NBA G League

Coaching Moves: Sixers, Raptors, Pelicans, Suns

 The Sixers have named Connor Johnson as their G League coach, the team announced in a press release. Johnson will coach the Delaware Blue Coats after working the past four seasons working with the 76ers coaching staff. The newly-named Blue Coats will play in the new 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington. Johnson was Philadelphia’s director of player development and coaching administration last season.
In other coaching-related news around the league:
  • The Raptors were denied permission from the Pelicans to hire Chris Finch as an assistant coach, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. New Raptors coach Nick Nurse was an assistant under Finch on Great Britain’s Olympic team in 2012 and was hoping to bring his well-regarded knowledge of offensive schemes to Toronto, Stein adds in another tweet.
  • The Pelicans did lose one of their assistants as Jamelle McMillan, son of Pacers coach Nate McMillan, joined Igor Kokoskov’s staff with the Suns, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets. The younger McMillan is just 29 years old.
  • The Raptors hired Jama Mahlalela as head coach of their NBA G League affiliate, Raptors 905, the team’s media relations department tweets. Mahlalela, who has five years of experience as an NBA assistant, replaces Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse, who led the team to consecutive G League Finals, joined the Grizzlies’ staff after being interviewed for multiple NBA head coaching jobs.

Nets Notes: Mozgov, Sullinger, Trimble, G League

When the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers last June, veteran center Timofey Mozgov was a piece the team had to accept for salary purposes, rather than a centerpiece of the deal. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that Mozgov sounds a little frustrated with his role in Brooklyn.

As Net Income of NetsDaily relays, Mozgov expressed that frustration in a print interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia and in a conversation on Russia’s Radio Mayak. According to Mozgov, he’s not sure why he lost his spot in the starting lineup and fell out of the rotation early in the 2017/18 season. The 31-year-old started the first 13 games of the year for the Nets, but appeared in just 18 contests (8.7 MPG) the rest of the way.

While Mozgov didn’t express a desire to leave Brooklyn, he did say he hopes to receive more playing time going forward, either for the Nets or another team. Given where the Nets are in their rebuilding process, that probably isn’t likely — the club prefers to give its younger players those minutes up front, and would be unable to flip Mozgov to another team in a trade without attaching assets.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Jared Sullinger and Melo Trimble were among the participants at a veteran mini-camp hosted by the Nets this week, tweets Ben Stinar of Hoops Habit. Sullinger was linked to the Nets last summer, while Trimble was in camp with the Timberwolves in the fall.
  • In addition to working out some NBA free agents, the Nets are also taking a look at international players, according to a NetsDaily story. Nicolas Brussino, who spent time in the NBA over the last two seasons with the Mavericks and Hawks, is the most notable name on the list.
  • Will Weaver, an assistant on Kenny Atkinson‘s staff for the last two years, appears poised to become the head coach of the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, reports Ian Begley of (Twitter link). Weaver and the NBAGL squad are nearing an agreement on a contract, per Begley. Former Long Island coach Ronald Nored joined James Borrego‘s staff in Charlotte last month.

Mavs Notes: J. Jackson, Ferrell, G League, Barea

The Mavericks will face a tough decision this summer, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in his offseason preview for the team. While the franchise typically hasn’t had to be patient when it comes to rebuilding, the conservative play would be to do just that, since it’s better for the team’s long-term health, Marks argues.

Dallas has the cap space make a splash in free agency, but the club might be better off viewing 2018/19 as a bridge year in which to continue developing its young players before entering the 2018 free agent period with even more room available.

As we wait to see which direction the Mavs go, let’s round up more items out of Dallas…

  • Michigan State big man Jaren Jackson Jr. will be among the prospects who works out for the Mavericks before the draft, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, who notes that Deandre Ayton is the only top college prospect known not to be working out for the club.
  • Yogi Ferrell will be a free agent for the first time in his NBA career this summer and said recently that he’d like to remain with the Mavericks, as Sefko writes in a separate Dallas Morning News article. “I want to be here,” Farrell said. “And I think they want me to be here. I’m just going to wait and see how it works out.” If the two sides both want to work something out, there shouldn’t be many roadblocks, since Farrell is a restricted free agent.
  • In his latest newsletter, Marc Stein of The New York Times reports that Mavs owner Mark Cuban has secured majority control of the Texas Legends, the Mavericks’ G League affiliate. Cuban has since officially named longtime equipment manager Al Whitley the owner’s liaison to the Legends. “He reports directly to me,” Cuban said of Whitley.
  • Veteran guard J.J. Barea has received the 2017/18 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award from the Pro Basketball Writers Association, per a press release. Barea earned the award, which is given for community service work, after spending much of the year assisting with disaster relief in Puerto Rico.

And-Ones: BWB Asia, Gambling, Williams, G League

The Thunder’s Corey Brewer, Nets’ Caris LeVert, Heat’s Kelly Olynyk and Mavericks’ Dwight Powell will coach top high school age campers from the Asia-Pacific region in the 10th edition of Basketball Without Borders Asia, according to an NBA release.

BWB Asia 2018 will be held May 30–June 2 at The NBA Academy India in Delhi National Capital Region. Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars.

In other developments from around the league:

  • New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney voiced strong opposition to the sports’ leagues request for sports betting fees, ESPN Chalk’s David Payne Purdum tweets. “They are calling this extortion attempt an integrity fee, even while fully aware that providing participants a stake in the volume of betting would amount what could more accurately be called an anti-integrity fee,” Sweeney said. The NBA later defended its position, saying its games are the foundation of what will be bet on, the Associated Press reports. “We believe it is reasonable for casinos to compensate the NBA with a small percentage of the total amount bet on our games,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
  • The NBA is projecting the salary cap to inflate by $7MM in 2019 and some of that projection might include some anticipated new gambling-related revenue, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. While the cap could rise due to gambling-related income, it won’t cause a dramatic increase in the future, Windhorst adds.
  • Former NBA guard Mo Williams will join Mark Gottfried’s staff at Cal State Northridge, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweets. Williams played for Gottfriend at Alabama, Goodman notes.
  • The G League showcase has been moved from January to December and Las Vegas is a strong contender to host it, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Orlando is also being considered as a host site, according to League expansion is a major reason why Las Vegas and Orlando are potential landing spots for the showcase.

Kings’ G League Affiliate Becomes Stockton Kings

The Reno Bighorns are no more, as the Sacramento Kings’ NBA G League affiliate has officially re-branded in advance of its 2018/19 relocation. As detailed in a press release, Sacramento’s NBAGL team will be known as the Stockton Kings going forward.

We heard earlier this month that the Kings planned to move their G League affiliate closer to home, relocating the club from Reno, Nevada to Stockton, California. Before that move could become official, a vote by the Stockton City Council was required. That vote took place on Tuesday night, and the City Council unanimously authorized the city to move forward with a lease agreement between the Kings and Stockton Arena.

While the Stockton Kings haven’t yet unveiled their new logos and uniforms, the G League franchise has updated its name on Twitter and other social media platforms, and launched its new website at

The team formerly known as the Reno Bighorns is the second G League squad to re-brand itself in recent weeks. The Sixers’ NBAGL affiliate is remaining in Delaware, but is changing its name from the Delaware 87ers to the Delaware Blue Coats for the 2018/19 season.

The Bighorns were initially established in 2008 and have been affiliated with the NBA’s Kings since their inception. Sacramento has been the only NBA team affiliated with the G League franchise since 2013, and bought the team outright in 2016.

Raises Coming For G League Players

G League players will be receiving a significant salary increase next season, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

All G League contracts for 2018/19 will pay $35K [$7K for each of the league’s five months], along with housing costs and insurance benefits. The league had been paying $26K or $19K, depending on players’ classifications. All G League salaries are covered by the NBA.

Athletes will still be able to earn affiliate player bonuses that can pay up to $44K. Those are given to players who attend training camp with an NBA team, then become part of that franchise’s G League affiliate.

Two-way contracts will remain in effect and will carry a salary of $77,250 that is prorated for the amount of time spent in the G League. Two-way players receive a minimum rookie salary while they are in the NBA, which is capped at 45 days. The new figure is a slight increase from $75K this season, and Stein notes that the maximum potential salary for two-way players next year will be $385K. Two-way contracts were introduced this season and proved to be very popular, with 83 players signing them.

The G League will expand to 27 teams in 2018/19, with Wizards becoming the latest franchise to add an an affiliate. The only organizations remaining without a direct affiliate are the Nuggets, Pelicans and Trail Blazers.

Hornets Notes: Walker, G League, Howard, Monk

With changes taking place throughout the organization, Kemba Walker understands he may not play another game for the Hornets, writes Steve Reed of The Associated Press. Walker, who became the leading scorer in franchise history this season, has one year left on his contract at $12MM and  could be moved this summer to bring Charlotte some much-needed cap relief.

“I have no idea,” he said when asked about his future with the Hornets. “That is out of my control. I am just going to focus on getting better as a player. That is really all you can do. I don’t know what they are going to do.”

Walker made his second All-Star appearance this season while averaging 22.1 points and 5.6 assists in 80 games. However, the Hornets are about $17MM over the salary cap for next season and have missed the playoffs the past two years.

There’s more tonight out of Charlotte:

  • The hiring of president and GM Mitch Kupchak and the firing of coach Steve Clifford made headlines this week, but the Hornets are going through a complete overhaul throughout the organization. Most of the training staff and analytics department were dismissed along with Clifford, tweets Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Clifford’s assistants have been retained for now, but they will eventually be replaced (Twitter link).
  • The house cleaning extended to the G League affiliate, where head coach Noel Gillespie will not have his contract extended, the Hornets announced on their website. He compiled a 35-65 record in two seasons with the Greensboro Swarm.
  • Dwight Howard‘s track record under Clifford was an important factor in the decision to trade for him last summer, but Clifford’s departure doesn’t mean Howard will definitely be moved, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The biggest factor for Kupchak in a potential Howard deal, Bonnell observes, is what the team would have to accept in return to match Howard’s $23.8MM salary for next season. Howard put up his best numbers in several years, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
  • Rookie guard Malik Monk has a lot of work to do this offseason after being limited last summer by a sprained ankle, Bonnell adds in the same story. He states that Monk could be in line for a starting spot if the Hornets decide to trade Walker or Nicolas Batum.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/12/18

Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

  • The Spurs recalled guard Derrick White from their G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, for the final time this season, the team announced in a press release. White helped lead Austin to the 2018 G League Championship over the Raptors 905. White averaged 24.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.75 SPG and 1.75 BPG during Austin’s G League postseason run. In 17 games with the Spurs, White averaged  3.2 PPG and 1.5 RPG.

Lorenzo Brown Named 2017/18 G League MVP

Raptors 905 guard Lorenzo Brown has been named the NBA G League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2017/18 season, the league announced today in a press release. The NBAGL’s 26 head coaches and general managers voted on the award.

Brown, 27, has played for various G League teams since the 2013/14 campaign, having been named an All-Star twice. However, 2017/18 was arguably his most successful overall season in the G League. In 32 games for Toronto’s G League affiliate, the veteran guard averaged 18.8 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 5.2 RPG, making 46.8% of his shots from the floor.

Brown is currently on a two-way contract with the Raptors, appearing in 14 games this season for the NBA club. According to Basketball Insiders’ data, Brown’s two-way deal is only for one year, meaning he’ll become a restricted free agent this summer.

The Raptors 905 are currently down 1-0 to the Austin Spurs in the G League’s best-of-three Finals, so Brown will have a chance to lead the club to a series comeback beginning on Tuesday night — he’ll also receive his MVP trophy before tonight’s game. If the Raptors’ affiliate can extend the series, the deciding game would take place on Friday.

Current Warriors guard Quinn Cook and current Knicks guard Trey Burke finished second and third, respectively, in G League MVP voting.

Kings Plan To Move G League Team To Stockton

The Kings plan to relocate their G League team, the Reno Bighorns, to Stockton, California next season, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

The move, which must be approved by the NBA, would facilitate the team’s ability to shuttle players between the franchises, since Stockton is less than an hour’s drive away from Sacramento. The Kings have been affiliated with Reno since 2008 but have run into some weather-related issues during those seasons.

Kings G League GM Anthony McClish and his staff will use the former Kings training facility in Natomas, with access to the Golden 1 Center, Jones adds.

The Lakers, Clippers and Warriors all have affiliates in close proximity to their home base, so Sacramento is putting itself on equal footing with the other California teams.

“With the addition of NBA G League Basketball in the Central Valley, each of California’s NBA franchises have a powerful asset within an hour of their headquarters to help develop their players and expand their fan bases with elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere,” NBA G League President Malcolm Turner said in a statement.

The Kings have sent a handful of players on their regular roster to Reno this season, along with Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson, who are on two-way contracts.

Stockton Arena opened in 2005 and holds up to 12,000.