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Isaiah Canaan Joins Suns’ G League Affiliate

Veteran guard Isaiah Canaan has landed with the Suns’ G League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. After Canaan signed a G League contract, he was claimed off waivers by the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, who flipped him to the Northern Arizona Suns for a first-round pick in the 2018 G League draft.

Canaan, 26, began his NBA career with the Rockets in 2013/14, and has since bounced around the league, spending time with the Sixers and Bulls before briefly returning to Houston this season. Canaan signed with the Rockets in October after Chris Paul was sidelined with a knee issue, but he was waived just four days later.

A Murray State alum, Canaan has appeared in 186 regular season NBA games, averaging 8.4 PPG in 20.2 minutes per contest.

While Canaan doesn’t currently have an NBA contract or even a two-way deal, he finds himself in an interesting spot. With Eric Bledsoe having been traded last month and Brandon Knight out for the season, the Suns have been leaning on Tyler Ulis and Mike James at the point this year. Neither player is viewed as the cornerstone point guard in Phoenix, so if the team likes what it sees from Canaan in the G League, he could become a candidate for a call-up later in the season.

Free agent forward Derrick Jones has also joined the Northern Arizona Suns after being waived last week by Phoenix, tweets Brian M. Bergner Jr. of The Daily Courier.

Suns Sign Danuel House To Two-Way Contract

DECEMBER 8: House’s two-way contract with the Suns is now official, the team announced in a press release. Phoenix once again has a full roster.

DECEMBER 7: The Suns plan to sign guard Danuel House to a two-way contract, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The 24-year-old last saw NBA action with the Wizards in 2016/17, but was a late training camp cut by the Rockets this fall.

House will slot in to the two-way spot opened up earlier today when the Suns converted Mike James‘ two-way deal into a regular contract.

House only played in one single minute for the Wizards last season after going undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2016. After starting this season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as an affiliate player for the Rockets, he’ll play for the Northern Arizona Suns going forward.

When House’s deal becomes official, the Timberwolves will once again be the only NBA club that hasn’t filled both of its two-way contract slots.

Hawks Waive Nicolas Brussino

10:10am: The Hawks don’t intend to use their newly-opener roster spot right away, but eventually want to convert Tyler Cavanaugh‘s two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, per Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

10:03am: The Hawks have opened up a spot on their roster by waiving second-year forward Nicolas Brussino, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). Atlanta now has a total of 16 players under contract, but only 12 have fully guaranteed NBA salaries — two are on partially guaranteed contracts, and a couple more are on two-way deals.

Brussino, 24, signed with the Mavericks last summer and spent the 2016/17 season with the team, averaging 2.8 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 54 contests (9.6 MPG). Dallas didn’t want to guarantee Brussino’s salary for the 2017/18 campaign, so the club waived him July, at which point he was claimed by the Hawks. He appeared briefly in just four games for Atlanta this season.

Brussino’s minimum salary for this season became guaranteed in the summer, so the Hawks will remain on the hook for that amount, assuming the 6’7″ Argentinian goes unclaimed on waivers. Brussino’s contract also includes a $1,544,951 salary for 2018/19, but that figure is non-guaranteed.

It’s not clear if the Hawks have another roster move on tap after cutting Brussino. If not, they’ll have some flexibility going forward. NBA teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts next month, so if Atlanta doesn’t fill its open roster spot before then, the club could use the opening to take fliers on multiple young players in the second half.

Nets Acquire Jahlil Okafor From Sixers

5:22pm: The reported trade is now official, both teams have announced in press releases.Jahlil Okafor vertical

3:16pm: The Nets and Sixers are nearing a deal that will send Jahlil Okafor to Brooklyn, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. In the trade, Lowe adds, Philly will also send Nik Stauskas and a second-round pick to the Nets in exchange for Trevor Booker.

The second-round pick heading from the Sixers to the Nets will actually be the Knicks’ second-rounder in 2019, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. Charania also clarifies that the Nets will promptly release guard Sean Kilpatrick in order to create space for the two incoming players.

The move to Brooklyn serves as an excellent opportunity for 2015’s third overall pick. Having seen action in just two contests for the Sixers this season, Okafor was in desperate need of a change of scenery. His camp had been working directly with the franchise to find a suitable new destination since at least October.

Okafor will slot into the Nets’ depth chart as a potential starter. Given that Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a rookie back in 2015/16, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to eat into Timofey Mozgov‘s role at the five. Okafor, after all, showed up to training camp this fall in the best shape of his career.

Worth keeping an eye on is the fact that Okafor will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season thanks to Philadelphia’s decision to decline his 2018/19 fourth-year option. If the Nets want to re-sign him, they won’t be able to offer him a starting salary worth more than the value of that declined option (approximately $6.3MM).

The acquisition of Stauskas may not move the needle much for Brooklyn fans, but the former Michigan Wolverine will reunite with Caris LeVert and add depth on the perimeter. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2018.

Finally, the Sixers will benefit from Booker’s veteran presence and his expiring $9.1MM contract isn’t going to impact the team’s financial future. Booker has averaged 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 21.9 minutes per game so far this season and will provide extra depth for a young team that is looking to turn the corner and seriously compete in the East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Release Sean Kilpatrick

5:21pm: The Nets have formally released Kilpatrick, the team announced in a press release (h/t Adam Zagoria of the New York Times).

3:30pm: In order to make roster space for the acquisitions of Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas, the Nets will waive guard Sean Kilpatrick, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Since signing a 10-day contract with the Nets back in 2015/16, the 27-year-old has played in 109 games for the franchise, starting 24 of them. Kilpatrick averaged 13.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in just over 25 minutes per game during the 2016/17 season.

This year Kilpatrick saw his role decrease and has only played 11.4 minutes per game despite Brooklyn’s backcourt injury woes.

Suns Convert Mike James’ Two-Way Contract Into NBA Deal

DECEMBER 7, 11:35am: The Suns have officially converted James’ two-way deal to a standard NBA contract, the team announced today in a press release. The release also confirmed that the team has waived Jones, as we detailed in a separate story.

James is now on track to reach restricted free agency in 2018, while the Suns have an open two-way contract slot that could be filled at any time.

DECEMBER 6, 11:02pm: The Suns are converting Mike James‘ two-way contract into a traditional NBA contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports. On Thursday, James will have spent 45 days with the NBA club, which is the maximum allowed under a two-way deal.

James will be the first player in NBA history to have his two-way deal converted. Phoenix plans on opening a roster spot on Thursday morning and Derrick Jones is a good bet to be the casualty of the transaction, barring a trade.

The point guard made approximately $213K on his two-way deal and he could earn slightly over $580K if he remains with the team for the remainder of the 2017/18 season. James took on a larger role once the Suns dealt away Eric Bledsoe, starting 10 games before finding his niche leading the second unit.

Suns Waive Derrick Jones

11:32am: The Suns have officially waived Jones, the club confirmed today in a press release.

10:08am: The Suns will waive Derrick Jones to create an open spot on their 15-man roster, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The move was necessary in order to clear room for Mike James, whose two-way contract is being converted into a standard NBA deal.

Jones, 20, initially signed with the Suns as an undrafted free agent in September 2016. He has played sparingly for the team since then, appearing in 38 total games and averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 15.2 minutes per contest. The UNLV product is perhaps best known for his participation in last season’s Slam Dunk Contest — he was the runner-up to champion Glenn Robinson.

Jones had been set to earn $1,312,611 this season, but his contract was non-guaranteed, so the Suns will only be on the hook for a portion of that amount — by my math, the cap charge will work out to about $400K. Of course, if Jones is claimed on waivers, Phoenix will no longer have to carry any part of his contract on its cap for 2017/18. The young forward is under team control through 2020, with a non-guaranteed minimum salary for 2018/19 and a minimum-salary team option for 2019/20.

As Charania tweets, Jones may draw real interest in the waiver process due to his youth and his contract structure. However, any team wanting to place a claim would need to have cap room or an exception big enough to absorb his salary. The waiver order is based on this year’s reverse standings, meaning the Bulls would have first dibs.

As for James, he and the Suns discussed multiple contract structures, but ultimately settled on a rest-of-season deal, per Charania. James will be on track to reach restricted free agency in the summer of 2018.

Rade Zagorac To Play In Spain

Former Grizzlies forward Rade Zagorac will continue his career in Spain, having signed a contract with ACB club Real Betis, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link). Zagorac previously appeared poised to return to his home country of Serbia for the 2017/18 season, but will head elsewhere in Europe after that deal fell through.

As international basketball reporter David Pick explains (via Twitter), Zagorac had reached a verbal agreement on a deal with KK Partizan Belgrade that would have kept him under contract with the Serbian team through 2019. However, Partizan Belgrade had been hit with a FIBA sanction that prevented them from adding new players, meaning Zagorac’s deal couldn’t be finalized.

Zagorac, 22, was the 35th overall pick in the 2016 draft, and after spending one final season overseas, he joined the Grizzlies earlier this year. However, despite signing a contract that was fully guaranteed for two seasons, the 6’9″ forward was unable to earn a spot on Memphis’ regular season roster. The club waived him along with fellow 2016 draftee Wade Baldwin at the end of the preseason.

With Zagorac headed to Spain, the Grizzlies continue to carry $950K in dead money on their 2017/18 cap for the former second-rounder, plus about $1.38MM for 2018/19. However, the club hasn’t given up on the idea of eventually trying to bring the young forward back to Memphis, as Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal noted last month.

Lavoy Allen Set To Play In China

After not finding an NBA home for the 2017/18 season, veteran big man Lavoy Allen is headed to China, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that Allen will sign with the CBA’s Zhejiang Golden Bulls. Former Grizzlies power forward Jarnell Stokes is expected to be let go by the Bulls, per Pick.

Allen, 28, entered the NBA in 2011 as the 50th overall pick in the draft. After spending two and a half seasons with the Sixers, Allen was sent to Indiana in 2014 along with Evan Turner. Allen had been a member of the Pacers for three and a half seasons since that trade, but had his team option for 2017/18 declined in June, making him a free agent.

Allen’s numbers in 388 career regular season NBA games were modest — in 17.8 minutes per contest, the Temple alum averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.8 RPG. Those averages figure to skyrocket in China, where marginal NBA bigs often transform into stars. Jared Sullinger, for instance, has put up 34.0 PPG and 15.6 RPG in nine games for the Shenzhen Leopards this season, while Stokes – apparently being replaced by Allen – had recorded 28.2 PPG and 13.4 RPG in five games.

Allen will join a Zhejiang squad that has a 5-3 record in CBA action so far this season. Former NBA swingman Sonny Weems has been the club’s leading scorer, averaging 29.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 6.6 APG.

Terrence Jones Waived By Chinese Team

After getting kicked out of practice and leaving the Qingdao Eagles earlier this week, veteran big man Terrence Jones has now been waived by the Chinese team, per international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link). The Eagles signed former Knicks second-round pick Maciej Lampe to take Jones’ place on their roster, Pick notes.

Jones, who signed a one-year deal back in July to play in China this season, only lasted about three weeks on his new club’s roster. In nine CBA games, the 25-year-old power forward averaged 22.3 PPG, 11.2 RPG, and 2.3 BPG.

Jones had been hoping to parlay a strong performance in China into another NBA opportunity, but his stint with Qingdao seems unlikely to generate a whole lot of interest stateside. While Jones’ numbers are good, they aren’t as eye-popping as the averages posted in China by some other former NBAers — Jared Sullinger, for instance, is recording 34.0 PPG and 15.6 RPG this season for the Shenzhen Leopards. It also sounds like Jones isn’t leaving the Eagles on good terms, which would be a red flag for potential suitors.

The 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Jones spent his first four NBA seasons with the Rockets, flashing some potential during his time in Houston. However, the Rockets opted not to re-sign him and he spent last season with the Pelicans and the Bucks. He was waived by both teams before ultimately making the move overseas in the offseason.

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