Greg Stiemsma

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Mavericks, Doncic, Spurs

Although the Pelicans didn’t make any major offseason changes to a team that posted a 36-46 record in 2021/22, their expectations for the coming season are higher than ever. Zion Williamson is set to return from a foot injury that has sidelined him since last summer, CJ McCollum will be spending his first full season in New Orleans, and the team’s young contributors like Herbert Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Trey Murphy all have a year of NBA experience under their belts.

During a speech this week at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club, Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said he’s excited to see how the team will respond to its increased expectations, as Christian Clark of relays.

“What’s going to be really exciting for us is we have an incredible amount of talent,” Griffin said. “We have more talent than I’ve had almost anywhere I’ve been, including teams that won a championship. But this talent has never had to win a game when they were supposed to win a game. That’s really the next step in our evolution.

“… Last year, we won games at the end of the season when nobody thought we were any good,” Griffin added. “It’s a whole lot easier to be the hunter than the hunted. We were good last year. We get an opportunity now to prove that we’re actually a good team. That’s a super-exciting time in the growth and evolution of a franchise. We never get these moments back.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Speaking to ESPN’s Malika Andrews during an NBA Today appearance (video link), Luka Doncic said he doesn’t think the Mavericks need another All-Star player to be a legit title contender. “No, I think we have great players on our team,” he said. “There’s plenty of very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more. So I don’t think (we need another All-Star). I think we have a great team.”
  • The Spurs issued a press release today announcing several changes to their front office and coaching staff. Notably, the team has promoted Dave Telep to vice president of basketball operations, named former NBA center Greg Stiemsma a player development assistant, and hired longtime WNBA star Candice Dupree as a player development coach.
  • Another noteworthy former player is moving into an important role at the G League level for the Spurs. Ex-NBA guard Brent Barry has been named the general manager of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s NBAGL affiliate, the club announced today.

Wolves Hire Greg Stiemsma, Finalize Coaching Staff

The Timberwolves have hired former NBA center Greg Stiemsma as a player development associate, the team announced today in a press release.

Stiemsma, who will turn 34 later this month, played in the NBA for four years from 2011-15, spending one of those four seasons in Minnesota. He has been out of the league since being waived by the Trail Blazers in the fall of 2016 before the regular season got underway.

Stiemsma is one of a handful of new hires joining the Wolves’ coaching staff, along with Kevin Hanson (assistant coach/director of player development), Jeff Newton (offensive associate/player development coach), and Max Lefevre (video coordinator/player development associate). Kwadzo Ahelegbe and Cole Fisher will also return with added responsibilities, as the team outlines in its press release.

The Wolves’ coaching staff has undergone significant changes since Ryan Saunders was named the permanent head coach earlier this offseason. None of the team’s front-of-the-bench assistants – including Ed Pinckney, Jerry Sichting, Larry Greer, Malik Allen, and John Lucas III – are returning, but the franchise has filled out Saunders’ staff with some notable names.

Veteran Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool joined Saunders’ staff in June, as did former NBA point guard Pablo Prigioni. Minnesota also hired veteran assistant Bryan Gates away from Sacramento in July.

Blazers Waive Jerrett, Stiemsma

The Blazers have made a pair of roster cuts, waiving Grant Jerrett and Greg Stiemsma, the team announced via press release. Portland won’t be on the hook for any salary as a result of the moves since neither player had any guaranteed money included in their contracts. The team’s roster now stands at 15 players, which is the regular season maximum.

Jerrett last appeared in an NBA regular season contest during the 2014/15 campaign, when he played in a combined eight games for the Jazz and the Thunder. The power forward averaged 2.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 6.4 minutes while shooting .269/.067/1.000.

Stiemsma, 31, has four years of NBA experience under his belt, having appeared in regular-season games for the Celtics, Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Raptors from 2011 to 2015. In 203 total games, the former Wisconsin big man has averaged 3.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in a part-time role, shooting 50.9% from the field.

Trail Blazers Sign Greg Stiemsma

1:40pm: The Blazers have officially signed Stiemsma, the team announced today in a press release.

10:47am: The Trail Blazers have added another veteran free agent to their offseason roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is signing center Greg Stiemsma to a training camp deal.

Stiemsma, who will turn 31 later this month, has four years of NBA experience under his belt, having appeared in regular-season games for the Celtics, Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Raptors from 2011 to 2015. In 203 total games, the former Wisconsin big man has averaged 3.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in a part-time role, shooting 50.9% from the field.

Last fall, Stiemsma participated in training camp with the Magic, but was ultimately waived during the team’s preseason roster cutdowns. The veteran center may face a similar fate this year in Portland, but the team does currently have at least one potential open roster spot. The Blazers have 14 guaranteed contracts on their books for 2016/17, with Grant Jerrett, Luis Montero, and Tim Quarterman on non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed deals.

[RELATED: Portland Trail Blazers’ depth chart at]

Exact deails on Stiemsma’s new pact aren’t known, but Wojnarowski describes it as a training camp contract. It will likely be a minimum-salary deal with little to no guaranteed money.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Vivant Arena, Nuggets

Tyrell Corbin, son of former Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, was among the participants in Utah’s free agent mini-camp this week, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. It’s the fourth year for the camp, which GM Dennis Lindsey brought to the Jazz after experiencing similar sessions when he worked for the Spurs and Rockets. Thirteen players from the last three free agent mini-camps have either landed spots on an NBA roster or earned invitations to training camp. “It’s a chance for them to play in front of an NBA coaching staff and for us to get a look at them,” said Jazz director of pro player personnel David Friedman. “Last year, we had a kid by the name of Jonathon Simmons [in camp] just to give you an idea. He didn’t end up with us, but he ended up with the Spurs.”

The camp has an extra dimension this year because Utah has its own D-League team and will be looking for players to fill the roster. Along with Corbin, other prominent names at this week’s event included Preston Medlin, Spencer ButterfieldDionte Christmas and Julian MavungaGreg Stiemsma, who has played for four NBA teams, was also in attendance, along with Argentinian prospect Nicolas Brussino.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz hosted a workout this morning, Genessy notes in the same piece. Attending were LSU’s Tim Quarterman, California-Santa Barbara’s Michael Bryson, Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin, Texas’ Isaiah Taylor, Oral Roberts’ Obi Emegano and French prospect Mathias Lessort.
  • Utah is planning a $125MM renovation project at Vivant Arena, Genessy writes in a separate story. Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment will cover $102.3MM, and the franchise is hoping for $22.7MM from Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency. The Jazz will submit their proposal to the agency this week.
  • Washington’s Dejounte Murray will have a private workout with the Nuggets Monday afternoon, the team announced in a press release. The 6’5″ point guard has been rising on draft boards and is listed ninth on the latest list of 100 best prospects compiled by ESPN’s Chad Ford. Denver will hold a Monday morning workout for Bryson, Joe De Ciman of Colorado State, Patrick McCaw of Nevada-Las Vegas, Egidijus Mockevicius of Evansville, Abdel Nader of Iowa State and Chinanu Onuaku of Louisville.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is joining the effort to keep Kevin Durant with the Thunder, according to The Tulsa World. She is willing to offer the free agent forward a government job to get him to stay with Oklahoma City. “Oklahoma loves Kevin Durant and Kevin Durant loves Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “But if he’ll stay, I’ll make him a Cabinet person for health and fitness.”

Northwest Notes: Durant, Thunder, Rubio, Jazz

Kevin Durant‘s free agency will be one of the top NBA stories this offseason, and given how much speculation has surrounded his decision for the last several months, Thunder GM Sam Presti credits the star forward for blocking out the noise and focusing on the team (link via Royce Young of Presti, who referred to Durant’s handling of the situation as “a tremendous example of a franchise player putting the franchise first,” also suggested that OKC should have an advantage of other suitors because the club has been able to make its pitch to Durant for the last nine years.

“We’ve had a relationship with Kevin in Oklahoma City for eight years, nine with this particular franchise, and we talk to him all the time,” the Thunder GM said. “I think when those [free agency] conversations occur, it’s really just a continuation of a dialogue that’s been going on for eight or nine years. It’s a chance to reflect and recognize that relationship and continue the conversations that we’ve had on going.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest, including Presti’s comments on a couple other OKC players:

  • Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman (Twitter links) passes along Presti’s comments on restricted free agent Dion Waiters and Anthony Morrow, whose contract for 2016/17 is currently non-guaranteed. In Slater’s view, the Thunder GM sounds confident that both players will return to the club.
  • In a an interview with a radio station in Spain, Ricky Rubio made some interesting comments about his future in Minnesota, suggesting that when he hits free agency he’ll make it a priority to end up with a team capable of making the playoffs and competing for the Finals. I’d be wary of reading too much into Rubio’s comments, which were translated by, but it could be a situation worth watching if the Timberwolves don’t take the sort of step forward next season that many observers expect them to take.
  • With Justin Zanik having left for Milwaukee, the Jazz are considering potential options to replace him as the assistant general manager in Utah. Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune has an update on the search, with quotes from GM Dennis Lindsey.
  • Greg Stiemsma is among the participants at today’s Jazz free agent mini-camp, while Dwight Buycks and other free agents will work out at a Trail Blazers mini-camp, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links).

Western Notes: Ingram, Bender, Iske, Waiters

The Lakers seem to have settled on Brandon Ingram as the No. 2 selection if Philadelphia takes Ben Simmons first, tweets international journalist David Pick. He reports that L.A. had interest in Croatian star Dragan Bender, but that has cooled.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves are very interested in Bender at No. 5, according to Pick (Twitter link). Minnesota scouts Calvin Booth and Zarko Durisic have both watched Bender play.
  • The Grizzlies are considering former Kings assistant Chad Iske for a spot on David Fizdale’s staff, tweets Marc Stein of Iske was an assistant to George Karl in Sacramento, but wasn’t retained when Dave Joerger took over last month. Former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown already turned down a job with Memphis, Stein reports.
  • Dion Waiters‘ future in Oklahoma City may be tied to Kevin Durant‘s, suggests Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Waiters will be a restricted free agent this summer, and if Durant re-signs, the Thunder won’t be able to afford a significant player to replace Waiters. Therefore, OKC is likely to match whatever offer Waiters gets, which Slater believes will be in the $12MM to $16MM range annually. However, if Durant leaves, the Thunder may not want to commit that much to Waiters. If Waiters really wants to stay in Oklahoma City, Slater says he should be willing to let the Durant process play out before accepting an offer.
  • Center Greg Stiemsma will take part in a mini-camp run by the Jazz this week, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Stiemsma last played in the NBA for Toronto during the 2014/15 season.
  • Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer had stories about a local legend as he worked out for the Jazz Saturday, according to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News“I used to play pickup with John Stockton all the time,” Wiltjer recalled. “This is his roots. It’s cool to be in this gym.” Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson, who was also part of Saturday’s workout, sees a future for himself in Utah. “They’re definitely interested,” he said. “They wouldn’t have interviewed me [at the pre-draft combine]. They wouldn’t have me here if they weren’t interested. I’m definitely interested in coming here.”

Magic Waive Greg Stiemsma

The Magic have waived Greg Stiemsma, the team announced via press release. The move takes the Magic down to 15 players, the regular season roster limit. Orlando has 13 fully guaranteed contracts, and while teams aren’t required to carry more than that many players, most start the season with 15, which suggests Orlando has made its final preseason cut. If that’s the case, center Nnanna Egwu and Devyn Marble will make the Magic opening night roster on their non-guaranteed deals. Stiemsma was attempting to do the same after signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Magic shortly before the start of training camp last month.

Stiemsma, 30, went scoreless and grabbed two rebounds this month in his lone preseason appearance, which lasted close to 10 minutes. A strained Achilles tendon kept him out of the first few exhibitions this fall, notes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The five-year NBA veteran was on the Raptors roster all of last season, but he rarely saw playing time, averaging just 3.9 minutes per contest over a scant 17 games.

The release is one of two transactions the Magic have made in the past 24 hours, as Orlando also waived Melvin Ejim late Wednesday. Saturday is the last day teams can waive summer contracts without them counting against the books, so the Magic could still make moves that bump Egwu and Marble from the roster.

Southeast Notes: Bazemore, Heat, Wizards

Hawks guard Kent Bazemore is entering the final season of his current deal, but there is mutual interest between the team and the 26-year-old in reaching an agreement on a new contract next offseason, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. Speaking about his feelings for Atlanta, Bazemore said, “I’ve come to love Atlanta. Of the whole summer, I was probably only gone two weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I just moved into a new house. I’m renting it. Maybe I can buy it next year.” Bazemore and the Hawks will have to wait until next summer to work out a new deal since his current deal was signed for less than four years, meaning Bazemore is ineligible to sign an extension during the season, Vivlamore adds.

Here’s the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat assistant Dan Craig was officially named as head coach of the franchise’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team announced. The news of Craig’s hiring was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
  • Jaron Johnson‘s one-year deal with the Wizards is non-guaranteed and for the league minimum, while Jaleel Robertsagreement is also for the minimum, but his includes a partial guarantee of $10K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter links).
  • The Heat‘s deals with John Lucas III and Tre Kelley are one-year pacts for the league minimum and do not include any guaranteed salary, Pincus tweets.
  • Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said that it may make more sense for the team to carry the regular season maximum of 15 players rather than keeping a slot open, Vivlamore tweets. Atlanta currently has 13 players inked to fully guaranteed deals.
  • The Hornets are hoping that Jeremy Lamb will get off to a fresh start in Charlotte after not seeing much playing time during his three seasons with the Thunder, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. Lamb was acquired back in June in exchange for for Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second-round pick.
  • Greg Stiemsma‘s and Nnanna Egwu‘s one-year, minimum salary deals with the Magic are non-guaranteed, while Keith Appling and Jordan Sibert‘s minimum salary arrangements include partial guarantees of $100K, Pincus relays in a series of tweets.
  • The presence of Goran Dragic, who re-signed with the Heat this offseason, was a big draw for Amar’e Stoudemire to join Miami as a free agent, Surya Fernandez of SB Nation tweets. Of Dragic, Stoudemire said, “If he would have stayed in Phoenix, I would have thought about going back to Phoenix.

Magic Sign Greg Stiemsma, Nnanna Egwu

4:18pm: The signings are official, the team announced via a press release.

11:02am: The Magic expect to bring Greg Stiemsma and Nnanna Egwu to training camp, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). Robbins lists the pair along with Keith Appling, Melvin Ejim and Jordan Sibert, each of whom has a previously reported deal to join the Magic for camp. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reported earlier that Stiemsma was close to a deal with Orlando. The additions of the veteran center, plus Egwu, a center who went undrafted out of Illinois this year, will give the Magic 19 players, including 13 on fully guaranteed contracts.

Stiemsma, 29, has five years of NBA service time and spent this past season with the Raptors after securing a regular season roster spot in camp last fall. His playing time was down sharply from a career-best 18.3 minutes per game for the Pelicans in 2013/14, when he made 20 starts. Stiemsma came off the bench in all 17 appearances for Toronto in 2014/15 and saw a career-low 3.9 minutes per game.

Egwu was with the Magic in summer league, when he posted 3.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 20.0 minutes per game across five contests. The 6’11” 22-year-old, who turns 23 next month, also had a single-digit scoring average in each of his four college seasons, though he was a starter for all but one game the past three years for the Illini.

Veterans like Stiemsma don’t usually end up in the D-League, but it seems a decent chance exists that Egwu will ultimately make his way to Orlando’s D-League affiliate. The Magic can retain the D-League rights to as many as four of the players they cut at the end of the preseason.

Should the Magic keep Stiemsma for the regular season? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.