Amar'e Stoudemire

John Wall Played Pick-Up With Amar’e Stoudemire, Others During NBAGL Assignment

It has been 14 months since Wizards point guard John Wall ruptured his Achilles and the point guard was progressing nicely before the NBA suspended its season. Wall had been practicing with the Capital City Go-Go – Washington’s G League team – leading up to the hiatus, Fred Katz of The Athletic passes along in detailed piece.

“It just gets harder as you go along to collect guys off the street,” GM Tommy Sheppard said. “You want a highly competitive deal, so we sort of decided with John, it was time to play with the Go-Go (and) practice. And when we can, we’d have a scrimmage for him. It’s just been wonderful. It validates our process we have in place, to be able to utilize the Go-Go for so many functions to help the Wizards. And for them, I think those kids were freakin’ thrilled to play with John.”

The Wizards have been careful with the former All-Star’s recovery. There was never an expectation that he would play this season and even if the league resumes this summer, he won’t see the court.

Wall was scrimmaging every three days or so prior to the NBA suspending its season. He started going through controlled scrimmages with the team’s player development staff, Katz writes. He also participated in casual pick-up games with some former NBA players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Michael Beasley, and Jeremy Tyler.

The G League team would hold scrimmages roughly twice a week and Wall would get in 20-to-25 minutes of action in those contests.

Wall has publicly stated that he wanted to be a player development coach or a GM after he hangs up his jersey. He’s already begun that kind of work, helping the Wizards’ young guys improve on the court.

“He’s been an extra coach for me,” teammate Admiral Schofield said. “And it’s great hearing it from John Wall, a player you’ve grown up watching and playing against. Just feedback and little things and hearing him get excited when you make shots and him being confident in you knocking down shots is great.”

Amar’e Stoudemire Signs With Israeli Team

Veteran forward Amar’e Stoudemire is returning to Israel and has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv for the rest of the season, according to Michael Bachner of The Times of Israel.

We relayed last month that Stoudemire was working out in South Florida in hopes of getting another chance at the NBA. The 37-year-old played briefly in China at the start of the season, but left after 11 games because he wasn’t happy being so far away from his family.

As Bachner explains, Stoudemire’s latest move sent shock waves throughout Israeli basketball because he is still a part-owner of his former team, Hapoel Jerusalem, which is an arch rival of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Because he has become a citizen of Israel, Stoudemire qualifies as an Israeli player. He will make roughly $55K a month.

“I am very humbled for the opportunity, happy to be in Israel, the place that I love,” Stoudemire said in a statement on Maccabi’s website. “I have a chance to play in the highest level in Europe, which is a dream come true.”

Maccabi is leading the Israeli league and has been successful in the EuroLeague, but has been hurt by injuries to several key players, including Omri Casspi.

Amar’e Stoudemire Returns From China, Hopes For NBA Comeback

Amar’e Stoudemire‘s brief stay in China is over and he’s now working out in South Florida in hopes of getting another shot at the NBA, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

The 37-year-old had some success with the Fujian Sturgeons, including a recent 33-point, 17-rebound game, but didn’t like being so far away from his family, Stein adds (Twitter link).

Stoudemire hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015/16 season, when he averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 52 games for the Heat. He announced his retirement following that season and signed a one-day ceremonial contract with the Knicks.

However, Stoudemire never stopped playing. He agreed to a two-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, which he co-owns in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, and helped the team capture the league title. He announced his retirement again in 2017, but joined the BIG3 the following year. Stoudemire spent last season playing in Israel before going to China.

And-Ones: Wade, China, Stoudemire, Contracts

Six months after retiring as a player, Dwyane Wade is employed in a new capacity. According to an official press release (via NBA.com), Wade has reached a multiyear, multi-platform agreement with WarnerMedia, and will become a basketball commentator for TNT this season.

In addition to appearing on the network’s NBA broadcasts, Wade will make studio appearances during Turner Sports’ and CBS Sports’ NCAA tournament coverage later in the season.

“I’m thrilled and grateful to be joining the WarnerMedia family with many exciting opportunities ahead,” Wade said in a statement. “I have great respect for TNT’s team of analysts and their longstanding commitment to quality sports coverage. After sixteen seasons in the NBA, I look forward to connecting with my fans in this new role and bringing my own perspective to the game I love.”

Here’s more from around the NBA and the rest of the basketball world:

  • Chinese state television didn’t air the NBA’s opening-night games on Tuesday, while Chinese streaming partner Tencent only showed the Lakers/Clippers game, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst. CCTV typically shows the league’s opening-night doubleheader, but Tuesday’s decision is a signal that the ongoing NBA/China controversy is far from settled. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this week that the league has “no choice but to engage” China, as Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal details.
  • Speaking of China, former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has signed the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Assocation, according to reports from Roi Cohen of Sport5 and Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter links).
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides some financial details on the rookie scale extensions signed on Monday, outlining (via Twitter) exactly how much bonus money is included in five of those deals. Marks also identifies four players who will receive increased partial guarantees as a result of remaining under contract with their respective teams through Wednesday (Twitter link). Those players are Christian Wood (Pistons), Jordan McRae (Wizards), Kendrick Nunn (Heat), and Trey Burke (Sixers).
  • In a conversation with Max Resetar of SLAM, good friends Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, and D’Angelo Russell joked about eventually teaming up. “When we’re all on the same team—I ain’t gonna tell you which team because I don’t know—we’re gonna do this again,” Russell said of the joint interview. While we probably shouldn’t assume the trio is destined to form a Big Three down the road, it’s worth noting that both Towns and Booker tried to recruit Russell to their respective teams when he was a free agent this summer.

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Frazier, Oladipo, Stoudemire

Bulls head coach Jim Boylen is excited about the new players his team brought in this offseason, and he hopes that the additions of veterans Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky alongside rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford will allow him to deploy a deeper roster during the 2019/20 season, writes Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago.

“What we (the Bulls) talked about is we wanted to bring in high character depth that could support our current roster,” Boylen said. “I also wanted a team that was duplicit and redundant so we could play the same way (when we go to our bench).”

Specifically, Boylen spoke on how the last couple years’ lack of depth caused the Bulls to rely on G League level players whenever stars like Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen were out with injury or sickness.

“We’ve struggled the last couple years to play on a night when we had injury or illness, where we had to change our style of play before the game. I don’t want that (for the Bulls). The good teams don’t have that.”

There’s more news out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Veteran point guard Tim Frazier is eager for the opportunity that awaits him with the Pistons, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. While Frazier may see limited minutes behind Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose, Detroit sees value in having a young and experienced option in case Jackson or Rose get hurt.
  • As Jackie MacMullan of ESPN explains, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has seen his appreciation for basketball grow as he’s been sidelined with a ruptured right quadriceps tendon. Regarding watching his team’s performance during the playoffs last season, Oladipo said “It was so hard. It makes you appreciate the game more, your teammates more, even yourself more… Sometimes we don’t realize our own impact. You take it for granted. I won’t ever do that again.”
  • The Knicks do not plan on signing former NBA All-Star big man Amar’e Stoudemire to a contract for the 2019/20 season, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Stoudemire worked out for the Knicks and 14 other teams in Las Vegas on Monday. He last played in the NBA for the Heat during the 2015/16 season.

And-Ones: Durant, Westbrook, Stoudemire

Many assume that Kevin Durant will miss the entire 2019/20 season, but it appears that’s not a given quite yet. GM Sean Marks said it’s “too early” to make a definitive timeline on Durant’s Nets debut.

 “A timeline will be given in due time, but as of now, we’re certainly not going to comment on when or if and make any sort of hypotheticals. It’s too early,” Marks said (via Nets Daily).

Durant is familiar with the medical staff in Brooklyn. Dr. Martin O’Malley, a foot and ankle specialist who is the team’s orthopaedic surgeon, performed the surgery to repair Durant’s Achilles. Despite the connection, the former MVP’s decision to join the Nets caught many in the basketball world by surprise, including some within Brooklyn’s front office.

“The Instagram post that he put up [announcing he’d sign with the Nets], we were all sitting in the office. We all got that in real time with you guys. We weren’t even sure if we were getting a meeting that night or if it was going to be a telephone conversation,” Marks said of finding out about Durant’s decision. The GM added that he hadn’t even spoken to Durant’s business partner Rich Kleiman yet.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Magic are unlikely to have interest in Russell Westbrook, Josh Robbins of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). The long-time Thunder point guard is reportedly open to a trade.
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer believes Marvin Williams is the veteran on the Hornets‘ roster most likely to be traded. Williams is making $15MM next season and Bonnell thinks the power forward’s game would mesh well with nearly every roster in the league.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire, who worked out in front of a number of teams this week, is serious about returning to the NBA. “I was never really done,’’ Stoudemire said, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. “I took kind of a sabbatical leave and I went to go learn over in Israel for two and a half years or so. So I went there and when I was still learning, I was able to also play basketball and keep myself in shape. I always stayed in top shape. I didn’t really remove myself too far from being in basketball shape.”

Free Agent Notes: Ellis, Green, Speights

Representatives from nearly half of the league’s teams were in attendance for a workout that included former NBA stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Bucks, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Blazers, Magic, Hawks, Wolves and Wizards were all in attendance. Haynes adds that 15 international teams from Europe and Asia also had representatives in Las Vegas for the workout.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Spurs, Nuggets, and Knicks were all interested in JaMychal Green before the forward re-signed with the Clippers, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Those teams were offering him a more lucrative offer than the one he signed with Los Angeles. The Clippers put on a “full-court press” to retain Green, Buha adds, and the 29-year-old ended up inking a two-year deal worth slightly under $10MM.
  • Green has the ability to be a free agent next summer, having secured a player option as part of his deal with the Clippers. Buha (in the same piece) speculates that Green could have commanded a deal in the $10MM+ range this offseason and that the forward should have the opportunity for a similar contract next summer.
  • Mo Speights, who played in China last season, is working out for teams in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweets. Speights last played in the NBA for the Magic during the 2017/18 season.

Free Agency Notes: Cap Holds, Williams, Magic, Wizards

Nearly half the teams in the NBA renounced their rights to multiple free agents this week as they prepared to make new roster moves official, per RealGM’s transactions log. In some cases, like when the Clippers renounced the rights to Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler, those free agents already new homes lined up, and removing their cap holds was simply a formality to create cap room for incoming additions.

In other cases, the housekeeping moves were a bit more noteworthy. The Pacers, for instance, renounced Darren Collison‘s Bird rights, so if the 31-year-old – who announced his retirement before the start of free agency – ever attempts an NBA comeback, Indiana will no longer have a leg up to re-acquire him.

Besides those two teams, the Hawks, Bucks, Nets, Jazz, Sixers, Clippers, Pelicans, Lakers, Kings, Celtics, Wizards, and Bulls also renounced various free agents, according to RealGM’s log.

Here are a few more notes related to free agency:

  • The Lakers have withdrawn their qualifying offer to two-way player Johnathan Williams and renounced his rights, according to RealGM. That doesn’t preclude the Lakers from bringing back Williams on a new two-way deal, but he’ll be able to sign outright with a new team if he so chooses.
  • At least nine teams are now confirmed to attend the Amar’e Stoudemire/Monta Ellis workout taking place in Las Vegas on Monday, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. We previously relayed word of Stoudemire’s and Ellis’ attempts to make NBA comebacks.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides salary cap updates on a pair of Southeast teams, tweeting that the Magic and Wizards are both safely out of luxury tax territory for now. According to Marks (Twitter links), Orlando has $3.5MM in breathing room under the tax line, counting Khem Birch‘s $1.8MM cap hold, while Washington is about $4MM below that threshold after cutting Jonathon Simmons.

Amar’e Stoudemire, Monta Ellis To Work Out For NBA Teams

Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis will hold a private workout for at least five NBA teams next week, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. He states that both players have overcome past injuries and are hoping to catch the attention of a contender, such as the Lakers, that has several roster spots to fill. The session is set for Monday evening in Las Vegas.

Stoudemire, 36, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015/16 season when he got into 52 games for the Heat. He has been playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns in the Israeli Premier Basketball League. He briefly retired in 2017, but decided to return to the game after spending time in the BIG3 League last summer.

The last NBA experience for the 33-year-old Ellis came with the Pacers during the 2016/17 season. He was a regular part of Indiana’s rotation, playing 74 games and averaging 8.5 points per night. However, the team opted to use the stretch provision on him that summer to unload his contract. He will receive $2,245,400 a year from the Pacers through the 2021/22 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Sports Images.

And-Ones: Stoudemire, Bennett, Gambling

After playing in Israel during the 2016/17 season, former Suns and Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire announced his retirement last September. Stoudemire has since reversed course though, with Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem confirming this week that the six-time NBA All-Star will play for them again in 2018/19. Stoudemire, who co-owns Hapoel Jerusalem, helped lead the team to an Israeli League title in 2017 and said on Instagram that he’s aiming to do the same this season.

“I am looking forward to returning to Hapoel Jerusalem and bringing home titles,” Stoudemire wrote. “I have a great love for all the people of Israel: past, present and future, and it’s humbling to represent the city of Jerusalem, which has inspired so many around the world.”

Here are a few more basketball odds and ends:

  • The representatives for former first overall pick Anthony Bennett have offered the big man to Italian clubs Reggio Emilia and Virus Bologna, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. For now though, the 25-year-old – who played for the Cavaliers, Raptors, Timberwolves, and Nets – is without a home for the 2018/19 season.
  • In the wake of the investigation into workplace misconduct within the Mavericks‘ organization, the NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams encouraging them to hire more women – particularly in leadership roles – and to improve their policies for reporting workplace harassment. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has the details.
  • Professional sports leagues – including the NBA – are largely taking a wait-and-see approach to the legalization of sports gambling, as Mike Fish and David Purdum write for ESPN.com. The ESPN report looks extensively at the lack of information surrounding LeBron James‘ reported hand injury in last year’s Finals and how that would have impacted betting odds if it had been public.