Magic Rumors

14 NBA Teams Have Open 20-Man Roster Spots

With NBA training camps right around the corner, several more teams filled their 20-man offseason rosters this week. The Hornets did so on Monday, with the Mavericks, Pistons, Raptors, and Hawks following suit over the next few days. Those clubs join a list of 16 total teams that don’t have any openings on their offseason rosters.

Of course, every NBA team with a full 20-man roster is carrying multiple players who have non-guaranteed contracts, so it’s not as if any of them would be hamstrung if they really want to sign another player. But for now at least, it appears as if those 16 teams have their 20-man squads set for when camps get underway at the end of the month.

That leaves 14 clubs that still have open roster spots, as our tracker shows. Here’s a breakdown of those teams, along with my speculation on whether we can expect them to make moves within the next week or two:

19 players under contract:

  • Golden State Warriors
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Washington Wizards

None of these teams are carrying 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so it’s possible they’ll still add a veteran player who could earn a regular season roster spot. But it’s more likely that they’ll each sign another young player who could end up in the G League, since all four teams have their own NBAGL affiliates. The Wizards, who need to add some point guard depth, are said to be eyeing Chris Chiozza for their final spot.

18 players under contract:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Orlando Magic
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers

While it’s not official yet, the Celtics essentially have a full roster. Kaiser Gates and Yante Maten have both reportedly agreed to Exhibit 10 contracts with the Celtics, but have yet to finalize them. Once they’re under contract, Boston’s 20-man roster will be full.

The Magic could also have a full 20-man roster if and when they complete their reported agreement with Isaac Humphries and sign first-round pick Chuma Okeke. The Pelicans, meanwhile, reportedly reached deals with undrafted rookies Jalen Adams, Javon Bess, and Aubrey Dawkins, but there’s only room for two of them on the roster, so unless New Orleans plans to waive a player, the team won’t be signing all three.

The Rockets are signing Thabo Sefolosha and would have room for one more camp invitee, while I’d expect the Suns to invite two more young players to camp with them.

The Nuggets and Trail Blazers don’t have their own G League affiliates, so they may not fill out their rosters unless they just need healthy bodies for camp.

17 players under contract:

  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Oklahoma City Thunder

All three of these teams have their own G League affiliates and should fill out their camp rosters with young players who can play for the Long Island Nets, Windy City Bulls, or OKC Blue. Of course, rumors continue to swirl that the Nets are eyeing Carmelo Anthony, but I wouldn’t expect the Bulls or Thunder to be seeking any veteran help.

Magic Notes: Fultz, Burning Questions, Aminu

Although the Magic exercised 2020/21 rookie scale options this week on three players, only one of those decisions really generated headlines. The option pick-ups for Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba came as no surprise, but Orlando’s decision to exercise Markelle Fultz‘s $12.3MM option for ’20/21 raised some eyebrows.

Picking up Fultz’s fourth-year option is “the most tangible sign yet” that the Magic are pleased with the progress the former No. 1 overall pick has made in his rehab from thoracic outlet syndrome, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. As Robbins points out, making the move official a month and a half before the October 31 deadline helped relieve some of the pressure on Fultz, since there was no opportunity for speculation about that option decision to gain any steam.

As we wait for an update on when we can expect Fultz to make his debut for the Magic, here’s more on the young point guard, plus a couple other notes out of Orlando:

  • In the wake of their decision on Fultz, Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer wonders what the Magic know that we don’t. As Uggetti writes, guaranteeing another $12.3MM for the 21-year-old is a significant investment in a player who has appeared in just 33 total NBA games and has struggled with his shot.
  • In a separate article for The Athletic, Robbins examines the burning questions facing each player on the Magic’s roster this season. Among the questions Robbins poses: Can Orlando’s major free agent addition, Al-Farouq Aminu, effectively space the floor on offense? Aminu is a career 33.7% three-point shooter.
  • In a Q&A with John Denton of, Magic head coach Steve Clifford addressed a handful of topics, suggesting at one point that the team’s readiness to keep working hard is even more important than the roster’s continuity. “Often, we look at professional athletes as if they’re a given. The thing for us to all understand is this – we played better (in the second half) because we put a lot into it,” Clifford said. “The consistent players put a lot into it every year. And the really talented players who don’t really ever reach the level that they should, it’s because they have a fluctuation in their focus from year to year.”

And-Ones: Lineups, Fournier, Roc Nation, Gasol

The league has made a proposal requiring teams to reveal their starting lineups at least 30 minutes prior to tip-off, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. Currently, teams only have to issue their lineups 10 minutes before the start of the game. The move would most likely facilitate wagering, particularly with daily fantasy leagues, who would have more advance knowledge of any lineup changes.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier, who played for bronze-medalist France in the FIBA World Cup, was disappointed that many NBA stars chose to skip the event, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. “To be honest, like, when you look at (LeBron) James, KD (Kevin Durant), all these guys, they came here already, they won,” Fournier said. “Whatever, it’s fine. Friends of mine like Tobias (Harris), I thought it was a great opportunity for him to see something different and compete. I don’t think they realize how beneficial this is for their career.”
  • Veteran agent Roger Montgomery has resigned from Roc Nation Sports to focus on other management projects, Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. Montgomery negotiated Rudy Gay‘s two-year, $32MM contract with the Spurs and also represented Hornets lottery pick PJ Washington.
  • Marc Gasol showed he’s still an effective player during the World Cup, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes. Gasol was the defensive and offensive anchor of Spain’s gold-medal winning team and that provides hope for the Raptors that they can still make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, maligned point guard Frank Ntilikina showed he could be an elite defender for the Knicks with the way he handled Kemba Walker while playing for France.

Magic Exercise 2020/21 Options On Fultz, Isaac, Bamba

The Magic have exercised their rookie scale team options for the 2020/21 season on a trio of young players, the team announced today in a press release. Orlando picked up its fourth-year options on Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, along with its third-year option on Mohamed Bamba.

The decisions on Isaac and Bamba don’t come as a surprise. Isaac had a promising sophomore season, averaging 9.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.3 BPG while playing a key part in Orlando’s second-half defensive surge. His cap hit for the 2020/21 season will be $7,362,566.

Bamba, meanwhile, didn’t get a chance to play much in his rookie season after being selected sixth overall in the 2018 draft, as a tibia fracture sidelined him for most of the second half. However, third-year options are rarely turned down and Bamba’s $5,969,040 cap charge for ’20/21 is a very reasonable price as the Magic continue to see what they have in the young center.

The most notable decision here is the one on Fultz, whose fourth-year option is much pricier ($12,288,697) since he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017. The young point guard still hasn’t appeared in a single game for the Magic since being acquired in a deadline deal last February. However, exercising his option signals that the team likes the progress he has made in his recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome.

Fultz is now the only Magic point guard under contract beyond this season. D.J. Augustin is in the final year of his contract, while Michael Carter-Williams is on a one-year deal.

In total, the option decisions increase the Magic’s projected 2020/21 team salary by over $25MM, reducing the team’s chances of creating any cap room next summer. Orlando now has more than $101MM in guaranteed money on its books for ’20/21, which doesn’t include Evan Fournier‘s $17.15MM player option. The cap is projected to come in at $116MM.

Teams have until October 31 to exercise rookie scale team options for 2020/21. Our tracker can be found right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

D.J. Augustin Hopes Magic's Offseason Can Help Future

  • Magic guard D.J. Augustin hopes the team’s offseason will lay a foundation for future success, Dan Savage of writes. “They’re in here every day whether it’s on the court working out or in the weight room lifting weights, the fact that they’re here now and have been here all summer doing those things, it’s going to go a long way in their growth and their development as basketball players,” Augustin said of Orlando’s young core, which includes the likes of Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba and Markelle Fultz. “Every guy doesn’t work out the same, some guys hang out in the summer time and work out every now and then, but those guys are dedicated and they’re working hard every single day.”

Canada, Greece, Turkey Set World Cup Rosters

While USA Basketball had its share of withdrawals this summer leading up to the 2019 World Cup, there’s a strong case for Team Canada being the national team hit hardest by a lack of participation from NBA players.

Team Canada formally announced its 12-man World Cup roster today. As expected, the group features just two NBA players: Kings point guard Cory Joseph and Magic center Khem Birch. As we outlined earlier this month, the list of Canadians not participating in the World Cup includes Jamal Murray, Andrew Wiggins, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tristan Thompson, Trey Lyles, Dillon Brooks, Dwight Powell, RJ Barrett, and several other NBA players.

The national teams for Greece and Turkey also announced their final 12-man rosters for the World Cup, and both squads feature multiple current NBA players.

Bucks teammates – and brothers – Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo headline the Greek squad, with former NBA players like Kostas Papanikolaou, Nick Calathes, and Georgios Papagiannis helping to fill out the roster.

On the Turkish national team, Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman, and Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz are the headliners. Former Celtics and Cavaliers center Semih Erden is also part of Turkey’s 12-man roster.

The World Cup will officially get underway in China on Saturday with an eight-game schedule, though Canada, Greece, and Turkey won’t take the court until Sunday.

World Cup Notes: Japan, Montenegro, Top Players

Several more national basketball teams have announced their 12-man rosters for the 2019 World Cup in China, including Team Japan, which will be led by a pair of NBA players, per a FIBA announcement.

Former Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura, who was selected ninth overall by the Wizards in this year’s draft, is the headliner. He’ll be joined by Grizzlies swingman Yuta Watanabe, who is on a two-way contract in Memphis.

The Montenegro national team, meanwhile, is light on NBA players, but does include one notable nameMagic center Nikola Vucevic, who earned his first All-Star nod in 2018/19, will represent Montenegro as the program attempts to make its way out a tough first-round group that features Brazil, New Zealand, and Greece.

Here’s more on the World Cup, including a couple more roster announcements:

Remaining Offseason Questions: Southeast Division

NBA teams have now completed the brunt of their offseason work, with the draft and free agency practically distant memories. Still, with training camps more than a month away, many clubs around the league have at least one or two outstanding issues they’ve yet to address.

We’re in the midst of looking at all 30 NBA teams, separating them by division and checking in on a key outstanding question that each club still needs to answer before the 2019/20 regular season begins.

After focusing on the Atlantic on Monday, we’re moving onto the Southeast today. Let’s dive in…

Atlanta Hawks
How will the Hawks use their remaining cap room?

The Hawks are the only NBA team that has any real cap room remaining. Currently, the team is sitting on about $6.95MM in space, per Early Bird Rights. That’s not a ton of room, particularly when there are probably no free agents left on the market worth more than the minimum. But it could come in handy.

It’s not clear if Atlanta has any plans in mind for that cap room, but the club is likely holding off on making Vince Carter‘s new deal official in order to maximize its options. Once Carter signs his minimum-salary contract, the Hawks’ cap space will dip to approximately $5.33MM.

The most likely scenario for the Hawks is probably holding onto their cap room into the season and then seeing if it helps create any trade opportunities later in the year. Still, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the team using that space to accommodate a deal before the season begins.

Charlotte Hornets
What are the Hornets’ plans for second-round pick Jalen McDaniels?

McDaniels is one of four 2019 draft picks who has yet to sign an NBA contract or commit to playing overseas.

While it remains to be seen what the Hornets‘ plans are for McDaniels, a two-way contract is an outcome that would make sense for both sides. The three players selected before McDaniels (from Nos. 49-51) and after him (Nos. 53-55) in the draft all signed two-way deals, and Charlotte currently has a slot open.

Of course, the Hornets also project to have an opening or two on their 15-man regular season roster, so it’s possible McDaniels and his reps have their eye on one of those spots. The club currently has 13 players on guaranteed contracts, with Thomas Welsh, Caleb Martin, Joe Chealey, and Josh Perkins among the non-guaranteed players possibly in the running for the 14th and/or 15th spot(s). We’ll have to wait to see if McDaniels gets a chance to compete with them or if he gets Charlotte’s second two-way deal.

Miami Heat
How will the Heat’s hard cap affect their remaining roster decisions?

After signing Udonis Haslem earlier this month, the Heat are about $855K below their hard cap for the 2019/20 league year, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The minimum rookie salary for this season is $898K, so Miami can’t add any more guaranteed salaries to its books without making a corresponding roster move to clear guaranteed money.

In other words, barring a trade or a last-minute use of the stretch provision, the Heat’s roster is mostly set for the regular season. The team just needs to make a pair of roster decisions: Will Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn fill out the 14-man roster?

Robinson’s $1,416,852 salary is already guaranteed for $1MM, so waiving him would create little flexibility for Miami. Nunn’s partial guarantee is only worth $150K though. If the club has any doubts about his ability to contribute in 2019/20, his roster spot could be in jeopardy. Waiving Nunn would open up enough room for the Heat to bring in another veteran on a minimum-salary deal.

Orlando Magic
When will the Magic sign Chuma Okeke?

As noted above, there are four 2019 draft picks who remain unsigned. Of those four, Okeke is the only unsigned first-round pick. Because the rookie scale for first-rounders is fairly inflexible, those players typically sign within the first week or two of the league year, so the delay on Okeke is unusual.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Okeke is the only first-round pick who is unlikely to see the court much – if at all – during his rookie season. He tore his ACL in March and is still recovering from that injury.

While virtually every first-round pick signs for 120% of his rookie scale amount, the Cavaliers were able to get Kevin Porter for lower than that earlier in the offseason — it seems likely at this point that the Magic – who don’t have much breathing room below the luxury tax line – are exploring something similar with Okeke.

Washington Wizards
Will Bradley Beal sign a contract extension?

Beal is eligible for a veteran extension, and the Wizards offered as many years and as much money as NBA rules allowed. They also did so as soon as league rules allowed. However, Beal didn’t immediately accept that offer.

It’s easy to point to the Wizards’ 2018/19 record (32-50) and unfavorable cap situation and surmise that Beal is eager to leave D.C., but that’s not necessarily the case. He has said he wants to assess the team’s new management group, led by general manager Tommy Sheppard, before making any decisions. Plus, it would be financially advantageous for him to wait at least a year before signing a new extension, as we explained in-depth last month.

Beal has until October 21 to sign an extension. Otherwise, he won’t be eligible again until next July. John Wall thinks his backcourt mate will accept Washington’s offer and he might be right, but if I had to place a bet, I’d guess that Beal will enter the 2019/20 season without a new deal in place.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

World Cup Updates: Lithuania, Joseph, Nigeria, France

The Lithuanian national team has announced its roster for the 2019 World Cup, according to Donatas Urbonas, who tweets that the 12-man squad will include Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas and Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt. Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas is also on the roster.

Lithuania is viewed as a contender to make a deep run in this year’s tournament, but it won’t have an easy path to even make it out of the first round. The Lithuanian national team is part of a group that also includes Australia, Canada, and Senegal — only two of those clubs will advance to the round of 16.

Here’s more on the 2019 World Cup, which will tip off in just four days in China:

Isaac Can't Wait For Season To Begin

  • Entering his third season, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is brimming with optimism over his team’s future after it reached the playoffs last season. Isaac likes the team’s continuity after it re-signed key free agents Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, as he told John Denton of the team’s website. “We’re all hyped up for the season,’” he said. “And I’m sure as guys get together and start playing again, we’ll have more of those talks about, ‘Hey, we can go even farther than we did last (season).'”