Tacko Fall

Eastern Notes: Carter, Clarkson, Fall, Tyndall

Bulls second-year center Wendell Carter will be the foundation of the team’s defense, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Carter will do most of the dirty work, along with being used as an offensive facilitator. The Bulls will rely on him for shot-blocking as well as to mask some of his teammates’ defensive shortcomings, Strotman adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson are the Cavaliers veterans with the most trade value beyond Kevin Love, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and Brandon Knight rank next in terms of trade value, as all have expiring contracts, Fedor notes, but none are core pieces.
  • Celtics rookie center Tacko Fall suffered a mild knee sprain in a collision going up for a block during a workout, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. He’s expected to be sidelined for only a week, Weiss adds. Fall, an undrafted 7’6” center, was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract in July.
  • Donnie Tyndall has officially been named head coach of the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, the NBAGL team tweets. The Pistons’ plan to hire Tyndall was first reported in July. Tyndall has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors 905, helping win a league championship under Jerry Stackhouse in 2017.

Celtics Notes: Fall, Irving, Brown, Wanamaker

Heading into his first NBA training camp, Celtics center Tacko Fall wants to prove that he has more to offer than just his 7’7″ frame, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Fall signed an Exhibit 10 contract after being passed over in this year’s draft. It carries a small signing bonus, but no guarantees beyond that.

Having to prove himself is a familiar situation for Fall, who wasn’t heavily recruited by colleges and had to go through the NBA G League Elite camp to get an invitation to this year’s draft combine. He made an impression there, setting records for tallest height in shoes (7-7), wingspan (8-2 ¼) and standing reach (10-2 ½), but it wasn’t enough to get drafted.

I know what I am fighting for,” Fall said. “That hasn’t changed since I got here. I know what I am capable of and where I want to be and where I need to be. I’m gonna fight every day to be in that position and stay there. I love the game of basketball and there’s no better place to do it than the NBA. Night in, night out, play against the best players in the world. For me, that’s fun.”

There’s more today from Boston:

  • Two years have passed since the deal that brought Kyrie Irving from Cleveland, and the Celtics are still the clear winners of that trade, Blakely writes in a separate story. Even though Irving signed with the Nets last month, Blakely believes it was a good gamble to take. Isaiah Thomas, who was one of the centerpieces of the deal, was injured more severely than anyone realized at the time, while moving Jae Crowder cleared playing time for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
  • After a season filled with locker room tension, Brown is looking forward to a fresh start that’s free from “politics,” tweets Michael Lee of The Athletic. Brown was among the players who were asked to adjust their roles last year as Irving and Gordon Hayward returned from injuries. “My whole mantra for this year is, ‘Just hoop,’” Brown said. “I’m just going to come out and try to play, be myself and hopefully I’m allowed to do that. I don’t want to put no expectations on it. I don’t want no politics. I just want to play basketball.”
  • Brad Wanamaker opted to re-sign with the Celtics last month because he believes the roster turnover will provide more opportunities, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The point guard got into just 36 games during his rookie season. “Everything was pretty much set in stone (last year), and I was really working myself in,” he said. “Now it’s kind of an open window for some minutes in certain places.”

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Brown, Fall, Chemistry, Smart

Former Celtics center Aron Baynes believes Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are poised to reach star status, ESPN’s Niall Seewang reports. Baynes, who was traded to the Suns during the offseason, is particularly enamored with Tatum’s skill set.

“He’s so talented – even from the first day I played with him when he was a rookie in his first preseason, you could see how talented he was offensively and he also wants to work on the defensive end which isn’t common in the NBA – some guys live on that offensive talent but he wants to develop his all-round game,” Baynes said. He added about the young duo, “Those guys are still in their rookie contracts and they’re looking to prove themselves over the next couple of years and they definitely have all the tools to do it.”

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Tacko Fall’s agent is confident his client will get claimed off waivers if the Celtics don’t retain him, he told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Fall was signed an Exhibit 10 contract and there’s no guarantee he’d make the 15-man roster. Both two-way slots are also currently filled. “If the Celtics release him, I don’t think he goes unclaimed,” the agent, Justin Haynes, said of the 7’6” Fall. “I think somebody will take a shot on him because he’s done enough to show he can find a place in the NBA. I’m really hopeful that it’s Boston. I hope they find a way, and they do have a vision for him.”
  • Co-owner Steve Pagliuca already sees signs that the team’s chemistry will be better this upcoming season, according to Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe. A dysfunctional locker room was one of the big reasons the team underachieved last season. “There’s just really a positive attitude from everybody this year,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of hard-working players that really want to achieve. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
  • The team hasn’t had a captain since Rajon Rondo in 2014 and A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston believes that should change. Marcus Smart has the respect among his teammates and leadership skills that would make him an ideal fit for that role, as Blakely details.

World Cup Notes: Fox, Olynyk, Boucher, Fall

While fans may be disappointed that they won’t get a chance to see stars like Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Damian Lillard represent Team USA in the 2019 World Cup, the players at this week’s training camp don’t sound too broken up about several stars removing their names from consideration, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes.

“This is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us. I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out,” Kemba Walker said. “This is our chance, this is our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talents. It’s a chance for us to do something new, to be a new-look team.”

Of the players on Team USA’s training camp roster, Walker is one of a handful who likely would’ve been in position to claim a 12-man roster spot even if the program had a more robust turnout. But that’s not necessarily the case for younger players like Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.

According to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link), Fox and Mitchell were among the Team USA standouts during the first couple days of this week’s training camp. Although there has been no official word yet, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets that Fox – who was elevated from the Select Team – looks like a virtual lock to be part of Team USA’s final 12-man roster for China.

Here are a few more notes on the World Cup:

  • Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca passes along some good news and some bad news for Team Canada (via Twitter). According to Grange, Kelly Olynyk‘s knee injury appears likely to sideline the Heat big man for about a week, but shouldn’t keep him out of World Cup action next month. However, it sounds more and more like Raptors forward/center Chris Boucher won’t be playing for Canada at the World Cup, Grange adds.
  • After being listed on Team Senegal’s preliminary 24-man World Cup roster, Tacko Fall didn’t show up on the team’s updated 16-man roster this week (Twitter links). According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), Fall and Team Senegal reached a mutual agreement that he wouldn’t participate in the World Cup as he focuses on trying to make the Celtics. Timberwolves power forward Gorgui Dieng has also withdrawn from Senegal’s roster.
  • In a pair of separate articles for ESPN.com, Brian Windhorst tries to answer some pressing questions for Team USA and digs into why Gregg Popovich is coaching Team USA when he seemingly has nothing left to prove.

World Cup Updates: Shamet, Powell, Germany, Senegal

The series of withdrawals from Team USA’s World Cup training camp rosters continued on Friday, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Clippers guard Landry Shamet has opted against participating. Shamet had been penciled in as a member of USA Basketball’s Select Team.

He was appreciative of the opportunity and hopes to be part of USAB again in future,” agent George Langberg said of Shamet, who will focus on preparing for what he hopes will be a long Clippers season that ends with a deep playoff run.

Of course, Team USA isn’t the only club dealing with NBA players removing their names from consideration. After finding out earlier this week that R.J. Barrett wouldn’t participate in this year’s World Cup, Team Canada will now also be without Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Having signed a contract extension with Dallas this offseason, Powell will use the time to focus on the upcoming season, says Stein.

Here’s more on the 2019 World Cup:

  • After the 2014 World Cup, FIBA altered the qualification process and schedule for the event going forward, and Team USA – with a roster full of NBA players – has been hit hard by those changes, as USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo tells Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “Playing in back-to-back years, with full NBA seasons before and after, in a real hurdle to overcome,” Colangelo said. “FIBA is not concerned about us. They’re concerned about what’s best for basketball internationally. FIBA got exactly what they wanted. They’re getting a lot of games, a lot of attendance. There’s more interest in a lot of countries. Personally, I didn’t like the change. I knew it would have a negative effect on us.”
  • Team Germany formally announced a preliminary 16-man World Cup roster that features several NBA players, including Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber, Thunder guard Dennis Schroder, Celtics center Daniel Theis, and new Wizards Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga.
  • Team Senegal’s preliminary 24-man squad will have to be cut in half in advance of the 2019 World Cup, but it also includes some intriguing names. According to the official release, Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng and Celtics rookie Tacko Fall are among the players representing Senegal.

Celtics Officially Sign Tacko Fall, Three Others

The Celtics have formally announced a series of previously-reported deals, confirming that all four signings have now been officially completed. Those deals are as follows:

Of the four, Fall will likely be the player whom Celtics fans monitor most actively during training camp in September. The 7’6″ undrafted center made a strong impression in limited Summer League minutes, making 17-of-22 shots from the field and averaging 7.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in just 12.6 minutes per contest (five games).

Fall and Green figure to get the opportunity to compete for a spot on the Celtics’ 15-man regular season roster, while Strus and Waters are in position to occupy the team’s two-way contract slots to open the season.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Dinwiddie, Fall, Simmons

Kyrie Irving‘s interest in playing in New York dates back to at least December, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said on a podcast with Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).

“You could just tell from the conversation that it was a little bit different,” the Nets’ Dinwiddie said. “… Actually, it definitely was December because he made a comment to me, he was like, ‘New York might be real fun next year,’ because I hadn’t signed yet. … That’s when I was first tipped off to the whole thing.” 

Dinwiddie signed an extension with the Nets on December 13 and started developing a strategy to get Irving and Kevin Durant to join him in Brooklyn. He spoke frequently to Irving about the organization, touting the style of play, the training staff and the family-oriented atmosphere that GM Sean Marks has installed.

“Of course I’m going to be like, ‘Bro, (the Nets are) perfect for you,'” Dinwiddie added. “‘And (head coach) Kenny (Atkinson) gonna let you rock.'”

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Rookie center Tacko Fall will come into camp on an Exhibit 10 contract, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tells NBC Sports Boston that he will be given a chance to earn a roster spot. “Tacko is fun to watch,” Ainge said. “… Guards get in a bind and they just throw the ball up in the air and then Tacko grabs it and tip-toe dunks it into the basket. It just looks like a senior in high school playing against fourth-graders sometimes.”
  • Sixers guard Ben Simmons confirmed on Twitter that he won’t be playing in the FIBA World Cup. He plans to host camps in Australia and train with the national team, but he won’t take part in any games. Simmons expressed an intention to participate in the Olympics next summer.
  • The Raptors have a $2.95MM trade exception that will expire tomorrow, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. It’s left over from the deal that brought Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs last summer.

Celtics Notes: Kemba, Kanter, Fall, Green

As the Celtics introduced offseason additions Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter at a press conference today, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters, including A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link), that landing Walker and Kanter was his “Plan A” heading into the offseason.

While it’s hard to believe that a franchise so frequently linked to Anthony Davis would have considered Walker and Kanter its top priorities, Ainge’s comments make more sense if you assume he’s talking about Boston’s plan on June 30. By that point, the Lakers had already agreed to acquire Davis and the C’s had a good idea that Kyrie Irving and Al Horford wouldn’t be back.

In fact, Ainge said today that the Celtics started to get a sense as early as March or April that Irving may not be back in Boston for the 2019/20 season (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

“I was obviously thinking a move in a different direction at that point, thinking of the different options,” Ainge said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com.

We have much more on the Celtics today, so let’s dive in…

  • Kanter said today that a recruiting call from Walker (via Ainge’s phone) helped convince him to join the Celtics. Kemba was one of the biggest reasons I came here,” Kanter said, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics attempted to work out sign-and-trade deals with the Sixers and Nets for Horford and Irving, respectively, but both teams wanted more draft pick compensation than Boston was comfortable with, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Turning those free agent departures into sign-and-trades might have allowed Boston to retain more cap flexibility or pick up an extra asset or two.
  • Having agreed in June to sign Tacko Fall to an Exhibit 10 contract, the Celtics haven’t indicated yet that they intend to alter their plans for the rookie following his impressive Summer League performance. However, his showing in Las Vegas certainly caught the team’s eye. We want to take his development very seriously,” Ainge said of Fall (Twitter link via Himmelsbach). “He’s a high priority for us to develop.”
  • Another Summer League standout, Javonte Green, is drawing significant interest overseas, according to Himmelsbach, who tweets that it’s probably unrealistic to expect the wing to become an affiliate player for the Maine Red Claws.
  • After rescinding Daniel Theis‘ qualifying offer over the weekend, the Celtics still had a tiny bit of cap room to sign a rookie to a contract longer than two years, ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted (via Twitter). However, making their deals with Theis, Kanter, and Brad Wanamaker official today eliminated that cap room.

Free Agency Notes: Celtics, Carter, Hawks, Lakers

With Guerschon Yabusele set to hit waivers, the Celtics don’t have a set plan in place for their 15th roster spot, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).

As Himmelsbach explains, Boston could simply fill that spot in the coming weeks with a player, but there’s still a good chance that there will be more change coming to the roster before opening night. It’s even possible that the Celtics will add multiple players and enter training with more than 15 players on guaranteed contracts, Himmelsbach notes (via Twitter).

While Tacko Fall has been a standout for the Celtics during Summer League play, there are currently no plans for him to slide into that 15th roster spot, according to Himmelsbach, who says the plan is still for Fall to enter training camp on an Exhibit 10 contract and proceed from there (Twitter link). The Celtics are currently back to exploring the free agent market for minimum-salary targets, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

As Boston considers its options, here’s more on free agency:

  • The idea of the Hawks bringing back Vince Carter for another season remains a long shot, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to Vivlamore, Atlanta still may add a veteran to its roster, but doesn’t want to take minutes away from its young players, and Carter may be seeking a larger role.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was among those in attendance at workouts for NBA veterans Marreese Speights and Lance Stephenson in Las Vegas today, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter links).
  • An ESPN panel, including Dave McMenamin, Tim Bontemps, Malika Andrews, and others – weighs in on the most underrated and most questionable moves of the NBA offseason so far.
  • After commissioner Adam Silver suggested that the NBA has some “work to do” on its free agency system, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that the league should do away with its unenforceable tampering rules.

Celtics, Tacko Fall Agree To Exhibit 10 Deal

The Celtics have agreed to sign center Tacko Fall to an Exhibit 10 deal, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express tweets.

The 7’6″ big man went undrafted out of the University of Central Florida. Fall spent four years at the school, posting career averages of 10.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game.

Fall is expected to play for the Celtics in Summer League. Boston’s first game is July 8.