BIG3

Joe Johnson Talks BIG3, Possible NBA Future

Joe Johnson, a 17-year NBA veteran, last suited up in the league for the Rockets during the 2017/18 campaign. Since then, the 38-year-old has grieved the passing of his mother, which cast doubt on his future as a professional basketball player.

In an exclusive interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, this year’s BIG3 Most Valuable Player opened up about his decision to join the league and how it’s helped him cope. Johnson, who is reportedly set to work out with several NBA teams, could become the second BIG3 player ever to land an NBA deal.

Check out some highlights below:

On why he chose to join the BIG3:

“I use it as therapy. My mom passed away in February, and being an only child, it was tough on me, so I just needed something to do to keep me busy. And the BIG3 was it.”

How Ice Cube helped facilitate his BIG3 jump:

“Cube knew my whole situation before I committed to it. I was telling him, ‘Man, I don’t know if I am going to do it, Cube, because I am going through this with my mom’s [death]. And he gave me as much time as I needed.”

On the BIG3 being a potential way to get back to the NBA:

“I am hopeful to get back, but I did not get in the BIG3 to get back to the ‘league.’ I had a great career. I enjoyed the process. The only thing that keeps the NBA fire in the belly is how it ended in Houston. That just does not sit well with me. So if an opportunity comes along and I feel that it is worth it, yeah, I take that chance.”

Community Shootaround: The BIG3

Joe Johnson may be about to change the way the NBA looks at the BIG3 League.

Since its inception in 2017, the summertime three-on-three competition has been seen as a way for former NBA players to keep their names in the spotlight once they’re past their prime. The games are played in a half-court format and feature two-, three- and four-point shots along with other unique rules.

The league has never been considered a pathway back to the NBA, but Johnson may be about to break that barrier. It was reported earlier tonight that he will work out for the Sixers tomorrow in Philadelphia. The Clippers, Bucks, Nuggets and Pelicans are also interested in seeing if the 38-year-old has anything left in the tank.

This is and will be big for @thebig3, giving players the platform to perform and make it back to the league,” former Heat star Dwyane Wade tweeted.

Although it didn’t affect Johnson, one reason for the league’s new status is a rules change adopted this year that lowers the minimum age for players from 30 to 27. That allowed a fresh infusion of talent, including many players who are still in the prime of their careers.

One of the top proponents of the BIG3 is Celtics TV analyst Brian Scalabrine, who serves as team captain of the Ball Hogs. He told Frank Isola of The Athletic that Carmelo Anthony would be in a better position to land a training camp invitation if he had played in the league.

“Joe Johnson would not be in the conversation if he didn’t play in the BIG3,” Scalabrine said. “I want Carmelo Anthony to realize that hanging out with his trainer and playing in these bogus pick-up games is not better than playing in the BIG3. If Carmelo was killing the BIG3 it can help him, (but) I think these guys believe it can only hurt them. I think agents think it can only hurt them. But I’m telling you if you’re dominating the BIG3, you’ll get back in the league.”

We want to get your opinion. Will Johnson’s experience help the BIG3 turn into a summertime showcase for players who want to return to the NBA? Please leave your responses in the space below.

And-Ones: Howard, Summer League, Spain, BIG3

Having been sent from Washington to Memphis in a trade for C.J. Miles, veteran center Dwight Howard is a member of the Grizzlies for now. However, the club is expected to waive or trade him at some point. After he was limited to just nine games in 2018/19 for health reasons, it’s not clear what the next step will be for Howard, but the eight-time All-Star tells Shams Charania of The Athletic that he has adjusted his mindset and is prepared to do whatever it takes to help his next team win.

“I don’t have an ego — it’s dead,” Howard said. “It had to die for me to be who I am. Sometimes when you want to become who you want to be, you have to die within yourself. Once you learn that you have to give up yourself for the team, that’s when things flourish.”

According to Charania, several NBA teams have said that they’re intrigued by Howard, who says he has been fully cleared after last year’s injury issues. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year claims he has lost 25 pounds since the end of the season, and one executive who saw him recently said he appears to be in his best shape in years, per Charania.

It remains to be seen whether Howard will get an opportunity to choose his next team on the free agent market, but if he does, he has one clear priority, he tells Charania: “Winning. Winning. Winning. I want to win. Nothing else. Just win.”

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

  • According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), there has been talk in Las Vegas about the possibility of moving back the start of Summer League in future years. Postponing the start date until after the end of the July moratorium would help address the problem of having traded 2019 draftees tied up in deals that can’t be made official until after Summer League is underway.
  • Spain announced its preliminary roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup this week, as Sportando relays, and the group includes a number of familiar names. The 16-man list, which will be cut down to 12 for the competition, features Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Willy Hernangomez, Juan Hernangomez, and former NBA players like Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver.
  • The BIG3 announced on Wednesday that Baron Davis, Bonzi Wells, Lamar Odom, and Jermaine O’Neal are being “deactivated” for the 2019 season. The league cited the need to “maximize competition, protect the health of players, and to raise the level of the professionalism of the BIG3.”

Greg Oden, Royce White, Others Selected In BIG3 Draft

The BIG3, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league, completed its draft for the 2019 season on Wednesday night, and a number of noteworthy former NBA players were among the players selected.

Former NBA first overall pick Greg Oden wasn’t the first player picked in the BIG3 draft, but he did come off the board in the first round, going seventh overall to the Aliens, a team whose roster also includes Kendrick Perkins and Shannon Brown.

The No. 1 selection in the BIG3’s draft was former NBA first-rounder Royce White, whose NBA career was cut short after just three games due to battles with mental health and a fear of flying. White will join an Enemies squad led by captain Gilbert Arenas and co-captains Lamar Odom and Perry Jones III.

The following veterans who appeared in at least 100 games during their NBA careers were also selected in the 31-player draft on Wednesday:

  1. Larry Sanders (3 Headed Monsters)
  2. Josh Powell (Killer 3s)
  3. Shawne Williams (Bivouac)
  4. Jamario Moon (Ghost Ballers)
  5. Donte Greene (Killer 3s)
  6. Jason Richardson (Tri-State)
  7. Alan Anderson (Triplets)
  8. Sam Young (Trilogy)
  9. Brandon Rush (Aliens)
  10. Craig Smith (Enemies)
  11. Mario Chalmers (3 Headed Monsters)
  12. C.J. Watson (Killer 3s)
  13. Carlos Arroyo (Trilogy)
  14. Dion Glover (Bivouac)
  15. Bonzi Wells (Tri-State)

A full breakdown of the 2019 BIG3 draft results can be found right here, while the rosters for the 12 teams set to compete in the ’19 season are here.

Larry Sanders To Play In BIG3

Another notable NBA veteran has joined the BIG3’s draft pool, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, who tweets that big man Larry Sanders is looking to resume his basketball career by playing in the 3-on-3 league this summer. The BIG3 posted a photo of Sanders participating in its pre-draft combine on Tuesday.

Sanders, the 15th overall pick in the 2010 draft, appeared in 238 regular season games over the course of six NBA seasons with the Bucks and Cavs. In 19.5 minutes per contest, he contributed 6.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and an impressive 1.8 BPG. He last appeared in an NBA game in April 2017.

A variety of off-court factors related to anxiety, depression, and marijuana use ultimately derailed Sanders’ career. However, as a result of being waived via the stretch provision, he’ll continue to be paid approximately $1.87MM per year by the Bucks through 2021/22.

While Sanders is still just 30 years old and his rim-protecting skills would certainly be a fit for the modern game, an NBA comeback appears to be a long shot for now. So far, Josh Childress is the only player to sign an NBA contract after playing in the BIG3, and he was waived by the Nuggets before the 2017/18 regular season begin.

Jason Terry, Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson, Lamar Odom, Gilbert Arenas, Kendrick Perkins, Josh Smith, and Mario Chalmers are among the other NBA veterans to commit to the BIG3 for the 2019 season.

And-Ones: Hoiberg, Morrow, Summer League, Hamilton

Former Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is expected to be a frontrunner for Nebraska’s coaching job if and when the Huskers part ways with current coach Tim Miles, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). There has been contact between Nebraska and Hoiberg, according to Chris Basnett of The Lincoln Journal Star, who confirms that the former Bulls coach would be a “strong candidate” for job if Miles is dismissed.

A source tell Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link) that Hoiberg would definitely “entertain” the Nebraska job if it’s offered to him, but it’s not entirely clear if he’d accept it. As Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets, Hoiberg’s top choice would be to coach in the NBA. However, there’s a sense that he’d likely prefer to coach in the NCAA rather than work in an NBA front office.

As we wait to see what’s next for Hoiberg, here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran NBA sharpshooter Anthony Morrow has signed on to participate in the BIG3 this summer, the league announced on Tuesday (via Twitter). Morrow, a career 41.7% three-point shooter in 564 NBA games, last played in the league during the 2016/17 season, appearing in 49 games for the Thunder and Bulls.
  • All 30 NBA teams will be represented at this year’s Summer League in Las Vegas, and a pair of international teams will join them. According to an Associated Press report, the Chinese and Croatian national squads will participate in the event. China is expected to use the Vegas Summer League as a tune-up for the 2019 World Cup; Croatia didn’t qualify.
  • Former Thunder and Hawks guard Daniel Hamilton has signed an NBA G League contract, per Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link). Hamilton is eligible to be claimed off waivers, with the NBAGL postseason right around the corner.

Jason Terry To Play In BIG3

Former NBA champion and Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry is the latest big-name addition to the BIG3, the league announced today (via Twitter).

Terry, 41, appeared in 51 games for the Bucks just last season, but despite his desire to play a 20th NBA season, he didn’t catch on with a team in 2018/19. Instead, he’ll set his sights on Ice Cube‘s three-on-three league, as he’ll participate in the 2019 BIG3 season. Speaking to James Herbert of CBSSports.com, Terry said he decided to join the BIG3 because of his “love for the game and for the fans.”

“Watching the BIG3 the last two years — the first year I was able to attend the championship game in Vegas, last year I was at one of the home games in Dallas — sitting courtside, I promised Cube, the very first year that I retire, that I will play in the BIG3,” Terry said.

Terry, who currently ranks fifth on the NBA’s all-time list with 2,282 three-pointers made, also vowed to take full advantage of the ability to attempt four-point shots in the BIG3.

“I love it. I love that dynamic of the game,” Terry told Herbert. “I think it’s a part of the game that, guys in today’s NBA, they shoot it from long range but they only get three points for it. Now we’re out here in the BIG3, I’m going to get four points for something that I ordinarily did. An extra point goes a long way for me.”

Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson, Lamar Odom, Gilbert Arenas, Kendrick Perkins, Josh Smith, and Mario Chalmers are among the other players that have committed to playing in the BIG3 in 2019. The league also announced a couple more additions to its player pool in recent days, confirming (via Twitter) that NBA veterans Ronnie Brewer and Brandon Rush will participate this season.

Mario Chalmers, Josh Smith Sign To Play In BIG3

Former NBA players Mario Chalmers and Josh Smith have both signed on to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league this summer, according to a series of tweets from the league.

Chalmers, a two-time NBA champion with the Heat, currently plays with Virtus Bologna in Italy and is expected to join the BIG3 once his contract ends in June, as noted by Sportando. The BIG3 schedule is set to begin on June 22.

Chalmers played 66 games with the Grizzlies last season, starting in 10 contests and averaging 7.7 points, 3.7 assists and 21.5 minutes per contest. He played a key role on the Heat’s 2012 and 2013 championship teams, giving the team quality minutes as a starting point guard on both ends of the floor.

Smith, a versatile forward drafted 17th to Atlanta in 2004, holds 13 seasons of NBA experience with the Hawks, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers and Pelicans. He appeared in three games with New Orleans last season, getting waived two weeks after he was signed.

Longtime NBA veterans Joe Johnson and Al Jefferson also signed on to play in the BIG3 on Thursday, adding to a mix of talent that already includes Lamar Odom, Gilbert Arenas, Kendrick Perkins, and others.

The deadline for players to sign with the league is Tuesday, March 19. More player signing announcements are expected to be made in the coming weeks.

Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson To Play In BIG3

Ice Cube’s three-on-three BIG3 league has secured a couple of its biggest names yet, as the league announced (via Twitter) that Joe Johnson and Al Jefferson signed on to play in the BIG3 for the 2019 season.

Johnson, a seven-time All-Star, played in the NBA last season for the Jazz and Rockets, appearing in a total of 55 games. Although he didn’t catch on with a new NBA club this season, the 37-year-old also hasn’t announced his retirement as a player, so it’s possible he’ll still attempt a comeback in 2019/20 after spending the summer playing BIG3 ball.

In 17 NBA seasons, Johnson has averaged 16.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.9 APG with a .441/.371/.802 shooting line. He has appeared in a total of 1,276 regular season games for Atlanta, Brooklyn, Phoenix, Utah, Boston, Miami, and Houston, plus 120 postseason contests for those same teams (minus the Celtics).

As for Jefferson, the 34-year-old big man played in China this season after spending the previous 14 seasons with the Celtics, Timberwolves, Jazz, Hornets, and Pacers. His NBA averages stand at 15.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 915 career regular season games, and he was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2014. Like Johnson, he hasn’t indicated that he plans to retire as an NBA player, so a comeback next season remains a possibility.

While Johnson and Jefferson are two of the most noteworthy name added to the BIG3’s roster this summer, they’re far from the only former NBA players to join the league’s ranks. The BIG3 has also added Gilbert Arenas, Lamar Odom, Daniel Gibson, C.J. Watson, Charlie Bell, Stromile Swift, and many others to its player pool during the offseason.

And-Ones: Bird, Swift, Draft, Acy, Morant

Former Celtics guard Jabari Bird is awaiting sentencing after entering a plea of sufficient facts to the accusation of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, according to an Associated Press report. The plea is not an admission of guilt but acknowledges a likely conviction at trial.

Bird was released on bail after the hearing and will be sentenced May 28. He faced several charges in the alleged attack on the woman in September, including strangulation or suffocation, kidnapping, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Bird’s contract was traded to the Hawks in February, who quickly waived him.

We have more developments from around the basketball world:

  • Power forward Stromile Swift has entered his name in the BIG3 draft pool, the league’s PR department tweets. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2000 draft last appeared in the NBA during the 2008/09 season with the Suns and Nets.
  • NBA executives will scour the country at conference tournaments this week, looking at every possible prospect who might put his name in the draft. It’s a unique opportunity for some players to improve their stock on a big stage, ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony notes. Las Vegas will be a particular hotbed of activity, with the Pac-12, WCC, WAC and Mountain West holding tournaments there. Givony takes a deep dive in the prospects that the scouts will be perusing this week.
  • Veteran forward Quincy Acy has left the Texas Legends, the G League affiliate of the Mavericks, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets.  Acy, 28, played 10 games with the Suns this season.
  • Murray State point guard Ja Morant has leapfrogged Duke’s R.J. Barrett as the second-best prospect in the draft behind Zion Williamson, according to Mike Schmitz of ESPN. Morant put on a dazzling display while carrying the Racers through the OVC tournament and into the NCAA Tournament. Givony maintains it’s premature to make that assessment before the draft lottery.