Dru Smith

Players Who Signed July 1 Are Now Eligible To Be Traded

The peak of the NBA’s transactions season has calmed down after an active start to July, but a few more players have become eligible to be traded on the final day of the month, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

The 30-day trade restriction window has expired for draft picks who signed their contracts on July 1, along with six players who inked two-way contracts on that date.

The designation won’t matter for those at the very top of the draft, as the Spurs and Trail Blazers obviously won’t consider trading Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, respectively. However, it could come into play for a few others, especially if more big-name players are on the move as the summer winds down.

In addition to those top-three picks, first-rounders who signed on July 1 are the Magic’s Anthony Black and Jett Howard, the PacersJarace Walker and Ben Sheppard, the Trail BlazersKris Murray and the Heat’s Jaime Jaquez. The No. 18 pick out of UCLA, Jaquez has been mentioned as a potential asset in a trade to bring Damian Lillard to Miami.

Two-way players who signed on July 1, according to NBA.com’s transactions log, are the SixersTerquavion Smith and Ricky Council, the Heat‘s Dru Smith and Jamaree Bouyea, the Trail Blazers Ibou Badji and the RocketsTrevor Hudgins.

Most veteran free agents who signed this summer won’t become eligible to be traded by their teams until December 15 or January 15, depending on their circumstances. Those signings didn’t become official until July 6 or later because of the NBA’s summer moratorium.

Heat Notes: Dragic, Lillard, Vincent, Smith

In an interview with local media in Slovenia, free agent point guard Goran Dragic revealed he had knee surgery during the 2022/23 season, which is why he was released by the Bulls and only played seven games after he signed with the Bucks, per of Siol.net. Dragic previously said he was dealing with left knee soreness.

I played really well until the middle of the season, then I had problems with a knee injury, so after that, it was kind of all agreed that they would bring Patrick Beverley to Chicago, and I went to Milwaukee. Then I also underwent knee surgery, which until now no one knew,” Dragic said (hat tip to BasketNews.com).

The 37-year-old said he’d like to return to the Heat if he’s able to, writes Lenart.

The main desire is to return to Miami,” Dragic said. “Now everyone is waiting for Damian Lillard to decide where he will go next, so everyone is off to a slow start. When this is known, the movement for the other players will open as well.

We are in talks with a few clubs, but much more will be known in a few days when the news will be released. You will see.”

However, there’s “nothing imminent” on a deal between the Heat and Dragic, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter). If a deal were to happen, it would likely be closer to training camp, according to Jackson.

“The Dragon” played seven seasons with Miami from 2014-21, making his lone All-Star appearance in ’17/18. He played 58 total games last season, averaging 6.3 points and 2.6 assists on .421/.359/.689 shooting.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • As of mid-week, apparently the Trail Blazers had been “unmotivated” to seriously engage with the Heat on a potential Lillard trade, according to Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Jackson’s reporting isn’t very surprising. Blazers GM Joe Cronin recently said a deal could take “months,” while other reports have stated there hasn’t been much progress in talks.
  • Appearing on JJ Redick‘s The Old Man and the Three podcast, Gabe Vincent discussed his decision to join the Lakers and leave Miami, as Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. “It was very difficult,” Vincent said of leaving the Heat. “The relationships that I have with those guys are, to me, lifelong. Even the guys that I played with, to the staff, to the front office. I got to know all of them very well and closely. So it wasn’t an easy decision.” Financial constraints were the obstacle, with Vincent later telling Chiang he’d miss his teammates and will always look back fondly on his time with the organization.
  • Dru Smith is back with the Heat, on his fourth two-way deal in under two years, after finishing last season with the Nets on a two-way contract. He spoke this week about why he keeps ending up in Miami, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscription required). “I think it’s because I’m a good fit,” Smith said. “I think just the way the Heat like to play, the style of basketball they like to play, I think it fits my game well. I think I’m lucky to be here. I’m thankful to have this opportunity again.”

Heat Sign Jaquez To Rookie Deal; Smith, Bouyea To Two-Ways

The Heat have officially inked rookie small forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. to his rookie scale contract, the team has announced (Twitter link).

Jaquez, a 6’7″ swingman, was selected with the No. 18 pick out of UCLA in this summer’s draft. During his final season with the team in 2022/23, the 22-year-old averaged 17.8 PPG on .481/.317/.770 shooting splits, 8.2 RPG and 2.4 APG. He was a consensus All-American Second Team honoree during his last collegiate run with the Bruins, and a three-time All-Pac-12 Teamer.

Miami also just officially signed Dru Smith and Jamaree Bouyea to two-way contracts, according to the league’s official transactions log. Though there is a general NBA moratorium on signings between July 1-6, two-way and rookie signings are still permitted even during this period.

Smith, a 6’3″ shooting guard, initially inked an affiliate deal with the Heat’s NBAGL team, the Sioux Fall Skyforce, in 2021 after going undrafted out of Missouri in 2021. He signed two-way deals with Miami and the Nets last season. Across 22 total games between the Skyforce and Long Island Nets in 2022/23, Smith averaged 15.5 PPG on .482/.379/.682 shooting splits, plus 5.5 RPG, 4.8 APG, 2.0 SPG and 0.6 BPG.

Bouyea, a 6’2″ combo guard, played on separate 10-day contracts with the Heat and Wizards as an undrafted rookie last year, appearing in a total of five games between both clubs.

The two-way qualifying offers that the Heat previously extended to restricted free agents Jamal Cain and Orlando Robinson are still on the table, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).

With word breaking that Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard would reportedly prefer to be dealt to Miami specifically, the Jaquez deal is a bit more notable, as it means that he now cannot be included as part of a trade for the next 30 days. That does not necessarily mean he cannot or will not be a part of a hypothetical package for Lillard, only that a move could not be officially finalized until July 31.

Nets To Make David Duke Jr. Unrestricted Free Agent

Nets combo guard David Duke Jr.. is not going to receive a qualifying offer from Brooklyn and will thus enter unrestricted free agency, reports Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).

Nets shooting guard Dru Smith, inked to a two-way contract last season, was also not given a qualifying offer by Brooklyn, Lewis adds. He, too, will become an unrestricted free agent.

The 23-year-old Duke first joined Brooklyn on a two-way deal after going undrafted out of Providence in 2021. He returned to the Nets on another two-way contract for the 2022/23 season, but saw his agreement converted to a standard roster deal this past April, ending the year on the club’s 15-man roster.

Across 23 games for Brooklyn in 2023/24, Duke averaged 3.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG and 0.9 APG. In 22 games for Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, Duke averaged 22.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.9 SPG.

Smith, 25, barely played for the Nets during his inaugural NBA season. In 10 games for Brooklyn, he averaged just 3.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG and 1.5 RPG across 9.1 MPG. Smith played 14 contests for the Long Island Nets, starting just three. He averaged 14.1 PPG on .500/.426/.667 shooting splits, along with 5.4 RPG.

Nets Notes: Noel, Simmons, Duke, Smith, Ayton

With Spencer Dinwiddie (rest), Nic Claxton (right thumb sprain, left Achilles tendinopathy), Cameron Johnson (right knee soreness), and Royce O’Neale (left knee soreness) all unavailable in Milwaukee on Thursday, the Nets ran out a new-look starting lineup that scored just 15 total points, the lowest mark for any starting five since 2008, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

One of Brooklyn’s new starter was Nerlens Noel, who was playing in just his second game as a Net. Despite not scoring a single point, Noel was the only starter who had a plus/minus rating better than minus-14 (he was a plus-2) and made a positive impression on head coach Jacque Vaughn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays.

“He continues to get himself in shape,” Vaughn said. “The charge that he took was great, putting his body on the line, so that was great. A (blocked shot) was great. So those things we want to continue to see from him.”

Noel’s contract with the Nets only covers 10 days, but so far he hasn’t been used like a player the team plans to soon part ways with, logging 18 minutes in consecutive games. Vaughn’s postgame comments also hinted that he expects the big man to be in Brooklyn for more than just 10 days.

“He’ll continue to learn conceptually what we want to do on the defensive end, and we’re switching back and forth between defenses, you know, so you got to turn your brain on and off and back on again,” Vaughn said of Noel. “So that challenge is what’s ahead of him.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Ben Simmons, still dealing with knee and back issues, missed his eighth game in a row on Thursday, and Vaughn said Simmons’ back inflammation remains “in the process of settling down,” per Lewis. “A big piece of it is still the strengthening, to make sure that there’s no reoccurrence,” Vaughn said. “And then for a while we had to kind of press pause a little bit in order for the inflammation in the back to kind of settle down a little bit. So last few days, that’s what that’s look like.”
  • Although Brooklyn’s starting five was ineffective on Thursday, the team showed off its depth, scoring 98 bench points. That total was the highest in a regular season game since at least 1982, according to Reynolds, who notes (via Twitter) that Toronto scored 100 bench points vs. Brooklyn in a playoff game in 2020.
  • Nets two-way players David Duke and Dru Smith got a rare chance to play rotation minutes at the NBA level on Thursday and combined for 30 points. Duke and Smith have spent much of the season playing key roles for a Long Island Nets team that won its 16th straight game on Thursday, led by veteran point guard Chris Chiozza, according to NetsDaily. Brooklyn’s NBAGL affiliate now holds a league-best 22-3 record.
  • Sign-and-trade rules would have made it tricky for the Nets to acquire center Deandre Ayton from Phoenix in a package for Kevin Durant last summer, but Ayton would’ve been much easier to move at last month’s deadline. However, Ayton wasn’t part of the Suns‘ package for Durant and league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) that Brooklyn was “never much interested” in trading for the former No. 1 pick.

Nets Notes: Warren, Durant, D. Smith, Watanabe

It didn’t take T.J. Warren long to prove he can still play at a high level, but the Nets are focused more on keeping him healthy for the playoffs than maximizing his contributions during the regular season, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. Warren missed nearly two full seasons due to foot injuries before returning to the court in early December.

“Every game, I’m feeling more and more like myself,” he said. “Two years is a long time, two calendar years going through multiple foot problems. But I feel great. Mentally, I’m in a good space. I just want to continue to get better and help this team win as much as I can.”

Through 17 games, Warren is averaging 10.5 points off the bench in 20.4 minutes per night. Coach Jacque Vaughn considered moving Warren into the starting lineup in the wake of Kevin Durant‘s injury, but opted for Joe Harris instead in an effort to control Warren’s workload.

“I’ve told him this message: That’s my No. 1 goal, that he’s healthy and hooping in the playoffs, showing his skills off to the rest of the world,” Vaughn said. “That would be the kind of guiding light. Will I be tempted at times (to push his minutes) if he’s rolling? For sure, every coach would be. But hopefully for his longevity, for the group, we’ll put him in a position to succeed the whole year.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets haven’t decided how involved Durant will be while he recovers from his sprained MCL, according to Alec Sturm of Nets Daily. Vaughn explained that Durant hasn’t been on the bench because the team doesn’t want to risk someone running into him during game action. It also hasn’t been determined how much Durant will travel with the team and whether he’ll consider playing in the All-Star Game, although Vaughn expressed hope that he’ll be fully recovered by the February 19 event.
  • Vaughn also offered some insight into Dru Smith, who signed a two-way contract with the Nets on Friday, Sturm adds. “A guard that has some athleticism, good size, competes, so areas that we really love,” Vaughn said at Saturday’s practice. “I think he has some upside to get better. So (we) look forward to him being a part of our group and getting him involved pretty quickly with (G League affiliate) Long Island. He just landed and went through his physical, so he’ll be around and there’s a possibility he’ll be with the rest of the group watching tomorrow.”
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required) talks to Yuta Watanabe about the impact his success in Brooklyn is having in Japan.

Nets Sign Dru Smith To Two-Way Contract

11:48am: The Nets have officially signed Smith to a two-way deal, the team confirmed in a press release.

10:34am: After waiving Alondes Williams on Thursday, the Nets are wasting no time in filling their open two-way contract slot. Brooklyn has agreed to sign G League guard Dru Smith to a two-way deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Since going undrafted out of Missouri in 2021, Smith has played primarily for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G League affiliate. The 25-year-old got a chance to make his NBA debut earlier this season when he earned a two-way deal with Miami, but he was waived in favor of Orlando Robinson, first in November and then again in December.

Although he only logged 67 total minutes in five NBA games in the fall, Smith has been a standout at the G League level for Sioux Falls. In 15 total NBAGL appearances (Showcase Cup and regular season) with the Skyforce, he has averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 33.9 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .485/.368/.750.

Players who sign two-way contracts before the season can be active for up to 50 games, but that limit is prorated for players who sign during the season. We’re at the halfway point of the 174-day NBA season, so if Smith signs within the next day or two, he’ll be eligible to be active for up to 25 games with Brooklyn. He also figures to spend time in the G League with the Long Island Nets.

January 20 is the date when all two-way contracts become guaranteed for the season, so Smith will lock in his rest-of-season salary (approximately $254K) if he remains with the Nets for more than a week.

Heat Sign Orlando Robinson, Waive Dru Smith

The Heat have brought back center Orlando Robinson on a two-way contract and waived guard Dru Smith, the team announced (via Twitter).

Miami has switched the two players several times this season. Smith originally won a roster spot on a two-way deal, but he was waived in favor of Robinson on November 13 as injuries provided a need for more depth in the middle. Twelve days later, the Heat re-signed Smith to a two-way contract and unloaded Robinson to make room on the roster.

Robinson, a rookie out of Fresno State, appeared in two games during his first stint with Miami, averaging 7.0 points and and 4.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per night.

Smith saw limited playing time in five games, but made one start. He will likely rejoin Miami’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls if he’s not claimed on waivers.

Heat Waive Orlando Robinson, Sign Dru Smith To Two-Way Deal

The Heat have waived two-way center Orlando Robinson and signed guard Dru Smith to fill his two-way spot, the team announced (via Twitter).

Just a couple of weeks ago, those roles were reversed, as Smith had made the opening night roster on a two-way deal but then was waived in favor of Robinson when the team’s frontcourt was hit hard by injuries.

According to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), head coach Erik Spoelstra said the team still likes Robinson, but the Heat currently need wing depth, so that’s why Smith was promoted from their G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

In three games (34.0 MPG) with the Skyforce during the G League’s ongoing Showcase Cup tournament, the 6’3″ Smith has filled up the stat sheet, averaging 17.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3.0 SPG and 1.3 BPG on .488/.421/.800 shooting. He made one cameo appearance for the Heat on October 26 for his NBA debut, recording two points and one rebound in less than six minutes of action.

Robinson, an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State, averaged 7.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 1.0 SPG in two games (20.0 MPG) with the Heat. If he goes unclaimed on waivers, he could be headed back to Sioux Falls.

Heat Waive Dru Smith, Sign Orlando Robinson To Two-Way Deal

5:53pm: Both moves are official, according to a team press release.

10:44am: The Heat are making a minor change to their roster, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will waive two-way player Dru Smith and sign Orlando Robinson to a two-way contract to fill the newly opened spot.

Both Smith and Robinson were in training camp with the Heat this fall. Smith earned a two-way spot at the end of the preseason, while Robinson was waived and eventually became an affiliate player for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League team.

However, with center Omer Yurtseven expected to miss a significant chunk of the 2022/23 season due to ankle surgery, the Heat have a greater need in the frontcourt than on the wing. Robinson is a center; Smith is a shooting guard.

Miami does have an open spot on its 15-man standard roster and could sign a more experienced center to fill that opening, but doing so would put team salary above the luxury tax threshold for the season. Two-way contracts don’t count against the cap or tax.

Robinson, 22, went undrafted out of Fresno State earlier this year. The big man averaged 19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .484/.352/.716 shooting in 36 games (33.2 MPG) as a junior in 2021/22. He has gotten off to a strong start for the Skyforce this season, putting up 20.0 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 2.5 APG in four starts (31.3 MPG).

Smith, who went undrafted in 2021 and played for Sioux Falls as a rookie, made his NBA debut last month, logging six minutes of garbage time during a blowout win over Portland on October 26. It was the only game he played in for the Heat.

Jamal Cain occupies Miami’s other two-way slot and should be unaffected by the Heat’s roster moves.