International

Brandon Bass To Play In China

Veteran forward Brandon Bass has agreed to a $2MM offer to play in China next season, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Bass will sign with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association.

The 32-year-old spent last season with the Clippers, appearing in 52 games as a reserve and averaging 5.6 points in about 11 minutes per night. He has also played for the Hornets, Mavericks, Magic, Celtics, and Lakers in a 12-year NBA career.

Bass made a little more than $1.55MM with the Clippers last year, but hasn’t received an attractive offer since entering free agency. Because the Chinese season ends before the NBA season, he will be eligible to return to the league in March or April.

NBA Free Agents Who Have Joined Teams Overseas

Approximately 450 players finished the 2016/17 season on NBA rosters, but not all of those 450 players will find a spot on an NBA team in 2017/18. With rookies, undrafted free agents, and international signees poised to occupy at least a few dozen roster spots around the league this season, some NBA players will have to look elsewhere for work.

Some of those players will retire, and others will end up in the G League, while many will head overseas to continue their playing careers in some of the best non-NBA professional leagues around the world. Salaries generally aren’t as lucrative in those leagues, and they don’t provide the opportunity to compete against the world’s very best players.

Still, an NBA role player who decides to head overseas can often match or exceed his potential minimum NBA salary, and will have the chance to take on a much larger role for an international team. That’s why even some players who have had some NBA success and are still in their 20s – such as Brandon Jennings – have opted to make the jump overseas this offseason.

Listed below are the players who finished the 2016/17 season on an NBA roster and have since reached an agreement with an international team. Each player’s former NBA team is listed, along with his new team overseas, and a link to our story on his new deal.

Meanwhile, here are a few more players who are headed overseas after spending a good chunk of the 2016/17 season on an NBA roster — these players were waived by their NBA teams before the end of the year.

Hoops Rumors’ 2017 Free Agent Tracker was used in the creation of this post.

And-Ones: Muhammad, Franchise Players, Sims

Free agent forward Shabazz Muhammad remains one of the most noteworthy names on the open market, and with still no deal in hand, the four-year veteran is looking to change agents, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). If that sounds familiar, it’s because Muhammad just hired a new agent in the spring — the former Rob Pelinka client made the move to Rich Paul after Pelinka landed with the Lakers as their new GM.

As Wolfson adds in a separate tweet, at least six teams have checked in on Muhammad, but the former first-round pick entered free agency hoping to get a mid-level type deal, perhaps similar to what Patrick Patterson received from the Thunder (three years, $16MM+). At this point in the offseason, Muhammad will be hard-pressed to find more than a minimum salary deal, which explains why he’s not necessarily thrilled with Paul’s work.

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

Rakeem Christmas To Play In Turkey

Former Pacers forward Rakeem Christmas is heading overseas for the 2017/18 season. Turkish team Galatasaray announced today (Twitter link) that Christmas will be joining the club. It’ll be a one-year deal, according to the team (Turkish press release).

Christmas, 25, made his NBA debut for the Pacers in 2015/16 after earning a spot on the G League All-Star team that season. He played in just one game in ’15/16 for Indiana, but had a strong year for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 13.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.7 BPG in 48 contests.

Christmas stuck with the Pacers for 2016/17, appearing in 29 regular season games for the team. However, the 6’9″ forward saw limited action in those games, averaging 2.0 PPG and 1.9 RPG in just 7.6 minutes per contest. He was waived last month by Indiana before his salary for the coming season became guaranteed.

Austin Daye, Tibor Pleiss, and Joey Dorsey are among the former NBAers who have played for Galatasaray in Turkey in recent years.

Julyan Stone Granted Release From Italian Team

AUGUST 14, 7:22pm: Stone has been granted his release from Umana Reyer Venezia and is expected to sign with the Hornets this week, Bonnell reports.

AUGUST 13, 2:30pm: The Hornets plan to sign Stone to a two-year minimum deal with a second-year trigger date, pending clearance from FIBA, per Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter).

10:18amJulyan Stone is making progress toward getting out of his Italian League contract so he can sign with the Hornets, reports Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

The 28-year-old combo guard recently agreed to a two-year extension with defending league champion Umana Reyer, based in Venice. Stone doesn’t have an opt-out clause to leave for the NBA, but he is asking the team to release him from his deal so he can be closer to his father, who is in a coronary care unit in the United States with severe lung, heart and kidney conditions.

Charlotte has a two-year, veteran’s minimum offer waiting for Stone and envisions him as a third-string point guard backing up Kemba Walker and free agent addition Michael Carter-Williams. However, before he can join the Hornets, Stone has to obtain a letter from FIBA stating that he has no contractual obligation to any other team.

Stone has prior NBA experience with the Nuggets and Raptors. He has also played in Turkey and Italy.

Point Guard Norris Cole Headed To Israel

Point guard Norris Cole will sign a one-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Euroleague, international journalist David Pick tweets via a source.

Cole, 28, appeared in 13 games with the Thunder last season after finally landing an NBA job in March. He averaged 3.3 PPG and 1.1 APG in 9.6 MPG and shot just 30.8% from the field. The previous season, he started 23 of 45 games with the Pelicans and averaged a career-high 10.6 PPG and 3.7 APG in 26.6 MPG. He spent his first 3 1/2 seasons with the Heat.

According to earlier tweet from Pick, the contract is worth $700K.

Cole didn’t generate much buzz on the free agent market, though he did work out with the Hornets last month.

Jordan McRae To Play In Spain

12:05pm: McRae will earn more than $700K on his new deal with Baskonia, according to Pick (Twitter link).

11:49am: Former Cavaliers guard Jordan McRae will play in Spain in 2017/18, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that McRae has signed with Baskonia.

McRae, 26, spent most of the 2016/17 season in Cleveland after joining the Cavaliers down the stretch in 2015/16. In 37 games last season, the 6’6″ guard averaged 4.4 PPG and 1.1 RPG with a shooting line of .387/.353/.794. The club waived McRae shortly after the All-Star break in order to create room on the roster to sign Andrew Bogut, whose time in Cleveland was short-lived.

McRae is the second NBA free agent landed by Baskonia this offseason, as the team also signed point guard Marcelo Huertas. McRae and Huertas will help fill the backcourt void created when Shane Larkin departed to sign with the Celtics — Larkin was one of the Euroleague’s top point guards last season, and was Baskonia’s leading scorer in both Euroleague and Spanish League play.

According to Pick, McRae turned down offers from Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv before reaching an agreement with Baskonia. Maccabi continues to scour the NBA free agent market for backcourt help, having reportedly extended an offer to veteran guard Norris Cole, as we detailed earlier today.

Norris Cole Receives Euroleague Offer

Free agent point guard Norris Cole has received a contract offer from Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link). The deal, which Cole has not yet accepted, would be worth $700K and would bring the veteran guard to the Euroleague.

A former first-round pick, Cole spent the first three and a half years of his career with the Heat, winning a pair of titles with the franchise. He has since spent time with for the Pelicans and Thunder, though he appeared in just 13 games for Oklahoma City last season, playing limited minutes. For his career, the 28-year-old has averaged 7.0 PPG and 2.7 APG in 360 regular season contests.

While Cole has yet to find an NBA home, it makes sense that he’d continue to explore every avenue stateside before heading back overseas — as a six-year veteran, Cole’s minimum salary with an NBA team would be $1,841,849, more than double what his offer from Maccabi Tel Aviv is worth.

Still, Cole had trouble finding an NBA landing spot last season, having not signed with the Thunder until March. And even if he were able to secure an NBA contract, it wouldn’t necessarily be fully guaranteed. Cole also has some international experience, having played in China in 2016, so he may not be averse to returning overseas.

Cole is one of the more notable names among an increasingly sparse group of free agent NBA point guards. Aaron Brooks, Deron Williams, and C.J. Watson are a few of the others who remain unsigned.

Ex-Maverick Manny Harris Signs With Greek Team

Shooting guard Manny Harris, who played briefly for the Mavericks last season, has signed to play in Greece, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Harris joins the AEK Basketball Club, based in Athens.

The 27-year-old signed a pair of 10-day contracts with Dallas in March and appeared in four games. He averaged 2.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 6.3 minutes and was not retained when the second deal expired.

Harris signed with the Cavaliers after going undrafted out of Michigan in 2010. He played 80 games over two seasons in Cleveland before being waived after the 2011/12 season. Harris also had a nine-game stint with the Lakers in 2014.

And-Ones: Mexico City, Schedule, Llull, Thompson

The Nets will be involved in both games in Mexico City next season, the NBA announced today on its website. Brooklyn will face the Thunder on December 7th, followed by the Heat on December 9th at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. The games will be the 25th and 26th in the country, more than other other nation besides the United States and Canada. “They will also mark the 25th anniversary of our first game in Mexico City, a milestone in our relationship with our Mexican fans and a further indication of our desire to strengthen our ties to Mexico and Latin America,” said commissioner Adam Silver.

There’s more news from around the league:

  • The NBA has sent a memo to all its teams explaining the changes in next season’s schedule, relays Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The season will start a week earlier, giving teams more days off with the goal of eliminating the practice of healthy players being rested. The new schedule also cuts out stretches of four games in five days and reduces the number of single-game road trips, among other improvements.
  • Spanish guard Sergio Llull, whose rights are owned by the Rockets, suffered an ACL injury today that will force him to miss EuroBasket and Euroleague for his Real Madrid team, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Llull sent out a tweet thanking his fans and promising that he will return to action. Houston purchased Llull’s rights from Denver in 2009, but has been unable to convince the 29-year-old to leave Spain.
  • Hollis Thompson, who spent time with the Sixers and Pelicans last season, is in “advanced negotiations” with Olympiacos in Greece, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Thompson began the season with Philadelphia and played 31 games before being waived in early January. He signed a pair of 10-day contracts with New Orleans in February and March, appearing in nine games, but wasn’t retained when the second deal expired.
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