Jaylen Morris

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.

Jaylen Morris Joins Greek Team

Former Bucks guard Jaylen Morris has signed with Aris Thessaloniki of the Greek A1 league, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets.

Morris, who turns 24 next month, played with Milwaukee the first half of last season on a two-way contract. He was waived in mid-January after appearing in just four games with the Bucks, averaging 2.5 PPG in 7.3 MPG. He also played in 33 combined G League games last season for the Wisconsin Herd and Erie BayHawks, averaging 14.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 3.0 APG.

The 6’5” Morris worked out for the Rockets in June but failed to land a contract. The Molloy College product appeared in six games with the Hawks in 2017/18, then was waived last summer. He finalized a deal with Fiat Torino in Italy, then switched gears and signed with Milwaukee.

Free Agent Rumors: Horford, Nets, Suns, Stokes, Rockets

In a surprising development, Al Horford is expected to leave the Celtics to sign with a new team in free agency, as we relayed on Tuesday night. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains in his story on the situation, the gap between what Boston was willing to offer and what Horford is seeking on a long-term deal was too significant to bridge. The Celtics and Horford’s agent Jason Glushon aren’t expected to re-open talks, Woj adds.

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), there’s a belief in front office circles that Horford knows there will be a four-year offer worth $100MM+ waiting for him in free agency, which led to talks with the Celtics breaking down.

It will be fascinating to see if that sort of lucrative offer is actually on the table for a 33-year-old who battled nagging injuries last season. According to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (via Twitter), a league source says the Nets are a team to keep a close eye on, given their cap room and Horford’s connection to head coach Kenny Atkinson.

However, Kyrie Irving is believed to be headed to Brooklyn as a free agent, and Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets that he would be “beyond surprised” if Horford teams up with Irving again after a disappointing season in Boston.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on 2019 free agency:

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)

Bucks Waive Jaylen Morris

The Bucks have requested waivers on shooting guard Jaylen Morris, the team announced in a press release. Morris had been one of two Milwaukee players on two-way contracts, along with Trevon Duval. The club now has an open two-way slot.

Morris, 23, signed a two-way contract with the Bucks back in July, but only appeared in four regular season contests for the team, averaging 2.5 PPG in 7.3 minutes per game. He played more frequently for the Wisconsin Herd, recording 14.1 PPG on .503/.217/.639 shooting in 13 G League games (35.1 MPG).

Morris is on track to become an unrestricted free agent, while the Bucks have a two-way opening that they’ll have to fill before Tuesday’s two-way signing deadline if they want to use it.

Central Notes: Valentine, McMillan, Morris, Pistons

The Bulls’ starting lineup seems set but there will be a couple of key position battles in training camp, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes. Justin Holiday and Denzel Valentine will be angling for playing time at small forward behind Jabari Parker, while Cameron Payne could have an unexpectedly tough battle with Ryan Arcidiacono as the main backup at point guard. Cristiano Felicio also needs to carve out a role and earn some of his $8,470,980 salary, Cowley adds. ‘‘The thing I’m excited about with training camp is it’s going to be open competition,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers needed to extend coach Nate McMillan to prevent a lame-duck situation next season, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star explains. McMillan agreed to an extension through the 2020/21 season. It was also necessary for a franchise that preaches culture and loyalty to reward its coach for a job well-done last season, Michael continues. The Pacers overcame the lack of true stretch four as well as a shooter at the backup shooting guard spot. Their wings were also somewhat limited offensively and they were undersized in the backcourt, Michael adds.
  • If Jaylen Morris can improve his perimeter shooting, the Bucks will be rewarded for signing him to a two-way contract, according to Dakota Schmidt of RidiculousUpside.com. Morris is adept at attacking the basket and finishing at the rim and is also a solid defender, Schmidt continues. The 22-year-old wing will also benefit from working with assistant Ben Sullivan, who has helped numerous players with their shooting stroke, Schmidt adds.
  • The Pistons’ 15-man roster appears to be set after a low-key July that included the free agent signings of three reserves, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays. Ellis breaks down the roster player-by-player in the story.

Jaylen Morris Signs Two-Way Deal With Bucks

JULY 27: Morris has officially signed a two-way contract with the Bucks, per RealGM’s transactions log.

JULY 26: Less than a week after he finalized a deal with Italian team Fiat Torino, former Hawk Jaylen Morris may have decided against playing overseas. According to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link), Morris is opting out of his contract with Fiat Torino and will sign a two-way deal with the Bucks.

Morris, who was waived a week ago by Atlanta in order to help the team clear cap room to complete its acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, quickly caught on with Larry Brown‘s team in Italy. However, reports at the time indicated that Morris’ new deal had an opt-out clause in case he received an NBA offer.

Assuming he makes things official with the Bucks, Morris would fill the team’s second two-way contract slot. Former Duke point guard Trevon Duval signed a two-way deal with the club earlier this week. Milwaukee also still has a two-way qualifying offer out to Xavier Munford, but deals with both Duval and Morris would seemingly eliminate Munford’s chances of returning to the Bucks on a two-way contract of his own.

After going undrafted out of Molloy in 2017, Morris appeared in 39 games for the Erie BayHawks in 2017/18, averaging 12.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.4 APG for Atlanta’s G League affiliate. The Hawks called up Morris late in the season, inking him to a pair of 10-day deals, then a rest-of-season contract. The 6’5″ shooting guard played just six games for the NBA club.

Former Hawk Jaylen Morris Signs In Italy

Three days after being waived by the Hawks, Jaylen Morris has found a new home in Italy, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Fiat Torino has announced the signing of Morris, who played six games for Atlanta last season.

Morris had a non-guaranteed $1,378,242 salary for next season, and the Hawks had to waive him and Antonius Cleveland to clear enough cap room to complete a three-team trade that will bring in Carmelo Anthony from the Thunder and Justin Anderson from the Sixers.

Morris spent most of last year in the G League before signing a pair of 10-day deals with Atlanta and getting a contract in March that covered the rest of the season. He also spent summer league with the Hawks, playing in both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Morris requested a release from the Hawks after learning that he wouldn’t make the 15-man roster for the upcoming season, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta-Journal Consitution. Lupo notes that Morris’ new contract in Italy includes an out clause in case he gets another NBA offer.

Hawks Waive Jaylen Morris

The Hawks have waived Jaylen Morris, whose $1,378,242 salary for next season was non-guaranteed, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The 22-year-old shooting guard played six games last season after inking a pair of 10-day deals, then signing for the rest of the season in March. He saw 16.3 minutes of action per night and posted a 4.7/2.7/1.2 line. He also played for the Hawks’ entries in this year’s Salt Lake City and Las Vegas summer leagues.

The Hawks have another non-guaranteed contract remaining in shooting guard Antonius Cleveland, whose $1,378,242 salary won’t become guaranteed until January 10.

Schlenk: Hawks’ Free Agency Will Be Trades

The Hawks are one of a small handful of NBA teams with significant cap room remaining, but it doesn’t sound like general manager Travis Schlenk is eager to make a play for any of the top free agents still available. Schlenk, who spoke last month about exercising patience and caution in the free agent market, tells Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his club is focusing on the trade market for now.

“We are going through the trade process right now. Seeing what trades might be out there,” Schlenk said. “That’s the process right now, seeing what options might be out there. Not really an antenna for free agency. Our free agency is going to be trades.”

The Hawks have approximately $22MM in cap room, a figure that could increase if the team waives non-guaranteed players Antonius Cleveland and Jaylen Morris. That’d be more than enough to put pressure on a team like the Rockets, Celtics, and Bucks with an offer sheet for Clint Capela, Marcus Smart, or Jabari Parker. However, Schlenk sounds more inclined to use that room to take on an unwanted contract or two, acquiring young players or draft picks in the process.

“Right now, we have the 14 guys under contract. Jaylen and Antonius are non-guarantees so we could get down to 12 pretty quickly if we needed to,” Schlenk said. “We’ll probably look to carry 14 guys just so we have some flexibility with our space to take on contracts if we need to be. The majority for free agency for us is just going to be taking on contracts to gather assets if we get a player we like.”

The Hawks reportedly explored trading highly-paid veterans Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder earlier in the offseason, but it doesn’t sound like a deal involving either of those players is a priority for the franchise at this point. Asked specifically about Schroder, Schlenk said the point guard’s comments about being open to a trade were “taken out of context,” adding that Schroder is “in a good place” with the Hawks.