Lance Stephenson

2020/21 NBA G League Draft Results

The NBA G League held its draft for the 2020/21 season on Monday afternoon.

In a typical year, the G League draft lasts four rounds and teams are only required to make two selections. However, this year’s draft was just three rounds and teams weren’t required to make any picks.

Because only 17 of 28 NBA G League affiliates (plus the G League Ignite) are participating in the revamped season at Walt Disney World in Florida, and because teams aren’t permitted to bring extra players to training camp for health and safety reasons, roster spots will be at a premium in the NBAGL this season, and the draft reflected that. Only 25 players were selected.

With the first overall pick, the Greensboro Swarm – the Hornets‘ affiliate – nabbed former Wizard Admiral Schofield. The 42nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Schofield averaged 3.0 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 33 games (11.2 MPG) as a rookie before being traded to the Thunder during the offseason. Oklahoma City waived him last month.

With the second overall pick, which they acquired in a trade earlier in the day, the Memphis Hustle selected former Baylor standout Freddie Gillespie, who had been in camp with the Mavericks. Gillespie recently spoke to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors about his desire to make it to the NBA and his plans to begin his professional career in the G League. He’s now in position to suit up for the Grizzlies‘ affiliate.

Here are the full 2020/21 G League draft results:

Round One:

  1. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Admiral Schofield (Tennessee)
  2. Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): Freddie Gillespie (Baylor)
  3. Canton Charge (Cavaliers): Antonio Blakeney (LSU)
  4. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Allonzo Trier (Arizona)
  5. Lakeland Magic (Magic):  Tahjere McCall (Tennessee State)
  6. Canton Charge: Anthony Lamb (Vermont)
  7. Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder): Zavier Simpson (Michigan)
  8. Lakeland Magic: DJ Hogg (Texas A&M)
  9. Westchester Knicks (Knicks): Justin Patton (Creighton)
  10. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): Armoni Brooks (Houston)
  11. Raptors 905 (Raptors): Kevon Harris (Stephen F. Austin)
  12. Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  13. Oklahoma City Blue: Vince Edwards (Purdue)
  14. Austin Spurs (Spurs): Jonathan Kasibabu (Fairfield)
  15. Raptors 905: Gary Payton II (Oregon State)
  16. Memphis Hustle: Anthony Cowan Jr. (Maryland)
  17. Iowa Wolves: Dakarai Tucker (Utah)
  18. Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): No pick
  19. N/A

Round Two:

  1. Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): Jemerrio Jones (New Mexico State)
  2. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  3. Westchester Knicks: No pick
  4. Iowa Wolves: No pick
  5. Long Island Nets (Nets): No pick
  6. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): No pick
  7. Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Quincy McKnight (Seton Hall)
  8. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): No pick
  9. Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors): Selom Mawugbe (Azusa Pacific)
  10. Raptors 905: No pick
  11. Memphis Hustle: No pick
  12. Austin Spurs: Anthony Mathis (Oregon)
  13. Erie BayHawks (Pelicans): No pick
  14. Greensboro Swarm: No pick
  15. Austin Spurs: Kaleb Johnson (Georgetown)
  16. Santa Cruz Warriors: No pick
  17. Memphis Hustle: No pick
  18. Oklahoma City Blue: Rob Edwards (Arizona State)
  19. Salt Lake City Stars: No pick

Round Three:

  1. Greensboro Swarm: No pick
  2. Erie BayHawks: No pick
  3. Westchester Knicks: No pick
  4. Delaware Blue Coats: Braxton Key (Virginia)
  5. No picks from 43-57

The teams that didn’t make any picks will fill their rosters with affiliate players and returning rights players, meaning they didn’t need to draft anyone and/or didn’t have the open spots to do so.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Blake Murphy of The Athletic noted (via Twitter), NBAGL teams overwhelmingly opted for youth, passing on most of the notable veteran NBA players in the draft pool. That group included Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, Emeka Okafor, and Shabazz Muhammad, among others.

Former Nets first-rounder Dzanan Musa removed his name from the draft pool before the event began, per Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Lance Stephenson Among NBA Vets Eligible For G League Draft

As previously reported, the NBA G League’s 2020/21 draft will take place on Monday, January 11. And according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links), there will be some interesting names on the list of players eligible to be selected in that draft.

Veteran swingman Lance Stephenson, former No. 2 overall pick Emeka Okafor, and other recent NBA players like Justin Patton, Jacob Evans, Dzanan Musa, and Admiral Schofield will be part of the draft pool, per Givony. Former first-round picks Terrence Jones and Shabazz Muhammad will be draft-eligible as well.

According to Givony, the following players who have been on NBA rosters in the past are also among the G League’s other draft-eligible veterans: Kenny Wooten, Antonio Blakeney, Tyler Ulis, Quincy Pondexter, Diamond Stone, Hollis Thompson, Cat Barber, Isaiah Briscoe, Phil Booth, Dusty Hannahs, Jemerrio Jones, Cory Jefferson, and Freddie Gillespie.

These, presumably, are players who have signed G League contracts but whose rights aren’t currently held by any teams. A player whose returning rights are controlled by a club participating in the G League’s bubble season wouldn’t be eligible to be drafted.

For instance, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that LiAngelo Ball has signed a contract to play in the bubble. Since the Oklahoma City Blue hold his returning rights and are playing in the bubble, Ball shouldn’t be in the general draft pool.

The Blue are one of 18 teams set to participate in the shortened bubble season, which is expected to take place at Walt Disney World. That list of teams can be found right here.

Givony previously reported that the G League is adjusting its roster rules for this season to make it easier for NBA teams to recruit and sign veterans with five or more years of NBA experience. Each NBAGL team will be able to designate an “NBA Vet Selection” who fits that bill and can sign that player directly without navigating the league’s complicated waiver process. My understanding is that those designated won’t be in the draft pool.

Lance Stephenson Was ’99 Percent’ Set For Pacers Signing

NBA veteran Lance Stephenson was “99 percent” set to sign with the Pacers this past March before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered play until the league’s restart in Orlando, Forbes’ Adam Zagoria writes.

Stephenson, 30, was playing in China for the Liaoning Flying Leopards after signing a one-year pact this past August. In March, it appeared that Stephenson was on track to join Indiana for the third time in his career. However, his agent Reggie Brown confirmed to Zagoria that players who had been in international leagues were not eligible for the Orlando campus, negating the possibility of Stephenson’s NBA return after the hiatus.

“We were in serious conversations for a third-time’s-a-charm return to the Pacers,” Brown said. “We were offered buyout money from the team in China from the Pacers and we were 99 percent done. And then the pandemic took place, and the NBA decided that no overseas players would be allowed to participate in the 22-team bubble return. They would only take players who played last season or this season in the NBA and/or the G League.”

With the Leopards, Stephenson enjoyed a successful campaign, averaging 26.7 PPG and 7.4 RPG before the CBA season was suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Last season, Stephenson suited up for 68 games as a bench piece for the Lakers.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Oladipo, Stephenson, Roster

Myles Turner is relieved to be able to focus on basketball again after his family’s experience with COVID-19, writes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. Turner’s father had to be quarantined in a bedroom for 10 days after contracting the virus, which made the Pacers center reluctant to support restarting the season.

“I saw it firsthand and how it affected my family and I couldn’t imagine how it’s affected other families,” Turner said Friday in a media session on Zoom. “I definitely wasn’t a big proponent of playing at first. I still have questions now, but most of the questions have been answered.”

Turner changed his mind about the restart after hearing the NBA’s plan to protect the players on the Walt Disney World campus. He turned in some of his best performances of the season just before the hiatus and will be vital to Indiana’s chances of advancing in the playoffs. Turner averaged 15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in the Pacers’ last three games and seems to have figured out how to be effective alongside fellow big man Domantas Sabonis.

“This is what I do for a living,” Turner said. “It gives me my escape at a time like this. I’m trying to win a championship as well. From that standpoint, I’m all in.”

There’s more from Indiana:

  • The Pacers don’t plan to make a roster move even though Victor Oladipo won’t be available in Orlando, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Oladipo will travel with the team to Disney World, so Indiana would have to waive someone else to create a roster opening. Michael adds that the Pacers are focused on “getting out of this in one piece,” rather than making a playoff run.
  • Former Pacer Lance Stephenson won’t be an option if the team decides to add a player, according to Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports (Twitter link). Agness reports that Stephenson was close to signing with the Pacers on the morning the hiatus began because of injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb. However, a source confirms Stephenson is ineligible to join the team in Orlando.
  • All 17 players who were on the roster when the hiatus began will travel to Disney World, Montieth writes in a separate story. That includes two-way players Brian Bowen and Naz Mitrou-Long. “Having all 17 players may be the most important thing, only because it gives them a chance to spend time together and create some bonds that could trickle over into next year,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard.And we’re looking at programming things we can do together to stimulate that.”

Pacers, Lance Stephenson Talking Possible Reunion

Two-time Pacers guard Lance Stephenson is reportedly in “strong talks” for his third tour of duty with the franchise that drafted him with the No. 40 pick in 2010, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link). Charania notes that nothing is finalized yet.

Stephenson could be a helpful addition to a Pacers team that has been depleted at the wing due to a season-ending knee injuries to Jeremy Lamb and a quadriceps injury suffered by Malcolm Brogdon, who is now week-to-week.

Indiana needs all the help it can get. The Pacers are currently the No. 5 seed in the East, but their 38-25 record puts them just 0.5 games ahead of the No. 6 seed Sixers.

Stephenson is currently signed to the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association, which has postponed all its games amidst the developing coronavirus outbreak. Charania notes that Stephenson will need permission from FIBA and the CBA to leave the Flying Leopards and return to the Pacers.

Stephenson has been working out in the U.S. since January, splitting his time between his hometown of New York City and Indiana in the hopes making an NBA comeback, per Scott Agness of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Along with Paul George, David West, George Hill and Roy Hibbert, the pesky 6’6″ off-guard Stephenson was a core cog on some exciting Pacers teams that pushed the Heat in the playoffs during 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14. The latter two teams battled the Heat in two close Eastern Conference Finals finals contests in 2013 and 2014.

After his initial tenure with the Pacers, Stephenson inked a three-year, $27MM contract with the Hornets instead of a five-year, $44MM deal with Indiana. He then bounced around for stints with the Clippers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves and Pelicans before returning to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2017.

Stephenson last played for the Lakers in a disappointing 2018/19 season, in which he averaged just 16.5 MPG and put up 7.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.1 APG.

Eastern Notes: Lamb, Robinson, Boylen, Robinson

The Pacers aren’t interested in re-signing swingman Lance Stephenson despite Jeremy Lamb‘s season-ending injury, according to Scott Agness of The Athletic. Stephenson is seeking to return to the league and would welcome a reunion, Agness adds. Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday, Edmond Sumner and Doug McDermott could all see additional playing time to make up for Lamb’s absence.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Glenn Robinson III isn’t quite sure why the Sixers wanted him, as he told Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. Robinson was acquired from the Warriors in a deadline deal. “When you come here and your role’s not really explained or you don’t know what’s going on with the trade — it’s not like it was a trade where you come in and immediately have an impact,” Robinson said. “It’s a little different, so… this team is full of wings, full of guys who can play. So really, I don’t really understand it.” Robinson has an expiring contract after signing for the veteran’s minimum with Golden State last summer.
  • Jim Boylen’s chances of remaining head coach of the Bulls beyond this season rest upon whom the front office hires, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports explains. The Bulls plan to restructure the front office and there will be at least one new prominent hire in basketball operations, Johnson continues. While it’s unknown whether the newcomer would determine Boylen’s future, the ability to make that decision would likely be a priority for most attractive candidates, Johnson adds.
  • Shooting guard Jerome Robinson hit a big 3-point shot for the Wizards against the Nets this week as he continues to take advantage of his opportunities, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Acquired in a three-team deadline deal from the Clippers, Robinson is averaging 5.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.3 APG in 17.6 MPG in seven games with Washington. Robinson, the 13th pick of the 2018 draft, has a $3.7MM guaranteed salary for next season with a $5.3MM team option for the 2021/22 campaign.

Lance Stephenson Hoping To Make NBA Return

NBA veteran Lance Stephenson is hoping to make a comeback to the league after a strong showing in China, tweets Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

Stephenson, 29, signed a one-year deal with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Liaoning Flying Leopards in August. The Brooklyn native was Liaoning’s leading scorer with 26.7 PPG to go with 7.4 RPG and 3.8 APG in nearly 35 minutes per contest. It was the first time since he was selected 40th overall by the Pacers in 2010 that Stephenson did not open the year on an NBA roster.

“He’s willing to work out to prove his value,” Haynes noted.

The nine-year veteran spent four seasons in Indiana and then had stints with the Hornets, Clippers, Grizzlies and Pelicans before returning for a second stint with the Pacers in 2016/17. Last season, Stephenson suited up for the Lakers. He averaged 7.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.1 APG in 68 games for Los Angeles.

The mercurial Stephenson could provide some scoring punch and pesky defense off the bench for a team in the postseason hunt.

Lance Stephenson To Play In China

AUGUST 8: Stephenson’s deal with Liaoning is now official, tweets Carchia.

AUGUST 1: Lance Stephenson is taking his talents abroad. Liaoning of the Chinese Basketball Association will add the veteran shooting guard, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. It will be a one-year, $4MM deal, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

Stephenson played for the Lakers last year on a one-year, $4.45MM deal, in what many considered a surprising development. During his lone season in Los Angeles, he scored 7.2 points per game and made 37.1% of his shots behind the arc on nearly three attempts per game.

The nine-year veteran was drafted No. 40 overall by the Pacers in the 2010 draft. He spent his first four seasons in the league in Indiana and returned for a second stint during the 2016-17 campaign. He also made stops in Charlotte, Los Angeles (playing for both the Clippers and Lakers at points in his career), Memphis, and New Orleans.

Stephenson is the latest in a string of veteran players who are headed to the Chinese Basketball Assocation after spending part or all of the 2018/19 season in the NBA. Ekpe Udoh, James Nunnally, and Ian Clark are also reportedly joining Chinese teams.

Free Agency Notes: Celtics, Carter, Hawks, Lakers

With Guerschon Yabusele set to hit waivers, the Celtics don’t have a set plan in place for their 15th roster spot, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).

As Himmelsbach explains, Boston could simply fill that spot in the coming weeks with a player, but there’s still a good chance that there will be more change coming to the roster before opening night. It’s even possible that the Celtics will add multiple players and enter training with more than 15 players on guaranteed contracts, Himmelsbach notes (via Twitter).

While Tacko Fall has been a standout for the Celtics during Summer League play, there are currently no plans for him to slide into that 15th roster spot, according to Himmelsbach, who says the plan is still for Fall to enter training camp on an Exhibit 10 contract and proceed from there (Twitter link). The Celtics are currently back to exploring the free agent market for minimum-salary targets, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

As Boston considers its options, here’s more on free agency:

  • The idea of the Hawks bringing back Vince Carter for another season remains a long shot, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to Vivlamore, Atlanta still may add a veteran to its roster, but doesn’t want to take minutes away from its young players, and Carter may be seeking a larger role.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was among those in attendance at workouts for NBA veterans Marreese Speights and Lance Stephenson in Las Vegas today, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter links).
  • An ESPN panel, including Dave McMenamin, Tim Bontemps, Malika Andrews, and others – weighs in on the most underrated and most questionable moves of the NBA offseason so far.
  • After commissioner Adam Silver suggested that the NBA has some “work to do” on its free agency system, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that the league should do away with its unenforceable tampering rules.

Free Agency Notes: Raptors, Stephenson, Kyrie, Sefolosha

The defending-champion Raptors will be a different team in 2019/20, with Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and starting shooting guard Danny Green off to Los Angeles. In the wake of Leonard agreeing to join the Clippers and Green committing to the Lakers, Toronto president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri issued a statement thanking the two former Spurs for their contributions to this year’s title team.

“We are very thankful for the year that Kawhi and Danny played with us here in Toronto, and I know the city and the entire country of Canada are grateful for everything they did to help us to win our first NBA Championship,” Ujiri said. “On behalf of the Raptors, I say a very heartfelt thank you to Kawhi and to Danny, and we send them and their families nothing but good wishes. As an organization, the Raptors will focus on the future and continue our pursuit of a second championship.”

After losing two All-NBA caliber defenders in Leonard and Green, the Raptors seem to be seeking out a certain archetype as they peruse the free agent market, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. As Murphy points out, new additions Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are both versatile forwards with size who should help Toronto maintain its identity as a strong defensive club.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • It doesn’t appear there’s anything brewing at the moment for free agent guard Lance Stephenson, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. According to Agness, Stephenson continues to seek a new contract and may have to settle for a minimum-salary deal.
  • While we already know that Kawhi Leonard reached out to Kevin Durant and Paul George before making his free agency decision, ESPN’s Zach Lowe adds Kyrie Irving to the list of players Leonard explored recruiting. Durant and Irving were set on heading to Brooklyn, so those discussions likely didn’t go far.
  • The Jazz haven’t completed closed the door on the idea of a reunion with free agent wing Thabo Sefolosha, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic.
  • Speaking to Mark Medina of The Mercury News about his decision to join the Timberwolves, Jordan Bell said he was looking for a team that would give him playing time, rather than seeking out the most lucrative offer available. “An opportunity just to play,” Bell said when asked what he prioritized. “Money wasn’t really the issue.” The former second-round pick is getting a one-year, minimum-salary deal from Minnesota.