The 2015-16 NBA season is set to tip off in just a couple of hours, and it’s safe to say that the weeks leading up to this point have been a grind for many players. The preseason is a time for many players to make a name for themselves in an attempt to secure an opening night roster spot on a team.
Teams were required to submit their final rosters yesterday, which put each team at no more than 15 players. Some teams opted to carry just 14 players into the regular season (to leave an open roster spot), while others decided to keep the maximum 15 players. Just two weeks ago, there were still at least 120 players who had to be cut by the end of the month.
With the plethora of moves that have been made over the past several days, a lot of quality players were sent packing from their respective teams and are now free agents. Those teams that kept an open roster spot could have been planning to have flexibility in order to sign a player who was cut this week and could look to make a move accordingly.
Here are some notable players who were cut recently and are now free agents. It’s important to note that these players could sign with an NBA team, D-League team or weigh their options overseas.
Many around the league were disappointed that the New York Knicks let Antetokounmpo go. He’s still a raw player, but he has tremendous upside. The 6’7 swingman is known to be a defensive player and could eventually find a role as a team’s defensive specialist. Until then, it’s unknown where Antetokounmpo could end up.
His agent recently told Marc Berman of the New York Post that they will be careful in deciding where Antetokounmpo will end up playing next. The idea is he’ll eventually return to the D-League, and would only accept a “great opportunity” overseas and “not just a good opportunity.” He would be an outright free agent in the D-League where any team could sign him, so he could be back in the league sooner than later. He averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 47 outings last season in the D-League.
The 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft just hasn’t been able to thrive in the NBA and has now been on four teams in five years. Since being drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Fredette has also suited up for the Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs. His latest cut from the Spurs has left many wondering if he has what it takes to make it in the NBA. Keep in mind, Fredette will turn 27 years old in February, so he may not have much more room for improvement.
It’s clear that he was one of the best shooting prospects in recent memory, but that skill alone clearly hasn’t been enough to stick with a team. With that said, three-point shooting has become vital in today’s NBA, and it would seem reasonable that Fredette could land on another team. It’s going to take the right situation, but Fredette could still make an impact playing spot minutes for a team in need of shooting.
Granger was the odd man out in Detroit. The Pistons were one of a few teams with more than 15 guaranteed contracts and they ultimately decided to let Granger go. The Pistons were stacked on the perimeter and with Granger not at full strength, the decision to cut him was somewhat obvious.
Granger is said to be looking to return to the league once he gets 100 percent healthy, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Monday. He’ll need about a month to rehab a plantar fasciitis injury in his left foot and then will look to workout for teams. Granger has battled through several different injuries over the past three seasons and, as a result, has played in just 76 games since the start of the 2012 season. He played in 30 games last season for the Miami HEAT and averaged 6.3 points per game. He could see spot minutes in a reserve role following his rehab.
Perhaps one of the biggest cuts was Jackson. He signed a four-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers back in July, with the first year being fully guaranteed for $750,000. But the Sixers went into camp with five point guards on their roster and decided to ultimately waive Jackson.
He turned in a solid Summer League showing with the Sixers in Las Vegas, averaging 10 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in four outings. Since Summer League, Jackson struggled with injuries that limited him to just three games this preseason. He could be a candidate to return to the D-League.
Johnson was another surprising cut, as his deal was fully guaranteed for $1.8 million over the next two seasons. He was the last remaining piece the Nuggets acquired from the Houston Rockets in the trade for Ty Lawson. He was said to be battling Erick Green for the final roster spot in Denver, with that spot ultimately going to Green.
Johnson bounced around last season between the D-League and the Rockets, appearing in 28 games for Houston. He’s still just 22 years old and coming off of his rookie season in Houston, so he could be a young asset a team may try to stash in the D-League. He’s an athletic combo guard who still could have a bright future in the right situation.
The former Duke point guard nearly made the Cleveland Cavaliers’ final roster, but was the last cut they announced. Cook was competing with Jared Cunningham for the final spot in the backcourt, with Cunningham ultimately getting the nod.
With Tristan Thompson eventually signing a new contract, the need for a guard was evident given the injuries to Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert. Cook turned in a solid Summer League between Orlando and Las Vegas, averaging 7.9 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds in nine outings. He could be a candidate to head to the D-League and he’ll likely receive interest from overseas suitors as well.
Perry Jones III
Jones was one of the last cuts made by the Boston Celtics. The former first-round pick faced a tough battle trying to make the roster in Boston due to the amount of guaranteed contracts the team had. His $2,038,206 salary this season was fully guaranteed.
Jones has failed to live up to expectations up to this point. In three seasons in the league, he’s averaged just 11.7 minutes per game and has a career average of 3.4 points per game. Before waiving Jones, the Celtics were said to have been looking to trade him, but they ultimately couldn’t find any offers. He still has talent to offer and could land back on a team on a league-minimum contract.
Sims was one of the last players to be cut by the Phoenix Suns this week and is now looking to catch on with another team. Sims appeared in six contests this preseason and averaged just 4.7 minutes per game. The Suns’ frontcourt appeared to be loaded, and the team decided to keep Cory Jefferson over him.
Sims played in 73 games last season with the 76ers, averaging eight points and 4.9 rebounds per game. In 32 games as a starter, Sims averaged 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. He could find a role as a backup center for a team that needs some frontcourt help. He can still be a solid rotation player in the NBA and should be back sooner than later.
These eight players named are just some of those who are looking to get back on a roster. These players could look at staying in the United States by playing in the D-League or could look to seek a more lucrative offer overseas. Some other names to keep an eye on are Scottie Wilbekin, DeQuan Jones, Chris Babb, Marshall Henderson and Toney Douglas.
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