Javon Freeman-Liberty

Javon Freeman-Liberty Signs Two-Way Deal With Raptors

JULY 22: Freeman-Liberty’s two-way contract with the Raptors is now official, the team announced in a press release.

JULY 21: Free agent guard Javon Freeman-Liberty is signing a two-way deal with the Raptors, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Chicago native went undrafted out of DePaul (which is also in Chicago) in 2022, signing an Exhibit 10 training camp deal with his hometown Bulls. Freeman-Liberty, 23, played for Chicago’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, in his pro debut this past season, averaging 17.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.9 APG and 1.4 SPG on .497/.390/.756 shooting in 16 regular season games (29.9 MPG).

A 6’4″ guard, Freeman-Liberty also played for the Bulls’ Summer League squads the past two seasons. In Las Vegas this year, he had a very impressive run, averaging 21.2 PPG in five games while shooting 49.3% from the field and 46.2% from beyond the arc en route to a spot on the All-Summer League Second Team.

As Blake Murphy of Sporsnet.ca notes (via Twitter), the Raptors have Markquis Nowell and Ron Harper Jr. on two-way deals, so Freeman-Liberty will fill the third and final two-way slot for now. Jeff Dowtin, who finished the season on a two-way deal and was given a qualifying offer, remains a restricted free agent.

The Raptors currently have 14 players on guaranteed contracts, so there’s room on the roster for Exhibit 10 deals to secure G League rights and to possibly have a camp battle for the 15th spot, Murphy adds. NBA team can carry up to 21 players under contract in the offseason, but only 18 during the season (15 standard, three two-way deals).

Central Notes: Giannis, Nembhard, Toppin, Freeman-Liberty

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is included on the preliminary roster that Greece submitted this week for the FIBA World Cup, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Although it’s uncertain whether he’ll play, the move is an encouraging sign after Antetokounmpo underwent minor surgery on his left knee in June.

There have been concerns about Antetokounmpo’s condition in the wake of the operation, which was described as a clean-up procedure, and the back injury he suffered during Milwaukee’s first-round playoff series against Miami.

Vardon notes that Antetokounmpo has said that helping Greece capture a World Cup title is one of his professional goals. The two-time MVP is a frequent participant in international competitions, taking part in the World Cup four years ago and EuroBasket last summer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Tyrese Haliburton only needed to watch Pacers teammate Andrew Nembhard play one game during Summer League to know he was too good for the competition, according to an Indianapolis Star story. “Y’all can send Andrew home,” Haliburton told president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and general manager Chad Buchanan after watching Nembhard dominate the team’s first game in Las Vegas. “He don’t need to be here.” Although Nembhard appears ready for a larger role in his second NBA season, Indiana’s offseason moves may complicate that. The Pacers signed Bruce Brown and drafted Ben Sheppard, and coach Rick Carlisle may decide to promote Bennedict Mathurin to a starting job in the backcourt alongside Haliburton.
  • Obi Toppin never averaged more than 17.1 minutes per game during his three seasons with the Knicks, but he’s the Pacers‘ presumed starter at power forward, The Indianapolis Star adds in a projection of the team’s depth chart. Lottery pick Jarace Walker, who was impressive during Summer League, will probably be Toppin’s primary backup.
  • The Bulls were exploring ways to sign Javon Freeman-Liberty, who starred for them in Las Vegas, when he agreed to a two-way contract with the Raptors on Friday, agent Keith Glass tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Chicago filled its final two-way slot later in the day by reaching an agreement with Onuralp Bitim.

And-Ones: Summer League, McClung, Motiejunas, NBAGL Showcase

The Hornets‘ poor play was one of the worst parts of Las Vegas Summer League, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic.

Despite having eight players on the roster attending (and a ninth, James Nnaji, as one of a handful of remaining unsigned draft picks), Charlotte went 1-6 and was minus-55 overall. No one played particularly well, with Hollinger noting that the team may end up regretting not taking Scoot Henderson instead of Brandon Miller, if their brief Summer League performances were any indication.

Of more immediate concern for the Hornets are the fourth-year team option decisions on 2021 first-round picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones, which are due by late October. Neither looks like a sure bet to have his option picked up, as both players struggled in Vegas despite entering their third seasons, Hollinger adds. Bouknight’s option in 2024/25 is worth $6.1MM, while Jones’ is worth $4.7MM — not exactly team-friendly rates given they haven’t contributed much thus far.

Nnaji showed some defensive promise, but may be a draft-and-stash prospect while he develops his offensive game, says Hollinger.

Among the other players who struggled in Summer League were Pistons center James Wiseman (poor screening and defense), Nets first-rounder Noah Clowney (looked overmatched) and Lakers draft picks Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis, according to Hollinger.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • On the other end of the spectrum, Hollinger also revealed his under-the-radar Summer League standouts for The Athletic, including Javon Freeman-Liberty, who just agreed to a two-way deal with the Raptors, and Cavaliers guards Sam Merrill and Craig Porter Jr., the latter of whom went undrafted and signed a two-way contract with Cleveland. Hollinger says he would have given Merrill, whose contract for next season is non-guaranteed, the Summer League MVP award over Cam Whitmore.
  • Free agent guard Mac McClung, who finished last season on a two-way deal with the Sixers, tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com he’s focused on making another NBA team, but he’s open to going to Europe if he can’t find a roster spot. “We’ll see,” McClung said. “I am in free agency right now, my agent is talking to some teams, back and forth. We’re just trying to evaluate what is the best situation for me. Hopefully, I will be in the NBA next year and finding my way.”
  • Former NBA big man Donatas Motiejunas has signed a two-year extension with AS Monaco Basket, the team announced (via Twitter). Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com had the scoop on Motiejunas’ extension (Twitter link). The 32-year-old spent six seasons in the NBA, ending with a brief stint with San Antonio back in 2018/19. He was productive on a per-minute basis for Monaco, which won France’s LNB Pro A and finished third in the EuroLeague playoffs.
  • In 2023/24, the NBA G League’s Winter Showcase event will be held in Orlando instead of Las Vegas, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The Showcase has been held Vegas for several years, but will be moving due to the NBA’s new in-season tournament, as the semifinals and final will be held in early December in Vegas.

Rockets’ Cam Whitmore Named Summer League MVP

Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been named the Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced (via Twitter).

The NBA also announced its All-Summer League First and Second Teams, which are as follows (Twitter links):

First Team

Second Team

According to the NBA (Twitter link), Christie and Moon received the same amount of votes, which is why there is an additional backcourt player on the second team.

Whitmore, a projected lottery pick in last month’s draft who fell to Houston at No. 20, averaged 20.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG and 3.0 SPG on .465/.293/.625 shooting in his five Vegas Summer League games, per NBA.com.

Houston faces Cleveland at 8 p.m. CT tonight in the Summer League championship game. Both teams are undefeated, holding identical 5-0 records.

Central Notes: Beauchamp, Freeman-Liberty, Bulls, Haliburton

After spending much of his rookie season getting used to the NBA, the BucksMarJon Beauchamp appears ready to make a bigger impact, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Beauchamp reported to Summer League noticeably stronger than he was last season, and his teammates have seen a different approach to the game.

“His confidence and feeling comfortable out there, and kind of understanding what he does best and how he can do that and execute that and kind of just like putting his impact on the game, on both ends of the floor, getting to the rim, making plays defensively,” A.J. Green said. “He just looks so much more like ‘I’m here. I belong here’ comfortable out there.”

Beauchamp took a lead role in Milwaukee’s offense during Summer League, scoring 23 and 20 points in the first two games. He plans to spend part of the offseason working out in Greece with Giannis Antetokounmpo and hopes to carry his newfound aggressiveness into the upcoming season.

“Going into camp, I just want to show my ability where I’ve grown and I read the game better,” Beauchamp said. “I’m here to take that leap. I am. It starts Day 1 of training camp so I can’t wait.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Javon Freeman-Liberty was impressive enough during Summer League to warrant an NBA contract, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago states in an overview of the Bulls‘ performance in Las Vegas. Freeman-Liberty averaged 21.2 PPG in five games while shooting 49.3% from the field and 46.2% from beyond the arc. Johnson suggests the Bulls might give him their last open two-way spot if he doesn’t get offered a standard deal by another team.
  • The Bulls‘ front office hasn’t shown an ability to identify talent in recent drafts, contends Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Second-year guard Dalen Terry might be the latest disappointment after a lackluster Summer League showing in which he shot 33.8%. Cowley rates Chicago’s last four drafts, giving the team grades of C, C-minus, D and C-plus.
  • Tyrese Haliburton believes the Pacers are ready to take another step forward after signing Bruce Brown and trading for Obi Toppin, per The Indianapolis Star. “I think we have a lot of guys that fit the right way and fit our style of basketball,” Haliburton said. “Bruce, Obi, on top of the guys that we already have there with the way we played last year, those are two guys who just add to that. That’s going to help us keep playing fast.”

Bulls Waive Javon Freeman-Liberty

The Bulls have waived guard Javon Freeman-Liberty, the team announced today (via Twitter). The move reduces Chicago’s roster count to 19 players.

Freeman-Liberty went pro earlier this year after declaring for the draft following his senior year at DePaul, forgoing his additional year of college eligibility. In 2021/22, he averaged 21.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .430/.368/.739 shooting in 24 games (34.9 MPG) for the Blue Demons.

Freeman-Liberty played for the Bulls’ Summer League team in Las Vegas, then appeared in the team’s second preseason game on Friday, scoring eight points in just six minutes of action.

Because Freeman-Liberty had been on an Exhibit 10 contract, he’ll be eligible for a $50K bonus if he signs a G League contract and spends at least 60 days with the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s NBAGL affiliate.

Bulls Sign Javon Freeman-Liberty To Exhibit 10 Deal

DePaul guard Javon Freeman-Liberty has signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Bulls, the team announced (via Twitter).

The 22-year-old guard played two years for the Blue Demons after transferring from Valparaiso. He averaged 21.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season and was a second-team All-Big East selection.

An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed minimum salary contract that makes the player eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived before the regular season begins and then joins his team’s G League affiliate. It can also be converted into a two-way deal before the season.

Draft Workout Notes: Kings, Wizards, Wolves, Jazz, More

The Kings hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team announced (Twitter links).

The Tuesday group featured Trey McGowens, Ziga Samar, Ron Harper Jr., Brady Manek and Dallas Walton. Wednesday’s group was Jacob Gilyard, Fatts Russell, Yoan Makoundou, Karlo Matkovic, Yannick Nzosa and Kai Sotto.

The Kings control the fourth, 37th and 49th picks in the 2022 draft, and a handful of those players could be targets with one of those second-round picks. Nzosa, Samar, Harper and Matkovic are ranked between 53rd and 58th on ESPN’s big board.

Here are more workout-related notes from around the NBA:

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Draft Notes: Walker, Abmas, Hall, Travers, Freeman-Liberty, Kiss, Big Board

Colorado’s Jabari Walker, a First-Team All Pac-12 selection, intends to stay in the draft, his father and former NBA player Samaki Walker told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link).

“Jabari is fully committed to becoming a professional basketball player and has no intentions on returning to school. He wants to sign with an agent and go all in,” Samaki Walker said.

Jabari Walker averaged 14.6 PPG and 9.4 RPG as a sophomore for the Buffaloes. A power forward, Walker is rated No. 61 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Oral Roberts’ Max Abmas, Saint Joseph’s Jordan Hall, Australian forward Luke Travers and DePaul guard Javon Freeman-Liberty have been invited to the NBA G League Elite Camp, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw reports (Twitter links found here). Among that group, Hall (No. 76) and Travers (No. 87) are on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • Guard Peter Kiss will work out for the Celtics on Tuesday, Adam Zagoria tweets. Kiss averaged a Division I-best 25.2 PPG and 5.8 RPG for Bryant this past season.
  • Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren remain the top two players on Sam Vecenie’s latest big board, which includes his top 100 prospects. The Athletic’s draft expert considers Smith a somewhat safer pick because his shooting and defense translates well to the NBA game. Separating players into tiers, Vecenie ranks Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin and Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe just outside the top five.