Max Strus

Celtics Officially Sign Tacko Fall, Three Others

The Celtics have formally announced a series of previously-reported deals, confirming that all four signings have now been officially completed. Those deals are as follows:

Of the four, Fall will likely be the player whom Celtics fans monitor most actively during training camp in September. The 7’6″ undrafted center made a strong impression in limited Summer League minutes, making 17-of-22 shots from the field and averaging 7.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in just 12.6 minutes per contest (five games).

Fall and Green figure to get the opportunity to compete for a spot on the Celtics’ 15-man regular season roster, while Strus and Waters are in position to occupy the team’s two-way contract slots to open the season.

Celtics Sign Max Strus To Two-Way Contract

JULY 19: The Celtics have officially signed Strus to his two-way deal, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions. The team is expected to fill its other two-way contract slot with second-round pick Tremont Waters.

JUNE 21: Max Strus of DePaul will sign a two-way deal with the Celtics, tweets Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated.

The 6’6″ guard averaged 20.1 points per game as a sophomore and shot .363 from 3-point range. He was a second-team choice to the All-Big East Team.

P.J. Dozier held one of Boston’s two-way contracts for all of last season, while Walt Lemon filled the other slot at the start of the year before being replaced by R.J. Hunter. Both Dozier and Hunter are free agents.

Heat Notes: Richardson, Haslem, Draft

The Heat decided to pull back in trade discussions when discussing a Josh Richardson-centered deal for Jimmy Butler last season, but the swingman won’t be untouchable in trade talks going forward, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays in his latest mailbag.

Winderman writes that if Richardson is needed to complete a deal, he could be in a similar situation to Caron Butler‘s in the mid-2000s. Butler was included in the trade with the Lakers to bring Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat. Richardson, who will turn 26 in September, cooled off as a long-range marksman in 2018/19, making just 35.7% of his attempts from behind the arc. He’s under contract through the 2021/22 season (final year of the pact is a player’s option).

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Udonis Haslem could have a role as a consultant with the Heat, Winderman contends in the same piece. Haslem remains undecided about retiring as a player, though Winderman notes that he expects the power forward to actively remain with the Heat in some capacity regardless of his official decision. Former Heat center Alonzo Mourning trains with the team and instructs younger players, though he isn’t required to travel. That wouldn’t be a bad deal if Haslem decides to retire.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) will make a visit to Miami to work out for the Heat, a source tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson writes that the team is intrigued by his scoring ability, athletism, and high ceiling.
  • Pat Riley and the Heat’s brass attended Priority Sports’ Chicago workout last week to see a handful of prospects, Jackson relays in the same piece. Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Maryland’s Bruno Fernando, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, Virginia’s Ty Jerome, Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby, Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield, DePaul’s Max Strus and Belmont’s Dylan Windler participated in drills. Jackson notes that Clarke is likely the only prospect in contention for the No. 13 overall pick.

Draft Workouts: Pistons, Sixers, Wolves, Kings

Centers Bruno Fernando (Maryland) and Daniel Gafford (Arkansas) were among the prospects the Pistons brought in on Tuesday, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Fernando is ranked the fifth-best center prospect by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and No. 34 overall. Gafford is right behind him among centers and No. 38 overall. Detroit currently holds the No. 15 and No. 45 picks. Shooting guards Fletcher Magee (Wofford), SG Jaylin Walker (Kent State) and Ky Bowman (Boston College) and wing Cody Martin (Nevada) also visited the Pistons’ practice facility on Tuesday.

We have more draft workout info:

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Hornets

There have been no recent updates on the Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, leading to speculation that Washington is waiting to make a run at current Nuggets president of basketball ops Tim Connelly.

While Connelly’s Nuggets are still alive in the playoffs, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that if Connelly is the Wizards’ man, they should go after him now. As Aldridge points out, active postseason runs didn’t stop the Timberwolves from hiring Gersson Rosas, or the Suns from naming Monty Williams their new head coach.

It’s not entirely clear if the Wizards are still targeting Connelly, but Aldridge hears from several sources that Denver’s head of basketball ops would be “delighted” to run the Wizards. A previous report referred to the Wizards’ open position as Connelly’s “dream job.” Connelly is still under contract with the Nuggets, but if the Wizards make an offer that significantly exceeds his current salary – which Aldridge says is “just north” of $2MM per year – then he could go to Denver’s ownership in good faith and ask for the opportunity to run his hometown team.

So far, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, and Rosas for the front office vacancy, Aldridge confirms.

As we wait to see what the Wizards do to replace Ernie Grunfeld, here’s more from around the Southeast…

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating l in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)

Draft Decisions: Azubuike, Hands, Bowman, Reed

Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike is the latest early entrant to pull out the 2018 NBA draft, a source tells ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Azubuike, the No. 77 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com, had entered the draft without hiring an agent, but now appears poised to rejoin the Jayhawks for his junior year.

As a sophomore, Azubuike enjoyed a breakout season in 2017/18, averaging 13.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 1.7 BPG in just 23.6 minutes per contest for Kansas. The seven-footer will have another opportunity to declare as an early entrant in 2019.

Here are more of the latest draft decisions from early entrants in advance of today’s deadline:

  • Jaylen Hands, who ranks one spot behind Azubuike on Givony’s top-100 list, is also headed back to school, a source tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). The UCLA guard will be a sophomore in 2018/19.
  • Boston College sophomore guard Ky Bowman will return to school for his junior year after testing the draft waters, according to Rothstein. Bowman had a big sophomore season for the Eagles, putting up 17.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 4.7 APG, but wasn’t considered likely to be drafted.
  • The Clemson basketball program got some good news today, according to Rothstein, who tweets that Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell are both withdrawing from the draft after testing the waters. Reed and Mitchell were the Tigers’ first- and fourth-leading scorers in 2017/18.
  • DePaul’s top scorer Max Strus will return to school for his senior year, the program announced today in a press release. “I’m glad I was able to go through the process and receive feedback from NBA teams,” Strus said in a statement. “Now we can look forward to my senior season at DePaul and we’re already working and getting better this spring as a team.”
  • Junior guard Tyler Hall is withdrawing from the draft and returning to Montana State, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Hall averaged 17.5 PPG on .407/.372/.907 shooting in 2017/18.

236 Early Entrants Declare For 2018 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2018 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 236 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 181 are from colleges, while 55 are international early entrants.

That number blows away the previous record for early entrants, established in 2017. Last year, 182 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 73 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline.

This year’s total of 236 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by May 30 and again by June 11, the two key deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like that pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely exceeding 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list. For now, we’re assuming they haven’t yet hired agents.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Berke Atar, C, Turkey (born 1999)
  • Laurynas Beliauskas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Rihards Berzins, F/C, Latvia (born 1997)
  • Etienne Ca, F, France (born 1997)
  • Sigfredo Casero-Ortiz, G, France (born 1997)
  • Berkan Durmaz, F, Turkey (born 1997)
  • Aleksander Dziewa, C, Poland (born 1997)
  • Stephane Gombauld, F, France (born 1997)
  • Yoan Granvorka, F, Switzerland (born 1997)
  • Michal Kolenda, F, Poland (born 1997)
  • Antonios Koniaris, G, Greece (born 1997)
  • Leon Kratzer, C, Germany (born 1997)
  • Shekinah Munanga, F, France (born 1997)
  • Williams Narace, F, France (born 1997)
  • Marcel Ponitka, G, Poland (born 1997)
  • Leonardo Tote, F, Italy (born 1997)
  • Martynas Varnas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Filip Zagrajski, G, Croatia (born 1997)

Draft Updates: E. Davis, Isabell, Hands, T. Brown

A handful of notable prospects today have announced their intention to enter the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of players viewed as probable lottery picks in Marvin Bagley III and Miles Bridges. We’ve got updates on several more NCAA underclassmen who don’t have the same name recognition as Bagley and Bridges, but are nonetheless entering their names for draft consideration — at least for now. Let’s dive in…

  • Texas junior guard Eric Davis Jr. has decided to go pro, the school announced today in a press release. Davis joins teammate Mohamed Bamba among Texas players entering the draft early — fellow Longhorn Kerwin Roach II is also declaring, but won’t hire an agent, so he could return to school.
  • Drexel junior Tramaine Isabell is testing the draft waters, according to a press release from the program. The 6’1″ guard averaged 21.0 PPG and 7.5 RPG in his first season at Drexel after transferring from Mizzou.
  • UCLA freshman guard Jaylen Hands is entering the draft without hiring an agent, as he tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Hands’ teammate Aaron Holiday has also declared for the draft, so the program would have some backcourt holes to fill if both players ultimately decide to go pro.
  • Georgia Southern junior guard Tookie Brown is testing the draft waters, the school announced today. Brown, who averaged 18.9 PPG on .532/.471/.753 shooting in 2017/18, won’t hire an agent, leaving the door open to return to school for his senior year.
  • Max Strus of DePaul is entering the draft without an agent, according to his school. The junior guard enjoyed a breakout season in 2017/18, posting 16.8 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 31 games.
  • Charlotte junior guard Andrien White will test the NBA draft waters this spring, as David Scott of The Charlotte Observer notes. If White decide to withdraw his name from draft consideration next month, he plans on returning to the 49ers to play for new head coach Ron Sanchez.