Jock Landale

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Collins, Landale, Knight, Alvarado

CJ McCollum sees tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers as the “final closure” on the trade that sent him to the Pelicans, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. McCollum’s family joined him in New Orleans recently, but this week marks his first time back at his Portland house since the February 8 deal.

“I had conversations and was able to talk to some of my teammates and obviously I still talk to them to this day,” said McCollum, who spent his first eight and a half NBA seasons with the Blazers. “I talked with the staff. It’ll be good to see (coach Chauncey Billups), talk about our teams. Talk about our football teams. Just kind of catch up and get back to business. Get the win and get outta here. This is the final step. You know this is going to happen at some point. But it’s good that it’s happy emotions opposed to the opposite. I like to call it a happy breakup. One where you’re not bitter at your ex.”

Although McCollum was a fan favorite in Portland and loved playing there, it was clear by the trade deadline that it was time to move on. He has quickly become a team leader with the Pelicans, averaging career-best numbers with 25.9 points, 6.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 19 games.

“It was a team I kind of zeroed in on and they obviously zeroed in on me,” McCollum said. “I knew what I signed up for and what I was going to be asked to do, and I’m doing it. They held up their end of the bargain as well. I’m happy to be in this situation.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Zach Collins‘ return from injury and Jock Landale‘s emergence late in his first NBA season have stabilized the Spurs‘ frontcourt rotation, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio is especially happy with Collins, who is delivering on the three-year, $22MM gamble the organization took on him after missing nearly two full seasons and undergoing three ankle surgeries. Landale is giving the team a reason to consider guaranteeing his $1.56MM contract for next season.
  • Brandon Knight was on the court tonight, one day after rejoining the Mavericks on a 10-day contract, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Knight flew to Cleveland to meet the team, which needed backcourt help with Spencer Dinwiddie, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina all missing the game.
  • The four-year deal the Pelicans gave rookie guard Jose Alvarado when they converted his two-way contract carries a $1.1MM guarantee for next season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Years three and four are non-guaranteed, and the team holds an option on the final season.

Western Notes: Conley, McCollum, Landale, Primo, Martin

Mike Conley tried to carry the Jazz through adversity during the first half of the season. It took a toll on his body and he’s now trying to work his way through a rough patch, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes. Looking worn out, Conley has scored in single digits in seven of his last 10 outings.

“I was trying to do everything I could physically and mentally to keep the ship afloat,” said Conley, who re-signed with the Jazz on a three-year deal last summer. “I tried to be there for everybody. When doing that, sometimes you can forget about being there for yourself. We hit some true adversity. We were getting doubted by everyone. We had a bunch of outside distractions going on. And you saw it creeping into our games.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Pelicans coach Willie Green is hopeful CJ McCollum will clear the league’s health and safety protocols in time to play on Tuesday, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. McCollum was placed in protocols on Thursday. “We’re hopeful. We’ll see how it goes,” Green said. “He’s got to get a couple negative tests. He’s progressing.” The Pelicans have listed McCollum as questionable to play.
  • Jock Landale is hopeful he’ll still be wearing a Spurs uniform next season, as he told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News. He had a 26-point, 7-rebound game against Indiana on Saturday but his $1.56MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed. “This is where I want to be long-term if I can,” Landale said. “I don’t want to go anywhere. Me and my fiancée love it here. I love the organization, love the boys I play with.”
  • In the same story, McDonald points out that Spurs lottery pick Joshua Primo has seen his offensive numbers go down while his playing time has gone up. Primo is averaging 24.8 MPG this month but he’s only averaging 6.0 PPG on 37.5% shooting in those games. Teammate Devin Vassell has an explanation. “It’s the rookie wall,” he said. “It’s real.”
  • The Rockets recently guaranteed Kenyon Martin Jr.‘s $1.78MM salary for next season and Basketball News’ Mark Schindler details why he believes Martin could turn into one of the top role players in the league.

Southwest Notes: Poeltl, Landale, Zion, Silas

Spurs center Jakob Poeltl returned to action last Thursday after missing six games due to COVID-19, but he’s still feeling the effects of the layoff, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Poeltl, who is fully vaccinated, was in the league’s health and safety protocols for 16 days and said the adjustment of returning to a full-time schedule has been difficult.

“I had to get my conditioning, but also sitting at home for a week and a half, you’re not shooting the basketball,” he said. “It’s tough to get back in game rhythm. But it’s feeling better with every minute I am out there.”

Poeltl, who moved into the starting lineup in the middle of last season, has been putting up career-best numbers this year with 12.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He said recovering from the virus has been different than coming back after being injured.

“It’s a little weird, because with getting COVID and stuff, it takes the wind away,” Poeltl said. “Everybody is cautious about running or whether you’re putting out too much energy. So even the build-up process was slower than it would be for a regular injury.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie center Jock Landale has also cleared protocols, McDonald adds. Landale, who has only appeared in four games this season, is available tonight for the first time since November 10.
  • The Pelicans are waiting for a foot specialist to process the latest scans on Zion Williamson, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Williamson has been playing 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 games, but hasn’t been cleared to participate in practice. The team expects the results to be available within a few days.
  • Amid rumors about his job security, Rockets coach Stephen Silas hasn’t lost track of his dual responsibilities of trying to get a few wins while developing his young players, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “It’s yeah, we want to win a game,” Silas said in tonight’s pre-game session with the media. “We want to get off this (15-game losing) streak. We want to get off this slide and I want it so badly for the group, but I also understand it’s developing these guys and I got to do both.”

Spurs Notes: Players’ Meeting, Landale, COVID Concerns, Walker

The Spurs held a players-only meeting in the locker room after last Thursday’s 25-point loss to the Timberwolves, forward Thaddeus Young informed Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “We took that butt whooping and we went back into the locker room and we talked for 20, 30 minutes, the whole team,” Young said. “Everyone voiced their issues and their points.”

Second-year lottery pick Devin Vassell was among those who spoke most eloquently.

“He basically said, ‘Come on. Let’s try to figure this thing out. Let’s talk about it. Let’s put everything out there on the table,'” Young said.

Young viewed that as a positive sign for the team building around young players.

“That’s what you want from young guys. I could do it, but at the end of the day, you want these younger guys to start stepping up,” Young said (Twitter links here).

San Antonio had the weekend off and will face Phoenix on Monday.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Big man Jock Landale has entered the reconditioning phase after being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Orsborn tweets. Landale entered protocols approximately two weeks ago and hasn’t played since November 1.
  • Though the team is fully vaccinated and some have received booster shots, players are wary of contracting the virus and are taking more precautions on the road, forward Doug McDermott told Orsborn. “That (being vaccinated) still doesn’t mean anything because you still see positive tests. I think a good example was in the NFL,” McDermott said. “You are seeing a lot of positive cases there and I think the same will be true of us (in the NBA) around Thanksgiving.”
  • Guard Lonnie Walker IV holds no hard feelings toward Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, Orsborn writes. Prince was ejected after being issued a Flagrant 2 foul for striking Walker in the chest and face during the second half as Walker drove to the basket. “It was fine,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten hit a lot worse than that. I don’t think it was on purpose. I’m real cool with Prince.”

Western Notes: Blazers, Ainge, Lillard, Landale, Gay

It’s too early to say whether the Trail Blazersinvestigation into Neil Olshey‘s conduct will lead the franchise to make any major changes at the top of the front office. However, Howard Beck of SI.com said on the latest episode of The Crossover NBA Show that he wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Ainge‘s name is connected to the president of basketball operations role in Portland if the team looks to replace Olshey (hat tip to RealGM).

“I don’t know if Danny would take it, but I would expect Danny Ainge would be in the mix for a vacancy in Portland,” Beck said, admitting that he was putting the horse before the cart. “It’s one of the cities he’s been connected to over the years because of his history there.”

Ainge, who spent a couple seasons with the Blazers as a player, was also born and raised in Oregon, which is the “history” Beck is referring to. Ainge has shifted into a consultant role in Boston after stepping down as the Celtics’ head of basketball operations this summer.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Western Conference…

  • The NBA has acknowledged that its referees are still working to find the right balance between instituting the league’s new philosophy on foul calling and continuing to allow freedom of movement. Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believes there’s still plenty of work to do, as Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. “I feel like the way the game is being officiated is unacceptable,” Lillard said on Tuesday night. “I don’t want to go too deep into it so they make a big deal out of it, but the explanations, the s–t that’s getting missed, I mean, come on. I felt like coming in, the rule change wouldn’t affect me, because I don’t do the trick the referees, the trick plays… (but) it’s just unacceptable.”
  • Spurs big man Jock Landale has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who says it’s unclear whether or not Landale tested positive for COVID-19. The rookie is the second Spur to enter the protocols, joining fellow center Jakob Poeltl.
  • Rudy Gay, who signed with the Jazz in the offseason, is inching closer to making his debut for the team, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. The team said on Tuesday that Gay has been taking part in “controlled court work,” and Todd says he’s begun participating in 3-on-3 action. Utah will provide another update on the veteran forward on Monday.

Southwest Notes: Landale, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Bane

Big man Jock Landale, who signed with the Spurs last month after spending last season with Melbourne United, referred to Australia’s National Basketball League as “the best place to be” for players trying to make jump to the NBA. In an appearance on the NBL’s The Huddle podcast, Landale praised the league’s willingness to let players pursue NBA opportunities.

“I think the NBL does themselves such a service in having that leniency to let people go and pursue that dream, that people now look at it as a legitimate pathway,” Landale said.

Landale signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Spurs as a free agent this offseason. While the second year isn’t guaranteed, the first season is, so he’s in position to make San Antonio’s 15-man squad.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic was underwhelmed by the Pelicans‘ offseason, giving the team a grade of D-plus for its summer moves. While Harper liked the acquisition of Jonas Valanciunas and New Orleans’ deal with Josh Hart, he believes the club significantly downgraded its backcourt, calling the Devonte’ Graham signing a “pretty bad” deal.
  • While the city of New Orleans was hit hard by Hurricane Ida, the Pelicans‘ Smoothie King Center only sustained “minor exterior damage,” according to the team. The Pels will be able to play their home games there this fall without issue, as Christian Clark of NOLA.com details.
  • The Grizzlies plan to retire the jerseys for two key members of the team’s “Grit and Grind” era, announcing (via Twitter) that they’ll retire Zach Randolph‘s No. 50 on December 11 and Tony Allen‘s No. 9 on January 28.
  • Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane is changing agents, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, who tweets that Bane has left Seth Cohen of SAC Sports Family and is in the process of hiring new representation. Bane is still two years away from being extension-eligible for the first time.

Western Notes: Popovich, Landale, Can, Beckett

Gregg Popovich may not seem the type of coach who is interested in records, but he wants to become the NBA’s all-time winningest coach more than many people would suspect, according to Marc Stein of Substack (subscription required). The Spurs’ longtime coach is 26 wins shy of passing Don Nelson for the most regular-season coaching victories. The fact that they are close friends adds to the appeal. Prior to becoming a head coach, Popovich spent two seasons in Golden State as Nelson’s top assistant.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  •  Jock Landale’s two-year contract with the Spurs is a minimum-salary deal, Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. The first year is fully guaranteed, while the second year is non-guaranteed. The Australian big man was the NBL Grand Final MVP last season.
  • The Jazz have added Erdem Can to their coaching staff, according to a team press release. Can joins Quin Snyder‘s staff after serving as an assistant coach for Fenerbahce in the Turkish first division from 2012-21.  He has also assisted the Jazz’s summer league coaching staff five times in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
  • Assistant coach John Beckett is signing a new contract with the Nuggets, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Beckett was under consideration to join Wes Unseld Jr.‘s staff with the Wizards. Beckett and Unseld worked together under Michael Malone last season.

Spurs Sign Jock Landale

AUGUST 20: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.


AUGUST 3: The Spurs have agreed to a two-year deal with Australian big man Jock Landale, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Landale, a 25-year-old, 6’11” center, is fresh off winning the 2021 NBL Grand Final MVP for Melbourne United. He averaged 16.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.5 BPG while shooting 38.9% from three on 149 total attempts during the 2020/21 season.

The Spurs are light in established frontcourt players, leaving the possibility of Landale to carve out a role for himself, especially if newly-signed Zach Collins is unable to stay healthy. With the team officially losing Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, the youth movement appears to be in full swing in San Antonio.

International Notes: Satoransky, Olympics, Shayok, Landale

Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is the only current NBA player on the Czech Republic’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month (link via FIBA). Former NBA lottery pick Jan Vesely is among the other notable names on the roster.

Satoransky, Vesely, and the Czechs will be looking to earn a berth in the Tokyo Olympics by winning a six-team tournament that also features Canada, Greece, Turkey, China, and Uruguay. It won’t be an easy path, as only one of the six teams will advance to Tokyo. Canada’s roster features many NBA players, while Greece could have Giannis Antetokounmpo available if the Bucks don’t advance past Brooklyn in round two of the NBA playoffs.

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • Former NBA second-rounder Marial Shayok is joining Turkish club Fenerbahce, according to a report from Ismail Senol of beIN Sports (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). After being selected 54th overall in 2019, Shayok spent his rookie season with the 76ers, but was waived last November. The 25-year-old forward played for Frutti Extra Bursaspor in Turkey for most of 2021.
  • Former Saint Mary’s big man Jock Landale, who is currently playing for Melbourne United in Australia’s National Basketball League, is hoping to use the NBL playoffs as a springboard to a potential NBA contract, telling Matt Logue of News.com.au that he has received “a lot” of NBA interest this season. Landale also sought a move to the NBA last summer, but could have more luck this time around following a big year for Melbourne.
  • Nick Lagios, who will be the general manager of the NBA G League’s new franchise based in Mexico City, told Achilleas Mavrodontis of Eurohoops.net that he likes the idea of someday overseeing a European team’s basketball operations department. “Many people call me crazy because my dream job is to work as a GM or president in the EuroLeague,” Lagios said. “I think it would be a great experience working (for) a European team or a top-notch Greek team and I would love that in the future.”

And-Ones: G League, Bubble, Landale, Munford

The NBA G League’s new Select Team will play in Walnut Creek, California, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). While the squad was always expected to be based out of California, previous reports suggested the Los Angeles area was most likely —  Walnut Creek is in the Bay Area.

The Select Team is expected to be made up of a combination of noteworthy prospects and veteran mentors. Five-star recruits Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Daishen Nix, and Isaiah Todd have signed on to be part of the team, as have intriguing international big men Kai Sotto and Princepal Singh.

It remains to be seen which vets might fill out the roster, but Brian Shaw will be the club’s head coach. The Select Team won’t be part of the NBAGL’s traditional regular season schedule, but is expected to play exhibition games against G League teams, as well as against foreign national teams and NBA academies, as the program focuses on helping top prospects prepare for the NBA.

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

  • It’s too early to declare it a complete success, but the NBA’s “bubble” experiment is off to a great start, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. “Seriously, it’s a great stage to play,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “There’s not a lot of distractions. It’s the same court every night, so you get your shooting depth perception and all of that. It’s pure basketball. So, you see some of the talents these guys have are coming out.”
  • Big man Jock Landale has officially parted ways with Zalgiris Launas, the Lithuanian team announced today in a press release. As the club noted in its announcement, Landale will be seeking an NBA job this fall when free agency opens.
  • Former Grizzlies and Bucks guard Xavier Munford has joined Turkish team Bursaspor Basketbol, according to the club (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). A former Rhode Island standout, Munford has appeared in just 20 NBA games, though he’s a G League veteran, having logged 209 NBAGL appearances, including 43 this past season with the Delaware Blue Coats.