Isaiah Cousins

And-Ones: Boylen, Buyout Market, I. Cousins, Murry

Jim Boylen‘s stint as the Bulls’ head coach was short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful, as he led the team to a record of just 39-84 (.317) from 2018-20. After his tumultuous tenure in Chicago, Boylen was extremely appreciative to get the chance to coach Team USA’s qualifying team for the 2023 World Cup, as he tells Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“This opportunity, you kind of get your sea legs back. I got my voice back,” Boylen said. “It was a godsend to come and do this, and also, this is the biggest challenge I’ve ever had.”

Boylen has led Team USA to a 3-1 record in the qualifiers to date, picking up wins in February over Puerto Rico and Mexico. There are four more qualifying windows to come, with the next one scheduled for June.

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

  • When many of the top players available on the 2021 buyout market joined the Nets or Lakers, some league observers and fans pushed for changes that would prevent big-market teams from scooping up veteran talent essentially for free. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (video link) argues within a recap of 2022’s relatively quiet buyout market that the impact of buyout signings is generally overstated — none of last year’s moves were difference-makers and it’s unlikely that any of this year’s will be either, says Marks.
  • Former Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins has signed an NBA G League contract and is joining the Maine Celtics, according to our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Cousins was a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, but has yet to appear in a regular season NBA game, having spent most of his professional career in Europe.
  • One of the former NBA players who had been playing in Ukraine this season, Toure’ Murry spoke to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today about his stressful experience leaving the country following Russia’s invasion last month. “There was risk of going to the Poland border and getting sent back. There were no guarantees. So we took a leap of faith going through Romania,” said Murray, explaining that he was eventually able to get a train to Bucharest, a flight to Amsterdam, and then a flight home to Houston. “It worked out in terms of getting across the border. But going through the situation, we had no idea if we would get out.”

Jazz Release Branch, Cousins, Lyles

The Jazz got down to the NBA’s roster limit by waiving three players, the team announced on its website. The final cuts were guards Stephaun Branch, Isaiah Cousins and Jairus Lyles, who may all be ticketed for Utah’s G League affiliate in Salt Lake City if they clear waivers.

Branch was in the G League last season with the South Bay Lakers. He appeared in 50 games, starting seven, and averaged 10.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per night. The West Georgia product was just signed by the Jazz earlier this afternoon.

Cousins also spent last season in the G League, playing 36 games for Salt Lake City. He posted a 13.1/ 3.6/4.4 line while averaging 1.3 steals per game.

Lyles is a rookie out of UMBC who played for the Jazz during summer league. He averaged 20.2 PPG in college last season.

Jazz Sign Isaiah Cousins

The Jazz have re-filled their 20-man preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed Isaiah Cousins to a contract. Cousins will replace Trey Lewis, who was waived by Utah earlier today.

A 6’4″ combo guard, Cousins was a second-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2016. Although the Kings drafted and signed Cousins, he didn’t stick with the club, instead spending the last two seasons in the G League and with French team Cholet Basket.

Last season, Cousins appeared in 36 games for Utah’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, recording 13.2 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.6 RPG with a .431/.408/.741 shooting line. The Jazz don’t project to have any openings on their 15-man NBA roster heading into the 2018/19 season, so they likely envision the 24-year-old as a G League piece once again.

Cousins was one of 32 veteran free agents who participated in a mini-camp with the Jazz back in June.

Jazz Host 32 Free Agents At Veteran Mini-Camp

The Jazz are hosting a veteran mini-camp on Friday and Saturday, with 32 players set to participate in the event, the team announced in a press release.

While the list of participants isn’t exactly star-studded, there are a handful of intriguing names, including several players who have spent time in NBA training camps and some who have played in regular season games. Lavoy Allen, K.J. McDaniels, Diamond Stone, Jarrod Uthoff, and Mike Tobey are among the free agents at Utah’s mini-camp who have logged NBA minutes.

While many of the participants in this weekend’s mini-camp won’t ever play in an NBA game, the event has paid dividends for the Jazz in the past. As Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes, Royce O’Neale made a strong impression on the franchise during a free agent mini-camp in 2016, which eventually led to O’Neale signing a contract with Utah last summer and becoming a key part of the rotation in 2017/18.

“We tried to get him that summer (2016), tried to sign him but he decided to go to Spain and made the right choice for him because he got better over there and it ended up working out in the long run for him,” Jazz director of scouting Bart Taylor said. “Royce is a great story and we like to say it puts pressure on us to find another one.”

Taylor is optimistic about identifying another future contributor among this year’s group.

“There’s some good talent out here,” Taylor said. “I like to joke with all our guys and say there’s three or four guys out here that’ll play in the NBA, but you’ve got to find them. So there’s definitely a few guys out here that we like, a lot of guys actually that we really like but we’re just trying to see how they do over the course of the three practices and hopefully one of them does turn into Royce.”

Here’s the full list of participants for Utah’s free agent mini-camp:

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Jazz, Wolves, Nuggets

While most NBA teams are focusing on workouts for 2018 draft prospects these days, this is also a time of year when clubs take a closer look at veteran free agents, bringing them in for auditions of their own. The Trail Blazers are doing just that at a mini-camp this week, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype details (Twitter link).

According to Kennedy, former Sixers, Rockets, and Nets swingman K.J. McDaniels is among the players earning a look from the Trail Blazers, along with Casper Ware, Kadeem Jack, Isaiah Cousins, Kyle Randall, and a number of others. A handful of current Portland players, including Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, participated in those sessions alongside the free agents on Monday, Kennedy notes.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

NBA D-League Affiliate Players For 2016/17

Throughout the offseason, and in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams before the season can be designated as affiliate players and assigned to their D-League squads.

The players have some say in the decision — if they’d prefer to sign with a team overseas, or if they get an opportunity with another NBA club, they’re free to turn down their team’s request to have them play in the D-League. Most NBA and international teams have fairly set rosters by late October though, so having the opportunity to continue playing in the same system is appealing to many of those preseason cuts. Especially since they’ll maintain NBA free agency while they play in the D-League.

There are a few other rules related to D-League affiliate players. A player whose returning rights are held by a D-League team can’t be an affiliate player for another club, which is why undrafted free agents from the current year are commonly signed and assigned. Additionally, an affiliate player must have signed with his team during the current league year, which explains why we often see players signed and quickly waived in the days leading up to the regular season. And, of course, not every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, so clubs like the Hawks, Nuggets, or Clippers have no place to send affiliate players.

With all that in mind, here are the NBA D-League affiliate players to start the 2016/17 season:

Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)

Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)

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Kings Waive Jordan Farmar, Isaiah Cousins

The Kings have officially waived guards Jordan Farmar and Isaiah Cousins, the team announced via press release. Sacramento will be on the hook for $100K for Cousins, who had a partially guaranteed deal, unless he is claimed off waivers by another team.

The team also released its opening night roster, which includes 15 players. No mention was made of Lamar Patterson, who was reportedly re-signed by Sacramento on Friday. It’s unclear if the signing never occurred, the player was already waived or the deal is still pending.

Farmar, who will turn 30 in November, has played more than 500 regular-season games over the course of his nine-year NBA career, though he appeared in just 12 games last season. In those contests, Farmar averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.1 APG and 1.3 SPG. However, his production dipped in the playoffs, as he shot just 32.3% from the floor during the club’s first-round loss to San Antonio.

Cousins (no relation to DeMarcus) is a 6’6″ shooting guard out of Oklahoma who became the second-last player selected in this year’s draft. In his final year with the Sooners, Cousins averaged 12.6 PPG, 4.5 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 37 contests. The senior also shot 41.1% on three-point attempts and made nearly two of them per game — his shooting percentage was better on three-pointers than on two-pointers for a second consecutive season.

Kings Rumors: Point Guards, Gay, McLemore

As Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes in his latest piece, most NBA teams avoid making trades in training camp, preferring to wait until at least December to give their rosters a chance to mesh. However, the Kings still have multiple trade candidates on its roster, and they don’t have much depth at point guard, so it’s not out of the question that the team could make a move within the next month or so.

Here are a few of the highlights from Jones:

  • Currently, the Kings have 14 players on guaranteed salaries, and the team’s 15th man is expected to be a point guard — likely either Ty Lawson, Jordan Farmar, or Isaiah Cousins. According to Jones, the decision on which point guards make the regular-season roster could end up being tied to a possible Rudy Gay trade.
  • Sacramento has made Ben McLemore available in trade discussions for months, but Jones suggests (via Twitter) that the coaching staff has really connected with the fourth-year guard and is excited to see how he performs this season. At one point it seemed like a lock that McLemore would be dealt, but he has impressed the Kings lately, says Jones.
  • One another Kings veteran expected to be traded this summer was center Kosta Koufos, Jones notes. Koufos, whose name was connected to trade rumors in July and August, is fairly affordable at $8MM, given the free agent prices this offseason, but Sacramento has yet to find an acceptable deal.

Contract Details: Kings, Lakers, Raptors, Wizards

Although he may not make the Kings‘ regular-season roster, second-round guard Isaiah Cousins received a $100K guarantee on his one-year, minimum-salary contract, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). If Sacramento waives Cousins at the end of the preseason, the club will lose his NBA rights. However, the Kings will be able to hold onto his D-League rights and assign him to the Reno Bighorns. That $100K guarantee may make Cousins more willing to accept a low-paying D-League assignment rather than seeking out a job overseas.

Here are a few more contract details on recently-signed contracts, via Pincus:

  • Thomas Robinson received a non-guaranteed, one-year summer contract from the Lakers, Pincus tweets. Robinson’s non-guaranteed $1,050,961 salary is the same figure he would have been guaranteed if he’d exercised his player option with the Nets back in June.
  • Pincus passes along another Lakers contract note, tweeting that Tarik Black‘s new deal includes a 10% trade kicker.
  • New Raptors sharpshooter Brady Heslip is likely ticketed for the team’s D-League affiliate, but Toronto made it worth his while to sign a minimum-salary deal, guaranteeing him $56,500, according to Pincus (Twitter link).
  • A pair of Wizards camp invitees, Johnny O’Bryant and Casper Ware, signed one-year, non-guaranteed summer contracts with the team, tweets Pincus.

Kings Sign Isaiah Cousins

One of the final few unsigned picks from the 2016 draft has a new contract in place, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). Charania reports that the Kings have signed 59th overall selection Isaiah Cousins to a partially guaranteed, one-year contract.

Cousins (no relation to DeMarcus) is a 6’6″ shooting guard out of Oklahoma who became the second-last player selected in this year’s draft. In his final year with the Sooners, Cousins averaged 12.6 PPG, 4.5 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 37 contests. The senior also shot 41.1% on three-point attempts and made nearly two of them per game — his shooting percentage was better on three-pointers than on two-pointers for a second consecutive season.

With 14 guaranteed contracts on their books already, the Kings may not have room on their regular-season roster for Cousins. Unless the team waives another player, the 22-year-old rookie would have to beat out both Ty Lawson and Lamar Patterson – along with any other camp invitees – to grab a spot on the 15-man roster.

If Sacramento ultimately cuts Cousins before the regular season begins, the team would retain its D-League rights to him, and could assign him to the Reno Bighorns. However, if another NBA club wanted to sign Cousins to its 15-man roster, the Kings wouldn’t be able to stop that from happening.

With Cousins locked up, there are only two 2016 drafteesDaniel Hamilton of the Thunder and Tyrone Wallace of the Jazz – whose outlooks for 2016/17 remain uncertain. For a team to retain its NBA rights to a second-round pick, it must tender a one-year, minimum-salary contract offer by September 6, so it’s possible Hamilton and Wallace will have their situations resolved soon as well.

While Cousins’ contract will likely be a minimum-salary pact, the Kings still have their $2.898MM room exception available, so they could have offered more than the minimum.