Knicks cut ex-NC State forward C.J. Leslie; Timberwolves drop Brown

jgiglio@newsobserver.comOctober 25, 2013 

NBALESLIE-NE-040113-TEL

N.C. State's C.J. Leslie announces that will enter the NBA draft instead of returning to State for another basketball season Monday, April 1, 2013, during a press conference at at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Basketball Center at N.C. State University.

TRAVIS LONG — tlong@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

C.J. Leslie will get paid by the New York Knicks this NBA season but he won’t play for them. The Knicks cut the former N.C. State forward on Friday.

Leslie left N.C. State after his junior season and signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the Knicks in June. He received a reported $200,000 contract from the Knicks, who cut five players on Friday to get down to a 15-man roster.

Also Friday, former N.C. State guard Lorenzo Brown was cut by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Despite effort and consistency issues, Leslie led the Wolfpack in scoring as a sophomore and junior and helped them win 24 games each season and make consecutive NCAA tournament trips.

A prep star out of Raleigh and former teammate of NBA star John Wall, Leslie was one of the top-rated high school players in the country when he committed to N.C. State in 2010.

He considered going pro after his sophomore season in 2012, in which he helped the Wolfpack reach the Sweet 16, but decided to return for the 2012-13 season.

Leslie averaged 15.1 points per game as a junior and 7.4 rebounds. The preseason choice for the ACC player of the year, he was voted to third-team all conference as a junior.

He was not picked in the draft, despite some projections he could go in the late first round, but he signed a guaranteed contract with the Knicks the day after the draft.

Leslie averaged 2.4 points in just 7.2 minutes per game in five preseason games for the Knicks. Former N.C. State forward Josh Powell, a six-year NBA veteran, was also released by New York on Friday.

Former N.C. State forward Richard Howell, who led the ACC in rebounding last season, was cut by the Portland Trail Blazers earlier in the week. Howell played in one preseason game for the Blazers but, according to The Oregonian, is expected to play for Portland’s development league team this season.

Brown was taken in the second round by the Timberwolves and averaged 4.0 points in three preseason games.

The NBA’s regular season begins on Tuesday.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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