D.J. Stewart

New York Notes: Randle, Knicks, Long Island Nets, Simmons

Knicks All-Star power forward Julius Randle seems to be on the mend following his offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle last month. As Belle Fraser of The New York Post writes, Randle shared a new workout video to his personal Instagram account.

Randle sat out the final five contests of the 2022/23 regular season after spraining his ankle in a late March bout with the Heat. He then re-aggravated the ailment during the closeout bout of New York’s five-game first-round series win over the Cavaliers.

In the regular season, the 28-year-old averaged 25.1 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 4.1 APG during his second All-NBA season with the Knicks, who finished with a 47-35 record and the No. 5 seed in the East last year. His numbers regressed mightily in the playoffs, in part due to the ankle ailment. Randle averaged 16.6 PPG on 37.4% shooting from the field, along with 8.3 RPG, and 3.6 APG.

There’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks have shored up their wing depth this offseason, but will still face an uphill battle in a stacked Eastern Conference. Zach Braziller of The New York Post (subscriber link) predicts how the Knicks will fare this season, speculating that five Eastern teams will finish ahead of them.
  • The Nets’ NBAGL team, the Long Island Nets, have traded the returning player rights for swingman Alondes Williams to the Heat’s NBA G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, in exchange for the returning player rights of shooting guard D.J. Stewart to the Nets, the Skyforce announced in a press release.
  • Oft-injured Nets guard Ben Simmons is now completely healthy after rehabbing from the back nerve impingement that caused him to miss the last six weeks of the 2022/23 regular season, sources inform Ian Begley of SNY.tv. The 27-year-old anticipates that he will be able to fully partake in Brooklyn’s training camp in September.

Heat Waive D.J. Stewart, Jon Elmore

The Heat made a pair of roster cuts today, waiving guards D.J. Stewart Jr. and Jon Elmore, according to NBA.com’s transaction log.

Stewart is a 23-year-old guard who went undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2021 and spent most of his rookie season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate. In 36 total NBAGL regular season appearances for the Skyforce and the Austin Spurs last season, Stewart averaged 17.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .480/.361/.764 shooting in 34.1 minutes per contest.

Miami claimed Stewart off waivers from Dallas on Friday, and it appears the plan is to have him report back to the Skyforce to open the 2022/23 season.

Elmore is likely also headed for the Skyforce after spending a day with the Heat on an Exhibit 10 contract. The 26-year-old went undrafted in 2019 after a standout college career at Marshall. He has played professionally for European clubs in Italy, Hungary, Greece and Lithuania over the past three years.

With today’s cuts, the Heat’s roster now appears set for the regular season. The team has 13 players on guaranteed contracts, Haywood Highsmith with a partial guarantee, and Dru Smith and Jamal Cain on two-way deals.

Heat Claim D.J. Stewart Off Waivers

The Heat have claimed D.J. Stewart Jr. off waivers, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Stewart had been in training camp with Dallas, but was waived on Wednesday.

Stewart is a 23-year-old guard who went undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2021 and spent most of his rookie season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate. He eventually signed a two-way contract with San Antonio in March, though he didn’t appear in an NBA game with the Spurs.

In 36 total NBAGL regular season appearances for the Skyforce and the Austin Spurs last season, Stewart averaged 17.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .480/.361/.764 shooting in 34.1 minutes per contest.

The Skyforce still hold Stewart’s G League rights, and the plan is to have him return to Sioux Falls after he’s waived by Miami. The Heat claimed him off waivers so that they could give him an Exhibit 10 bonus for spending at least 60 days with the Skyforce, Chiang notes.

Mavericks Waive Four Camp Invitees

The Mavericks have cut four players who were in training camp on Exhibit 10 contracts, the team announced today in a press release. Marcus Bingham, Mouhamadou Gueye, Tyler Hall, and D.J. Stewart Jr. have been placed on waivers, according to the Mavs.

Bingham and Gueye signed with Dallas this summer after going undrafted in June and are good candidates to end up with the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ G League affiliate. Hall and Stewart were veteran free agents, though Hall has only appeared in one NBA game and Stewart has yet to make his NBA debut.

The series of moves leaves the Mavs with just 16 players under contract, at least for the time being. Of those players, 14 have guaranteed contracts, one (Tyler Dorsey) is on a two-way deal, and just one (McKinley Wright IV) still has an Exhibit 10 contract.

The fact that Wright survived this round of cuts may signal that he’s the leading candidate to have his deal converted to a two-way contract before the regular season begins, though it’s possible more moves are coming in Dallas.

Mavericks Sign D.J. Stewart Jr.

The Mavericks have officially signed guard D.J. Stewart Jr., the team announced today in a press release. The club also confirmed the previously reported signing of Marcus Bingham.

Stewart – not to be confused with DJ Steward, who was recently signed and waived by Sacramento – is a 23-year-old guard who went undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2021 and spent most of his rookie season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate. He eventually signed a two-way contract with San Antonio in March, though he didn’t appear in an NBA game with the Spurs.

In 36 total NBAGL regular season appearances for the Skyforce and the Austin Spurs last season, Stewart averaged 17.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .480/.361/.764 shooting in 34.1 minutes per contest.

With Stewart and Bingham under contract, Dallas now has a full 20-man training camp roster. Of those 20 players, 14 have fully guaranteed standard contracts and one has a two-way deal. Stewart and Bingham are believed to be part of a group of five camp invitees on Exhibit 10 contracts.

Exhibit 10 deals can be converted into two-way deals, so Stewart, Bingham, and the three other camp invitees (McKinley Wright IV, Mouhamadou Gueye, and Tyler Hall) could be in the mix for that open two-way slot. Some of them will likely end up playing for the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G League team.

Spurs Sign D.J. Stewart Jr., Robert Woodard II To Two-Way Deals

The Spurs have signed D.J. Stewart Jr. and Robert Woodard II to two-way contracts, our JD Shaw tweets. San Antonio had both of its two-way spots open after promoting Devontae Cacok and Joe Wieskamp to the 15-man roster. The Spurs now have a full 17-man roster.

Stewart, 22, went undrafted in 2021 after a couple of seasons with Mississippi State. He hasn’t made his NBA debut yet, but he’s put up solid numbers in the G League with Miami’s affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Through 33 games (36.2 MPG) with the Skyforce, he’s averaging 18.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG on .497/.388/.737 shooting.

Like Stewart, Woodard is a Mississippi native who played two seasons with the Bulldogs in college. The two were teammates during the 2019/20 season, and now will be reunited with the Spurs. Woodard was the 40th overall selection of the 2020 draft. He’s barely played in the NBA, logging a total of 87 minutes across 25 games the past two seasons for the Kings.

Woodard was waived by Sacramento on February 10 to make room for the team’s trade additions. He later signed a G League contract and appeared in six games with the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s affiliate. However, he was still technically an NBA free agent, as no team held his rights until the Spurs signed him. Through 11 G League games split between the Blue and the Stockton Kings, Woodard is averaging 15.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 1.8 APG on .473/.346/.611 shooting.

Heat Waive Potter, Smart, Smith, Stewart

The Heat have waived Micah PotterJavonte Smart, Dru Smith, and D.J. Stewart, per a team press release. All four players were on Exhibit 10 contracts.

All four players were undrafted rookies, and if they spend at least 60 days with the Heat’s G League squad, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, they could earn a bonus of up to $50K.

Potter, 6’10”, played two seasons with Ohio State before transferring to Wisconsin. He showed an impressive shooting touch for a big man, connecting on 38.6% of his three-point attempts and 84% of his free throws as a senior. He also had a strong preseason showing with the Heat, appearing in three games with averages of 10.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG in 24.0 minutes.

Smart, a 6’4″ guard, played college ball at LSU, averaging 16.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG (35.6 MPG) in 28 games as a senior. He appeared in five preseason contests with the Heat.

Smith, a 6’3″ guard, played for Evansville before transferring to Missouri. He averaged 14.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.1 SPG (34.1 MPG) in 26 games as a senior. He appeared in three preseason games with the Heat.

Stewart, a 6’6″ wing, declared for the draft after two seasons at Mississippi State. He averaged 16.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.1 APG (35.0 MPG) in 28 games as a sophomore and appeared in four preseason contests with the Heat.

The moves leave the Heat with 14 players on guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots filled.

Heat Notes: Jarreau, Okpala, Stewart, Yurtseven

A strong Summer League performance has made DeJon Jarreau a leading candidate to grab one of the Heat‘s open two-way slots, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. A thigh contusion forced Jarreau to miss the two games in Sacramento, but he was among the team’s best players in Las Vegas, averaging 11.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

The 23-year-old guard played for Miami this summer after going undrafted out of Houston and finds himself in an open competition for a two-way deal. Both of last season’s two-way players, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, have received standard contracts.

“With DeJon, it’s just his makeup,” said Summer League coach Malik Allen. “He finds a way to put his imprint on the game … He has the vision and it’s just a matter of trying to harness the things that we see so he can keep growing and getting better as an NBA point guard.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • KZ Okpala went from the playoffs to the Olympics to the Summer League, and now he’s focused on trying to expand his role in his third NBA season, Chiang notes in a separate story. However, Okpala’s path to more minutes appears blocked after Miami added P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris in free agency. Okpala is heading into the final season of a three-year, $4.2MM contract.
  • The Heat see potential in D.J. Stewart, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract on Tuesday, Chiang adds. The undrafted guard out of Mississippi State is likely to end up with the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls. “There is something there. He’s long. He’s got good athleticism. He’s competitive,” Allen said. “And offensively he’s got a little ways to go, but just continuing to develop. … He’s just one of those great intangible guys that has a lot of potential to keep growing in that type of role.”
  • Omer Yurtseven‘s impressive Summer League showing may give him a chance to become Miami’s backup center, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. That job currently belongs to veteran Dewayne Dedmon, but Winderman expects Yurtseven to see spot duty early in the season to determine which frontcourt combinations are most effective.

Heat Sign D.J. Stewart

The Heat have signed rookie free agent D.J. Stewart, the team announced in a press release. The deal includes Exhibit 10 language, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

An undrafted 6’6″ guard out of Mississippi State, Stewart averaged 16.0 PPG on .410/.344/.806 shooting in 33 games (35.0 MPG) for the Bulldogs as a sophomore in 2020/21. Although he wasn’t drafted on July 29, Stewart caught on with Miami for the Las Vegas Summer League.

Stewart has made a limited impact in Vegas, averaging just 2.5 PPG on 28.6% shooting in four games (16.0 MPG), but the Heat like what they’ve seen enough to add him to their 20-man offseason roster. He may be a candidate to become an affiliate player for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate.

The Heat now have 15 players under contract, including 14 on guaranteed deals. A handful of other players are expected to sign training camp contracts with the team, including Javonte Smart, Marcus Garrett, and Micah Potter.

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Pacers Workouts

After the Bulls mortgaged their long-term future to nab 2021 All-Star center Nikola Vučević in a deadline deal with the Magic, they still missed out on a play-in tournament appearance. The club is understandably anticipated to be seeking roster upgrades this summer, especially at the point guard position, writes Matt Moore of the Action Network.

Moore suggests that free agent point guards Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schröder, Lonzo Ball, and Spencer Dinwiddie are among Chicago’s preferred targets. Given the ages of the Bulls’ two best players – 30-year-old Vučević and 25-year-old All-Star Zach LaVine – 35-year-old veteran Lowry may not be a long-term fit, but would certainly raise the team’s floor for the 2021/22 season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will get to choose from a handful of highly-touted NBA prospects with the top selection of the 2021 draft. Where Detroit opts to go in the second round of the draft is less clear. In a new piece, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines several possible draft-and-stash prospects the Pistons could pursue in the second round. Detroit has the Nos. 37, 42 and 52 picks in the second round. Edwards examines the fits of several draft candidates, including Zalgiris Kaunas guard Rokas Jokubaitis, Minas wing Guilherme Santos, Paris Basketball guard Juhann Begarin, and Antwerp Giants forward Vrenz Bleijenbergh.
  • Among 2020/21 season holdovers, the Pistons will face some interesting roster decisions in the summer, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois notes that restricted free agents Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson, forward Josh Jackson, deep-bench center Jahlil Okafor, 2019 draft selections Sekou Doumbouya and Deividas Sirvydis, and guard Tyler Cook all could move on during the offseason.
  • The Pacers are set to hold their sixth round of pre-draft workouts Tuesday, per a team press release. The club possesses the No. 13 pick in the 2021 draft, as well as the No. 54 and No. 60 picks in the second round. Indiana will work out Kansas guard Marcus Garrett, South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson, Alabama guard John Petty Jr., Tennessee forward Yves Pons, Mississippi State guard D.J. Stewart Jr., and Clemson forward Aamir Simms.