Cameron Oliver

COVID-19 Updates: Caruso, Hill, Collins, Morris, Rivers, More

One of the few players not affected by a stint in the NBA’s health and safety protocols last month, Bulls guard Alex Caruso has now entered the protocols, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Caruso, who has missed Chicago’s last six games due to a sprained foot, appeared to be nearing a return. If he contracted COVID-19, his return will obviously be delayed, but it will give his foot more time to get back to 100%.

Here are more protocol-related updates from across the league:

  • Hawks big man John Collins has exited the COVID-19 protocols and is expected to meet the team in Los Angeles, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Atlanta faces the Lakers in L.A. on Friday and the Clippers on Saturday. Meanwhile, hardship addition Cameron Oliver has entered the protocols for Atlanta, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Unless he returned a false positive or inconclusive test result, Oliver almost certainly won’t clear the protocols before his deal expires on Friday night.
  • Bucks guard George Hill is the latest Milwaukee player to enter the health and safety protocols, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The team now has a league-high six players in the protocols, though Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jordan Nwora, and Semi Ojeleye are being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. Toronto, which suggests they’re on the verge of exiting.
  • Nuggets guard Monte Morris confirmed on his Twitter account that he’s out of the health and safety protocols and prepared to return to action. Morris is still listed as questionable for Wednesday’s contest vs. Utah, but it sound like he expects to play.
  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is out of the protocols and will resume his duties on Wednesday vs. Orlando, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Thunder rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has cleared the protocols and is being listed as available for Wednesday’s game in Minnesota, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City no longer has any players in the protocols.
  • Our health and safety protocols tracker, which is updated multiple times daily, can be found right here.

Hawks Sign Cameron Oliver, Chris Clemons To 10-Day Contracts

DECEMBER 29: Oliver and Clemons have officially joined the Hawks on 10-day deals, the team announced in a press release. Atlanta is now carrying an unprecedented nine extra players via hardship exceptions and 26 players in total.

DECEMBER 28: With their roster ravaged by COVID-19, the Hawks will sign Cameron Oliver and Chris Clemons to 10-day contracts under the hardship provision, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Atlanta already had 10 players in the league’s health and safety protocols, and that number grew today when Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gorgui Dieng and Malik Ellison were all added, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Trae Young cleared protocols Monday after submitting two negative COVID-19 tests.

Oliver, a 25-year-old forward, has been in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, averaging 14.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 14 games. He was in training camp with the Lakers, but was waived before the season began. He played four games for the Rockets last season after signing a 10-day deal in May.

Clemons, a 24-year-old guard, was playing for the Maine Celtics in the G League, where he averaged 16.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 14 games. He was with the Celtics in training camp and played 33 games for the Rockets during the 2019/20 season.

Lakers Cut Joel Ayayi, Three Others

The Lakers have placed four players on waivers, announcing today in a press release that they’ve cut Joel Ayayi, Chaundee Brown, Cameron Oliver, and Trevelin Queen.

Brown, Oliver, and Queen were camp invitees who weren’t expected to make the regular season roster, so it comes as no surprise that they were waived. They’ll likely end up joining the South Bay Lakers, L.A.’s G League affiliate, for the 2021/22 season, tweets Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group.

However, Ayayi’s release is more unexpected. The former Gonzaga wing was considered one of this year’s top undrafted free agents and committed to the Lakers shortly after the draft ended in July, but didn’t have a great preseason, making just 1-of-10 shots in five games. He had been on a two-way contract.

The moves leave the Lakers with just 15 players under contract, including 14 on standard deals and one (Sekou Doumbouya) on a two-way pact. The club may not carry a 15th man to start the season, given the tax ramifications, but it’s possible that open two-way slot will be filled sooner rather than later.

Lakers Notes: Centers, Monk, Two-Ways, Brown, Queen

With Anthony Davis expected to see more action at the center spot this season, it remains to be seen how much playing time former All-NBA big men Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan will get at the five for the Lakers. However, as Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times writes, Jordan isn’t overly concerned about how many minutes he’ll play.

“That’s the blessing of it, having a lot of different lineups that you can use. And I think each game is gonna have a say on what we do,” Jordan said on Saturday. “We can be rolling with a huge lineup. And, you know, we’ll win with that. And some games may need us to go small. And I think that at this point of my career, of all of our careers, you know, at the end of the day, ultimately, we just want to be able to win and be able to achieve something as a collective.”

Howard, who played a career-low 17.3 minutes per contest last season in Philadelphia, shares Jordan’s philosophy.

“Leave the ego at the door, leave it at home when you wake up,” Howard said of his role. “There’s no need to have it. We all represent this emblem that’s behind me, this Laker logo. We understand that, and it’s whatever the team needs to win.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Malik Monk‘s impressive preseason debut on Sunday further complicates an already-crowded battle for playing time at shooting guard, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who observes that the Lakers will have to find time at the two for Monk, Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn. Nunn has generally played point guard, but may not see much action there if Russell Westbrook plays big minutes and Rajon Rondo has a regular role, Buha notes.
  • Cameron Oliver, Mac McClung, Chaundee Brown, and Trevelin Queen are the camp invitees currently in the mix for the Lakers’ second two-way contract slot, but the team could end up going outside of the organization to fill that spot, as Buta writes in the same story. “We’re gonna see how the preseason plays out,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “See who all is available, both the guys that are here, or who are around the league, guys that might get cut, and we’ll make a decision closer to opening night.”
  • If the Lakers do convert one of their current camp invitees to a two-way contract, Brown and Queen may be the frontrunners, says Buha. Both of those players are wings, which might be the Lakers’ biggest need.

Lakers Sign Cameron Oliver To Exhibit 10 Contract

SEPTEMBER 29: The signing is official, the team announced (via Twitter).

SEPTEMBER 16: The Lakers are signing free agent forward Cameron Oliver to an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Oliver, 25, has played primarily in the G League and overseas since going undrafted out of Nevada in 2017. However, he did sign with the Rockets at the end of the 2020/21 season, appearing in four games for the team down the stretch and averaging 10.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.0 BPG on .576/.308/.636 shooting in 21.8 minutes per contest.

The Lakers are currently only carrying 13 players on guaranteed contracts, so Oliver could theoretically be a candidate to make the 15-man regular season roster. However, like fellow Exhibit 10 recipients Chaundee Brown and Mac McClung, Oliver seems more likely to end up playing for the South Bay Lakers, L.A.’s G League affiliate.

Oliver nearly averaged a double-double during his last stint in the G League, putting up 15.5 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 2.2 BPG in 26 games (26.6 MPG) for the Delaware Blue Coats in 2018/19.

Rockets Sign Cameron Oliver Via Hardship Exception

MAY 10: The Rockets have officially signed Oliver via a hardship exception, the team announced today in a press release. While Houston classifies it as a 10-day contract, there are only seven days left in the regular season, so it won’t technically cover 10 full days.

MAY 9: Center Cameron Oliver has agreed to a 10-day contract with the Rockets that will cover the remainder of the regular season, according to Olgun Uluc of ESPN.

Oliver, 24, recently completed his second season with the Cairns Taipans in Australia’s National Basketball League, averaging 17.3 points, 10 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He is still under contract with the Taipans for the 2021/22 season, so his NBA stay figures to be brief.

Oliver is one of the top centers in Australia, according to Uluc, with elite athleticism and a shooting range stretching beyond the three-point line. He will join former Sydney Kings player Jae’Sean Tate and coach Will Weaver in Houston.

Oliver has a history with the Rockets, points out Ben DuBose of USA Today’s Rockets Wire. After going undrafted out of Nevada in 2017, Oliver signed with Houston and participated in training camp that year. He played two seasons in the G League before going to Australia.

The Rockets have a full roster, DuBose adds, but could add Oliver without another move if they get a second hardship exception from the league. With a roster severely depleted by injuries, Houston recently used its first hardship exception to add Khyri Thomas.

Trail Blazers Cut Payton, Oliver, Onuaku

The Trail Blazers have waived Gary Payton II, Cameron Oliver and Chinanu Onuaku, according to an official release from the team. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. All three players were on fully non-guaranteed contracts, so Portland won’t be on the hook for any money.

With the moves, the Trail Blazers have lowered their roster count to 15 players in anticipation of the upcoming regular season. Portland could have kept one or two of Payton, Oliver, and/or Onuaku as two-way players, but with no G League affiliate, the team decided not to go that route.

Payton, 25, is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton. He has seen a little NBA action over the last two seasons with the Lakers and Bucks, but spent most of his time in the G League.

Oliver, 22, signed a training camp contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in 2017, but was waived before the regular season.  He averaged 10.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 39 total G League games last season.

Onuaku, 21, was selected in the second-round of the 2016 NBA Draft, but has only appeared in six NBA regular season games in his first two NBA seasons. Like Payton and Oliver, he has extensive G League experience, playing in 83 total games for the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers the past two seasons.

Trail Blazers Sign Three Players To Camp Deals

SEPTEMBER 4: The Trail Blazers have officially announced their deals with Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton, confirming the signings in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 3: Three free agents are set to join the Trail Blazers on training camp deals, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that Chinanu Onuaku, Cameron Oliver, and Gary Payton II have all reached agreements with Portland.

Onuaku, a 2016 second-round pick, appeared in just six NBA regular season games in two seasons with the Rockets. The former Louisville center has spent most of his two professional seasons in the G League, playing in 83 total games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and averaging 12.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG to go along with 2.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.1 SPG, and a .617 FG%. The 21-year-old was traded from Houston to Dallas earlier this offseason, with the Mavericks subsequently waiving him.

Oliver, a former Nevada standout, signed a training camp contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in 2017, but was waived by Houston just before the regular season began. The 6’8″ forward spent his rookie season in the G League with Delaware and Wisconsin, averaging 10.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 39 total games.

Payton, meanwhile, is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton. The 25-year-old point guard has seen a little NBA action over the last two seasons, appearing in 29 total contests for the Lakers and Bucks. Like Onuaku and Oliver, he also had a stint with the Rockets earlier in his career and has extensive G League experience.

The Trail Blazers already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, meaning there might not be any opportunities for their camp invitees to earn regular season roster spots. Portland also doesn’t have its own G League squad, so Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton won’t become affiliate players for the Blazers.

Still, the Blazers haven’t filled either of their two-way contract slots, and Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton would all qualify for a two-way deal. It’s possible that one or two of them could have their camp contracts converted to two-way pacts if they look good in the preseason.

And-Ones: NBA Draft, International Play, Oliver

The NBA Draft is seven months away but that doesn’t mean hoops writers can’t weigh in on what Sam Vecenie of The Athletic refers to as a year-round process. The scribe’s initial mock draft does a fine job weighing in on the biggest prospects on the draft radar while digging admirably deep for a comprehensive 60-pick projection.

Expected to fall in the No. 1 slot is the much-hyped Slovenian star, Luka Doncic. The Real Madrid swingman has shown a remarkable feel for the game at a young age and could make an impact for a team like the Bulls, who currently sit most likely to land that top spot come next June.

It’s after the first pick where Vecenie’s mock gets particularly interesting. The writer opts to put Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton in the No. 2 spot, ahead of the likes of Marvin Bagley III and Michael Porter Jr.

With analysis for each of the first 30 projections, the early look at the draft can’t be missed. Especially considering that he has college basketball’s biggest villain, Grayson Allen, falling directly into the laps of the world champion Warriors.

There’s more from around the league:

  • The number of fringe NBA players who opt to sign overseas in international leagues following NBA training camps has dropped precipitously. Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype writes that the trend can be attributed to a depressed European economy and the leaps and bounds that the G League has made over the course of the past 10 years.
  • The fifth edition of FIBA’s 3×3 World Cup will take place June 8-12, the governing body’s official site says. This year the competition will take place in the Philippines.
  • A Rockets training camp invitee has been picked up by the G League affiliate of the Bucks. Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days tweets that the Wisconsin Herd have claimed Cameron Oliver off waivers.

Rockets Cut Cameron Oliver, Danuel House

In advance of the regular season opener, the Rockets have waived rookie forward Cameron Oliver, and second-year forward Danuel House, according to a press release from the club (Twitter link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).

Oliver, a sophomore at Nevada in 2016/17, declared for the draft after a productive season in which he averaged 16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 BPG. He went undrafted but caught on with the Rockets, who gave him a two-year deal with a $300K guarantee.

House, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M a year ago, spent most of the season with the Wizards, but only appeared in one game for the club. A fractured right wrist sidelined him for a good chunk of the year.

Houston’s investment in Oliver makes it surprising that the team chose to take him off the roster. However, the rookie forward is currently recovering from a fractured right hand and isn’t expected to be re-evaluated until November, which may have impacted the Rockets’ decision.

House is a candidate to end up with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League team. However, Oliver is ineligible to be assigned to the Vipers as an affiliate player, since he received a $300K guarantee. His contract also wasn’t eligible to be converted into a two-way deal.

The Rockets are now carrying 15 total players, including one (Demetrius Jackson) on a two-way contract.