Javonte Smart

Javonte Smart Signs With Serbian Team

Three weeks after being waived by the Sixers, Javonte Smart has signed with KK Crvena Zvezda in Serbia, writes Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. The team announced that Smart’s contract will run through the end of the season and carries an option for 2024/25.

Smart, who held a two-way contract with Philadelphia, made just one brief NBA appearance before being released when the team signed Kenneth Lofton Jr. He spent most of the season with the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, averaging 21.0 points, 5.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 16 Showcase Cup games.

The 24-year-old point guard began his NBA career on a two-way contract with Milwaukee after going undrafted out of LSU in 2021. He appeared in 13 games for the Bucks before being waived, then got into four more games with Miami on another two-way deal during the 2021/22 season.

Smart will provide depth for a KK Crvena Zvezda team that has experienced a series of injuries, Askounis adds. Among the recent losses are 2024 lottery prospect Nikola Topic and former NBA player Milos Teodosic. The Serbian squad is 9-12 in EuroLeague play, but leads the ABA League at 13-2.

Sixers Sign Kenneth Lofton Jr. To Two-Way Deal

6:00pm: Lofton’s signing is official, the Sixers announced in a press release.

12:32pm: Shortly after being waived by the Grizzlies, free agent forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. has agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Sixers, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Lofton became the victim of a roster crunch in Memphis when the team needed to open up a roster spot to activate Ja Morant following the completion of his 25-game suspension. Lofton was part of the 15-man roster to open the regular season, but lost his spot to Bismack Biyombo, whom the Grizzlies signed when they placed Morant on the suspended list in early November.

Lofton, who went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech in 2022, spent most of his rookie season on a two-way deal with Memphis. He appeared in 24 games for the NBA club, averaging 5.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 7.3 minutes per contest, and received a promotion to the standard roster near the end of the season.

However, the burly 6’7″ forward failed to establish himself as a regular rotation piece this fall, averaging just 2.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG in 15 appearances (6.6 MPG) and making only 37.8% of his shots from the floor. Because his contract wasn’t guaranteed beyond this season, he became a logical release candidate once the Grizzlies decided they wanted to hang onto Biyombo.

In order to make room for Lofton, the Sixers are waiving guard Javonte Smart, reports Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Smart got into just one game this season for Philadelphia, having spent most of the season with the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League. Across 16 Showcase Cup games for Delaware, he averaged 21.0 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per game, with an impressive shooting line of .466/.424/.970.

Lofton will add some depth to the 76ers’ frontcourt and will join guards Terquavion Smith and Ricky Council as the team’s two-way players.

Sixers Rumors: Embiid, Knicks, Harden, Morey, Smart

Teams around the NBA are paying close attention to how James Harden‘s stalemate with the Sixers gets resolved, since failing to extract a fair return for the former MVP could adversely affect the franchise’s relationship with its other former MVP, Joel Embiid. As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details (subscription required), the division-rival Knicks are one team keeping an eye on the situation in Philadelphia.

Sources tell Pompey that acquiring Embiid would be the top priority for Knicks president Leon Rose if the star center becomes available and that New York would be willing to offer three of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Evan Fournier, along with two or three first-round picks.

Pompey himself acknowledges that the Sixers would likely get stronger offers than that for Embiid and wouldn’t want to trade him to another Atlantic team anyway. It’s a moot point for now, since there’s no indication Embiid will be available for trade anytime soon.

Still, Pompey stresses that the way the 76ers settle the Harden standoff could have a ripple effect on their superstar center, and the Knicks aren’t the only team monitoring the situation to see what happens. Meanwhile, sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Post that Embiid is one of at least three potential star trade targets the Knicks are surveilling, along with Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • As of Monday afternoon, it remained unclear “when and if” Harden plans to return to Philadelphia, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (Twitter video link). “The organization has taken him at his word that he’s away on a personal matter, that there is something he has to attend to,” Wojnarowski said. “But how long will they do that is certainly a question.”
  • Wojnarowski suggests that if Harden still hasn’t reported back to the team by its regular season opener on Thursday, it’s possible the 76ers will seek ” more clarity and a timetable” for his return. They’d would be within their rights to fine him $390K for each missed game if they’re not satisfied with his answer, Woj adds.
  • Sixers head coach Nick Nurse said on Monday that he has been in touch with Harden during his absence, Pompey writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I did reach out to him the other day … just to text like I would with anybody,” Nurse said. “See how he’s doing. See if he’s all right. He did text me back.” Nurse added that he didn’t get into the specifics of Harden’s potential return during his text exchange with the guard, since he “was just making sure he’s OK.”
  • Some people around the league who spoke to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com don’t envy the spot the Sixers and Daryl Morey are in with Harden. One front office source speculated that Morey is “not going to survive this.” Another source who has been in contact with the Clippers and other teams told Bulpett, “Daryl’s trying to steal people in trades, and nobody’s going for it. First thing, Harden’s not the same guy he was three or four years ago, so his market’s not that great. And Morey’s trying to get so much, but he’s not going to get it.”
  • Javonte Smart, who had his Exhibit 10 contract converted to a two-way deal over the weekend, spoke to reporters on Monday about getting a regular season opportunity with the team (Twitter video link via Pompey). Smart indicated that if the Sixers want him to play primarily with the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, he’ll view that as a chance to get regular playing time and to “get better.”

Sixers Convert Javonte Smart To Two-Way Contract

12:18pm: The move is official, the Sixers confirmed in a press release.

10:16am: The Sixers are converting guard Javonte Smart to a two-way contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Smart was on an Exhibit 10 deal but, after impressing in the preseason, is having his contract converted.

Smart, 24, played with both the Bucks and the Heat on two-way contracts after going undrafted out of LSU in 2021. In 17 career games (one start), he has averaged 3.0 points. Smart has seen much more playing time in the G League over the past two seasons, putting up 16.9 points and 3.6 assists per night while shooting 33.9% from downtown (7.4 attempts) in 57 career regular season G League outings.

In four games with Philadelphia in the preseason, Smart averaged 4.5 points and 1.5 assists in 8.3 minutes, hitting 66.7% of his three-point shots.

The 76ers opened up a two-way contract spot on Friday when they waived Ricky Council IV, clearing the way for Smart’s conversion. No other roster moves are necessary to convert Smart, who joins Terquavion Smith and Azuolas Tubelis as the team’s two-way players.

The Sixers still have more work to be done with their roster, with 16 players signed to standard contracts. Filip Petrusev and Danny Green don’t have fully guaranteed salaries, but Montrezl Harrell could also be cut, considering he’s likely to be out for the season.

Sixers Sign Javonte Smart To Exhibit 10 Contract

AUGUST 13: The signing is now official, per a Sixers press release.

AUGUST 12: The Sixers are signing free agent point guard Javonte Smart to an Exhibit 10 training camp contract, sources inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski notes, Smart was previously signed to two-way contracts with the Heat and Bucks during the 2021/22 season. He spent ’22/23 playing for the Pelicans’ NBA G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron.

The 6’4″ point guard out of LSU appeared in a grand total of 17 games during his stints with Milwaukee and Miami. He posted averages of 3.0 PPG, 1.4 RPG and 0.9 APG.

Across 57 games in two G League seasons with the the Squadron and the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Smart boasts averages of 16.9 PPG (on .427/.360/.939 shooting), 3.1 APG, 2.8 RPG and 0.9 SPG.

It could be an uphill battle for Smart to make Philadelphia’s roster, given that the team has all three of its two-way spots filled and has 14 of its 15 standard roster spots occupied.

Assuming Smart is ultimately cut during training camp but gets rostered with the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, he could earn a bonus that would pay him up to $75K — assuming he spends 60 or more days with Delaware.

Pelicans Waive Cheatham, Martin, Plowden, Smart

The Pelicans announced that they have waived Zylan Cheatham, Kelan Martin, Daeqwon Plowden and Javonte Smart. All four players are likely headed to the team’s G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron.

Martin, a 6’5″ small forward, holds the most NBA experience of the group, having made 96 appearances with the Wolves, Pacers and Celtics over the past three seasons. He holds career averages of 5.5 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 13.2 MPG.

After going undrafted out of LSU last year, Smart, a 6’4″ guard, appeared in 17 NBA games on two-way deals with the Bucks and Heat in 2021/22. He holds modest averages of 3.0 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 11.8 MPG.

Cheatham holds five games of NBA experience with the Jazz and Pelicans after going undrafted in 2019. The 6’5″ forward averaged 14 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 2.5 APG in 21 regular season games (32 MPG) for the Squadron last season.

Plowden is a 6’6″ undrafted rookie wing out of Bowling Green State. He spent Summer League with the Pelicans, averaging 12.0 PPG on .647/.500/.909 shooting in three games (16.1 MPG).

Both Cheatham and Plowden received Exhibit 10 deals, and Martin and Smart likely did as well. Assuming that’s the case, all four players would be eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if they spend at least 60 days with the Squadron.

The Pelicans now have a 15-man standard roster, with one two-way spot still open. Undrafted rookie guard Dereon Seabron currently holds the other two-way contract.

Pelicans Add Martin, Smart; Waive Butler, Petty Jr.

The Pelicans signed forward Kelan Martin and guard Javonte Smart while waiving two-way forward John Butler and guard John Petty Jr., according to a team press release.

Terms weren’t disclosed but Martin and Smart likely signed Exhibit 10 contracts. They would presumably be candidates for the team’s open two-way slot, since Butler had his camp deal converted to a two-way last week.

Otherwise, they’ll likely be waived and join the G League Birmingham Squadron, which would make them each eligible for a $50K bonus if they spend at least 60 days with that club.

Martin has appeared in 96 NBA games since 2019 with Minnesota, Indiana and Boston, averaging 5.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 assists. Martin appeared in 30 games last season with the Celtics and Pacers.

Smart, who went undrafted in 2021 out of LSU, appeared in 17 games with the Bucks and Heat last season, averaging 3.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists.

Butler played last season at Florida State, where he averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 31 games. He saw action in one preseason game.

Petty Jr. appeared in 31 games for the Birmingham Squadron last season. Petty was on an Exhibit 10 deal and will likely return to the Squadron, with Butler joining him.

Javonte Smart To Sign Training Camp Deal With Pelicans

Free agent guard Javonte Smart is set to sign a training camp deal with the Pelicans, sources inform JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link).

After going undrafted out of LSU in 2021, the 6’4″ point guard inked two-way contracts with the Bucks and Heat during the 2021/22 season. Across 17 NBA games, the 23-year-old averaged 3.0 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 0.9 APG across 11.8 MPG on .317/.296/.833 shooting splits.

In 25 contests with the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Smart got considerably more run, averaging 21.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 1.9 SPG. He also posted a shooting line of .419/.320/.754.

New Orleans currently has guards Daeqwon Plowden and John Petty signed to Exhibit 10 training camp contracts, making Smart their third addition whenever the agreement becomes official.

And-Ones: Players With Most To Prove, Trade Market, GL Trades

The Athletic’s staff released an article this week focused of one player with the most to prove for each of the NBA’s 30 teams in 2022/23. Interestingly, several players mentioned are current or former All-Stars, including a trio who missed all of last season: Ben Simmons of the Nets, Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, and Zion Williamson of the Pelicans.

Simmons’ head coach, Steve Nash, also made the list, as Alex Schiffer wonders whether or not Nash can finally show he’s a solid coach if the roster stays healthy.

In addition to more established veterans, eight former first-round picks who are still on their rookie contracts made the cut, including De’Andre Hunter of the Hawks, Killian Hayes of the Pistons, and James Wiseman of the Warriors, amongst others.

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

  • One league executive of tells Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com that he expects more transactional activity, like the recent Lakers/Jazz trade, to transpire now that the Kevin Durant saga is over — at least for now. “I think we’ll see some things,” the executive said. “I don’t think L.A. thought it had a chance at Durant, but they had to see how that played out. You had to be on the whole ‘Let’s keep hope alive for the possibility of being involved in this,’ thing. Teams have been like, ‘Something may fall to us if a deal for KD gets expanded to include other teams.’ But now I think teams return to sanity and say, ‘OK, what do we need to do?’
  • The Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, recently made a couple of returning player rights trades, the team announced in a press release. The Skyforce acquired the G League rights to Jared Harper from the Birmingham Squad (Pelicans’ affiliate) for Javonte Smart. They also acquired Cheick Diallo from the Motor City Cruise (Pistons’ affiliate) for Micah Potter, with Potter subsequently signing an Exhibit 10 deal with Detroit. Both deals involved G League draft picks swapping hands. All four players have NBA experience, and Harper, Smart and Diallo remain NBA free agents, these moves only impact their G League rights.
  • The Motor City Cruise made a separate trade (Twitter link) with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s affiliate. The Cruise sent Cassius Stanley‘s returning player rights to the Vipers in exchange for the Vipers’ 2022 first-round pick. Like previously mentioned with the players above, Stanley remains an NBA free agent.

Heat Sign Garrett, Days To Two-Way Deals; Waive Smart, Mulder

The Heat have signed Marcus Garrett and Darius Days to two-way contracts, the team announced in a press release. Miami had to waive Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder to create space for Garrett and Days, who signed ahead of the club’s final summer league game.

Garrett, a defensive-minded guard, has impressed the Heat with his effort and athleticism. Miami signed him to a two-way contract after last year’s summer league, then waived the 23-year-old in January.

Days, 22, went undrafted this year after spending four seasons at LSU. He averaged 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in his senior year. At 6’7″ and 245 pounds, he possesses the size to play and defend multiple positions for Miami.

Days had been playing summer league with the Spurs, and a report last month indicated that he had reached an agreement to sign San Antonio. Either their deal was only for summer league, or Days decided to take a two-way offer from Miami over an Exhibit 10 contract from the Spurs.

Smart struggled during the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League, but he is only 23 years old. Mulder, 28, is a proven three-point specialist who shot 40% from deep with the Warriors in 2020/21.

The Heat remain in the hunt for Nets superstar Kevin Durant and Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, both of whom would require Miami to part with several young assets. The team appears eager to examine two young players as the possibility of a blockbuster deal looms.