Ibou Badji

Blazers’ Ibou Badji Undergoes Left Knee Surgery

Trail Blazers center Ibou Badji, who is on a two-way contract with the team, isn’t expected to make his NBA debut this season.

According to a press release from the Blazers, Badji underwent left knee surgery on Monday and will miss the next eight weeks. The team specified that Badji’s procedure was an arthroscopic patellar chondroplasty and debridement.

The NBA’s regular season will end in less than five weeks and Badji’s two-way contract makes him ineligible to participate in the postseason even if the Blazers do make the playoffs, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll take the court this season.

A 7’1″ Senegalese center with a 7’9″ wingspan, Badji played in Spain from 2019-22 and joined the Wisconsin Herd (the Bucks’ G League club) to begin the 2022/23 campaign. In seven games with the Herd, the 20-year-old averaged 7.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 17.6 minutes per contest, impressing the Blazers with his ability to protect the rim. Portland signed him to a two-way deal in November.

Because the Blazers are one of the NBA’s only teams without a G League affiliate of their own, Badji didn’t play any more NBAGL games after joining Portland.

The big man could have suited up for the Blazers or been assigned to another team’s G League affiliate, but he has been listed on the injury report since January 24 due to left knee soreness. Monday’s procedure was presumably aimed at alleviating that soreness and directly addressing the ailment in his knee.

Badji’s two-way contract expires at season’s end, so he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer if he finishes the year with Portland.

Blazers Waive Olivier Sarr, Sign Ibou Badji To Two-Way Deal

2:52pm: The Blazers have officially waived Sarr and signed Badji, the team confirmed today in a press release.


12:47pm: The Trail Blazers are waiving one of their two-way players, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), who reports that center Olivier Sarr is being released. In Sarr’s place, Portland will sign big man Ibou Badji to a two-way contract, per Wojnarowski.

Sarr, who was in training camp with the Blazers on an Exhibit 10 contract, had that deal converted to a two-way after impressing the team in the preseason. Around the same time, he was diagnosed with a high-grade partial tear of the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist and was ruled out for six weeks, so he has yet to make his season debut in either the NBA or the G League. It appears he’ll have to seek out a new opportunity once he gets healthy.

As for Badji, he has been playing in the G League for the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s affiliate. Through seven games for the Herd, the 20-year-old from Senegal has averaged a modest 7.3 points in 35.0 minutes per contest. However, as Wojnarowski observes, Badji – who is 7’1″ with a 7’9″ wingspan – has been one of the G League’s best rim protectors, averaging 2.4 blocked shots per game.

The Blazers don’t have an NBAGL club of their own, so if they opt to keep Badji in the G League for now, he’ll have to either remain in Wisconsin or join another team’s affiliate.

Badij will be eligible to be active for up to 42 NBA games if he officially signs his contract on Friday. A player on a full-season two-way contract can be active for as many as 50 NBA games, but that limit is prorated when the player signs after the regular season has started.

Bucks Waive Ibou Badji

The Bucks have waived undrafted rookie Ibou Badji, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets.

Badji was signed on Monday to an Exhibit 10 contract. Badji will be eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least 60 days with the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate.

Badji, who turns 20 next month, spent the 2021/22 season with Forca Lleida CE of the LEB Oro, Spain’s second league. In 37 games (19.9 MPG) last season, the Senegalese center averaged 8.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.2 BPG, according to his NBA.com draft profile.

Bucks Sign Ibou Badji To Exhibit 10 Deal

The Bucks have signed undrafted rookie Ibou Badji to an Exhibit 10 contract, league sources tell our JD Shaw (Twitter link).

Badji, who turns 20 next month, spent the 2021/22 season with Forca Lleida CE of the LEB Oro, Spain’s second league. In 37 games (19.9 MPG) last season, the Senegalese center averaged 8.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.2 BPG, according to his NBA.com draft profile.

The Bucks have also signed undrafted rookie Iverson Molinar to an Exhibit 10 deal, Hoops Rumors has learned. The news of his signing was first reported back in June, but wasn’t official until now.

In 34 games (34.1 MPG) as a junior for Mississippi State last season, the Panamanian guard averaged 17.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.2 SPG on .454/.252/.868 shooting. For his efforts, he earned a berth on the All-SEC First Team.

Hoops Rumors can also confirm that Alex Antetokounmpo, who was recently waived by the Bucks, received an Exhibit 10 deal.

Exhibit 10 deals, which are non-guaranteed, would make Badji and Molinar eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if they’re waived before the season starts and spend at least 60 days with the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate.

Draft Decisions: Travers, Badji, Nakic, Zugic, Cazalon, Maronka

The early entry deadline to withdraw from the draft was 5 p.m. on Monday. It’s mostly relevant for international prospects, since the deadline to retain NCAA eligibility was June 1.

Several more international prospects have made their draft decisions, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links):

  • Wing Luke Travers, who played for the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s National Basketball League, is staying in the draft. He averaged 7.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.3 APG last season.
  • Ibou Badji, a 7’1” center from Senegal, is also staying in the draft. He played for ICG Força Lleida last season, averaging 8.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 36 games.
  • Spanish forward Mario Nakic is removing his name from the draft.
  • German guard Fedor Zugic has withdrawn from the draft.
  • Serbian guard Malcolm Cazalon has withdrawn from the draft.
  • Spanish forward Zsombor Maronka has also withdrawn from the draft.

As our early entrant tracker shows, there are still over a dozen international prospects whose intentions haven’t been reported. We expect the majority of those players pulled their names out of the draft, but we should get official confirmation from the league within the next day or two.

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: Early Entrants, Bleijenbergh, Sengun, Hurt, Reaves

Senegalese center Ibou Badji and German big man Ariel Hukporti have withdrawn from the 2021 NBA draft, according to a pair of reports from Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links).

Both players were considered potential second-round picks, ranking 59th and 63rd respectively on ESPN’s big board of 2021 prospects. However, Givony notes that Hukporti – like a number of international players who withdrew before today’s deadline – wasn’t interested in being a draft-and-stash prospect. It’s unclear if Badji felt the same way, but both players will be looking to boost their stock ahead of the 2022 draft.

Another potential second-round pick, Senegalese big man Amar Sylla, will be keeping his name in the draft, Givony tweets. The 19-year-old, who ranks 81st on ESPN’s board, is a strong draft-and-stash candidate, Givony adds.

Here’s more on the 2021 draft:

  • Belgian wing Vrenz Bleijenbergh, another one of the international prospects keeping his name in the draft, indicated (via Twitter) that he completed a workout with the Mavericks and has a meeting with the Raptors up next.
  • Turkish League MVP Alperen Sengun, who visited the Kings over the weekend, had a workout this morning with the Spurs and is on his way to meet with the Magic, reports Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Sengun could be a lottery pick next Thursday.
  • Duke forward Matthew Hurt worked out for the Sixers today and has the Clippers, Nets, and Magic on tap later this week, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), who adds that Hurt also recently impressed in workouts with the Rockets and Bucks.
  • Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves is keeping busy during the pre-draft process — Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Reaves is working out for a total of 18 NBA teams, including the Hawks, Knicks, Sixers, Nets, and Hornets.

Jared Butler, Others Enter 2021 NBA Draft

Ahead of Sunday’s early entry deadline, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler announced (via Twitter) that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. While his announcement doesn’t explicitly state that he’s forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, it strongly suggests he intends to go pro.

While it took a while for him to make it official, Butler was always considered a good bet to enter this year’s draft following an impressive 2020/21 campaign in which he averaged 16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG on .471/.416/.780 shooting in 30 games (30.3 MPG) for the eventual national champs.

A consensus first-team All-American, Butler was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after the Bears defeated Gonzaga in the championship game. He’s the No. 23 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be a first-round pick in July.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Fresno State sophomore guard Deon Stroud is testing the draft waters while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, according to an announcement from the school (Twitter link). Stroud, who began his college career at UTEP, averaged 12.2 PPG on .482/.357/.613 shooting in 23 games (23.1 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Italian wing Gabriele Procida has declared for the draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that the 18-year-old is a projected second-round pick.
  • Givony also published a series of tweets listing several more international players who have entered the 2021 NBA draft pool. Those players are as follows (the countries listed represent where they last played, not where they were born):
  • Since the NBA’s early entry deadline has now passed, we should get a full, official list of early entrants from the league on Tuesday. In the meantime, our unofficial tracker is here.