Jason Preston

Grizzlies Sign Adonis Arms, David Johnson

The Grizzlies tweaked their preseason roster by signing Adonis Arms and David Johnson, the team announced in a press release. Jason Preston and Timmy Allen, who both signed with the team on Monday, were waived to make room.

Because Memphis already has 15 guaranteed contracts and all three of its two-way slots filled, all four players are likely to end up in the G League. Assuming they all have Exhibit 10 deals, they can earn up to a $75K bonus by spending at least 60 days with the Memphis Hustle.

Arms, a 25-year-old guard, finished last season with the Hustle after being acquired from Grand Rapids in a G League trade. He spent time with both Denver and Phoenix during the 2022 preseason and played for the Nets in this year’s Summer League.

Johnson, a 22-year-old guard, was drafted in the second round by Toronto in 2021, but only appeared in two NBA games before being waived last October. He spent most of his time with Raptors 905 in the G League, but was traded to the Hustle in late August.

The moves leave the Grizzlies with 21 players on their preseason roster, with three needing to be trimmed by Monday’s league-wide cutdown date.

Grizzlies Sign Jason Preston, Timmy Allen

The Grizzlies have added Jason Preston and Timmy Allen to their roster, waiving Matthew Hurt and Mychal Mulder to make room, the team announced (via Twitter).

Preston, a 24-year-old point guard, was waived by the Clippers earlier this month before his $1.8MM salary became fully guaranteed. He appeared in 14 games with L.A. last season and spent most of his time in the G League.

Allen, a rookie forward, played for the Grizzlies’ Summer League team after going undrafted out of Texas. The 23-year-old averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game with the Longhorns last year.

Memphis has 15 players with guaranteed contracts, so there’s virtually no chance for either Preston or Allen to win a roster spot. However, if they signed Exhibit 10 deals, they can earn a bonus of up to $75K if they get waived and spend at least 60 days with the Memphis Hustle, the organization’s G League affiliate.

Hurt and Mulder both signed with the Grizzlies two weeks ago and saw limited action in the preseason. Hurt, a 23-year-old forward, appeared in two games and had three points, three rebounds and an assist. Mulder, a 29-year-old guard, scored three points and grabbed two rebounds in two games.

The moves leave Memphis at the offseason roster limit of 21 players.

Clippers Waive Jason Preston

Clippers point guard Jason Preston is being waived by L.A., reports Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has officially confirmed the move.

Preston’s $1.8MM non-guaranteed salary for 2023/24 would have become fully guaranteed had he remained with the club through Sunday. Earlier this week, team president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank had indicated that the Clippers were still considering whether or not to retain Preston into training camp.

John Hollinger of The Athletic tweets that this move had been anticipated given that L.A. already has 15 players on guaranteed standard contracts. Hollinger adds that the 6’4″ guard may have intriguing upside as a two-way signing somewhere. The Clippers currently have all three of their two-way slots occupied.

Preston, 24, was selected with the No. 33 pick in the 2021 draft out of Ohio, but missed the entirety of what would have been his rookie campaign in 2021/22 after undergoing a preseason foot surgery. He appeared in a scant 14 games for the Clippers in 2022/23, averaging 2.9 PPG, 1.9 APG and 1.6 RPG across 8.9 MPG.

That said, Preston showed some promise with his club’s G League team in 2022/23. In 21 games with L.A.’s NBAGL affiliate, the Ontario Clippers, Preston averaged 16.7 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.2 RPG and 0.7 SPG. He posted a shooting line of .486/.372/.844.

Clippers Notes: Kawhi, PG13, Holiday, Harden, Preston

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have dealt with a litany of injuries since they joined L.A. in 2019, but they’re “fully healthy” and ready to go for training camp, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank told reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

The news was expected, as Frank was mostly just confirming what head coach Tyronn Lue said on a podcast a few weeks ago.

Frank also said the Clippers have talked to both players about possible contract extensions, according to Youngmisuk (Twitter link). Frank described it as a “process,” but the team hopes to continue to build around Leonard and George.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • At the same press conference, Frank said that while he likes the roster he’s assembled, the Clippers won’t hesitate to be aggressive in looking for upgrades if the opportunity arises, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register (subscriber link). “We like our team,” Frank said. “(But) you are always looking for ways to get better, both individually and as a team. Typically, if you follow the probability, the greatest way to get better is internal improvement. But from our standpoint, we’ll always be aggressive in trying to find ways to improve the team. I like our approach, but we’ll always look for ways to get better.”
  • The Clippers have been linked to All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, who is from the Los Angeles area. Law Murray of The Athletic makes the case that Holiday would be a better fit for the Clips than disgruntled star James Harden, noting that Holiday is a far superior defender. Holiday’s contract also aligns with Leonard’s and George’s, Murray adds, with all three players holding player options for 2024/25. Harden, meanwhile, is on an expiring deal and is not extension-eligible, but Holiday will be later this season.
  • Point guard Jason Preston‘s non-guaranteed salary becomes guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before this Sunday. Frank said the team is still weighing its options and the decision will likely come down to the wire, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

Jason Preston’s Salary Guarantee Date Moved To October

Jason Preston‘s salary guarantee date has been pushed back to October 1, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

The Clippers agreed at the start of the month to move Preston’s guarantee date to July 18. If they hadn’t pushed it back for a second time, they would have had to decide on Tuesday whether to fully guarantee his $1,836,096 salary for next season.

The early second-round pick in 2021 has been sidetracked by injuries during his first two seasons. He missed his entire rookie campaign after undergoing right foot surgery, then appeared in just 14 NBA games last season. He recently revealed he underwent LASIK eye surgery and had another procedure to fix a deviated septum.

Preston, who spent most of ’22/23 playing for the Clippers’ G League affiliate, averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.2 rebounds in Summer League competition this month.

The Clippers, of course, are rumored to be James Harden‘s preferred destination in a potential trade with Philadelphia. That possibility could have played a role in the team’s decision to delay Preston’s guarantee.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Murray, Fox, Clippers, Preston

On a recent episode of Podcast P with Paul George (YouTube link), Draymond Green said new point guard Chris Paul will help stabilize the Warriors‘ second unit and “unlock” one of the team’s former lottery picks.

“CP can anchor that unit…and I think that is a big thing to helping unlock our team again…I’ll tell you one more thing that I think it unlocks and I look forward to learning this from him; I think Chris Paul will completely unlock Jonathan Kuminga and his growth. CP is great with young guys,” Green said (hat tip to HoopsHype).

The Warriors are trading Jordan Poole, Ryan Rollins, Patrick Baldwin, a top-20 protected 2030 first-round pick, and a 2027 second round pick to the Wizards for Paul. The deal isn’t official yet but likely will be tomorrow once the free agency moratorium lifts.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Kings forward Keegan Murray is once again shining in Summer League action. As he prepares for his sophomore season, the first-team All-Rookie member is working with star guard De’Aaron Fox on a daily basis, writes Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. “I’ve been with him every single day so far this summer,” Murray said. “We play one-on-one three, four times a week so that’s helped me a lot in different areas on the court.” For those curious, Murray said he has yet to beat Fox one-on-one, though he’s come “very close.”
  • Additional trades could still be in the works, but it appears as though the Clippers‘ free agency work is done, according to Law Murray of The Athletic, who examines the team’s moves this offseason. With 16 players on standard contracts and Jason Preston on a non-guaranteed deal (it will be guaranteed July 18), the young guard’s performance during Summer League will be critical for his future with the team, says Murray.
  • Speaking of Preston, he said he underwent LASIK eye surgery and had another procedure to fix a deviated septum, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The 23-year-old former second-round pick missed his entire rookie season after foot surgery and appeared in just 14 games with the Clippers in 2022/23.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Draymond, Preston, Duarte, Kings

The Lakers made some roster changes yesterday, agreeing to free agent deals with guard Gabe Vincent and forwards Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish. They’re also signing big man Jaxson Hayes to fortify their frontcourt depth.

Vincent will replace Dennis Schröder, who wound up signing with Toronto after the Raptors lost Fred VanVleet in free agency. That transaction came after the Vincent deal was reported.

Team sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic that the Lakers contemplated re-signing Schröder, but believe Vincent is a better player and will provide more value. According to Buha, head coach Darvin Ham was one of the people “strongly in favor” of bringing Schröder back.

Despite waiving Mohamed Bamba before his $10.3MM salary became guaranteed, the center is still interested in returning to Los Angeles, a source tells Buha. However, Buha’s article was released before the team agreed to sign Hayes, and the Lakers still have Wenyen Gabriel and Tristan Thompson as free agents.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Draymond Green and the Warriors both had negotiating wins for his new four-year, $100MM contract, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. As Slater explains, the Warriors got significant tax savings for 2023/24 by Green taking a first-year pay cut compared to his declined player option, while Green got a fourth year tacked on to the end of the deal.
  • Clippers and guard Jason Preston mutually agreed to push back his salary guarantee date to July 18, a source tells Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). The 33rd pick of the 2021 draft out of Ohio University, Preston missed his entire rookie season after undergoing right foot surgery. Preston only appeared in 14 regular season games for a total of 124 minutes this past season. The 23-year-old spent most of ’22/23 in the G League with the team’s G League affiliate. His salary will remain non-guaranteed for now.
  • The Kings and Pacers were reportedly nearing an agreement Friday morning on a trade that would send wing Chris Duarte to Sacramento in exchange for draft compensation. However, as of Friday night, the two teams had yet to agree to terms, a league source tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Western Notes: Wolves, Morant, Preston, Mahlalela

When Rudy Gobert first heard about the proposed deal sending him to the Timberwolves, he told his agent Bouna Ndiaye that he needed a day or two to think about it, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. After some deliberation, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year got fully on board with the move.

“After one day, I told him it was probably the best, most exciting situation in terms of basketball for me,” Gobert told reporters on Wednesday.

As Michael Rand of The Star Tribune details, the deal will deplete the Timberwolves’ depth to some extent, but the trade-off should be worth it, as Minnesota will have one of the NBA’s best starting fives.

The deal has major boom-or-bust potential, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that the Wolves are betting big on “big ball” by pairing Gobert with Karl-Anthony Towns. If the twin-towers approach works for Minnesota, it could “quickly spawn imitators,” says Hollinger. If it doesn’t, it’ll be a costly mistake that could set the franchise back for years to come.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Ja Morant‘s new maximum-salary extension with the Grizzlies includes a 15% trade kicker, but it doesn’t feature a fifth-year player option, Hoops Rumors has learned. That means Morant will remain under team control through the 2027/28 season.
  • Jason Preston will be available for the Clippers‘ Summer League team after missing his entire rookie season due to right foot surgery. According to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times, about three weeks after the Clippers’ season ended, Preston was able to start participating in 5-on-5 scrimmages without restrictions.
  • The Warriors are promoting assistant coach Jama Mahlalela to the front of their bench for the 2022/23 season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Mahlalela will fill the opening created by Mike Brown‘s departure to Sacramento, while Kenny Atkinson – who nearly departed for Charlotte himself – will replace Brown as Steve Kerr‘s lead assistant.

Clippers’ Lawrence Frank Talks Roster, Offseason, More

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday for his annual postseason press conference, Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said the team will look to upgrade the roster this summer after a disappointing end to 2021/22, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group.

We’re going to have to look at areas of improvement,” Frank said. “We want to make sure that we maximize our opportunities and be able to do something that’s never been done in the history of this organization.”

The Clippers failed to advance to the playoffs after losing both of their play-in tournament games, partly due to the season-long absence of Kawhi Leonard (ACL recovery) and Paul George‘s elbow injury (as well as his positive COVID-19 result the day of the second play-in loss). Frank said the team’s inability to win a championship with its star wings has shown “how fragile the difference between winning and losing is,” but he’ll use the playoff absence as “fuel for a great offseason,” per Swanson.

Frank said he’s encouraged by Leonard’s recovery progress, but declined to give any timetables for a potential return.

Here’s more from Frank’s press conference, courtesy of Swanson:

  • L.A. holds the Bird rights to unrestricted free agent Robert Covington, who recently said he was intrigued by the idea of playing with Leonard and George. Frank said he was happy to hear that, because the team would like to bring him back. “RoCo was very, very good for us. I’m excited to hear that he likes it here. We look forward and we’d like to be able to keep him here.”
  • Isaiah Hartenstein is also a free agent, but the Clips only holds his Non-Bird rights. The big man surpassed Frank’s expectations this season. “We actually recruited Isaiah … we put a lot of effort into it,” said Frank, who noted Hartenstein’s qualities, including his play-making, paint protection, floater and chemistry with the team. “Now, did we think he was going to be able to deliver at this high a level? No.”
  • From a developmental perspective, the Frank said the season was a great success, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “From a process standpoint [it] went better than expected,” Frank said, calling the development of the team’s young players a “huge silver lining.”
  • League sources tell Greif the team will look to add a point guard this summer, but Frank was coy when asked about the possibility. “The game now is played a little bit differently, there are some obviously elite point guards in the league, but a lot of teams are playing through their wings like we do,” Frank said. “So I look at it as do we have enough play initiators between Kawhi, PG, Norm [Norman Powell], Reggie [Jackson], Terance [Mann]? I don’t know; we’ll look at it. We’re not averse to it, but we’ll continue to evaluate and see if we have to address it.”
  • Frank is hopeful that Jason Preston (foot surgery) and Jay Scrubb (turf toe surgery) will be ready for Summer League, Greif relays.

Clippers Notes: George, Rivers, Moon, Preston

The Clippers‘ playoff prospects would be a lot brighter with Paul George in the lineup, and his teammates are encouraged by his performance Thursday in his first practice since tearing a ligament in his right elbow, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. George wasn’t involved in much contact during the practice session, but Amir Coffey and Ivica Zubac both said he looked “great.”

George has been limited to 26 games this season, but his numbers have been typically outstanding at 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per night. The Clippers will start out in the play-in tournament, with a matchup looming against one of the Western Conference powers if they advance, so they’ll need George available to have a realistic shot.

“Just having that hope that he has a chance to come back, that gives them a lot of hope, especially the job this team has done this year, guys playing out of position, guys taking on bigger roles, you know?” coach Tyronn Lue said. “The job the team has done this year, it’s phenomenal. But we could use an extra little bump right now, especially in these dog days, going down the stretch of the season.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Former Clippers coach Doc Rivers can empathize with Lue, who is trying to survive without three of his best players, Swanson states in the same piece. After his Sixers blasted L.A. on Friday, Rivers said the toughest part of being short-handed is making players believe they can be successful without their stars. “They’re NBA players and you can win games, teams can win games during that period, and I think Ty’s done a great job with that,” Rivers said. “I mean, he’s really kept them afloat, so it’s been impressive.”
  • Xavier Moon earned his new two-way contract by helping the Clippers when their roster was depleted due to health and safety protocols, Swanson adds in a separate story. Moon signed three 10-day hardship deals in December and January and made a strong impression on his teammates despite only playing six games. “His will, his want-to. How much he’s been about the team,” Reggie Jackson said when Moon’s last contract expired. “He’s come in, he’s gotten better every day, hasn’t complained, fears no one, doesn’t back down, so it’s been fun to watch him compete.”
  • Jason Preston‘s rookie season was wiped out after foot surgery in October, but the Clippers believe the second-round pick has a bright future ahead, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.