Joe Johnson

And-Ones: Gudaitis, Beaubois, Paul, Robinson, Curry, King

Lithuanian center Arturas Gudaitis is expected to leave Olimpia Milano and join Zenit St. Petersburg next season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Gudaitis, who played 19 games last season with Olimpia Milano and averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG, had been signed through next season with the Italian club. The Sixers used a 2015 second-round pick on Gudaitis but he has never appeared in an NBA regular-season game. The Cavaliers acquired his rights in 2018 via a three-way trade with the Kings and Jazz.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois has reached a two-year contract extension with his Turkish club Anadolu Efes, Misko Raznatovic tweets. Beaubois, 32, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012/13 season. Last season, the French guard averaged 11.1 PPG over 43 games.
  • Chris Paul has made a strong impression as NBA Players Association president, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. Players Association executive director Michele Roberts indicates that not all superstar players like the Thunder point guard command the same respect. “I won’t name any names, but there have been other marquee players that have been on the executive committee,” Roberts said. “They haven’t come close, they haven’t come close to providing and demonstrating a level of commitment and time that Chris has. And he’s not only just there, he’s engaged, he understands the issues. … He does insist on hearing all sides, and he brings in the other players.”
  • Joe Johnson, Mario Chalmers, Nate Robinson and Eddy Curry are among the former NBA players slated to participate in 3-on-3 pay-per-view tournament later this month, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. The “5 Tournament” is scheduled to take place July 19-29, just before the NBA’s planned restart.
  • Former Suns two-way player George King has signed with Bundesliga’s Chemnitz 99ers, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. King, who appeared in one game with the Suns in 2018/19, played in Italy and Poland last season.

And-Ones: TBT, Daniels, Whittington, Newman

A number of former NBA players are set to take part in 2020’s edition of The Basketball Tournament, an annual, winner-take-all tournament with a prize of $1MM.

As Carmine Carcieri of ESPN details, veteran guard Joe Johnson is playing in The Basketball Tournament after winning a championship and an MVP award in the BIG3 in 2019. Malachi Richardson, Tony Wroten, Johnny O’Bryant, and Markel Brown are among the others with NBA experience who will suit up for the event, per Carcieri.

More recently, a couple more notable names have joined the list of participants, with veteran guard Jarrett Jack joining Johnson’s Overseas Elite squad (Twitter link), while former lottery pick Hasheem Thabeet will be a member of the Playing For Jimmy V team.

With most professional sports still on hiatus, The Basketball Tournament should be under a larger spotlight in 2020. ESPN announced its broadcast schedule for the event today, starting with four games on July 4 and culminating in a July 14 championship.

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

  • CAA Sports is hiring Evan Daniels of 247Sports to become an agent in its college basketball coaching division, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Daniels has long been one of the most well-connected and reliable sources for college basketball and NBA draft news.
  • Free agent forward Greg Whittington, who had a strong year in Turkey in 2019/20, isn’t eligible to join an NBA team for the summer restart, but continues to receive strong offers from EuroLeague teams, including Panathinaikos BC, agent Jerry Dianis tells JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter links).
  • Former lottery pick Derrick Williams has received interest from international teams, including Khimki, but no deal is imminent, reports JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Williams, who last played in the NBA in 2017/18, spent the ’19/20 season with Fenerbahce.
  • Malik Newman, who spent a little time with the Cavaliers this season, has signed with Turkish team Bursaspor, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. Newman appeared in just one game for Cleveland, spending most of 2019/20 with the Canton Charge in the G League.

And-Ones: Daye, J. Johnson, Coaches

Despite reportedly receiving some interest from NBA teams, forward Austin Daye has decided to remain in Italy and will sign a two-year contract extension with Reyer Venezia, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

A former Gonzaga standout and a first-round pick in 2009, Daye averaged 5.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG with a .402/.351/.778 shooting line in 293 NBA regular season games (14.1 MPG), but has played overseas since 2015, winning an LBA (Italian League) Finals MVP award in 2019 and earning Italian Cup MVP honors in 2020.

A report last month indicated that Daye had talked to an NBA team and was considering exercising the out clause in his contract before a June 30 deadline. However, perhaps in part because of the uncertainty surrounding the NBA’s calendar, Daye has opted to remain with Reyer Venezia, where he’ll continue to play a major role.

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

  • Former NBA swingman Joe Johnson will play for Overseas Elite in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) this summer, our JD Shaw reports (via Twitter). As we detailed last month, the annual event still intends to move forward in July with frequent COVID-19 testing for participants.
  • As some teams around the NBA prepare to search for a new head coach, or weigh whether or not to do so, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz takes a deep dive into the hottest names on the coaching market, exploring which assistants and former head coaches are good bets to receive consideration for jobs this summer.
  • It won’t happen, but several of The Athletic’s NBA writers consider what it would look like if the 22 teams headed to Orlando this summer were permitted to “draft” players from the league’s bottom eight teams. The results of the experiment, including Stephen Curry to Washington and Trae Young to Phoenix, are pretty entertaining.

BIG3 Aims To Hold Quarantined Tournament In April

The BIG3 is working on plans to launch a “quarantined, reality show-style” three-on-three tournament in April, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz – the league’s founders – have had discussions with TV networks about possibility broadcasting the preseason tournament, which they hope would help fill a void in the sporting world.

As Haynes explains, the idea would be to have approximately 16 to 22 players who test negative for COVID-19 be quarantined together in a large home in Los Angeles. A basketball facility would be built on site, and any player who breaks quarantine at any time during the tournament would be disqualified and removed.

The format would involve seven rounds of games, with teams being reshuffled throughout the tournament and players being eliminated when they accumulate three losses. In addition to the games, the players’ daily lives would also be filmed and broadcast “for added drama and storylines,” per Haynes.

“As long as we can protect the players, which we will do through proper testing and quarantine, Ice Cube and I feel we can give fans some safe, entertaining brand of basketball to get everyone through this pandemic,” Kwatinetz told Haynes.

Even if the BIG3 is able to move forward with its tournament as planned, it’s not yet known which players would participate, but Haynes says that former NBA players like Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, and Greg Oden are among the possible candidates.

Joe Johnson Returning To BIG3

Seven-time All-Star swingman Joe Johnson will be returning to the BIG3 this summer for a second season with Ice Cube‘s 3-on-3 veteran league, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reports (Twitter link).

Johnson, 38, is the reigning BIG3 league MVP. His team, the Triplets, won the BIG3 championship last summer, thanks in large part to Johnson’s sharpshooting heroics.

The 6’7″ wing out of Arkansas last saw some NBA heat this fall, where he was signed to the Pistons’ training camp roster after his stellar BIG3 performance. However, power forward Christian Wood beat him out for the team’s 15th and final roster spot heading into the season. Detroit waived Johnson in October.

In his 17 NBA seasons, Iso Joe played for solid playoff squads on the Celtics, Suns, Hawks, Nets, Heat, Jazz and Rockets. He holds a career slash line of 16.0 PPG/4.0 RPG/3.9 APG. He has converted 44.1% of his shots from the field, 37.1% of his 4.2 three-point attempts a night, and 80.2% from the charity stripe.

Pistons Notes: Rose, Wood, Morris, Jackson

Derrick Rose has gotten off to a strong start with the Pistons but he’ll remain on a minutes limitation, James Edwards III of The Athletic relays. Rose, who signed a two-year, $15MM contract as a free agent this summer, averaged 25.3 PPG and 5.0 APG in his first three games despite playing 26.3 MPG.

“I got to watch his minutes,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I try to keep his minutes around 27, 28. That limits us to what we can do with him. … If it’s tight or close, we may fudge the numbers a little bit, but for the most part, we’re going to keep it around that number each and every night.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Center Christian Wood beat out Joe Johnson for the final roster and made his first meaningful contribution against the Sixers on Saturday night, Rod Beard of the Detroit News notes. Wood, who was claimed off waivers, had 11 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes as Blake Griffin remains sidelined with hamstring and knee injuries. “I was able to show that I want to be in the rotation,” Wood said.
  • Forward Markieff Morris, who is starting while Griffin mends, was fined $35K by the league for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official, according to a league press release. Morris, who joined Detroit on a two-year, $6.56MM contract, made those remarks during the loss to the Sixers.
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson underwent tests on his sore lower back, Keith Langlois of the team’s website tweets. Jackson, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, missed his second consecutive game on Monday. “The doctor’s going to read the results and see what it is,” Casey said.

Pistons Waive Joe Johnson

4:31pm: The Pistons have officially waived Johnson, per a press release from the team. A source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) that Iso Joe isn’t giving up on his NBA comeback and plans to pursue other opportunities.

2:27pm: The Pistons are waiving veteran forward Joe Johnson, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The move should pave the way for Detroit to finalize its regular season roster, with Christian Wood claiming the final spot on the 15-man squad.

Johnson, who didn’t play in the NBA during the 2018/19 season, turned heads with his performance in Ice Cube‘s 3-on-3 league earlier this year. The 17-year NBA veteran showed he still had something left in the tank during his BIG3 run, ranking atop the league in scoring, winning the MVP award, and leading his team to a championship.

That performance helped earn Johnson a partially guaranteed deal in Detroit. However, the team still had 14 players on guaranteed contracts and Wood – who had a non-guaranteed salary – made a strong case to be part of the regular season roster. The Pistons reportedly explored trade options to open another roster spot, with Langston Galloway and Khyri Thomas among the candidates to be moved, but ultimately decided to release Johnson.

An injury may have also been a factor in the Pistons’ decision, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Johnson was experiencing swelling in his Achilles. According to Haynes, tests came back clean and Johnson was responding well to treatment. Still, for a 38-year-old who hasn’t played in the NBA in over a year, any health issues should be approached with caution.

With Johnson headed to the waiver wire, the Pistons will be on the hook for his $220K partial guarantee, assuming he goes unclaimed. Detroit’s team salary is now just $4K below the luxury tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Exploring Trades, May Keep Wood, Johnson

The Pistons are seeking a trade that would allow them to keep both big man Christian Wood and veteran forward Joe Johnson, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes.

That duo came into training camp vying for the final roster spot but circumstances may change.

Langston Galloway or Khyri Thomas are the most likely players to be moved in order to free up a roster spot, according to Ellis. The Pistons have 14 players, including Galloway and Thomas, with fully guaranteed contracts.

Wood’s contract guarantees at $822,679 if he makes the opening night roster, while Johnson would receive a $1.37MM guarantee if he’s still with the team coming out of training camp. Wood’s $1.65MM contract and Johnson’s $2.56MM deal become fully guaranteed if they’re still on the roster beyond January 10.

Wood was claimed off waivers from the Bucks and has put up impressive numbers in a couple of preseason appearances. Coach Dwane Casey has been impressed by the way Wood has conducted himself beyond the court. Wood would battle Thon Maker for backup duties at center if he sticks.

“Christian’s thing is just maturity,” Casey told Ellis and other reporters. “He’s done a great job of being on time, being where he’s supposed to be, doing what he’s supposed to do, being disciplined, because if he (had done it before), he wouldn’t be here. He’d still be with Milwaukee or somebody.”

Johnson, the MVP of the BIG3 league this summer, could provide depth at both forward spots. Detroit’s final two preseason games this week will help determine whether the Pistons keep both Wood and Johnson, according to the Detroit News’ Rod Beard, who also confirms the front office has been exploring the trade market.

Galloway has an expiring $7.33MM contract, which would hold some appeal. Thomas, a second-year player, is making $1.42MM. Galloway is considered a rotation player by Casey but the Pistons have numerous options at the wing positions and will also pair up point guards Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose at times.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Galloway, Johnson, Practice Facility

Pistons owner Tom Gores said on Monday that retaining center Andre Drummond is his “top priority,” Jeff Riger of 97.1 The Ticket tweets. Drummond could become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of the final year of his contract after the season.

“You guys know, many years in a row, how committed I am to Andre,” Gores said. “So it is [the] top priority.”

Drummond and his reps have reportedly requested extension talks. Prior to opening night, Drummond can opt in for the 2020/21 season at $28.75MM and add up to three additional years to the contract. The first year of the extension can be any amount up to 120% of his 2020/21 salary (a max of $34.5MM). After that, he can opt out and sign an extension until June 30, but the starting salary can’t be below $28.75MM or exceed $34.5MM.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Langston Galloway is one of many options at the wing and coach Dwane Casey says Galloway will have a role, Keith Langlois of the team’s website relays. “He’s like that old blanket,” Casey said. “It’s not fair, but he’s just a steady, steady pro. He’s a lot of our glue. So, no, I haven’t forgotten Langston. He’s going to be a huge part of what we do.” Galloway is in the final year of a three-year, $21MM contract that he signed with the previous front office regime. His $7.33MM salary is the second highest expiring deal on the team behind Reggie Jackson‘s $18.1MM salary.
  • Joe Johnson‘s year off from basketball allowed him to spent time with his dying mother, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Johnson’s mother Diane died of cancer in February. “I don’t know if you guys understand what multiple myeloma is and what it does to the body,” Johnson said “It basically breaks muscles and bones down to a point where you just become limp and you can’t do nothing on your own. Then it comes to a point where you can’t even talk.” Johnson has a partial guarantee in his contract and is looking to secure the final spot on the opening-night roster.
  • The franchise officially opened its new $90MM training facility and corporate headquarters on Monday, according to a team press release. The facility is touted as being the largest in the league. It’s located in downtown Detroit, a short distance from Little Caesars Arena. Their previous practice facility was located in Auburn Hills behind their previous arena, The Palace.

And-Ones: India, Johnson, Robinson, Ball

Commissioner Adam Silver would like to start a professional basketball league in India, perhaps in the next five years, Marc Spears of ESPN reports. India would have to build state-of-the-art arenas to make that happen. The NBA had to make numerous additions — including seats, big video screens and lights — to stage a preseason game there between the Kings and Pacers on Friday.

“I think it’s inevitable that there will be state-of-the-art arenas in major cities in India, in part because these are multi-use facilities and live entertainment is increasingly important here as well. … We do need to see those arenas over time in order to play more games,” Silver said.

There’s growing interest in the league in India and its youngsters are harboring NBA dreams, Reid Forgrave of the New York Times reports.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Joe Johnson is fighting for a roster spot with the Pistons and the veteran forward hopes other players can use the BIG3 as a springboard to relaunch their careers, Eric Woodyard of ESPN writes. “That was another reason why I thought it was very important for me to take this opportunity, because those guys in the BIG3, a lot of them anyway, have hopes to at some point to be able to get back in the league,” said Johnson, who signed a partially guaranteed contract with Detroit. “So I just wanted to let everyone know that it’s possible just to get to this point.” Johnson was the BIG3 MVP this year.
  • Former NBA forward Thomas Robinson has drawn major interest from two Chinese teams, Zhejiang Guangsha and Liaoning, according to a report from Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The 2012 lottery pick last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he saw action in 48 games with the Lakers.
  • Big Baller Brand co-founder Alan Foster has countersued Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and his father, LaVar Ball, for alleged fraudulent concealment and breach of contract, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Foster alleges that LaVar Ball embezzled more than $2.6MM from Big Baller Brand and other companies associated with the family to fund an extravagant lifestyle. The Balls sued Foster in April for more than $2MM for alleged embezzlement.