as part of the deal, a source tells Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link). ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter) that the swap can’t be officially completed until Tuesday, when Gabriel’s trade restriction lifts.

For Portland, the deal represents a cost-cutting move that shouldn’t impact the team’s on-court performance too drastically, if at all. Both Ariza and Bazemore have had down years so far, but Bazemore’s drop-off has been more precipitous —  he has posted a career-worst .347 FG% to go along with a .327 3PT%. Ariza is at least still knocking down his threes (.352 3PT%) at his usual career rate, even as his role was reduced in Sacramento.

Tolliver had been a rotation player for the Blazers, with 16.8 minutes per game in 33 contests, but hasn’t been at his best either — his .368 FG% is his worst mark since he was a rookie in 2008/09.

Bazemore and Tolliver are earning a combined $20.89MM, compared to a total of $15.68MM for Ariza, Swanigan, and Gabriel. Besides trimming more than $5MM off the Blazers’ team salary, the deal will also reduce the organization’s projected tax bill by $12.6MM, according to Marks (via Twitter).

Additionally, the Blazers will create a pair of traded player exceptions, including one worth just over $7MM, since they have a disabled player exception available to acquire Swanigan. The team will have the opportunity to keep Ariza for the 2020/21 season if he finishes the year strong. His $12.8MM salary for ’20/21 is partially guaranteed for $1.8MM, per Basketball Insiders.

It’s not clear if Swanigan and Gabriel fit into Portland’s plans, though it’s worth noting Swanigan was originally drafted by the Blazers before being traded to the Kings a year ago. Both players are on expiring contracts. Portland won’t need to cut anyone to make room to accommodate the three incoming players, since the club already had an open roster spot.

As for the Kings’ side of the deal, Amick observes (via Twitter) that it opens up a roster spot immediately and also creates slightly more flexibility moving forward, since Bazemore and Tolliver are on expiring contracts. The Ariza signing hadn’t worked out like the franchise had hoped, so Sacramento will hope that Bazemore can bounce back and that Tolliver looks more he did when he was a member of the Kings in 2016/17 and shot .442/.391/.744.

There are no plans to buy out Bazemore, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who tweets that the veteran swingman has a “great relationship” with head coach Luke Walton and the Kings’ front office.

Even if the Kings’ new additions keep slumping, the team will come away with a pair of future assets in the trade by picking up the Blazers’ 2024 and 2025 second-round picks. Sacramento had already acquired multiple extra second-rounders for 2020 and 2021, so the team is building up quite a stash of draft picks, which could be useful in future deals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/11/20

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/22/19

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/16/19

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Pacers have assigned JaKarr Sampson, Alize Johnson and Edmond Sumner to their G League affiliate, the team announced on Twitter. All three players are available for the Mad Ants’ contest tonight.
  • The Celtics have recalled Romeo Langford from the Maine Red Claws, as the team relays on Twitter. Langford was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2019 draft.
  • The Wolves have recalled Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Krawczynski notes that Reid looked quick and explosive during Minnesota’s practice earlier today.
  • The Kings have assigned Caleb Swanigan to the Stockton Kings, per Sacramento’s Twitter feed. The power forward has appeared in five NBA contests this season, seeing a total of 13 minutes.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/1/19

Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Clippers assigned Derrick Walton Jr. to the G League, then recalled both Walton and rookie center Mfiondu Kabengele later in the day, according to the team. Both players suited up for the Agua Caliente Clippers on Sunday, with Kabengele posting 15 points and 19 rebounds, though he shot just 6-of-17 in a loss to Santa Cruz.
  • The Pistons recalled rookie forward Sekou Doumbouya from Grand Rapids on Sunday, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Doumbouya saw a little garbage-time action in Detroit’s blowout win over San Antonio, scoring four points in less than three minutes.
  • The Timberwolves recalled rookie center Naz Reid from the G League on Sunday, per a team release.
  • After scoring 18 points in 18 minutes for the Northern Arizona Suns on Saturday, Ty Jerome was recalled to the NBA by the Suns, the team announced (via Twitter). Jerome, coming off an ankle injury, has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Kings recalled third-year forward Caleb Swanigan from the G League on Sunday, according to the club (Twitter link).
  • The Jazz sent forward Juwan Morgan and guard Miye Oni to the Salt Lake City Stars on Sunday, the team announced in a press release. Presumably, both players will suit up for Utah’s G League affiliate on Monday vs. Grand Rapids.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/30/19

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers assigned Victor Oladipo and Edmond Sumner to their Fort Wayne affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Both players are recovering from injuries and are scheduled to practice with the Mad Ants today, Tuesday and Wednesday. Oladipo, an All-Star the past two years, suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee last season. Sumner had a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal in his right hand.
  • The Kings recalled Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan from their affiliate in Stockton, according to a tweet from the team. Swanigan was sent back to the G League after today’s game, the Kings tweeted.