CJ Elleby

Northwest Notes: Towns, Saunders, Russell, Elleby, Daigneault

Karl-Anthony Towns‘ return to action remains up in the air, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. The Timberwolves star has been sidelined since testing positive for COVID-19 in mid-January. Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said Towns has been working out with the team on the road as he tries to get back into playing shape. He hasn’t played since January 13.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves had lost eight of 10 games without Towns entering Friday’s action, and D’Angelo Russell and Saunders don’t seem to be on the same page when the team attempts to close out games, Krawczynski notes. It takes time for a coach and a point guard to build trust, and they are working on that process right now, Krawczynski adds. Saunders is also struggling to maximize the backcourt combination of Russell and natural point guard Ricky Rubio.
  • Trail Blazers rookie CJ Elleby impressed coach Terry Stotts with his overall production when injuries thrust Elleby into the rotation on Thursday, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. The 46th pick of the draft, Elleby had 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes. “He asserted himself into the game rather than just watching others play,” Stotts said.
  • Thunder coach Mark Daigneault likes the makeshift format of playing the same opponent in back-to-back games this season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. “In the NBA schedule, you run into something that bothers you and you end up chasing your shadow but you’ve got a different opponent coming around the corner,” Daigneault said. “And so it’s hard to really spend too much time reflecting on the last game because you’ve got to turn the page. The series allow you to do both.”

Blazers Notes: Jones, Carmelo, Covington, Elleby

Before he committed to the Trail Blazers, Derrick Jones had free agency meetings with the Kings and Timberwolves, as Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times details in an interesting blow-by-blow account of Jones’ night on November 20.

According to Abrams, Jones mostly listened and nodded during Sacramento’s eight-minute pitch, but was more engaged and asked questions on a call with Portland that lasted nearly an hour. Jones seemed ready to commit to the Blazers on the spot, but his agent Aaron Turner said they’d let the team know by the end of the night.

Jones was also impressed by the Timberwolves’ pitch that came next, but was still leaning toward Portland’s offer. The Blazers had said they’d be talking to other free agents over the course of the night and would sign the first one that called back to agree to their offer, so Jones had to make a fairly quick decision, Abrams writes.

After Turner called back the Wolves to see if they could increase their offer at all, he told them Jones would be signing elsewhere, and contacted the Blazers to accept their two-year offer worth the full mid-level.

“Getting a guy like Derrick — an elite athlete, protects the rim, great finisher, rates in the 80th percentile in blocks and steals — was a big win for us,” president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said of the signing this week, per Jason Quick of The Athletic.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Before Carmelo Anthony agreed to re-sign with Portland, he and Olshey talked about his potential role, discussing the possibility that the 10-time All-Star could come off the bench this season. “Ideally, for him, he would still start. I think that’s where his mindset is — he’s never come off the bench,” Olshey told reporters this week, per Quick. “Obviously, that will be (coach Terry Stotts‘) call. But I think the conversation was, ‘Make the decision to come back based on the reality that you will likely come off the bench.'”
  • Olshey added that he believes it makes more sense to have Anthony as part of the second unit, since he can be a featured scorer off the bench, whereas newly-added forward Robert Covington doesn’t need the ball much, making him a “perfect complement” to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
  • One of the Blazers’ top offseason goals was to find someone who can be their fourth-best player behind Lillard, McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic. As Quick writes, the Blazers believes Covington will be that player. “Now we know we have a fourth guy every night that can make a high enough impact that can give us a chance to win,” Olshey said.
  • Olshey expressed excitement about CJ Elleby, the No. 46 overall pick in the draft who has signed a guaranteed two-year, minimum-salary contract with the club. “I think he is a really good basketball player,” Olshey said, according to Quick. “I think we will all probably anticipate that this year will be an apprenticeship for him, but he will have a chance to compete every day with our younger players. He has a chance to have a very long career.”

Blazers Sign Second-Round Pick CJ Elleby

NOVEMBER 24: Elleby’s deal will be fully guaranteed, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).


NOVEMBER 22: The Trail Blazers have signed second-round draft pick CJ Elleby. according to a team press release.

It’s a two-year minimum deal, according to The Athletic’s Jason Quick (Twitter link). He’ll receive $898,310 next season and $1,517,981 in 2021/22.

The 6’6” Elleby was taken with the 46th overall pick. Elleby, 20, spent two years at Washington State, where he averaged 16.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.4 SPG in 32.1 MPG. Elleby, the first player to be drafted from the school since 2011, was an All-Pac-12 First Team selection last season.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Stanford’s Tyrell Terry Will Remain In Draft, Go Pro

Stanford guard Tyrell Terry has decided to keep his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool after initially testing waters, according to reports from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link) and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. As Givony observes, Terry will be the first one-and-done freshman in Stanford history.

“I’m confident in my game and ready to compete at the highest level, against the best players in the world, and to learn from the best coaches in the world,” Terry told ESPN. “I still plan on continuing my education and getting my degree from Stanford. But for now, I’m ready for this challenge.”

Terry, who added that he has received “very positive” feedback from NBA teams, comes in at No. 44 on Givony’s big board at ESPN.com. The youngster is even more highly regarded by other experts — Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets that Terry ranks eighth on his board.

Terry established himself as a dangerous outside shooter in his first and only college season, knocking down 40.8% of his three-pointers and 89.1% of his free throws. He averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.4 SPG in 31 games (32.6 MPG) for the Cardinal.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Washington State CJ Elleby has decided to forgo his remaining college eligibility, keeping his name in the 2020 draft pool and signing with an agent, he revealed today in a Twitter video. Elleby, who averaged 18.4 PPG and 7.8 RPG as a sophomore, doesn’t show up on ESPN’s top-100 big board, but he’s one of the 105 prospects that executives want to see at a potential combine.
  • North Carolina State will have forward D.J. Funderburk back for his senior season, announcing in a press release that he’s withdrawing from the draft. “It was a unique process, especially this year with everything going on in the world,” Funderburk said of testing the draft waters, “but I appreciate everybody that took the time to give me feedback.”
  • San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell announced on Instagram that he’s headed back to school for his senior season rather than going pro. Mitchell averaged 12.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a .393 3PT% in 32 games (25.8 MPG) for the Aztecs in 2019/20.
  • We passed along several other draft decisions earlier today.

Draft Decisions: Jarreau, Elleby, Blazevic, Krejci

Houston guard DeJon Jarreau will enter the NBA draft without hiring an agent, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. He averaged 9.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists during his junior season with the Cougars.

“I’m gonna test the waters, go through the process and get a draft grade. I want to get evaluated. If I don’t like what I hear I plan on coming back,” Jarreau said (Twitter link). “Basketball is my world. I’ve played all my life to get to this point. Coach (Kelvin) Sampson has helped me a lot, from being a basketball coach to a major role model (Twitter link). I’m very nervous because you never know what can happen. This is a big step. It’s always been my dream. So of course nervous, but confident.” (Twitter link)

There are more draft decisions to pass along:

  • CJ Elleby, a sophomore forward from Washington State, has entered the draft but plans to preserve his eligibility, a sources tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Elleby averaged 18.4 PPG and 7.8 RPG this season and was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection.
  • Lithuanian center Marek Blazevic has also declared for the draft, agent Tadas Bulotas tells Givony (Twitter link). The 18-year-old stands 6’11” and played professionally with Rytas this year.
  • Czech guard Vit Krejci, who saw regular minutes with Zaragoza this season, has announced he will enter the draft, Givony tweets. Bulotas also confirmed the decision for Krejci, who is 6’7″ and 19 years old.

Draft Decisions: DeLaurier, Waters, Elleby, Others

As we relayed on Monday evening, Duke is losing one key member of its 2019/20 squad, with center Marques Bolden opting to keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool and go pro. However, the Blue Devils did get some good news on the draft front.

According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter), junior big man Javin DeLaurier has opted to withdraw from the 2019 draft and return to school for his senior year.

DeLaurier hasn’t played a huge role for Duke in his first three seasons, but with Bolden out of the picture, he could play more significant minutes in ’19/20. In 38 games (16 starts) last season, DeLaurier posted 3.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.3 BPG with a .747 FG% in 16.3 minutes per contest. He had a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) in Duke’s Elite 8 loss to Michigan State.

Here are more of the latest draft decisions made by this year’s early entrants in advance of Wednesday’s deadline:

  • Shaw junior guard Amir Hinton and LSU sophomore guard Tremont Waters are keeping their names in the 2019 draft pool, agent Kim Grillier tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • A pair of Waters’ teammates, junior guards Marlon Taylor and Skylar Mays, will return to LSU for the 2019/20 season after testing the draft waters, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Kevon Harris, a junior guard out of Stephen F. Austin, is pulling out of the draft and retaining his college eligibility, reports Rothstein (via Twitter).
  • After testing the draft waters, Washington State forward CJ Elleby has elected to return to school for his sophomore season, tweets Rothstein.
  • We can also remove David DiLeo‘s name from the early entrant list, according to Rothstein, who tweets that the forward is headed back to Central Michigan for his senior year.

Draft Notes: Brazdeikis, Pistons, Pacers, Dort, Wooten

University of Michigan freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis is strongly leaning toward staying the draft, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. “Definitely leaning toward staying in,” he said while working out for the Pistons on Monday. Brazdeikis’ representatives have told him he’ll go anywhere from No. 20-40 in the draft, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony currently pegs the power forward at No. 46 overall.

We have more developments regarding draft prospects:

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Hornets

There have been no recent updates on the Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, leading to speculation that Washington is waiting to make a run at current Nuggets president of basketball ops Tim Connelly.

While Connelly’s Nuggets are still alive in the playoffs, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that if Connelly is the Wizards’ man, they should go after him now. As Aldridge points out, active postseason runs didn’t stop the Timberwolves from hiring Gersson Rosas, or the Suns from naming Monty Williams their new head coach.

It’s not entirely clear if the Wizards are still targeting Connelly, but Aldridge hears from several sources that Denver’s head of basketball ops would be “delighted” to run the Wizards. A previous report referred to the Wizards’ open position as Connelly’s “dream job.” Connelly is still under contract with the Nuggets, but if the Wizards make an offer that significantly exceeds his current salary – which Aldridge says is “just north” of $2MM per year – then he could go to Denver’s ownership in good faith and ask for the opportunity to run his hometown team.

So far, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, and Rosas for the front office vacancy, Aldridge confirms.

As we wait to see what the Wizards do to replace Ernie Grunfeld, here’s more from around the Southeast…

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)