Keve Aluma

Grizzlies, Keve Aluma Agree To Deal

Undrafted rookie Keve Aluma has agreed to a free agent deal with the Grizzlies, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link).

Aluma will be joining the Grizzlies on the heels of an impressive 2021/22 season in which he averaged 15.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.9 APG on .538/.333/.785 shooting in 36 games (30.8 MPG) for Virginia Tech.

Aluma, who played two seasons for the Hokies after transferring from Wofford, earned All-ACC Second Team honors in both 2021 and 2022.

Givony didn’t provide any specifics on what Aluma’s contract will look like, but an Exhibit 10 deal is the most likely outcome. On an Exhibit 10, the Grizzlies could convert Aluma to a two-way contract or give him a bonus of up to $50K if he becomes an affiliate player for the Memphis Hustle, their G League team.

Pacific Notes: Murray, Lakers Workout, Kuminga, Moody, Warriors’ Pick

Jaden Ivey, the top rated point guard in the draft, hasn’t worked out for the Kings, who hold the fourth overall pick. It may be a moot point, as Sacramento’s brass is high on Iowa forward Keegan Murray, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The Kings arranged for the prospect to have dinner with the team stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, during his visit. Murray was one of top scorers in Division I last season at 23.5 PPG along with 8.7 RPG.

If he’s selected fourth overall, Murray could slot into the Kings’ frontcourt alongside Sabonis and Harrison Barnes.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers continued to do their homework despite not owning a draft pick, as they worked out six prospects on Monday, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That group included Javante McCoy (Boston University), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Khalifa Diop (Gran Canaria), Jeenathan Williams (Buffalo), Malik Osborne (Florida State) and Danko Brankovic (Cibona).
  • Lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody got the rare experience of playing on a championship team in their first year. Though they didn’t play large roles in the postseason, the Warriors rookies got invaluable experience as their playing time grows in future seasons, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. “I never really worry about whether we’re playing, not playing,” Kuminga said. “As long as I’m still here, learning, getting better every day. When my moments get called, I know I’ll be ready. … Everybody here [is] just helping me, way more than dudes [other rookies around the league] are, wherever they are right now.”
  • The Warriors hold the No. 28 pick but they might not add an rookie, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. The Warriors are looking to trade the pick, in part because of their huge payroll and also because they’ve already got a trio of young players — James Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody — fighting for rotation minutes next season.

Southeast Notes: Beal, M. Williams, Ross, Atkinson, Hornets Workout

Bradley Beal didn’t provide any hints regarding free agency during a public appearance today, but he revealed that “a lot” of players have been encouraging him to join their teams, writes Noah Trister of The Associated Press. Beal is facing a decision on a $36.4MM player option for next season that will have a huge effect on the Wizards‘ future, but he didn’t give any indication on which way he’s leaning.

The star guard did provide an update on his injured left wrist, which required surgery in February that brought his season to an early end. He said the recovery process is going well and estimates that 80-90% of his range of motion has returned.

“The rest is going to be strengthening and stuff,” he said. “I’m cleared to do stuff on the court now, which is good.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • After working out for the Wizards today, Mark Williams said it’s the last one on his schedule before Thursday’s draft, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Duke center also had sessions with the Hornets, Knicks, Spurs and Bulls.
  • The Magic are still trying to find a taker for Terrence Ross, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Prior to February’s deadline, Orlando was asking for a first-round pick in exchange for the 31-year-old swingman, but Scotto says teams are hoping the price will fall to multiple second-rounders, just as it did when the Magic traded Evan Fournier. Ross has an expiring $11.5MM contract for next season.
  • Before changing his mind about becoming the Hornets‘ next head coach, Kenny Atkinson called all the team’s current assistants and had planned to meet with every staff member before the draft, tweets Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
  • The Hornets hosted six players in a pre-draft workout today, the team tweeted. On hand were Keve Aluma of Virginia Tech, Jamaree Bouyea of San Francisco, Yoan Makoundou of Cholet Basket in France, Wendell Moore of Duke, Scotty Pippen Jr. of Vanderbilt and Jaden Shackelford of Alabama. Charlotte owns the 13th, 15th and 45th picks in the draft.

Wizards Notes: J. Davis, Prospect Workouts, Point Guards

The Wizards will host a pair of pre-draft workouts on Thursday, including a solo session for a potential target at No. 10. According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, who is viewed as a potential lottery pick and a viable option for a Washington team in need of backcourt depth, will take part in that solo workout.

Prior to Davis’ audition, the Wizards will host a morning group workout that features Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Quenton Jackson (Texas A&M), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Justin Bean (Utah State), and Marcus Bingham (Michigan State), per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In a discussion with Robbins about the Wizards’ possible offseason point guard targets, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that Ricky Rubio, Eric Bledsoe, and even John Wall could be among the players Washington shows interest in, assuming Bledsoe and Wall reach free agency. Hollinger also identifies Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Conley as viable options on the trade market, and suggests Tyus Jones would be an ideal fit if he were willing to accept the full mid-level exception.
  • In the same Athletic story, Robbins and Hollinger consider potential targets for the Wizards with the No. 10 pick. G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels should get serious consideration if he’s still available, according to Hollinger, who also identifies Jeremy Sochan and AJ Griffin as logical fits on the wing.
  • Maryland guard Eric Ayala, Florida forward Anthony Duruji, Richmond forward Grant Golden, Utah State forward Brandon Horvath, Marquette guard Darryl Morsell, and George Mason swingman D’Shawn Schwartz participated in a pre-draft group workout for the Wizards on Wednesday, according to Robbins (Twitter link).
  • Overtime Elite point guard Jean Montero is among the other prospects expected to work out for the Wizards this week, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Pacific Notes: Biyombo, LaVine, Holmes, Kings

Suns center Bismack Biyombo expects to be fined for his altercation with Mavericks big man Marquese Chriss in the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game. They both ran down the same tunnel after being ejected and had to be separated by security. Biyombo explained his side of the incident in a video posted by Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“I think it was nothing serious,” Biyombo said, adding that Chriss seemed upset that Phoenix was still trying to score with the game already in hand. “… I think when we play here they play all the way until the end, and I think that’s understandable. It’s the playoffs, you know.”

Any fines or suspensions will be announced sometime in advance of Thursday night’s Game 6. Biyombo is only averaging 8.6 minutes in seven games in this year’s playoffs and Chriss is at 3.8 minutes in four games, so any disciplinary action won’t have a significant impact on the series.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers may be a long shot to land free agent guard Zach LaVine, but they shouldn’t be discounted entirely, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. There has been speculation this week that LaVine may be interested in joining the Trail Blazers, but L.A. could be another option if he wants to head west, particularly since LaVine is represented by Klutch Sports. Pincus examines potential trades involving the Bulls, Thunder, Pacers and Magic that could clear LaVine’s path to the Lakers if he decides he wants to join them.
  • Kings big man Richaun Holmes has won a court victory in the custody battle that led to him missing the season’s final 11 games for personal reasons, according to James Ham of ESPN 1320. Holmes was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife, but judges in Los Angeles and Georgia ruled in his favor, granting him sole physical and legal custody of his son.
  • The Kings hosted six players Wednesday in their second round of pre-draft workouts, Ham tweets. On hand were Grayson Murphy of Belmont, AJ Green of Northern Iowa, Jalen Adaway of St. Bonaventure, Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse, Keve Aluma of Virginia Tech and Grant Golden of Richmond. Sacramento owns two second-round picks at No. 37 and 48. Its first-round pick will be determined by next week’s lottery.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

Draft Notes: Houstan, Molinar, Aluma

University of Michigan swingman Caleb Houstan has declared for the draft but is maintaining his NCAA eligibility while exploring the pre-draft process, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets. He’s the second Wolverines freshman to make such a declaration on Monday — forward Moussa Diabate will also test the draft waters.

Houstan, a 6’8” wing, averaged 10.1 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 34 starts this season. He made 35.5% of his 3-point attempts. He’s currently ranked No. 64 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft decisions:

  • Mississippi State’s Iverson Molinar is staying in the draft and will hire an agent, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. The 6’3” guard is ranked No. 62 on ESPN’s big board. He averaged 17.5 PPG and 3.6 APG in his junior year.
  • Virginia Tech forward Keve Aluma will enter the draft and hire an agent, he confirmed on his Twitter page. He averaged 15.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG in his senior year. The Wofford transfer started both of his seasons with the Hokies.
  • In case you missed it, AJ Griffin joined four Duke teammates in declaring for the draft.

Draft Notes: Ellis, Murray, Roberts, Early Entrants

Alabama guard Keon Ellis, who has one year of college eligibility remaining, will go pro rather than staying in school for another year. Ellis has hired EZ Sports Group for representation, the agency announced earlier this week (via Instagram), making him draft-eligible this June.

The No. 48 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Ellis averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.9 SPG in 33 games (30.9 MPG) in 2021/22 for the Crimson Tide and earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Defense team.

Another prospect in ESPN’s top 100, Iowa sophomore forward Kris Murray, has also declared for the 2022 NBA draft, but he’ll maintain his college eligibility and just test the waters for now, he announced on Twitter.

Murray, who comes in at No. 98 on ESPN’s board, barely played in his freshman year, but emerged as a rotation player in 2021/22, averaging 9.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .479/.387/.645 shooting in 35 games (17.9 MPG). His twin brother Keegan Murray, a projected top-10 pick, declared for the draft last month.

Here’s more on the draft:

Draft Notes: Workouts, Aluma, T. Williams, Hurt, McBride

The Timberwolves and Jazz are hosting pre-draft group workouts in Minneapolis from July 8-11, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, the event will be open to all 30 NBA teams and the goal will be to have 48 prospects participate over that four-day period.

In past years when teams have brought in groups of prospects for pre-draft workouts, they’ve typically hosted six players at a time. If the event in Minneapolis follows a similar pattern, it could showcase two groups of six players apiece on each day from July 8-11.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Virginia Tech forward Keve Aluma is returning to school for another year, he announced on Twitter. Aluma had been testing the draft waters after 15.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG in 22 games (30.6 MPG) as a junior in 2020/21.
  • Purdue forward Trevion Williams is also pulling out of the draft and heading back to school, per a Twitter announcement. Williams put up 15.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG in 28 games (25.1 MPG) for the Boilemakers as a junior this year, earning All-Big Ten honors.
  • Duke forward Matthew Hurt has workouts on tap with the Celtics, Thunder, Pelicans, Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • West Virginia guard Miles McBride has worked out for the Knicks and Celtics in addition to interviewing with several teams, tweets Alder Almo of Empire Sports Media.