Elijah Bryant

And-Ones: P. Jones, Marinkovic, E. Bryant, Pacquiao

A rules change in the BIG3 League has allowed Perry Jones to use that venue to pursue another shot at the NBA, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. The 28th player picked in the 2012 draft, Jones spent three years with the Thunder before being traded to Boston in the summer of 2015. He never played for the Celtics before being waived that fall, then failed to make the Pelicans‘ roster after joining them for training camp in 2017.

Now 27, Jones took advantage of the new lower age limit in the BIG3, which dropped from 30 to 27 this year. He’s playing for the expansion Enemies, averaging 7.7 points per game, and hasn’t lost the confidence that he can succeed in the NBA.

“No disrespect to the Thunder, but I went to a team that didn’t have a need (for a player like me),” Jones said. “They had three superstars. They had everything set in stone that they needed. It’s just how the business goes. I think if I went somewhere else and had the opportunity to play in actual games, I think my career would have turned out differently for sure.”

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Vanja Marinkovic, selected by the Kings with the final pick in this year’s draft, has until July 30 to decide where he will play this season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link). That’s when the buy-out clause expires on the final year of his contract with Partizan Belgrade in Serbia. It’s unlikely that he’ll come to the NBA, but Spain’s Unicaja Malaga and Valencia Basket have both expressed interest, Carchia states.
  • Coming off a strong performance with the Bucks‘ summer league team, Elijah Bryant is deciding among several NBA offers, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. The former BYU guard had a break-out performance July 8 with 31 points and seven rebounds against Minnesota.
  • Boxer Manny Pacquiao tells TMZ Sports he wants to fight for five more years and then purchase part of an NBA team. He already owns the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, a semi-pro outfit in the Philippines, and regularly uses basketball as part of his training. Pacquiao has an estimated net worth around $200MM.

Draft Workouts: T. Young, Cavs, Blazers, Warriors

Potential top-10 pick Trae Young conducted a “secret” workout for the Cavaliers on Saturday, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Givony, echoing what Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com wrote earlier today, suggests that Michael Porter Jr. may be Cleveland’s top target at No. 8.

However, if Porter is no longer available, the Cavaliers’ decision could come down to Young vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, according to Givony, who notes that he has the team taking Gilgeous-Alexander in his latest mock draft.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the NBA:

Lakers Rumors: Ball, Workouts, Caldwell-Pope

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is focused on gaining strength and stamina to become less injury-prone next season, teammate Kyle Kuzma told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other media members on Tuesday. Ball played in only 52 games during his rookie campaign due to a variety of ailments.

“He has been in there pretty much every day I have been in here around this time,” Kuzma said of Ball’s weight training. “You can tell he is taking the weight room a lot more serious and that is going to help him by allowing him to recover faster and hopefully next year be on the court more because of that weight room.”

In other news regarding the Lakers:

  • West Virginia guard Jevon Carter is among six prospects the Lakers will work out on Wednesday, the team announced on its website. Carter is ranked No. 44 on ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 list. Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton), Elijah Bryant (BYU), Trey Kell (San Diego State) and Omari Spellman (Villanova) will join Carter. Gary Trent Jr. of Duke will also be there, as previously reported.
  • The Spurs are a logical candidate to pursue free agent shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype speculates. San Antonio could lose Danny Green if he opts out of his contract. Caldwell-Pope could replace him and the Spurs have their mid-level exception to offer him, Urbina continues. The Clippers and Grizzlies may also be in the market for a starting shooting guard, though it’s possible KCP could get another one-year offer from the Lakers if they don’t land two top-level free agents, Urbina adds.
  • Kuzma was named to the league’s All-Rookie First Team while Ball earned Second Team honors. You can see the All-Rookie teams here.

236 Early Entrants Declare For 2018 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2018 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 236 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 181 are from colleges, while 55 are international early entrants.

That number blows away the previous record for early entrants, established in 2017. Last year, 182 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 73 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline.

This year’s total of 236 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by May 30 and again by June 11, the two key deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like that pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely exceeding 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list. For now, we’re assuming they haven’t yet hired agents.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Berke Atar, C, Turkey (born 1999)
  • Laurynas Beliauskas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Rihards Berzins, F/C, Latvia (born 1997)
  • Etienne Ca, F, France (born 1997)
  • Sigfredo Casero-Ortiz, G, France (born 1997)
  • Berkan Durmaz, F, Turkey (born 1997)
  • Aleksander Dziewa, C, Poland (born 1997)
  • Stephane Gombauld, F, France (born 1997)
  • Yoan Granvorka, F, Switzerland (born 1997)
  • Michal Kolenda, F, Poland (born 1997)
  • Antonios Koniaris, G, Greece (born 1997)
  • Leon Kratzer, C, Germany (born 1997)
  • Shekinah Munanga, F, France (born 1997)
  • Williams Narace, F, France (born 1997)
  • Marcel Ponitka, G, Poland (born 1997)
  • Leonardo Tote, F, Italy (born 1997)
  • Martynas Varnas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Filip Zagrajski, G, Croatia (born 1997)