Walter Lemon Jr.

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.

Nets Notes: FA Mini-Camp, RFA Market, LeVert

The Nets hosted a three-day mini-camp this week for veteran free agents, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), who identifies former Thunder guard Semaj Christon and 2016 first-round pick Brice Johnson as a pair of the participants.

Per Kennedy (Twitter link), other players with previous NBA experience who took part in Brooklyn’s mini-camp include Xavier Silas, Josh Gray, Naz Mitrou-Long, Jarrod Uthoff, and Byron Mullens. Walt Lemon Jr., who saw a little action with the Pelicans this season, was also in attendance, tweets NetsDaily.

While the Nets may not end up adding any of those players to their roster for next season, the mini-camp gives the club a chance to get a closer look at some players who might have flown under-the-radar, and perhaps some candidates for two-way contracts next season.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • The Nets have been the NBA’s most active club in restricted free agency over the past two years, with little success. The club signed Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas, and Otto Porter to offer sheets, but saw all four of those offers matched at the time (Crabbe was later traded to Brooklyn). With that recent history in mind, NetsDaily explores whether the club will foray into the RFA market again in 2018, with Aaron Gordon looming as a possible target.
  • The first draft pick of the Sean Marks era in Brooklyn, Caris LeVert showed impressive potential and versatility during his second NBA season in 2017/18, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. LeVert, who could become a long-term starter for the Nets, won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until 2020.
  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is on the wrong end of a lawsuit in New York State Court, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. Prokhorov is being counter-sued by Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistle-blower who exposed Russian cheating in the 2014 Olympics, for backing a libel lawsuit that Rodchenkov viewed as an intimidation tactic.

Walt Lemon Jr., Xavier Rathan-Mayes Won’t Be Re-Signed

Two players won’t be re-signed as they reach the end of their 10-day contracts, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.

The Pelicans have decided not to retain Walt Lemon Jr., Haynes tweets. The 25-year-old guard completed two 10-day deals with the team and would need to be signed for the rest of season to remain in New Orleans. Lemon appeared in five games during his 20 days with the Pelicans, averaging 3.4 points in 7.0 minutes per night.

The Grizzlies’ impending signing of Briante Weber means guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes won’t receive a second 10-day contract (Twitter link). The 23-year-old saw action in five games with Memphis, playing 23.6 minutes per night and averaging 5.8 points.

Also expiring overnight was a second 10-day contract for Antonius Cleveland, whom the Hawks are expected to sign to a multi-year deal.

Pelicans Sign Walter Lemon Jr. To Second 10-Day Deal

MARCH 4, 12:06pm: The signing is official, the Pelicans announced in an email.

MARCH 2, 6:26pm: The Pelicans will sign Walt Lemon Jr. to a second 10-day contract, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The point guard hasn’t seen much run so far for New Orleans, soaking up 14 minutes of action over his three contests with the team. He made two of his six shots from the field, scoring four points.

Lemon was a G League standout earlier this season, posting 22.7 PPG, 5.9 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 SPG, and a .490 FG% with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Prior to arriving in the league, Lemon, who went undrafted in 2014, played internationally in Hungary, Germany, and Greece.

Pelicans Sign Walter Lemon Jr. To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 21, 6:20 pm: The signing is official, the Pelicans confirmed in an email.

FEBRUARY 20, 1:42pm: A busy day of 10-day contract agreements continues, as Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Pelicans have agreed to sign G League guard Walter Lemon Jr. to a 10-day deal.

New Orleans currently has 13 players on standard NBA contracts, plus Emeka Okafor on a 10-day contract of his own, leaving one open spot on the 15-man squad. As such, no corresponding move will be required to finalize Lemon’s agreement.

Lemon, a former Bradley point guard who went undrafted in 2014, has made stops in Hungary, Germany, and Greece during his professional career, but is having his most successful season this year for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

In 36 games for Indiana’s G League affiliate, Lemon has averaged 22.7 PPG, 5.9 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 SPG, and a .490 FG%, with Dedrick Hendrix of Ridiculous Upside recently singling out the 6’3″ guard as a rising star in the G League. The 25-year-old will get a chance to make his NBA debut for the Pelicans.