Greivis Vasquez

And-Ones: Maxey, Hampton, Cunningham, Vasquez

With the NCAA season getting underway this week, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) are providing some early scouting reports on top prospects for the 2020 draft, writing that Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey “stole the show” and looked like a potential top-10 pick in a win over Michigan State on Tuesday.

While Givony and Schmitz are keeping a close eye on several top NCAA prospects, R.J. Hampton – another projected top-10 pick for 2020 – is halfway around the world, playing for the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s National Basketball League. In a fascinating feature for The Athletic, Dana O’Neil takes a look at how Hampton has adjusted to playing professional ball.

Although Hampton doesn’t necessarily regret choosing to spend the year in Auckland, he admits that it’s “a little weird” watching the NCAA season tip off this week. “I can envision myself in a Kansas jersey,” Hampton told O’Neil, referencing a Jayhawks team whose roster features his best friend Jalen Wilson.

Meanwhile, the top prospect for the 2021 draft class will be remaining stateside rather than following in Hampton’s footsteps by heading overseas. As Givony relays (via Twitter), 6’7″ point guard Cade Cunningham announced this week that he has committed to Oklahoma State for his freshman year in 2020/21. Cunningham claimed the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s very-early mock draft for ’21.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As part of the NBA’s attempted crackdown on tampering, the league has prohibited team personnel from using apps that auto-delete relevant communication, per Pete Thamel, Seerat Sohi, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports observes, it’s hard to see how the NBA will be able to enforce such a rule.
  • Former NBA point guard Greivis Vasquez is taking a leave of absence from his job as the associate head coach of the Erie BayHawks, the Pelicans‘ G League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. “After taking some time to consider what is best for the team and my health, I have decided to step away from coaching to focus on rehabbing my ankle,” Vasquez said in a statement.
  • In the wake of the NBA/China controversy that dominated headlines during the preseason, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts tells Ben Tolliver of The Washington Post that the union hasn’t done enough to help educate players on international issues. With the NBA frequently making trips to countries like China, India, and others, Roberts wants to help raise players’ awareness on those issues.
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation argues that head coaching jobs are more stable now than they have been in past years, generally speaking. As Ziller writes, the average tenure for an NBA coach right now is 3.7 years, which is the highest mark in at least a decade.

Southwest Notes: Westbrook, Vasquez, Grizzlies

Following up on his recent report that Russell Westbrook amended the payment schedule on his contract upon being traded to the Rockets, Marc Stein of The New York Times provided some additional details in his newsletter this week.

According to Stein, Westbrook’s contract previously called for 25% of his $38.5MM salary to be paid on August 1 and again on October 1. As part of his trade to the Rockets, those installments were adjusted downward to 12.5% of his salary, meaning they’re now worth $4.8MM apiece instead of $9.6MM, Stein writes.

The changes will allow Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta to avoid paying half of Westbrook’s $38.5MM salary by October 1. Under Fertitta, the club has been averse to making significant upfront payments in a variety of transactions — when Houston traded cash in three separate deals during the 2018/19 league year, it always sent that cash in many installments, rather than in a single lump sum.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Former NBA point guard Greivis Vasquez, who played for six teams over the course of seven seasons from 2010-17, has been named the associate head coach of the Pelicans‘ new G League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. Vasquez will work under Ryan Pannone, the head coach of the expansion Erie BayHawks.
  • New Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins spoke to Peter Edmiston of The Athletic about how he filled out his coaching staff and what traits he and the front office prioritized as they hired assistants. According to Jenkins, Brad Jones will be his lead assistant.
  • Boban Marjanovic had his best NBA season in 2018/19, averaging 7.3 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 58 games (11.7 MPG) for the Clippers and Sixers. Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News looks at what sort of role Marjanovic might have with the Mavericks after signing a two-year contract with the club.

Southeast Notes: Millsap, White, Vasquez, NBA Draft

The Hawks are planning on using their 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft on the best player available and Paul Millsap‘s contract situation will not change that, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (links via Twitter).

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told Vivlamore for a separate story that Millsap “might get better offers than we can make him.” Despite Atlanta’s desire to retain the four-time All-Star, the team is focused on assembling the best roster possible and worry about Millsap — or replacing him — afterward.

“You draft the best talent available regardless who is on your roster. … I think that’s when you get in trouble, when you draft off need not off talent,” Schlenk said. “Especially the way the league is going where guys are interchangeable and guys are multi-positional, you just take the best player.”

The Hawks went 43-39 last season, making the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, last year’s prized offseason acquisition Dwight Howard struggled in the postseason and expressed his issues with his lack of playing time; the team is also facing several potential departures in unrestricted free agency, such as Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Humphries and Mike Muscala. While those decisions will shape the 2017/18 Hawks, the club will look to attain the strongest asset in the NBA draft before worrying about anything else.

Below are notes from around the Southeast Division:

And-Ones: B. Roy, Blatt, BIG3, Amundson

Brandon Roy, a former sixth overall pick who earned three All-Star nods before injuries derailed his NBA career, is enjoying success in a new role. As Molly Blue of The Oregonian writes, Roy has remade himself as a high school basketball coach at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School. After taking over a team that had gone 3-18 a year before, Roy led the school to a 29-0 run this season. Nathan Hale High School won Washington’s Class 3A state title, and the former Trail Blazers star was named the 2017 Naismith High School Coach of the Year. At age 32, Roy would probably prefer to still be playing in the NBA, but it’s good to see him continuing to thrive in the sport in a new way.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • Former Cavaliers head coach David Blatt has been coaching in Turkey this season, and has no plans to return to the NBA for 2017/18, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details. In an interview with Match TV, Blatt said that he’s not going anywhere and intends to remain with Darussafaka Dogus next season.
  • The BIG3, Ice Cube‘s half-court, three-on-three league that will debut in June, has a broadcast television deal. The league announced today that it has partnered with FOX Sports and FS1. For more on the BIG3, be sure to check out our breakdown of the players and coaches participating in the league.
  • Veteran NBA center Lou Amundson, who appeared in 29 games for the Knicks last season, appears to be headed to the Philippines. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes that Amundson is close to signing a deal with TNT, after international basketball journalist David Pick reported (via Twitter) that the 34-year-old would land with a team in the Philippines.
  • Free agent point guard Greivis Vasquez and Lakers guard David Nwaba have new representation, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, who reports (via Twitter) that Glushon Sports Management recently signed the duo.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Okafor, Atkinson, Ibaka, Porzingis

Knicks legend Willis Reed had an interesting take on the team’s leadership woes. The Hall of Famer suggested Phil Jackson take the helm as head coach, replacing Jeff Hornacek. 

“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter…He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”

Reed was critical of Jackson’s inability to find a suitable head coach during his run as Knicks president, citing Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Hornacek as disappointments. Jackson’s most recent season as a head coach came with the Lakers in 2010/11, in which L.A. finished with a 57-25 record.

More from the Atlantic…

  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN discussed Jahlil Okafor in a recent mailbag, calling the Pelicans the best fit for the former #3 overall pick. In the event that Okafor isn’t traded at the deadline, however, Pelton named the Bucks as a potential landing spot over the offseason. Milwaukee big man Greg Monroe may opt out of his contract, making Okafor a logical candidate to slide into his role.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post handed out individual grades to the 9-47 Nets. Kenny Atkinson received a B-, as the rookie head coach has done a good job of keeping his players focused despite their gaudy record. GM Sean Marks was given a C+, largely due to his inability to capitalize on Yogi Ferrell‘s potential, and wasting $4MM on Greivis Vasquez.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave props to the Celtics, saying Brad Stevens‘ squad is well-positioned for the future. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach [Brad Stevens] and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft, which is remarkable,” Kerr said. “Boston’s in a great place. I have a lot of respect for Brad and Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] for what they’ve done and obviously, Isaiah Thomas. They’ve been a great story this year.”
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Raptors received assurances that Serge Ibaka would re-sign after the season. Ibaka, who has yet to make his team debut, will be expected to help lift Toronto out of their recent funk- entering the All-Star break having dropped six of their last 10. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out, if Toronto doesn’t retain Ibaka over the offseason, their cap space can expand to $21.2MM.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has struggled to get on the same page as Derrick Rose, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “We’re still trying to find that connection between us, where we know exactly where the guy’s going to be,’’ Porzingis said. “We have to get a really good feel for each other. That doesn’t happen overnight. We’re still trying to work on that.’’ An anonymous NBA source added fuel to the fire, observing “I don’t think Derrick is helping Porzingis’s growth, with his head down going to the basket, not really looking for him.’’

Atlantic Notes: Porter, DeRozan, Vasquez, Holiday

The Nets could land Wizards small forward Otto Porter if they offered him a max deal, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Porter will likely be at the top of the Nets’ wish list from what he’s heard around the league, Lewis continues. The Nets have the cap room to make a substantial run at the restricted free agent. Brooklyn could have as much as $39.4MM in cap room by renouncing its free agents this summer and the Wizards may be unwilling to max out Porter with nearly $97MM already ready on their books for next season, Lewis speculates.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan wouldn’t mind a roster upgrade, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter links). DeRozan told Lewenberg he would welcome some reinforcements, adding: “Help is a great word, with anything. Anybody could take help if it’ll make you better, a better team.” Lewenberg indicated that DeRozan said the team didn’t need any help prior to previous trade deadlines. The Raptors have slipped to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings and are just one game ahead of the sixth-place Pacers in the loss column.
  • Point guard Greivis Vasquez hopes to return to the Nets next season, David Alarcon of Hoops Hype reports. Vasquez’s career has been sidetracked by ankle injuries the past two seasons. He signed a $4,347,826 contract with Brooklyn during the offseason, then was waived in November after appearing in just three games and injuring the ankle again. Vasquez said he’s been in contact with Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, who invited Vasquez to continue his rehab from ankle surgery with the team after the season ends. “He left the door open for me. He offered me to come back in April or May to work with them,” Vasquez told Alarcon. “I told him that I accepted his offer, and I will work with them with no strings attached. … Brooklyn is a very attractive team in a very attractive city.”
  • The cost of acquiring point guard Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans would likely be higher than the reward for the Sixers, Derek Bodner opines on his website. Philadelphia is reportedly interested in bringing back Holiday, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season. While there are valid reasons to make the move, including the benefit of seeing how he meshes with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, there’s no guarantee Holiday would stick around after the season, Bodner adds.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Zizic, Vasquez

Sixers coach Brett Brown quashed speculation that rookie Ben Simmons might play his first game January 27th, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia’s contest against the Rockets on that date was recently added to ESPN’s national television schedule. A picture of Simmons appeared on Instagram not long after, leading many to believe it was more than a coincidence. But Brown said today that Simmons, who hasn’t played since suffering a fractured bone in his right foot in October, definitely won’t be ready by then. “I am a social hermit,” Brown said when a reporter asked about the possibility. “I have no idea what you are talking about. But I do know there is no chance that he will play then.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • It’s still not definite that Simmons will be able to return this season, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. An unidentified source told Scotto, “Everyone needs to hold their horses and hope he plays at all.”
  • Celtics draft-and-stash prospect Ante Zizic is ready to try the NBA next season, relays Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops. The 6’11” center is playing for Darussafaka Dogus in Istanbul after being taken with the 23rd pick in the 2016 draft. Zizic is getting an education in the NBA game from former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who now runs Darussafaka. “I want to prepare for the NBA,” Zizic said. “Because this summer I’m going to the NBA for sure. I think that the best preparation for the NBA is playing at the highest possible level. And EuroLeague provides that.”
  • Signing Greivis Vasquez was the first mistake by new Nets GM Sean Marks, writes John Schuhmann of Brooklyn gave the 30-year-old point guard a guaranteed $4,347,826 for one season even though he wasn’t completely healed from ankle surgery. Vasquez played just three games for the Nets before being waived November 9th.

Nets Cut Greivis Vasquez, Re-Sign Yogi Ferrell

3:22pm: The Nets have officially re-signed Ferrell, the team announced this afternoon in a press release. According to international basketball journalist David Pick (via Twitter), the rookie will get a two-year deal — details on a potential guarantee aren’t yet known.

12:34pm: The Nets are making a roster move at point guard, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is re-signing Yogi Ferrell and waiving Greivis Vasquez. Brooklyn’s roster count will remain at 15 players when the pair of moves becomes official. For now, Vasquez’s release is official, having been announced by the club in a press release.Greivis Vasquez horizontal

Vasquez, who will turn 30 in January, signed a one-year contract with the Nets this summer as an unrestricted free agent, but has only appeared in three games for the team due to an ankle injury. According to Wojnarowski, that ankle injury will require surgery, so Brooklyn likely felt the need to add some immediate help at the point guard spot, where Jeremy Lin is also sidelined.

“Greivis did everything we asked of him and more to try to get back on the court at full strength,” said Nets GM Sean Marks said in a statement issued by the team. “The passion, grit and perseverance he has shown since he joined the team have been remarkable. We are thankful to Greivis for all of his efforts and wish him well in the future.”

While Vasquez will become a free agent later this week, he’ll continue to receive pay checks from the Nets, since his deal with the team was fully guaranteed. The veteran point guard will count for $4,347,826 against Brooklyn’s cap this season, but the club can afford to eat that money — total team payroll will remain in the $76MM range after Ferrell’s signing, which is still well below the 2016/17 salary floor.

As for Ferrell he signed with the Nets this summer as an undrafted free agent, but was waived by the club last month. A starter for the entire course of his college career at Indiana, Ferrell averaged 17.3 points, 5.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his senior season. During the preseason, the 23-year-old played sparingly for the Nets, appearing in three exhibition games and getting on the floor for a total of 28 minutes in those contests.

Ferrell had joined the Long Island Nets, so his signing represents the Nets’ first D-League call-up of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Players With Incentive Bonuses For 2016/17

According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, there are 33 players around the NBA who can potentially earn incentive bonuses this season based on their own durability or performance, or based on how their team performs. Although Marks doesn’t identify all 33 players who have incentives included in their 2016/17 contracts, he discusses over half of them, passing along a number of interesting tidbits about those potential bonuses. Here are some of the highlights:

Minutes/games played bonuses:

NBA bonuses are deemed either “likely” or “unlikely,” using the previous season’s statistics as a benchmark, so if a player didn’t appear in many games during the previous year, a team can include a games-played benchmark and call it an unlikely incentive. For instance, John Henson‘s contract with the Bucks features incentives if he plays 60 games or 75 games this season. He appeared in just 57 contests in 2015/16, so neither of those marks is viewed as likely.

Miles Plumlee (Bucks), Luis Scola (Nets), Greivis Vasquez (Nets), and Deron Williams (Mavericks) are among the other players who have incentives in their deals for games played or started.

Individual statistic bonuses:

The Trail Blazers got creative with Maurice Harkless‘ new contract this summer, including an incentive bonus in the deal that can be triggered based if he keeps his three-point percentage above a certain level. Jeremy Lin, meanwhile, not only has a three-point percentage incentive, but also has bonuses linked to assists, turnovers, and threes and free throws attempted per 36 minutes.

Individual achievement bonuses:

Players like Bismack Biyombo (Magic), Evan Fournier (Magic), and Will Barton (Nuggets) have incentives related to their individual performances as well, but they’re related to awards and honors, rather than raw statistics. Biyombo gets a bonus if he makes the NBA’s All-Defensive team, Fournier gets some extra money for an All-Star appearance, and Barton would get $250K if he wins the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Of course, some of these incentives are more realistic than others. For instance, Thaddeus Young (Pacers) probably shouldn’t be counting on the $500K incentive bonus that he’d earn if he wins the league’s MVP award.

Team performance bonuses:

Several players, including Fournier, Jon Leuer (Pistons), and Joe Ingles (Jazz) have bonuses related to their teams making the playoffs. Many of those postseason incentives are tied to another condition. For example, for Taj Gibson to earn his bonus from the Bulls, he must appear in at least 60 games, play in at least 75% of Chicago’s playoff games, and average 25 or more minutes per game during the regular season.

Some players also have incentives linked to their teams’ win total, and once again, some are more attainable than others. For example, Nikola Mirotic could earn an extra $800K, but he’d need the Bulls to win 65+ games, so there’s a good chance his shot at that bonus will disappear about halfway through the season.

Be sure to check out the full breakdown from Marks for many more details on players who could earn incentive bonuses in 2016/17.

Nets Notes: Lopez, Lin, Whitehead, Kilpatrick

Brooklyn center Brook Lopez may see his production go down while point guard Jeremy Lin is sidelined with an injured hamstring, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Hornets packed their defense in the paint Friday to limit Lopez’s effectiveness, and he can probably expect to see more of the same. The Nets are reportedly listening to calls from teams interested in trading for Lopez, but are not actively looking to deal him. “It’s a huge adjustment [without Lin], no question, because he brings so much to our team,” Lopez said. “It was just a matter of giving Isaiah [Whitehead] confidence and letting him know that we’re all out there with him and have trust in him. It’s not just one of us on the floor.” Lin’s condition will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have point guard concerns beyond Lin’s injury, according to Randy Foye has been out with a pulled hamstring and hopes to return Tuesday. Greivis Vasquez is having ankle problems and the team hasn’t said when he might be able to play again. Brooklyn has Yogi Ferrell and Boris Dallo on its new D-League affiliate, but neither is considered ready for the NBA.
  • The injuries have created a “trial by fire” for Whitehead, writes Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily. The second-round pick made his first career start on Friday, putting up eight points and three assists in 23 minutes. “I think I’m getting much more comfortable, it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “Just getting better and better every time I get on the court. [It’s] just [about] reducing turnovers, just really getting everybody involved – it’s a tough process but I think I’ll get there.”
  • Sixth man Sean Kilpatrick is off to a strong start in his first full NBA season, notes Reed Wallach of NetsDaily. A D-League callup last season, Kilpatrick is adapting to coach Kenny Atkinson’s motion offense, averaging 17 points and four rebounds per night.“Sean likes to think of himself as a scorer, and I know he scored in the D-League,” Atkinson said. “But our player emphasis is to help him get better defensively. I think he can be better than he already is. He has size, and he’s got toughness.”