Ronnie Brewer

And-Ones: Aldemir, Brewer, Olynyk

With only seven black head coaches in this season, the league has its lowest total since opening night in 1999, when there were six, as Howard Beck points out in his investigative piece on the issue for Bleacher Report. In 2012, according to Beck’s research, the league had 14 black head coaches, an all-time high, but the number has decreased ever since. A big reason why, Beck suggests, is because NBA teams are looking to hire college coaches, foreign coaches and former video coordinators and are no longer hiring as many former players (and many former players are black).

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Furkan Aldemir‘s four-year deal with Darussafaka Dogus of Turkey is for more than $4MM, reports international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). The Sixers were reportedly likely to re-sign him if they were granted a 16th roster spot via hardship. Aldemir played for Turkey’s Galatasaray in between the time the Clippers drafted him in 2012 and last December, when the Sixers signed him after trading for his draft rights. Philadelphia waived him last month.
  • Veteran Ronnie Brewer sat out last season and did not receive any training camp invitations, but he hasn’t decided to hang it up yet and that’s why he is with the Warriors‘ D-League affiliate, Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside writes.  Brewer, 30, is a defensive specialist, but told Schlosser he is looking to be more versatile with the hopes of getting a call-up.
  • Kelly Olynyk, whom the Celtics exercised their fourth-year option on before the deadline, is blossoming into a better defensive player, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of Olynyk is averaging more steals and blocks so far than he had in his previous two seasons. Olynyk has a defensive rating of 95.2, good for seventh in the league, as Blakely points out.

Several With NBA Ties Enter D-League Draft

The NBA D-League Draft is set for today, and a whopping total of 290 players are eligible for selection during this annual event. The D-League posted the full list of eligible participants, which can be viewed here, and it contains a number of notable players with NBA ties.

The two names that immediately jump out off the list are Jimmer Fredette, who was waived by the Spurs last week, and Perry Jones III, whose fully guaranteed deal was cut loose by Boston. Fredette’s chances of catching on in the NBA appear to be dwindling rapidly, though I do expect that there is a better than average chance he will be selected No. 2 overall by Westchester, the Knicks’ D-League affiliate. If that is indeed the case, then Fredette may have a shot at catching on with the Knicks at some point during the course of the 2015/16 campaign, given New York’s lack of backcourt depth.

As for Jones, his is likely to be the first named called by Idaho, Utah’s affiliate, when the draft commences, though that is merely my speculation. Jones, a former first-rounder, hasn’t been able to get on the court consistently over the course of his three years in the league. This was partly due to the depth and talent ahead of him while with the Thunder, but his lack of a consistent outside shot and defensive limitations also held him back from carving out a place in the team’s rotation. It was a bit of a surprise to see Boston cut him loose, but Jones was the victim of a numbers crunch with the Celtics, who had 16 fully guaranteed deals on their roster heading into the October 26th deadline to cut rosters to the league maximum of 15 players.

We’ve sorted through those 290 names to pare it down to a list of all D-League draft-eligibles who were in NBA camps this year or on NBA regular season rosters in 2014/15. The last NBA team with which they were under contract is in parentheses.
*Note that since the recent camp cuts among the names listed above are entering the D-League draft, they’re not affiliate players whose D-League rights were claimed by their former NBA teams.
These are NBA veterans who don’t fit the criteria for the above list but are otherwise noteworthy:

The current order for the first round of the 2015 NBA D-League Draft is as follows:

1. Idaho
2. Westchester
3. Iowa (from Los Angeles)
4. Iowa (from Reno)
5. Delaware
6. Texas
7. Grand Rapids
8. Delaware (from Santa Cruz via Erie)
9. Iowa
10. Rio Grande Valley
11. Raptors 905
12. Rio Grande Valley (from Fort Wayne)
13. Oklahoma City
14. Sioux Falls
15. Canton
16. Austin
17. Bakersfield
18. Santa Cruz
19. Maine

And-Ones: Morris, Stephenson, D-League, Stretch

Markieff Morris didn’t have a lot to say when asked about playing apart from his brother, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Morris seemingly vacated an offseason trade demand when he arrived at Suns camp in September, nearly three months after Phoenix irked him with the trade that sent his twin to Detroit.

“It is what it is. He’s at work. I’m at work. Same thing,” Morris said.

He also expressed no surprise that Marcus Morris is off to a strong start with the Pistons, Coro notes. See more from around the league:

  • Lance Stephenson has pleasantly surprised the Clippers so far, unexpectedly winning a starting job and rewarding the team for its extra diligence during the vetting process for the trade that brought him to L.A., as USA Today’s Sam Amick details. Clippers GM Dave Wohl made 61 calls to people who know Stephenson instead of the standard 20, according to Amick. “I don’t think we’ve ever made more [background] calls for a player in my life,” Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers said before Thursday’s game. “We had to make sure, but I’ve got to tell you that I’m really excited.”
  • Cartier Martin, whom the Pistons waived last week despite a fully guaranteed salary of nearly $1.271MM, and eight-year NBA veteran Ronnie Brewer are among the players signing D-League contracts that will funnel them to Saturday’s D-League draft, league sources tell Adam Johnson of D-League Digest (Twitter links). In Martin’s case, that means the Pistons elected not to claim his D-League rights. Hornets camp cut Sam Thompson is also signing with the D-League and heading to the D-League draft, a source tells Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter link). Charlotte won’t have an affiliate until next year and thus couldn’t claim his rights.
  • The use of the stretch provision is down this year after a surge in 2014, but a Western Conference GM who spoke with Brian Windhorst of believes that over time, teams will more frequently use the mechanism to spread out the payment schedule for money owed to players. “The stretch provision was something that was really being underutilized until pretty recently. I don’t think some teams understood how it could be used as a benefit,” the GM said. “I think we’ll see it more in the future because with the salary cap going up, it will be easier to fit into your planning.”

And-Ones: Blazers, Sanders, Trade Rumors, Bulls

Jermaine O’Neal appeared poised to join the Mavs, but instead it’ll be another big man jumping aboard Dallas’ roster mid-season, as Amar’e Stoudemire has reportedly committed to inking a deal with Rick Carlise and company. While the seven-time All-Star hooking up with the Mavs is the biggest scoop of the night, we’ve got plenty more from around the league to round up below:

  • The Blazers “will not hesitate” to send a first-round pick, Thomas Robinson, and “another player” to the Nuggets in exchange for Wilson Chandler, reports Jabari Young of Portland prefers Chandler to Arron Afflalo, according to Young, but the team would be interested in adding Afflalo if Denver’s asking price on him is significantly lower than that of Chandler’s.
  • If Larry Sanders and the Bucks reach a deal on a buyout, the Cavs will be among the teams with interest in signing the 26-year-old big man, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link). Sanders hasn’t suited up for Milwaukee since December 23rd.
  • There’s “plenty of interest” around the league in Brendan Haywood‘s uniquely structured contract, Amico reports in the same tweet.
  • The Bulls are interested in adding a shooter to their roster, but they won’t move any of their big men or sacrifice a future first-rounder to do so, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Such reluctance likely means they won’t be able to land the sharpshooting Afflalo, whom the team is reportedly high on, and Johnson indicates Chicago will look to the list of players who reach buyout deals as potential targets.
  • Andre Dawkins‘ second 10-day contract with the Celtics expired last week, but Boston doesn’t intend to re-sign him for the remainder of the season, reveals Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (via Twitter).
  • While no signing is imminent, the Bulls and Ronnie Brewer have kept in close contact this season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. Chicago has one open roster spot.
  • The Wizards hope to acquire a speedy point guard to back up John Wall and a shooter to help space the floor, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports passes along in his weekly power rankings.
  • Adam Silver doesn’t believe that the draft lottery is a broken system, but he confessed that fans’ generally negative perception of it has him contemplating a new way to determine the draft order, observes Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times.

Bulls Waive Amundson, Brewer, James

The Bulls have waived Lou Amundson, Ronnie Brewer and Mike James, the team announced via press release. The move wipes their non-guaranteed salaries from Chicago’s books. All three were on minimum-salary deals to which Chicago signed them at the end of last season in the hopes they could end up helping the Bulls aggregate salaries in a trade. Instead, Chicago opens up the cap space necessary to complete their deals with Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.

The trio will hit free agency unless another team picks them up off waivers. The trio combined to play a total of three minutes for the Bulls after the team signed them, but each isn’t too far removed from a more prominent role. James finished the 2012/13 season as the starting point guard for Dallas, Brewer started 34 games for the Knicks that year, and Amundson, though long a reserve, was well-regarded enough to merit deals with three teams that season.

Eastern Notes: Hornets, Draft, Bulls

The Hornets‘ top priority this offseason is finding players who can shoot from the outside, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte GM Rich Cho said, “I think shooting is hard to find – especially mid-range shooting. You don’t see a lot of kids practicing that. Shooting is at a premium now because a lot of teams want to take threes instead of long twos, just from an efficiency standpoint. In an ideal world you want a shooter who can also really defend. But in the real world, there’s not a lot of that.”

More from the east:

  • In a separate article, Bonnell examines the Hornets‘ top-10 franchise assets, which include the presence of Al Jefferson, Coach Steve Clifford, and abundant cap space.
  • Bonnell also writes that the Hornets need frontcourt depth and a backup point guard. If the team uses a first round pick on a point guard, the names to watch, according to Bonnell, are Elfrid Payton, Zack LaVine, and Shabazz Napier. In the frontcourt, possibilities would be Aaron Gordon, Adreian Payne, or Jusuf Nurkic.
  • The Bulls first round draft choices have been a series of hits and misses, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. In the article he looks back at the 10 first rounds of the John PaxsonGar Forman era.
  • The Bulls are offering players with non-guaranteed contracts in most of their trade talks, writes Johnson in a separate article. Johnson mentions Mike James, Ronnie Brewer and Louis Amundson as the players the team has been trying to include. If some or all of them were needed to acquire Arron Afflalo, this could limit the Bulls’ preferred scenario of acquiring Carmelo Anthony via sign-and-trade discussions with the Knicks, notes Johnson.

And-Ones: Buford, Popovich, Chandler

Spurs GM R.C. Buford is “incredibly happy” in San Antonio and has no intention of leaving even as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili near retirement age, as Buford tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe (audio link; transcription via Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News). McCarney, in the intro to his transcription, notes that Gregg Popovich has backed away from his assertion a year ago that he’ll retire when Duncan does, referring to Popovich’s remark as merely a joke.

Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes:

  • On the idea that the Knicks might be focusing on the summer 2015 rather than be competitive next season, Tyson Chandler hopes that it isn’t the case: “I definitely don’t want to waste another season….I’m not into wasting seasons. Your time is too short in this league and I want to win a championship, another one” (Marc Berman of the New York Post reports). Berman adds that with his expiring contract and ability to still play at a high level, Chandler could be Phil Jackson‘s number one trading chip this summer. 
  • It appears that soon-to-be restricted free agent Gordon Hayward would like to stay with the Jazz, but he acknowledges that nothing’s certain at this point, notes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune.
  • Currently without a contract after July, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin isn’t ready to field questions about his impending future just yet, writes Falk in a separate piece. Corbin elaborated: “I don’t know if that’s a good question to ask right nowI have a lot of evaluating to do that I want to do for myself and figure out what’s my next step.” 
  • The Rockets have recalled Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan from the D-League, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Melvin Ely‘s contract with the Pelicans runs through next season with non-guaranteed salary, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports, writing for the Score. The ninth-year veteran’s minimum salary he’d get makes him a trade chip in the same manner that Scotty Hopson is for the Cavs, but Ely comes much more cheaply, as Deeks points out.
  • Deeks also reports that the Bulls’ deal with Louis Amundsonlike teammates Ronnie Brewer and Mike James, covers next season with non-guaranteed salary.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

Central Rumors: Brewer, James, Cavs, Sanders

The Bulls have made four roster moves in the past week, waiving Erik Murphy and signing Ronnie Brewer, Mike James and Louis Amundson. Still, more meaningful changes seem likely to come from elsewhere in the Central Division, where the Pistons and Cavaliers will probably be searching for new top basketball executives in the weeks ahead. Here’s the latest from around the Central:

  • Chicago’s contracts for Brewer and James extend through next season with non-guaranteed salary, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Johnson suggests the Bulls structured those deals with offseason trades in mind, though it’s worth noting that neither is eligible to be traded until after the July Moratorium.
  • Cavs interim GM David Griffin believes in the backcourt pairing of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiterstweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who thinks it’s unlikely that either will be traded if Griffin is formally named GM.
  • It was clear that the Bucks had no intention of bringing Larry Sanders back to play this season, writes SB Nation’s Tom Ziller. So, the revelation that the team and the NBA deemed him medically ready, allowing him to begin serving his suspension this year instead of next, shines a light on the league’s tanking problem, Ziller opines.

Bulls Sign Ronnie Brewer

The Bulls have signed Ronnie Brewer for the rest of the season, the team announced via press release. He and Mike James have been the leading contenders to fill the roster spot vacated when the team waived Erik Murphy last week, though over the weekend it appeared as though the addition of James was somewhat more likely. There’s a decent chance the team signs both, especially now that the Jazz have claimed Murphy off waivers, taking his cap hit off Chicago’s books and making it less likely the team would have to pay the luxury tax if Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah trigger bonuses this year.

Brewer, 29, worked out for the team at its practice facility Thursday, but the Bulls are quite familiar with him, having employed him as a key reserve on a pair of teams that finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference in 2010/11 and 2011/12. The swingman left for the Knicks last season and started 34 games in New York, which dealt him to Oklahoma City at the 2013 trade deadline. His minutes declined sharply from that point on, and the Rockets waived his minimum-salary contract shortly after the trade deadline this year.

The Bulls are back up to the NBA-minimum 13 players with the addition of the Creative Artists Agency client. The release simply says the contract covers the remainder of the season, so presumably there isn’t a non-guaranteed year tacked on for 2014/15.

Latest On Potential Bulls Signings

The Bulls plan to add Mike James, and Ronnie Brewer is a likely addition as well, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Johnson adds that a third player could be signed after James and Brewer, a possibility we reported when Erik Murphy was first waived. As we noted earlier today, the Bulls should avoid the the luxury tax regardless of whether Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson earn their performance bonuses, thanks to the Jazz claiming Murphy off of waivers. Murphy’s salary was greater than multiple late-season pro-rated contracts will likely add up to.

James would meet the same need that he filled when playing on a 10-day contract with Chicago earlier this season: backup point guard. Brewer, however, could move in front of Tony Snell in the Bulls’ wing rotation. Snell’s minutes have dried up recently, and Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times thinks the Bulls interest in Brewer is directly tied to coach Tom Thibodeau’s frustration with Snell.

Luol Deng was traded earlier in the season as merely a cost-cutting move, and there has been much speculation about the Bulls plans for this season and beyond ever since. Johnson notes that the team has had contingency plans in place to avoid the repeater tax even if they exceeded the tax cap this season, and it appears they’ve reached a level of flexibility to be more active. After going much of the season below the league minimum for rostered players, the Bulls are adding potential rotation pieces in a flourish. If the newest signings occur, they will combine with recent addition Jimmer Fredette to give the Bulls at or near the max of 15 players under contract.