Tre Kelley

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Andersen, D-League

Center Hassan Whiteside, poised to hit free agency in the summer, is the biggest weapon for the Heat when opponents utilize smaller lineups against them, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald. Whiteside had 25 points and 15 rebounds when Miami staged a second-half rally  on Sunday against the Rockets, who tried to play small ball against them, Skolnick continues. “That’s the thing with Hassan, he’s a conventional center but he’s a mobile center,” point guard Mario Chalmers told the team’s beat reporters. “He’s able to move, get blocks, get out on the perimeter if he wants to. So [small-ball] plays into our hands a little bit.” Veteran shooting guard Dwyane Wade concurs that the Heat can handle the small-ball strategies by unleashing Whiteside, Skolnick adds. “I’m sure there will be moments where they’re gonna get us on it, and it’s gonna affect us, but we can’t take him off the floor,” Wade said to Skolnick. “He means so much to our defense.”

In other news regarding the Heat:

  • Backup center and trade candidate Chris Andersen did not play in the first three games but Spoelstra anticipates that he’ll soon get opportunities, Winderman adds in the same piece. “We’re not going to, on every night, suit up every center. That’s not an indictment on anybody,” Spoelstra said. “That’s not a storyline at all, it really isn’t. He practiced [Monday] and he’ll be ready, and when his number’s called, he’ll produce, as we have full confidence in that.”
  • All but one of the six players the Heat released during the preseason have joined their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Greg Whittington, Keith Benson, Briante Weber, Corey Hawkins and Tre Kelley are all on the Skyforce’s training camp roster. The only released player not to join the Skyforce is veteran point guard John Lucas III.  Miami claimed the D-League rights to Whittington, Benson, Weber and Hawkins through the affiliate player rule, while the Heat already had the D-League rights to Kelley.

Heat Cut Lucas, Benson, Kelley, Weber, Whittington

The Heat have waived the non-guaranteed deals of John Lucas III, Keith Benson, Tre Kelley, Briante Weber and Greg Whittington, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves reduce Miami’s roster to 15 players, the regular season maximum. James Ennis is the only remaining Heat player without any guaranteed salary, so today’s moves put him in strong position to make the opening night roster. If the team indeed keeps him through Monday, his salary would become fully guaranteed. Tyler Johnson is also with the Heat on a partially guaranteed deal. The rest of Miami’s 13 players have full guarantees.

Lucas was by far the most experienced of the Heat’s camp invitees, as the 32-year-old point guard was attempting to make it into his ninth NBA season. He didn’t impress in preseason action, going scoreless in about 16 minutes of action in his lone appearance, dishing out one assist and committing one turnover.

Benson, 27, joined Miami on his first NBA contract in three years. The center was efficient during the preseason, averaging 5.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 11.8 minutes across five appearances.

The 30-year-old Kelley was on his second contract with the Heat after having briefly joined the club before the 2008/09 season. The combo guard averaged 3.5 points, 4.0 assists and 1.5 turnovers in 13.8 minutes per game in a pair of preseason contests.

Weber, 22, signed with the team just this week after his inability to pass a physical scuttled an earlier deal between the sides. The undrafted combo guard who tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee while playing for VCU in January didn’t see any preseason playing time.

Whittington went undrafted this June and joined the Heat for summer league the next month. The 22-year-old power forward averaged 2.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game across four preseason appearances.

Southeast Notes: Bazemore, Heat, Wizards

Hawks guard Kent Bazemore is entering the final season of his current deal, but there is mutual interest between the team and the 26-year-old in reaching an agreement on a new contract next offseason, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. Speaking about his feelings for Atlanta, Bazemore said, “I’ve come to love Atlanta. Of the whole summer, I was probably only gone two weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I just moved into a new house. I’m renting it. Maybe I can buy it next year.” Bazemore and the Hawks will have to wait until next summer to work out a new deal since his current deal was signed for less than four years, meaning Bazemore is ineligible to sign an extension during the season, Vivlamore adds.

Here’s the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat assistant Dan Craig was officially named as head coach of the franchise’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team announced. The news of Craig’s hiring was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
  • Jaron Johnson‘s one-year deal with the Wizards is non-guaranteed and for the league minimum, while Jaleel Robertsagreement is also for the minimum, but his includes a partial guarantee of $10K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter links).
  • The Heat‘s deals with John Lucas III and Tre Kelley are one-year pacts for the league minimum and do not include any guaranteed salary, Pincus tweets.
  • Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said that it may make more sense for the team to carry the regular season maximum of 15 players rather than keeping a slot open, Vivlamore tweets. Atlanta currently has 13 players inked to fully guaranteed deals.
  • The Hornets are hoping that Jeremy Lamb will get off to a fresh start in Charlotte after not seeing much playing time during his three seasons with the Thunder, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. Lamb was acquired back in June in exchange for for Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second-round pick.
  • Greg Stiemsma‘s and Nnanna Egwu‘s one-year, minimum salary deals with the Magic are non-guaranteed, while Keith Appling and Jordan Sibert‘s minimum salary arrangements include partial guarantees of $100K, Pincus relays in a series of tweets.
  • The presence of Goran Dragic, who re-signed with the Heat this offseason, was a big draw for Amar’e Stoudemire to join Miami as a free agent, Surya Fernandez of SB Nation tweets. Of Dragic, Stoudemire said, “If he would have stayed in Phoenix, I would have thought about going back to Phoenix.

Heat Sign Tre Kelley

The Heat have signed Tre Kelley, the team announced. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported earlier this month that the 30-year-old combo guard was working out with the Heat. The move fills the final open spot against the 20-man preseason roster limit, as our roster count for the Heat shows.

It’s the second time Miami has signed Kelley since he went undrafted out of South Carolina in 2007. The first time was shortly before training camp in 2008, but he lasted only about a week before the Heat waived him. The combo guard signed a camp deal with the Thunder the next year and another with the Grizzlies in 2010, but he’s yet to appear on an NBA regular season roster, instead spending time overseas and in the D-League. He was with Pertevniyal Istanbul of Turkey and second-tier Italian team Sigma Barcellona last season, putting up 17.8 points, 7.4 assists and 3.4 turnovers in 33.7 minutes per game combined between the two European clubs.

The Heat have 13 fully guaranteed contracts plus Tyler Johnson, who has a partial guarantee. It’s unclear if Kelley has any guarantee on his deal, though Miami has avoided handing out partial guarantees this summer. Johnson signed his deal last season.

Tre Kelley Working Out With Heat

Former University of South Carolina combo guard Tre Kelley has been working out with the Heat this week, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). A similar report about John Lucas III emerged Thursday afternoon, shortly before a follow-up revealed that the team had agreed to sign him. It’s unclear if the Heat have a deal with Kelley or are even considering him for one, though his presence in the workouts with less than two weeks to go before the start of camp is a strong indication that the team is at least eyeing him for a job.

The Heat signed Kelley once before, around the start of camp in 2008, but he was only under contract for about a week before they waived him. Kelley, now 30 years old, was in training camp with the Thunder the next year and the Grizzlies in 2010, but he hasn’t scored an NBA contract since, even though a report from 2012 indicated he would sign a camp deal with the Spurs. Three NBA teams apparently had interest in him a year later, but he’s instead remained overseas and in the D-League. He split last season between Pertevniyal Istanbul of Turkey and second-tier Italian team Sigma Barcellona, combining to average 17.8 points, 7.4 assists and 3.4 turnovers in 33.7 minutes per game.

Miami has one open spot left under the 20-man offseason limit, as our roster count shows. The Heat already have seven players who can handle point guard duties, Jackson writes, though that’s a broad interpretation, since only Lucas, Goran Dragic, Mario Chalmers and Tyler Johnson primarily play the point, and the Heat haven’t ruled out trading Chalmers as soon as next month, as Jackson recently reported.

Is there a remaining veteran free agent the Heat should sign instead of Kelley? Leave a comment to let us know.

Odds & Ends: Robinson III, Wiggins, Kidd

According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, several “NBA guys” (presumably scouts and/or executives) who were in attendance for a recent matchup between Michigan and Duke were disappointed in Glenn Robinson III‘s lack of assertiveness. Goodman adds that they consequently wondered if the current Wolverine should be considered in the top 20 during the upcoming draft or could possibly fall out of the first-round, with one proposing that Robinson III needs one more year in school (Twitter links).

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

  • Rajon Rondo doesn’t appear close to a return date, according to Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge“I don’t think he’s close…Meaning, I don’t think [his return is] going to happen the next few weeks. We’re not on pins and needles about it. We’re being very cautious with Rondo. I think he’s still got a little bit of a limp, his strength is not quite there, but he is making progress. We’re not close” (Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston).  
  • Although there may be a split between NBA executives on who they would choose between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker for the number one overall pick, Adam Zagoria of writes that the general consensus seems to associate Wiggins with the higher ceiling. Even after a less-than-stellar performance last week in the Bahamas, many are said to still be high on Wiggins’ potential.
  • During tonight’s matchup between the Knicks and Nets on TNT, one video segment included coach Jason Kidd‘s comments on Lawrence Frank’s recent re-assignment from his assistant coaching duties: “Philosophies, sometimes things don’t work out…You have to accept that. I could accept that. At the same time, there’s a brand, the Brooklyn Nets that has to move forward. I have to find a way to make them better. For coaches, it happens just like players. It could be a disagreement, or an understanding that we don’t get along. But I have to do what’s best for the brand, and that’s what I had to do” (hat tip to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated).
  • Tom Haberstroh of ESPN looks at the rebirth of Michael Beasley‘s NBA career in Miami, as the Heat have presented the type of environment that will give the former lottery pick a chance to expedite his development (Insiders only).
  • RealGM’s Shams Charania takes a compelling look at Tre Kelley of the D-League’s Austin Toros, whose challenges in trying to fulfill his NBA dream over the last several years only pale in comparison to the tragedies he’s had to endure away from the court.

Odds & Ends: Union, Turner, DiLeo, Nowitzki

The NBPA has retained Reilly Partners Inc. to help conduct a search for a new executive director to replace Billy Hunter, the union announced today (link via The Associated Press). Steve Mills was reportedly the leading candidate for the position before he accepted the Knicks' GM job this week. According to Brain Mahoney of the Associated Press (via Twitter), the union may want to build a list of about 10 candidates before making a decision. That's far from the only position up for grabs around the league as training camps open. Here's the latest:

  • Evan Turner told reporters at Sixers media day today that he "was ready" to be traded at one point and was just hoping it would be to someplace warm, tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media (Twitter link). It appears as though Turner was bracing for the possibility, rather than hoping for it.
  • Former Sixers GM Tony DiLeo is set to become a scout for the Wizards, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
  • Dallas GM Gersson Rosas indicated today that Dirk Nowitzki could play another four or five years in a Mavericks uniform, as Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. "The vision for us is we want to maximize Dirk's career here,'' Rosas said.
  • Rosas, who has experience as the GM of the Rockets D-League affiliate, also wants to make the D-League a key component of his strategy with the Mavs, Price notes.
  • Jared Jeffries tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld that multiple NBA teams offered him the chance to continue his playing career, but the former lottery pick decided to take a scouting job with the Nuggets that puts him "on the fast track" to becoming a GM. 
  • Three NBA clubs have shown interest in guard Tre Kelley, agent Giovanni Funiciello tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Kelley is without official NBA experience, but he went to camp with the Thunder in 2009 and the Grizzlies in 2010.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Read more

Spurs To Sign Wesley Witherspoon, Tre Kelley

The Spurs will bring Wesley Witherspoon and Tre Kelley to training camp, reports Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News. They'll likely be on non-guaranteed, minimum-salary deals. While McCarney isn't high on their chances to make the team, they stand a relatively decent shot compared to many other training camp invitees around the league, since the Spurs only have 12 players on fully guaranteed deals.

Witherspoon, who ranked 91st on the list of top 100 prospects this year compiled by Chad Ford of, went undrafted in June out of the University of Memphis. The 6'9" small forward put up just 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game this past season, though he did shoot 38.7% from behind the arc in his four years with the Tigers. He was with the Knicks' summer league team, and averaged 8.0 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 16.5 MPG.

Kelley is a 6'0" guard who has yet to make his NBA regular season debut despite training camp stints with the Heat, Thunder and Grizzlies. The 27-year-old spent 11 games with the Spurs' D-League affiliate in 2010/11, and split last season with teams in Italy and Venezuela, averaging 14.8 PPG and 3.5 APG in 27.7 MPG.

The moves will bring the Spurs' roster to 18 players, by my count. Aside from the dozen who have fully guaranteed deals, DeJuan Blair's deal is partially guaranteed for $1.05MM and the rest are believed to be non-guaranteed.