Diamond Stone

And-Ones: Hervey, College Alternatives, Stone, Grant

Forward Kevin Hervey, the Thunder’s second-round pick in 2018, is in advanced talks with Virtus Bologna, Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. Hervey appeared in 10 games with the Thunder during the 2019/20 season. He played for Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia last season.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • The creation of Overtime Elite, the G League’s Ignite and the Professional Collegiate League, along with international options, has expanded the choices of prospects beyond playing college ball. The New York Times’ David Gardner takes a closer look at the impact and complications those additional options are having on teenager basketball standouts.
  • Former NBA forward Diamond Stone has signed with Mets de Guaynabo in the Puerto Rican league, according to Sportando. Stone was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft but only appeared in seven games with the Clippers in his rookie campaign.
  • Former NBA guard Jerian Grant has officially signed a two-year deal with Italy’s Olimpia Milano, according to Sportando. Olimpia Milano’s interest in Grant was previously reported. Grant played in the Greek League this past season after being waived by the Rockets during training camp in December.

Lance Stephenson Among NBA Vets Eligible For G League Draft

As previously reported, the NBA G League’s 2020/21 draft will take place on Monday, January 11. And according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links), there will be some interesting names on the list of players eligible to be selected in that draft.

Veteran swingman Lance Stephenson, former No. 2 overall pick Emeka Okafor, and other recent NBA players like Justin Patton, Jacob Evans, Dzanan Musa, and Admiral Schofield will be part of the draft pool, per Givony. Former first-round picks Terrence Jones and Shabazz Muhammad will be draft-eligible as well.

According to Givony, the following players who have been on NBA rosters in the past are also among the G League’s other draft-eligible veterans: Kenny Wooten, Antonio Blakeney, Tyler Ulis, Quincy Pondexter, Diamond Stone, Hollis Thompson, Cat Barber, Isaiah Briscoe, Phil Booth, Dusty Hannahs, Jemerrio Jones, Cory Jefferson, and Freddie Gillespie.

These, presumably, are players who have signed G League contracts but whose rights aren’t currently held by any teams. A player whose returning rights are controlled by a club participating in the G League’s bubble season wouldn’t be eligible to be drafted.

For instance, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that LiAngelo Ball has signed a contract to play in the bubble. Since the Oklahoma City Blue hold his returning rights and are playing in the bubble, Ball shouldn’t be in the general draft pool.

The Blue are one of 18 teams set to participate in the shortened bubble season, which is expected to take place at Walt Disney World. That list of teams can be found right here.

Givony previously reported that the G League is adjusting its roster rules for this season to make it easier for NBA teams to recruit and sign veterans with five or more years of NBA experience. Each NBAGL team will be able to designate an “NBA Vet Selection” who fits that bill and can sign that player directly without navigating the league’s complicated waiver process. My understanding is that those designated won’t be in the draft pool.

Diamond Stone Mulling Offers In China

Former Clippers center Diamond Stone is in discussions with multiple teams in the Chinese Basketball Association on a potential deal, agent Jerry Dianis told Hoops Rumors.

Stone is expected to finalize his decision on which team to sign with in the near future, Dianis said.

Stone, a 6’10” Maryland product, was drafted with the No. 40 pick in 2016 and holds several years of professional experience. After a brief stint with the Clippers in 2016/17, he was acquired by the Hawks in a three-team July trade, getting waived three weeks later. He also spent time with the Bulls in training camp that fall.

Stone has made past NBA G League stops with the Windy City Bulls, Salt Lake City Stars, Iowa Wolves, and most recently the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The 23-year-old former McDonald’s All-American has averaged 13.3 points and 5.6 rebounds across 77 G League games (19.5 MPG), proving his worth on both ends of the court.

Several players have opted to scan the market overseas with uncertainty surrounding the NBA G League next season, according to sources. To this point, the NBA hasn’t released official 2020/21 plans for either of its leagues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league has reportedly locked in a date for the 2020 draft, however, which is set to be held on Nov. 18.

Jazz Host 32 Free Agents At Veteran Mini-Camp

The Jazz are hosting a veteran mini-camp on Friday and Saturday, with 32 players set to participate in the event, the team announced in a press release.

While the list of participants isn’t exactly star-studded, there are a handful of intriguing names, including several players who have spent time in NBA training camps and some who have played in regular season games. Lavoy Allen, K.J. McDaniels, Diamond Stone, Jarrod Uthoff, and Mike Tobey are among the free agents at Utah’s mini-camp who have logged NBA minutes.

While many of the participants in this weekend’s mini-camp won’t ever play in an NBA game, the event has paid dividends for the Jazz in the past. As Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes, Royce O’Neale made a strong impression on the franchise during a free agent mini-camp in 2016, which eventually led to O’Neale signing a contract with Utah last summer and becoming a key part of the rotation in 2017/18.

“We tried to get him that summer (2016), tried to sign him but he decided to go to Spain and made the right choice for him because he got better over there and it ended up working out in the long run for him,” Jazz director of scouting Bart Taylor said. “Royce is a great story and we like to say it puts pressure on us to find another one.”

Taylor is optimistic about identifying another future contributor among this year’s group.

“There’s some good talent out here,” Taylor said. “I like to joke with all our guys and say there’s three or four guys out here that’ll play in the NBA, but you’ve got to find them. So there’s definitely a few guys out here that we like, a lot of guys actually that we really like but we’re just trying to see how they do over the course of the three practices and hopefully one of them does turn into Royce.”

Here’s the full list of participants for Utah’s free agent mini-camp:

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.

Jazz Notes: Sefolosha, Exum, Gobert, Stone

As expected, Thabo Sefolosha has elected to undergo right knee surgery and the procedure is happening today, the Jazz confirmed in a press release this week. A weekend report indicated that Sefolosha would be sidelined for the remainder of the 2017/18 season after going under the knife. While the club’s announcement didn’t explicitly confirm that the injury is season-ending, that remains the expectation.

According to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link), Sefolosha’s diagnosis prompted the Jazz to apply for a disabled player exception in advance of Monday’s deadline. If it’s granted, the club would receive a salary cap exception worth $2.625MM – half of Sefolosha’s salary – that could be used to sign or trade for a player for the rest of the season. Our glossary entry on the disabled player exception goes into more detail on exactly how DPEs work.

Here’s more from out of Utah:

  • Jazz point guard Dante Exum, who has missed the entire 2017/18 season so far due to a shoulder injury, has been cleared for non-contact basketball activities, tweets Jones. Although Exum is making progress toward a potential second-half return, it’s unclear whether the former fifth overall pick will be able to carve out a role in the rotation with Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell handling most of the point guard minutes for Utah.
  • There will certainly be room in the Jazz’s lineup for another player on the mend — Rudy Gobert returned to participate in the non-contact portion of Utah’s practices this weekend, per Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. The standout center may be back on the court for the club within the next week or so.
  • Utah’s G League affiliate acquired former Clippers center Diamond Stone in a trade this week. Jody Genessy of The Deseret News has the details on the move by the Salt Lake City Stars, which saw the team add the 40th overall pick from the 2016 draft.

Bulls Claim Felder, Waive Eddie And Stone

The Bulls have claimed point guard Kay Felder, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. They will waive swingman Jarell Eddie, league sources told Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Chicago will also shed center Diamond Stone to reach the 15-man roster limit, Charania adds in another tweet.

The Cavaliers traded Felder along with veteran forward Richard Jefferson to the Hawks on Saturday in order to shed salary and create roster space. Atlanta then immediately waived both players.

Felder, a second-round pick in 2016, appeared in 42 regular-season games last season and averaged 4.0 PPG and 1.4 APG in 9.2 MPG. He had a $457K guarantee on his $1,312,611 salary for this season. There is a team option on his $1,544,951 contract for next season.

The Bulls have Kris Dunn and Jerian Grant as their top point guards but Cameron Payne was declared out for 3-4 months in September after undergoing foot surgery.

Eddie, 25, played for the Wizards and Suns over the last two seasons.  He played sparingly in 26 games for Washington during the 2015/16 season.

Eddie then played for the G League’s Windy City Bulls before hooking on with Phoenix late last season. He saw action in five games with the Suns last season after signing a pair of 10-day contracts.

Though he signed a contract for $1,471,382, most of the money was non-guaranteed. He collected a couple of extra days’ salary by remaining on the roster through Saturday.

Chicago still has plenty of shooting guards and small forwards on the roster, including Paul Zipser, Denzel Valentine, Justin Holiday, David Nwaba and rookie Antonio Blakeney. Zach LaVine and Quincy Pondexter are still rehabbing from knee injuries.

Stone received a modest guarantee after signing with Chicago in September. Stone, who played his rookie season with the Clippers, was also waived by the Hawks after Atlanta acquired him in late July. Robin Lopez, Christiano Felicio and rookie Lauri Markkanen are the main options at center.

Central Notes: Wade, Irving, Quicken Loans Arena

While there’s reason to believe that Dwyane Wade would graciously accept a buyout from the Bulls, he’s not going to put up a fuss about it, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Wade, after all, has 23.8 million reasons to put up with being a good sport for the rest of the season.

It’s been said that Wade started hoping for a buyout following the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves. If that deal serves as the symbolic beginning of Chicago’s rebuild, then it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense for the Bulls, as an organization, to continue paying such an exorbitant amount for a 35-year-old that isn’t particularly motivated to stay there.

Wade averaged a respectable 18.3 points per game for the Bulls last season and could no doubt contribute to a contender should he be bought out and freed up to sign with one. That said, the 15-year-veteran has a solid reputation, not to mention a legacy, to uphold during the final years of his career.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • According to Iman Shumpert, the Cavaliers weren’t exactly surprised when Kyrie Irving asked to be traded, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. Shumpert adds that Irving didn’t have anything against LeBron James, just that he was eager to move on.
  • The Bulls have named Jannero Pargo the new head coach of their Windy City G League team, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • Construction has begun at Quicken Loans Arena, Jay Miller of Crains writes. The renovations of the Cavaliers‘ stadium were originally scheduled in June but held up by citizens groups that pushed for a referendum regarding the use of tax money for the project.
  • Despite only suiting up for seven games during his rookie year, Diamond Stone finds himself on his fourth team since getting drafted last summer. His latest opportunity, with the Bulls, could be his best yet, Dan Santaromita of CSN Chicago writes.

Bulls Sign Diamond Stone

10:02am: The Bulls have made it official, issuing a press release to announce Stone’s deal.

8:02am: The Bulls are bringing former Maryland center Diamond Stone to training camp, according to Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days, who reports (via Twitter) that Stone has agreed to a two-year, partially guaranteed deal with the club.

According to Reichert (via Twitter), Stone’s guarantee doesn’t exceed $50K, making him eligible to become an affiliate player for the Windy City Bulls this season if he doesn’t make Chicago’s regular season roster.

Stone, 20, was the 40th overall pick in 2016, acquired on draft night by the Clippers, who sent the No. 33 pick to New Orleans for Nos. 39 and 40. However, the young center barely played during his rookie season, appearing briefly in seven games for L.A. Stone saw a little more action in the G League, averaging 16.2 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 13 total games for the Santa Cruz Warriors and Salt Lake City Stars.

The Clippers sent Stone to Atlanta in the three-way July trade that landed Danilo Gallinari in L.A. However, like Jamal Crawford, who also went from the Clips to the Hawks in the deal, Stone was subsequently waived by Atlanta, despite his guaranteed salary for 2017/18.

The Bulls currently only have 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so it’s possible Stone will be given the opportunity to win a regular season roster spot. However, Nikola Mirotic figures to fill the club’s 14th roster spot if and when he re-signs, and Stone will face competition from other non-guaranteed players – such as David Nwaba – for the final opening, if Chicago even carries a full 15-man roster. Stone currently seems more likely to land in the G League after he spends the preseason with the Bulls.

Hawks Waive Diamond Stone

The Hawks have waived second-year center Diamond Stone, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Shortly after Vivlamore published his report, the Hawks issued a press release confirming the roster move.

Stone was one of two players acquired from L.A. by the Hawks in a three-way trade with the Clippers and Nuggets earlier this month. Jamal Crawford, the other player who landed in Atlanta as a result of that trade, was bought out by the club shortly after the move was finalized, so the Hawks have now cut both players involved in the deal. The Hawks also received a first-round pick in that swap, which was clearly the most important part of the package.

While Stone wasn’t Atlanta’s primary target in that trade, it’s still somewhat surprising that the team has waived him already. The big man’s minimum salary contract for 2017/18 was guaranteed, and he’s just one year removed from being drafted 40th overall. However, apparently the Hawks weren’t interested in using one of their 15 regular-season roster spots on Stone.

The Hawks could choose to stretch Stone’s $1,312,611 cap hit over the next three seasons, though the club isn’t in any cap trouble this season, so it may make sense to just keep his full salary on the books for 2017/18.

With Stone out of the mix at center, the Hawks figure to lean on Dewayne Dedmon, Mike Muscala, and Miles Plumlee.