Henri Drell

Bulls Sign Henri Drell, Waive Justin Lewis

5:00pm: The moves are official, per NBA.com’s transaction log.

2:22pm: The Bulls have agreed to sign forward Henri Drell to a two-way contract, his agent Matt Bollero tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In order to open up a two-way slot for Drell, Chicago is waiving forward Justin Lewis, according to Charania (Twitter link).

Drell, 23, is a 6’9″ Estonian wing who joined the Windy City Bulls in January 2022 and has now spent parts of three seasons with Chicago’s G League affiliate. In 11 Showcase Cup games for Windy City this fall, he has averaged 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 steals in 28.6 minutes per night, posting a shooting line of .433/.306/.800.

Lewis signed a two-way contract with Chicago in the summer of 2022 after going undrafted out of Marquette, but tore his ACL last August, prompting the team to waive him last fall. He rejoined the Bulls on a new two-year, two-way deal in March and made his debut for Windy City last month.

However, Lewis hasn’t been particularly effective so far this season, averaging just 5.7 PPG and 5.0 RPG on .333/.135/.500 shooting in 12 games (25.2 MPG) for Chicago’s NBAGL squad. He hasn’t played at all for the NBA team.

Once the moves are official, Drell will join Adama Sanogo and Onuralp Bitim as the Bulls’ two-way players.

Bulls Waive Henri Drell, Max Heidegger

The Bulls have cut a pair of players from their preseason roster, announcing (via Twitter) that they’ve waived forward Henri Drell and guard Max Heidegger. Chicago, which had a full 21-man roster, now has two open spots available.

Drell, 23, has spent the last two seasons playing for the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s G League affiliate. He didn’t have a major role in 2021/22, but became a starter last season, averaging 11.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 31.3 minutes per night (29 regular season games). He posted a shooting line of .486/.341/.750.

Heidegger, 26, has been playing professionally in Europe since going undrafted out of UC Santa Barbara in 2020, spending team with teams in Israel, Germany, Turkey, and Spain over the last three seasons. He was a lights-out three-point shooter during his college career, making 44.0% of 568 total attempts from beyond the arc, including 67-of-125 (53.6%) as a senior.

Neither Drell nor Heidegger saw much action in the Bulls’ first two preseason games — they each logged five minutes in the team’s opener vs. Milwaukee on Sunday, then didn’t play on Thursday vs. Denver.

In all likelihood, both Drell and Heidegger will join the Windy City Bulls, where they’ll earn Exhibit 10 bonuses worth $75K apiece, assuming they spend at least 60 days with the G League club.

Bulls Sign Henri Drell To Camp Contract

The Bulls have signed free agent swingman Henri Drell to a training camp contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Drell, 23, has spent the last two seasons playing for the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s G League affiliate. He didn’t have a major role in 2021/22, but became a starter last season, averaging 11.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 31.3 minutes per night (29 regular season games). He posted a shooting line of .486/.341/.750.

Given that the Bulls specifically described Drell’s deal as a camp contract, he looks like a good bet to be waived prior to the regular season and return to the G League. In that scenario, assuming his agreement includes Exhibit 10 language, he’d be eligible to receive a bonus worth up to $75K if he spends at least 60 days with Windy City.

Chicago now has a full 21-man offseason roster. That group includes 15 players on standard contracts (13 guaranteed), three on Exhibit 10 deals, and three on two-way pacts.

Bulls Sign, Waive Henri Drell

The Bulls signed and then waived Estonian swingman Henri Drell, according to the official transaction logs at RealGM.com and NBA.com.

Drell, 22, went undrafted this year after joining the Windy City Bulls during the 2021/22 season. He appeared in 29 games for Windy City, averaging 5.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.0 BPG with a shooting line of .372/.308/.500 in 17.9 minutes per contest.

Despite Drell’s underwhelming numbers last season, the Bulls seem to like what they’ve seen from him. He suited up for Chicago’s Summer League team and now appears likely to head back to Windy City to begin the 2022/23 season.

Drell presumably signed an Exhibit 10 contract, which will allow him to earn a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least 60 days with the Windy City Bulls this season.

After signing and waiving Drell, Chicago is still carrying 19 players on its preseason roster.

And-Ones: Napier, Drell, 2023 Mock Draft, Contracts

Shabazz Napier is signing with Serbian club Crvena Zvezda, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net.

Napier, the 24th pick of the 2014 draft, last played with the Wizards in 2020. He played a total of 345 regular season games across six seasons in the NBA, with career averages of 7.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists on .397/.345/.815 shooting.

The point guard has been inactive since he departed the NBA, Askounis writes, saying that Napier signed a one-year deal with Zenit Saint Petersburg last summer but suffered an injury that forced him out of action, and then when he was going to rejoin the team in February, Russia invaded Ukraine, so he opted to leave.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Estonian swingman Henri Drell, currently playing for the Bulls in Summer League, is hoping to show that he can be a complementary player in the NBA, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “I want to show that I can be a reliable NBA role player,” Drell said. “I can do everything on the floor. I can support the stars. I can defend. I can shoot. And I can pass. So I feel like this is what I have to show.” Drell spent last season in the G League with the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s affiliate.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic recently released his 2023 mock draft, with French phenom Victor Wembanyama going No. 1, followed by G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson at No. 2.
  • Kevin Durant asking for a trade from the Nets with four years remaining on his contract is the latest in a trend of stars asking out with multiple years left on their deals, notes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. However, it seems unlikely that the league will do anything about it going forward, even if it might be a point of contention during CBA negotiations, considering teams can essentially trade players at any time (certain limitations notwithstanding).

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Workouts, Jokic, Wolves, Roddy

The Jazz hosted another free agent mini-camp this week, bringing in 20 players on Monday and Tuesday for a closer look, as our JD Shaw relays (Twitter links). While not all of the invitees have NBA experience, there are a handful of noteworthy names in the group, including former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Big man Reggie Perry, swingman Denzel Valentine, forward Bruno Caboclo, and guards Langston Galloway, Sindarius Thornwell, and Grant Riller were among the other players to audition for Utah.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Jazz are working out six more draft-eligible prospects on Wednesday, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, who tweets that Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Tommy Kuhse (Saint Mary’s), Josh Minott (Memphis), Darryl Morsell (Marquette), Henri Drell (G League), and Jermaine Samuels (Villanova) will be in town.
  • Nuggets star and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has committed to playing for the Serbian national team this offseason, the Serbian Basketball Federation announced on Wednesday (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). Jokic likely won’t participate in the qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup that will take place in a couple weeks, but he’s expected to be available later in the summer for the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy, who went to high school in Minnesota, is working out for his hometown Timberwolves on Wednesday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Roddy, the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s big board, could be an option for the Wolves in the first round at No. 19 or in the second round if he slips — Minnesota holds the 40th, 48th, and 50th overall picks.

Southeast Draft Notes: Murray, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets

The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and Iowa’s Keegan Murray isn’t expected to go higher than No. 4 in the lottery. That didn’t prevent Orlando from doing its due diligence on the high-scoring wing. Murray came in for a pre-draft workout on Thursday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. The two sides also had a discussion during the draft combine in Chicago, Price adds.

We have more developments from the Southeast Division:

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2022 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2022 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 283 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 247 are from colleges, while 36 are international early entrants.

Those are big numbers, but they fall well short of the 353 early entrants who initially declared for the draft a year ago. Beginning in 2021, the NCAA granted players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

That tweak to the NCAA’s eligibility rules has increased the number of total early entrants due to the influx of seniors into the pool. However, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the number of college non-seniors (123) on the initial early entry list this year is actually the lowest since 2016, while the number of international prospects (36) is the lowest since 2014.

This year’s total of 283 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by June 1 and again by June 13, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 58, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2022 draft is fully up to date and can be found right here.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:

Newly-added players:

College players:

These players either didn’t publicly announce that they were entering the draft or we simply missed it when they did.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.

Other notable draft-eligible early entrants:

The NBA sent its teams a list of 33 “also-eligible” names. That list isn’t public, but Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) shared some of the most notable players on it, and we’ve added them to our early entrant tracker. They are as follows:

  1. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite
  2. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite
  3. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite
  4. Henri Drell, G/F, Windy City Bulls
  5. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite
  6. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite
  7. Makur Maker, C, Sydney Kings (formerly Howard Bison)
  8. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite
  9. Samson Ruzhentsev, G/F, Mega Basket (formerly Florida Gators)
  10. Kai Sotto, C, Adelaide 36ers (formerly G League Ignite)
  11. Zaire Wade, G, Salt Lake City Stars
  12. Kok Yat, F, Overtime Elite
  13. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite

Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have had no NCAA eligibility remaining, making them automatically draft-eligible; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list, at least for the time being.

Finally, Givony reports (via Twitter) that Canadian forward Leonard Miller, from the Fort Erie International Academy has been asked to fill out additional paperwork to finalize his entrance into the draft pool. According to Givony, there’s an expectation that Miller will be added to the list, so we’ve left him listed in our early entrant tracker among the international players.

Draft Notes: International Prospects, Wolves, Suns, Lewis, Terry

The NBA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from this year’s draft has now passed, which means it should just be a matter of time before we get an updated official list from the league of the early entrants who have kept their names in this year’s pool.

In the meantime, updates on a handful of international prospects continue to trickle in. According to Nicola Lupo of Sportando, Estonian forward Henri Drell – who is currently playing for Pesaro in Italy – has withdrawn his name from the 2020 draft.

On the other hand, Isralie point guard Yam Madar, a member of Hapoel Tel Aviv, has elected to keep his name in the draft, per Barak Haklai of ynetsport (Twitter link). And after initially announcing that his client Marko Simonovic would be pulling out of the draft, agent Misko Raznatovic has clarified (via Twitter) that Simonovic will remain in the draft after all.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • An NBA general manager who spoke to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) this morning said he doesn’t envy the Timberwolves and their efforts to maximize the value of the No. 1 pick. The teams at the top are desperate to try and trade down, but there just isn’t much value with the top few picks this year,” the GM said.
  • Within a piece on Kira Lewis Jr., Mike Mazzeo of Forbes says the Timberwolves and Suns are among the teams that have watched the Alabama guard work out in person. Lewis also worked out in person for Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Orlando, as previously reported.
  • Few prospects have increased their stock in recent months as substantially as Stanford’s Tyrell Terry, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who notes within a profile of Terry that the 20-year-old has interviewed virtually with all 30 NBA teams.
  • In an Insider-only article, Kevin Pelton of ESPN uses advanced stats to break down this year’s prospects into tiers. Pelton has LaMelo Ball on his own in tier one, followed by Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton in tier two, with Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu, and James Wiseman in tier three.

Draft Notes: Lewis, Vogt, Drell, Williams, More

Alabama sophomore guard Kira Lewis has elected to keep his name in the 2020 NBA draft and will forgo his final two years of college eligibility, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Lewis, who will hire an agent, confirmed his decision to go pro in a Twitter video.

A point guard who ranks 25th overall on ESPN’s big board, Lewis averaged a team-high 18.5 PPG to go along with 5.2 APG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.8 SPG in 31 games (37.6 MPG) in 2019/20 for the Crimson Tide. Alabama head coach Nate Oats told reporters nearly a month ago that Lewis would test the draft waters, noting at the time that he didn’t expect the starting point guard to return to school for ’20/21.

We have a few more draft decisions to pass along:

  • Cincinnati center Chris Vogt announced today on Twitter that he intends to test the draft waters. After transferring from Northern Kentucky, Vogt averaged 11.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 30 games (28.5 MPG) as a junior.
  • Estonian swingman Henri Drell, who played for Italian team VL Pesaro this season, has declared for the NBA draft, his agency tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). The 19-year-old, who also tested the draft waters a year ago, has previously played for teams in Estonia and Germany.
  • Evansville sophomore forward Deandre Williams has declared for the 2020 draft while entering the NCAA transfer portal, he tells Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype (video link). Williams recorded 15.2 PPG and 6.9 RPG in 18 games (27.1 MPG) in 2019/20.
  • VCU junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva, who previously entered the draft, has announced on Instagram that he’s transferring. While he didn’t explicitly say it, it sounds as if Santos-Silva will pull out of the draft process as he looks to play his senior season at a new program.
  • Former University of Sioux Falls commit Lincoln Bernhard, a 6’7″ wing, has entered the draft in the hopes of making a G League roster next season, he tells Hoops Rumors.