Checking In On Unsigned 2017 Draft Picks

One month into the 2017/18 NBA league year, most of this year’s draftees know where they’ll be playing for the upcoming season. As our tracker for draft pick signings shows, we’re only waiting for resolution on a small group of players.

Twenty-nine of 30 first-round picks have signed their first NBA contracts, and the 30th – Sixers big man Anzejs Pasecniks – will remain overseas for at least one more year. Meanwhile, in the second round, about half of this year’s picks have signed NBA contracts, a handful of others have agreed to two-way deals, and some will continue to play international ball.

There’s no rush at this point for teams to finalize plans for the last few unsigned draft picks from this year’s class, but it’s still worth checking in to see where things stand for those players. Here are the 2017 draftees whose statuses for ’17/18 appear to be up in the air:

  • Ivan Rabb (Memphis Grizzlies, No. 35): The Grizzlies signed 45th overall pick Dillon Brooks, but have yet to lock up Rabb, who now finds himself in an interesting spot. Memphis already has 15 players on guaranteed contracts for 2017/18, and that total doesn’t even include RFA JaMychal Green, who seems likely to return. Even though there’s no current opening for Rabb, he was probably too high a draft pick to accept a two-way contract, so perhaps the Grizzlies ultimately intend to trade or waive a player (or two) to make room. Otherwise, it’s not clear what the plan is for Rabb.
  • Isaiah Hartenstein (Houston Rockets, No. 43): International basketball reporter David Pick provided an update on Hartenstein today, tweeting that Houston will likely have him start with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League. So far, no player drafted earlier than No. 51 has signed a two-way contract, and typically only players selected at the very end of the draft accept straight G League contracts. If Hartenstein is willing to go to the G League, it would be a great value move for the Rockets.
  • Nigel Williams-Goss (Utah Jazz, No. 55): Two weeks ago, we heard that Williams-Goss was a candidate for Utah’s second two-way contract opening. The Jazz haven’t made a move to fill that slot since then, so I’d expect Williams-Goss remains the leading candidate.
  • Jabari Bird (Boston Celtics, No. 56): Like Williams-Goss in Utah, Bird appears to be the top candidate for the final two-way contract opening in Boston. Such a move would make a lot of sense. There isn’t enough room on the Celtics’ regular-season roster for Bird, and the four players selected with the picks from 51 through 54 in this year’s draft all got two-way deals — it’s logical that the 55th and 56th picks would too.
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