Dink Pate

And-Ones: Porter, Pate, Adams, 2025 Mock, Ownership Changes

Former Raptors forward Jontay Porter is being charged with a federal felony in connection to the sports betting scandal that caused him to be banned from the NBA in April, according to a report from The Associated Press.

While a specific court date and charges haven’t been specified, the case is known to be related to an existing charge of four men who schemed with a player to cash in on tips from said player (Porter) regarding his plans to exit two games early. The four men appeared in court in June, but haven’t yet entered pleas. They were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the AP.

The NBA’s investigation into Porter found that he tipped off those four men about his health and then exited one game with illness, causing anyone who bet his unders to cash in. He also gambled on games he didn’t play in, including against his own team.

Porter appeared in 26 games with the Raptors last season on a two-way contract. He is not permitted to sign another NBA contract, as per his ban.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • With the G League Ignite shut down, projected 2025 first-round pick Dink Pate is signing with the G League’s Mexico City Capitanes for next season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Pate became the youngest professional basketball player last season at age 17 — he was not eligible for the 2024 draft because he doesn’t turn 19 until the 2025 calendar year. In 31 games with the Ignite last season, Pate averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per contest. The G League formally announced the move in a press release (Twitter link).
  • Alabama’s men’s basketball program is hiring Pistons assistant coach Brian Adams as an assistant under head coach Nate Oats, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Adams had NBA experience with both the Sixers and Clippers before joining Detroit midway through last season. He’s served as a collegiate assistant at Harvard and Marist as well.
  • Duke’s Cooper Flagg is ESPN’s top prospect for 2025, but a pair of Rutgers guards aren’t far behind in a mock draft from Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo (ESPN+ link). Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper sit at No. 2 and 3, respectively, in the mock, and are each currently viewed by some teams as the top prospect in the class. Givony and Woo name Pate, Duke’s Tyrese Proctor, South Carolina’s Collin Murray-Boyles and UConn’s Alex Karaban as some of the top returning players to watch.
  • The NBA has made a change to its ownership rules, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. Ownership groups are no longer allowed to have governors rotate control. The Bucks did this with Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, with Lasry serving as governor until he sold his share with Edens taking over in 2028. The Hornets are doing the same with Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin. Those two franchises will be grandfathered in, according to Vorkunov, meaning they aren’t impacted by this rule change.

And-Ones: West Playoffs, Tavares, EuroLeague Players, Ignite, Draft

Much of the NBA’s Western Conference could be in turmoil this offseason, The Athletic’s John Hollinger writes. There are multiple teams that are all in on their stars but are in or hovering just above play-in territory in the West, including the Warriors, Lakers, Mavericks and Suns. Those four teams could all be in the play-in while being over next year’s projected luxury tax and with numerous first-round picks depleted from their assets.

The Clippers are another team in a different, but similar dilemma. While they were in contention for the No. 1 seed at one point this season, they’re now 5.0 games back, are deep in the tax, don’t control a first-rounder until 2030, and their best players are 32, 33 and 34 years old. Paul George, meanwhile, hasn’t signed a max extension yet and could be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he declines his player option.

The Timberwolves and Nuggets are happy right now given their placement in the standings (and Denver’s 2022/23 title) but are both in win-now mode.

While this is the case every year in both conferences, the stakes feel extremely high given the repercussions each team could face if they bow out of the playoffs early. Many of the aforementioned teams don’t have the cap flexibility or the assets to make significant moves to bolster their chances, Hollinger points out. For some teams, their current iteration is the best chance they’ll have at a title for some time.

The Pelicans, Thunder and Kings are the only three of the top 10 who, at least on paper, have the wherewithal to make obvious and meaningful external improvements/acquisitions this offseason, Hollinger opines. With seven of the conference’s top 10 teams all in, or nearly there, on their current builds, this postseason will be a pivotal one.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA and current Real Madrid center Edy Tavares is exploring his NBA options before he becomes a free agent this offseason, Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews tweets. According to Urbonas, Tavares is looking for a substantial role on a competitive NBA team and is looking for an annual salary that approaches the mid-level exception, worth roughly $12.5MM. Tavares received a multiyear offer from the Trail Blazers last offseason but his buyout clause got in the way. Now set to be a free agent after averaging 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in EuroLeague, he’ll likely receive massive offers to stay in EuroLeague, which could dissuade NBA teams from signing him.
  • Tavares headlines a list from Urbonas of 10 EuroLeague names who could make the jump to the NBA this offseason. Tarik Biberovic is one young name making waves, shooting 57.1% from three as of late. He was selected by the Grizzlies in the second round of the 2023 draft and could eventually find his way stateside. A similar article from HoopsHype’s Dionysis Aravantinos explores the same topic, with Gabriele Procida and Markus Howard among the names discussed. Of note, Urbonas writes that Mario Hezonja, who once criticized the NBA, is intending to return to the league at some point and is aggressively exploring the market.
  • With news that the G League Ignite is shutting down after the season, several of the team’s young players are left in limbo in regards to their future options, Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek writes. Thierry Darlan, Babacar Sane and London Johnson are among players who could test the NBA draft waters and go to the combine but aren’t facing pressure to stay in the draft. Meanwhile, Dink Pate signed a two-year deal with the Ignite and doesn’t qualify to play college ball next year, so he would need to either play overseas, sign with a different G League team, or join Overtime Elite.
  • With March Madness underway, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie and The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor all published mock drafts for the 2024 class. Both Scotto and O’Connor have Alexandre Sarr as the No. 1 pick, while Vecenie gives Zaccharie Risacher that honor. O’Connor moved Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard up to the second slot and Vecenie has him going fourth, but Scotto has him at No. 8. UConn’s Stephon Castle is mocked sixth in Vecenie’s and O’Connor’s drafts but is 15th in Scotto’s. Providence’s Devin Carter (10th in O’Connor’s) and Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (ninth in Scotto’s) are among the other notable differences between the various mocks.

Draft Notes: Buzelis, Ignite, Risacher, Sarr, Mocks

Matas Buzelis, who was the No. 1 prospect in the very first 2024 mock draft that ESPN’s Jonathan Givony published a year ago, had slipped to 10th in ESPN’s prospect rankings last month, but has rebounded nicely as of late, Givony writes in an Insider-only story.

After missing the first part of the G League season due to ankle problems, Buzelis has shown off an improved three-point shot in recent weeks (38.5% in his past 10 games) and has been better on the defensive end of the court, according to Givony, who notes that the Ignite guard/forward made an impact at All-Star weekend, hitting a game-winning shot in the Rising Stars semifinal on Friday.

While Buzelis hasn’t reclaimed that No. 1 spot on ESPN’s big board, he’s back up to No. 6. And, as Givony observes, in a class with no obvious top prospect, a strong finish to the G League season could put the 19-year-old back in the conversation for that first overall pick.

Here are a few more notes on the 2024 NBA draft:

  • Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) examine where things stand for the G League Ignite, noting that Adam Silver‘s comments at All-Star weekend suggest that the program’s days may be numbered. The Ignite are just 2-19 this season and player development has been inconsistent due to the lack of quality guard play, Woo writes. Still, it seems safe to assume the Ignite will be back for the 2024/25 season, since prospects like Dink Pate and Thierry Darlan are under contract for another year and the program continues to actively recruit high-profile prospects.
  • International prospects Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr top the latest mock draft from Givony and Woo, with Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham at No. 3, Buzelis at No. 4, and Colorado’s Cody Williams at No. 5.
  • Risacher and Sarr are also the two players first off the board in the newest mock draft from Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. However, there are significant deviations from ESPN’s mock draft beyond that, starting with Serbian point guard Nikola Topic (No. 3) and Connecticut wing Stephon Castle (No. 5) cracking Vecenie’s top five. Topic is at No. 6 in ESPN’s mock, while Castle is all the way down at No. 15.
  • Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports has also published a new mock draft for 2024, with Sarr claiming the top spot.

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: Pate, Ignite, Awards, Combine, Players’ MVP Pick

Dink Pate, a 6’8″ point guard and a five-star recruit, has signed with the G League Ignite, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Having just turned 17 in March, Pate will be the youngest known professional basketball player in U.S. history, according to Givony, who notes that the youngster won’t be draft-eligible until 2025. That means he’s committing to spending two seasons with the Ignite, like Scoot Henderson did from 2021-23.

According to Pate, he considered the possibility of committing to a college program and was leaning toward Alabama over Arkansas, but believes he’ll have a better opportunity to continue developing his game with the Ignite.

After graduating high school a year early, Pate intends to move to Las Vegas later this month and begin training at the Ignite’s practice facility with new teammates Matas Buzelis and London Johnson, per Givony. Buzelis is a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft, while Johnson currently projects to be a first-rounder.

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

  • After naming Jaren Jackson Jr. the Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, the NBA will announce another major postseason award winner for each of the next three evenings (Twitter link). Newly added award Clutch Player of the Year is due up on Tuesday, followed by Coach of the Year on Wednesday and Sixth Man of the Year on Thursday.
  • According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter links), the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement will make it mandatory for prospects who receive an invite to the draft combine to attend and do what’s required of them there (that will likely include medical testing but not scrimmages). A player who declines a combine invite without an excused absence won’t be draft-eligible until the following year, says Pincus.
  • The Athletic’s NBA writers polled 108 current NBA players on a series of NBA-related questions, including their MVP pick, their title prediction, and much more. Sam Amick and Josh Robbins of The Athletic have compiled the results, which include Sixers star Joel Embiid (50% of the vote) comfortably beating out Nikola Jokic (25.5%) as the players’ MVP choice; Hawks guard Trae Young getting the most votes (14.5%) for the NBA’s most overrated player; and Bucks guard Jrue Holiday earning the nod as both the best individual defender (28.7%) and most underrated player (17.5%).