William McDowell-White

Rockets Release William McDowell-White

The Rockets have opened up a spot on their 20-man training camp roster by waiving Australian combo guard William McDowell-White, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Houston now officially has 18 players under contract, but has reached deals with a pair of players who will fill the final two spots on the 20-man squad. The Rockets can now formally complete those deals with Ryan Anderson and Jaron Blossomgame.

McDowell-White, who signed with the Rockets in July, spent the last several years playing for teams in Australia and Germany. Having started his career with the Sydney Kings in 2016, the 6’5″ guard spent a season and a half with German club Brose Bamberg, leaving the team earlier this year to prepare for the 2019 draft.

While it seems McDowell-White won’t attend training camp with the Rockets, the team now has his G League rights, so he could end up playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s NBAGL affiliate.

Meanwhile, the field appears to have been set for a competitive camp in Houston, Feigen notes in a full article for The Houston Chronicle. The Rockets project to have four spots on their 15-man roster up for grabs, with Anderson, Gary Clark, and Isaiah Hartenstein in position to grab three of them due to their significant partial guarantees. The team also has both two-way contract slots open, with Blossomgame, Michael Frazier, Shamorie Ponds, and Chris Clemons vying for those spots.

Rockets Adjust Contracts For Ponds, McDowell-White

SEPTEMBER 5: After converting Ponds and McDowell-White to two-way contracts, the Rockets have converted them back to standard deals, according to RealGM’s official transactions log and ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

The two players appear to be back on essentially the same contracts they were before, but with one key difference, as Marks explains: The initial Exhibit 10 deals for Ponds and McDowell-White didn’t feature Exhibit 9 language, which limits a team’s liability if a player is injured in training camp or the preseason. Teams must have at least 14 players under contract to add Exhibit 9 language to an agreement, which the Rockets didn’t when they signed the duo in early July.

Without the Exhibit 9 clause, the Rockets would have had to pay either player’s salary if he suffered an injury in the preseason, up until he got healthy. As such, a season-ending injury would have forced Houston to pay the player’s entire salary, which would have compromised the team’s ability to limit its tax bill (or avoid the tax altogether). With Exhibit 9 language in place, Houston will now only be on the hook for $6K in the event of an injury.

The upshot is that Ponds and McDowell-White are back on non-guaranteed salaries and Houston’s two-way slots are once again open.

SEPTEMBER 4: The Rockets have converted the Exhibit 10 contracts for rookies Shamorie Ponds and William McDowell-White into two-way deals, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Previously, Houston had been one of just three NBA teams without a two-way player under contract.

Ponds and McDowell-White were two of the first players signed in July, as the Rockets locked them up to contracts even before the July moratorium ended. Both players suited up for Houston’s Las Vegas Summer League roster.

Ponds, a 6’1″ guard out of St. John’s, averaged 19.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.1 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 SPG in 33 games during his junior year in 2018/19 before declaring for the draft as an early entrant.

McDowell-White spent the last several years playing for teams in Australia and Germany. Having started his career with the Sydney Kings in 2016, the 6’5″ Australian combo guard spent a season and a half with German club Brose Bamberg, leaving the team earlier this year to prepare for the 2019 draft.

As we explained on Tuesday, converting an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way deal is one of a handful of options that teams have for a player on an E10 pact. I noted within that story that I expected the Rockets to have a few players compete in camp for their two-way slots, but it appears the team has made its two-way decisions well in advance of the preseason.

Rockets Sign Ponds, Clemons, McDowell-White To Exhibit 10 Deals

The Rockets have signed undrafted free agents Shamorie Ponds, Chris Clemons, and William McDowell-White to Exhibit 10 contracts, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The three agreements were reported shortly after last month’s draft.

A 6’1″ guard out of St. John’s, Ponds averaged 19.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.1 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 SPG in 33 games during his junior year before declaring for the draft as an early entrant.

Clemons, a 5’9″ Campbell guard, was the nation’s leading scorer in 2018/19, averaging 30.0 PPG on .448/.357/.869 shooting.

McDowell-White was also draft-eligible this season after spending the last several years playing for teams in Australia and Germany. Having began his career with the Sydney Kings, the Australian combo guard spent a season and a half with German club Brose Bamberg, leaving the team earlier this year to prepare for the 2019 draft.

All three players are on Houston’s Summer League roster and appear on track to join the team for training camp in the fall. Assuming they don’t make the Rockets’ regular season roster, they could end up playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate.

Rockets, William McDowell-White Agree To Deal

The Rockets have reached an agreement with William McDowell-White, according to Olgun Uluc of FOX Sports Australia, who reports (via Twitter) that the undrafted combo guard will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with Houston.

McDowell-White was draft-eligible this season after spending the last several years playing for teams in Australia and Germany. Having began his career with the Sydney Kings, he spent a season and a half with German club Brose Bamberg, leaving the team earlier this year to prepare for the 2019 draft.

Besides McDowell-White, the Rockets have also lined up deals with UCLA center Moses Brown and Campbell guard Chris Clemons to play for their Summer League squad, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

It’s possible that the club’s agreement with Clemons will be for more than the Summer League. Both Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic and Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter links) classify that deal as an undrafted free agent signing, which may include an invite to training camp.

The Rockets had a quiet night on Thursday, as they were one of the only teams that didn’t have a draft pick in either the first or second round.

Draft Notes: Zoosman, Obiesie, Eboua, Holman, Herro

Israeli Yovel Zoosman, a 6’6” small forward, will keep his name in the draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Zoosman plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which just advanced to the Israeli league playoff finals. Zoosman is ranked No. 53 on Givony’s Top 100 prospects list.

We have more draft decisions and workouts:

  • German point guard Josh Obiesie will stay in the draft, according to another Givony tweet. Givony has Obiesie ranked No. 64 overall and No. 10 among point guard prospects.
  • Forward Paul Eboua, Cameroon native, has withdrawn his name from the draft, according to Givony (Twitter link). He joins 11 other international players — Gytis Masiulis, Abdoulaye N’Doye, Digue Diawara, Aleksandr Balcerowski, Aleix Font, Zoran Paunovic, Dalibor Ilic, Louis Olinde, Jonas Matisseck, Tadas Sedekerskis and Vrenz Bleijenbergh — who have also decided to pull out of the draft. Matas Jogela, a Lithuanian forward, and William McDowell-White, an Australian guard, will remain in the draft, according to Givony (Twitter links).
  • Mississippi State forward Aric Holman worked out for the Raptors on Monday, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV (Twitter link). He visited the Knicks last week and will work out for the Kings, Lakers and Cavaliers this week, Begley adds.
  • First round prospect Tyler Herro (Kentucky) has worked out for the Spurs and will also visit the Pacers and Timberwolves, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Herro is ranked No. 18 overall and No. 4 among shooting guards by Givony.

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Barrett, Knicks, Pistons

With six of the top 44 picks in the 2019 NBA draft, the Hawks have been understandably busy when it comes to bringing in prospects for pre-draft workouts. While Atlanta is unlikely to keep all six of its selections, the club is doing its due diligence on players who might be available at each spot — or as undrafted free agents.

On Sunday, the Hawks worked out Darius Bazley (Princeton HS), Robert Franks (Washington State), Matur Maker (Zlatorog Lasko), William McDowell-White (Baunach), Miye Oni (Yale), and Trayvon Reed (Texas Southern), according to the team.

The Hawks conducted another workout on Monday, bringing in Jordan Bone (Tennessee), Brian Bowen (Sydney), Dewan Hernandez (Miami), Jordan Poole (Michigan), Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech), and Dean Wade (Kansas State) in for a look.

On Tuesday, the Hawks will host yet another workout, with Charlie Brown Jr. (St. Joe’s), Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), Keldon Johnson (Kentucky), Nassir Little (UNC), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) set to participate.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the Eastern Conference:

Wizards Notes: Brown, Workouts, GM Search

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington sat down with Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr. to discuss his first year in the NBA, which began with an overwhelming welcome at the combine and finished with Brown becoming a calmer, wiser, 19-year-old man.

“I wouldn’t say I was lost (in regard to the 2018 NBA Combine), but I didn’t know what to expect,” Brown said. “I was just kind of going about things, trying to do everything the best I could. …I knew I was going to get drafted, but it was more about the work that I put in. Is it going to happen? I want to go this number (in the draft). There’s a lot of stuff running through your brain.”

Immediate expectations for Brown’s rookie season were not very high, as Washington came into the season with playoff aspirations and more. But after a disappointing 2018/19 campaign, Brown may be the most important player on the roster long term after All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

“It’s definitely weird not knowing who is going to be back and knowing our whole roster (might) be different… (but) (a)t the same time, you know it’s a business… I’m kind of use to it now. I had 24 teammates in one year.”

There’s more out of D.C. tonight:

Hornets Notes: Zeller, Kemba, Draft Workouts

Hornets center Cody Zeller had some fun with Kemba Walker‘s impending free agency by jokingly setting up a lemonade stand to raise the necessary $221MM for his teammate’s new super-max contract, as Roderick Boone of The Athletic details in an entertaining story. While Zeller’s fundraising efforts were obviously in jest, he recognizes the importance of Kemba’s upcoming decision, acknowledging that it’s a “pretty serious situation” for the franchise.

“I mean, our careers and a lot of the organization, to be honest with you, depends on what Kemba decides this summer, whether he stays or goes,” Zeller said. “I think it really depends on his choice. But our team and our future can go two very different ways depending on what he decides. So I was kind of trying to make light of a serious situation.

“I think he likes Charlotte,” Zeller said of his All-Star teammate. “I think he’s a good fit here. But the reality of it is we haven’t been able to make deep runs in the playoffs. So hopefully that will still come in the future. But at the end of the day, Kemba has to do what’s best for him. And I’m going to support him, whatever decision he makes.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Raptors Workout, Russell, Eisley

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard filed a federal lawsuit against Nike on Monday, claiming he designed the logo that appeared on his Nike apparel and the company copyrighted the logo without his consent, Matthew Kish of the PDX Biz Journal reports.

In a separate development that could foretell his summer plans, Leonard apparently bought property in his current NBA city, according to Michael Landsberg of TSN (hat tip to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Landsberg said in a radio interview that “What we’ve heard is that he’s purchased a property in Toronto,” and that “we’ve heard this now from two different sources.” That could be an indication that Leonard, who will opt out and become a free agent this summer, plans to stick with the Raptors.

We have more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors will hold their fourth pre-draft workout on Tuesday, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link). The list includes guards Jalen Adams (UConn) Australian William McDowell-White, Kyle Allman (Cal State Fullerton) and Jared Harper (Auburn) and  forwards Dedric Lawson (Kansas) and Dean Wade (Kansas State).
  • Nets guard D’Angelo Russell expects that he’ll have to be patient in free agency, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Russell will be a restricted free agent. “It’s more of just the waiting game as far as chess moves have to be made,” Russell told Lewis. “There’s a lot of big fish out there that have to find their destinations so I think I’ll [fall in line after that]. There are a lot of fish out there that need to find destinations. So whenever that time comes then I have decisions to make on my own, I think I’ll be well ready for it.”
  • Knicks assistant coach Howard Eisley is expected to join Michigan’s staff under former Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Brendan Quinn of The Athletic tweets.

Draft Notes: Fernando, Cowan Jr., McDowell-White, Shuler

Maryland sophomore forward Bruno Fernando intends to declare for the draft, according to a school press release. Fernando averaged a double-double this season at 13.6 PPG and 10.6 RPG. He’s ranked No. 34 on ESPN’s Jonathan Givony’s latest Top 100 prospects list. Terrapins junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. will do the same and both will sign with agents, who will work with the Maryland coaching staff throughout the process. Cowan Jr. averaged 15.6 PPG and 4.4 APG during his junior year.

We have more draft news:

  • Australian point guard William McDowell-White has submitted paperwork to make himself eligible for the draft, Givony reports. McDowell-White previously made Givony’s Top 100 list but he suffered a foot injury in November while playing in Germany and missed an extensive amount of time. McDowell-White will travel to the U.S. at the beginning of next month for workouts, Givony adds. He declared for the 2018 draft before withdrawing.
  • Ole Miss guard Devontae Shuler will test the draft waters, according to a tweet from the school’s media relations department. Shuler, who is not ranked in Givony’s Top 100, averaged 1o.3 PPG during his sophomore season.
  • Lithuanian point guard Arnas Velicka intends to declare for the draft, according to a Sportando report. Velicka averaged 19.2 PPG and 5.6 APG in the Estonian-Latvian Basketball League with Tartu Ulikool Rock.
  • Indiana guard Devonte Green intends to declare for the draft but isn’t sure if he’ll hire an agent, Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops tweets. Green averaged 9.4 PPG and 3.0 APG as a junior.
  • Little Rock guard Rayjon Tucker will also dip his toes into the draft pool, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets. Tucker averaged 20.3 PPG in his junior year and is looking at a variety of transfer options.