Ty Lawson

And-Ones: Zion, Silver, Chalmers, Bona, Lawson

A panel of 15 NBA evaluators, including four general managers, unanimously agreed that Mavericks star Luka Doncic is the player under 25 whom they would most want to build a franchise around, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Suns guard Devin Booker, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant received the next-highest scores in the poll.

As Scotto notes, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Pelicans big man Zion Williamson, placed just seventh on the evaluators’ list, tied with Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. Among the respondents who spoke to Scotto, the enthusiasm for Williamson’s obvious upside was dampened by long-term weight and injury concerns.

“He’s just a special player inside the arc who’s an elite finisher,” one executive said of the Pelicans’ rising star. “… He’s one of the best finishers behind Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and LeBron (James). He can hit the open man. He’s so physically dominant. His shooting shouldn’t be a problem, but we’ll see. I think he’s always going to be hurt, though.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to be at the league’s Walt Disney World campus this week, sources tell Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether Silver’s visit will be brief or if he plans to stick around through the NBA Finals.
  • Greek club Aris Thessaloniki has announced the signing of former NBA guard Mario Chalmers (hat tip to Sportando). A former two-time champion with Miami, Chalmers spent last season in Athens, but continues to hold out hope of making an NBA comeback.
  • Adem Bona, a 17-year-old Nigerian/Turkish big man, will spend the next two seasons stateside at Prolific Prep in California, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who refers to Bona as one of Europe’s “most promising” prospects (Twitter links). He’ll become draft-eligible in 2023, Givony adds.
  • Agent Chris Patrick and The Sports Law Group have ended their representation of former NBA guard Ty Lawson following his ban from the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Lawson last played in the NBA during the 2018 postseason with Washington.

Ex-NBA Player Ty Lawson Reportedly Banned From CBA

Former NBA point guard Ty Lawson has reportedly been banned from playing in the Chinese Basketball Association after inappropriate posts about women appeared on his Instagram story, per Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia (Twitter link).

Lawson’s most recent team, the Fujian Sturgeons, issued the following statement to Chinese media outlet Xinhua:

“His inappropriate words are inconsistent with the social responsibilities and values abided by our club and have brought serious adverse social impacts to the club and the league,” the statement reads. “We will not sign him for the new season.”

After last appearing in the NBA during the 2017/18 season for the Wizards’ playoff run, Lawson had found success in the CBA. He first appeared with the Shandong Golden Stars in 2017 before transferring to the Sturgeons. The former first-round pick played well in China, averaging over 25.0 PPG across three seasons.

Lawson, an eight-year NBA veteran, played for the Nuggets, Rockets, Pacers, Kings and Wizards during his career. He averaged 12.7 PPG and 6.0 APG in 551 NBA games.

International Notes: China, Russia, Poland, Japan

Earlier this week, a report indicated that Chinese Basketball Association teams collectively decided that foreign players who are under contract in the CBA and refuse to return to China will be banned from the league for three years.

With that being said, it seems as if several foreign players are heeding this warning and heading back, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando

Some of the notable returning players are Jared Cunningham, Donatas Motiejunas, MarShon Brooks, Ty Lawson, and Jeremy Lin. Those players and others will quarantine for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19 upon returning to China.

The CBA’s season is set to resume play on April 15 with games reportedly taking place in Qingdao and Dongguan.

Here’s more on the international circuit:

Ty Lawson Returning To China

Veteran NBA point guard Ty Lawson appears set to return to the Chinese Basketball Association for the 2019/20 season, according to a pair of reports from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. After initially writing that Lawson was close to signing with the Fujian Sturgeons, Carchia said in a follow-up tweet that it’s a done deal.

Lawson, who was said to be drawing interest from the Xinjiang Flying Tigers earlier this month, has spent most of the last two seasons with China’s Shandong Golden Stars. In 2018/19, the 31-year-old averaged 26.5 PPG and 8.7 APG in 24 games with Shandong.

An NBA first-round pick in 2009, Lawson spent eight seasons in the league and enjoyed a productive run with the Nuggets, but hasn’t appeared in an NBA regular season game since the 2016/17 season.

While he did sign with the Wizards on the last day of the 2017/18 campaign and appeared in five playoff games for the club that spring after returning from China, he hasn’t received an NBA contract since then. It’s possible that a successful run with Fujian will put him on NBA teams’ radars again this spring.

And-Ones: Felder, Yao Ming, China

Kay Felder is a potential target for China’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports. The team is expected to sign either Felder or Ty Lawson to replace another former NBA player, Ian Clark, who is sidelined by a finger injury.

A second-round pick by the Cavaliers in 2016, Felder was waived by the Raptors’ G League team in December after a domestic violence allegation. Felder, who appeared in 58 NBA games for Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit, played for Xinjiang last season after he was waived. The Flying Tigers’ interest in Lawson was previously reported.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • There doesn’t seem to be a star on the level of Yao Ming coming from China in the near future, Marc Spears of ESPN writes. Currently, there are no Chinese players who could make a sure-fire impact in the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver hopes that will change. “It frustrates me that there are no Chinese players in the NBA,” he said. “There’s probably more basketball being played in China than anywhere else in the world. And more NBA basketball is being watched in China than anywhere else in the world.”
  • An Atlantic City, NJ casino owned by Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta can now accept bets on NBA games, according to Wayne Parry of the Associated Press. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill allowing Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino, owned by Fertitta, to handle NBA bets that don’t involve the Rockets.
  • Former Hawks guard Malcolm Delaney will play in Spain this season. Get the details here.

And-Ones: Lillard, Role Players, Seattle, Lawson

During a recent appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast (h/t to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard, who recently signed a super-max extension to stay in Portland through 2025, explains his thoughts as to why more players don’t do the same.

“I think people walk away from it because of the media… the outside influence, people talking about their legacy… so (the players) say, ‘It’s not about the money. I want to win the championship. And I want to do this.”

“But I don’t think just because you decide to stay and not pass up on that money, that don’t mean you ain’t trying to win it. When you’re 42 years old and your career [is] over, and you ain’t won it, anyway, and you walked away from 60 million dollars more than what you got, they ain’t even going to be talking about you then. The joke is going to be on you.”

Lillard’s point is an interesting one, and it begs the question as to how many players eligible for a super-max turned it down for this reason. Even though he won a championship in Toronto, Kawhi Leonard almost certainly did not. But, it’s conceivable Anthony Davis felt pressure to leave the Pelicans because outside influences convinced him he couldn’t win a title in New Orleans and that outcome would be bad for his legacy.

We have more content from around the basketball world, below:

  • Quinn Davis of Basketball Insiders takes a look at three role players who could make an impact on a team with championship aspirations next season: Sixers forward James Ennis, Clippers forward Maurice Harkless, and Jazz big man Ed Davis.
  • Newly inducted Hall-of-Famer, big man Jack Sikma, said during his induction speech last night that it’s time for the NBA to return to Seattle, writes Anthony Olivieri of ESPN. “Speaking for all Sonics fans, it’s our great hope that the NBA will soon find a pathway to bring a franchise back to Seattle. It’s time.”
  • The Xinjang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are considering the signing of former NBA guard Ty Lawson because Ian Clark cannot report to the team yet due to an injury, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

International Notes: Lawson, Barbosa, Neal, Ajinca

Veteran NBA guard Ty Lawson, who spent last season in China before signing with the Wizards for their brief playoff run, is headed back overseas to his old team, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. As Carchia relays, Lawson has re-signed with the Shandong Golden Stars of the Chinese Basketball Association, replacing another former NBA guard, Andrew Goudelock. Goudelock is out for the season with a knee injury.

In 46 contests in China last season, Lawson averaged 25.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, and 2.2 SPG, shooting 40.1% on three-point attempts. Although he parlayed that performance into a spot on a playoff roster upon returning to the NBA, the 31-year-old didn’t end up on a regular season roster for the 2018/19 NBA season. China’s season ends before the NBA league year does, so we’ll see if Lawson can once again find an NBA home once his overseas deal expires.

Here are a few more notes on former NBA players joining new teams or drawing interest internationally:

  • Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa is continuing his playing career in his home country, with Minas Tenis Clube recently announcing the signing of Barbosa. The 36-year-old spent most of his lengthy NBA career with Phoenix.
  • Former Spurs guard Gary Neal, who also spent time with five other NBA clubs, has officially signed with Turkish club Banvit, the team announced in a press release (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Neal last appeared in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he played two games for Atlanta.
  • Former NBA guard Manny Harris is also playing in Turkey, as Carchia notes. Harris, who appeared in 93 NBA games for the Cavaliers, Lakers, and Mavericks, has officially joined Turkish club Bahcesehir (Twitter link).
  • Veteran NBA big man Alexis Ajinca, who was cut in October after being traded to the Clippers, is a candidate to play for ASVEL in France in the new year. Carchia hears that Ajinca has been telling people he’ll join ASVEL and relays a report from Le Progress that also links Ajinca to the French team.

Lawson, Wallace Work Out For Pelicans

Point guard Ty Lawson and shooting guard Tyrone Wallace worked out for the Pelicans this week, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets.

New Orleans already has a fairly crowded roster with 12 players on guaranteed contracts and six others with partially- or non-guaranteed deals.

Lawson spent most of the 2017/18 season in China playing for the Shandong Golden Stars. In 46 Chinese League contests, he averaged 25.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, and 2.2 SPG, shooting 40.1% on 3-point attempts.

He then signed with the Wizards on the last day of the regular season, making him eligible for the postseason. He appeared in five playoff games this spring, averaging 5.8 PPG and 3.0 APG in 19.2 MPG.

New Orleans has Jrue Holiday, Elfrid Payton and Frank Jackson as point guard options, though Jackson has yet to appear in an NBA game due to injuries.

Wallace, 24, appeared in 30 games, including 19 starts, for the Clippers on a two-way contract last season. He averaged 9.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 2.4 APG in 28.4 MPG. He’s a restricted free agent, since the Clippers extended a qualifying offer to him in late June.

The Pelicans have numerous shooting guards on the roster, including E’Twaun Moore, Ian Clark, Kenrich Williams and two-way player Trevon Bluiett.

Wizards Express Interest In Crawford, Mbah A Moute, Others

The Wizards lost one key member of their bench when Mike Scott reached an agreement with the Clippers on Monday, but the team has remained active in search of potential free agent additions.

According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter links), the Wizards have expressed interest in a number of veteran free agents, including Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham, and Willie Reed. Ty Lawson, who finished last season in D.C., also remains a possibility to return, Buckner adds.

The Wizards’ backcourt is getting pretty crowded, with Tomas Satoransky and newly-acquired Austin Rivers slotting in behind John Wall and Bradley Beal. Jodie Meeks and rookie Troy Brown could also see some time at the two, so it’s not clear whether Crawford, who will want a featured role off the bench, would be a good fit in Washington.

However, Mbah a Moute, Cunningham, and Reed make more sense as potential targets for the Wizards. Mbah a Moute and Cunningham are versatile forwards capable of knocking down three-pointers, while Reed is a big man who could add depth to a Wizards frontcourt that no longer features Marcin Gortat.

The Wizards have also been linked to Dwight Howard, Jeff Green, Treveon Graham, and Thomas Robinson, among other free agents.

Hornets Notes: Monk, FA Targets, Coaching Staff

A disappointing 2017/18 put the Hornets in an awkward position, staffed with enough talent to compete for one of the East’s final playoff spots, yet financially compelled to blow things up and start fresh. This season stands to be different. In a recent interview with Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, newly appointed head coach James Borrego discusses his vision for the club heading forward.

The biggest change heading into 2018/19 is Borrego’s willingness to incorporate 2017 pick Malik Monk heavily in the team’s rotation. Whereas previous head coach Steve Clifford opted to play veterans over youth, Borrego sees Monk as “major player for the team” with the potential to be an elite shooter.

Borrego also notes that it’s a priority of the Hornets to add a ballhandler that can serve as the primary backup point guard to Kemba Walker.

There’s more out of Charlotte tonight: