Mike James

Mike James Signing With AS Monaco

Veteran guard Mike James, who finished the 2020/21 NBA season with the Nets, has reached a contract agreement with AS Monaco, reports Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com.

James, 31, has spent much of his professional career playing in international leagues. He previously spent time with the Suns and Pelicans during the 2017/18 season before heading back to Europe from 2018-21.

James had been playing for CSKA Moscow in 2021, but the Russian club agreed to allow him to join the Nets, despite the fact that his contract ran through 2023. The 6’1″ guard averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.2 APG with a .370/.355/.778 shooting line in 13 regular season games (18.2 MPG) for Brooklyn, then appeared in nine postseason contests as well.

James briefly returned to CSKA Moscow this summer, but the two sides recently agreed to terminate his contract, clearing a path for him to join a new European club. AS Monaco, which competes in France’s top basketball league, is a newcomer to the EuroLeague — the 2021/22 season will be its first in what is generally considered the world’s best basketball league outside of the NBA.

International Notes: James, Childs, Lemon, Giedraitis

Mike James, who finished last season with the Nets, is reportedly in “advanced talks” with AS Monaco, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The 31-year-old point guard had been under contract with CSKA Moscow, but that deal was terminated this week, making him a free agent.

James joined Brooklyn in April on a pair of 10-day deals and eventually signed for the remainder of the season. He appeared in 13 games and averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 assists per night. He also spent time with the Suns and Pelicans during the 2017/18 season.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Yoeli Childs, who played for the Lakers during Summer League, has reached a one-year deal with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany, Skerletic states in a separate piece. A 6’8″ forward out of BYU, Childs attended training camp with the Wizards last season and played for the Erie Bay Hawks in the G League.
  • Walt Lemon Jr., who had brief NBA stints with the Pelicans and Bulls, has signed with Ezzahra Sports in Tunisia, Skerletic adds in another story. Lemon played for Hapoel Tel Aviv last season.
  • Lithuanian swingman Rokas Giedraitis said he had an opportunity to come to the NBA this season, but opted to stay with Baskonia in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, writes Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops. The 29-year-old discussed his decision during the team’s media day on Saturday. “During the summer, I was able to think about my situation, what I wanted,” he said. “I had a couple of NBA offers, but I talked with my family and we decided to stay here.”

And-Ones: Bosh, Mike James, Sharpe, Tough Contracts

Former Raptors and Heat All-Star big man Chris Bosh had to retire earlier than anticipated at age 33, having not played since he was 31 due to a scary blood clot issue. The 6’11” center/power forward may have interest in eventually pursuing a coaching or NBA front office career, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I don’t want to put any closure on it,” the 37-year-old Bosh said about a possible coaching gig. “Some sort of front-office or coaching position, I don’t want to throw dirt on it and say, ‘that’s it (and I won’t pursue it).'”

Bosh will be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend as a player, after 11 All-Star appearances, one All-NBA Second Team honor, four Finals appearances and two titles. He holds career averages of 19.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Recent Nets reserve point guard Mike James has left Russian basketball club CSKA Moscow, per Dario Skerletic of Sportando. James now re-enters the NBA free agency pool. The 6’1″ guard previously began the 2020/21 season with CSKA Moscow, averaging 19.3 PPG and 5.7 across 27 games of Euroleague play. The 31-year-old vet eventually latched on with the Nets, averaging 7.7 PPG and 4.1 APG across 13 regular season contests, before seeing his role diminished in the playoffs. James had been under contract with CSKA Moscow through 2023, but had managed to carve out time to join the Nets at the end of the 2020/21 season with the club’s blessing. Now, he is a wholly unrestricted free agent.
  • Top high school prospect Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 1-ranked overall prospect in the class of 2022, has committed to suiting up for coach John Calipari in Kentucky, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN“Coach Cal took the time to understand who I was as a person and how to get the best out of me,” Sharpe said. “I can see that he does a great job of working with athletes of my position and playing style and getting them to be the best versions of themselves. His experience is a large part of why I chose UK, but he believed in the vision and goals that I had for myself as well.” The addition of Sharpe marks Calipari’s first top-five recruit since he added now-Heat star big man Bam Adebayo in 2016. During Calipari’s 12 seasons at Kentucky, he has seen 43 of his players selected in the NBA draft, including 21 in the lottery. Sharpe also reportedly considered joining the G League Ignite, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma State before making his decision.
  • Several players throughout the NBA remain inked to unwieldy contracts relative to their output or health. Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype assesses the toughest deals to flip in the league ahead of the 2021/22 season. Rockets point guard John Wall, owed $91.7MM over the next two years, tops Gozlan’s list for the second straight season. Gozlan speculates that the 31-year-old former All-Star could be headed for a buyout with Houston soon. 33-year-old Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love, owed $60.2MM over the next two seasons as Cleveland’s fourth-best big man, and 31-year-old maximum-salaried Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, who has missed the last two seasons with an ACL tear (in 2019/20) and an Achilles tear (in 2020/21), are two of the more predictable names on the list. A few 2021 free agency signings and extensions make the cut, including the contracts of Bulls small forward DeMar DeRozan and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen.

International Notes: M. James, Dorsey, Douglas

Although Mike James‘ contract with CSKA Moscow keeps him under team control through 2023, the EuroLeague club let him join the Nets at the end of the 2020/21 NBA season. Now, it’s unclear what the next step is for James, who remains under contract with his Russian team for two more seasons.

As Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com details, James is returning to Moscow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean CSKA intends to have him return to the team. According to a report from Michalis Gioulenoglou of Gazzetta.gr, James will meet team president Andrey Vatutin and coach Dimitris Itoudis in Russia to discuss his future.

“The club and the player have not agreed on the terms of termination of the contract, so Mike, like other basketball players who have agreements with CSKA, will be at the club’s location,” the team said in a statement. “At the same time, James will train individually, without connecting to work with the main team.”

According to Urbonas, there’s a belief that James will be able to work out an agreement with CSKA Moscow that allows him to remain in the NBA. The veteran guard recently worked out for the Lakers.

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

  • Greek club Olympiacos has signed former NBA shooting guard Tyler Dorsey to a one-year contract, according to a press release. Dorsey, who appeared in 104 games for Atlanta and Memphis from 2017-19, was said earlier this offseason to be receiving some NBA interest. However, it appears the former Oregon standout will remain in the EuroLeague after spending the last two seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
  • Another former NBA guard, Toney Douglas, has also signed a deal to play in Greece. He’s joining Iraklis BC for the 2021/22 season, the team announced today (Twitter link). Douglas has appeared in 394 total NBA regular season games for seven teams, but has been out of the league since 2017.
  • As we relayed earlier today, Jordan Bone – the 57th overall pick in the 2019 draft – has signed with Turkish team Beşiktaş after spending his first two professional seasons in the NBA.

Lakers Work Out Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Mike James

Free agent guards Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James all recently worked out for the Lakers, who are looking for veteran help to fill out their roster, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

None of the three veteran guards will definitely be signed, sources tell Haynes, and L.A. may decide to have a training camp battle for its final roster spots. The Lakers currently have 12 players with guaranteed contracts and plan to carry just 14 in the regular season for roster flexibility.

L.A.’s priority is finding a third point guard, according to Haynes’ sources, and the team may be in the market for another wing player as well.

Thomas, 32, is hoping to revive his career after dealing with injuries the past four years. He played just three games last season on a 10-day contract with the Pelicans, but says he’s fully healthy now and has been playing well in pro-am leagues. He joined LeBron James and Russell Westbrook for a workout Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to Haynes.

Collison, 33, made a surprise retirement announcement in the summer of 2019, citing family and religious reasons. There were rumors that he might return with the Lakers or Clippers during the 2019/20 season, but he later called them “overhyped.” He played 76 games for the Pacers in his final NBA season, averaging 11.2 PPG and shooting 40.7% from three-point range.

James, 30, finished last season with the Nets after leaving CSKA Moscow. He was part of the rotation in Brooklyn, playing 13 games and averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 assists in 18.2 minutes per night.

The Lakers are expected to move on from veteran shooter Jared Dudley, Haynes adds. Dudley is a free agent after playing 12 games last season.

No QOs For Frank Ntilikina, D.J. Wilson, Mike James, Others

Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina is among the players who didn’t receive a qualifying offer in advance of Sunday’s deadline, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link).

The Knicks’ decision on Ntilikina doesn’t come as a surprise. Despite the years the team spent trying to develop the former No. 8 overall pick into a reliable rotation player, he wasn’t used often in 2020/21, logging just 9.8 minutes per game in 33 contests as he battled some injury issues. A qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent would have been worth $7MM+, a figure he’s unlikely to match or exceed on the open market.

Here are updates on a few of the other players who didn’t receive QOs today:

  • The Rockets didn’t issue a qualifying offer to forward D.J. Wilson, who will become an unrestricted free agent, reports Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Wilson’s QO would’ve been worth $6.4MM.
  • The Nets didn’t issue a qualifying offer to guards Mike James or Chris Chiozza, according to reports from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). Both players will become unrestricted free agents.
  • Brandon Goodwin didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Hawks, a league source tells Scotto (Twitter link). Goodwin averaged 4.9 PPG and 2.0 APG in 47 games (13.2 MPG) for Atlanta in 2020/21.

Nets Notes: Harden, Green, Dinwiddie, James

As we relayed on Sunday, All-Star guard James Harden will be unavailable on Monday night for Game 2 of Brooklyn’s series vs. Milwaukee. However, the Nets proved in Game 1 that they’re capable of beating the Bucks even without Harden, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Head coach Steve Nash believes all the injuries Brooklyn dealt with during the season helped prepare the team for such a scenario in the playoffs.

“We’ve had a lot thrown at us this year, so we were in a sense well-trained for this event,” Nash said. “But you never want to see someone like James who is such an important player, such an incredible player and cares so much. I’m heartbroken for him.”

As the Nets wait to see whether Harden might be able to return for Game 3, here are a few more notes from out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeff Green (left plantar fascia strain) has also been ruled out for Game 2, but Nash said that the injured forward is “progressing nicely” and may not be out much longer, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “I think we’ll see him in the series, and hopefully, it’s Game 3,” Nash said. “But who knows?”
  • According to Lewis, Nash also suggested this weekend that it still looks unlikely that Spencer Dinwiddie, who is recovering from ACL surgery, will be able to return during the playoffs. “He’s not with the team. I believe he’s rehabbing in L.A. and is doing very well,” Nash said of Dinwiddie. “(But) I’ve had no conversations about him returning to the team or even returning to play at this point.”
  • Mike James, who didn’t expect to play more than about five minutes in Game 1, came up big in the absence of Harden, as we detailed on Sunday. The Nets will need to continue leaning on the reserve guard until Harden is ready to return, as Paul Schwartz of The New York Post writes. “Obviously James has something going on,” James said. “So I’m basically the other point guard besides Kyrie (Irving), so I’ve got to be ready to play at least a little bit. Who knows if it’s gonna be 30 minutes again, but I’ve got to be ready to go out there and lead the team in some capacity, and be ready to contribute.”

Atlantic Notes: James, Knicks, Harden, Celtics

Nets guard Mike James stepped up in the absence of James Harden (hamstring) during the team’s Game 1 victory oevr Milwaukee, Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post writes.

James pitched in 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists off the bench in the win, shooting 5-of-11 from the floor in 30 minutes. The team will continue to rely on his production as it plays without Harden, who has already been ruled out for Game 2 on Monday.

“It’s happened to us all year where something’s happened, some sort of adversity, someone goes down and the next man’s up,” head coach Steve Nash said. “Mike, who would have thought before the game he’d play 30 minutes?

“Scored the ball, rebounded, made a few plays and hustled. It was great to see guys who haven’t been in the rotation get an opportunity, step up and play well.”

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic tonight:

  • Despite making good progress this season, the playoffs showed that the Knicks must continue making upgrades for the future, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. New York finished with the fourth-best record in the East at 41-31, though the team lost its first-round series against Atlanta in just five games.
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic examines whether the Nets could continue to win without James Harden available. In addition to Mike James‘ strong play, Brooklyn also received solid production from Kevin Durant (29 points and 10 rebounds), Kyrie Irving (25 points and eight assists), and Blake Griffin (18 points and 14 rebounds), winning the contest 115-107.
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe explores where new Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens could turn to fill the team’s head coaching job. Boston will consider multiple candidates for the position — both internally and externally — as Stevens looks to find someone for his old role.

Nets Notes: Free Agency, James, Fans, Tsai

Nets GM Sean Marks said the team’s success or failure in the playoffs will impact how he handles free agent decisions, Joe Makar of Nets Republic tweets.

“We need to be focused on the task at hand,” Marks said. “If the team lives up to expectations, we might have some easy decisions. If not, we might have to refocus elsewhere.”

Bruce Brown can be a restricted free agent this offseason, while Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are among the group of players who will be unrestricted free agents.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Mike James can also become a restricted free agent, though he’d have to work out an agreement with CSKA Moscow to remain in the NBA. Brooklyn would like to hold onto the point guard, who averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.2 APG in 13 games after he was added on two 10-day contracts, then a rest-of-the-season deal, NetsDaily.com relays. “I will tell you that I really like Mike and I would like to have him with us in the years to come,” director of player personnel J.R. Holden said to Greece’s Gazzetta.
  • More fans will be allowed into Barclays Center for the postseason and there will be vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Fans will have to pay more for tickets in the unvaccinated sections, according to team CEO John Abbamondi. “We are not neutral, we want people to get vaccinated,” he said.
  • Owner Joe Tsai was pleasantly surprised how the team transformed from an also-ran to an up-and-coming team to the Eastern Conference favorites in a short period of time, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “In hindsight this ‘process’ was brilliant, but I certainly didn’t see it coming at the time,” he said.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, M. James, Embiid, Knicks, Nets

Asked today about his upcoming free agency, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry mentioned a number of factors that he’ll consider as he makes his decision, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Lowry cited family considerations as one important factor, along with “money” and “years,” as well as his desire to win more championships (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca).

Perhaps most interestingly, Lowry suggested his future may be tied in part to that of president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, who is the Raptors’ other key free agent this summer: “I told him this, the only reason I’m still here is because of him. Part of the reason I re-signed here twice is because of him. That is a large part of why I am able to be who I am and gotten to this point.”

Based on Lowry’s comments about prioritizing family and competing for titles, Eric Koreen of The Athletic believes the six-time All-Star is probably more likely to join a new team than to return to the Raptors. However, Lowry also hinted that he may have unfinished business with his current club after a disappointing 2020/21 season spent away from Toronto.

“It does play a factor in it because I enjoy the challenge of people counting me out, counting the team out,” Lowry said. “I enjoy that competitive nature, and I wanna challenge myself and see what I can continue to help do and build. But a lot of things will be factored into this summer and this free agency. The unfinished business thing is part of it, a little bit.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • There has been an expectation that Mike James‘ stint with the Nets will be temporary, since he remains under contract with EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow through 2022/23. However, international reporter Chema de Lucas tweets that James may try to stay in the NBA beyond this season, and Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.com suggests CSKA Moscow would be open to that idea if they can save some money and keep James away from their European rivals.
  • When Joel Embiid suffered a knee injury on March 12 that was later diagnosed as a bone bruise, he initially feared that it would be a season-ender, he tells ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who published an in-depth feature on the Sixers center. “As soon as I fell, the first thing that I’m thinking is: ‘My season is over,'” Embiid said. Having avoided a major injury such as an ACL tear, the big man returned to action just three weeks later, on April 3.
  • Loosened restrictions on gathering in New York mean that the Knicks and Nets are in position to significantly increase their arena capacities for the postseason, as Steve Popper of Newsday details.