Travis Leslie

D-League Will Hold Draft Today

Anthony Brown, who was the last player cut by the Lakers on Monday, is expected to be the top pick in today’s D-League draft. The event will get under way via teleconference at 2 p.m. Eastern, with the Erie BayHawks, Orlando’s affiliate, holding the first selection.

Brown, a 24-year-old forward, was taken in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft by the Lakers and played in 29 games during his rookie season. He was in the starting lineup 11 times and averaged 4.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per night. L.A. parted ways with Brown despite a guaranteed salary of $874,636.

Big men will be a draft priority in a guard-heavy league, writes Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, but the Santa Cruz Warriors may be tempted to use the second pick to bring back a former Warrior, 6’4″ shooting guard Travis Leslie. Johnson also projects center/power forward Will Davis of UC Irvine, center/power forward Chris Horton of Austin Peay and 7-foot center Jaleel Roberts of UNC Asheville to be taken early.

The draft has been reduced from eight rounds to six this year, and the number of eligible players has dropped from 290 to 182. Three expansion teams, the Long Island Nets, Greensboro Swarm and Windy City Bulls, will be joining the draft.

In his mock draft, Johnson lists Brown, Horton, Leslie, Davis and Roberts as the top five picks, followed by 6’7″ forward Shonn Miller of Connecticut, 6’7″ forward Jarelle Reischel of Eastern Kentucky, 6’9″ forward Markus Kennedy of Southern Methodist, 6’4″ guard Keith Hornsby of LSU and 6’3″ guard DaVonte Lacy of Washington State.

International Rumors: Andersen, Jenkins, Leslie

A lot of former NBA players looking to find their way back into the league do so via 10-day contracts this time of year, but others have decided their best options are overseas. Here’s the latest on a few noteworthy deals overseas:

  • David Andersen has signed with SIG Strasbourg of France, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The former Rockets, Raptors and Pelicans center has drawn mild NBA interest of late, but he said last week that he thought it more likely he’d head to Europe. L’Equipe first reported Andersen’s deal.
  • Charles Jenkins has signed a one-year extension with Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, tweets Djordje Matic. The 24-year-old guard spent the past two seasons in the NBA with the Warriors and Sixers before joining Red Star this past summer. It’s unclear what kind of escape clause, if any, the deal would provide for Jenkins if another NBA team comes calling.
  • Former Clippers and Jazz guard Travis Leslie has signed with BC Siauliai of Lithuania, according to the team (translation via Carchia). French club ASVEL Villeurbanne released the 23-year-old last week.

Odds & Ends: Salaries, Rondo, Hickson

The NBA’s highest paid players used to dominate the list of the top earners in team sports, but no longer. Eight Major League Baseball players have deals that give them average annual salaries within the top 10 among all athletes in North American team sports, according to Liz Mullen and David Broughton of the SportsBusiness Journal (subscription only). Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony are the other two on that list. It’s a reversal from 2000, when eight NBA players were among the top 10 on those rankings, while two baseball players took up the other spots.

“The NBA players union has failed to protect the rights of the top players in the league,” agent Arn Tellem said. “Collective bargaining has proved totally ineffectual.”

It might help matters if the National Basketball Players Association were able to fill its vacant executive director position. They missed out on another target for the post when Blazers president Larry Miller turned them down, as Chris Haynes of reported this weekend. While we wait to see who they wind up with, here’s more from the NBA:

Jazz Rumors: Offseason, Corbin, Burke, Leslie

The Jazz took a step back competitively this summer to open up playing time for their younger guys, and GM Dennis Lindsey promises Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune that the team won't reverse course.

"… We are not running away from the decisions we made," Lindsey said. "We are looking to embrace this and we will embrace it — all the challenges of being so young. I believe we have the talent and character to move forward — incrementally. We are very much looking forward to the start of the journey with this young core group."

Lindsey passed along a couple of other noteworthy tidbits in his conversation with Luhm, and we'll round them up here along with an update on a member of last year's Jazz team:

  • The GM explained why the team abandoned its hunt for an annual playoff berth. "We were O.K. with being playoff-competitive as long as we had [salary cap] flexibility, too," he said. "But if we had invested in our veteran players, we were going to lose that flexibility, especially with some other [contract] extensions coming up."
  • Lindsey emphasizes a collaborative approach in the front office, which also includes VP of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor and newly hired assistant GM Justin Zanik. Coach Tyrone Corbin has a say, too, and his input was critical in swaying the team to trade for Trey Burke on draft night, Lindsey says.
  • Travis Leslie was briefly a member of the Jazz last season, though he didn't appear in a game. He signed with JSF Nanterre in France last month, but comments the team's head coach recently made suggest that Leslie could once more make a quick exit, notes Gabriel Pantel-Jouve of Catch & Shoot (translation via HoopsHype).

Overseas Rumors: Varnado, Smith, Martin, Leslie

The international free agent market is still hot, and plenty of players with NBA ties are doing business with clubs from overseas. Here's the latest:

  • Sidigas Avellino is close to an agreement with Heat big man Jarvis Varnado, the print edition of the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport reports, according to Sportando's Enea Trapani. Varnado is on a non-guaranteed contract with Miami, and with rumors that the Heat will only carry 13 players this year, he appears to be on shaky ground.

Earlier updates:

  • Nolan Smith was expected to join the Celtics in training camp, but he's signed to play with Cedevita Zagreb, the Croatian team announced on its website (translation via Sportando's Emiliano Carchia).
  • Cartier Martin is mulling the idea of playing in China, agent Andy Miller tells J. Michael of Martin has spent parts of the last four seasons with the Wizards, but it doesn't look like the team plans to re-sign him.
  • Former second-round draft pick Travis Leslie has signed with JSF Nanterre of France, the team announced (Twitter link; hat tip to Carchia). Leslie played 10 games with the Clippers in 2011/12. He signed a 10-day contract with the Jazz last season, but he didn't appear in a game for Utah. This week Nanterre also signed Deshaun Thomas, whom the Spurs drafted 58th overall in June).
  • One-time Kings and Rockets small forward Tyler Honeycutt has officially signed his deal with Ironi Nes Ziona of Israel, Carchia tweets. Sportando contributor David Pick reported a few days ago that the two sides had agreed to a deal.

Jazz Won’t Re-Sign Travis Leslie

Travis Leslie's 10-day contract with the Jazz will expire tonight, and with Utah off today, Leslie's time with the club is essentially over. According to the team's official Twitter account, the Jazz have decided not to re-sign Leslie to a second 10-day deal.

Leslie, 22, didn't see any game action with the Jazz during his brief stint with the team, and hasn't appeared in a regular-season contest since last March with the Clippers. The 6'4" guard spent most of this season with the Santa Cruz Warriors, averaging 16.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG while shooting 51.5% from the floor in 28 games for Golden State's D-League affiliate.

The Jazz had been carrying 15 players prior to signing Leslie, releasing Raja Bell to make room. When Leslie's deal expires overnight, Utah will open up that 15th spot again, so an additional roster move won't be necessary if the club decides to add another player in Leslie's place.

Odds & Ends: Lakers, Jazz, Marbury, Draft, Frank

SBNation's Tom Ziller looks at Basketball-Reference statistics to examine players who've significantly outperformed their contracts this season. Not surprisingly, Chandler Parsons, in the middle of a four-year, $3.63MM contract that runs through 2015, rates highly. Many of the other players Ziller mentions are either minimum-salary signees or former first-round picks still on their rookie-scale deals. There's more on a few players who could be the next to sign rookie contracts and other news from around the Association, as we share here:

Northwest Notes: Trail Blazers, Durant, Leslie

A few notes from around the NBA's Northwest Division:

  • The Oregonian's John Canzano gives his take on the Trail Blazers situation compared to that of the Seattle Seahawks. Both franchises are owned by Paul Allen, and in light of yesterday's big news that the football team had made a big splash by trading for wide receiver Percy Harvin, Canzano argues that in order for the basketball team to make similar high-impact moves, Blazers GM Neil Olshey needs to gain Allen's trust.
  • Jazz guard Travis Leslie hopes he'll get to stay with the team past his 10-day contract, writes The Salt Lake Tribune's Bill Oram
  • The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry has quotes from Kevin Durant on his poor shooting performance last night against the Spurs. 

Jazz Sign Travis Leslie To 10-Day Contract

MONDAY, 7:44am: The Jazz officially finalized Leslie's 10-day deal yesterday after releasing Bell, announcing the signing in a press release.

FRIDAY, 10:56pm: It appears Raja Bell will indeed be waived in order to make room for Leslie, Kennedy tweets, adding that Leslie will join the Jazz tomorrow. Earlier tonight, Bell's agent, Herb Rudoy, told Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune that he has yet to hear anything from the Jazz about his client.

1:49pm: It's already been a busy day for D-League call-ups, with Terrel Harris receiving a 10-day deal from the Hornets, Maalik Wayns signing a 10-day contract with the Clippers, and Malcolm Thomas expected to finalize a 10-day contract of his own with the Warriors. The Jazz will get in on the action as well, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who tweets that Utah is expected to sign Travis Leslie to a 10-day deal. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld first tweeted word of Leslie's agreement.

Leslie, 22, appeared in 10 games for the Clippers last season, but hasn't played in the NBA this year. The 6'4" guard has spent the season with the Santa Cruz Warriors, averaging 16.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG while shooting 51.5% from the floor in 28 games for Golden State's D-League affiliate.

The Jazz currently have a full roster of 15 players, so the club will have to release a player to clear a spot for Leslie. The most likely candidate to go is Raja Bell, who is on an expiring contract and hasn't played for the Jazz this season. If Bell is released, another team could pick him up, but he wouldn't be eligible to play in the postseason with a new club.

Odds & Ends: Mavericks, Leslie, T’Wolves, Mayo

Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW writes that the Mavericks are now in the market for adding a player after severing ties with guard Dominique Jones. Sefko comprises a list including Mike Bibby, Michael Redd, Earl Boykins, and Gilbert Arenas as available veterans who could be worth a look. Among the D-League hopefuls who could warrant an opportunity, Justin Dentmon, Chris Wright, or Sean Singletary come to mind. Sefko rules out the chances of Delonte West making a return to Dallas, citing that the team wouldn't want to reconnect after how badly things ended with him last year. You can find more of tonight's miscellaneous news and notes below: