Jalen Slawson

Option/QO Notes: Green, Watanabe, Bertans, Barlow, Kings, More

Saturday represented the deadline for teams and players to exercise 2024/25 contract options and for teams to issue qualifying offers to players eligible for free agency. While there was a flurry of news about those options and QO decisions yesterday, a few players still slipped through the cracks.

We’ll start with Rockets forward Jeff Green. Reporting last week indicated that Houston planned to exercise his $8MM team option for 2024/25 and the team did just that, per RealGM’s transaction log. Green’s salary technically remains non-guaranteed until July 11 even now that his option has been picked up, but the expectation is that he’ll be retained — his expiring deal could be a useful salary-matching piece in a trade, and he also played rotation minutes for Houston last season, averaging 16.8 MPG in 78 appearances.

While there was no official confirmation on Saturday (as far as we could tell), Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe had long been expected to decline his $2.65MM player option for the 2024/25 season, since he’s on track to return to his home country of Japan and play for the Chiba Jets. There’s no indication that those plans have changed or that he picked up his option, so we’re assuming it was declined and that he’ll be off the board for NBA teams this offseason.

Finally, Davis Bertans‘ option with the Hornets was technically an early termination option rather than a player option, meaning that instead of needing to actively exercise it if he wanted to opt in, he needed to do nothing to opt in. He did just that, and will remain under contract with Charlotte for the time being, rather than becoming a free agent. However, his $16MM option salary is only partially guaranteed for $5.25MM, so he’s not assured of having the rest of that salary guaranteed, especially if the Hornets are looking to maximize their cap flexibility this offseason.

Here are a few more updates left over from a busy Saturday:

  • Dominick Barlow, a 21-year-old forward who has spent the past two seasons with the Spurs, didn’t receive a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). San Antonio isn’t necessarily planning to part ways with Barlow, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who tweets that the Spurs still have interest in discussing a new deal. However, he’ll have interest from other teams as well, says Wojnarowski.
  • The Kings didn’t tender qualifying offers to their three players eligible for restricted free agency (Kessler Edwards, Jordan Ford, or Jalen Slawson), confirms Sean Cunningham of FOX 40 Sacramento (Twitter link). All three players will be unrestricted free agents.
  • According to RealGM, players who did receive qualifying offers that weren’t previously reported (that we saw) include no-brainers like Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey and Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley, as well as Mavericks two-way player Brandon Williams.
  • We’ve previously published trackers for this year’s team option decisions and player option decisions, which are now fully up to date. We’ll be posting a full qualifying offer recap later this morning.

Kings Sign Jalen Slawson On Two-Way Deal

Former Furman small forward Jalen Slawson has signed a two-way contract with the Kings, per a team press release.

Sacramento selected the 6’7″ forward with the No. 54 pick in this year’s draft. The 23-year-old was voted the Southern Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts in the 2022/23 NCAA season.

He was also a two-time All-Southern Conference First Team selection during his collegiate tenure.

Across 36 contests last year, he averaged 15.6 PPG on .556/.394/.775 shooting splits, along with 7.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.5 SPG and 1.5 BPG.

Considered a skilled creator with intriguing upside, his lack of athleticism and an occasional tendency for turnovers limited his draft stock somewhat.

Northwest Notes: Micic, Williams, Holmgren, Wolves, Blazers’ Pick

Former EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic is in Oklahoma City to discuss a potential contract with the Thunder, Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net reports. Negotiations can commence after the draft, Barkas adds.

Micic, who plays for Anadolu Efes, hired the Wasserman Media Group as his new representative in March. Micic, whose draft rights are owned by the Thunder, is a two-time Euroleague Final Four MVP. However, it’s unclear whether the Thunder would have a role for the 29-year-old guard, whose rights could be traded if he wants to make the jump to the NBA.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Coming off an excellent rookie season, Jalen Williams will play in Summer League games for the Thunder in Salt Lake City next month, Thunder reporter Rylan Stiles tweets. Ousmane Dieng will also play and it’s “very possible” Chet Holmgren, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, could participate.
  • The Timberwolves hosted six prospects in a pre-draft workout on Monday, the team tweets. They took a closer look at Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton), Jazian Gortman (Overtime Elite), D’Moi Hodge (Missouri), Gabe Kalscheur (Iowa State), Mojave King (G League Ignite) and Jalen Slawson (Furman).
  • Rumors have been flying that the Trail Blazers will deal their lottery pick. Bill Oram of The Oregonian argues that the Blazers need to hold onto the No. 3 overall selection and choose their next star, regardless of whether Damian Lillard remains with the team or requests a trade.

Draft Notes: Ausar Thompson, Nnaji, Hornets, Hawks, Wizards

Ausar Thompson pulled out of a scheduled workout with the Pacers on Friday, according to an Indianapolis Star story. No official reason was given, but it’s possible that the Overtime Elite star has received information that he’s likely to be selected before Indiana picks at No. 7. The article also suggests that Thompson may prefer to be drafted by a team picking later in the lottery.

The canceled workout doesn’t mean the Pacers wouldn’t consider Thompson if he’s still on the board, as he would provide a defensive boost to a team that ranked 29th in that category this season. The Star story notes that president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard is looking for a player with a “high ceiling” in the draft, and Thompson appears to fit that description.

Indiana holds five picks and has brought in more than 60 players during the pre-draft process. Most have been in group sessions, but projected lottery picks such as Thompson have been given individual workouts. The Pacers have already hosted Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, Houston’s Jarace Walker, Central Florida’s Taylor Hendricks and Kansas’ Gradey Dick.

There’s more on the draft:

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows:

Southeast Notes: Unseld, Wizards, Hornets, Vincent

Wes Unseld Jr.‘s coaching staff will be undergoing some changes this offseason, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post, who reports (via Twitter) that assistant coaches Alex McLean and Dean Oliver won’t be returning to the Wizards for 2023/24.

As Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets, McLean had been with the Wizards for the last six seasons and also served as the team’s director of player development. Oliver is an analytics specialist and had been with the franchise for four years.

The expectation, as Wallace notes, is that Unseld will have more power to shape his coaching staff and to hire new assistants going forward.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations is moving at a deliberate pace and is still in the early stages, according to Robbins (Twitter links), who says the team continues to compile a list of viable candidates for the job. Washington hasn’t hired an outside firm to run the search, which has been led more by ownership, Robbins adds.
  • The Hornets are hosting a group of six prospects for a pre-draft workout on Friday, the team announced in a press release. Led by Eastern Michigan forward and former five-star recruit Emoni Bates, the workout will also include Meechie Johnson Jr. (South Carolina), Jaylen Martin (Overtime Elite), Landers Nolley (Cincinnati), Jalen Slawson (Furman), and Trey Wertz (Notre Dame).
  • After evolving into more of a play-maker and distributor during his time in Miami, Heat guard Gabe Vincent has been asked to take on more scoring responsibilities since Tyler Herro went down in the first round. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, Vincent – an unrestricted free agent this summer – has responded admirably, averaging 15.1 points per game and making 40.4% of his three-pointers since the playoffs began.

And-Ones: Revenue Sharing, Draft Lottery, NCAA Tourney, MVP Race, Broadcasting

The Warriors and Lakers were the biggest contributors in revenue sharing for the 2021/22 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Those franchises combined to pay more than $88MM to smaller-market teams last season. A total of 10 teams paid out $163.6MM in revenue sharing. Adding in approximately $240MM in luxury tax payouts, there were 20 teams collecting a total of $404MM.

Topping the list of revenue sharing beneficiaries was the Pacers, who collected $42.2MM. The Nuggets ($35.5M) and Trail Blazers ($32M) rounded out the top three, according to Wojnarowski.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • For all lottery-bound teams, May 16 is the big night. That’s when the lottery will be held, the NBA’s PR department tweets. The G League Elite Camp will be held May 13 and 14, while the draft combine will take place from May 15-21.
  • UCLA guard Amari Bailey, Missouri forward Kobe Brown and Furman forward Jalen Slawson were among the draft prospects who helped their cause in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report details.
  • While Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic was seemingly pulling away from the pack for the Most Valuable Player award earlier this season, the race has tightened up the last few weeks, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. Joel Embiid has pulled even with Jokic, according to a prominent Las Vegas sportsbook, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is very much in the running due to the Bucks’ surge to the top of the East.
  • The recent turmoil among regional sports networks affects 18 NBA teams, prompting The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov to detail what changes could be coming to the industry and what steps those franchises might take.

Draft Notes: Hollatz, Baldwin Jr., Guerrier, Slawson, Bothwell, Akot

German guard Justus Hollatz declared himself eligible for the draft but the international prospect is signing a two-year contract with the Spanish club Broegan Lugo, according to a Eurohoops.net story. Hollatz played last season with the Hamburg Towers of the EuroCup League.

We have more draft-related decisions:

  • Potential first-round pick Patrick Baldwin Jr. is staying in the draft and believes he’ll move up draft boards in the coming weeks, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype“I still think I’m one of those top guys in the class, and I think the circumstances I had to deal with this year were a little bit unique,’ said Baldwin, who has an upcoming workout with the Thunder“I’m looking to go into workouts and show them what I look like when I’m healthy and fully able to go.” Baldwin, ranked No. 34 on ESPN’s Best Available list, played only 11 games for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee due to an ankle injury.
  • Oregon’s Quincy Guerrier is pulling out of the draft and returning to school, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. The Canadian-born forward averaged 10.1 PPG and 5.3 RPG last season.
  • Furman early entrants Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell are withdrawing from the draft and will play for the Paladins again next season, according to Jeff Goodman (Twitter links). They averaged a combined 30.2 PPG last season.
  • Emmanuel Akot, who is in the transfer portal, will be playing college ball again next season rather than staying in the draft, Rothstein tweets. He averaged 12.4 PPG for Boise State last season.

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.