International

And-Ones: China, 2019 Draft, FAs, Carmelo

During the 2018 offseason, NBA veterans like Cole Aldrich, Al Jefferson, and Marreese Speights were among those to sign contracts in China. As Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype notes in an excellent, in-depth look at Chinese basketball’s free agent system, teams in the Chinese Basketball Association can offer players more money than clubs in just about any other non-NBA league in the world, which appeals to unsigned vets.

“If you talk to players who aren’t in the NBA, just about every player’s first choice is China,” one agent told Kennedy. “The vast majority of players outside of the NBA want to sign in China. There are a lot of players who make seven figures in China. Even the smaller deals are solid, paying at least $300K after taxes. It’s also a relatively short season compared to other leagues. … When the CBA season ends, players can try to join an NBA team for the remainder of the season. It’s attractive for many reasons.”

While heading to China might be appealing to undrafted players who were unable to catch on with NBA teams, most Chinese clubs are focusing on players who have previous NBA experience, as another agent tells Kennedy.

“They think, ‘If this guy played in the NBA, he must be good,'” the agent said. “They also understand that fans will be more interested in a player if they can use the word ‘NBA’ to market him. It helps them sell tickets and things like that. I always tell players if they want to sign in China, they either need NBA experience or they need to be absolutely dominating wherever they’re currently playing.”

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

And-Ones: Seattle, G. Davis, Conley, Embiid

The city of Seattle will become the home of the 32nd NHL franchise, as our sister site Pro Hockey Rumors detailed earlier this week. However, a return to Seattle still doesn’t seem to be in the cards anytime soon for the NBA.

According to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, who spoke to multiple sources about Seattle, the league’s owners aren’t even considering the possibility of expansion at the moment. Most people expect it to be at least five to seven years before the NBA starts thinking seriously about expanding, according to Helin, who notes that it could be part of the next TV package discussions in 2025.

If Seattle has any chance to get any NBA team before then, it would likely have to be via relocation rather than expansion, Helin continues. Still, while there has been some speculation about the long-term viability of the Grizzlies and Pelicans in Memphis and New Orleans, respectively, no NBA franchises – including those two teams – appear to be in any imminent danger of leaving their current towns.

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

  • The next stop for former NBA big man Glen Davis may be the Canadian Maritimes. According to Robin Short of The Telegram (hat tip to Sportando), the St. John’s Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada have agreed to terms on a contract with Davis, who left his team in Croatia last month.
  • In an interesting Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a closer look at playing-time incentives for Mike Conley and Joel Embiid, who can fully lock in the guarantees later in their max contracts by reaching certain benchmarks in games or minutes played. Marks also explores the pressure Andrew Wiggins is under to live up to his max deal, the Kings‘ balancing act between winning and developing players, and more.
  • The Pelicans, Rockets, Wizards, Heat, and Mavericks are the would-be contenders who most need to make a trade, in the view of Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer. Meanwhile, a handful of NBA.com writers weigh in on the teams most in need of a shake-up, and many of the same clubs are mentioned.

And-Ones: USA Basketball, Haddadi, Goodwin, Douglas, Griffin

USA Basketball has secured a spot in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 event, Sportando relays. The USA team captured a berth with a 78-70 win over Uruguay on Sunday. Venezuela and Argentina were the other teams from the Americas who also qualified for the FIBA tournament.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Center Hamed Haddadi and shooting guard Archie Goodwin will continue their careers in China, according to a pair of Sportando posts. Haddadi, 33, reached an agreement with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. He last appeared in the NBA during the 2012/13 season with the Grizzlies and Suns. Goodwin, 24, signed with the Qingdao Eagles. He most recently played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he saw action in a combined 15 games for the Nets and Pelicans.
  • Former NBA guard Toney Douglas has reached an agreement with the Turkish club Darussafaka, according to another Sportando report. Douglas previously played for another team in Turkey, Sakarya. Douglas, 32, most recently played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season with the Grizzlies when came off the bench for 24 games.
  • The blockbuster deal that sent Blake Griffin from the Clippers to the Pistons last winter has worked out surprisingly well for both sides, as Matt John of Basketball Insiders notes. Griffin has stayed healthy and played like an MVP candidate for the Pistons through the first 20 games this season, while Tobias Harris is the leading scorer for one of the league’s most prolific offenses, John continues. The draft pick the Clippers acquired was used on point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has displayed unusual poise as a rookie, John adds.

And-Ones: A. Brown, Hanlan, Draft, Africa

Former NBA swingman Anthony Brown and Serbian team KK Partizan Belgrade have officially parted ways, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Brown’s deal was supposed to run through June, but the two sides agreed to terminate it just a month after it was finalized.

In other international basketball news, former Spurs second-round pick Olivier Hanlan has signed with German club Telekom Baskets Bonn, according to an announcement from the team (hat tip to Sportando). Hanlan signed with San Antonio in September, but was waived a few days later, so the Spurs no longer have his NBA rights.

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

  • ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have updated their 2019 mock draft (Insider link), with Zion Williamson now claiming the No. 1 spot, followed by Duke teammate R.J. Barrett at No. 2. Givony and Schmitz also zero in on players whose stocks have recently improved or fallen, with USC’s Kevin Porter (No. 21 to No. 9) and Murray State’s Temetrius “Ja” Morant (No. 16 to No. 10) among the big risers.
  • The NBA, which unveiled a new training facility at its basketball academy in Senegal this week, has “big plans” for Africa, writes Ken Maguire of The Associated Press. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum suggests that the league believes the number of African players on NBA starting rosters (13) could double within a decade, Maguire notes.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks examines some NBA roster moves or salary-cap decisions that didn’t receive a ton of attention at the time, but have paid off so far, including the Grizzlies‘ acquisition of Garrett Temple.

And-Ones: Brown, Davis, Paul, Williamson

Longtime NBA coach Larry Brown is having a rough time coaching the Euroleague’s Fiat Torino in Italy. The team has lost 10 straight and Brown is on the hot seat, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Brown was hired over the summer, his first head coaching job since leaving his position at Southern Methodist two years ago.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA big man Glen Davis has drawn interest from multiple teams in Asia and Israel, according to a Sportando report. Davis briefly played for a Croatian team this season. His last taste of the NBA came in 2014/15, when he played 74 games with the Clippers.
  • Brandon Paul is in serious talks with Greece’s Olympiacos, according to another Sportando report. Paul was waived by the Spurs in late July and failed to hook on to another NBA club. The shooting guard made his league debut last season and appeared in 64 games, averaging 2.3 PPG and 1.1 RPG in just 9.0 MPG.
  • Duke forward Zion Williamson has emerged as the favorite to be the top pick in next year’s draft, according to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz. He’s passed freshmen teammates RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish because of his unique skill set and it’s hard to imagine a rebuilding team choosing anyone else, Schmitz adds.
  • NBA prospect Akok Akok has withdrawn from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut and will enroll in college in January, he told Adam Zagoria of 247Sports.com. Akok, a 6’10” power forward, has graduated high school and is eligible for the draft. He is considering Connecticut, Georgetown, Providence, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Xavier Munford, Bobby Brown Expected To Play In China

A pair of players who logged NBA minutes last season are expected to sign with teams in China, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, former Bucks guard Xavier Munford is set to sign with Fujian to replace Eugene “Pooh” Jeter, while Bobby Brown will likely sign with Shanxi to replace Josh Adams.

Munford, 26, was a two-way player for Milwaukee last season, but only appeared in six games for the Bucks. He was impressive in the G League, averaging 24.4 PPG and 5.2 APG on .509/.444/.747 shooting in 34 games for the Wisconsin Herd. That performance earned him a two-way qualifying offer in June, but the Bucks withdrew that QO in September, making him an unrestricted free agent.

As for Brown, he signed a deal earlier this month with KK Mornar Bar to play in Montenegro. However, as Carchia notes, that agreement included an exit clause, which Brown is expected to take advantage of to make the move to China.

Brown, a former Cal State Fullerton standout, appeared in 25 games for the Rockets in 2016/17 and 20 more in 2017/18. The 34-year-old played a limited role for the club, averaging 2.5 PPG and 0.6 APG in just 5.3 minutes per contest. He finished last season playing for Olympiacos in Greece after being cut by Houston in February.

International Notes: Mayo, Robinson, Early, Meeks

O.J. Mayo is in Taiwan for the next step of his basketball career, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 31-year-old signed with the Dacin Tigers and has already played a few games, Carchia adds.

Mayo recently became eligible for reinstatement into the NBA after serving a two-year ban for a second violation of the league’s Anti-Drug Program. He was hoping for an invitation to training camp, but no team made an offer. Mayo last played in Puerto Rico over the summer.

Mayo spent eight NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, Mavericks and Bucks, but hasn’t been in the league since fracturing his right ankle in March of 2016.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • China may be the next stop for former lottery pick Thomas Robinson, according to Carchia. The Beikong Fly Dragons are negotiating with Robinson, who spent last season with Khimki Moscow Region in Russia. The fifth pick in the 2012 draft, Robinson played 313 games for the Kings, Rockets, Trail Blazers, Sixers, Nets and Lakers. He was in training camp this year with the Hawks, but was waived last month before the start of the season.
  • Cleanthony Early, who spent two seasons with the Knicks, has joined the Tokyo Hachioji Trains of the Japanese second division, relays Nicola Lupo of Sportando. The team officially announced the signing of Early, who averaged 4.3 PPG in 56 games with New York in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
  • Kennedy Meeks, who was in training camp with the Raptors last season and played for the organization’s G League affiliate, is also playing in Japan, Lupo adds in a separate story. The former North Carolina center is with SeaHorses Mikawa in the first division.

Sessions, Jennings, Crawford Become Free Agents

Former NBA guards Ramon Sessions, Brandon Jennings, and Jordan Crawford are all back on the free agent market, according to a series of reports from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Sessions had been playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, while Jennings had been a member of Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, but both veterans parted ways with their respective teams this week, according to Charania.

Maccabi Tel Aviv issued a statement (via Twitter) announcing that Sessions asked to be released from his contract to return home to America for personal reasons, and the club consented. Zenit St. Petersburg confirmed the end of its relationship with Jennings in a statement of its own, indicating that the two sides reached an agreement to terminate the point guard’s contract early. Jennings had griped on social media last week about playing for a team that featured a father (Vasily Karasev) coaching his son (Sergey Karasev).

As for Crawford, we heard earlier this week that the former Pelican had signed a one-month contract with German team Alba Berlin, but the club announced this morning (via Twitter) that Crawford didn’t pass his physical, voiding the agreement (hat tip to Sportando).

Sessions, Jennings, and Crawford all have plenty of NBA experience under their belts and could receive interest from clubs down the stretch, especially if some teams are hit hard by backcourt injuries. For now, all three will be free agents.

Jordan Crawford To Play In Germany

NOVEMBER 19: Crawford has signed with Alba Berlin, but the deal only covers one month, team president Marco Baldi has confirmed (link via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).

NOVEMBER 18: Free agent guard Jordan Crawford will sign a deal with Alba Berlin in Germany for the season, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

Crawford appeared in five games with the Pelicans last season, averaging 6.6 points, 2.6 assists and 10.6 minutes per contest. He’s made stops with Atlanta, Washington, Boston, Golden State and New Orleans during his six-year NBA career.

Crawford, a 6’4″ combo guard, was drafted by the Nets with the No. 27 pick in 2010. His rights were then traded to the Hawks, where he signed his first professional contract.

Crawford holds career-averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

And-Ones: Lecque, Anthony, West, G League

Potential first-round pick Jalen Lecque will likely sign a national letter of intent this week, but he hasn’t given up on the NBA draft, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Lecque is still a high school senior, but he is expected to be granted draft eligibility because he is a year removed from his graduating class. He committed to North Carolina State in October and could put that in writing before the early signing period ends on Wednesday.

A 6’4″ guard, Lecque put his talents on display this weekend at the National Prep Showcase with representatives from 16 NBA teams watching. He is projected at 25 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“I’m not really focused on the NBA right now,” Lecque said. “I’m focused on first steps first with high school and then next steps with college. I’m getting everything out of the way, graduating and looking to perform my best every game.”

Lecque added that he has no interest in the new G League “select” path that will enable some players fresh out of high school to make $125K.

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

  • Regardless of his NBA future, Carmelo Anthony has a standing offer from the Puerto Rican national team, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Anthony, who already has three gold medals and a bronze with Team USA, announced his retirement from international basketball after the 2016 Olympics. He hasn’t expressed an interest in playing for Puerto Rico, but federation president Yum Ramos plans to offer an invitation. “With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it,” said Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, a star with the Puerto Rican team. “We tried a bunch to get him in the past, but of course nobody blamed him for playing for Team USA. But if he ever wants a chance to represent us, it would be awesome to have him.”
  • David West, who retired from the NBA in August, will be the first chief operating officer for the Historical Basketball League, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The new college league, which will debut in 2020, intends to compensate and educate players based on their market value.
  • Two former NBA players were involved in a G League trade this week, notes a story on the South Bay Lakers’ website. The Lakers acquired the returning player rights for Joel Bolomboy from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for similar rights to Vander Blue. Bolomboy played 18 combined games for the Jazz and Bucks, while Blue has 10 games of NBA experience with the Celtics and Lakers.