NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Ish Smith, Phil Pressey and More

Jared Johnson@@jaredtjohnson21Featured ColumnistOctober 26, 2015

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith smiles as time runs out in the 76ers' NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Denver. Philadelphia won 99-85. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Time to finish up your roster tweaking, NBA teams.

The 5 p.m. ET Monday deadline for squads to finalize their 15-man rosters before the start of the regular season Tuesday has made this an active time in the league. The names involved in rumors at this point aren't exactly the NBA's marquee guys, but teams are still having to make a lot of tough decisions. In said decisions, front offices must consider a player's on-court value, his character and the financial ramifications of his contract.

Let's look at the situations of two players who are involved in this process, as well as another player who is safe from cuts but looking to return from an injury.

Ish Smith

The New Orleans Pelicans are absolutely decimated by injuries, especially in their backcourt. Tyreke Evans is recovering from knee surgery, Norris Cole has a high ankle sprain and starting point guard Jrue Holiday is not supposed to be playing more than 15 minutes per game until January. 

Enter 26-year-old journeyman floor general Ish Smith, per the Advocate's Scott Kushner.

Scott Kushner @ScottDKushner

Breaking: Sources indicate #Pelicans are nearing agreement to sign Ish Smith and he's currently in New Orleans. Waiting for waviers to clear

However, Kushner later added that can only happen if the Philadelphia 76ers don't want Smith and clear his waivers, which Philly may or may not do.

Scott Kushner @ScottDKushner

For #Saints halftime tweeps: #Pelicans need Ish Smith to clear waivers to add him. #76ers reportedly might make claim, keeping Ish out of NO

Both teams are suffering in the point guard department, but the Pelicans seem to be in the worse situation. Nate Robinson is New Orleans' only healthy 1 at the moment, and the 31-year-old's minutes have gradually decreased with his teams in the past three seasons.

The Sixers, meanwhile, have several mediocre options and don't need any more. Kendall Marshall, Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson, Scottie Wilbekin and T.J. McConnell are all players who can share the point guard minutes to start the season if they survive the final cut.

If I were Philadelphia, I would pass on the lightning-quick point guard. Smith played decently for the team last year, especially on defense and passing the ball, but his inefficient offense and poor shooting don't make him a must-have for the team.

New Orleans would be glad to scoop Smith up and have him throw lobs to Anthony Davis, as he did with Nerlens Noel last season.

Phil Pressey

After being waived by the Portland Trail Blazers Friday, point guard Phil Pressey has reportedly found his way to another Western Conference team, per Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

The Utah Jazz have claimed Portland free agent guard Phil Pressey off waivers, league source tells Yahoo Sports.

However, the Deseret News' Jody Genessy reported that the team is looking to waive Pressey before the roster deadline so he can remain with Utah's NBA D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. The 5'11" floor general can be waiting in the wings in case of any additional injuries that afflict the upstart Jazz. Dante Exum is already dealing with a torn ACL, but Rodney Hood, Trey Burke and Raul Neto seem to have things under control at the 1 spot for the time being.

The 24-year-old Pressey played two seasons for the Boston Celtics between 2013 and 2015, averaging 3.1 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game during his Celtics tenure.

Robert Covington

The Sixers will miss Robert Covington, but he won't be out as long as they probably suspected originally.
The Sixers will miss Robert Covington, but he won't be out as long as they probably suspected originally.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Whew, that was close.

Covington injured his knee in the 76ers' final preseason game against the Boston Celtics Friday, and many were afraid it was something serious. Instead, it was merely a sprained MCL, which will sideline him for two weeks.

However, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey reported that the two-week prognosis could've been more exact than it needed to be.

Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers

Rob Covington (sprained MCL) is having more tests today. Sources say he'll be out 2 weeks, but it will be fair to say anywhere from 1 to 3.

One thing is for sure: The 24-year-old Covington is a key part of the Sixers' rebuild, thanks to his knockdown wing shooting and strong defensive skills. He doesn't project as a star down the line, but he'll space the floor for the talented Jahlil Okafor and Noel down low.


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