Troy Baxter Jr. 

Atlantic Notes: Oubre, Long Island Nets, Raptors, Maker

It took a while for Kelly Oubre to find a home in free agency, but he eventually landed with the Sixers. The Athletic’s John Hollinger explores what the Oubre signing means for Philadelphia and how he fits into the rotation.

According to Hollinger, Oubre was hoping to cash in after averaging over 20 points per game with the Hornets, but that didn’t happen and he wound up taking his time in free agency so he could sign with a club with available minutes on the wing. Still, his scoring abilities could be crucial for a Philadelphia team looking for more offensive threats. As Hollinger notes, Boston largely ignored P.J. Tucker on that end of the court in the playoffs, so Oubre could help remedy those woes.

Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports also breaks down the Oubre signing, suggesting that Oubre instantly becomes one of the only true wings on the roster, joining Danuel House. Philadelphia was in need of someone with the confidence to take shots like Oubre has, Neubeck adds.

However, Neubeck argues that Oubre has his fair share of weaknesses that Philadelphia will need to work around, namely his play-making ability and his efficiency from downtown. All in all, the signing for the veteran’s minimum is a low-risk, high-reward situation, Neubeck says, and he’ll either become a valued rotation piece or can simply hit free agency again next year. Hollinger notes that the Sixers with Oubre will have 16 players on standard contracts and any one of Danny Green, Filip Petrusev or Montrezl Harrell could be on the way out due to either partial or non-guarantees (Green, Petrusev) or injury (Harrell).

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, acquired the returning player rights to Troy Baxter Jr. from the Indiana Mad Ants in exchange for the returning player rights to Thon Maker, according to a team release. Baxter played for several G League teams in 2021/22, averaging 4.6 points and then played the ’22/23 season overseas. Maker spent 22 games with Long Island last season and averaged 7.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. As we’ve noted before, G League trades before NBA training camps sometimes indicate those players signing Exhibit 10 deals with that G League team’s parent club. Another important note is that these deals don’t necessarily mean these players will suit up with these teams, but the Nets and Pacers now hold the G League rights to Baxter and Maker, respectively, if they choose to play in the league.
  • The Raptors 905, Toronto’s affiliate, acquired Thon Maker‘s cousin, Makur Maker, in a separate G League trade on Wednesday, tweets Sportsnet’s Blake Murphy. The Raptors 905 sent out Ryan Hawkins and a future first-round pick to the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s affiliate, in the trade. Maker averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 44 regular season and Showcase Cup games last year with the Go-Go while Hawkins put up 5.0 PPG in 49 games with the Raptors 905.
  • Raptors fans seem split on the team’s outlook for the upcoming season, according to the results of a poll conducted by The Athletic’s Eric Koreen. Koreen’s poll features several questions, including opinions on players and coaches. 84.3% of the 1,061 respondents said that the Raptors were right to fire Nick Nurse after last season, and 56.4% of 1,064 respondents said they wanted to see a new offensive scheme the most from the new staff. The full results of the poll can be found here.

Bulls Waive Stanley Johnson, Will Retain Alize Johnson

The Bulls have waived forwards Stanley Johnson and Troy Baxter Jr., the team announced on social media today (Twitter link). Johnson previously signed a non-guaranteed deal with the organization, while Baxter signed an Exhibit 10 contract.

Chicago has also rewarded big man Alize Johnson and will keep him on the 15-man roster, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tweets. Johnson has impressed during training camp and will stick with the Bulls after a brief stint in Brooklyn last season. He averaged 5.2 points, five rebounds and 10.5 minutes in 18 contests with the Nets.

As for Stanley Johnson, the 25-year-old joined Chicago for training camp and played in all four preseason games. He was the No. 8 overall pick in 2015 and has made past stops with Detroit, New Orleans and Toronto.

At least one more roster move will be required for the Bulls, who are still carrying 16 players on standard contracts, including Matt Thomas and Tyler Cook on non-guaranteed deals. The team could keep both players by converting Cook to a two-way contract, but it remains unclear if that’s the plan. It does sound like Thomas will make the opening-night roster though, per Mayberry (Twitter link).

The Bulls are entering the 2021/22 season with a revamped roster, acquiring Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and others during the summer. Chicago finished 11th in the Eastern Conference at 31-41 last season.

Bulls Sign Troy Baxter Jr.

The Bulls announced in a tweet that they have signed Troy Baxter Jr. Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed, but it’s likely to be an Exhibit 10 deal.

Baxter is a rookie after going undrafted in 2021, so the move secures his G League rights. It’s highly likely that he’ll be waived before the season starts, and if he spends at least 60 days with the Windy City Bulls, Baxter would be eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K.

Baxter, a 6’9″ forward, played for three different college teams prior going undrafted: UNLV, Florida Gulf Coast, and Morgan State. He averaged 15.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 27.0 MPG for Morgan State as a senior, with a .426/.350/.744 shooting line. He most recently suited up for the Bulls’ Summer League team, appearing in four contests with modest stats.

Atlantic Notes: Toppin, Sixers, Knicks, Raptors, Baxter

Knicks forward Obi Toppin had an underwhelming rookie season after being selected with the No. 8 pick in last year’s draft. The former Dayton standout played just 11.0 minutes per game, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.2 RPG on 49.8% shooting.

However, Toppin is determined to take a major step forward in his second NBA season, and views participating in the pre-Olympics training camp as part of the U.S. Select Team as an important part of that process, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“The message, (the coaches) told me coming here is just be a sponge,” Toppin said on Wednesday from Las Vegas. “There’s great coaches and players out here and just get better and develop my game. I’m working really hard in this offseason to be better for my second season coming up. It’s going be a lot different than the first season.

“I was super excited to have opportunity to come out here work out with these guys,” Toppin added. “It’s the best players in the world on this Olympic team. Having the opportunity to learn under the coaches here and playing with these players, I’m learning a lot and I’m going to translate it into my game for the upcoming season.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Over at The Athletic, Derek Bodner and Rich Hofmann provide an in-depth primer for the Sixers‘ offseason, Mike Vorkunov and John Hollinger preview what’s ahead this summer for the Knicks, and Blake Murphy identifies six guards the Raptors could consider selecting with one of their two second-round picks (Nos. 46 and 47).
  • Speaking of those two Raptors second-rounders, Josh Lewenberg of suggests (via Twitter) that most of the prospects Toronto has worked out so far in the pre-draft process are either candidates for those picks or potential UDFA targets. The lottery prospects who could be in play at No. 4 figure to start coming through next week, per Lewenberg.
  • Morgan State forward Troy Baxter Jr. is drawing interest from a handful of Atlantic clubs. He has already worked out for the Celtics and Nets and is auditioning for the Knicks later this week, he said on Wednesday (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).

Southeast Workouts: Wizards, Magic, Hornets, Hawks

The Wizards worked out six draft prospects today, and there are four more scheduled for tomorrow, according to team announcements. Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey, Texas’ Greg Brown III, and Isaiah Todd, of the G League Ignite, headlined today’s workouts, along with Jay Huff, Blake Francis, and Colbey Ross.

Tomorrow’s slate of workouts will include Troy Baxter Jr., Obadiah Noel, Jamorko Pickett, and Devontae Shuler.

We have more draft workout news from around the Southeast Division:

  • Corey Kispert, the sharp-shooting senior out of Gonzaga, worked out today for the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The 6’6″ guard/forward would fill a much-needed role for a Magic team that is well-stocked at some positions but still low on shooters.
  • The Hornets worked out potential lottery pick Jalen Johnson today, according to a tweet from the team. Johnson had a turbulent year at Duke, and eventually withdrew from the program, but came in with a high pedigree and an intriguing point-forward skillset.
  • Ruot Monyyong, out of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will work out for the Hawks on Wednesday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The 6’10 big man was the 2019/20 All-Sun Defensive Player of the Year.

Draft Notes: Reddish, Pro Days, Early Entrants, Thybulle

Duke’s Cam Reddish made a strong impression at Wednesday’s pro day in Phoenix, writes Mike Schmitz of ESPN. With more than 35 prospects on hand, Reddish put on a shooting display that caught the attention of an estimated 100 scouts and several general managers.

Reddish was projected as a high lottery pick last fall, but his stock slipped during a disappointing freshman season. However, he was in top form at the workout, sinking shot after shot in a variety of situations before stopping his session because of a minor groin injury.

Jarrett CulverKeldon JohnsonMfiondu Kabengele and Luguentz Dort were other top prospects at the event, along with a large collection of potential second-rounders.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • In the same article, Jonathan Givony looks at how pro days sponsored by agencies are gradually replacing individual workouts. These events enable players to show off their strengths and hide their weaknesses, allowing someone like Georgios Papagiannis or Rashad Vaughn to rise dramatically. “We’ve completely lost control of the pre-draft process, and we have no one to blame but ourselves,” an unidentified GM said. “Instead of spending time getting to know the guys we are about to invest millions of dollars in, as well as our job security and having our coaching staffs put players through meaningful workouts, we are sitting in traffic on the 405, shuffling between airports and watching celebrity trainers put players through dog and pony shows, with highly scripted routines against cones that tell us absolutely nothing about how they might perform in an actual game.”
  • Givony also takes a look at players who might be on the fence about staying in the draft ahead of Wednesday’s deadline and unveils an updated top-100 list that hasn’t changed much at the top.
  • A few more players reached draft decisions this morning. Caleb Daniels, who is transferring from Tulane to Villanova (Twitter link), Al-Wajid Aminu of North Florida (Twitter link) and Troy Baxter Jr. of Florida Gulf Coast (Twitter link) will all pull out of the draft, while Charlie Brown of St. Joseph’s (Twitter link from Goodman) will keep his name in.
  • Matisse Thybulle of Washington may have a draft promise from the Celtics, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The small forward is slotted at No. 28 on the new ESPN list, and Boston holds picks No. 14, 20 and 22.

Draft Notes: Lawson, M. Johnson, Baxter, Sibande

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson, who projects as a second-round pick, will enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

Lawson averaged 19.4 points and 10.4 rebounds as a junior. He is ranked as the 46th prospect overall and the 14th-best power forward on ESPN’s big board.

There are more draft decisions to pass along:

  • North Carolina State’s Markell Johnson will also test the draft waters, according to a press release from the school. The junior guard averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.2 APG this season while shooting 42.2% from 3-point range. He is not listed in ESPN’s Top 100.
  • Troy Baxter Jr. of Florida Gulf Coast will declare for the draft, the school announced (Twitter link). The sophomore forward was a four-star high school recruit who began at UNLV before transferring. In his lone season at FGCU, Baxter averaged 7.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He is also not in ESPN’s Top 100.
  • Nike Sibande of Miami (Ohio) will enter the draft, the school announced in a news release. The sophomore guard was named MAC Freshman of the Year last season. He also falls outside the Top 100.