Juhann Begarin

Celtics Notes: Roster, Two-Way Slot, Tax, Begarin

Speaking today to reporters, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens suggested the team has completed its major offseason moves.

Stevens pointed out that Boston has 16 players on standard contracts (15 guaranteed salaries, plus Jabari Parker‘s non-guaranteed deal) and said he’s comfortable bringing this group to training camp, noting that any additional moves will likely be “tweaks around the edge” (Twitter links via Keith Smith of Spotrac).

The Celtics do still have one open two-way slot, and Stevens said the team is still considering how to fill it. There’s no rush to do so, since Boston could end up targeting a player who gets waived by another team this fall, according to Stevens (Twitter link via Smith).

Here’s more from the Celtics’ new president:

  • Discussing Boston’s key offseason additions, Stevens said the team likes Josh Richardson‘s toughness and ability to play multiple positions, and added that the Celtics were “very fortunate” to land Dennis Schröder and Enes Kanter for the taxpayer mid-level exception and the veteran’s minimum, respectively (all Twitter links via Smith).
  • Stevens has the green light to go into luxury-tax territory in 2021/22, which is why he didn’t want to trigger a hard cap this offseason by acquiring a player via sign-and-trade or using more than the taxpayer portion of the MLE, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
  • Stevens confirmed that second-round pick Juhann Begarin will remain overseas for at least the 2021/22 season (Twitter link via Weiss). Stevens added that the team will be monitoring Begarin and 2020 second-rounder Yam Madar “quite a bit” in Europe this year (Twitter link via Smith).

Checking In On Unsigned 2021 NBA Draft Picks

When Usman Garuba officially signed his rookie contract with Houston earlier this week, he became the 30th and final first-round pick from the 2021 draft to sign his first NBA deal. There will be no draft-and-stash players among this year’s first-rounders — they’re all now officially on NBA rosters.

As our tracker shows, another 23 second-rounders from this year’s draft class have also signed their first NBA contracts or – in Joe Wieskamp‘s case – agreed to a deal that should be officially completed soon.

That leaves just seven prospects from 2021’s 60-player draft class who have yet to be signed. They are as follows:

  1. New York Knicks: Rokas Jokubaitis, G, Lithuania
  2. Boston Celtics: Juhann Begarin, G, France
  3. Brooklyn Nets: Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton
  4. Philadelphia 76ers: Filip Petrusev, F, Serbia
  5. Philadelphia 76ers: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
  6. Detroit Pistons: Balsa Koprivica, C, Florida State
  7. Brooklyn Nets: RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State

Of these seven players, at least three appear on track to spend the 2021/22 season in Europe. Jokubaitis returned to his team in Barcelona following his Summer League stint with the Knicks, while Petrusev signed with Turkish team Anadolu Efes after playing for the Sixers in Summer League. Begarin, who also played in Summer League for the Celtics, will likely end up heading back overseas to France

That leaves just four true unsigned second-round picks, including a pair of Nets. It will be interesting to see what Brooklyn’s plans are for Zegarowski and Gray. The team currently has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and one on a two-way deal, so there could conceivably be room for Zegarowski on the 15-man squad, with Gray getting the other two-way deal.

However, DeAndre’ Bembry has a partially guaranteed contract and looks like a good bet to make the Nets’ regular-season roster, and Reggie Perry (free agent) and David Duke (Exhibit 10) are among the other candidates to get a two-way deal from the team. It’s also not clear if Brooklyn intends to carry a full 15-man roster to start the season, since leaving a roster spot open would create major tax savings for the franchise.

I could envision a scenario in which Zegarowski signs a two-way contract and Gray signs a G League deal to play for the Long Island Nets, but that’s just my speculation. There are still a number of ways the Nets could go.

Meanwhile, prospects drafted in the 50s like Bassey (No. 53) and Koprivica (No. 57) are generally good candidates for two-way deals, but the Sixers and Pistons have recently filled both of their two-way openings. Perhaps Philadelphia envisions Bassey taking Anthony Tolliver‘s spot on the 15-man roster, since Tolliver is on a non-guaranteed contract.

It’ll be trickier for Detroit to find a roster spot for Koprivica. The Pistons already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts and still may re-sign restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo. Stashing Koprivica overseas or in the G League could be the plan. Koprivica was born and raised in Serbia, so he might be more comfortable spending a season overseas than a typical NCAA draftee would be.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Robinson, Bonga, Begarin

Nerlens Noel had several suitors in free agency, but wanted to return to the Knicks to continue building on the progress from last year, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

There were other opportunities but I want to build on that and get this team to the next level,” Noel said. “Guys like Julius (Randle), RJ (Barrett), Derrick (Rose), we had pieces that can really come together. And I’m really confident we can be better.”

Berman also writes that Noel’s three-year, $27.2MM deal presents the Knicks with questions regarding young center Mitchell Robinson, who was one of the more productive young defensive centers in the league before injuries derailed his 2020/21 season. Robinson is eligible for a contract extension, but there has yet to be any indication whether the two sides will be able to get a deal done.

We have more news from around the Atlantic Division:

  • In the same piece, Berman writes that Robinson has been in Las Vegas, working out with Knicks staffers as he continues to progress from his broken foot. In a tweet, Robinson writes: “I look big asf them weights doing me some good and form looking great thanks Knicks staff.”
  • Isaac Bonga‘s deal with the Raptors includes a $200K guarantee, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The deal is presumed to be a training camp try-out, but the guarantee offers hope that Bonga may be able to stick. If so, the versatile wing could find himself in an ideal developmental situation with a team known for helping young players grow.
  • The Celtics’ 45th pick, Juhann Begarin, is ready to come over from France, writes Jay King of The Athletic, but team president Brad Stevens has other ideas. “Brad told me I would play in France for one more year,” Begarin said. “I think I’m ready to play with (the Celtics), and I knew summer league was an opportunity to show them I’m ready. I just asked him to play and show I can play with them.”

Atlantic Notes: Petrusev, Knicks, Begarin, Celtics, Sullivan, Ujiri

Sixers second-round pick Filip Petrusev is eager to join his teammates in Philadelphia, but the team will likely keep the 21-year-old overseas as a draft-and-stash player, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Petrusev, the No. 50 pick in the draft, is coming off an impressive season with KK Mega Basket in Serbia. He averaged 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, impressing Philadelphia enough to draft him — but not enough to bring him over just yet.

“My intentions would be obviously to come over as soon as possible,” Petrusev said. “But it’s not up to me.”

The 6’11” Petrusev can technically opt out of his contract with Mega before next season, but that remains unlikely given Philadelphia’s intentions.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • By signing Julius Randle to a four-year contract extension, the Knicks improved their chances of becoming an intriguing free-agent destination down the road, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic writes. New York is also set to sign Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier while keeping most its returning playoff core from last season.
  • Celtics second-round pick Juhann Begarin asked president of basketball operations Brad Stevens if he could play summer league with the team this month, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “Normally after the draft, I normally come back (to) France,” said Begarin, whose wish has been granted. “But I asked Brad Stevens to play the summer league and show them if I can play in the NBA, and after the summer league I will see what’s happened.”
  • Speaking of the Celtics, the team is hiring Bucks assistant Ben Sullivan to Ime Udoka‘s coaching staff, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Sullivan started his NBA career as a video intern for the Spurs, then became an assistant coach with the Hawks in 2014. He joined the Bucks in 2018.
  • Michael Grange of Sportsnet examines Masai Ujiri‘s new deal and title with the Raptors, noting that Ujiri’s new “vice chairman” position won’t give him a stake in team ownership.

Draft Notes: Duarte, Warriors, Hornets, Mavs, Stashes

The Pacers ended up with Oregon’s Chris Duarte on draft night, using the No. 13 pick to select him. However, Duarte drew plenty of interest from other teams before Indiana snatched him up late in the lottery, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Draft Results]

According to Michael, a Warriors official told Duarte on the way to the draft that he’d be their choice at No. 14. Golden State subsequently tried to make a trade with the Pacers after Indiana picked Duarte, says Michael. Meanwhile, the Knicks‘ “furious” attempts to move into the top 10 or the late lottery were believed to be focused on Duarte, according to Michael, who adds that the Jazz offered the No. 30 pick and Joe Ingles in a deal to get in position to draft the Oregon wing.

A Warriors source denied to Michael that Golden State tried to trade for Duarte even after selecting Moses Moody at No. 14, but Michael says two independent sources confirmed his report, and Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link) corroborated it.

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft, the day after:

  • Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said there was huge demand for the No. 11 pick, which Charlotte used to draft James Bouknight.There was as much demand for that pick this year as I’ve ever seen for a pick in my years,” the veteran executive said, per Jonathan M. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks entered draft night without any picks, but president of basketball operations Nico Harrison said the team got “lots of calls” about getting into the first or second round. The price was ultimately “too rich for our blood,” according to Harrison (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).
  • A pair of second-round picks by Atlantic teams are expected to be draft-and-stash prospects. The Celtics‘ No. 45 pick, Juhann Begarin, will likely remain in France for another season, per president of basketball operations Brad Stevens (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). And the Sixers’ No. 50 pick, Filip Petrusev, also isn’t expected to come over right away, as first reported by Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter link) and later confirmed by president of basketball operations Daryl Morey (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of The Athletic).

Western Notes: Culver, Mann, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Nuggets

It’s possible that Timberwolves third-year wing Jarrett Culver could be available this offseason for a second-round pick, according to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of SKOR North.

Not only has Culver had trouble carving out a role for himself with the Timberwolves, but between last year’s No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards and Malik Beasley, who was signed to a four-year deal last summer, there’s little room on the wing for the 22-year-old to get developmental reps.

The Wolves are only two years removed from trading Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick to Phoenix in order draft Culver with the sixth overall pick, so the idea that they may be willing to settle for a second-round pick is discouraging. But it doesn’t take long for a prospect’s value to decline if he isn’t taking positive strides forward — even if he was a lottery pick.

We have more news from around the Western Conference:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Pacers Workouts

After the Bulls mortgaged their long-term future to nab 2021 All-Star center Nikola Vučević in a deadline deal with the Magic, they still missed out on a play-in tournament appearance. The club is understandably anticipated to be seeking roster upgrades this summer, especially at the point guard position, writes Matt Moore of the Action Network.

Moore suggests that free agent point guards Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schröder, Lonzo Ball, and Spencer Dinwiddie are among Chicago’s preferred targets. Given the ages of the Bulls’ two best players – 30-year-old Vučević and 25-year-old All-Star Zach LaVine – 35-year-old veteran Lowry may not be a long-term fit, but would certainly raise the team’s floor for the 2021/22 season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will get to choose from a handful of highly-touted NBA prospects with the top selection of the 2021 draft. Where Detroit opts to go in the second round of the draft is less clear. In a new piece, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines several possible draft-and-stash prospects the Pistons could pursue in the second round. Detroit has the Nos. 37, 42 and 52 picks in the second round. Edwards examines the fits of several draft candidates, including Zalgiris Kaunas guard Rokas Jokubaitis, Minas wing Guilherme Santos, Paris Basketball guard Juhann Begarin, and Antwerp Giants forward Vrenz Bleijenbergh.
  • Among 2020/21 season holdovers, the Pistons will face some interesting roster decisions in the summer, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois notes that restricted free agents Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson, forward Josh Jackson, deep-bench center Jahlil Okafor, 2019 draft selections Sekou Doumbouya and Deividas Sirvydis, and guard Tyler Cook all could move on during the offseason.
  • The Pacers are set to hold their sixth round of pre-draft workouts Tuesday, per a team press release. The club possesses the No. 13 pick in the 2021 draft, as well as the No. 54 and No. 60 picks in the second round. Indiana will work out Kansas guard Marcus Garrett, South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson, Alabama guard John Petty Jr., Tennessee forward Yves Pons, Mississippi State guard D.J. Stewart Jr., and Clemson forward Aamir Simms.

Deadline Day For Early Entrant Draft Decisions

Today is Monday, July 19, which means it’s deadline day for the early entrants who declared for the 2021 NBA draft. Those players have until 5:00 pm ET today to decide whether they’ll remain in this year’s draft pool or remove their names and become draft-eligible in a future year.

The NCAA always sets its own early entrant withdrawal deadline that comes before the NBA’s deadline, and that one occurred earlier this month, on July 7. Most college players who are going to pull out of the draft did so by that deadline

A college player could theoretically wait until today to withdraw from the draft. However, in that scenario he’d lose his NCAA eligibility and would likely end up playing professionally in an international league for the next year before becoming draft-eligible.

Most of the players who will withdraw between July 7 and today’s deadline are international prospects who don’t have to worry about the NCAA’s rules. According to recent reports, these are some of the players who have removed their names from the draft pool after initially declaring as early entrants:

Once today’s deadline passes, the NBA will put out an official list of the early entrants who are eligible to be drafted in 2021. That list typically shows up within about 24 hours of the withdrawal deadline, though it’s possible it could take a little longer this year since the list of eligible players will be longer (since NCAA seniors are also on it). In the meantime, our extremely unofficial early entrant list can be found right here.

One international early entrant who won’t be withdrawing, according to Givony (Twitter link), is Juhann Begarin, who will turn 19 next month. The French shooting guard is coming off a strong season playing for Paris Basketball, and agent Bouna Ndiaye tells Givony that his client will keep his name in the draft.

NBA G League Announces 40 Draft-Eligible Participants For Elite Camp

The NBA G League has announced in a press release that 40 draft-eligible prospects are set to participate in the NBAGL Elite Camp next week in Chicago from June 19-21.

The G League Elite Camp is back this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which takes place right before the draft combine, will give a few dozen draft-eligible players an opportunity to impress scouts, coaches, and executives through strength and agility drills and 5-on-5 games.

As today’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which is scheduled for June 21-27 in Chicago.

The list of draft-eligible players who took part in the most recent G League Elite Camp in 2019 included a handful of prospects who were eventually drafted, such as Terance Mann, Cody Martin, Justin Wright-Foreman, Reggie Perry, and Dewan Hernandez.

Many of the draft-eligible participants in the 2019 Elite Camp also made it to the NBA after going undrafted, including Oshae Brissett, Chris Clemons, Tyler Cook, Tacko Fall, DaQuan Jeffries, Caleb Martin, Justin Robinson, and Max Strus.

Two years ago, this event also featured 40 G League veterans, for a total of 80 players. Based on today’s press release, it sounds like this year’s Elite Camp may be pared down to only include draft-eligible prospects, though it’s possible the NBAGL will announce more names within the next few days.

Here are the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the 2021 G League Elite Camp:

  1. Derrick Alston Jr. (Boise State)
  2. Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech)
  3. Jose Alvarado (Georgia Tech)
  4. Juhann Begarin (France)
  5. Chaundee Brown (Michigan)
  6. Jordan Burns (Colgate)
  7. Marcus Carr (Minnesota)
  8. D.J. Carton (Marquette)
  9. Moussa Cisse (Memphis)
  10. Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)
  11. Oscar Da Silva (Stanford)
  12. Darius Days (LSU)
  13. Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
  14. Dawson Garcia (Marquette)
  15. Marcus Garrett (Kansas)
  16. Haowen Guo (China)
  17. Jay Huff (Virginia)
  18. DeJon Jarreau (Houston)
  19. Carlik Jones (Louisville)
  20. DeVante’ Jones (Coastal Carolina)
  21. Balsa Koprivica (Florida State)
  22. A.J. Lawson (South Carolina)
  23. E.J. Liddell (Ohio State)
  24. Mac McClung (Texas Tech)
  25. JaQuori McLaughlin (UCSB)
  26. Matt Mitchell (San Diego State)
  27. RJ Nembhard (TCU)
  28. Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon)
  29. EJ Onu (Shawnee State)
  30. Scotty Pippen Jr. (Vanderbilt)
  31. Orlando Robinson (Fresno State)
  32. Aamir Simms (Clemson)
  33. Javonte Smart (LSU)
  34. Mike Smith (Michigan)
  35. D.J. Stewart (Mississippi State)
  36. MaCio Teague (Baylor)
  37. M.J. Walker (Florida State)
  38. Duane Washington (Ohio State)
  39. Aaron Wiggins (Maryland)
  40. Jalen Wilson (Kansas)

Jared Butler, Others Enter 2021 NBA Draft

Ahead of Sunday’s early entry deadline, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler announced (via Twitter) that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. While his announcement doesn’t explicitly state that he’s forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, it strongly suggests he intends to go pro.

While it took a while for him to make it official, Butler was always considered a good bet to enter this year’s draft following an impressive 2020/21 campaign in which he averaged 16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG on .471/.416/.780 shooting in 30 games (30.3 MPG) for the eventual national champs.

A consensus first-team All-American, Butler was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after the Bears defeated Gonzaga in the championship game. He’s the No. 23 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be a first-round pick in July.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Fresno State sophomore guard Deon Stroud is testing the draft waters while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, according to an announcement from the school (Twitter link). Stroud, who began his college career at UTEP, averaged 12.2 PPG on .482/.357/.613 shooting in 23 games (23.1 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Italian wing Gabriele Procida has declared for the draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that the 18-year-old is a projected second-round pick.
  • Givony also published a series of tweets listing several more international players who have entered the 2021 NBA draft pool. Those players are as follows (the countries listed represent where they last played, not where they were born):
  • Since the NBA’s early entry deadline has now passed, we should get a full, official list of early entrants from the league on Tuesday. In the meantime, our unofficial tracker is here.