Giorgi Bezhanishvili

And-Ones: Tolliver, Millsap, Bezhanishvili, Hernandez

Veteran forward Anthony Tolliver signed a 10-day contract with the Pelicans under the hardship exception the day after Christmas. However, Tolliver tested positive for COVID-19 and the contract was voided. He has now cleared protocols and is eligible to be signed immediately, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Tolliver played for the Sixers last season.

We have more news from the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Elijah Millsap has signed a NBA G League contract and is expected to join the College Park Skyhawks, the Hawks’ affiliate, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Millsap, the brother of Brooklyn Nets veteran Paul Millsap, played 69 games in the NBA, though his last appearance came during the 2016/17 season.
  • Grand Rapids Gold forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili could be on the radar for a 10-day contract, Shaw tweets. He has averaged 16.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG in his last eight contests for the Nuggets’ affiliate.
  • Former Raptors center Dewan Hernandez has signed a G League contract and has been acquired by the Westchester Knicks, Shaw adds in another tweet. Hernandez played six NBA games during the 2019/20 season.

Nuggets Waive Tarik Black, Two Others; Sign Nik Stauskas

10:13am: Black, Reed, and Bezhanishvili have officially been released, per’s transactions log.

9:45am: The Nuggets are trimming their roster by waiving Tarik Black, Davon Reed and Giorgi Bezhanishvili, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. All three were on training camp deals.

Black played four years with the Lakers and Rockets, but has not appeared in a regular season game since the 2017/18 season. He has career averages of 4.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 220 games.

Reed was a second-round pick by the Suns in 2017 and played 21 games in his rookie season. He spent the following year with the Pacers on a two-way deal and holds career averages of 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 31 games.

Bezhanishvili, who was just signed this week, went undrafted this summer after logging three seasons with the Fighting Illini. The 22-year-old averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 95 contests with the club, including 57 starts.

The trio could wind up on the Nuggets’ new G League team, the Grand Rapids Gold in Michigan, once they clear waivers.

The team has also signed Nik Stauskas to an Exhibit 10 deal, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Stauskas, who holds career averages of 6.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG across 335 games, will likely be waived and join the Gold as well.

Nuggets Sign Giorgi Bezhanishvili To Exhibit 10 Deal

OCTOBER 11: Bezhanishvili has officially signed with the Nuggets, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). Denver waived forward Matt Ryan to open up a spot on the 20-man roster.

SEPTEMBER 12: Free agent power forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili will ink an Exhibit 10 deal with the Nuggets, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). The 6’9″ rookie out of Illinois had previously suited up for Denver’s Summer League team.

The big man’s deal is fairly standard for a training camp invitee. Ostensibly, he could play himself into a rotation on the Nuggets’ 15-man roster to kick off the 2021/22 season. That said, the Nuggets are more likely to try him out on their new G League affiliate club, the Grand Rapids Gold. Bezhanishvili could also be in the mix for Denver’s second two-way player slot, alongside the already-signed Markus Howard.

The Nuggets currently have 14 players under standard guaranteed contracts, plus guard PJ Dozier on a non-guaranteed deal.

Bezhanishvili went undrafted this summer after logging three seasons with the Fighting Illini. The 22-year-old averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 95 contests with the club, including 57 starts.

He enjoyed his most productive collegiate run as a freshman. During the 2018/19 season, Bezhanishvili averaged 12.5 PPG and 5.2 RPG, in 26.1 MPG, while starting all 33 games. By his junior season, those numbers had declined to 5.1 PPG and 2.7 RPG, while averaging just 14.5 MPG in 31 games as a reserve.

Nuggets Sign Matt Ryan, Set 20-Man Camp Roster

The Nuggets have announced their 20-man training camp roster, and with it the signing of Matt Ryan, per a team press release.

Ryan, a 6’7″ rookie forward, went undrafted in 2020 after spending his final season with Chattanooga. He had his most productive season by far as a senior, averaging 15.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.9 APG in 30.6 MPG for the Mocs, with a shooting line of .423/.359/.879 across 33 games. He played for Notre Dame and Vanderbilt earlier in his collegiate career, but struggled to gain traction with either team.

The release doesn’t specify the exact details of Ryan’s contract, but it will likely be a standard Exhibit 10 contract.

The signing of Davon Reed, which our JD Shaw previously reported, is now official, per the release.

Denver’s reported deal with Giorgi Bezhanishvili still isn’t official yet, but it could occur later in the preseason.

The Nuggets have 14 players with guaranteed contracts, and guard PJ Dozier has a partial guarantee of $200K. Both of the team’s two-way spots are filled.

Draft Notes: Mann, Taylor, Cunningham, Hornets

NBA draft prospect Tre Mann expressed confidence that he’s the best guard in this year’s class, as relayed by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Mann, 20, spent the past two seasons at Florida. He held per-game averages of 16 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists during the 2020/21 campaign, shooting 46% from the floor and 40% from deep.

“I think I’m the best guard in the draft, top-five for sure,” Mann said.

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses ahead of Thursday’s event, he gave a fair outlook.

“My strengths are my ability to create for myself and my teammates, my craftiness, and my ability to shoot off the dribble on the three-point line or a couple of steps behind the line,” Mann said. “The weaknesses that I think I need to work on are the simpler plays, like making the simple reads out of the ball screens and trying to make the game as easy as possible.”

Here are some other draft-related notes to pass along:

Draft Notes: Cooper, Bezhanishvili, Williams, Johnson

Potential late lottery pick Sharife Cooper has been making the rounds. He’s worked out for the Thunder, Rockets, Warriors, Lakers, Clippers and Celtics, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. As previously noted, Cooper has worked out for the Hornets and has also visited the Pacers. The Auburn point guard is currently ranked No. 17 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related intel:

  • Giorgi Bezhanishvili has recently worked out for the Spurs, Hornets and Bulls, Zagoria reports in another tweet. The junior forward who played for Illinois is a potential second-round selection.
  • Ziaire Williams was brought in for a second workout with the Magic, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Stanford freshman wing is ranked No. 24 by ESPN, but Ford views Williams as a potential lottery selection. Orlando owns the No. 5 and 8 picks.
  • Jalen Johnson left Duke in mid-February after losing playing time but he brushes aside questions about his character, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. “Those really aren’t red flags,” Johnson said. “People say a lot of things about me, but they say those things without knowing me. … I don’t like seeing that stuff and I know my parents see that stuff, and I know it hurts them, because at the end of the day these people are making judgments without knowing me, without speaking to me, without saying a word to me.” Johnson is still expected to go in the lottery.

Draft Workouts: Wizards, Springer, Kuminga, Pacers, Hornets, Bezhanishvili

The Wizards own the No. 15 pick and they’ve been very busy working out players. Guards Chris Duarte of Oregon, Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois and Josh Christopher of Arizona State visited last week, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. They brought in some less heralded prospects on Tuesday, a list that includes Mitchell Ballock (Creighton), D.J. Carton (Marquette), Matt Coleman III (Texas), Ryan Daly (St. Joseph) and Mark Vital (Baylor), according to a team press release.

Potential first-round Jaden Springer (Tennessee) heads the list of prospects who will work out for the club on Thursday, Hughes tweets. They’ll also take a look at Zane Martin (Towson), Asbjorn Midtgaard (Grand Canyon), Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon), Micah Potter (Wisconsin) and Guilherme Santos (Minas-Brazil).

We have more draft workout info:

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Kings, Lakers, Wiggins

During an episode of the Halfway Decent Pod, Kings forward/center Marvin Bagley III expressed no regrets about causing a stir on Twitter by liking a tweet that read “we gotta get @MB3FIVE outta Sac” and removing mentions of the Kings from his social media profiles, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

“First of all, it’s my Twitter, bro,” Bagley said. “It’s my Twitter. It has my name on it. I can like whatever I choose and please, and whatever I feel like liking.”

According to Anderson, Bagley explained that he liked the aforementioned tweet out of frustration after watching Trae Young – who was selected three spots after Bagley in the 2018 draft – score 48 points against Milwaukee in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

“As a competitor, that just makes me want to get to that and I need to be there. I want to be there bad,” Bagley said. “… For me, my personal goals and where I’m trying to get to in my career, I’ve got to make it happen. I’ve got to do everything I’ve got to do to make it happen.

“I think liking that tweet, that’s where that came from and it is what it is. People (are) going to take it and run with it. It is what it is. I did it. It’s my Twitter. I can like and do whatever I want on my account. I’m not hurting nobody. I’m not harming nobody, but you already know how the fans take stuff and want to run with something.”

Bagley, who is extension-eligible this offseason, has one year left on his rookie contract with Sacramento.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Draft Notes: Griffin, Robinson, Stevenson, More

Syracuse swingman Alan Griffin won’t be returning to the Orange for his senior year, having opted to go pro and forgo his remaining college eligibility. Griffin announced the decision in a video on Twitter, as Mike Waters of relays.

After spending two years at Illinois, Griffin transferred to Syracuse for his junior season and emerged as a starter, averaging 13.3 PPG 5.8 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 28 games (29.3 MPG).

Here are a few more draft-related updates: