Jeremy Lin

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.

Warriors Still Eyeing Lin For Santa Cruz Affiliate

The Warriors continue to eye point guard Jeremy Lin for their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Lin did not receive a FIBA Letter of Clearance from China, where he played for the Beijing Ducks last season, in time for Golden State to sign and release him in time before yesterday’s waiver deadline. The team had hoped to sign the nine-year NBA veteran to a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 deal and waive him to lock up Lin’s G League rights.

Golden State could still sign Lin to an Exhibit 10 contract and waive him before Monday’s regular season roster deadline if that Letter of Clearance arrives, but doing so on Monday would mean paying the veteran guard for two days of NBA service and increasing the club’s already-substantial projected tax bill.

According to Stein (Twitter link), the Warriors intend to “explore all avenues” for getting Lin’s G League rights if he remains open to pursuing an NBA return via the NBAGL. The Santa Cruz Warriors could theoretically claim Lin off waivers directly if he signs a G League contract, but there’s no guarantee a team higher in the waiver order wouldn’t poach him in that scenario.

Lin started his NBA career with the Warriors after going undrafted out of Harvard. The 6’3″ guard played in 29 games for Golden State during the 2010/11 season, averaging 9.8 MPG. Lin also impressed in the G League (then the D-League) that year, averaging 18.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.1 SPG in 20 games for the Warriors’ then-affiliate club, the Reno Bighorns. The next season, he caught on in a big way with the Knicks, going on an exciting run in Madison Square Garden that was dubbed “Linsanity.”

During the 2019/20 Chinese Basketball Association season, Lin averaged 22.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 5.6 APG for the Ducks. He was a starter in the CBA All-Star game and a finalist for 2019/20 CBA Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Warriors Sign, Waive Elijah Pemberton

The Warriors signed and waived undrafted rookie wing Elijah Pemberton prior to Saturday night’s waiver deadline, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links).

A team that signs a player to a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract and then waives him secures that player’s G League rights, assuming those rights aren’t already held by another NBAGL team. Golden State had hoped to sign-and-waive Jeremy Lin for that purpose, but he didn’t receive a Letter of Clearance from China by tonight’s waiver deadline after playing last season in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Based on the reports from Charania and Stein, it sounds like the Warriors will no longer complete that deal with Lin, since doing so after today would require the team to pay him a prorated portion of his minimum salary while he’s on waivers, increasing Golden State’s projected tax bill.

The club instead turned to Pemberton, who spent his four-year college career at Hofstra and averaged 17.6 PPG on .450/.380/.854 shooting in 34 games (36.3 MPG) as a senior in 2019/20. He’ll report to the Santa Cruz Warriors after the G League finalizes its plan for a revamped ’20/21 season.

No Letter Of Clearance, No Warriors Deal For Jeremy Lin

9:55pm: Lin’s Letter of Clearance didn’t arrive in time for the Warriors to sign and release him by today’s waiver deadline, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Having failed to do so by today, it sounds like Golden State won’t sign and waive Lin after all, having turned to undrafted rookie Elijah Pemberton instead.

8:23pm: The Warriors would like to have Jeremy Lin under contract by 11pm Eastern today, but it may be hard to obtain the paperwork in time, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Lin and the team have reached an agreement, but are waiting for a FIBA Letter of Clearance from China. That type of document can be difficult to obtain on a weekend because international offices are closed, Stein adds.

Golden State was hoping to sign Lin and waive him before tonight’s waiver deadline so they can ensure they’ll have his G League rights (Twitter link). However, the transaction cannot be completed without the letter from FIBA.

The cost of waiting an extra day or two could be significant because the team is so far into the luxury tax, Stein notes. If the Warriors execute the move on Sunday rather than today, it would cost an extra $74,925 in tax penalties. Waiting until Monday would mean an extra $127,650 (Twitter link).

Lin, 32, has been working out in California recently with the G League Ignite, an NBAGL select team of top prospects and NBA veterans.

Warriors, Jeremy Lin Finalizing Exhibit 10 Deal

UPDATE: The Warriors and Lin were unable to complete their deal since Lin didn’t receive his Letter of Clearance in time.

Free agent point guard Jeremy Lin is finalizing a deal with the Warriors, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who notes (via Twitter) that Lin will require a FIBA Letter of Clearance from the Chinese Basketball Association in order to officially sign with Golden State.

It sounds like it’ll be a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 deal for Lin, with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweeting that the plan is for the 32-year-old to play for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G League affiliate. That means he’ll be waived shortly after signing his contract.

Lin, who made his NBA debut in 2010 with the Warriors, spent time with eight teams in total over the course of nine NBA seasons, enjoying a breakout year with the Knicks in 2011/12 and winning a championship with the Raptors in 2019. He elected to play in China last season and averaged 22.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 5.6 APG for the Ducks, earning a CBA All-Star nod.

Lin was a reliable contributor in 51 games with the Hawks in 2018/19, averaging 10.7 PPG and 3.5 APG on .466/.333/.845 shooting. However, after being bought out by Atlanta and signing with the Raptors, he recorded just 7.0 PPG and 2.2 APG on .374/.200/.810 shooting and fell out of Toronto’s rotation for the playoffs.

Lin had recently been practicing in Walnut Creek, California with the G League Ignite, the NBAGL select team made up of top prospects and a handful of veterans.

The Warriors will have to cut a player from their 20-man training camp roster to officially sign Lin.