Alec Brown

Raptors Hosting Free Agent Mini-Camp

As the Raptors‘ players and coaches focus on preparing for a potential NBA Finals close-out game in Oakland on Thursday night, the team’s front office will take a closer look at a number of veteran free agents over the next two days in Toronto.

According to a press release, the Raptors will host a free agent mini-camp at its practice facility on Wednesday and Thursday, with 23 players scheduled to attend.

Those players are as follows:

McLemore, Patton, and Payne – all former first-round picks – are perhaps the most well-known players on the list of participants, but they aren’t the only ones with some NBA experience. Artis, Brussino, Costello, Lofton, Thomas, and Weber have each appeared in at least one regular season game as well.

Timberwolves Hosting Free Agent Mini-Camp

The Timberwolves will become the latest NBA to host a mini-camp for veteran free agent this week, with Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News providing some details on the session that will take place in the coming days in Minnesota.

According to Wolfson (Twitter link), former Slam Dunk champion Jeremy Evans is the most notable NBA veteran taking part in the Wolves’ mini-camp. Although Evans has appeared in 250 NBA games over the course of his career, it has been a while since he played real minutes for a team — since the start of the 2016/17 season, he has appeared in just one regular season contest, playing five minutes for the Hawks this April.

Besides Evans, Quincy Miller, Jarnell Stokes, Jarell Eddie, and Shawn Long are among the other mini-camp participants who have some NBA experience, per Wolfson (all Twitter links). Of those players, Eddie suited up for an NBA team most recently, appearing in three total games for the Celtics and Bulls during the 2017/18 season. His outside shooting ability could intrigue the Wolves — in 128 career G League games, Eddie has knocked down 44.2% of his three-point tries.

Jonathan Holmes, German guard Maodo Lo, and Minnesota native Alec Brown are among the other players who will take part in the Wolves’ mini-camp this weekend, Wolfson adds.

USA Basketball Announces AmeriCup Roster

After taking 17 players to training camp, USA Basketball has narrowed that group down to 12 players for its official AmeriCup roster, the program announced in a press release. The players representing Team USA in next week’s AmeriCup tournament will be as follows:

The five players who missed the cut for the final roster were Rod Benson, Will Davis II, Ra’Shad James, Darius Morris, and Derek Willis.

“All 17 guys that came to camp in Houston had a strong case that they could have made that they should have been selected, but unfortunately, we could only take 12,” said U.S. coach Jeff Van Gundy. “It was very, very difficult getting down to that number, but we feel very happy with the guys that we have selected. We feel we have positional versatility, we have a good balance between size and quickness, so it will be interesting for us to go to Uruguay and see what we can do.”

As we detailed in an earlier story, FIBA has changed its format for qualifying for marquee events like the World Cup and the Olympics, and many of the qualifier tournaments will now take place during the NBA season. For those events, Team USA intends to primarily use players who have been spending time overseas and in the G League, with the bigger-name players taking over for the main events in 2019 and 2020.

Team USA doesn’t need to win the AmeriCup to qualify for the next World Cup and Olympics, but it’s a tournament the U.S. must participate in to eventually play in more crucial events. Van Gundy’s squad will participate in preliminary round games in Uruguay starting next Monday. If Team USA wins its group – which also includes Panama, the Dominican Republic, and host Uruguay – it would advance to the semifinals in Argentina in early September.

The program won’t face real pressure to win until November, when Team USA need a top-three finish in a pool that includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba in order to start advancing to later qualifiers. For more in-depth details on how those qualifiers work, be sure to check out FIBA’s breakdowns for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

17 Players Vying For Spots On USA’s AmeriCup Roster

USA Basketball has begun the process of selecting its roster for the AmeriCup 2017, the first of a series of qualifying tournaments under FIBA’s new format. As Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press details, Team USA doesn’t need to win the AmeriCup to qualify for the next World Cup and Olympics, but it’s a tournament the U.S. must participate in to eventually play in more crucial events.

Because upcoming qualifiers will take place during the NBA season, Team USA is putting together a roster primarily made up of G League players and veterans who have been playing overseas, as we previously learned. With training camp set to begin on Thursday, 17 hopefuls are suiting up for Team USA, with the program poised to eventually pare that group down to a 12-man roster.

Here are Team USA’s training camp participants, via USA Basketball:

Although there are no high-profile names in this group, several players have some NBA experience. Hilliard is currently a free agent, but appeared in 77 games over the last two seasons for the Pistons. Drew, Munford, and Plumlee have all played in at least a dozen NBA games.

Marshall, Morris, and Reggie Williams are perhaps the most notable names on the list, having played regular rotation roles for various NBA teams in recent years. Marshall was a lottery pick in the 2012 draft, while Williams has appeared in more than 200 NBA games since 2010.

None of the players on Team USA’s training camp roster are currently under contract with an NBA club, but Willis – the only player of the group who has yet to play professional ball – has reportedly agreed to a training camp deal with the Pistons.

The club will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy, an international rookie himself, and will eventually participate in preliminary round games in Uruguay later this month. If Team USA wins its group – which also includes Panama, the Dominican Republic, and host Uruguay – it would advance to the semifinals in Argentina in early September.

As Mahoney outlines in his report, Team USA won’t face real pressure to win until November, when the club need a top-three finish in a pool that includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba in order to start advancing to later qualifiers. For more in-depth details on how those qualifiers work, be sure to check out FIBA’s breakdowns for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

And-Ones: Prigioni, Teague, Evans, Hummel

Pablo Prigioni, who was waived by Houston on Monday, is drawing interest from a team in Spain, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. The 39-year-old point guard has an offer from Barcelona that he is reportedly considering. Prigioni played for the Knicks, Clippers and Rockets in four NBA seasons.

There’s more NBA-related news tonight:

  • Former NBA guard Marquis Teague has been released by his Israeli team, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. The younger brother of Pacers guard Jeff Teague, Marquis Teague played 88 games for the Bulls and Nets but has been out of the league for the past two seasons.
  • Ex-NBA players Jeremy Evans and Robbie Hummel have signed with Khimki Moscow, Pick reports (Twitter link). Evans, who was waived by the Pacers last week, had a guaranteed $1,227,286 contract. Hummel had a $150K guarantee from the Nuggets, who released  him last week.
  • Three recently waived players were part of a D-League trade today, reports Chris Reichert of The Step Back (Twitter link). The Northern Arizona Suns dealt Xavier Munford, Cory Jefferson and Alec Brown to the Greensboro Swarm in exchange for three draft picks. Munford, a 24-year-old shooting guard, was released by the Clippers, Jefferson was cut by the Cavaliers and Brown was waived by the Suns.

Alec Brown Signed, Waived By Suns

Former second-round pick Alec Brown signed a contract with the Suns last week, but was waived by the team just three days later, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Per RealGM, Brown signed with Phoenix on Wednesday and was cut by the team on Saturday.

Brown, 24, was selected by the Suns in the second round of the 2014 draft with the 50th overall pick, after having averaged 15.7 PPG and 5.7 RPG with a 42.0% three-point percentage in his senior year. With his NBA rights held by Phoenix, the former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay center agreed to play for the Suns’ D-League affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam, in his rookie year. Last season, he headed to Galicia to play for Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro.

In order to continue to hold Brown’s NBA rights, the Suns tendered him a contract offer – presumably a one-year, non-guaranteed deal – earlier this month. Teams typically have understandings with players who they don’t intend to bring to camp that those tenders are only meant to retain their rights, and they usually go unsigned. However, it seems Brown decided to sign his offer even though he wasn’t in Phoenix’s plans.

It’s possible that the Suns were willing to give Brown the freedom to potentially join any NBA team, but if that had been the case, it would have been easier for Phoenix to simply renounce his rights. The fact that Brown signed the team’s tender offer, then was waived later in the week, suggests the Suns weren’t expecting him to sign it.

In any case, Brown has since cleared waivers, according to RealGM. That makes the big man an unrestricted NBA free agent, though he’s probably more likely to end up overseas or with a D-League squad for the 2016/17 season.

Pacific Notes: McDonough, Kings, Brown

The month of August will see GM Ryan McDonough transition to a new role with the Suns, with him taking over the responsibilities of departing president of basketball operations Lon Babby, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “It’s good for everybody to make the change that we made,” Babby said. “In any good leader’s job, the most important thing you can do is plan for the next leader, the next succession. I think we’ve done that. This next year will give us a chance to transition, not only with Ryan but also with Trevor [Bukstein, assistant GM] and Pat [Connelly, assistant GM] and our entire basketball-operations staff. I would not have proposed this to Robert [Sarver, Suns managing partner] unless I had complete confidence in the leadership we had. Ryan is constantly going into the role and extraordinarily impressively.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Divsion:

  • The Kings have officially announced the hiring of Chad Iske as associate head coach and John Welch, Anthony Carter, and Nancy Lieberman as assistant coaches on George Karl‘s staff.
  • It would take a “massive breakdown” in Phoenix for the Suns to trade Eric Bledsoe, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Conflicting reports had painted a confused picture of whether the Suns were talking about trading Bledsoe around draft time, but Kyler hears there’s nothing to his trade candidacy.
  • Alec Brown, who was the No. 50 overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Suns, has officially signed with the Spanish team Obradoiro, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Brown made 17 appearances during the 2014/15 campaign with Phoenix’s D-League affiliate in Bakersfield, averaging 6.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per contest.

Western Notes: Wolves, Murphy, Brown

Despite having desirable veteran trade assets in Thaddeus Young and Kevin Martin, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders isn’t actively looking to make more deals before the February 19th trade deadline, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. Saunders is willing to listen to offers, but he said that the team now has plenty of competition for playing time at every position, and the Wolves are focused on trying to get their current roster settled, Zgoda adds.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Kevin Murphy, who was in training camp with the Jazz this season, is considering returning to the Idaho Stampede, Utah’s D-League affiliate, David Pick of Eurobasket.com reports (Twitter link). Murphy had been playing in China for Zhejiang Guangsha, whose regular season has just concluded.
  • The Suns are expected to discuss a deal with Alec Brown, their 2014 second round draft pick, to join the team for the 2015/16 campaign, Shams Charania of RealGM.com reports. Brown has been rehabilitating a dislocated shoulder that he suffered during summer league play in Las Vegas. The big man is set to join the Bakersfield Jam, Phoenix’s D-League affiliate, next week, Charania notes.
  • Bernard James, who was recently inked to a 10-day deal with the Mavericks, believes that his time spent with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association made him a better player, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes.  “It was huge,” James said of playing overseas. “It kind of got me back to feeling like myself again. I’m not hesitating. I’m believing in my game. It was good to play major minutes and having a team really rely on me.
  • Some NBA executives aren’t dismissing the idea of George Karl retaining Tyrone Corbin as an assistant on his coaching staff with the Kings, Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times reports (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Suns, Tucker, Sterling, Lakers

The Suns are more likely to spend wisely this summer now that their chances of landing Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are all but over, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Phoenix wasn’t expected to offer the max to Gordon Hayward if the team had the chance to meet with him, as was the plan before Hayward inked his offer sheet with the Hornets. Here’s more on the Suns and the rest of the Pacific Division:

  • Restricted free agent P.J. Tucker met Wednesday with Suns owner Robert Sarver and Jeff Hornacek, as Coro notes in the same piece, and Tucker’s reps at the Arete Sports Agency plan to continue the dialogue with the Suns today, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
  • The Suns originally planned to let 50th overall pick Alec Brown sign overseas for this coming season, but that was before fellow stretch power forward Channing Frye agreed to a deal with the Magic, Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough said, as Coro observes. Brown is drawing interest from a team in Spain in case he doesn’t end up on the Suns this year, according to Coro.
  • Donald Sterling vowed never to sell the Clippers and threatened to maintain lawsuits against the NBA for the rest of his life, making those remarks during testimony Wednesday in probate court, as Linda Deutsch of The Associated Press details. The trial continues today to determine whether Sterling’s wife, Shelly, has the right to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
  • Kobe Bryant said he would welcome former teammate Byron Scott as coach of the Lakers, citing their “tremendously close relationship” over the years, notes Sean Lewis of The Associated Press. Bryant also said that he was “extremely proud” of the team’s efforts to rebuild its roster, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding observes.
  • The Lakers remain in contact with free agent Kent Bazemore, tweets Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.

Draft Fallout: Sixers, Saric, Heat, McGary

The Sixers never made a run at trading for the No. 1 pick in spite of the rumors to the contrary, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). That seems hard to believe given the volume of chatter about Philly’s supposed pursuit of Andrew Wiggins, whom the Cavs wound up taking with the top pick. Still, the Sixers wound up with Joel Embiid, who had been the front-runner to go No. 1 before he broke his foot. Philadelphia will have to wait on Embiid, who went third overall, as well as No. 12 selection Dario Saric, whose rights they obtained from the Magic. There’s news on Saric among the continuing reverberations from Thursday’s draft:

  • Saric says he might come to the NBA in one year rather than two, as had been the assumption, but he’d have to discuss it with Anadolu Efes Pilson, his team in Turkey, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
  • The Heat didn’t consult with LeBron James on their trade to acquire Shabazz Napier, though his affection for the former Connecticut point guard was no secret, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.
  • The Thunder promised Mitch McGary that they’d draft him at No. 21, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Rumors had suggested the Hornets and Bucks instead had given him a promise. Charlotte had interest, tweets Jeff Zillgitt, but Oklahoma City snapped him up before the Hornets could take him at No. 24.
  • Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Suns took at No. 27, is one or two years away from joining Phoenix, GM Ryan McDonough said, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic notes (on Twitter). No. 50 pick Alec Brown is also expected to play in Europe next season rather than sign this summer with the Suns, according to Coro.
  • Undrafted Canisius guard Billy Baron is drawing interest from several teams who’d like to bring him to training camp in addition to summer league, Wojnarowski reports (on Twitter).
  • The Rockets are highly interested in Patric Young, while the Hawks, Thunder and Grizzlies eye LaQuinton Ross and the Raptors, Pacers and Spurs are keen on Aaron Craft, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (All Twitter links). It’s unclear if the interest is in regard to training camp or merely summer league.