Donta Hall

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Celtics, Thibodeau, VanVleet

When the Nets take on the Magic to begin the seeding games on Friday afternoon, they might be without a couple of players. According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link), Brooklyn head coach Jacque Vaughn was “non-committal” about Jamal Crawford or Donta Hall playing. Vaughn added that they want to be healthy for the entire restart and the focus is not just this one game against Orlando.

Crawford, who is the elder statesmen of this young Nets team, was signed earlier this month as a replacement player. The 40-year-old guard last played in NBA in the 2018/19 season for the Suns. In 64 games with Phoenix, he averaged 7.9 PPG, 3.6 APG, and 1.3 RPG.

Hall, meanwhile, was also signed earlier this month as a substitute player by the Nets. The 23-year-old big man spent some time with both the Grand Rapids Drive (the Pistons’ G League affiliate) and Detroit this season. With the Drive, the former Alabama Crimson Tide standout averaged 15.4 PPG and 10.6 RPG and earned second-team All-NBAGL honors. Then with the Pistons, Hall received two 10-day contracts. But his latest one in March did not roll over, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • In a radio interview on Wednesday, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that starting point guard Kemba Walker‘s knee “is the strongest it’s been since he got here in September” (h/t NBC Sports Boston). Stevens also mentioned that Walker will be on a minute restriction against the Bucks on Friday, likely playing between 14-20 minutes.
  • Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams believes that the Knicks‘ success hinges on the long-standing relationship between new team president Leon Rose and soon-to-be head coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I think it’s really important. It’s important for Tom,” Adams said. “For somebody starting out like Leon, I think it’s important for him to thoroughly know another person for a long period of time. And it can’t be anything but helpful for both parties.” Adams was on Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago for a few seasons and saw first-hand how successful things were when everybody was working on one accord. Thibodeau will have the tall task of trying to get the Knicks back to the playoffs.
  • If Raptors point guard and impending free-agent Fred VanVleet wants to take his game to another level, he needs to be a better finisher at the rim, opines Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Murphy points out that the play styles of VanVleet and starting point guard Kyle Lowry are similar in multiple ways, but what separates them is the ability to finish at the rim. As of right now, VanVleet ranks towards the bottom third in restricted area field goal percentage (51.2).

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Thibodeau, Wanamaker, Hall

Sixers star Ben Simmons has undergone a fundamental change in his thinking when it comes to shooting threes, according to head coach Brett Brown, as relayed by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Simmons has reached a new level of familiarity behind the arc, becoming more and more comfortable with taking three-pointers as the year’s progressed. He attempted a pair of threes in the team’s scrimmage against Memphis on Friday, connecting on one in the corner.

“Just playing,” Simmons said. “We’ve been practicing, working on just finding that corner. I’m very comfortable over there, and I’ve been shooting those shots, so I’m glad my teammates are finding me.”

Brown has used Simmons at power forward since landing in Orlando, testing a lineup that features Shake Milton, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Simmons and Joel Embiid in limited time. The team is hopeful Simmons can build on his new position and thinking in the longterm, especially in a league primarily centered on spreading the floor.

“I get excited [watching it] … He doesn’t flinch,” Brown said. “The sport told him, ‘I’m open, nobody is guarding me, shoot it,’ and he did. There was no hesitation about what’s next, or, ‘What decision do I have to make now?'”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:

  • Former Knicks center Joakim Noah believes Tom Thibodeau is a perfect hire for the organization, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. Noah, who was coached by Thibodeau in Chicago from 2010-15, praised his defensive tenacity and winning ways after the news broke. “Defense and practice habits,” Noah wrote in a comment on social media. “The Knicks are in good hands. All he cares about is hoop. Perfect fit.” Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year agreement with the organization, according to ESPN.
  • Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker is taking advantage of his opportunity with the team, Taylor Snow of writes. Wanamaker has earned the respects of his teammates as a natural leader, averaging 6.6 points, 2.5 assists and 19.3 minutes as a back-up point guard this season. He recorded nine points, four rebounds and four assists in the team’s scrimmage win against Phoenix on Sunday, logging 21 minutes.
  • Nets big man Donta Hall has practiced with the team for the first time since inking his contract earlier this month, Zach Braziller writes in a separate story for the New York Post. Despite not playing in Saturday’s scrimmage against San Antonio, Hall is expected to receive action in the coming days with the team. “We’ll be able to see if we’re able to have some growth from him during this bubble period and he definitely should get some minutes to help us along with these games,” interim coach Jacque Vaughn said.

Atlantic Notes: Kurucs, Atkinson, Vaughn, Walker

Rodions Kurucs came to the NBA as a small forward but is now being used as a backup center by the depleted Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. DeAndre Jordan skipped the Orlando restart after testing positive for the coronavirus, leaving Jarrett Allen as the lone true center on the roster.

“I don’t think it’s going to be my position going forward, but I’m definitely making the best out of it,” said Kurucs, whose rookie contract is guaranteed through next season. Substitute player Donta Hall could also see some work as a backup for the Nets.

We have more from Atlantic Division:

  • Kenny Atkinson isn’t considered the frontrunner for the Knicks coaching job, but Jarrett Allen gives the former Nets head man a ringing endorsement, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “I came into the Nets and we weren’t making our mark in the NBA and you could see every year I was with him, and every year he coached us we kept getting better and better,” Allen said. “And the players under him kept developing and developing, and bringing us more confidence. So whatever team he goes to, they’re going to get a hell of a coach.”
  • The Nets’ Jacques Vaughn is in a tricky spot as an interim coach hoping he’ll get the full-time gig. He’s focused on getting the most of his shorthanded team but says he’s learned a lot since flopping as Magic coach during a 2-1/2 year stint, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated“I’ve definitely transitioned and understand and have a better grasp of today’s player, today surroundings,” he said. “It’s just the maturation of being a young coach.”
  • Celtics point guard Kemba Walker indicated that he’s “trending upwards” while working out with the team as he recovers from left knee soreness, the team’s PR department tweets“It was really fun to get out there with my teammates,” he said. “The knee feels good. I’m trending upwards.”

Atlantic Notes: Anderson, Nets, Kemba, Waters, Horford, Raptors

Nets swingman Justin Anderson reached a deal with the team back in June, but didn’t officially sign his substitute-player contract until this past Saturday. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, that delay was a result of a case of COVID-19.

“It’s something we wanted to try and keep in-house because we weren’t quite sure when we’d be able to pass the protocols,” Anderson said on a Zoom call on Tuesday. “Battling between negative and positive tests, battling between trying to make sure I got here in a car service rather than a plane to make sure I continue to follow protocol. It was just a long journey.

“… (I) spent time here in Orlando outside of the bubble, about five days to get everything situated and past the protocol with two negative tests. It was a process, and I’m just glad that I’m finally here.”

Although Anderson has finally joined the Nets and cleared quarantine, he won’t be among the players who see action during the team’s first scrimmage on Wednesday. According to Lewis, Jamal Crawford and Tyler Johnson also won’t play in that game — neither will Donta Hall, who remains in quarantine.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Over the weekend, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens downplayed concerns about the status of Kemba Walker‘s knee, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Stevens offered an update on his star point guard on Tuesday, telling reporters – including ESPN’s Tim Bontemps – that Walker likely won’t play in the team’s first scrimmage on Friday. “But he’s pretty darn close right now,” Stevens said.
  • Rookie guard Tremont Waters, who is on a two-way contract with the Celtics, suffered a concussion last week, but is in the later stages of the league’s concussion protocol, Stevens told reporters on Monday (link via Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston).
  • Sixers big man Al Horford will likely be looking at a reduced role this summer, and head coach Brett Brown said on Tuesday that Horford has been “great” in handling that change, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • With a full and healthy roster for the first time all season, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse will have plenty of lineup options available to him when play resumes, writes Michael Grange of As Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays, Nurse is interested in experimenting with some five-man groups that are heavy on bigs. “It seems to me we started really dominant on the defensive end with the jumbo lineup,” he said.

Nets Sign Donta Hall To Rest-Of-Season Deal

JULY 10: The Nets have officially signed Hall as a substitute player, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 9: The Nets have agreed to sign free agent big man Donta Hall to a rest-of-season contract, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Hall, who will turn 23 next month, spent last fall with the Pistons after going undrafted out of Alabama. He was waived by Detroit before the regular season began, but spent most of his rookie year with the Grand Rapids Drive – the Pistons’ G League affiliate – before eventually earning a call-up to the club’s NBA roster.

In 38 games (28.6 MPG) for Grand Rapids, Hall averaged 15.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 1.4 BPG on 66.9% shooting, earning All-NBAGL Second Team honors. He signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Pistons in February and March, logging limited minutes in four NBA games during that time. His 10-day deal was still active when the NBA went on hiatus on March 11, but didn’t carry over to the summer, making him a free agent.

The Nets have ruled out Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, and Wilson Chandler for the NBA’s restart due to positive coronavirus tests or voluntary opt-outs. As a result, the team is eligible to sign four substitute players. It appears those players will be Michael Beasley (whose deal is already official), Justin Anderson, Jamal Crawford, and Hall.

As Stein tweets – and previously reported – the Nets strongly considered signing Amir Johnson to add frontcourt depth. The club also reportedly had some interest in Lance Thomas. However, having already reached deals with multiple veterans, Brooklyn will opt instead for youth in signing Hall.

Hall’s rest-of-season contract won’t include any form of Bird rights, and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent this fall. Still, if the Nets like what they see this summer, they could try to get him back for the 2020/21 season.

NBA G League Announces 2019/20 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday, Wisconsin Herd guard Frank Mason III – who is on a two-way contract with the Bucks – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Mason was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by teammate Jaylen Adams, as well as Salt Lake City Stars forward Jarrell Brantley, South Bay Lakers big man Devontae Cacok, and Memphis Hustle forward Jarrod Uthoff. Mason, Brantley, and Cacok are currently on two-way contracts with NBA teams.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently on two-way contracts or have had NBA experience in the past.

The complete list of the 2019/20 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Jaylen Adams (Wisconsin Herd)
  • Jarrell Brantley (Salt Lake City Stars) ^
  • Devontae Cacok (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Frank Mason III (Wisconsin Herd) ^
  • Jarrod Uthoff (Memphis Hustle)

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Jarrell Brantley (Salt Lake City Stars) ^
  • Devontae Cacok (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Donta Hall (Grand Rapids Drive)
  • Marial Shayok (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Tremont Waters (Maine Red Claws) ^

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

Of the 20 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Adams, Jones, Koumadje, and Hollins – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’19/20 season began.

Adams and Jones have previous NBA experience, while Koumadje and Hollins have yet to make their regular-season NBA debuts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Bulls, Atkinson, D. Hall

The Cavaliers‘ 19-46 record in 2019/20 was the worst mark in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst in the entire NBA. However, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is bullish on his team’s chances to improve next season, suggesting on a conference call this week that he doesn’t believe a playoff berth is out of the question, as Chris Fedor of details.

“I think our responsibility is to keep improving. You always look outward,” the Cavaliers’ coach said. “You’re always doing your job to see what players you’re going to get in the draft, what free agents may be available, but for us as a coaching staff, our priority is developing the guys that we have here and who we can identify to take the biggest step to make us that team that we want to be. And that’s a playoff-contending team.

“That’s what our focus is right now. I trust our front office. They work tirelessly and are prepared. And, again, it was a small sample size, but if you look at the way we competed over that stretch, there’s no reason why we can’t have that conversation about achieving that goal for next year,” Bickerstaff continued, referring to the Cavaliers’ 5-6 record following John Beilein‘s departure.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In an in-depth feature on the Bulls and their hiring of new head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, K.C. Johnson and Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports note that the team had been battling the perception that it’s too “old-school,” looking to the past rather than the future. The front office overhaul is partly about changing that perception. “They are in the same boat as the Lakers were before LeBron (James) fell in their lap,” an Eastern Conference executive told NBC Sports. “They didn’t think they needed to upgrade the front office because ‘Hey, we’re the Bulls.'”
  • While it’s possible that the Bulls will retain head coach Jim Boylen for another season, Chris Mannix of (Twitter link) identifies Kenny Atkinson as a logical target if Karnisovas does want to make a change. Chicago has a young roster and Atkinson established himself as a strong developmental coach in Brooklyn. Boylen is reportedly concerned about his job security but is confident he’ll be given the chance to remain in the role.
  • Donta Hall‘s second 10-day contract with the Pistons was about to expire when the NBA suspended its season. Keith Langlois of explores whether the rookie power forward has a future with the franchise.

Seven Players On 10-Day Contracts When NBA Suspended Season

A moratorium agreement between the NBA and the NBPA will reportedly affect players on 10-day contracts, as Shams Charania of The Athletic said earlier today. Following up on that point, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) confirms that the clock will stop on the 10-day contracts that were active when the NBA suspended its season.

Presumably, Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver won’t be impacted. His 10-day deal with Memphis was set to expire on Wednesday night, the last night of game action before the suspension began. Once the moratorium is lifted and play resumes, he’ll likely have to sign a new 10-day contract or rest-of-season pact with the Grizzlies to remain with the team.

However, there were seven other players whose 10-day contracts had yet to run their course as of Wednesday night. Here are the affected players, with the number of days remaining on their deals noted in parentheses:

We’ll have to wait for official details on the moratorium agreement to confirm exactly how these 10-day deals will be handled.

Based on today’s reports though, it sounds like the contracts for players like Chealey, Hall, and Randle, which would have expired on Thursday night, will carry over to the day the season resumes. A player like Noah, who still had a week left on his 10-day contract, should play out that week following the resumption of the season.

Unless we learn otherwise, our roster counts page and 10-day tracker will assume these seven 10-day contracts remain active.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/9/20

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • Forward Donta Hall has been recalled by the Pistons, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets. Hall is nearing the end of his second 10-day contract with the club. He has appeared in three Pistons games since signing his first one.
  • The Grizzlies assigned and then recalled swingman Justise Winslow, the team’s PR department tweets. Winslow participated in a practice with the G League club as part of a rehab assignment for his back injury.
  • The Hornets recalled guard Dwayne Bacon from their Greensboro affiiliate, according a team press release. Bacon has appeared in 39 games with Charlotte, posting averages of 5.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 1.3 APG in 17.6 MPG.
  • The Knicks assigned rookie Ignas Brazdeikis to their Westchester affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Brazdeikis, a second-round pick out of Michigan, has appeared in nine Knicks games.
  • The Jazz assigned guard Miye Oni to the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the same log. The rookie out of Yale has played in five Utah games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/8/20

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League: