76ers Assign Rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to D-League
The Philadelphia 76ers assigned rookie guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Delaware 87ers, the team announced in a press release this morning.
Luwawu-Cabarrot, 21, was the 24th pick in the 2016 NBA draft, selected with the pick the Sixers received from the Miami Heat, by way of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as part of the Thaddeus Young trade in August 2014.
He has appeared in 7 of the Sixers’ first 10 games so far this season, but has averaged just 4.6 minutes per game in those appearances. He averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21 minutes per game during the preseason.
Luwawu-Cabarrot played in 8 minutes during last night’s 115-88 blowout loss to the Houston Rockets, the most playing time he’s received so far this season, scoring 4 points on 2-3 shooting from the field.
While Luwawu-Cabarrot will be down in Delaware, he will still count against the Sixers 15-man roster limit. This is true for any player signed to an NBA contract that is sent down to the D-League, including both Luwawu-Cabarrot and Jerryd Bayless, who is currently in Delaware as he works to return from a left wrist injury suffered during training camp. Because of this, assigning Luwawu-Cabarrot does not open up the chance for a corresponding roster move.
Luwawu-Cabarrot was presumably sent down to Delaware to receive more consistent playing time to help develop his game. Luwawu-Cabarrot played for Mega Leks in the Adriatic League last season, averaging 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He previously played for Antibes in Francse’s second division.
The 6’7″ Luwawu-Cabarrot has the size and athleticism to become a versatile defender in the league, but will need to refine his overall skill level to reach his potential. Being able to get more consistent playing time in the D-League should help him in that regard.
Update: 9:19 am on November 16th:
The 76ers have recalled both Bayless and Luwawu from their D-League stints. It appears as if the team just sent the two down to the D-League for a couple of practices while the team was on a road trip. The 76ers have 10 of their next 12 games at home.
D-League Roster Primer
There tends to be some confusion with what “being sent to the D-League” means, especially since there are a few different types of D-League players.
Most players that play in the D-League are signed to a D-League contract. Any team in the NBA can “call-up” these players by then signing them to an exclusive NBA contract*. These players do not count against NBA rosters while they are playing under D-League contracts.
While these players might play for the 87ers, the 76ers D-League affiliate, the 76ers do not own their rights in any capacity. They are free to sign with any NBA team, and they do not count against the 76ers roster.
(*Note: there is the potential that players signed to D-League contracts could still be draft eligible. Players that are draft eligible cannot be signed to NBA contracts. This happened with the Sixers in 2013, when the selected Norvelle Pelle, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and Aquille Carr, all of whom were still eligible for the 2014 NBA draft. Teams do this so they can get an up close look at players and gain scouting intelligence prior to the draft. Antetokounmpo was eventually selected 51st overall in the 2014 NBA draft by the New York Knicks).
The second class of players are those under an NBA contract who are sent down to the D-League, to gain experience, rehab from an injury, or any number of reasons. These players continue to count against the regular 15-man NBA roster just as if they were still playing for the 76ers. Both Bayless and Luwawu-Cabarrot fall into this camp.
Examples of players who have been sent down to the D-League while under an NBA contract include Eric Bledsoe, Jordan Clarkson, Reggie Jackson, and Rudy Gobert. Last year the Sixers sent down Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten to continue their rehab as they came back from knee injuries. Neither Marshall or Wroten, who were both down there for roughly three weeks from mid-November to early-December, played in a game for the 87ers, but used the lighter game and travel schedule to get more scrimmage time in before returning to the NBA.
There’s one final designation of note, which is “affiliate players”. These are guys who were cut during NBA training camp. A team can select to retain the D-League rights for up to 4 of these players, assuming they don’t already have their D-League rights held by another team.
That being said, teams only have the D-League rights to affiliate players, meaning these players are free to sign with any NBA team. The Sixers designed James Webb III, Shawn Long, Cat Barber, and Dionte Christmas as affiliate cuts after training camp, which meant all four would be assigned to the 87ers if they signed with the D-League, which they all did. This gives the 76ers the chance to get a first hand look at their development, work ethic, coachability, and so on, but any team in the NBA is still free to sign them to an NBA contract if they decide to.
tl;dr: Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot still occupy spots on the 76ers NBA roster.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.