Jabari Brown

Pacific Notes: Kerr, Frazier, Eddie, Lakers

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who is currently on a leave of absence while recovering from two offseason back surgeries, hopes to make his return to the bench prior to January, Janie McCauley of The Associated Press writes. “I am feeling better, so that’s the good news. The bad news is I’m not feeling well enough to coach yet,” Kerr said. “It’s hard because I don’t know when that will be. There’s no timetable. It’s not a sprained ankle, two-to-four weeks type thing. When I feel better, I’ll feel better. It’s very frustrating but I am improving. I’m able to physically work out now, which has helped quite a bit the last couple weeks. But I know I’m not healthy enough yet to do this. It’s a demanding job and it wouldn’t be fair to the team and it wouldn’t be smart for me. We’ll see.

Here’s the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Shooting guard Michael Frazier, who was waived by the Lakers last week, has signed with the team’s D-League affiliate, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (via Twitter).
  • Jarell Eddie will rejoin the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, Adam Johnson of D-League Digest relays (Twitter link). Eddie was waived by the Warriors this past Friday.
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott said that it was an agonizing decision to choose between Jabari Brown and Metta World Peace for the team’s final roster spot, which ultimately went to World Peace, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. Scott called it a “very, very, very … difficult decision” to waive Brown and added that “It was probably the most difficult cut that I’ve ever had to make,” Holmes notes. But Scott added that with such a young roster, it was important to add a veteran who could mentor the team’s plethora of younger players, the ESPN scribe relays.

Lakers To Waive Jabari Brown, Retain World Peace

12:52pm: The release of Brown is official, the team announced. The Lakers didn’t mention World Peace in its statement, but presumably he’s sticking around.

12:24pm: The Lakers will waive Jabari Brown and keep Metta World Peace for the opening night roster, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). One of them had to go, since the Lakers have been carrying 16 players, one over the regular season limit, and the deadline to cut to 15 is today. Neither have any guaranteed money on their contracts, but since the Lakers failed to make their final cut by Saturday’s deadline to waive non-guaranteed players without them counting against the cap, they’ll be stuck with two days’ worth of salary to Brown, assuming he clears waivers. That’s minus $8K in training camp compensation that Brown already earned, as former Nets executive Bobby Marks notes (All Twitter links), so the Lakers are poised to be out a mere $1,972 because they waited an extra two days.

Brown, 22, is a holdover from last season, when the Lakers signed him to multiyear deal after a pair of 10-day contracts ran to term. The shooting guard averaged 6.0 points in 14.3 minutes per game across six preseason appearances this fall, and while World Peace put up only 3.7 points in 14.1 minutes per contest in the same number of preseason games, the 35-year-old’s mentorship ability loomed large. The move isn’t a shock, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times suggested last week that World Peace had a slight edge over Brown in the competition for the final regular season roster spot.

The Lakers also cut Brown at the end of the preseason a year ago, and they claimed his D-League rights, making him an affiliate player. The team still has those rights, and the Lakers would like to have him with their D-League affiliate again this year, according to Bresnahan (Twitter link). However, if he clears waivers and doesn’t have another NBA offer, the Lakers would have to convince him to sign with the D-League rather than overseas, where he would probably make more money. Brown’s priority is to sign overseas, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

World Peace isn’t assured of much beyond opening night, since his contract wouldn’t become guaranteed until the leaguewide guarantee date in January. Still, it’s an intriguing comeback story for the veteran combo forward who spent last season playing overseas and whom the Lakers waived via the amnesty provision in 2013.

Did the Lakers make the right choice in keeping Metta World Peace over Brown? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Western Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Kings

Lakers coach Byron Scott said a decision will come Monday on the team’s final cut, but offered no further details on whether it will be veteran Metta World Peace or second-year guard Jabari Brown, notes Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link). Both players practiced on Sunday, Holmes adds.

Because players need 48 hours to clear waivers, the Lakers will be required to pay either World Peace or Brown for two days of salary, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times points out (assuming one is kept and the other is not). The waived player will receive only the two days of pay, so the Lakers will either owe World Peace approximately $18,000 or Brown $10,000, Pincus adds.

Here is more news out of the Western Conference:

  • Luc Mbah a Moute earned the Clippers‘ final regular season roster spot over Chuck Hayes mostly because of his defense months after the Kings voided his contract after a failed physical, Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com writes. In regards to the Kings, Mbah a Moute said, “I wish them luck. No hard feelings. I’m excited about the opportunity I have here now,” per Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • While the Kings are expected to be better this season than in recent years, the team could just as likely implode with several interesting personalities, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. The vibe around the team, Jones adds, has been positive since training camp.
  • Rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay cut down on his turnovers and showed promise in what should be considered a mostly successful training camp for the Nuggets under new coach Michael Malone, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post writes. 

Lakers Notes: Buss, Upshaw, Frazier, Roster

Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss admits his pitches to free agents in recent years have lacked oomph because he couldn’t promise them immediate success, but he’s confident he has the core in place now to change that, as he explains to Sam Amick of USA Today. Buss is particularly high on No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell, Amick notes.

“I think we’ve done a great job [rebuilding],” Buss said. “Yeah, I think we’re in dynamite position. Not good position – dynamite. I think we’ve turned the corner. I don’t know if you discount that terminology, ‘turn the corner.’ But when you’re headed down the wrong road, and you can finally get off that road and turn the corner, that’s huge in my opinion.”

Buss set a timeline for turning the Lakers around that his sister Jeanie, the team’s primary owner, interprets as a mandate to get to the Western Conference Finals by 2017, and he believes the team is ahead of schedule and just needs to land a major free agent this summer, as Amick details. See more on Buss and the Lakers:

  • Warriors consultant Jerry West thinks the criticism of Buss is off-base, as he tells Amick for the same story. “He’s really smart … but he’s the easiest target there is,” West said of Buss. “And I will tell you, it’s grossly unfair sometimes. Grossly unfair. It’s almost like they want him to be a reincarnation of his dad, but he can’t.”
  • Issues surrounding Robert Upshaw “that go beyond talent” proved too worrisome for the Lakers, who waived the big man today, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, though whatever the issues are, they aren’t outrageous, Pincus cautions. Coach Byron Scott cited a “big-time learning curve on both ends” for Upshaw, according to Times colleague Mike Bresnahan (Twitter link). In any case, Scott said the Lakers hope Upshaw and Michael Frazier, whom they also cut today, clear waivers and sign with the team’s D-League affiliate, notes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (on Twitter).
  • Both Bresnahan and Oram speculate that Metta World Peace and Jabari Brown are on the bubble for the last regular season roster spot on the Lakers, with Bresnahan suggesting that World Peace has a slight lead (Twitter links).

Lakers Waive Steve Nash, Re-Sign Jabari Brown

The Lakers have waived Steve Nash and re-signed Jabari Brown, the team announced via press release. The team refers to its contract with Brown as a multiyear deal. Brown had been with the Lakers on two 10-day contracts thanks to the hardship provision, which allowed the Lakers to carry him even though they already had 15 players. The league hands out an extra roster spot for only 10 days at a time, and with the team unable to sign Brown to anymore 10-day deals, the Lakers are clearing Nash, who’s already announced his retirement, from the roster.

The team will still pay out Nash’s $9.701MM salary for this season, barring the thoroughly unlikely outcome that another team claims him off waivers. However, there’s little added cost with Brown’s deal, since it has to be merely a prorated minimum-salary arrangement. The lack of any other way aside from the minimum-salary exception to sign Brown means it’s a two-year deal for him, as Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times points out (Twitter link). Next season’s salary is non-guaranteed, according to fellow Times scribe Mike Bresnahan (on Twitter).

Nash hasn’t played the entire season because of nerve issues that resurfaced during the preseason, and 41-year-old has said that the only reason he delayed his announcement, which didn’t take place until last month, was so the Lakers could use his contract as a trade chip. The team didn’t end up trading him, even though the Lakers reportedly offered him to the Celtics as part of a Rajon Rondo package, and the two-time MVP drew scorn from Lakers fans as he was an infrequent presence around the team during the first half of the season. He also lost fans when he said he was sticking around this season in large measure just so he could collect his salary. Nash was a landmark acquisition for the Lakers in 2012, but his body failed to allow him to live up to his three-year deal worth more than $27.9MM.

Brown, a college teammate of fellow Laker Jordan Clarkson, was with the Lakers during the preseason and spent most of 2014/15 with L.A.’s D-League affiliate. The 22-year-old Brown performed well on his 10-day deals, averaging 9.4 points in 24.5 minutes per game across 10 appearances, and he made 11 out of 24 total three-point attempts.

Lakers Sign Jabari Brown To Second 10-Day

SATURDAY, 12:43pm: The signing is official, the Lakers have announced.

FRIDAY, 8:36am: The Lakers will re-sign Jabari Brown to a second 10-day contract on Saturday, reports Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Brown said he spoke with GM Mitch Kupchak and confirmed that’s the plan to reporters, including Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (Twitter link). Coach Byron Scott had said minutes earlier that he anticipated Brown would be back, according to Pincus (on Twitter). Scott expressed his desire on Thursday afternoon for the team to re-sign the shooting guard.

A second deal for Brown presumably means the NBA has granted the Lakers another 10-day hardship exception to carry a 16th man on the roster. That was the allowance the league provided when the Lakers inked Brown to his first 10-day contract even though they already had 15 players. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Julius Randle are all out for the season and Ronnie Price is probably in the same situation, giving the Lakers enough injured players to qualify to apply for the extra roster spot. Nick Young also remains out with a small fracture in his left kneecap.

Brown’s initial contract expired after Thursday’s game. Waiting until Saturday to sign a second 10-day deal enables the Lakers to have him for their game on March 30th against the Sixers without having to sign him for the balance of the season. The rookie has played a prominent role, averaging 7.0 points in 20.0 minutes per contest over four games on his first 10-day contract.

Scott Wants Jabari Brown For Another 10 Days

Lakers coach Byron Scott wants the club to sign Jabari Brown to another 10-day contract, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Brown’s first 10-day deal expires after the Lakers play the Jazz on Thursday. Scott plans to meet with GM Mitch Kupchak after the game to discuss Brown’s status. “Right now, I’d like to keep him for another 10 days and see how it goes,” Scott said to the team’s beat reporters. “I think he’s improved from what we had in the summer time to this time right now.”

Aiding Brown’s cause is that Nick Young remains sidelined for at least for another week because of a small fracture in his left knee. Brown, an undrafted rookie shooting guard out of Missouri, has averaged 7.0 points on 60% shooting from the field while playing in three games. Scott says Brown needs to be physical and attack the basket while improving his ballhandling and pick-and-roll defense to stay in the league, the story adds.

Brown was on the Lakers’ NBA roster during the preseason after signing a non-guaranteed training camp deal, but he played only nine minutes total during the preseason and failed to make it to opening night. Scott has given him a longer look since he signed the 10-day contract, as Brown has averaged 20.0 minutes per game. The Lakers retained his D-League rights after training camp and Brown earned his way into the NBA by averaging 24.4 points in 34.9 minutes per game for the L.A. D-Fenders.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Scott, Lin

Lakers coach Byron Scott feels for Knicks coach Derek Fisher.  While Scott isn’t a coaching neophyte like his New York counterpart, both men have to deal with rabid fans in a major media market.  “I think the New York fans are just like our fans. They say they’re going to be patient but they’re really not,” Scott said, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. “They have to be patient. Phil’s going to be very patient with Derek. He knows the type of person that Derek is. It just doesn’t happen overnight.”  Here’s more from the Pacific Division..

  • With the season winding down, Scott plans put pending free agent Jeremy Lin in the Lakers starting lineup, Medina writes.  Lin started the first 19 games of the season only to lose his starting spot in favor of veteran guard Ronnie Price because of Scott’s preference for his defense and floor leadership  Now, it sounds like he’ll get more of an opportunity to showcase himself before the end of the year.
  • Scott is heaping tons of praise on 10-day signee Jabari Brown, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes.  “He played extremely well for a guy who is on a 10-day contract,” the Lakers coach said. “He earned the right to play some more.”  Brown inked his 10-day deal with Los Angeles on March 10th, so he still has some time left on this current pact.
  • Phil Jackson losing out on coach Steve Kerr to the Warriors is well documented, but he’s happy for his success, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.  “The perfect job for him and perfect situation where he stepped into the right opportunity and made the most out of it,” Jackson said of Kerr. “I don’t give him advice. I’m there to congratulate him.’’

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Brown, Bhullar

The Warriors could have traded Klay Thompson in a package for Kevin Love and GM Bob Myers deserves praise for the move he didn’t make. Myers is one of a few candidates that Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors mentions in his latest poll that asks who should win the Executive of the Year award.

Here’s more from the Pacific Conference:

  • The Knicks have a leg up on the Lakers in the rebuilding process because Carmelo Anthony chose New York in free agency last summer, opines Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Ding adds that the Lakers have the edge in young talent because Los Angeles has Julius Randle and New York lacks a prospect with that level of talent.
  • Jabari Brown has impressed the Lakers so far during his 10-day contract, which he signed on Tuesday, writes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. “Out of all our guys, I thought Jabari played the best,” said coach Byron Scott. “I thought he did a pretty good job, for being just kind of thrown in there for that many minutes.” Brown made three of four baskets during 18 minutes in his debut against the Knicks on Thursday.
  • Sim Bhullar could be the next great big man in the league, opines Daniel O’Brien of Bleacher Report. The 360-pound center is averaging 7.84 rebounds and 3.62 blocks per game for the Reno Bighorns, the D-League affiliate of the Kings.

Western Notes: Jerrett, Kanter, Brown

It took Lakers coach Byron Scott some time to come around to the merits of Jabari Brown, who inked a 10-day deal with Los Angeles earlier today, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. Scott did not sound as complimentary about Brown when he was on the Lakers’ training camp roster earlier this season, Medina notes. “I thought the first two or three weeks of training camp he wasn’t necessarily going through the motions. But he was trying to find his way,” Scott said. “The last few days and last few games, he started to become a little more aggressive and that’s what I wanted to see from day one. That’s what I told him to when I let him go. I told him, ‘I wished you had started out that way being aggressive. When you’re trying to make a team, that’s what you have to do.’ He didn’t start off that way.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Jazz have excelled defensively and in the standings since trading Enes Kanter at the deadline, having found an identity, as Jody Genessy of the Deseret News examines.
  • Though the decision to sign Brown was Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak‘s, Scott is glad to have an extra player on the team’s bench, Medina adds. “I’m all for it if that’s what Mitch wants to do,” Scott said. “We talked about Jabari a few days ago and wanted to bring him. We needed a body or two anyway. But it gives us a chance to see if we’d like to have the guy on our summer league team as well.
  • The Jazz have assigned Grant Jerrett to the Idaho Stampede, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Jerrett has only appeared in one game for Utah since being acquired from the Thunder on February 19th.  He previously appeared in five games for Oklahoma City, averaging 1.4 points in 5.0 minutes per contest.