NBA G League

And-Ones: Beasley, Rising Stars, Graham, Iwundu, Draft

Veteran forward Michael Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, is training in Miami in the hopes of making an NBA comeback, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who says Beasley and his representatives have been in touch with multiple teams.

In a candid conversation with Scotto, Beasley spoke about his NBA career to date, revisiting some of the good stretches, including his season with the Knicks in 2017/18, and the bad, like his time with the Lakers in 2018/19.

“My mom died when I was playing for the Lakers,” Beasley said. “I fought through that, and I came back. My cousin died the game I forgot my shorts in Oklahoma. I was battling that day, trying to fight through it. I wanted to go to the funeral, but I was already gone when my mom died. I just wanted to be there for the team, and the whole world just laughed at me. … It hurt my feelings. I’m not going to lie.”

Beasley is now 33 years old and has been out of the league since 2019, but he tells Scotto he’s “better than I’ve ever been” and has spent the last three years “perfecting my craft on every level on both sides of the ball.”

Agent Charles Briscoe tells Scotto (Twitter link) that the NBA sent a memo to teams informing them Beasley will be eligible to return to play on February 14. It’s unclear whether the forward’s current ineligibility is related to his 2019 suspension (which he never got a chance to serve), delayed FIBA paperwork following a brief stint in Puerto Rico, or something else. In any case, it sounds like he’ll be an option for NBA teams in a few weeks.

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

  • The NBA has announced a new format for its Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend, which will take place on Friday, February 18. The event will feature four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament (two semifinals and a final). The player pool will be comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 sophomores, and four players from the G League Ignite, while the games will be played to a target score: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.
  • The four Ignite players in the Rising Stars event will likely be Jaden Hardy, Michael Foster, Dyson Daniels, and MarJon Beauchamp, tweets Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Those four players will be draft-eligible in 2022, unlike 17-year-old Scoot Henderson.
  • After signing NBA G League contracts, veteran wings Treveon Graham and Wes Iwundu have new teams, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link), who hears from league sources that Graham has been acquired by the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn’s affiliate), while Iwundu has joined the Cleveland Charge (the Cavaliers‘ affiliate).
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report provides a stock report on some of the top prospects of the 2022 NBA draft class, identifying Duke forward AJ Griffin, G League Ignite forward MarJon Beauchamp, and LSU Tari Eason as some players who are climbing up draft boards.

Atlantic Notes: Rose, Reddish, Raptors, Watanabe, Schröder

Derrick Rose is traveling with the Knicks on their three-game road trip and there’s optimism that he will be able to resume playing next month, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Rose had surgery on his right ankle on December 22 and was projected to be sidelined about eight weeks, which would have him returning right after the All-Star break.

“I hate to speculate,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I know he’s doing everything according to plan and there hasn’t been any setback. The swelling’s all gone and he’s feeling a lot better. That’s the important thing.”

Thibodeau added that Rose hasn’t been cleared to run or jump yet, but he is doing workouts in a pool. The loss of Rose, combined with knee issues for Kemba Walker, have left the Knicks short-handed at point guard, although Walker returned to the starting lineup Monday night.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After playing five minutes Sunday in his Knicks debut, Cam Reddish didn’t get off the bench at all Monday, per Ian Begley of There’s no obvious candidate to be removed from the rotation to give Reddish more minutes, so Begley wonders if a trade is in the works, noting that it wouldn’t make sense for the Knicks to give up a first-round pick for Reddish if they didn’t intend to use him.
  • The Raptors aren’t interested in trading core players Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes, according to Michael Grange of Instead, Toronto will focus on acquiring other pieces who can complement that group going forward. One obvious move involves finding a taker for Goran Dragic‘s $19.4MM expiring contract. Dragic was acquired from the Heat in the Kyle Lowry deal, but hasn’t played since early November while tending to personal matters, which Grange said the Raptors didn’t expect.
  • The Raptors have assigned Yuta Watanabe to their G League team, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. As a fourth-year player, Watanabe would have needed to give his approval to the move. He has played in just 19 games this season.
  • The Cavaliers may be the Celtics‘ best option in working out a deal for Dennis Schröder, John Hollinger of the Athletic says in a discussion with Jay King about Boston’s trade prospects. Hollinger proposes sending Schröder to Cleveland for Kevin Pangos, Ed Davis and a 2023 second-round pick in a trade that would leave both teams under the luxury tax.

Wes Iwundu Signs G League Contract

Free agent swingman Wes Iwundu has signed a G League contract, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Iwundu played three games for the Hawks in late December on a 10-day contract under the hardship exception. He averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 27.3 MPG in those contests.

Iwundu spent his first four professional seasons in the NBA after being selected 33rd overall in the 2017 draft by the Magic. He was in Orlando for three years, then played for the Mavericks and Pelicans in 2020/21.

In 226 total games (16.9 MPG), he has averaged 4.4 PPG and 2.5 RPG on .408/.292/.750 shooting.

The Hornets waived Iwundu in October  The Pelicans dealt Iwundu to Charlotte as part of the Devonte’ Graham sign-and-trade.

Treveon Graham Signs G League Contract

Veteran NBA wing Treveon Graham has signed a G League contract, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Graham is the latest in a long line of former NBA players who have entered the NBAGL this season in an effort to make it back to the league.

A former undrafted free agent out of VCU, Graham appeared in 180 regular season games between 2016-20 for the Hornets, Nets, Timberwolves, and Hawks. The 28-year-old has averaged just 4.2 PPG and 2.2 RPG on .383/.333/.691 shooting in 16.0 minutes per contest.

After becoming a free agent in 2020 when his contract with the Hawks expired, Graham signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Bucks. He was waived before the 2020/21 regular season began and hasn’t been on an NBA roster since then.

Graham’s last extended stint in the G League came in his first professional season back in 2015/16. He made 46 appearances for the Idaho Stampede that year, averaging 15.7 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 30.4 MPG.

And-Ones: Sharpe, 2022 Draft, Dotson, Douglas

It was reported a few days ago that top prospect Shaedon Sharpe will be eligible to apply for the 2022 draft, which could have a ripple effect on the projected lottery selections this summer. Kyle Tucker and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic explore the next steps for both Kentucky and Sharpe, who has yet to play a game for the Wildcats. Sources tell The Athletic that although Sharpe is able to apply, there are still questions as to whether he would actually be granted eligibility by the NBA.

Tucker relays that Kentucky wasn’t surprised by the news that Sharpe was eligible to apply for the draft, as it was always a possibility. Sharpe just joined the Wildcats at the beginning of January and hasn’t even gone through a full practice yet. Coach John Calipari said the report doesn’t change anything from his perspective.

It doesn’t change anything. He plans on being here next year. He’s watching. Whether I play him or not this year, if he’s ready to be able to be in games, I’ll put him in. But he’s a great kid and he’s doing well and he’s going to make practices even better. He’s only been here two weeks. But at the end of the day, you know I’m going to be for kids. That’s how I do this,” Calipari said.

The plan all along has been for Sharpe to sit out the ’22 season and suit up for 2022/23. Tucker had a text exchange with Sharpe’s mother, Julia Bell, to verify the plan was still in place and she confirmed that it was. Tucker believes that Sharpe will end up playing at some point this season, but Vecenie thinks that it would behoove him not to.

Vecenie hasn’t projected Sharpe in any mock drafts for ’22 due to the murkiness of his eligibility, but he believes the 6’6″ wing has the upside to be the No. 1 overall pick. If Sharpe does end up applying and is granted eligibility by the NBA, Vecenie says he’d rank him around No. 5 on his board and would be surprised if he fell outside of the top 10. Sharpe would immediately become one of top wing prospects in a draft that is mostly known for its big men.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

And-Ones: Anigbogu, Crabbe, Trade Deadline, Maker

Former Pacers center Ike Anigbogu has signed a contract in the NBA G League, he told Hoops Rumors. Anigbogu will join the Birmingham Squadron, the Pelicans‘ affiliate.

Anigbogu, 23, was drafted No. 47 overall in 2017. He spent parts of the 2017/18 and ’18/19 seasons with Indiana and its G League affiliate, appearing in 14 NBA games.

Anigbogu also signed with the Pelicans for training camp in December of 2020. Along with Anigbogu, Birmingham’s roster currently features former NBA players Jared Harper and Joe Young.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the association:

  • Free agent Allen Crabbe has been acquired by the Knicks‘ G League affiliate in Westchester, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Crabbe holds seven years of NBA experience, last playing with Minnesota during the 2019/20 season. In 381 career games, he’s averaged 9.1 points per contest, shooting 42.5% from the floor and 39% from behind-the-arc.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype examines which players have increased their value ahead of the trade deadline. The deadline falls on Thursday, February 10 this season, which is now less than three weeks away.
  • The Nets‘ G League affiliate in Long Island has acquired former NBA center Thon Maker, a source confirmed to Hoops Rumors. Maker has made past stops with Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland, owning 263 games of experience. The former No. 10 pick last played in Israel.

Denzel Valentine, Allen Crabbe Sign G League Contracts

A pair of veteran wings have signed NBA G League contracts, according to reports. Jay King of The Athletic (Twitter link) says Denzel Valentine is headed to the NBAGL, while Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) says Allen Crabbe is doing the same.

Valentine will join the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate, sources tell King. The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Valentine has appeared in 256 total regular season games for the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Jazz.

The former Michigan State swingman had a promising 2017/18 season (10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, .386 3PT%) with the Bulls, but missed the entire ’18/19 campaign due to an ankle injury and has provided inconsistent production since then. After starting this season in Cleveland, Valentine was traded to the Knicks in the three-team Rajon Rondo deal and was subsequently waived. He spent 10 days with the Jazz on a hardship contract this month — that deal expired earlier this week.

Crabbe has been out of the NBA since the 2019/20 season, having been waived by Minnesota in February 2020. The 29-year-old has a solid résumé though, with 381 regular season appearances (24.0 MPG) for the Trail Blazers, Nets, Hawks, and Timberwolves. He averaged 9.1 PPG and 2.8 RPG with a .387 3PT% during his seven NBA seasons.

It’s unclear at this point which G League team Crabbe will join as he seeks an NBA comeback.

Thon Maker Signs G League Deal

Thon Maker has signed an G League contract, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets.

Maker, still just 24, has been out of the NBA since the Cavaliers waived him last winter to clear roster space in the multi-team James Harden deal.

Maker signed with Hapoel Jarusalem in August. His stay in Israel was a short one, as he parted ways with that team in mid-December. Maker will now look to join a G League franchise with the aim of working his way back into the NBA.

Maker, who was selected with the No. 10 pick in the 2016 draft, spent his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Bucks before being traded to the Pistons. The seven-footer completed his rookie contract in Detroit, then signed with the Cavaliers prior to last season as a free agent.

In 263 total regular season games in the NBA, Maker averaged a modest 4.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 0.7 BPG on .435/.327/.680 shooting in 13.8 minutes per contest.

And-Ones: Hardship Deals, Sharpe, Cornelie, All-Star Voting

The NBA will continue to allow teams to sign players to 10-day hardship contracts via a COVID-related allowance through February 17, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). When first introducing the new form of hardship deals last month, the league said they would be permitted until at least January 19.

Unlike the injury-related hardship deals that have been available for many years, a COVID hardship contract doesn’t count against a team’s salary for cap or tax purposes. Additionally, an injury-related hardship exception is only granted if a club has at least four players out with longer-term injuries, whereas that club becomes eligible for a COVID hardship exception as soon as one player enters the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

There are far fewer players in the protocols now than there were in mid-to-late December and early January, so hopefully the worst of this season’s COVID-19 outbreaks are behind us and not many hardship deals will be required in the coming weeks.

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

  • Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe, once ranked by ESPN as the top prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, will be eligible to apply for the ’22 NBA draft as an early entrant, a source tells ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. It’s unclear whether or not Sharpe, who has yet to play at all for the Wildcats, will actually declare for this year’s draft. If he does, it would shake up the top 10 for lottery teams — Givony has tentatively placed the 18-year-old sixth overall on ESPN’s 2022 big board.
  • Despite some rumors that he was being eyed by a team in Spain, former Nuggets forward Petr Cornelie has signed a G League contract and joined the Grand Rapids Gold, Denver’s affiliate, according to the league’s transactions log. Cornelie was waived last week so the Nuggets could sign Davon Reed to a two-way contract.
  • The NBA announced the latest All-Star voting results on Thursday and issued a reminder that voting will end on Saturday and the All-Star starters will be announced next Thursday, January 27. The fans’ selections will account for 50% of the overall vote, with current NBA players (25%) and a media panel (25%) accounting for the remainder.

Zach Collins Plays G League Game, Nears Return For Spurs

The Spurs took a gamble on Zach Collins in free agency and the oft-injured forward could make his San Antonio debut sometime this month.

Collins was assigned to the G League Austin Spurs on Sunday, as Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets, and he recorded eight points and three blocks in 19 minutes against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Monday.

Collins expects to play one more game for the Austin Spurs on Friday before returning to the NBA club, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News (Twitter link).

“Then after that, if that goes well, and the ankle responds to that well, then I should be going back up (to the Spurs),” Collins said.

However, coach Gregg Popovich said that’s not necessarily the case, Orsborn reports in another tweet.

“He’s been out for a long time, I mean a really long time,” Popovich said. “He needs this to get his rhythm back and to feel comfortable and have confidence in himself, physically, as much as playing-wise.”

Collins was signed to a three-year, $22MM contract last summer, which includes a partial guarantee for next season. The third year is non-guaranteed.

The 10th pick of the 2017 draft, Collins has seen his career sidetracked by injuries. Collins became an unrestricted free agent when the Trail Blazers decided not to extend him a $7MM qualifying offer. He has only appeared in 11 games the past two seasons due to shoulder, foot and ankle injuries.

Collins had a major setback in late June when another fracture was discovered in his left foot. He underwent a second revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture.

One of his new teammates, Doug McDermott, said the team is eager to see Collins get back in action. He hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since August 2020 at the Orlando bubble.

“It’s been a long journey for him,” McDermott told Orsborn (Twitter link).