Brandon Bass

And-Ones: Newly-Scheduled Games, AmeriCup, All-Star Game

In the wake of a series of postponements related to both COVID-19 and severe weather in Texas, the NBA is adding a pair of new games to its schedule for this week. The Nuggets and Cavaliers will play in Cleveland on Friday, according to an official announcement. Meanwhile, the Bulls will host the Pistons on Wednesday in Chicago, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Bulls were initially scheduled to play in Charlotte on Wednesday, while the Pistons were supposed to play in Dallas. However, the Hornets were affected by coronavirus contact tracing and the Mavs are dealing with a weather-related state of emergency in the area, so Chicago and Detroit will instead play each other.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets had been scheduled to play in Charlotte on Friday night, but that Hornets game has been postponed as well due to contact tracing. The Cavaliers, whose Wednesday contest vs. San Antonio was postponed, were scheduled to be inactive until Sunday, so a Friday game easily fits into their schedule.

Neither new game is a makeup of an earlier postponement, but playing those games this week will allow the NBA to avoid having to schedule them in the second half.

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

  • Veteran NBA forward Brandon Bass has joined Team USA’s roster for the upcoming FIBA AmeriCup qualifying games in Puerto Rico, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Canada’s roster for those qualifiers is headlined by former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays (via Twitter).
  • In the wake of Jalen Johnson‘s decision to forgo the rest of the NCAA season and enter the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) and Sam Vecenie and Brendan Marks of The Athletic examine the implications of the Duke freshman’s opt-out. Givony hears from sources that a foot injury Johnson suffered in mid-December never fully healed and still isn’t 100% — sitting the rest of the season should give the projected lottery pick an opportunity to get healthy.
  • Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued a statement asking fans not to travel to Atlanta for this year’s All-Star Game, which won’t be a ticketed event, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Although the game won’t be open to the general public, some family members of All-Stars, local health-care workers, and students and staff members from local HBCUs are expected to be in the arena, according to Spencer, who estimates an attendance of about 1,200 to 1,500 people.

Salah Mejri To Play In China?

2:16pm: Mejri tells Carchia that he hasn’t signed a contract with Liaoning, though the team has announced that he met with the coach today and will start practicing with the club tomorrow (Twitter link). Mejri has been invited by Liaoning to take part in the East Asia Superleague tournament, which begins on September 17, Carchia notes.

11:20am: Former Mavericks center Salah Mejri has signed a contract to play with Liaoning of the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, it’ll just be a one-month deal, with Mejri temporarily replacing Brandon Bass on the roster.

Mejri, 33, has spent the last four seasons in Dallas, appearing in a total of 204 games for the Mavericks. The big man averaged 3.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 0.9 BPG in 11.9 minutes per contest during that stretch.

When Mejri reached unrestricted free agency this summer, the Mavs went in another direction, signing veteran center Boban Marjanovic to fill the role that Mejri has played over the last few years.

Although Tunisia didn’t advance beyond the first round in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Mejri had a big tournament, averaging 16.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG in five games. He has also been the World Cup’s leading shot blocker, with 3.2 BPG. In Tunisia’s final classification-round game against Angola on Sunday, he blocked eight shots, tying Yao Ming‘s World Cup record.

While he’s off the free agent market for now, Mejri could still be a factor in the NBA this season, given the short-term nature of his new deal in China.

Mejri is the second NBA player to sign with Liaoning this offseason, joining Lance Stephenson.

And-Ones: Team USA, Jefferson, Jennings, Bass

With another round of World Cup qualifiers scheduled to begin next week, USA Basketball has officially announced its latest 12-man roster for games against Argentina (November 29) and Uruguay (December 2). The roster is made up primarily of G League players, though NBA free agents Tyler Zeller, Jarnell Stokes, and Eric Moreland are also on the squad. Other former NBA players on the roster include Chasson Randle, DeAndre Liggins, and John Jenkins.

With one more qualifying window scheduled for February after next week’s set of games, Team USA is in prime position to secure a spot in the 2019 World Cup. Team USA currently has a 7-1 record in qualifying contests, which puts the club in a tie with Argentina for first place in Group E. Puerto Rico and Uruguay are tied for third at 5-3. The top three teams in the group will earn spots in the World Cup, and the fourth-place team will have a chance to qualify as well.

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • With some help from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, longtime NBA forward Richard Jefferson published a piece on this week, sharing some of his memories from his NBA career and discussing his move into broadcasting.
  • After becoming a free agent this week, veteran guard Brandon Jennings may take the G League route as he tries to work his way back into the NBA, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. However, Smith notes that nothing’s official yet.
  • Smith also checks in a pair of former NBA forward playing in China, reporting (via Twitter) that Brandon Bass is hoping to return to the NBA later in 2018/19, once the Chinese Basketball Association season ends. Jared Sullinger is also putting up huge numbers in China and is in good shape, according to Smith, who tweets that the former Celtic may be ready for another shot in the NBA.
  • Former Trail Blazers guard Tim Quarterman signed this week with Israeli team Ironi Nahariya, per his agency Prostep Sports (Twitter link). Quarterman was waived by the Rockets this past April.

International Moves: Bass, Webb III, Clavell

Veteran NBA power forward Brandon Bass has re-signed with Liaoning in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a Sportando report. Bass averaged 21 PPG and 9.5 RPG last season after going overseas. Bass, 33, played 12 seasons in the NBA with stops in New Orleans, Dallas, Orlando, Boston and both Los Angeles teams. In his most recent NBA season, Bass appeared in 52 games with the Clippers in 2016/17, averaging 5.6 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 11.1 MPG. In 758 career games, Bass averaged 8.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG.

We have more news from overseas:

  • Forward James Webb III is expected to sign with Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantù, according to another Sportando post. Webb played 10 games with the Nets last season after signing a two-way contract in January.  The 6’9” Webb, 24, averaged 1.6 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 12.0 MPG with the Nets.
  • Former Mavericks shooting guard Gian Clavell has joined Argentina’s Estudiantes de La Plata, according to an post. Clavell, 24, appeared in seven games with Dallas on a two-way contract last season, averaging 2.9 PPG in 9.1 MPG. Clavell played in Turkey after the Mavericks released him in mid-November.
  • Former Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead will play in Russia next season. Get the details here.

Brandon Bass To Play In China

Veteran forward Brandon Bass has agreed to a $2MM offer to play in China next season, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Bass will sign with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association.

The 32-year-old spent last season with the Clippers, appearing in 52 games as a reserve and averaging 5.6 points in about 11 minutes per night. He has also played for the Hornets, Mavericks, Magic, Celtics, and Lakers in a 12-year NBA career.

Bass made a little more than $1.55MM with the Clippers last year, but hasn’t received an attractive offer since entering free agency. Because the Chinese season ends before the NBA season, he will be eligible to return to the league in March or April.

Brandon Bass Searches For New Opportunity

Brandon Bass didn’t get as many minutes as he was hoping for during the 2016/17 season with the Clippers, but he believes the lack of playing time allowed him to remain fresh throughout the season and beyond, as he tells Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

“I feel better than I did in past years,” said Bass. “Since I didn’t play much last year, I feel even fresher. Once the season was over with, I never stopped training. I’ve shot over 6,000 threes. I’ve taken all those threes just to add on to my game. All I need is an opportunity to what I do.”

Bass, who remains a free agent, insists he’s better than he was during his four-year Celtics stint where he helped the team compete for championship nearly every season. He understands how the new NBA has emphasized the three-point shot. The LSU product has shot just a total of 58 three-pointers—making only 12 of them—from behind the arc in his 12-year career. He’s worked hard to reinvent his game by adding the long-range shot to his arsenal.

“The perception is I’m not better than I was in Boston with the Big Three, and I’m a better player than that today. I added more range. I’m a better defender,” Bass said.

Washburn argues that Bass could become a victim of the NBA’s shrinking middle class. Most teams have already spent their remaining cap space, which could lead Bass to settle for a minimum salary arrangement.

Bass, who sported a 19.7 player efficiency rating in 21.6 minutes per game last season, should be able to contribute as a rotation player on the right team. It’ll be a matter of finding the right fit.

Tell us which team should give Bass an opportunity to play his 13th NBA season. Take to the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions!

Free Agent Rumors: Gay, OKC, Wolves, Hawks

Free agent forward Rudy Gay will hold meetings with potential suitors in Austin, Texas this weekend, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). The Thunder have long been rumored to have interest in Gay, and Wojnarowski notes that Oklahoma City continues to view Gay as a potential fit on its roster.

In addition to Gay, Blake Griffin has long been considered a probable 2017 free agent target for the Thunder, and in the wake of Wednesday’s Chris Paul trade, Royce Young of (Twitter link) wonders if OKC likes its chances of landing Griffin any more. The Thunder won’t have the cap space to sign Griffin outright, but could make a sign-and-trade work. Still, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes, Griffin would have to want to play in OKC, and there has been little indication of that so far.

Here are a few more free agent rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link) identifies Mike Dunleavy Jr. as a potential free agent that will be on the Timberwolves‘ radar, noting that Minnesota needs shooting and Dunleavy has played for Tom Thibodeau before. Dunleavy technically remains under contract with the Hawks, but his 2017/18 salary features only a small partial guarantee, so it’s possible he’ll be waived soon.
  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor views Jimmy Butler as the sort of player capable of helping the Wolves attract notable free agents to Minnesota, per Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune. The club is believed to be in the market for a free agent point guard, so Butler’s influence may be put to the test very soon.
  • The Hawks have many players eligible for free agency this weekend, and may explore the market for outside targets, but new general manager Travis Schlenk doesn’t expect the team to rush to get anything done at 12:01am on July 1, as Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution details.
  • After missing the entire 2016/17 season, free agent point guard Mo Williams is working toward a possible NBA return, agent Raymond Brothers tells Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski adds that Brothers is now representing free agent forward Brandon Bass as well.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, West, Clarkson

The Clippers confirmed Blake Griffin‘s knee surgery in a press release posted this afternoon on the team’s website. The operation to remove loose bodies from his right knee will be performed Tuesday, and he is expected to be out of action three to six weeks. Griffin is averaging 21.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists through 26 games.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • L.A. is in better shape to withstand Griffin’s absence than it was a year ago, contends Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. When Griffin was sidelined with a broken hand and a quad injury after Christmas of 2015, Paul Pierce took his place in the starting lineup and DeAndre Jordan assumed a larger role in the offense, averaging 14.1 points and 14.3 rebounds in the games without Griffin. The Clippers signed free agents Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights during the offseason, either of whom could start at power forward. Also, Pierce is still around, Luc Mbah a Moute can guard bigger forwards and Austin Rivers could be moved into the starting lineup.
  • The operation may impact Griffin’s future earnings, suggests ESPN’s Kevin Pelton. Under the tentative CBA, Griffin needs to make an all-NBA team at the end of the season to qualify for the newly created designated veteran player exception. An absence of three to six weeks will certainly reduce his chances. Players who qualify can earn up to 35% of the cap if they remain with their current team. Griffin would be limited to 30% if he doesn’t qualify, which translates to about $30MM over a five-year contract.
  • The Warriors’ David West will be out for a while with a hip pointer, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. The veteran forward underwent an MRI on Friday after suffering the injury in a game last week. Golden State had been concerned that the injury was something more serious.
  • Jordan Clarkson didn’t complain about moving to the bench after signing a four-year, $50MM contract with the Lakers, but he hasn’t thrived in his new role, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Clarkson, whose starting job was taken by Nick Young, has shot just 39.8% over his last 10 games. “Coach wants me to be aggressive,” Clarkson said. “That’s what I try to do every night when I’m out there on the floor. But at the same time, I have to figure out what’s a good shot and a bad shot.”

Western Notes: Barnes, Bogut, Clippers

Harrison Barnes is competing in his first Olympics, but he had plenty of offseason excitement before the Summer Games started, writes Joe Rexrode of The Des Moines Register. After being a key part of a Warriors team that set a league record with 73 wins in a season, Barnes found himself cut free when Golden State needed his cap room to sign Kevin Durant. Barnes wound up inking a four-year $94MM deal with the Mavericks, who plan to make him one of the focal points of their offense. “I think Harrison wants an opportunity to go to a team and be the guy,” said fellow Team USA member and former Warriors teammate Draymond Green, “and he has that opportunity, which I’m not mad at him about. He already has a championship, and that’s what he’ll be remembered as. He’s a champion, and no one can ever take that away.”

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Mavericks didn’t try to stop newly acquired center Andrew Bogut from playing in the Olympics, according to Kareem Copeland of The Associated Press. Bogut, who came to Dallas in a trade last month, is still recovering from a hyperextended knee he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. At age 31, Bogut believes this is his last shot at the Olympics and he feared the Mavericks might ask him to sit out and rest the knee, but he said the team approved as long as he was healthy. “I was like, I don’t want it to end that way where I’m just sitting at home with ice on my knee if I can give it a crack,” Bogut said after leading Australia past France today. “I didn’t want it taken away that easily. I said I’ll give it a crack up until this day. If it wasn’t right yesterday, I’d put my hand up and I’m on a flight back home.”
  • The Clippers became hard-capped over the summer, but were able to rebuild their bench by adding several veterans on team-friendly contracts, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. In his offseason review, Marks notes that Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, Alan Anderson and Brandon Bass all signed with L.A. for the minimum, allowing the Clippers to add depth at an affordable price. The team is currently $1.4MM above the luxury tax with 15 guaranteed contracts and will face a repeater tax if doesn’t drop below the threshold by the season’s end.

Clippers Sign Brandon Bass

JULY 19: The Clippers have officially signed Bass, according to the team’s website.

JULY 16: The Clippers have reached an agreement to sign Brandon Bass, sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). It’ll be a one-year deal, presumably for the minimum, which is worth roughly $1.55MM, according to Dan Woike of the OC Register (Twitter link). Charania adds (full-length piece) the the Spurs had strong interest in bringing Bass aboard.

Bass spent last season with the Lakers, accumulating 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds off the bench. He turned down a player option worth $3.135MM last month in order to become a free agent. At the time, Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors speculated that the Clippers could be a possible landing spot.

The Clippers already added Marreese Speights earlier in the month, so they now have plenty of veteran depth in the frontcourt behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin