Jason Thompson

And-Ones: Maker, Wade, CBA, Thompson, Robinson

Makur Maker, ranked No. 10 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony in the 2020 high school class, is exploring his eligibility for next June’s draft, according to Givony. The NBA Players Association is assisting Makur and believes he’ll be declared eligible due to the fact he’ll turn 19 in November, Givony adds. He’s also in his fifth year of high school at Pacific Academy in Irvine, California, as the 6’11’ Maker was two credits short of receiving a high school diploma from his previous school. He’s the cousin of Pistons big man Thon Maker.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Italy’s Olimpia Milano was interested in signing Dwyane Wade, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Team president Leo Dell’Orco revealed that the franchise considered making a run at the retired NBA star before settling on another former NBA veteran, Luis Scola. “This summer we wanted to sign an important NBA player,” he said. “We were interested in Dwyane Wade but we took some time (and chose Scola).”
  • The Chinese Basketball Association has increased its restrictions on foreign players, Carchia relays in a separate story. Among the changes is a rule that only two foreign players can be on the roster for each game and they can’t be on the court at the same time. The CBA has also imposed a salary cap but it only applies to Chinese players, according to another note from Carchia.
  • Former NBA forward Jason Thompson is returning to the Chinese league and will replace Angel Delgado on the Beijing Royal Fighters, according to a Sportando report. Thompson spent last season with Fenerbahce D Istanbul. In 36 games with Fenerbahce, Thompson averaged 5.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 16.0 MPG. Thompson played in China during the 2016/17 season after averaging 8.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 588 career NBA games. Delgado had to leave China for personal matters.
  • Another former NBA forward, Thomas Robinson, reached an agreement with the CBA’s Sichuan Blue Whales, Sportando relays.  Robinson spent last season with Beijing, averaging 21.9 PPG and 13.6 RPG. The 2012 lottery pick last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he saw action in 48 games with the Lakers.

Former NBA Forward Jason Thompson Headed To China

Former NBA forward Jason Thompson will play next season in China, according to a Sportando report.

Thompson has signed a deal with Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association. He spent last season with Fenerbahce D Istanbul, winning the Turkish League (BSL) and reaching the EuroLeague final. In 36 games with Fenerbahce, Thompson averaged 5.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 16.0 MPG.

Thompson, 32, also played in China during the 2016/17 season. He spent seven seasons with the Kings and made 405 starts. He played a combined 47 games, including seven starts, with the Warriors and Raptors in 2015/16.

Thompson averaged 8.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 588 career NBA games.

And-Ones: J. Thompson, Franklin, G League

Former Kings big man Jason Thompson has signed a contract with EuroLeague champion Fenerbahce S.K., Orazio Cauchi of Sportando writes. The 31-year-old played in China in 2016/17.

Per international basketball reporter David Pick, Thompson’s deal will be worth $1.8MM over one year with potential bonuses that could bring the total up to $2MM.

After an impressive seven-year stint in Sacramento, including a 2009/10 campaign in which he posted 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a 23-year-old, Thompson quickly fell out of the NBA.

His last professional season stateside in 2015/16 included brief stints with the Warriors and Raptors.

There’s more from around the NBA world:

  • After exploring his NBA options, former Grizzlies point guard Jamaal Franklin has opted to sign a two-year, $4MM deal in China, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.
  • While it’s a given the Warriors did well to retain their championship core, the club also nailed their supplemental signings. Inking Nick Young and Omri Casspi, David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders writes, was one of the best coups of the offseason.
  • As of this season, fringe NBA players offered more than $50K in partial guarantees can not play for that team’s G League affiliate, Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days writes. Reichert offers a detailed explanation of how the new contract wrinkle may affect the league in the recent feature article.

Jason Thompson To Play In China

Unrestricted free agent big man Jason Thompson is headed overseas, having reached an agreement with Shandong of The Chinese Basketball Association, international journalist David Pick reports (on Twitter). The exact length and terms of the pact are unknown at this time.

With the majority of NBA teams having filled their preseason rosters, the odds were stacked against Thompson landing a spot to begin the NBA campaign. Heading over to China will allow him to earn a paycheck and still have the opportunity to catch on with an NBA team later in the season. The Chinese season concludes mid-February, but the playoffs can last until the beginning of March. Thompson would be free to pursue an NBA offer once his team’s playoff run ended, provided it qualifies for the postseason.

Thompson split time during the 2015/16 season between the Warriors and Raptors. In a combined 47 games the forward notched averages of 3.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 10.0 minutes per outing. His shooting line on the year was .481/.333/.704.

Raptors Notes: DeRozan, Biyombo, Lowry, Cousins

The Raptors’ top two impending free agents offered clues to their future as they cleared out their lockers this morning. In the wake of Friday’s Game 6 loss to the Cavaliers, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan sounded like he has made up his mind to stay in Toronto, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. “I don’t think so,” DeRozan said when asked if he thought he could find a better situation in free agency. “My mindset has always been Toronto. … I don’t want to switch it up now.” In response to a question about playing his entire career with one organization, DeRozan replied, “I think that’s the most incredible thing you can do. … That’s awesome.” (Twitter link). DeRozan, 26, has spent seven years with the Raptors, who took him ninth overall in the 2009 draft. He is expected to turn down a $9.5MM option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent. Toronto can offer a five-year deal worth $144.6MM, while other teams will be limited to four years and $107.4MM. DeRozan also seemed to dismiss rumors that he might be interested in returning to his hometown of Los Angeles and signing with the Lakers. “Only thing appealing to me is the things I’ve done in this organization and the things I can do,” he said. (Twitter link).

Bismack Biyombo also expressed a preference for staying in Toronto, and said he has overheard GM Masai Ujiri state that he will do “whatever it takes” to keep the big man (Twitter link). “I love it up here and I would love to be back,” said Biyombo, who has a shot at getting maximum offers after his playoff performance. Biyombo, who has already decided to opt out of his $2.9MM deal for next season, adds that he would be willing to remain in a reserve role behind Jonas Valanciunas if necessary. “For me it’s about winning,” Biyombo said. “Starting or not starting, it doesn’t matter.” (Twitter link).

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Kyle Lowry will undergo a physical later today, and the Raptors will determine whether the point guard needs surgery on his right elbow, Lewenberg tweets. Lowry offered support to coach Dwane Casey, saying, “That man is the all-time winningest coach here. He’s been great. … He’s grown every year since I’ve been here.” Casey is expected to receive an extension after being on shaky ground heading into the playoffs.
  • James Johnson and Jason Thompson won’t be back in Toronto, and Luis Scola and Biyombo could be leaving as well, opines Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Wolstat writes that the Raptors’ biggest offseason challenge will be to add more shooting to the lineup without breaking up the current core. He also expects turnover on the Toronto bench, where Andy Greer, Rex Kalamian and Nick Nurse have all been rumored for other jobs.
  • Oklahoma point guard Isaiah Cousins will work out for the Raptors on Tuesday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.

Atlantic Notes: Thompson, Biyombo, Hollis-Jefferson

Jason Thompson is proving a wise pickup for the Raptors, as his performance amid minor injuries to Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson shows, opines Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. The addition, which forced the team to release Anthony Bennett to clear a roster spot, didn’t do Toronto any favors with Bennett’s agency, Excel Sports Management, according to Ganter, who nonetheless believes that having Thompson ready to contribute if needed is worth it. “For me, I just know being in the league eight years, I wanted to let them know I wasn’t coming into here trying to mess things up,” Thompson said. “Obviously this is a very successful team. It’s late in the season. We still have high goals going into the playoffs with a lot of confidence as well so it’s good to see. God forbid anything happens with injuries later down the line, but everyone is ready to go. Even [rookie] Delon [Wright], really played big minutes for us as well. Guys are always ready.”

See more from Toronto and the rest of the Atlantic Division:

  • Bismack Biyombo is a fitting complement in many ways to a healthy Valanciunas, observes Chris O’Leary of the Toronto Star, who, like Ganter in the second half of his above-linked piece, contends the center has given the team value that far outstrips the two-year, $5.755MM contract he signed in the offseason. It would be a tight squeeze for the Raptors, who’d only have his Non-Bird rights, to re-sign him if he turns down his player option for next season, both scribes argue.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will likely play tonight for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in December, according to the Nets, who listed him as probable for the game just an hour and a half after Hollis-Jefferson and interim Nets coach Tony Brown raised the specter of him perhaps missing the rest of the season, notes Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
  • Jerian Grant holds promise, as his 14-point outburst Sunday showed, but the concerns about his jump shot that kept him undrafted until the 19th pick this past year have manifested in just a 28.3% accuracy rate on jumpers this season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post points out. His inconsistency has also been maddening, but Knicks coach Kurt Rambis remains faithful, as Lewis relays.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Kilpatrick, Thompson

Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony holds the real power in the organization thanks to the no-trade clause the team included in his contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical on Yahoo Sports notes (video link). The no-trade clause is also why Anthony is likely to outlast team president Phil Jackson in New York, Wojnarowski believes, with the scribe also opining that the executive has failed to elevate the franchise far more than the small forward. Jackson’s biggest missteps as an executive are not ridding the organization of personnel who are negative influences on the overall culture and his steadfast insistence on the team running the triangle offense, according to Wojnarowski. Anthony’s comments about being a free agent recruiter this offseason indicate he doesn’t intend to waive his no-trade clause anytime soon, and even if he did, it wouldn’t be easy to deal the veteran because he would not accept a trade to a small-market team, severely limiting the Knicks’ options, Wojnarowski contends.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, whom the Nets signed today to a second 10-day contract, shows the promise necessary to become GM Sean Marks‘ first success as an executive, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. Marks previously expressed his desire to find players for next season via 10-day contracts, and Kilpatrick has delivered in his brief run with the team, averaging 9.4 points and shooting 41% from the field while connecting on 50% of his 3-pointers.
  • Jason Thompson is finding his comfort zone with the Raptors, and the power forward praised his new teammates for helping make his midseason transition to a new organization a smooth one, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca relays. “It was good to just be back on the court, man. I appreciate these guys bringing me in with open arms, knowing that I’m not coming in here and trying to do too much. I’m just trying to fit in,” Thompson said. “Ever since I landed, teammates have been there to try and help me out and ease my way into the situation. It’s been really good so far.
  • Former Nets power forward Andrea Bargnani, whom the team waived as part of a buyout arrangement, has been turning down overseas offers, a hint that he’ll wait until next season to sign with a new team, NetsDaily relays (Twitter link). Bargnani reportedly received contract offers from the Italian club Olimpia Milano and Turkey’s Galatasaray, among others.
  • The Celtics have recalled James Young from their D-League affiliate in Maine, the team announced.

Atlantic Notes: Thompson, Sixers, Prokhorov

The Sixers currently possess an open roster spot and a clear need for depth at the wing positions, but the team is no immediate rush to add a player unless he is the right fit, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. “That’s been discussed for a while,” coach Brett Brown responded when asked when the team would add another player. “I think the thing that’s everybody’s aware of, especially now, is things will start to shake out a little bit more than right after the All-Star break.” The coach also noted that the front office planned to exercise patience when sifting through the ranks of available players, Pompey adds. “When somebody comes up that makes sense, we will do it,” Brown said. “We’re always looking. I think the thing that most stands out is we don’t feel like we have to bring in somebody just to bring in somebody. There has to be some level of cleansing as to why we’re doing it.

The coach noted that Philadelphia was looking at players regardless of position, but Brown did acknowledge that the team being thin in the backcourt after waiving JaKarr Sampson could factor into the decision-making process, Pompey writes. “The people that sort of study our roster can say accurately that that seems to be the most likely place you should go or would go, and it’s hard to argue that, especially without a body in JaKarr,” Brown said of the team’s backcourt needs.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jason Thompson said that he chose to sign with the Raptors over his other suitors because he felt a level of comfort with the organization and because he was familiar with a number of the players on the roster, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca relays in a series of tweets. Coach Dwane Casey noted that Thompson isn’t expected to impact anyone’s minutes initially and referred to the veteran as an insurance policy, Lewenberg adds. Thompson is aware he may not see steady minutes in Toronto, something he appears fine with, telling Lewenberg, “I’m not trying to come in here and mess up a great thing. I just want to be apart of something and help, see how it goes.”
  • Toronto cleared a roster spot for Thompson through the release of Anthony Bennett, a player who was in a difficult situation with little playing time available for him, as GM Masai Ujiri acknowledged and as Lewenberg tweets. The GM said Bennett’s playing time took a hit because the Raptors performed better than expected this season, starting power forward Luis Scola in particular, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun relays (on Twitter).
  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s personal net worth has taken a hit in recent years, going from an estimated $18 billion in 2011 down to $7.6 billion today, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com tweets. The reasons for Prokhorov’s dwindling finances include losses in the commodities market, Russian currency becoming devalued and U.S. restrictions on Russian-based businesses, NetsDaily notes (Twitter links).

Raptors Ink Jason Thompson, Cut Anthony Bennett

TUESDAY, 12:07pm: The moves are official, the Raptors announced via press release.

“We thank Anthony for his professionalism and for his service to our team and community,” Ujiri said. “We know he’s on his way to becoming an excellent NBA player but as we approach the end of the season Jason will provide us with a veteran presence that we need.”

MONDAY, 1:39pm: The Raptors are waiving Anthony Bennett to clear the way for a deal with Jason Thompson that covers the rest of the season, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The addition of Thompson helps fill a need at power forward for Toronto, but it’s nonetheless surprising to see the Raptors cut ties with Bennett, the former No. 1 overall pick whom GM Masai Ujiri had suggested would be with the team beyond this season in spite of his one-year contract. Bennett is on a minimum-salary deal, and the same will be true for Thompson, since that’s all Toronto can give. The full season salary for Bennett will stick on Toronto’s books unless another team claims him off waivers.

Thompson was also reportedly drawing the eye of the Heat in the wake of his release from the Warriors last week, a cut that came so that Golden State could sign Anderson Varejao. The Raptors reportedly had interest in trading for a handful of power forwards, including Ryan Anderson, Thaddeus Young, Kenneth Faried and Markieff Morris, but instead it appears they end up with Thompson, who started 63 games for the Kings last season but averaged just 6.4 minutes per contest with the Warriors.

Bennett, the NBA’s top pick in 2013, is hitting waivers for the second time in barely more than five months, after he and the Timberwolves reached a buyout agreement in late September. The Sixers and Blazers reportedly had interest at the time, but he wound up signing with the Raptors, his hometown team. The 22-year-old’s defense initially impressed coach Dwane Casey, but Bennett failed to convince Casey that he deserved more playing time, totaling just 84 minutes all season.

Who do you think is the bigger bust, Bennett or fellow former No. 1 pick Greg Oden? Leave a comment to have your say.

Heat Eye Jordan Crawford, Jason Thompson, Others

The Heat have Jordan Crawford and Jason Thompson on a list of players they will consider next month when they’re eligible to sign someone for the rest of the season without crossing the luxury tax threshold, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson also mentions Tony Wroten and Dorell Wright, whom the Heat have checked in on, as Jackson wrote last month. The list includes D-Leaguers and others likely to be available as well, Jackson adds.

Miami is down to 10 healthy players following the loss of Beno Udrih to season-ending foot surgery. Fellow backup point guard Tyler Johnson is already out at least two months with an injured shoulder and uncertainty surrounds Chris Bosh, who’s again dealing with a blood-clot problem. The Heat have two open roster spots, but they can’t add anyone to more than a 10-day contract before March 6th without leaping back into tax territory, which they escaped at the trade deadline. Any 10-day deal would push that date farther back into March.  Heat GM Andy Elisburg said Miami had no strict mandate to escape the luxury tax before the deadline, but team president Pat Riley, speaking to Couper Moorhead for the Heat’s website, stressed that avoiding the tax, and the repeat-offender penalties the Heat would have been subject to, was a high priority.

Crawford, outside of a preseason stint with the Bulls this past fall, hasn’t played in the NBA since 2013/14, when he started 35 games at point guard for the Celtics. He averaged an eye-popping 43.1 points in 37.9 minutes per game against relatively weak competition in China this year. The 27-year-old has mostly played at shooting guard during his NBA career, but he’d make more sense for the Heat than would Thompson, a power forward. The 29-year-old Thompson, who’s also drawing overseas interest, is scheduled to clear waivers today in the wake of his release from the Warriors. He started 63 games for the Kings in 2014/15 but averaged only 6.4 minutes per game across 28 appearances for Golden State this season.