P.J. Hairston

And-Ones: BIG3, Hairston, Jefferson, Extensions

A number of players who have been traded at the trade deadline or during the NBA season spoke to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about the experience, with Cavaliers wing Iman Shumpert providing some of the more interesting quotes. As Shumpert explains, he was injured when he was sent to Cleveland by the Knicks, and had mixed feelings about the move.

“I just remember the feeling [sucked],” Shumpert said. “It was like, ‘Ah, I’m hurt, we’ve lost a bunch of games in a row and then I’m traded.’ Then, shortly after we walk in and we get to playing with the Cavs, we go on a long winning streak. I kept thinking back to my old teammates like, ‘Damn, I was hurt and we were losing. Now I come here and I’m playing well and the energy is great.’ I just felt like they kind of grabbed me out of hell. And every game was being showcased on TV and we’re winning. It was just crazy. I was happy, but I felt bad too.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the league:

  • As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), former NBA star Julius Erving has committed to coaching a team in the BIG3 this summer, the league confirmed in a press release. Erving will join Gary Payton, George Gervin, Clyde Drexler, and others as BIG3 coaches. Check out our comprehensive players/coaches list for the full breakdown.
  • Former NBA wing P.J. Hairston, who was in camp with the Rockets last fall, has been suspended for five NBADL games for violating the D-League’s anti-drug policy, according to a press release. Hairston is currently playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s affiliate.
  • In other D-League news, former NBA power forward Cory Jefferson has left the Austin Spurs to play in the Philippines, tweets Chris Reichert of The Step Back. International basketball journalist David Pick adds (via Twitter) that Jefferson, who is signing with the Alaska Aces, has multiple Euroleague offers for the 2017/18 season.
  • Keith Smith of RealGM takes an early look at the market for rookie-scale extensions this coming offseason, making his predictions on which players will get new deals before they reach restricted free agency. As I outlined last week, a few of this year’s key rookie-scale extension negotiations will be complicated by major injuries.

NBA D-League Affiliate Players For 2016/17

Throughout the offseason, and in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams before the season can be designated as affiliate players and assigned to their D-League squads.

The players have some say in the decision — if they’d prefer to sign with a team overseas, or if they get an opportunity with another NBA club, they’re free to turn down their team’s request to have them play in the D-League. Most NBA and international teams have fairly set rosters by late October though, so having the opportunity to continue playing in the same system is appealing to many of those preseason cuts. Especially since they’ll maintain NBA free agency while they play in the D-League.

There are a few other rules related to D-League affiliate players. A player whose returning rights are held by a D-League team can’t be an affiliate player for another club, which is why undrafted free agents from the current year are commonly signed and assigned. Additionally, an affiliate player must have signed with his team during the current league year, which explains why we often see players signed and quickly waived in the days leading up to the regular season. And, of course, not every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, so clubs like the Hawks, Nuggets, or Clippers have no place to send affiliate players.

With all that in mind, here are the NBA D-League affiliate players to start the 2016/17 season:

Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)

Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)

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Rockets Waive Gary Payton II, P.J. Hairston

The Rockets are trimming their roster to 15 players in advance of today’s cutdown deadline, and have made three moves so far, according to various reports. Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets that the team has waived rookie guard Gary Payton II, while Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News tweets that camp invitees P.J. Hairston and Le’Bryan Nash have also been cut.

Hairston and Nash are likely ticketed for the Rockets’ D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, having been on non-guaranteed contracts. Payton could also ultimately land in Rio Grande, but his case isn’t quite as clear, since he had been on a guaranteed salary for 2016/17, giving him a little more flexibility for his next move.

With Payton, Hairston, and Nash out of the mix for a roster spots, the Rockets are now carrying 16 players, and will need to make one more cut. Tyler Ennis, recently acquired in a trade with Milwaukee, is probably safe, which would leave Bobby Brown and Kyle Wiltjer battling for the 15th and final roster spot. Neither player has a fully guaranteed deal, but Wiltjer received a sizable partial guarantee of $275K from Houston.

The Rockets figure to announce their final cut – and confirm their other moves – in a press release later today.

Western Notes: Powell, Hairston, Payne

Mavs big man Dwight Powell, who inked a four-year, $37MM deal to remain in Dallas this offseason, will be counted on to play center more this season as well as to expand his shooting range to help stretch defenses, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. “The 3-point shot is a natural progression,” coach Rick Carlisle said regarding his expectations for Powell. “We’ve worked extremely hard with him on it. And exhibition season is a great opportunity to [work on it]. He’s a two-position player who gives us flexibility because he can switch and move his feet and stay in front of little guys, too. He’s a player at four and five that is starting to really define our game, the ability to play big and small, to some degree.” The 25-year-old is a career 18.5% shooter from beyond the arc, connecting on just 5 of his 27 attempts.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Rocketsdeal with P.J. Hairston is non-guaranteed and will pay him $980,431 for 2016/17, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter).
  • Thunder coach Billy Donovan is taking a positive approach to Cameron Payne‘s broken foot that will keep him out of action indefinitely, believing that the missed time won’t necessarily impede the second year player’s development, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. “I think any player, when they get back, it’s just getting into that rhythm of being able to play and that comfort and getting back in shape,” Donovan said. “So, I think once he gets back to that point — then I think that there may be this opportunity for him — sitting out could be the best thing for his growth. Sometimes, you get a chance to grow when you’re not playing.
  • With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin able to opt out of their deals and become unrestricted free agents next summer, the Clippers will have some decisions to make regarding their futures in Los Angeles. Based on owner Steve Ballmer’s track record and the word of team sources, the franchise will pay whatever it takes to retain both players, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com writes. The scribe adds that both players have deep business and personal ties to the area, which increases the likelihood they will re-sign with the Clippers. Shelburne also notes that the only way the team would net a decent return if it decided to trade one of the duo this season, would be if Paul/Griffin would agree to waive their player option for 2017/18. With the cap set to jump to over $100MM next summer, there is no logical reason for either player to agree to that stipulation, Shelburne opines.

Rockets Sign P.J. Hairston

SEPTEMBER 30th: The signing is official, the team announced.

SEPTEMBER 29th: P.J. Hairston will join the Rockets on a training camp deal, Adrian Wojnarowksi of The Vertical tweets. Houston will hold his D-League rights, Wojnarowski adds.

A 2014 first-round pick, the 6’6” small forward played for both the Grizzlies and Hornets last season. He was acquired by the Grizzlies in a deadline deal in which guard Courtney Lee landed in Charlotte.

He started half of the 18 games he played for Memphis last season, averaging 6.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20.8 minutes. He started 43 of the 48 games he played for Charlotte, averaging 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes. Hairston has shot just 34.3% from the field in 111 career game.

Hairston recently worked out for the Nets and Pacers before the Rockets offered him a deal. He also attended the Lakers’ mini-camp for free agents in August.

Pacers Notes: George, Hairston, Turner

Paul George officially became eligible for a new contract extension on Sunday, and as I explained last week, there are multiple pros and cons to consider as he decides whether or not to re-up with the Pacers this year. For his part though, George doesn’t seem to have those pros and cons weighing too heavily on his mind. Speaking to reporters today, George said he’s focused on the season and is “not even thinking about” his contract situation, per Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).

Presumably, George’s agent is thinking about a little more than his client is, so it’s not out of the question that the Pacers and their All-Star forward could reach an agreement prior to the regular season. As we wait to see whether a new deal for George is in the cards, let’s round up a few more Pacers notes…

  • According to Pacers head coach Nate McMillan, the team is heading into camp with 19 players, and three of those players will eventually end up with the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Twitter link via Taylor). Barring any surprises, Julyan Stone, Nick Zeisloft, and Alex Poythress, whose deals aren’t fully guaranteed, are the best bets to end up at Fort Wayne.
  • Free agent swingman P.J. Hairston, who recently worked out for Brooklyn, also had a workout with the Pacers, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • Myles Turner is currently in the NBA’s concussion protocol, McMillan said today (Twitter link via Taylor). However, Turner’s regular-season availability isn’t expected to be impacted. McMillan expects the young big man to join George, Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, and Thaddeus Young in the starting lineup to open the year (Twitter link via Taylor).

Nets Hold Informal Free Agent Workout

The Nets currently have 18 players under contract, including 15 with fully guaranteed deals, which means the team still has two available training camp spots it could fill. Brooklyn may be moving toward maxing out its preseason roster, holding workouts today for unrestricted free agents P.J. Hairston, Jorge Gutierrez and Kendall Marshall, NetsDaily reports. A league source told NetsDaily that the trio were at the team’s facility just to get some court time and that no decisions have been made on any of them. But, it’s also possible, even likely, that there were others present in what amounted to a last minute free agent mini-camp, NetsDaily writes.

The presence of the two point guards (Gutierrez and Marshall), could indicate that Greivis Vasquez, who is slated to back-up starter Jeremy Lin, may not be fully recovered in time for opening night from surgery to repair a bone spur, the scribe notes. This may also mean that rookie Isaiah Whitehead could be called upon to provide meaningful minutes earlier than anticipated, NetsDaily adds.

Hairston, 23, appeared in 66 games last season split between the Hornets and Grizzlies, averaging 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 19.9 minutes per outing. The former No. 26 overall pick’s shooting line on the campaign was .355/.290/.781. Hairston reportedly worked out for the Lakers back in Au.gust.

Gutierrez, 27, made 12 appearances in 2015/16 for the Hornets, averaging 1.8 points, 0.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 5.3 minutes per night. His shooting line was .545/.000/.909. The point guard also made 22 appearances for the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s D-League affiliate, averaging 11.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 5.7APG.

Marshall’s best season as a pro came in 2013/14, when he averaged 29 minutes per game in 54 contests for the Lakers. The former UNC standout averaged a career-high 8.0 PPG and 8.8 APG that year, while shooting 39.9% on three-point attempts. Marshall has taken a step back since then, though he was off to a solid start as a backup for the Bucks in 2014/15 before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury. He made 30 appearances for the Sixers last season, logging averages of 3.7 points and 2.4 assists in 13.3 minutes per contest.

Lakers Notes: Free Agents, Young, Mozgov, Ingram

Six players with NBA experience participated in the Lakers’ free agent mini-camp today, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Attending the camp were Xavier HenryJeff Ayres, P.J. Hairston, Johnny O’Bryant, Orlando Johnson and Travis Wear. A swingman, Henry played 43 games for the Lakers during 2013/14, but was waived after just nine games the following season. Ayres is a six-year veteran center/power forward who played 16 games with the Clippers last season. Hairston, a swingman, has been in the league two years with the Hornets and Grizzlies. A power forward with two years of NBA experience, O’Bryant played 66 games for the Bucks last season but was waived in June. Johnson, a shooting guard, has four years of NBA experience and had brief stops last season with the Suns and Pelicans. Wear, a small forward, was out of the league last season after playing 61 games for the Knicks in 2014/15. “What we’re looking at here are known players,” GM Mitch Kupchak said in a video on the team’s website. “We do have roster spots open in terms of our team, but also we have roster spots open in terms of training camp.”

There’s more out of Los Angeles today:

  • It’s unlikely that Nick Young will be on the Lakers’ roster when the season starts, states Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Young recently expressed a desire to end his dispute with D’Angelo Russell, but Ding doesn’t believe he’ll get that opportunity. In a video on the Bleacher Report website, he says the Lakers have been trying to trade Young for a long time and will likely waive him if they can’t find a taker. He has two seasons and more than $11MM left on his contract. The league deadline for teams to use the stretch provision is August 31st.
  • Timofey Mozgov was able to participate in a full practice with his Russian team today after an injury scare last week, reports Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Times. Mozgov, who joined the Lakers on a four-year, $64MM deal last month, suffered a groin injury Friday and was forced to miss two tournament games. The Lakers said he reported no more pain after undergoing an MRI Saturday and has no more restrictions.
  • The Lakers held off on signing first-round pick Brandon Ingram and free agent center Tarik Black so they would have cap room for deals like the one today with Yi Jianlian, Medina tweets.

Mike Conley Expected To Miss Rest Of Season

Mike Conley is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs because of his sore left Achilles tendon, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. The same fate appears to be true for Brandan Wright and Jordan Adams, based on the answer coach Dave Joerger gave when asked the status of all three and P.J. Hairston, as Tillery relays. Joerger said only that he thinks Hairston will return to play.

Doctors determined that it would be in Conley’s best interest to sit out until next season after examining him last week, as Tillery details. The Grizzlies and Conley are exercising caution amid fear that playing with the injury would lead to a torn Achilles, Tillery writes. Conley, who hasn’t played since March 6th, is headed into free agency this summer, when he figures to be one of the most sought-after players available and the top point guard on the market.

Wright is in the first season of a three-year contract but has appeared in only 12 games for the Grizzlies because of injury. Conflicting reports early last month surrounded his timetable for recovery from a sprained MCL in his right knee, but according to Tillery, he was never expected to return in the regular season, with only the playoffs a possibility. Postseason play now also appears out of the question. Tillery hears he suffered a Grade II sprain, not a Grade I, as previously reported.

The Grizzlies have been reluctant to give insight on the health of Adams, as Tillery chronicles. The second-year shooting guard has been out since January because of right knee surgery, and the time of his expected return has never been clear.

Hairston hasn’t played since March 15th with what’s generally been listed as a left groin strain, though Tillery refers to it as a hamstring injury. In any case, he ran sprints as part of a workout Sunday, according to Tillery, so his health is a bright spot for the Grizzlies, who’ve used an all-time NBA record 28 players this season as injuries have decimated their lineup.

Memphis can’t receive a disabled player exception, and while the team is carrying two extra roster spots via hardship, it doesn’t seem likely the NBA will allow that to continue into the playoffs, as Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal wrote earlier today. The Grizzlies aren’t yet assured of a playoff berth, and though they’re in fifth place and would otherwise seem a safe bet for the postseason, they lead the ninth-place Rockets by only two games in the loss column. The regular season ends a week from Wednesday.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Anderson, Duncan

Two moves the Mavericks made last summer are paying off in the stretch run, with free agent signee J.J. Barea and Justin Anderson, the 21st pick in the 2015 draft, delivering in prominent roles of late, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com examines. The NBA just named Barea the Western Conference Player of the Week. “Barea’s been here before,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s been heavily relied upon, and he’s had to fill in in big situations. So he knows what this is about. Anderson has learned gradually, and his teammates have been a big part of his development. He’s been an attentive learner, and he’s a really big part of what we’re doing right now.”

See more from the Southwest Division:

  • San Antonio’s success this year has come at a tangible cost, and part of that is a $750K bonus that Tim Duncan earned when the Spurs won their 62nd game of the season last week against Memphis, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. It means San Antonio is in line for an extra $1.5MM in projected tax penalties, which go on top of the $750K the Spurs have to shell out to Duncan. The win also inflated the cap figure for Duncan’s player option for next season to $6,393,750, since the league considers it likely he’d trigger the bonus against next season.
  • The Grizzlies appear to be exploring the feasibility of carrying more than 15 players on their playoff roster, though it seems unlikely the NBA would allow it, writes Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal in his Pick-and-Pop column. Memphis is at 17 players, including Xavier Munford, whose second 10-day contract runs out after Tuesday’s game. His minutes and production have increased, and he’s making a case for a deal that would keep him around for the rest of the season and the playoffs, as Herrington details. Such a move would likely necessitate offloading someone already signed through season’s end, and Herrington speculates that Ryan Hollins and P.J. Hairston are candidates to be cut.
  • A freewheeling offense and a lack of emphasis on defense provide the right environment for Michael Beasley to succeed with the Rockets, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The former No. 2 pick has put up strong numbers since Houston signed him a month ago, having averaged 14.1 points in just 19.8 minutes per game across 15 appearances.