NBA G League

NBA G League Elite Camp To Take Place June 19-21

After having to cancel it in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA will once again hold its G League Elite Camp prior to the draft combine this year, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says the event will take place from June 19-21. The combine will follow, in the same location, from June 21-27.

In 2019, after the NBA revamped it, the Elite Camp consisted of 40 NBA G League invitees participating in the first half of the event, followed by 40 top draft-eligible players (who weren’t invited to the actual combine) taking part in the second half. It’s unclear if the format will remain the same this year.

The list of draft-eligible players who took part in the 2019 G League Elite Camp included a handful of prospects who were eventually drafted, such as Terance Mann, Cody Martin, Justin Wright-Foreman, Reggie Perry, and Dewan Hernandez.

Many of the draft-eligible participants in the 2019 Elite Camp also made it to the NBA after going undrafted, including Oshae Brissett, Chris Clemons, Tyler Cook, Tacko Fall, DaQuan Jeffries, Caleb Martin, Justin Robinson, and Max Strus.

Several players from the G League portion of the 2019 Elite Camp – such as Juan Toscano-Anderson, Norvel Pelle, Mychal Mulder, and Jordan McLaughlin – have also played in the NBA during the last couple years.

When the NBA announced its plans for the 2021 draft combine, the league noted that the event will be subject to “evolving health conditions.” It’s safe to say that caveat will apply to the G League Elite Camp as well.

Knicks’ Jared Harper Looking To Build On All-NBAGL Season

Knicks two-way guard Jared Harper has shifted his focus to the rest of the 2020/21 NBA season after an impressive stint in the G League bubble, one that earned him an honor few players obtain: a spot on the All-NBA G League First Team.

Harper, a 5’10” point guard who went unselected in the 2019 draft, spent part of last season on a two-way contract with Phoenix before being claimed off waivers by New York in June. After signing a new two-way deal with the Knicks in the offseason, the 23-year-old has seen limited action at the NBA level, but he excelled in the G League with Westchester and is enjoying his time on an NBA roster.

“It’s definitely been a great experience,” Harper told Hoops Rumors in a phone interview. “For one, just being able to be in the NBA. Two, being with an organization as storied as the Knicks and all that goes along with it. Just the opportunity of making history. We’re trying to make a push to continue to stay in the playoff race and go from there. I think there are a lot of positives in this situation.”

In 12 G League contests this season, Harper increased his averages nearly across the board, recording 21.3 points (up from 20.2) and 7.0 assists (up from 5.5) per game. His shooting also improved, going from .413/.362/.787 as an NBAGL rookie to .473/.403/.854 in his second year.

“I just think that next year (helped),” Harper said. “Last year I was able to learn a lot just by playing professional basketball on the fly, even though I was able to play well. But coming into this year, I saw areas that I needed to improve to help me be more efficient — passing the ball, or even scoring.

“Better yet, just trying to win more games. So I think I just took what I did well last year and tried to perfect those things. Plus the things I didn’t do as well, I tried to make better, so everything overall would come together.”

Along with Harper, the G League First Team consisted of Kevin Porter Jr., Mamadi Diakite, Moses Brown, and MVP Paul Reed — all players who are on standard NBA contracts or two-way deals. Every member of the Second Team and Third Team is also under contract with an NBA team or has previous NBA experience. The overall talent level in the bubble made his spot on the First Team this season even more special, Harper said.

“It’s definitely great just knowing how much talent was down in the G League bubble this year,” he explained. “To be recognized as one of the top players down there is just helping me get closer to my goal of being able to play on an NBA court.”

The Knicks have exceeded expectations under head coach Tom Thibodeau this season and currently hold the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 25-27. The team is just two games behind the fourth-seeded Hornets and could make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Harper hasn’t received many chances on the court to contribute to the Knicks’ playoff push so far, having appeared in just four NBA games this season. However, he has gotten the opportunity to learn from veteran guards such as Derrick Rose and Alec Burks, and he has remained supportive of his teammates in practices and on the sidelines. The plan now, he says, is to stay ready in case his number gets called on a more regular basis.

“When I get my opportunity with this team, I just want to take full advantage of it,” Harper said. “My main priority is to continue to get better and do anything I can do to help us make it to the playoffs. Whatever that role will be, that’s my main goal.”

Erie BayHawks Will Cease Operations

The Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League won’t return for the 2021/22 season, announcing today in a press release that they’ll cease operations in the coming weeks.

Technically, the franchise now known as the Erie BayHawks will be relocated by the Pelicans for the ’21/22 season to Birmingham, Alabama, where it will be rebranded.

That has happened to two iterations of the BayHawks in the past, as the original team became the Lakeland Magic in 2017 and the second version became the College Park Skyhawks in 2019. In each instance, an expansion team – also known as the BayHawks – continued to play in Erie, having established a new NBA affiliation.

However, the Pelicans turned down their 2021/22 option with Erie as they prepare to move their G League operations to Birmingham. As a result, the BayHawks don’t have an NBA partner lined up for next season, resulting in the decision to halt operations.

“We’ve made the determination that we will cease operations in the coming weeks due to not being unable to find another NBA partner, or other adequate opportunity, to keep G League basketball in Erie,” Erie Basketball Management president Owen McCormick said in a statement. “This result is merely a reflection of the changing landscape of the NBA as many teams prefer their G League affiliate be located nearby, and Erie simply is not positioned geographically to provide that.

“While we’re saddened by this for our fans and the Erie community, we are deeply appreciative of the tremendous support the BayHawks received over the past 13 years. The Erie region can be proud of the history the BayHawks made and the role that Erie played for the NBA during our years in the NBA Development League and NBA G League. We are truly grateful for the community’s amazing support and the fond memories made.”

Currently, the Suns and Trail Blazers are the only two NBA teams that don’t have a G League affiliate in place for the 2021/22 campaign. While it’s possible the BayHawks explored a partnership with one of those teams, neither Phoenix nor Portland is located anywhere close to Erie, Pennsylvania, so it wouldn’t have made for a convenient arrangement.

The BayHawks first entered the G League in 2008. Over the years, the team served as the NBAGL affiliate for the Cavaliers, Sixers, Raptors, Knicks, Magic, Hawks, and Pelicans. The Wizards also used Erie as its affiliate during the 2020/21 season, sharing operating costs with the Pels.

NBA G League Announces 2020/21 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year on Monday, Delaware Blue Coats forward Paul Reed – who is on a two-way contract with the Sixers – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Reed was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by MVP runner-up Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, as well as Oklahoma City Blue big man Moses Brown, Lakeland Magic forward Mamadi Diakite, and Westchester Knicks guard Jared Harper. All of those players are currently on either standard NBA contracts or two-way deals.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently under contract with NBA teams or have past NBA experience.

The complete list of the 2020/21 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Jared Harper (Westchester Knicks) ^

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Malachi Flynn (Raptors 905) *
  • Brodric Thomas (Canton Charge) ^
  • KJ Martin (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Tahjere McCall (Lakeland Magic)
  • Gary Payton II (Raptors 905)

Of the 18 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Brissett, Uthoff, McCall, and Payton – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’20/21 season began. All four of them have previous NBA experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: MVP Race, Trade Assets, Payton II, Morris

Injuries expected to sideline LeBron James and Joel Embiid for multiple weeks have shaken up the chase for the Most Valuable Player award. Nikola Jokic is now the frontrunner to win the wide-open race for the award, according to Chris Sheridan of Basketball News. Betting sites FanDuel, Draft Kings, BetMGM and have made the Nuggets’ All-Star big man the favorite.

We have more tidbits from around the basketball world:

  • The Thunder possess a boatload of first-round picks, some veterans with trade appeal and plenty of trade exceptions. That’s why Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report ranks Oklahoma City No. 1 in terms of trade assets. Pincus lists each team by the value of its trade assets.
  • Raptors 905 guard Gary Payton II has been named the G League Defensive Player of the Year, according to a G League press release. The league’s head coaches and GMs voted on the award. Payton II led the league in steals per game (2.54), including nine games with two or more steals.
  • Nuggets guard Monte Morris has committed to the Nigeria national team for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets. Mike Brown will coach the team, which also includes NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu and Ekpe Udoh.

Sixers’ Paul Reed Named G League Rookie Of The Year, MVP

Sixers two-way player Paul Reed has a pair of two major NBA G League awards for the 2020/21 season, having been named the NBAGL Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, per a press release. He beat out Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. and Raptors 905 big man Henry Ellenson, who finished second and third, respectively, in MVP voting.

Reed, the 58th overall pick in the 2020 draft, spent the entire G League season at the NBAGL bubble in Walt Disney World, appearing in all 15 games and helping to lead the Delaware Blue Coats to a 10-5 record and a spot in the G League Finals.

In 31.5 minutes per contest, Reed filled up the box score with 22.3 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.0 SPG, and 1.8 BPG. He also posted a scorching .588/.444/.789 shooting line.

Reed hasn’t seen much action at the NBA level so far this season, logging just 64 minutes in seven games for Philadelphia. However, he’s considered a promising young prospect and is expected to have his two-way deal turned into a standard contract at some point.

Reed is the third player to be named the G League Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season, joining Tim Frazier (2015) and Devin Brown (2003).

Southeast Notes: Stan Heath, Aldridge, Hunter, Magic

Just days after the Lakeland Magic, the NBAGL affiliate of the Magic, won the 2020/21 G League title in a 97-78 route of the Delaware Blue Coats, Lakeland head coach Stan Heath has been named the NBA G League Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches, per a G League press release.

Heath’s defensive approach worked wonders for the Magic, who finished their regular season with a 9-6 record that nabbed them the No. 6 seed heading into the G League playoffs. Lakeland’s stifling defense ranked atop the G League with a 101.0 defensive rating and 101.5 PPG allowed.

Heath won top honors during a uniquely unorthodox year for the G League, one that was reduced to a 15-game regular season within an Orlando “bubble” campus. Heath is the only head coach Lakeland has ever known, since its 2017 inception. He holds a 94-63 record across his four seasons at the helm for the club.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may not be done adding 35-year-old NBA veterans to their roster this season, following the news of Miami’s trade for Trevor Ariza today. Sources tell Marc Stein of the New York Times (via Twitter) that the Heat will remain in pursuit of former All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who is currently away from the Spurs as they try to coordinate a trade. Stein notes that Miami would likely look to add Aldridge in the event of a buyout, not a trade.
  • Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan apparently does not share the previously-expressed optimism of Atlanta GM Travis Schlenk that injured small forward De’Andre Hunter will return to the court Thursday. Hunter has been rehabilitating from a January surgery on his right meniscus. During an interview on the Midday Show with Andy & Randy for 92.7 FM The Game. McMillan pushed back against Schlenk’s claims. “He has been working out, he’s getting closer, but playing tomorrow? That’s something we haven’t really talked much about,” McMillan said. “I think the conversation before going on the road trip was hopefully he’ll be able to join us on this eight game road trip we have coming up.” Hunter, the No. 4 pick out of Virginia in 2019, had been enjoying a breakout season with the Hawks before his injury. Across his 18 healthy games (all starts), Hunter averaged 17.2 PPG on an efficient slash line of .514/.366/.877, to go along with 5.4 RPG and 2.2 APG.
  • The 13-26 Magic may be best served exploring their trade options in the days leading up to the March 25 deadline. John Hollinger, Danny Leroux and Josh Robbins of The Athletic preview potential deals for the franchise, suggesting that veterans Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Nikola Vucevic, and even 2021 free agent swingman Evan Fournier could all net some intriguing young talent.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bulls, Murphy, Bucks

As the Pistons front office, led by team president Troy Weaver, assesses its long-term outlook beyond the 2020/21 season, the team is less worried about its young players’ present on-court fit than it is about those players’ ceilings across future seasons, writes Keith Langlois of

Langlois points to the team’s recent exchange of Svi Mykhailiuk, one of Detroit’s better three-point snipers (although he is still shooting a below-league average 33.3%, on decent volume, from deep), for Hamidou Diallo, an athletic wing who has been enjoying a better overall year than Mykhailiuk but is less of a fit for the current team as a non-shooter.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Rival executives speculate that the Bulls may be standing pat at the upcoming March 25 trade deadline, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. The team has several intriguing players who could be of interest to rival clubs, including veteran forward Thaddeus Young, 2021 restricted free agent big man Lauri Markkanen, the expiring contract of injury-prone wing Otto Porter Jr., and veteran guard Tomas Satoransky.
  • After spending a decade as the men’s basketball head coach at Eastern Michigan, Rob Murphy is departing the program to join the new Pistons G League affiliate team, the Motor City Cruise, as their president and general manager, according to a team press release.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic breaks down the Bucks‘ roster as the trade deadline nears, appraising which players are most likely to be traded, which are untouchable, and which occupy the murky real estate in-between. Nehm pinpoints Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday as the team’s three untouchable players. Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez, the team’s other two starters, would be moved only for a high-level difference-maker in return, Nehm suggests.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Drummond, Reed, Raptors, Sanders

A report on Monday indicated that the Knicks are considering the possibility of a multiyear contract offer for Andre Drummond if he’s bought out and reaches free agency. However, a source from one opposing team is skeptical about Drummond’s fit in New York, according to Ian Begley of

“I don’t love it for (Julius) Randle,” Begley’s source said. “Drummond plays close to the rim, so you’re limiting what Randle can do. Long-term, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Besides the fit with Randle, there’s concern about what sort of impact adding Drummond would have on the development of young Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who is under contract through 2022. At this point though, there’s no reason to necessarily believe the Knicks would be the frontrunner for Drummond over title contenders like the Lakers and Nets if he agrees to a buyout with Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Coming off an impressive performance in the G League bubble, Sixers rookie forward Paul Reed is expected to have his two-way contract turned into a standard deal at some point, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania doesn’t make it clear whether that will happen during the season or in the summer, but I imagine the 76ers would prefer to get it done sooner rather than later — Reed would be a restricted free agent if he finishes the season on his current deal, opening the door for a rival team to give him an offer sheet.
  • The shorthanded Raptors are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, but the slide – which has come with Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and two other players sidelined – shouldn’t change the team’s approach to the trade deadline, one way or the other, writes Josh Lewenberg of
  • Raptors 905 general manager Chad Sanders has been named the NBA G League Executive of the Year for 2020/21, per a press release. Sanders’ squad had the best regular season record in the NBAGL bubble, at 12-3.

And-Ones: Ignite, BayHawks, Go-Go, Practices, Lewis

With the 2021 G League bubble coming to an end last week, players on the G League Ignite have essentially gone their separate ways and are expected to train individually ahead of the draft, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

The roster has four players in particular — Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix — who are projected to be drafted in 2021. Green and Kuminga are recognized as probable high lottery picks.

The team’s facilities in Walnut Creek, California remain available for players to use, Stein adds. The Ignite finished its inaugural season with an 8-7 record, having competed with a unique mix of young players and veterans.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Fred Katz of The Athletic takes a look at how the G League arrangement between the Wizards and Pelicans worked this season. Washington opted not to have an affiliate in the G League bubble, though the team did reach an agreement to send multiple players to New Orleans’ team, the Erie BayHawks, instead.
  • Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times examines how the coronavirus pandemic has virtually decimated practices in the NBA this season. Woike explores how the pandemic has made it difficult for teams to schedule practices in an unprecedented campaign, something the league hopes will improve as the year goes on. “We use the games as practice,” Nets star James Harden said. “… The most important thing is being ready once the postseason starts.”
  • Maccabi Rishon (Israel) has released guard Trey Lewis, announcing the news on social media today. Lewis, 28, holds several years of overseas experience, also playing with the Jazz’s G League affiliate during the 2018/19 season. He went undrafted in 2015 after playing at Penn State, Cleveland State and Louisville.