Jaylen Nowell

Pistons Sign Jaylen Nowell To Second Hardship Deal

APRIL 13: Nowell’s signing is official, the Pistons announced in a press release.

APRIL 12: The Pistons will re-sign Jaylen Nowell to a second hardship contract following the expiration of his first 10-day deal, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Nowell’s initial contract will expire after Friday’s game, so Detroit figures to re-sign Nowell on either Saturday or Sunday in advance of Sunday’s regular season finale. Since it will be completed using a hardship exception, the deal will technically be considered a 10-day contact, but it will expire immediately after Sunday’s game.

A 24-year-old shooting guard who spent his first four NBA seasons with the Timberwolves from 2019-23, Nowell was on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Grizzlies earlier in the season, but has spent most of the year out of the NBA. He has performed well for the Pistons since signing with the team last week, however, averaging 8.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game and making 57.9% of his field goal attempts across three appearances off the bench.

The Pistons qualified for a hardship exception because they have four players (Isaiah Stewart, Ausar Thompson, Quentin Grimes, and Stanley Umude) who are out for the season. That allows them to carry an extra player beyond the 15 on their standard roster, but they won’t have any form of Bird rights on Nowell this offseason as long as he’s signed to a hardship contract and not a standard deal.

Pistons Notes: Flynn, Nowell, Weaver, Williams, Fontecchio, Wiseman, Grimes

Pistons guard Malachi Flynn became the unlikeliest player to score 50 points in a game this season, coming off the bench to reach that mark in Wednesday’s loss at Atlanta, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. It was an out of character scoring explosion for Flynn, who came into the night averaging 5.8 PPG in 17 games with Detroit since being acquired from New York at the trade deadline.

“It’s tougher to put (in perspective) because you want to win. But it definitely feels good,” Flynn said. “I think in a couple days I’ll be able to put it into perspective.” Flynn added that it’s been a long time since he’s come close to 50 points, telling reporters, “I almost did in high school. I had 49 and my coach took me out. I still have a grudge.”

Flynn played 34 minutes and shot 18-of-25 from the field, 5-of-9 from three-point range and 9-of-12 from the foul line. His outburst set a franchise record for the most points by a reserve and fell one short of the NBA record held by Jamal Crawford. Flynn will be a free agent this summer, and the Pistons can make him restricted with a $5.8MM qualifying offer.

There’s more on the Pistons:

  • Jaylen Nowell‘s 10-day contract makes him the 31st player on the roster this season, which ties an NBA record set by this year’s Grizzlies, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. With the team experiencing numerous injuries, Nowell may get a shot at consistent playing time. “I expect him to come in and try to acclimate,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s a guy that’s scored in segments of his career. I watched him in Minnesota a little bit, and had to scout against him. We know he can score the ball. He’s been around. I don’t want to put it out there what we want from him, we just feel like guys like that, who are hungry and looking for opportunities, allow for us to have more bodies with all the guys we’ve lost this year. But it’s also a chance for a guy to come in and help us win games.”
  • The Pistons’ nightmarish season raises questions about general manager Troy Weaver’s future with the franchise, Edwards states in a mailbag column. While he admits any outcome is possible, Edwards’ guess is that Weaver will remain with the team, but a president of basketball operations will be hired to make final decisions on personnel. Edwards also isn’t convinced that Williams will return, even though he signed a record-setting six-year, $78.5MM contract last summer.
  • Of the Pistons’ potential restricted free agents, Simone Fontecchio is likely to be back next season, but James Wiseman may not return and Flynn likely won’t, Edwards adds. Fontecchio has been impressive since being acquired from Utah at the deadline, and Edwards sees him as part of the team’s future unless he’s needed for a major trade. Edwards notes that the front office gave Wiseman numerous opportunities, but he hasn’t produced the way they’d hoped. He’s headed for free agency, and it will take a $7.7MM qualifying offer to make him restricted.
  • Edwards also isn’t certain about Quentin Grimes‘ future with the Pistons. Grimes, who is under contract for $4.3MM next season, had a knee injury when he was acquired from the Knicks and only appeared in six games with Detroit. He should return, Edwards writes, but that’s not a lock, especially if someone besides Weaver is calling the shots.

Pistons Sign Jaylen Nowell To 10-Day Contract

APRIL 3: The Pistons have officially announced their 10-day deal with Nowell, confirming the move in a press release (Twitter link). The contract will run through next Friday, April 12, paying Nowell a salary of $124,425.

APRIL 2: The Pistons intend to sign free agent swingman Jaylen Nowell to a 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

After showing promise as a scorer across four seasons with the Timberwolves, Nowell was unable to find a full-season spot on an NBA roster last fall. He signed a non-guaranteed deal with Sacramento, but was waived by the team before the regular season tipped off and ended up spending much of the season with the Stockton Kings in the G League.

In 28 regular season NBAGL games for Stockton, Nowell averaged 17.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.6 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per contest, posting a shooting line of .441/.385/.868. He also had a brief stint in Memphis earlier in the season, appearing in nine games for the Grizzlies over the course of two 10-day contracts.

Both of Nowell’s 10-day deals in Memphis were completed via hardship exceptions and it appears that will be the case in Detroit as well. A hardship exception, which allows a team to carry one or more extra players beyond its standard 15, is granted when the team has at least four players who have missed three consecutive games and are expected to remain sidelined for two more weeks.

Quentin Grimes, Isaiah Stewart, Ausar Thompson, and Stanley Umude all meet that criteria for the Pistons, so the club will be able to add Nowell to their roster as a 16th man.

Since all four of those players have been ruled out for the season, Detroit will continue to qualify for a hardship exception beyond the expiration of Nowell’s 10-day contract, so he could be re-signed to a second deal — or the team could sign another player on a hardship contract to close out the season.

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Morant, Nowell, Green, Bassey

Dillon Brooks doesn’t know what kind of reception to expect when he returns to Memphis on Friday, but he’s been looking forward to it ever since he signed with the Rockets this summer, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Brooks’ new team has beaten the Grizzlies twice already, including on Wednesday night, but both games were played in Houston. He knows the atmosphere will be different in front of the fans at FedEx Forum.

“I can’t wait to get back out there playing,” Brooks said. “This has been circled out there on my schedule.”

For six seasons, Brooks was a fiery part of a brash Grizzlies team, clashing with opponents and challenging teammates to raise their intensity level. However, after saying last month that he felt like a “scapegoat” for the team’s playoff loss to the Lakers, he’s not sure how Memphis fans will receive him.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I miss the Forum. I just can’t wait to get out there, shoot on the court and see what it’s all about. We’ll see what happens.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Ja Morant, who may be nearing the end of his suspension, will speak to the media Friday morning, Cole tweets. If commissioner Adam Silver agrees to reinstate Morant after 25 games, he will be eligible to return Tuesday at New Orleans.
  • With the Grizzlies facing a roster crunch ahead of Morant’s return, they’re not likely to keep Jaylen Nowell, whose second 10-day contract expired Wednesday. Nowell called his time with the organization “a blessing,” according to Cole (Twitter link). “They accepted me, and I’m real thankful for that,” he said. “I definitely think that these guys are going to pick it up and be one of the best teams in the West, for sure.”
  • Rockets coach Ime Udoka is proving that he’s willing to bench anyone who isn’t performing up to expectations, notes Kelly Iko of the Athletic. Jalen Green sat out the entire fourth quarter for the second straight game on Wednesday amid a poor shooting night and questionable decision making. “Play harder like the group that was in,” Udoka responded when asked about his advice for Green. “It starts with effort. Continuing the play through it. Learn from those things, but it’s not always a result of what they don’t do. It’s more so the other lineup and what they’re doing.”
  • Spurs teammates say Charles Bassey is in good spirits despite suffering a season-ending ACL tear, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “He is resilient,” Collins said. “He has come back from stuff before. He is a very positive guy. But we are going to miss him.”

Roster Decisions Looming For Grizzlies

For much of the season, the Grizzlies have been permitted to carry multiple players beyond the 15 that NBA teams are typically allowed to have on their standard rosters.

Memphis first qualified for an extra roster spot five games into Ja Morant‘s suspension, when the team was able to move him to the suspended list for the remaining 20 games of his ban, opening up a roster spot that the Grizzlies used to sign Bismack Biyombo.

[RELATED: 2023/24 NBA Roster Counts]

A series of injuries resulted in two more additional roster spots for the Grizzlies — they qualified for a pair of hardship exceptions as a result of having players sidelined due to medium- or long-term ailments.

One of those hardship exceptions expired earlier in the month, forcing Memphis to part ways with guard Shaquille Harrison, but the team is still carrying Jaylen Nowell on a hardship deal in addition to Biyombo. It’s just a matter of time though until the Grizzlies will be required to get back down to 15 players.

Let’s take a closer look at the key roster decisions facing the club…

Nowell and the hardship exception:

Nowell’s second 10-day contract with the Grizzlies runs through Wednesday, meaning he’ll be eligible to play in one more game for the team. Once it expires, Memphis could ask the NBA for another 10-day hardship exception, but it’s unclear whether such a request would be granted.

To receive a hardship exception, a team must have at least four injured players who have missed at least three consecutive games and who are expected to remain sidelined for at least two more weeks.

The Grizzlies are currently missing Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke, Marcus Smart, and Luke Kennard. Adams’ and Clarke’s injuries are long-term, with Adams expected to miss the entire season and Clarke unlikely to return until well into 2024. But Smart’s and Kennard’s returns appear much closer.

When Smart first went down with a left foot sprain, Memphis announced that he was expected to miss three-to-five weeks — that was three-and-a-half weeks ago. As for Kennard, the Grizzlies announced nine days ago that he could be back in about two or three weeks. Those recovery timelines may have changed, but if the Grizzlies are expecting either Smart or Kennard back within the next week or two, they won’t qualify for a hardship exception.

Assuming that’s the case, Memphis will have to either let Nowell walk when his 10-day contract expires tomorrow night or waive someone else in order to re-sign him.

Nowell has been playing fairly regular minutes since joining the club, but as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian tweets, he logged just eight minutes on Monday and didn’t play in the second half, which suggests that the Grizzlies are unlikely to move off one of their players on guaranteed contracts in order to keep him around.

Biyombo, Morant, and the suspended list:

All indications are that Morant remains on track to be activated next Tuesday ahead of the Grizzlies’ game in New Orleans, their 26th of the season. When that happens, someone will have to be waived to make room for the All-Star guard.

Biyombo, whose one-year, $5MM contract is only partially guaranteed for $1MM, is the most obvious candidate from a financial perspective, since everyone else on the roster has a fully guaranteed 2023/24 salary. But the big man has helped shore up a thin frontcourt following Adams’ season-ending surgery, and Shams Charania reported this week that Memphis would like to hang onto him.

If the Grizzlies do keep Biyombo, Kenneth Lofton Jr. seems likeliest to be waived, according to Herrington (Twitter link). The second-year forward was promoted from a two-way deal to a standard contract near the end of last season, but he hasn’t established himself as a consistent contributor this fall, averaging just 2.6 points per game on 37.8% shooting in 15 appearances (6.6 MPG). And while Lofton has two years left on his contract after this season, both are non-guaranteed.

Waiving a player on a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way the Grizzlies would be able to retain Biyombo (and/or Nowell). A trade could do the trick too, and Charania reported that Memphis has been engaged in talks with teams around the NBA. The trade market usually isn’t too active at this time of the year, but moving a minimum-salary player like Lofton wouldn’t be too complicated, and more options will open up on Friday, when several dozen players across the league become trade-eligible.

Jaylen Nowell Signs Second 10-Day Deal With Grizzlies

DECEMBER 4: Nowell’s second 10-day contract is official, the Grizzlies announced today in a press release.

DECEMBER 3: Guard Jaylen Nowell is signing another 10-day deal with the ailing Grizzlies, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Memphis was granted another hardship exception to re-sign Nowell on this short-term contract, Woj notes.

Across his five contests with the club, the 6’4″ shooting guard has been averaging 6.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 1.4 APG. He’s logging 18.8 MPG off the bench for an injury-plagued Memphis team.

Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal tweets that combo guard Shaquille Harrison, another 10-day hardship signing, is most likely done in Memphis, at least for now.

Seven Grizzlies are currently sidelined with long-term ailments. Nowell has helped make up for the absences of wings Luke Kennard, Ziaire Williams and Marcus Smart. Point guards Ja Morant and Derrick Rose are also on the shelf. Morant is healthy, but remains suspended for the next six contests.

At a lowly 5-14, Memphis is suffering from all these absences. The team is currently the No. 14 seed in a deep Western Conference.

Grizzlies Sign Harrison, Nowell To 10-Day Contracts

NOVEMBER 24: The 10-day deals for Nowell and Harrison are official, the Grizzlies announced today in a press release (Twitter link). They’ll run through December 3, covering Memphis’ next five games.

NOVEMBER 23: The Grizzlies are signing guards Shaquille Harrison and Jaylen Nowell to 10-day hardship contracts, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski explains, the NBA recently granted Memphis two extra roster spots via the hardship provision because the club has five players who have missed at least the past three games with injuries and will be sidelined for at least the next two weeks. Those five players are Steven Adams (knee surgery; out for the season), Brandon Clarke (torn Achilles tendon), Marcus Smart (sprained left foot), Jake LaRavia (eye surgery) and Luke Kennard (left knee bone bruise).

It’s possible the Grizzlies could qualify for a third 10-day hardship deal, depending on the prognosis for big man Xavier Tillman — he’s considered week-to-week as he recovers from a left knee injury. Memphis is already carrying one extra player on its standard roster while Ja Morant is on the suspended list.

Harrison spent training camp and preseason with the Grizzlies this fall after inking an Exhibit 10 contract. He was waived before the season started. There was speculation that Harrison might receive the initial extra roster spot after Morant missed the first five games and was placed on the suspended list, but that went to center Bismack Biyombo once Adams was ruled out for the season.

There were also rumors that Harrison, who is now in his seventh NBA season, might head to Europe, but apparently those talks fell through. The defensive standout has appeared in 180 total regular season games with Phoenix, Chicago, Utah, Denver, Brooklyn and Portland, holding career averages of 5.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.7 APG and 1.0 SPG on .435/.281/.718 shooting in 15.4 MPG.

Nowell averaged 10.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 2.0 APG in 19.3 MPG across 65 appearances in ’22/23 as a regular part of the Timberwolves’ rotation. However, after becoming an unrestricted free agent, he remained on the open market for nearly three months before eventually settling for an Exhibit 10 contract with Sacramento. The Kings waived him last month before the season started, making him an unrestricted free agent once again.

Still just 24 years old, Nowell was the 43rd pick of the 2019 draft. He spent his first four seasons with Minnesota, averaging 9.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG and 1.9 APG in 184 regular season games (17.0 MPG).

While the 3-11 Grizzlies need help up and down their roster, it makes sense that they would prioritize a pair of guards with NBA experience to help out in the backcourt. Ordinarily, Morant, Smart and Kennard would receive major minutes, but they’re all unavailable at the moment.

Kings Waiving Jaylen Nowell, Two Others

The Kings are waiving guard Jaylen Nowell following their preseason finale, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Nowell averaged 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 19.3 minutes per game across 65 appearances in 2022/23 as a regular part of the Timberwolves’ rotation. However, after becoming an unrestricted free agent, he remained on the open market for nearly three months before eventually settling for an Exhibit 10 contract with Sacramento.

Most players who sign Exhibit 10 deals are waived before the regular season begins and then join their team’s G League affiliate. However, there was a sense that Nowell might have a path to a regular season roster spot, since the Kings only had 14 players on standard guaranteed contracts. With Nowell seemingly no longer in the mix for that spot, Sacramento may not carry a 15th man to start the season.

Nowell appeared in just two preseason games for the Kings, scoring five points on 1-of-6 shooting in 13 total minutes of action.

The Kings are also cutting center Jake Stephens and guard Dane Goodwin after signing them on Thursday, tweets Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 in Sacramento. According to Cunningham, both players will immediately head to Stockton to join the Kings’ G League team.

It’s unclear whether joining the Stockton Kings is also the plan for Nowell, but he’d receive a bonus worth $75K if he reports to the NBAGL club and spends at least 60 days there.

The moves will reduce Sacramento’s roster count to 17 players — 14 on standard deals and three on two-way contracts. While the Kings’ roster would be ready for the regular season, they could still sign-and-waive players for G League purposes or add a 15th man before Monday’s deadline.

Kings Notes: Lyles, Lamb, Nowell, Vezenkov, Ford

Trey Lyles has played for five teams across his eight seasons in the league, but he feels like he’s found a long-term home with the Kings, according to Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Lyles arrived in Sacramento in 2022 at the trade deadline and became a key contributor as the team ended its 16-season playoff drought last year.

The two sides agreed to a two-year, $16MM contract extension this offseason after Lyles made returning to Sacramento his No. 1 priority, according to Patterson.

Last season, I felt at home with the team, city and the fans,” Lyles said. “But I think it really set in once I signed back. This is the first time in my going-on-nine-year career that I’ve been able to stay in a city for longer than two years. It felt good. … So, that was really the moment it was — not a weight off my shoulders, but kind of a breath of fresh air.”

The 27-year-old forward didn’t make a start for the first time in his career, but he had a consistent role, averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.9 minutes off the bench in 74 games.

Trey’s such a good guy,” Kings coach Mike Brown said of Lyles. “He understands what’s right and what’s wrong. He’s going to bring it every day, and he gives us a lot of versatility.”

We have more from the Kings:

  • Both Jeremy Lamb and Jaylen Nowell signed Exhibit 10 training camp contracts with the Kings, Spotrac’s Keith Smith tweets. Sacramento has room to carry one more player on a standard contract for its regular season roster, and Lamb and Nowell are both candidates for that spot, though the Kings don’t necessarily have to carry a full 15-man roster. Those Exhibit 10 agreements provide a way for the Kings to keep one or both of the players in their organization if they don’t make the regular season roster. Both players will be eligible for a bonus worth up to $75K if they are waived before opening night and then spend at least 60 days with Sacramento’s G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings.
  • The Kings are high on forward Sasha Vezenkov‘s outside shooting, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Domantas Sabonis called the former EuroLeague MVP the best shooter on the team, while De’Aaron Fox said he was one of the best shooters on Earth. “Man, he shoots the [heck] out of the ball,” Fox said. “It’s crazy. One of our shooting drills, I think it’s like 150 shots, and I think he missed seven. … We want him to be comfortable and we want him to know he has a green light to shoot the ball.” The 6’9″ forward is embarking on his rookie season in the NBA at 28 years old and is expected to have a role right away.
  • Guard Jordan Ford grew up rooting for the Kings, Anderson details in another story, and he’s now getting the chance to suit up for the team after he signed a two-way contract in September. “It definitely feels special today putting on the uniform for the first time, the actual threads,” Ford said. “It feels great and I think it’s something that is going to be great through the whole season, just getting to know all the fans and getting to know all the great people, so I’m excited.

Kings Sign Jaylen Nowell, Jeremy Lamb

OCTOBER 2: Lamb’s deal is now official as well, according to RealGM.

SEPTEMBER 30: The signing of Nowell is now official, per RealGM’s transaction log. Sacramento’s deal with Lamb hasn’t yet been formally completed.

SEPTEMBER 29: The Kings are expected to add free agent wings Jaylen Nowell and Jeremy Lamb to their roster for training camp, a source tells James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter link).

Nowell, 24, spent his first four NBA seasons with the Timberwolves after being selected with the No. 43 overall pick out of Washington in 2019. He set a new career high with 10.8 points per game in 65 games (19.3 MPG) last season, though his three-point percentage dipped to 28.9% in 2022/23 after he made 34.5% of his outside attempts in his first three seasons.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Thursday that Sacramento recently brought Nowell in for a workout.

Lamb, 31, is a former lottery pick who has appeared in 573 career regular season games since 2012 for four teams, including – most recently – the Kings. However, the veteran swingman wasn’t in the league last season following a down year in 2021/22. He averaged 7.3 PPG on .383/.324/.840 shooting in 56 games (16.7 MPG) for Indiana and Sacramento in ’21/22.

The Kings currently have two open spots on their 21-man preseason roster, so they wouldn’t have to waive anyone to make room for Nowell and Lamb.

Of Sacramento’s 19 current players, 14 have fully guaranteed standard contracts. The Kings’ 15th and final regular season spot appears to be up for grabs after Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta were waived earlier this month. Nowell and Lamb could end up competing for that spot, though the team also isn’t obligated to carry more than 14 players on standard deals to open the season.