Melvin Ejim

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Eastern Notes: Lue, Kilpatrick, Biyombo

The Raptors are hoping that Bismack Biyombo will exercise his player option for 2016/17 and remain in Toronto for another season, Steve Simmons of The National Post writes. “I’m going to make it very hard for him,” said GM Masai Ujiri. “I’m going to try and do whatever I can to get it done. There are going to be other people who want this player. My job is to try and get it done.” The center noted that he was happy with the Raptors but added that he hasn’t made a decision regarding his option, Simmons relays. “To be here right now is amazing and it’s a blessing. To tell you the truth, I haven’t thought about [free agency],” said Biyombo. “I love Toronto. I love the fans. I love everything about it. But the focus for me right now is for us to go as far as we can. I don’t see why [I wouldn’t sign here]. But really, I haven’t thought about it.” Biyombo inked a two-year, $5.755MM contract with the team last summer and Toronto only holds his Non-Bird rights, which could make re-signing the 23-year-old difficult if he opts out of his pact.

Here’s more from the East:

  • After two months on the job as coach of the Cavaliers, Tyronn Lue hasn’t cured the team of its pre-existing inconsistencies on the court, which makes judging his performance difficult, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes. The ESPN scribe does note that the team’s defense has taken a hit since Lue took over the reigns, with Cleveland ranked 14th in defensive rating and a woeful 20th in defensive field goal percentage under the new coach. Cleveland was ranked fifth in defensive rating and ninth in field goal defense before David Blatt was fired. Lue is still adjusting to being a head coach, a move that is more challenging than he believed previously, Windhorst adds. “When I was a player for Doc [Rivers], I never used to understand why he got mad at the little things,” Lue said. “Now I see why coaches get mad about little, small things. It happens a lot. Things I want to do, things I want [to] implement, it’s been tough to do it midway through the season.”
  • Sean Kilpatrick‘s multiyear deal with the Nets includes a fully guaranteed salary of $980K for 2016/17 and a non-guaranteed salary of $1.05MM for 2017/18, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The three-year length means the team used a prorated portion of its mid-level exception to sign him.
  • Melvin Ejim, who was in training camp with the Magic earlier this season, has signed with the Italian club Reyer Venezia, the team announced (translation courtesy of Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Orlando’s D-League affiliate waived Ejim to allow him to sign overseas.

And-Ones: Roberts, Lin, Ejim

Executive Director of the NBPA Michele Roberts is working to shift the perception that players make too much money, something that will likely be expressed once negotiations begin with team owners over their respective stakes in the league’s basketball related income, as she tells Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports on his podcast (h/t RealGM Wiretap). Roberts believes the amount of money owners make is not being discussed enough.

“We read just recently that the value of these teams, thank you Donald Sterling, we know what a team can make on the open market,” Roberts said. ” If the reality is that as the game is growing financial, owners are holding onto those teams for a reason. There is a great deal of value. And there’s a long line of folks that would love to buy a basketball team.”

Here’s more from around the league:

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Magic Waive Melvin Ejim

The Magic have waived small forward Melvin Ejim, the team announced via a press release. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel was the first to report the news (via Twitter). Ejim’s minimum salary deal includes a partial guarantee of $150K for the 2015/16 season, which Orlando will still be on the hook for, providing he clears waivers.

Ejim put up 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game for the Magic’s summer league team this year after spending this past season with Virtus Roma in Italy. He made four preseason appearances for the Magic this summer, averaging just 3.5 points in 8.0 minutes of action per contest. The 6’7″ small forward went undrafted in 2014 in spite of a solid senior season in 2013/14, when he averaged 17.8 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 32.1 MPG for the Cyclones.

Orlando’s preseason roster count now sits at 16 players, including 13 with fully guaranteed pacts. The Magic will still need to pare down their roster by at least one more player prior to the October 26th deadline.

Magic Sign Melvin Ejim For Camp

7:42: The signing is official, the team announced via a press release.

11:43am: Ejim still must free himself from a contract he signed earlier this summer with Medi Bayreuth of Germany before he can join Orlando, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

8:31am: The Magic have invited summer-leaguer and former Iowa State standout Melvin Ejim to training camp, a source tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link), adding that some guaranteed money is involved. Pick confirmed to Hoops Rumors that Ejim has accepted the invitation.

Ejim put up 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game for the Magic’s summer league team last month after spending this past season with Virtus Roma in Italy. The 6’7″ small forward went undrafted in 2014 in spite of a breakout senior year in 2013/14, when he averaged 17.8 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 32.1 MPG for the Cyclones.

Orlando has already been carrying 15 deals, including a partially guaranteed arrangement with Keith Appling and Devyn Marble‘s non-guaranteed pact. The other 13 players have guaranteed salaries, and the Magic have yet to strike a deal with Tyler Harvey, whom they drafted 51st overall this year. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Magic view Ejim with the D-League chiefly in mind. Orlando can retain the D-League rights to as many as four players it cuts at the end of the preseason.

Do you think Ejim has what it takes to stick on an NBA roster? Leave a comment to tell us.

And-Ones: Frye, Thomas, Love, Lue

There’s mutual respect between Channing Frye and Warriors coach Steve Kerr, as TNT’s David Aldridge notes in his latest Morning Tip column for NBA.com. The Warriors are reportedly eyeing the sharpshooting big man who’ll almost certainly opt out of his deal with the Suns.

  • It would “mean a lot” to Kings restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas to receive an offer sheet from the Lakers, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.  The guard grew up as a diehard Lakers fan and has idolized Kobe Bryant since he was a child, but he still spoke highly of the Kings and would like to return.
  • There have been mixed reports on this aspect of the Kevin Love talks, but Sam Amick of USA Today hears that the Warriors are very wary about taking on Kevin Martin‘s contract as a part of a deal.  Meanwhile, despite the hangups in talks and the buzz that a deal with the Warriors is dead, Amick believes that things could pick up again between Golden State and the Wolves.
  • Sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue has agreed to become the associate head coach of the Cavaliers.  Lue was considered a head coaching candidate for Cleveland but the Cavs opted to hire David Blatt instead.
  • Marquette forward Jamil Wilson worked out for the Mavericks today, according to Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times (on Twitter).  Wilson has auditioned for about a dozen teams in total.
  • The Cavs will bring in Oregon’s Mike Moser and Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim for a workout on Tuesday, tweets Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops.
  • The Suns worked out center Walter Tavares earlier today, Scotto tweets.  The 7’3″ center is rising up draft boards around the league.  DraftExpress currently has Tavares going to the Bucks with the No. 31 pick in their mock draft.
  • The Pistons will bring in DeAndre Daniels and Mike Moser for a workout on Wednesday, tweets Scotto.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Calipari, Bynum, West, Suns

John Calipari was rumored to be a candidate for the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy, but Los Angeles will need to look elsewhere for a successor to Mike D’Antoni, as the University of Kentucky has announced an extension with Calipari that will keep him around through the 2020/21 season. Here’s the latest from the Pacific:

  • Andrew Bynum‘s injury woes have kept him from playing an entire 82-game season since 2006/07, and the free agent big man’s stock is not exactly at an all time high going into the offseason. Still, if he gets the chance to play in the NBA next year, Bynum would prefer to suit up for the Lakershe tells TMZ.
  • Delonte West will play for the Clippers’ summer league team, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. West, 30, hasn’t suited up for an NBA club since 2011/12,.
  • Today’s predraft workouts for the Suns included Elfrid Payton, T.J. Warren, Nick Johnson, Melvin Ejim, and Roscoe Smith, tweets Paul Coro of AZCentral. The Suns hold three first-round picks in this year’s draft.
  • Earlier today, Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron examined the state of the Lakers’ roster heading into the summer as part of our Offseason Outlook series.

Draft Links: Hancock, Jazz, Vonleh

The 76ers worked out Luke Hancock, who’s also set to audition for the Pistons, Bucks, Jazz and Rockets, agent Pedro Power of You First Sports tells Hoops Rumors.

You can find more of tonight’s draft links worth passing along below:

  • In addition to Hancock, Utah will bring in Semaj Christon, DeAndre Kane, Travis Wear, and Jamil Wilson for workouts tomorrow, according to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (via Twitter).
  • Noah Vonleh has drawn serious praise after his Wednesday workout in New York, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN. Though Vonleh’s shot may have been off, one NBA executive told Ford that Vonleh was impressive in every other category. “Vonleh was good. Didn’t shoot it well but everything else was very good to ridiculously good.” Another executive feels that Vonleh has the requisite athleticism to rival those at the top of his draft class. “(He’s) got elite physical tools and is very skilled. He should be in the same group with Wiggins, Embiid, Parker & Exum” (All Twitter links). 
  • The Raptors reportedly like both Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis, but they also know that neither will realistically be available by the time the team selects at No. 20 on draft night. The team could possibly attempt to trade for a higher selection, but Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun says that it’s highly unlikely (Twitter link).
  • Wolstat adds (via Twitter) that Melvin Ejim has a workout with the Raptors on June 4. Ennis has upcoming workouts with the Kings, Lakers, and Magic.
  • Ejim will also join Thanasis Antetokounmpo, DeAndre Daniels, and Cleanthony Early in a workout for the Hornetstweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Former Iona guard Sean Armand will work out for the Bulls, a source tells SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria (Twitter link).

Draft Rumors: Hood, Stokes, Fair, Hairston

The draft takes place one month from tonight, and teams are beginning to ramp up their schedule of workouts with prospects. Busy draft hopefuls include Rodney Hood, who’ll audition for eight lottery teams, and Jarnell Stokes, who’s working out for 11 teams drafting in the back half of the first round, as Zach Links of Hoops Rumors has learned (Twitter links). One of those teams is the Magic, as we passed along Sunday, and Hood will also work out for the Sixers and Bulls, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. The Wolves are on Hood’s schedule, too, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Stokes will show off for the Heat and Sixers, Goodman also tweets. Here’s more on an evolving draft landscape:

  • Stokes will also audition for the Hawks and Bulls in addition to Miami and Philadelphia, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv tweets.
  • The Bucks will audition Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, Iowa’s Devyn Marble, Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson, Virginia’s Joe Harris, and Missouri’s Jabari Brown on Tuesday, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Journal-Times.
  • C.J. Fair will work out for the Bulls on Wednesday, the Bucks on Thursday, and the Hornets on Friday, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
  • P.J. Hairston, DeAndre Kane and Markel Brown are also among those auditioning for Minnesota, Wolfson reports in the same tweet in which he passed along the Hood news. Nick Johnson will join that group, and the Wolves are eyeing Melvin Ejim and Chane Behanan for workouts, too, Wolfson adds (on Twitter).
  • Behanan will audition for the Sixers and Wolves, as well, Goodman reports via Twitter, seconding his earlier dispatch about Behanan’s workout with the MavsRuss Smith, Behanan’s former Louisville teammate, is slated to work out for the Heat, Thunder and Suns, Goodman tweets.
  • Johnson will also work out for the Magic, Goodman notes (via Twitter). He’ll join Smart and Hood in Orlando, as previously reported.
  • The Lakers are set to work out Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh, while Vonleh will also audition for the Celtics and Kings, according to Goodman (Twitter links).
  • Goodman adds the Raptors to the teams working out Kyle Anderson (Twitter link).
  • The ESPN.com scribe also reports additional workouts for DeAndre Daniels, who’s set to get a look-see from the Hornets and Hawks (Twitter link).
  • The Bulls, Suns and Grizzlies are on the workout agenda of Scottie Wilbekin, Goodman reports (on Twitter). The Suns, along with the Bucks and Lakers, are also among the trio of teams auditioning Joe Harris, Goodman tweets.
  • Johnny O’Bryant III will work out for the Hawks, Raptors, Suns and Spurs, according to Goodman (Twitter link).