Skal Labissiere

And-Ones: Brantley, Crawford, Ware, Labissiere

Free agent forward Jarrell Brantley has been acquired by the Greensboro Swarm, G League affiliate of the Hornets, Hoops Rumors has learned. Brantley recently left Russian club UNICS Kazan following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

As Ian Begley of notes (via Twitter), Brantley was sued by UNICS Kazan for $250K after leaving. He received a letter of clearance after a maximum six-day window, allowing him to sign in the G League. The state of the lawsuit is unclear, Begley adds.

Brantley played 37 games with the Jazz between 2019-21. The 25-year-old was drafted No. 50 overall in 2019 after spending four seasons at the College of Charleston.

There’s more around the basketball world tonight:

  • The Long Island Nets have re-acquired guard Jordan Crawford from the G League’s available player pool, the team announced in a press release. Crawford, who will replace Tyrone Wallace while Wallace plays for the Pelicans on 10-day deal, holds 281 games of NBA experience with five teams.
  • Free agent guard Casper Ware has signed with CSKA Moscow, the team announced (Twitter link). Ware played nine games with the Sixers during the 2013/14 campaign.
  • Former NBA big man Skal Labissiere has signed in Puerto Rico with Cangrejeros de Santurce, as relayed by Sportando. The 6’10” Kentucky product was drafted No. 28 overall in 2016. He last played in the NBA during the 2019/20 campaign, appearing in 33 games with Portland.

Labissiere, Knight Among Players Eligible For G League Draft

NBA veterans Skal Labissiere and Brandon Knight are among a list of 101 players eligible for the 2021 G League Draft, which takes place tomorrow, October 23.

Some other interesting names on the list, with varying amounts of NBA experience, include Lance Stephenson, Nate Darling, Trevon Duval, Shamorie Ponds, Karim Mane, and Joe Young.

Marc Stein of Substack tweets that Stephenson might land with the Nuggets‘ affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold.

Knight was signed and waived last week (Knicks), as was Darling (Clippers), so perhaps there were procedural issues with their affiliate rights, similar to what happened with the Hornets and LiAngelo Ball.

The full G League Draft order can be found here.

Heat Notes: Dedmon, Stephenson, Iguodala, Portis

When the Heat make the anticipated Dewayne Dedmon signing official, his contract will cover the rest of the season rather than just 10 days, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami opted for a longer deal, according to Jackson, because it doesn’t expect anyone better to become available on the buyout market. Players who have appeared in at least one NBA game this season must be waived by Friday to be eligible for the postseason with their new team.

The Heat were looking for a big man who would accept not playing every game, which ruled out DeMarcus Cousins, who has since joined the Clippers on a 10-day deal. Jackson lists Ian Mahinmi, Thon Maker, Dewan Hernandez, Skal Labissiere, Tyler ZellerKyle Alexander, Trey Mourning, Kyle O’Quinn, Justin Patton and Anthony Tolliver as some of the names Miami considered before reaching an agreement with Dedmon.

In 2019, Dedmon signed a three-year, $40MM contract with the Kings, but he quickly lost his job as starting center. Poor three-point shooting is a major reason that Sacramento soured on him, Jackson adds, and he was eventually traded to the Hawks and then the Pistons, who released him in November.

The Heat face a deadline to add a 14th player to their roster by Thursday. If Dedmon signs then, his contract will carry a cap hit in the neighborhood of $433K. Miami would be about $314K below the tax line and could add a 15th player later this season without going into luxury tax territory.

There’s more on the Heat, all from Jackson:

  • As Miami considered roster additions, the organization was made aware that Lance Stephenson and Greg Monroe are both hoping to return to the NBA. The Heat got good reports on Stephenson, but they don’t need another wing player and they were looking for more immediate help than Monroe was likely to provide.
  • Some Grizzlies players are still upset about Andre Iguodala‘s decision to remain inactive until Memphis found somewhere to trade him last season. Jackson notes that several Grizzlies felt they had something to prove when they faced Iguodala Monday night.
  • Jackson proposes Bucks forward Bobby Portis as a potential free agent target for Miami this summer. Portis has a $3.8MM player option for next season that he’s expected to decline, and Jackson suggests he could get a $10MM mid-level exception offer as the start of a multiyear deal.

New York Notes: McGee, Noel, Toppin, G League, Nets’ D

The Nets were granted on Friday a disabled player exception worth approximately $5.727MM due to Spencer Dinwiddie‘s season-ending injury. With that in mind, HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan takes a look at some of the frontcourt players Brooklyn could pursue in a trade that would fit the salary slot. JaVale McGee, Nerlens Noel, Ed Davis and Bismack Biyombo are among those options for the Nets, who could use another veteran in the middle.

We have more on the teams in New York City:

  • The Knicks had concerns about Tyrese Haliburton‘s slender build when they passed on the point guard in favor of Obi Toppin during the draft lottery, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Haliburton has made an immediate impact with the Kings, who selected him with the No. 12 pick. Toppin, the eighth overall selection, has played an average of 12 MPG the last four games after recovering from a calf injury.
  • The Knicks unveiled their G League roster for the Orlando “bubble” season, which is slated to begin next month. According to a team press release, forwards Louis King and Skal Labissiere and guards Myles Powell and James Young have been named affiliate players. Affiliate players remain free agents available for any of the 30 NBA teams to sign.
  • The Nets know they can’t rely on the offensive prowess of their Big Three to make the Finals, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. After giving up 147 points to the Cavaliers in a double-overtime loss, they must focus on defensive improvement. “We feel positive in that we can improve defensively; but it’s definitely got to be a priority,” coach Steve Nash said.

Knicks Release Skal Labissiere

As expected, the Knicks have waived big man Skal Labissiere after signing him earlier this week, the team announced today (via Twitter).

When word of Labissiere’s agreement with New York broke, reports indicated that the plan was for him to eventually join the Westchester Knicks in the G League. Signing him to an Exhibit 10 contract ensured that the Knicks secured his NBAGL rights and should line him up for a $50K bonus.

Labissiere, 24, played 33 games for the Trail Blazers last season, averaging 5.8 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 17.2 MPG. He suffered a knee injury in December and never suited up for Atlanta after the Hawks acquired him in a trade deadline deal. He became an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

The Knicks now have an open spot on their 20-man camp roster, clearing a path for them to sign either James Young or Andrew White, both of whom have also agreed to Exhibit 10 deals.

Knicks Add Skal Labissiere, Will Sign James Young

DECEMBER 9: The signing of Labissiere is now official, the Knicks have tweeted.

DECEMBER 7: Big man Skal Labissiere is signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Knicks, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. According to Stein, James Young is also headed to New York’s camp, apparently on a similar deal.

Labissiere and Young will receive $50K bonuses if they’re on the roster of the Knicks’ G League affiliate, Westchester, for at least 60 days.

Naturally, both former first-round picks hope they can make an even bigger impression in camp. Labissiere became an unrestricted free agent when the Hawks declined to extend a qualifying offer last month.

Labissiere, 24, played 33 games for the Trail Blazers last season, averaging 5.8 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 17.2 MPG. He suffered a knee injury in December and never suited up for Atlanta after it acquired him in a trade deadline deal.

Young, 25, was the 17th pick of the 2014 draft by Boston. He hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2017/18 season, when he made six appearances for Philadelphia. He played in Israel last season.

The Knicks already have the maximum of 20 players in camp, so they’ll have to open up roster spots to sign the duo.

Hawks Notes: Okongwu, Trade Offers, Labissiere, QOs

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk never got to see Onyeka Okongwu play in person, but he was convinced the USC center was the right choice with the No. 6 pick, according to Chris Kirschner and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Atlanta’s scouts were promoting Okongwu during the season and urged Schlenk to watch him, but that fell through when the Pac-12 Tournament was canceled.

Okongwu also didn’t work out for the Hawks because of a stress fracture in his sesamoid bone, which is located underneath his big toe. However, Schlenk knows what his new center can provide without seeing him in action.

“He’s going to be a plus rebounder defensively,” the Atlanta GM said. “He’s going to be a rim protector, and the other thing he does is he moves his feet very, very well in pick-and-roll coverages, and as you guys know, that’s extremely important for big guys to be able to guard in pick-and-rolls. Those are his strengths coming in. He’s got great instincts. Improving defensively is important for our group. The foundation of your defense is your big guy. They’re kind of the quarterback of the defense. They’re on the back line. They see everything. … That’s his strength, and that’s a very valuable strength in the NBA.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • The Hawks took a long look at Israeli forward Deni Avdija and Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton, according to Kirschner and Vecenie, but decided Okongwu’s potential was too good to pass up. They also listened to trade-down offers from the Knicks, Wizards and a few teams in the teens, but there were no prospects they especially liked in that range.
  • Atlanta now has four centers on its roster, but the front office won’t be in a hurry to unload any of them, Kirschner and Vecenie add. The Hawks traded for Clint Capela and Dewayne Dedmon last season. They also have Bruno Fernando, and John Collins plays in the middle sometimes. The addition of Okongwu means there’s no longer room on the roster for Skal Labissiere, who will not receive a qualifying offer. QOs also won’t be coming for DeAndre’ Bembry, Damian Jones and Charlie Brown Jr.
  • The Hawks aren’t worried that Okongwu’s injury will be a long-term issue, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Journal-Constitution. Their medical team was able to evaluate his condition during the pre-draft process in October and will check him again soon to see how much he has healed. “The doctors, they weren’t concerned about a long-term injury at all,” Schlenk said. “So hopefully it’s healed from when the MRI was taken probably about four weeks ago, but it’s really hard to say until we get him here and get our doctors to see him. But there was no concern of a long-term injury with it.”


Hawks’ Bembry, Labissiere, Jones To Become UFAs

The Hawks have elected not to extend qualifying offers to DeAndre’ Bembry, Skal Labissiere, Damian Jones, or Charlie Brown Jr., according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter link). As a result, all four players will be unrestricted free agents rather than restricted.

The decisions don’t come as a major surprise. Bembry was the No. 21 pick in 2016 and has spent the last four seasons in Atlanta, but didn’t have a great year in 2019/20, averaging 5.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG on .456/.231/.542 shooting in 43 games (21.3 MPG). Labissiere was said to be someone who intrigued Atlanta when he was acquired at the trade deadline, but he was unable to suit up for the Hawks due to health issues.

Jones made 55 appearances for Atlanta in 2019/20 but was unlikely to have a regular role next season with Clint Capela healthy and Onyeka Okongwu joining the Hawks in the draft. Brown, meanwhile, saw limited action in 10 games for the Hawks while on a two-way contract.

While those four players appear unlikely to return to Atlanta, Kirschner says (via Twitter) that the team is expected to guarantee Brandon Goodwin‘s minimum salary for 2020/21. Goodwin would earn a $1.7MM salary before becoming eligible for restricted free agency himself in 2021.

Skal Labissiere Interested In Hawks Reunion

Skal Labissiere has yet to suit up for the Hawks since being acquired in early February and has not seen any NBA action since December due to a knee injury. Now a participant at Atlanta’s minicamp, Labissiere has made it clear he wants to return to the Hawks next season, Sarak K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

The Hawks were not invited to the Orlando campus once the 2019/20 season resumed given their poor record. However, Labissiere has been a frequent presence around the team, demonstrating his progress in recovering from his injury.

“Just to show that I’m ready to go, I can play,” Labissere said. “I’m ready to play. I’ve been out since December, and I’ve been doing rehab with the team that whole time, so for me I just wanted to show that ‘Hey, I’m ready to go,’ I’m ready to play, and I feel good. I just want to play basketball. It’s been a long time since I’ve played.”

Labissiere, 24, played in just 33 games this past season, averaging 5.8 PPG and 5.1 RPG for the Trail Blazers before he was traded. The 28th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft is not just the Hawks’ only pending free agent to participate in minicamp — he hopes the work he has put in with the team’s staff has earned him an opportunity to return for the 2020/21 campaign.

“I would love to be here,” Labissiere said. “Obviously, if I was not interested in being here I would not be here doing training camp, I could have been just working out somewhere else and not in the bubble setting. I’m very interested in being here, and we’ll see.”

Hawks Notes: Offseason, Depth, Capela, Draft, Cap

The Hawks are among the teams pushing the NBA to come up with a plan to ensure that the eight clubs not invited to Orlando this summer get some sort of offseason alternative to keep their players active and at their facility. Speaking on Tuesday to reporters, including Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, general manager Travis Schlenk stressed that having those players around for practices, scrimmages, and possibly exhibition games is especially important for a young team like Atlanta.

“One of the most important things for our guys is to continue to play,” Schlenk said. “Just think about last year. De’Andre Hunter, in Summer League, only played about a game-and-a-half before he got hurt. Now he was able to get a ton of minutes, which was great, but Cam (Reddish) was on a minutes restriction for the first half of the season and didn’t play in Summer League. We all saw the growth he had when he was able to play.

“Now if we go another summer where those guys aren’t on the court and able to play — same with Bruno (Fernando) — he didn’t get the minutes those other guys had. Summer League obviously isn’t going to happen this year. All of those things are important to our young guys as they continue to get better.”

As Kirschner observes, even after the NBA determines what to do with its eight non-Orlando teams, the Hawks may not get the opportunity to take a closer look at certain players they’d like to evaluate. Skal Labissiere, for instance, was acquired at the trade deadline but didn’t suit up for Atlanta due to a knee injury. According to Kirschner, Schlenk said on Tuesday that Labissiere has ramped up his workouts and and probably would have been able to play if the Hawks had been part of a resumed season.

However, with the former first-round pick facing potential restricted free agency this offseason, it probably wouldn’t make sense for him – and other FAs-to-be – to risk injury by participating in offseason scrimmages before signing a new contract.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • As relayed by Kirschner and Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), Schlenk said the club’s top priority this offseason will be adding depth. Schlenk specifically cited the wing and power forward as positions the Hawks will look to fortify. Securing a reliable backup point guard will also be important, per Schlenk, who noted that Jeff Teague is one option for that spot.
  • Schlenk provided a positive update on Clint Capela‘s health, according to Spencer (Twitter link): His foot’s feeling fine. He’s got his strength back. If we’re able to have some sort of competition this summer, whether it’s official or unofficial scrimmages, it would be great to get him on the court with our guys and just start that process.” Capela was acquired in a four-team deadline deal, but has yet to make his debut as a Hawk.
  • According to Schlenk (via Kirschner), the Hawks have yet to interview any potential top-10 picks in this year’s draft class, but have talked to some prospects projected to be late first-round selections or second-rounders.
  • The Hawks will likely have the most cap room of any NBA team this offseason, and Schlenk has the green light to spend, but he wants to make sure the club does so responsibly. “I honestly believe the worst thing that teams can do is when they have the money and owners or people in my position feel the pressure to go out and spend it,” Schlenk said, per Kirschner. “You give out a long, big contract, and you guys have probably heard me say this, but those mistakes can really hamper your franchise. When you give out those long, big contracts, you need to make sure they’re the right guys.”