Michael Holyfield

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.

Grizzlies Sign Alex Stepheson, Cut Michael Holyfield

2:59pm: The Grizzlies followed up with a press release to formally announce the Stepheson signing.

2:38pm: Holyfield’s release is official, the team announced, though the Grizzlies made no mention of Stepheson.

12:24pm: The Grizzlies are switching out big men on their camp roster, waiving center Michael Holyfield to make room for the signing of power forward Alex Stepheson, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Tillery indicates the transactions have already taken place, though the team has not made an announcement. Stepheson, who went undrafted out of USC in 2011, was with the Mavericks in summer league this year, but this will be his first NBA contract. It’ll be for the minimum salary, since that’s all the Grizzlies can hand out after using their mid-level exception on Brandan Wright, though the level of guarantee on Stepheson’s deal isn’t immediately clear. Holyfield, who signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Grizzlies in August, went scoreless in eight minutes in Tuesday’s preseason opener for Memphis. The Grizzlies roster will remain at the preseason limit of 20.

Stepheson, 28, scored a total of five points in about 18 minutes of playing time spread across three games with the summer league Mavs in July. He also appeared in summer league with the Kings in 2014, but most of his pro career has played out overseas. Stepheson averaged 12.3 points and 9.2 boards in 26.8 minutes per game across 29 appearances with Turkey’s Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi last season, showing his skill as a high-volume rebounder. He began his college career at North Carolina before transferring to USC, where he pulled down 9.2 RPG in 32.9 MPG as a senior in 2010/11.

Holyfield was with the Grizzlies summer league team this year before formally joining the Memphis roster. He went undrafted out of Sam Houston State in June. The Grizzlies can retain his D-League rights if they wish, just as they can with as many as four of the players they waive. Fellow Memphis camp invitee Dan Nwaelele, whom the Grizzlies waived earlier this week, appears set to become one of those four, as international journalist David Pick reported that he’s on his way to the D-League affiliate of the Grizzlies.

Memphis has 14 full guarantees plus a partial guarantee for JaMychal Green, as our roster count shows. Thus, Stepheson doesn’t appear to have much of a chance to stick with the Grizzlies for long, so he, too, is a candidate to end up with their D-League team.

Grizzlies Sign Five For Camp

The Grizzlies have formally signed Yakhouba Diawara, Ryan Hollins, Michael Holyfield, Lazeric Jones and Daniel Nwaelele, the team announced via press release. All five moves were expected, based on previous reports. The moves give Memphis a full 20-man roster for the preseason, as our roster count shows. All are making the minimum salary, since the Grizzlies don’t have the capacity to give more after signing Brandan Wright for the mid-level exception earlier in the offseason, and all are reportedly non-guaranteed

Diawara, 33, returns to the NBA after an absence of more than five years. The native of France played last season in Italy. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports first reported the deal between Memphis and the swingman.

Hollins, who turns 31 next month, gives the Grizzlies depth on the interior. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports first reported the deal, and he and Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal had details about the arrangement, which covers one season.

Holyfield went undrafted this year out of Sam Houston State but joined the Grizzlies for summer league this year before formally signing with the team. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders first reported the deal for the center who turns 23 in November, revealing that it’s a one-year pact.

Jones is a 25-year-old point guard who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2012 and has spent time overseas since then, playing in Israel, Greece and Hungary. Charania first reported the deal, and Pincus reports that it’s a one-year contract.

Nwaelele is a 31-year-old Air Force veteran who’s spent much of his time since going undrafted in 2007 serving out his military commitment. Marc Stein of ESPN.com first reported the deal, which is a one-year arrangement, according to Pincus.

Grizzlies Sign Michael Holyfield For Camp

The Grizzlies have signed summer league center Michael Holyfield to a non-guaranteed contract, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Memphis hasn’t made a formal announcement, but it appears the move has indeed taken place. Pincus indicates that it’s a one-year, minimum salary arrangement that constitutes an Exhibit 9 contract, a deal that would provide Holyfield with only $6K if he were to get hurt while playing for the Grizzlies and the team were to waive him. Most contracts require teams to keep paying players while they recover from injuries.

Holyfield, who went undrafted out of Sam Houston State in June, split his time in summer league last month between the Grizzlies and Celtics, averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game across six appearances total. The 6’11” 22-year-old, who turns 23 in November, put up 8.5 PPG and 8.1 RPG in just 17.9 MPG in college as a senior this past season, a stat line that highlights his efficient work on the boards.

Memphis had been carrying 14 fully guaranteed deals, plus JaMychal Green, whose minimum salary is partially guaranteed for $150K. Thus, Holyfield stands an outside chance to stick for the regular season, when the roster must shrink to no more than 15 players, but it seems more likely that he’ll end up with the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ one-to-one D-League affiliate. NBA teams can retain the D-League rights to as many as four of the players they cut at the end of the preseason.