Stefan Jankovic

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)

Read more

Heat Sign Vashil Fernandez, Cut Stefan Jankovic

The Heat have tweaked the back of their roster slightly, announcing today in a press release that they’ve cut Stefan Jankovic and replaced him with newly-signed center Vashil Fernandez. Jankovic will become a free agent if and when he clears waivers, and will likely end up with Miami’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Fernandez, meanwhile, went undrafted this June after spending his four-year college career at Valparaiso. The 6’10” big man averaged just 5.6 PPG during his senior season, but also chipped in 7.3 RPG and 3.3 BPG over the course of 36 games.

Jankovic had a $100K guarantee on his deal with Miami, so the Heat have a vested interest in continuing to develop him in the D-League. Another NBA team could claim him off waivers or sign him as a free agent, but they’d have to keep him on their 15-man roster to start the season in order to get his D-League rights.

While details of Fernandez’s deal aren’t yet known, a modest guarantee – if that – on a minimum-salary contract is a safe bet. Like Jankovic, Fernandez likely won’t make Miami’s regular-season roster. In fact, the two players could end up being teammates in Sioux Falls at some point this season.

Heat Notes: Bosh, D-League, Winslow, Weber

Discussions between the Heat and Chris Bosh remain focused on the team’s comfort level with the All-Star big man taking new blood thinners, says Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. According to Jackson, those thinners would be out of Bosh’s system within eight hours or so, and the Heat are exploring ways for him to play while taking that type of medication. Jackson recently reported that Bosh’s camp was frustrated with the way the Heat had handled the situation. However, the club is trying to work on a solution, which has led to some optimism on both sides, according to Jackson.

Here’s more on Bosh and the Heat:

  • Former Florida Panthers player Tomas Fleischmann, who deals with blood clot issues frequently, has spoken to Bosh over the phone, according to Harvey Fialkov of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter links). Fialkov notes that Bosh “picked Fleischmann’s brain” on how he might be able to stay on the court while managing those health issues, with the NHL veteran advising the NBA veteran to continue his career.
  • Within his previously-linked piece, Jackson writes that it’s tough to imagine Rodney McGruder, Stefan Jankovic, or Okaro White making Miami’s regular-season roster unless the team trades or waives veterans. However, the Heat would like to stash all three players in the D-League.
  • Jackson’s piece also features rave reviews on Justise Winslow‘s development, with one Heat staffer asserting that we’ll “see a major difference” with Winslow’s jump shot in 2016/17. The 20-year-old has been working with a shooting specialist this summer.
  • In a pair of mailbags, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel discusses Bosh’s situation, the potential Heat starter at shooting guard, and Briante Weber‘s roster spot — or possible lack thereof.

Heat Notes: Weber, Jankovic, Udrih

The Heat’s roster currently stands at 19 players, which is four over the regular season maximum. This places a number of young players on the bubble, with each of them hoping to be a member of the team when the regular season kicks off, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. The signing of Beno Udrih has made the path to a regular season spot more difficult for Briante Weber, whose contract includes a partial guarantee of $218,659, but the guard hasn’t let that discourage him, Winderman adds. “My mindset is never going change, no matter who’s in front of me, no matter how many people it is,” said Weber. “I’m just going to be me. I’m not going to change anything about how I do my things. I’m not going to try to be a different person.

Here’s more from South Beach:

  • In response to a reader question in his latest “Ask Ira” column, Winderman notes that a strong defensive guard like Weber is something the team could use, given the playing styles of the other members of Miami’s backcourt. “It is surprising that Weber could be squeezed out despite having three-eighths of his 2016/17 contract already guaranteed,” Winderman opined. “One thing the Heat have lacked for years has been a lock-down defensive point guard, one who could pick up full court and wear down an opposing ballhandler. It is not what Goran Dragic does. Not what Beno Udrih does. That’s what has made Briante so intriguing. But what we haven’t witnessed are the Heat’s private drills, and it’s possible that Josh Richardson or Tyler Johnson have turned into such defensive prospects/pests, perhaps reducing the need for a specialist at point guard such as Briante.
  • Stefan Jankovic, another member of the team who isn’t assured of a roster spot this season, was offered a chance to tryout for Serbia’s National team, but declined it because he had already made a commitment to play for the Heat’s summer league squad, Winderman tweets. Jankovic, 23, appeared in eight games this summer for Miami, averaging 7.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 13.9 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .444/.333/.786.

Southeast Notes: Jack, Magic, Cuban, Whiteside

Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack is looking forward to a “new start” in Atlanta after a torn ACL cost him most of last season, writes Mike Mazzeo of Jack, who played in just 32 games for the Nets before suffering the injury in January, signed with the Hawks two weeks ago. Jack lives in Atlanta and played at Georgia Tech, so he said the city was an obvious destination. “I was flattered that they called and wanted to take a chance on me, knowing that I’m coming off knee surgery,” he said, “but I’m willing to prove to everybody that I’m more than capable of withstanding the physical challenges of the season and just contributing to the team.” Jack continues to rehab the knee and said he plans to be fully ready by the start of the season. He is about a month away from being cleared for full five-on-five basketball.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Developing chemistry is the next challenge in Orlando after this summer’s huge turnover, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The changes started with the hiring of coach Frank Vogel and continued through a revamped roster that has just six players back from the end of last season. The most notable additions for the Magic were Serge Ibaka, who was acquired in a draft night trade, and Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green, who signed as free agents. “To me, chemistry and togetherness is something you earn, something you achieve and something you work towards by creating this culture where people like to come to work and people are playing for each other,” Vogel said. “You talk about selflessness and a team-first mentality. Whether we’ve been together for five years or are brand new to each other, every year you’ve got to work to achieve chemistry.”
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who lost DeAndre Jordan to a change of heart in free agency last summer, said he never tried to persuade Heat center Hassan Whiteside to reconsider before this year’s moratorium was lifted, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside was Dallas’ top target in free agency, but he decided rather quickly to stay in Miami. “Never crossed our mind,” Cuban said in an interview with Dallas radio station 105.3-FM. “… We were happy with the direction we were going in and we had made our pitch to Hassan, but we didn’t really think he was going to leave and we didn’t go back to him and even bring it up.”
  • Offseason signings have left the Heat with 11 players who are ineligible to be traded before December 15th, Winderman notes in the same piece. In addition to Whiteside, they are Wayne Ellington, Udonis HaslemStefan Jankovic, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Willie Reed, Dion WaitersOkaro White and Derrick Williams.

Heat Notes: Wade, Ellington, McGruder

On Saturday, we rounded up several of the comments made by Pat Riley during a press conference, including his thoughts on Dwyane Wade‘s departure, the team’s unsuccessful pitch to Kevin Durant, and Chris Bosh‘s uncertain future. During that session, Riley also addressed whether or not the Heat had any interest in Al Horford, admitting the team eliminated the free agent big man from consideration very early in free agency.

“It’s not out of a lack of respect for him, it’s that at 12:01 am, I came to an agreement with Hassan,” the Heat president said, per Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. “I don’t care if Dallas came in after us, we had Hassan. Once we got Hassan, I didn’t want to string along anybody else. … We like Al, we love Joakim Noah. Everybody that was at the top – the DeRozans, the Beals, the Batums, Howard, Horford – all those guys, their deals were done. Horford is going to really help Boston, I think. But we didn’t really push on that one.”

Here’s more out of South Beach:

  • Riley said on Saturday that the Heat don’t plan to use their $2.9MM room exception this summer, but that doesn’t mean it will go unused for the entire league year. As Anthony Chiang of The Palm Beach Post writes, the club intends to use it in February or March if a noteworthy veteran free agent becomes available, like Joe Johnson did last season.
  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel looks back at the Wade/Riley situation, noting that the crux of the issue between the two sides involved Riley’s preference to go season-by-season for Wade’s next few years. The longtime Heat star wanted a longer-term commitment from the franchise.
  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has provided several salary-related updates on recent signings by the Heat. As Pincus details, Wayne Ellington‘s second-year salary ($6.27MM) is non-guaranteed until the first day after 2017’s July moratorium. Additionally, Stefan Jankovic and Okaro White got similar two-year, minimum-salary deals from the club, while Rodney McGruder got a three-year contract worth the minimum.
  • Jankovic, White, and McGruder all start with $100K guarantees, but each player has different deadlines for when more of their salaries become guaranteed, per Pincus. McGruder has four upcoming guarantee dates for his 2016/17 salary, then has multiple guarantee dates for his 2017/18 salary as well.

Heat Sign Stefan Jankovic

The Heat continue to fill out their preseason roster, announcing that they have signed unrestricted free agent forward Stefan Jankovic. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is more than likely a minimum salary arrangement.

Jankovic went undrafted out of the University of Hawaii this year and is currently playing on Miami’s Summer League squad in Las Vegas where he has appeared in two games, notching a total of eight points, three assists and two rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

The 22-year-old was named the Big West Player of the Year this past season after averaging 15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.2 assists in 24.7 minutes of action over 33 games. Jankovic shot 54.3% from the floor overall, 39.3 % from three-point range and 77.2% from the foul line.

Central Notes: LeBron, Pistons, Bucks, Draft

After leading the Cavaliers to a historic NBA Finals comeback, and the first championship in franchise history, LeBron James likely won’t be attempting to lead Team USA to Olympic gold later this summer. According to Chris Mannix of The Vertical, the Finals MVP is leaning toward not participating in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. As Mannix details, James has yet to inform USA Basketball of his decision, one way or the other. However, team officials are operating under the expectation that the 31-year-old superstar is unlikely to play in Rio.

Here are a few more updates from out of the Central division:

  • The Pistons‘ pre-draft workout today, highlighted by Ivica Zubac, also featured five other players, according to David Mayo of MLive (Twitter link). The other participants were Nikola Jovanovic (USC), Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Elgin Cook (Oregon), and Brannen Greene (Kansas).
  • The Bucks also worked out several players today, conducting an individual workout for Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis and a group session for six other prospects. As announced in a press release, those six players were Matt Costello (Michigan State), Isaiah Cousins (Oklahoma), Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame), Gary Payton II (Oregon State), Diamond Stone (Maryland), and Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall).
  • The Bucks formally broke ground on their new downtown Milwaukee arena over the weekend, according to a report from Genaro C. Armas of The Associated Press. The project is expected to cost approximately $524MM, and the club is expected to begin playing games in the new building at the start of the 2018/19 season.

Pacific Notes: Clarkson, Cousins, Luwawu

Lakers combo guard Jordan Clarkson, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, reiterated his desire to remain in Los Angeles for the long-term and expressed his excitement at the prospect of playing for new head coach Luke Walton, Shahan Ahmed of relays. “With the Warriors, the biggest thing is ball movement,” Clarkson said. “Those guys are making the ball pop. Everyone is getting open shots, setting good screens. They set a lot of guard to guard screens, take advantage of switches. That style of play, I think it fits us well. We got a lot of guys that can put the ball on the floor and make plays for each other, and at the same time being able to play in a system where ball movement is the emphasis.

Here’s the latest out of the Pacific Division:

  • Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said that he is optimistic about the team’s direction under new coach Dave Joerger, adding that he is looking forward to less drama next season, Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 tweets.
  • The Clippers are parting ways with assistant coach for player development Dave Severns, Dan Woike of The Orange County Register relays (via Twitter).
  • French combo guard Timothe Luwawu has a workout scheduled with the Suns this weekend, international journalist David Pick tweets.
  • The Kings will hold a group workout on Friday and the attendees will include Ryan Anderson (Arizona), Robert Brown (UAB), Tyler Harris (Auburn), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Retin Obasohan (Alabama) and Jamari Traylor (Kansas), the team announced.

Sixers Rumors: Saric, Draft, Dunn, Okafor

New 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo has been managing expectations when it comes to the arrival of Dario Saric in Philadelphia, suggesting that there are plenty of hurdles to clear before the possibility of Saric becoming a Sixer in 2016/17 turns into a reality.

Still, even though it might make more financial sense for Saric to wait one more year, Derek Bodner of has talked to several people with knowledge of the forward’s situation who believe it’s very likely he joins the Sixers this year. According to Bodner (Twitter links), even though Philadelphia has been noncommittal about it, people close to the situation with Efes (Saric’s team in Turkey) believe the former No. 12 overall pick will make the leap to the NBA this summer.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • With Jaylen Brown having come in for a solo workout with the 76ers on Tuesday, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if it’s a signal that the club is serious about acquiring a second top-10 pick in this year’s draft. Brown, of course, isn’t viewed as a real candidate for the No. 1 overall pick, but perhaps Philadelphia is just doing its due diligence.
  • The other players the Sixers worked out on Tuesday are potential second-round or undrafted players, as Pompey writes. Philadelphia doesn’t have a second-round pick this year, but the club will keep an eye on prospects that could be added to its D-League squad.
  • If the Sixers do acquire another top pick, one target could be Providence’s Kris Dunn. According to Jon Rothstein of (Twitter link), Philadelphia “absoutely loves” Dunn.
  • The 76ers announced in a press release that they’re hosting another pre-draft workout today, with six prospects in attendance: Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV), Bryn Forbes (Michigan State), Grandy Glaze (Grand Canyon), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Retin Obasohan (Alabama), and David Walker (Northeastern). With the exception of Zimmerman, who ranks 35th on’s big board, today’s workout group consists of players likely to go undrafted.
  • Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders spoke to Jahlil Okafor about his rookie season and about the trade rumors that have swirled around him all year.