NBA G League

Hawks Officially Rebrand NBAGL Affiliate; 2 Chainz Has Ownership Stake

After controlling the Erie BayHawks for the last two seasons, the Hawks have officially relocated their G League franchise to College Park, Georgia. The new NBAGL team, the College Park Skyhawks, now has an official website and unveiled its primary and secondary logos today.

It was first reported back in January 2017 that the Hawks would have a G League club in College Park beginning in the 2019/20 season. In the interim, Atlanta used the Erie BayHawks as its affiliate, and now that the Hawks are no longer associated with the team in Erie, the Pelicans that will be affiliated with that squad going forward. New Orleans will eventually have a G League franchise in Birmingham, Alabama, but that’s not expected to happen until 2022, so the BayHawks will once again serve as a placeholder.

As for the Hawks’ new affiliate in College Park, the team is set to play its home games at the all-new Gateway Center, which will hold 3,500 people for Skyhawks games.

The team also announced today that rapper 2 Chainz – whose real name is Tauheed Epps and who was born and raised in College Park – has a minority stake in the Skyhawks’ ownership group. Epps told Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the opportunity is a “dream come true,” adding that he intends to use his new position as a platform.

“I’m an entertainer,” Epps said. “I’m a hip-hop musician. … I’m able to use my platform to inspire the youth, with real action though, like real time, not just stories of what it used to be. I’m able to show them a real timeline of me actually going through these steps, ups and downs, and to continue the marathon. This is a real story that people can relate to. I’m tangible. I’m accessible. I’m somebody that people can touch, get next to. I’m at Hawks games with my kids. I’m a real person. I’m very transparent. I think the Hawks see how I can help spark the next coach, assistant, owner.”

With the BayHawks remaining in the G League as the Pelicans’ affiliate and the Skyhawks beginning play in 2019/20, the NBAGL is expected to have 28 teams next season. The Trail Blazers and Nuggets are the only two NBA clubs that don’t yet have their own affiliates.

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)

Drive Look To Remain In Grand Rapids

As we relayed this afternoon, the Pistons plan to relocate their G League affiliate to Detroit after the Wayne State University Board of Governors approved a plan to build a new $25MM athletic facility with a 3,000-seat arena for its basketball teams.

But, according to James Hawkins of The Detroit News, it appears as though the Pistons are going to need to a new affiliate, as the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ current NBAGL affiliate, have no plans to leave Grand Rapids.

“We are deeply committed to our fans and love being part of the sports landscape in the community that we’ve called home since 2014,” per an official statement from the Drive. “This team has been community-built and supported for five seasons, and we are looking forward to continuing the growth of the franchise here in West Michigan.”

“We have no plans on relocating to Detroit but continue to have great communication and a positive relationship with the Pistons organization,” the statement continued. “We are solely focused on our sixth season this upcoming fall, in partnership with the Detroit Pistons and the NBA.”

The Pistons currently have an agreement with the Drive for a NBA/G League affiliation that runs through the 2020/21 season, and any change in affiliation would require approval from the NBA. For what it’s worth, Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem says it is still unclear whether the Drive or an expansion franchise will be joining the Pistons in Detroit.

“We’re (Pistons and Drive) in discussions right now and I don’t know,” Tellem said. “We have a commitment that we can get an expansion team, and it may be an expansion team. We’ll see how our discussions are resolved as we talk with the NBA and the Grand Rapids team… All we know is we’re going to be bringing a team here for the 2021 season and we’re in discussions now. I’m not sure what team it will be. All I know is there will be a team here.”

Pistons Plan To Move G League Affiliate To Detroit

The Wayne State University Board of Governors has approved a plan to build a new $25MM athletic facility that will house its basketball teams, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News, who writes that the new 3,000-seat arena is expected to be ready for the 2021/22 basketball season (Twitter link).

In addition to hosting the Wayne State men’s and women’s basketball teams, the building is also on track to become the new home for the Pistons‘ G League affiliate. Currently, the Pistons’ NBAGL club plays its home games up I-96 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As Beard details, the Pistons have been increasing their foothold in the city of Detroit in recent years, having relocated from The Palace of Auburn Hills to the Little Caesars Arena in 2017. A new downtown practice facility is scheduled to be completed this September.

It’s not clear yet if the Pistons intend to relocate their current affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, to Detroit, or whether the club will assume control of a new expansion G League team. Either way, the move won’t go into effect until at least the 2021/22 season.

[UPDATE: Drive look to remain in Grand Rapids]

Additionally, because the new building will be owned by Wayne State University, the Pistons’ G League affiliate will have to reach a formal lease agreement, which is still pending, as Beard notes.

And-Ones: NBA Awards, G League, Smith, York

For an entertaining piece about the process of NBA award voting, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype interviewed voters, players and PR staffers about some behind-the-scenes aspects of how awards are handed out at the conclusion of an NBA season.

Some of the more interesting tidbits include:

  • Team PR representatives and agents will actually sometimes call a voter and argue for their respective player, coach, etc. by getting into details regarding stats, achievements, records, etc. They’ll also even point out flaws of other candidates.
  • Voters generally put a lot of work into their voting process, as social media reprisal is a scary thing (the NBA publicizes the voters’ choices each season). This can be a double-edged sword – you want to hold each voter accountable but you also want voters to have the confidence to stray from the pack if they have a reasonable basis for doing so.
  • Some more prominent writers choose not to vote for awards, as there is potential for blow-back from players, coaches, etc. they didn’t vote for, especially since the newest CBA essentially grants salary raises based on media votes.

The whole piece is worth a read. Below are some additional odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA has released a statement regarding the success of the G League’s development of players, reporting that a total of 52% of players on 2018/18 NBA end-of-season rosters played in the G League at some point.
  • Per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports, G League guard Scoochie Smith has signed a contract with Peristeri BC of The Greek Basket League. Smith, 24, averaged 12.2 points and 6.3 assists per game for the Canton Charge during the 2018/19 season.
  • Smith also passes along word of another overseas signing by a G League guard in Greece, with Gabe York of the Lakeland Magic joining AEK Basketball Club, also of The Greek Basket League. York averaged 16.4 PPG and 3.0 APG this past G League season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/3/19

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors have recalled rookie wing Jacob Evans from the G League, the team announced today in a press release. The Santa Cruz Warriors’ season is over after they were eliminated in the Western semifinal, so Evans should be back with Golden State for the rest of the season.

Earlier updates:

  • The Kings have recalled recently-signed shooting guard B.J. Johnson from the G League, the team announced today in a press release (Twitter link via Jason Jones of The Athletic). With their own G League affiliate done for the season, the Kings sent Johnson to his old team, the Lakeland Magic, for Tuesday’s semifinal vs. Long Island. Despite Johnson’s 22 points and 11 rebounds, Lakeland lost and was eliminated from the NBAGL playoffs, so the 23-year-old should stick with Sacramento for the rest of the season.
  • The Nets have recalled rookie forward Dzanan Musa from the G League after Tuesday’s semifinal, the team announced today (via Twitter). The NBAGL Finals are set to begin on Sunday, so Musa seems like a good bet to rejoin Long Island for that best-of-three series.

NBA G League Announces 2018/19 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player and the Defensive Player of the Year for the 2018/19 season on Monday, Raptors 905 big man Chris Boucher – now a member of the Toronto Raptors – headlines the All-NBA G League first team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Boucher was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by teammate Jordan Loyd, as well as Capital City Go-Go guard Jordan McRae, Long Island Nets big man Alan Williams, and Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario center Angel Delgado. All four players are currently on two-way contracts with NBA teams.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams, as most of the 15 players named to the three squads aren’t currently NBA free agents, having signed two-way or NBA contracts.

The complete list of the 2018/19 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on a 15-man NBA roster are marked with an asterisk (*), while players on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Chris Boucher (Raptors 905) *
  • Angel Delgado (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario) ^
  • Jordan Loyd (Raptors 905) ^
  • Jordan McRae (Capital City Go-Go) ^
  • Alan Williams (Long Island Nets) ^

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Chris Chiozza (Capital City Go-Go) *
    • Note: Chiozza wasn’t on an NBA contract for most of the season, but was recently called up by the Rockets.
  • Angel Delgado (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario) ^
  • Yante Maten (Sioux Falls Skyforce) ^
  • Theo Pinson (Long Islands Nets) ^
  • Duncan Robinson (Sioux Falls Skyforce) ^

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

The All-Defensive team is the only squad that features players who are currently NBA free agents — Brimah and Pelle haven’t been on an NBA roster this season, while Payton only briefly spent time with an NBA team, signing a 10-day contract with the Wizards in January.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/1/19

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Rockets assigned big man Isaiah Hartenstein to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Hartenstein will play in the G League conference finals game against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday. Hartenstein is averaging 19.5 PPG, 14.7 RPG and 3.8 APG in 26 G League appearances this season.

Chris Boucher Named G League MVP, DPOY

Raptors big man Chris Boucher has earned a pair of end-of-season NBA G League honors, as the team issued a press release today announcing that Boucher has been named the NBAGL Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year.

Although Boucher is on Toronto’s 15-man roster now, he spent much of the season with the Raptors 905, either on assignment or as part of the two-way contract agreement he had with the team earlier in 2018/19.

Boucher put up huge numbers for the Raptors’ G League affiliate, averaging 27.2 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and an eye-popping 4.1 BPG in 28 games. In the club’s first-round playoff win over the Grand Rapids Drive, the 26-year-old nearly posted a triple-double, with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and nine blocks.

Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days, who selected Boucher’s teammate Jordan Loyd as his MVP this season, tweets that he left Boucher off his own end-of-season awards because he only appeared in 28 games. NBA G League clubs play 50 regular season games, and a player must appear in 25 of them to qualify for the league’s awards.

When Boucher was promoted to the Raptors’ 15-man roster in February, he inked a two-year deal that includes a partially guaranteed salary for 2019/20, so Toronto will have the opportunity to keep him under contract next season at the minimum. If he sticks with the Raps for another season, he’d become eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2020.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/30/19

Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Rockets recalled forward Gary Clark and center Isaiah Hartenstein from Rio Grande Valley after Friday’s G League playoff victory, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. They will likely rejoin the Vipers Tuesday for the start of the conference finals.
  • The Grizzlies recalled rookie guard Jevon Carter from the Memphis Hustle, according to a tweet from the team. Memphis lost its playoff game last night, so Carter’s G League season is over.