This is something that qualifies as a transactions post as well, but a lot of NBA teams are finalizing their training camp rosters, so I thought it would be worth compiling the news into semi-regular (or maybe it'll just be this one, who knows) posts rather than fanshotting every single story. (And also because I'm trying my best to ignore Brandt Anderon's latest harebrained scheme.) Because this is RU I'm just covering those players who are at the end of the roster, invited on non-guaranteed deals basically as either longshots or "why not" guys. As always, some teams seem to know what they're doing, and some...well...
Really, Phoenix? Dan Dickau? Look, I get that you need a third point guard, at least for training camp, and I get that Zabian Dowdell's rehabbing an injury. But there's really no other way to describe Dickau at this point other than "terrible." Several of the better options aren't available either, having signed with other teams or gone off to Europe, but off the top of my head Eddie Gill, Walker russell and Cliff Clinkscales are all still around and would be better options. You say that Goran Dragic and Dan Dickau are currently your backup point guards? And that your starter is 35 years old with semi-serious back problems? Yeah, good luck with that.
As much as the Thunder have used their D-League affiliate in Tulsa, I get the sneaking suspicion that they've recently started to lean towards "crusty veterans." Kevin Ollie being exhibit A, Ruffin here being exhibit B. Ruffin never had an offensive game, and in his heyday (if you can call it that) with the Wizards he didn't do much other than rebound. He was decent at it for a few years, and while the per-minute numbers are still there he hasn't been able to stay on the court long enough over the past three seasons or so for it to really matter. He's mostly here, much like Etan Thomas, because he played college ball in the state. How's that working out for the Bobcats? Bowen is known as a "hustle guy," which teams always like to have. I do wonder, though, what these two signings might reveal about Oklahoma City's thoughts about D.J. White and Serge Ibaka. White had some injury trouble last year but looked pretty good in the D-League when he was able to play, while if there's one center in the league who can keep up with Russell Westbrook, it's probably Ibaka. Oddly enough, Kelley was dropped from the Miami Heat's roster last year when they signed Shaun Livingston, who's now with the Thunder. Harris spent 17 games with the Houston Rockets a few years ago and put up some pretty good per-minute rebounding numbers. The season before that he played for Colorado in the D-League, where he made almost 62 percent of his field goals. Kelley and Harris are both unlikely to make the team, I think, since the Thunder have so many players on their roster already.
Cleveland: Rob Kurz
I like this move for Cleveland, as Kurz is a three-point shooting power forward which means that a.) he won't be trying to share space with Shaquille O'Neal or a driving LeBron James, and b.) he's another person for James or whomever to kick out to. It makes even more sense in the wake of Delonte West's recent...thing, and all the uncertainty around his status now. West is a guard, true, but Kurz might help the team replace some of his offense. Kurz not going to Denver (as he had been considering) also means that James White now has a better chance to take Linas Kleiza's old rotation spot.
Christmas isn't a surprise, as he's a local "make-good" story, and he played for that 76ers/Nets combined Summer League team. He had one pretty good game a in Orlando, though from what I remember he struggled in the rest of them. Singletary has been traded a lot, though he's managed to play in 30-some odd NBA games and a few D-League games, but he's probably best served going to play in Europe. He's a point guard who averaged 3.4 assists per 36 minutes in those NBA games, which isn't what you'd call "good." He was more of a scorer in college, anyway, and he remains an alright three-point shooter. Bowman played for Bakersfield for two seasons before spending last year in Germany, but he didn't score very efficiently in the D-League. Reiner played for Philadelphia in last year's pre-season as well, but was cut before the actual season started. He was a second team All D-League player a few seasons ago with Sioux Falls, and he's a decent rebounder. What we have here is a collection of players with notable college careers, but who all have reasons they haven't stuck in the NBA (prove me wrong, Dionte!)
Sacramento: Lanny Smith
This is a good move for the Kings, as Smith is a solid point guard who most recently played on the "NBA Generations" team. If there's one thing Kings fans aren't satisfied with (one thing?) it's the point guard spot, as Beno Udrih had a pretty miserable season last year. The team then drafted Tyreke Evans and traded for Sergio Rodriguez, though, so it'll be tough for Smith to crack that rotation, but he played for new Kings assistant Bryan Gates in Idaho, so maybe that will give him an advantage on Udrih, who doesn't have the best recent history, or Rodriguez, who's still mostly an unknown.
Miami: John Lucas, Andre Brown
I really, really hope that Lucas makes the team, not just because it's nice to see D-League players succeed, and not just because he's a talented player, but because Miami's backup was and is Chris Quinn. Miami has a history of rotating D-League players in and out without really committing to the idea (and also they haven't exactly signed the cream of the D-League crop anyway), but I would certainly hope they give Lucas every chance to beat out Quinn, because he can. Lucas played a fair amount of shooting guard alongside Eddie Gill last season, but he's a point guard who ran the offense well, and while he's not the biggest guy around, he's found a way to fight through screens pretty effectively. Brown has bounced around a few training camps the last few years after playing in the D-League in 2006. He also spent about two dozen games with the Toros last year. His rebounding has held but his shooting percentage, free throw shooting and overall scoring have gone down the last few years.
San Antonio: Curtis Jerrells, Dwayne Jones
I'm assuming Jerrells was signed to push Marcus Williams for the third point guard spot (and also because he both went to Baylor and is from Austin), which is fine and probably good for Williams, but I don't see Jerrells making the roster. He may, as 48 Minutes predicts, end up with the Toros, who will need another point guard with Williams going to the Spurs and Stanley Burrell headed to Europe. I was not optimistic about Jones making the roster until I saw that the team waived Jack McClinton in order to sign him. My overall thoughts on Jones can be found here (short version: I like him a lot). I'm still not sure he'll be with the Spurs coming out of the preseason, but Theo Ratliff's 70-year-old body could break down any day now, and I expect several of their players to see some time in Austin (such as James Gist). It's also about that time for Ian Mahinmi to show the team that he can play, and after recovering from an injury this offseason, he still might be behind development-wise.