And-Ones: T. Young, Cap Room, Two-Way Players

Earlier this week, examined how far 2018’s top draft prospects might advance in this year’s NCAA tournament. One potential top-10 pick, Oklahoma’s Trae Young, has already been eliminated from March Madness, as his squad fell in overtime to Rhode Island this afternoon. Young didn’t want to discuss his future today, but will likely declare for the NBA draft, as a source confirms to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • With the trade deadline behind us and the buyout period essentially over as well, Keith Smith of RealGM revisited his salary cap projections for 2018/19, estimating how much cap room each team might have available this summer.
  • The 2018 offseason will mark the first time that players on two-way contracts will reach free agency, as those two-players who signed one-year deals will become eligible to sign new deals. Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days recently previewed how free agency will work for those youngsters coming off two-way deals, suggesting that the rules aren’t exactly player-friendly. Teams will have to navigate with caution to ensure they don’t sour players on accepting two-way offers going forward, writes Johnson.
  • Former Hawks shooting guard Lamar Patterson and Italian team Fiat Torino reached an agreement this week to part ways, a source told Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Patterson appeared in 40 total games for Atlanta between 2015 and 2017.
  • In an entertaining piece for HoopsHype, Alex Kennedy spoke to several players who have played in international basketball leagues, relaying some of their funniest, most interesting, and most unbelievable stories about their time spent overseas.

Atlantic Notes: Hornacek, Raptors, Bolden, Hayes

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek admires the continuity the Raptors have maintained in rising to the top spot in the East, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Toronto’s All-Star backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry has been together for five seasons, along with center Jonas Valanciunas, and Dwane Casey has been the coach the whole time.

“Since we’re playing Toronto, you could use them as a great example,” Hornacek said. “They were a pretty decent team, but you look back three years ago, they were talking about blowing that team up. They’ve stayed with it. They’ve stayed with those guys. Now, three years later, they look like one of the best teams in the league because now they have a lot of familiarity with each other.”

Over that same five-year stretch, New York had four coaches and 130 starting lineups, with 13 of those this season. Only six current Knicks were with the team last year, and just three of them are currently active.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The way he has handled all that chaos over the past two seasons should earn Hornacek another year as Knicks coach, argues Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Hornacek has one year left on his contract, and with Kristaps Porzingis likely sidelined until at least December, Bondy thinks it may be wise to let Hornacek deal with another losing season rather than bring a new coach into that environment.
  • Jonah Bolden‘s Israeli team wants to hold onto him for another season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. A second-round pick by the Sixers last summer, Bolden has a $650K opt-out clause in his contract, but Maccabi Tel Aviv has contacted Philadelphia officials about leaving him overseas for one more year.
  • Raptors forward Nigel Hayes has spent the past year improving his outside shot to help his chances at sticking on an NBA roster, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Questions about his shooting contributed to Hayes going undrafted out of Wisconsin, but he has hit 45% from long distance in the G League. He hopes to capitalize on his latest chance, a 10-day contract with Toronto. “When I’m out there on the court, when I’m given opportunity, I’m not only playing for them,” he said of the Raptors. “There’s 29 other [NBA] teams that are watching and seeing my improvements and what I can do, or how I can be an asset to their team.”

Draft Notes: NBL, One-And-Dones, Top Prospects

With commissioner Adam Silver exploring ways to adjust the one-and-done rules that prevent high-schoolers from making the leap directly to the NBA, Australia’s professional basketball league appears ready to capitalize on an opening.

According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the Australian National Basketball League has formalized a rule that will give teams an extra roster spot next season for NBA-draft-eligible players. A player signed using that roster slot will be guaranteed approximately $78K USD, funded directly by the NBL, sources tell Givony.

Previously, Australian clubs were limited to three import players, and many teams were reluctant to dedicate one of those spots to an unproven 18-year-old. However, this fourth import slot, funded by the league, should give the NBL a better chance to attract players who want to forgo the NCAA before entering the draft, as Terrance Ferguson did a year ago.

“The NBL is considered one of the best leagues in the world and this initiative will give these up and coming stars an opportunity to create a name for themselves on the way to being drafted into the NBA,” NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger told Givony. “As Terrance Ferguson demonstrated, there are a number of players who for whatever reason won’t be part of the U.S. college system but have NBA aspirations and are good enough to be drafted. This will give them the chance to develop in a world class league in the NBL and push their claims for the NBA.”

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr weighed in on the one-and-done debate, arguing that the NCAA should allow early entrants who go undrafted to return to their respective schools. “Why not? What’s the harm?” Kerr said, per ESPN. “We talk about amateurism and all this stuff, but if you’re truly trying to do what’s right for the kid, and the kid declares for the draft and doesn’t get drafted, you know what? Welcome him back. Do something good for the kids.”
  • In an Insider-only article for, Givony and Mike Schmitz single out some prospects that have the most at stake during the NCAA’s conference tournament season. While the Givony and Schmitz name several players ranked further down on ESPN’s big board, big-name prospects like Mohamed Bamba, Trae Young, and Michael Porter Jr. headline the list of youngsters worth watching.
  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News spoke to one league scout to get his take on 10 college prospects who have big months of March ahead of them. The scout made some interesting comments on Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Moritz Wagner (Michigan), and several other prospects, noting that he believes Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is the favorite to be picked first overall in June. “He just dominates the middle so completely,” the scout said of Ayton. “I don’t think there is much that can happen that will knock him out of the top spot. He is not a sure thing in that spot, but he is ahead of everyone else.”

Joel Anthony To Play In Argentina

Veteran NBA center Joel Anthony is set to continue his playing career internationally. Anthony has signed with San Lorenzo de Almagro in Argentina, the team announced today via Twitter (hat tip to Sportando).

Anthony, 35, has appeared in 490 regular season games over the course of his NBA career for the Heat, Celtics, Pistons, and Spurs. The big man also played in another 66 postseason games, primarily for the Heat — he won a pair of titles with Miami.

While Anthony was a respected presence in the locker room throughout his NBA career, he never posted big numbers. For his career, he had averages of 2.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 14.4 minutes per contest.

Anthony was last seen in camp with the Bucks this past fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with Milwaukee.

Ex-Rocket Bobby Brown Headed To Greece

Bobby Brown, who was waived by the Rockets last week, has reached an agreement to play for the Greek team Olympiacos, according to Eurohoops (hat tip to Sportando).

Brown, who appeared in 20 games this season, had hoped to re-sign with Houston for the rest of the year, but became expendable when the Rockets reached agreements with Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright following buyouts. Originally waived on January 5, Brown signed a rest-of-the-season deal with Houston on February 9, but was released three days later.

Brown, 33, is no stranger to the Euroleague, having played in Germany, Poland, Italy and Turkey. He also spent time in China before signing with the Rockets in 2016. He spent parts of two seasons in Houston, averaging 2.5 points in 45 games.

And-Ones: All-Star Draft, Team USA, G League

While it’s not clear how much the new format was responsible for the NBA’s best and most competitive All-Star Game in years, commissioner Adam Silver was happy with the result, telling ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he was appreciative of the players and thought the game was “incredible.” Silver also suggested that fans’ biggest complaint about this year’s All-Star draft format will likely be addressed for next year’s event.

“When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100% positive into a potential negative to any player,” Silver said. “But then … maybe we’re overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Damjan Rudez To Play In Monaco

Former NBA forward Damjan Rudez has signed with AS Monaco Basket, a team that plays in LNB Pro A in France, the club announced today (via Twitter).

Rudez, 31, began his professional career in Europe, playing for a variety of clubs in Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, and his home country of Croatia before making the jump to the NBA in 2014. The 6’8″ forward appeared in 68 games for the Pacers during the 2014/15 season, averaging 4.8 PPG and shooting 40.6% on three-pointers in a part-time role for the club.

However, following his single season in Indiana, Rudez struggled to find regular minutes for the Timberwolves in 2015/16 and for the Magic in 2016/17. After being invited to camp with Orlando again this past fall, the veteran forward was cut from the Magic’s preseason roster, prompting him to head back overseas, where he signed with Spanish team Valencia Basket.

Rudez’ stint with Valencia was unspectacular — he averaged just 2.9 PPG in 21 total contests (10.3 MPG). Having signed a three-month contract with the club, Rudez was let go when that deal expired near the end of January.

And-Ones: Players/Officials, Diaw, Modern Approach

Several current NBA players and referees will meet privately Saturday during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles to discuss player-referee relations, according to a release posted on the Players’ Association’s website. Tensions between players and officials have been a hot topic this year and the aim of the meeting is to improve communication and transparency. Among the topics that will be discussed is on-court communication and demeanor; perception in media, optics, and reality of issues between players and officials; respect for game rules and their consistent enforcement; tactics for de-escalation of tension from each side; and equality of treatment for all players and officials.

In other news around the league and overseas:

  • Veteran big man Boris Diaw is expected to remain with his French team until the end of its season, Sportando relays via Le Parisien. Diaw has drawn interest from NBA teams and has an opt-out clause he could exercise by March 1 but he’ll stay with Paris-Levallois. He played 73 games for the Jazz last season.
  • Changes to the All-Star format and the league embracing pro sports betting are ways that the NBA is trying to remain relevant, Howard Bryant of ESPN argues. Oversaturation will eventually override nostalgia, tradition and enormous television rights fees, which has propped up major sports over the years, Bryant continues. That’s why the leagues are desperately trying to reinvent themselves, Bryant adds.

Marcus Thornton Set To Play In China

Veteran NBA guard Marcus Thornton is headed overseas, according to international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter links), who reports that Thornton will sign with the Beijing Ducks in China. He’ll replace Aaron Jackson, who is out for the rest of the CBA season with an injured collarbone.

Thornton had been playing for the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s G League affiliate, averaging 18.9 PPG in just 24.6 MPG in 15 contests, with a shooting line of .500/.392/.833. The eight-year NBA veteran was likely hoping that his solid G League stint would result in a call-up to an NBA club. Still, he’ll have the opportunity to return stateside before season’s end, since the CBA year ends before the NBA’s. The CBA regular season ends next week, with the playoffs beginning shortly thereafter.

Thornton, 30, has played in 483 NBA regular season games since the start of the 2009/10 season, spending time with seven NBA teams over the course of his professional career. Most recently, the LSU alum averaged 6.6 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 33 contests for the Wizards in 2016/17. Although he worked out for the Timberwolves in the offseason, he was unable to land an NBA contract.

This Marcus Thornton should not be confused with the Marcus Thornton who was selected 45th overall in the 2015 draft by the Celtics — that former William & Mary guard, who has not appeared in an NBA regular season game, is currently playing for the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s G League affiliate.

And-Ones: Antetokounmpo, Bynum, 10-Day Deals

Giannis Antetokounmpo was named an All-Star starter on Thursday for the second consecutive season, but he also got some bad news this week. As Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details, the Bucks plan to hold their star forward out of the team’s next two games in order to manage soreness in his right knee.

Antetokounmpo has been extremely durable during his NBA career, playing at least 77 games in each of his first four seasons with the Bucks, but he’s had a history of knee pain. A league source tells Velazquez that the injury – not considered to be tendinitis – is viewed as something that will always bother Antetokounmpo to some extent, which leaves it up to him and the team to manage it as best they can.

In this case, the Bucks have a stretch in their schedule that allows them to get Antetokounmpo eight full days of rest without having him miss more than two games. The decision to take advantage of that portion of the schedule to rest the All-Star was made “for the greater good of the season,” a source tells Velazquez.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • With the NBA’s players and officials at odds more frequently than ever this season, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman explores what role the NBA should have in repairing that relationship. A meeting between the players’ union and referees’ union is expected to take place during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.
  • Veteran guard Will Bynum, who last played in the NBA with the Wizards in 2014/15, has signed with Turkish team Yesilgiresun, the team announced in a press release (English link via Sportando). A longtime Piston, Bynum appeared in 360 total regular season NBA games for Golden State, Detroit, and Washington.
  • Frank Urbina of HoopsHype identifies six teams that he believes should be active at the trade deadline, including three sellers (Bulls, Lakers, Grizzlies) and three buyers (Cavaliers, Pacers, Bucks).
  • Which G League players should be candidates to receive 10-day contracts from NBA clubs? David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders names five, starting with former Sixers and Hornets forward Christian Wood.