Walter Lemon Jr.

Pacers Cut Walt Lemon, Amida Brimah, C.J. Wilcox

The Pacers have removed three players from their roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived Walt Lemon Jr., Amida Brimah, and C.J. Wilcox.

All three players were in Indiana on non-guaranteed contracts, so the team won’t have to take on any dead money as a result of today’s cuts.

Lemon and Brimah are on track to join the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, since the Pacers’ G League affiliate has acquired both players’ returning rights. Wilcox is expected to join them, per Scott Agness of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Pacers now have 17 players under contract, including 15 on guaranteed salaries and two on two-way deals. The roster is essentially regular-season-ready, but it’s possible the team will continue to make moves this week as it secures affiliate players for the Mad Ants.

Pacers Notes: Culture, Bitadze, Sabonis, Lemon

Pacers players are eager to praise the culture in Indiana, with Malcolm Brogdon referring to the front office as a “very transparent group,” while Victor Oladipo calls president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and GM Chad Buchanan “very interactive,” per Jonathan Abrams of Bleacher Report. As Abrams details, the Pacers’ decision-makers believe in open communication with their players and have promised to inform those players if they’re engaged in any serious trade talks involving them.

“There’s a little bit of quid pro quo, because if we do that and then the trade doesn’t go through, guys can check out,” Pritchard said. “When we say it’s at the five-yard line, you’re going to hear it from us. But if it doesn’t work out, you still have to have both feet in on the Pacers.

Pritchard and Buchanan told Abrams that they had conversations with Al Jefferson and Darren Collison in recent years about deals that nearly came to fruition, though neither trade ultimately happened.

“Their agents probably appreciate it as much as the player, [but] there’s downsides to it,” Pritchard said. “There’s no doubt there’s potential downsides. But I think there’s an upside in that if you come here, that you’re going to be told the truth.”

Abrams’ piece is a good read that’s worth checking out in full, particularly for Pacers fans. Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • Speaking to Abrams, Pritchard pushed back against the idea that the Pacers drafted big man Goga Bitadze in June with an eye toward trading him. “A lot of people thought we did that with Goga. I still don’t understand that,” Pritchard said. “… We felt like Goga was the best player on the board. In the draft, you don’t want to hit a single. If you’re hitting a single in the draft and keep hitting singles in the draft, you’re going to be average at best in a low-revenue market. Big-revenue market, it’s still important, but not quite as.”
  • Domantas Sabonis is “known to be in active talks” with the Pacers about a possible rookie scale extension, writes Marc Stein of The New York Times. If the two sides don’t finalize a deal by 5:00pm CT on October 21, Sabonis will become a restricted free agent next summer.
  • After signing Walt Lemon Jr. last week, the Pacers acquired the guard’s G League rights today, according to a press release from the Fort Wayne Ants, Indiana’s NBAGL affiliate. Lemon appears likely to be waived by the Pacers in the next few days and then report to Fort Wayne.

Pacers Notes: Brogdon, Warren, Pritchard, Roster Moves

The 2019/20 season will only be his fourth NBA campaign and his first with the Pacers, but 26-year-old guard Malcolm Brogdon is Indiana’s bona fide team leader in his inaugural season in Indianapolis, writes Mark Montieth of Pacers.com.

At least one assistant coach has already gone as far as comparing Brogdon to perhaps the greatest player in Pacers’ history, five-time NBA All-Star Reggie Miller“I haven’t seen anybody like that in practice since Reggie,” said assistant coach Dan Burke, who has been with the Pacers for nearly 20 seasons.

Likewise, head coach Nate McMillan sees an extension of himself on the court with Brogdon, something every coach longs for in a point guard.

“He’s doing a good job of coming in and competing and getting the guys to compete,” McMillan said “He understands the position he’s in and what’s required of that. He’s communicating with all of our guys. He communicates with the guys he’s playing with and the guys he’s playing against (in practice)… it just comes natural for him.”

There’s more tonight out of Indianapolis:

  • A versatile player, offseason free agent acquisition T.J. Warren has the ability to line up as a power forward in a small-ball lineup, but the Pacers’ focus for him is to excel at small forward, reports J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.
  • Scott Agness of The Athletic writes that the Pacers have elevated their emphasis on the international game and its players since president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, who played professionally in Spain, Italy, and Germany, was promoted to run the front office back in 2017. “I like the way Europe does it,” Pritchard said. “They put the emphasis early on learning the game versus playing and winning immediately.”
  • As we relayed earlier today and yesterday, the Pacers have made several roster moves in the past 48 hours. In addition to exercising rookie scale options on both Aaron Holiday and T.J. Leaf, the club replaced forward Jakeenan Gant with guard Walt Lemon Jr. on its 20-man roster.

Pacers Sign Walt Lemon Jr.

After opening up a roster spot on Wednesday by waiving Jakeenan Gant, the Pacers filled that spot today, signing Walt Lemon Jr. to their 20-man roster, according to a press release from the team. Indiana’s announcement didn’t any reveal contract details, but it figures to be a non-guaranteed pact for the free agent guard.

Lemon, 27, appeared in five games with the Pelicans during the 2017/18 season and six more with the Bulls in 2018/19. He has spent most of his professional career in the G League, playing a total of 130 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Maine Red Claws, and Windy City Bulls.

After starting the 2018/19 season on a two-way contract with the Celtics and appearing in 10 contests for Maine, Lemon was released by Boston and had his G League rights acquired by Windy City. He averaged 20.1 PPG, 8.7 APG, and 4.8 RPG in 33 games (33.1 MPG) for the Bulls’ NBAGL affiliate, earning a call-up to Chicago at the end of the season. However, he was cut by the team in July.

It’s not clear what the Pacers’ plan is for Lemon, considering they’re already carrying 15 players with guaranteed salaries and have filled both their two-way slots. In order to have him return to their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, they’d need to reacquire his returning rights, which are currently held by Windy City.

Bulls Release Shaquille Harrison, Walt Lemon Jr.

The Bulls have waived Shaquille Harrison and Walt Lemon Jr., according to a press release from the team. Chicago needed the cap space to finalize the signings of free agents Thaddeus Young, which is now official, and Tomas Satoransky, who is still waiting to sign his deal. Harrison and Lemon both had non-guaranteed contracts that would have paid them $1,588,231 next season.

Harrison, 25, appeared in 73 games this year, starting 11, after signing with the Bulls last summer. He posted a 6.5/3.0/1.9 line in about 20 minutes per night.

Lemon, 26, got into six games after signing with Chicago in late March. He started the season on a two-way contract with the Celtics, but never played for them before being released in November.

Central Notes: Lemon, Hoiberg, Brogdon, Cavaliers

Walter Lemon Jr. is making a strong early impression on the Bulls after signing a 10-day contract Friday, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Injuries to seven rotation players gave Lemon a chance to play 31 minutes last night and he responded with 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals.

“If you would have told me a couple of days ago that I was going to play 30 minutes against the Raptors — the No. 2 team in the East — on the Bulls’ floor, let alone play 30 minutes in an NBA game, period, I wouldn’t believe you,” said Lemon, a Chicago native. “This is definitely a surreal moment for me. And I’m going to never forget it. I’m going to cherish this moment for the rest of my life.”

Lemon is making a push for a longer contract after signing with the Bulls for the rest of the season. The 26-year-old has been waiting for an opportunity since leaving Bradley in 2014, playing extensively in the G League and overseas.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Jim Boylen is thrilled to see his predecessor back in the coaching ranks, relays Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Fred Hoiberg was officially hired Saturday as the new coach at Nebraska, a little more than four months after his firing in Chicago. “I know he loves coaching college basketball. We’ve had many of those conversations,” Boylen said. “He did a terrific job at Iowa State. It looks like Nebraska is right in his wheelhouse and I’m sure he’ll take that program to the next level. Happy for him and his family.” The hiring is also good news for the Bulls, who can offset Hoiberg’s $3.57MM salary from the $5MM they owe him for next season.
  • Injured Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon is getting around without the aid of crutches or a walking boot, tweets Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It’s an encouraging sign of progress for Brogdon, who has a minor plantar fascia tear in his right foot and is expected to miss at least the first round of the playoffs.
  • The Cavaliers are hoping to trade away some salary so they can try their luck in the free agent market this summer, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.

Bulls Sign Walter Lemon Jr.

MARCH 29: The Bulls have officially signed Lemon, the team announced today in a press release.

MARCH 28: Point guard and Chicago native Walter Lemon Jr. will sign with the Bulls for the rest of the season, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Lemon has spent most of this season with Chicago’s Windy City affiliate in the G League, where he averaged 20.1 points per game after being acquired in an early-season trade with Maine. The 26-year-old has played extensively in the G League and overseas since going undrafted out of Bradley in 2014.

Lemon got into five games with the Pelicans after signing a pair of 10-day contracts late last season. He inked a two-way deal with the Celtics last summer, but never played for Boston and was waived in November.

He will provide some help to a Bulls team that has been overwhelmed by injuries. On Wednesday, Lauri Markkanen became the team’s third prominent player to be shut down for the rest of the season, joining Chandler Hutchison and Wendell Carter Jr., who have both been sidelined for weeks. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Otto Porter have also been unavailable recently.

Bulls Scouting Veteran Point Guards

The Bulls have been scouting veteran point guards, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who reports that the team isn’t just eyeing potential trade targets for the deadline, but is looking ahead to 2019’s free agent market for some “fiscally responsible” options. Cowley names Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison as a couple veteran guards who appear to fit that bill.

Chicago has given Kris Dunn the reins at point guard since acquiring him in the Jimmy Butler blockbuster with the Timberwolves during the summer of 2017. However, the 24-year-old has just been okay for the Bulls so far. Injuries have limited Dunn to 78 games since the trade, in which he has averaged 13.0 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG with a .433/.328/.752 shooting line.

One scout tells Cowley that there’s talk of Dunn needing to be pushed by a proven veteran to see if he’ll “sink or swim” in reaching another level and becoming the Bulls’ point guard of the future. The franchise will face a decision on Dunn’s long-term future fairly soon. He becomes eligible for an extension during the 2019 offseason and can become a restricted free agent in 2020 if he’s not extended.

According to Cowley, one option being considered for the rest of this season if the Bulls don’t acquire a point guard at the deadline is to promote Walter Lemon Jr. from the Windy City Bulls to the NBA squad. Cowley, who describes Lemon as a “tough-minded guard that backs down from no one,” suggests that the former Pelican would be given the opportunity to compete with Dunn for minutes.

The Bulls only have about $54MM in guaranteed salary committed to their books for the 2019/20 season. While that doesn’t include cap holds for their first-round pick or various free agents, including Bobby Portis, they should still have plenty of space available to pursue a point guard in the offseason.

Celtics Waive Walt Lemon Jr.

The Celtics have waived guard Walt Lemon Jr., who was on a two-way contract with the team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Lemon didn’t appear in any games with Boston, spending much of his time with the club’s G League team in Maine. He was signed to a two-way deal in July after spending part of the 2017/18 season with the Pelicans, where he played five NBA games.

Lemon, 28, went undrafted in 2014 after playing four collegiate seasons at Bradley. He averaged 22.4 points in 40 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, G League affiliate of the Pacers, during the 2017/18 season.

The Celtics have started the season with an 11-10 record, struggling to gain chemistry on both ends of the floor. They’re set to host the 4-16 Cavaliers on Friday.

Celtics Sign Walt Lemon Jr. To Two-Way Deal

JULY 25, 7:08pm: The signing is official, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.

JULY 16, 10:47am: The Celtics have agreed to sign free agent guard Walter Lemon Jr. to a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Lemon will take over the two-way slot recently vacated by Kadeem Allen, who was waived by Boston over the weekend.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Lemon, who will turn 26 later this month, made his NBA debut earlier this year after he signed a 10-day contract with the Pelicans. The former Bradley standout later inked a second 10-day pact with New Orleans and ultimately appeared in five games for the club, but wasn’t retained for the rest of the season.

For the majority of the 2017/18 season, Lemon was a member of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League, averaging 22.4 PPG, 6.1 APG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.0 SPG in 40 contests. In five Summer League games this month for the Pelicans, he recorded 13.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 3.6 RPG.

Boston will still have an open two-way contract slot after officially signing Lemon. The team has a qualifying offer out to Jabari Bird, but he may end up receiving a promotion to the 15-man roster, which would leave the other two-way slot open for someone else.