Marcus Thornton (William & Mary)

10-Day Deals Expire For Cleveland, Thornton

Two players are free agents again after their 10-day contracts expired overnight, according to the Real GM Transactions Log.

Shooting guard Antonius Cleveland didn’t see any action for the Hawks during his 10 days with the team. The 24-year-old shooting guard appeared in 13 games with the Mavericks as a two-way player earlier this season before being waived in January. He also played in seven G League games this year.

Marcus Thornton also wasn’t used during his 10-day stay with Cleveland. Although he signed with the Cavaliers, he never left the G League, where he is averaging 18.9 points per game with the Canton Charge.

The Hawks and Cavs made the signings to comply with an NBA requirement that teams have at least 14 players on their rosters, and both clubs will need to find replacements.

Cavaliers Sign Marcus Thornton To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 22: The Cavs have officially announced their 10-day deal with Thornton. However, it sounds like Thornton’s role with his G League squad won’t change much, as the Cavs’ announcement indicates he’ll be assigned to the Canton Charge before Friday’s game.

Meanwhile, Damion Lee of the Santa Cruz Warriors will replace Thornton on USA Basketball’s roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

FEBRUARY 21: The Cavaliers will fill one of their open roster spots by signing G League guard Marcus Thornton to a 10-day contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Cleveland had been carrying a 13-man roster since making three deals at the February 8 trade deadline. NBA rules require teams to have at least 14 players, but they are permitted to go below that number as long as they get back to 14 within two weeks.

Thornton was a second-round pick by the Celtics in 2015 and has played in Australia, Italy and the G League. The Celtics renounced their rights to Thornton over the summer and he signed with the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s G League affiliate, in November. The 25-year-old averaged 18.8 points in 37 games with Canton.

Thornton will receive $46,080 for the 10 days, but his salary will count $83,129 toward the luxury tax, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The signing will cost the Cavs about $353K in luxury taxes, raising their overall bill to $50.3MM.

Once Thornton’s contract expires, Cleveland can sign him to another 10-day deal, keep him for the rest of the season or release him and make another move to stay at the 14-player limit.

Thornton’s signing also affects Team USA in its quest to qualify for the FIBA World Cup, notes Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Coach Jeff Van Gundy will have to find a replacement for Thornton before upcoming games on Friday and Monday.

Celtics Renounce Rights To Marcus Thornton

The Celtics have renounced their rights to 2015 second-round pick Marcus Thornton, per RealGM’s transactions log. According to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (via Twitter), Boston made the move at Thornton’s request, since he’d like the opportunity to play for another team in Summer League.

Thornton, 24, was the 45th overall pick out of William & Mary in the 2015 draft. He shares a name with a veteran shooting guard, but this isn’t the LSU alum who spent the 2016/17 season with the Wizards — this Thornton has yet to make his NBA debut.

Since being drafted by the Celtics two years ago, Thornton has primarily played international ball, with a brief 2016 stint for the Maine Red Claws sandwich in between overseas stops. In 2016/17, Thornton spent the season with Italian team Consultinvest Pesaro, averaging 13.5 PPG on .436/.342/.747 shooting.

Renouncing Thornton won’t free up any cap room for the Celtics, since draft-and-stash prospects who were second-round picks don’t count against the cap. The move simply looks like an act of good will by the C’s, who didn’t anticipate having a spot on their NBA roster for Thornton anytime soon.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Covington, Lin, Celtics

Sixers center Joel Embiid and Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons have bonded on social media because of their history with injuries, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Embiid, who is playing for the first time in three seasons and remains on a minutes limit, has commented on several of Parsons’ posts. Parsons, who spent the offseason rehabbing from microfracture surgery, can sympathize with the rookie’s plight. “Him coming off surgery and me coming off surgery, he asked me a lot of questions about the recovery,” Parsons said. “He’s an awesome listener. … A lot of guys kind of get complacent, get used to being hurt, don’t work as hard. But he takes his rehab very, very seriously and he takes care of his body. He does all the right things and you see it paying off now with the success he’s hard early this season.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Robert Covington has found ways to contribute even as he suffers through a long shooting slump, writes Robert Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sixers fans are starting to turn against the fourth-year small forward, who is shooting just 29% from the floor and 27% from 3-point range, but coach Brett Brown recognizes his value in other areas. “Somebody had given me a stat, I believe was produced by ESPN, and they had him as the third-ranked small forward in the NBA as far as his defensive efficiency rating,” Brown said. “He really has improved his defense.” The Sixers have a $1,087,745 team option on Covington for next season.
  • The Nets have nosedived since Jeremy Lin‘s injury, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. After a 2-3 start, Brooklyn has just two victories since Lin went down with a strained hamstring in early November. The Nets’ offensive and defensive ratings are both significantly worse without Lin. “Offensively it’s just the challenges with different lineups and different stuff just getting on the same page,’’ coach Kenny Atkinson said. “But we’ve done it before with different lineups, so [we have to] focus in on our execution, making sure that we’re doing all the little things, in the right spots and making the right pass and making the right play.” There is still no timetable for Lin to return.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE checks in on four players whose draft rights are owned by the Celtics. Abdel Nader is with the team’s D-League affiliate in Maine, while Marcus ThorntonGuerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic are all overseas.

Celtics Notes: Green, Iverson, Zeller, Thornton

The Celtics’ disappointment in James Young made the signing of Gerald Green necessary, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. In examining Boston’s offseason moves, Blakely sees Green as an “X-factor” who may not play a lot but could be the difference in four or five games next season. The veteran forward signed a one-year minimum deal with the Celtics last week. Blakely adds that team officials are impressed by the aggressiveness that No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown showed during summer league, where he averaged 10.2 free throws per game, and that second-rounders Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil are expected to spend most of 2016/17 in the D-League.

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • The Celtics haven’t discussed a contract for next season with Colton Iverson, tweets Jared Weiss of CLNS Radio in Boston. The rights to Iverson, who spent last season in Turkey, have belonged to Boston since a 2013 draft-night deal with Indiana. The seven-foot center reportedly believes he’s ready to try the NBA.
  • Tyler Zeller‘s new contract includes $8MM guaranteed for next season and a non-guaranteed $8MM for 2017/18, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Making the second year non-guaranteed rather than a team option gives the Celtics more flexibility if they decide to trade Zeller (Twitter link).
  • Marcus Thornton, a second-round pick by the Celtics in 2015, will play in Italy next season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 6’4″ guard played in Australia in 2015/16 and spent 12 games at the end of the season with Boston’s D-League affiliate in Maine.

Celtics Notes: Mickey, Olynyk, Winslow, Thornton

Celtics rookie Jordan Mickey doesn’t regret leaving LSU early and missing a chance to play with freshman sensation Ben Simmons, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The move worked out well for Mickey, who was drafted 33rd overall last summer and received a four-year contract with the first two seasons guaranteed at a combined total of nearly $2.4MM. Mickey has spent most of this season with Boston’s D-League affiliate in Maine, but remains convinced that he made the right choice. “I have no regrets,” he said. “I feel I made the best decision for myself and my family. I’m in a pretty good situation, I would say.”

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • Kelly Olynyk is making progress in returning from his right shoulder sprain, but his timeline hasn’t changed, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Olynyk was injured in a February 10th game and is projected to return in early March. “Taking a couple losses on that West coast trip, it’s tough; sitting in the back watching where you know you can help and want to be out there helping,” Olynyk said. “You have to do what you can to get back as quickly as possible.”
  • The Celtics got another up-close look Saturday at Miami’s Justise Winslow, a player they coveted on draft night, Blakely writes in a separate story. Boston offered a package of picks to Charlotte for the ninth selection in the draft, but the Hornets opted to take Frank Kaminsky and Winslow fell to the Heat, who also reportedly turned down an offer from Boston, with the 10th pick. “It doesn’t mean anything until possibly being a free agent or anything,” Winslow said of the Celtics’ interest. “It’s just business, just like it is with the other 28 NBA teams.”
  • Marcus Thornton, the 45th pick in last summer’s draft, is back from Australia and has joined the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Boston intended for Thornton to spend a season overseas, which led him to sign with the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League. “I think it was a good experience,” said his father, Wayne Thornton. “The team had some of their own issues, but overall it was a good experience for him.”

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Colangelo, Thornton

The Sixers serve as a case of what might have been for the Raptors had Knicks owner James Dolan not vetoed the trade proposal that would have sent Kyle Lowry from Toronto to New York two years ago, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange notes. Toronto planned to rebuild but instead wound up one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams, and coach Dwane Casey is grateful, as Grange relays.

“Not speaking about any specific team, but in general it’s got to be tough,” Casey said about a steady diet of losing. “You need to see some rewards to reinforce what you’re talking about, what you’re preaching, because sooner or later, if there’s no rewards at the end of the rainbow, guys kind of tune it out. It’s important that they see some rewards, any team, at any level.”
Still, it’s unclear if the Raptors are any closer to a title than the Sixers are, given the uncertainty of whether Toronto’s core is strong enough to compete at the highest level, Grange adds. See more from the Atlantic:
  • A pair of remarks from Sixers chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo last week make it difficult to envision him contributing only in a part-time capacity, even as he’ll continue to live in Phoenix, observes John Gonzalez of Colangelo told Bickley & Marotta of Arizona Sports 98.7 that Adam Silver and Josh Harris called him “pleading for some help” (audio link) and said to Angelo Cataldi of SportsRadio 94 WIP in Philadelphia that he would never accept a situation in which unaccomplished executives could overrule him (audio link).
  • The Sixers would be unwise to disenfranchise GM Sam Hinkie and completely abandon his rebuilding program, considering how far they’ve come and the promise that lies ahead in the 2016 draft, opines Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
  • Celtics draftee Marcus Thornton won’t be with the Sydney Kings of Australia much longer, a source tells international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Thornton, the point guard from William & Mary whom Boston took with the 45th overall pick this year, signed with Sydney in July after reportedly assuring the Celtics before the draft that he was willing to play overseas. Thornton is not to be confused with the veteran shooting guard who plays for the Rockets.

Atlantic Notes: Love, Thornton, Roberts, Nets

Kevin Love was never close to becoming a Celtic, and his preference since joining the Cavs has been to remain with the team, but if somehow it had fallen apart for him in Cleveland, his second choice would have been Boston, as a non-Celtics source who spoke with Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald believes. Love enjoyed his much-publicized offseason trip to Boston last year, the source said to Bulpett, but the power forward is now locked in long-term with the Cavs, having signed a new five-year contract this month.

  • Marcus Thornton appeared to be a reach when the Celtics picked him 45th overall, but he assured them before the draft that he was willing to play overseas, a priority for the team, which wouldn’t consider others who refused to make the same promise, Bulpett tweets. Thornton signed this week to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia, in a league that would allow him enough time to return stateside and join Boston’s D-League team or even the NBA roster near the end of the season, writes Chris Forsberg of
  • The Raptors inked Ronald Roberts this week, and at least one sign points to the team having more than the D-League in mind for the former Sixers power forward. The Warriors own his D-League rights, so Toronto’s new D-League affiliate would have to trade for them if Roberts were to remain in the Raptors system should Toronto waive him at the end of training camp, notes Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter links).
  • The Nets made a number of changes to their coaching and basketball operations staff this week, and they serve to further signal the franchise’s belt-tightening, as Mike Mazzeo of examines.

Marcus Thornton Signs To Play In Australia

WEDNESDAY, 8:12am: The deal is official, the Australian team announced.

8:50pm: Thornton has indeed agreed to a one-year pact with the Sydney Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe relays. “I think it’s good for him to get an opportunity to play and just continue to progress wherever he chooses to play, whether it was in Australia or the D-League or anyplace he was going to get a chance to play,” Boston executive Danny Ainge said. “We’ve certainly seen flashes from him this summer.

TUESDAY, 10:43am: Celtics draftee Marcus Thornton is set to sign in Australia, a source told Sportando’s Enea Trapani. Thornton, this year’s 45th overall pick out of William & Mary, is not to be confused with the former Celtics shooting guard by the same name who’s reportedly agreed to sign with the Rockets. It’s not entirely clear which Australian team is landing this Thornton, who’s a combo guard.

Regardless, the news isn’t entirely surprising, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said soon after the draft that Thornton would most likely end up either overseas or in the D-League this season. The Celtics have a roster crunch, since after the Monday signing of No. 33 overall pick Jordan Mickey, they’re poised to have 16 fully guaranteed salaries for the season ahead, assuming they sign first-round picks Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter. Boston’s roster seems in flux, so that dynamic is subject to change, but adding Thornton as a fourth rookie on the team would nonetheless present a challenge for coach Brad Stevens.

Thornton seemed like a reach at No. 45, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked him as only the 83rd-best prospect in the draft, and Chad Ford of had him 95th. He poured in 20.0 points in 36.7 minutes per game with 40.2% three-point shooting this past season as a senior competing in the Colonial Athletic Association, a far cry from NBA-level competition. Thornton put up 5.1 PPG in 11.0 MPG and was just 2 for 10 on three-pointers in eight summer league appearances this month.

No. 49 overall pick Aaron White is also reportedly close to signing overseas. Who’ll have a greater impact in the NBA once he gets there, Thornton or White? Leave a comment to let us know.

Atlantic Notes: D. Williams, Celtics, Carmelo

Nets execs believe there’s a trade market for Deron Williams, Ohm Youngmisuk of tweets.  While Williams is obviously nowhere near what he once was, those execs feel that another team will find that he is just in need of a change of scenery.  Of course, a skeptic would point to his surgically repaired knees as a larger problem than personalities clashing in Brooklyn. Here’s more from the Atlantic..

  • The Celtics don’t have a history of landing difference makers in free agency, but they have every reason to believe this summer will be different, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes.  Blakely points to Boston’s major market appeal and their available cash as major reasons for hope.  Conversely, however, players and agents have indicated to him that they won’t be landing one of the top three or four players via free agency.
  • The Celtics will be prioritizing high-character guys in free agency and they showed a commitment to that philosophy in the draft, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes. The C’s, for example, had interest in Robert Upshaw, but were turned off by his substance-abuse issues.  “With a young team, I don’t think we really needed to deal with that,” a C’s source said of Upshaw.
  • After reports indicated that Carmelo Anthony was unhappy with the selection of Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks star reached out to the rookie, Ian Begley of writes.  “Carmelo reached out to Kris after all of that. It was beautiful that a player of that profile can do something like that. It’s great,” Porzingis’ older brother, Janis, confirmed on Monday during an appearance on ESPN 98.7 FM’s “The Hahn and Humpty Show.”
  • New Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. says he will use Knicks president Phil Jackson’s critical remarks about him Friday as motivation, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.   Jackson said he believed Jerian Grant has more of the attributes the Knicks want from a guard. “Once I heard him say that, all hands on deck now,” said Hardaway, who was sent to Atlanta in exchange for the pick that was used to take the Notre Dame standout. “Obviously as a basketball player, you take that to heart. So, it’s time to move on, get better, and when the time comes, the time comes. Right now, it’s all about Atlanta basketball.”
  • Jackson’s recruiting strategy is to sell prospective free agents on winning with the Knicks rather than New York business opportunities, an NBA exec tells Berman.
  • Celtics GM Danny Ainge says draft-and-stash prospect Marcus Thornton will most likely be in the D-League or in Europe next season, Adam Himmeslbach of The Boston Globe tweets.  Thornton, a product of William & Mary, is not to be confused with the veteran guard of the same name.
  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri says his team will be “open-minded and open for business” while still keeping its core intact, Eric Koreen of the National Post writes.  The core he is likely referring to is the trio of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas.
  • The Raptors are finalizing an agreement to hire former Thunder assistant Rex Kalamian as part of Dwane Casey‘s staff, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.