Lamar Stevens

Grizzlies Sign Timmy Allen To 10-Day Contract

The Grizzlies have signed G League forward Timmy Allen, the team announced (via Twitter). The signing was billed as a 10-day contract, but with the regular season ending next Sunday, Allen will only get nine days, including tonight.

After going undrafted out of Texas, Allen signed with Memphis in October so the team could obtain his G League rights, and he was only on the roster for two days before being waived. He joined the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, where he appeared in 46 games during the Showcase Cup and regular season, averaging 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.o steals in 26.4 minutes per night.

Allen joins the Grizzlies via the hardship exception, which they also used to add Zavier Simpson and re-sign Maozinha Pereira to 10-day deals last week. Both of those deals will expire Monday. Memphis has a full roster, but the team has been hit hard by injuries throughout the season.

As Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal notes (via Twitter), another roster addition was necessary so the Grizzlies would have the league minimum of eight active players for tonight’s game with Philadelphia. Jake LaRavia and Lamar Stevens are both out of the lineup after playing last night, while Brandon Clarke is returning to action.

Grizzlies Notes: Deadline Moves, Bane, Smart, Clarke, Jackson

Victor Oladipo and Chimezie Metu have already been waived, but the two other players acquired by the Grizzlies in their recent series of tradesLamar Stevens and Yuta Watanabe – are expected to get an opportunity to play over the next couple months, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Stevens is on an expiring deal, while Watanabe holds a minimum-salary player option for 2024/25.

The Grizzlies also hope to get a longer look down the stretch at Ziaire Williams and Jake LaRavia, two former first-round picks who are currently sidelined due to injuries. As Cole writes, head of basketball operations Zach Kleiman showed by trading David Roddy on Thursday that he’s willing to move on from recent first-rounders who haven’t established themselves as consistent, productive rotation contributors, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up on players like Williams or LaRavia.

“We’re in a spot where we have a lot of young players,” Kleiman said. “Nothing has been ruled out. Let me say that. I think that everyone at the very least has shown that in stretches, there’s a lot to be encouraged by. What we’re focused on right now is giving those guys opportunity. Wouldn’t surprise me if some guys emerge and maybe surprise people.”

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Having traded away Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman, the Grizzlies’ plans at center going forward are unclear. Their 2024 first-round pick, which projects to be a top-10 selection, may factor into that equation, Cole notes, since it could serve as a valuable trade asset or an opportunity to add a young blue-chipper to the roster. “Wherever that pick might be, we want to be in a position where we’re able to kind of navigate and steer that in different directions,” Kleiman said.
  • The Grizzlies project to be a luxury tax team next season based on their current commitments. Kleiman told reporters, including Cole, that’s not something the club is actively working to avoid. “There’s not a budget that we have to operate from,” Kleiman said. “There’s not a place that we need to be relative to any marker or luxury tax. . . . Those are all things we’ll have to weigh from a team-building standpoint.”
  • There’s still no timeline for the returns of Desmond Bane (left ankle), Marcus Smart (right ring finger), or Brandon Clarke (left Achilles), according to Kleiman. He indicate that Bane and Smart are expected to be out at least through the All-Star break and expressed optimism Clarke can return this season. “Brandon’s doing really well in his recovery,” Kleiman said, per Cole. “We’ll make a determination when we get a little bit closer. . . . Regardless of record, a little cameo at the end of the season just to build momentum going into next season, I think that’s something that’s potentially still on the table.”
  • As Jonah Dylan of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details, the Grizzlies players who remained on the roster through Thursday’s trade deadline were sorry to see Tillman and Roddy go. “I’m obviously upset and gutted and I feel bad,” said Jaren Jackson Jr., who played with Tillman at Michigan State before spending the past four seasons with him in Memphis. “It’s just part of the business. I’ve been here a long time. But it doesn’t get easier, for sure.”
  • GG Jackson‘s new four-year deal with the Grizzlies will be worth $8.5MM over four seasons, with $6.1MM in guaranteed money, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. A minimum-salary deal would be worth in the range of $7MM, so it sounds like Jackson will receive significantly more than the prorated rookie minimum for the rest of the 2023/24 season.

Celtics Notes: Tillman Trade, Stevens, Queta

Xavier Tillman was exactly the type of player the Celtics had in mind when they accumulated second-round picks during last year’s draft in anticipation of eventually trading for a big man, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Boston cashed in two of those picks today, fortifying its front line by acquiring Tillman from Memphis.

Tillman provides the Celtics with a strong defensive presence off the bench for potential playoff matchups with the East’s best centers and power forwards. Weiss notes that he possesses the best qualities of the two backup centers the team has been using, combining Neemias Queta‘s physicality and Luke Kornet‘s basketball IQ. Weiss also points out that Tillman often initiated the Grizzlies’ offense from the elbow, the same way Boston does with Kornet. However, his poor shooting this season — 40.8% from the field and 22.6% from three-point range — may present a concern.

After tonight’s win over Atlanta, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla talked to reporters about what he expects Tillman to bring to the team, tweets Souichi Terada of MassLive.

“Skilled. Toughness. Well-coached,” Mazzulla said. “Obviously we paid a lot of attention to him … I think his extra defensive versatility.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Acquiring Tillman’s Bird rights is a significant move for a team that projects to be above the second tax apron, states Brian Robb of MassLive. Tillman has a $1.9MM expiring contract, but Boston won’t have to worry about cap limitations when negotiating his next contract. Beginning this offseason, second-apron teams can’t aggregate salaries, send cash or use traded player exceptions in any deal in addition to not having access to the mid-level exception, so today’s move is a way of adding another long-term piece to the roster before the team’s options become limited this summer.
  • The Celtics were focused on flexibility when they opted to send Lamar Stevens to Memphis in the deal rather than use one of their trade exceptions and fill their open roster spot, a league source confirms to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Stevens earned a place on the roster after signing an Exhibit 10 deal with Boston last summer, but he wasn’t able to crack the rotation and saw limited playing time in 19 games. Mazzulla complimented Stevens for his professionalism and said he and Stevens are excited about the greater opportunity for playing time with the Grizzlies, Weiss tweets.
  • The open roster spot preserves the chance to convert Queta’s two-way deal to a standard contract. Himmelsbach adds. The third-year center can appear in 28 more games as a two-way player, but he won’t be eligible for the postseason unless he’s on the 15-man roster.

Celtics Acquire Xavier Tillman From Grizzlies

6:06pm: The trade is official, the Celtics announced (via Twitter).

2:09pm: The Celtics will send forward Lamar Stevens to Grizzlies in the deal, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

That means Boston will maintain an open spot on its 15-man roster and won’t have to use an existing trade exception to take on Tillman. The C’s will also generate a small amount of tax savings, notes cap expert Yossi Gozlan (Twitter link).

Stevens, who is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract could immediately see rotation minutes for the injury-plagued Grizzlies. He appeared in just 19 games for Boston, averaging 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per contest.

1:36pm: The Grizzlies have agreed to trade big man Xavier Tillman to the Celtics, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), Memphis will receive a pair of future second-round draft picks from Boston in the deal: Atlanta’s 2027 second-rounder and Dallas’ 2030 second-rounder.

Tillman is in his fourth NBA season and has appeared in 207 total regular season games for Memphis since being drafted 35th overall in 2020.

He’s having a down year for the struggling Grizzlies in 2023/24, shooting a career-worst 40.8% from the field, but has been a reliable depth piece in the past, averaging 6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 17.1 minutes per game with a .552 FG% in his first three seasons. He’s also a stout, versatile defender.

Tillman emerged as a trade candidate this season because he’s in the final year of his contract and didn’t project to be part of the Grizzlies’ future plans — he hadn’t signed a new deal with the club despite having been extension-eligible for the past two seasons.

Having fallen out of postseason contention this year, Memphis opted to get what it could for the 25-year-old, adding a couple second-round picks to its collection of draft assets after acquiring three second-rounders for Steven Adams last week.

The Celtics, meanwhile, will add frontcourt depth behind primary big men Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. Luke Kornet and two-way player Neemias Queta have given Boston some solid minutes this season, but the team wanted to add another body up front for insurance purposes, especially since Porzingis and Horford have missed several games. Porzingis has dealt with minor health issues, while Horford has been held out of one half of all the club’s back-to-back sets.

The Celtics have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so they won’t have to cut anyone to take on Tillman. They also don’t necessarily have to send out any matching salary, even though the big man’s minimum-salary contract can’t be acquired using the minimum salary exception, since they have a traded player exception available to accommodate the incoming cap figure.

An extension is no longer a viable option for Tillman due to extend-and-trade limitations, so he’ll remain on track to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Boston will hold his Bird rights at that time, allowing the team to re-sign him without requiring cap space.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Trade Candidates, Tatum, Porzingis

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown and head coach Joe Mazzulla weren’t happy about the reversal of a foul call in the closing seconds of Monday’s 133-131 loss to Indiana. As Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe details, with the scored tied at 131 and three seconds to play, Buddy Hield was initially whistled for a foul on Brown’s shot attempt (video link), but the call was overturned after the Pacers challenged it.

While Mazzulla was clearly irritated, he didn’t have much to say in his postgame presser, according to Himmelsbach, who notes that the Celtics coach repeatedly referred to waiting until Tuesday afternoon to see what the league has to say in its Last Two Minute report. Mazzulla also mentioned that Hield admitted to him that he thought he fouled Brown.

“I mean, I told Joe what I told Joe,” Hield said. “But they have three refs out there and they had the replay center, and that’s what replay is for, I guess. I was thinking I might have hit (Brown) a little bit, but they have three refs out there and they have cameras and they slow down the angles of it. I felt like it was not excessive contact. I know I touched the ball, I maybe nicked Brown in the head a little bit. I’m not too sure.”

Brown was more vocal in expressing his frustration and was upset in particular because he was told by referee James Williams that the replay hadn’t shown Hield hitting him in the head. The Celtics star said he thought the call should be the subject of an investigation.

“That’s what pissed me off, because I know I got hit in the head,” Brown said. “And you see on the replay, it’s pretty obvious I got hit in the head. Then you look me in my eye and tell me that I didn’t. I think that needs to be investigated. Cost my team a game and of course I’m pissed about it.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Although the 2023/24 salaries for Luke Kornet, Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Lamar Stevens will now be fully guaranteed, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll finish the season in Boston, a source tells Brian Robb of Robb suggests it’s possible that one or more of those players could be used for salary-matching purposes in a trade. It’s also worth noting that attaching a future second-round pick or some cash to one (or more) of them would allow the team to reduce its projected luxury tax bill.
  • After signing a super-max extension over the summer, Jaylen Brown entered this season looking to improve his play on defense and said he wanted each member of Boston’s starting five to earn All-Defensive votes. As Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston details, Brown has delivered on his personal goal so far, with advanced statistics suggesting he has been one of the NBA’s better defensive players in the first half of 2023/24.
  • Celtics star Jayson Tatum missed Monday’s loss due to what the team called left ankle sprain injury management. Tatum also sat out games on December 20 and 29 as a result of that left ankle issue, so it appears that the club is just being cautious with his workload. Kristaps Porzingis, meanwhile, was back in action on Monday after leaving Saturday’s contest early due to an eye issue.

Fischer’s Latest: Hawks, Murray, Knicks, Wizards, Celtics

Echoing recent reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports confirms that the Hawks are “certainly open for business” ahead of the trade deadline and says Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s most active teams in recent trade conversations.

According to Fischer, the Hawks have told multiple teams in recent discussions that the only untouchable players on their roster are guard Trae Young and forward Jalen Johnson. Notably missing from that group is guard Dejounte Murray, whom Atlanta has “made widely available,” sources tell Yahoo Sports.

While the pairing of Murray and Young in their backcourt hasn’t been as successful as the Hawks hoped, the former Spur would presumably still have significant value on the trade market, in large part due to the relatively team-friendly four-year extension he signed during the offseason. That deal, which begins in 2024/25, can be worth up to $120MM with incentives.

Pointing out that the Hawks control their own 2024 first-round pick and owe their 2025 first-rounder to San Antonio, Fischer suggests that it’s possible the team will move some veterans this year, add a 2024 lottery pick to a core headed by Young and Johnson, and look to get back to the playoffs next season.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Knicks made some calls to potential trade partners about veteran big men following Mitchell Robinson‘s injury, per Fischer, but after they added Precious Achiuwa in their trade with Toronto, rival executives now think the Knicks may be more focused on exploring backcourt trade targets ahead of the deadline. Fischer mentions Alec Burks of the Pistons and Malcolm Brogdon of the Trail Blazers as a couple possibilities, though it’s unclear if New York has actually expressed interest in either player.
  • The Wizards have let teams know that they’re open to trading veterans for draft assets, sources tell Fischer. That list of veterans may include Kyle Kuzma, who signed a new four-year contract with the club last summer, though there’s a sense that Washington would seek multiple first-rounders for the forward, Fischer writes.
  • The Celtics are expected to hang onto big man Luke Kornet through this weekend’s salary guarantee date, according to Fischer, who says that the team’s other non-guaranteed playersSvi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, and Lamar Stevens – are also more likely than not to stick around through that deadline. Fischer adds that rival front offices are preparing for Boston to explore trades that improve the team’s bench.
  • In case you missed it, we also rounded up a few Pascal Siakam-related rumors from Fischer in a separate story.

Three Players On Exhibit 9 Contracts Make Opening Night Rosters

As we explain in a glossary entry, Exhibit 9 contracts are generally handed out by NBA teams to players who will only be with the team during training camp and/or the preseason.

The Exhibit 9 clause protects the team in case the player suffers an injury before the season begins. In that scenario, the club wouldn’t have to pay him his full salary until he gets healthy enough to play — it would only have to pay a maximum lump sum of $15K when it waives the player.

While most Exhibit 9 signees were released in advance of the regular season, three NBA veterans who signed Exhibit 9 contracts survived the cut and made their respective teams’ regular season rosters. Here are those three players:

Note: Hornets guard Edmond Sumner was initially included in this list, but Charlotte waived him on Tuesday ahead of its season opener.

These three players will now be on one-year, minimum-salary contracts that will remain non-guaranteed until January 10. In order to secure their full-season salaries, they’ll have to stay under contract beyond January 7 (a player cut on Jan. 8 or 9 wouldn’t clear waivers prior to the league-wide salary guarantee date of Jan. 10).

As our list of non-guaranteed contracts by team shows, Arcidiacono, Giles, and Stevens are three of the 31 players on standard deals whose salaries for the 2023/24 season aren’t fully guaranteed.

Several of these players will receive partial guarantees by remaining on rosters through the start of the regular season, and a few more have November or December trigger dates that will increase their guarantees. However, none of those 31 players will lock in their full salary until Jan. 10.

Here are a few more items of interest about the NBA’s opening night rosters for ’23/24, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link):

  • The Spurs have the NBA’s youngest roster, while the Clippers have the oldest.
  • Players are earning a combined total salary of $4.8 billion for the 2023/24 season. The Celtics, Nuggets, Warriors, Clippers, Lakers, Heat, Bucks, Pelicans, Sixers, and Suns are the biggest contributors to that pool, as they’re all currently over the luxury tax line.
  • As our roster counts page shows, there are 12 open spots on standard 15-man rosters around the NBA. Those openings belong to the Celtics, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Warriors (two), Lakers, Heat, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, and Kings.
  • The Nets and the Suns are the only two teams that haven’t filled all three of their two-way slots, as our tracker shows. They’re each carrying a pair of two-way players, meaning 88 of the 90 spots around the league are occupied.

Celtics Sign Lamar Stevens To Non-Guaranteed Deal

SEPTEMBER 26: The Celtics have officially signed Stevens, per RealGM’s transaction log. He received a non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 contract, Hoops Rumors has learned.

SEPTEMBER 22: The Celtics have reached an agreement with free agent forward Lamar Stevens, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Stevens spent the last three seasons in Cleveland after going undrafted out of Penn State in 2020. He appeared in 62 games last season, starting 25 of them and averaging 18.1 minutes per night. The 26-year-old recorded 5.3 PPG and 3.3 RPG on .448/.316/.702 shooting and was one of Cavaliers’ most reliable perimeter defenders.

After having his non-guaranteed team option picked up by the Cavs, Stevens was included as an outgoing piece in the three-team deal that sent Max Strus to Cleveland via sign-and-trade. He received a $400K partial guarantee and landed in San Antonio in that transaction, but was waived later in July by the Spurs before his $1.9MM+ salary for 2023/24 became fully guaranteed.

Stevens was said last week to be drawing interest from a handful of teams, including Houston, Miami, and Minnesota, but he ended up agreeing to sign with the Celtics after working out for the club in August.

The details of Stevens’ agreement with the Celtics aren’t yet known. Boston is currently carrying just 11 players on fully guaranteed salaries, with Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Luke Kornet on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed minimum-salary deals. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Stevens signs a similar contract, perhaps with a partial guarantee in the ballpark of the ones Banton and Mykhailiuk received ($200K apiece).

Atlantic Notes: Raptors Front Office, Stevens, Hield, Harden

The Raptors issued a press release on Friday announcing several front office changes, including the promotions of Chad Sanders to director of scouting, Luke Winn to Raptors 905 general manager and Rayhan Malik to head athletic trainer, as well as the hiring of Ben Uzoh as a pro scout. We previously wrote about the hiring of Uzoh, which is now official.

Sanders was the Raptors 905 general manager before his promotion, earning 2020/21 G League Executive of the Year honors. Winn is entering his seventh year with the organization and is continuing his role with Toronto as director, prospect strategy. Malik began with the organization as the head athletic trainer for the Raptors 905 before moving to an assistant athletic trainer with Toronto in ’21/22.

Uzoh appeared in 60 NBA games from 2010-12 with the Nets, Cavaliers and Raptors. The former NBA guard joined the Raptors organization prior to last season as part of the NBA’s Future Basketball Operations Stars (FBOS) program.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In agreeing to a deal with Lamar Stevens, the Celtics are hoping he can bring “grit and toughness” that was lost following the offseason departures of Marcus Smart and Grant Williams, tweets The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. Stevens has 165 NBA appearances over the past three seasons, averaging 5.3 points per game across that span.
  • The Sixers are among the teams mentioned by The Athletic’s Shams Charania who are displaying a level of interest in acquiring sharpshooter Buddy Hield from the Pacers, prompting PHLY Sports’ Kyle Neubeck to consider how Hield would fit in Philadelphia’s system. From an offensive standpoint, the fit is obviously seamless, as Hield is a career 43.4% shooter from deep, but Neubeck assesses his defense as a red flag for a team trying to contend. Neubeck also breaks down what a trade might look like, with Tobias Harris or P.J. Tucker among the pieces that could potentially be used in a swap.
  • If James Harden were to hold out from Philadelphia, the Sixers would have an obvious hole to fill at the point guard position. Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required) breaks down possible options to take over for Harden in the rotation if the Sixers were to be without the 10-time All-Star. Tyrese Maxey and Patrick Beverley are among the obvious in-house options named by Mizell.

Lamar Stevens Drawing Interest From Several Teams

Numerous teams have expressed interest in free agent Lamar Stevens, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto lists the Celtics, Rockets, Timberwolves and Heat among Stevens’ potential destinations.

The 26-year-old swingman had a workout last month with Boston, which decided to sign Svi Mykhailiuk to a one-year contract after auditioning several wing players. Scotto notes that the Celtics have an open roster spot remaining and may still be considering Stevens.

Scotto calls Houston “a team to keep an eye on” considering that Kevin Porter Jr.’s NBA future is in jeopardy after his domestic violence arrest. The Rockets will have an unexpected need for help at the wing if Porter is suspended for all or part of the upcoming season.

Miami will be searching for rotation players if it’s able to acquire Damian Lillard from the Trail Blazers before the start of the season, Scotto adds, while Minnesota also has a roster opening.

Stevens spent his first three NBA seasons with the Cavaliers after joining the team as a two-way player in 2020, but he was never able to earn rotation minutes. He appeared in 62 games last season and made 25 starts, but only averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per night.

Cleveland traded Stevens to the Spurs as part of a three-team deal in July, and he was waived a few days later. The partial guarantee on his minimum salary for 2023/24 was increased to $400K as a condition of the deal.