Eric Atkins

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Jazz Waive Phil Pressey, Eric Atkins

The Jazz have waived Phil Pressey and Eric Atkins, the team announced. The moves, which reduce the team’s roster to the 15-man regular season maximum, were expected, as Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reported (Twitter link). Neither had any guaranteed salary, though the Jazz will incur a small cap hit for both since they were on the roster past Saturday’s deadline to remove non-guaranteed salary.

Pressey spent the preseason with the Trail Blazers, losing a battle with Tim Frazier for the team’s third-string point guard job. Utah claimed Pressey off waivers Sunday after Portland released the two-year NBA veteran on Friday. It was the second time the 24-year-old was on waivers in the past few months, as the Celtics cut him loose in mid-July, a move that was tough for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who said Pressey might have been “my favorite player I’ve ever been around in the NBA, as a player, a coach or as an executive.”

Atkins, a 23-year-old point guard who went undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2014, had just signed with Utah on Sunday. He spent last season playing in Greece.

The Jazz made both moves with the D-League in mind, according to Genessy. Utah can use the affiliate player rule to claim the D-League rights of as many as four of the players it waives.

Northwest Notes: Saunders, Waiters, Gobert, Atkins

Flip Saunders was in a coma for nearly six weeks before his death at age 60, writes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. He had one more treatment left for Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he came down with pneumonia, went into the hospital, and failed to recover, sources told Hartman. Saunders was optimistic in the months leading up to his death, about his own prognosis — saying that he thought he’d return to the team shortly after the New Year — and about the Timberwolves, as Hartman details. The coach/executive predicted a title for the team within three years, though close friends speculated that by that time, he hoped that he could turn over head coaching duties to son Ryan, a Wolves assistant coach, according to Hartman. Saunders was by far the winningest coach in Timberwolves history, going 427-392 over his two tenures in the job, and was the only coach ever to take the team to the playoffs, the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda writes in an obituary. As the NBA mourns, see more from the Northwest Division:

Jazz Sign Eric Atkins

The Jazz signed free agent point guard Eric Atkins, the team announced. The move is considered to be for the D-League roster, Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

Earlier on Sunday, the Jazz claimed Phil Pressey off waivers. The Jazz currently have 17 players on the roster. The allowed maximum by opening night is 15. Falk tweets that both point guards could provide insurance for the Jazz because the team currently has only two healthy point guards.

Atkins spent the 2014/15 season with KAOD BC of Greece. He appeared in 26 games (19 starts) and averaged 7.0 points per game, 2.2 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game. Atkins played overseas after spending the previous four years at Notre Dame. In his senior season, Atkins averaged 13.9 poins per game to go along with 4.9 assists per game.