Wesley Witherspoon

Spurs Waive Wesley Witherspoon, JaMychal Green

The Spurs have officially waived camp invitees Wesley Witherspoon and JaMychal Green, the team announced today in a press release. The moves reduce San Antonio's roster to 15 players, the maximum number allowed in the regular season.

Witherspoon, signed in late September by the Spurs, played in three preseason games, averaging 8.3 PPG. Green, meanwhile, quietly signed with the team on October 22nd and didn't see any preseason action. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News speculated earlier this week that both players could be released soon to join the Spurs' D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros. I expect that will be the case, especially for Green, whose signing doesn't make a lot of sense otherwise.

With 15 players under contract now, San Antonio may be finished making cuts. If that's the case, it's good news for Josh Powell, who currently represents the 15th man on the team's roster. His contract won't be fully guaranteed until January, so the Spurs could decide to keep him for the first few weeks of the season and release him before they're on the hook for his full salary. DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal also have non-guaranteed contracts, but their roster spots aren't in jeopardy.

Odds & Ends: Spurs, Thunder, Cavaliers, Deng

Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK lists Daniel OrtonDeAndre LigginsAndy Rautins, and Hollis Thompson as the four Thunder hopefuls looking to earn the team's final roster spot. While he believes that Liggins has the best chance considering the bulk of minutes he's played during the pre-season, Mayberry also considers Orton as a strong candidate because of his potential. He adds that a popular idea would be for Oklahoma City to waive or trade a guaranteed contract in order to keep both Liggins and Orton, although such a possibility seems unlikely at this point. With that aside, you can find more of tonight's miscellaneous links below: 

  • Former Memphis Tiger Wesley Witherspoon believes that being around the veteran leadership in San Antonio would be a great place to start his career if he makes the team (Jason Smith of The Memphis Edge reports). On another note, Mike Monroe of Spurs Nation writes that Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard isn't worried about his pre-season shooting slump affecting his shot once the regular season starts. 
  • Fran Blinebury of NBA.com explains why it would be prudent for Oklahoma City to wait on a possible extension for James Harden, most notably to see if he can remain healthy this season and maintain a high level of play. 
  • Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio says that the Cavaliers are expected to send recently-signed D'Aundray Brown to the D-League, even though he would still take up a spot on the team's official season roster. He also speculates that three roster cuts are likely to be decided from a group that includes Jeremy Pargo, Kevin Jones, Luke Harangody, and Micheal Eric.
  • Although Luol Deng dealt with a torn ligament in his left wrist last season and ultimately decided against surgery during the summer, the Bulls forward now feels confident enough to play at a high level and said that he hasn't been feeling any pain (Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago reports).  
  • Sean Deveney of the Sporting News explains some of the biggest responsibilities that current deputy commissioner Adam Silver will have once he is set to replace David Stern, including television contract negotiations, collective bargaining, European expansion, and development of the D-League.
  • Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution engaged in a Q&A with Hawks forward Josh Smith about his expectations this season and the challenges he anticipates for the team. In a separate article, Daniel Christian of Sheridan Hoops discusses five reasons to be optimistic about Atlanta this year.
  • Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com talks briefly about New Orleans' confidence in the versatility and scoring ability of Hornets rookie Austin Rivers.

Western Notes: Jordan, Lakers, Suns, Blazers

Back in August, when we asked Hoops Rumors readers for their Rookie of the Year pick, over 44% of about 1,050 voters selected Anthony Davis, making him the top choice by far. Davis is off to a promising start, averaging a double-double in five preseason games and making a strong impression on Hornets coach Monty Williams.

"He’s just a coach’s dream," Williams said, according to Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld. "He handles the situations with wisdom that’s beyond his years. He listens, he’s humble, and yet he still has an edge…. He’s going to be pretty special if he continues to work and allow himself to be coached the way he has so far. He’s just an amazing kid."

Here are a few more of today's notes from around the Western Conference:

  • A number of recent reports have linked Jerome Jordan to teams in China, but for now Jordan is still hoping to make the Grizzlies' regular season roster, writes Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "I know my agent has been talking to a bunch of teams. You know, as a worst-case scenario," Jordan said. "I don't know if there's a deal, per se, in China. But it's about making it in the NBA this year. I'm about trying to make it in the league and establish myself. I want to be around a long time."
  • The Lakers are expected to waive second-round pick Darius Johnson-Odom soon, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
  • Making an educated guess, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic predicts that Luke Zeller and Diante Garrett will earn spots on the Suns, and explains his reasoning.
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News wonders if two players under contract with the Spurs, Wesley Witherspoon and JaMychal Green, will be released soon to join San Antonio's D-League affiliate.
  • Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts says he expects to keep Nolan Smith as the team's backup point guard over Coby Karl, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com tweets. Karl himself indicated this week that he's bracing for news of his release.
  • ESPN.com's John Hollinger (Insider link) wouldn't be surprised if the Blazers consider moving Wesley Matthews at this season's trade deadline.

Camp Rumors: Curry, Brown, Varnado, Blazers

The first regular season action is just 10 days away, so it's crunch time for players gunning for the last spots on the end of an NBA bench. There's news about several training camp hopefuls this afternoon, and we've rounded it up here.

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave strong indication before today's preseason game that the competition for the last roster spot in San Antonio is down to Eddy Curry and Derrick Brown, tweets Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Josh Powell and Wesley Witherspoon are also trying to make the team, while it appears DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal, the other Spurs without full guarantees, are safe.
  • McDonald also notes, via Twitter, that Popovich said Curry has lost 20 pounds, and that's on top of the 100 pounds he lost while with the Heat last year, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Curry said he didn't entertain the idea of returning to the Heat this summer, as Winderman reports in the same piece. "It was frustrating. It was bittersweet," Curry said of his season in Miami, during which he saw little playing time. "Got a ring out of it, but it definitely wasn't the year I was looking forward to and wasn't what I worked for."
  • Winderman also writes that a hamstring injury has likely torpedoed any chance Jarvis Varnado had of making the Heat's regular season roster.
  • The Trail Blazers are one of three teams left at the 20-player preseason roster limit, and GM Neil Olshey said he's going to wait as long as possible before making cuts, tweets Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge. "Some of it is strategic," according to Olshey, and Golliver interprets that remark to mean the team is trying to funnel some of its camp invitees to its D-League affiliate.

Western Notes: Jamison, Jazz, Gortat, Stiemsma

In one of only two games on Sunday's preseason schedule, undrafted Spurs rookie Wesley Witherspoon was inserted into the starting lineup and scored a team-high 17 points in a win over Houston. Witherspoon, a camp invitee, is still a long shot to earn a roster spot, but if Sunday's game was his last with the Spurs, at least he went out in style, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.

Here are a few more notes out of the Western Conference:

Spurs Sign Eddy Curry, Sherron Collins

The Spurs have officially unveiled their training camp roster, and there's at least one unexpected name on the list: Eddy Curry. Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News first reported that Curry was in camp with the Spurs (via Twitter).

Among the team's other additions, we'd previously heard about Tyler Wilkerson, Wesley Witherspoon, Josh Powell, and Derrick Brown. One new name on the training camp roster is Sherron Collins. It appears Collins may have taken the spot that previously appeared ticketed for fellow point guard Tre Kelley, whose name doesn't appear on the list.

While Brown, Powell, and the others should have a chance to earn a roster spot for the Spurs, Curry may be the most intriguing player among the new additions. According to Monroe, Curry has been playing all summer, looks fit, and has reportedly dropped 15 pounds (Twitter link). It would still be a little surprising to see the veteran big man earn a roster spot, but it appears he'll at least be given the opportunity.

Spurs To Sign Wesley Witherspoon, Tre Kelley

The Spurs will bring Wesley Witherspoon and Tre Kelley to training camp, reports Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News. They'll likely be on non-guaranteed, minimum-salary deals. While McCarney isn't high on their chances to make the team, they stand a relatively decent shot compared to many other training camp invitees around the league, since the Spurs only have 12 players on fully guaranteed deals.

Witherspoon, who ranked 91st on the list of top 100 prospects this year compiled by Chad Ford of ESPN.com, went undrafted in June out of the University of Memphis. The 6'9" small forward put up just 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game this past season, though he did shoot 38.7% from behind the arc in his four years with the Tigers. He was with the Knicks' summer league team, and averaged 8.0 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 16.5 MPG.

Kelley is a 6'0" guard who has yet to make his NBA regular season debut despite training camp stints with the Heat, Thunder and Grizzlies. The 27-year-old spent 11 games with the Spurs' D-League affiliate in 2010/11, and split last season with teams in Italy and Venezuela, averaging 14.8 PPG and 3.5 APG in 27.7 MPG.

The moves will bring the Spurs' roster to 18 players, by my count. Aside from the dozen who have fully guaranteed deals, DeJuan Blair's deal is partially guaranteed for $1.05MM and the rest are believed to be non-guaranteed.