Jazz Signing Paris Bass To Exhibit 10 Deal

10:03pm: Utah’s agreement with Paris Bass is an Exhibit 10 deal, Tony Jones of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Bass will compete for a spot in training camp.

6:51pm: The Jazz have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent forward Paris Bass, his agent Daniel Hazan tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Bass most recently played for the Lakers during the Las Vegas and California Classic summer leagues, averaging 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game.

Bass, a 6’8″ forward, went undrafted in 2017 and has spent most of his career playing internationally. He signed two 10-day hardship contracts with the Suns this past season, and averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds with the Lakers’ G League affiliate on the campaign.

Utah has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, two players on two-way deals, and four Exhibit 10 agreements. The Jazz appear to be entering a rebuilding phase after trading away Rudy Gobert and are continuing to discuss the possibility of a Donovan Mitchell trade with rival teams.

Nets Notes: Lineup, Simmons, Offseason, Trades

The Nets are expected to test lineups with Ben Simmons at center next season, as relayed by NetsDaily. Head coach Steve Nash discussed Simmons’ unique ability to play and defend multiple positions when the 2021/22 campaign ended.

“I think he plays both [point guard and center],” Nash said. “He’s just such a well-rounded, versatile athlete and skilled player that I think it would be limiting to say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to handle the ball all the time. You have to facilitate the offense all the time.’ That’s what’s special about him is the varied skills he brings to the table.

“So, yes, he’ll facilitate and be the point guard. He’ll also sometimes be the center. Other times he’ll be the guy that’s just playing position-less basketball, trying to create offense in the halfcourt. So for me, it’s playing to his strengths, which are varied, and all those things are a part of it.”

Brooklyn can play Simmons at forward, but if they start Nicolas Claxton at center, the fit may become awkward with two non-shooters. However, the team has several top shooters in the league, including Kyrie Irving, Patty Mills, Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Kevin Durant to partially offset that issue.

Here are some other notes out of Brooklyn:

  • Since there appears to be no inclination to trade Simmons, Brian Lewis of the New York Post (member-only) examines the challenges and potential upside in using him. Simmons is a versatile defender and strong playmaker who struggles with shooting. At 6’11” and 240 pounds, he’s also a strong finisher, but his primary position is still unclear with this Nets team.
  • A panel of ESPN analysts (video link) discuss senior writer Kevin Pelton’s decision to grade the Nets’ offseason as a D+. Pelton mentions how the team traded a first-round pick for Royce O’Neale, plus how there’s still some uncertainty surrounding Irving and Durant’s futures.
  • Speaking of Irving and Durant, we recently examined the latest on the duo. As SNYtv’s Ian Begley heard, sources around the situation were pessimistic about a Durant trade being finalized anytime soon late last month. Irving, on the other hand, is reportedly focused on staying with Brooklyn entering the season.

Community Shootaround: Heat Outlook

With the dog days of summer upon us, the NBA’s offseason news cycle has slowed to a halt. Most of the major free agents have signed new contracts, summer league has passed, and many executives are just returning from post-summer league vacations. Contending teams across the league — particularly in the Eastern Conference — have seemingly improved.

The Celtics added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to provide depth behind their elite starting lineup, the Sixers signed P.J. Tucker to add toughness and versatility, and the Bulls bolstered their bench with veterans Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond. The Bucks did their part by standing pat and retaining all their key pieces. The Hawks added Dejounte Murray, and the Raptors shouldn’t be counted out. For as long as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant play, neither should the Nets.

Among the missing teams, of course, is the Heat. Miami finished first in the East last season with a 53-29 record. The team made the conference finals and took the Celtics to seven games despite dealing with several injuries. Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, P.J. Tucker, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent – six of the top seven in Erik Spoelstra‘s playoff rotation – were all battling health issues during the series.

Miami showed it should be taken seriously. However, with Philadelphia prying Tucker away, a hole remains in the team’s starting group. Veteran forward Markieff Morris is still a free agent. As it stands, Butler will most likely be the team’s starting power forward. With the Sixers getting bigger, Milwaukee sporting a lengthy lineup that features Giannis Antetokounmpo at the four and the Nets potentially going big, trouble may await the Heat if they stand pat.

Many Eastern contenders have the flexibility to play bigger, as well. For example, the Bucks ended their first-round series against the Bulls by playing Antetokoummpo, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez together, overwhelming Chicago with their size. The team similarly made Miami (and Butler) struggle in the 2021 playoffs due to its length.

The Heat did re-sign Caleb Martin, but at 6’7″, he remains an undersized power forward. Third-string forward Haywood Highsmith is still in the process of proving himself. Miami still has time to trade for a power forward, or it could re-sign a player like Morris, but as it stands, the team is one of the smallest in the league. Unless it commits to playing in transition and blitzing more defensively, it’s hard to foresee another first-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

We want to know what you think. How do you view the Heat’s current outlook? If the season started today, who should they start at power forward? Since the team has two open roster spots (one if Udonis Haslem re-signs), which players would you target to help replace Tucker? If the Heat can’t acquire a superstar like Durant, where should they turn to instead? Take to the comments section below and voice your opinions!

Kings Signing Kent Bazemore To One-Year Deal

The Kings have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent swingman Kent Bazemore, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether the deal is guaranteed, but Bazemore is set to join Sacramento for the second time in his career.

Bazemore most recently played for the Lakers, appearing in just 39 games last season. He averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per contest, shooting 32% from the floor and 36% from deep.

Before that, the 33-year-old played for the Warriors, Hawks, Blazers and Kings. Along with the Kings, Bazemore holds two separate stints with the Warriors (2012-14 and 2020-21), plus the Lakers (2013-14 and 2021-22). He owns career averages of 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

The Kings currently have just 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so even if Bazemore’s deal isn’t guaranteed, he should have an opportunity to compete for one of the final spots on the team’s 15-man regular season roster.

Sacramento is coming off a 30-52 season, having missed the playoffs for an NBA-record 16th straight year. The team has a core of De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis and others that likely won’t finish drastically better than it did last season.

Doron Lamb Signs In Italy

Former NBA guard Doron Lamb has decided to sign a one-year deal in Italy with Scafati Basket, the team announced on social media. This is Lamb’s second trip to the country in the past year, as he most recently played for Victoria Libertas.

Lamb’s professional career has spanned over a decade. He won an NCAA title with Kentucky in 2012, then became the No. 42 pick of the draft that year. After that, he made NBA stops with the Bucks and Magic, as well as G League trips with Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Texas Legends and Westchester Knicks.

Lamb has spent much of his career overseas. He last saw G League action in 2017, playing 42 games with the Knicks’ affiliate. At 30 years old, time is gradually starting to run out for him to make an NBA comeback, though it’s unclear how hard of a push he plans to make.

Lamb has also played in Montenegro, France, Greece, Turkey and Poland. He averaged 12.9 points per game during his last stint in Italy, shooting an efficient 48% from the floor and 45% from deep.

Turkish Team Adding Jarell Eddie

Former NBA forward Jarell Eddie has joined Turkish club Konyaspor for the 2022/23 season, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The team itself announced the signing via Twitter.

Eddie, 30, last played for Spanish team San Pablo Burgos, averaging 11.8 PPG and 3.3 RPG on .431/.422/.909 shooting through 19 contests.

The 6’7″ small forward went undrafted out of Virginia Tech in 2014. He spent the 2014/15 season with the Spurs’ NBAGL affiliate club, the Austin Spurs. He eventually joined the Wizards in the 2015/16 season for 26 games, and then enjoyed briefer stints with the Suns, Celtics and Bulls in subsequent years. In 34 NBA games, Eddie averaged 2.6 PPG and 0.9 RPG in just 6.4 MPG.

Following his NBA run, Eddie has linked up with a pro club in France, plus multiple teams in Spain and Turkey.

Heat Notes: Trade Possibilities, Eastern Conference, Mexico City Game

Beyond re-signing many of their own free agents, the Heat have remained relatively quiet this summer, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Miami enjoyed a successful 2021/22 campaign, and found itself one win shy of qualifying for their second NBA Finals appearance in three years.

Aside from the big fish – Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant and Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell – there are many other viable trade candidates the team could look to add this summer after having lost starting power forward P.J. Tucker in free agency, says Winderman. He lists players like Pacers big man Myles Turner, Hawks power forward John Collins, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Hornets power forward Gordon Hayward, and Suns power forward Jae Crowder – a starter on Miami’s 2020 Finals team – as potentially attainable frontcourt players who could help the Heat replace Tucker.

Winderman notes that Miami has three big pieces it could include in a trade: swingman Duncan Robinson and his $16.9MM salary; extension-eligible 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro; and the ability to send out up to three first-round draft picks, plus this year’s No. 27 pick, Nikola Jovic. Winderman acknowledges that emptying the team’s coffers to get a less starry component than Durant or Mitchell could leave the team’s front office feeling as if it missed out.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Though the Heat’s competitors in the Eastern Conference have, on paper, made moves to improve their rosters, Winderman wonders in a recent reader mailbag if the gains made by Miami’s East rivals may have been somewhat overstated. Though Winderman concedes that the acquisitions made by the Celtics and Hawks were fairly major, he thinks that the rest of the competitive portion of the conference made merely supplemental moves.
  • When the NBA’s full schedule is announced later this month, it will reveal that the Heat are set to play their second Mexico City regular season contest in five seasons, Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes in a separate piece. As Winderman details, Miami will play at an elevation even more extreme than the NBA’s normal high, Denver, at 5,280 feet above sea level — Mexico City stands 7,350 feet above sea level. This Mexico City return game is among several international contests the league is scheduling during the preseason and regular season for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Games are also scheduled to take place this year in Abu Dhabi, between the Hawks and Bucks, during the October preseason and in Paris, between the Bulls and Pistons, in January.

Sam Dekker Signs With London Team

Sam Dekker, who made a brief NBA comeback last season, has signed a one-year deal with the London Lions, the team announced (via Twitter).

The 28-year-old forward earned a roster spot with the Raptors in training camp, but was waived before his $1.79MM contract became fully guaranteed in early November. He played just one game for Toronto before being released. Dekker finished the season with Bahçeşehir Koleji of Turkey, which went on to win the FIBA Europe Cup.

Dekker was selected by the Rockets with the 18th pick in the 2015 draft and spent two seasons in Houston before being shipped to the Clippers as part of the Chris Paul trade. He also had brief stints with the Cavaliers and Wizards, and averaged 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 201 total NBA games.

The former Wisconsin star headed overseas after the 2018/19 season, signing with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia and then Turk Telekom in Turkey.

Dekker will join former NBA center Kosta Koufos, who signed with the London team last month.

Atlantic Notes: Maxey, Rivers, Raptors, Celtics

Tyrese Maxey believes the Sixers‘ offseason additions will turn them into a legitimate title contender, writes Isabella DiAmore of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Veteran forward P.J. Tucker is among the league’s toughest defenders and was part of a championship team in Milwaukee. Danuel House offers similar skills, while De’Anthony Melton brings depth and versatility to the backcourt.

“I think they’ll definitely help us with mental toughness,” Maxey said. “I think they’ll also help with just the physical toughness. The grit and the grind that we need to bring to our team and also, I think guys like P.J., he’s gonna bring the championship mentality. I think we’re really going to appreciate him for that. Training camp and an entire season together is going to be nothing but good things.”

Philadelphia’s prospects will depend heavily on Maxey, who made a huge jump during his second NBA season, averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 75 games. The 21-year-old guard has set his sights even higher for 2022/23. 

“I think other people tell me they have confidence in myself that just builds my confidence,” Maxey said. “My confidence comes from just being in the gym, working out every single day, watching film, and then having success on the court, so for (president of basketball operations Daryl) Morey to have confidence in me, and my teammates, as well as the organization, it just makes me want to go out there and give them my all.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Appearing this week on the Vince Carter Show podcast, Sixers coach Doc Rivers said tampering allegations against the team are “not true.” (Hat tip to James Foglio of Basketball Insiders). The NBA is investigating the Sixers for “early contact” with Tucker, as rival teams believed he was certain to sign with Philadelphia before free agency officially opened. The team was able to create cap space to give Tucker a three-year, $33MM contract because James Harden was willing to opt out of his deal and re-sign for less than the max. “Honestly, when James did this and said this … first of all, we didn’t know what we were going to do with the money we were getting,” Rivers said. “And listen, James won, too, because James could’ve opted into a one-year deal. Instead, we gave him (two) years. And so both parties won in a lot of ways.”
  • Sportsbet has listed the Raptors as the highest-valued sports franchise in Canada, relays Denette Wilford of The Toronto Sun. The nation’s only NBA team is reportedly worth $2.2 billion, a number that has grown by more than 400% over the past decade.
  • In case you missed it, Celtics star Jayson Tatum talks about his successful partnership with Jaylen Brown, and Grant Williams speculates on how it would feel to be included in a Kevin Durant trade.

International Notes: Dorsey, Antetokounmpo, Caver, CSKA

Before joining forces with Luka Doncic this fall, Tyler Dorsey is excited about the opportunity to play alongside two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Greek national team, writes Achilleas Mavrodontis of EuroHoops. Entering the 2017 NBA draft, Dorsey talked about the possibility of being taken by the Bucks and teaming up with Antetokounmpo. However, he was selected by the Hawks at No. 41, a few picks ahead of Milwaukee.

“This is a great opportunity to play alongside him,” Dorsey said of Antetokounmpo. “I am excited to get to know him. He has a wonderful story. For me, the story is amazing to where he is at today.”

After two seasons with Atlanta and Memphis, Dorsey returned to Europe, signing with Maccabi Tel Aviv and then Olympiacos. He had a chance to join Turkish power Fenerbahce this summer, but he opted to take another shot at the NBA on a two-way contract with Dallas.

“Definitely, Fenerbahce was an option,” Dorsey said. “It could have happened. But the NBA opened the door a little bit and Dallas took the opportunity to offer for me and I wasn’t going to turn that down.”

There’s more international news this morning:

  • Antetokounmpo is enjoying the experience of being with all his brothers during Greece’s training camp, Mavrodontis adds in a separate story. Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antetokounmpo are both expected to make the final roster for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers and EuroBasket, and Alex Antetokounmpo is hoping to join them. Giannis admits the Greek team may not be ready for a medal, comparing it to how long it took to turn the Bucks into contenders, but said the experience is important for his family. “It’s a dream come true,” he said. “We’ve been saying that one day we’ll achieve this. It makes us proud to guard each other in the practice of the national team. Our mother can’t wait to come to the games. But when they enter the court, they are my teammates, not my brothers.”
  • Ahmad Caver, who had a brief appearance with the Pacers last season, has signed a one-year contract with the BC Wolves in Lithuania, the team announced (via Twitter). The 25-year-old point guard, who spent most of the season with Memphis in the G League, got into one game after joining Indiana in late December on a 10-day contract under the hardship provision.
  • CSKA Moscow is appealing the decision to bar the team from the EuroLeague for the upcoming season, per Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops. The decision to remove all Russian teams from EuroLeague competition was made following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.