Cole Aldrich

Cole Aldrich Signs With Tianjin Gold Lions

Veteran NBA center Cole Aldrich has officially signed with China’s Tianjin Gold Lions, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando relays. Jeff Goodman of Stadium first reported last week that Aldrich was expected to head to China, but didn’t specify which team the big man would be joining.

[RELATED: NBA Players Who Are Headed Overseas For 2018/19]

Aldrich, who will turn 30 in three weeks, spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, playing a limited role for the Timberwolves. In 2017/18, he appeared in just 21 games and played only 49 total minutes.

While his contract with Minnesota covered the 2018/19 season, Aldrich’s salary for the coming year only featured a modest partial guarantee, so the Wolves waived him in June before the full guarantee kicked in, making him an unrestricted free agent. He subsequently received a camp invite from the Hawks, who released him last Tuesday.

For his career, Aldrich – the 11th overall pick in 2010 – has recorded 3.1 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 339 regular season games for the Thunder, Rockets, Kings, Knicks, Clippers, and Timberwolves.

Cole Aldrich Waived, Expected To Play In China

2:32pm: The Hawks have waived Aldrich, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). The timing of the move is likely no coincidence, as the path is now clear for the center to sign a deal overseas.

2:15pm: Veteran NBA center Cole Aldrich is expected to play in China during the 2018/19 campaign, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Goodman doesn’t offer any specifics on which team Aldrich is expected to join for the coming season.

Aldrich, who will turn 30 later this month, remains under contract with the Hawks for now. However, he has a non-guaranteed contract, and Atlanta is already carrying 15 players on fully guaranteed salaries, making the big man a long shot to earn a spot on the regular season roster.

It’s not uncommon for a player to line up a contract agreement in another league if he expects to be released by his NBA team. Earlier this offseason, for instance, news broke of David Stockton‘s new deal with German team Medi Bayreuth approximately two weeks before he was actually waived by the Jazz.

In Aldrich’s case, he and his representatives may have received word that a roster spot in Atlanta isn’t in the cards and gotten a head start on seeking out another professional opportunity. That remains unconfirmed though.

Aldrich spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, playing a limited role for the Timberwolves. In 2017/18, he appeared in just 21 games and played only 49 total minutes. While his contract covered the 2018/19 season, Aldrich’s salary for the coming year only featured a modest partial guarantee, so the Wolves waived him in June before the full guarantee kicked in, making him an unrestricted free agent. He subsequently received a camp invite from the Hawks.

Hawks Sign Cole Aldrich

SEPTEMBER 18: The Hawks have filled their offseason roster by officially signing Aldrich, the team announced today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 6: The Hawks have reached an agreement with free agent center Cole Aldrich on a contract, reports Charley Walters of The St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). According to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN (via Twitter), Aldrich will sign a non-guaranteed camp deal with Atlanta.

Aldrich, who will turn 30 next month, spent the last two seasons in Minnesota, playing a limited role for the Timberwolves. In 2017/18, he appeared in just 21 games and played only 49 total minutes. While his contract covered the 2018/19 season, Aldrich’s salary for the coming year only featured a modest partial guarantee, so the Wolves waived him in June before the full guarantee kicked in, making him an unrestricted free agent.

An eight-year veteran, Aldrich has never played a huge role for any NBA team since entering the league as the 11th overall pick in 2010, but he has logged 339 total games for six clubs. His most productive season came in 2014/15, when he averaged 5.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 61 contests (16.0 MPG) for the Knicks.

Before making their reported agreement with Aldrich official, the Hawks have two openings on their 20-man offseason roster. However, 15 of their 18 players currently under contract have guaranteed standard contracts for 2018/19, leaving no clear path for the veteran big man to make the regular season roster.

Still, Wolfson suggests that Aldrich is “motivated” to stick with Atlanta, so we’ll see if the club considers trading or waiving any players from its presumed 15-man squad to open up a spot for the former Timberwolf. Another former lottery pick, Thomas Robinson, will also be in camp with the Hawks on a non-guaranteed deal in the hopes of claiming a roster spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Timberwolves Waive Cole Aldrich

The Timberwolves have waived backup center Cole Aldrich, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Aldrich’s $6.96MM contract, already guaranteed for $2.06MM, was scheduled to become fully guaranteed if Aldrich remained on Minnesota’s roster past today. Accordingly, the Wolves saved $4.9MM by cutting ties with Aldrich.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes, Minnesota will have the option to stretch the amount still owed to Aldrich over three years, which would open up an additional $1.37MM in cap room this summer.

Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News predicts that the Wolves will stretch Aldrich’s contract in order to avoid potential tax penalties should the team choose to use the full value of its MLE.

Aldrich, 29, averaged a career-low 0.6 PPG in only 21 games this past season. Throughout his eight-season career, he has averaged 3.1 points in 10.0 minutes per contest.

Wolves Notes: Thibodeau, Towns, Aldrich, Patton

Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden hosted a news conference this afternoon to discuss tomorrow’s draft, upcoming free agency, and reports of Karl-Anthony Towns wanting out of Minnesota, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

Despite reports of Towns’ unhappiness, Thibodeau says the relationship between the franchise and its star player is all well, telling reporters that everybody is in a good place.

 “Yeah, yeah. He’s doing quite well. And I love KAT. He has had a terrific start to his career… To get to where we are — obviously we’re not ultimately where we want to be, but it was a major step forward — you can’t do it individually. It’s got to be the whole group doing it together. And for the most part, I think we are in a good place.”

Regarding the draft, the Wolves own the No. 20 and No. 48 picks and Thibodeau said anything remains possible as the team tries to address their needs.

“It’s one of the few times through the year you have a chance to improve the club, so all options are open right now. We know there’s a great challenge in front of us. The shooting and the toughness, the defense and building the depth.”

As for free agency, Layden said that the team would concentrate more on the free agent market once July 1 draws closer, but that he knows the type of player Thibodeau looks for.

“We know the type of player we need to be in coach’s system and to succeed here. I think we have a real good understanding of that now. So whether it’d be trade, whether it be through free agency or the draft, we have a clear understanding of what type of players will fit here.”

There’s more out of Minneapolis:

  • In the same story, Zgoda says he expects the team to buy out backup center Cole Aldrich before the new league year begins next weekend. Aldrich is owed nearly $7MM in 2018/19, but only about $2MM is guaranteed, so the Wolves can significantly reduce his cap hit by cutting him. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News confirms that the salary guarantee deadline for Aldrich is June 30.
  • Another backup center, Justin Patton, whom the Wolves used their first round selection on last year at No. 16, is finally working out after surgery, but Thibodeau says he will miss all summer and likely most of the fall as well, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • Krawczynski also tweeted that Layden believes the team is fortunate because their need for wings and shooting line up well with what prospects should still be available at No. 20 tomorrow night.
  • In a separate piece for the Star Tribune, Zgoda takes a look at the prospects the Wolves may be targeting with the No. 20 overall selection, including Grayson AllenDonte DiVincenzoKhyri Thomas, and Jacob Evans.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Harris, Dudley

The Thunder have three players who’ve grown used to getting the final shot over the course of long, impressive careers. Now, Royce Young of ESPN writes, they’ll have to figure out who gets the ball when the game is on the line.

While Russell Westbrook was the painfully obvious choice last season, he’s joined on the Thunder by Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Both Anthony and George have traditionally been the focal point of their teams’ offenses and were often the go-to options down the stretch, the latter even going so far as to lambaste former teammate C.J. Miles for taking a last-second shot in the playoffs last spring.

Carmelo’s been a closeout guy the places he’s been, the same thing with Paul. But any time you have a team you have to do it by finding the open man,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Clearly for us last year, somebody creating and generating a shot for himself or someone else, it was Russell. But obviously now with Carmelo and Paul being here, I think it’s about making the right play and right decision.

One knock on the Thunder in the past has been their reliance on isolation basketball when the game is on the long. Considering the roster balance last season, that style of play was more or less expected. With a number of legitimate offensive threats in 2017/18, however, the expectations for ball movement – and making sound decisions – should rise.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Details on Gary Harris‘ contract have emerged, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes. The cap hit for the Nuggets guard in 2018/19 will be $16.5MM and that mark will rise annually until the deal terminates at $20.5MM in 2021/22. There are also $2.5MM of additional, unlikely, bonuses each year.
  • There’s no clear frontrunner to fill the primary backup power forward role for the Nuggets this offseason. Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports writes about how the changing NBA could impact Denver’s frontcourt depth chart in 2017/18.
  • A prediction that the Timberwolves could send Cole Aldrich and a second-round pick to the Suns for Jared Dudley has legs, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets. Minnesota has been particularly interested in Dudley’s recovery from offseason toe surgery.

Lowe’s Latest: Wolves, Suns, Parker, Bucks

In another one of his in-depth NBA preview features, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has grouped the NBA’s 30 teams into tiers, with the Warriors in the top tier on their own, followed by the Cavaliers, Thunder, Rockets, and Spurs in tier two. Lowe’s piece examines each club, with a handful of Eastern Conference teams – the Nets, Hawks, Knicks, Pacers, and Bulls – bringing up the rear.

Along the way, Lowe drops a few noteworthy tidbits of information about roster moves and trade possibilities, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • The Timberwolves have dangled Cole Aldrich‘s contract and a second-round pick in search of veteran help, sources tell Lowe. We heard reports of Aldrich’s availability back in July, and nothing came of it, but the Wolves still project to have an open roster spot or two, so it’s possible the team will revisit this scenario at some point.
  • The Suns have explored trading Jared Dudley and/or Tyson Chandler, but they likely feel no urgency to move either player at this point, says Lowe. The ESPN scribe adds that Phoenix “will surely listen” if the team receives inquiries on Eric Bledsoe.
  • Bucks forward Jabari Parker is unlikely to return before February, at the earliest, according to Lowe. The former No. 2 overall pick continues to recover from a torn ACL as his October 16 contract extension deadline nears.
  • The Bucks – who got out of the tax this year – would risk going back over the tax threshold for 2018/19 with an extension for Parker. Sources tell Lowe that Milwaukee has discussed dumping John Henson and/or Mirza Teletovic, but teams are “squeezing hard.” Henson and Teletovic are on the books for about $10.5MM each in 2018/19.

Nets Notes: Carroll, Free Agents, Aldrich, Draft Pick

Brooklyn GM Sean Marks got Raptors president Masai Ujiri to sweeten the deal involving DeMarre Carroll as they talked during Saturday’s games at the Las Vegas Summer League, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Toronto’s original offer involved just Carroll and a first-round pick, but Marks was able to convince Ujiri to send along a second-rounder and take back the $3MM contract of Justin Hamilton.

The deal provides needed cap relief for the Raptors, while giving the Nets a replacement for Otto Porter after the Wizards announced their intention to match Brooklyn’s four-year, $106.5MM offer sheet. The trade may not be finalized before Thursday while the Nets wait for the Wizards to conduct Porter’s physical and report the results to the league.

There’s more today out of Brooklyn:

  • With nearly $17MM left in cap space along with a $4.3MM room exception, the Nets will move on to other targets in free agency, Lewis adds. They were believed to be interested in Pistons’ guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but the Carroll trade prevents them from making a max offer. Caldwell-Pope turned down $80MM over five years from Detroit, but his options may be limited now as fewer teams have cap room to work with. Other possibilities for Brooklyn are C.J. Miles, Dewayne Dedmon, Nikola Mirotic or another restricted free agent in JaMychal Green. Coach Kenny Atkinson sees the value in having an older player around. “I do think [Marks and I] both agree that we don’t want to go in with a totally young roster,” he said. “We do need that veteran support. If it’s the right position where somebody can help us, it’s definitely something [to consider].”
  • Saturday’s deal may end the Timberwolves’ hopes of getting the Nets to take on Cole Aldrich’s salary, Lewis notes in the same piece. Minnesota wants to unload Aldrich, who will make $7.3MM in the upcoming season and nearly $6.9MM in 2018/19, to create enough cap room to sign Miles. However, Marks wouldn’t agree to the deal unless the Wolves threw in Oklahoma City’s 2018 first-rounder.
  • The second-rounder the Nets will receive in the Carroll deal will probably be the lower of the Magic or Lakers picks, according to a tweet from NetsDaily. Brooklyn already has the rights to the Pacers’ 2018 second-rounder if Indiana misses the playoffs.

Free Agent Rumors: Clippers, KCP, Lakers, Casspi

Free agent big man Willie Reed is meeting today with the Clippers, league sources tell Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the meeting and adds (via Twitter) that Jeff Withey is also sitting down with the club today. Los Angeles doesn’t have a whole lot of financial flexibility left, having used most of its mid-level exception on Milos Teodosic, but the club remains in the market for a backup for DeAndre Jordan, with Marreese Speights having opted out.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Pistons‘ best offer to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was worth $80MM over five years, which “wasn’t even close” to what the free agent guard was seeking, a source tells Jake Fischer of (Twitter link). Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) also hears the two sides weren’t at all close, though he doesn’t confirm those specific figures. Caldwell-Pope is now an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Lakers have shown some interest in Rodney Stuckey, but have only had preliminary discussions on that front, writes Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Alex Kennedy (Twitter link) first reported L.A.’s interest in Stuckey.
  • Before he agreed to sign with the Warriors on a minimum salary deal, Omri Casspi turned down a one-year, $4.5MM offer from a probable lottery team, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who notes that Casspi opted for a chance at a title instead of the bigger payday.
  • The Timberwolves are said to be trying harder to unload Cole Aldrich‘s contract in an effort to land C.J. Miles, but the team remains reluctant to attach a first-round pick, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Free Agent Rumors: Wolves, Knicks, Waiters, Jazz

The Timberwolves were linked to free agent swingman C.J. Miles earlier today, but weren’t necessarily considered a probable landing spot for Miles due to the team’s lack of cap flexibility. However, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who passed along the initial report on Miles, the Pacers are open to the idea of a sign-and-trade which would net them Cole Aldrich‘s contract and OKC’s 2018 first-round pick from Minnesota.

Both teams would have to agree on that sign-and-trade scenario, and of course Miles would also have to be on board, so there may be some snags along the way. But as Wolfson points out, there are ways for the Wolves to get creative if they really want to land Miles or another free agent.

Wolfson has more on the Wolves, tweeting that he has heard the team made an offer to Nick Young. That offer would likely be worth the $4.3MM room exception, and Young turned down a $5.67MM player option with the Lakers last month, so I’d be surprised if Minnesota’s offer is enough to land him, but the club clearly remains on the lookout for shooting help.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Knicks continue to stay in touch with free agent guard Dion Waiters, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Waiters and Rajon Rondo remain on the Lakers‘ radar.
  • With Gordon Hayward and Otto Porter off the board, the Jazz have expressed interest in Rudy Gay, says Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Royce Young of ESPN tweets, Patrick Patterson essentially took the deal that Gay was unwilling to with the Thunder, so OKC may be out, leaving the Heat and Jazz as the top contenders for Gay.
  • Having already brought back nearly all of their key free agents, the Warriors are also considered likely to re-sign Zaza Pachulia, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • After a strong showing for the Pistons in Summer League play, Eric Moreland is believed to have received a multiyear contract offer from Detroit, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.