Yves Pons

Grizzlies Expected To Sign Yves Pons, Romeo Weems

The Grizzlies have lined up deals with a pair of notable undrafted free agents, according to reports. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) says Tennessee’s Yves Pons is expected to sign with Memphis, while Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) hears from sources that DePaul’s Romeo Weems will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the team.

Pons – the 19th-best available undrafted rookie, according to ESPN’s list – is a 6’6″ forward who earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019/20. After becoming a full-time starter for Tennessee as a junior, Pons averaged 9.9 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 57 games (31.4 MPG).

It’s not clear what kind of contract Pons will sign with the Grizzlies, but an Exhibit 10 deal or a two-way pact are the most likely options.

Weems – the 26th undrafted prospect on ESPN’s list – is another defensive-minded small forward. He averaged 7.3 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 18 games (28.6 MPG) for DePaul as a sophomore in 2020/21, knocking down 36.6% of this three-point attempts.

His Exhibit 10 deal could be converted a two-way contract before the regular season starts or could make him a candidate to end up with the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate.

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Pacers Workouts

After the Bulls mortgaged their long-term future to nab 2021 All-Star center Nikola Vučević in a deadline deal with the Magic, they still missed out on a play-in tournament appearance. The club is understandably anticipated to be seeking roster upgrades this summer, especially at the point guard position, writes Matt Moore of the Action Network.

Moore suggests that free agent point guards Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schröder, Lonzo Ball, and Spencer Dinwiddie are among Chicago’s preferred targets. Given the ages of the Bulls’ two best players – 30-year-old Vučević and 25-year-old All-Star Zach LaVine – 35-year-old veteran Lowry may not be a long-term fit, but would certainly raise the team’s floor for the 2021/22 season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will get to choose from a handful of highly-touted NBA prospects with the top selection of the 2021 draft. Where Detroit opts to go in the second round of the draft is less clear. In a new piece, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines several possible draft-and-stash prospects the Pistons could pursue in the second round. Detroit has the Nos. 37, 42 and 52 picks in the second round. Edwards examines the fits of several draft candidates, including Zalgiris Kaunas guard Rokas Jokubaitis, Minas wing Guilherme Santos, Paris Basketball guard Juhann Begarin, and Antwerp Giants forward Vrenz Bleijenbergh.
  • Among 2020/21 season holdovers, the Pistons will face some interesting roster decisions in the summer, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois notes that restricted free agents Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson, forward Josh Jackson, deep-bench center Jahlil Okafor, 2019 draft selections Sekou Doumbouya and Deividas Sirvydis, and guard Tyler Cook all could move on during the offseason.
  • The Pacers are set to hold their sixth round of pre-draft workouts Tuesday, per a team press release. The club possesses the No. 13 pick in the 2021 draft, as well as the No. 54 and No. 60 picks in the second round. Indiana will work out Kansas guard Marcus Garrett, South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson, Alabama guard John Petty Jr., Tennessee forward Yves Pons, Mississippi State guard D.J. Stewart Jr., and Clemson forward Aamir Simms.

Southeast Notes: Crowder, Heat, Mosley, Wizards

The Heat made a key personnel decision that could have adversely impacted their 2020/21 season in letting Jae Crowder walk as a free agent during the 2020 offseason, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The club opted to not sign Crowder to a long-term deal so that it could keep its coffers open for the summer of 2021, when Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was scheduled to be a free agent. Of course, Antetokounmpo then signed a lucrative extension with Milwaukee, and the Bucks would go on to sweep the Heat 4-0 in the first round of the 2021 postseason.

Crowder, meanwhile, signed a three-year, $29.2MM deal with the Suns. Though Crowder’s statistical numbers may be modest, Winderman notes that his toughness and versatility would have significantly aided Miami’s 2020/21 season. Crowder is now bringing those same attributes to bear for the Suns in the NBA Finals. The club is up 2-0 against the Bucks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Team Nigeria head coach Mike Brown sang the praises of Heat forwards Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala after they contributed to Team Nigeria’s 90-87 exhibition match upset over Team USA in an Olympics tuneup game, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Achiuwa and Okpala’s contributions went beyond their minor offensive output. Their Miami teammate Gabe Vincent, meanwhile, enjoyed a stellar offensive game for Nigeria, scoring a team-high 21 points on 66.7% field goal shooting.
  • Several current and former Magic players expressed their excitement when the news broke today that Orlando would be hiring Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley to be the club’s new head coach, writes Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel. “I’m happy for him,” Magic forward Jonathan Isaac told Hays. “He’s been faithful to the grind and the league for many years.” Former Magic guard J.J. Redick, who was coached by Mosley in Dallas this season, tweeted “Love this!!”
  • The Wizards, who have the No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft, will hold pre-draft workouts for six draft candidates on Monday, per a team press release. Richmond guard Blake Francis, Florida guard Tre Mann, Avtodor Saratov forward Nikita Mikhailovskii, Tennessee swingman Yves Pons, Stanford forward Oscar Da Silva, and Coppin State wing Koby Thomas will all get a look from Washington’s brain trust.

Kings Notes: Haliburton, Draft Workouts, Wagner

Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton is enjoying his experience with the U.S. Select Team, which is giving him a chance to test his skills against some of the NBA’s best players, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Haliburton had previous experience in the international format as part of the USA under-19 National Team while at Iowa State.

Haliburton has fully recovered from the hyperextended left knee that brought an early end to his first NBA season. Although he played just 58 games, he was an All-Rookie First Team selection and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He has been working out in Sacramento for the past month and now gets to see how his expanded game fares against elite competition.

“For me to get out and use that stuff against other guys and see it work against them in live action, it helps a lot,” Haliburton said. “And just kind of seeing what other guys are working on at the same time, how other guys are improving. Just taking bits and pieces of that, putting that into my training and things like that.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

Draft Notes: Pistons, Timberwolves, Banton, Hornets

Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie, Toledo’s Spencer Littleson, UC Santa Barbara’s Jaquori McLaughlin and Florida State’s M.J. Walker are among the players the Pistons worked out on Friday, Keith Smith tweets. The 6’6” Champagnie is ranked No. 63 among all prospects and 10th among small forwards by ESPN. The G League Ignite’s Daishen Nix also participated in the workout. Nix is ranked by No. 55 by ESPN and 10th among point guard prospects.

We have more draft-related news:

  • McLaughlin, ranked No. 93 by ESPN, also worked out recently for the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. The 6’4” McLaughlin was the Big West’s Conference Player of the Year. Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. also visited the Timberwolves, Wolfson adds in a separate tweet. Washington is participating in the G League Elite Camp in Chicago this weekend.
  • Nebraska guard Dalano Banton also received an invite to the Elite Camp, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated tweets. Blanton averaged 9.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 3.9 APG last season.
  • The Hornets hosted several prospects on Thursday, including North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher, Winthrop’s Chandler Vaudrin, Tennessee’s Yves Pons and Washington’s Nahziah Carter, according to Matthew Stephens of the Charlotte Observer. Pons, a small forward, is ranked No. 88.

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Draft Notes: Watford, Pons, Petty, Tillman

LSU forward Trendon Watford has decided to withdraw from the draft, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. The 6’9” Watford is currently ranked No. 73 overall among draft prospects by ESPN. He joins Tigers teammates Darius Days and Javonte Smart, who also opted to pull out of the draft, giving the Tigers a strong group of returnees.

We have more draft decisions with the early entrant withdrawal deadline approaching at midnight ET on Monday:

Draft Notes: Nakic, Sylla, Alocen, Williams

Today marks the deadline for early entrants to declare for the NBA draft, and three overseas players have decided to wait another year, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Potential second-round picks Mario Nakic (Twitter link), Amar Sylla (Twitter link) and Carlos Alocen (Twitter link) will all bypass this year’s draft.

Nakic, 18, is a former MVP of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament. The 6’8″ wing played for Real Madrid this season, and Givony considers him a “breakout draft candidate” for 2021.

Sylla. a 6’9″ center from Senegal, played for the Belgian/BCL team Oostende this season. The 18-year-old could be a first round-pick next year, according to Givony.

Alocen is 6’5″ and is the starting point guard with Zaragoza in the Spanish ACB at age 19.

There are more draft decisions to pass along:

  • LSU sophomore Emmitt Williams has declared for the draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Williams, who also tested the draft waters last year, made the announcement on his Instagram page. He averaged 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season.
  • Northern Iowa’s AJ Green has decided to enter the draft while keeping his college eligibility, according to basketball analyst Jeff Goodman (Twitter link). Green was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore, averaging a league-best 19.7 PPG.
  • Tennessee’s Yves Pons has also declared for the draft and will hold onto his eligibility, Goodman adds (Twitter link). The junior forward was Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC.
  • Brazilian guard Caio Pacheco has opted to enter the draft, tweets Raúl Barrigón of HoopsHype. Pacheco averaged 19.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season with Bahía Blanca Basket in Argentina.