Author: Dan Feldman

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers

Report: Jan Vesely likely returning to NBA


Just seven top-six picks since the NBA-ABA merger have played three or fewer seasons in the NBA (excluding, of course, those drafted after 2012 who haven’t yet had the opportunity):

  • Jan Vesely
  • Jonny Flynn
  • Jay Williams
  • Len Bias
  • Chris Washburn
  • Russell Cross
  • James Ray

Vesely is trying to escape that list.

Orazio Cauchi of Sportando:

That’s a mighty Vesely-slanted spin. I don’t think Vesely – who signed in Turkey last year after three seasons with the Wizards and Nuggets – can just decide whether or not he plays in the NBA.

He has averaged 16.8 points 9.0 rebounds per game in EuroBasket for Czech Republic, which faces Serbia in a semifinal tomorrow. But he looked so overmatched in the NBA, not nearly skilled enough to turn his athleticism into production. Vesely – who, with Ray, is one of two players on that list whose NBA exit wasn’t caused by injury or drugs – needs to impress for more than just a couple weeks.

If Vesely wants to chase an NBA job through a training-camp tryout, he can probably do that. A guaranteed contract, while possible, seems unlikely.

NBA GMs discuss expanding draft once D-League reaches 30 teams


D-League expansion is coming.

When the NBA’s minor league reaches 30 teams – an affiliate for every NBA franchise – what will happen?

David Aldridge of

And once every NBA team has its own D-League team, the assumption is there will be a need for more players to fill out those rosters — and the need to expand the Draft by at least a round, maybe two.

“If everybody’s going to have a D-League team, that’s eight more positions that everybody’s going to get,” one longtime GM said over the weekend. “Maybe you go to five (rounds) the first year to allow everybody to stock the teams, and then the next year, you go down to four.”

Another general manager proposed that players taken after the second round of an expanded Draft have so-called “two-way” contracts, similar to those used for some players in Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Such contracts pay salaries based on whether the player is in the major leagues or the minors.

I’m all for expanding the draft.

The players union will resist it, because the draft restricts players. Undrafted free agents have much more freedom and leverage to negotiate their contracts.

But, holistically, a longer draft could boost player salaries.

The goal for the D-League should be stocking teams with players the parent NBA squad holds exclusive rights to. Right now – except assigned players, who continue to make an NBA salary and count against an NBA roster – D-League players are NBA free agents. That partly explains why D-League salaries are so low. Why spend too much on a player any team can sign? But if NBA teams held exclusive rights of their D-League players, those D-League players would be much more valuable and NBA teams would pay them more. The best way for NBA teams to construct those rosters is through an expanded draft.

The salary issues are bit trickier.

Should NBA teams and D-League affiliates have separate salary caps? Would individual-player maxes exist? Would it be possible for an NBA team not to have enough cap space to call up a D-League player?

A “two-way” contract could solve some issues, but it could leave the possibility of a team leaving an NBA-ready player in the D-League just to pay him less. That probably shouldn’t be allowed.

I’m very much in favor of a 30-team D-League, but it will require careful consideration to make it fully functional.

Christian Wood puts 76ers in roster crunch

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As expected, Christian Wood apparently officially signed with the 76ers:

Assuming that contract was executed, it clarifies Philadelphia’s bind.

Wood gives the 76ers 19 players with contracts. The offseason roster limit is 20.

But there are at least two unsigned players in limbo.

Philadelphia plans to sign to sign T.J. McConnell to a contract guaranteed for at least $100,000, according to Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star.

The 76ers also have an outstanding required tender to 2014 second-rounder Jordan McRae, who reportedly plans to attend training camp. The only way to attend training camp is with a contract.

Perhaps, McConnell’s deal was contingent a roster spot being open. Maybe McRae changed his mind and is willing to be stashed. Either or both reports could have been inaccurate all along.

But, if McConnell and McRae are both headed to Philadelphia’s training camp, something has to give.

A simple solution would be waiving Gerald Wallace, an over-the-hill veteran who’s owed $10,105,855 in the final season of his contract. He doesn’t fit the 76ers’ plan, and his contract is less likely to facility a trade because they already have cap room. I wouldn’t be surprised if Philadelphia general manger Sam Hinkie – strategically, in case something comes up – is waiting until the last possible moment to drop Wallace.

The 76ers could also wait to sign McConnell – McRae has more ability to force their hand – and then sign McConnell after the first cut of training camp. The 76ers can’t open training camp with all 21 players linked to them, but they could cycle them through 20 at a time.

No matter what happens, the status of Philadelphia’s reported plans will change before training camp.