Josh Smith (Georgetown)

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Southwest Notes: Conley, Robinson, Aldridge

The Grizzlies have every intention of re-signing point guard Mike Conley when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, and based on Conley’s enthusiastic recruitment for center Marc Gasol to re-sign with the team this past offseason, the veteran playmaker also desires his time in Memphis to continue beyond this campaign, Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports writes. Gasol said he plans to leave Conley alone this season and won’t pester him to stay in Memphis, Lee adds.

Yeah, but I cannot force him to do anything that he doesn’t feel that is right. He has to do what is right for him, that he believes in it,” Gasol told Lee. “If you feel forced to do something you don’t believe in, then you’re going to regret it. And whenever he makes his decision, whatever his decision is, he knows our relationship goes way beyond basketball and we’ll always be friends, past this five, 10 years left in our careers. As long as we live, we’re going to be friends. It’s not going to affect our friendship.

Here’s more from out of the Southwest Division:

  • Nate Robinson‘s stint with the Pelicans this season lasted less than two weeks, but his release wasn’t because of anything the diminutive guard failed to do, John Reid of The Times Picayune relays (Twitter links). Robinson was replaced on New Orleans’ roster by Toney Douglas, who was thought to be a better fit for the team’s roster, according to coach Alvin Gentry, Reid notes. ”We just thought it was a better fit [with Douglas], nothing against Nate,” Gentry said. “Nate came in and did everything we asked him to do.
  • Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is still finding his footing in San Antonio with his new team, and the player admitts that he’s “not even close” to the player San Antonio signed this offseason, Michael C. Wright of writes. “It’s not the same. I’m not the same person here that I was in Portland,” Aldridge said. “I don’t feel like they need me to be that person all the time. It’s learning how to be myself in the offense. I haven’t figured that out yet. I feel like the whole [team philosophy of] ‘good to great passes’ [is] in my head all the time. Hopefully as the season goes on I’ll figure it out. But right now, I’m just trying to fit in.
  • Rockets camp cuts Denzel Livingston, Will Cummings, Joshua Smith, and Chris Walker will join the Rio Grande Valley Vipers,  as D-League affiliate players this season, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays (on Twitter).

Rockets Waive Joshua Smith, Arsalan Kazemi

4:34pm: Smith and Kazemi have been released, the Rockets announced.

3:05pm: The Rockets are waiving Joshua Smith and Arsalan Kazemi, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter). The team has yet to make an official announcement, though Feigen indicates the moves have already taken place. Neither player’s deal included any guaranteed money. The team’s roster count drops to 14 players, one below the regular season maximum.

Smith, 23, finished his NCAA career at Georgetown this spring after spending his first two seasons at UCLA, and he appeared in 33 games as a senior, averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 20.5 minutes per night. His career collegiate numbers overall were 10.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 0.7 assists, and his career slash line was .591/.000/.613. Smith played summer league ball for the Heat this offseason, appearing in nine contests in which he averaged 5.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG.

Houston had claimed Kazemi off waivers from the Hawks earlier this month. He put up 15.0 points in 38.9 minutes per game for ChongQing AoLong of China last season.

Southwest Rumors: Duncan, Mavs, Grizzlies

Tim Duncan is trying to sort out where he fits into the Spurs’ pecking order with the emergence of small forward Kawhi Leonard and the addition of power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, according to Michael C. Wright of With high-scoring Aldridge at power forward, Duncan is likely to spend more time in the high post and use his passing skills, Wright continues. “My role has changed a little bit this year,” Duncan told Wright. “I’m trying to figure that part of it out. But it’s fun to be out there. It’s fun to be with the guys that I’ve been with for so many years and some new guys that I’m learning.” Even before Aldridge joined the Spurs, Duncan’s role in the offense was reduced, Wright notes. His usage rate of 22.2% last season was the lowest of his career but his true shooting percentage of .560 tied his best since 2006/07, Wright adds.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • International veteran Salah Mejri has fought his way into the mix for a rotation spot with the Mavericks, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. The 7’2” Mejri gives the Mavs length at center and has displayed shot-blocking and rebounding skills during the preseason, Sefko continues. However, he needs to work on his strength, Sefko adds. Mejri received a guaranteed rookie minimum of $525,093 from Dallas.
  • Power forward Jarnell Stokes seems to have fallen out of favor with the Grizzlies and that could help journeyman center Ryan Hollins gain a roster spot, Chris Herrington of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Stokes only played six minutes in the team’s preseason game on Sunday, while coach Dave Joerger has made a point of praising Hollins, Herrington continues. With Marc Gasol as the only other true center on the roster, Hollins might fill a bigger need, Herrington adds. Stokes has a guaranteed contract worth $845,059 this season, while Hollins’ $947,276 deal is not guaranteed.
  • Rookie center Joshua Smith is getting extensive court time as he battles for the Rockets‘ final roster spot, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Injuries to big men Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Clint Capela have allowed Smith, who has a non-guaranteed deal worth $525,093, to make an impression on the coaching staff. “You look at a guy in my position – just trying to make the team – any chance you get to start, you have to take advantage,” Smith told Feigen. “I’m humbled they’re giving me a lot of opportunities. I just have to keep trying to make the best out of them.”

Western Notes: Smith, Rondo, Mavs

In order to make the team, Rockets rookie center Joshua Smith, who is 350 pounds, has to cut down on his tendency to commit fouls, notes Calvin Watkins of (ESPN Now link). Smith has committed 23 fouls in five games this preseason, spanning 90 minutes played, as Watkins points out. “It’s been OK, I can get a lot better, the foul trouble is one for me I got to correct,” Smith said. “It’s never good when your mom is telling you to stop hacking. I got to fix that.”

The Rockets have 14 players with fully guaranteed contracts for the regular season. Smith is on a non-guaranteed deal.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Rajon Rondo does not believe he has to defend his reputation as a bad apple in locker rooms and contends that the perception of his character is the creation of the media, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. Jones caught up with Rondo after reports that the Kings point guard is already butting heads with coach George Karl were taken seriously even though, as Jones points out, Rondo was only kidding. “When things are positive the media doesn’t make a big deal about it,” Rondo said. “When we go out here and do things for the community, we do things for charity events, it’s not a big deal. But as soon as you make a mistake or get a technical foul it’s running across the ESPN ticker. That’s the way the world is. You’ve just got to make a difference one day at a time and hopefully the media, well you have to do your job, but the world thrives on bad news.”
  • Mavs rookie small forward Maurice Ndour has suffered a stress reaction in left leg and is out indefinitely, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports (on Twitter). Ndour has a fully guaranteed salary worth $525,094 this season.

Rockets Sign Joshua Smith

MONDAY, 6:16pm: The Rockets have formally announced the signing on Twitter.

FRIDAY, 7:14pm: The signing is official, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The deal is a one-year, minimum salary arrangement that includes no guaranteed money, Pincus adds.

THURSDAY, 4:45pm: The Rockets and unrestricted free agent center Joshua Smith have reached an agreement on a contract, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter). The length and terms of the agreement are not yet known, though it is most likely a minimum salary training camp deal. The Heat also reportedly expressed interest in the big man.

Smith, 23, finished his NCAA career at Georgetown this spring after spending his first two seasons at UCLA, and he appeared in 33 games as a senior, averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 20.5 minutes per night. His career collegiate numbers overall were 10.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 0.7 assists, and his career slash line was .591/.000/.613. Smith played summer league ball for the Heat this offseason, appearing in nine contests, where he averaged 5.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG.

The addition of Smith will give the Rockets a roster count of 19 players, including 14 with fully guaranteed pacts. However, Houston is a bit thin at the pivot as far as depth goes, which could give Smith a chance to make the regular season roster with a strong preseason showing.

Heat Interested In Joshua Smith

FRIDAY, 1:29pm: Miami is expected to have Smith in for a “workout/tryout” next week, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Smith said recently that he lost 21 pounds in a month, and the Heat have been encouraging him to shed weight, Winderman adds (Twitter link).

THURSDAY, 10:34pm: The Heat have had discussions with undrafted free agent center Joshua Smith regarding a potential training camp invitation, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Miami also reportedly agreed to a deal with combo guard Briante Weber earlier this evening, and currently possess one remaining open roster slot.

Smith, 23, finished his NCAA career at Georgetown after spending his first two seasons at UCLA, and he appeared in 33 games as a Senior, averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 20.5 minutes per night. His career collegiate numbers overall were 10.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 0.7 assists, and his career slash line was .591/.000/.613.

Miami may have designs on adding Smith for training camp for depth, and then plans to send him to its D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, though that is merely my speculation. The Heat’s current depth chart at the pivot has Hassan Whiteside firmly entrenched as the starter, with Amar’e Stoudemire and Chris Andersen in reserve. There have been reports that the team is shopping Andersen in an effort to reduce its luxury tax hit, but it has reportedly been finding a soft market for the Birdman’s services. Also in the mix at center for the Heat is training camp signee Keith Benson, though he also is more likely to end up in Sioux Falls than Miami when the regular season tips off.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Smith, Magic, Anderson

The second part of summer league for No. 10 overall pick Justise Winslow was full of more challenges than he might have expected, but the performance of Josh Richardson, whom the Heat drafted with their other pick, at No. 40, was more impressive than it figured to be, as Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel examines. Winderman, in a broad look at what Miami accomplished during summer league, writes that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Heat invited undrafted center Josh Smith to camp. Smith, from Georgetown, is not to be confused with the more well-known Clippers signee of the same name. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Winslow, Knicks

The Sixers own the No. 3 selection in Thursday’s draft and Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are expected to be off the board by the time Philly picks. Tom Moore of Calkins Media speculates what the team will do should either big man fall to them. If the draft goes as expected, the Sixers will most likely choose between D’Angelo Russell, Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay, who I opined should be the selection in the franchise’s Offseason Outlook. Moore notes that the team could easily trade down in the draft or make some other unexpected move, citing GM Sam Hinkie‘s unconventional approach in the past.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division

  • The Sixers have worked out Justise Winslow, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The forward should be an impact defender for a team right away, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors explains in his Prospect Profile of the forward.
  • Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines the journey that Winslow has taken through high school and college to become a surefire lottery selection. Winslow is reportedly the “leader in the clubhouse” to be taken by the Knicks with their No. 4 overall pick. Scarito has Winslow going to New York in his latest Mock Draft.
  • The Knicks worked out Frank Kaminsky and Joshua Smith in addition to working out Trey Lyles and Kevon Looney yesterday, according to Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link).

Eastern Notes: Russell, Porzingis, Raptors

Ohio State playmaker D’Angelo Russell had an under-the-radar workout with the Knicks back on June 11th, shortly before he pulled out of a scheduled workout with the Sixers due to an undisclosed illness, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. There are rumblings that Philadelphia has become enamored with forward Kristaps Porzingis, and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has Philly taking the Latvian with the No. 3 overall pick in his latest mock draft. However, a league source insists the Sixers taking Porzingis over Russell is a reach and they are after the best available player regardless of position, Berman notes. “If you’re basing taking him [Porzingis] because of last week’s workout, you should be fired,’’ the league source told Berman.

Here’s the latest from the East:

  • Porzingis met with representatives from the Magic today in Orlando, but did not work out for the team, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops relays (Twitter link).
  • Texas big man Myles Turner has an individual workout scheduled Friday morning with the Hornets, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer relays (on Twitter). The majority of mock drafts predict that Charlotte will select a wing who can score from deep, and though Turner does have the ability to stretch defenses, selecting him could prove redundant in the wake of the team’s acquisition of Spencer Hawes from the Clippers.
  • The Raptors held pre-draft workouts today for Terry Rozier (Louisville), R.J. Hunter (Georgia State), J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina), Phil Greene (St. John’s), Tekele Cotton (Wichita State), and Jarekious Bradley (Southeast Missouri State), the team announced.
  • Michael Qualls (Arizona), Rashad Vaughn (UNLV), Richaun Holmes (Bowling Green), and Josh Smith (Georgetown) all pulled out of their scheduled workouts with the Nets today, The Brooklyn Game relays (Twitter link). The reason for Qualls’ withdrawal is obvious, with the player having suffered a torn ACL, but it is unclear why the other players declined to attend the showcase.