BIG3

And-Ones: M. Brown, China, Evans, BIG3

Former NBA head coaches have been popular candidates for this spring’s coaching openings around the league, with David Fizdale, Steve Clifford, Frank Vogel, Mark Jackson, David Blatt, and Mike Woodson among the many names said to be under consideration for at least one job. Top Warriors assistant Mike Brown would fit comfortably in that group, but hasn’t yet been identified as a candidate for any head coaching jobs.

The former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach tells Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group that while he’d have interest in another head coaching opportunity, he’s perfectly happy to see things out with the Warriors as the club looks for its third title in four years.

“I want to be a head coach again. But if I hadn’t experienced that already and if I wasn’t in a situation that I’m already in right now, maybe the itch might be there more,” Brown said. “Maybe I might be focused more on that than the task at hand. But I’m really excited about trying to do what I can and do my part in helping us win again.”

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

And-Ones: Extension Candidates, BIG3, Sports Betting

With the NBA postseason set to tip off this weekend an equally intriguing offseason draws nearer. Recently, Keith Smith of RealGM took a nice, long look at the upcoming batch of players eligible to sign rookie contract extensions after July 1.

While some players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker are no-brainers for rich contract extensions, other players like Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner are intriguing cases.

Porzingis, Smith writes, could be a candidate for a conditional contract extension similar to the one Joel Embiid signed last summer. Turner, meanwhile, proved himself a worthy NBA starter early in his career but has dealt with injury setbacks of his own in the time since.

A number of the top lottery picks in the 2015 draft class aren’t likely to sign significant extensions, if they’re even eligible to do so at all. Two of the top five picks – Jahlil Okafor and Mario Hezonja – didn’t even have the fourth-year of their rookie deals picked up.

For a breakdown of all 30 first-round picks, how they fared through their first three seasons in the NBA and whether or not you can expect them to hit the restricted market in 2019, be sure to check out Smith’s full piece.

There’s more from around the NBA.

  • With discussion over the legalization of sports betting a hot topic these days, the NBA Player’s Association has issued a statement, urging consideration for players’ rights ahead of any consequent negotiations over associated fees. Ben Fawkes of ESPN has the latest about the pressing issue while Chris Crouse of Hoops Rumors confirms that the NBA is open to having the union involved.
  • The BIG3 held its offseason draft last night in preparation for the league’s second season set to begin on June 22. Andre Owens, an international journeyman who played sparingly with the Jazz and Pacers over a decade ago was the first overall pick. Notable NBA alums, including Jason Maxiell, Quentin Richardson, the original Mike James and Bonzi Wells were also taken over the course of three rounds. Josh Peters of USA Today has a full breakdown of the draft.
  • The NBA draft order is set, ahead of the May 15th lottery that is. We broke down what happened when a series of tiebreakers decided the fates of 12 impacted teams.

And-Ones: I. Thomas, BIG3, Rice, Bolomboy

After his career year for the Celtics in 2016/17, Isaiah Thomas was traded to the Cavaliers before struggling in Cleveland being sent to the Lakers. Of those three teams, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype views the Lakers as the most likely to offer Thomas a new contract for 2018/19 this summer. However, L.A. won’t be the only potential fit for the high-scoring guard.

Urbina identifies the Bulls, Spurs, and Knicks as other teams that could potentially be landing spots for Thomas in free agency this offseason. In each case, Urbina views Thomas as a potential one- or two-year stopgap at the point guard position. For the Spurs, Urbina explains, Thomas could help bridge the gap between Tony Parker and Dejounte Murray, while in Chicago or New York, he could mentor youngsters Kris Dunn or Frank Ntilikina, respectively.

As we look forward to seeing which direction Thomas’ free agency takes, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Ice Cube’s three-on-three BIG3 league is increasing its reach on the court, but the league has faced turmoil off the court within the last year. Rick Maese of The Washington Post breaks down the bizarre story of the BIG3’s off-court drama that includes Qatari investors, a fired commissioner (Roger Mason Jr.), and a billion-dollar lawsuit.
  • Top Israeli team Hapoel Holon has cut star player Glen Rice Jr. after he punched a teammate in the face, according to an Associated Press report. Rice, the son of former Heat star Glen Rice, had been the Israeli League’s leading scorer with more than 24 PPG this season.
  • Last week, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports presented a list of NBA assistant coaches who are viewed as potential head coaches by executives around the league. Former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale gave Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated a list of his own suggestions for head coaching candidates, with a focus on black assistants around the NBA.
  • Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow has shown interest in acquiring former NBA big man Joel Bolomboy for next season, a source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Bolomboy, who saw limited action for the Jazz and Bucks over the last two seasons, has also received interest from China, per Cauchi.

And-Ones: Andersen, Euroleague, Curry, Coaches

It wasn’t long ago that Chris Andersen was suiting up for the NBA’s defending champions — he appeared in his last NBA game in December 2016 for the Cavaliers. Less than a year and a half later, however, having not played for an NBA team this season, Andersen is eyeing a move to the BIG3.

The professional three-on-three league, entering its second season, recently announced (via Twitter) that Andersen has joined the 2018 draft pool. The 15-year NBA veteran known as Birdman appeared in nearly 700 total regular season games for Denver, Miami, New Orleans, Memphis, and Cleveland, averaging 5.4 PPG and 5.0 RPG.

While he hasn’t officially announced his retirement as an NBA player, Andersen’s move to the BIG3 may signal that one last NBA run isn’t in the cards for the veteran big man.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • There’s no question that the NBA is the world’s best basketball league, but for many former NBA players, life in the Euroleague isn’t so bad. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated spoke to a handful of those veterans who are playing international ball to see why they’ve decided to continue their respective careers overseas. “I have had more than a couple opportunities to go back,” said Real Madrid big man Anthony Randolph. “For me personally, I have stated to the teams that I talk to that I would want to have a significant role when I come back and I wanted to play. … I don’t want to go back to the NBA to sit on the bench and kind of waste a year or two of my career. I enjoy playing. I enjoy competing against guys. The competition has gotten so much better over here that I’m challenged every night playing overseas. I’m 100% at peace if I don’t go back to the NBA.”
  • While returning from his knee injury is Stephen Curry‘s top priority at the moment, the Warriors star is “definitely” still interested in getting involved in an ownership group for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Connor Letourneau of SFGate.com writes.
  • Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune examines how stress is taking a toll on head coaches around the NBA, including Steve Clifford of the Hornets and Tyronn Lue of the Cavaliers.
  • Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press explores the fine line between tanking and “player development” for some of the NBA’s worst teams.

And-Ones: NCAA Prospects, BIG3 Draft, McDaniels

Trae Young‘s late-season struggles have put Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on even terms with the much-hyped Oklahoma freshman for the status of top point guard in the draft. That’s one of the observations made by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz and Jonathan Givony in a look at first-round prospects whose teams were knocked out early in the NCAA tournament.

Missouri forward Michael Porter will have to show more than other players projected in the top half of the lottery during predraft workouts to solidify his status after a back injury sidelined him most of the season, according to Givony. Jaren Jackson Jr.‘s poor and abbreviated performance against Syracuse Sunday didn’t help the Michigan State freshman’s cause in comparisons to the draft’s other top big men, in Givony’s opinion.

In other news:

  • The BIG3 league will hold a combine on April 11th and its draft the following evening, according to a league press release. Approximately 100 players will compete for 19 available roster spots at the combine. All but two of the league’s eight teams will fill three roster spots during the draft. Championship team Trilogy must retain its existing roster to defend its title, while runner-up 3-Headed Monsters exercised its option to retain Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Kwame Brown and elected to place Eddie Basden back into the draft pool.
  • San Diego State freshman forward Jalen McDaniels will declare for the draft but won’t hire an agent, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets.  He averaged 10.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG this season.
  • Hoops Rumors’ Arthur Hill provided insights on the Spurs, Wizards and top prospects in the NCAA tournament in his weekly mailbag column. Check it out here.

Clyde Drexler Named BIG3 Commissioner

Former Trail Blazers and Rockets star Clyde Drexler has been named the new commissioner of the BIG3 basketball league, according to a press release (via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today). Drexler was involved with the league last season as the coach of BIG3 team Power.

“Clyde is a consummate professional, revered businessman and indisputably one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball,” BIG3 co-founders and co-CEOs Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube said in a statement. “We were thrilled to have his early support as a coach for our inaugural season and couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him to the executive team as BIG3 Commissioner.”

Ice Cube had been serving as the BIG3’s interim commissioner following the dismissal of Roger Mason Jr., who was recently fired by the league. Reports indicated that an alleged corruption scandal was the reason for Mason’s ouster, though the former veteran guard issued a statement this week refuting that idea, and calling the BIG3 work environment “hostile and racist.” Drexler will be tasked with moving the league beyond that scandal as it prepares for its second season this summer.

The BIG3, a three-on-three league that played its inaugural season in 2017, is made up almost exclusively of former NBA players, and has added several intriguing names to its initial player pool over the last few months. Metta World Peace, Amar’e Stoudemire, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Carlos Boozer, Baron Davis, Eddy Curry, and Greg Oden are among the former NBA vets expected to play in the BIG3 in 2018.

And-Ones: BIG3, Cook, Larrier, NBA 2K

The BIG3 has fired commissioner Roger Mason Jr. in the wake of an alleged corruption scandal and replaced him with rapper Ice Cube, according to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports. Mason reportedly secured the investment for the 3-on-3 league from two Qatari businessmen, who were later investigated for refusing to pay millions of dollars to the league. Mason allegedly refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to a TMZ Sports report. In a statement posted by Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Mason Jr. refuted the notion he was removed because of corruption, calling the BIG3 work environment “hostile and racist.”

In other basketball news around the country:

  • The BIG3’s second season will begin in Houston on June 22, according to a league press release. Games will also take place in Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, Miami, Toronto, Dallas and Boston during the regular season. Atlanta will host most of the playoff games with the championship scheduled for New York’s Barclays Center on August 24th.
  • Iowa’s Tyler Cook will enter the draft, but won’t hire an agent, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. The 6’9” Cook averaged 15.3 PPG and 6.8 RPG for the Hawkeyes as a sophomore this season.
  • Connecticut swingman Terry Larrier has opted to enter the draft, he announced in a press release. The 6’8” Larrier averaged 13.9 PPG and 4.8 RPG for the Huskies in his junior season. Connecticut parted ways with head coach Kevin Ollie over the weekend.
  • The NBA 2K league will hold its inaugural draft lottery on Tuesday, according to a league press release. The E-Sports league will host its first draft, a six-round event, on April 4th.

Eddy Curry Joins BIG3 Draft Pool

Eddy Curry is the latest former NBA star to join the BIG3 draft combine, the league announced today (Twitter link).

Curry, 35, played 12 seasons in the NBA, mainly for the Bulls and Knicks. The seven-footer’s last appearance in the league came early in the 2012/13 season when he played two games for the Mavericks. He owns a championship ring as a member of the Heat team that won the title in 2011/2012.

The fourth player taken in the 2001 draft, Curry had a brief stint in China after his NBA career ended but hasn’t played competitively since 2013.

The combine will be held this spring, giving the eight teams in the BIG3 a chance to evaluate the available talent ahead of the draft. Curry will have to be selected by one of the teams before he can join the three-on-three league.

The BIG3 began play last June with a variety of former NBA stars involved. It has received another infusion of talent for its second season, with ex-players such as Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Glen Davis, Baron Davis, Metta World Peace, Drew Gooden, Greg Oden and others declaring their intentions to join the league.

Amar’e Stoudemire To Play In BIG3

Ice Cube’s three-on-three league has added another notable NBA veteran to its ranks, announcing today that former Suns and Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire will join the BIG3 for the 2018 season. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Ian Begley.

Stoudemire will become a co-captain for the BIG3’s Tri-State squad, teaming with fellow former NBAers Jermaine O’Neal and Nate Robinson. While O’Neal participated in the BIG3’s inaugural season in 2017, Stoudemire and Robinson are new additions to the league, joining offseason signees like Carlos Boozer, Glen Davis, Baron Davis, Ron Artest, and many more.

[RELATED: Greg Oden joins BIG3 draft pool]

Stoudemire, the ninth overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, was a six-time All-Star over the course of 14 NBA seasons. In 846 career regular season games, he averaged an impressive 18.9 PPG and 7.8 RPG with a .537 FG%. He nearly replicated those averages (18.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG) in 78 postseason contests.

Although he’s still only 35 years old, Stoudemire hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015/16 season. The big man spent the 2016/17 campaign playing in Israel before formally announcing his retirement as a player this past September.

Greg Oden Joins BIG3 Draft Pool

Former first overall pick Greg Oden is hoping to return to the court this summer — not in the NBA, but in Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league. The BIG3 announced today that Oden has joined the league’s draft pool for the coming season (Twitter link).

Oden, who turned 30 last month, was selected by Portland with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, one spot ahead of Kevin Durant. However, the Ohio State standout only appeared in 105 total NBA games, averaging 8.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG, last playing in the league for the Heat in 2013/14. His career was derailed by multiple knee and leg injuries.

After making an effort to revive his playing career in China during the 2015/16, the former Trail Blazers center said multiple times in the fall of 2016 that his playing career was over. “Don’t get me wrong,” Oden said at the time. “If I was healthy, I would love to continue playing, but I’m not healthy.”

A year and a half later, it appears Oden may not be ready to throw in the towel after all, as he makes an effort to participate in a three-on-three league that features former NBA players like Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis, Kenyon Martin, and many more. For now, Oden isn’t on a BIG3 roster, but if he’s healthy this spring, he’ll be an intriguing candidate to be plucked out of the draft pool by one of the league’s clubs.