Darius Days

Heat Notes: Crowder, Days, Offseason, Haslem

Veteran forward Jae Crowder would welcome a return to the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, even though the Suns are said to be exploring Crowder’s trade market, a deal that sends him from Phoenix to Miami will be tricky to work out.

As Jackson writes, the Suns probably have zero interest in taking on Duncan Robinson‘s pricey long-term contract, and any other players the Heat could realistically use as salary-matching pieces in a Crowder trade aren’t eligible to be dealt until December or January. On top of that, Jackson would be surprised if Miami is willing to give up a future first-round pick to acquire Crowder, a 32-year-old on an expiring contract.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Spurs were surprised when Darius Days signed a two-way contract with the Heat, according to Jackson, who says San Antonio had hoped to bring Days to training camp and have him compete for a two-way spot. One other team besides the Spurs offered Days a two-way deal, but the undrafted rookie out of LSU chose the Heat in part due to their track record of developing young talent, Jackson explains.
  • In another story for The Miami Herald, Jackson revisits the Heat’s offseason moves – including their decision not to go into the tax or to impose a hard cap on themselves – and wonders if it might’ve made sense for the team to offer its bi-annual exception to T.J. Warren to address its hole at power forward. Warren ended up signing a minimum-salary contract with Brooklyn.
  • Longtime Heat big man Udonis Haslem believes he’s “very qualified” to be part of the franchise’s ownership group and has already started talking to team executives about eventually getting a stake in the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It will continue to rev up,” Haslem said of those discussions. “I’m going to continue to have them. I’m very ambitious and I’ve been creating a lot of the communication. But they’ve been receptive.” Haslem added that he wants to “learn everything from ticket sales to marketing” and be the sort of owner who brings value to the club.
  • In a separate article for The Herald, Chiang examines five preseason questions facing the Heat, including whether Tyler Herro will sign a rookie scale extension by the October 17 deadline and whether Kyle Lowry can set himself up for a strong second season in Miami.

Heat Notes: Days, Jovic, Highsmith, Allman

After spending most of Summer League with the Spurs, Darius Days was surprised to get a two-way contract from the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Days, who averaged 13.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in three games in Las Vegas, said he didn’t work out with Miami prior to the draft.

“It definitely caught me by surprise,” he said. “It was an exciting feeling. They gave me the call and I was excited. I was just trying to play my way into something this past week.”

An undersized big man at 6’7″, Days compares himself to P.J. Tucker, who just left the Heat to sign with the Sixers. Days, who said he’s versatile enough to play anywhere in the front court, has studied Tucker’s game to understand what makes him effective.

“He can rebound the ball, he can guard bigger guys,” Days said. “He definitely switches and plays great defense. He talks on defense. He just does the little things. I mean, he’s a champion for a reason. So I like to model my game after the little things that he does.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • First-round pick Nikola Jovic saw limited playing time in Las Vegas because of a quad contusion, but he appears to be a long-term project rather than someone who will help right away, Chiang states in the same story. Jovic, who recently turned 19, had one great shooting game in the California Classic, but struggled with his shot in the other three Summer League games that he played.
  • Haywood Highsmith showed promise throughout Summer League and could be a part of the Heat’s rotation next season, Chiang adds. Highsmith only has a $50K guarantee on his contract for now, but his versatility on defense may make him valuable enough to keep on the roster.
  • Kyle Allman Jr. finished off the Heat’s Summer League schedule with a 26-point outing Saturday night as Miami rallied past the Clippers, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 24-year-old guard was the team’s best offensive player this summer, Winderman adds, but he already has a contract in France and may earn more money by returning to Paris Basketball.

Spurs Notes: Sochan, Branham, Hall, Days

Most of the NBA’s top draft picks saw at least some playing time in Las Vegas, but not Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan, whose Summer League plans were derailed by COVID-19, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The ninth overall selection tested positive for the virus shortly after the draft and couldn’t practice with the Summer League squad. He agreed with the team’s decision to not have him try to play in any games.

“I didn’t have any injuries, but COVID still affects you, affects your lungs,” Sochan said.“I didn’t practice, and I was out of shape. … It made sense for me not to play here and I am always going to listen to the people in the organization.”

Sochan said he “stayed in bed and slept a lot” after contracting COVID, but he felt better after three days. He has spent most of his time in Las Vegas doing weight training and working with Summer League coach Mitch Johnson to learn the team’s playbook. He has also been a prominent cheerleader during the games and has been impressed by fellow first-round picks Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley.

“I think both have done great,” Sochan said. “There are some areas where they could have done better, but it’s a learning experience for everyone. (Two-way player) Dominick Barlow has also done well. I think it’s been a learning experience for them. They just want to learn and win.”

There’s more on the Spurs:

  • Branham turned in his best performance Saturday in San Antonio’s final Summer League game, Orsborn notes in a separate story. The 20th pick in the draft scored 23 points while hitting 8-of-15 shots from the floor and 5-of-8 from three-point range. “Him being decisive is going to be the key,” Johnson said. “He gets in between sometimes with, ‘Should I drive it? Should I shoot it?’ Or he’s thinking, ‘I missed the last one.’ When you are as versatile and as skilled as he is, you just need to play and be aggressive. … That’s going to be one of his strengths (three-point shooting), so he needs to try to score.”
  • Jordan Hall, an undrafted rookie out of St. Joseph’s, declared for the draft in 2021 but took the Spurs’ advice and returned to school for another year, Orsborn states in another piece. Hall, a combo forward who’s competing for an open two-way slot, reminds a lot of people of former Spur Kyle Anderson.
  • Johnson called it “bittersweet” to have Darius Days sign a two-way deal with the Heat after a strong performance with the Spurs, but he said that’s one of the purposes of Summer League, Orsborn tweets. “It’s all about these guys either finding jobs or trying to promote themselves within their current job,” Johnson said. “So that’s good on him.”

Heat Sign Garrett, Days To Two-Way Deals; Waive Smart, Mulder

The Heat have signed Marcus Garrett and Darius Days to two-way contracts, the team announced in a press release. Miami had to waive Javonte Smart and Mychal Mulder to create space for Garrett and Days, who signed ahead of the club’s final summer league game.

Garrett, a defensive-minded guard, has impressed the Heat with his effort and athleticism. Miami signed him to a two-way contract after last year’s summer league, then waived the 23-year-old in January.

Days, 22, went undrafted this year after spending four seasons at LSU. He averaged 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in his senior year. At 6’7″ and 245 pounds, he possesses the size to play and defend multiple positions for Miami.

Days had been playing summer league with the Spurs, and a report last month indicated that he had reached an agreement to sign San Antonio. Either their deal was only for summer league, or Days decided to take a two-way offer from Miami over an Exhibit 10 contract from the Spurs.

Smart struggled during the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League, but he is only 23 years old. Mulder, 28, is a proven three-point specialist who shot 40% from deep with the Warriors in 2020/21.

The Heat remain in the hunt for Nets superstar Kevin Durant and Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, both of whom would require Miami to part with several young assets. The team appears eager to examine two young players as the possibility of a blockbuster deal looms.

Spurs Agree To Deals With Kyler Edwards, Darius Days, Jordan Hall

The Spurs and undrafted rookie guard Kyler Edwards have agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal, agent Aman Dhesi tells Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link). Edwards will also play for San Antonio’s Summer League team.

Edwards spent his first three college years at Texas Tech before transferring to Houston for the 2021/22 season. He was a full-time starter for the Cougars as a senior, averaging 13.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game in 37 appearances (34.1 MPG), though his field goal percentage dipped to 36.9%. Edwards opted to forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility and go pro this year.

In addition to Edwards, the Spurs have also reached deals with undrafted rookies Darius Days and Jordan Hall, according to Jake Weingarten of StockRisers.com and Richard Stayman of MavsDraft.com, respectively (Twitter links).

Days, a forward out of LSU, is the No. 24 prospect on ESPN’s list of undrafted rookies after averaging 13.7 PPG and 7.8 RPG with a .350 3PT% as a senior in 2021/22. Hall, a guard out of Saint Joseph’s, put up 14.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 5.8 APG with a .362 3PT% in his sophomore season.

No further details were reported on the deals for Days and Hall, so it’s unclear if they’re Exhibit 10 pacts like Edwards’ agreement. An Exhibit 10 contract can be converted into a two-way deal or can award a player a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived before the regular season and joins his team’s G League affiliate.

The Spurs’ signings can become official after the new league year begins next week.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Daniels, Kroenke, Jazz

G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels was the headliner of the Trail Blazers‘ first pre-draft workout on Tuesday, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Of the six prospects who auditioned for Portland, Daniels is the only one expected to receive consideration at No. 7, assuming the Blazers keep the pick and he’s still on the board.

Julian Champagnie (St. John’s), Darius Days (LSU), Mouhamed Gueye (Washington State), Fatts Russell (Maryland), and Dallas Walton (Colorado), all of whom are viewed as probable second-round or UDFA prospects, were the other players to work out for the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. In addition to controlling the No. 7 overall pick, Portland also holds the 36th and 57th selections in this month’s draft.

  • The media availability for Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke, who is expected to address Tim Connelly‘s departure, was postponed again, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Kroenke was originally scheduled to speak last Thursday, then had that session tentatively pushed back to Tuesday after he tested positive for COVID-19. It will likely happen later this week once he clears the health and safety protocols, says Singer.
  • The Jazz held a free agent mini-camp on Tuesday, according to our JD Shaw, who notes (via Twitter) that G League standouts Justin Tillman and Craig Randall II were among the attendees.
  • Loyola guard Lucas Williamson has a pre-draft workout on tap with the Jazz on Thursday, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Williamson has already worked out for several teams, including the Bucks, Celtics, and Grizzlies, Jones adds.
  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune proposes 29 hypothetical offseason trades involving the Jazz — one with each of the NBA’s teams.

Draft Notes: Banchero, Harper, Withdrawals, Boeheim, Combine, Mock Drafts

Paolo Banchero is expected to be among the first names off the board in next month’s draft, and the Duke star did some campaigning to be the No. 1 overall pick in an interview with ESPN following Tuesday’s lottery (video link).

Banchero earned second-team All-America honors during his freshman season with the Blue Devils, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. Possessing exceptional passing skills and offensive versatility for his 6’10” size, Banchero told the ESPN crew he patterns his game after players such as LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Carmelo Anthony and said he’ll be ready to contribute right away to whichever team drafts him.

“From day one, they’ll get versatility for sure,” Banchero said. “There’s not a position on the court where I’m not comfortable, with the ball in my hands or the ball off my hands. I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be an immediate impact because I’m ready physically and I’m ready mentally. I am ready to get to work.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports, officially ending his college career, according to Brian Fonseca of NJ.com. The senior earned honorable mention All-America honors, was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and helped the Scarlet Knights reach the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons after a 30-year absence.
  • Kyle Lofton, formerly of St. Bonaventure, has decided to withdraw from the draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. He will transfer to Florida for next season.
  • Andre Kelly, who played the last four years for California, is also taking his name out of the draft, Rothstein adds (Twitter link). He will use his extra year of eligibility to transfer to UC Santa Barbara.
  • Hofstra’s Aaron Estrada also plans to exit the draft and return to school, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim has worked out for the Knicks, Kings and Warriors and had an impressive showing at the G League Elite Camp, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Boeheim will hold a Pro Day in Chicago today.
  • Seven players from the Elite Camp were able to earn spots at the NBA’s draft combine, the G League announced on Twitter. They are LSU’s Darius Days, Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr., Connecticut’s Tyrese Martin, Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, Texas Tech’s Bryson Williams and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson.
  • Auburn forward Jabari Smith is number one on the list of top 20 prospects by John Hollinger of The Athletic. Banchero is the only other prospect in Hollinger’s top tier, and he ranks Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren right below them.
  • Several new mock drafts were released after Tuesday’s lottery. Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic both have Smith going to the Magic at No. 1, followed by Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2 and Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Holmgren going to Orlando, Smith to Oklahoma City and Banchero to Houston.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

David Roddy, Jake LaRavia, Others Declaring For NBA Draft

Colorado State junior David Roddy will test the NBA draft waters this spring, retaining the option to return to school, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Roddy, who is the No. 31 prospect on ESPN’s big board, was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year this season after averaging 19.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.2 SPG with a .571/.438/.691 shooting line in 31 games (32.9 MPG). The 6’6″, 260-pound forward helped lead Colorado State to its first NCAA tournament appearance in nine years.

“I am looking forward to showing NBA teams that I can thrive in any situation,” Roddy told ESPN. “Whether the pace is slow or fast, free flowing or stagnant, there are so many facets and intricacies that I have learned over time that will help me be one of the best and most important players on the court. But mostly I am just excited to chase a childhood dream and make it a reality.”

Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia is also entering the 2022 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on Tuesday night (via Twitter).

After transferring from Indiana State to Wake Forest, LaRavia was a full-time starter for the Demon Deacons as a junior in 2021/22, averaging 14.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.7 SPG on .559/.384/.777 shooting in 33 games (34.2 MPG).

According to Mike Schmitz of ESPN, LaRavia doesn’t project to be a “true defensive stopper,” but he players hard and has good instincts and should be able to defend multiple positions at the next level. He’s currently the No. 40 prospect on ESPN’s board.

Here are some of the other players who are putting their names in the 2022 draft pool:

Expected to forgo remaining NCAA eligibility and stay in the draft:

Testing the draft waters:

Our running list of early entrants for this year’s draft can be found right here.