Skylar Mays

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

Hawks Promote Skylar Mays To Standard Deal

The Hawks have promoted guard Skylar Mays to a standard contract from a two-way deal, the team announced. Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to break the news (via Twitter).

Mays was the 50th overall pick in the 2020 draft after four seasons at LSU. He has spent the past two seasons on a two-way deal after signing Atlanta’s qualifying offer last summer to stick with the team.

As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic observes (Twitter link), promoting Mays means he’ll be eligible to play in the postseason. The Hawks are locked into a spot in the play-in tournament, but the Nos. 7-10 seeds in the East are still up for grabs.

The 24-year-old has appeared in 60 NBA games over the past two seasons with the Hawks, holding modest averages of 3.4 points and 1.0 rebound in 8.1 minutes per night. Mays made eight starts for the team’s G League affiliate (the College Park Skyhawks) this season, averaging 18.0 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 33.6 minutes.

The Hawks now have 15 players on standard contracts and have one two-way spot open after promoting Mays. They currently hold a 42-38 record, the No. 9 seed in the East. Atlanta closes the season with road games against Miami on Friday and Houston on Sunday.

Southeast Notes: Oubre, Carter, Hachimura, Johnson

The Hornets lost handily to the Warriors in Kelly Oubre‘s first trip back to the Chase Center, 114-92. He says it was strange to be back in the arena on an opposing team, but is happy with how he’s fit in thus far with the Hornets, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

It’s definitely weird being on the opposite side of the arena,” Oubre told Boone. “But at the end of the day, man, we are in the moment. So I’m really happy to be able to go against these guys and just get the jitters out for myself. It’s always weird when you go get comfortable somewhere and then you’re uprooted to another place where you have to become comfortable as well.

Oubre signed a two-year, $24.6MM deal with Charlotte in free agency over the summer. The second year is partially guaranteed at $5MM. Oubre says his energetic play is a good match with the young Hornets.

This is just a young, energetic group and we are just trying to figure this thing out,” Oubre said, per Boone. “We are all trying to become our best selves and we’re all trying to set up a culture with this team. And I’m just more so happy to be a part of the culture forming in this organization rather than being somewhere the culture is already formed, guys are pretty much older so they are relaxed in how they approach the game.

And here it’s just more like, ‘Let’s get it. Let’s go. Let’s go to war, let’s have fun while doing this.’ So I’m just super excited and ecstatic to be on this team.”

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • The young Magic are 2-7 to start the season. Fourth-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. knows it’s going to take time for the team to improve, writes Matt Murschel of The Orlando Sentinel. “Teams do not become great overnight,” Carter said. “It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of time.”
  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura is back with the team, but there’s still uncertainty about when he’ll rejoin the lineup. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said that he tentatively expects Hachimura back “sooner rather than later,” according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “I don’t have a timetable, but I would agree with [‘sooner rather than later’],” Unseld said on Thursday. “He’s been around more, he’s working out, so it’s good to have him in the building and be present.
  • Hawks rookie forward Jalen Johnson, the 20th overall pick of the 2021 draft, has been assigned to the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Kirschner notes that two-way players Sharife Cooper and Skylar Mays were transferred to the Skyhawks as well.

Hawks’ Skylar Mays Signs Two-Way Qualifying Offer

Restricted free agent shooting guard Skylar Mays has signed his qualifying offer to return to the Hawks, reports Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (via Twitter). Since Mays spent his rookie season in 2020/21 on a two-way deal, his QO was another two-way contract, with a $50K partial guarantee.

The 50th overall pick in the 2020 draft out of LSU, Mays appeared in 33 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 3.8 PPG, 1.1 RPG, and 0.9 APG on .449/.350/.880 shooting in 8.2 minutes per contest.

Atlanta signed 2021 second-round pick Sharife Cooper to a two-way contract earlier this month, but the team’s other two-way slot had been open, so Mays will fill it, at least for the time being. Given that his new deal only includes a small guarantee of $50K, the Hawks aren’t necessarily locked into Mays for the coming season, but he has an inside track to a spot on the 17-man regular season roster for now.

The Hawks now have 14 players on guaranteed contracts, two on Exhibit 10 deals, and a pair on two-way pacts, giving them two openings on their 20-man offseason roster.

Javonte Green, Others Receive Qualifying Offers

The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to players eligible for restricted free agency was at 5:00pm ET on Sunday, but news of a handful of under-the-radar QOs continues to trickle in several hours later.

According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), one player who received a qualifying offer was Bulls wing Javonte Green, whose offer was worth just shy of $1.9MM.

Green, 28, was sent from Boston to Chicago along with Daniel Theis in a three-team deadline deal and played a limited role for the team down the stretch, averaging 2.6 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 16 games (8.0 MPG). He’ll now start the 2021/22 league year as a restricted free agent.

Here are a few more QO updates:

  • The Thunder issued a qualifying offer to make forward Josh Hall a restricted free agent, tweets Smith.
  • The Hawks tendered a qualifying offer to former LSU shooting guard Skylar Mays, tweets Smith.
  • The Mavericks have extended a qualifying offer to 22-year-old shooting guard Nate Hinton, tweets Smith.
  • The Sixers have issued a qualifying offer to guard Rayjon Tucker to make him a restricted free agent, tweets Smith.
  • Because all four of these players just finished the first season of a two-way contract with their respective teams, their QOs will be the equivalent of another two-way deal with a $50K guarantee.

Hawks Sign Onyeka Okongwu, Announce Two-Way Players

The Hawks signed first-round pick Onyeka Okongwu and filled both two-way slots, the team announced on its website.

Forward/center Nathan Knight and guard Skylar Mays will both get two-way deals. We shared news of Knight’s expected signing last week, while the contract with Mays is new. They will be limited to 50 NBA games on their two-way contracts and will play in the G League if that season is held.

Knight played four seasons at William & Mary, averaging 20.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as a senior. Mays was the starting point guard at LSU for the past four years and was a first-team All-SEC selection after averaging 16.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 3.2 APG in his senior season.

Okungwu was the sixth overall selection in last week’s draft after an outstanding freshman year at USC. Terms of the signing weren’t announced, but he is eligible to receive up to 120% of the rookie scale, which would be $5,813,640.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Draft Notes: Edwards, Ball, Sleepers, Gach, Oturu, Scrubb

Rich Paul‘s Klutch Sports Group published a tweet on Sunday night welcoming former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards – a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft – to the agency.

The news came about three months after a report indicated that Edwards had signed with Octagon Sports for his representation. However, Edwards’ move to Klutch is understandable — his agent at Octagon, Omar Wilkes, was recently hired as the new head of basketball at Klutch under Paul, the company’s CEO. Edwards is the second notable Wilkes client to follow him to his new firm — Trae Young is doing so as well.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • LaMelo Ball has moved to the top of a number of experts’ draft boards, but Ethan Strauss isn’t sold on the young guard as a No. 1 pick, explaining his thinking in a piece for The Athletic.
  • ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton (Insider link) identify nine potential sleepers in the 2020 draft class, including Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, Michigan State big man Xavier Tillman, and LSU guard Skylar Mays.
  • In a separate Insider-only story, ESPN’s Givony and Schmitz spoke to a handful of prospects about how they’re handling this year’s unusual pre-draft process. “It benefits the players who have a proven résumé,” said TCU’s Desmond Bane, who appeared in 141 college games over four seasons. “There may not be workouts or a combine so teams have to go off of film and interviews.”
  • Utah guard Both Gach will officially withdraw his name from the 2020 draft soon, while Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu plans to start interviewing with NBA teams this week, writes Marcus Fuller of The Star Tribune.
  • Jay Scrubb, who has opted to go pro this year instead of playing at Louisville, has had Zoom interviews with 22 NBA teams so far, including the Knicks and Nets, agent Corey Marcum tells Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.

Draft Notes: Alexander, Hightower, UCF, Hampton, More

Creighton junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander has announced on Instagram that he’ll enter the 2020 NBA draft and go pro, hiring an agent and forgoing his final year of college eligibility. A report earlier this month suggested that would likely be the path Alexander chose.

Alexander had a strong 2019/20 season with the Bluejays, averaging 16.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG with an impressive .399 3PT%. However, he ranks just 79th on the big board at NBADraft.net and doesn’t appear at all on ESPN’s list of 2020’s top 100 prospects, seemingly making him a long shot to be drafted.

Here’s more on the 2020 draft:

  • Tulane junior guard TeShaun Hightower, UCF junior big man Collin Smith, and UCF freshman guard Darin Green Jr. are all expected to declare for the 2020 draft, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter links). Green announced his decision on Instagram a few days ago. All three players will likely test the waters while maintaining their college eligibility.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic shares a few of the latest draft rumblings he’s hearing, writing that NBA teams haven’t been overly impressed by the film on RJ Hampton from his time in Australia’s National Basketball League. Conversely, according to Vecenie, Alabama guard Kira Lewis‘ stock is on the rise and many evaluators view Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith as the second-best wing in the 2020 class.
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic took a stab at identifying some potential sleepers among this year’s senior prospects, singling out LSU guard Skylar Mays, TCU guard Desmond Bane, and a handful of others.

Draft Notes: Russell, Williams, Vassell, Mays

Rhode Island guard Fatts Russell has declared for the draft but will maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, he wrote on an Instagram post. The junior averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.6 APG and 2.9 SPG this season. The 5’10” Russell averaged 14.2 PPG last season.

We have more draft news:

  • Cincinnati’s Keith Williams announced his intention to enter the draft and hire an agent on his Twitter feed. The 6’5” Williams averaged 12.6 PPG and shot 34.2% from long range as a junior this season. Williams has started two seasons for the Bearcats after being a rotation reserve as a freshman.
  • Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, Florida State guard Devin Vassell, Utah State guard Sam Merrill, Penn State forward Lamar Stevens and LSU guard Skylar Mays are five players who could make a surprising impact in the NBA, Jon Rothstein declares in a Yahoo Sports video post. Vassell, currently ranked No. 19 on ESPN’s Best Available list, is the only prospect among that group considered a likely first-rounder.
  • Potential lottery selection Killian Hayes has declared for the draft. Get the details here.