Small forward R.J. Barrett, considered the top junior prep player, has been reclassified as a senior for the next school year and could be eligible for the draft in 2019, according to Paul Biancardi of ESPN.com. The Ontario native will be eligible to sign a national letter of intent in November and is being recruited by virtually all the top programs, Biancardi continues. The 6’6” Barrett was the tournament MVP while leading Team Canada to a gold medal in the FIBA U19 World Cup.
In other news around the league:
- Forward Terrence Jones signed a one-year contract to play in China but it’s clear he just sees it as a temporary stay, as he told Oliver Maroney of Uproxx.com in a Q&A session. Jones views his upcoming season with Qingdao as a “last opportunity” to show he can be a better all-around player so that he can return to the NBA. He was waived by both the Pelicans and Bucks last season. “This is my last opportunity to prove to my family, my city and myself that I deserve where I dream to be,” Jones told Maroney. “I want to be a champion in the NBA, I want to win a lot of games and I want the opportunity to have the best job in my world, that’s playing in the NBA. I feel like I’ve made some immature decisions in life before this summer. But whenever I do get that next opportunity, I’m going to make sure I take full advantage of it.”
- Seattle is a likely choice for an expansion franchise but it’s not going to happen in the short term, as David Aldridge of NBA.com examines in depth. With NBA franchises raking in money, current owners don’t have much incentive to give a piece of the $24 billion they are receiving on TV deals through 2025 to an expansion franchise, Aldridge continues. There are two competing groups who are hoping to be awarded with a potential Seattle franchise and it’s unknown which group the league favors, Aldridge adds.
- Stephen Jackson hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2013/14 season but he’s holding out hope of hooking onto a team this season, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News reports. Jackson, 39, has been playing in the BIG3 league and he is the league’s second-leading scorer at 21 PPG. “I want to play basketball as long as I can,” Jackson told Orsborn. “I feel like there are guys in the NBA who can’t guard me.”