Wizards Sign Alex Len To One-Year Deal

JANUARY 23: The Wizards have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed Len.

JANUARY 22: Free agent center Alex Len, who cleared waivers on Thursday after being released by the Raptors on Tuesday, has agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Wizards, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania, Len had multiple suitors and chose the Wizards in part because of the clear path to playing time in D.C. — starting center Thomas Bryant tore his ACL earlier this month and will miss the rest of the season, while Anzejs Pasecniks was released this past weekend, leaving Robin Lopez as the only true center on the active roster.

The fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Len signed a one-year, $2.26MM contract with the Raptors in November, but didn’t see much action in his brief stint with the team. The 2.3 points and 10.9 minutes per game he averaged in seven contests with Toronto would’ve been his lowest marks since his rookie season.

Len has been more productive in recent years. He averaged a career-best 11.1 PPG in 77 games (20.1 MPG) with Atlanta in 2018/19, then posted 8.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 55 games (17.6 MPG) in part-time roles for the Hawks and Kings last season.

Having waived Pasecniks a few days ago, the Wizards had an open spot on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to make room for Len.

The big man will earn a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum on his new deal with Washington, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). If the signing is officially completed today, Len would earn a $1,712,648 salary and the Wizards would take on a $1,276,472 cap hit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Sign Jordan Bell To 10-Day Contract

10:55am: The Wizards have officially signed Bell, the team announced today in a press release.

9:30am: The Wizards plan to sign forward Jordan Bell to a 10-day contract using the hardship provision, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Bell, 26, began his career with the Warriors during the 2017/18 season. Golden State won the NBA championship that season with Bell as a key reserve, averaging 4.6 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 57 games (13 starts).

The Los Angeles native appeared in 68 games for the Warriors the following season but has since bounced around the league. After signing with the Timberwolves in 2019, Bell was traded as part of the four-team, 12-player trade in February and was subsequently released.

Washington signed and waived Bell back in mid-December with the intention of having him suit up in the upcoming G League bubble. The Capital City Go-Go (the Wizards’ NBAGL affiliate) claimed Bell off waivers last March, so the team held his returning rights for the upcoming season. He may still be ticketed for the Go-Go after his stint with the Wizards.

As we’ve noted, the NBA adjusted the hardship provision this season to give teams flexibility to sign players to 10-day contracts if hit hard not just by injuries but by a series of positive COVID-19 tests.

The Wizards have not played since January 11 as a COVID-19 outbreak among the team and safety and health protocols have forced postponements. Bell joins Alex Len as another big man who will reportedly sign with Washington.

Bell’s 10-day contract will pay him about $115K, while the Wizards take on a cap hit of approximately $111K, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Sixers Sign Rayjon Tucker To Two-Way Deal

6:14pm: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

2:05pm: The Sixers intend to sign free agent wing Rayjon Tucker to a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). According to Charania, Philadelphia will then send Tucker to play in the G League’s Disney World bubble for its NBAGL affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.

Tucker, 23, spent most of his rookie season in 2019/20 with the Jazz, appearing in 20 games for the club. He also put up big numbers in the G League for the Wisconsin Herd and the Salt Lake City Stars, averaging 23.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.5 APG in 19 NBAGL games (33.4 MPG).

Tucker was traded from Utah to Cleveland in a salary-dump deal in the offseason and was subsequently waived. He quickly caught on with the Clippers for training camp, but didn’t crack the team’s regular season roster and was released again a few days before opening night.

The 76ers had an open two-way slot after cutting Dakota Mathias earlier this week, so no corresponding roster move will be required to make room for Tucker. He’ll join Paul Reed as Philadelphia’s two-way players.

Solomon Hill Receives Salary Guarantee From Hawks

The Hawks are guaranteeing Solomon Hill‘s $2.17MM salary for the remainder of the season, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The move will lock in Hill’s $1.62MM cap charge.

Atlanta had until February 24 to decide whether to make the guarantee but opted to give the veteran forward peace of mind for his steady contributions. Hill has appeared in all 14 games for the injury-riddled Hawks, averaging 5.0 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 20.1 MPG.

Atlanta is Hill’s fifth team since he entered the league during the 2013/14 season. He played for Miami and Memphis last season.

The Hawks signed Hill on a one-year veteran’s minimum deal to add a veteran presence and defensive-minded wing to their mix. Hill was the only members of the 15-man Atlanta roster who was playing on a non-guaranteed deal.

Cavs Trade Kevin Porter Jr. To Rockets

JANUARY 22: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Rockets and Cavaliers. Houston confirmed in its announcement that Clemons has been released to make room for Porter.

“After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said in a statement. “Given the culture and environment we have worked to cultivate here in Cleveland, we feel this move is in everyone’s best interest. Kevin has a bright career ahead of him as a professional basketball player and, at his core, is a good person.”

JANUARY 21: The Cavaliers are sending second-year swingman Kevin Porter Jr. to the Rockets, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter).

In exchange, the Cavs will receive a future protected second-round draft pick from Houston, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter). Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets that the pick is top-55 protected and will most likely never actually be conveyed to Cleveland.

As Chris Fedor of notes, the primary benefit of the deal for the Cavs is to open up a roster spot and to move off Porter’s guaranteed rookie-scale salary for this season ($1.72MM) and 2021/22 ($1.78MM). Since Houston can absorb Porter’s salary into a traded player exception, Cleveland won’t have to take a player back in the deal.

After throwing a locker room tantrum on January 15 when he discovered his locker had been relocated, Porter was instructed by the Cavaliers to clean out his locker and expect to be waived or traded.

Porter, who initially dropped in the 2019 draft due to off-court concerns, has had a tough second season. In November, he was arrested on charges of mishandling a firearm (a felony), plus driving without a license and marijuana possession (both misdemeanors). Last month, a grand jury cleared Porter of all charges.

Porter has not suited up for the Cavaliers at all this season. During a solid rookie outing, however, the No. 30 2019 draft pick out of USC impressed with averages of 10.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.2 APG and 0.9 SPG across 50 contests.

The Rockets, now in asset-accrual mode after sending perennial MVP candidate James Harden to the Nets in a four-team trade last week, are taking a flyer on a talented player in this deal. The hope, according to Fedor and MacMahon (Twitter link), is that veteran player development coach John Lucas can help Porter get his career back in track in Houston.

In order to open up a roster for Porter, the Rockets will waive injured guard Chris Clemons, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Clemons’ minimum salary for 2020/21 was initially non-guaranteed, but Houston will be obligated to pay it in full after he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear. The Rockets are in better position to eat that money following the Harden deal — team salary is now comfortably below the luxury tax line rather than above it, and the club is no longer right up against its hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Nets Expected To Sign Norvel Pelle

The Nets intend to fill one of the openings on their 15-man roster by signing free agent big man Norvel Pelle, agent BJ Bass tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Pelle will have to clear the NBA’s health and safety protocols before officially joining the team.

Pelle, who will turn 28 in February, spent last season with the Sixers, first on a two-way contract and later on a standard deal. He averaged 2.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 24 games (9.7 MPG) for Philadelphia in 2019/20, then was waived in the offseason before his salary for 2020/21 became guaranteed.

Pelle has had the opportunity to show off his defensive upside in the G League during the last two seasons, appearing in 44 games for the Delaware Blue Coats and averaging an eye-popping 2.9 blocks in just 22.8 minutes per game. He also contributed 11.6 PPG and 8.7 RPG in those 44 NBAGL contests.

The Cavaliers signed Pelle to an Exhibit 10 contract last month with an eye toward having him play for the Canton Charge this season, but it seems that won’t happen now that he’s headed to the Nets.

Given his relative lack of NBA experience, Pelle is unlikely to play big minutes in Brooklyn. However, his defensive skills and his ability to play the five should be of use to a more offensive-minded Nets team that lost some frontcourt depth by giving up Jarrett Allen in the blockbuster trade for James Harden.

Brooklyn will still have two open roster spots after signing Pelle and must fill at least one of them by next weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors Waive Alex Len

The Raptors have waived veteran center Alex Len, the team announced today in a press release. The transaction opens up a spot on Toronto’s roster, leaving the club with 14 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals.

The fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Len had only played in seven of the Raptors’ 13 games so far this season, and was averaging 2.3 PPG in 10.9 MPG — both marks were his lowest since his rookie season. With Chris Boucher enjoying a breakout year and Aron Baynes also in the mix, Len was third on the depth chart at center.

Although Len hadn’t been playing regular minutes for the Raptors as of late, it’s still a somewhat unexpected move, since he signed a guaranteed contract with the team in free agency less than two months ago.

The 27-year-old recently missed multiple games for personal reasons and was listed as out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Monday, but there has been no indication that his release was related to his recent absence.

Len’s $2.258MM salary will remain on Toronto’s cap unless he’s claimed on waivers, which seems unlikely. Assuming he clears waivers, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday afternoon and will be eligible to sign with any team.

The Raptors, meanwhile, won’t be required to fill their open roster spot, but could eventually use it to sign a veteran free agent, to accommodate a trade, or to promote two-way player Yuta Watanabe to the 15-man roster.

Sixers Waive Dakota Mathias

The Sixers are waiving guard Dakota Mathias, Kyle Neubeck of reports. The team has confirmed the transaction (Twitter link).

Mathias was playing on a two-way contract, so the move will open up one of those slots. However, the Sixers don’t plan to fill it right away. The decision to cut ties with Mathias was done to create flexibility for opportunities that may become available down the road, Neubeck adds.

Forward Paul Reed holds the other two-way contract.

A former Purdue standout, Mathias had appeared in eight games, including two starts, as a result of the team’s COVID-19 issues. He was averaging 6.0 PPG on 39.6% shooting and 1.6 APG in 15.4 MPG.

Mathias, 25, played last season for the Mavericks’ affiliate, the Texas Legends. He averaged 18.1 PPG and 3.1 APG while shooting 39.5% on 3-point attempts.

Wizards Waive Anžejs Pasečņiks

JANUARY 18: The move is official, per’s transactions log.

JANUARY 17: The Wizards will waive center Anžejs Pasečņiks, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Pasečņiks had a $350K partial guarantee on his minimum-salary contract with the club.

Pasečņiks was initially selected by the Sixers (by way of a trade with the Magic) with the No. 25 pick in the 2017 draft. The seven-footer remained in Europe, where he had been playing for Herbalife Gran Canaria in Spain since 2015, through the 2018/19 season.

The Sixers renounced their rights to Pasečņiks that summer. After he impressed the Wizards in their 2019 summer league, he was eventually signed to a two-way contract for the 2019/20 season and split time between the Wizards and their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.

Pasečņiks appeared in 27 games for the Wizards during his rookie season, averaging 5.8 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 16.2 MPG. This season, the 25-year-old appeared in just one game for Washington.

The Wizards, who have not played a game since their 128-107 defeat of the Suns on January 11 due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, will now have 14 players on guaranteed standard contracts, with one open spot on their 15-man roster.

Oladipo-LeVert Deal Complete; Pacers Get Additional Compensation

The Rockets and Pacers have officially completed their swap of high-scoring guards, with Caris LeVert going to Indiana and Victor Oladipo heading to Houston, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

It’s part of the four-team blockbuster that sent former Most Valuable Player James Harden to Brooklyn, even though all other aspects were officially announced earlier this week. LeVert was acquired by the Rockets in that trade.

The part of the deal flipping LeVert to Indiana initially looked like it would be completed as a separate transaction, which would’ve allowed the Rockets to maximize the value of a trade exception created in the original trade.

However, an additional second-round pick and cash are being sent to Indiana due to an issue discovered in LeVert’s physical, per Charania, requiring the trade to be formally completed as a four-teamer.

[UPDATE: LeVert Out Indefinitely Due To Small Mass On Left Kidney]

In addition to Oladipo and a 2023 second-round pick (from the Rockets), the Pacers are also receiving cash and a 2024 second-round pick, says Charania. That additional pick, which is coming from Cleveland, was originally supposed to land with the Nets.

Per RealGM’s list of traded picks, the two picks headed to Indiana will technically be the least favorable of Houston’s, Dallas’, and Miami’s 2023 second-rounders; and the least favorable of Cleveland’s and Utah’s 2024 second-rounders.

With all aspects of the deal now completed, Harden is available to play Saturday for the Nets. Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press tweets.

Oladipo will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the Pacers feared they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him. In contrast, LeVert is in the first year of a three-year, $52.5MM contract. Both players have missed time in recent years due to injuries, but are healthy and playing well this season.

“We want to thank Victor for what he gave to the Pacers through his play, his diligence in rehab coming back from a serious injury, and his community efforts,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement confirming today’s deal. “These decisions are obviously never easy and this one in particular was hard because of our relationship.

“Caris is a high-quality person who will fit in with what we as an organization are doing, on and off the floor. He’s a versatile young talent who we think will be a great fit with the direction our team is taking. He can play multiple positions and affect the game at both ends of the floor.”

The Rockets, meanwhile, could retain Oladipo and attempt to re-sign him beyond 2021 or could explore flipping him at the March 25 trade deadline. Houston can trade him immediately but would have to wait until after March 7 to move him in a deal that aggregates his salary for matching purposes. For now, the Rockets will probably want to see how Oladipo looks in their revamped lineup.

Because of the amended structure of the trade, the trade exception generated by the Rockets will be worth approximately $10.65MM instead of $15.45MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this story.