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Wizards Plan To Sign Ramon Sessions

The Wizards plan to sign veteran point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The club has two open spots on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Sessions has some previous experience with the Wizards, having spent time with the team in 2015 and 2016. He left Washington as a free agent in 2016 to join the Hornets, then spent the first part of this season with the Knicks.

New York’s starting point guard to open the 2017/18 campaign, Sessions was quickly supplanted in the lineup by Jarrett Jack and ultimately didn’t see much action with the Knicks. In total, he averaged 3.7 PPG and 2.1 APG in 13 games (12.8 MPG) for the club, struggling with his shot during his limited minutes (.321 FG%, .182 3PT%). He was waived in January.

The Wizards have been on the lookout for a veteran point guard to help man the position with John Wall on the shelf. Prior to the All-Star break, Washington was linked to Ty Lawson and Derrick Rose, along with Sessions. The timing of the move comes as no surprise, since the Wizards were required by league rules to add a 14th player to their roster this week — I’d expect the deal to be finalized by the end of the day.

As our chart from earlier today shows, Sessions will make $131,562 on his 10-day deal, while the Wizards will take on a cap hit of $83,129. The team will also incur approximately $147K in projected luxury tax penalties, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Hawks Sign Antonius Cleveland To 10-Day Deal

12:15pm: Cleveland’s deal with the Hawks is now official, tweets Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

8:25am: The Hawks will fill one of their two open roster spots this week by signing shooting guard Antonius Cleveland to a 10-day contract, sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Cleveland, 24, went undrafted out of Southeast Missouri State, but played for the Blazers in Summer League and then signed a training camp deal with the Warriors last summer. While he didn’t earn a spot on Golden State’s regular season roster, he later caught on with the Mavericks, signing a two-way contract with Dallas and appearing in 13 games for the club. He was waived by the Mavs in December.

Cleveland averaged just 6.2 minutes per contest in his 13 NBA games, but the rookie saw more consistent playing time in seven G League games with the Santa Cruz Warriors and Texas Legends. In that small sample, he averaged 13.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.7 SPG with a .538/.500/.826 shooting line.

Atlanta is one of four teams that needed to make a roster move this week in order to get back up to 14 players after slipping to 13 at the trade deadline. The Trail Blazers have already signed Brandon Rush, while the Cavaliers are signing Marcus Thornton, leaving the Wizards as the only club that still needs to add a player.

Cavaliers Sign Marcus Thornton To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 22: The Cavs have officially announced their 10-day deal with Thornton. However, it sounds like Thornton’s role with his G League squad won’t change much, as the Cavs’ announcement indicates he’ll be assigned to the Canton Charge before Friday’s game.

Meanwhile, Damion Lee of the Santa Cruz Warriors will replace Thornton on USA Basketball’s roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

FEBRUARY 21: The Cavaliers will fill one of their open roster spots by signing G League guard Marcus Thornton to a 10-day contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Cleveland had been carrying a 13-man roster since making three deals at the February 8 trade deadline. NBA rules require teams to have at least 14 players, but they are permitted to go below that number as long as they get back to 14 within two weeks.

Thornton was a second-round pick by the Celtics in 2015 and has played in Australia, Italy and the G League. The Celtics renounced their rights to Thornton over the summer and he signed with the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s G League affiliate, in November. The 25-year-old averaged 18.8 points in 37 games with Canton.

Thornton will receive $46,080 for the 10 days, but his salary will count $83,129 toward the luxury tax, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The signing will cost the Cavs about $353K in luxury taxes, raising their overall bill to $50.3MM.

Once Thornton’s contract expires, Cleveland can sign him to another 10-day deal, keep him for the rest of the season or release him and make another move to stay at the 14-player limit.

Thornton’s signing also affects Team USA in its quest to qualify for the FIBA World Cup, notes Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Coach Jeff Van Gundy will have to find a replacement for Thornton before upcoming games on Friday and Monday.

Blazers Sign Brandon Rush To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 21, 6:52pm: The signing is official, the Blazers announced on their website.

FEBRUARY 20, 7:55am: The Trail Blazers will fill one of their two open roster spots by signing veteran swingman Brandon Rush to a 10-day contract this week, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Rush, a lottery pick back in 2008, has spent time with the Pacers, Warriors, Jazz, and Timberwolves over the course of nine NBA seasons. Known for his outside shooting ability, the 32-year-old has a career .402 3PT%. While he didn’t play a major role for Minnesota last season, averaging a modest 4.2 PPG, he continued to knock down outside shots when he took them, with a .386 3PT%.

This past offseason, Rush caught on with the Bucks for training camp, but failed to earn a spot on Milwaukee’s regular season roster, having been cut just before opening night. In Portland, he’ll get an opportunity to establish himself as a player worth keeping on the roster down the stretch.

As we outlined on Monday, the Blazers are one of four NBA teams that needs to sign a player this week in order to get back up to 14 players on standard contracts. Portland, Washington, Cleveland, and Atlanta all dipped to 13 players around the trade deadline, which is only permitted for two weeks.

The Blazers are well positioned to remain under the luxury tax following Rush’s signing, since his contract will feature a modest cap hit of $83,129, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter). Portland will still be about $573K below the tax line after signing Rush.

That cushion would allow the Blazers to re-sign Rush to another 10-day contract and – eventually – a rest-of-season deal and stay out of the tax, though the equation would become more complicated if the club wants to add a 15th player to its roster at some point.

Pelicans Sign Walter Lemon Jr. To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 21, 6:20 pm: The signing is official, the Pelicans confirmed in an email.

FEBRUARY 20, 1:42pm: A busy day of 10-day contract agreements continues, as Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Pelicans have agreed to sign G League guard Walter Lemon Jr. to a 10-day deal.

New Orleans currently has 13 players on standard NBA contracts, plus Emeka Okafor on a 10-day contract of his own, leaving one open spot on the 15-man squad. As such, no corresponding move will be required to finalize Lemon’s agreement.

Lemon, a former Bradley point guard who went undrafted in 2014, has made stops in Hungary, Germany, and Greece during his professional career, but is having his most successful season this year for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

In 36 games for Indiana’s G League affiliate, Lemon has averaged 22.7 PPG, 5.9 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 SPG, and a .490 FG%, with Dedrick Hendrix of Ridiculous Upside recently singling out the 6’3″ guard as a rising star in the G League. The 25-year-old will get a chance to make his NBA debut for the Pelicans.

Suns Sign Shaquille Harrison To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 21: The Suns have officially signed Harrison to a 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. As expected, Gray has been waived.

FEBRUARY 20: The Suns will make a change to their roster this week, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who tweets that the team is signing guard Shaquille Harrison to a 10-day contract. Phoenix will waive Josh Gray to create a roster spot, per Gambadoro.

Harrison, 24, went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2016 and caught on with the Suns for training camp later that year. He was cut before the regular season began, but landed with Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns.

Harrison has spent the last two years with Northern Arizona, averaging 11.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.9 SPG in 36 G League games this season.

Gray had been on a 10-day contract of his own with the Suns — actually, it was technically a 12-day contract. Even though he signed that deal on February 12, Gray was on track to remain under contract through Friday, since 10-day pacts must cover at least three NBA games. Assuming he’s waived before his deal expires, Gray will still be paid for the full 12 days.

Pacers Sign Trey McKinney-Jones To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 21: The Pacers have officially signed McKinney-Jones, the team announced today in a press release.

FEBRUARY 20: The Pacers are set to sign G League guard Trey McKinney-Jones to a 10-day contract, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Indiana currently has an open spot on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to make room for the team’s newest player.

McKinney-Jones, who went undrafted out of Miami in 2013, has bounced around since then, playing for professional teams in France, Israel, and Hungary. The 27-year-old has also had multiple G League stints, appearing in 137 total contests for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana’s NBAGL affiliate.

After joining the Pacers for training camp this past fall, McKinney-Jones returned to the Mad Ants for the 2017/18 season. He’s averaging a career-low 26.8 MPG and 11.4 PPG in Fort Wayne this season, but has been a more efficient shooter than ever, with a .493 FG% and .380 3PT%.

Once McKinney-Jones’ 10-day contract with the Pacers expires, the team will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day deal. After that, Indiana would have to either let him go or sign him to a rest-of-season contract.

Knicks Sign Troy Williams To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 21: Williams’ 10-day deal with the Knicks is now official, according to the team (Twitter link). The contract will run through March 2, giving Williams four games with the Knicks.

FEBRUARY 19: Forward Troy Williams will sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks, a source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). Williams chose New York among several suitors for his services, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Ian Begley reported earlier in the evening that the Knicks were interested in Williams, who was cut loose by the Rockets last week.

New York has an open roster spot, so it can add Williams without cutting another player loose. Houston placed Williams on waivers when it decided to add veteran swingman Joe Johnson. Williams officially became a free agent on Friday.

Williams, 23, began his NBA career with the Grizzlies last season before being waived a little over a year ago. The 6’7” forward finished the 2016/17 campaign with the Rockets, then signed a new three-year contract with Houston but only the first year was fully guaranteed.

In 34 total NBA games, Williams has averaged 5.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG.

Magic Sign Rashad Vaughn To 10-Day Contract

2:31pm: The Magic have officially signed Vaughn to a 10-day deal, the team announced today in a press release.

12:33pm: Former first-round pick Rashad Vaughn is set to join his fourth NBA team of the last month. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), Vaughn has agreed to sign a 10-day contract with the Magic.

It has been an eventful few weeks for Vaughn, who was originally traded from Milwaukee to Brooklyn in the deal that sent Tyler Zeller to the Bucks. From there, Vaughn was dealt to New Orleans by the Nets in exchange for Dante Cunningham. The 6’6″ shooting guard never appeared in a game for the Pelicans, having been waived two days after the trade deadline.

Although he was the 17th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Vaughn has failed to develop into a consistent NBA rotation player. The UNLV product has averaged 3.1 PPG with a .337/.312/.692 shooting line in 134 career NBA contests (12.2 MPG). Still, he’s just 21 years old, so the rebuilding Magic will take a low-risk flier. Current Orlando GM John Hammond was the head of basketball operations in Milwaukee when the Bucks drafted Vaughn in ’15.

The Magic have an opening on their 15-man roster, so they won’t need to waive a player to make room for Vaughn.

C.J. Watson Signs In Turkey

Decade-long NBA veteran C.J. Watson has signed a deal overseas to join Usak Sportif, a low-seeded team in the Turkish Super League, basketball journalist David Pick tweets.

Watson, 33, last appeared in the NBA with the Magic during the 2016/17 campaign. He averaged 4.5 PPG and 1.8 APG in 62 games for Orlando and was waived in the offseason.

Watson’s NBA career includes stints with the Warriors, Bulls, Nets, Pacers, and Magic. He was the backup to Derrick Rose and filled in for the former MVP after he suffered a torn ACL in the 2012 playoffs.

In 600 career NBA games, the point guard sports averages of 7.2 PPG and 2.5 APG.

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