Caleb McConnell

Thunder Sign, Waive Caleb McConnell, Adam Flagler

OCTOBER 20: According to the Thunder, both McConnell and Flagler have been waived, which puts them on track to join the OKC Blue.

OCTOBER 19: The Thunder have signed Caleb McConnell and Adam Flagler, the team announced (Twitter links). Both players were reported to be inking deals with OKC shortly after going undrafted in June.

Hunter Maldonado and K.J. Williams, who signed with Oklahoma City on Wednesday, were waived to make room on the roster (Twitter link).

All four players are likely to wind up with OKC’s G League affiliate, Oklahoma City Blue, and if they all have Exhibit 10 contracts, they’ll be eligible to earn bonuses of at least $75K if they spend 60 days with the team.

McConnell, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten, averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 steals last season at Rutgers. Flagler was an AP All-American honorable mention last season at Baylor, averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals. McConnell and Flagler both played for the Thunder during Summer League.

The moves leave Oklahoma City with a full offseason roster of 21 players.

Thunder To Sign Caleb McConnell To Exhibit 10 Deal

The Thunder are signing former Rutgers wing Caleb McConnell to an Exhibit 10 contract, according to the school.

McConnell, who went undrafted on Thursday, spent five years at Rutgers, taking advantage of the extra year of NCAA eligibility he was granted due to COVID-19. As a super-senior in 2022/23, he averaged 9.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 2.5 SPG in 28 contests (33.7 MPG).

McConnell isn’t much of a threat on offense. He shot 39.0% from the floor over the course of his college career, including just 26.3% on three-pointers. However, he became the Scarlet Knights’ all-time leader in steals and won a pair of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year awards.

McConnell’s Exhibit 10 contract should give him an opportunity to suit up for the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, as a rookie in 2023/24. He could earn a bonus worth up to $75K if he’s waived by the Thunder and then spends up to 60 days with the Blue. McConnell’s Exhibit 10 deal could also be converted into a two-way contract if OKC decides it wants to keep him on the NBA roster.

Draft Notes: K. Murray, Rankings, Prosper, Wolves, W. Green

Iowa forward Kris Murray, the twin brother of Keegan Murray, received an invite to the NBA draft’s Green Room next Thursday, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). However, Murray has decided to turn down the invite, opting to watch the draft at home with his family rather than attending the event in person, per Givony.

Here’s more on the 2023 NBA draft:

  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic published his final pre-draft rankings this week, listing the top 100 players in the 2023 class and providing full scouting reports for the top 75. Vecenie’s 179-page PDF draft guide is incredibly in depth and is worth checking out for anyone with a subscription to The Athletic. The most notable deviation from the norm at the top of Vecenie’s draft board is his decision to rank Cam Whitmore at No. 3, one spot ahead of Brandon Miller.
  • Marquette forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the No. 29 player on ESPN’s big board and the No. 24 prospect in Vecenie’s rankings, tells Givony (Twitter link) that there’s “no reason” he shouldn’t be a first-round pick. “My game translates really well to the NBA,” Prosper said. “It’s a positionless league, and wings like me who can guard multiple positions, finish in transition and make threes find ways to make winning plays and impact games.”
  • The Timberwolves hosted a pre-draft workout on Friday that featured Damion Baugh (TCU) Marcellus Earlington (San Diego) Caleb McConnell (Rutgers) Mike Miles Jr. (TCU) Justyn Mutts (Virginia Tech), and Race Thompson (Indiana), according to the team (Twitter link). The Nets are among the other teams to have worked out Thompson, adds Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Former Auburn guard Wendell Green worked out for the Rockets this week, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Southeast Draft Notes: Miller, Hornets, Council, Smith

The Hornets hold the No. 2 pick and Alabama forward Brandon Miller will work out for them on Tuesday, Ashley Stroehlein of WCNC tweets. Miller and G League guard Scoot Henderson are the top contenders to be chosen at the No. 2 spot. It was previously reported that Miller was scheduled to work out for Charlotte on Tuesday and the plans obviously didn’t change. In fact, he has already arrived in Charlotte.

We have more draft-related news from the Southeast Division:

Lakers Notes: Davis, Russell, Paul, Draft

A primary goal for the Lakers this offseason will be signing Anthony Davis to an extension, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said earlier this week on Get Up (YouTube link).

As Windhorst notes, Davis won’t be extension-eligible until August, at which point the Lakers could offer him a three-year contract worth a projected $167.5MM. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement on a new deal, Davis could enter unrestricted free agency in 2024 if he declines his $43.2MM player option for 2024/25.

At this time, Windhorst also believes the Lakers will continue on their stated path of re-signing their own key free agents — including Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura — instead of creating cap room in pursuit of Kyrie Irving. Windhorst thinks the mostly outcome for Irving is re-signing with the Mavericks, noting that they can pay him much more money than L.A. can.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Guard D’Angelo Russell‘s stock seems to have taken a hit after a poor showing in the Western Conference Finals against the Nuggets. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension (he’s eligible for a two-year deal). While he might not be the Lakers’ top priority, ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested on his podcast that a reunion may still be in the cards (hat tip to RealGM). “I actually think there are corners of the organization that would still like D’Angelo Russell back just because they have a void at that position,” Lowe said. “They need a point guard.” Jovan Buha of The Athletic said last week that he thought Russell would most likely end up back in L.A., perhaps on a two- or three-year deal worth around $20MM annually, though it’s far from a lock.
  • Chris Paul‘s uncertain status with the Suns has rivals speculating about his future, and the Lakers are atop the list of his possible suitors, multiple league executives tell Sean Deveney of “Lakers first,” one Eastern Conference GM texted. “It’s not definite, a lot can happen. But you’d have to start there. He always had (the) dream of being a Laker (and) playing with LBJ (LeBron James).” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently cited the Lakers as a potential destination as well, noting that Paul lives in Los Angeles during the offseason.
  • The Lakers will be hosting a pre-draft workout on Thursday, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The six featured prospects are D’Moi Hodge (Missouri), Caleb McConnell (Rutgers), JT Shumate (Toledo), Logan Johnson (Saint Mary’s), Damion Baugh (TCU) and Matthew Mayer (Illinois). The Lakers currently control two picks in the 2023 NBA draft, Nos. 17 and 47.

50 Prospects Reportedly Invited To G League Elite Camp

A total of 50 prospects for the 2023 NBA draft have been invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of Forbes and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links).

Those players are as follows:

The name of the G League Elite Camp is a bit of a misnomer — when first introduced, the event showcased NBAGL players, but the field of participants now consists exclusively of draft prospects. The event will take place on May 13 and 14 in Chicago, ahead of this year’s draft combine.

Like the combine, the Elite Camp brings young players to Chicago to meet NBA teams and participate in drills and scrimmages. While the combine focuses on the top prospects in a given draft class, the Elite Camp generally features prospects who are trying to break into that upper echelon of prospects but are more likely to go undrafted. The top performers at the event typically receive invites to the combine.

Of the 50 G League Elite Camp invitees, 15 show up on Jonathan Givony’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects at However, no Elite Camp invitee ranks higher than No. 58 (Hart) on ESPN’s board.

The G League Elite Camp will give the invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 31. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Draft Decisions: Timme, Sasser, Quinones, Bernard, More

Big man Drew Timme, ranked No. 63 on ESPN’s big board, has withdrawn from the 2022 NBA draft and will return to Gonzaga for his senior season, he announced via Twitter.

Timme was the 2021/22 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a two-time All-American for the Bulldogs, but he struggled defensively and needs to “modernize his game” by adding a three-point shot and improving on the boards, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Houston guard Marcus Sasser also announced (on Twitter) that he’s withdrawing from the draft and returning to the Cougars for his senior season. He’s No. 70 on ESPN’s board, so he was considered a fringe second-round pick, but shot an impressive 43.7% from deep (on 8.6 attempts) while averaging 17.7 PPG and 2.2 SPG in ’21/22.

Meanwhile, Memphis junior Lester Quinones will stay in the draft and turn pro, a source tells Steven Johnson of The Daily Memphian. Johnson writes that Quinones has impressed teams in workouts and could become a second-rounder despite being unranked by ESPN.

UCLA’s Jules Bernard will forgo his extra year of eligibility and stay in the draft, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Bernard worked out for the Lakers earlier today, and Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group reports (via Twitter) that the swingman had a solid performance.

Here are a handful of other early entrants withdrawing from the draft, with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline about to strike:

Draft Notes: Hamilton, Mucius, Cole, McConnell, Mock

UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton and Wake Forest forward Isaiah Mucius have both declared for the 2022 NBA draft, reports Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter links). Hamilton will forgo his final year of college eligibility, but Mucius will maintain his for next year.

UConn guard R.J. Cole (via Twitter) and Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell (via Instagram) have also declared for the draft, the two players announced. McConnell plans to maintain his eligibility for next season, but Cole’s intentions are unclear, based on the wording of his statement.

All four players are seniors, but in 2021 players were granted an extra year of NCAA eligibility due to the pandemic, so four-year players have the option of staying for what essentially amounts to a second senior season.

Hamilton is a three-time All-Mountain West Conference member who averaged 21.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.2 APG this season. Mucius was mostly used as a spot-up shooter, averaging 36% on 5.8 attempts per game from deep in ’21/22.

Cole was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year in 2018/19 with Howard prior to transferring to UConn. He was an All-Big East member this season with the Huskies. McConnell was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in ’21/22 for the Scarlet Knights while averaging 2.2 SPG.

In other draft-related news, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link) explore how the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA tournament have impacted their latest mock draft and prospect evaluations.

The first-round of the mock draft is quite similar to the one Givony released last week, but a couple of Duke players have risen: forward Paolo Banchero has jumped up to No. 2 from No. 3, swapping places with Auburn’s Jabari Smith, while center Mark Williams has gone up four spots to No. 17. Duke faces their long-time rival North Carolina in the Final Four.