Cole Swider

Heat Notes: Swider, Richardson, Butler, Lowry

Cole Swider is hoping to be the Heat‘s next success story in player development, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami has shown a knack for finding useful players who have gone undrafted, many of whom are coming off opportunities with other teams. Swider wants to put his name on that list with Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, Orlando Robinson and others.

“It was a big part of my decision-making process,” Swider said. “There were a lot of teams that were interested. And a lot of ’em were interested in the same thing the Heat were interested in, an Exhibit 10 (tryout contract) and the opportunity to earn a two-way or a roster spot. But the success with the Heat with those guys gave me an easy decision, in terms of they’re going to give you a real opportunity in training camp, they’re going to give you real opportunities to get on the floor and play through mistakes and make the team.”

Swider, a 24-year-old small forward, signed a two-way contract with the Lakers after going undrafted out of Syracuse in 2022. He saw minimal playing time in seven games with L.A., spending most of the season in the G League.

Another reason Swider decided to go to Miami was the team’s need for outside shooting after losing Strus and Vincent in free agency. Swider is a shooting specialist, connecting at 50.6% from the field and 43.6% from beyond the arc in 27 G League games last season.

“Because of the type of guys like me in the past, they know how to use guys like me,” he said. “When I do something in pickup that looks like Duncan or Max or Gabe, they know how to use me in a game. It’s not like, ‘Oh, this only works in pickup.’”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Josh Richardson has aged well throughout his NBA career and should be a reliable rotation player this season, Winderman states in a mailbag column. Richardson, who was drafted by the Heat in 2015, returned to the organization this summer after playing for five teams in the last four years. Winderman notes that he relies on intelligence as much as speed and athleticism and has remained productive at age 30.
  • Jimmy Butler falls just short of the NBA’s exceptions in its new Player Participation Policy, but his medical history may give the Heat more opportunity to rest him, Winderman adds in another piece. Teams can petition the league to sit out players in back-to-back games if they’re at least 35 years old or have logged more than 34,000 career minutes or 1,000 total games in the regular season and playoffs. Butler is 34 with 29,513 minutes in 873 games, but his history of knee issues may qualify him to get approval under the PPP’s injury provision.
  • NBA Twitter was buzzing Saturday night when Heat guard Kyle Lowry was spotted alongside Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups at the Colorado-Colorado State football game (video link). Lowry is among the players who may be headed to Portland if the teams can agree on a Damian Lillard trade.

Heat Notes: Richardson, Bryant, Swider, Bouyea, Lillard

After briefly discussing the Heat‘s offseason moves during an ESPN interview last week, head coach Erik Spoelstra went into more detail while taking part in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, Spoelstra is looking forward to having former Heat wing Josh Richardson back on the roster in 2023/24.

“To be able to get somebody like J-Rich, who we are all really comfortable with, who we spent so many hours and years spending time developing him and where he feels also comfortable in our system and how we operate, we just feel very fortunate that we were able to get him when we were able to get him,” Spoelstra said.

“He’s already been in the gym working and it’s almost like, I mentioned to him the last time I saw him in the gym, it’s like the time away never happened. The relationship just started off right where we left it. That’s when you know you have strong relationships back and forth from our standpoint and his standpoint. Also, his versatility is going to be super important. His ability to play multiple positions.”

Here are a few more notes on the Heat, including Spoelstra’s thoughts on some of the team’s other recent additions:

  • According to Spoelstra, newly added center Thomas Bryant is a player the Heat have had their eye on for several years. They worked him out prior to the 2017 draft and were fans of the big man at the time. “His time with (the Lakers last season), I thought was really important,” Spoelstra said of Bryant. “You could see how he could be effective in our system and how he can play with multiple guys. He’s big, he’s physical, he plays with a motor and he can also stretch the floor. So he can have a presence at the rim and in the paint, but he also can space the floor and be efficient behind the three-point line. We’re excited to be able to add him to our roster and add some depth to our frontcourt and some versatile depth.”
  • Spoelstra expressed enthusiasm about forward Cole Swider, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the team earlier this month.“He has positional size, he has exceptional three-point shooting and range and versatility with his three-point shooting,” the head coach said. “He can shoot on the move, he can also space the floor and he has the size to be able to get his shot off with great accuracy. So we’re excited to be able to add him to our mix late into the summer. We’re looking forward to developing him and working with him.” Our Tristan Tucker recently identified Swider as a candidate to eventually earn a two-way or standard deal.
  • Spoelstra also believes the Heat will see “bigger jumps” from Jamaree Bouyea, who remained with the club on another two-way deal. “He improved being able to run a team, get guys organized,” Spoelstra said, referring to Bouyea’s play in the G League. “And defensively and the things that he can do with his speed are just super unique. So we wanted to have an opportunity to continue his development and have a second year at it.”
  • Following Damian Lillard‘s public confirmation of his trade request in an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald breaks down that interview from a Heat perspective, noting that trade talks with the Trail Blazers have been “largely dormant” for several weeks.

Four Candidates To Be Promoted From Camp Contracts

Although the NBA added an additional two-way contract for every team for the 2023/24 season, teams haven’t been quick to sign players to such contracts. Only 11 of the league’s 30 teams have three players signed to two-way deals and several haven’t begun adding players to Exhibit 10 contracts.

The start of training camp is still several weeks away, so teams have plenty of time to add players to two-way and Exhibit 10 deals. However, many teams use training camp as an audition of sorts for players to earn two-way or even standard contract spots. Not earning a spot isn’t the end of the line for these players. If players signed to camp deals are waived before the ’23/24 starts, they’ll could receive a bonus worth up to $75K if they spend at least 60 days with their club’s G League affiliate.

Here are four players who have a chance to be promoted from their current Exhibit 10 contracts and onto a team’s two-way slot or standard deal.

Landers Nolley II

The Pelicans did well after the draft to reach agreements to add players on camp contracts. Nolley, Tevian Jones, Liam Robbins and Trey Jemison make up New Orleans’ reported camp deals. Any one of those players could end up on a list such as this as some of the more accomplished collegiate players who went undrafted in the 2023 draft.

Of course, Nolley may not end up on the Pels’ final camp roster, but if his reported deal is finalized, he makes perfect sense as a developmental piece for New Orleans. Nolley is a protoypical 3-and-D player, having averaged 16.8 points last season for Cincinnati while shooting 41.7% from deep.

Nolley played for New Orleans’ Summer League team this year, averaging 8.0 points and shooting 50% from deep on 4.0 attempts across five games. At 6’7″, Nolley is a good bet to at least stick around the NBA’s radar for a few seasons. The Pelicans have two open two-way contract spots, with Dereon Seabron occupying the other.

Matthew Mayer

Mayer impressed with the Rockets in Summer League, averaging 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in four appearances. His showing earned him an Exhibit 10 deal with Houston, who has plenty of remaining flexibility on its training camp roster despite having three players signed to two-way deals.

Like Nolley, Mayer fits what teams look for in terms of positional archeypes, and Mayer’s ability to stretch the floor at 6’9″ is likely to be a coveted as a developmental piece. Mayer hit 33% of his 6.2 3-point attempts in college last year with Illinois and 43.5% of his 5.8 attempts from downtown in Summer League.

The Rockets have Darius Days and Trevor Hudgins signed to two-way contracts at the moment, two players who impressed en route to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ 2022/23 G League Finals appearance. Additionally, Jermaine Samuels currently occupies the Rockets’ third two-way roster spot. However, the Rockets have two open standard spots and could move players around, which would give Mayer a realistic shot at making their roster.

Duane Washington Jr.

Of the four players listed here, Washington is the one with the most NBA experience to his name. He has 79 NBA appearances and 10 starts to his name before his third season in the league. Washington has been on both two-way and standard contracts across his two years, playing with Indiana and Phoenix before ending up with the Knicks. Washington has averaged 9.1 points on 37.1% shooting from deep for his career.

It’s a bit surprising that Washington hasn’t caught on with a roster for the long haul with his extensive game experience and impressive counting stats. The Knicks signed Washington to a two-way deal in February but he never made an appearance with them. During the team’s roster shuffling this offseason, New York waived Washington from his two-way pact before re-adding him on a camp deal.

However, the Knicks have three players signed to two-way deals already, Nathan Knight, Dylan Windler and Jaylen Martin, the latter of which is signed for two years. It’s not impossible that New York waives or signs one of those players to their 15-man roster, but it will be an uphill battle for Washington to make New York’s roster. Look for other teams to either claim Washington or sign him at a later date.

Cole Swider

A Heat player was bound to end up on this list given their resume of turning camp guys, like Max Strus once was, into rotation NBA players. The Heat signed a bevy of players to camp contracts last week, including Justin Champagnie and Alondes Williams, two players with NBA experience, but Swider seems the most likely to make the jump to Miami’s season roster.

Swider wasn’t the most prolific collegiate player and didn’t appear on many public big boards, so it was a bit surprising to see him ink a two-year, two-way deal with the Lakers last year. However, he answered any questions in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, averaging 15.9 points and hitting 43.6% of his 7.6 deep-ball attempts in the regular season. Despite this, the Lakers waived Swider earlier this offseason.

The Heat two key sharpshooters this offseason in Strus and Gabe Vincent, while Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry, three of the team’s best shooters, have been involved in heavy speculation regarding a potential Damian Lillard trade. In any case, Miami could help replenish its stash of 3-point shooters by keeping Swider around on either a two-way or standard deal. The Heat already have three players signed to two-way deals, but they have just 13 players on standard contracts and have the flexibility to keep Swider around if they choose.

Of course, other players not listed here will likely be promoted at some point onto a team’s active roster. Additionally, players not yet signed to a team’s camp contract could also end up on a two-way or standard deal. This is just speculation, but I believe players like David Duke Jr., Trevor Keels, Louis King, Tyrese Martin, Skylar Mays and Xavier Moon, to name a few, did enough either last season in the G League or during Summer League to earn a look from a team on a camp deal.

Heat Sign Cole Swider To Camp Contract

AUGUST 11: The Heat have officially signed Swider, the team tweets.

AUGUST 6: The Heat have reached an agreement with free agent forward Cole Swider, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Swider’s contract will be an Exhibit 10 training camp deal, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Swider went undrafted out of Syracuse in 2022, but latched on with the Lakers for the 2022/23 season on a two-way deal.

The 24-year-old suited up for just seven games during his rookie season with Los Angeles, averaging just 5.9 MPG. Across 27 bouts with the Lakers’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, Swider averaged 17.1 PPG on .506/.436/.838 shooting, along with 4.8 RPG, 1.8 APG and 0.8 SPG.

Miami has 12 players currently signed to guaranteed deals on their current 15-man standard roster, plus center Orlando Robinson inked to a non-guaranteed contract.

Heat Notes: Swider, Cain, Audige, Herro

The Heat have been quiet while hoping for a Damian Lillard trade to materialize, but they reached an agreement Sunday with Cole Swider on an Exhibit 10 training camp deal, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The former Lakers forward spent most of last season in the G League on a two-way contract.

Chiang hears that Swider will have a chance to compete for a two-way deal with Miami and possibly even a spot on the 15-man roster. As a 6’9″ long-range shooter, Swider could have some value for a team that lost three-point threats Max Strus and Gabe Vincent in free agency. Duncan Robinson, a similar player, may be sent elsewhere in a potential Lillard deal, Chiang adds.

Swider made a verbal commitment to the Heat, according to Chiang, but if the team intends to include Exhibit 9 language in his deal, he can’t officially sign until the team has at least 14 players with standard deals. Drew Peterson, another 6’9″ sharpshooter who played for Miami’s Summer League team, is in a similar situation.

There’s more from Miami:

  • With the commitments from Swider and Peterson, along with 13 standard contracts and a pair of two-way deals, the Heat have four more roster spots to fill before training camp opens, Chiang adds. One of those could go to power forward Jamal Cain, who received a qualifying offer to return to the team on a two-way contract. Cain is still searching for a standard deal, which Miami has been reluctant to offer, according to Chiang. The deadline to rescind the two-way offer passed in July, so Cain is free to accept it at any time.
  • The Heat also contacted Northwestern guard Chase Audige about an Exhibit 10 contract, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, a source tells Jackson that Audige has decided to accept an Exhibit 10 offer from another team where he believes he has a better chance to earn a roster spot.
  • Zach Kram of The Ringer takes an in-depth look at Tyler Herro to determine whether he’s valuable enough to be the central piece in a Lillard trade. Miami is hoping to find a third team to take Herro and increase the number of draft assets going to Portland. Kram finds that Herro is part of a star-studded group that averaged at least 20 points, five rebounds and four assists per game at age 23, but his defensive limitations put a cap on his trade value.

Lakers Sign Alex Fudge To Two-Way Deal, Waive Cole Swider

4:51pm: The contract with Fudge is official, the Lakers announced (via Twitter).

4:33pm: The Lakers will sign Alex Fudge to a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. They will open up a two-way slot by waiving Cole Swider, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Fudge, a 20-year-old forward, put up modest numbers during his college career at LSU and Florida, averaging 4.6 and 3.9 rebounds over two seasons.

Fudge played for L.A.’s Summer League team, and although his statistics didn’t stand out, he impressed the Lakers enough with his athleticism to earn a two-way opportunity. A previous report had indicated he would be signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the team.

Swider, a 24-year-old small forward, signed a two-way contract with L.A. last summer after going undrafted out of Villanova. He appeared in just seven games for the Lakers, spending most of his rookie year in the G League, where he averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27 regular season games.

Swider’s contract for the upcoming season is non-guaranteed, so L.A. won’t be on the hook for any more money. Colin Castleton and D’Moi Hodge occupy the team’s other two-way spots.

Lakers’ Cole Swider Out At Least Four Weeks With Foot Injury

Lakers forward Cole Swider has been diagnosed with a navicular stress reaction of the right foot, the team announced today in a press release.

Swider will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks, according to the Lakers. He’s not a lock to return at the four-week mark, but his status will be updated at that time.

An undrafted rookie who signed a two-way contract with the Lakers this offseason, Swider made his regular season NBA debut last Tuesday in Golden State. However, he played just two garbage-time minutes in that game and is far down the club’s depth chart, so his absence shouldn’t have any real impact on L.A.’s rotation.

Still, Swider is the latest in a growing string of Lakers who are on the shelf with multi-week injuries. Both Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schröder underwent procedures to repair torn thumb ligaments and were ruled out for at least three or four weeks. With Swider joining them on the injured list, the Lakers will be missing one more option off the bench for the foreseeable future.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ayton, Lakers, Swider, Kings

With JaVale McGee and Aaron Holiday headed elsewhere and Elfrid Payton not expected to return, the Suns‘ additions of Josh Okogie, Damion Lee, and Jock Landale will help replenish their depth, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. According to Gambadoro, Phoenix is done adding role players for the time being, though the club could still bring back free agent forward Ish Wainwright.

As for the Suns’ bigger-business items, there was no movement as of Sunday morning on the Kevin Durant front, according to Gambadoro, who tweets that Phoenix remains interested but doesn’t want to gut its roster.

Additionally, Gambadoro confirms (via Twitter) that the Suns and Jazz have had a discussion about restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton, who was previously linked to Utah. However, Gambadoro isn’t sure how far that conversation went and notes that many teams aren’t looking to spend big money on a center at the moment.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • The Lakers still have glaring issues despite making some free-agency additions, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. Buha writes that Los Angeles could use more shooting and size. The team has has signed Damian Jones, Troy Brown Jr. and Juan Toscano-Anderson in free agency so far, and agreed to a deal with Lonnie Walker.
  • Cole Swider‘s two-way contract with the Lakers covers two seasons, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Swider, who went undrafted last month after spending three seasons at Villanova and one season at Syracuse, averaged 13.9 points per game last year, shooting 41% from deep.
  • Jazz head video coordinator Charles Allen is leaving Utah for a job with the Kings, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. According to Jones, Allen will be Sacramento’s head video coordinator and a special assistant to new head coach Mike Brown.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Lakers Sign Scotty Pippen Jr., Cole Swider Via Two-Way Deals

JULY 1: The Lakers have officially signed Pippen and Swider to two-way contracts, the team announced today (Twitter links).

JUNE 23: The Lakers are set to add undrafted former Vanderbilt point guard Scotty Pippen Jr. to a two-way contract, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link). Los Angeles will also sign undrafted Syracuse rookie forward Cole Swider into their second two-play player slot, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

The 21-year-old Pippen, son of Hall of Fame Bulls small forward Scottie Pippen, played for three seasons with the Commodores. The 6’1″ guard was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2020, and was a two-time First-Team All-SEC selection in 2021 and 2022.

During his third NCAA season in 2021/22, the younger Pippen averaged 20.4 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.6 RPG and 1.9 SPG across 36 games, all starts. He posted a slash line of .416/.325/.749.

Swider spent his first three college seasons with Villanova before finishing his NCAA career with Syracuse. For the Orange in 2021/22, Swider averaged 13.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 APG and 1.0 SPG. The 6’9″ forward started all 33 games during his final NCAA season, with solid shooting splits of .473/.411/.866.

Pippen and Swider will log some time with L.A.’s NBAGL affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, but could also help contribute to the depth-challenged NBA club.

Los Angeles Notes: Ott, Westbrook, Brogdon, Swider, Clippers’ Targets

Darvin Ham‘s Lakers staff is starting to take shape. Nets assistant Jordan Ott will join him on the West Coast and move into a more prominent role in front of the Lakers’ bench, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Ott has been with Brooklyn since 2016. He served as Steve Nash’s offensive coordinator this past season.

We have more from the Los Angeles teams: