Joel Bolomboy

And-Ones: Lecque, Anthony, West, G League

Potential first-round pick Jalen Lecque will likely sign a national letter of intent this week, but he hasn’t given up on the NBA draft, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Lecque is still a high school senior, but he is expected to be granted draft eligibility because he is a year removed from his graduating class. He committed to North Carolina State in October and could put that in writing before the early signing period ends on Wednesday.

A 6’4″ guard, Lecque put his talents on display this weekend at the National Prep Showcase with representatives from 16 NBA teams watching. He is projected at 25 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“I’m not really focused on the NBA right now,” Lecque said. “I’m focused on first steps first with high school and then next steps with college. I’m getting everything out of the way, graduating and looking to perform my best every game.”

Lecque added that he has no interest in the new G League “select” path that will enable some players fresh out of high school to make $125K.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Regardless of his NBA future, Carmelo Anthony has a standing offer from the Puerto Rican national team, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Anthony, who already has three gold medals and a bronze with Team USA, announced his retirement from international basketball after the 2016 Olympics. He hasn’t expressed an interest in playing for Puerto Rico, but federation president Yum Ramos plans to offer an invitation. “With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it,” said Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, a star with the Puerto Rican team. “We tried a bunch to get him in the past, but of course nobody blamed him for playing for Team USA. But if he ever wants a chance to represent us, it would be awesome to have him.”
  • David West, who retired from the NBA in August, will be the first chief operating officer for the Historical Basketball League, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The new college league, which will debut in 2020, intends to compensate and educate players based on their market value.
  • Two former NBA players were involved in a G League trade this week, notes a story on the South Bay Lakers’ website. The Lakers acquired the returning player rights for Joel Bolomboy from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for similar rights to Vander Blue. Bolomboy played 18 combined games for the Jazz and Bucks, while Blue has 10 games of NBA experience with the Celtics and Lakers.

Joel Bolomboy To Play In Russia

Former Jazz and Bucks power forward Joel Bolomboy is headed to Russia for the upcoming season, having signed a three-year contract with EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow, per a press release. It will be the first time that the Ukranian-born big man has played professionally overseas.

“I’m very excited to join CSKA,” Bolomboy said in a statement. “Growing up as a kid it was always a dream to play for the NBA or also the great CSKA Moscow because of my family history. Now I will finally have a chance to do so. It means a lot to me because my mother is from Russia and we have roots here. I look forward to this experience, learning a lot and growing as a young player on and off the court and to this new journey in my career.”

A former second-round pick out of Weber State, Bolomboy spent the 2016/17 season with the Jazz, appearing in 12 games for Utah and 24 contests for the team’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. After being waived by the Jazz last October, Bolomboy signed a two-way contract with the Bucks. He was cut by Milwaukee in January.

While Bolomboy’s NBA experience has been limited, he has played very well in the G League. In 54 games for Salt Lake City and Wisconsin, the 24-year-old has averaged a double-double (16.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG) with a .553/.389/.744 shooting line.

CSKA Moscow’s interest in Bolomboy was first reported by Sportando back in April. The Russian squad, which has earned a spot in the EuroLeague Final Four for seven straight years, also signed 2017 second-round pick Alec Peters earlier this offseason.

And-Ones: I. Thomas, BIG3, Rice, Bolomboy

After his career year for the Celtics in 2016/17, Isaiah Thomas was traded to the Cavaliers before struggling in Cleveland being sent to the Lakers. Of those three teams, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype views the Lakers as the most likely to offer Thomas a new contract for 2018/19 this summer. However, L.A. won’t be the only potential fit for the high-scoring guard.

Urbina identifies the Bulls, Spurs, and Knicks as other teams that could potentially be landing spots for Thomas in free agency this offseason. In each case, Urbina views Thomas as a potential one- or two-year stopgap at the point guard position. For the Spurs, Urbina explains, Thomas could help bridge the gap between Tony Parker and Dejounte Murray, while in Chicago or New York, he could mentor youngsters Kris Dunn or Frank Ntilikina, respectively.

As we look forward to seeing which direction Thomas’ free agency takes, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Ice Cube’s three-on-three BIG3 league is increasing its reach on the court, but the league has faced turmoil off the court within the last year. Rick Maese of The Washington Post breaks down the bizarre story of the BIG3’s off-court drama that includes Qatari investors, a fired commissioner (Roger Mason Jr.), and a billion-dollar lawsuit.
  • Top Israeli team Hapoel Holon has cut star player Glen Rice Jr. after he punched a teammate in the face, according to an Associated Press report. Rice, the son of former Heat star Glen Rice, had been the Israeli League’s leading scorer with more than 24 PPG this season.
  • Last week, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports presented a list of NBA assistant coaches who are viewed as potential head coaches by executives around the league. Former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale gave Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated a list of his own suggestions for head coaching candidates, with a focus on black assistants around the NBA.
  • Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow has shown interest in acquiring former NBA big man Joel Bolomboy for next season, a source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Bolomboy, who saw limited action for the Jazz and Bucks over the last two seasons, has also received interest from China, per Cauchi.

Central Notes: Terry, Dinwiddie, Pistons, Bolomboy

At 40 years old, Bucks guard Jason Terry is the NBA’s third-oldest player behind Vince Carter and Manu Ginobili. However, like Carter and former teammate Dirk Nowitzki, Terry wants to play at least 20 NBA seasons, which would mean continuing his career for one more year beyond 2017/18.

“Oh, yeah, I’m going to keep playing,” Terry said recently, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. “Next season would be No. 20. I want to play 20 years. That’s the goal I set for myself. I’m a very goal-oriented guy and I’m going to make sure that happens.”

Terry’s desire to hit the two-decade mark in his NBA career is nothing new — he expressed the same sentiment last February. Still, it remains to be seen whether he’ll receive an NBA contract in 2018/19. This season in Milwaukee, Terry is playing less than ever, averaging just 1.3 PPG on 32.0% shooting in 15 games (9.7 MPG). Those numbers are all career worsts by a large margin.

Despite his extremely limited role, Terry has still received rave reviews from many of his younger Bucks teammates, with Rashad Vaughn telling Woelfel that the veteran guard has “helped me a lot,” while Thon Maker says Terry’s presence is like having another coach on the bench. “He’s a true professional in terms of letting us young guys know what we need to do to continue playing in this league,” Maker said. “He’ll talk to us whenever we need help.”

Here’s more from around the Central division:

  • Spencer Dinwiddie is having a breakout season in Brooklyn, but Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons‘ president of basketball operations, isn’t ready to concede that his front office made a mistake by letting Dinwiddie go, suggesting that the young guard isn’t the same player he was when Detroit traded him in 2016. “I’m not saying we didn’t make a mistake, but it’s not simple,” Van Gundy said, per Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. “I don’t know or not. I just know he’s playing well and I’m happy for him.”
  • With trade rumors swirling around the Pistons, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes that the club’s ability to earn a playoff spot and make some noise in the postseason may hinge on its ability to bolster the roster before the trade deadline.
  • Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days digs up a rule that helps explain why the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, will have first dibs on Joel Bolomboy if and when he returns to the G League.

Bucks Convert Kilpatrick’s Deal, Waive Bolomboy

9:18pm: Both moves are official, the team announced in a press release.

4:32pm: The Bucks will convert guard Sean Kilpatrick‘s two-way contract into a regular season deal, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The shooting guard signed on with the club on December 18 and has seen action in five games since.

To free up a regular roster slot, the club will waive Joel Bolomboy whose own two-way deal had been converted into a regular season contract earlier today.

With Bolomboy out of the picture, Kilpatrick will slide into the vacancy that was initially created earlier this morning when the team waived DeAndre Liggins ahead of the deadline for his deal to become guaranteed.

All in all, both Liggins and Bolomboy are out of the picture, Kilpatrick will be Milwaukee’s 15th regular season contract, Munford was added on a two-way deal and the other two-way slot remains vacant.

Central Notes: Cavs, Payne, Bolomboy

The Cavaliers recently lost five of seven games and it’s not even the first time that the team has hit that milestone this season. Consider it a bump in the road that the team can live with, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes.

We know who we are now, what we want to do. Sometimes even when you know you still take some bumps along that road. That’s OK,” LeBron James said, adding that the team embroiled in a rough patch now is in a better place than the earlier version of the Cavaliers that stumbled at the beginning of the season.

Before Saturday, the Cavaliers had lost five straight on the road, a concerning slide considering that they have three more games left on their current road trip.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Injured Bulls point guard Cameron Payne has been cleared for increased activity, K.C. Jonson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. He adds that a final decision on Zach LaVine‘s return date will be made tomorrow.
  • While they haven’t said so specifically, the Bucks may have strategically converted and waived Joel Bolomboy earlier today to dissuade teams from scooping him up off of waivers, Matt Velasquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. As things stand, a team will need to sign him for the remainder of the season if they claim him.
  • The Cavaliers have no intention of using the $4.8MM trade exception created in the Kyle Korver deal last season, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. With no roster vacancies and a monstrous luxury tax bill as it is, such a revelation isn’t particularly surprising.

Bucks Notes: Brogdon, Monroe, Parker, Bolomboy

Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon is adjusting to a new role since the trade for Eric Bledsoe, writes Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Formerly the starting point guard and third scoring option, Brogdon now comes off the bench and plays in a variety of lineups.

The changes have taken a toll on Brogdon’s production. He was averaging 16.2 points and 4.9 assists while shooting 50.5% from the field in nine games before Bledsoe was acquired. In the first seven games since the deal, those numbers have fallen to 9.3/2.0/37.9% “Confidence for me has fluctuated a little bit, just being out of rhythm,” Brogdon admitted. “Playing a different role on this team is a total adjustment for me.”

There’s more this morning out of Milwaukee:

  • Another adjustment for Brogdon has been the loss of Greg Monroe, who was shipped to Phoenix in the Bledsoe deal. Monroe and Brogdon developed on-court chemistry, and the veteran big man served as a valuable confidant during Brogdon’s rookie season. Now that role has fallen to other players, who are helping Brogdon deal with his current situation. “I’ve been leaning on John Henson a lot, Khris [Middleton] has talked to me a lot,” he said. “Their advice is just to continue to play my game, regardless of my circumstance, regardless of my situation, because the team needs me to be aggressive, to play my game and be who I am.”
  • Jabari Parker is still a long way from his projected February return from a second ACL tear, but he is becoming more active with the team, relays Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. Parker has been participating in practices, shootarounds and three-on-three games, as well as traveling with the team. A committed Mormon, he looks forward to the yearly trip to Utah that happened Saturday and relies on faith as he works his way back from the injury. “It’s the biggest thing that helps me every day and regardless of if I was hurt or not,” Parker said.
  • Joel Bolomboy wasn’t out of work very long after being waived by the Jazz before the start of the season, writes Mike Sorenson of The Deseret News. He joined the Bucks on a two-way contract and is trying to make the most of his second shot at the NBA. “I don’t think it was a disappointment at all,” he said of Utah’s decision. “It was just business. The way I see it, you just got to go with it, you can’t do anything about it. They let me go and I still get to play basketball and I was fortunate the Bucks signed me to a deal. It’s a real good opportunity over here and I like it a lot.”

Bucks GM Jon Horst Talks Eric Bledsoe Trade

Bucks general manager Jon Horst went through his first summer as the head of basketball operations in Milwaukee this year, taking the reins in mid-June and guiding the team through the rest of the offseason. However, as our Offseason in Review piece on the Bucks detailed, Horst didn’t exactly make any major splashes in his first few months as GM. The team didn’t sign any outside free agents, and its only two trades involving sending or receiving cash in exchange for a draft pick.

As such, Tuesday’s acquisition of Eric Bledsoe represented Horst’s first major move as general manager of the Bucks, as he sent Greg Monroe and a pair of draft picks to Phoenix in exchange for the play-making point guard. After completing the deal, Horst sat down with Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to discuss the move. The Q&A is worth reading in full, but here are a few highlights from the Bucks’ GM:

On why the Bucks made the move for Bledsoe:

“I think this was the right deal because we were able to add someone that’s dynamic, another dynamic player that can score the ball, that can play-make for others, that has defensive toughness, athleticism and strength. And we were able to do that with effectively giving up one of the pieces of our core, as we’ve talked about publicly. Also, the Bucks DNA thing we’ve talked about is real. He is a high-character guy, highly talented, he has positional versatility, he can play on the ball and off the ball and he’s got great toughness.”

On whether Bledsoe’s messy split with the Suns gave the Bucks any pause:

“No, because with everything we do we do our due diligence. In surveying the league and getting that information, to a person everyone thinks very highly of Eric. … I think he was in a tough situation. We had a franchise that was trying to go in one direction, a player that wanted to be competitive in a different direction and those two things pulled at each other and it kind of resulted in what we all saw. That was of very little consideration for us, really all through this.”

On whether Bledsoe is a better fit than Monroe for the modern NBA:

“I think players like Greg Monroe have a role in this NBA without a doubt. So I don’t really buy into that. I do think Eric fits into a style of play that maybe we want to try to be a little bit quicker, up-tempo, more aggressive defensively and offensively and I think he can help us do that. I don’t think Greg is a dying breed or anything like that.”

On how the Bucks will handle their reduced depth at center after moving Monroe:

“The same way that we handled approaching and getting Eric Bledsoe. We’re turning over every stone, we’re going to look at every option. We increased a little bit of financial flexibility this year in the deal, which will allow us to kind of be more active in discussions and addressing things. But John (Henson) has been playing at a really high level, Thon (Maker) was very productive last year and is playing well this year. We don’t mind giving D.J. (Wilson) some minutes. Joel Bolomboy is a guy that we’re intrigued by and we’re going to look for opportunities for him. We’ll consider that, we’ll look for that, but in the short term we’re fine as is. We’re not going to rush into anything.”

Bucks Sign Joel Bolomboy To Two-Way Contract

5:16pm: The Bucks have officially announced the signing over Twitter.

5:00pm: The Bucks are signing Joel Bolomboy to a two-way contract, Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days tweets. The forward was the last cut by the Jazz in preseason after they selected him in the second-round of the 2016 NBA Draft.

While the Weber State product didn’t spend much time in the NBA during his rookie campaign he was particularly dominant with Utah’s G League affiliate in Salt Lake City. The 23-year-old will look to build upon a solid stat line in his first season with Milwaukee’s G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd.

In 22 games with the Stars in 2016/17, Bolomboy averaged 16.6 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. After his release from the Jazz last week he was expected to be the first-overall pick in the annual G League draft on Saturday.

When Bolomboy does get a chance to suit up for the big league club in Milwaukee, he’ll compete with the likes of Mirza Teletovic and John Henson for reps off the bench.

G League Notes: Bolomboy, E. Millsap, Tavares

The 2017 NBA G League draft will take place on Saturday, and former Jazz forward Joel Bolomboy is expected to be the first overall pick, a source tells Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside (Twitter link).

Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, made a trade earlier today with the Iowa Wolves that saw the Suns acquire the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for the returning rights to Elijah Millsap, among other pieces. However, Schmidt suggests (via Twitter) that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that first overall pick change hands again in the next 24 hours.

Here are a few more G League notes and updates, with a focus on more former NBA players like Bolomboy and Millsap:

  • Edy Tavares, whose returning rights are held by the Raptors 905, is headed back to the G League after being waived by Cleveland, according to a report from Gigantes (English link via Sportando).
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, sent a first-round pick to the Long Island Nets in exchange for R.J. Hunter‘s returning rights. Hunter, a former first-round pick, intends to suit up for the Vipers, his agent confirms to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link).
  • The Long Island Nets acquired the returning rights to Okaro White and Jamaal Franklin in a trade with the Memphis Hustle, according to a press release. White is still on the Heat‘s NBA roster and recently had his 2017/18 salary guaranteed, so Brooklyn’s affiliate seems unlikely to get its hands on him this season.
  • The Texas Legends, the affiliate of the Mavericks, has acquired Will Bynum‘s returning rights, suggesting the veteran guard could join the organization for the G League season, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was in camp with New Orleans earlier this month, had his returning rights traded to the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, per a team release. “Cliff is a highly-skilled big man who is among the best in the league at his position,” Herd GM Dave Dean said in a statement. “He has a tremendous upside and we are excited to add him to the Wisconsin Herd family.”