Overtime Elite

And-Ones: Luwawu-Cabarrot, 2024 FAs, M. Thomas, ESPN

Former NBA forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has reached an agreement on a two-year contract with Baskonia, the Spanish club announced today in a press release.

Luwawu-Cabarrot played in the NBA from 2016-22 after being selected 24th overall in the 2016 draft. He saw rotation minutes for several seasons but never developed into a high-level contributor in the NBA, averaging 5.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 16.0 minutes per game across 328 regular season appearances (60 starts) for the Sixers, Thunder, Bulls, Nets, and Hawks.

The French forward has played a more significant role in Europe over the past two seasons for Olimpia Milano in 2022/23 and ASVEL in 2023/24. As he makes the move to Spain, Luwawu-Cabarrot will be looking to help boost a Baskonia team that missed the Spanish League (ACB) postseason in 2024 and was swept out of the first round of the EuroLeague playoffs by Real Madrid.

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

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Love, Jackson, Blums, Bowman

Junior guard Ajay Mitchell, a projected second-round pick, is declaring for the draft, agent Todd Ramasar tells ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). The 6’4″ UC Santa Barbara floor leader averaged 20.3 points and 4.3 assists while making 38% of his 3-point attempts this past season. He’s currently ranked No. 54 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Arizona guard Caleb Love will enter the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he revealed on a Twitter post. Love averaged 18.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists this past season. Love played three seasons for North Carolina and averaged 18.8 points during a 2022 NCAA Tournament run when the Tar Heels reached the title game.
  • Overtime Elite’s Jahzare Jackson is declaring for the draft, he announced on Instagram. The 6’11” center averaged 12.1 points and 7.5 rebounds for the developmental team.
  • VEF Riga combo guard Roberts Blums will declare for the draft, Jon Chepkevich tweets. Blums was the 2023 FIBA European U18B’s MVP. This season, he was named the Estonian-Latvian League’s Best Young Player.
  • American-born Malik Bowman, who is playing in Portugal, is also declaring for the draft, he announced on Instagram. Bowman, a power forward, has averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 12 games for SC Lusitania.

And-Ones: Maccabi Ra’anana, Real Madrid, Embiid, Trade Candidates

Israeli club Maccabi Ra’anana is taking part in three NBA preseason games this year and is getting reinforcements in former NBA players Quinndary Weatherspoon and Dwayne Bacon, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and NBA on TNT (Twitter link). Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets that 18-year-old big man Nathan Missia-Dio is playing for the club as well.

Haynes writes that Bacon and Weatherspoon are joining Maccabi Ra’anana right away, playing on Thursday night against the Nets. Both players are hoping to sign with NBA teams at the conclusion of the preseason. Mamadi Diakite and Bruno Caboclo are among other former NBA players who are suiting up for Maccabi Ra’anana in the preseason.

Weatherspoon, 27, appeared in 42 NBA games from 2019-22 after being drafted with the No. 49 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He played in two seasons with the Spurs, who drafted him, before playing with the Warriors in the 2021/22 season. The 6’3″ guard averaged 2.1 points in the NBA but was more productive in the G League, where he saw more playing time, averaging 25.3 points in 20 regular season appearances in his most recent season there.

Bacon, 28, made 207 NBA appearances (80 starts) in a productive span from 2017-21. He was selected with the 40th overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Hornets and holds career averages of 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in four seasons with Charlotte and Orlando.

As for Missia-Dio, the Belgian big is only taking part in the club’s games against the Cavaliers on October 16 and the Timberwolves on October 17. He’s a 6’9″ Overtime Elite product who is eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft and will return to OTE to finish out the rest of the season, according to Givony (Twitter link).

We have more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said the league is open to playing games at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid’s soccer team, according to a report from ESPN. The stadium can hold up to 85,000 fans, which could be appealing to a league that has never played overseas in an outdoor soccer stadium. “I’ve had the opportunity to see the new Bernabéu, and it’s incredible what they’ve done there,” Tatum said. “I’ve seen the system with which they raise and lower the grass. It will be a world-class stadium. If the circumstances are right, we would love to play there.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid was given an ultimatum by the French Federation to commit to France in the 2024 Olympics by October 10, but he ultimately ended up committing to play for Team USA. French Federation president Jean-Pierre Siutat said that he was disappointed by the process, according to Eurohoops.net. “I met [Embiid] with Boris Diaw during a dinner in March 2022. We never went looking for him, we never asked,” Siutat said. “It was at his request that we took the steps and I am disappointed that we spent so much time and energy on a case that, ultimately, should never have been opened and it wasn’t created by any request of ours. This is a subject that is behind us now.
  • Even after the blockbuster Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday deals, there could be several more trades that would have a profound impact on the direction of the 2023/24 season, The Ringer’s Seerat Sohi opines. Sohi writes about five potential trade candidates, including James Harden, Pascal Siakam, Karl-Anthony Towns, Buddy Hield and Malcolm Brogdon. I recommend checking the piece, because Sohi describes each situation in full, outlines potential routes forward, and considers what sort of trade package makes sense for each player.

And-Ones: Extension Predictions, Overtime Elite, Hines, Streaming

Of the players eligible for rookie scale extensions in 2023, five have signed new contracts. What will happen with the remaining group?

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explored that topic today, making predictions on which players will sign extensions and which won’t. The players who don’t sign extensions before the start of the 2023/24 regular season will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2024.

Let’s start with former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, who is now on the Pistons after being traded in February.

No deal to be done,” sources told Pincus. “He has too much to prove unless he wants an extremely team-friendly extension. This one will wait.”

How about Magic guard Cole Anthony, who is a member of a crowded backcourt in Orlando?

I think they move Anthony, maybe even before the season. But I don’t think they extend him,” one player agent said.

Ultimately, Pincus believes most of the rookie scale candidates will hit restricted free agency next summer, but a handful could get extensions and a few more have situations worth monitoring.

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

  • The Overtime Elite league has finalized its rosters for the ’23/24 season, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. A total of 31 players on three teams will compete in OTE during the upcoming campaign. A number of prospects have been drafted from the upstart league over the past couple seasons, including Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson, twin brothers who were back-to-back lottery picks in June (Nos. 4 and 5, respectively).
  • ESPN’s Dave McMenamin takes an in-depth look at the competitive summer pickup games at UCLA’s student center, which are run by former Bruins guard and current Sixers assistant Rico Hines. Multiple NBA players and teams are in attendance every year, McMenamin writes, including Warriors star Stephen Curry last offseason. “For me, it’s how can somebody get from being a two-way player or just a subpar player to then getting, ‘Man, he’s made it. He’s a real NBA player,'” Hines said. “That’s what it’s about for me.”
  • Some NBA games will be streamed on Max this season, according to Richard Deitsch and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The games will be part of an add-on package in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, and will cost $9.99 per month.

Overtime Elite Building Off Success Of Thompson Twins

The success of the Thompson twins has brought a lot of exposure to Overtime Elite, commissioner Damien Wilkins tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

Amen Thompson, who was selected fourth in this year’s draft by the Rockets, and Ausar Thompson, who went fifth to the Pistons, were looking for an alternative route to the NBA when they joined the new league two years ago. Wilkins says the twins were “great for business” and generated increased interest in the league, but he doesn’t promise all his prospects that playing for Overtime Elite will get them drafted.

“A lot of what we do here is showing them and being honest with them and not just validating what they think they are but actually being honest with them,” he said. ” We don’t promise them a pro path. What we promise is we are going to help them be better every single day. If you lean into the program that we’re giving you, you’re going to leave here a successful person. Now what that looks like now for you, it may not involve professional basketball.”

Based in Atlanta, the league provides another option for players to develop their skills apart from college basketball. They have access to top-notch training facilities to work on their games, along with academic help.

Wilkins, who had a long pro career after going undrafted in 2004, played two years at North Carolina State and two more at Georgia. He considers the environment for young athletes to be much better than it was 20 years ago.

“The biggest difference is just options. We were limited when I was coming up. We didn’t have anything like this,” Wilkins said. “We certainly didn’t have NIL. We didn’t even have social media. It was one thing and no matter how good we were or how hard we played, we weren’t profiting off of that at all. We might get a couple of pairs of shoes here and there but for the most part, anything more than that was an extra benefit that could take away your eligibility, now you see guys driving cars that people dreamed of having, going places, making tons of money in this space legally, appearing on platforms that just weren’t around or didn’t exist.”

Since the draft, Wilkins has heard from a lot more parents who want to explore what Overtime Elite can offer their sons. He calls it a “gift and a curse,” noting that there are few prospects with the natural talent of Amen and Ausar. Expectations will continue to rise with an upcoming Amazon documentary on the Thompsons and how they developed through the OTE program.

Wilkins has also heard the doubters who wonder how much Overtime Elite really helped the Thompson twins, so he and his staff are “super competitive” about proving they can produce more high-level prospects.

“We had to lace up our boots after the draft,” Wilkins said. “Can we do this again? Do we have enough (players) in the (program) to keep people coming back to us? We believe now that we do and we believe we can. Twelve pros in two years, that’s not bad so far. We understand we have a lot of work to do ahead of us, but I love where we’re trending.”

And-Ones: Knox, Hoard, Antetokounmpo, Rivers

Overtime Elite has signed five-star recruit Karter Knox, the team tweets. Karter Knox is the younger brother of NBA forward Kevin Knox. He’s entering his senior year of high school after leading Tampa Catholic to state semifinal appearances the last two seasons.

“Karter didn’t really want to leave,” his father Kevin Sr. told PrimeTimePreps.com. “He wanted to try to become the school’s all-time leading scorer and win a state title. If the state offered those (NIL) opportunities, it would have been a much tougher decision. This also gives Karter the ability to have constant training on a daily basis in an IMG type of setup. It is an extremely lucrative opportunity, not just in the money available, but in the value of getting Karter prepared for the next level. It’s just another layer to add to the foundation.”

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Jaylen Hoard has signed a two-year extension with Hapoel Tel Aviv, Sportando relays. Hoard averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game between the Winner League and Eurocup last season. After going undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2019, the 6’8″, French-born swingman joined the Trail Blazers on a two-way deal for the 2019/20 season. He then spent the subsequent two NBA seasons bouncing between the Thunder and their NBAGL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.
  • It’s still up in the air whether Giannis Antetokounmpo will play in the FIBA World Cup for the Greek National Team, according to Eurohoops.net. Coach Dimitris Itoudis said Antetokounmpo’s cleanup procedure on his knee in June has led to the uncertainty regarding his availability. “That should be addressed to our doctor and the doctors of the Bucks. The information is that he is making an effort, and he will be reevaluated shortly, and we will have a final decision on whether he will make it or not,” Itoudis said.
  • Austin Rivers said on his recent podcast that he’s not a fan of players like Damian Lillard and James Harden demanding to be traded to a certain team (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin). “If you’re a free agent you can choose where you were gonna go, that’s the business. But when you’re not and you sign a deal, that’s part of the business,” Rivers said. “If you get traded somewhere, you got to go play.”

And-Ones: D. Rivers, M. Jackson, Bahamas, Shooting Tech, Contracts

After letting go of Jeff Van Gundy last month, ESPN/ABC has also laid off fellow analyst Mark Jackson, sources tell Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Jackson confirmed the news in an interview with Peter Vecsey, Marchand adds (via Twitter).

As Marchand writes, the new top NBA broadcast team at ESPN/ABC will be comprised of longtime play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, former Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and Doris Burke, who is being promoted. The hiring of Rivers and promotion of Burke aren’t yet official, but they are “quickly moving in that direction,” according to Marchand.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirms Marchand’s reporting (via Twitter).

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The SunsDeandre Ayton and Eric Gordon, Pacers wing Buddy Hield, and Hornets big man Kai Jones are on the 2024 Olympic qualifying roster for the Bahamas, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. The Bahamian national team will play its qualifying games in Argentina from August 14-20. “I’m excited to be back playing for Team Bahamas and to see how much the program has grown,” Ayton told Spears. “Can’t wait to play with my guys. It’s truly a special experience to compete with teammates – who are from where you’re from – with Bahamas on your chest.”
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN details how Breakaway Data — a startup focused on the biomechanics of shooting — has partnered with Overtime Elite and Las Vegas Summer League to provide detailed breakdowns of each player’s shot. “I thought it was very informative,” Overtime Elite product Amen Thompson, drafted fourth overall by the Rockets, told ESPN. “Not everything works for everybody, but that [data] can’t really be a bad thing. It can only help to get as much information as possible. I felt like that’s what it gave us.”
  • Which players have inked the most lucrative contracts in NBA history? Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype provides the list. Jaylen Brown‘s new super-max extension with the Celtics is the current largest deal ever, Gozlan notes.

Draft Notes: Wembanyama, Coulibaly, Lewis, Clowney

Although Victor Wembanyama may be the best NBA draft prospect in 20 years, the Spurs understand that his body type carries a certain amount of injury risk, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDonald notes that foot injuries have interrupted or even ended the careers of numerous big men, such as Bill Walton, Yao Ming, Arvydas Sabonis and Greg Oden. The latest example is Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren, who suffered a foot fracture in an exhibition game last summer that forced him to miss his entire first season.

Wembanyama possesses an agility that has rarely been seen in someone so tall, and he has a team of advisors who have created a specialized training regimen to help him avoid stress injuries. Their prescription includes an all-natural diet with five meals each day, along with 10 hours of sleep.

“When you talk about a generational talent, it often times goes beyond your ability to make a shot or your ability to jump or put the ball on the floor,” Spurs general manager Brian Wright said. “As we’ve studied Victor, he’s very in depth with everything he does. It’s all those little details that go into becoming great.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Wembanyama is advocating for his French teammate, Bilal Coulibaly, to be selected in the lottery, relays NBA reporter Esfandiar Baraheni (Twitter link). “When I see the top 10 prospects announced at the draft, and for example the twins, Amen and Ausar Thompson, whose profile is similar to Bilal’s,” Wembanyama said, “I tell myself, very factually, that if these players are announced in the first five picks while playing in a league, Overtime Elite, whose level is light years away from what we experience here, then Bilal must be at least a top five.”
  • Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis, who worked out for the Trail Blazers on Thursday, views himself as a definite first-round pick, per Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. “In my opinion, after just being in this environment, I feel like I’m a top-20 guy,” Lewis said. “We’ll see. Sky’s the limit.”
  • Alabama’s Noah Clowney is the 20th player to receive a Green Room invitation for draft night, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Washington State guard Justin Powell has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Rockets and Nets, tweets Adam Zagoria of NJ.com.
  • The Hornets are hosting six players on Sunday for a pre-draft workout (Twitter link). They are Kam’Ron Blue of Coppin State, GG Jackson of South Carolina, Terry Roberts of Georgia, Vincent Valerio-Bodon of Sopron KC, Jalen Wilson of Kansas and Isaiah Wong of Miami.

Draft Notes: Ausar Thompson, Nnaji, Hornets, Hawks, Wizards

Ausar Thompson pulled out of a scheduled workout with the Pacers on Friday, according to an Indianapolis Star story. No official reason was given, but it’s possible that the Overtime Elite star has received information that he’s likely to be selected before Indiana picks at No. 7. The article also suggests that Thompson may prefer to be drafted by a team picking later in the lottery.

The canceled workout doesn’t mean the Pacers wouldn’t consider Thompson if he’s still on the board, as he would provide a defensive boost to a team that ranked 29th in that category this season. The Star story notes that president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard is looking for a player with a “high ceiling” in the draft, and Thompson appears to fit that description.

Indiana holds five picks and has brought in more than 60 players during the pre-draft process. Most have been in group sessions, but projected lottery picks such as Thompson have been given individual workouts. The Pacers have already hosted Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, Houston’s Jarace Walker, Central Florida’s Taylor Hendricks and Kansas’ Gradey Dick.

There’s more on the draft:

Draft Notes: Henderson, Miller, Thompsons, Hendricks, Livingston, Bates

The Hornets hold the No. 2 pick and the top contenders to be chosen at that spot are visiting Charlotte soon, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer reports.

G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson is scheduled to come in on Sunday, while Alabama forward Brandon Miller will visit on Tuesday. A trio of prospects also rated among the top 10 on most draft boards are also working out for the Hornets in the near future. Twins brothers Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson of Overtime Elite will work out on Friday. Villanova forward Cam Whitmore is scheduled to come in on June 17.

We have more draft-related notes: