Player movement primer: Contract guarantee deadline edition
By Rob Mahoney
Today may seem to be an otherwise typical day in the NBA’s regular season, but two events have aligned to create a flurry of low-level movement: The calendar threshold that allows teams to sign players to 10-day contracts just so happens to coincide with the calendar day on which all contracts become guaranteed. Both of those occurrences create all kinds of incentives for teams to cut and sign players, and so we’ve collected the lot of roster moves made in the past 24 hours or so for the sake of convenient consumption:
• According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, The Miami Heat are considering signing former Nugget Chris Andersen. Defensive struggles have made balancing the Heat rotation difficult for head coach Erik Spoelstra all season, and thus Miami will work out Anderson with the hope of filling the void that Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, and Joel Anthony have been unable to fill.
• Mike James, who had recently signed with the D-League’s Texas Legends, will sign a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. James had fluttered around the league since 2007, and hasn’t played well enough to find a steady home since. Still, the Mavs are hoping James can provide some stability to their backcourt, and for such a paltry sum he’s certainly worth a shot.
• The Indiana Pacers sign Dominic McGuire to a 10-day deal. Indy hardly needs more help defensively, but McGuire is a fantastic defender an a fantastically miserable offensive player. It takes some decent motivation for teams to cut ties with a player who can defend four or five positions on a minimum-salary deal, and yet one can hardly blame McGuire’s various suitors given his legitimately harmful offensive impotence.
• Donald Sloan, who was recently waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers and bounced down to the D-League, will sign with the New Orleans Hornets on a 10-day contract. The Hornets are pretty badly in need of another ball-handler behind Greivis Vasquez and know better than to rely on Austin Rivers, and thus Sloan — limited though he may be — makes some decent sense.
• The Houston Rockets signed former Clippers draftee (and former Heat Summer Leaguer) Patrick Beverley to a deal for the season following clearance from FIBA. Beverley most recently played for Spartak St. Petersberg in Russia, and this will be his first guaranteed contract in the NBA.
• The Pacers, in order to make room to sign McGuire, waived forward Sam Young. It’s an understandable move, given that Young was a defensive specialist with a once-manageable offensive game, but recently has slipped to untenable levels as an offensive player. If that’s the skill set he’s bringing to the table, why not dispense with the charade and sign McGuire — a purer form of the same archetype — outright?
• The Rockets, to clear a roster spot for Beverley, waived undrafted point guard and Iona product Scott Machado. The former MAAC Player of the Year barely got a taste of NBA-level basketball, and spent much of his season playing for Houston’s D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. This is a tough break for a playmaker with some impressive college numbers, but he’ll undoubtedly get a shot with another NBA team at some point.
• The Lakers waived Darius Johnson-Odom, and notably did not waive Robert Sacre — who is now essentially indispensable following injuries to Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill.
• Big man Josh Harrellson, who initially seemed like an interesting fit in Miami given his rebounding and long-range shooting, was waived by the Heat. Harrellson has something of an advantage in that he’s a specialist with fairly unique skills, but also doesn’t have the kind of skill set that teams actively crave mid-season. Although many franchises could benefit from having a stretch big who rebounds well, general managers typically target more traditional, experienced players when looking for 10-day contract candidates.
• The Boston Celtics waived Kris Joseph and Jarvis Varnado, though there is already reported speculation that one or both players could soon be back on 10-day deals.
• Lazar Hayward, true believer in the occult, has been waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves after a short stay. The Wolves’ plans for Hayward never seemed that substantial to begin with, but Kevin Love’s injury may have sped up Hayward’s release as Minnesota searches for a usable big.
• The Cleveland Cavaliers, with more productive and/or promising bigs to play, have waived little-used forward Samardo Samuels.
• The revolving door in Dallas continues, as the Mavericks waived NBA fringe regular Chris Douglas-Roberts. CDR’s scoring is definitely NBA-caliber, but Dallas wasn’t willing or prepared to give him touches at the expense of O.J. Mayo, Daren Collison, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman, et al. It remains to be seen whether Douglas-Roberts will return to the Texas Legends, where he was scoring at All-D-League levels.