Keith Benson

NBADL Announces All-NBA D-League Teams

The NBA Development League has announced its All-NBA D-League teams for the 2016/17 season, headlined by league MVP Vander Blue. While Blue didn’t play in the NBA at all this season, many of the players on the NBADL’s three All-NBA D-League squads received call-ups throughout the year, and some of them finished the season on an NBA roster.

Here are this year’s 15 All-NBA D-League players, many of whom will have a decent chance of finding their way onto an NBA roster next season:

First Team:

Second Team:

Third Team:

Heat Sign Luis Montero, Waive Keith Benson

The Heat continue to cycle through camp invitees, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived center Keith Benson, replacing him on their roster with guard Luis Montero. The Blazers just waived Montero on Saturday, so Miami didn’t waste much time in snatching him up once he cleared waivers.

A 6’7″ swingman from the Dominican Republic, Montero signed with the Blazers last summer. He appeared in 12 games as a rookie last season, averaging 1.2 points and 0.3 rebounds per night in limited playing time. Montero played just one game this preseason for Portland before he was cut, scoring three points against Utah on October 3.

Benson’s deal with the Heat was only partially guaranteed, with the big man getting $75K from the Heat. The details on Montero’s contract aren’t yet known, but he’ll likely receive little to no guaranteed money as well. Both players are candidates to end up with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s D-League affiliate.

Miami continues to carry 20 players on its roster after waiving one and adding another. The team will have to make five cuts before opening night.

Contract Details: Brand, Rockets, Thunder, Pacers

With training camps underway, teams have now officially finalized the contract agreements with various camp invitees that had been reported over the past several weeks, meaning we have plenty of contract details to round up. As usual, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has been busy reporting those details, updating his salary pages for teams around the NBA.

Because we have so many updates to pass along from Pincus, we’ll divide them up by players who received some guaranteed money from their teams, and those who didn’t. All of the links below point to the Basketball Insiders team salary pages, so be sure to click through for additional information.

Here are the latest salary updates from across the league, via Pincus:

Players receiving guaranteed money:

These players aren’t necessarily assured of regular-season roster spots. In fact, many of them likely received guarantees as an incentive to accept a D-League assignment. Still, for some players, larger guarantees should increase their odds of making 15-man rosters.

  • Thomas Walkup (Bulls): One year, minimum salary. $69.5K guaranteed.
  • Keith Benson (Heat): Two years, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Henry Sims (Jazz): One year, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Alex Poythress (Pacers): One year, minimum salary. $35,381 guaranteed.
  • Kevin Seraphin (Pacers): Two years, $3.681MM. First year ($1.8MM) guaranteed.
  • Julyan Stone (Pacers): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Gary Payton II (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. First year ($543,471) guaranteed.
  • Isaiah Taylor (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Kyle Wiltjer (Rockets): Two years, minimum salary. $275K guaranteed.
  • Cat Barber (Sixers): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Elton Brand (Sixers): One year, minimum salary. $1MM guaranteed.
  • Derrick Jones (Suns): Three years, minimum salary. $42.5K guaranteed.
  • Alex Caruso (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $50K guaranteed.
  • Kaleb Tarczewski (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $75K guaranteed.
  • Chris Wright (Thunder): One year, minimum salary. $100K guaranteed.

Players receiving no guaranteed money:

The following players all signed one-year, minimum salary contracts with no guaranteed money. Many of these deals are “summer contracts,” which won’t count against a team’s cap unless the player earns a spot on the 15-man roster.

Heat Sign Keith Benson

4:01pm: Benson’s deal is partially guaranteed, international journalist David Pick tweets.

3:43pm: The Heat have officially signed unrestricted free agent Keith Benson, the team announced. The length and terms of the deal were not relayed, but it is likely a minimum-salary arrangement that may include a small partial guarantee. The addition of Benson gives Miami 20 players on its preseason roster, including Chris Bosh, who reportedly failed his most recent physical exam and has not been cleared by the team to participate in training camp. The Heat will need to cut down the roster to 15 players by the start of the regular season, per league rules.

The center spent last season playing for the Heat’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, making 49 appearances and averaging 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and shooting 57.3% from the field in 23.8 minutes per outing. Benson made the D-League All-Star team and was a big part of the Skyforce’s D-League title run in 2015/16. He averaged 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.14 blocks and 17.8 minutes while shooting 59.2% during the postseason.

The 28-year-old has appeared in a total of three career NBA regular season games, all with Golden State, totaling three rebounds in nine minutes of action and has spent time playing professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy and the Philippines. Benson was drafted No. 48 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Hawks.

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.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Andersen, D-League

Center Hassan Whiteside, poised to hit free agency in the summer, is the biggest weapon for the Heat when opponents utilize smaller lineups against them, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald. Whiteside had 25 points and 15 rebounds when Miami staged a second-half rally  on Sunday against the Rockets, who tried to play small ball against them, Skolnick continues. “That’s the thing with Hassan, he’s a conventional center but he’s a mobile center,” point guard Mario Chalmers told the team’s beat reporters. “He’s able to move, get blocks, get out on the perimeter if he wants to. So [small-ball] plays into our hands a little bit.” Veteran shooting guard Dwyane Wade concurs that the Heat can handle the small-ball strategies by unleashing Whiteside, Skolnick adds. “I’m sure there will be moments where they’re gonna get us on it, and it’s gonna affect us, but we can’t take him off the floor,” Wade said to Skolnick. “He means so much to our defense.”

In other news regarding the Heat:

  • Backup center and trade candidate Chris Andersen did not play in the first three games but Spoelstra anticipates that he’ll soon get opportunities, Winderman adds in the same piece. “We’re not going to, on every night, suit up every center. That’s not an indictment on anybody,” Spoelstra said. “That’s not a storyline at all, it really isn’t. He practiced [Monday] and he’ll be ready, and when his number’s called, he’ll produce, as we have full confidence in that.”
  • All but one of the six players the Heat released during the preseason have joined their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Greg Whittington, Keith Benson, Briante Weber, Corey Hawkins and Tre Kelley are all on the Skyforce’s training camp roster. The only released player not to join the Skyforce is veteran point guard John Lucas III.  Miami claimed the D-League rights to Whittington, Benson, Weber and Hawkins through the affiliate player rule, while the Heat already had the D-League rights to Kelley.

Heat Cut Lucas, Benson, Kelley, Weber, Whittington

The Heat have waived the non-guaranteed deals of John Lucas III, Keith Benson, Tre Kelley, Briante Weber and Greg Whittington, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves reduce Miami’s roster to 15 players, the regular season maximum. James Ennis is the only remaining Heat player without any guaranteed salary, so today’s moves put him in strong position to make the opening night roster. If the team indeed keeps him through Monday, his salary would become fully guaranteed. Tyler Johnson is also with the Heat on a partially guaranteed deal. The rest of Miami’s 13 players have full guarantees.

Lucas was by far the most experienced of the Heat’s camp invitees, as the 32-year-old point guard was attempting to make it into his ninth NBA season. He didn’t impress in preseason action, going scoreless in about 16 minutes of action in his lone appearance, dishing out one assist and committing one turnover.

Benson, 27, joined Miami on his first NBA contract in three years. The center was efficient during the preseason, averaging 5.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 11.8 minutes across five appearances.

The 30-year-old Kelley was on his second contract with the Heat after having briefly joined the club before the 2008/09 season. The combo guard averaged 3.5 points, 4.0 assists and 1.5 turnovers in 13.8 minutes per game in a pair of preseason contests.

Weber, 22, signed with the team just this week after his inability to pass a physical scuttled an earlier deal between the sides. The undrafted combo guard who tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee while playing for VCU in January didn’t see any preseason playing time.

Whittington went undrafted this June and joined the Heat for summer league the next month. The 22-year-old power forward averaged 2.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game across four preseason appearances.

Heat Sign Keith Benson For Camp

AUGUST 25TH, 3:58pm: The deal is official, the team announced.

AUGUST 19TH, 2:44pm: Benson is getting a one-year deal for the minimum salary without any guaranteed money, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It has limited injury protection, Pincus adds, so it appears it’s an Exhibit 9 contract.

AUGUST 14TH, 6:33pm: Unrestricted free agent center Keith Benson has agreed to a deal with the Heat, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). The length and terms of the agreement are not yet known, but Charania describes it as a training camp deal, which means that it is likely for the minimum salary and may contain a small partial guarantee, though that is merely my speculation.

The 6’11”, 27-year-old, was a second round pick of the Hawks back in the 2011 NBA Draft. His only NBA regular season action came during the 2011/12 campaign when he went scoreless in three appearances for the Warriors. Benson played his college ball at the University of Oakland, notching career averages of 14.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 0.7 assists, and owning a slash line of .558/.379/.679. The big man spent last season playing overseas for both Neptūnas of Lithuania and the Estonian club BC Kalev/Cramo.

The addition of Benson will give the Heat a roster count of 16 players, 12 of whom possess fully guaranteed contracts.

Eastern Notes: Smith, Thompson, Benson

With few options remaining, J.R. Smith will probably re-sign with the Cavaliers for next season, writes Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. Smith realizes he made a mistake by declining a $6.4MM option, Pluto asserts, but he’s unlikely to get the offer he wants at this stage of free agency. Only the Sixers and Blazers have enough cap room remaining to give Smith a raise, and neither is likely to come calling. Smith’s best option, according to Pluto, is to take the Cavs’ offer and try to get a better deal when the salary cap soars next summer.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference …

  • As Tristan Thompson and the Cavs continue to wait each other out, it becomes increasingly likely that the power forward will remain on Cleveland’s roster next season, Pluto notes in the same story. The restricted free agent hasn’t received an offer from another team, and no one has contacted the Cavs about a sign-and-trade deal. If Thompson accepts the team’s qualifying offer, he can’t be traded without his permission. Pluto estimates the sides are at least $10MM apart.
  • The Heat are reportedly set to sign unrestricted free agent center Keith Benson and the move has more to do with stocking the team’s D-League than bolstering the rotation at power forward and center, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports. Benson is expected to be signed to a non-guaranteed contract for training camp, Winderman adds.
  • Carmelo Anthony is exhibiting a Phil Jackson-like calm when it comes to accepting all the changes in New York, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Anthony has watched Jackson replace all of his teammates and his coach over the past 18 months. Still, the Knicks‘ star accepts the turnover, confident that something better is being built. “The guys that we brought in are great pieces to have on the team,” Anthony said. “They all know their roles. They know what they have to do,” Anthony continued. “It’s just a matter of us coming together.” Anthony also denied rumors that he opposed the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis.

Will Joseph contributed to this post.

D-League Notes: Hayward, Alabi, Call-Ups

The latest on various moves and happenings from around the D-League on Sunday afternoon: