LiAngelo Ball

And-Ones: Redick, Ball, Bates, Nurse

J.J. Redick, who finished last year on the Mavericks after being traded from the Pelicans, has no plans to sign a deal before training camp, he said on a recent episode of his podcast The Old Man And The Three.

You know, I would say, pretty much definitively, like, I won’t be in a training camp to start the season,” he said. “That’s not gonna happen. So, you know, I’ll join a team at some point this season and finish the year and try to go get a chip. That’s the plan.”

Redick was vocally unhappy with what he felt were broken promises by Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin, which may have contributed to his desire to take his time in finding a new team.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • LiAngelo Ball feels that he proved his worth with the Hornets’ Summer League team, writes Roderick Boone of Sports Illustrated. “I feel like I belong in the league, but I know I can show more than what I did,” Ball said. “I’m not satisfied with how I played this last game, but overall it was all right.” Ball started hot in his first game, but ended up shooting 37.5% from three with more turnovers than assists. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz quotes Hornets’ assistant Jay Triano as saying: “Great kid. Love him. He was at the facility practicing everyday for two months to play in the Summer League. Shows a ton of character.”
  • High school basketball phenomenon Emoni Bates said that the fame of being on the Sports Illustrated cover – and generally being considered the top young prospect in the country from age 15 – was “fun at first,” but soon grew irritating, writes Jeff Goodman of Stadium. “The things people say definitely affect me,” Bates said. “People don’t really know me. If people knew who I really was, I don’t think they’d be saying some of the things they say.” Bates admits that he considered quitting, but said that he has finally gotten back to enjoying the game.
  • Nick Nurse will remain in his role as Team Canada’s head coach during the lead-up to the 2024 Olympics, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Nurse is hoping he can recruit the best of Canada’s deep crop of talented players to join him over the next three years. Grange writes that Nurse wants a core group to train next summer and be ready for the World Cup qualifiers in June and August.

Southeast Notes: LiAngelo, Haslem, Cooper, Reddish

Multiple members of the Hornets organization have loved what they’ve seen out of guard LiAngelo Ball, a member Charlotte’s Summer League club who is hoping to earn a G League contract, reports Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Schultz, Charlotte appreciates the work ethic of Ball, older brother to reigning Hornets Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball. The 6’5″ LiAngelo, 22, is the middle brother in a family of basketball pros. His older brother, Lonzo Ball, just inked a lucrative four-year, $80MM deal with the Bulls this summer.

The Hornets are no doubt hoping that LiAngelo, the only member of the three Ball brothers to not be drafted, can prove to be a diamond in the rough. “Great kid,” Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano raved. “He was at the facility practicing every day for two months to play in the Summer League. Shows a ton of character. He can shoot it, great feel, knack for scoring.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Now that the Heat have re-signed lifer Udonis Haslem to a veteran’s minimum deal for his 19th season in Miami, the rest of the club’s offseason signings can now be completed, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Haslem is the 14th Miami player under a standard contract for the 2021/22 season, meaning the Heat will now be able to ink younger players to Exhibit 10 deals. Those players will compete for two-way deals and could end up playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate.
  • Hawks rookie point guard Sharife Cooper sat down for an extensive conversation with Chris Kirschner of The Athletic about falling to the middle of the second round in the 2021 NBA draft and his fit on the team behind star point guard Trae Young. The Hawks drafted Cooper with the No. 48 pick out of Auburn. “It’s extremely motivating,” Cooper said of his slide in the draft. “We’ll see in a couple of years who can really play and who can’t play. That’s what I’ll say.” A high-level ball-handler, Cooper has already shown promise as a distributor and a speedy interior finisher at the next level while in Summer League, writes Kirschner. “I can pass,” Cooper said of his attributes as a player. “I can score. I feel like I’m a leader. I like talking on the floor. My biggest weakness — I definitely want to be more efficient. I definitely want to take care of the ball better.”
  • Hawks forward Cam Reddish, eligible for an extension to his rookie contract in 2022, has signed with Klutch Sports Group, per an announcement from the agency (Twitter link). Though Reddish only appeared in 26 games with Atlanta during the 2020/21 season due to an Achilles injury, he showed promise during his brief stint with the Hawks in the 2021 postseason, averaging 12.8 PPG on 52.8% shooting (64.3% on threes) in 23.0 minutes per contest.

Hornets Notes: Oubre, I. Smith, Li. Ball, Summer League

Kelly Oubre‘s two-year deal with the Hornets, which was completed using cap space, is worth $12MM and $12.6MM in year two, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. That second year is only partially guaranteed for $5MM, however, so the agreement includes just $17MM in total guaranteed money.

Meanwhile, Ish Smith‘s two-year contract with the Hornets uses most of the club’s room exception, according to Smith (Twitter link). It starts at $4.5MM in 2021/22, while the $4.725MM salary for ’22/23 is non-guaranteed.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • LiAngelo Ball, who is playing for the Hornets’ Summer League team in Las Vegas, said he’s “very thankful” for the opportunity and isn’t taking it for granted, as Rod Boone of SI.com writes. Ball was supposed to play for Oklahoma City’s G League affiliate in March 2020 before the pandemic stopped the season. He impressed Charlotte’s brass while working out in the gym with his brother LaMelo Ball in recent months, Boone writes.
  • Ball’s performance in Las Vegas is one of a handful of Hornets Summer League storylines to watch, according to Jonathan M. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer, who says he’ll also be keeping an eye on James Bouknight‘s three-point shooting and how much time Kai Jones spends at center.
  • In case you missed it, the Hornets are still believed to be eyeing restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, despite no longer having the cap room necessary to sign him to an offer sheet.

Southeast Notes: LiAngelo Ball, Robinson, Heat, Unseld

LiAngelo Ball is signing a deal to play for the Hornets’ Summer League team, reports Rod Boone of Sports Illustrated. The move will reunite LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball for the first time since they played in Lithuania together during the 2018/2019 season.

The middle Ball brother has been working out with members of the Hornets, notably RFA-to-be Devonte’ Graham. He had joined the Thunder’s G League team in 2020 just days before the league was shut down due to COVID-19, and signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Pistons in December, but failed to play due to an ankle injury and was subsequently waived.

The Summer League opportunity could be a chance for the third Ball brother to get a foothold in the NBA, writes Boone.

We have more news from around the Southeast Division:

  • Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, entering his first free agency as a coveted player, isn’t sure what’s going to happen, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’d love to try to make something work with Miami,” Robinson said. “The reality is, like, I tell this to my family, I don’t know how the next 10-plus days, two weeks, how it’s going to play out. At this point, and I’ve said this already on this podcast, but I think the biggest challenge has been detaching myself from a particular outcome.”
  • Winderman also answered a mailbag question about whether the Heat could bring back former players Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow this summer. Winderman believed that there could be more desire with the team to bring back Richardson than Winslow, but if Richardson declines his $11.6MM player option with the Mavericks, it’s unlikely that the Heat could afford him.
  • Wes Unseld Jr. discussed his on-court plans for the Wizards this week, as Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. Unseld talked about trying to limit early shot-clock opportunities, his philosophy on the intersection between creating a sound defensive scheme and tailoring it to individual personnel’s strengths and preferences, and how he wants to make Bradley Beal even more effective. “A lot of times, he’s gonna see two, sometimes three bodies,” Unseld said. “So, getting him off the ball to get it back, putting him in multiple actions to kinda loosen up defenders I think is gonna be helpful for him.”

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.

Pistons Notes: Doumbouya, LaVar, Sirvydis, Vet Leadership

Second-year Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya had a stellar preseason turn in a 99-91 victory against the Knicks Sunday, reminding the Pistons faithful that the 19-year-old could be a key part of Detroit’s future, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details. Now just the third-youngest Pistons player, Doumbouya scored 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, in addition to pulling down five rebounds and logging two dimes, in only 18 minutes.

“I came in and tried to help the team – that’s my job, to come off the bench, lock in and be ready to help the team,” Doumbouya said. He averaged 6.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 38 games for the Pistons during the 2019/20 season.

There’s more out of the Motor City:

  • In a Bleacher Report Ask Me Anything conversation yesterday, the outspoken LaVar Ball was true to form, ripping the Pistons for recently waiving middle son LiAngelo Ball. The Pistons had signed LiAngelo to an Exhibit 10 training camp contract. “I love the fans, but the franchise over there is raggedy as hell,” the elder Ball said. “They don’t know a good player. I was giving them a [l]ottery pick for free!” LiAngelo went undrafted out of UCLA in 2018.
  • Pistons rookie swingman Deividas Sirvydis has arrived in Detroit, per Rod Beard of the Detroit News (Twitter link). The 20-year-old will need to clear COVID-19 testing protocol, according to Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, and may be ready to join his teammates in a practice this Thursday or Friday.
  • Two former All-Stars can supply valuable leadership for a young Pistons team in transition, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Savvy veterans Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin, who have logged significant playoff minutes, can help inform the Pistons’ future leaders and build the current culture. “They’re great pros, big-time pros,” Casey said. “We’re being sensible about our program and what we’re building. It’s not going to happen overnight – I know that and they know that. It’s not like they’re fighting for star status. They’ve been there.

Pistons Waive Louis King, Anthony Lamb, LiAngelo Ball

The Pistons have cut three players from their 20-man training camp roster, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, who tweets that the club has requested waivers on forward Louis King, forward Anthony Lamb, and wing LiAngelo Ball. King and Lamb briefly appeared in Detroit’s preseason game vs. New York on Sunday.

Lamb and Ball were training camp invitees who were never considered likely to make the 15-man regular season roster, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’ve been waived. It’s possible they’ll end up playing for the Grand Rapids Drive, though it doesn’t look for now like Detroit’s G League affiliate will participate in the proposed NBAGL bubble.

As for King, the 21-year-old had signed a second two-way contract with the Pistons after spending his rookie season in 2019/20 on a two-way deal with the team. His release means that one of Detroit’s two-way slots is open — second-rounder Saben Lee occupies the other.

The Pistons now have 17 players under contract, including Lee and 16 players on guaranteed salaries. At least one of those 16 will need to be traded or cut before the regular season gets underway.

Pistons Re-Sign Louis King To Two-Way Contract

The Pistons have re-signed free agent forward Louis King to a new two-way contract, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

King, who went undrafted out of Oregon in 2019, spent his rookie season on a two-way deal with Detroit. He didn’t see much action at the NBA level, logging limited minutes in 10 games, but averaged 15.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 31 games (28.5 MPG) for the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ G League affiliate.

King will occupy one of Detroit’s two-way contract slots alongside second-round pick Saben Lee.

The Pistons also officially finalized their previouslyreported training camp deals with LiAngelo Ball and Anthony Lamb, according to Smith (Twitter link). The three signings give Detroit a full 20-man training camp roster.

Pistons, LiAngelo Ball Agree To Exhibit 10 Deal

LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Lonzo Ball and the older brother of LaMelo Ball, has agreed to sign a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Pistons, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Ball’s deal will contain an Exhibit 10 clause, per Charania (Twitter link). He’s extremely unlikely to make the Pistons’ regular season roster, but will be eligible to receive a $50K bonus if he plays in the G League.

As NBAGL guru Adam Johnson notes (via Twitter), Detroit’s affiliate – the Grand Rapids Drive – would need to acquire Ball’s rights from the Oklahoma City Blue. The 22-year-old signed a G League contract to join the Thunder’s affiliate back in March, just before the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus. Current Pistons general manager Troy Weaver worked in the Thunder’s front office at the time.

Ball, a 6’5″ swingman, isn’t considered to have the same upside as his brothers, but has some experience playing professional ball in Lithuania and earned Finals MVP honors for the Los Angeles Ballers of the Junior Basketball Association in 2018.

And-Ones: WNBA, Ball Brothers, Kyrie, FA Contracts

Like the NBA, the WNBA now has a plan in place to resume play in Florida next month. The WNBA announced today in a press release that it will play a 22-game regular season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, beginning in July.

We will continue to consult with medical experts and public health officials as well as players, team owners and other stakeholders as we move forward with our execution plan,” commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “And, despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic to our 2020 season, the WNBA and its Board of Governors believe strongly in supporting and valuing the elite women athletes who play in the WNBA and therefore, players will receive their full pay and benefits during the 2020 season.”

While the NBA was in the midst of its season when the pandemic forced a stoppage, the WNBA’s 2020 campaign had yet to tip off. The season, which would normally consist of 34 games, had originally been scheduled to begin on May 15, but was postponed indefinitely in April.

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

  • As expected, the Ball brothers – Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, G League guard LiAngelo Ball, and projected 2020 lottery pick LaMelo Ball – have officially signed with Roc Nation Sports for representation, the agency announced today (Twitter link). An April report had indicated that the three brothers were joining Roc Nation together.
  • Although Kyrie Irving has taken plenty of flak for his stance on resuming the season, Michael Lee of The Athletic argues that Irving is just doing his job as an NBPA vice president, and isn’t being an agitator just for the sake of it. In Lee’s view, Irving isn’t trying to blow up the NBA’s restart plan, but is making sure that players’ concerns are heard and addressed.
  • Setting aside rookie contracts and maximum-salary deals, John Hollinger of The Athletic lists the 10 current free agent contracts that he feels represent the best value for teams. The Clippers‘ deal with Ivica Zubac, the Mavericks‘ with Dorian Finney-Smith, and the Celtics‘ with Marcus Smart top Hollinger’s list.