Trail Blazers Waive Skylar Mays, Ish Wainright
Portland made two cuts ahead of the leaguewide guarantee date of Jan. 10.
NEW YORK — Four days ahead of the NBA’s Jan. 10 cutoff date for non-guaranteed contracts to become fully guaranteed for the rest of the season, the Trail Blazers announced two roster cuts. The team has waived guard Skylar Mays and forward Ish Wainright, bringing their roster to 13 players on NBA deals in addition to three on two-way contracts.
Wainright’s $1.9 million salary was fully non-guaranteed until Jan. 10, while Mays’ $1.7 million salary was guaranteed $850,000. The Blazers’ other partial guarantee is Moses Brown, whose $2 million salary is guaranteed for $500,000 and will become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived before Wednesday.
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Mays was one of the Blazers’ late-season signings last year after they shut down their veterans to chase the lottery. He stuck around this season on a two-way contract, which they converted to a standard NBA contract in November. He started five games at point guard during the stretch when Anfernee Simons, Scoot Henderson and Malcolm Brogdon were all out with injuries.
The Blazers claimed Wainright, who is 29 but only in his third season in the NBA, off waivers shortly before the start of the regular season after he was cut by Phoenix at the end of training camp. He missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury and has rarely played since then, appearing in seven games and playing a total of 46 minutes.
The Blazers now have two open roster spots that could be filled in a variety of ways. Friday was the first day NBA teams were allowed to sign players to 10-day contracts, so they could use the roster flexibility to take a look at some guys. They could keep a spot open through the Feb. 8 trade deadline, so they wouldn’t have to waive somebody if they traded one of their higher-salaried veterans (such as Malcolm Brogdon) for multiple players.
Portland could also use one of their open roster spots to convert one of their two-way players to a full NBA contract, as they did with Mays earlier in the season. At some point, they will have to do that with Duop Reath, who has appeared in 22 games, almost halfway to the 50-game limit for players on two-way contracts. He won’t hit that threshold before the trade deadline, so they can string it out until then and see what the roster situation looks like post-deadline. But between now and the end of the season, they will have to do that.
Ibou Badji could also be a candidate to have his two-way contract converted at some point later in the season but Reath, as a more consistent contributor who has appeared in significantly more games, will be first priority there.