Patrick Christopher

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 Dan Nwaelele, Waive Christopher

FRIDAY, 5:58pm: The Nwaelele signing has taken place, and the Grizzlies have indeed waived Christopher, according to the RealGM transactions log. The team has yet to make any official announcement regarding either move.

THURSDAY, 8:47am: The Grizzlies will bring shooting guard Dan Nwaelele to training camp, reports Marc Stein of (Twitter link). Agent Dave Gasman confirms the deal via Twitter. The 31-year-old Nwaelele, who went undrafted out of the Air Force Academy in 2007, will replace Patrick Christopher, who won’t be with the team, according to Stein, despite having signed earlier this month. Memphis also reportedly struck a non-guaranteed deal Wednesday with Ryan Hollins, so the Grizzlies have signed contracts or verbal agreements with 19 players, not including Christopher. Fourteen of them have fully guaranteed deals.

Nwaelele has yet to appear on an NBA regular season roster, but he was with the Spurs for camp in 2013. He spent his first five post-college years serving an Air Force commitment, and he made the D-League affiliate of the Warriors at an open tryout in 2012. He returned to the Warriors D-League team after his preseason stint with the Spurs, and in 2013/14, he averaged 12.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game, with strong 41.6% three-point shooting.

Christopher was on a non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract, so Memphis isn’t eating any money as it lets him go. The swingman made his official NBA debut with the Jazz last season, but he has a history with the Grizzlies, who had him for the preseason last year but waived him prior to opening night.

Grizzlies Sign Patrick Christopher For Camp

The Grizzlies have signed former Jazz swingman Patrick Christopher to a non-guaranteed deal that covers one year at the minimum salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The team has made no official announcement, but it appears the move has indeed taken place.

Christopher joined Memphis for camp last year, too, though the team waived him prior to opening night. He saw his first official NBA action with the Jazz instead after inking in December, though Utah let him go in January before his contract became guaranteed for the season. The 27-year-old is the 18th player on the Grizzlies, who are carry 14 fully guaranteed pacts, as their roster count shows.

Christopher went undrafted in 2010 out of the University of California, Berkeley. He played for the Pistons’ summer league team that year, then spent his first three seasons in Turkey and France. He signed with the Bulls in 2013 but was waived early in training camp and wound up with the D-League’s Iowa Energy, earning All-Defensive Second Team honors for the 2013/14 season.

He faces long odds to make the regular-season roster. The Grizzlies have Courtney Lee, Vince Carter and Jordan Adams at shooting guard and veterans Jeff Green, Matt Barnes and Tony Allen at small forward.

Jazz Waive Patrick Christopher

The Jazz have waived Patrick Christopher, the team has announced. With Utah set to sign Elliot Williams to a 10-day contract, and the Jazz’s roster count at the league-maximum 15 players, the team needed to clear a spot, and Christopher appears to be the player it chose to release. Christopher’s deal was non-guaranteed, so Utah will not be on the hook for any additional salary.

Christopher, 26, spent last season in the D-League, averaging 13.6 points in 33.5 minutes per game while nailing 44.6% of his three-point shots. He averaged 15.0 points in 36.4 MPG, and made 39.0% of his attempts from behind the arc in seven D-League appearances this season.

The 6’5″ guard out of California appeared in four games (including one start) for the Jazz this season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.3 minutes.

Western Notes: Edwin, Bjelica, Christopher, Kerr

Through the first eight games of the D-League season Fuquan Edwin has averaged 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, and according to a representative for Edwin, these numbers are garnering him interest from the NBA, Chris Reichert of Ridiculous Upside writes. Edwin’s representative told Reichert, “Three teams proactively called in the last three days regarding Fuquan, and several others have inquired with preliminary interest.” Edwin was in training camp with the Spurs this year prior to being waived.

Here’s more from out west:

  • Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, whom the Wolves own the draft rights to, could be looking at making the jump to the NBA either next season, or in 2016/17, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune reports (Twitter link). The 2010 second-rounder had inked a deal with the Wasserman Media group back in September.
  • Patrick Christopher, who was recently signed by the Jazz, credits his time overseas for allowing him to pursue his dream of making it to the NBA via the D-League, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “I got some experience over there [Europe]. I was able to put a few coins away and give myself an opportunity,” Christopher said. “Because when you play in the D-League, it’s somewhat of a sacrifice. That’s why you do take that opportunity, and it’s paid off.”
  • Steve Kerr had a difficult task ahead of him in taking over as coach for Mark Jackson, who was very popular with the Warriors‘ players, Marcus Thompson II of The San Jose Mercury News writes. Kerr’s first move upon being hired was to reach out to the team’s star, Stephen Curry, who was one of Jackson’s most fervent supporters, Thompson notes. When asked how Kerr won him over, Curry said, “How he’s handled the whole situation. He understood the fragileness of that whole transition. He was never arrogant, never saying ‘I’m the best coach in the world, and I’ll take you guys to the promise land.'”
  • With Wilson Chandler off to a solid start to the season, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is finding playing time difficult to come by thus far, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. I think he’d [Gallinari] be the first one to say it’s tough for him because he’s used to playing the role that he’s always played,” coach Brian Shaw said. “The guy was out 19 months. He understands that if Wilson wasn’t playing as well as he is playing at that position, then maybe I’d let him out there and try to play through it a little bit more. But Wilson is playing well, and he’s not, so that’s why Wilson is out there.”

Western Notes: Christopher, D-League, Mavs

One area that the Jazz are always looking to improve upon is their outside shooting, which is the primary reason that Utah signed Patrick Christopher earlier today, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. “That’s an area we want to continually upgrade at the guards, wings, bigs,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “If you can shoot the ball, there’s a good chance we’re going to take a look at you. He’s [Christopher] someone that [coach Quin Snyder] knew from his overseas experience. There was some familiarity there. He made it to our open gym and mini camp so there was some corporate knowledge. And we notched that he’s been shooting the ball very consistently over the last three years.”

Here’s more from out west:

  • Christopher’s deal with the Jazz is a two-year, non-guaranteed minimum salary arrangement, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The player is scheduled to make $379,010 for this season, and $845,059 during the 2015/16 campaign, Pincus adds.
  • The Thunder have re-assigned Mitch McGary and Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Jerrett’s fourth trip of the season to the D-League, and McGary’s third.
  • Tuesday night’s loss to Memphis exposed the Mavs‘ most glaring weakness, which is a lack of interior depth behind Tyson Chandler, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. While no move to add another big man is imminent, Dallas is considering its options, notes Sefko.
  • If the Wolves change their focus this season from retooling to rebuilding, it would open up permanent playing time for the team’s younger players like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, which could benefit Minnesota’s outlook for next season, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes.

Jazz Sign Patrick Christopher

1:13pm: The deal is official, the team announced. Utah didn’t cut anyone, so the roster is now at 15 players.

8:52am: The Jazz are set to bring aboard Grizzlies camp cut Patrick Christopher, reports Marc Stein of (Twitter link). Utah has an open roster spot, so no corresponding move is required. It’s unclear just what sort of terms the shooting guard will see on his deal, or whether any salary will be guaranteed, but it’s likely a prorated minimum-salary arrangement, even though the Jazz have the capacity to give more.

Christopher, 26, has been with the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate since shortly after Memphis waived his non-guaranteed NBA contract at the end of the preseason. It was the second straight year that Christopher had signed a deal for camp with an NBA team, though Chicago cut him on just the second day of camp in 2013 after having used his presence on the roster to facilitate the addition of others on Exhibit 9 contracts that limited the team’s liability in case of injury. He spent last season in the D-League, racking up 13.6 points in 33.5 minutes per game on sizzling 44.6% three-point shooting. Christopher has made only 39.0% of his attempts from behind the arc in a limited sample size of seven D-League games this year, but his scoring is up to 15.0 PPG in increased playing time of 36.4 MPG. He was a D-League All-Defensive Second Team selection last year, and before going undrafted in 2010, he was twice an All-Pac-10 First Team selection at the University of California.

The Jazz have only 12 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster. Toure’ Murry, who hasn’t played for Utah yet this season, has already earned more salary than his $250K partial guarantee, so he’s on a de facto non-guaranteed contract. It’s conceivable that the Jazz would let him go to sign Christopher and maintain an open roster spot, though there’s no indication that they’ll actually do so. Joe Ingles has a non-guaranteed pact, but he’s averaging 17.6 minutes per game as part of the Jazz’s rotation.

Patrick Christopher Waived By Grizzlies

Guard Patrick Christopher has been waived by the Grizzlies, the team announced in a press release. It’s unclear if Memphis intends to send Christopher to the D-league, as teams can retain the rights for up to four players. The Grizzlies preseason roster now sits at 14 players.

The Grizzlies won’t be on the hook for any money because Christopher’s minimum-salary contract was non-guaranteed. The 26-year-old was considered a long shot to make the regular season roster, so the move isn’t surprising.

The 6’5″ Christopher played college ball at  California, but has bounced around after going unselected in the 2010 NBA draft. He spent last season with the Iowa Energy of the D-league, averaging 13.6 points and 4.0 rebounds. He has also played professionally in Turkey and France.

Western Notes: Blazers, Covington, Jackson

Thunder GM Sam Presti said the team wants Reggie Jackson to remain a piece of the franchise’s puzzle, Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press writes. “I think we’ve been really clear about his importance to the team, that we see him as a core member of the team, as a core member of the organization,” Presti said. “We’re going to put our best put forward, and I believe he will as well. We’ll see if we can figure something out.” If he and the Thunder don’t sign an extension by the end of next week, Jackson can become a restricted free agent next summer and could command big money on the open market. It remains to be seen if Oklahoma City would match any offer sheets that Jackson inks with other teams. The Thunder’s cap commitment for the 2015/16 campaign is already approximately $63.6MM.

Here’s more from out west:

  • The Rockets still haven’t waived Robert Covington, despite the player not being with the team for the last two weeks, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Covington is currently weighing some guaranteed offers to play in Europe, Feigen notes.
  • The remaining players on the Grizzlies‘ preseason roster all fit the team’s system rather well, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes in a subscription-only piece. This includes Patrick Christopher and Kalin Lucas, the team’s lone remaining players in camp whose deals aren’t fully guaranteed, notes Tillery. Both players are likely headed to the team’s D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, according to Tillery.
  • The Blazers still have decisions to make regarding their 2015/16 team options for C.J. McCollum, Thomas Robinson, and Meyers Leonard. Portland has until the October 31st deadline to exercise those options or the trio will become unrestricted free agents next summer. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian examines what the Blazers might do regarding each player’s contract.
  • Donald Sterling’s lawyers have begun talks with the NBA about dismissing Sterling’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the league, as Sterling attorney Maxwell Blecher revealed in a declaration filed in U.S. District Court today, reports Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. The former Clippers owner has sought more than $1 billion in damages in the suit, which became the primary thrust of his legal efforts against the league when he recently withdrew a different suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the NBA, his wife and Adam Silver.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Grizzlies Officially Sign Beasley, Five Others

The Grizzlies formally announced the signings of Michael Beasley, Patrick Christopher, Earl Clark, Luke Hancock, Kalin Lucas and Hassan Whiteside via press release. The moves had been expected for all six, since each was reported to have come to terms on a deal with the team.

All six are on non-guaranteed contracts. The Grizzlies have the capacity to give more than the rookie minimum to Chrisopher, Hancock and Lucas, but it’s likely they’ve received minimum-salary arrangements just like the veteran additions for camp.

Beasley probably has the inside track for joining the team’s 14 players on fully guaranteed pacts for opening night, though Clark plays the same positions and looms as a threat should Beasley falter.