Darius Bazley

Darius Bazley To Sign 10-Day Deal With Sixers

The Sixers will sign Darius Bazley to a 10-day contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 23-year-old big man has been playing with Philadelphia’s G League affiliate in Delaware since being waived by Brooklyn prior to the start of the season. Bazley is averaging 20.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 18 regular season games with the Blue Coats, and Charania points out that he recently had a 38-point, 15-rebound performance.

Bazley should provide some depth to the Sixers’ front line, which has been depleted with the loss of Joel Embiid to meniscus surgery. Assuming he signs on Thursday, Bazley will be eligible for that night’s game against New York, plus four more over the 10-day contract.

After creating three open roster spots through trades, Philadelphia faces a deadline of Thursday to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players. The team filled one opening by signing Kyle Lowry last week.

A first-round pick in 2019, Bazley began his career in Oklahoma City, where he spent three-and-a-half seasons before being traded to Phoenix at last year’s deadline. He appeared in just seven games with the Suns before becoming a free agent last summer. He was selected to participate in the G League’s Up Next Game at All-Star Weekend.

NBA G League Announces Up Next Participants

A pool of 28 players has been selected for the NBA G League’s Up Next Game at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, the NBAGL announced in a press release.

According to the release, the event features “four teams of seven players competing in two semifinal games. The winner of each semifinal will face off in a Championship game.

“The teams will be made up of 28 NBA G League players, including 10 selected by a fan vote. The remaining 18 players will be selected by the NBA G League and will include eight members of NBA G League Ignite and at least one member of the Indiana Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the All-Star hosting Indiana Pacers. Each team will be coached by a head coach from the NBA G League.”

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are on two-way contracts.

Fan vote:

Former Kentucky guard Hagans received the most votes.

NBAGL selections:

G League Ignite:

They aren’t currently on NBA teams, but it’s worth noting that Labissiere and Bazley are ineligible for two-way deals because they each hold four years of NBA experience. Weatherspoon (three years), Hagans (one) and Williams (one) also hold at least some NBA experience.

And-Ones: Nwaba, G. Robinson, Gillespie, Call-Ups

Former NBA wing David Nwaba is signing with the London Lions of the British Basketball League, sources tell Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com (Twitter link).

After going undrafted out of Cal Poly in 2016, Nwaba caught on with his hometown Lakers. He also suited up for the Bulls, Cavaliers, Nets and Rockets from 2016-22, last playing for Houston in 2021/22.

The six-year veteran appeared in 237 regular season games during his NBA career, averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. Known for his strong frame, athleticism and defense, Nwaba has spent most of the past two seasons playing for Detroit’s G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

The 30-year-old will be heading to Europe for the first time in his career.

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

  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports recently spoke to Glenn Robinson III about his NBA comeback attempt after stepping away from basketball for two years. The former second-round pick has been playing with the G League’s Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee’s affiliate) this season, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 39.1% from three in 12 Showcase Cup games (23.6 minutes). Robinson holds seven years of NBA experience and has been mentoring his young teammates, according to Fischer.
  • Nuggets guard Collin Gillespie, who is on a two-way deal, was named the NBA G League’s Player of the Month for December, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). According to Wind, Gillespie averaged 21.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists in six games last month for the Grand Rapids Gold (Denver’s affiliate). The former Villanova Wildcat missed all of last season with a lower left leg fracture.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac takes a look at some NBAGL players who could be candidates for call-ups to the NBA, with Mac McClung, Jason Preston, Ethan Thompson, Darius Bazley and Trey Jemison among the players mentioned.

And-Ones: MVP Poll, All-Stars, Basketball Day, Bazley

After finishing runner-up to Nikola Jokic in 2020/21 and ’21/22, Sixers center Joel Embiid won his first MVP award last season. And he’s arguably been even better through the first third of the ’23/24 season, averaging career highs in multiple categories, including points (35.1), assists (5.9) and free throw percentage (89.3%).

In the first MVP straw poll conducted by Tim Bontemps of ESPN (subscriber link), Embiid is the clear frontrunner, receiving 63 first-place votes and 848 points. However, several top players are in the mix, with Nuggets center Jokic (630 points), Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (352), Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (340) and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (306) rounding out the top five.

12 total players received at least one top-five vote in the informal poll, which features 100 media members and mimics the NBA’s scoring system. Embiid made it clear he’d welcome more hardware.

I have a pretty good chance [at another MVP],” Embiid told Bontemps. “I mean, if I have a chance to be in the conversation, why not? I want it all. I’m not shy about it. I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Oh, I don’t care about this.’ Anything that I can get my hands on, I want it.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • All-Star fan voting is underway, prompting Zach Harper of The Athletic to choose his starters to this point in the season. Out West, Harper has Gilgeous-Alexander and Doncic in the backcourt, with LeBron James (Lakers) and Kawhi Leonard (Clippers) joining Jokic in the froncourt. For the East, Harper selects Jalen Brunson (Knicks), Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers), Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Antetokounmpo, and Embiid.
  • In a press release, the NBA announced its celebrations for the first-ever World Basketball Day, which was established by the United Nations earlier this year during the World Cup. It will be observed annually on December 21 — the day Dr. James Naismith first introduced the game of basketball at the Springfield YMCA in 1891.
  • Former first-round pick Darius Bazley is attempting to make his way back into the NBA through the G League after being waived by the Nets prior to the season. Playing for the Delaware Blue Coats (the Sixers‘ affiliate), Bazley had a huge game at the Winter Showcase on Wednesday, recording 43 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and six blocks in the victory over the Texas Legends (Twitter link via the NBAGL).

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Rotation, Record, Arena, Bazley

Joel Embiid twisted his knee on Friday when the Sixers defeated Atlanta, but it’s considered a minor issue. The reigning Most Valuable Player was essentially a full participant in Sunday’s practice, other than some early weight room work while the rest of the team was on the floor, Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Embiid is questionable to play against Washington on Monday.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • With the team relatively healthy, coach Nick Nurse has decisions to make regarding the rotation, Mizell writes. Nurse essentially went with an eight-man rotation in the win over the Hawks. Paul Reed and Mohamed Bamba combined for just 11 minutes, while Robert Covington, Danuel House and Furkan Korkmaz didn’t play. “It’s a good thing to have a different variety of players and guys that bring different things,” Marcus Morris said. “But at the same time, for players, it can get frustrating. Because everybody wants to play and everybody works hard. It will definitely be interesting.”
  • The Sixers have a 14-7 record and play some of the league’s weakest teams this week, including a pair of games against the downtrodden Pistons. Nurse believes the team is generally playing well and he expects the defense to improve during the second quarter of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We are doing a lot of things well. … We’re just not finishing off possessions,” Nurse said. “Things like that would be at the top of my list.”
  • The Sixers want to model their new arena after Boston’s TD Garden, but would that work in Philadelphia? Inga Saffron of the Inquirer takes a closer look.
  • The 76ers’ NBA G League affiliate in Delaware has acquired the rights to Darius Bazley from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for a 2024 G League first round pick, the Blue Coats tweet. Bazley was waived by the Nets during training camp after signing with Brooklyn during the offseason on a non-guaranteed contract. A 6’8″ forward/center, Bazley holds career averages of 9.1 PPG and 5.3 RPG on .411/.310/.673 shooting in 228 regular season games (118 starts, 23.6 MPG) with the Thunder and Suns.

New York Notes: Quickley, Knicks, DSJ, Bazley, Dinwiddie, Claxton

The Knicks had interest in signing Immanuel Quickley to a rookie scale extension prior to Monday’s deadline, but the two sides were too far apart to bridge the gap, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

[RELATED: Maxey, Quickley, Williams Among Players Who Didn’t Sign Extensions]

An extension for Quickley would have made him more difficult to trade during the 2023/24 season due to the poison pill provision, but New York wasn’t worried about that, per Katz, since the team doesn’t anticipate any superstars will become available on the trade market before next summer. Presumably, the club would only consider including Quickley in a trade package for that caliber of player.

For his part, Quickley said on Tuesday that he has no concerns about playing out his contract year, and that he won’t let the business side of the game distract from his play on the court, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

“Contract, no contract: I’m here for the season,” Quickley said. “I’m here for the team to try to be the best version that I can each and every day. To try to dominate. That’s why I’m here.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Amid the latest round of rumors linking the Knicks to high-profile potential trade targets, head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday that he’s happy with the group he has, according to Steve Popper of Newsday (subscription required). “That’s for you guys,” Thibodeau said of the trade speculation. “You know, it’s all rumors. That’s part of the NBA now. Obviously, we’re not dealing with any hypotheticals. We love the guys we have. Leon (Rose)‘s job is to survey the league, which he does. He and his staff are on top of everything. So if there’s something at the end of the day that can make the team better we’ll take a look at it. But if not, just keep going forward. We love the guys we have and just focus on our improvement and getting ready to play day by day.”
  • Nets guard Dennis Smith Jr., who was battling a sprained ankle in the preseason, has been removed from the team’s injury report and should be ready to go for its regular season opener on Wednesday, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • Although the Nets are one of two NBA teams with an open two-way slot, they won’t be able to use it to re-sign Darius Bazley, whose four years of NBA experience make him ineligible for a two-way contract, notes Lewis. “I do think Darius Bazley will have a place in this league,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said of the big man, who was in camp with Brooklyn until he was waived last Thursday. “I enjoyed coaching him. He’s still a young dude that can still play in this league and I was able to tell him that face-to-face.”
  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Spencer Dinwiddie said his expectations this season for the Nets are to “make the playoffs and roll the dice from there and see how far we can take it.” Dinwiddie also expressed confidence in Ben Simmons‘ ability to have a bounce-back season and – perhaps most interestingly – weighed in on what Nic Claxton‘s contract as a 2024 free agent might look like. The Nets guard projected a four-year deal in the range of $70-110MM for Claxton.

Nets Waive Darius Bazley

2:00pm: Bazley has been released, according to the Nets (Twitter link).

12:56pm: The Nets intend to waive big man Darius Bazley, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A former first-round pick (23rd overall in 2019), Bazley signed a one-year deal with Brooklyn this summer as an unrestricted free agent after he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from Phoenix. However, his contract was non-guaranteed, and he was trying to make the Nets’ opening night roster.

With Bazley set to hit the waiver wire, it seems as though Harry Giles and Trendon Watford might have secured roster spots. The three players — all of whom are on non-guaranteed deals — appeared to be competing for the final two spots on the 15-man roster, with Brooklyn having 13 players on guaranteed standard contracts.

A 6’8″ forward/center, Bazley holds career averages of 9.1 PPG and 5.3 RPG on .411/.310/.673 shooting in 228 regular season games (118 starts, 23.6 MPG) with the Thunder and Suns. He averaged 5.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 1.0 SPG while shooting 42.9% from deep in three preseason contests with the Nets and is expected to draw interest as a free agent, according to Charania.

The Nets will have 19 players under contract once Bazley is officially released. They have one two-way slot open.

Atlantic Notes: Watford, Nets, Barnes, Holiday, White

Nets forward Trendon Watford, who is battling for a regular season roster spot, strengthened his case on Monday by scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 16 minutes vs. Philadelphia, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. As Lewis notes, Watford also hit a pair of three-pointers and even operated as a secondary play-maker.

“(Nets coach Jacque Vaughn) is always just encouraging me, telling me little things to get better at and little things he sees. In the time I’ve been here, he’s put the ball in my hands a lot. So he likes how I play-make and stuff,” Watford told Lewis. “So yeah, that’s really it; he just wants me to keep doing that and keep getting better defensively. And I think I’ve took a step forward in that.”

The Nets have 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus Watford, Darius Bazley, and Harry Giles on non-guaranteed deals, so those three players may be vying for two regular season roster spots. As Net Income of NetsDaily observes, with one two-way slot still open, there’s a path to keeping all three of those non-guaranteed players into the regular season — giving one of them a two-way contract.

However, while Watford and Giles are both eligible to sign a two-way deal, they can’t be converted directly since their contracts don’t include an Exhibit 10 clause. That means they’d have to pass through waivers and re-sign with Brooklyn in order to receive a two-way contract from the team.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Atlantic…

  • The Raptors made former Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes “off limits” in trade talks for Kevin Durant last year and Damian Lillard this offseason, league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN. Reports that linked Toronto to Durant and Lillard when they were available strongly indicated the team wasn’t willing to include Barnes in its offers.
  • A report earlier this month suggested that USA Basketball is aggressively pursuing Jrue Holiday for its 2024 Olympic roster. The Celtics guard said on Monday that he hasn’t heard directly from Team USA yet, but expressed interest in playing in Paris, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “Why not?” Holiday said. “I want to see what we can do out there.”
  • After starting 70 of the 82 games he played for the Celtics last season, Derrick White isn’t necessarily guaranteed a spot in the starting five following the acquisitions of Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. White said this week that he’s fine with starting or coming off the bench and will go with the flow, tweets Weiss.

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Knicks, Pritchard, Porzingis, Giles

Teams are getting closer to training camp, which means lingering questions facing NBA clubs will be answered sooner than later. The Knicks, like every team, have several issues to sort out either before training camp or shortly before the season begins writes Zach Braziller of the New York Post in a mailbag.

The biggest question the Knicks must answer is whether or not Immanuel Quickley will get a rookie scale extension before the regular season tips off. In his own mailbag, SNY’s Ian Begley writes that New York and Quickley are expected to negotiate a contract sometime this month. However, if the Knicks decide to make him available via trade, they’ll have plenty of suitors, per Begley.

Begley hears that the Knicks had several trade talks with teams surrounding Quickley at the beginning of the 2022/23 season, prior to his breakout that saw him finish as the Sixth Man of the Year runner-up. However, Begley ultimately expects Quickley to extend with New York, and believes the team will begin extending other core players – Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and Quentin Grimes – down the road.

Braziller concurs with Begley, and sees the two sides agreeing to a deal that winds up in the four-year, $90-95MM range. Other topics included in Braziller’s mailbag include the future of Evan Fournier and what a matchup between Team USA and Canada in the 2023 FIBA World Cup would look like, with Brunson and Josh Hart potentially squaring off against RJ Barrett.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics guard Payton Pritchard has never averaged more than 19.2 minutes per game in his first three seasons in the league, with his playing time declining in each subsequent season. Jared Weiss of The Athletic explores what Pritchard’s role may look like in 2023/24, which will be instrumental in determining his future with the organization. Pritchard, who wished to be moved at last year’s deadline, could be in line for more minutes with Marcus Smart‘s departure, but will need to improve. Weiss does a full video breakdown of the guard’s game to determine how he can take the next jump.
  • Battling plantar fasciitis, Kristaps Porzingis was forced to be a spectator as Latvia made the final eight of the World Cup and fell to Germany in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes that Porzingis choosing to preserve his body in such a crucial moment for his national team is a key indicator that he’s all in on the Celtics this year. Porzingis, whom Boston traded Smart for, is expected to be ready to go by the time the NBA’s training camps begin.
  • While Harry Giles has an uphill climb to make Brooklyn’s roster out of training camp, the Nets have one of the more interesting roster battles on deck, Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily writes. Giles, Trendon Watford and Darius Bazley appear to be in direct competition for two roster spots on the Nets. Giles, who hasn’t appeared in a game since 2020/21, only has 142 games of NBA experience and is just 25 years old, indicating he may have plenty left in the tank.

Atlantic Notes: Bazley, Maxey, Herro, Tucker, Knicks

New Nets power forward Darius Bazley envisions himself as being a versatile, defense-first contributor for Brooklyn, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post.

Following a 2022/23 season split between the Thunder and Suns, the 6’8″ big man inked a one-year, veteran’s minimum agreement with Brooklyn, citing the team’s energy and chemistry as reasons why the Nets appealed to him.

“Just watching them a little bit in the playoffs, also just throughout the course of the season, the new team that they had towards the end here, they looked like they had fun,” Bazley said. “They looked like they played hard and together. It was just something I wanted to be a part of. When it all came down to it, Brooklyn was the place to be.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • As chatter about Damian Lillard‘s demand to be traded to the Heat continues, league executives who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com suggested that a stronger package could be put together around Sixers shooting guard Tyrese Maxey, whom they see as a better young player than Miami shooting guard Tyler Herro. “I like Herro, I think everyone does,” a rival scout said. “But when you look at where these guys are gonna be in four or five years, you can see a lot more growth potential with Maxey. He is more of an attacker, he gets into the lane, he is a lot more efficient with his shot. And you know, in today’s game, efficiency is everything. So I mean, it’s a no-brainer in that respect.”
  • Sixers star guard James Harden continues to want out of town, while veteran power forward P.J. Tucker‘s name was recently floated as a potential piece to include in a possible trade. Kyle Neubeck of ThePhillyVoice.com wonders if it may behoove Philadelphia strategically to move off Tucker’s contract. Though the 39-year-old remains a high-level defender, his meager offensive contributions last seasons don’t necessarily portend a bright future in that regard. Neubeck notes that moving Tucker for cap relief and/or a more athletic player could help the club.
  • Although the Knicks have now signed three players to fill their three two-way contracts heading into the 2023/24 season, the team is not permitted to withdraw its two-way qualifying offer to Duane Washington Jr. without his permission, in accordance with NBA guidelines, as Fred Katz of The Athletic observes (Twitter links). If Washington were to accept his two-way QO, the Knicks would have to waive one of their two-way players, since they’re not permitted to carry four.