Derrick Williams

International Notes: D. Williams, Harrison, Singleton, L. Brown

While the NBA’s 2020 free agency period is still a few months away, teams in Europe are already making offseason roster moves in preparation for the 2020/21 season, and a number of former NBA players are in the news. One of those players is Pau Gasol, who is reportedly in serious talks with Barcelona about a potential one-year deal, as we relayed earlier today.

Here are a few more updates on former NBA players lining up new deals overseas:

  • Spanish team Valencia has reached an agreement to sign former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams for the coming season, the club announced in a press release. Still just 29 years old, Williams has appeared in over 400 NBA regular season games, but has spent the last couple seasons in international leagues, playing for Fenerbahce in Turkey in 2019/20.
  • Olympiacos BC in Greece has officially announced the signing of Aaron Harrison, the former Kentucky guard who played for the Hornets and Mavericks in the NBA from 2015-18. Harrison, who spent the last two seasons with Turkish team Galatasaray, signed a two-year contract with Olympiacos.
  • Former first-round pick Chris Singleton, who last appeared in the NBA in 2014 with the Wizards, has signed a multiyear contract extension with Turkish club Anadolu Efes, the team announced in a press release. It’s a two-year deal with a third-year option for the veteran forward, who joins Rodrigue Beaubois in agreeing to an extension with Anadolu Efes this week.
  • Turkish club Fenerbahce is eyeing veteran guard Lorenzo Brown, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Brown last played in the NBA during the 2018/19 season before being waived by Toronto.

And-Ones: TBT, Daniels, Whittington, Newman

A number of former NBA players are set to take part in 2020’s edition of The Basketball Tournament, an annual, winner-take-all tournament with a prize of $1MM.

As Carmine Carcieri of ESPN details, veteran guard Joe Johnson is playing in The Basketball Tournament after winning a championship and an MVP award in the BIG3 in 2019. Malachi Richardson, Tony Wroten, Johnny O’Bryant, and Markel Brown are among the others with NBA experience who will suit up for the event, per Carcieri.

More recently, a couple more notable names have joined the list of participants, with veteran guard Jarrett Jack joining Johnson’s Overseas Elite squad (Twitter link), while former lottery pick Hasheem Thabeet will be a member of the Playing For Jimmy V team.

With most professional sports still on hiatus, The Basketball Tournament should be under a larger spotlight in 2020. ESPN announced its broadcast schedule for the event today, starting with four games on July 4 and culminating in a July 14 championship.

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

  • CAA Sports is hiring Evan Daniels of 247Sports to become an agent in its college basketball coaching division, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Daniels has long been one of the most well-connected and reliable sources for college basketball and NBA draft news.
  • Free agent forward Greg Whittington, who had a strong year in Turkey in 2019/20, isn’t eligible to join an NBA team for the summer restart, but continues to receive strong offers from EuroLeague teams, including Panathinaikos BC, agent Jerry Dianis tells JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter links).
  • Former lottery pick Derrick Williams has received interest from international teams, including Khimki, but no deal is imminent, reports JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Williams, who last played in the NBA in 2017/18, spent the ’19/20 season with Fenerbahce.
  • Malik Newman, who spent a little time with the Cavaliers this season, has signed with Turkish team Bursaspor, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. Newman appeared in just one game for Cleveland, spending most of 2019/20 with the Canton Charge in the G League.

International Notes: Lin, Germany, Turkey, Powell

Jeremy Lin posted a message to fans on Instagram as he returned to China for the resumption of the CBA season, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Overseas players have come back to the nation and are undergoing a two-week quarantine before play resumes in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season,” Lin wrote. “Excited to hoop again, but leaving the bay worried and with a heavy heart for the sick, the jobless and all those fighting fear, anxiety and stress over the unknown future. Shoutout to our medical staff in the 50 states for working tirelessly and everyone keep doing your part in slowing the virus!

“It’s been an awesome 2 months camped out in the gym…basketball has never been more meaningful. The world needs basketball now more than ever. I still remember when I went through my toughest moments and worst injuries, you guys were there for me. I hope to return the favor. As all you beloved fans told me the day after my knee injury, keep fighting bc we’re #NeverDone.”

There’s more international news this morning:

  • Brose Bamberg in Germany is the latest team to permit its American players to return home, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Former NBA guard Jordan Crawford is the most recognizable name on the roster.
  • All players from the Fenerbahce team in Turkey, along with coaches and staff members, have been tested for the coronavirus and a team manager in under observation in the hospital, writes Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The roster includes former NBA players James Nunnally, Nando De Colo, Derrick Williams, Malcolm Thomas, Jan Vesely, Luigi Datome and Joffrey Lauvergne.
  • New Iona coach Rick Pitino, who had been coaching Panathinaikos in Greece since 2018 before recently leaving the team, tells Lupo that Seton Hall’s Myles Powell could have a bright future in the EuroLeague. He compares Powell to former Suns and Pelicans guard Mike James, who has become a star in Europe. “Myles Powell reminds me of Mike a little bit,” Pitino said. “Do I think he’ll be in the NBA? I think he’ll try out with a team, but I think he’ll be a terrific player over in Europe and make a lot of money and be very successful. Could he play in the NBA? I’m sure he could, but I don’t think he’s somebody you’re gonna say he’s definitely gonna make it, but he’s a very talented young man and I think he’ll get a good shot at the NBA.”

Turkey Next Stop For Derrick Williams

Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, will join defending Turkish Cup champion Fenerbahce, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Williams has reached agreement on a one-year contract.

It will be the third overseas team for Williams, who was never able to find a long-term NBA home. He signed with China’s Tianjin Gold Lions in 2017 and spent this season in Germany with Bayern Munich.

The 28-year-old forward was ticketed for stardom after two stellar years at Arizona, but lasted a little more than two seasons in Minnesota before being traded. He played for six teams in seven seasons, and his last NBA experience came in a 10-day contract with the Lakers in March of 2018.

Derrick Williams Expected To Play In Germany

SEPTEMBER 27: The agreement with Williams has been confirmed by Bayern Munich managing director Marko Pesic, Carchia reports. Williams traveled to Germany last week, but has not completed his physical because of an infection.

SEPTEMBER 18: Former lottery pick Derrick Williams appears poised to spend the 2018/19 season in Germany, according to multiple reports from international outlets. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando hears from a source that Williams has agreed to terms with Bayern Munich, after Eurohoops first reported that the veteran forward was “very close” to signing with the German club.

The second overall pick in the 2011 draft, Williams has appeared in 428 regular season NBA games over seven seasons for six teams. The 27-year-old, who has played most extensively for the Timberwolves and Kings, last appeared in the league during the 2017/18 season, joining the Lakers on a 10-day contract and seeing action in a pair of games.

While his professional résumé features plenty of NBA stops, Williams has a little international experience as well. The 6’8″ forward appeared in 15 games for China’s Tianjin Gold Lions during the 2017/18 season, averaging 20.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG.

Assuming the two sides complete their reported deal, Williams will be joining one of Europe’s top teams in Bayern Munich — in addition to playing in Germany’s BBL, Bayern Munich is also the only German club in the EuroLeague.

And-Ones: Superteams, Cook, Williams

With the 2018 NBA Finals now officially wrapped, the offseason has begun. Now, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report writes, players and teams around the league will waste no time scraping away for ways to conquer one of the sport’s greatest rosters. One of those options? Find a way to form an even more powerful superteam.

Berger writes about the rise of the modern superteam era, one that he says traces back over a decade to when the Celtics brought All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen aboard to team up with Paul Pierce and win a title. A feeling of futility matched up against those Hall of Famers, Cavaliers forward LeBron James says, contributed to his decision to in turn team up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade with the Heat.

More recently, it was what Berger calls a flaw in the salary cap system that allowed the Warriors to add Kevin Durant mere months after setting the all-time record for regular season wins. A boost in broadcasting revenue after the 2011 lockout precipitated a massive spike in the salary cap.

At the time, Berger writes, league commissioner Adam Silver pushed to spread the increase out over several seasons but the player’s union fought to keep the increase in one lump sum. The result? A $24MM salary cap increase that allowed the Warriors to sign a fourth superstar without giving up any major roster pieces.

There’s more from around the league:

  • Former Heat swingman Daequan Cook has signed an extension to return to Ironi Ness Ziona in Israel, international basketball reporter David Pick tweets. Cook last saw NBA action in 2012/13.
  • Though it’s only been seven years since he was drafted with the No. 2 pick, Derrick Williams has seen the NBA landscape around him do an about-face with regard to how it values the hybridization of player positions. Keith Langlois of Detroit’s official team site writes about how the journeyman forward auditioning for the Pistons is hoping that being a “tweener” can help him land another gig in the league.
  • Legendary hoops analyst Hubie Brown suffered a knee injury prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals and wasn’t able to broadcast over the radio, an ESPN report says. There’s no indication that the 84-year-old’s injury was self-inflicted after letting his emotions get the best of him.

Pistons Hosting Free-Agent Mini-Camp

While most NBA teams are spending their time hosting pre-draft workouts for draft-eligible prospects, the Pistons are concentrating their energy on the free agent market already, holding a free-agent minicamp today for multiple NBA hopefuls and a few former NBA players.

Bereft of a first round selection in the 2018 NBA Draft as a result of the club’s mid-season trade for Blake Griffin, the Pistons are surely hoping to get a jump start on the competition for the services of some lesser known free agents this summer.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com provides a look at the minicamp roster, with the most well-known name having to be former No. 2 overall pick, Derrick Williams, who holds career averages of 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 428 career contests.

Other invitees with NBA experience include Williams’ former teammate with the Cavs during the 2016/17 season, Jordan McRae, as well as five-year veteran John Jenkins, the No. 40 overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft – Diamond Stone, and a 10-day contract recipient from this past season – Marcus Thornton.

Lakers Sign Derrick Williams To 10-Day Deal

5:44pm: The signing is official, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet tweets. Williams will be available to play tonight.

7:54am: The Lakers are adding another former lottery pick to their roster, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who reports that free agent forward Derrick Williams is signing a 10-day contract with the club. No corresponding move will be necessary — the Lakers have 13 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Travis Wear on a 10-day deal, leaving one open roster spot.

Williams, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, has yet to play an NBA game this season. After playing for the Heat and Cavaliers in 2016/17, Williams went unsigned on the NBA free agent market and eventually headed to China to join the Tianjin Gold Lions. In 15 games in China, Williams posted 20.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG.

Before heading overseas to continue his career, the 26-year-old had appeared in 426 NBA regular season games, averaging 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG for the Timberwolves, Kings, Knicks, Heat, and Cavs. Although he has at times shown that he’s capable of being a solid rotation piece, Williams has never developed into the impact player Minnesota hoped for when the team drafted him one spot after Kyrie Irving seven years ago.

It remains to be seen whether Williams will get a chance to play regular minutes with the Lakers, but he’ll at least provide some frontcourt depth while Brandon Ingram recovers from a groin injury. He’ll be joining a roster littered with former lottery picks like himself — Williams will become the eighth current Laker who was a top-10 draft pick, and the third who was a No. 2 overall selection.

And-Ones: Jackson, Bennett, Williams, Clippers

Maryland sophomore forward Justin Jackson, a projected first-round pick, will miss the reminder of the season with a torn labrum, according to a school press release relayed by Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Jackson first suffered the injury before he joined the Terrapins and aggravated it numerous times this season. He’ll soon undergo surgery. The 6’7” Jackson was ranked as the No. 18 overall prospect by Jonathan Givony of ESPN earlier this month. He was averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

In other news from around the league:

  • Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, was acquired by the Celtics’ G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, according to the G-League team’s website. He was dealt by the Northern Arizona Suns. Bennett appeared in 14 games with Northern Arizona, averaging 11.7 PPG and 5.6 RPG.
  • Former NBA forward Derrick Williams has signed with the Tianjin Gold Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an ESPN report. Williams, 26, played a combined 50 games for the Cavaliers and Heat last season. The second overall pick in the 2011 draft also played for the Timberwolves, Kings and Knicks. He averaged 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG in his NBA career.
  • The Clippers have gotten lost in the shuffle in Los Angeles and it’s not going to get better considering the current state of the team, as Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register examines in a column. Owner Steve Ballmer has threatened to move the team to Inglewood but the Clippers’ lease at the Staples Center runs through 2024, Heisler continues. Seattle would be a natural landing place considering Ballmer’s roots there but he has brushed aside that speculation in the past, Heisler adds.

Five Notable Veteran Free Agents Still Available

While most noteworthy free agents came off the board in July, September brought with it a wave of pre-camp signings that saw the last few restricted free agents locked up, along with veteran unrestricted free agents like Tony Allen, Dante Cunningham, Aaron Brooks, and Shabazz Muhammad.

That wave of pre-camp signings created a scarcity of viable options on the list of 2017 free agents, but the shrinking group of available options still features a handful of intriguing vets. Here’s a breakdown of five names worth keeping an eye on:Deron Williams vertical

  1. Deron Williams, PG: While the former third overall pick is obviously no longer the player he was seven years ago – when he averaged 20+ PPG and 10+ APG – it was just last summer that he received $9MM from the Mavericks to be the club’s starting point guard. For the season, Williams averaged a respectable 11.0 PPG and 5.6 APG, with a .363 3PT% in 64 games for the Mavs and Cavs, but a disastrous showing in the NBA Finals against Golden State diminished his value heading into 2017/18. Still, he’s only 33 years old, and it would be surprising if he didn’t get an opportunity with an NBA team as a backup point guard this year.
  2. Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis is facing a five-game suspension to start the 2017/18 season and is coming off his worst year (8.5 PPG) since his rookie season. He’s not far removed from a 2014/15 campaign in which he averaged 18.9 PPG though, and while he’ll likely never match that figure again, this is only his age-32 season. He should still have something in the tank and could appeal to a team seeking a scorer off the bench.
  3. David Lee, PF: Like Ellis, Lee posted his worst scoring average since his rookie year last season, recording just 7.3 PPG. But Lee’s declining numbers were mostly a result of his new role in San Antonio — his .590 FG% was his best mark in a decade, and his per-minute averages weren’t far off from his career rates. Given how the value of offensive-minded, low-post bigs around the NBA has declined in recent years, however, it’s not a huge surprise that Lee has had trouble finding work.
  4. Derrick Williams, PF: Williams, of course, hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he was selected second overall in the 2011 draft. But he was a part of the Cavaliers team that went to the NBA Finals last season, and was solid when he saw action for the team, scoring 6.2 PPG on 50.5% shooting in 25 regular season contests. If former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett can get a training camp invite from an NBA team, it seems like Williams should be on a roster too.
  5. Spencer Hawes, C: Hawes’ contract made him an expendable piece in 2017, first in Charlotte and then in Milwaukee. After acquiring him at the trade deadline, the Bucks waived and stretched him in August to avoid the luxury-tax threshold. Like most of the other players on this list, Hawes’ best days are probably behind him, but his ability to knock down the occasional three-point shot (.350 career 3PT%) and to help out on the glass (9.0 career rebounds per 36 minutes) could make him a target for teams in need of frontcourt help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.