R.J. Hunter

Hornets Cut R.J. Hunter, Nathan Mensah, Terrell Brown Jr.

The Hornets are placing three players on waivers, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer, who reports (via Twitter) that wing R.J. Hunter, center Nathan Mensah, and guard Terrell Brown Jr. have been cut.

Hunter, Mensah, and Brown were all on non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contracts and now look like good bets to join the Greensboro Swarm, Charlotte’s G League affiliate, after they clear waivers.

The Swarm recently acquired Brown’s returning rights from the Memphis Hustle and Mensah can be made an affiliate player, since he’s a rookie whose NBAGL rights weren’t previously held by another team. Hunter should also be eligible to be an affiliate player, since he hasn’t played in the G League since 2019/20, meaning his returning rights have expired.

After releasing the trio, the Hornets will have 15 players on standard contracts and three on two-way deals. No additional moves would be required to set their roster for the regular season, though that doesn’t necessarily mean Charlotte won’t make any more changes before Monday’s cut-down deadline.

Hornets Sign Edmond Sumner, R.J. Hunter To One-Year Contracts

5:18pm: Sumner and R.J. Hunter, whose deal was previously reported, are officially members of the Hornets, according to a press release.

As we previously noted, the team waived three players to create roster space for Sumner, Hunter and Theo Maledon, who is back with Charlotte on a two-way deal. The Hornets are still at 21 players under contract — the offseason maximum — following the transactions.

4:12pm: The Hornets are signing free agent guard Edmond Sumner to a one-year contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Sumner will be vying for a roster spot in training camp, Wojnarowski adds.

According to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer, Sumner’s contract will be non-guaranteed (Twitter link).

Sumner, 27, is a 6’4″ combo guard who played college ball at Xavier. He holds six years of NBA experience — five with Indiana and one with Brooklyn.

The 2022/23 season represented a comeback year for Sumner, who missed all of ’21/22 with a torn Achilles tendon. He appeared in 53 games (13.9 MPG) for the Nets last season, averaging 7.1 PPG on .461/.356/.917 shooting.

The Nets waived Sumner in July before his salary for ’23/24 became fully guaranteed. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto previously reported that the Hornets were interested in adding Sumner to their roster.

The Hornets’ roster is currently full, and Theo Maledon is returning to the team on a two-way deal. That means Charlotte will have to release two players to make room for Sumner and Maledon.

Hornets Signing R.J. Hunter

Free agent shooting guard R.J. Hunter has reached an agreement with the Hornets, agent Daniel Hazan tells Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report (Twitter link). It’s a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

The 29-year-old last played in the NBA in 2018/19 when he appeared in one game with the Celtics on a two-way contract. He had short stays with a series of overseas teams since then, but sat out last season with a ruptured left patellar tendon he suffered in 2022 while playing in Australia for the Sydney Kings.

Boston selected Hunter with the 28th pick in the 2015 draft, but he was waived after just one year. He signed with the Bulls before the start of the 2016/17 season, but only got into three games before being released. He also appeared in five games with the Rockets on a two-way deal.

The addition of Hunter, along with the recent signing of Frank Ntilikina, will bring Charlotte up to 16 players on standard deals. They also have a pair of players on two-way contracts.

International Moves: Baldwin, Kilpatrick, Hunter, Liggins

Former NBA guard Wade Baldwin, who was drafted 17th overall in 2016, is poised to spend a second consecutive season in Europe, having reached an agreement with German club Bayern Munich, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

After appearing in 56 games over three seasons with the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers from 2016-19, Baldwin spent this past season with Olympiacos in Greece. He only played a part-time role for the EuroLeague club, averaging 5.5 PPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.8 RPG in 16.3 MPG (24 games).

Here are more updates on former NBA players who have agreed to – or signed – new deals overseas:

  • Veteran shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick has agreed to a deal with Tofas Bursa, the Turkish club announced in a press release. The 30-year-old hasn’t played in the NBA since he was waived by Chicago during the summer of 2018, having previously logged 157 career appearances with six teams.
  • Former first-round pick R.J. Hunter has signed a one-year contract with Turkish team Galatasaray, per a press release. The 28th overall selection in 2015, Hunter finished the 2018/19 season on a two-way contract with Boston before spending the ’19/20 campaign in Turkey and in the G League.
  • Veteran NBA journeyman DeAndre Liggins has signed with the London Lions of the British Basketball League for the 2020/21 season, the team announced in a press release. Liggins, who played for the Bucks and Pelicans in 2017/18, has appeared in a total of 177 NBA games with seven teams since making his debut in 2012.

And-Ones: NBPA, Felton, Crabbe, Hunter

The National Basketball Players Association is set to begin its search for a successor to current executive director Michele Roberts, the NBPA’s executive committee announced today in a press release. Roberts, who has been the union’s executive director since 2014, won’t be seeking a contract extension beyond her current deal.

“For the past six years, I have greatly enjoyed and continue to enjoy leading the NBPA and am proud of all we have been able to accomplish,” Roberts said in a statement. “When I agreed to a second contract as Executive Director, I made clear that I would not be seeking a third. The Executive Committee and I are committed to making certain my successor is thoroughly prepared to assume the position upon my departure from the NBPA and continue its sustained path for growth.”

Roberts played a key role in the negotiations on the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and the players’ union. Both sides will have the ability to opt out of the ’17 agreement after the 2022/23 season, at which time a new executive director will be leading negotiations for the NBPA’s side.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran NBA guard Raymond Felton is expected to join Jindrichuv Hradec, a team in the Czech Republic, for the end of the season, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. It’s an unusual landing spot for Felton, but he has a connection to coach Gilbert Abraham, as GM Radek Novak explained in a statement.
  • Allen Crabbe has reached a plea deal in his DUI case, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports details. The veteran swingman, who is now a free agent after being bought out by the Timberwolves, should avoid the NBA suspension that would come with a drunk-driving conviction, Feldman notes.
  • After playing in Turkey earlier this season, former first-round pick R.J. Hunter has returned stateside and is a member of the Hawks‘ G League team in College Park as he seeks an NBA comeback. Zach Koons of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story and the quotes from Hunter.

R.J. Hunter To Play In Turkey

R.J. Hunter, a former first-round pick who finished last season with the Celtics, has reached an agreement with Turk Telekom Ankara of the Turkish BSL and Basketball Champions League, relays Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Hunter got into just one NBA game after signing a two-way contract with Boston in January, but posted an 18.4/5.2/4.0 line in 44 G League games. He became an unrestricted free agent last month when the Celtics decided not to extend a qualifying offer.

Boston took Hunter with the 28th pick in the 2015 draft, but he was never able to make an impact. He played 36 games as a rookie before being waived after one season, then had brief stays with the Bulls and Rockets. He’s got a career average of 3.0 points per night in 45 games.

Theis Gets QO From Celtics; Rozier’s Expected To Be Withdrawn

5:32pm: Now that the Celtics are on track to sign Walker, the team is expected to withdraw Rozier’s QO and renounce his cap hold, making him an unrestricted free agent, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

2:56pm: The Celtics have extended a qualifying offer to Terry Rozier, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) adds that Boston has also extended a qualifying offer to Daniel Theis.

Rozier’s qualifying offer comes in at roughly $4.29MM and his cap hold will be approximately $9.15MM. Theis’ qualifying offer and cap hold are each approximately $1.82MM. Both players are restricted free agents at the moment.

The team will not need to renounce Theis in order to have max cap room for a player with Kemba Walker‘s experience. Boston will need to renounce Rozier’s rights or make another move if it is going to add Walker or another player in his max tier.

The Celtics will not tender qualifying offers to PJ Dozier, Jonathan Gibson, or R.J. Hunter, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Boston also won’t tender a qualifying offer to Brad Wanamaker, making him an unrestricted free agent, tweets Wojnarowski.

Celtics Notes: Williams, Irving, Stevens, Hunter

The Celtics are dealing with another injured center after rookie Robert Williams took a hard fall onto his back in last night’s game, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. Making his first career start because of injuries to Al Horford and Aron Baynes, Williams left the game with a back contusion in the second quarter.

“I’m guessing we’re looking at a Jaylen (Brown) time frame from this year, at least,” coach Brad Stevens said. Brown suffered a similar injury last March and missed six games. Boston has nine games left, so it’s possible that Williams won’t return until the playoffs. Jayson Tatum also fell on his back last night, but his injury appears to be less severe.

Losing Williams could affect the Celtics’ plans for their open roster spot. There was a report Friday night that they would be signing Greg Monroe to a 10-day contract, but when that didn’t happen yesterday, there were suggestions that the opening might go to Thomas Robinson, who joined the organization’s G League affiliate last week. If Williams is out for the rest of the season, that might tip the scales back in favor of Monroe.

There’s more this morning out of Boston:

  • Kyrie Irving appeared to take another swipe at his young teammates, saying the Celtics need to be “more mature down the stretch” after blowing an 18-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the Hornets, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Irving, who has been outspoken about the difficulties of being a veteran leader on a young team, also questioned Stevens’ approach to handling Kemba Walker, who scored 18 fourth quarter points to lead the comeback. “We should have probably trapped him more like every other team does in the league but we didn’t,” Irving said. “He torches us every time we play them, so it’s no surprise.”
  • Before Saturday’s meltdown, Stevens indicated rotation changes could be coming, Blakely adds in a separate story. He told his players that “toughness” will determine who plays in the postseason. “We are in evaluation stage on who’s reliable,” Stevens said. “… If you don’t have that reliability; if you don’t have that toughness. If you don’t have the ability to move on to what’s next, you don’t last very long.”
  • R.J. Hunter hasn’t taken the court for Boston since signing a two-way contract in January, but he believes he’s a mentally stronger player than when he was drafted by the team in 2015. He talks about that aspect of the game an interview tweeted by the Celtics.

Celtics Sign R.J. Hunter To Two-Way Deal

JANUARY 10: The Celtics have officially signed Hunter to a two-way contract, the team confirmed today in a press release.

JANUARY 9: The Celtics are bringing back former first-round pick R.J. Hunter on a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Hunter’s agency, Priority Sports, first announced (via Twitter) that Hunter would be returning to Boston.

Hunter, the 28th overall pick in 2015 out of Georgia State, spent just one season with the Celtics before being waived. He spent time with the Bulls in 2016/17, then signed a two-way contract with the Rockets in 2017/18. The 25-year-old was also in camp with the Hawks this past fall.

Over those few years, Hunter has been unable to carve out a regular NBA role, appearing in just 44 total games. In limited minutes (8.4 MPG), he has posted 2.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG with a .361/.282/.889 shooting line. His career G League numbers – 19.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, and .418/.350/.803 shooting – have been more impressive.

In 22 games for the Erie BayHawks this season, Hunter has averaged 22.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 2.0 SPG, earning him a two-way offer from the Celtics.

The C’s have been carrying just one two-way player (P.J. Dozier) since late November, when they waived Walt Lemon Jr., so Hunter will fill their open slot.

Celtics Notes: Irving, Hunter, Horford, Draft Picks

The Celtics wrapped up a dominant home stand on Wednesday night with a 135-108 win over Indiana, capping off a four-game stretch in which they outscored their opponents by over 20 points per game. Boston has now won seven of nine games since a home loss to Milwaukee on December 21, and Kyrie Irving points to the team meeting that took place after that game a turning point for the C’s, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com details.

“At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren’t at rock bottom, but we needed to address some s— in this locker room,” Irving said. “It’s just good to get stuff out in the air. As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team.”

It has been a somewhat inconsistent first half for the Celtics, who were viewed as the Eastern Conference frontrunners entering the season. The club played just .500 ball in its first 20 games and had a couple more bad losses after that. But as the C’s reach the midpoint of their schedule, they’re back on pace for 50+ wins, and Irving believes they’re starting to hit their stride.

“Everything we talked about at the beginning of the season, I feel like it’s translating now as we continue to get to know one another,” he said. “Meat of the season right now and you can tell that our team is just feeling really good being around each other. And it’s totally different in terms of how we feel out there. It’s just really positive. And when I don’t have to go out there and score 30 it’s cool with me. I probably won’t have to score 30 for us until we play one of the best teams in the league — or, if any — until the playoffs. So I’m happy about that.”

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • Former first-round pick R.J. Hunter, who agreed to a two-way contract with the Celtics, called it a “crazy feeling” to return to his original team two and a half years after being waived, as Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets. “R.J. wants to show the people of Boston they made the right decision when the Celtics drafted him,” agent Mark Bartelstein said, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). “He turned down all kinds of offers from overseas to make his way back to the NBA. I have so much respect for him.”
  • Al Horford, who missed time with a knee injury in December, figures to remain on a minutes restriction for the foreseeable future, writes Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. After initially looking to limit him to around 25 minutes per game, the Celtics are now willing to go up to 27-28 MPG for Horford, Snow notes.
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton explores how valuable the Celtics’ four 2019 first-round picks might end up being. Pelton believes that if Boston makes a play for Anthony Davis during the coming offseason, the team’s young players will likely be more valuable trade chips than those draft picks.