Vander Blue

2019 NBA G League Draft Recap

Former Miami Hurricanes star Anthony Lawrence II was selected by Northern Arizona with the first pick in today’s G League draft. A combo forward, Lawrence spent four years in college, averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds last season. He was signed and waived by the Jazz last Saturday.

Lawrence played for the Cavaliers during Summer League, then signed with Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Israel. However, he parted ways with the team earlier this month after one preseason game.

Some other notable selections include:

Mourning, who spent four years at Georgetown, is the son of Hall of Fame center Alonzo Mourning. He played for the Heat during Summer League. Duval, once a highly touted point guard at Duke, was a two-way player for the Bucks for most of last season and appeared in three NBA games.

Mac, formerly known as Sheldon McClellan, got into 30 games for the Wizards during the 2016/17 season. Thabeet, the second player chosen in the 2009 NBA Draft, worked out extensively with the Knicks this summer and is hoping to return to the NBA at age 32.

Other prominent draftees include former Celtics and Lakers guard Vander Blue, the 13th pick in the second round by Santa Cruz, and Trey Phills, son of former NBA player Bobby Phills, who went to Windy City with the 18th pick in the fourth round.

The full results of this year’s draft can be found here.

And-Ones: Duval, G League Draft, NBA Rosters, Williamson

Trevon Duval has signed a G League contract and is eligible for this Saturday’s draft, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days tweets. Duval was a two-way player for the Rockets last season and became a free agent when the team didn’t give him a qualifying offer this summer. He was claimed by Houston in March after the Bucks waived him. The former Duke guard made three cameo appearances with Milwaukee.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Journeyman center Hasheem Thabeet, former Lakers guard Vander Blue, and forward Trey Mourning, son of Alonzo Mourning, are some of the more interesting names on the list of players eligible for the G League draft, according to a league press release. The Northern Arizona Suns have the first pick.
  • There are 108 international players from 38 countries and territories on current NBA rosters, according to a league press release. The most-represented countries among the 108 international players on opening-night rosters are Canada (16 players), Australia (nine players), France (eight players), Croatia (seven players) and Serbia (six players). The Mavericks lead the league with seven international players.
  • Zion Williamson‘s knee injury created disappointment for the NBA’s TV partners, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic explains. TNT and ESPN wanted nationally-televised games featuring the Pelicans during the opening week of the season to showcase Williamson. They were stuck showing the Pelicans without the top pick in the draft on the court because it was too late to make a change. Vardon goes in-depth on how the national TV schedule is designed and notes that the Lakers play 21 of their 30 nationally -televised games after New Year’s Day because the networks wanted to feature LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the team’s playoff push.
  • Amida Brimah, the former UConn center who was in training camp with the Pacers, has suffered a torn right ACL, Scott Agness of The Athletic tweets. He was slated to join Indiana’s G League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.  Brimah will undergo surgery next week, Agness adds.

And-Ones: Lecque, Anthony, West, G League

Potential first-round pick Jalen Lecque will likely sign a national letter of intent this week, but he hasn’t given up on the NBA draft, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Lecque is still a high school senior, but he is expected to be granted draft eligibility because he is a year removed from his graduating class. He committed to North Carolina State in October and could put that in writing before the early signing period ends on Wednesday.

A 6’4″ guard, Lecque put his talents on display this weekend at the National Prep Showcase with representatives from 16 NBA teams watching. He is projected at 25 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“I’m not really focused on the NBA right now,” Lecque said. “I’m focused on first steps first with high school and then next steps with college. I’m getting everything out of the way, graduating and looking to perform my best every game.”

Lecque added that he has no interest in the new G League “select” path that will enable some players fresh out of high school to make $125K.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Regardless of his NBA future, Carmelo Anthony has a standing offer from the Puerto Rican national team, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Anthony, who already has three gold medals and a bronze with Team USA, announced his retirement from international basketball after the 2016 Olympics. He hasn’t expressed an interest in playing for Puerto Rico, but federation president Yum Ramos plans to offer an invitation. “With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it,” said Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, a star with the Puerto Rican team. “We tried a bunch to get him in the past, but of course nobody blamed him for playing for Team USA. But if he ever wants a chance to represent us, it would be awesome to have him.”
  • David West, who retired from the NBA in August, will be the first chief operating officer for the Historical Basketball League, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The new college league, which will debut in 2020, intends to compensate and educate players based on their market value.
  • Two former NBA players were involved in a G League trade this week, notes a story on the South Bay Lakers’ website. The Lakers acquired the returning player rights for Joel Bolomboy from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for similar rights to Vander Blue. Bolomboy played 18 combined games for the Jazz and Bucks, while Blue has 10 games of NBA experience with the Celtics and Lakers.

Vander Blue Leaves Italian Team

Vander Blue, who spent part of this season as a two-way player with the Lakers, is no longer with Fiat Torino in Italy, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Blue played five games for L.A. before being waived in January, seeing just nine total minutes of court time. He was much more effective for the Lakers’ South Bay affiliate in the G League, averaging 19.0 points in 15 games.

Blue was MVP of the Italian Cup in February, but had difficulty adjusting to the new league after that. He averaged 3.1 points per game while shooting 12% from the field and 10% from 3-point range.

Lakers Waive Vander Blue

The Lakers have waived two-way player Vander Blue, the team announced today in a press release. Assuming he goes unclaimed, Blue will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

Blue, who was in camp with the Lakers in the fall, was cut at the end of the preseason, but rejoined the team on a two-way contract. Over the course of the 2017/18 campaign, the 6’4″ guard has appeared in 15 games for the South Bay Lakers, averaging 19.0 PPG and 5.3 APG. However, he has struggled with his shot, posting a .390 FG% and .333 3PT% in the G League. Blue also played in five NBA games for L.A.

With Blue no longer occupying one of the Lakers’ two-way slots, the team has an opening and will have until Monday to fill it. January 15 represents the last day this season that NBA clubs can sign players to two-way deals.

The Lakers also have an open spot on their 15-man NBA roster, created when they waived Andrew Bogut last weekend.

Lakers Sign Vander Blue To Two-Way Contract

OCTOBER 18: The Lakers have officially signed Blue to a two-way contract, the club announced today in a press release.

OCTOBER 17: After being waived by the Lakers on Saturday, shooting guard Vander Blue is returning to the franchise. The Lakers and Blue have reached an agreement on a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter).

Blue, 25, has appeared in just five total regular season NBA games, most recently playing for the Lakers in 2014/15. While he hasn’t seen any NBA action in recent years, he has emerged as one of the G League’s most reliable scorers, averaging more than 23.3 PPG in each of the last three seasons for L.A.’s affiliate.

In 2016/17, Blue racked up 24.8 PPG to go along with 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 47 games for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, earning G League MVP honors. This season, he’ll return to the club – now known as the South Bay Lakers – as a two-way player, which will result in a pay bump and a chance to spend some time with the NBA club.

The Lakers have now filled both of their two-way slots, with Blue joining Alex Caruso.

Lakers Waive Blue, Wear, Weber

The Lakers have reached the roster limit by waiving Vander Blue, Travis Wear and Briante Weber, the team announced on its website.

Blue has played just five NBA games — three with the Celtics and two with the Lakers — since going undrafted out of Marquette in 2013. The 25-year-old was MVP of the G League last season with L.A.’s affiliate and had a strong showing in the Las Vegas Summer League. His camp contract contains a $50K guarantee.

Wear has an Exhibit 10 deal, which could still be converted to a two-way contract as the Lakers have an opening. The 27-year-old forward will receive a bonus if he winds up in the G League.

Weber, a 24-year-old point guard, played 13 games with the Hornets at the end of last season.

The moves bring the Lakers’ roster down to 16 players, including a two-way contract for Alex Caruso.

Lakers Notes: Ball, Kuzma, Blue, Bogut

Lonzo Ball‘s NBA debut brought an electric atmosphere to Saturday’s preseason opener, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The second overall pick had a rough shooting night, going 2 for 9 from the field and finishing with five points, but he contributed eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals and showed a sell-out crowd his triple-double potential. “He is so unselfish that sometimes he has good shots for himself and he tries to get someone else a shot,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton. “We want him taking those. We are looking for him to be a little more aggressive to score the ball, especially early on. I thought he was great the way he was moving around out there and getting people involved.”

There’s more news out of Los Angeles:

  • Fellow first-rounder Kyle Kuzma had no shooting problems, sinking 9 of 12 shots and scoring 19 points. The 27th pick out of Utah sparked the Lakers’ offense in the third quarter with four buckets in 91 seconds and showed the same explosiveness he displayed during summer league. “It’s not so much 100 miles per hour like you’d think it is,” Kuzma told Joey Ramirez of NBA.com about the adjustment to the pro game. “It’s really pace, stop and go — I definitely learned a lot out there just in that one game.”
  • Reigning G League MVP Vander Blue is trying to use every advantage as he competes for a roster spot, Ramirez writes in a separate story. Blue has been showing up to practice three hours early each day and scouted all his potential teammates on video before camp began. Blue has been a productive G League player over the past three years, but has just five NBA games on his resume since leaving Marquette in 2013.
  • Andrew Bogut has resolved his visa issues and is ready to join the Lakers, the veteran center tweeted. Bogut agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary deal with L.A. in mid-September but hasn’t been able to come to the United States because of the visa problem. Bogut is eager to prove that he is fully recovered from a fractured tibia that ended his season in March.

Lakers Notes: Bogut, Blue, Ball, George

Lakers coach Luke Walton will have the final say on who wins the 15th roster spot in training camp, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet tweets. GM Rob Pelinka made the comment during the team’s media day. Bresnahan hints that it could come down to center Andrew Bogut or guard Vander Blue. Bogut signed a one-year, $2.3MM contract but only $50K is guaranteed. Blue hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2014/15 season. Pelinka added that the team isn’t actively seeking another veteran player, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

In other news regarding the Lakers:

  • President of basketball operations Magic Johnson isn’t concerned about LaVar Ball’s antics or comments unless it impacts the on-court effectiveness of son and rookie point guard Lonzo Ball,  he told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN and other media members. “Only time I am going to concern myself with what [Lonzo] does off the court is if it is affecting his play on the court,” Johnson said.  The Hall of Famer already considers the rookie as the team’s leader heading into his first season. “We needed a leader on this team,” Johnson said. “And we have one now.”
  • Johnson is mainly concerned that the team displays improvement this season and demonstrates to future free agents that the franchise is once again an attractive destination, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Johnson does believe this season’s group is talented enough to make the playoffs, Ganguli adds. LeBron James and Paul George, among others, are expected to seriously consider the Lakers next summer.
  • George said he’s more concerned with winning than joining his hometown team, Sam Amick of USA Today relays. George believes he can win a championship with the Thunder“You ask anybody, and who wouldn’t want to play for their hometown team?” George said. “Who wouldn’t want to go home and win a championship for their home? So yeah, a lot of me wanted to be a Laker. Even in the draft, coming out of the draft, I wanted to be a Clipper, to have a chance to play at home…(But) I’m not solely tied to LA. This feels like a championship team. Like I said, man, I’m in a good place.”

Lakers Sign Vander Blue

AUGUST 4: The Lakers have officially signed Blue, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 29: The Lakers have reached an agreement with combo guard Vander Blue on a partially guaranteed contract, sources told Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The guarantee is $50K, Chris Reichert of The Step Back tweets.

Blue, 25, played eight games for Los Angeles’ summer-league team in Las Vegas and made a strong impression, averaging 15.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 3.0 APG in 27.4 MPG. The 6’4” Blue also made half of his field-goal attempts.

Blue did not play in the NBA the past two seasons but lit up the G League last season, earning MVP honors. He played 47 games for the Lakers’ affiliate, the D-Fenders, and averaged 24.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG and 1.6 SPG in 34.8 MPG.

Blue, a Marquette product, has a limited NBA resume. He appeared in three games with the Celtics during the 2013/14 season and two games with the Lakers the following season. Mainly a shooting guard, Blue joins a backcourt that includes rookies Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, Jordan Clarkson, Tyler Ennis and free agent signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

While not all the contract details have been revealed, it’s safe to assume there are no guarantees beyond this season. The Lakers want to have as much salary-cap space as possible next summer in order to make runs at top free agents.