Travis Trice

And-Ones: Calipari, Trice, Ochefu, Pistons

After receiving some interest from UCLA, Kentucky head coach John Calipari has elected to remain with the Wildcats, and the program made it worth his while to do so, reports Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com. According to Borzello, Calipari – who was already under contract through 2024 – has agreed to an extension that will run through his retirement, and will also feature a lifetime role as an ambassador to the university.

“Where else would I want to coach?” Calipari said on his radio show in confirming the news.

Calipari reportedly received a six-year, $48MM offer from UCLA before electing to extend his agreement with Kentucky, per Seth Davis of The Athletic. The 60-year-old is the highest-paid head coach in the NCAA ranks, earning a reported $9.2MM salary this season.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Travis Trice, a veteran G League guard who has been in camp with the Knicks and Bucks in recent years, is headed to Turkey to continue his professional career. After averaging 16.9 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 4.3 RPG in 36 total NBAGL games this season for the Austin Spurs and Wisconsin Herd, Trice has officially signed with Tofas SK, the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Former Wizards center Daniel Ochefu, who appeared in 19 games for Washington in 2016/17, has signed with Spanish team CB Breogan, according to an announcement from the club (via Twitter). Ochefu spent most of the 2018/19 season with the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, posting 14.8 PPG and 8.9 RPG in 39 games (24.2 MPG).
  • The Pistons will enter the offseason looking to fortify their point guard and wing spots, but won’t have much financial flexibility to do so. As such, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press wonders if attempting to re-sign Ish Smith and Wayne Ellington might make the most sense for the club.

And-Ones: Team USA, Walton, J. Crawford, Draft

USA Basketball has announced its 13-man roster for the upcoming 2019 World Cup qualifiers, with the squad once again made up of NBA G League players. Of the 13 players on the roster, Reggie Hearn, Xavier Munford, Cameron Reynolds, and Travis Trice have suited up for previous World Cup qualifiers.

They’ll be joined by nine newcomers, including players with a little NBA experience like Chinanu Onuaku and Emanuel Terry.

Josh Adams, Kyle Casey, Chris Chiozza, Charles Cooke, Michael Frazier II, D.J. Hogg, and Tanner McGrew round out the roster.

Team USA, having gone 8-2 in previous qualifiers, has already earned its spot in the 2019 World Cup, so there won’t be as much pressure on this group for the games taking place in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 22 (vs. Panama) and February 25 (vs. Argentina).

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Michigan and Heat point guard Derrick Walton, who recently left his team in Lithuania, has signed with ALBA Berlin in Germany, according to the club (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). Walton was on a two-way contract with Miami last season and was in training camp with the Bulls in the fall before heading overseas.
  • Veteran NBA guard Jordan Crawford saw his one-month contract with Israeli club Ironi Nahariya expire and is once again a free agent, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando relays.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has released an updated 2019 mock draft at ESPN.com, with Murray State’s Ja Morant moving up to No. 3 to break up a run of Duke prospects at the top of the draft.
  • In an entertaining piece for SI.com, Jake Fischer spoke to a number of role players who have been traded along with stars to find out what it’s like to be an afterthought at an introductory press conference.

Bucks Sign Ike Nwamu, Waive Travis Trice

The Bucks continued an active week of roster moves by swapping one player for another on their 20-man roster. According to RealGM’s official transactions log, Milwaukee signed Ike Nwamu, cutting Travis Trice to create the necessary opening.

Nwamu, a 6’5″ guard, went undrafted out of UNLV in 2016 and has spent time with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the G League and Greek club Lavrio Megabolt since then. Last season, he appeared in 47 games (29.7 MPG) for the Skyforce, averaging 14.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.3 APG with a .422/.364/.829 shooting line.

Nwamu and Trice, who signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Bucks back in July, both look like candidates to eventually end up on the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate. The Bucks have been rotating players on and off their roster frequently as of late, seemingly to acquire NBAGL rights for certain guys who could play for the Herd.

While the Bucks have a full 20-man roster for now, the team still needs to finalize reported agreements with Shabazz Muhammad, Christian Wood, and Tim Frazier, so multiple players – including perhaps Nwamu – figure to be released in the not-too-distant future.

Team USA Announces Camp Roster For September World Cup Qualifiers

Fourteen players will participate in a Las Vegas training camp beginning this Thursday, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. Of those 14 players, 12 will be named to Team USA’s roster for the club’s upcoming qualifying games for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

This set of games – the first window for the second round of qualifiers – will take place later this month. Team USA will face Uruguay on September 14, then play against Panama on September 17.

The following players will be vying for Team USA roster spots for these qualifying contests:

In the first round of qualifying games for the 2019 World Cup, Team USA was made up predominantly of G League players. That’s the case to some extent again this time, with guys like Hearn and Warney returning. However, many of the players this time around are currently under contract with NBA teams, including Bacon (Hornets), Ellenson (Pistons), Hicks (Knicks), Mason (Kings), Trice (Bucks), and White (Spurs).

“With our September second-round games marking the start of the most critical part of the World Cup Qualifying, I think it is imperative for us to look for players who possess mental fortitude, who are tough, and who have experience,” said Team USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “All of our second-round games are going to very, very difficult and competitive battles. Argentina, Panama and Uruguay are all really good and well coached.”

The second round of the World Cup qualifiers will take place over three windows of competition in September, November, and February. Team USA will play two games apiece vs. Argentina, Panama, and Uruguay during that stretch.

Having posted a 5-1 record during the first round of qualifiers, Team USA is tied for first with Argentina in Group E, which is made up of six teams. If Team USA remains in the top three of the Group E standings by the end of February’s games, the squad will qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in China next September.

And-Ones: Kobe, C. Randle, Seattle, Ball Family

Kobe Bryant retired from the Lakers two years ago, but his days of competitive basketball may not be over. BIG3 founder Ice Cube plans to make a strong push to get Bryant involved in his three-on-three league of former NBA players, relays Nina Mandell of USA Today.

“To me he’s the biggest name out there for us to get and he’s going to have to get a restraining order on me to leave him alone about this,” Ice Cube said.

BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz started the rumor mill earlier this week by indicating in a conference call that Bryant had interest in joining the league, but a spokesperson for Bryant later issued a denial. Bryant, who turned 40 today, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and underwent knee surgery late in his career.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • In a G League trade, the expansion Capital City Go-Go acquired the rights to Chasson Randle from Westchester, according to a tweet from the Knicks. Randle agreed to a training camp deal last month with the Wizards, who are the parent team of the Go-Go. Randle, 25, had brief stints with the Sixers and Knicks during the 2016/17 season. In return, Westchester received the rights to center Stephen Zimmerman, who was selected in Wednesday’s expansion draft.
  • In a separate deal announced by the Knicks (Twitter link), Westchester acquired the G League rights to Duje Dukan from Capital City, Wisconsin received the rights to Travis Trice and the Go-Go got the rights to Josh Davis.
  • The NBA’s return to Seattle will be televised by ESPN, relays Jordan Ramirez of NBA.com. The Kings and the Warriors will square off October 5 in the first NBA game at Key Arena since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City a decade ago.
  • The Ball family didn’t make a good impression during its four months in Lithuania, according to Steve Gardner of USA Today. LaVar Ball pulled his sons LiAngelo and LaMelo off their BC Prinai-Skycop team with two games remaining in the season and left a lot of animosity behind. In a press release issued today by the team, coach Virginijus Seskus claims the Ball brothers were “nowhere near the level of the LKL (Lithuanian league)” and “they had no inner drive to become better.” BC Prinai-Skycop also claims that LaVar Ball took back his financial support from the team, along with shooting machines that were presented as gifts.
  • In the latest installment of her five-part series on mental health issues in the NBA, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN talks to referees about the stress they face. Joey Crawford, one of the game’s legendary officials, discusses his experience with counseling after being suspended following a 2007 confrontation with Tim Duncan.

Travis Trice Signs Camp Deal With Bucks

Point guard Travis Trice has signed a training-camp deal with the Bucks, Keith Smith of RealGM.com tweets.

Trice has played for Milwaukee’s summer-league squad the last two years. He averaged 8.8 PPG and 4.0 APG in five games this summer in Las Vegas. The 6’2” Trice was on the Knicks’ G League team last season and has also played overseas in Lebanon and Australia. He appeared in nine games for the Westchester Knicks and averaged 21.1 PPG and 6.4 APG in nine games while making over half of his 3-point atttempts.

Trice, 25, was undrafted in 2015 out of Michigan State.

The Bucks have Eric Bledsoe, Matthew Dellavedova and Brandon Jennings on their point guard depth chart, though Jennings’ salary for next season has not yet been guaranteed.

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Knicks, Pistons

The Sixers‘ reputation among several agents around the league likely won’t do the franchise any favors when the team expects to be a player in free agency in the future, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes in an interesting story after speaking with several sources and agents. One agent told Pompey that he doesn’t want his max-level players in Philadelphia, but he is open to his midlevel players signing with the Sixers only if they overpay. Agents also told Pompey that Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is hard to deal with, saying he doesn’t make it a priority to return calls.

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Knicks Cut Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Four Others

The Knicks have waived Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Darion Atkins and DaJuan Summers, Travis Trice and Wesley Saunders, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves take the Knicks to 14 players, one below the regular season roster limit. All had $75K partial guarantees except for Trice, who was assured of $50K, and Summers, whose salary is non-guaranteed. The release of Antetokounmpo, a brother of Bucks utilityman Giannis Antetokounmpo, means New York forfeits its draft rights to the player it took 51st overall last season.

Antetokounmpo, 23, doesn’t appear interested in rejoining the Knicks D-League affiliate, the team he played for last season. He averaged 13.9 points in 33.0 minutes per game in the D-League last year but went scoreless in about 13 minutes of preseason action spread over three games this month.

Atkins also failed to register a point over seven total minutes of preseason playing time. The 23-year-old went undrafted out of Virginia this year.

Summers, 27, was the 35th overall pick in 2009 but hasn’t appeared in an NBA regular season game since the 2012/13 season. The power forward averaged 2.5 PPG in 5.8 MPG across four preseason contests with the Knicks this month.

Trice went undrafted out of Michigan State this year. The 22-year-old point guard had four points, two assists and a turnover in about 14 total minutes of playing time over the course of two preseason games.

Saunders, from Harvard, was yet another prospect passed over in this year’s draft who landed with the Knicks. The 22-year-old small forward managed two points in about seven minutes of preseason action spread across a pair of games.

The Knicks have 13 fully guaranteed deals, but Langston Galloway, with his sizable $440K partial guarantee, seems safely ensconced in the 14th spot. New York is reportedly one of a handful of teams with interest in the recently waived Jimmer Fredette.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Sullinger, Sixers

Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s statement that he’d be more involved with coach Derek Fisher and the team this season could potentially send a confusing message to the locker room, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. “I really don’t know what standpoint he’s coming from,” Carmelo Anthony said of Jackson’s increased role. “If I think I know Phil the way I know him, I think it’s more of being involved with coaching staff, being in with them, watching film with them, kind of opening up dialogue a little bit more, him sitting in the film room with us, after the games, going over the games, watching more tape, talking to the coaching staff.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The minimum salary deal that the Knicks signed DaJuan Summers to is non-guaranteed, Darion Atkinspact includes a partial guarantee of $75K, Travis Trice‘s arrangement includes $50K in guaranteed money, and Wesley Saundersdeal includes a partial guarantee of $75K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter).
  • Celtics big man Jared Sullinger believes that his improved conditioning will elevate his game to the next level this season, CSNNE.com relays. “A lot of shots that I’ve missed is due to conditioning. A lot of rebounds I missed is due to conditioning. The defensive plays that I’ve missed – conditioning,” said Sullinger. “Now that my conditioning is at a level where I’m comfortable at but can still improve, I think I have a chance [to be an All-Star].
  • Even though Joe Johnson knew that the Nets were going to make some offseason changes, he was still caught by surprise by Deron Williamsbuyout arrangement, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post writes. “I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Johnson. “But I didn’t see [the buyout] coming. I don’t think [being here] was that bad. It’s not that bad here. To want to get bought out … I couldn’t really put my finger around that one. But I hear that he’s happy and that’s the most important thing. He’s back home, so good for him.
  • The contracts that the Nets signed Justin Harper and Chris Daniels to are both one-year, minimum salary arrangements that include no guaranteed money, Pincus tweets.
  • The success of Sixers big men Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel this season will depend on how effective the outside shooting of Nik Stauskas, Robert Covington and Hollis Thompson is, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News writes. “You hear me say this all the time: My offensive world, how I see it, is pace, space and pass,” coach Brett Brown said. “Post spacing really comes with shooters. Maybe the best play that Jahlil has is Covington and Stauskas. He’s got space to do stuff. We experienced it [in San Antonio] all the time. So, these shooters will most definitely complement Nerlens, and especially Jahlil.
  • T.J. McConnell‘s four-year, minimum salary arrangement with the Sixers includes a partial guarantee of $100K for the 2015/16 season, Pincus tweets. The final three seasons are non-guaranteed, and the fourth year is both non-guaranteed and a team option.