Shabazz Napier

And-Ones: IST, Draymond, Bulls, Lakers, Napier, Mannion, Sarr

There were some complaints this fall about the unique court designs that debuted in the NBA’s first in-season tournament, with some fans viewing the bold-colored floors as eyesores. Joe Dumars acknowledged that those courts would be up for discussion next season, but the NBA’s head of basketball operations told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he was a fan of the way they immediately identified a game as part of the tournament.

“I did like the idea that if you were flipping the channels and you saw one of those courts, you knew immediately, ‘Oh, man,'” Dumars said. “Even if you have forgotten that was a Tuesday or Friday, you’re flipping channels and you saw that court, you immediately knew.”

Dumars told Vorkunov that he thinks next season’s in-season tournament final will once again be played in Las Vegas and also discussed a couple other topics, including the thinking behind the league’s indefinite suspension for Warriors forward Draymond Green. Dumars explained that the NBA viewed Green’s case as a “special situation” and felt it was important to give him time to get help for his behavior.

“The only thing we really want to see him do is get better so when he comes back, we’re not dealing with the same issues over and over again,” Dumars said. “And so that was the whole purpose behind indefinite, and when he is ready, then he’ll come back. When we feel like he’s ready, he’ll come back. When the team feels like he’s ready, he’ll come back.

“… “He’s been very receptive to this right here. He’s not pushed back on this. He has agreed this is what needs to happen. He hasn’t been defiant about this at all.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • How likely are the Bulls and Lakers to be trading partners this season? The Athletic’s Bulls beat writer, Darnell Mayberry, thinks all signs are pointing toward the two teams making a deal, but his colleague, Lakers beat writer Jovan Buha, is skeptical that they’ll find common ground. Buha, who previously reported that the Lakers have more interest in DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso than Zach LaVine, discusses the possibilities with Mayberry in a story for The Athletic.
  • A pair of former NBA guards are reportedly on track to join new teams in Italy. Shabazz Napier is said to be making the move from Crvena Zvezda in Serbia to Olimpia Milano, according to Eurohoops, while Dario Skerletic of Sportando reports that Nico Mannion is headed to Pallacanestro Varese after starting the season with Baskonia in Spain. The Warriors continue to retain Mannion’s rights as a two-way restricted free agent in the event that he returns to the NBA.
  • In an Insider-only story for, Jeremy Woo makes Alexandre Sarr‘s case to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA draft. There’s no consensus top player in this year’s draft class at this point, so ESPN will likely follow up with similar articles discussing other candidates for the No. 1 spot.

And-Ones: Napier, All-Star Bonuses, Trade Proposals, Biggest Needs

Former NBA guard Shabazz Napier has signed with Olimpia Milano for the remainder of the season, according to a team press release. Coach Ettore Messina said Napier will be thrown into the fray immediately against Baskonia, Allesandro Maggi of Sportando relays.

“Shabazz Napier had just one team practice, but we will use him, hoping for some minutes in a position where we need them badly,” he said.

Napier last appeared in the NBA during the 2019/20 season, when he played a combined 56 games for Minnesota and Washington.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Several NBA players could cash in if they’re selected as All-Star reserves, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. Among that group, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown will earn a $1.5MM bonus if he’s chosen and also appears in 65 regular season games (he has missed six games so far). The Bucks’ Jrue Holiday will collect $324K if he’s chosen, while the Kings’ Domantas Sabonis will receive $1.3MM if he’s selected. The Knicks’ Julius Randle will get an additional $1.2MM if he gets the nod.
  • What are some of the bold moves that playoff contenders could make to improve their chances of success? The Ringer’s Michael Pina explores potential trades that could make the Suns, Clippers, Thunder, Lakers and Pelicans better.
  • The Bulls and Hawks need 3-point shooting.  The Nuggets need defensive help and the Warriors require a stretch wing. The Athletic’s staff runs down the biggest need for every team as the trade deadline approaches.

And-Ones: Faried, CBA, Wembanyama, Thompson Twins

In a conversation with Sam Yip of HoopsHype, Kenneth Faried admits that it has been “extremely difficult” to be out of the NBA since 2019, since he believes that he’s still capable of playing at that level and helping a team. Faried is currently suiting up for the Mexico City Capitanes in the G League as he seeks an NBA comeback.

“At the same time, patience is a virtue. I’m very patient,” Faried said. “I’m working hard towards showing that I can still do it at that level. … I’m ready, I’m focused, I’m locked in, I’m a better vet, a better person, a better leader and I don’t even need to be a leader. I can be quiet and sit back and just follow whoever the leader is.”

As Yip points out, Faried is one of several NBA veterans playing for Mexico City’s G League team. Shabazz Napier, Gary Clark, and Mason Jones are among the other Capitanes players hoping for a call-up.

“For us to now be on a team, and all trying to have the same kind of goal to make it back to the NBA and try to find a way is great, because we’re not trying to be selfish to each other,” Faried said. “We’re trying to help each other. And everyone’s here trying to help each other get better, trying to showcase that we’re still good enough in great shape and ready for whatever may happen, ready for a contract for real.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Don’t expect the NBA’s next Collective Bargaining Agreement to include an upper spending limit (ie. a hard cap), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast. The NBA was reportedly pushing a de facto hard cap earlier in CBA discussions, but Windhorst believes negotiations between the two sides would be far more contentious if the league was still prioritizing that concept. He does think there will be changes made to the luxury tax system, however.
  • Although the 2017 CBA improved the guidelines for veteran contract extensions and led to a huge uptick in those deals, the rule limiting players to a 20% raise for the first year of an extension is outdated, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN, who notes that it makes it virtually impossible for clubs to extend players who are coming off team-friendly deals. Marks suggests tweaking the rule to allow teams to offer the same amount in an extension that they’d be able to in free agency.
  • Top prospect Victor Wembanyama is expected to play for France’s national team in two World Cup qualifying contests next month, as Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops writes. The February 23 and 26 games conflict with the EuroLeague schedule, but Wembyanama’s Metropolitans 92 aren’t a EuroLeague team.
  • Twins Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson, projected top-10 picks in the 2023 NBA draft, are looking forward to competing against other top players from their draft class and showing how the Overtime Elite program has benefited them, writes Jacob Polacheck of

And-Ones: Media Rights, G League, Bledsoe, Beasley, Franklin

When the NBA negotiates its next television deal, expect the league to sell a separate package of streaming-only games, writes Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports. As McCarthy outlines, the NFL and MLB have sold packages of games to Amazon and Apple in recent years, and the NBA is expected to follow suit, with Amazon in particular having made it clear it wants to get into business with the league.

“Amazon is locked and loaded for a shot at the NBA,” a source told Front Office Sports.

According to McCarthy, sports media consultant Patrick Crakes estimated that the bidding for a streaming-only NBA package could start in the neighborhood of $1 billion per year. The league’s current TV deal with ESPN/ABC and Turner Sports pays the league about $2.6 billion annually — the next rights deal is expected to double or triple that figure, McCarthy writes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

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

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

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).

And-Ones: Mock Draft, King, Napier, Summer League

Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren remains atop ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz’s latest mock draft, with Auburn’s Jabari Smith moving up one notch to No. 2. The G League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels has moved into the lottery while Milwaukee Panthers forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. has dropped from No. 15 to No. 25.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The G League’s Westchester Knicks are acquiring forward Louis King, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. King had been on a two-way contract with Sacramento but was waived by the Kings on February 17th. In 16 career games with Sacramento, including 10 this year, King averaged 5.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 11.8 MPG.
  • Former NBA guard Shabazz Napier has left Russia and Zenit Saint Petersburg, according to Napier, who has been sidelined most of the season with an ankle injury, was already preparing to return to the United States prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because he did not feel he was ready to play.
  • The NBA will hold its annual Summer League in Las Vegas on July 7-17, Shaw adds in another tweet.

Shabazz Napier Signs With Russia’s Zenit

Longtime NBA guard Shabazz Napier has signed a one-year contract with BC Zenit Saint Petersburg, the Russian basketball club tweets.

Napier, who turned 30 this month, did not play in the NBA this season. He saw action in a combined 56 games with the Timberwolves and Wizards in 2019/20. He averaged 10.3 PPG and 4.7 APG in 24.0 MPG in those contests, which included 32 starts. He also appeared in 56 games with the Nets the previous season, averaging 9.4 PPG and 2.6 APG in 17.6 MPG.

He has also had stints with the Heat, Magic and Trail Blazers. Overall, Napier has averaged 7.1 PPG and 2.5 APG in 345 NBA games.

As relays, coach Xavi Pascual called Napier an “excellent acquisition.”

“Shabazz Napier is an excellent acquisition for our club, and I am very glad that he chose Zenit to make his first basketball step in Europe,” Pascual said. “Shabazz is the kind of player who leads the team in offense and is very good at making important decisions. With his experience, he is a player who leads a team to create and make important decisions. He is very good at developing a quick offense, has great ball handling and is very versatile. “

And-Ones: Free Agents, Jersey Ads, Bubble, Europe

John Hollinger of The Athletic, who invented the PER stat during his time at ESPN, has developed a new metric called BORD$ that estimates a player’s salary value for the upcoming season. After providing an in-depth explanation of how exactly the BORD$ formula works, Hollinger has applied it to this year’s class of free agent point guards and shooting guards in an attempt to determine which players warrant the biggest investments.

Hollinger’s point guard list doesn’t include a ton of surprises — Fred VanVleet is easily the most valuable free agent at the position, with Mike Conley and Goran Dragic topping the next two tiers. Shabazz Napier, Trey Burke, and Jordan McLaughlin are among the point guards whose projections are higher than you might expect.

Applied to this year’s free agent shooting guards, the results from Hollinger’s metric are more eyebrow-raising. Grizzlies RFA-to-be De’Anthony Melton is considered the top free agent at the position by BORD$, ahead of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Evan Fournier. A pair of Bulls guards, Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison, also rank in Hollinger’s top seven FA shooting guards due to their defensive prowess.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As the NBA considers potential new revenue streams to help offset the losses generated by the coronavirus pandemic, allowing a second advertisement patch on game jerseys is one idea being weighed, according to John Lombardo of SportsBusiness Journal.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the lessons learned from the NBA’s summer bubble experiment and the takeaways that could carry over to the 2020/21 season. As Aldridge observes, while players and coaches aren’t eager to re-enter a bubble next year, the fact that it worked so well this time around will go a long way toward convincing them it’s worth doing again, if need be — even if it’s just for a short period in the postseason, like Major League Baseball did.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on European basketball leagues that have begun their 2020/21 seasons, as Ken Maguire of The Associated Press writes. Only half of the EuroLeague’s 18 clubs have played a full six-game schedule so far this season, as COVID-19 outbreaks have caused several last-minute postponements.

Suns Notes: Point Guard, Free Agency, Booker, Baynes

The Suns will miss out on important opportunities for player evaluation if the season doesn’t resume, states John Hollinger of The Athletic in a conversation with Gina Mizell. Holllinger says after going through several failed attempts to find a back-up point guard, Phoenix could have used Ty Jerome in that role for the remainder of the season to see if he can handle it. He speculates that since Jerome didn’t get the opportunity to prove himself, the Suns will wind up spending resources on the position in free agency.

If Phoenix uses all its cap space to land a power forward, that will leave a room exception of about $5MM to sign a point guard. Hollinger mentions the Clippers’ Reggie Jackson, who formed a connection with Suns executive Jeff Bower in Detroit, as one possibility, along with the Wizards’ Shabazz Napier. Hollinger adds that D.J. Augustin and Jeff Teague may also be available for that price.

He also notes that the team may opt to address the position through the draft. The Suns hold the 10th spot right now, which is probably too low to land any of the top point guard prospects, but Hollinger suggests Alabama’s Kira Lewis could be a sleeper in that range.

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • The Suns could create up to $24MM in cap room, Hollinger notes in the same piece, which might be enough to attract Danilo Gallinari, Davis Bertans or Paul Millsap, but he notes that the options will shrink if that number is lowered because a loss of revenue due to the hiatus. Depending on what happens in free agency or the draft, Hollinger suggests Phoenix may try to re-sign Aron Baynes and Dario Saric to one-year contracts.
  • In an interview with Robby Kalland of Dime Magazine, Devin Booker said Monty Williams‘ first priority when he took over as head coach was to change the way the Suns were viewed around the league. “And if that’s having to get a little nasty, play tougher, more physical, but people are going to know when they play against up some talented, hard-working guys,” Booker said.
  • Baynes is pessimistic about the potential of a “bubble” environment as a way to finish the NBA season, relays Matt Layman of Arizona Sports 98.7. “They’re trying to come up with some scenarios that would work, but I think in terms of everyone being in one hub, how’s that going to work when you have 450 guys and if one guy does test positive then you have to get back in two months of isolation to get back to playing again?” Baynes said this week in an interview with an Australian radio station. “That’s unrealistic and there’s a better way to put all those resources that are being used into something else than professional sport.”

Wizards GM Discusses Free Agency, Draft, Wall

Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard took part in a Q&A on Twitter earlier today, addressing numerous topics, including the free-agent statuses of Davis Bertans and Shabazz Napier. Sheppard said both players have “shown enough” to make the team want to retain them.

“We acquired [both those players] not as rentals. We acquired them to stay here,” Sheppard said.

Bertans came to the Wizards last offseason, as part of a three-way trade that the Spurs made to create a path to sign Marcus Morris (Morris backed out of the verbal agreement with San Antonio and instead inked a deal with the Knicks). Napier joined the franchise during a midseason trade that sent Jordan McRae to Denver.

Here’s more highlights from the session with Sheppard:

  • The executive discussed Washington as a free agency destination.“Look at the [free agents] we’ve retained over the years. We’ve retained our biggest free agents. They wanted to stay here and re-sign. We attracted plenty of free agents over time,” Sheppard said, arguing that location and ownership are two of the biggest factors to attracting talent.
  • The inability to meet with and evaluate prospects in person in the coming weeks and months isn’t going to impede the Wizards’ ability to scout talent in the draft. “If we were going to decide to take a player off of one workout, we’re in a lot of trouble,” Sheppard said.
  • Sheppard added that the league’s hiatus has not been great for John Wall‘s progress. The point guard had been participating in scrimmages as he continued to rehab his Achilles injury. However, without the ability to compete against others, Wall can’t get into game shape. “He’s just not able to get out on the floor and do those things. So, when we do come to play, he will be behind, unfortunately,” Sheppard said.