International

Shawn Long Will Play In China

Former Sixers big man Shawn Long, who was briefly acquired by the Rockets this summer, has reached a deal with the Xinjiang Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, tweets international writer David Pick.

The 24-year-old signed with Philadelphia last summer after going undrafted out of Louisiana-Lafayette. He was waived before the season started, but rejoined the team in March on a 10-day contract and earned a multi-year deal with a partial guarantee.

The Rockets traded for him in June when they were acquiring several low-salary deals without full guarantees for use in possible trades. Houston waived him September 26, just before a $50K guarantee for this season took effect.

Long got into 18 games for Philadelphia last season, averaging 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 13 minutes per night.

Chinese Team Considers Long, Humphries, Hibbert

The Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are looking at three players with recent NBA experience, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

With an injury to former Wizard and Net Andray Blatche, the team reportedly has interest in Shawn LongKris Humphries and Roy Hibbert.

Long, 24, was waived by the Rockets in late September before his salary for next season became guaranteed. He showed promise during 18 games with the Sixers last season, but was traded to Houston in late June when the Rockets were collecting non-guaranteed contracts for use in possible trades.

Humphries, 32, is still in camp with the Sixers, although he’s not certain to earn a roster spot. He signed a non-guaranteed deal with Philadelphia just before the start of training camp. A 13-year veteran, Humphries had a limited role with the Hawks last season, averaging 4.6 points per night in 56 games. A wrist injury to Richaun Holmes may improve Humphries’ chances of staying on the Sixers’ roster, at least in the short term.

Hibbert, 30, split last season between the Hornets and Nuggets, although he played just six games in Denver after a February trade. An All-Star as recently as 2014, he was unable to get a camp invitation.

Chasson Randle Set To Play In Spain

OCTOBER 7, 4:24pm: Randle has signed a one-year deal with Real Madrid, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

OCTOBER 2, 9am: A week after being waived by the Knicks, point guard Chasson Randle appears to have secured a new job. According to a report from Spanish outlet Gigantes (English link via Orazio Cauchi of Sportando), Randle will sign with Real Madrid for the coming season.

Randle, a former Stanford standout, went undrafted in 2015 and began his professional career with a Czech team in 2015/16. Last season, Randle bounced around between a pair of Atlantic division clubs. After spending the preseason with the Knicks, he was waived and later caught on with the Sixers. When Philadelphia waived him, the 24-year-old returned to the Knicks to finish the year.

In 26 total NBA games last season, Randle averaged 5.3 PPG and 1.3 APG in 11.5 minutes per contest. He had been set to open camp with the Knicks, but when the club acquired two players in exchange for Carmelo Anthony last week, an extra roster spot was required, and Randle was cut.

If and when Randle finalizes a deal with Real Madrid, he’ll be playing alongside former NBA players like Anthony Randolph, Gustavo Ayon, and Jeffery Taylor. He’ll also be teammates with top prospect Luka Doncic.

Hasheem Thabeet To Play In Japan

Former second overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has caught on with a new team overseas, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details. Thabeet has signed with the Yokohama B-Corsairs, a club that plays in Japan’s B. League.

Thabeet, 30, never developed into a productive NBA player after being selected second overall by the Grizzlies in the 2009 draft. In 224 total regular season games, the veteran center averaged 2.2 PPG and 2.7 RPG, last appearing in the NBA during the 2013/14 campaign for the Thunder.

A participant at a free agent mini-camp for the Bucks during the 2017 offseason, Thabeet last played professionally for the Philippines-based Mighty Sports club during the Dubai International Basketball Championship earlier this year.

And-Ones: Pierce, Josh Smith, Morris Twins

After announcing his retirement from the NBA following the 2016/17 season, 10-time All-Star Paul Pierce has lined up a new job. According to a press release issued today by ESPN, Pierce is joining the network as a studio analyst for the upcoming season. The longtime NBA forward will appear regularly on ESPN’s NBA Countdown and The Jump.

“I always had fun doing guest coverage with ESPN, so it is exciting to officially join the teams at NBA Countdown and The Jump,” Pierce said in a statement. “I love hoops, my whole life has been about the game, so this feels like a natural evolution in my career and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”

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

  • As he continues to look for an NBA opportunity, veteran forward Josh Smith has caught on with Israeli team Maccabi Hunter Haifa for a three-game tour against NBA teams this October, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details. Smith worked out for the Pelicans and has been linked to the Rockets this offseason, but hasn’t landed an NBA contract.
  • Closing arguments in the assault trial involving Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are expected to be heard by jurors today, per an Associated Press report (link via USA Today). Depending on the outcome of the trial, the Wizards and Celtics forwards could face NBA discipline, not to mention possible jail time.
  • While not every player to change teams this offseason moved to a better situation, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated identifies seven players whose new NBA homes should pay dividends. Kyrie Irving (Celtics), Paul George (Thunder), and Nick Young (Warriors) are among Spears’ picks.
  • After seeing how long it took for a number of restricted free agents to secure new contracts this offseason, a number of extension-eligible players may be more inclined to get deals done now, rather than taking their chances on the RFA market next summer, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) writes in his latest breakdown of NBA roster moves. T.J. Warren of the Suns was the first player to complete such a deal this week.

And-Ones: Pitino, ASM, Rosters, Delfino

After being linked to a federal investigation into fraud and corruption in recruiting, the University of Louisville has placed head coach Rick Pitino on administrative leave. Pitino, who is expected to formally be fired soon, has explored the idea of a return to the NBA in recent years, but there has been little interest and that’s unlikely to change, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That federal investigation into the NCAA also affected player agency ASM Sports, where lead agent Andy Miller had his computer taken by the FBI, tweets Darren Heitner. Darren Rovell of ESPN confirms (via Twitter) that phone lines were shut off at the agency, which represents Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Kristaps Porzingis, and many other NBA players.

Former ASM representative Christian Dawkins, who was fired from the agency for racking up more than $40,000 in Uber charges on an NBA player’s credit card, was among those accused of bribery and arrested on Tuesday. The FBI’s raid of ASM is believed to be a result of Dawkins’ former employment there.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Bobby Marks of ESPN breaks down the roster situations for every NBA team and examines some of they key preseason issues that each club will have to address.
  • Several NBA insiders provided Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer with some of their thoughts on how they’d improve the league. Among the suggestions? Getting rid of two-way contracts, removing live-ball timeouts, and eliminating the age limit for the NBA draft.
  • Former NBA forward Carlos Delfino will begin the season with Baskonia in Spain, as Orazio Cauchi of Sportando details. Delfino, who appeared in more than 500 regular season games, last played in the NBA for the Rockets in 2012/13.

Gary Neal Signs With Spanish Team

Veteran shooting guard Gary Neal, who played briefly for the Hawks last season, has reached an agreement in Spain, according to Sportando. Neal will play for Tecnyconta Zaragoza.

Neal appeared in two games for the Hawks after signing a 10-day deal in January. He scored four points in 18 total minutes and wasn’t re-signed. He returned to the G League, first with the Texas Legends, then the Reno Bighorns.

Neal, who will turn 33 next month, played for six teams in six NBA seasons. His best year was 2013/14, when he averaged 10.5 points per game while splitting time with the Bucks and Bobcats.

Sixers Sign Jacob Pullen

1:34pm: The Sixers’ deal with Pullen is official, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions.

8:43am: The Sixers and point guard Jacob Pullen have agreed to a deal that will see Pullen attend training camp with the club, according to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link).

Pullen, a former Kansas State standout, went undrafted in 2011 and has spent his professional career since then playing for a variety of teams overseas. Following stints in Italy, Israel, Spain, and Croatia, the 27-year-old spent the 2016/17 season playing for BC Khimki in Russia, averaging 8.9 PPG in 23 VTB United League games and 10.3 PPG in 17 EuroCup contests. He also recently attended a free agent mini-camp hosted by the Bucks.

While terms of Pullen’s agreement with the Sixers aren’t yet known, he’ll have an uphill battle to actually earn a regular season roster spot with the club. Philadelphia only has 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, but Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, and T.J. McConnell aren’t among those players with full guarantees, and they’re essentially locks to open the season on the roster.

Finalizing a deal with Pullen would give the 76ers a roster count of 18 players with training camp around the corner.

Anthony Randolph Discusses Possibility Of NBA Return

Anthony Randolph, who played for four teams in six years after being selected 14th in the 2008 draft, hasn’t given up on his NBA dream, writes Mike Schmitz of ESPN.

The 28-year-old has reworked his game and his body and is serving as a center with 3-point range for a Slovenia team that reached today’s EuroBasket championship. Randolph, who shares an agent with Slovenian star Goran Dragic and 2018 draft prospect Luka Doncic, became a naturalized citizen to join the team. He has averaged 24.7 points per 40 minutes in the tournament while hitting 9-of-11 shots from 3-point range.

“I think he should be in the NBA,” Dragic said. “It’s just life. He said he made some choices that maybe he would do differently, and I still believe he can make it. He is a huge addition to our team. He can play multiple positions — 3, 4, 5. He gives us a different type of game. In the past, we never had a guy you can throw an alley-oop to, can switch everything, can take the big guys out, shoot the mid-range or a 3. He’s a complete player.”

Randolph, who entered the league at age 19, admits he was immature during his time in the NBA, where he was considered a “tweener” who didn’t quite fit traditional size requirements for a small forward or power forward. He is now 6’11” and 230 pounds with a 7’3″ wingspan and has the ability to stretch the floor that teams are seeking in a big man.

Randolph admits being “knocked down from my pedestal” after being waived out of the league on his 25th birthday in 2014. He never quite lived up to expectations with the Warriors, Knicks, Timberwolves and Nuggets and had to look overseas to continue his basketball career.

“I had to go back to the basics,” Randolph said. “It was a different experience. It helped me realize why I really started playing basketball again.”

He signed with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia, far from the glamour of the NBA lifestyle, and developed his skills as a 3-point shooter. He spent last year with Real Madrid alongside Doncic and earned a contract extension with the Spanish team. That deal includes an escape clause next season if an NBA team comes calling, but Randolph won’t take just any opportunity.

“I won’t go back in the NBA just to say, ‘Oh, I’m back in the NBA,'” Randolph said. “I feel like I have to know that I’m going to have a role and that I can help the team and that I have an opportunity to play. I don’t want to go sit on the bench, I want to play. I love playing basketball.”

Boris Diaw Set To Play In France

SEPTEMBER 17, 8:14am: Diaw’s signing is official, the French club announced in a tweet.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1:47pm: Veteran NBA forward Boris Diaw will head back to France to start the 2017/18 season, according to David Cozette of SFR Sport (Twitter link), who reports that Diaw has agreed to sign with Levallois Metropolitans. The deal will feature an NBA out clause, per Sportando (Twitter link).

Diaw, 35, has spent the last 14 seasons in the NBA, beginning his career with the Hawks before moving on to the Suns, Bobcats, Spurs, and Jazz. Diaw started 33 games and appeared in 73 overall regular season contests for Utah last season, but saw his production dip — his PPG (4.6), FG% (.446), and 3PT% (.247) marks were all among the worst of his career. He had a $7.5MM salary for 2017/18 that would have become guaranteed if the Jazz had not waived him in July.

While Diaw has played in the NBA for nearly a decade and a half, he’s no stranger to French competition either. Before being drafted 21st overall in 2003, Diaw spent multiple seasons with Pau-Orthez in France, and he returned to his home country during the 2011 lockout to play for JSA Bordeaux. The veteran forward has also represented France in several international tournaments.

Levallois Metropolitans, Diaw’s new team, was formerly known as Paris-Levallois Basket. The club was led last season by former Florida State standout Jason Rich and Knicks draft-and-stash big man Louis Labeyrie, but both players have found new homes for the 2017/18 campaign, so the team figures to lean heavily on Diaw.

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