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10-Day Contract Candidates

Teams can now sign players to 10-day contracts. Cody Taylor looks at some 10-day candidates.

Cody Taylor

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Beginning today, teams may begin signing players to 10-day contracts. These contracts are most commonly used as a tryout period for respective players. Most players that sign a 10-day contract originate from the NBA’s Development League.

Teams may sign a player to a maximum of two 10-day contracts. Following the end of the second 10-day contract, teams must decide if they want to sign that player for the remainder of the season or cut ties with that player.

Last season, 32 players received 42 call-ups while an all-time high 63 call-ups occurred two seasons ago. Players like Sean Kilpatrick, Tim Frazier and James Ennis were some of the players called up to the NBA last season who still remain on an NBA roster today.

This week also represents the deadline in which non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed, with teams needing to cut those players by Saturday in order to allow for the two-day waiver period before those contracts become guaranteed on Tuesday. As more roster spots open up, this could free the way for more prospects to earn their way onto NBA rosters.

With teams now able to sign players to 10-day contracts, here are 10 prospects to keep an eye on (in no particular order):

Keith Benson, Sioux Falls Skyforce:

For teams looking for an extra rim protector, Benson should be at the top of the list. On the season, Benson is averaging 19.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. He currently ranks 11th in the D-League in total points, first in total rebounds and first in total blocks. He leads the D-League in blocks by a wide margin, too. Benson has 62 total blocks this season. The next highest player on the list has 38.

As his blocks indicate, Benson has become a defensive force for the Skyforce this season. He also ranks seventh in the D-League with a 95.2 defensive rating. He leads all players in double-doubles with 12 and is coming off of his best game of the season, recording a career-high 33 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.

Lamar Patterson, Reno Bighorns:

After splitting time between the Atlanta Hawks and the D-League last season, Patterson is having his best season to date and he seems to have gotten even better as the season has progressed. He’s averaging 22.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game and is fifth in total scoring over the past month. He currently ranks ninth in points and fourth in steals among all players. Patterson turned in his fourth game of the season on Tuesday in which he scored at least 30 points.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in his game has come in his shooting. He told Basketball Insiders over the summer he really wanted to improve his shot and his three-point percentage has improved from 26 percent last season to 34 percent this season. As his averages indicate, he’s been able to make an impact in many facets of the game. His best game of the season came on Dec. 9 when he recorded 35 points, eight rebounds, seven steals and four assists. His seven steals tied a season-high for any player in the D-League this season.

Quincy Acy, Texas Legends:

Acy has the most NBA experience of these candidates and is said to be among the most likely to earn a call-up. Acy was waived by the Dallas Mavericks back in November to make room for point guard Jonathan Gibson after the team suffered injuries to Deron Williams, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea. Had it not been for those injuries, Acy would likely still be with the Mavericks as he was a favorite among players and the coaching staff.

Acy has appeared in 12 games for the Legends and is averaging 17.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, two blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.2 assists. His best game of the season came back on Dec. 14 when he recorded 28 points and 14 rebounds. Acy has proven that he can be a solid rotation player during his four seasons in the NBA so it seems likely he’ll be back in the league once the right situation opens up for him.  

Briante Weber, Sioux Falls Skyforce:

With Pierre Jackson earning the sixth call-up of the season last week, Weber takes over as the No. 1 prospect, according to the D-League’s Prospect Watch list. Weber earned a pair of call-ups last season with the HEAT before finishing out the season with them. Weber is perhaps one of the most exciting players to watch given his ability to impact the game all over the floor. While he isn’t the best shooter, he can contribute in many other areas.

He is averaging 13.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game. His defense has been arguably one of his biggest attributes this season. He’s known to be a pest on defense and currently has the fifth-best defensive rating in the D-League. Weber currently leads all point guards in rebounding and leads all players in steals. There have been nine triple-doubles recorded in the D-League this season and Weber has three of them. Perhaps his most impressive triple-double was when he had 24 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists on Christmas Day.

Quinn Cook, Canton Charge:

Cook has been one of the most consistent scorers in the D-League this season. His 25.1 points per game currently ranks fifth among all players and his 49-point outing on Dec. 7 is tied for the second-highest point total this season. In addition to his 25.1 points, he’s also averaging 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

Of the nine triple-doubles recorded in the D-League this season, Cook has one of them after he had 15 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds on Nov. 18. Cook’s game seems to have improved even more on the offensive end this season. His points per game are up from 19.6 last season to 25.1 this season. In addition, he’s earning more trips to the line as well. He averaged 3.6 free throw attempts last season and is up to 6.4 this season. He’s fun to watch as the primary ball handler, as he’s shown he can make a number of different hesitation dribbles and embarrass defenders. Given his abilities offensively, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Cook in the NBA sooner than later.

Cory Jefferson, Austin Spurs:

Jefferson is another candidate that has prior experience in the league. He appeared in 50 games two seasons ago with the Brooklyn Nets and was with the Phoenix Suns last season for eight games. In 19 games this season with the Austin Spurs, Jefferson is averaging 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Jefferson is coming off of his best game of the season after scoring a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double. Jefferson can be a solid contributor for a team to add some size off of the bench. He has great athleticism at 6’9 and is a great option in the pick-and-roll as well. He’s improved his shooting, as he’s converting on 50 percent of his three-point attempts. Given his prior NBA experience, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jefferson receive a call at some point.

Manny Harris, Texas Legends:

In terms of the best scorer in the D-League, Harris could be the guy. He’s currently averaging 26.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Legends. He’s second in total scoring and owns two of the top four scoring performances in the D-League this season with outings of 49 points and 47 points, respectively.

Harris is a guy that has played virtually everywhere in his professional career. He has spent three seasons in the NBA, four seasons abroad and several others in the D-League. Harris could be a guy that decided to stay in the United States until call-ups start and then go overseas if he doesn’t receive one soon.

Chasson Randle, Westchester Knicks:

Randle’s first season in the D-League has been a good one. In 16 games for the Knicks, he’s averaging 21.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Randle has established himself as a great three-point shooter who can get hot and put up a lot of points. He’s shooting 41 percent from three-point range and is 10th in the D-League in three-pointers made. On Dec. 16, he made nine three-pointers and followed up that outing by knocking down seven triples.

Randle was close to making the New York Knicks’ opening night roster after a strong preseason, but suffered a fractured orbital bone in training camp that ultimately hurt his chances at sticking around. The Knicks are said to like his defense and could opt to bring him up at some point in the near future should a roster spot open up.

*****

As the window to sign players to 10-day contracts is officially now underway, keep an eye on these players who could get a chance. Of course, there will be others that will get an opportunity as well. These players have all shown at various times throughout the season that they could be a valuable addition to a prospective team.

Did we leave someone out? Hit the comments and let us know! 

Cody Taylor is an NBA writer in his fourth season with Basketball Insiders, covering the NBA and NCAA out of Orlando and Miami.

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G-League Watch: 10-Day Contracts

David Yapkowitz looks at five potential G-League callups for 10-day contracts.

David Yapkowitz

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Since Jan. 10, NBA teams have been able to sign players from the G-League to ten-day contracts. A few have already been signed, such as DeAndre Liggins with the Milwaukee Bucks and Kyle Collinsworth with the Dallas Mavericks.

Once a ten-day contract expires, teams have the option of signing that player to another ten-day contract. After the second ten-day, teams must either sign the player for the remainder of the season or release that player.

Some players have used ten-day contracts to essentially jump-start their careers. Bruce Bowen was once a ten-day contract player before becoming a key piece of multiple championship teams in San Antonio. Famed New York Knicks enforcer Anthony Mason also got his first chance in the league off a ten-day contract.

With a few guys already being called up via ten-day as well as the NBA’s new two-way contracts, here’s a look at some of the remaining names who might be next in line.

1. Christian Wood

Christian Wood was once a highly touted prospect coming out of high school. He played two college seasons at UNLV before declaring for the NBA draft in 2015. Despite being projected to be drafted late in the first round or early second round, he did not hear his name called on draft night. He’s spent some time in the NBA since then, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets, but he currently plays for the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers G-League affiliate.

His 22.0 points per game are tied with James Young for top scorer on the team. He’s shooting 53.9 percent from the field, and he’s also displayed a nice outside touch for a big man at 35.2 percent from three-point range. He leads the team in rebounds at 9.6, as well as in blocked shots with 2.0. He’s very mobile and could certainly help a team as a stretch big man who can play defense and crash the glass.

2. Jameel Warney

Jameel Warney has been a candidate for an NBA call-up for quite some time. The former Stony Brook standout had a big summer with Team USA basketball. He was the tournament MVP of the 2017 FIBA Americup and was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year for 2017. He got as far as training camp/preseason with the Dallas Mavericks in 2016, and he’s currently playing for their G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

With the Legends, he’s fourth on the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game. He’s second on the team in rebounding with 10.4, and he’s tied with Johnathan Motley leading the team in blocked shots with 1.5. He’s shooting 52.5 percent from the field. What could be hindering his NBA chances is his lack of an outside shot, especially with the way the game is being played today. Nonetheless, he’s still one of the G-League’s top players and he deserves a shot in the big leagues.

3. Melo Trimble

After a solid three years at the University of Maryland, Melo Trimble was one of the best players not selected in this past summer’s draft. He played well for the 76ers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, which in turn earned him an invite to training camp with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He ended up being one of their final cuts at the end of preseason, and he went on to join their G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves.

He’s third on the Wolves in scoring with 18.5 points per game. He’s shooting 44 percent from the field, and a decent 34 percent from beyond the arc. He’s also leading the team in assists per game with 5.7. He’s got the potential to be a decent backup point guard, and if he can get his shooting numbers, especially from three-point range, up a little bit, there’s no question he’s NBA caliber.

4. Joel Bolomboy

Joel Bolomboy is a name that should be familiar to Utah Jazz fans. He was drafted by the Jazz in 2016, and although relegated to mostly end of the bench duty, he showed a bit of potential and flash here and there. The Jazz cut him after a year, and he ended up in Milwaukee before they too cut him to make room for Sean Kilpatrick. He’s currently playing for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks G-League affiliate.

At the recent G-League Showcase that took place from Jan. 10-13, Bolomboy had one of the best performances of the event. In the two games played, he averaged 25.5 points per game on 73 percent shooting from the field and 13.0 rebounds. He was named to the All-Showcase First Team. He’s had eight double-doubles so far in the G-League this season. He’s already gotten his feet wet in the NBA, and if he continues putting up similar production, it won’t be long before he finds himself back on an NBA roster.

5. Jeremy Evans

Jeremy Evans is a name that should be somewhat familiar to NBA fans. He’s spent six years in the league with the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. He also participated in two dunk contests in 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately for him, dunking was probably the one thing he was known for. It might be why he found himself out of the league after only six years.

With the Erie Bay Hawks, the Atlanta Hawks G-League affiliate, his 15.9 points per game are good enough for fourth on the team. His 62.3 percent shooting from the field is a team-high, as is his 10.3 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks. Not known as a shooter during his time in the NBA, he’s only shooting 25.6 percent from three-point range in the G-League. If he can get his outside shooting percentages up, he has a shot at getting an NBA call-up and keeping that spot permanently.

Although there’s no guarantee that any of these guys get NBA call-ups on ten-day contracts, they have some of the best shots out of anyone in the G-League. Don’t be surprised if, by the end of the season, all of these guys finish it out on an NBA roster.

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NBA Daily: Potential Trade Targets to Get the Sixers to the Playoffs

On the cusp of a playoff appearance for the first time in six years, the Philadelphia 76ers could cement their postseason status with a move at the trade deadline.

Dennis Chambers

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At times this season, the Philadelphia 76ers look like they’re capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the league’s best teams. With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons at their disposal, along with capable three-point shooters, the Sixers have shown flashes of being a force to be reckoned with.

And at other times, well, they look like a discombobulated young team, with serious flaws in the construction of its roster.

Despite the lapses they display, the Sixers are still right in the thick of the playoff race. Currently, at 21-20, they hold a half-game advantage over the Detroit Pistons for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.

While they await the return of top overall pick Markelle Fultz, who has still yet to hit the court after being shut down earlier this season with a shoulder injury, the Sixers will continue to miss depth on the wing and a particular skill set that holds them back from winning games they seem to have locked up with double-digit leads. For all the greatness that is Embiid, and all of the promise that is Simmons, when the former isn’t on the court, the latter struggles to shoulder the scoring load due to his inability to shoot jump shots.

Initially, that’s what Fultz was drafted for. A player that head coach Brett Brown has said many times before, has the talent to tie everything together with the Sixers’ roster. What he means by that is Fultz represents a scorer from multiple levels of the court who forces the defense to lock in on, potentially leaving the teams’ shooters open on the wing.

Without Fultz, and when Embiid is on the bench, the team lacks a player who can put the ball on the floor, create and knock down jumpers. Although long-term success is still very much the attention for Philadelphia, that doesn’t discount the fact that a team that finished with 10 wins just two seasons ago is on the verge of making a playoff appearance for the first time since 2011-12 with a core of young, promising players.

Because of that possibility, and because of the clear holes in team’s makeup that could prevent this from happening, the Sixers could become an interesting player at the trade deadline — especially considering the names that appear available, according to reports.

It’s no secret that Sixers’ president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo wants to keep financial flexibility heading into this summer, that’s the main reason players like J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson were signed to one-year deals last offseason. Before the team has to start signing their own players to big extensions, the Sixers are in a unique position where they not only have elite homegrown talent, but the money to complement those players the best they can. Because of that, any deal that would return a player with money on the books past this season seems unlikely.

That being said, it just so happens that two players potentially on the trading block right now fulfill the Sixers’ most crucial need, and also aren’t on the hook for money past this year. Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that Rodney Hood could be moved before the Feb. 8 trade deadline, and that multiple teams are expressing interest in his services.

Along with Hood, Stein also reported that Lou Williams, who’s been the center of many trade talks around the league given his career-year and impending free agent status, was involved in specific discussions that would send him to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

What should intrigue the Sixers about these two players is not only their ability on the court but also their flexibility off of it.

Let’s start with Hood. Before the rise of Donovan Mitchell this season, Hood looked to be in a position to assume the role as the dominant scorer on the Utah Jazz following Gordon Hayward’s departure. At just 25 years old and in the final year of his rookie contract, Hood may not be worth the price tag for Utah this summer considering their find with Mitchell.

Should the Jazz actually move on from Hood, it’s unclear what they would ask for in return at this point. Yes, Hood his an impending free agent, which could diminish his value. But the team trading for him would assume his Bird Rights, therefore giving them a better shot at retaining him this summer should they choose to do so.

The best part about his potential fit in Philadelphia is that he fits the timeline of the rebuild while also addressing a need in the present. Being just 25, Hood fits alongside the core of Embiid, Simmons, Fultz, Dario Saric and Robert Covington as a young player. If the Sixers were to miss out on whoever they were planning to target with their financial flexibility this summer, Hood would still be there to plug in for years with a contract extension.

Shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc this season, and displaying the track record of being able to fill up the score sheet, Hood could become the go-to-scorer for Philadelphia when Embiid isn’t on the court, or late in games when they need to stop an opposing team’s run.

While he appears to at least be on the table as of now, Hood is certainly worth checking in on from the Sixers’ standpoint.

Now, onto Williams. Drafted by Philadelphia all the back in 2005 with the 45th overall pick, Williams is enjoying the best season of his career for the Los Angeles Clippers. At 31, he doesn’t represent the long-term upside that Hood does, but for this season alone, bringing Williams on to this current Sixers’ roster could be that extra jolt to get them cleanly into the postseason.

Averaging 23 points per game and shooting 41 percent from downtown, Williams fits the role as an iso-scorer better than any player on the Sixers’ current roster. Alongside Simmons and Embiid, Williams could assume the role Fultz was supposed to this season.

Another interesting ripple to the potential Williams fit is that he was on the last Sixers’ roster to make the playoffs. Adding him to this roster would bring his career full circle. This summer, Williams is most likely going to test the market and given his age and potential price tag he may not fit so well into the Sixers’ plans moving forward. But with his history with the club and city, getting him on board for another playoff run with an exciting young team could arguably help in the negotiation process this offseason.

Neither of these potential trades are slam dunks, and it remains to be seen if either player will even be moved. But for where the Sixers stand currently, coupled with their growing postseason expectations, checking in around the league on trade targets that can fulfill obvious needs should be at the forefront of Colangelo’s agenda for the next few weeks.

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Payton Blocking Out Trade Talk, Believes Magic Will Turn It Around

Spencer Davies sits down with Elfrid Payton to discuss his fourth year, trade rumors and a trying season for Orlando in a Basketball Insiders exclusive.

Spencer Davies

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It’s hard for a team to look for positives when it’s living in the basement.

The Orlando Magic have had a rough go of it this year. They’re 13-32 at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they’ve have had a ton of setbacks, and they currently rank 29th in the NBA in defensive rating.

There is a bright spot hidden in there, though, and head coach Frank Vogel sees it growing as the season progresses.

“We’re frustrated with our record, but we’re encouraged with the development we’ve had with our young players,” Vogel said before Thursday’s game in Cleveland. “Aaron Gordon, Mario [Hezonja], and [Elfrid Payton] have all had strong individual seasons and continue to get better. All those guys are improving individually and at some point, it’s gonna lead to more Ws.”

While Gordon stands out more to some than the others because of his star appeal, Payton is right up there with him as far as making the next step goes.

“Elfrid’s shooting the ball better from the perimeter and at the rim,” Vogel said. “He’s worked on his left hand. He’s worked on his floaters. Shooting 52 percent from the field and that’s pretty darn good for a point guard, and the 39 percent from the three as well.”

Those are your more traditional statistics that don’t address the leap he’s taken in efficiency. Sure, Payton’s scoring the same amount of points per game, but it’s the way he’s been getting that’s been most noticeable.

According to Basketball-Reference and NBA.com, he’s making nearly 70 percent of his tries between 0-3 feet and ranks third among point guards in restricted field goal percentage (min. four attempts).

But Payton doesn’t like to evaluate himself using numbers, so he doesn’t know how to feel about how he’s played for Orlando this year.

“It’s tough to say because I like to measure my success by winning and we haven’t been doing that,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “So tough to say.”

He’s not kidding. Since starting out the season 8-4, the Magic have taken a hard fall, only winning five games since November 10. In this stretch, there have been three hefty losing streaks—two 9-game slides and most recently a 7-game skid.

“Not to make excuses—we had a lot of injuries,” Payton told Basketball Insiders of what happened. “Haven’t really been playing with the group of guys that we started the season with, so kinda derailed us a little bit.”

As the losses pile up, so does the chatter. Indicated by multiple recent reports, Orlando has made it clear that many players on the roster are available on the trade block. Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, and Payton were recently brought up as names who could possibly on the move if the right deal presents itself.

When asked about the rumblings, Vogel claimed he doesn’t have a message for his guys.

“They understand it’s part of the business,” he said. “Just focus on playing the game.”

Like his coach, Payton doesn’t have a reaction to the noise.

“I don’t get caught up into the things like that,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “Today I’m an Orlando Magic. I play for the Orlando Magic and I’m gonna give them 100 percent of me. I’m somebody that likes to finish what I started, so I definitely would like to see this through and try to turn this organization around.”

So who does he see on this team that can help jump-start the process in flipping the script?

“Everybody,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “I like Vuc. I like AG. Evan [Fournier] is somebody who can fill it up. T Ross is somebody who can fill it up when healthy. I think we have a lot of talent on this team. Even the rookies—Wes [Iwundu] plays well for us in stretches. Jon [Isaac] when he was playing he’d do well.

“You could see the potential there. So I think we have a lot of weapons on this team. I’m very confident in the group we have here. I think we have a lot of talent, we just have to do it.”

Saying you’re going to right the ship is one thing. Actually doing it is a whole other challenge. With where the Magic sit in the standings currently, their work is cut out for them. That being said, Payton isn’t giving up.

In fact, he’s still got his eyes on making it to the postseason, and it starts with him.

“Definitely trying to get a run going,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “Make a playoff push. It’s definitely not out of sight right now, especially with the way the East is. We win a few games and we right back in the thick of things.

“Do whatever I can to help us to get more wins, man. I think that’s what it all boils down to. I figure if I’m playing well, that means we’re winning for the most part.”

Defense matters the most, and it’s something Payton and his group know they need to get better at if they have a chance to play past mid-April.

“Just be tied in together a little bit more,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “I think sometimes we have too many breakdowns on the backside. So just being more in-tune with each other.”

One thing is for sure—Orlando is going through this difficult time as a team, but refuses to fold. Payton says Vogel has constantly stayed in their ears with uplifting advice.

“Keep fighting,” Payton told Basketball Insiders of his words. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. No one’s gonna feel sorry for you, so just keep fighting.”

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