Central Notes: Oladipo, Anthony, Young, Blatt

Victor Oladipo is sure the Pacers will make the playoffs due to the additions of Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb, among others, as he told J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. “I feel like we got some great additions. We got a chance to be really special. I feel like the league is wide open,” Oladipo said. “I was excited for the opportunity to play with (Brogdon). I know what type of player he is, the level that he plays on and has been playing on the last couple of years from Milwaukee. To have him as an addition is pretty big for us.” Oladipo is working his way back from a quad injury and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready by training camp. “I’m not sure yet,” he told Mark Monteith of the team’s website.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Adding free agent Carmelo Anthony to the mix never made any sense for the Pistons, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press explains in his latest mailbag. Anthony’s game is predicated on isolation plays and that doesn’t fit the Pistons’ system. He’s also spent most of his time at power forward in recent seasons and the Pistons already signed Markieff Morris, a better defender, to back up Blake Griffin. They also added another veteran forward, Michael Beasley, to compete for a roster spot, Ellis adds.
  • Thaddeus Young is a quality finisher and that will help boost the Bulls’ offense, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Young shot 67.9% from inside three feet for the Pacers last season, while Chicago ranked 28th in the NBA in field goal percentage inside five feet, making just 58% of its attempts, Strotman notes. Young jumped teams on a three-year, $41MM pact early in the free agent season.
  • Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt is battling multiple sclerosis but plans to continue coaching, according to an Associated Press report. He’s currently the coach of the Greek team Olympiacos Piraeus. “I am a coach and my job is to lead and teach and inspire a lot of people,” Blatt wrote in the statement. “Not being as agile or active doesn’t affect my ability to do those things.”

Ian Clark Signs With Xinjiang

AUGUST 19: Clark has officially joined the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, according to Carchia.

JULY 30: Veteran NBA guard Ian Clark is set to sign with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Clark, 28, has spent the last six seasons in the NBA, playing for the Jazz, Nuggets, Warriors, and Pelicans during that time. His best performance may have come in 2016/17, when he averaged 6.8 PPG on .487/.374/.759 shooting in 77 games for Golden State in one of the club’s title years.

In 2018/19, Clark appeared in 60 games for New Orleans, recording 6.7 PPG on .394/.327/.892 shooting in 16.2 minutes per contest.

Assuming Clark finalizes his reported deal with Xinjiang, he’ll be one of a small handful of players who spent time in the NBA last season and are headed to the CBA for 2019/20. Ekpe Udoh is said to be joining the Beijing Ducks, while James Nunnally is considered likely to sign with the Shanghai Sharks.

Jerryd Bayless To Play In China

AUGUST 19: The Sichuan Blue Whales have officially announced the signing of Bayless, relays Carchia. The club has also signed former NBA center Maciej Lampe, who appeared in 64 NBA games between 2004-06.

AUGUST 15: Jerryd Bayless will become the latest NBA veteran to head to China for the 2019/20 season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, who reports that Bayless has agreed to a deal with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Bayless, who will turn 31 next Tuesday, has appeared in a total of 586 regular season games for eight NBA teams over 11 years since being selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. He opened the 2018/19 season with the Sixers, but was sent to Minnesota along with Robert Covington and Dario Saric in the blockbuster trade that landed Jimmy Butler in Philadelphia.

In 34 games with the Timberwolves, Bayless averaged 6.1 PPG and 3.5 APG in 19.3 minutes per game. His shooting line was a subpar .357/.296/.571, which likely contributed to the relative lack of NBA interest in him this summer.

Bayless is one of several former NBA players who has either signed with a Chinese team this offseason or is expected to do so. He joins Lance Stephenson, Ian Clark, Jerian Grant, Angel Delgado, Wayne Selden, Chasson Randle, Ekpe Udoh, and Donatas Motiejunas on that growing list.

Tyler Dorsey Signs With Maccabi Tel Aviv

As first reported by Israeli basketball reporter Roi Cohen a few days ago (Twitter link), shooting guard Tyler Dorsey has signed a contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League and EuroLeague, per a release from the team’s official Twitter account.

Dorsey, 23, was originally drafted by the Hawks out of Oregon back in 2017, where he played for Atlanta during the 2017/18 season and part of last season. On the day of the trade deadline, February 7, he was shipped to Memphis in exchange for veteran point guard Shelvin Mack.

Dorsey, who also saw time with the Memphis Hustle after the trade, performed well for the Grizzlies, averaging 9.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in 21 contests (11 starts). However, the Grizzlies opted not to extend Dorsey a qualifying offer this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Dorsey will join fellow ex-NBA players Omri Casspi, Quincy Acy, and Tarik Black on what should now be a relatively strong 2019/20 roster for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

International Notes: Lin, Todorovic, Withey, Phillip

Former Raptors guard Jeremy Lin is in advanced talks with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The news was first reported by journalist Sonx Xiang of China.

We passed along a story earlier this week that several CBA teams were interested in adding Lin if he didn’t receive an invitation to an NBA training camp. He admitted that playing in China is an option he’s considering.

Lin, who will turn 31 on Friday, won his first championship ring after coming to Toronto in February. He was part of the rotation during the regular season, averaging 7.0 points and 18.8 minutes per night. However, his role was greatly reduced in the postseason, as he appeared in just eight games and averaged 3.4 minutes. He has played for eight teams in a nine-year NBA career.

There’s more international news this morning:

  • Marko Todorovic, who had his draft rights renounced by the Rockets earlier this month, has reached an agreement with the Tianjin Pioneers of the CBA, Carchia writes in a separate story. The 27-year-old center played in Spain last season for Joventut Badalona. The Trail Blazers selected him with the 45th pick in the 2013 draft and traded his rights to Houston.
  • Former NBA center Jeff Withey will play in Israel this season for Ironi Nes-Ziona, Carchia adds in another piece. Withey spent time in Turkey and Greece last year. He played for three teams during his five years in the NBA, most recently for the Mavericks in 2017/18.
  • Tarik Phillip, who was waived by the Wizards on Thursday, will play for Tofaş Spor Kulübü in Turkey, according to a tweet from the team. The 26-year-old guard signed with Washington at the end of the 2018/19 season, but didn’t see any game action. He spent most of the year with the Memphis Hustle in the G League, averaging 13.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.8 APG in 48 games.

Guerschon Yabusele To Play In China

After being released by the Celtics earlier this offseason, Guerschon Yabusele appears poised to return to China. A source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando that Yabusele has agreed to terms with the Nanjing Monkey Kings of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Yabusele, 23, has previously spent time playing in China. After being selected 16th overall by Boston in the 2016 draft, he remained overseas for one more year with the CBA’s Shanghai Sharks.

The young power forward joined the Celtics for the 2017/18 season and spent the last two years with the team, but failed to develop into a reliable rotation piece. In 74 total games, he averaged 2.3 PPG and 1.4 RPG in just 6.6 minutes per contest.

Although Yabusele’s $3.1MM NBA salary for 2019/20 was guaranteed, the Celtics determined that waiving him and stretching his salary would be in the team’s best interest — it opened up a roster spot and created a little extra cap flexibility, allowing Boston to sign Vincent Poirier and Carsen Edwards using cap room.

Shabazz Muhammad, Zhou Qi Sign With Chinese Teams

A pair of former NBA players are returning to China for the 2019/20 season, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando, who writes that Shabazz Muhammad has signed with Shenzen and Zhou Qi has rejoined Xinjiang.

Muhammad, the 14th overall pick in the 2013 draft, spent five seasons in the NBA with the Timberwolves and Bucks. However, after being waived by Milwaukee last October, he opted to continue his career in China, joining the Shanxi Brave Dragons for the 2018/19 season.

The 26-year-old averaged 29.8 PPG and 11.2 RPG in 41 games for Shanxi, and will now continue playing in the Chinese Basketball Association, albeit with a new team.

As for Zhou, the Chinese big man was the 43rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, but remained with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers for one more year before joining the Rockets for the 2017/18 season.

Zhou appeared in 18 games for Houston in his rookie year, then played in just one game in 2018/19. The 23-year-old got a longer look in the G League during his time under contract with the Rockets, averaging 11.2 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 31 total games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He was released by the club last December and will now resume his career with his old team in Xinjiang.

Jeremy Lin Drawing Interest From Chinese Teams

Jeremy Lin has yet to secure a new contract for the 2019/20 season, and he doesn’t appear to be closing the door on the idea of signing with a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, writes Jonathan White of The South China Morning Post. According to White, Lin said during a recent appearance in Guangzhou that he’s keeping his options open.

“Of course I am thinking about the CBA,” Lin said. “I don’t know where I will be next year, so I don’t have expectations. I know what level I can play at, so if I don’t get that I won’t settle.”

In a separate story for the Morning Post, White relays a report from basketball reporter Jia Lei, who wrote on Chinese outlet Sina Sports that multiple teams have contacted Lin’s camp to express interest in bringing him to China. It’s not clear which CBA clubs are eyeing the veteran point guard, but Jia suggests Lin is weighing the possibility of a move to China.

Lin, who will turn 31 later this month, struggled down the stretch last season for the Raptors, averaging just 7.0 PPG and 2.2 APG on .374/.200/.810 shooting in 23 games (18.8 MPG). Those marks all ranked among the worst of his NBA career, and he didn’t see much action in the playoffs.

Still, Lin posted solid numbers for the Hawks in 51 games in 2018/19 before being bought out, recording 10.7 PPG and 3.5 APG on .466/.333/.845 shooting.

For an NBA team seeking point guard depth, there aren’t a ton of reliable options out there, with Lin and Shaun Livingston representing the best veteran free agents still on the board. If Lin remains patient, it seems likely he’ll catch on with an NBA team, particularly once injuries start piling up in the fall. However, if he wants to secure a deal sooner rather than later, he could be tempted by a larger role and a guaranteed salary in China or Europe.

Jonas Jerebko Signs Two-Year Deal With Khimki

As expected, veteran NBA forward Jonas Jerebko has officially signed with Russian team Khimki, the team announced in a press release. A report earlier this month indicated that Jerebko was close to a deal with the EuroLeague club. He has signed a two-year contract.

“I’m looking forward to playing in the top level in Europe after 10 years in the NBA,” Jerebko said in a statement. “Playing against the best teams in the EuroLeague was obviously on my bucket list. I’m super excited about the opportunity of joining my teammates.”

Jerebko, 32, has spent time with the Pistons, Celtics, Jazz, and Warriors since being selected in the second round of the 2009 draft. In Golden State last season, he averaged 6.3 PPG and 3.9 RPG on .459/.367/.800 shooting in 73 games (16.7 MPG).

Despite those solid numbers, Jerebko didn’t see much time in the Warriors’ postseason rotation, logging just 26 total minutes in four Finals appearances. The Swedish forward apparently didn’t generate a ton of NBA interest on the open market this summer either, necessitating a move back overseas — he last played in Europe when he suited up for Italian club Angelico Biella from 2007-09.

Jerebko is the third player to sign with Khimki after being on an NBA roster for the 2018/19 season. Timofey Mozgov and Dairis Bertans also joined the Russian team.

Chasson Randle Signs With Chinese Team

AUGUST 14: Randle has signed a “lucrative” contract with Tianjin, a source tells Carchia (Twitter link).

AUGUST 13: Free agent point guard Chasson Randle is close to reaching a deal with Tianjin in China, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The club plays in the Chinese Basketball Association.

After winning a EuroLeague title with Real Madrid in 2018, Randle caught on with the Wizards for most of the 2018/19 NBA season, appearing in 49 games (two starts) for the club. The former Stanford guard averaged 5.5 PPG and 2.0 APG with a .419/.400/.694 shooting line in 15.2 minutes per contest, serving as Washington’s primary backup point guard after John Wall‘s injury.

A recent report suggested that as many as six NBA teams were keeping an eye on Randle, but it’s possible those clubs weren’t willing to offer him many guarantees in terms of salary, a rotation role, or even a regular season roster spot.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony also indicated on Monday (via Twitter) that Randle would be one of the players suiting up for the “L.A. Select Team,” which will scrimmage against Team USA’s World Cup roster this week. It’s unclear if Randle’s reported negotiations with Tianjin will affect his involvement in those scrimmages.