Charles Bassey

Atlantic Notes: Boucher, Lillard, Knicks, Ainge, Celtics, Bassey

Raptors big man Chris Boucher is set to enter unrestricted free agency this summer, but he hasn’t thought much about it to this point. Boucher ended his season with a 25-point, 10-rebound effort off the bench in Game 6, telling reporters how much he h as valued the Raptors and Toronto.

“I love Toronto and Toronto did a lot for me …. from the player I was to where I am now, I owe it all to Toronto,” he said, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link).

As Grange notes, it’s clear where Boucher’s heart lies. However, he’ll likely receive interest from multiple teams on the open market, as he averaged 9.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 21.1 minutes per game this season. He also shot 46% from the floor and played 80 games.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, long considered a potential Knicks trade target, is no longer intrigued by New York’s plan, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. The Knicks finished with the 11th-best record in the East at 37-45 this season after finishing fourth in the East at 41-31 last season. Instead of targeting Lillard, New York could shift its focus to Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, whose team was recently eliminated in the first round.
  • Despite taking a job with the Jazz, Danny Ainge still keeps tabs on the Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Ainge left the Celtics last June and joined the Jazz as CEO last December. He worked in the Celtics’ front office for 18 years.
  • Sixers rookie Charles Bassey practiced in full with the team on Saturday, Kyle Neubeck of tweets. Bassey has been dealing with a shoulder sprain. The 21-year-old big man could be available for the club’s series against Miami, which could be important with Joel Embiid out indefinitely. Bassey averaged 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocks for the team’s G League affiliate this season, playing 28.6 minutes per contest.

NBA G League Announces 2021/22 All-NBAGL Teams

Rockets two-way player Trevelin Queen, who was named the NBA G League MVP and the G League Finals MVP this season, has added two more honors to his impressive 2021/22 résumé.

Queen headlined this year’s All-NBA G League First Team and also earned a spot on the NBAGL’s All-Defensive team, as the league announced today in a press release.

The complete list of the 2021/22 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players who finished the season on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team

All-NBAGL Second Team

All-NBAGL Third Team

NBAGL All-Rookie Team

  • Charles Bassey (Delaware Blue Coats) *
  • Luka Garza (Motor City Cruise) *
  • Carlik Jones (Texas Legends)
  • Mac McClung (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Micah Potter (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

NBAGL All-Defensive Team

  • Charles Bassey (Delaware Blue Coats) *
  • Braxton Key (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Tacko Fall (Cleveland Charge)
  • Shaquille Harrison (Delaware Blue Coats)
  • Trevelin Queen (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) ^

All 19 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year were on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract during the 2021/22 season.

Of those 19, Tillman is the only player who has yet to make his NBA debut, as he didn’t appear in any games after signing a 10-day deal with Atlanta in December.

Sixers Notes: Rivers, Thybulle, Green, Jordan, Bassey

Should the Sixers suffer an early playoff exit, there has been speculation that coach Doc Rivers might be on the hot seat, and with Frank Vogel expected to be fired after the season, Rivers has surfaced as a name to watch for the Lakers‘ head coaching job.

Kyle Neubeck of explores the topic of whether Rivers makes sense as a candidate in Los Angeles — assuming he’d even be interested in the job. Neubeck states that Rivers deserves credit for publicly embracing the team’s championship aspirations, but it could lead to him being the fall guy if the Sixers fail to make a significant postseason run.

Here’s more on Philadelphia:

  • A league source tells Neubeck that there’s no indication that Matisse Thybulle has changed his stance about getting vaccinated. Toronto won Friday night, clinching at least the No. 5 seed in the East. As ESPN’s Tim Bontemps notes (via Twitter), the Bucks will either be the No.2 or the No. 3 seed after Friday’s victory, and the Sixers can finish no better than third, because Milwaukee holds the tiebreaker. Point being, the odds have increased that the Sixers could face the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Rivers was vague in his response to Thybulle being ineligible to play in Toronto, per Gina Minzell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). “It’s one game tonight. We’ll go from there,” Rivers said before Thursday’s meeting. When asked how it might impact the team in the postseason, Rivers said, “We don’t know who we’re playing yet, so we’ll just handle that when it comes.” Philly lost to Toronto this week in Thybulle’s absence.
  • Veteran Danny Green says he’s not happy about the situation with Thybulle, but it wasn’t clear from his wording whether he’s displeased about the rule that unvaccinated foreign nationals can’t enter Canada, or with Thybulle himself.  I’m not happy about it. It is an opportunity for myself and other guys to get more minutes on the road with James [Harden] and other rotations, but I think we’re a better team when we’re whole and we have everybody,” Green said. He added that it was tough to evaluate the team when it isn’t whole. “Most guys, I don’t want to say [are] disappointed, but. … it’s still a point in the season when we’re still trying to gauge who we are, where we are. The only way to do that is to have everybody together. It’s tough to do that when we don’t have everybody” (Twitter thread courtesy of Mizell).
  • DeAndre Jordan has been positive locker room presence for the Sixers, Mizell writes in a story for The Inquirer. Jordan has served as the team’s primary backup center after being waived by the Lakers.
  • Rookie Charles Bassey suffered a right shoulder sprain and missed his game with the team’s G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, per Derek Bodner of The Daily Six (Twitter link). Bassey will be reevaluated in about 10 days. The 21-year-old hasn’t played much at the NBA level, appearing in 23 games with an average of 7.3 minutes per contest, but he’s been productive when given opportunities.

Atlantic Notes: Curry, Bassey, Riller, Fournier

Seth Curry has been one of the bright spots in the early portion of the season for the Sixers, averaging a career-high 15.7 PPG with an outstanding shooting line of .515/.443/.935. Curry recently spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about a number of topics, including the early portion of his career, his breakout season, the Ben Simmons situation, career goals, and more.

Scotto asked Curry what has led him to the breakout season he’s having. Curry says he’s a well-rounded offensive player, no matter who’s in the lineup.

I think I’m a pretty versatile player. I can catch and shoot, stretch the floor, play off guys who draw a lot of attention like Joel [Embiid] and Ben [Simmons]. When those guys are out, I feel like I can play in the pick-and-roll. My mid-range game is pretty good. I think I can put the ball on the floor and score. I just pride myself on being able to do a lot of different things offensively and taking good shots,” Curry said.

The interview is worth checking out in full.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Sixers rookie center Charles Bassey, the last 2021 draft pick to sign a contract, recently flashed significant potential in Embiid’s absence, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Sixers two-way player Grant Riller has recovered from meniscus surgery and is now playing in the G League, tweets Gina Mizell of the Inquirer.
  • Knicks guard Evan Fournier knows he needs to bring more to the table earlier in the game in light of his recent fourth-quarter benchings, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I think the situation right now is I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to play, so I have to have the mindset of if I’m going to play 20 minutes, then just come out the gate with extreme energy,” Fournier said. “Being very alert. Being ultra-aggressive. And trying to have an impact.”

Eastern Notes: Watanabe, Boucher, Bassey, Cavaliers, Simmons

The Raptors are expecting more out of 26-year-old forward Yuta Watanabe this fall, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Watanabe recently competed in the Olympics with Japan, learning to become more aggressive on the offensive end during his time in Tokyo.

“With the international team, I had to be that aggressive every time I touched the ball … so that was a lot different,” he explained. “I understand that my role is not going to be like that with the Raptors, but still … I need to be more aggressive because it makes it a lot easier for my teammates to score. Or I can draw attention, I can pass the ball and they can make shots.

“So definitely, I need to be more aggressive to help my teammates and help my team.”

Watanabe saw his two-way contract converted into a standard deal last April. He’ll be competing for a roster spot during Toronto’s preseason with Freddie Gillespie, Sam Dekker and others this month.

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Speaking of the Raptors, big man Chris Boucher recently sustained a dislocated finger, the team announced. Boucher will miss the club’s first preseason game against the Sixers on Monday. He’s coming off the best season of his four-year career, averaging 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per contest.
  • Sixers rookie Charles Bassey won’t travel with the team for its game against Toronto, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Bassey signed a contract last week with the organization but still needs to finalize his work visa, Mizell notes.
  • The Cavaliers will be interested in acquiring disgruntled Sixers star Ben Simmons for as long as he’s available, Chris Fedor of tweets. Cleveland could theoretically offload one of Collin Sexton or Darius Garland in any deal, combining that player with Kevin Love‘s contract to match salaries. The club could also try to entice a third team to join any proposal.

Atlantic Notes: Kyrie, Knicks, Vildoza, Bassey, Sixers

Kyrie Irving declined to offer any details on his vaccination status or his plans going forward when asked about the subject on Monday. However, sources believe that the Nets guard will ultimately take the COVID-19 vaccine, says Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.

According to Goodwill, those sources believe that Irving’s teammate – and good friend – Kevin Durant will help influence that decision. If Kyrie remains unvaccinated and doesn’t receive an exemption from the city of New York, he’d be ineligible to play in the team’s home games, which likely wouldn’t go over especially well with Durant and the rest of Irving’s Nets teammates.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said today that the team will make a decision on its 15th roster spot after the preseason, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). The team has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Luca Vildoza on a non-guaranteed contract, so Thibodeau’s comments suggest Vildoza certainly isn’t locked into that spot. The Argentine guard, who is coming off a right foot injury, is still in a walking boot, according to Thibodeau.
  • Charles Bassey‘s new three-year deal with the Sixers is worth the minimum and is fully guaranteed in year one, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). As previously reported, year two is partially guaranteed, while year three is non-guaranteed. Bassey’s first-year salary ($925,258) and his second-year guarantee ($74,742) add up to exactly $1MM in total guaranteed money, which is almost certainly less than he sought, but isn’t bad at all for a No. 53 pick.
  • The Sixers issued a press release today confirming the previously-reported hire of assistant coach Jamie Young and announcing a few more coaching changes for the 76ers and the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate. Dwayne Jones has been promoted to assistant coach/skill development at the NBA level, while Coby Karl will coach the G League team.
  • We passed along several Raptors-related items earlier this afternoon.

Sixers Sign Second-Rounder Charles Bassey

2:25pm: The Sixers have officially announced their deal with Bassey, issuing a press release to confirm the signing.

11:42am: Charles Bassey has agreed to a three-year contract with the Sixers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The deal, which provides a full guarantee in the first year and a partial guarantee in the second, was confirmed by his agents, Adie von Gontard and Daveed Cohen.

The 20-year-old center out of Western Kentucky is one of the last players taken in this year’s draft to sign a contract. He was selected with the No. 53 pick, which Philadelphia acquired from the Pelicans for $2MM in a draft-night trade.

The delay in signing reportedly stemmed from Bassey’s desire to get two years of fully guaranteed money, which is unusual for a player drafted that low. A report last month indicated he may sign his non-guaranteed one-year tender rather than agreeing to a multiyear deal, but it sounds like the two sides were able to reach a compromise.

The deal will come out of Philadelphia’s mid-level exception.

Bassey was named Conference USA Player of the Year last season as a junior with the Hilltoppers after averaging 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He was also selected as a third-team All-American by the U.S. Basketball Writers.

Sixers, Charles Bassey Remain At Impasse In Contract Talks

On the morning of the July 29 draft, the Sixers sent $2MM to the Pelicans in order to acquire the No. 53 pick, which they used later that night on Western Kentucky big man Charles Bassey. However, a month-and-a-half later, Bassey is one of the only 2021 draft picks who remains unsigned.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported two weeks ago that Bassey planned to sign his one-year, non-guaranteed minimum-salary tender from the 76ers. He hasn’t officially accepted that deal yet, leaving the door open for the two sides to come to a longer-term agreement. However, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic details, the Sixers and Bassey remain at an impasse in their negotiations.

Bassey isn’t upset about being selected by Philadelphia or concerned about a possible lack of playing time behind veteran centers Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond, according to Bodner, who says the dispute between the rookie and the team is “purely contractual.”

As Bodner writes, Bassey and his camp made it clear to teams before the draft that he wasn’t interested in signing a two-way contract, and that he’d be seeking a multiyear deal with a two-year guarantee. Sources tell The Athletic that there was one team willing to meet that asking price if Bassey had gone undrafted, which the 76ers and other teams were aware of at the time of the draft.

While the Sixers are willing to give Bassey a spot on their 15-man roster and not just a two-way deal, they’ve only been willing to guarantee his salary for one season on their three-year offer, says Bodner.

In short, Bassey is seeking a contract that matches the offer he believes he would’ve received if he had gone undrafted, while Philadelphia believes it’s offering a deal that’s more than fair for a player drafted at No. 53.

A multiyear guarantee is rare for a player selected that late in the draft — No. 51 pick Brandon Boston did get a two-year guarantee from the Clippers this year, but everyone else picked in that range, including Luka Garza (No. 52), Sandro Mamukelashvili (No. 54), and Aaron Wiggins (No. 55) signed two-way contracts. Besides Boston, no player selected after No. 43 this year has received a full multiyear guarantee. A year ago, the lowest draftee to receive a two-year guarantee was another Sixer: No. 49 pick Isaiah Joe.

According to Bodner, Bassey has been working out at the Sixers’ training facility and has impressed the coaches and front office personnel who have seen him in action, so he should be in the team’s plans for 2021/22 whether he accepts his one-year tender or works out a longer-term agreement.

If he signs the one-year tender, Bassey would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2022, which would give him the opportunity to bet on himself at that point. If he were to accept Philadelphia’s current offer instead, the 20-year-old would be under team control for two more years, but with no real security, since his salaries for those years would be non-guaranteed.

Charles Bassey Plans To Sign Required Tender From Sixers

Rookie center Charles Bassey, one of the last unsigned players from the 2021 draft class, intends to sign his required one-year tender from the Sixers, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to Charania, Bassey and the 76ers have thus far been unable to agree to terms on a longer-term deal.

In order to retain the rights to a second-round draft pick, an NBA team must submit a “required tender” to him. That tender is equivalent to offering a non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract covering just a single season, so it provides no assurances or security to the player.

Bassey, the No. 53 overall pick, may view signing that tender as his best path to either earning a 15-man roster spot with the Sixers or forcing the team to waive him before the season begins, allowing him to catch on elsewhere.

The Sixers only have 14 players on standard contracts for the time being, so Bassey could theoretically become the team’s 15th man for the regular season. However, Philadelphia may prefer to keep that last spot open to reduce its projected tax bill — it’s unclear if the 76ers want to stash Bassey overseas or in the G League, or if the rookie simply hasn’t been satisfied with the years and dollars the team is offering.

If he signs his tender and then is released by Philadelphia before the regular season starts, Bassey wouldn’t be eligible to sign a two-way contract with another NBA team during the 2021/22 league year, which would significantly reduce his options.

Bassey, 20, played his college ball at Western Kentucky, averaging a double-double (17.6 PPG, 11.6 RPG) as a junior in 2020/21 before declaring for the draft.

Checking In On Unsigned 2021 NBA Draft Picks

When Usman Garuba officially signed his rookie contract with Houston earlier this week, he became the 30th and final first-round pick from the 2021 draft to sign his first NBA deal. There will be no draft-and-stash players among this year’s first-rounders — they’re all now officially on NBA rosters.

As our tracker shows, another 23 second-rounders from this year’s draft class have also signed their first NBA contracts or – in Joe Wieskamp‘s case – agreed to a deal that should be officially completed soon.

That leaves just seven prospects from 2021’s 60-player draft class who have yet to be signed. They are as follows:

  1. New York Knicks: Rokas Jokubaitis, G, Lithuania
  2. Boston Celtics: Juhann Begarin, G, France
  3. Brooklyn Nets: Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton
  4. Philadelphia 76ers: Filip Petrusev, F, Serbia
  5. Philadelphia 76ers: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
  6. Detroit Pistons: Balsa Koprivica, C, Florida State
  7. Brooklyn Nets: RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State

Of these seven players, at least three appear on track to spend the 2021/22 season in Europe. Jokubaitis returned to his team in Barcelona following his Summer League stint with the Knicks, while Petrusev signed with Turkish team Anadolu Efes after playing for the Sixers in Summer League. Begarin, who also played in Summer League for the Celtics, will likely end up heading back overseas to France

That leaves just four true unsigned second-round picks, including a pair of Nets. It will be interesting to see what Brooklyn’s plans are for Zegarowski and Gray. The team currently has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and one on a two-way deal, so there could conceivably be room for Zegarowski on the 15-man squad, with Gray getting the other two-way deal.

However, DeAndre’ Bembry has a partially guaranteed contract and looks like a good bet to make the Nets’ regular-season roster, and Reggie Perry (free agent) and David Duke (Exhibit 10) are among the other candidates to get a two-way deal from the team. It’s also not clear if Brooklyn intends to carry a full 15-man roster to start the season, since leaving a roster spot open would create major tax savings for the franchise.

I could envision a scenario in which Zegarowski signs a two-way contract and Gray signs a G League deal to play for the Long Island Nets, but that’s just my speculation. There are still a number of ways the Nets could go.

Meanwhile, prospects drafted in the 50s like Bassey (No. 53) and Koprivica (No. 57) are generally good candidates for two-way deals, but the Sixers and Pistons have recently filled both of their two-way openings. Perhaps Philadelphia envisions Bassey taking Anthony Tolliver‘s spot on the 15-man roster, since Tolliver is on a non-guaranteed contract.

It’ll be trickier for Detroit to find a roster spot for Koprivica. The Pistons already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts and still may re-sign restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo. Stashing Koprivica overseas or in the G League could be the plan. Koprivica was born and raised in Serbia, so he might be more comfortable spending a season overseas than a typical NCAA draftee would be.