Raptors’ Otto Porter Exercises Player Option

Raptors reserve combo forward Otto Porter Jr. has exercised his player option for 2023/24, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

As Charania notes, Porter appeared in a scant eight contests during his inaugural stint with Toronto this year. He underwent a season-ending surgery in January to correct a left foot ailment, described as a dislocated left toe. The Raptors filed for a $3MM disabled player exception following the operation.

Porter inked a two-year, $12.3MM deal with Toronto last summer after serving as a critical bench contributor for the title-winning 2021/22 Warriors. He is now set to earn $6.3MM in the second year of the deal.

When he did play, the 6’8″ wing averaged 5.5 PPG on .500/.353/1.000 shooting across those eight games for a 41-41 Raptors club. He also chipped in 2.4 RPG, 1.4 SPG and 1.0 APG.

Blake Murphy of tweets that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Toronto explores a potential trade to offload Porter’s salary this summer, given how close the team may be to the league’s punitive luxury tax.

Trail Blazers Sign Skylar Mays, Chance Comanche

The Trail Blazers have signed a pair of players ahead of Sunday’s regular season finale, announcing that they’ve brought back guard Skylar Mays (Twitter link) and added center Chance Comanche (press release).

The Blazers have a full roster, but they’re dealing with so many injuries that they’ve been granted three hardship exceptions — those exceptions allow the team to sign players to short-term deals without having to adhere to the usual roster limits.

Portland had been carrying Mays, Shaquille Harrison, and Justin Minaya on 10-day hardship contracts. Mays’ and Harrison’s deals expired overnight on Saturday, while Minaya’s runs through Sunday. The team re-signed Mays, but Harrison has joined the Lakers, so the Blazers used their third hardship exception to promote Comanche from the G League.

Mays, a 2020 second-round pick who spent his first two NBA seasons in Atlanta, averaged 14.2 points, 7.6 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per night during his first five games (all starts) as a Blazer.

Comanche, who will turn 27 on Friday, was a rotation player for the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, this season. The former Arizona Wildcat appeared in 32 regular season games and averaging 13.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in just 22.9 MPG.

Since they’re on hardship contracts, Mays, Comanche, and Minaya will all become free agents after today’s game and the Blazers won’t hold any form of Bird rights on them this summer. Portland is now carrying 20 players, with at least nine of them ruled out for Sunday’s game vs. Golden State due to injuries.

Lakers Sign Tristan Thompson, Shaquille Harrison

12:45pm: The Lakers have officially signed Thompson and Harrison while waiving Reed, the team confirmed in a press release.

10:43am: The Lakers are making a pair of roster additions to fortify their depth ahead of the postseason, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, who reports (via Twitter) that center Tristan Thompson and guard Shaquille Harrison are joining the team.

Los Angeles had an open spot on its 15-man standard roster, so only one cut will be necessary to make room for the two incoming veterans. Davon Reed will be the odd man out and will be placed on waivers today, per McMenamin.

Thompson, 32, has been out of the NBA for the entire 2022/23 season but worked out for the Lakers last month and played alongside Lakers star LeBron James for several years in Cleveland.

The big man averaged 6.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 57 games (15.7 MPG) for the Kings, Pacers, and Bulls last season and has career averages of 9.0 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 730 games. Thompson also has no shortage of postseason experience, having appeared in 88 career playoff contests for the Cavaliers, Celtics, and Bulls.

Harrison has made 180 regular season appearances for six NBA teams since making his debut in 2018. Like Thompson, the 29-year-old guard hasn’t been in the league for most of this season, though he did play five games while on a 10-day contract with the Trail Blazers. That deal expired overnight on Saturday, freeing him up to join a new team.

Harrison was actually in training camp with the Lakers last fall, but was cut at the end of the preseason and ended up playing for the South Bay Lakers, L.A.’s G League affiliate. Known as a stout perimeter defender, he finished third in NBAGL Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Reed, who will turn 28 in June, joined the Lakers along with Mohamed Bamba as part of the four-team February trade that sent Thomas Bryant to Denver. He never cracked L.A.’s regular rotation though, logging just 27 total minutes across eight games with his new team. His minimum salary for 2023/24 is fully non-guaranteed, so the Lakers won’t be on the hook for any money for him beyond this season.

Both Thompson and Harrison will be eligible to play in the postseason for the Lakers because neither one has been waived since March 1.

Pelicans Re-Sign Dereon Seabron To Two-Way Contract

Just three days after waiving rookie shooting guard Dereon Seabron, the Pelicans have re-signed him to a new two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

The move is an unusual one, since Seabron had already been on a two-way deal. It’s possible his new contract covers the 2023/24 season instead of just the rest of this season like his old one did — we’ll have to wait for confirmation on the details to be sure.

Seabron signed with the Pelicans last summer after going undrafted out of North Carolina State. He appeared briefly in just five games at the NBA level, but was a regular for the Birmingham Squadron, New Orleans’ G League affiliate.

Seabron played in 17 Showcase Cup games in the fall, averaging 14.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists with a .484/.227/.729 shooting line in 32.3 minutes per night. He bumped his scoring average to 18.4 PPG on .503/.375/.778 shooting in 27 G League regular season appearances, adding 5.5 APG and 5.0 RPG in 34.5 MPG.

The Pelicans, one of two teams that entered Sunday with an open two-way slot, now have a full 17-man roster as they prepare for a crucial regular season finale.

Rockets Sign Willie Cauley-Stein

The Rockets have officially signed free agent center Willie Cauley-Stein, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Houston’s announcement doesn’t include any details on Cauley-Stein’s contract, so it’s unclear if it extends beyond this season at all or if it’s essentially just a one-day deal.

Cauley-Stein and the Rockets agreed to a one-year contract last offseason, but the big man’s salary was non-guaranteed and he was waived at the end of the preseason. He later rejoined the team on a 10-day deal near the end of February but has been an NBA free agent since that contract expired.

Cauley-Stein spent much of the season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate. In 13 NBAGL regular season games, he averaged 8.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 27.0 minutes per night. He also contributed 6.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.0 BPG in 16 Showcase Cup contests (24.2 MPG).

The sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Cauley-Stein has appeared in 422 total regular season games for the Kings, Mavericks, Warriors, and Sixers, but is a borderline NBA player at this point, as his game isn’t an ideal fit for the league’s current style.

The Rockets were one of three NBA teams that entered Sunday with an open 15-man roster spot, so no one needed to be waived in order to make room for Cauley-Stein.

Knicks Sign Isaiah Roby To Multiyear Deal

11:05am: The Knicks have officially signed Roby, the team confirmed in a press release (Twitter link).

9:32am: Roby is getting $400K for the last day of the 2022/23 season, reports Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). If he had received a minimum-salary deal, Roby would have been paid just $10,932 for the day, but New York was able to give him significantly more than that using a leftover portion of the team’s room exception.

Roby’s minimum salary for next season will be non-guaranteed, Katz adds.

8:40am: The Knicks have agreed to sign forward/center Isaiah Roby to a contract that covers the rest of the season and runs through 2023/24, agents Zach Kurtin and Mark Bartelstein tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski reports that the deal includes “significant” guaranteed money. It’s unclear whether that money will apply to this season’s cap hit (using the remainder of New York’s room exception) or if a portion of Roby’s ’23/24 salary will be guaranteed.

Roby, 25, spent most of the season with the Spurs after being claimed off waivers from the Thunder last summer. He was released just over a month ago when San Antonio needed a roster spot to accommodate its addition of Sandro Mamukelashvili.

In 42 games (11.3 MPG) this season as a Spur, Roby averaged 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per night, with a shooting line of .432/.300/.488. He was more effective in 2021/22 in Oklahoma City, averaging 10.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .514/.444/.672 shooting in 45 appearances (21.1 MPG) for the Thunder.

As we noted earlier today, the Knicks entered Sunday as one of three teams with a 15-man roster spot open, so no corresponding move will be necessary to make room for Roby. The Lakers and Rockets are the other two teams that still have openings on their standard rosters.

Because Roby was waived on March 3, he won’t be eligible to participate in the playoffs this spring.

Jazz Sign Vernon Carey Jr. To Multiyear Deal

9:07pm: The signing is official, the Jazz announced in a press release.

1:01pm: Free agent center Vernon Carey Jr. has agreed to a new deal with the Jazz, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), who reports that the agreement will run through the 2023/24 season.

It’s unclear at this time how much – if any – of next season’s money is guaranteed. Woj notes that Carey will also get in reps with Utah’s Summer League team this July.

The 6’9″ big man most recently played for the Wizards, though he failed to crack the club’s rotation before being waived last month. He appeared in just 11 games this season for the Wizards and 14 overall after joining the team at the 2022 trade deadline in the Montrezl Harrell deal with Charlotte.

The former Duke standout, who was drafted 32nd overall by the Hornets in 2020, played in 37 total games for Charlotte and Washington, with career averages of 1.9 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 5.1 MPG.

Carey enjoyed a far more expansive role with Washington’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. He averaged 20.7 PPG on 61.9% field goal shooting, along with 8.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.9 BPG. Utah will be hoping that some of that promise translates to the NBA level.

The Jazz had an open spot on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to sign Carey.

Grizzlies Promote Lofton, Waive Chandler, Sign Gilyard

1:48pm: The Grizzlies have officially announced their series of roster moves, including a two-way deal for guard Jacob Gilyard, which was first reported by Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

An undrafted rookie in 2022, Gilyard spent the season with the Memphis Hustle in the G League and led the NBAGL in assists per game (9.7). He’ll occupy the two-way slot previously held by Lofton, while Lofton moves into the 15-man roster spot that had been held by Chandler.

12:39pm: The Grizzlies are promoting rookie two-way forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. to their standard roster, and will sign him to a four-year, $7MM contract, Lofton’s agent Mike George informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Lofton was recently named the 2022/23 G League Rookie of the Year. With the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, he averaged 20.2 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.2 SPG and 0.6 BPG across 17 games, including 15 starts.

The 6’7″ power forward has appeared in 23 games for the Grizzlies proper, posting modest averages of 3.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG and 0.9 SPG in 5.9 MPG.

Woj notes that Lofton is being inked to Memphis’ standard 15-man roster in part to address the absence of center Steven Adams, who is reportedly likely to miss the entire 2023 postseason due to the lingering effects of his right knee injury. Adams is one of two key big men unavailable for the Grizzlies — reserve power forward Brandon Clarke tore his Achilles in early March.

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian tweets that Lofton, who would have entered restricted agency this summer if not for his new deal, has impressed the Grizzlies with his development thus far this season.

To carve out roster space for Lofton, Memphis is releasing rookie guard Kennedy Chandler, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Chandler, 20, was selected with the No. 38 pick in the 2022 draft out of Tennessee. As Charania notes, Chandler had been on a long-term agreement with the club, and should now garner significant attention on the waiver wire or as a free agent if he manages to clear waivers.

Herrington adds (via Twitter) that Chandler flashed promise with his ball-handling and defense this season, and may be a better fit on a team that will have more patience as he develops. The 51-30 Grizzlies are clearly prioritizing win-now pieces.

Memphis will be on the hook for Chandler’s guaranteed cap hits in 2023/24 ($1.72MM) and ’24/25 ($2.02MM) if he goes unclaimed on waivers.

RaiQuan Gray Signs Two-Way Deal With Nets

Free agent power forward RaiQuan Gray has signed a two-way contract with the Nets, the team announced in a press statement.

The Nets previously drafted Gray with the No. 59 pick out of Florida State in 2021. Ever since, the 6’8″ big man has been playing for the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s NBAGL affiliate.

Across 18 regular season games with Long Island this season, all starts, Gray averaged 15.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.6 SPG and 0.6 BPG. He boasted shooting splits of .578/.382/.629 in those contests.

The Nets had an open two-way roster spot after elevating David Duke to their standard roster on Friday, so no correlating move needs to be executed to accommodate Gray. He will join incumbent two-way player Dru Smith, a 6’3″ shooting guard who has appeared in 14 games with Brooklyn proper this season.

Gray could theoretically be promoted to the playoff-bound Nets’ standard roster until the last day of the 2022/23 regular season, which is tomorrow, but Brooklyn would need to cut a current player to make room for his addition.

Luka Samanic Signs Multiyear Deal With Jazz

APRIL 7: Samanic’s new contract with the Jazz is official, the team announced in a press release.

APRIL 6: Jazz power forward Luka Samanic has agreed to a deal with Utah that will run through the 2023/24 season, Samanic’s agents Mark Bartelstein and George Roussakis inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Samanic is on the final day of a 10-day deal with Utah. According to Wojnarowski, the forward’s new agreement with the team includes some level of guaranteed salary for next season and trigger dates for his money to become fully guaranteed.

Even with Samanic joining the team for the rest of the season and potentially next year, the Jazz still have 14 of their 15 standard roster spots filled. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Utah is one of just five NBA clubs who still possess a roster opening.

Selected with the No. 19 pick by the Spurs during the 2019 draft, Samanic spent two seasons in San Antonio, but failed to make much of an impact. He had been out of the league before inking his 10-day contract with Utah in March.

Across four games with the Jazz so far, Samanic is averaging career highs of 7.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 0.8 SPG, plus 1.8 APG, in 17.5 MPG.