Jerian Grant

Wizards Notes: Beal, Grant, Hachimura, Go-Go

Wizards guard Bradley Beal still hasn’t finalized a decision on whether or not he’ll participate in the NBA’s restart, but head coach Scott Brooks said today that Beal is expected to join the club on its flight to Florida this week, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.

Beal said last week that he remains undecided about whether he’ll play this summer, expressing some concerns about the shortened ramp-up period and the possible injury risk. Brooks, who said there’s no specific timeline for Beal’s decision, said today that his All-Star guard is looking “great” in workouts.

“His physical condition has been pretty good and continues to improve every day along with our other guys,” Brooks said, per Youngmisuk. “We are all getting tested every day and as of right now he’s a go and we are all going down there ready to compete and get better and play to get in a playoff position. He looks great.”

The Wizards, who are 5.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the East, will be without All-Star point guard John Wall and sharpshooter Davis Bertans during the restart — Wall continues to rehab his Achilles injury, while Bertans opted out due to his impending free agency and his ACL injury history.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Jerian Grant, who replaced Bertans on the Wizards’ summer roster as a substitute player, called it a “dream come true” to join his hometown team, as Jackson Filyo of WashingtonWizards.com details. Grant, who grew up in the D.C. area, worked as a ball boy for the franchise as a kid, and his father Harvey Grant played for the then-Bullets from 1988-93.
  • Rui Hachimura, who would be preparing to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics this summer if not for the coronavirus, remains hopeful that he’ll be able to play for his home country in 2021, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I’m honestly so sad about it. We can’t do anything about it,” Hachimura said of the postponement, adding that he has been looking forward to the event for years. “Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we’ll see how things go.”
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu, the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, won’t return to the Wizards’ G League affiliate for the 2020/21 season, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I wanted to pursue some other things at this moment in time,” Mensah-Bonsu said. The remainder of the 2019/20 NBAGL season was canceled and it’s unclear when next season will start — that uncertainty played a part in Mensah-Bonsu’s decision, per Buckner.

Southeast Notes: Fournier, Young, Grant, Heat

Magic swingman Evan Fournier doesn’t feel any pressure regarding his potential free agent status, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Fournier can become an unrestricted free agent if he declines his $17.15MM option. “As far as my free agency, I have no pressure at all, really, because I have my player option regardless,” he said. “So when the time comes, I’m just going to look at stuff and look at the numbers and make my decision.”

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • In a discussion between The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner and Sam Vecenie, Vecenie asserts that Hawks star Trae Young needs to prove he can be effective off the ball. The could be the key to Atlanta becoming a playoff team, Vecenie adds. “The next step in his evolution is going to be learning to play more with the ball out of his hands,” Vecenie wrote. “We haven’t really gotten a chance to see that a ton with Atlanta because its backup point guard position has been a black hole thus far in his career. But showcasing the ability to be effective without having to pound the ball into the ground will play a big role in how much he can translate to winning basketball.”
  • Jerian Grant has signed with the Wizards as a substitute player but the Magic retain some control over Grant beyond this season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Orlando, his former NBA team, still holds his Bird rights along with his free agent cap hold, Marks notes. The point guard spent the bulk of the season with Washington’s G League club, the Capital City Go-Go.
  • All 17 players on the Heat‘s roster, including two-way players, will make the trip to Orlando, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “We’re bringing all 17 guys for a reason, because we think everyone is healthy and ready,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We think our depth is going to be one of our biggest strengths.” Forward Derrick Jones Jr., the only known Heat player to have tested positive for COVID-19, is in quarantine but doing Zoom workouts at home.

Wizards Sign Jerian Grant

JULY 1: Grant has officially inked a deal with the Wizards to replace Bertans, per a press release on the team’s official site.

JUNE 25: The Wizards intend to sign free agent guard Jerian Grant as a substitute player for Davis Bertans, a source tells Wizards reporter Chris Miller (Twitter link). The deal will become official on July 1, Miller adds.

Bertans has decided to opt out of the NBA’s restart this summer in large part due to injury concerns. The Wizards have a full 15-man roster, but can sign a replacement for someone like Bertans, who voluntarily opts out and surrenders his salary for the eight seeding games.

That replacement will be Grant, who spent most of the 2019/20 season playing for Washington’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, following a brief stint in China last fall. In 39 games (33.3 MPG) for the Go-Go, the veteran point guard averaged 16.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 4.4 RPG with an impressive .475/.441/.835 shooting line.

Grant, a former first-round pick who has previously played for the Knicks, Bulls, and Magic, will receive a rest-of-season, minimum-salary deal as a substitute player. The Washington, D.C. native will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and the Wizards won’t hold any form of Bird rights on him.

Grant will help provide depth in a Washington backcourt that will be missing point guard John Wall. Wall, who continues to recover from an Achilles tear, isn’t eligible to be replaced by a substitute player since he’ll be sidelined due to an injury rather than voluntarily opting out or being ruled out due to a health issue related to COVID-19.

Wizards Rumors: Bertans, Rebuild, Ujiri, Grant

When the Spurs traded Davis Bertans to the Wizards this offseason, they viewed it as a necessary step to open up their mid-level exception to sign Marcus Morris. However, after Morris reneged on his agreement with San Antonio, Gregg Popovich was upset to have lost Bertans in the process.

As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks acknowledged that Popovich praised the Latvian forward when the two coaches talked over the summer. While Bertans was known for his shooting ability, Popovich believed the former Spur could take on a more dynamic role.

“[Popovich] is a good scout,” Brooks said on Wednesday, per Hughes. “He nailed it on [Bertans] when I talked to him over the summer. He said, ‘[Davis] is more than a shooter.'”

Bertans is making good on Popovich’s scouting report so far, exhibiting an ability to handle the ball and create his own shot. The 27-year-old may also be turning into a valuable trade chip for the Wizards, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link).

“Bertans is a difference-maker when it comes to his play on the court,” a scout told Marks. “Don’t be surprised if teams are willing to give up a first-rounder for him closer to the deadline.”

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis doesn’t necessarily believe that the team needs to endure a long, painful rebuilding process before returning to contention, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post writes. “Next year, we’ll have John Wall back. We’ll have a little bit of space under the salary cap,” Leonsis said. “I think the NBA is very different this year than it’s been in the past, and I stick with, I think, our turnaround can be quick and fast, but we don’t have any expectations about wins and losses. It’s more about culture, identity and what players will be with us on a long-term basis.”
  • In an in-depth profile of Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, Trevor Cole of Toronto Life says the Wizards “unofficially” conveyed to Ujiri this past offseason that they’d be willing to give him whatever he wanted – including a stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Wizards – to run their front office. The Wizards denied reports of their interest in Ujiri in June.
  • The Capital City Go-Go – Washington’s G League affiliate – claimed Jerian Grant off waivers earlier this week, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Grant, a former first-round pick with four years of NBA experience under his belt, recently signed a G League contract following a brief stint in China.

Jerian Grant Signs G League Contract

Veteran NBA point guard Jerian Grant has signed an NBA G League contract, tweets JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors. Grant’s deal is noted in the NBAGL’s official transaction log.

A first-round pick in the 2015 draft, Grant spent time with the Knicks, Bulls, and Magic over the course of four NBA seasons. In 2018/19, the 26-year-old averaged 4.2 PPG and 2.6 APG on .418/.364/.650 shooting in 60 games (15.7 MPG) for Orlando.

While Grant was the Magic’s backup point guard for much of last season, he lost that role in the second half, first to Isaiah Briscoe and then to Michael Carter-Williams. He was eligible for a qualifying offer, but Orlando passed, making him an unrestricted free agent. He signed with China’s Qingdao Eagles and spent some time overseas before being released last month by the club.

Because this is Grant’s first G League contract, none of the league’s 28 teams hold his returning rights, so he’ll be eligible to be claimed through the NBAGL’s waiver system. No matter which team’s affiliate he ends up playing for, Grant will be eligible to sign with any NBA club if an opportunity arises.

And-Ones: Dante, Hampton, 2021 Draft, Grant

Oregon big man N’Faly Dante has been informed that he’ll be ineligible to play at the start of the 2019/20 season because the NCAA missed his clearance date, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. In a statement, the five-star recruit that he has completed the academic requirements and intends to re-enroll to Oregon on December 14 in the hopes of being cleared to play.

Charania refers to Dante as a potential lottery pick in 2020, and NBADraft.net has him ranked 13th overall in the site’s latest mock draft. His name doesn’t show up at all in ESPN’s most recent 2020 mock, but it’s possible that will change if he gets his eligibility issues sorted out.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • R.J. Hampton, a projected 2020 lottery pick, said he had “a lot of room for growth” after his New Zealand Breakers played exhibition games against the Grizzlies and Thunder last week. According to ESPN’s Royce Young, there were nearly 60 NBA scouts and executives in attendance at the game in Oklahoma City.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link) have already unveiled their first mock draft for 2021, with point guard Cade Cunningham in the No. 1 spot.
  • With the Qingdao Eagles signing American-born guard Darius Adams, the Chinese club is apparently parting ways with another one of its U.S. players. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter), former Knicks, Bulls, and Magic point guard Jerian Grant is the odd man out for Qingdao and will be released. Carchia initially reported last month that the Eagles were considering waiving Grant.

Chinese Team May Release Jerian Grant

Jerian Grant, who reached an agreement last month to play in China after four years in the NBA, may no longer be wanted by his new team, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The Qingdao Eagles are considering releasing Grant before he ever takes the court for them.

Grant began last season as the backup point guard for the Magic, but slid down the rotation as the year progressed. Shooting woes were among the reasons for his demotion, as he hit just just 41.8% from the field and is a career 41.2% shooter. He averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 assists in 60 games.

Grant was taken by the Wizards with the 19th pick in 2015 and shipped to the Knicks in a three-team trade on draft night. He lasted just one season in New York before being dealt to the Bulls, who sent him to Orlando in 2018. The Magic decided in June not to extend a qualifying offer to Grant, making him an unrestricted free agent.

With training camps set to open in a few days, there may not be any immediate opportunities available for Grant in the NBA. If the Chinese deal falls through, he will likely try to find another opening overseas.

Jerian Grant Expected To Play In China

Another NBA free agent appears set to head overseas for the 2019/20 season, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (via Twitter) that Jerian Grant is signing with a team in the Chinese Basketball Assocation. According to Carchia, Grant’s new club will likely be the Qingdao Eagles.

Grant, a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, has spent time with the Knicks, Bulls, and Magic over the course of four NBA seasons. In 2018/19, the 26-year-old averaged 4.2 PPG and 2.6 APG on .418/.364/.650 shooting in 60 games (15.7 MPG) for Orlando.

While Grant was the Magic’s backup point guard for much of last season, he lost that role in the second half, first to Isaiah Briscoe and then to Michael Carter-Williams. He was eligible for a qualifying offer, but Orlando passed, making him an unrestricted free agent.

With Grant expected to be officially off the market soon, there are few viable free agent options left for NBA teams in need of point guard depth. Jeremy Lin and Shaun Livingston headline the remaining FAs, with Isaiah Canaan, Devin Harris, Chasson Randle, and Raymond Felton among the other names still on the board.

Malcolm Brogdon Gets Qualifying Offer From Bucks

The Bucks took the decision down to the wire, but they have extended a qualifying offer to Malcolm Brogdon that makes him a restricted free agent, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Brogdon’s offer is $3,021,354, according to Basketball Insiders, and that will also count as his cap hold.

The 2017 Rookie of the Year has been limited by injuries the past two seasons. He put up a 15.6/4.5/3.2 line in 64 games before suffering a minor plantar fascia tear in his right foot in March. Brogdon has earned a reputation as one of the NBA’s most efficient shooters, averaging 51% from the field, 43% from 3-point range and a league-best 93% from the foul line this year.

The Bucks may be reluctant to match a huge offer for Brogdon when they have other free agent concerns in Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. The Suns, Bulls, Mavericks and Pacers have been mentioned among interested teams, but there are lingering concerns about the long-term condition of his foot.

There are a few more decisions on qualifying offers to catch up on:

  • The Nuggets extended a QO to two-way player Brandon Goodwin, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The point guard got into 16 NBA games during his rookie season.
  • The Hawks opted not to give a QO to Justin Anderson, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Journal Constitution (Twitter link). Anderson appeared in 48 games for Atlanta after being acquired in a trade with the Sixers last summer.
  • Jerian Grant will also be an unrestricted free agent after the Magic passed on a QO, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. Acquired from the Bulls during the offseason, Grant appeared in 60 games for Orlando.
  • The Clippers didn’t extend a QO to G League Rookie of the Year Angel Delgado, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • Rockets two-way players Trevon Duval and Vince Edwards didn’t receive qualifying offers, and neither did Warriors two-way player Marcus Derrickson, according to Keith Smith. However, Damion Lee – Golden State’s other two-way player – received a QO (Twitter links).

Magic Notes: Vucevic, Ross, Clifford, Birch

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman knows he’ll have to fight off multiple suitors to retain Nikola Vucevic‘s services, Josh Robbins of The Athletic reports. While re-signing Vucevic is a priority, Weltman realizes there are teams with cap space that feel the same way.

“Vooch is going to have a lot of teams who will make him a priority for them, too. … Hopefully, we can get something done,” Weltman said. “You know, it’s the NBA, and as I always say, there’s a lot of real estate between the intentions and what gets done. But it is a priority for us.”

Vucevic is eligible for a max contract of five years and $189.7MM with the Magic or a four-year, $140.6MM deal with another franchise. Vucevic indicated he’s open to re-signing with Orlando as long as Weltman backs up his words.

“Everybody knows I’ve had a great seven years here,” he said. “But at the same time, we’ll see what happens. It’s a mutual decision, and it’s not just me.”

We have more on the Magic:

  • The team’s other prominent free agent, forward Terrence Ross, is also interested in returning, Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Ross enhanced his value this season by averaging 15.1 PPG and 3.5 RPG as the team’s sixth man while making a team-best 38.3% of his long range attempts. “It’s fun to be a part of an organization that is doing the right things … getting rewarded for it,” Ross said. “It would be great to be back, but we’ll see.”
  • Forward Aaron Gordon believes the hiring of coach Steve Clifford last season was the biggest factor in the team reaching the postseason, as he explained to John Denton of the team’s website. “I feel like we learned how to win, and that was one of the things that had been lacking here – a culture, a know-how and a standard,” Gordon said. “Coach (Clifford) did a great job of bringing that back and instilling it in us and teaching us what it means to win. And our guys did a great job of responding and coming out with tremendous fight.”
  • Vucevic’s future with the organization could impact whether it brings back center Khem Birch, as Robbins notes in his offseason outlook. The front office can make Birch a restricted free agent by extending a $1.82MM qualifying offer. If the Magic are confident they’ll re-sign Vucevic, Orlando might not give Birch that QO since it has Mohamed Bamba in place as Vucevic’s backup. Jerian Grant and Jarell Martin are also eligible for QOs but the Magic will almost certainly allow them to become unrestricted free agents, Robbins adds.