Ashton Hagans Returns To Trail Blazers On Two-Way Contract

FEBRUARY 23: The Trail Blazers have officially signed Hagans to a two-way contract, the team confirmed today in a press release.

FEBRUARY 22: The Trail Blazers will sign Ashton Hagans to fill their open two-way slot, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The 24-year-old point guard was on Portland’s roster earlier this month on a 10-day contract, but it was terminated early because the team needed an open spot to promote two-way player Duop Reath. Hagans got into four games during his time with the Blazers, making one start and averaging 2.8 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 15 minutes per night.

Hagans appeared in two games with Minnesota during the 2020/21 season, but he has mostly been in the G League since going undrafted out of Kentucky in 2020. He has spent the majority of this season with Portland’s new Rip City Remix affiliate and was selected as a G League All-Star.

Once Hagans’ signing is finalized, Portland will have a full roster with all 15 standard spots and all three two-way slots filled. Justin Minaya and Ibou Badji are the team’s other two-way players.

Pistons Officially Confirm Reported Roster Moves

The Pistons have officially issued a press release (Twitter link) to formally confirm that three previously reported roster moves have been finalized. Those roster moves are as follows:

All three transactions were reported on Thursday, but Evbuomwan’s 10-day contract with Detroit was still active through last night’s game in Indiana, so the team waited an extra day for it to expire before essentially swapping his and Umude’s spots on the 18-man roster. Boeheim’s two-way deal was completed at the same time.

The Pistons now have a full squad, with Umude taking the 15th spot on the standard roster while Evbuomwan and Boeheim join Jared Rhoden as Detroit’s two-way players.

A player who signs a two-way contract during the season is subject to a prorated portion of the usual 50-game limit, so Evbuomwan and Boeheim will each be eligible to be active for up to 15 of the team’s remaining NBA games this season.

For more information on the three players involved in the Pistons’ latest transactions, be sure to check out our previous full stories on each move.

Bulls Signing Onuralp Bitim To Multiyear Contract

The Bulls will use the open spot on their 15-man roster to promote Onuralp Bitim from his two-way deal to a standard contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Bitim is signing a multiyear pact with the team.

Bitim is in his first NBA season after playing professionally for several years in Turkey. He was made the All-EuroCup Second Team for Bursaspor last season, averaging 18.1 points and 3.2 assists in 18 EuroCup contests, before agreeing to come stateside to join the Bulls.

The Turkish wing – who will turn 25 next month – has not had a role in Chicago so far this season, however, appearing briefly in just two games at the NBA level. While Bitim has yet to score his first NBA point, he has played regularly for the Windy City Bulls, appearing in 22 Showcase Cup and regular season G League games so far this season.

Bitim has averaged 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 30.1 minutes per contest for Windy City, posting a shooting line of .415/.363/.909. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but they have improved as of late — he has averaged 16.7 PPG with a .433 3PT% since the NBAGL regular season began at the end of December.

It seems the Bulls have liked what they’ve seen from Bitim enough to give him a promotion and to give themselves the option of having him on next season’s roster at a minimum-salary rate. Terms of his new contract have yet to be reported, but I imagine it will include little to no guaranteed money beyond this season, giving the club some flexibility.

Once Bitim’s promotion is official, the Bulls will have a full 15-man standard roster, with one of their two-way slots open. They’ll have until March 4 to fill that two-way opening.

Thunder Waive Aleksej Pokusevski

The Thunder have cut forward Aleksej Pokusevski from their 15-man roster, the team announced today in a press release. Pokusevski will become a free agent on Sunday if he goes unclaimed on waivers.

The No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Pokusevski flashed some tantalizing upside in his first three-and-a-half NBA seasons. However, his development was hindered by health issues. He was limited to just 34 games (25 starts) in 2022/23 due largely to a leg fracture that sidelined him for about three months, then broke his arm during a workout in the spring of 2023 and sprained his ankle this past September.

Pokusevski got off to a strong start in ’22/23, averaging 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game across his 34 appearances, with career-best shooting rates of 43.4% from the field and 36.5% from the three-point line. But those injuries ended the seven-footer’s season early and he only saw garbage-time action in 10 games this season, logging 60 total minutes.

Given his lack of a role and his expiring contract, Pokusevski was a candidate to be on the move at this month’s deadline, but has now been waived instead after not being in included in a trade. Barring an unexpected waiver claim, the Thunder will remain on the hook for his 2023/24 cap hit of $5,009,633.

Pokusevski is still just 22 years old, so as long as he’s healthy, there will likely be rebuilding teams that explore taking a flier on him. John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link) wonders if the Wizards might kick the tires on the young forward, given that general manager Will Dawkins was in Oklahoma City’s front office when he was drafted. For what it’s worth, Pokusevski remains eligible this season to sign a two-way contract.

As for the Thunder, they open up a spot on their 15-man roster as a result of the move. That opening doesn’t have to be filled immediately — it could be used to explore the buyout market, sign someone to a 10-day contract, or perhaps promote one of their two-way players.

Mike Conley Signs Two-Year Extension With Timberwolves

FEBRUARY 23: Conley’s extension with the Timberwolves is now official, the team announced today in a press release.

FEBRUARY 19: Veteran point guard Mike Conley has agreed to a two-year, $21MM extension with the Timberwolves, agents Steven Heumann and Jess Holtz tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Conley, 36, is earning $24.4MM this season in the final year of his current contract. He would have been Minnesota’s biggest free agent this summer, but inking a two-year extension will keep him off the open market.

Shams Charania of The Athletic hears Conley’s extension is worth $22MM (Twitter link), so we’ll have to wait for more details to learn his exact cap hits for 2024/25 and 2025/26. Either way, it sounds like he won’t hit free agency until 2026, when he’ll be 38.

Conley has started all 50 of his games for the Wolves in ’23/24 and has been a key leader for the No. 1 seed in the West. In 28.9 minutes per night, he has averaged 10.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.0 SPG. In his 17th NBA season, Conley is posting career-high marks from three-point range (44.2%) and the free throw line (92.3%).

According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), Minnesota’s front office has been trying to work out a deal for Conley for several weeks, and obviously the interest was mutual. His new extension is similar to the one Al Horford signed with Boston in December 2022 (two years, $19.5MM).

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (Twitter links), the Wolves project to be over the second tax apron in ’24/25, with their entire starting lineup under contract. The other four starters are Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

Timberwolves Sign Justin Jackson To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 22: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

FEBRUARY 21: The Timberwolves have agreed to sign former first-round pick Justin Jackson to a 10-day contract, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The 15th overall pick in 2017, Jackson has appeared in 278 total regular season games for the Kings, Mavericks, Thunder, Bucks, Celtics, and Suns across six seasons in the NBA. However, he has been out of the league for over a year, having been waived by Oklahoma City last February after being sent from Boston to OKC in exchange for Mike Muscala at the trade deadline.

Jackson has spent the 2023/24 season playing for the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G League affiliate. In 35 games for the Legends, he has averaged 19.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per contest, with an excellent shooting line of .480/.427/.868.

Minnesota had been carrying 13 players on standard contracts since this season’s February 8 trade deadline and had until Thursday to fill at least one of the two openings on its roster, as we outlined over the weekend. Unless the Wolves make a second addition to their roster, they’ll find themselves in a similar situation once Jackson’s 10-day contract expires, with up to two weeks to re-add a 14th man.

Jackson will earn $145,301 over the course of his 10-day deal, while the Wolves take on a cap hit of $116,075. The contract will cover the team’s next five games, starting on Friday vs. Milwaukee.

With Jackson’s 10-day deal on their books, the Wolves are now $1.4MM below the luxury tax line, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That will be a consideration as Minnesota manages its roster during the season’s final weeks, since the organization won’t want to become a taxpayer.

Pelicans Sign Jalen Crutcher To 10-Day Deal

The Pelicans are signing guard Jalen Crutcher to a 10-day contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The signing is official, according to the NBA transactions log.

New Orleans has an open spot on the roster for Crutcher. The Pelicans also promoted Jeremiah Robinson-Earl from his two-way deal during the All-Star break after their roster count dropped to 13.

Crutcher, 24, has averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 36 starts for the Pelicans’ Birmingham Squadron NBA G League team. Crutcher spent most of the past two seasons with the Hornets’ G League team, the Greensboro Swarm. He signed with New Orleans in October during training camp but was waived before opening night.

Crutcher went undrafted in 2021 out of Dayton and has yet to make his NBA debut. He’ll provide temporary depth at the guard spot.

A week ago, New Orleans announced that Dyson Daniels would be out at least a month after undergoing left knee surgery.

Pelicans Sign Malcolm Hill To Two-Way Contract

FEBRUARY 22: Hill’s two-way contract with the Pelicans is now official, the team announced in a press release.

FEBRUARY 21: Following a pair of brief stints with the team earlier in 2023/24, third-year swingman Malcolm Hill will be returning to the Pelicans on a two-way contract, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Hill, 28, was in training camp with the Pelicans in the fall and signed a 10-day contract with the club on January 27, but has yet to see any action at the NBA level this regular season after appearing in 24 total games for the Hawks and Bulls from 2021-23.

The former Illinois standout has spent the majority of this season with the Birmingham Squadron, New Orleans’ G League affiliate. In 33 Showcase Cup and regular season games for the Squadron, Hill has averaged 22.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in 34.9 minutes per contest, posting an impressive shooting line of .477/.409/.884.

After promoting Jeremiah Robinson-Earl from a two-way contract to the standard roster over the weekend, the Pelicans have a two-way slot available, so no corresponding move will be required to make room for Hill. After the deal is finalized, the Pelicans will still have one opening on their standard 15-man roster.

[RELATED: 2023/24 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Depending on when exactly Hill signs his new contract, he’ll be eligible to be active for up to either 15 or 16 of the Pelicans’ 27 games the rest of the way.

Tosan Evbuomwan To Sign Two-Way Deal With Pistons

With his 10-day deal set to expire, Tosan Evbuomwan is re-signing with the Pistons on a two-way contract, agent George Langberg tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Evbuomwan will take the two-way slot previously held by Stanley Umude, who is being promoted to a standard deal, so the two players are essentially swapping spots on the Pistons’ roster.

After going undrafted out of Princeton, Evbuomwan signed an Exhibit 10 deal with Detroit, later being waived to earn a bonus for playing for the team’s NBAGL affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

He has spent most of the 2023/24 season with the Cruise, but has also played in five NBA games with the Grizzlies and the Pistons while on 10-day contracts.

In 29 games with the Cruise, Evbuomwan has averaged 15.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 34.5 minutes per game.

Pistons Converting Stanley Umude To Standard Contract

The Pistons plan to give Stanley Umude a promotion, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the second-year guard/forward will have his two-way contract converted into a standard two-year deal.

Umude, 24, has appeared in 17 games this season for Detroit, averaging 5.2 points and 1.8 rebounds on .481/.548/.917 shooting in 11.2 minutes per contest. He has also played 22 games (32.6 minutes) for the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, averaging 17.1 points and 5.8 rebounds on .397/.345/.774 shooting.

Umude went undrafted in 2022 out of Arkansas and spent training camp with Detroit, spending most of his rookie campaign with the Cruise. He made one appearance with the Pistons last season while on a 10-day deal.

The Pistons have been busy on Thursday, having reached agreements to sign Cruise member Buddy Boeheim to a two-way deal, convert Umude to a standard contract, and give Tosan Evbuomwan the two-way slot previously held by Umude.