2020 NBA Draft

And-Ones: Referees, Play-In Tourney, Iverson Classic

While the NBA and its players’ union have provided weekly updates on the number of positive COVID-19 tests among players, we haven’t heard much about how the league’s referees – who travel commercially – have been affected by the coronavirus this season. Baxter Holmes of ESPN fills in some blanks, reporting that 10 of the NBA’s referees are currently sidelined, primarily due to COVID-related issues, and adding that 24 refs have missed at least one game this season due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

A league spokesperson tells Holmes that most of the current absences are related to contact tracing and that the NBA expects all 10 affected referees to be available for the start of the postseason next month.

In the interim, however, the league has had to “call up” six referees from the G League. According to Holmes, a number of teams and executives around the NBA have complained about the performance of those refs, prompting NBA VP of referee development and training Monty McCutchen to defend their performances.

“These were our top six G League officials who would have been getting some NBA games anyway this year. They had to be pressed into some more service, but they are knocking on the door to being staff members,” McCutchen told ESPN. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, let’s just call any random G League (official) because they live in Portland and we’ll pull them up that night.’ They had already reached levels of excellence that meant they were ready for this.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • NBA executives believe that flattening the lottery odds and introducing the play-in tournament has helped reduce league-wide tanking among non-playoff teams, according to Howard Beck of SI.com, who says that league sources think the play-in tournament will be adopted on a permanent basis beyond this season.
  • The Iverson Classic All-American Game, which will take place on May 8 in Memphis, has received NBA approval as a certified event, meaning team scouts can attend and evaluate prospects, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Top 2022 prospects such as Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren headline the list of participants.
  • A little over five months after the 2020 draft took place, Sam Vecenie, John Hollinger, of James L. Edwards III of The Athletic completed a re-draft of the ’20 class. Among the big risers in The Athletic’s re-draft are LaMelo Ball (No. 3 to No. 1), Tyrese Haliburton (No. 12 to No. 5), Isaiah Stewart (No. 16 to No. 7), Aleksej Pokusevski (No. 17 to No. 7), and Jaden McDaniels (No. 28 to No. 10).

Rockets, Kings Finalize Kenyon Martin Jr. Trade

NOVEMBER 25: The Rockets and Kings have each sent out press releases confirming that the trade is complete. Houston officially acquired the rights to Martin in exchange for the Lakers’ 2021 second-rounder and cash, as detailed below.

NOVEMBER 18: The Rockets have agreed to reacquire their pick at No. 52 and used it to select Kenyon Martin Jr., tweets Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated.

In order to land Martin at No. 52, the Rockets sent $1MM in cash and the Lakers’ 2021 second-round pick to Sacramento, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).

Martin, the son of the first pick in the 2000 draft, played this year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, after originally committing to Vanderbilt. The 19-year-old was among the players selected for the NBA’s virtual draft combine.

The Rockets originally sent the pick to Sacramento in a three-way trade in 2019 to acquire Iman Shumpert.

2020 NBA Draft Pick Signings

Free agent news has dominated NBA headlines over the last few days, but teams around the league are also taking care of the rookies they drafted on November 18, signing them to their first NBA contracts. Because cap holds for first-round picks count for 120% of the rookie scale instead of 100% in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, there’s little incentive for teams to wait to lock up their first-rounders.

For first-round picks, rookie contracts are fairly rigid, having essentially been predetermined. The NBA’s rookie-scale structure dictates that first-rounders will be signed to four-year deals, which include two guaranteed years, then team options in years three and four.

The value of those contracts depends on where a player was drafted. This year, No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards figures to sign a four-year deal worth in excess of $44MM, which represents the maximum allowable 120% of his scale amount. No. 30 pick Desmond Bane, on the other hand, will likely sign a four-year contract worth just shy of $10MM.

The full breakdown of this year’s first-round rookie salaries and contracts can be found right here — if you see a first-rounder listed below as “signed,” you can assume his contract looks like that, unless otherwise indicated.

Second-round picks, meanwhile, aren’t assured of two guaranteed seasons, though some players will receive them. Teams can sign second-rounders to whatever amount they choose, using cap room or various exceptions. Those players who immediately join their NBA teams figure to get a minimum salary or something slightly above the minimum. We’ll make a note of contract details for second-rounders below, as they become available.

Finally, some second-rounders – and perhaps even some first-rounders – won’t sign NBA deals immediately. They may get two-way contracts, play in the G League, or head overseas to refine their games while their NBA teams retain their rights. We’ll make note of that below too, wherever it’s applicable.

Here’s a breakdown of 2020’s draft pick signings. This list will continue to be updated as more draftees sign their first NBA contracts:

First Round:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia: Signed
  2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis: Signed
  3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, G, USA: Signed
  4. Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams, F, Florida State: Signed
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn: Signed
  6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC: Signed
  7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, G, France: Signed
  8. New York Knicks: Obi Toppin, F, Dayton: Signed
  9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, F, Israel: Signed
  10. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith, F/C, Maryland: Signed
  11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, G/F, Florida State: Signed
  12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State: Signed
  13. New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama: Signed
  14. Boston Celtics: Aaron Nesmith, F, Vanderbilt: Signed
  15. Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony, G, UNC: Signed
  16. Detroit Pistons: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington: Signed
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: Aleksej Pokusevski, F, Serbia: Signed
  18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, G, Arizona: Signed
  19. Detroit Pistons: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova: Signed
  20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis: Signed
  21. Philadelphia 76ers: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky: Signed
  22. Denver Nuggets: Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona: Signed
  23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Leandro Bolmaro, G, Argentina: Expected to spend season in Spain
  24. Denver Nuggets: R.J. Hampton, G, USA: Signed
  25. New York Knicks: Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky: Signed
  26. Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon: Signed
  27. Utah Jazz: Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas: Signed
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington: Signed
  29. Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn, G San Diego State: Signed
  30. Memphis Grizzlies: Desmond Bane, G, TCU: Signed

Second Round:

  1. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford: Signed
    • Four-year, $6.52MM contract. First three years guaranteed.
  2. Charlotte Hornets: Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke: Signed
    • Four-year, $6.58MM contract. First three years guaranteed.
  3. Los Angeles Clippers: Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota: Signed
    • Two-year, minimum-salary contract. Fully guaranteed.
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Theo Maledon, G, France: Signed
    • Four-year, $7.83MM contract. First two years guaranteed.
  5. Memphis Grizzlies: Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State: Signed
    • Four-year, $6.53MM contract. First three years guaranteed.
  6. Dallas Mavericks: Tyler Bey, F, Colorado: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder: Vit Krejci, G, Czech Republic: Will be on G League roster
  8. Detroit Pistons: Saben Lee, G, Vanderbilt: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  9. Utah Jazz: Elijah Hughes, G, Syracuse: Signed
    • Two-year, minimum-salary contract. Fully guaranteed.
  10. Sacramento Kings: Robert Woodard, F, Mississippi State: Signed
    • Four-year, $6.73MM contract. First two years guaranteed.
  11. San Antonio Spurs: Tre Jones, G, Duke: Signed
    • Three-year, minimum-salary contract. First two years guaranteed.
  12. Charlotte Hornets: Nick Richards, C, Kentucky: Signed
    • Three-year, $4.3MM contract. First two years guaranteed.
  13. Sacramento Kings: Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech: Signed
    • Three-year contract. First two years guaranteed.
  14. Chicago Bulls: Marko Simonovic, C, Montenegro: Expected to spend season in Serbia
  15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville: Signed
    • Two-year, minimum-salary contract. Fully guaranteed.
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: CJ Elleby, G, Washington State: Signed
    • Two-year, minimum-salary contract. Fully guaranteed.
  17. Boston Celtics: Yam Madar, G, Israel: Expected to spend season in Israel
  18. Golden State Warriors: Nico Mannion, G, Arizona: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  19. Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas: Signed
    • Three-year, minimum-salary contract. First two years guaranteed.
  20. Atlanta Hawks: Skylar Mays, G, LSU: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  21. Golden State Warriors: Justinian Jessup, G, Boise State: Expected to spend season in Australia
  22. Houston Rockets: KJ Martin, F, IMG Academy: Signed
    • Four-year, minimum-salary contract. First year guaranteed.
  23. Washington Wizards: Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  24. Indiana Pacers: Cassius Stanley, G, Duke: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  25. Los Angeles Clippers: Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  26. Charlotte Hornets: Grant Riller, G, Charleston: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  27. Brooklyn Nets: Reggie Perry, C, Mississippi State: Signed
    • One-year, minimum-salary contract. Non-guaranteed.
  28. Philadelphia 76ers: Paul Reed, F, DePaul: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  29. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Harris, G, Nevada: Signed
    • Two-way contract.
  30. Milwaukee Bucks: Sam Merrill, G, Utah State: Signed
    • Two-year, minimum-salary contract. Partial guarantee in second year.

Jazz Ship Tony Bradley, Saben Lee To Pistons

NOVEMBER 22: The Jazz have officially announced their deal with the Pistons, confirming in a press release that they received cash from the Pistons in exchange for Bradley and the rights to No. 38 pick Saben Lee. Detroit has already agreed to flip Bradley to Philadelphia in a separate deal.

NOVEMBER 18: The Jazz have agreed to trade center Tony Bradley and the No. 38 pick to the Pistons for cash considerations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links).

Bradley, 22, appeared in 58 regular-season games last season, averaging 4.9 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 11.4 MPG. Bradley will be entering his fourth season after spending most of his first two seasons in the G League.

Bradley has a $3.54MM guaranteed contract for the upcoming season and could be a restricted free agent if Detroit extends a $5.277MM qualifying offer next offseason.

Utah’s motivation for the trade was to open more cap room and increase roster flexibility, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The Jazz have made re-signing unrestricted free agent guard Jordan Clarkson a top priority.

[UPDATE: Jazz, Jordan Clarkson agree to four-year deal]

Detroit has been arguably the busiest team this week, with new GM Troy Weaver completely reshaping the roster by acquiring assets and adding young players. The Pistons made three first-round selections, via their own lottery pick and a pair of draft-night trades.

Timberwolves Acquire Leandro Bolmaro From Knicks

NOVEMBER 20: The deal is official, according to the Timberwolves. Because Minnesota structured its draft-night trades slightly differently than expected, the trade technically sends Bolmaro’s rights to the Wolves in exchange for Quickley (No. 25), the Pistons’ 2023 second-round pick, and the draft rights to Mathias Lessort.

All of this offseason’s trades to date can be found right here.

NOVEMBER 18: The Knicks selected Argentinian guard Leandro Bolmaro with the No. 23 pick, which they previously acquired from the Jazz, but he’s not going to New York. The Timberwolves are acquiring Bolmaro for the No. 25 and No. 33 selections in the draft, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Bolmaro, 20, is a 6’7” combo guard who played for FC Barcelona last season, though he only averaged 11.6 MPG in 16 games.

The Knicks had originally acquired the 23rd pick from Utah for the No. 27 and 38 selections, so they essentially parlayed those original picks and moved up a few slots in both the first and second rounds. They used the No. 25 pick on Kentucky point guard Immanuel Quickley, the SEC Player of the Year.

With the Timberwolves selecting shooting guard Anthony Edwards with the first pick and acquiring veteran guard Ricky Rubio, they have reshaped their backcourt overnight. Bolmaro would appear to be a developmental selection or possibly a draft-and-stash prospect.

Timberwolves Trade For Ricky Rubio

NOVEMBER 20: The trade is now official, according to the Timberwolves, who announced it in a press release. As expected, Johnson was sent to the Thunder along with the rights to Pokusevski in exchange for Rubio, the No. 25 pick, and the No. 28 pick. Oklahoma City also received the Timberwolves’ 2024 second-round pick in the deal.

Minnesota subsequently flipped the No. 25 pick (Immanuel Quickley) to New York in a deal for Leandro Bolmaro (No. 23). The Wolves have also confirmed that trade.

NOVEMBER 19: Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link) confirms that Johnson will be a part of this deal for salary-matching purposes. The veteran forward will still need to pick up his option before he can officially be traded.

NOVEMBER 18: The Timberwolves will acquire point guard Ricky Rubio from the Thunder, along with the 25th and 28th picks in this year’s draft, in exchange for the 17th selection, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Oklahoma City will receive Serbian 7-footer Aleksej Pokusevski, whom Minnesota selected at No. 17. The Thunder had expressed interest in Pokusevski throughout the past two weeks.

Although it hasn’t been reported yet, James Johnson will likely have to be included in the deal to match salaries. Rubio will earn $17MM during the upcoming season, while Johnson has a $16MM player option that he is virtually certain to pick up.

The deal represents a homecoming for Rubio, who spent six seasons with the Wolves at the start of his career. He began looking for a trade after being sent to OKC in the Chris Paul deal and was receptive to the idea of returning to Minnesota. Rubio wants to help the Wolves get back to the playoffs, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Rubio will share ball-handling duties in the Minnesota backcourt with D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired at the trade deadline, and will reunite with former teammate Karl-Anthony Towns.

In addition to the 25th and 28th picks, the Wolves also own the 33rd pick in tonight’s second round. The Thunder, who have been stockpiling picks, will select again at 34 and 53.

Clippers Acquire Daniel Oturu

NOV 19: The trade sending Oturu’s draft rights to the Clippers is now official, the team announced in a press release. The Clippers actually acquired Oturu’s draft rights from the Timberwolves – rather than the Knicks – in exchange for Detroit’s 2023 second-round pick and the rights to 2017 second-rounder Mathias Lessort.

Minnesota will now flip Detroit’s 2023 second-rounder, along with Immanuel Quickley‘s draft rights, to the Knicks for the draft rights to Leandro Bolmaro. The eventual outcome will be the same, but the order of operations will be a little different than anticipated.

NOV 18: The Knicks selected University of Minnesota center Daniel Oturu with the No. 33 pick but will ship him to the Clippers for a 2023 second-rounder, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst tweets.

That future second-rounder will be a pick that the Pistons owe the Clippers, Windhorst adds another tweet.

After selecting Dayton forward Obi Toppin with their lottery pick at No. 8, New York have been bouncing up and down the first and second rounds.

The Knicks acquired the No. 23 overall selection from the Jazz for the No. 27 and 38 picks, then shipped that pick to the Timberwolves for the No. 25 and 33 picks. They used the No. 25 pick on Kentucky point guard Immanuel Quickley, the SEC Player of the Year.

Oturu averaged 20.1 PPG and 11.3 RPG in 33.9 MPG as a sophomore last season. He’ll give the Clippers another big body that new coach Tyronn Lue can try to mold into a rotation piece.

Bulls Notes: Williams, Simonovic, Draft, QO Decisions

Making his first draft pick as the head man in an NBA front office on Wednesday night, new Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas told reporters – including Sam Smith of Bulls.com – that he was pleased to come away with Florida State forward Patrick Williams at No. 4. Karnisovas praised Williams’ athleticism, versatility, ballhandling, and ability to play multiple positions.

“The more we were digging in his background and we were able to see him, that’s how we came to our decision that that’s our guy,” Karnisovas said of Williams. “We need players in our league that can play multiple positions. He’s an elite athlete. At four we were really happy in that position because we knew we had a chance to pick Patrick and we just stayed there and we got our player.”

Williams was one of two picks the Bulls made on Wednesday, along with Montenegrin center Marko Simonovic at No. 44.

“I think overall tonight we drafted players that we were targeting,” Karnisovas said, per Smith. “And it doesn’t happen very often. I received a ton of texts from executives around the league and they were all telling me, ‘Enjoy your night.’ And that’s what I did. It’s special to me. It’s my first night as a lead exec of the Chicago Bulls. I thought it was a very successful night.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Despite rumors that the Bulls had offered Wendell Carter Jr. and the No. 4 pick to move up to No. 2, Karnisovas told reporters after the draft that the club didn’t consider trading up (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). While that may be true, it’s also plausible that Karnisovas is saying that publicly so as not to make waves with Carter.
  • Simonovic will be stashed overseas for at least one year, Karnisovas said on Wednesday night (Twitter link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic). He’s currently under contract with Crvena Zvezda in Serbia.
  • Explaining the Bulls’ decision not to tender qualifying offers to Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison, while Denzel Valentine got one, Karnisovas said that the club’s limited roster space and emphasis on shooting were major factors (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson). The president of basketball operations added that Chicago will be “really picky” in free agency.

Community Shootaround: 2020 NBA Draft Winners, Losers

While it’s generally impossible to determine the best and worst picks of a given NBA draft without the benefit of a few years of hindsight, we want you to try your hand at naming this year’s winners and losers, less than 24 hours after this year’s 60 picks were made.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Draft Results]

After weeks of speculation about movement near the top of the draft, the start of the night was awfully quiet, with no picks in the first half of the first round on the move. That left the Timberwolves to select Anthony Edwards at No. 1, the Warriors to claim James Wiseman at No. 2, and the Hornets to nab LaMelo Ball at No. 3.

It was a busy night for all three of those teams — Minnesota made two more first-round picks, securing Leandro Bolmaro at No. 23 and Jaden McDaniels at No. 28. Golden State may have gotten a steal at No. 48, landing a player (Nico Mannion) who was widely viewed as a potential first-round pick. As for the Hornets, they picked up three intriguing college prospects in the second round — Vernon Carey Jr. at No. 32, Nick Richards at No. 42, and Grant Riller at No. 56.

If you’re not particularly high on the work done by the top three teams, how about the Wizards or Kings, who each drafted a player who slipped in the lottery? Washington unexpectedly grabbed Deni Avdija at No. 9, while Sacramento was able to take Tyrese Haliburton without moving up from No. 12.

Elsewhere in the lottery, the Suns made an unexpected pick for a second consecutive year, nabbing Jalen Smith at No. 10. They caught plenty of flak a year ago for picking Cameron Johnson at No. 11, but Johnson had a solid rookie season in Phoenix. Will the Smith pick work out for them?

How about the Bulls‘ pick of Patrick Williams at No. 4? The draft class was widely considered to have a first tier made up of Edwards, Wiseman, and Ball, but it wasn’t until this week that the idea of Williams becoming the next player off the board really gained traction. Was that a reach by new president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas or will his first draft pick in Chicago end up looking savvy?

It was also an eventful evening in Detroit, where the Pistons drafted Killian Hayes (No. 7), Isaiah Stewart (No. 16), and Saddiq Bey (No. 19) in the top 20, then grabbing Saben Lee (No. 38) in round two. The Mavericks were active too, picking up Josh Green (No. 18), Tyrell Terry (No. 31), and Tyler Bey (No. 36).

What do you think? Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts on the 2020 NBA draft results!

Grizzlies, Kings Swap Second-Round Picks

NOVEMBER 19: The Kings officially announced their trade with the Grizzlies, acquiring the rights to Woodard (No. 40) and a 2022 second-round pick in exchange for the rights to Tillman (No. 35).

NOVEMBER 18: The Grizzlies are trading the 40th pick in tonight’s draft and a future second-rounder to the Kings for the 35th selection, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. The future second will be the lesser of the Pistons’ or Bulls’ picks in 2022 (Twitter link).

Memphis used that pick to draft Michigan State center Xavier Tillman. The 6’8″ junior averaged 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in 31 games for the Spartans last season.

With the 40th pick, Sacramento selected Mississippi State forward Robert Woodard. The 6’7″ sophonmore averaged 11.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 31 games.