Remi Yusuf

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

Rockets Sign Cummings, Livingston, Walker

SEPTEMBER 21ST, 6:15pm: The Rockets formally announced the signings of Cummings, Livingston and Walker (Twitter link). Houston waived Yusuf on Friday without ever formally recognizing his signing.

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 6:59pm: Walker has officially been signed, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).

SEPTEMBER 5TH, 8:10am: Cummings and Livingston have signed contracts with the Rockets, according to the transactions log.

12:09pm: The signing of Yusuf has taken place, and it’s a non-guaranteed contract worth the rookie minimum salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). That means it wouldn’t count against the hard cap the Rockets would impose upon themselves if they signed No. 32 pick Montrezl Harrell for more than the minimum or for longer than two years, as I explained earlier.

11:24am: Feigen has corrected his earlier report, omitting Wood’s name from his revised list (Twitter links). Wood’s status with the Rockets thus appears unclear.

SEPTEMBER 3RD, 11:00am: The Rockets are close to signing Denzel Livingston, Will Cummings, Christian Wood, Remi Yusuf and Chris Walker for training camp, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). A deal with Wood, who went undrafted out of UNLV this year, has apparently been in place since June Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the Rockets had agreed to sign him, but the other four names appear to be new additions for Houston.

Livingston, a 6’4″ combo guard who played his college ball at Incarnate Word, also went undrafted this year. He saw a smidgen of playing time with Houston’s summer league squad, averaging 2.0 points in 7.5 minutes per contest across three appearances. Cummings, a point guard from Temple, was another college senior passed up in the draft this June. He saw more extensive time for the Rockets in summer league, compiling 10.0 PPG in 22.8 MPG, though his 3.3 assists against 2.8 turnovers per game isn’t an encouraging ratio.

Walker, a once-heralded prospect whose stock plummeted at Florida, put up 4.2 PPG in 8.8 MPG for the summer Rockets. The forward/center declared for this year’s draft after his sophomore season with the Gators. Yusuf is a somewhat more surprising addition, since he didn’t play NBA summer league ball. The guard, a native of Nigeria, played at Texas A&M-Kingsville before going undrafted in 2006, and he spent time last season playing with SKP Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.

Rockets Waive Remi Yusuf

The Rockets have waived guard Remi Yusuf, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insider reports (Twitter link). The guard’s minimum salary deal was non-guaranteed, so Houston won’t be on the hook for any salary as a result of this move. Waiving Yusuf will reduce the Rockets’ roster count to 18 players.

It’s unclear what the exact motivation for the team to release Yusuf prior to the start of training camp is. Former Nets executive Bobby Marks (Twitter links) speculates that Yusuf was originally inked to allow the Rockets to sign Denzel Livingston, Will Cummings, and Chris Walker to Exhibit 9 contracts. As Marks points out, teams need to have 14 players signed prior to being able to ink players to such deals.

Yusuf, a native of Nigeria, played at Texas A&M-Kingsville before going undrafted in 2006, and he spent time last season playing with SKP Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.