Desmond Bane

Grizzlies Sign Desmond Bane To Rookie Contract

The final pick in the first round of the 2020 draft has signed his rookie scale contract, as the Grizzlies issued a press release today confirming they’ve locked up No. 30 selection Desmond Bane.

Bane, who tested the draft waters as a junior in 2019, returned to TCU for his senior year and had a strong season. He averaged 16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 3.9 APG on .452/.442/.789 shooting in 32 games (36.0 MPG) for the Horned Frogs.

The Grizzlies acquired Bane’s rights from the Celtics in a three-team trade that saw them surrender a pair of future second-round picks and cash while taking on Mario Hezonja‘s contract.

Assuming he receives his maximum allowable contract (120% of the rookie scale), Bane will have a first-year salary of $1.94MM and projects to earn nearly $10MM over the life of his four-year rookie deal.

Ten of 30 first-round picks have now officially signed their first NBA deals, as our tracker shows.

Trail Blazers Acquire Enes Kanter From Celtics

10:21pm: The trade is now official, according to press release from the Celtics and Grizzlies.

The deal will send Kanter to Portland, Hezonja and the rights to Bane to Memphis, and two future second-round picks to Boston. The Grizzlies will also send cash to Portland in the move.

One of the two second-rounders headed from Memphis to Boston is the Grizzlies’ own 2025 pick. The other will be the more favorable of the following:

  • Houston’s 2023 second-rounder.
  • The less favorable of Memphis’ and Dallas’ 2023 second-rounders.

2:46pm: The Trail Blazers are reuniting with veteran center Enes Kanter, having reached a deal to acquire him from the Celtics, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski explains, the deal will be folded into the draft-night agreement between the Celtics and Grizzlies that saw Memphis land the No. 30 pick and select TCU’s Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies will receive Mario Hezonja from Portland in the swap, while the Celtics will get a future draft consideration from Memphis.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Offseason Trades]

Kanter, 28, enjoyed a brief, productive stint in Portland to finish the 2018/19 season, averaging 11.4 PPG and 9.7 RPG in 16 playoff games that year as the team made it to the Western Conference Finals. The two sides were unable to come to an agreement in free agency a year ago, resulting in Kanter signing with the Celtics. A year later, he’s back with the Blazers.

The move will give Portland a veteran backup for starting center Jusuf Nurkic and is probably a strong signal that free agent big man Hassan Whiteside isn’t coming back.

The Celtics, meanwhile, having already traded away Vincent Poirier this week, have created a little extra cap and roster flexibility in advance of free agency, though they’ll need to add a frontcourt player or two to make up for losing a pair of centers.

Hezonja and Kanter both exercised player options for 2020/21 earlier this week, so they’re on expiring contracts. Hezonja will earn $1.98MM, while Kanter will make just over $5MM. The Grizzlies will take on Hezonja using one of their trade exceptions and Portland will do the same for Kanter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Edwards, Haliburton, Pistons, Cavs, Suns, More

While John Hollinger of The Athletic believes Anthony Edwards will still come off the board very early in next Wednesday’s draft, he notes within his new mock draft that many teams don’t seem especially enthusiastic about the former Georgia guard. Those teams believe in Edwards’ talent, but a “blah” Pro Day workout and some “iffy” background reports have made them nervous, according to Hollinger.

Hollinger has also heard that LaMelo Ball and Nico Mannion are among the players who haven’t necessarily had great interviews with teams, though it remains to be seen how much it’ll affect where they’re drafted.

On the other end of the spectrum, everybody seems to be high on Tyrese Haliburton, according to Hollinger, who says the former Iowa State guard is benefiting from 1-on-0 workouts and the background on him is “impeccable.” Desmond Bane and Isaiah Stewart are among the other prospects who have received some positive buzz for the impressions they’ve made in interviews with teams, writes Hollinger.

Hollinger’s mock draft for The Athletic is full of interesting tidbits and is worth checking out in full if you’re a subscriber. Here are a few more highlights:

  • Hollinger confirms that the Pistons are very interested in Florida State’s Patrick Williams – as has been previously reported – and suggests there are whispers that Detroit has made Williams a promise.
  • Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija are the only two names Hollinger has heard regularly connected to the Cavaliers at No. 5.
  • Onyeka Okongwu looks like a lock to go to Washington at No. 9 if he makes it that far, according to Hollinger, who says the question isn’t whether the Wizards will take Okongwu — it’s who they’ll take if he’s not available.
  • “The word is pretty strong” that the Suns are eyeing a backcourt piece with the No. 10 pick, prompting Hollinger to point out that the team may be looking to address the power forward spot in free agency.
  • There are rumors that Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski received a promise from a team in the first round. As Hollinger observes, Pokusevski’s agent Jason Ranne used to work for the Thunder, who have been willing to make draft promises in the past. However, even if Oklahoma City did make Pokusevski a promise, Hollinger is skeptical that he’ll still be on the board at No. 25.

Givony’s Latest: Ball, Edwards, Hornets, Williams, More

Barring a surprise trade that shakes up the top of the draft, LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman still look like the three players who will come off the board first on November 18, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link). Givony, who has had conversations with multiple team executives, scouts, and agents, says most teams’ front offices are operating under the assumption that Ball will be the No. 1 pick.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Timberwolves will be the team making and keeping that top pick in the 2020 draft. According to Givony, executives view the Bulls, Pistons, and Thunder as some of the most realistic candidates to trade up to No. 1 for Ball. Oklahoma City has the No. 25 pick, which would make trading up more difficult, but the Thunder do have a massive collection of future first-rounders they could dangle if they’re genuinely interested in moving up.

Here are several more draft-related tidbits from Givony’s latest roundup:

  • According to Givony, some front offices were underwhelmed by Edwards’ Pro Day performance. Tyrese Maxey, who was in great shape and shot the ball very well, may have made Edwards look a little worse by comparison, some executives told ESPN.
  • Despite reports that they’re eyeing Onyeka Okongwu, the Hornets haven’t seriously considered picking any prospects outside the top tier of Ball, Wiseman, and Edwards, sources tell Givony.
  • After the top three, the next tier of prospects is made up of Deni Avdija, Obi Toppin, Isaac Okoro, Tyrese Haliburton, Patrick Williams, and Okongwu, according to Givony, who says those players all seem likely to be selected in the 4-9 range. Givony adds that Williams has boosted his stock in recent months and is receiving consideration as high as No. 4. Givony also confirms that the Pistons have legit interest in Williams at No. 7, which was previously reported.
  • Picks belonging to the Kings (No. 12), Celtics (14), Timberwolves (17), Mavericks (18), Nets (19), and Heat (20) have popped up frequently in recent trade talks, sources tell ESPN.
  • Upperclassmen like Malachi Flynn, Desmond Bane, Jordan Nwora, and Xavier Tillman are candidates to come off the board late in the first round, since contending teams with late first-round picks may be prioritizing “plug-and-play” prospects who will be best equipped to handle the quick turnaround between the draft and the start of the NBA season, says Givony.

Draft Notes: Okongwu, Stewart, Woodard, Bane

He’s unlikely to be the first center taken in next month’s draft, but USC’s Onyeka Okongwu believes he can become the best big man in the 2020 class, writes Mike Schmitz of ESPN. Most mock drafts have former Memphis center James Wiseman going in the top three with Okongwu slotted a few picks later. The former Trojan has confidence in what he can offer an NBA team.

“I feel like I’m higher than all of them,” Okongwu said. “I just do all the little things well. I just play basketball. I know how to win. … I just want to be impactful and have an essential role in helping a team win.”

Okongwu was USC’s best player in his lone season at the school, averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in 28 games. He also had a true shooting percentage over 65% and ranked 10th in the NCAA in player efficiency. His defensive versatility, particularly his ability to disrupt the pick-and-roll, should translate well to the next level.

“It’s natural,” Okongwu said. “My AAU coach used to tell me, ‘You can have a bad day on offense but never a bad day on defense.’ When he told me that, it always stuck with me the rest of my life and now it shows.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Washington’s Isaiah Stewart considers himself “the biggest sleeper in the draft,” according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. Stewart has slid in draft projections since the start of last season and is now considered a late first-rounder. He believes the disrupted pre-draft process, including the lack of a traditional draft combine, cost him an opportunity to show teams what he can do. “People forgot who I am,” Stewart said. “I’m not sure if it’s because we had a losing season or not. But these guys that they have in the draft over me are guys I’ve been beating my whole life.”
  • In a separate story, Mississippi State’s Robert Woodard tells Kalbrosky he’s been getting feedback from NBA teams that puts him in a range between the 25th and 40th pick. “A lot of teams are pretty interested in my game,” Woodard said. “It’s just a matter of being able to prove myself, whether it be through the virtual combine or otherwise. … I want to prove myself and establish who I am for the teams because a lot of teams are very interested in me, but they just don’t know my full potential yet.”
  • TCU’s Desmond Bane will have met with all 30 NBA teams by the end of the month and is making an impression with his character and work ethic, notes CJ Moore of The Athletic. The 22-year-old is among the oldest players in the draft and brings a cerebral approach to the game.

Draft Notes: Wolves, Wiseman, Warriors, Bane

Although there may not be a future superstar in the 2020 draft class, it’s viewed as a relatively deep group, with potential role players available in round two, writes Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. However, due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Vecenie’s sources expect teams to try to get more second-rounders to sign two-way contracts or to play for a year or two overseas.

As Vecenie notes, this could create an interesting dilemma for teams and players in the second round. Last year, prospects like Terence Davis and Luguentz Dort likely would’ve been drafted if they’d been willing to sign two-way deals, but opted to bet on themselves and ended up in good situations (and with more favorable contracts) as undrafted free agents. Vecenie wonders if more prospects will look to follow a similar path and play hardball with teams in 2020.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Within his latest mock draft, Vecenie says that the Timberwolves are doing due diligence on all of the top prospects in the draft, including players like James Wiseman who wouldn’t necessarily be great fits.
  • Speaking of Wiseman, Vecenie writes that there’s been some “real enthusiasm” among evaluators about the big man’s play in workouts and in runs with other draft prospects. A number of executives view Wiseman as one of the safest picks in the draft, since his size, length, and athleticism should translate to the NBA, Vecenie adds.
  • Addressing the constant rumors coming out of Golden State about the Warriors‘ alleged draft preferences, Vecenie says he thinks the club is trying to mask its true intentions for that No. 2 overall pick in order to retain as much trade value if possible. If rival teams don’t know which player the Warriors actually want at No. 2, it could give Golden State more leverage to make a deal.
  • Sources around the NBA have told Vecenie they’d be surprised if TCU’s Desmond Bane falls out of the first round, since so many teams drafting in the 20s could use a sharpshooting wing. Bane is currently the No. 41 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link), teams picking near the top of the draft were pushing hardest for in-person visits for prospects, and not everyone is thrilled about the concessions made by the NBA. Some executives have concerns about safety and last-minute scheduling, says Givony.

Eastern Notes: Heat, Thibodeau, Bane, Nets

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes his assistants rightfully deserve consideration for head coaching vacancies around the league, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

Both Dan Craig and Chris Quinn have seen their names linked to various teams this year, with Spoelstra backing the idea as a whole.

“I think on our staff we have several future head coaches,” Spoelstra said, as relayed by Winderman. “I don’t want them to just be assistant coaches their whole career. I want them to be able to grow and have opportunities to be head coaches at some point.”

The Heat have previously lost coaches such as Juwan Howard, who left for Michigan, and David Fizdale, who left to become head coach of the Grizzlies and Knicks. Spoelstra credits the coaching tree to team president Pat Riley, a former coach himself.

“I think it’s just the whole Heat program, and that started with Pat,” Spoelstra said. “I think he’s taught us all how to become basketball coaches, at all levels, where you have to learn scouting, offense, defense, tendencies in the league, learning how to coach on the floor and teach.

“That was all demanded from Pat. And then growing, that culture of growing you.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • For the Knicks, it won’t be business as usual with Tom Thibodeau now at the helm, Steve Popper of Newsday opines. Thibodeau is looking to ramp up the team’s offseason workload and work closely with the players, though he’ll have to adhere to the league’s COVID-19 guidelines first. “Obviously, we’d have to follow the protocol that’s set forth by the league, but we will have an opportunity to do the individual stuff with guys that are in the bubble up until October 6,” Thibodeau said. “Then we’re waiting on what we’ll be able to do with the guys that are out of the market. So whatever the league tells us we can do, we will certainly do. And if not we’ll find other ways to get to our development piece whether it’s through film, communications with the players. But we‘re planning on spending a lot of time with our players this offseason.”
  • TCU forward Desmond Bane could be the perfect 3-and-D player for the Nets to draft, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Bane credits current Nets forward Joe Harris for a key part of his game, explaining how he’s studied Harris’ ability to work off screens and make shots off different movements. The Nets have the No. 19 pick in this year’s draft, while Harris is set to reach unrestricted free agency.
  • NetsDaily.com examines the Nets‘ draft situation and which player could be selected, suggesting that Bane, Maryland big man Jalen Smith and others could fit nicely with Brooklyn, a team that’s expected to be at the forefront of contention next season. The draft will take place on Wednesday, November 18.

Draft Notes: Ball, Haliburton, Okongwu, Bane

LaMelo Ball was the highest-profile prospect to take part in this year’s virtual draft combine, but as we noted earlier this week, there was an expectation that his participation in the event might be limited.

According to Jeremy Woo of SI.com (Twitter link), that will indeed be the case. Sources tell Woo that Ball has withdrawn from the remainder of the combine after taking part in a media session on Monday, as well as the standard league interview.

According to Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link), Ball will still interview with team representatives, but won’t participate in the combine’s on-court program, so teams scouting him will have to rely on existing video.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Projected top-10 pick Tyrese Haliburton said today that he has interviewed with the Knicks, Warriors, and Pistons so far during the pre-draft process (video link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv). Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link) has heard that the Pistons – who hold the No. 7 pick – “really like” Haliburton.
  • In a Q&A with Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, former USC big man Onyeka Okongwu said that he aspires to emulate Bam Adebayo‘s game at the NBA level. Like Haliburton, Okongwu is a projected top-10 pick, ranking fifth overall on ESPN’s top-100 list.
  • TCU sharpshooter Desmond Bane has interviewed with nearly every team in the NBA, telling reporters today that he has spoken to 26 clubs (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). Bane, the No. 41 prospect on ESPN’s big board, said that his agent thinks the Suns, Sixers, and Bucks have shown the most interest in him, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

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.

Draft Rumors: Draft Date, Hawks, Suns, Toppin, Wolves

Most people around the NBA think this year’s draft will eventually be moved back from October 16 to sometime in the middle of November, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. We heard last month that there was momentum toward delaying the draft and the start of free agency.

As Bontemps explains, the idea would be to give the NBA and the players’ union some time after the season ends to get a handle on the league’s finances after what has been a very unusual 2019/20 season — and ahead of what figures to be another unusual year in 2020/21. Delaying the draft and free agency would give both sides plenty of time to establish a salary cap for next season and new projections going forward. It would also give teams time to reconsider their plans based on the new cap.

As we wait for official word from the NBA on a possible delay, here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Among the league insiders polled by Bontemps, two teams – the Hawks at No. 6 and the Suns at No. 10 – were mentioned most frequently as candidates to be active in trade talks on (or leading up to) draft day. As Bontemps observes, both teams have cap flexibility and will face some pressure from ownership to make the playoffs in 2020/21.
  • Asked by Bontemps about this year’s most overrated prospects, executives and scouts most frequently pointed to Dayton forward Obi Toppin. “I think he’s a good player and I like him and he had an unbelievable year, but this consensus top-five status he’s obtained is weird to me,” one Eastern Conference scout said of Toppin. Cassius Stanley (Duke), Desmond Bane (TCU), and Jaden McDaniels (Washington) were among the players who received votes as 2020’s most underrated prospect.
  • Most league insiders expect the Timberwolves to draft Anthony Edwards first overall, according to Bontemps. However, in Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft for The Athletic, he has changed the Wolves’ pick from Edwards to LaMelo Ball, operating under the belief that Gersson Rosas would favor Ball’s potential star power. Both Bontemps and Vecenie note that Minnesota seems like a good bet to gauge the value of the pick on the trade market. Vecenie points out that the Wolves could also draft a player and consider moving him down the road if he doesn’t fit in well with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.