Chris Wright (Dayton)

Thunder Cut Semaj Christon, Isaiah Canaan, Others

The Thunder have made their roster cuts in advance of the regular season, announcing in a press release that four players will hit the waiver wire. Oklahoma City has parted with points guards Semaj Christon and Isaiah Canaan, as well as center Yannis Morin and forward Chris Wright.

Morin and Wright were never considered likely to make the Thunder’s 15-man regular season roster. Both were signed earlier this week with the apparent intent of eventually having them join the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate.

As for Christon and Canaan, it’s interesting that the Thunder chose to waive both players. The team’s four cuts bring the roster count down to 15 players, but one of those 15 is on a two-way contract, so OKC could have kept either Christon or Canaan. Instead, the franchise – which is well over the tax line – appears set to save some money and maintain some flexibility by starting the season with just 14 players.

Christon, Canaan, Morin, and Wright will become unrestricted free agents on Monday if and when they clears waivers.

Thunder Sign Yannis Morin, Chris Wright

The Thunder have inked a pair of players to contracts, announcing in a press release that center Yannis Morin and forward Chris Wright have been added to the roster. Having waived three players earlier today, Oklahoma City has already filled two of those newly-created openings, bringing the roster count back up to 19.

Morin, a 24-year-old French center, reached a reported agreement with the Thunder way back in July, but the team didn’t make it official until now. He’ll likely be ticketed for the Oklahoma City Blue in the G League as an affiliate player.

Wright, a Dayton alum, is a good bet to head to the G League as well. He signed with the Thunder a year ago and eventually joined the Blue when the G League season began, so OKC still holds his returning rights.

NBA D-League Affiliate Players For 2016/17

Throughout the offseason, and in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams before the season can be designated as affiliate players and assigned to their D-League squads.

The players have some say in the decision — if they’d prefer to sign with a team overseas, or if they get an opportunity with another NBA club, they’re free to turn down their team’s request to have them play in the D-League. Most NBA and international teams have fairly set rosters by late October though, so having the opportunity to continue playing in the same system is appealing to many of those preseason cuts. Especially since they’ll maintain NBA free agency while they play in the D-League.

There are a few other rules related to D-League affiliate players. A player whose returning rights are held by a D-League team can’t be an affiliate player for another club, which is why undrafted free agents from the current year are commonly signed and assigned. Additionally, an affiliate player must have signed with his team during the current league year, which explains why we often see players signed and quickly waived in the days leading up to the regular season. And, of course, not every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, so clubs like the Hawks, Nuggets, or Clippers have no place to send affiliate players.

With all that in mind, here are the NBA D-League affiliate players to start the 2016/17 season:

Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)

Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)

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Thunder Waive Mitch McGary, Ronnie Price, Others

1:25pm: The Thunder have issued a press release confirming their four cuts: McGary and Price, as reported, along with Wright and Tarczewski, as speculated below. OKC’s roster is now at 15 players, ready for the regular season.

1:20pm: The Thunder intend to waive a pair of players with guaranteed salaries, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that Mitch McGary and Ronnie Price will receive their walking papers from the team. With Price no longer in the mix, Oklahoma City will keep rookie Semaj Christon to provide depth at point guard, per Charania.

The decision to waive McGary doesn’t come as a shock. In addition to failing to produce much on the court during his first two seasons in OKC, McGary also got into more trouble off the court this offseason. The NBA suspended the former Michigan big man twice – first for five games and then for an additional 10 – for violations of the league’s drug policy.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets, that suspension will begin if and when McGary signs with a new NBA team. For now though, McGary is hoping to resume his career in China or somewhere in Europe, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).

The Thunder will still have to pay McGary’s guaranteed salary, but that figure is fairly modest compared to Price’s guaranteed money. The veteran point guard signed a two-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth $5MM this summer, so Oklahoma City will be on the hook for about $2.558MM in 2016/17, with the remainder coming later. The Thunder could choose to stretch out Price’s 2017/18 cap hit across multiple years.

With McGary and Price headed for the waiver wire, and Christon apparently safe, the Thunder will have to make two more cuts this afternoon. Chris Wright and Kaleb Tarczewski look like the clear candidates to be waived, perhaps with an eye toward a D-League assignment to OKC’s affiliate.

Contract Details: Brand, Rockets, Thunder, Pacers

With training camps underway, teams have now officially finalized the contract agreements with various camp invitees that had been reported over the past several weeks, meaning we have plenty of contract details to round up. As usual, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has been busy reporting those details, updating his salary pages for teams around the NBA.

Because we have so many updates to pass along from Pincus, we’ll divide them up by players who received some guaranteed money from their teams, and those who didn’t. All of the links below point to the Basketball Insiders team salary pages, so be sure to click through for additional information.

Here are the latest salary updates from across the league, via Pincus:

Players receiving guaranteed money:

These players aren’t necessarily assured of regular-season roster spots. In fact, many of them likely received guarantees as an incentive to accept a D-League assignment. Still, for some players, larger guarantees should increase their odds of making 15-man rosters.

  • Thomas Walkup (Bulls): One year, minimum salary. $69.5K guaranteed.
  • Keith Benson (Heat): Two years, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Henry Sims (Jazz): One year, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Alex Poythress (Pacers): One year, minimum salary. $35,381 guaranteed.
  • Kevin Seraphin (Pacers): Two years, $3.681MM. First year ($1.8MM) guaranteed.
  • Julyan Stone (Pacers): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Gary Payton II (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. First year ($543,471) guaranteed.
  • Isaiah Taylor (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Kyle Wiltjer (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. $275K guaranteed.
  • Cat Barber (Sixers): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Elton Brand (Sixers): One year, minimum salary. $1MM guaranteed.
  • Derrick Jones (Suns): Three years, minimum salary. $42.5K guaranteed.
  • Alex Caruso (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Kaleb Tarczewski (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Chris Wright (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $100K guaranteed.

Players receiving no guaranteed money:

The following players all signed one-year, minimum salary contracts with no guaranteed money. Many of these deals are “summer contracts,” which won’t count against a team’s cap unless the player earns a spot on the 15-man roster.

Thunder Sign Three Players, Finalize Camp Roster

The Thunder have officially finalized their roster for training camp, bringing their roster count to the maximum allowable 20 players. The team announced today in a press release that it has signed guard Alex Caruso, center Kaleb Tarczewski, and forward Chris Wright. Tarczewski’s and Wright’s camp invites had been previously reported.

[RELATED: Oklahoma City Thunder roster and depth chart at]

Caruso, who went undrafted in June, played his college ball at Texas A&M, averaging 8.1 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.1 SPG in his senior year, while shooting 36.8% from three-point range. The 22-year-old was also named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team.

Tarczewski, meanwhile, also wasn’t selected in this year’s draft, following a senior year at Arizona in which he averaged 9.4 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Like Caruso, the seven-foot center is a strong defender, having been named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Wright, who turns 28 next Friday, previously appeared in a total of 32 NBA games for the Warriors and Bucks, but has spent most of his time during the past few years overseas. Most recently, Wright appeared in 34 Israeli League games last season for Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion, averaging 12.2 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 61.5% from the floor and playing solid defense.

The Thunder are currently carrying 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Joffrey Lauvergne on a partially-guaranteed pact and Semaj Christon on a non-guaranteed deal. Caruso, Tarczewski, and Wright likely won’t get more than small guarantees, if they get any guaranteed money at all, which means they’re long shots to make the team’s 15-man roster. An assignment to the D-League’s Oklahoma City Blue is possible for all three players.

Thunder, Chris Wright Agree To Deal

The Thunder are poised to add another player to their offseason roster, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has agreed to a partially-guaranteed deal with forward Chris Wright. Wright played his college ball at Dayton and should not be confused with the former Mavericks point guard with the same name.

[RELATED: Thunder sign Russell Westbrook to extension]

Wright, who turns 28 next month, previously appeared in a total of 32 NBA games for the Warriors and Bucks, but has spent most of his time in recent years overseas. Most recently, Wright appeared in 34 Israeli League games last season for Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion, averaging 12.2 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 61.5% from the floor and playing solid defense.

Wright figures to have an opportunity to compete for a regular-season roster spot in Oklahoma City this fall. It’s not clear how big his guarantee is or what his contract will look like, but a minimum-salary pact appears likely, even though the club still has some cap room available.

The Thunder figure to make a handful of roster announcements soon, with Wright’s signing among them. The team has yet to formally complete a previously-reported deal with Ronnie Price, and also hasn’t signed first-round pick Domanatas Sabonis.

Central Notes: Melo, Amundson, Pistons

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony wasn’t surprised to learn that his squad would be opening the season against the Bulls, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.  Meanwhile, he says that his offseason flirtation with Chicago has given him insight into their team.  “I have a lot of insight [into that team],’’ Anthony said. “I can’t express that right now. I have a better understanding what they’re about. The organization, the players, Coach Thibs, the front-office ownership. [Thibodeau’s] knowledge of the game and what he brings to the game, his excitement and enthusiasm. It doesn’t get better than that. … I give them a lot of credit. They were very impressive.”  More from the Central Division..

  • Lou Amundson is likely to secure a regular season roster spot, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. The center position could be the one spot in the Cavs lineup to have minutes available due to Anderson Varejao‘s injury history and a lack of proven options behind him.
  • Turning the Pistons into a playoff caliber team starts with coach and GM Stan Van Gundy, opines David Mayo of Van Gundy understands the process of building a successful team having turned franchises around in Miami and Orlando. “There are habits to change,” he said. “When you’ve lost for a long time, you get into losing habits. Nobody wants to lose and a lot of times guys don’t even realize the habits they’ve fallen into because they’re still NBA players and they’re playing well. I think they want to change. It just has to be more consistent.”
  • Former Bucks forward Chris Wright has joined PGE Turow Zgorzelec of Poland, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (on Twitter, h/t to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Bucks Waive Elijah Millsap, Chris Wright

The Bucks have waived Elijah Millsap and Chris Wright, the team announced. Both were on non-guaranteed deals. The move had been expected for Wright after coach Jason Kidd told reporters last week that the 26-year-old small forward was headed to play in Europe.

Panathinaikos of Greece had interest in Wright but reportedly decided against signing him, so it’s unclear just where he’ll end up. He was with Milwaukee last season on a pair of 10-day contracts before he signed a deal that carried through the rest of 2013/14 and included a non-guaranteed salary for this coming season. Millsap joined Milwaukee this fall for his first taste of NBA preseason action since he was in camp with the Thunder in 2010. The 27-year-old swingman shared his thoughts with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors last month as he readied for his shot with the Bucks.

The cuts leave the Bucks with 16 players, one more than they can have come opening night. Micheal Eric and Kendall Marshall remain as the team’s only non-guaranteed contracts, and with 14 fully guaranteed deals on the books, Marshall will almost certainly be the team’s choice for the final regular season spot.

Eastern Notes: Nets, Allen, Cavs, Muscala, Wright

Nets GM Billy King took questions from reporters today, including Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. While King originally refused to comment on the Guggenheim ownership talks, he would eventually say Mikhail Prokhorov “isn’t selling” and described the current ownership’s commitment to winning as “unwavering” (Twitter links here). This further confirms the majority of reports over the last week that Prokhorov intends to remain the majority owner.

Let’s take a look at what else is coming out of the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night:

  • Jim Tanner, the agent for free agent Ray Allen, shot down any speculation that his client has or is about to sign with the Cavaliers. After speaking with Allen today, Tanner, through the Twitter account of Tandem Sports and Entertainment, indicated that Allen has yet to decide whether or not he will play this season (Twitter links here). Allen was linked to several teams this summer, but as of last month Cleveland still believed they will land the veteran sniper.
  • Speaking of the Cavaliers, the team isn’t panicked about their need for rim-protection, writes Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who suggests the Cavs aren’t going to rush to remedy the situation via trade. Instead, they’re more likely to target a wing defender whose salary would fit into their nearly $5.3MM Keith Bogans trade exception, according to Lowe.
  • The Hawks are high on the development of Mike Muscala, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta has 14 guaranteed contracts on the books for the upcoming season and Vivlamore’s report is just the latest evidence that they will award the final spot to Muscala, whose contract is partially guaranteed.
  • Greek’s Panathinaikos took a pass on Chris Wright, who’s decided to leave the Bucks, and the small forward rejected a $200K offer from Besiktas in Turkey, Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi reports. That seemingly leaves Wright in a limbo of sorts, but the Bucks have yet to formally place his non-guaranteed contract on waivers.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.