Diante Garrett

Pelicans In Advanced Talks With Gal Mekel

2:39pm: The Pelicans are working on securing a visa for Mekel, and the team thinks it will be able to do so, tweets Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune.

2:24pm: The Pelicans are in “advanced discussions” with free agent point guard Gal Mekel, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The club has identified the former Maverick as its primary target after working out other point guards, including Diante Garrett and Eric Maynor, Stein adds in a second tweet. No visa issues are expected for Mekel this time after such problems scuttled a deal he had in place to join the Pacers last month, since the Pelicans aren’t under a time crunch to sign him, as the Pacers were with a hardship exception that was expiring, Stein also reports (Twitter link).

New Orleans has an open roster spot after waiving Patric Young and Darius Miller on Sunday and inking Dante Cunningham earlier this afternoon. GM Dell Demps and his staff have reportedly been aggressive in trade talk as the December 15th trade-eligibility date for most offseason signees nears, but it appears their first priority is to scour the market for free agents who can add depth. Mekel played sparingly in his first season with the Mavs, but the Thunder liked him, and the Lakers recently auditioned him along with several other players.

Mekel, now 26, joined the Mavs in 2013 after putting up 13.3 points, 5.4 assists and 2.5 turnovers in 32.3 minutes per game during 2012/13 for Maccabi Haifa in his native Israel. He inked a fully guaranteed three-year contract for the minimum salary to come stateside, but Dallas ate the salaries for the final two years to instead sign J.J. Barea shortly after opening night.

Western Notes: Bryant, Garrett, Craft, Smith

Kobe Bryant needs to take a step back and allow some of his teammates to take charge of the Lakers, opines Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Coach Byron Scott agrees. “I’ve talked to a couple individuals about just being a little bit more assertive, not relying on Kobe as much,” Scott said. “You guys can ask Kobe this. I think he wants to get those guys to step up. He really does. Take shots when they have them. Not defer to him as much.” Earlier this week in a loss to the Suns, Bryant took 37 shots, while the rest of the team’s starters combined to take only 35.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Diante Garrett will be returning to the Iowa Energy, who are the D-League affiliates of the Grizzlies, the team announced. The Blazers recently waived the Iowa State product after spending just a month on their roster.
  • Aaron Craft is mulling a contract offer from Partizan Belgrade of the Serbian League, Orazio Cauchi of Sportando reports. Craft spent training camp with the Warriors and was set to play for Golden State’s D-League affiliate this season. Though the amount of Partizan Belgrade’s offer to Craft has not been reported, it’s likely for more than the guard would have earned playing in Santa Cruz this season, though that is just my speculation.
  • Ish Smith is excited to be the newest member of the Thunder because of his relationship with his new teammates, writes Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman. “I’m really good friends with a lot of guys, played against them. Russ (Russell Westbrook), (Kevin Durant), Lance (Thomas), all in the ’06 class, so I know a lot of them,” Smith said.
  • Canada is producing basketball prospects at unheard of rates, writes Dave Skretta of the Associated Press.  Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett of the Wolves are the past two No. 1 overall NBA draft picks and are each of Canadian descent. Many, including Bennett, have attributed their interest in basketball to watching Vince Carter when he was on the Raptors. “That’s when we seen him doing all these types of dunks,” Bennett said of watching Carter. “We just had a love for his game.”

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Blazers Waive Diante Garrett, Darius Morris

The Blazers have officially waived Diante Garrett and Darius Morris, the team announced via Twitter. These moves reduce Portland’s preseason roster count to 15, meaning they won’t be required to release any other players prior to the regular season beginning. Morris’ contract didn’t come with any guaranteed cash, but the team will owe Garrett $30K per their arrangement.

Garrett was on the fringe of the rotation for the Jazz last season, averaging 3.5 points and shooting 37.5% from three-point range in 14.8 minutes per game. That was after a season in which he spent the entire campaign on the Suns roster but only appeared in 19 contests.

The 23-year-old Morris reportedly turned down an offer from a Serbian team earlier this summer and took his shot at making the Blazers squad. In 94 career contests, the 6’4″ point guard has averaged 3.7 PPG and 1.5 APG. His career slash line is .399/.354/.653.

Western Notes: Diaw, ‘Melo, Cuban, Blazers

Boris Diaw‘s contract with the Spurs has some creative additions included in it, Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com notes (Insider subscription required). Diaw’s deal begins at $7.5MM and decreases by $500K during the second and third years, ensuring San Antonio is paying the premium up front, when Diaw’s performance will be at its peak, notes Elhassan. The contract also includes up to $500K in annual bonuses if Diaw meets certain weight requirements throughout the season. Lastly, Elhassan notes that the final year of the deal has a guarantee date of July 15, 2017. This will  give the Spurs flexibility to cut Diaw should his performance no longer befit his pay, and the later guarantee date means the Spurs can enter 2017 free agency without needing to make a decision on Diaw’s status. Diaw’s third year is partially guaranteed, notes Elhassan, and has a guarantee date of June 30th, 2016.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Carmelo Anthony visited with the Mavs shortly after they acquired former teammate Tyson Chandler, but Chandler tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post that he wasn’t aggressive in his attempts to recruit ‘Melo to Dallas. “It wasn’t strong,” Chandler said. “I didn’t ever think he was coming. I didn’t think Carmelo was ever leaving New York. I talked to him because it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t. But I never thought he was going anywhere. I thought if anywhere he was going it was to the Lakers. But when the Lakers didn’t have a strong enough roster to tempt him.”
  •  Darius Morris and Diante Garrett joined the Blazers this summer with the understanding that they’d have legitimate chances to making the opening-night roster even though they aren’t among the 15 on the team with fully guaranteed deals, The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman writes. The team would probably waive Victor Claver‘s guaranteed contract if it elected to keep Morris or Garrett, Freeman speculates. Garrett’s $30K partial guarantee gives him a slight edge over Morris, who has no guaranteed money.
  • Mark Cuban raised the idea of eliminating guaranteed money from contracts in response to Kevin Durant‘s suggestion that the league abolish maximum salaries, but Durant isn’t on board with the Mavs owner’s idea, observes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Diante Garrett To Join Blazers For Camp

SEPTEMBER 24TH, 10:38pm: The deal is official, the team announced.

AUGUST 12TH, 8:12am: The RealGM transactions log indicates the signing is official, although the team has yet to make an official announcement.

AUGUST 11TH, 1:30pm: It’ll be a two-year contract, Freeman writes. That means it won’t be an Exhibit 9, and Portland would be on the hook for his salary should he be injured while performing for the team.

1:06pm: The Blazers have reached agreement on a deal that will bring free agent guard Diante Garrett to camp, a source tells Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). It’s a non-guaranteed pact, Freeman hears, so it’ll be a summer contract. It’ll almost certainly be for the minimum salary, since the Blazers can’t give out anything more.

The Raptors waived their non-guaranteed contract with Garrett last month shortly after acquiring him from the Jazz in the Steve Novak trade. He was on the fringes of the rotation for Utah this past season, averaging 3.5 points and shooting 37.5% from three-point range in 14.8 minutes per game. That followed a year in which he spent the entire season on the Suns roster but only appeared in 19 contests.

The 25-year-old Wasserman Media Group client will join James Southerland, who signed last week, in a fight to unseat one of the 15 Trail Blazers known to have guaranteed deals. It works in Garrett’s favor that the two Blazers with the cheapest contracts are fellow guards Will Barton and Allen CrabbePortland would only have to eat less than $1MM if the team were to keep Garrett instead of Barton or Crabbe.

Contract Details: Clarkson, Young, Powell

Eric Pincus has once more updated his Basketball Insiders salary pages, and included in his changes are a few tidbits of previously unreported news on players who’ve signed this summer. We’ll pass along those items here:

  • The two-year deal that Jerrelle Benimon signed with the Nuggets is for the minimum salary and is partially guaranteed for $35K this season, while his 2015/16 salary is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).
  • The Blazers gave Diante Garrett a $30K guarantee in the first year of his two-year minimum salary deal, but the second year is non-guaranteed, Pincus notes on Twitter.
  • Patric Young‘s two-year deal with the Pelicans is a minimum-salary arrangement that’s partially guaranteed for $55K this season, but it’s otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Darius Miller‘s deal with the team is partially guaranteed for $400K this year but otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Both Will Cherry‘s and Jordan Hamilton‘s salaries are guaranteed for $25K for the 2014/15 season, Pincus tweets, adding that Hamilton’s pact is for the minimum. The Raptors signed Cherry to a two-year minimum salary deal, and Hamilton to a one-year arrangement. Cherry’s salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Dwight Powell‘s deal with the Cavaliers is fully guaranteed for the first season, with the second year non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link). The contract covers just those two seasons, as Pincus notes.
  • The Spurs‘ two-year deal with JaMychal Green is for the minimum salary and has a $60K guarantee for this coming season, Pincus reports (Twitter link). It’s non-guaranteed for 2015/16, according to Pincus.
  • Sim Bhullar‘s deal is for one year and comes with a guarantee of $35K, while Eric Moreland‘s three-year contract is guaranteed for $200K this coming season and is otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Both players are with the Kings, and, according to Pincus, make the minimum.
  • The two-year, minimum-salary deal that Jordan Clarkson signed with the Lakers is fully guaranteed for this coming season, but the 2015/16 season is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).

Raptors Release Diante Garrett

The Raptors have requested waivers on Diante Garrett with intention of releasing him from their roster, the team announced via Twitter. Garrett, the 25 year-old point guard out of Iowa State was acquired by the Raptors in the trade that sent Steve Novak and a second-round pick to the Jazz back on July 10th. Toronto had made the trade with the intent to waive Garrett and his non-guaranteed 2014/15 salary of $915,243 after the moratorium on trades and signings was lifted and the Novak deal became official. Garrett’s deal would have become fully guaranteed if he had remained on the roster past January 7th, 2015.

Toronto had also decided to release Dwight Buycks earlier today rather than have his salary of $816,482 become fully guaranteed for the 2014/15 season,  which would have occurred if Buycks was still on the roster come July 22nd.

In 71 games for the Jazz last season, Garrett averaged 3.5 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 1.7 APG while logging 14.8 minutes per game. His slash line was .381/.375/.833.

Jazz Acquire Steve Novak

JULY 10TH: The trade is official, the Jazz announce via press release. The second-round pick going to Utah is New York’s 2017 selection that the Raptors acquired in a previous trade.

JULY 4TH: The Raptors and Jazz have struck an agreement on a trade that sends Steve Novak and a second-round pick to Utah, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Utah is giving up Diante Garrett, but Toronto plans to waive Garrett and his non-guaranteed minimum salary after the trade is official following the July moratorium, which runs through Wednesday, Wojnarowski adds.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles LakersToronto appears to be making the move to clear room beneath the projected $77MM luxury tax line to accommodate a deal for Greivis Vasquez and perhaps other signings, with space tight following the team’s agreements with Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson. The team is reportedly closing in on a deal with Vasquez, but it only has roughly $7.5MM in flexibility beneath the tax threshold.

Novak was little-used in Toronto this past season after having been an integral part of the Knicks rotation the previous two years. He averaged just 10.0 minutes per game, but as usual, he was stellar from behind the arc, nailing 42.6% of his three-point attempts. He led the league with a 47.2% three-point percentage in 2011/12, and that summer he signed a four-year, $15MM deal that made him a pricey luxury at the end of the bench this past season for the Raptors.

Utah uses its ample cap flexibility to pick up one of the league’s premier three-point shooting specialists. Novak will make nearly $3.446MM this coming season and $3.75MM in 2015/16, but it seems like Utah is OK with the commitment as it slowly rebuilds.

Several Midseason Signees On Multiyear Deals

This time of year, most of the contracts that NBA teams hand out are of the 10-day variety. None of this season’s 10-day signees have deals for the rest of the season yet, though some of them likely will after the expiration of their second 10-day contracts with their respective teams.

Still, there are several midseason signees on non-10-day deals who remain under contract, and the majority of of their teams included extra, non-guaranteed seasons on their deals when they were signed. Many of those contract details weren’t reported at the time, but thanks to Basketball InsidersShamSports, and Storytellers Contracts, we know which teams have given themselves an extra bit of leverage and which haven’t, as explained below. All are making the minimum salary:

  • Diante Garrett, Jazz (signed November 13th): Garrett is on the fringe of the rotation at 14.4 minutes per game, and Utah tacked a pair of non-guaranteed seasons onto his contract, which runs through 2015/16.
  • Elliot Williams, Sixers (signed November 20th): Like Garrett, he’s on the periphery as a contributor, notching 13.8 MPG, and the Sixers, as is their wont, gave him a four-year non-guaranteed contract.
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts, Bobcats (signed December 11th): The fifth-year veteran is only signed for this season, but he figures to be a mainstay this year with Jeff Taylor out for the season, even though Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has returned from his injury.
  • D.J. Augustin, Bulls (signed December 13th): The injury-ridded Bulls are giving Augustin 30.4 MPG, and without much room under the salary cap, they probably couldn’t afford to let him and his guaranteed contract go and sign another player. His deal runs only through this season.
  • James Johnson, Grizzlies (signed December 16th): The former 16th overall pick has been a revelation for Memphis, which is giving him 22.9 MPG as he solidifies the team’s bench. The Grizzlies may regret only signing him for this season.
  • Kendall Marshall, Lakers (signed December 20th): Since moving into the starting lineup for his fifth game with the Lakers, the 2012 lottery pick is averaging 12.1 points and a whopping 11.4 assists in 38.7 MPG, resurrecting his career. It seems a strong bet the team will keep him next year, since his contract includes a non-guaranteed season for 2014/15.
  • Alexis Ajinca, Pelicans (signed December 20th): The center’s contract is fully guaranteed for next season, so he’ll be around New Orleans for a while. He’s started seven times despite seeing just 13.9 MPG as the Pelicans reportedly shop for another big man.
  • Jeremy Tyler, Knicks (signed December 31st): The player the Knicks cut J.R. Smith‘s brother to accommodate has barely seen the floor more than Smith did in his time with New York, notching just 7.0 MPG. His contract includes a non-guaranteed season for 2014/15.
  • Hedo Turkoglu, Clippers (signed January 16th): Freed from Orlando, Turkoglu is averaging 11.2 MPG in L.A. as he attempts to knock the rust off, having played in just 17 games over the past two seasons. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end, since the Clips only signed him for this year.

Honorable mention: Malcolm Thomas, Spurs/Jazz (signed December 3rd) — An injury to Kawhi Leonard forced Thomas off the Spurs roster, but the contract he signed with San Antonio is still valid, since the Jazz claimed him off waivers this weekend. The deal includes a non-guaranteed season for 2014/15.

Odds & Ends: Asik, Carmelo, Garrett

During tonight’s game between the Knicks and Rockets, Kevin McHale opted to start Terrence Jones at power forward and made second-year man Greg Smith as the first big man to come off the bench. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle says that although you could read into Omer Asik‘s trade request as a reason for him not playing much, he underscores that it’s more about how McHale has been unhappy with Asik’s play as of late (Twitter links). While it’s anyone’s guess at this point, I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to argue that Houston would look to get a deal sooner rather than later in order to avoid the situation turning into a possible major distraction for the team.

Here’s more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes from around the league: