Jaylen Johnson

Wolves Notes: Towns, Edwards, G League Bubble

After suiting up and taking the court for the first time in nearly a month on Wednesday, Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns admitted he endured a “rough journey” during his absence as he battled COVID-19.

“I am a high-risk case,” Towns said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “COVID did not treat me well whatsoever. A lot of scary nights. One of the things that I told my sister when I got COVID was that, ‘Hey, I got it, and I don’t got a good version of it. I got a lot of COVID in me, but I am going to fight and beat it.'”

While Towns acknowledged that many players around the NBA have experienced few symptoms – or none at all – after testing positive for the coronavirus, he noted that everyone’s experience is “totally different.” Several of Towns’ family members have died of complications from COVID-19, including his mother, to whom Towns said he is most “genetically connected.”

“You hear those stories where people get COVID,” Towns said, according to Youngmisuk. “And they’re like, ‘Oh, for four days, five days, I didn’t feel well, and then I turned the corner magically one day and I was feeling great.’ That did not happen with me.”

Towns was solid in his return to action, putting up 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds, but he admitted to reporters that he didn’t feel mentally ready for the game. It may take a little more time before the 25-year-old back to his usual dominant self.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • As Youngmisuk relays, Towns also became the latest star player to question the logic of holding an All-Star Game in 2021. “I personally don’t believe there should be an All-Star Game, but what the hell do I know?” Towns said, sarcastically adding: “S–t, I obviously haven’t dealt with COVID, probably a guy who has some insight into that. What should I know about COVID, right?”
  • Anthony Edwards got off to a slow start during his rookie year, shooting just 34.4% from the floor and 27.4% from beyond the arc through his first 16 games. However, he has come on lately, averaging 16.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .435/.400/.800 shooting in his last nine, and entering Minnesota’s starting lineup during that time. The No. 1 overall pick is just getting started, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who says the Wolves drafted Edwards knowing he was raw and not expecting him to dominate right out of the gate.
  • The Iowa Wolves – Minnesota’s G League affiliate – have been penalized for violating the health and safety protocols at the NBAGL bubble at Walt Disney World. As Adam Zagoria of Forbes tweets, the club was fined $10K, while Charlie Brown, Ashton Hagans, Jaylen Johnson, Ade Murkey, and Dakarai Tucker were all suspended without pay for two games. Iowa added Isaiah Briscoe and Jaylen Morris from the bubble’s available player pool to temporarily fill the holes on its roster, tweets Adam Johnson.

Jazz Host 32 Free Agents At Veteran Mini-Camp

The Jazz are hosting a veteran mini-camp on Friday and Saturday, with 32 players set to participate in the event, the team announced in a press release.

While the list of participants isn’t exactly star-studded, there are a handful of intriguing names, including several players who have spent time in NBA training camps and some who have played in regular season games. Lavoy Allen, K.J. McDaniels, Diamond Stone, Jarrod Uthoff, and Mike Tobey are among the free agents at Utah’s mini-camp who have logged NBA minutes.

While many of the participants in this weekend’s mini-camp won’t ever play in an NBA game, the event has paid dividends for the Jazz in the past. As Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes, Royce O’Neale made a strong impression on the franchise during a free agent mini-camp in 2016, which eventually led to O’Neale signing a contract with Utah last summer and becoming a key part of the rotation in 2017/18.

“We tried to get him that summer (2016), tried to sign him but he decided to go to Spain and made the right choice for him because he got better over there and it ended up working out in the long run for him,” Jazz director of scouting Bart Taylor said. “Royce is a great story and we like to say it puts pressure on us to find another one.”

Taylor is optimistic about identifying another future contributor among this year’s group.

“There’s some good talent out here,” Taylor said. “I like to joke with all our guys and say there’s three or four guys out here that’ll play in the NBA, but you’ve got to find them. So there’s definitely a few guys out here that we like, a lot of guys actually that we really like but we’re just trying to see how they do over the course of the three practices and hopefully one of them does turn into Royce.”

Here’s the full list of participants for Utah’s free agent mini-camp:

Bulls Sign Fair, Waive Jaylen Johnson

The Bulls signed forward C.J. Fair and waived forward Jaylen Johnson, according to a team press release.

The 6’8” Fair has appeared in 47 G League games this season, splitting time between the Windy City Bulls and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ affiliate. He averaged 10.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG.

Fair, 26, went undrafted in 2014 after playing his college ball at Syracuse. He has played Summer League ball with the Mavericks and Celtics and was on the Pacers’ training-camp roster in 2014 and 2015. He has also played in France. The Windy City Bulls acquired him in February in a trade with the Mad Ants.

Johnson, 21, was barely on the Bulls roster for 24 hours. They signed him to a contract on Saturday. He averaged 11.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 2.9 APG in 49 games with the Windy City affiliate. He went undrafted last summer before signing with the Bulls on a training camp deal but was waived before the regular season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/24/18

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Knicks have recalled rookie guard Damyean Dotson from their Westchester affiliate, the team tweeted. Dotson has played in 38 games for New York and is averaging 2.9 points per night.
  • Jaylen Johnson, who signed a contract with the Bulls earlier today, was assigned to Windy City, where he has spent the entire season, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

Bulls Sign Jaylen Johnson

The Bulls have signed rookie forward Jaylen Johnson to an NBA contract, the team announced today via an official press release.

Johnson, 21, has until now spent this season with Chicago’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, where he has put up averages of of 29.0 minutes, 11.7 points, 7.6 boards and 2.9 assists per game in 49 games (37 starts).

Johnson went undrafted last summer before catching on with the Bulls on a training camp deal. He was waived a few days before the regular season began.

It isn’t yet clear whether the new deal for Johnson is a 10-day contract or rest-of-season deal, but a 10-day contract would count as $46.1K towards the Bulls’ cap, while a rest-of-season pact, assuming it’s signed today, would count as $87.6K.

Bulls Release Bronson Koenig, Jaylen Johnson

The Bulls have waived Bronson Koenig and Jaylen Johnson, the team announced in a press release. After the announcement, the club’s roster sits at 18.

Koenig, who also had a brief tenure with the Bucks this offseason, was signed by the Bulls in late September. The sharp-shooting guard out of Wisconsin, however, will return to the free agent market as a potential affiliate player of the Chicago’s G League club.

Johnson served a slightly longer stretch with the Bulls, having signed on a week earlier in September. He went undrafted as an early entrant candidate out of Louisville last June.

Bulls Sign Jarell Eddie, Jaylen Johnson

The Bulls have finalized a pair of signings, inking Jarell Eddie and Jaylen Johnson to contracts, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions. While details of those deals aren’t known, I’d anticipate little to no guaranteed money for Eddie and Johnson.

Eddie, who will turn 26 next month, is a 6’7″ swingman who has seen NBA action with the Wizards and Suns over the last two years. Having gone undrafted in 2014, Eddie played for the G League’s Austin Spurs in his rookie season, then made his NBA debut with the Wizards in 2015/16, playing sparingly in 26 games for the club. Last season, Eddie signed a pair of 10-day contracts with Phoenix near the end of the season, appearing in just five games for the Suns.

As for Johnson, the former Louisville power forward entered the draft this spring following his junior year, but wasn’t selected in June. The 21-year-old averaged 8.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG in his final college season, with a .589 FG%.

The two signings bring Chicago’s roster count to 19 players, with restricted free agent Nikola Mirotic the likeliest candidate to fill the final roster spot. If we assume that Mirotic eventually re-signs and that Eddie and Johnson didn’t get guaranteed contracts, the Bulls would have 14 players on fully guaranteed deals. That would leave one roster spot up for grabs, assuming the team enters the season with a full 15-man squad.

While Eddie could compete with Diamond Stone and David Nwaba for that final spot, Johnson seems like a good bet to end up as an affiliate player for the Windy City Bulls.

Draft Workouts: Bucks, Knicks, Raptors, Kings, Lakers

With the lottery out of the way, pre-draft workouts are starting to intensify around the league. We bring you a roundup of several that we heard about today:

Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Johnson Staying In Draft

A pair of college underclassmen who were previously said to be testing the draft waters have decided to forgo their remaining NCAA eligibility by hiring representation, per various reports.

One of those players is Kentucky freshman big man Bam Adebayo, who will sign with an agent and won’t return to the Wildcats, sources tell Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Adebayo is considered likely to be drafted in the first round, so it makes sense that he’ll keep his name in the draft, joining former UK teammates De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Isaac Humphries among this year’s early entrants going pro.

Also going pro is Louisville junior forward Jaylen Johnson, who announced that he won’t return for his senior season. “I will miss my teammates and coaches, but it is really important that I help out my mom and family,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m going to work incredibly hard to give it my best shot. I’ll be rooting for the Ville next year.”

Here are several more early entrants who are declaring for the draft in advance of this year’s deadline:

Draft Updates: Bacon, Peak, Adel, Mika

Florida State forward Dwayne Bacon has decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft, he announced today on Twitter. Although Bacon didn’t explicitly state that he’ll hire an agent and forgo his remaining years of NCAA eligibility, the 21-year-old sophomore didn’t sound like a player who plans to return to school next year.

“This organization has been instrumental in my path and as I look to embark on my professional career, I will carry the many lessons learned,” Bacon said in a statement. “We are truly family here and I’d like to thank Coach Ham, Coach C.Y., Coach Jones, Coach Gates, and the entire faculty and coaching staff for a great two years.”

Assuming Bacon does remain in the draft, as expected, he looks like a possible second-round pick. ESPN and DraftExpress have him ranked 56th and 57th, respectively, on their big boards.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Georgetown’s L.J. Peak will forgo his senior season in college, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, who reports that the junior forward intends to sign with an agent. DraftExpress ranks Peak as the No. 76 prospect on its big board.
  • We heard earlier today that Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell will test the NBA draft waters, but he’s not the only Cardinal who will declare his intent. Sophomore forward Deng Adel and junior forward Jaylen Johnson will also test the draft waters without agents, Louisville coach Rick Pitino tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Mitchell is the most promising prospect of the three, though Adel ranks 34th on DraftExpress’ list of top sophomores.
  • BYU sophomore Eric Mika will enter the 2017 NBA draft, but won’t hire an agent, tweets Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. While the 6’10” Mika will have the opportunity to test the draft waters, he could withdraw his name before May’s deadline.
  • With the Sweet 16 set to get underway on Thursday, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer identifies six under-the-radar NBA prospects to keep an eye on during this week’s NCAA games.