Orlando Johnson

And-Ones: Gasol, Kentucky, Johnson, D-League

The BullsPau Gasol, who has said that he will likely opt out of his contract this summer, admits he probably won’t be fully healthy for the rest of the season, relays K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Gasol missed his fourth straight game tonight with a swollen right knee, but he’s not giving any thought to ending the season early. He believes he can return to the court this week, possibly by Monday. “I was trying to play through it, trying to manage it for a while actually,” he said. “But after that Miami game, the knee just gave out. I had that swelling and reaction and obviously the alarms went off. Hopefully, it’s not going to get worse.”

There’s more tonight from around the world of basketball:

  • As many as six Kentucky players could be headed to the NBA draft after the Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament today, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Combo guard Jamal Murray and big man Skal Labissiere, both freshmen, are projected to be lottery picks in the latest mock draft compiled by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. He ranks Murray as the seventh pick and Labissiere as No. 10. Sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis projects at No. 26 and freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe is No. 39. Junior Marcus Lee and senior Alex Poythress aren’t in Givony’s mock but could become draft-eligible if they choose.
  • The Pelicans won’t sign Orlando Johnson to another 10-day contract, tweets Brett Dawson of The New Orleans Advocate. New Orleans signed Johnson on March 9th using a hardship exception.
  • The Kings have assigned power forward Eric Moreland to their D-League affiliate in Reno, the team announced today. A fractured metatarsal in his left foot has forced Moreland to miss 41 games this season. He has appeared in five games for the Kings, scoring four points in 24 minutes.
  • The Spurs have recalled shooting guard Jonathon Simmons from their D-League team in Austin. The rookie is averaging 5.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 48 games with San Antonio.

Pelicans Sign Orlando Johnson To 10-Day Deal

WEDNESDAY, 1:31pm: The signing is official, the team announced.

TUESDAY, 2:00pm: The Pelicans will use their hardship exception to sign Orlando Johnson to a 10-day contract, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). He’ll occupy the 16th roster spot the hardship provides as injury relief. It’s no surprise to see Johnson, a 6’5″ shooting guard, get the nod, as Charania linked him to the Pelicans in January and Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate reported minutes ago that the team was looking for a guard.

The contract will be worth $55,722. It’s the second 10-day deal Johnson will have signed with an NBA team this season. Phoenix had him on a 10-day last month, and he saw extensive action in two games, totaling 16 points in 47 minutes, but the Suns retooled their roster at the trade deadline and through the buyout market shortly after Johnson’s deal expired.

So, he returned to the Spurs affiliate in the D-League, the team he’s been with most of the season while averaging 16.0 points in 33.1 minutes per game and draining 46.1% of his 3-point shots. Johnson, who turns 27 on Friday, has yet to display that sort of accuracy at the NBA level, where he’s a career 31.3% shooter from behind the arc in parts of two seasons since becoming the 36th overall pick in 2012.

New Orleans will nonetheless see if he can help on the wing, where Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter and Bryce Dejean-Jones are all lost for the season. Eric Gordon is reportedly undergoing surgery on his broken right ring finger today and the Pelicans fear his season is also through. New Orleans would remain eligible for a 16th roster spot the rest of the way if that’s the case.

Western Notes: Green, Cole, Collison, Suns

The Grizzlies offered Jeff Green to the Clippers earlier in the week and after Los Angeles turned them down, they expected to keep the combo forward on the roster, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal reports (Twitter link). The Clippers then contacted the team right before the deadline to rekindle talks and the sides were able to come to an agreement, Tillery adds.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

Suns Sign Orlando Johnson To 10-Day Contract

12:28pm: The signing is official, the team announced. It’ll cover three games, against the Jazz, Thunder and Warriors, the only ones Phoenix has left until the All-Star break, and expire before the February 18th trade deadline.

7:57am: The Suns will sign former Pacers and Kings shooting guard Orlando Johnson to a 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The two-year NBA veteran has been playing for much of this season with the Spurs affiliate in the D-League. He’s poised to go into the open spot on Phoenix’s roster and add depth on the wing to compensate for the loss of T.J. Warren, who suffered a season-ending broken foot.

Johnson, 26, averaged 4.0 points in 12.1 minutes per game with 38.3% shooting from behind the arc as a rookie in 2012/13 for the Pacers, who had acquired him via trade shortly after the Kings drafted him 36th overall in 2012. His minutes fell the next season and the Pacers waived him at the trade deadline in 2014 to accommodate their deal for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. He resurfaced on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Kings later that season but has been out of the NBA ever since, though it appeared the Pelicans were considering him last month.

The former UC Santa Barbara player spent the last year and a half playing in Spain, the Philippines and the D-League. He’s averaging 15.2 points in 31.4 minutes per game and hitting 3-pointers at a scintillating 48.6% clip for the D-League Austin Spurs this season. He was slated to take part in the D-League All-Star Game and 3-point shooting contest, but he’ll be ineligible to participate in either if he indeed joins the Suns.

Phoenix already has Jordan McRae on a 10-day contract, as only 13 Suns have deals that run through at least the end of the season. The Suns are reportedly a strong bet to make at least one trade before the February 18th trade deadline, so they have plenty of flexibility to do so. Johnson’s contract would lapse and leave an open roster spot for the trade deadline as long as Phoenix signs him by the end of Monday.

Pelicans Eye Millsap, Johnson, Dejean-Jones

The Pelicans are expected to consider several wing players for 10-day contracts now that Quincy Pondexter is set to miss the entire season, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who mentions free agents Elijah Millsap, Orlando Johnson and Bryce Dejean-Jones by name. New Orleans has been carrying an open roster spot since trading Ish Smith to the Sixers last month.

Millsap cleared waivers last week from the Jazz, who cut him rather than guarantee his contract for the rest of the season. The 28-year-old brother of Paul Millsap had seen his minutes dwindle this season, to 8.6 per contest in 20 appearances, after he averaged 19.7 minutes a night in 47 games with Utah last year.

Johnson, who was the 36th overall pick in 2012, has been playing for the D-League affiliate of the Spurs for the past month, averaging 15.5 points in 32.3 minutes per game, with sizzling 50.7% shooting on 73 attempts from 3-point range. The 26-year-old last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 season with the Pacers and Kings.

Dejean-Jones signed with the Pelicans in August as an undrafted free agent after winning a spot on the New Orleans summer league team. He averaged 8.8 points in 18.2 minutes per game during the preseason, but a rash of injuries at other positions helped persuade the Pelicans to cut him before opening night. He’s since joined the Jazz affiliate in the D-League and has posted 18.5 points in 31.5 minutes per contest across six appearances.

Which player makes the most sense for the Pelicans, or is there another name they should consider? Share your thoughts with a comment.

And-Ones: D-League Showcase, Cavs, Terry

Former Nuggets point guard Erick Green heads the list of free agents at the D-League Showcase event that begins on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports opines. Shooting guard Elliot Williams, who was with the Pelicans, Hornets and Jazz last season, is second on Spears’ list, followed by point guard Lorenzo Brown, shooting guard Orlando Johnson and power forward Perry Jones. Brown saw action for the Timberwolves last season, Johnson played for the Pacers and Kings from 2012 to 2014 and Jones appeared in 43 games with the Thunder last season. Players at the Showcase are angling for opportunities to sign 10-day contracts.

In news around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers are leaning toward retaining combo guard Jared Cunningham, a source informed Dave McMenamin of ESPN.comUnless Cleveland waives Cunningham by the close of business Thursday, his $981,348 salary for the remainder of the season is guaranteed. It’s a bigger money commitment than that, since his salary would cost the Cavs approximately $3.8MM in luxury tax if no other changes are made to the roster. Cunningham will accompany the Cavs on their upcoming road trip, McMenamin continues, and is viewed by them as a young, versatile bench player who has endeared himself to his teammates. Joe Harris potentially season-ending injury will not influence Cleveland’s decision, McMenamin adds.
  • Jason Terry could be closing out more games for the Rockets, considering the way interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff gushed about him to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Terry, who has shared the point guard spot with Ty Lawson and Patrick Beverley, made a key basket and assist that lifted Houston to a two-point win over the Jazz on Monday. “Jet is clutch,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s been that way since I can remember, since he was in college at Arizona. In the big moments, when a big shot is needed, Jet makes those plays.”
  • The Thunder assigned small forward Josh Huestis to their D-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team’s website. Huestis has already appeared in 10 games for the Blue.

Orlando Johnson To Play In D-League

10:53pm: Johnson has been claimed off waivers by the Austin Toros, the affiliate of the Spurs, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link) reports.

12:13pm: Former Pacers and Kings swingman Orlando Johnson has agreed to play in the D-League, reports Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (Twitter link). Johnson is available on D-League waivers, Pilato hears, so the identity of his D-League team has yet to be determined. He and Spain’s Baskonia parted ways in late October when the club signed Sasha Vujacic. Johnson appeared to have no shortage of European suitors when he chose to ink with Baskonia this past summer, but it appears the 36th overall pick from the 2012 NBA draft will return stateside.

Johnson failed to gain much traction in the NBA and spent much of his time with the then-contending Pacers on the bench. He saw just 10.5 minutes per game during his two seasons in the league, including a seven-game stint with the Kings while on a pair of 10-day contracts last spring. Indiana had cut him loose in a roster crunch at the trade deadline in February.

The 25-year-old will remain free to sign with any NBA team regardless of the D-League club that obtains him. He performed fairly well on the circuit before, putting up 19.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in 34.6 minutes per game during seven contests while on assignment from the Pacers.

And-Ones: Nets, Kidd, Gray, Gomes

A year after the blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Paul Pierce to the Nets, the deal doesn’t look so good for Brooklyn, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.  Bontemps points out many of the key players in that deal are no longer on the team.  Pierce left the team this offseason to sign with Wizards, while Terry was traded during the middle of last season for Marcus Thornton. More from around basketball..

  • If he’ll sign one, Wolves guard Ricky Rubio will top the four-year, $48MM extension that Kemba Walker agreed to earlier today, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.
  • Jason Kidd admits it’s a completely different situation coaching the young, inexperienced Bucks this season compared to the veteran driven Nets, writes Andrew Wagner of the Star Tribune. “Here, we can show them but we also have to teach them and show them again exactly the different options because it’s all new to them,” Kidd said. “It takes time, but it’s been fun to see their growth.”
  • The decision to waive Aaron Gray was both clear-cut and wrenching for the Pistons, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com.  Gray’s medical situation coupled with the presence of Joel Anthony made him an obvious choice to go, but he was in the best shape of his career this offseason and Stan Van Gundy was excited to see what he could do.
  • Ryan Gomes has decided to leave Spanish club Baskonia, also known as Laboral Kuxta, over a lack of playing time, according to David Pick of Basketball Insiders. Gomes, 32, made the Thunder’s opening night roster last season. Former Pacers guard Orlando Johnson could be the next to bolt and DJ White‘s one-month contract with the club will expire next week.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Lakers, Vujacic

Warriors owner Peter Guber expressed regret Monday after sending an email that appeared to play on ethnic stereotypes, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports details. At least one team employee took offense, according to Spears. Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson is selling his stake in the Atlanta franchise after the discovery of an email he sent that contained racial overtones, and Hawks GM Danny Ferry is on indefinite leave of absence from the team after his racially charged comments. It remains to be seen if any such fallout with happen with Guber in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal that touched off heightened awareness around the league. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Extension-eligible Klay Thompson reiterated his desire to stay with the Warriors in comments to Michael Lee of The Washington Post, who notes Stephen Curry‘s verbal influence on the team’s decision to keep Thompson out of Kevin Love trade proposals. “It’s arguments either way if you make a move or what not, how your team is going to look and if it’s a good move or not,” Curry said to Lee. “Obviously, you know that other guy was pretty good, but when you have a core that’s continuing to get better, you got a lot of good chemistry, we fit together, it makes sense. And you want to fight for that. [Thompson is] nowhere near his ceiling.”
  • The Lakers aren’t planning to apply to have Steve Nash‘s salary wiped from their cap based on a medical retirement, GM Mitch Kupchak told reporters Monday, as Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times notes (Twitter link). Nash hasn’t announced his retirement even though the 40-year-old is out for the season with nerve damage in his back. The team is instead applying for a Disabled Player Exception.
  • Sasha Vujacic has signed with Spain’s Laboral Kuxta, the Euroleague announced. Sportando’s Enea Trapani first reported the move involving the eight-year NBA veteran who spent time last season with the Clippers on a 10-day contract. He’ll replace former Kings swingman Orlando Johnson, whom the team is letting go, according to Trapani.

Extension Rumors: Leonard, Thompson, Cole

The deadline for teams to sign rookie scale extensions with their eligible players is two weeks from today, and while only six players came to deals last time around, that number has the potential to be much larger this year, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein has more on many of those extension hopefuls that adds to the storylines we’ve been following throughout the offseason:

  • Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, and Norris Cole are among the players who are in active negotiations with their respective teams about rookie scale extensions, Stein reports. Klay Thompson, Ricky Rubio, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Reggie Jackson, Brandon Knight, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks are also in active extension talks, according to Stein, who advances earlier reports that all of them had engaged in talks.
  • Iman Shumpert and the Knicks are also discussing an extension, Stein writes, countering a report from a few weeks ago that indicated that the sides hadn’t engaged in talks and that New York was content to let the swingman hit restricted free agency next summer.
  • Klay Thompson’s camp is considering the idea of going after an offer sheet similar to the one the Mavs gave Chandler Parsons if Thompson and the Warriors don’t come to an extension this month, Stein hears. Parsons’ near-max deal runs three years and includes a player option and a 15% trade kicker. Rival GMs have expressed admiration for its structure and Rockets GM Daryl Morey pointed to the difficulty that trading such a contract would entail shortly after he decided against matching it. The player option would allow Thompson to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2017, which is when Stephen Curry‘s deal is set to end, as Stein points out.
  • The Lakers have attempted to trade for Thompson in the past, Stein notes, though he doesn’t make any suggestion that they’re planning an aggressive push for the shooting guard if he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.