Wayne Ellington

Central Notes: Ellington, Stauskas, Oladipo

The Pistons used up the remainder of their mid-level exception to sign guard Wayne Ellington, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Detroit made a $2.4MM commitment to acquire Ellington, who was waived by the Suns after getting traded by the Heat last week. The team remains $252K under the luxury tax threshold and it has no player bonuses that would push it over the tax, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

The Pistons divvied up portions of the mid-level to sign free agent Glenn Robinson III and second-round picks Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown Jr. over the summer. Ellington got off to a slow start in his Pistons debut, shooting 1-for-8 from the field against Washington on Monday night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The signing of free agent guard Nik Stauskas technically pushed the Cavaliers over the luxury tax line but they’ll drop below it due to an unrelated acquisition, Marks notes in another tweet. Cleveland will get a $750K credit based on John Henson‘s bonuses being deemed unlikely at the end of the season. That will put the Cavs $722K below the tax line. Henson was acquired as part of the George Hill deal with the Bucks in early December but has yet to make his Cavs debut after undergoing wrist surgery in late November.
  • Stauskas is happy he would up back with the Cavaliers, believing he’ll get a chance to showcase his skills, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Stauskas was traded by Portland to Cleveland last week. He was included in two other deals, then waived before re-signing with the rebuilding club. “This team is not in a playoff position right now so they’re in the stage of developing guys and obviously it’s not like you look at the roster and have a bunch of All-Star talent,” Stauskas said. “I’m coming from Portland where I was playing behind guys like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum — established guys. You look at the roster here and you don’t necessarily have that. I look at the opportunity coming in and help this team win some games and maybe help show what I can do as well.”
  • Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending quad injury occurred in the same area of his right knee that forced him to miss 11 games earlier this season, according to an ESPN report. However, the Pacers star guard is unsure if the earlier injury led to the more serious one. The soreness Oladipo felt in November and December was just above the right knee. “Sure, it might be connected, but who knows,” Oladipo said. “I’m not focused on the past because I have no control over that, just like I have no control over the future.”

Pistons Sign Wayne Ellington, Waive Henry Ellenson

6:09pm: The move is official, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

4:03pm: Wayne Ellington has cleared waivers and the Pistons will sign him to a contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Ellington was sent to the Suns in the Tyler Johnson trade and the veteran was subsequently waived. It was reported on Friday that Detroit was nearing a deal with the 31-year-old after beating out “heavy competition” for his services.

While the Pistons don’t provide Ellington with a chance to compete for a title, they do provide him a path to court time on a potential playoff team. Detroit traded away Reggie Bullock, arguably the team’s best shooter, earlier in the week and Ellington, who’s a career 38.0% shooter from downtown, will have a chance to fill that void.

As we mentioned in our log of every team’s roster situation, the Pistons had a full roster and needed to make a corresponding move to add the shooting guard. The team will waive Henry Ellenson in order to make room for Ellington.

Pistons, Wayne Ellington Nearing Agreement

Wayne Ellington, who is currently on waivers and will become a free agent this weekend, is closing in on a contract agreement with the Pistons, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Ellington, who spent most of the season with the Heat, was sent from Miami to Phoenix in a trade this week. The veteran sharpshooter has a contract that gave him the right to veto a potential deal, but he signed off on the trade based on the knowledge that the Suns would release him, giving him the chance to join a contender.

While the 24-29 Pistons certainly aren’t the NBA’s most obvious “contender,” they’re currently just 1.5 games out of the playoff picture in the East. The Hornets and Heat hold the seventh and eighth seeds with 26-28 and 25-27 records, respectively, so Ellington could get the opportunity to help knock his old team out of the postseason.

Ellington, 31, has a career .380 3PT% and has made at least 2.3 threes per game in each of the last three seasons with the Heat, but saw his role cut back significantly in 2018/19. He struggled to crack a crowded rotation in Miami, appearing in just 25 games this season and suggesting that he wouldn’t mind a change of scenery if it gave him the opportunity to play more.

He’ll get that chance in Detroit, which may have been one of the reasons why he chose the Pistons over other suitors. According to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (via Twitter), the Pistons beat out “heavy competition” for Ellington. After trading away Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson in a pair of deals this week, the club should have a clear role available on the wing for the former UNC standout.

The Pistons currently have a full 15-man roster, so they’ll have to waive someone to open up a spot for Ellington.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns Waive Guard Wayne Ellington

4:11pm: The move is official, according to a team press release.

4:06pm: The Suns will place newly-acquired Wayne Ellington on waivers today, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix tweets.

Ellington and guard Tyler Johnson were dealt to Phoenix for forward Ryan Anderson but the Suns had no intention of retaining the veteran shooting guard. Ellington was caught in a logjam of wings with the Heat, bouncing in-and-out of the rotation. He’ll now be free to seek a team that can offer him more playing time.

Ellington had the ability to veto a trade, so he wouldn’t have agreed to it unless he would end up in a more favorable situation. The Pistons, who just traded starting shooting guard Reggie Bullock to the Lakers, are expected to pursue Ellington. The Thunder have also been mentioned as a potential suitor.

Ellington has an expiring $6.27MM contract. The 31-year-old guard, who appeared in 25 games with Miami this season, is a career 38% 3-point shooter.

Buyout Market: Ellington, Kaminsky, Gortat, Smith

The Pistons will be an aggressive suitor for Wayne Ellington once he reaches the buyout market, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Suns are expected to reach a buyout and waive the shooting guard, whom they just acquired from the Heat. The Thunder are also reportedly interested in Elllington. Detroit is seeking a veteran addition at shooting guard after trading starter and impending free agent Reggie Bullock to the Lakers.
We have plenty more buyout market developments:
  • The Hornets will look to reach a buyout with big man Frank Kaminsky after failing to trade him, Sean Deveney of Sports Illustrated tweets. The little-used Kaminsky is making $3.62MM this season.
  • Veteran center Marcin Gortat is interested in joining the Warriors but Golden State will take a wait-and-see approach regarding the waiver wire and buyout market, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Gortat, a starter most of the season, is expected to be waived by the Clippers.
  • The Cavaliers have no plans to discuss a buyout with J.R. Smith and failing to find a trade partner for the shooting guard, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Smith is making $14.72MM this season but his $15,68MM salary for next season is not guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through June 30th.
  • The Raptors’ flurry of activity, including an agreed-upon trade with the Grizzlies for center Marc Gasol, will make them an active participant in the buyout market, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Toronto will be down to just 10 players on the active roster, plus two two-way players. That means there will be playing time available for free agents that will soon clear waivers.
  • The Celtics do not have an immediate target to fill their open roster spot, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Enes Kanter, expected to be bought out by the Knicks as early as today, isn’t believed to be on their radar screen, a source tells Murphy.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Randolph, Wolves, Morris

The Knicks and Lakers are equal on Anthony Davis‘ list of preferred destinations, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The Clippers and Bucks also remain in the top four, Stein adds. New York may make a bid for Davis before the deadline, but it should be in a stronger position after the draft lottery when everyone knows where its first-rounder will fall (Twitter link).

League sources tell Stein that Davis doesn’t expect to sign his next contract before he reaches free agency in 2020, no matter where he is by then (Twitter link). That means anyone who trades for Davis won’t be assured of a long-term extension.

He has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but Davis intends to resume playing regardless of what happens at the trade deadline (Twitter link). He has received medical clearance to return to action, but the Pelicans haven’t divulged their plans for Davis if there’s no trade on Thursday. He was held out of two games this week to avoid further injury.

Here’s a roundup of rumors heading into the trade deadline:

  • The Lakers are running out of hope that a Davis trade will be completed before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Pelicans GM Dell Demps hasn’t responded to Magic Johnson’s latest offer, and it appears New Orleans is content to run out the clock. The Pelicans may never have been serious about dealing with L.A. and might have been trying to sabotage the Lakers as revenge for what they consider to be tampering, tweets Rachel Nichols, host of ESPN’s “The Jump.” “It’s not just possible, it’s what happened,” colleague Brian Windhorst said today in an appearance on the show.
  • The Mavericks will have buyout talks with newly acquired Zach Randolph, Wojnarowski tweets. The 37-year-old hasn’t played yet this season, but he may be able to help a contender.
  • The Timberwolves continue to look for someone to take Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng, sources tell Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Teague has a $19MM player option for next season, while Dieng still has two seasons left on his four-year, $63MM deal. Minnesota hasn’t found much interest, but it may be willing to attach Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver or Luol Deng as incentives.
  • New Pelican Markieff Morris could become a buyout candidate once he’s fully recovered from a neck injury, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • The Thunder plan to watch what the Suns do with Wayne Ellington and may be interested if he hits the buyout market, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link).

Heat Trade Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington To Suns

6:27pm: The trade is official, according to a tweet from the Suns.

3:49pm: Bartelstein is working with the Suns to get Ellington to a playoff contender after this deal is completed, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski. While a trade is possible, the veteran sharpshooter could also be waived.

3:30pm: The Heat are also sending Wayne Ellington to Phoenix in the trade, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That makes the deal more interesting, as the Heat are now in position for significant savings this season as well as next season.

The lottery-bound Suns likely don’t have much use for Ellington, but could flip him in another trade before the deadline, as long as they don’t aggregate his salary with another player’s.

Ellington has the ability to veto a trade, so in order to sign off on the deal, he may expect Phoenix to subsequently trade or release him. He has given his approval, agent Mark Bartelstein confirms to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Additionally, as cap expert Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter), Johnson will have to waive most or all of his trade bonus to make the trade work from a salary-matching perspective if Ellington’s salary is included.

2:41pm: The Heat are in agreement with the Suns on a trade that will send guard Tyler Johnson to Phoenix, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Ryan Anderson will head to Miami in the deal, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

Johnson, 26, has averaged 10.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a shooting line of .426/.353/.693 in 44 games (25.5 MPG) for the Heat this season. Although he has been a solid role player in Miami, Johnson’s salary far exceeds his on-court production.

Due to a back-loaded offer sheet from the Nets, which the Heat matched in 2016, the fifth-year guard is earning approximately $19.25MM this season, with a 2019/20 player option worth the same amount. His current-year cap charge will increase a little more when he’s dealt, since his contract features a 15% trade kicker. That bonus will amount to another $1MM+ on his ’18/19 cap hit, assuming he doesn’t waive it. His option year will be unaffected.

Anderson, who has a $20.4MM cap hit of his own, was the only player on the Suns’ roster making more than $11.75MM this season, making him the logical returning piece for Johnson.

The 30-year-old was traded from Houston to Phoenix during the offseason and has played sparingly for the Suns, averaging 3.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 15 games (18.5 MPG). While Anderson has been a lethal outside shooter in past seasons, he has hit just 20.6% of his three-pointers this season after entering the year with a 38.2% career rate.

Anderson has a $21.26MM cap charge for 2019/20, the final year of his four-year contract, but that figure is only partially guaranteed for about $15.64MM. That will save the Heat some money next year, and they could reduce Anderson’s cap hit by $10MM+ more if they elect to release him and stretch his contract by July 10.

It’s hard to imagine Anderson will have a role in a crowded Heat rotation, but the Suns presumably plan to feature Johnson. He’s not a traditional point guard, but Johnson is capable of handling the ball and Phoenix – which lacks an answer at the point – will likely give him a chance to do so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lowe’s Latest: Rockets, Prince, Blazers, Heat

The Rockets and Cavaliers had discussions about sending Brandon Knight to Cleveland along with a first-round pick in exchange for Alec Burks. However, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com hears that those talks have ceased. Houston has also spoken with the Grizzlies about potential Knight deals.

Cleveland is selling Burks, Rodney Hood, and any other “indispensable asset” prior to the deadline, Lowe writes. The team is willing to take back future salary in exchange for picks.

Houston is expected to scour the market for deals leading up to the deadline with an eye on attaching a future first-rounder to Knight and Marquese Chriss. The Rockets would likely push for lottery protections on any picks that would convey past James Harden‘s prime.

Lowe’s latest piece contains trade nuggets from several teams in the league and we’ve already passed along news from the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley and Marc Gasol sweepstakes as well as the Magic’s pre-deadline plan. Here are the rest of the newsworthy notes from the ESPN piece:

  • The Hawks have made Taurean Prince available in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Atlanta hasn’t received a ton of traction on Prince deals because of its asking price. The organization wants a young prospect and a pick in exchange for the small forward.
  • The Blazers have put their first-rounder on the table in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Portland has reached out about Otto Porter Jr.‘s availability, though Wizards owner Ted Leonsis previously announced that the team would not be trading Porter before the deadline.
  • Porter has drawn interest from several teams. In addition to the Blazers, the Mavericks and Jazz have kept an eye on the situation. Dallas was interested in swapping Harrison Barnes for Porter prior to the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
  • Miami appears to be willing to move anyone but Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo for cap relief. Lowe expects the Heat to try to get at least a second-round pick for Wayne Ellington.
  • Lowe confirms a previous report that JaMychal Green, Justin Holiday, and Garrett Temple are all available. Holiday, who was acquired from the Bulls earlier this year, cost the Grizzlies two second-round picks.
  • The Kings have approximately $11MM in cap space available and they want to use it to pick up an asset. Lowe writes that it could be a draft pick or a player who will help them win this season.
  • Sacramento is willing to engage in trade talks about Willie Cauley-Stein, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Kings may simply let the center walk should he receive too high of an offer this offseason.
  • The Bulls are expected to listen to offers for anyone but Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter. Lowe doesn’t expect Chicago to deal either Kris Dunn or Zach LaVine though, as the team’s asking price is anticipated to be too high.
  • The Nuggets own a pair of trade exceptions and have slightly less than $7MM in breathing room under the tax. They are open to taking on a salary dump if another team calls and has to shed a player in that price range.

Heat Notes: J. Johnson, Olynyk, Jones, Ellington

James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk can expect more playing time in the wake of a knee injury that will keep Derrick Jones Jr. out of action for at least six weeks, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jones has been diagnosed with two right knee bone bruises and won’t be re-evaluated until mid-March.

“JJ will probably play a little more now,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think he’s ready for that because of his conditioning level and rhythm. The pairing with KO and Bam [Adebayo], we’ll get back to that as well.”

Johnson and Olynyk have seen a reduction in minutes this season as Jones moved into a larger role. They are both signed through next season and have player options for 2020/21 — more than $16MM for Johnson and nearly $13.6MM for Olynyk.

There’s more from Miami, all courtesy of Jackson:

  • The silver lining to Jones’ injury is that he won’t need surgery, which Heat officials were concerned about. “It’s the best-case scenario – no surgery,” Spoelstra said. “Considering everything, it could’ve been a lot worse, and we really do think that a lot of the training he’s been doing behind the scenes, strength training with his legs – considerably stronger than he was in the past.” The 21-year-old has been a pleasant surprise in his first full season with the Heat, earning a spot in a crowded wing rotation and averaging 7.4 points per game. He has a non-guaranteed contract for next season.
  • Little-used Wayne Ellington responded with a 19-point performance when he got a chance to play in Sunday’s win over the Knicks. Spoelstra won’t commit to regular minutes for the veteran shooter, who remains a candidate to be traded to help the Heat get below the luxury tax line. Ellington and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, haven’t discussed a possible buyout if no deal can be reached, but Jackson states that several contending teams would be interested in adding Ellington if that happens.
  • A preseason plan to use Hassan Whiteside and Adebayo on the court at the same time has fallen through, with them playing just 13 minutes together so far. Adebayo’s limited shooting range has made the pairing difficult.

Knee Injury Sidelines Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr.

Heat small forward Derrick Jones Jr. will be out for an extended period after an MRI revealed two right knee bone bruises, according to a team press release. He will begin treatment immediately and be re-evaluated in six weeks, the statement adds.

That means Jones won’t even begin practicing until at least early to mid-March, so the knee bruises could be a season-ending ailment. He suffered the injury during the second quarter on Sunday at New York.

Jones had emerged as a steady presence in the Heat rotation despite a logjam at the wing positions. He posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds against Cleveland on Friday. Jones also reached double figures in points on nine other occasions since mid-December. For the season, he’s averaging 7.4 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 18.1 MPG over 37 games.

The undrafted Jones, 21, began his career with Phoenix during the 2016/17 campaign. Jones’ injury should open up more playing time for Wayne Ellington, who started against the Knicks, and Dion Waiters. Both have been unhappy with their minutes.