Former Baylor standout Isaiah Austin was recently cleared to play basketball again, after having his NBA hopes initially derailed when he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Still, although Austin is free to sign anywhere, executives are generally taking a “relaxed approach” to his planned comeback, writes Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Austin was viewed as a borderline first-round prospect back in 2014, and some executives around the NBA are approaching his reported medical clearance with caution.
“What reversed the decision?” one NBA general manager said to Howard-Cooper. “How did it come to be that now he can play? We don’t even know how. Yeah, that’s what I’d be curious about. I’m not saying [Austin found a single doctor willing to clear him], but I’ve seen this before. You can find someone to tell you that you can play. Somebody will.”
As Howard-Cooper details, another GM suggested that teams wouldn’t rush to look into Austin’s situation, but added that those teams may be intrigued: “I’ve never heard anybody (in the NBA) talk about any skepticism on that because I don’t think he’s on people’s radar like that. I don’t think there’s a buzz like, ‘Whoa, now he’s been declared healthy. Is he really healthy?’ I don’t think people are looking at it that way. I think people are more ‘OK, that’s interesting.’ I can see maybe someone trying to do a feel-good story, liking a little bump from a PR standpoint. Maybe someone does a short-term contract with him and brings him in.”
As we wait to see Austin can land a basketball contract, perhaps in the D-League or elsewhere, let’s check in on a few other odds and ends…
- The NBA D-League has accepted a buyout of Henry Sims‘ contract, as well as Quincy Douby‘s deal, reports Adam Johnson of D-League Digest (Twitter links). It’s not yet clear what the next step is for either former NBA player, but they may end up heading overseas.
- One player heading overseas is swingman Brandon Paul, who was in camp with the Sixers this fall. As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes, Turkish club Anadolu Efes Istanbul has agreed to a deal with Paul to replace Bryce Cotton on its roster.
- In a piece for Basketball Insiders, Michael Scotto takes an early look at next year’s potential draft class, exploring whether we might see three Kentucky freshman come of the board as 2017 lottery picks. As Scotto outlines, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, and Edrice Adebayo could become the Wildcats’ third trio since 2010 to achieve that feat.