Jeremy Lin

And-Ones: Lin, Draft Pick Trades, March Madness, J. Howard

Following a productive stint in the G League bubble, where he averaged 19.8 PPG on 50.5% shooting in nine games, veteran guard Jeremy Lin explained to Marc Stein of The New York Times why he opted to play for the Santa Cruz Warriors instead of accepting a far more lucrative offer in China.

“The more that we talked to teams, they were telling my agent, ‘Hey, we want to see if Jeremy’s healthy, and we want to see if Jeremy can still go. No offense to some of the leagues overseas, but we would love to see him here in front of us, in an NBA system, playing under NBA rules,'” Lin said. “I know I’m an NBA player. I know I’m a better shooter. I know I’m a better defender. I know I’m more well rounded as a basketball player. I know these things, but I just needed a chance to show it.”

Within his wide-ranging Q&A with Stein, Lin also revealed that he was affected by a small bone spur in his shooting elbow during his most recent NBA stint in Toronto in 2019, and had to undergo surgery to address the issue after the season. The 32-year-old added that he remains confident he’ll get another chance to play in the NBA, suggesting that he believes it’s “just a matter of time.”

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

  • In an interesting piece for The Ringer, Danny Chau dives into the evolution of draft pick trading, examining when and why certain restrictions were put in place, and how teams have continued to get creative with the protections and conditions on traded picks.
  • Potential top picks Cade Cunningham, Jalen Suggs, and Evan Mobley are among the many prospects that Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) will be keeping an eye on during the upcoming NCAA tournament. Givony also notes that many NBA executives believe Michigan coach Juwan Howard will be in “high demand” this offseason, though it remains to be seen whether Howard will consider leaving the Wolverines.
  • Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press explores how the lure of making the play-in tournament has changed the feel of the trade deadline by creating fewer potential sellers.

And-Ones: Lin, G League, Playoffs, Eboua

Having investigated Jeremy Lin‘s allegation that an opposing player called him “coronavirus” during a game, the NBA G League has identified that player, as Shams Charania of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). With Lin’s support, the league is handling the matter internally, Charania says.

An NBAGL spokesperson confirmed that Lin has met with the offending player to discuss the incident, adding that the player “understands the impact that hearing his comment had on Lin.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Speaking of the G League, the brief 2020/21 season came to an end on Thursday when the Lakeland Magic defeated the Delaware Blue Coats for this year’s NBAGL championship (link via The Associated Press). All the players under NBA contract who had been assigned to the G League bubble should now be headed back to their NBA teams, if they haven’t already rejoined them. That includes Lakeland’s Karim Mane (to the Magic) and Delaware’s Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe (to the Sixers).
  • While the NBA has done a pretty good job during the last year dealing with the effects of the coronavirus, John Hollinger of The Athletic questions what the league’s plan will be for the 2021 playoffs. The league has had to postpone over 30 games so far this season for reasons related to COVID-19, but having to deal with any postponements in the postseason would be a major problem.
  • Cameroonian forward Paul Eboua, who was in camp with the Heat in December and played for the Long Island Nets in the G League bubble, is headed back overseas, having reached an agreement through 2022 with VL Pesaro, per La Gazzetta dello Sport (hat tip to Sportando).

Pacific Notes: Gasol, Leonard, Poole, Mannion, Lin

Lakers center Marc Gasol was inactive on Tuesday after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. Gasol had started all 35 games this season prior to Tuesday, posting modest stats of 4.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG. Gasol was signed to a two-year, $5.25MM contract in November.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard was a late scratch in the team’s loss to Boston on Tuesday due to back spasms, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. Leonard, who felt discomfort during warmups, has missed eight games this season for a variety of reasons.
  • The Warriors have brought back guards Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion from the G League bubble for depth in their last two games prior to the All-Star break, according to a team press release. Poole averaged 22.4 PPG in 11 games for affiliate Santa Cruz and has also appeared in 15 NBA games this season. Mannion, a two-way player, averaged 19.3 PPG for Santa Cruz in nine appearances.
  • Poole’s presence is one reason why the Warriors aren’t interested in signing Jeremy Lin as a backup point guard at this time, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. Lin has performed well with Santa Cruz but Golden State would have to make room for him on its roster. The Warriors’ preference is for Brad Wanamaker to regain the form he showed with Boston last season or for Poole to take over that role before adding Lin to the mix.

G League Notes: Ezeli, Lin, Tyree, Postseason

Veteran NBA center Festus Ezeli, whose playing career was jeopardized by health issues, is joining the Westchester Knicks for the home stretch of the NBA G League season, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Ezeli, who appeared in 170 regular season games and 55 more playoff contests for the Warriors from 2012-16, hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2016 NBA Finals, as major knee and leg problems threatened to end his career. As Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle recently detailed, Ezeli hasn’t given up on making it back to the court — he’ll apparently get a chance to do so in the G League.

“I’ve put so much into this process, but this is my dream,” Ezeli told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link), confirming that he’s joining Westchester. “Chasing your dreams is worth every inch of the cost.”

Here’s more on the G League:

  • The G League is investigating a claim from Santa Cruz Warriors guard Jeremy Lin that he was called “coronavirus” during a game, as Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. In the Facebook post in which he made the allegation, Lin wrote that his generation of Asian Americans “is tired of being told that we don’t experience racism.”
  • Former Mississippi guard Breein Tyree, who was in camp with the Heat in December and was playing for the Raptors 905 in the G League bubble, suffered a torn ACL that will prematurely end his season, per Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link). Although he’s unable to play, Tyree is sticking with Toronto’s G League affiliate for the rest of the NBAGL bubble.
  • While it may seem like the NBA G League season just began, it’s already entering the final week of the regular season. The season will wrap up on March 6, with an eight-team, single-elimination tournament to follow from March 8-11. The G League Ignite, at 7-4, are currently tied for the No. 6 seed and will look to clinch a postseason spot this week.

And-Ones: I. Thomas, Trades, Lin, Cunningham

While Isaiah Thomas is excited and honored to represent Team USA at the AmeriCup qualifiers in Puerto Rico this weekend, he admitted in a conversation with Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press that he’s also viewing the event as an opportunity to showcase himself for NBA teams.

“My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA as soon as possible,” Thomas said. “This allows me to compete against other professionals, represent my country at the same time — which is an honor and a privilege — and ultimately show NBA teams that I’m back to myself and I’m 100% healthy. That’s why I chose to come here. When Team USA brought it to me, it was a no-brainer.”

As Reynolds notes, the games themselves won’t mean much for Team USA, which has already qualified for the 2022 AmeriCup tournament by going undefeated in earlier qualifying games. But they’ll be significant for Thomas, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since being released by the Clippers last February. Veteran teammate Joe Johnson said Thomas has looked “great” in practices.

“One thing I’ll say: In pick and rolls, I think he’s probably going to be unstoppable,” Johnson said of Thomas. “Bigs, I don’t know what they’ll do. Do you get out and hedge? He’ll go around you and split you. Do you try to catch him? He’ll pull up for the jumper. He has a great arsenal. It’s been fun to watch him play, man. I will tell you that.”

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

G League Notes: Kuminga, Green, Azubuike, Lin

Projected lottery pick Jonathan Kuminga made a strong impression today in his first professional game, writes Brian Martin of the G League’s website. Playing for the G League Ignite, Kuminga registered 19 points, four assists, two rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes. The 18-year-old also swatted away a shot in the final seconds to help the Ignite pick up a victory in their first-ever game.

“I wasn’t impressed because I see it every day in practice,” Ignite coach Brian Shaw said. “It’s what I expect; it’s what I see every day. He does a lot for us and you guys are just seeing the beginning of what he can do.”

Kuminga was considered one of the top high school players in the country, but he opted to develop his game in the G League rather than college basketball. He is projected as the fifth overall pick in the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.

There’s more from the first day of G League action:

  • Team Ignite’s Jalen Green, who is tabbed as the third selection by ESPN, also had a strong debut after overcoming a slow start, Martin adds in the same story. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds, but most of that came after halftime. “Jalen pressed a bit; he was trying too hard, which is natural,” Shaw said. “In having conversations with him about how other teams are gunning for him based on the attention he’s getting. I expect him to bounce back from this game and have a better game next game.”
  • Center Udoka Azubuike, a first-round pick by the Jazz in November, was carried off the court on a stretcher after suffering a leg injury in today’s Salt Lake City Stars game, according to Brandon Judd of The Deseret News. No immediate details were provided on the severity of his injury. Azubuike appeared in 12 games for Utah before the G League season began.
  • The odds are against Jeremy Lin returning to the NBA, no matter how he performs in the G League, contends Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News. Lin had 18 points and five assists in his first game with the Santa Cruz Warriors, but he’s 32 and Kurtenbach notes that teams are more likely to take chances on younger players.

And-Ones: G League, Lin, All-Star Game, Sloan, ABA

A trio of G League Ignite prospects – Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green, and Daishen Nix – headline Jeremy Woo’s list of players to watch during the 2020/21 NBAGL season, which tipped off this morning. Kuminga and Green are widely considered top-five prospects for the 2021 draft, and Kuminga and Nix got off to hot starts in their professional debut today.

[RELATED: G League Ignite Eager To Start Season Under Veteran Leadership]

Kevin Porter, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jontay Porter, and Malachi Flynn are among the G League players on assignment from NBA teams who will be worth keeping an eye on during the next few weeks, according to Woo.

Woo’s list also features Jeremy Lin, an NBA veteran who decided to play in the NBAGL this season rather than accepting more lucrative offers to spend another year in China, as he tells Shams Charania of Stadium (video link). Lin’s Santa Cruz Warriors are in action against the Ignite in today’s opener.

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

  • Sam Amick of The Athletic explains why the NBA is holding an All-Star Game this year despite the objections of many of its biggest stars. As Amick details, league officials feel that the modified event can be pulled off safely and believe that fans want to see the game played. Scrapping this year’s All-Star Game may also have required the league to go back to the negotiating table with Turner/TNT to figure out how to make up for the loss of one of the network’s marquee NBA events.
  • Veteran guard Donald Sloan, who appeared in 218 regular season NBA games from 2011-16, has been granted his release by the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian Basketball League, the club announced. The 36ers indicated that Sloan asked to be waived to pursue other opportunities internationally.
  • The NBA is in talks with the Dropping Dimes Foundation about potentially assisting more than 100 remaining American Basketball Association players, many of whom are struggling financially and are in need of pensions, a league spokesperson tells Dana Hunsinger Benbow of The Indianapolis Star.

Jeremy Lin To Play For Santa Cruz Warriors

As expected, Jeremy Lin will sign a G League contract and will suit up for the Santa Cruz Warriors during the upcoming NBAGL bubble season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

[RELATED: 18 G League Clubs Likely Headed To Disney World Bubble]

Word broke just before the start of the regular season in December that the Warriors were attempting to sign Lin to a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract in order to make him an NBAGL affiliate player for Santa Cruz.

However, in order to sign an NBA contract, Lin – who spent last season in the Chinese Basketball Association – required a Letter of Clearance from FIBA. The Warriors were unable to get that letter in time to sign and waive Lin without paying a small portion of his regular season salary, which would’ve increased the team’s projected tax bill.

While it initially looked like the Warriors missed their chance to have Lin play for their G League affiliate, a rule tweak made by the NBA and NBAGL reopened that door. As Jonathan Givony of ESPN has reported, each G League team will be able to designate an “NBA Vet Selection” who has five or more years of NBA experience, and will be able to sign that player directly without navigating the league’s complicated waiver process.

Charania doesn’t explicitly say that the Warriors will make use of that rule to sign Lin, but it’s a safe bet they will. Otherwise, he’d have to enter the draft pool or post-draft waiver pool, giving other G League teams a chance to land him.

Earlier today, we passed along a list of notable former NBA players who will be eligible to be selected in the NBAGL’s draft on Monday — Charania (via Twitter) adds former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley to that list.

Warriors Notes: Paschall, Curry, Wiseman, Lin

Eric Paschall has moved to a reserve role after starting the first two games of the season and seems more comfortable coming off the bench, writes Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. The Warriors‘ second-year power forward posted 15 points in 19 minutes Sunday in Chicago, then 10 points in 13 minutes Tuesday at Detroit.

“I liked the rotation better because the way we played tonight allowed Eric to get going offensively and be more aggressive with the ball,” coach Steve Kerr said after Sunday’s game. “Playing with the second unit — we can run some things through him. We need Eric with the ball in his hands, and with that first group, it’s tough to get the ball to him.”

Because the Warriors were short-handed last season, Paschall got plenty of opportunity to showcase his skills, averaging 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 60 games. He was an All-Rookie First Team selection after being taken with the 41st pick in the draft.

“I’m allowed to just play the game,” Paschall said in explaining why he likes being a reserve. “Having the ball in my hands and trying to make plays for everybody and myself. More aggressive, more opportunity with the second unit.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry‘s new teammates are starting to figure out how to get him the ball in the flow of the offense, observes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Because an injury forced Curry to miss almost all of last season, most of Golden State’s roster is still learning how to play alongside him.
  • James Wiseman‘s early numbers may not be what some fans expected, but he’s showing his value on offense by attacking the rim, notes Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. Strauss believes Wiseman’s inside presence and Curry’s outside shooting can be the foundation of Golden State’s offense for years to come.
  • A proposed “NBA Vet Selection” rule for the G League could be a path toward getting Jeremy Lin to the Warriors, but that plan could be complicated if the league elects to play in a bubble setting, according to Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News. The rule would allow NBA teams to fill one G League roster spot with a player who has at least five years of NBA service. However, the bubble atmosphere may cause teams to keep their NBA and G League players separate, which defeats the purpose of adding Lin. Golden State was close to a deal with Lin before opening day rosters had to be finalized, but couldn’t get authorization in time from the Beijing Ducks, his last team in China.

Latest Details On NBA G League Bubble

Seventeen teams have indicated that they plan to participate in the NBA G League bubble, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who notes that the G League Ignite select team will be the 18th squad.

While we don’t yet have a full, official list of the teams participating in the G League bubble, Ridiculous Upside has done a good job passing along reports (including some of ours) and providing new details on which clubs are in and out. Their list includes 13 teams believed to be in, not counting the Ignite, as follows:

  • Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers)
  • Austin Spurs (Spurs)
  • Canton Charge (Cavaliers)
  • Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers)
  • Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers)
  • Lakeland Magic (Magic)
  • Long Island Nets (Nets)
  • Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies)
  • Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder)
  • Raptors 905 (Raptors)
  • Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz)
  • Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors)
  • Westchester Knicks (Knicks)

G League expert Adam Johnson says the Greensboro Swarm (Hornets), Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves), and Erie BayHawks (Pelicans) are also expected to take part (Twitter link).

The G League reportedly asked for teams to volunteer to opt out, since bringing 29 franchises to the bubble wouldn’t have been logistically possible, so the clubs passing on the bubble aren’t necessarily doing so because they’re not interested in participating.

Teams opting out of the bubble who signed players to Exhibit 10 contracts before the season will be given the option to loan or “flex” those players to another G League team for the bubble and will be responsible for paying all expenses for those players, Givony explains.

The Wizards, for example, aren’t expected to have the Capital City Go-Go play in the bubble, but will likely use the Pelicans’ affiliate – the BayHawks – as their temporary affiliate for their former Exhibit 10 players, such as Caleb Homesley, Marlon Taylor, and Yoeli Childs, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

A G League draft would take place in January, according to Givony, who reports that players whose returning rights are held by non-bubble teams would temporarily be dispersed to other clubs in that draft. If non-bubble teams don’t want to “flex” their former Exhibit 10 players to G League teams participating in the bubble, those players will also enter the draft pool, says Givony.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reported earlier this week that the tentative start date for the G League season is February 8. Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link) shares a more detailed breakdown of the proposed timeline, which would see G League players and staffers begin an “at-home” quarantine period on January 13.

Givony confirms that teams participating in the bubble still expect to play a minimum of 12 games apiece (not including the playoffs), as was reported in November.

Finally, Givony reports that the G League is making adjustments to its roster rules to make it easier for NBA teams to recruit and sign veterans with five or more years of NBA experience. Each team will be able to designate an “NBA Vet Selection” who fits that bill, and won’t have to navigate the NBAGL’s complicated waiver process to add that player, per Givony.

As Johnson tweets, the rule will be a one-off for this season and will allow – for instance – the Warriors to add Jeremy Lin to their Santa Cruz affiliate, like they wanted to.