Hasheem Thabeet

Hasheem Thabeet Signs In Taiwan

Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has signed a contract in Taiwan with the Hsinchu Lioneers, agent Jerry Dianis told Hoops Rumors.

Thabeet, who has made past NBA stops with Memphis, Houston, Portland and Oklahoma City, will head to Taiwan for the first time in his professional career. He garnered interest from multiple teams in Europe and Asia in recent months, ultimately choosing the Lioneers for a larger playing role, Dianis said.

Thabeet, a 7’3″ shot-blocker who spent three seasons at UConn, believes he’s in the best physical and mental shape of his career. The 33-year-old veteran worked out for teams such as the Knicks, Nuggets, Bucks and Warriors as recently as last year.

“It’s an opportunity for him to play and do well on the international stage,” Dianis said. “Hasheem expects to dominate on both ends of the floor and is excited to help the team win. He’s been busting his ass and personnel across the NBA say he’s in great shape. He took this opportunity because he wants to play and show just how much he’s improved. 

“Hasheem is an NBA player. He’s an elite shot-blocker because of his unique size, athleticism and insticts. After a dominant performance in Taiwan, he will have a plethora of new opportunities.”

Prior to signing in Taiwan, Thabeet signed a contract in the NBA G League last fall and was drafted in the first round by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ G League affiliate. The team concentrated on playing a small-ball brand of basketball in the weeks that followed, ultimately leading to Thabeet’s camp asking for a release.

In addition to being an effective rim-protector, Thabeet has improved offensively and is known for his leadership — Nets superstar Kevin Durant has previously stated that Thabeet was one of the best teammates he has ever had. The big man last appeared in an NBA game during the 2013/14 season when both players were with Oklahoma City.

Joining the Lioneers gives Thabeet a chance to prove his worth, with potential opportunities in China and the NBA still on the table down the road. The veteran center carries several years of experience and has played overseas before, holding a past stint in Japan during the 2017/18 season.

Thabeet Staying Ready For Next Opportunity Despite Cancellation In TBT

Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has re-entered unrestricted free agency after a teammate in The Basketball Tournament tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the month.

Thabeet, 33, was set to compete with the “Playing for Jimmy V” team during the annual tournament, but event rules mandate that any team who receives a positive test be disqualified from competing in the bracket any further. Thabeet tested negative for the coronavirus, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Thabeet, a lengthy 7’3″ center, remains an intriguing option for teams in need of rim protection. He has received NBA and overseas interest over the past year, working out for teams such as the Knicks, Bucks, Nuggets and Warriors in 2019. The overall consensus remains the same regardless of the atmosphere he plays in: Thabeet appears to be in prime condition.

“Hasheem is in unbelievable shape,” Alex Neumann, the general manager of Playing for Jimmy V, told Hoops Rumors. “He looks better than he ever has. He still has his athleticism and got up and down the floor really well. 

“His basketball IQ is off the charts. Just helping the young guys on the team, helping in film sessions and putting in offensive sets — he absolutely looks like he belongs on the NBA court.”

Thabeet was drafted second overall in 2009 after spending three years at UConn, and subsequently made NBA stops with Memphis, Houston, Portland, Oklahoma City and the L.A. Lakers. He was selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA G League Draft to Fort Wayne after spending some time overseas.

Along with his shot-blocking abilities, Thabeet is known for being a respected locker room veteran — Nets superstar Kevin Durant previously stated that Thabeet was one of the best teammates he has ever had. Teams in need of rim protection entering the NBA’s campus in Orlando or training camp later this fall could turn to Thabeet, who is staying active and is eagerly anticipating his next opportunity.

“What I can bring to a team right now is a defensive aspect in the paint,” Thabeet told Hoops Rumors. “You have to know your role. I believe I can bring in defensive plays at a high level. 

“I’m ready to control the paint and get back to playing at a high level of basketball. I really believe I can still play at a high level once I get that one chance, then we’ll go from there.”

The 2019/20 NBA season is scheduled to resume on July 30, with free agency set to start in mid-October and training camps for next season tentatively expected to commence by the start of December. Teams in Orlando are eligible to sign substitute players to their rosters in the event that a player contracts COVID-19 or voluntarily opts out.

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.

Hasheem Thabeet Garnering Interest From Teams In Asia, Spain

Former No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet is evaluating interest from multiple teams in Asia and Spain, with the former UConn center hoping to resurrect his NBA career by proving his worth, agent Jerry Dianis told Hoops Rumors.

In addition to clubs overseas, several teams in the G League have maintained an interest in Thabeet, Dianis said.

Thabeet signed an NBA G League contract and started the season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ G League affiliate. He parted ways with the team last month after averaging four points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in fairly limited time (16.4 minutes per contest), appearing in nine total games.

Thabeet, 32, remains a valuable defensive asset for teams in need of rim protection. He’s established himself as an elite shot-blocker during his professional career, using his 7’3″, 260-pound athletic frame to contest shots and play strong defense.

Thabeet worked out for multiple NBA teams before being drafted by Fort Wayne in the fall, including Golden State, Denver and New York. He also attended two workouts with Milwaukee.

Thabeet, who spent three seasons at UConn from 2006-09, has shown impressive durability and worked hard on improving his body in recent years. He has made past stops with the Grizzlies, Rockets, Blazers, Thunder, Pistons and Lakers, which includes an array of G League stints.

2019 NBA G League Draft Recap

Former Miami Hurricanes star Anthony Lawrence II was selected by Northern Arizona with the first pick in today’s G League draft. A combo forward, Lawrence spent four years in college, averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds last season. He was signed and waived by the Jazz last Saturday.

Lawrence played for the Cavaliers during Summer League, then signed with Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Israel. However, he parted ways with the team earlier this month after one preseason game.

Some other notable selections include:

Mourning, who spent four years at Georgetown, is the son of Hall of Fame center Alonzo Mourning. He played for the Heat during Summer League. Duval, once a highly touted point guard at Duke, was a two-way player for the Bucks for most of last season and appeared in three NBA games.

Mac, formerly known as Sheldon McClellan, got into 30 games for the Wizards during the 2016/17 season. Thabeet, the second player chosen in the 2009 NBA Draft, worked out extensively with the Knicks this summer and is hoping to return to the NBA at age 32.

Other prominent draftees include former Celtics and Lakers guard Vander Blue, the 13th pick in the second round by Santa Cruz, and Trey Phills, son of former NBA player Bobby Phills, who went to Windy City with the 18th pick in the fourth round.

The full results of this year’s draft can be found here.

And-Ones: Duval, G League Draft, NBA Rosters, Williamson

Trevon Duval has signed a G League contract and is eligible for this Saturday’s draft, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days tweets. Duval was a two-way player for the Rockets last season and became a free agent when the team didn’t give him a qualifying offer this summer. He was claimed by Houston in March after the Bucks waived him. The former Duke guard made three cameo appearances with Milwaukee.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Journeyman center Hasheem Thabeet, former Lakers guard Vander Blue, and forward Trey Mourning, son of Alonzo Mourning, are some of the more interesting names on the list of players eligible for the G League draft, according to a league press release. The Northern Arizona Suns have the first pick.
  • There are 108 international players from 38 countries and territories on current NBA rosters, according to a league press release. The most-represented countries among the 108 international players on opening-night rosters are Canada (16 players), Australia (nine players), France (eight players), Croatia (seven players) and Serbia (six players). The Mavericks lead the league with seven international players.
  • Zion Williamson‘s knee injury created disappointment for the NBA’s TV partners, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic explains. TNT and ESPN wanted nationally-televised games featuring the Pelicans during the opening week of the season to showcase Williamson. They were stuck showing the Pelicans without the top pick in the draft on the court because it was too late to make a change. Vardon goes in-depth on how the national TV schedule is designed and notes that the Lakers play 21 of their 30 nationally -televised games after New Year’s Day because the networks wanted to feature LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the team’s playoff push.
  • Amida Brimah, the former UConn center who was in training camp with the Pacers, has suffered a torn right ACL, Scott Agness of The Athletic tweets. He was slated to join Indiana’s G League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.  Brimah will undergo surgery next week, Agness adds.

Hasheem Thabeet Signs G League Contract

Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet will head to the G League as he looks to make his way back to the NBA, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the veteran center has signed an NBAGL contract.

Thabeet, 32, hasn’t appeared in a regular season NBA game since the 2013/14 season, when he saw the court 23 times for the Thunder. However, he has been working hard to get back into the league this year, auditioning for the Nuggets, Bucks, and Knicks in recent months.

Thabeet played a full season for the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s G League affiliate, in 2014/15. Because NBAGL teams only hold a player’s returning rights for two years though, the Drive will no longer have first dibs on the 7’2″ center. Thabeet will be eligible for the G League draft, as Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days notes (via Twitter).

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Thybulle, Thabeet, Irving

Brett Brown knows what the bottom of the Eastern Conference looks like; now he wants to see the top. The Sixers coach declared his lofty goal during a luncheon speech today, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to get the No. 1 seed,” Brown told the gathering.

It’s a drastic turnaround for a coach who suffered through the worst of “The Process” and won just 10 games during the 2015/16 season. The Sixers are coming off back-to-back 50-win years and are still stinging from their playoff elimination by the eventual champion Raptors on a Kawhi Leonard shot that bounced on the rim several times before falling in.

Philadelphia enters this season as a co-favorite with the Bucks in the East. The team lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick in free agency, but re-signed Tobias Harris and added Al Horford and Josh Richardson.

“We have had back-to-back 50-win teams, we have a 25-year-old All-Star [Joel Embiid] and a 23-year-old All-Star [Ben Simmons],” Brown told Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have the best team I have had this year. We have the deepest bench, we have veterans, we have men, we got pieces. [General manager] Elton Brand has done a hell of a job.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Matisse Thybulle has been medically cleared to practice when camp opens, Pompey tweets. The rookie guard rolled his ankle earlier this week, but the injury turned out to be minor. The Sixers traded up in this year’s draft to get Thybulle with the 20th pick.
  • The Knicks have an opening on their roster heading into camp, but they won’t use it to sign Hasheem Thabeet, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thabeet worked out for New York and spent time with the team in August and September. The vacancy occurred because Kris Wilkes, who was expected to sign a two-way contract, is still battling an illness that will prevent him from attending camp.
  • Kyrie Irving is day to day after suffering a left side facial fracture, the Nets tweeted. The injury happened during a workout Tuesday.

New York Notes: Thabeet, Ntilikina, Nets, Fein

Free agent center Hasheem Thabeet will once again participate in workouts with the Knicks this week, agent Jerry Dianis tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Thabeet has spent a lot of time around the team lately, having worked out for New York in August and then again during the first week of September.

It remains unclear whether the Knicks are seriously interested in bringing Thabeet to training camp this fall. Currently, New York has a full 20-man roster, though if the team wants to sign the former No. 2 overall pick, it would be easy enough to create a roster spot by releasing a player with a non-guaranteed contract.

The Knicks’ projected 15-man regular season roster doesn’t feature any true centers besides Mitchell Robinson, so if Thabeet looks good, bringing him aboard for depth purposes could be appealing. However, the club has plenty of veteran power forwards who figure to see time at the five, including Taj Gibson, Julius Randle, and Bobby Portis.

Here’s more on both of New York’s teams:

  • Steve Popper of Newsday is skeptical that Frank Ntilikina will get the opportunity to play an increased role this season for the Knicks, even after the Frenchman’s impressive World Cup performance. As Popper notes, the team was willing to play stopgaps like Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke over Ntilikina last season, and now may be more invested in getting Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton regular minutes.
  • The Nets‘ new G League head coach, Shaun Fein, has a history with Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson, as he tells Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com. Fein and Atkinson spent time together playing for French team Nantes during the 2001/02 season, with Atkinson provided crucial veteran guidance. “He kind of took me under his wing,” Fein said. “He was at the latter stages of his career and I was just beginning mine. I think as a first-year player, as an American, you’re in a foreign country, you don’t really know anything. … He kind of got me out of my comfort zone. ‘Hey, we’re going to go out, we’re going to go have dinner,’ and things like that. Kind of showed me how to live life as a basketball player in Europe. I was really appreciative of that.”
  • In case you missed it, we reviewed the Knicks‘ offseason on Friday and relayed word earlier today of the Nets hiring a new CEO.

And-Ones: World Cup, China, Thabeet

In a special piece for ESPN, Mark Woods takes an in-depth look (link) at all 32 teams vying to win the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which will be decided in Beijing on September 15, two weeks from today.

While recognizing that Team USA is the favorite, Woods does not have the Americans taking home the championship. His group winners include host nation China and the aforementioned U.S., in addition to Argentina, Spain, Serbia, Greece, France, and Australia.

Woods believes that all but two of the group winners will reach the quarterfinals, with Nigeria and Lithuania, finishing second in group play to Argentina and Australia respectively, replacing group winners France and China among the final eight teams.

Ultimately, Woods sees Team USA falling short of the championship game, with Australia falling to Serbia in the final. Be sure to tell us what you think in one of our latest Community Shootaround posts, here.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Chinese Basketball Association is implementing a new guideline barring a player who is serving a drug or violence-related ban/suspension in another league from signing in the CBA. As Charania notes, the rule would prohibit someone like Tyreke Evans from signing with a team in the CBA.
  • After losing their first game in the 2019 FIBA World Cup to Matthew Dellavedova and Australia, Canada head coach Nick Nurse told the media that his team will have to play “extraordinary basketball” to beat Lithuania on Tuesday and advance past group play, per Lithuanian basketball reporter Donatas Urbonas (h/t to Sportando).
  • After working out for the Knicks once already (link), former No, 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet will continue to play in 5-on-5 scrimmages with the Knicks next week, reports Ian Begley of SportsNet New York. Begley adds that Thabeet will also work out a second time for the Bucks in about a week’s time.