Jonathan Kuminga

And-Ones: Montgomery, Thomas, NCAA Tourney, 2021 Draft

Former Kentucky forward E.J. Montgomery, who was in training camp with the Bucks last month, has signed with Lithuanian team BC Nevezis, according to an announcement from the club (Twitter link).

After going undrafted in 2020 following his sophomore season with the Wildcats, Montgomery caught on with Milwaukee on a non-guaranteed camp deal, but was cut on December 16. While the Bucks may have, at one point, envisioned Montgomery as a potential G League affiliate player, the Wisconsin Herd opted out of the NBAGL’s bubble plan for 2020/21, opening the door for the 21-year-old to pursue another professional opportunity.

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

  • Isaiah Thomas and Excel Sports Management have parted ways, as the free agent point guard continues to seek an NBA comeback, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Presumably, Thomas will hire new representation to spearhead the effort to land him an NBA job.
  • The NCAA was forced to cancel March Madness in 2020, but the 2021 event is still scheduled to tip off in mid-March. According to a press release from the NCAA, the plan is for the entire tournament to take place in Indiana to reduce the coronavirus risk associated with travel.
  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to a handful of player agents and team executives about what it looks like when a player requests a trade and how the process typically plays out behind the scenes.
  • Draft expert Jeff Goodman of Stadium has unveiled his big board for the 2021 NBA draft, which is headed by Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), Jalen Green (G League Ignite), Evan Mobley (USC), and Jonathan Kuminga (G League Ignite) fill out Goodman’s initial top five. The same five prospects are atop ESPN’s big board, albeit in a different order.

And-Ones: Lin, G League, Jenkins, Rookie Extensions

Jeremy Lin will indeed be a late addition to the G League Ignite’s roster for the squad’s scrimmages on Tuesday and Thursday this week, says Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). As Givony explains, Lin lives near Walnut Creek and has been practicing recently with the NBAGL’s Select Team. The veteran point guard will be able to stick with the Ignite in a practice player capacity for as long as he chooses, Givony adds.

The Ignite’s two scrimmages this week against a squad of G League veterans won’t be streamed publicly, but NBA teams will receive access to the film, according to Givony, who lists the rosters for each club (Twitter link). The Ignite are headlined by prospects like Jalen Green, Daishen Nix, and Jonathan Kuminga, while the team of G League vets includes Isaiah Briscoe, London Perrantes, and Bryce Alford, among others.

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

And-Ones: Chalmers, Canaan, Brown, Albert, Kuminga

Former NBA guard Mario Chalmers is vying for an NBA comeback, with the 34-year-old currently scanning the market as an unrestricted free agent. Chalmers explained his mindset and present situation in an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype this week.

“I definitely do,” Chalmers said when asked if he hopes to sign with an NBA team in the near future. “I definitely think I can still help a team, especially with my resume. I have a lot of knowledge since I’ve been to four NBA Finals and won two NBA championships and a college national championship. I just feel like I can provide a lot of knowledge to a young point guard and be a mentor. That’s the role that I’d come back to the NBA and be, so I’m open to it if it happens.”

Chalmers, who holds experience with the Heat and Grizzlies, is a proven veteran with two NBA championships in his collection (2012 and 2013). He last played in the NBA with Memphis during the 2017/18 campaign, spending time in Greece last season.

Chalmers touched on a number of other subjects in the interview and echoed the thoughts of another veteran free agent, Raymond Felton, explaining how several teams are prioritizing younger players over locker room veterans in today’s NBA.

“I’ve definitely experienced that,” Chalmers said. “And, yeah, it is frustrating – just because there’s the saying, ‘A team always wants a winner.’ I just feel like with my resume, I’m a proven winner. I’m not a bad guy in the locker room; I’m not a jerk. So, I just feel like for me to not even get a chance and not even get a workout or nothing like that, it’s a little disheartening. But that’s the way the business goes… I’m definitely surprised how they’ve shifted away from (veterans). Those guys are very important. For me, some of my vets were Dwyane Wade, ‘Bron, Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, so I’ve had vets that have actually been All-Stars and they’ve taught me about basketball, about family, about a lot of different things.

“I just feel like if I was an NBA GM or somebody that’s running an NBA team, I would want a couple of vets on my team, just to make sure my young guys are following suit and not doing too much off the court. You want to make sure they’re still focused on basketball and that they understand the business aspect of everything. And once you get to the NBA, you have a lot of freedom. And if you don’t use that freedom wisely, it could be a lot of trouble for you. So, I just feel like vets are good with that stuff. I had a lot of vets who helped me out and I feel like vets are always needed; somebody who’s been there before is always needed to help teach the new school.”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent guard Isaiah Canaan has signed overseas in Russia with UNICS Kazan, the team announced today. Canaan, who was drafted 34th overall in 2013, holds NBA experience with the Rockets, Sixers, Bulls, Suns, Timberwolves and Bucks. He spent last season in the NBA G League.
  • Veteran commentators Hubie Brown and Marv Albert won’t be calling games during the league’s restart in Orlando, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald tweets. Brown (86) and Albert (79) have an increased risk with COVID-19, preventing them from being at the campus.
  • Shams Charania of The Athletic explores why class of 2021 high school star Jonathan Kuminga is signing in the NBA G League pro pathway program and reclassifying to the class of 2020. “I don’t see myself as a high school player again. I see my potential as an NBA player and with the G League they’ll help me a lot more than college,” Kuminga said as part of a larger quote.

Jonathan Kuminga Opts For G League Professional Path

8:52pm: Kuminga’s deal is expected to be in the $500K range, tweets Charania.

8:35pm: 17-year-old forward Jonathan Kuminga has decided to forgo college and will take the NBA G League professional path for the 2020/21 season, reports Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link). Kuminga confirmed the decision to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Kuminga is one of the top prospects in the 2020 recruiting class, ranking fourth overall on ESPN’s list, — he also comes in at No. 4 on ESPN’s early 2021 mock draft. He becomes the fifth notable prospect to opt to join the G League’s new Select Team — No. 1 recruit Jalen Green will also be part of that squad, as will Daishen Nix, Isaiah Todd, and Kai Sotto.

[RELATED: G League Development Program Revamped, Includes $500K Salaries]

The 6’8″ Kuminga announced on social media last week that he would reveal his decision this Thursday, but ended up doing so a day early.

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kuminga attended The Patrick School in Elizabeth, N.J. He had narrowed his college options to Auburn, Duke, Kentucky and Texas Tech, but was always considered a good bet to go the G League route. He’ll be eligible to enter the draft as early as 2021.

Jonathan Kuminga Going G League Route?

The top-rated prospect in the Class of 2020, Jalen Green, passed on college opportunities to join the G League. Two other highly-regarded prospects made the same commitment, as did one from overseas.

Now, Jonathan Kuminga — ranked No. 4 in his class by ESPN — may join them, Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com tweets. All signs point to Kuminga joining the G League’s new Select Team and receiving as much as $500K, according to Zagoria.

The 6’8” Kuminga announced on social media he would reveal his decision on Thursday. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kuminga attended The Patrick School in Elizabeth, N.J. He narrowed his college options to Auburn, Duke, Kentucky and Texas Tech.

Kuminga is currently training in Miami, Zagoria continues, and was recently seen playing pickup ball with Michael Beasley, who just signed with the Nets as a substitute player, as well as another of the prospects headed to the G League, Isaiah Todd.

Todd is ranked No. 15 by ESPN while the other prep player who went the G League route, guard Daishen Nix, is rated No. 21. Kai Sotto, a 7’2″ center from the Philippines, is also committed to the Select Team.

Draft Notes: Cisse, Kuminga, West, International

Forward Moussa Cisse, a top-10 prospect for the class of 2021, will graduate high school a year early and reclassify to this year with an eye toward the 2021 draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN reports. Cisse was ranked No. 8 among prospects for the 2021 class. The 6’11” Cisse intends to commit to a top college program next week and has narrowed his choices to Kentucky, LSU, Florida State, Georgia, Memphis or Georgetown. “I am trying to find the best way to the NBA,” Cisse said.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Small forward Jonathan Kuminga, the top-ranked player on ESPN’s 2021 prospects list, has the option of reclassifying to this year and is considering the G League, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com. Kuminga is “50-50” on reclassifying, but has already narrowed his college choices to Auburn, Duke, Kentucky and Texas Tech, along with the possibility of joining the G League development program. Kuminga has been doing online schoolwork in order to graduate early, Zagoria adds.
  • Marshall guard Jarrod West has elected to withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior season, Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets. A three-year starter with the Thundering Herd, West averaged 14.2 PPG, 4.1 APG, and 4.0 RPG last season.
  • Killian Hayes, Deni Avdija and Abdoulaye N’Doye rank as the top international prospects in this year’s draft, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. Players who participated in the Australian NBL’s Next Stars program this past season were not included in the rankings. According to ESPN’s latest rankings, Avdija is the top overseas prospect at No. 5 overall with Hayes ranked at No. 9.