Jared Sullinger

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Walker, Garnett, Sullinger

Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker have been teammates since Walker signed with the Celtics last summer, including their time together with USA Basketball for the FIBA World Cup, but they will be on opposite sides in tonight’s All-Star Game, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Tatum was drafted by Team LeBron while Walker went to Team Giannis, and they can’t wait to face each other on the court.

“Playing against Kemba’s going to be fun,” Tatum said. “Hopefully we get matched up once or twice so I can take him to the post. I’m going to go right at him, so that should be fun.”

“I’m going to hit him with his own move,” Walker responded. “I already got it down pat. I’m going to hit him with a step-back to the right or left, which he usually does. I’m going to get him. He’s been talking some trash, I seen. Said he’s going at me.”

There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

  • Tatum failed to defend his title in Saturday’s Skills Competition, being eliminated in the first round by the PacersDomantas Sabonis, notes Marc D’Amico of NBA.com. Tatum blamed the defeat on a lack of practice time. “I didn’t get no practice in before. I shoulda practiced,” he said. “They let you practice like 30 minutes before they open the doors or something. I got busy taking pictures and other stuff.”
  • Kevin Garnett expressed thanks on Saturday for the Celtics’ decision to retire his number and took a swipe at the Timberwolves, who still haven’t made that decision, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe“Listen, I have some great years in Minny, but when comes to management, it’s not even close,” Garnett said. “Minny, they run their team one way. Boston has a culture of basketball. They run it a whole other way and I respect that.”
  • Evan Turner believes his former Celtics teammate, Jared Sullinger, is capable of returning to the NBA, Bulpett adds in a separate story. Sullinger, 27, is in his third year of playing in China. “He’s supposed to be entering his prime. I mean, it’s crazy when you play with him and he’s not in the league,” Turner said. “But, I mean, the league it’s not easy, but sometimes it’s little stuff. It’s right fit. It’s timing. You know, you went from signing with Toronto, broke his foot, was rehabbing and they trade him off to an organization that was kind of like rebuilding (Phoenix, which waived him a day later), just trying to get rid of stuff, and that’s how he ended up lost in the shuffle. So unfortunately that’s what happens every now and then.”

And-Ones: Team USA, Jefferson, Jennings, Bass

With another round of World Cup qualifiers scheduled to begin next week, USA Basketball has officially announced its latest 12-man roster for games against Argentina (November 29) and Uruguay (December 2). The roster is made up primarily of G League players, though NBA free agents Tyler Zeller, Jarnell Stokes, and Eric Moreland are also on the squad. Other former NBA players on the roster include Chasson Randle, DeAndre Liggins, and John Jenkins.

With one more qualifying window scheduled for February after next week’s set of games, Team USA is in prime position to secure a spot in the 2019 World Cup. Team USA currently has a 7-1 record in qualifying contests, which puts the club in a tie with Argentina for first place in Group E. Puerto Rico and Uruguay are tied for third at 5-3. The top three teams in the group will earn spots in the World Cup, and the fourth-place team will have a chance to qualify as well.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • With some help from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, longtime NBA forward Richard Jefferson published a piece on ESPN.com this week, sharing some of his memories from his NBA career and discussing his move into broadcasting.
  • After becoming a free agent this week, veteran guard Brandon Jennings may take the G League route as he tries to work his way back into the NBA, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. However, Smith notes that nothing’s official yet.
  • Smith also checks in a pair of former NBA forward playing in China, reporting (via Twitter) that Brandon Bass is hoping to return to the NBA later in 2018/19, once the Chinese Basketball Association season ends. Jared Sullinger is also putting up huge numbers in China and is in good shape, according to Smith, who tweets that the former Celtic may be ready for another shot in the NBA.
  • Former Trail Blazers guard Tim Quarterman signed this week with Israeli team Ironi Nahariya, per his agency Prostep Sports (Twitter link). Quarterman was waived by the Rockets this past April.

International Notes: Sullinger, Douglas, Sims, Ndour

Earlier today, we told you that Isaiah Whitehead finalized his deal with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia and Larry Drew‘s Korean contract was pulled over an NBA games restriction. Here are a few more international tidbits, all courtesy of Sportando:

  • Jared Sullinger, a former Celtics first-round pick who played five NBA seasons, has re-signed with the Shenzen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. Sullinger spent four seasons with Boston and part of another with Toronto. In February of 2017, the Raptors traded him to the Suns, who waived him the next day. He signed with Shenzen last September.
  • Toney Douglas, who played for seven teams in eight NBA seasons, has signed with Sakarya Buyuksehir in Turkey. He spent last season with another Turkish team, Anadolu Efes. Douglas’ last NBA experience came in 2016/17 when he played 24 games for the Grizzlies.
  • Former Sixers center Henry Sims will sign with Italian club Virtus Roma after playing last year for Vanoli Cremona in Italy. Sims’ best NBA season came in 2014/15 when he averaged 8.0 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 73 games for Philadelphia. He also played for the [New Orleans] Hornets, Cavaliers and Nets in a four-year career.
  • Maurice Ndour, who spent part of the 2016/17 season with the Knicks, re-signed with Unics Kazan in Russia. He appeared in 32 games for New York, starting four, and averaged 3.1 points per night.

Nets Notes: Mozgov, Sullinger, Trimble, G League

When the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers last June, veteran center Timofey Mozgov was a piece the team had to accept for salary purposes, rather than a centerpiece of the deal. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that Mozgov sounds a little frustrated with his role in Brooklyn.

As Net Income of NetsDaily relays, Mozgov expressed that frustration in a print interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia and in a conversation on Russia’s Radio Mayak. According to Mozgov, he’s not sure why he lost his spot in the starting lineup and fell out of the rotation early in the 2017/18 season. The 31-year-old started the first 13 games of the year for the Nets, but appeared in just 18 contests (8.7 MPG) the rest of the way.

While Mozgov didn’t express a desire to leave Brooklyn, he did say he hopes to receive more playing time going forward, either for the Nets or another team. Given where the Nets are in their rebuilding process, that probably isn’t likely — the club prefers to give its younger players those minutes up front, and would be unable to flip Mozgov to another team in a trade without attaching assets.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Jared Sullinger and Melo Trimble were among the participants at a veteran mini-camp hosted by the Nets this week, tweets Ben Stinar of Hoops Habit. Sullinger was linked to the Nets last summer, while Trimble was in camp with the Timberwolves in the fall.
  • In addition to working out some NBA free agents, the Nets are also taking a look at international players, according to a NetsDaily story. Nicolas Brussino, who spent time in the NBA over the last two seasons with the Mavericks and Hawks, is the most notable name on the list.
  • Will Weaver, an assistant on Kenny Atkinson‘s staff for the last two years, appears poised to become the head coach of the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Weaver and the NBAGL squad are nearing an agreement on a contract, per Begley. Former Long Island coach Ronald Nored joined James Borrego‘s staff in Charlotte last month.

Jared Sullinger Extends Contract In China

After signing a two-month contract with the Shenzhen Leopards in September, veteran big man Jared Sullinger has now extended his contract with the Chinese club, agreeing to a full-season deal, per international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link).

As Pick details, Sullinger’s new agreement with the Leopards includes bonuses that could increase the value of his deal to $1.4MM. The Chinese season ends before the NBA season does, so depending on how deep a playoff run his team makes, Sullinger could get clearance to return to the NBA in the spring.

As is the case with many players who make the leap from the NBA to the Chinese Basketball Association, Sullinger has been putting up huge numbers so far this season. In nine games for Shenzhen, the 25-year-old has averaged 34.0 PPG and a league-high 15.6 RPG. Sullinger, a former first-round pick who spent five NBA seasons with the Celtics and Raptors, has helped lead the Leopards to a 5-4 record so far.

Heat Notes: Winslow, Sullinger, Williams

It has been an eventful few days for the Heat, who saw point guard Goran Dragic lead Slovenia to its first EuroBasket championship with an impressive 35-point performance in the final game of the tournament, earning MVP honors. Dragic’s 35 points in the championship game were the highest EuroBasket Final output since Pau Gasol poured in 36 back in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Heat also officially announced its contract extension with Josh Richardson today. According to reports, Richardson’s new deal will lock him up through the 2020/21 season, with a player option for 2021/22. Miami also added undrafted rookie Erik McCree to its roster for training camp.

Here’s more from out of South Beach:

  • Justise Winslow has been “off the board with his commitment this summer,” a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, suggesting the third-year forward is working hard to develop his jump shot and his all-around game. As Jackson notes, the Heat are expected to exercise Winslow’s 2018/19 team option in the coming weeks. Winslow will compete with Richardson and Rodney McGruder for the starting job at small forward, Jackson adds.
  • According to Jackson, Heat president Pat Riley was “intrigued” by Jared Sullinger, who visited the team earlier this summer. However, Sullinger wasn’t in shape at the time, and Miami didn’t make him an offer. The big man has since signed with a team in China.
  • Jackson also notes that the Heat still have one of their two-way slots open, suggesting that camp invitee Matt Williams is a candidate for that spot since his contract can be converted into a two-way deal.
  • In an Ask Ira feature, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if all the incentive bonuses on new contracts for players like Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk may put head coach Erik Spoelstra in a difficult spot this season.
  • If you haven’t weighed in already, be sure to vote on the Heat’s win total for 2017/18. Polling will close on Tuesday morning.

Jared Sullinger Signs With Chinese Team

Jared Sullinger, who was linked to the Nets in rumors this summer, has signed with the Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association, tweets international writer David Pick. Sullinger agreed to a two-month contract worth $300K.

It will be the first time playing overseas for the 25-year-old power forward, who was picked 21st in the 2012 draft. Sullinger spent four productive years with the Celtics, averaging 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, although there were lingering concerns about his conditioning.

He signed with the Raptors last summer, but underwent foot surgery just before the start of the season and was barely able to contribute. Sullinger managed just 11 games in Toronto and was shipped to Phoenix at the February trade deadline. He was immediately waived by the Suns.

The Nets’ interest was rumored for a couple of months after the team scouted him in The Basketball Tournament in July. Sullinger adopted a vegan diet and dropped weight in hopes of an NBA comeback. His agent, David Falk, confirmed in August that Sullinger was “exploring the opportunity” of signing in Brooklyn, but the Nets are close to an agreement with free agent big man Tyler Zeller, leaving China as the best remaining option for Sullinger.

Jared Sullinger Works Out For Nets

After a photo showing Jared Sullinger wearing Nets gear surfaced on social media, agent David Falk informed Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that his client is “exploring the opportunity” of signing with Brooklyn. Per NetsDaily (Twitter link), Sullinger was in Brooklyn for a workout with the Nets.

Sullinger, a first-round pick in 2012, was a solid rebounder and scorer for the Celtics during his first four NBA seasons, averaging 11.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG over the course of his time in Boston. However, after he signed with the Raptors for the 2016/17 campaign, his season was derailed by injuries — the big man appeared in just 11 games for Toronto and was ineffective in limited minutes.

If Sullinger is healthy and his weigh isn’t an issue, he’d be an intriguing addition to the Nets’ frontcourt. The five-year veteran is still just 25 years old, and Brooklyn could use some help up front after trading away Brook Lopez, Andrew Nicholson, and Justin Hamilton in various deals this summer. The club acquired Timofey Mozgov and drafted Jarrett Allen, but adding some depth behind Trevor Booker at power forward would make sense.

Currently, the Nets have 18 players under contract, but two of those players are on two-way contracts and three others have non-guaranteed deals. That leaves two potential spots available on the club’s 15-man roster — Spencer Dinwiddie is a good bet to grab one of those spots, but the other remains open for someone like Sullinger.

Nets Notes: Offseason Trades, Anderson, Crabbe

The Nets’ moves this offseason may form the foundation of the team for several years to come, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn has taken advantage of its cap space to pick up assets while absorbing salary, adding D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll, among others.

GM Sean Marks has been assessing the team since the flurry of deals and indicated that he may be done with major moves. “We’re continuously going to be trying to have our finger on the pulse of the league and see what happens,’’ he said. “I think we’ll take a little bit of a deep breath and just see what shakes out here. But I don’t know. Who knows what’s going to happen throughout the year? I think if you’d asked us a month ago, we couldn’t have predicted all the things that may have happened, not just here but around the league. It’s something that we’ve just got to stay fluid and be ready to react.”

The Nets could use more size in the frontcourt, where newly acquired Timofey Mozgov and rookie Jarrett Allen are the only players taller than 6’8″. They still have interest in former Celtic and Raptor Jared Sullinger, who earned all-tournament honors at The Basketball Tournament this week.

There’s more tonight out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets are no longer in contention to sign Alan Anderson, Lewis adds in the same story. Anderson’s agent, Chris Luchey, confirms that he talked to Brooklyn’s front office shortly after free agency began, but after all the Nets’ moves, they are no longer a possible destination. Lewis adds that the Knicks are also out of the running.
  • Crabbe will provide shooting help, but the team is counting on him to do much more, Lewis relays in a separate story. Crabbe was the NBA’s second best 3-point shooter last year, connecting at a .444 rate beyond the arc, while the Nets ranked fifth from the bottom in that category. “We sat with Allen [and said]: ‘Look, we think we can help your game. We think we can take it to another level. Let’s not just be a shooter,’” Marks said. “And he’s excited about that. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he wants to take his game to another level, all-around facets. It’s not just shooting. It’s defense. It’s everything.”
  • Brooklyn needs to find another frontcourt player who can shoot the 3-ball, writes Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily. The Nets have about $5.1MM in cap space they could use to find a shooter who fits coach Kenny Atkinson’s system better than the players they have now.

Jared Sullinger Headed To China?

Amid rumors that former Celtics forward Jared Sullinger is eyeing an NBA comeback, the 25-year-old is reportedly headed to China, according to Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily (via Twitter). The former 21st overall pick had a solid showing at The Basketball Tournament in Brooklyn this week — with the Nets on hand to watch Sullinger — as he scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds while shooting 50% from the floor.

After struggling with is weight in recent seasons, admittedly topping out at 320 pounds, Sullinger now weighs in around 285 pounds. The Nets had interest in the 6’9″ Sullinger as he would provided Brooklyn with frontcourt depth; outside of recently acquired Timofey Mozgov and rookie Jarrett Allen, the team lacks in that department.

In five NBA campaigns, the Ohio State product averaged 10.8 PPG and 7.5 RPG for the Celtics and Raptors. As recently as 2015/16, Sullinger averaged a near double-double as he posted totals of 10.3 PPG and 8.3 RPG in 81 games for Boston.

There is no further information on which team in Chinese team Sullinger will suit up for, but we will pass along that information once it’s available.