Quenton Jackson

Wizards To Sign Quenton Jackson, Davion Mintz

The Wizards have reached an agreement with undrafted Texas A&M guard Quenton Jackson, who will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the team, agent Gino Littles tells our JD Shaw (Twitter link).

Jackson, ranked 31st among undrafted rookies by ESPN, earned All-SEC Second Team honors in his final college season in 2021/22, averaging 14.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.8 SPG in 40 games (26.4 MPG) for the Aggies. He posted a solid shooting line of .490/.346/.828.

Washington is also signing undrafted Kentucky guard Davion Mintz to an Exhibit 10 contract, agents Adie von Gontard and Daveed Cohen tell Shaw (Twitter link).

Mintz spent the last two years with the Wildcats after transferring from Creighton. In those two seasons, he averaged 9.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.4 APG with a .362 3PT% in 56 games (27.4 MPG).

Their Exhibit 10 agreements won’t necessarily put Jackson or Mintz – who were both fifth-year seniors – in great position to earn a spot on the Wizards’ 15-man regular season roster, but they could be converted to two-way contracts.

If they’re waived before the season and join the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G League team, Jackson and Mintz would be eligible to earn bonuses of up to $50K.

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:

Heat Notes: Martin, Strus, Vincent, Q. Jackson

A free agent last offseason, Caleb Martin only had one offer on the table – a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract from the Trail Blazers – before he earned a two-way deal with the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

After making the most of his opportunity in Miami, Martin figures to draw more interest when he returns to free agency this summer. As long as the Heat issue him a $2.1MM qualifying offer, Martin will be a restricted free agent, giving them the right of first refusal if he signs an offer sheet with another team.

However, as Chiang notes, the Heat’s resources to re-sign Martin will be limited. Miami only holds his Non-Bird rights, which gives the club the ability to offer 20% above the minimum. If rival suitors are willing to offer him more than that, the Heat would have to dip into their bi-annual exception ($4.05MM) or mid-level exception ($10.35MM) to make a competitive bid.

“Obviously, being open-minded during free agency. You have to be and it’s my first experience with that,” Martin said after Miami’s season ended. “But I want to be (with the Heat). I love being here. I want to be here, so that’s all I got on my mind right now until I see what happens or whatever type of experience I’m going to get in free agency.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Max Strus displaced Duncan Robinson in the Heat’s starting lineup in part because he has a more well-rounded game and offers more defensive versatility, but Strus believes he still has plenty to work on this offseason, Chiang writes for The Herald. “Just got to be more complete,” Strus said. “Obviously, teams are going to force me to make plays inside the arc. So I got to get better there.” As Chiang notes, the Heat are a lock to hang onto Strus through June 29, when his $1.8MM salary for 2022/23 will become guaranteed.
  • A year ago, Gabe Vincent spent the offseason representing Nigeria in the Olympics and then playing for the Heat’s Summer League team before attempting to make Miami’s regular season roster. With his roster spot all but assured for ’22/23, Vincent is looking forward to focusing on his own development this summer, with no outside obligations, says Chiang. “This might be a real offseason,” Vincent said, adding that he plans to study Chris Paul as he works on improving his mid-range game. “I haven’t really stopped playing basketball in 12 months.”
  • Texas A&M guard Quenton Jackson is among the prospects to work out for the Heat during the pre-draft process, according to Chiang. Jackson is the No. 86 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • The Heat’s scouting department is working hard preparing to select a player at No. 27 next Thursday, but recognizes that team president Pat Riley could ultimately decide to trade that pick, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We’re focusing on 27, but that also means we could possibly move up, keep the pick, move back. It gives us options,” VP of basketball operations Adam Simon said. “Last year, we didn’t have a pick. We had to prepare if we could get in, and we ended up focusing on guys that weren’t going to get drafted. We could do that again.”

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Hunter, Jovic, Griffin, Maker

The Hawks have been identified in previous reports as a possible Rudy Gobert suitor, and multiple league sources have indicated the Jazz are interested in De’Andre Hunter, according to Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. Hunter is extension-eligible this offseason. However, according to Moore, the Hawks have tried to steer any teams inquiring on Hunter to players like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter instead.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

Hornets Notes: Atkinson, Workouts, Keels, Arena Upgrades

Kenny Atkinson could become the Hornets‘ next head coach by the end of the upcoming week, a source tells Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, though he cautions that the team still hasn’t reached a final decision. A report on Friday identified Atkinson as the frontrunner for the job, and Boone indicates that momentum for him has been building since last month’s draft combine.

Atkinson has been tied up with his duties as an assistant coach for the Warriors, but with three days between Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, he should have time for a face-to-face meeting with team owner Michael Jordan. Boone notes that an in-person session with Jordan was the last step before James Borrego was hired four years ago.

The Hornets are intrigued by Atkinson’s experience, history of developing young players and emphasis on defense, Boone adds. The Finals could last through June 19, which would limit Atkinson’s input into preparations for the June 23 draft. According to Boone, Borrego’s former assistants are working behind the scenes and are waiting to see if they will be part of the new coach’s staff.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets welcomed six players today for a pre-draft workout, according to a tweet from the team. On hand were Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler, Miami’s Kameron McGusty, Providence’s Justin Minaya, Memphis’ Josh Minott, Marquette’s Darryl Morsell and Arkansas’ JD Notae. On Friday, Charlotte hosted St. Bonaventure’s Jalen Adaway, Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin Jr., Michigan’s Moussa Diabate, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson and Creighton’s Alex O’Connell (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Trevor Keels talked to Boone about the pre-draft process following a workout with the Hornets on Wednesday. Keels is enjoying the chance to meet with interested teams and compete with players he’s never faced before, but he said the experience can be a grind. “I think guys think the pre-draft process is easy,” he said. “You are working every day, keeping your body right. There is only 58 picks and there are hundreds of guys trying to hear their name called and get an opportunity. So you’ve got to work every day.”
  • The Hornets would get $215MM in upgrades to the Spectrum Center along with a new $60MM practice facility in a proposal being considered by the city of Charlotte, per Genna Contino of The Charlotte Observer. The deal would require the team to extend its lease with the city an additional 15 years through 2045.

Wizards Notes: J. Davis, Prospect Workouts, Point Guards

The Wizards will host a pair of pre-draft workouts on Thursday, including a solo session for a potential target at No. 10. According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, who is viewed as a potential lottery pick and a viable option for a Washington team in need of backcourt depth, will take part in that solo workout.

Prior to Davis’ audition, the Wizards will host a morning group workout that features Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Quenton Jackson (Texas A&M), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Justin Bean (Utah State), and Marcus Bingham (Michigan State), per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In a discussion with Robbins about the Wizards’ possible offseason point guard targets, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that Ricky Rubio, Eric Bledsoe, and even John Wall could be among the players Washington shows interest in, assuming Bledsoe and Wall reach free agency. Hollinger also identifies Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Conley as viable options on the trade market, and suggests Tyus Jones would be an ideal fit if he were willing to accept the full mid-level exception.
  • In the same Athletic story, Robbins and Hollinger consider potential targets for the Wizards with the No. 10 pick. G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels should get serious consideration if he’s still available, according to Hollinger, who also identifies Jeremy Sochan and AJ Griffin as logical fits on the wing.
  • Maryland guard Eric Ayala, Florida forward Anthony Duruji, Richmond forward Grant Golden, Utah State forward Brandon Horvath, Marquette guard Darryl Morsell, and George Mason swingman D’Shawn Schwartz participated in a pre-draft group workout for the Wizards on Wednesday, according to Robbins (Twitter link).
  • Overtime Elite point guard Jean Montero is among the other prospects expected to work out for the Wizards this week, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Pacific Notes: Ham, Lakers, Kings, Warriors

Newly-hired Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is earning high praise from those who know him, according to Broderick Turner and Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

Ham, who was a Lakers assistant coach from 2011-13 and won a title against L.A. as a player on the Pistons in 2004, has served as an assistant under head coach Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks and Bucks for the past nine seasons. The Bucks won the 2021 NBA championship with Ham on Budenholzer’s staff.

“His work ethic in practice and when we put him in the game, he always seemed to deliver,” former Knicks head coach and current Indiana University coach Mike Woodson said of Ham. “So, you knew that the fact he got into coaching, I knew it would work because that’s a big part of being a good coach. You got to work.”

Metta Sandiford-Artest, who played on the Lakers teams where Ham first cut his coaching teeth as a development assistant under Mike Brown, also had high praise for Ham.  “He definitely understands modern basketball,” Sandiford-Artest said. “He also is capable of communicating in a way where you can receive it the right way.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers held workouts on Saturday for six NBA hopefuls, per Matthew Barrero of Lakers.com. Baylor guard James Akinjo, Connecticut guard Tyrese Martin, Syracuse forward Cole Swider, USC guard Drew Peterson, Texas A&M guard Quenton Jackson, and Alabama guard Keon Ellis all got a look from the L.A. front office brass. Though Los Angeles does not possess a draft pick this season, the team could trade into the second round or sign an undrafted rookie as a free agent. “There is a good side to it if you’re able to choose your team,” Ellis said. “Even if it happens to be myself, you can’t get too down on it or overthink it. There’s been guys who have gone undrafted and come back with great stories.”
  • The Kings, who possess the fourth pick in the 2022 draft, had at least two key representatives take a look at several high-level prospects during recent pro day workouts in Southern California, writes Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Team owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Monte McNair attended a CAA pro day workout for Purdue shooting guard Jaden Ivey and Duke small forward AJ Griffin. McNair attended an additional pro day with another top-10-level player, Arizona shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin, Anderson notes, examining the potential fit of each player.
  • Injured Warriors role players Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala will be gradually included in team practices ahead of the 2022 NBA Finals this week as they continue to recuperate from their respective ailments, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). The club has leaned on 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody for help in the absence of Payton, Porter and Iguodala.

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Curry, Lakers Draft, Coaching Search

As we noted in our Clippers offseason preview earlier today, L.A. holds a $7,518,518 team option on center Ivica Zubac, who is also extension-eligible this offseason. He said this week that he enjoys playing for the team and hopes to stick around.

I want to stay and I think they want to keep me,” Zubac told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “I think I should be there and they’re going to pick (the option) up. I like Los Angeles a lot and I like the Clippers. It’s like a family to me. Hopefully, everything is going to work out.”

Zubac notched several career-high marks in 2021/22, including games played (76, all starts), minutes per game (24.4), points (10.3), rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.0). He said he hopes his role continues to expand going forward.

It’s great,” Zubac said about the trust he receives from Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “I hope that keeps on going. Every year I get more and more minutes so, hopefully, by the next year I’ll get even more. The coach trusts me, the teammates trust me and I’m really enjoying my time there.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry, who was recently named the Western Conference Finals MVP, could have pushed Golden State to trade its high draft picks and prospects to improve the roster the past couple seasons, but he said the team’s patience was rewarded as it heads to the Finals for the sixth time in eight years. “That’s not how I operate,” Curry told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “There were conversations and different paths to take, and we all had conversations about going different ways. But at the end of the day, I have a lot of trust in (president/GM) Bob (Myers), a lot of confidence in what we’re about. There was no panic. Obviously, it helps that we had won a couple championships. It affords patience. But there was no panic in terms of getting me, Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) another run at it, figuring out how we could get pieces around us to make it work. It’s just patience at the end of the day.”
  • The Lakers don’t currently own a draft pick, but that isn’t stopping them from working out six prospects on Saturday, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The six players are Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, UConn’s Tyrese Martin, USC’s Drew Peterson, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, Syracuse’s Cole Swider, and Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson. Ellis, Gillespie and Martin are all in the 60s on ESPN’s big board, while Jackson is No. 95; both Peterson and Swider are unranked. There’s a good chance at least a few prospects in the group will go undrafted.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy.com queried rival front office executives to get their opinions on the Lakers‘ head coaching search, with some mixed opinions on which candidates might be favored by certain segments of the team.

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).

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Wizards, Hampton, Hawks

Heat center Bam Adebayo dominated the first two games of the series against the Sixers, but Joel Embiid‘s return changed that, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After averaging 23.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in Games 1 and 2, Adebayo put up nine points and three rebounds Friday night while shooting 2-of-9 from the field.

Embiid admitted being upset while watching Adebayo while he was sidelined with a concussion and a broken orbital bone and felt like he needed to make a statement in Game 3. Now it’s Adebayo’s turn to respond when the series resumes Sunday night.

“I still got to be aggressive,” Adebayo said after today’s practice. “That’s part of the game. You see different lineups, you see different personnel and then you’ve just got to adjust your attacks.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Poor team chemistry was among the things that sank the Wizards after a 10-3 start, but the organization believes it has already made moves to fix it, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Team president Tommy Sheppard thought the atmosphere in the locker room was better after Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans and Montrezl Harrell were moved at the trade deadline. More continuity next season could help, adds Hughes, who points out that Washington used a franchise-record 29 players this year and made significant roster changes twice in six months.
  • Magic guard R.J. Hampton improved in some areas but regressed in others as he was asked to adapt to a new role this season, observes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The addition of lottery pick Jalen Suggs and the late-season comeback by Markelle Fultz meant Hampton didn’t handle the ball as much as he did after Orlando acquired him in a trade midway through his rookie season. He also became less efficient in finishing at the rim, which caused his scoring average to fall to 7.6 PPG after averaging 11.2 PPG last year in 26 games with the Magic.
  • The Hawks hosted six players in a draft workout Friday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. On hand were San Francisco guard Jamaree Bouyea, Washington State big man Mouhamed Gueye and four wing players, Quenton Jackson of Texas A&M, Abu Kigab of Boise State, Kenneth Lofton Jr. of Louisiana Tech and Hunter Maldonado of Wyoming.