Zach Auguste

Players Dismayed As Games Continue In Turkey

Most sports leagues around the world have suspended play amid the coronavirus pandemic, but games are still going on in Turkey’s BSL, leading to fear and exasperation among the players.

A presidential spokesman announced Thursday that all sporting events in the nation will be played with no fans present through the end of April, according to EuroHoops, Turkey is one of the least affected countries in the region, with just six cases of COVID-19 reported through Friday.

Former NBA guard Shane Larkin, now a high-scoring star with star for Istanbul’s Anadolu Efes, sent out a tweet last night questioning why the league continues to operate.

“In no way do I mean any disrespect to any of the decision-makers that are responsible for handling this coronavirus pandemic,” he wrote, “but I do not understand why the Turkish league is continuing to play when every other league in the world is either suspended or canceled. I understand playing games behind closed doors makes things somewhat safer, but that is NOT safe enough.”

Larkin, considered one of the top players in Europe, is under contract for one more season, but he has an opt-out clause allowing him to accept an NBA offer this summer. He reportedly turned down opportunities last year, but the current situation might affect his upcoming decision.

Also Friday, players from the Galatasaray team in the BSL issued a joint statement calling for games to be suspended immediately.

“There have been no precautions taken prior to this for our safety,” tweeted Galatasaray center Zach Auguste“Expecting us to participate in a game tomorrow during this pandemic is asking us to willingly risk not just our own health and safety but our families who live with us as well.”

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Cotton, Auguste, Williams-Goss

The Hornets expect their lottery pick to jump right into the rotation, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. GM Rich Cho told Bonnell that the second unit needs more answers and the No. 11 overall pick should provide one of them. “One thing we feel like we were really lacking last year, where we took a step back, was the bench,” Cho said. “We need a backup point guard, we need another big, we could use another wing to do some more shooting.” A backup point behind Kemba Walker is a high priority and will be filled by the draft or free agency, Bonnell continues. The club holds a $6.27MM option on reserve guard Ramon Sessions but it’s uncertain whether they will exercise it, given that Sessions is coming off a subpar, injury-marred season, Bonnell continues. Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell would be a strong consideration if the Hornets decide to fill that need via the draft, Bonnell adds.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • Point guard Bryce Cotton will play on the Hawks’ summer-league team, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. Cotton played for the Perth Wildcats in the Australian League last season. The 6’1” Cotton played a total of 23 games for the Jazz, Suns and Grizzlies during the previous two seasons.
  • Forwards Zach Auguste and Norvel Pelle will play on the Heat’s summer league team, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. The 6’10” Auguste played in the Turkish league last season after the Lakers cut him during training camp. The former Notre Dame forward also played on the Lakers’ summer league team. The 6’11’ Pelle played on the Heat’s summer league squad last season.
  • Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss could be a nice fit for the Wizards with their second-round pick, Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com opines. The Wizards, who hold the No. 52 overall selection, need another point guard behind John Wall and Williams-Goss could make an instant impact, according to Hughes.

Lakers Waive Zach Auguste, Julian Jacobs, Travis Wear

The Lakers have begun making cuts from their offseason roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived camp invitees Zach Auguste, Julian Jacobs, and Travis Wear. All three players will hit the free agent market, assuming they clear waivers later this week.

While Wear and Jacobs saw 11 total minutes in the Lakers’ four preseason games to date, Auguste didn’t see any action. None of the three players had a fully guaranteed salary, but Auguste did have a modest $60K guarantee on his deal, so that figure will remain on the team’s cap following his release.

After cutting Auguste, Jacobs, and Wear, the Lakers will have 17 players on their roster, including 14 on guaranteed contracts. Yi Jianlian, Thomas Robinson, and Metta World Peace appear to be vying for the 15th and final roster spot, with Yi likely holding the edge due to his guarantee ($250K) and his incentive-heavy, trade-friendly contract. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that Yi will likely have to beat out Robinson, with World Peace a long shot to make the team.

As for the trio of players waived today, all three could eventually end up joining the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ D-League affiliate. Jacobs, in particular, is a candidate to join L.A.’s D-League squad, tweets Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Ulis, Durant

Zach Auguste faces stiff competition to make the Lakers‘ roster, but the team is impressed the forward thus far in camp, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. “Zach is relentless on the offensive glass,” Walton said. Auguste’s contract is only partially guaranteed for $60K and Walton admitted that players’ contracts are considered when determining playing time in camp. “We’re going to continue to give the guys who are under [fully guaranteed] contracts the first and second looks, so the reps aren’t always as high [for the non-guaranteed players],” Walton added.

  • The Suns believe Tyler Ulis can be part of the team’s long-term plans and they plan to bring him along slowly, Tyler Emerick of NBA.com writes. Ulis may not see many minutes this season because of the team’s backcourt depth, but coach Earl Watson has a plan for the Kentucky product. “He has to be close to our coaches – in the next seat over,”  Watson said. “He has to read the play calls of the other team. He has to call them back on the bench and learn the other team’s offense. So when he gets the opportunity, he’s well-prepared mentally.”
  • The Lakers have hired Lorena Martin as their Director of Sports Analytics, according to the team’s website. Los Angeles also added Jennifer Swanson as their Head Physical Therapist, Stacey Robinson as their Massage Therapist and Sean Light as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
  • Kevin Durant is enjoying his adjustment to the Warriors‘ culture, Anthony Slater of the Bay Area News Group passes along. “I’m used to going into practice and having it a certain way,” Durant said. “These guys around here are super loose. But disciplined at the same time. It’s just a fun brand. They make basketball just even more fun than it was.”

Lakers Sign Julian Jacobs, Travis Wear

The Lakers issued a press release today announcing that they’ve officially added two more players to their offseason roster. In addition to confirming their previously-reported deal with Travis Wear, the Lakers also revealed that they’ve inked undrafted free agent guard Julian Jacobs to a contract.

Jacobs, a point guard who played his college ball at USC, left the Trojans after his junior year to declare for his NBA draft. In his final year at USC, he averaged 11.6 PPG and 5.4 APG in 31 contests, shooting 47.1% from the field.

Wear, a small forward, was out of the NBA last season after playing 61 games for the Knicks in 2014/15. The 25-year-old has a total of 51 NBA contests under his belt, all with New York, and has career averages of 3.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 13.2 minutes per night. His career NBA shooting line is .402/.367/.769.

Neither Jacobs nor Wear seems like a great bet to earn a regular-season roster spot for the Lakers, who now have 18 players under contract. The team has 14 fully guaranteed contracts on its books, plus Yi Jianlian‘s partially-guaranteed deal. If Nick Young is traded or released, a 15-man spot would open up, but Zach Auguste, who got a $60K guarantee from L.A., per Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), would be vying for that opening as well.

Lakers Sign Zach Auguste

AUGUST 29th: The signing is official, the team announced.

AUGUST 21st: The Lakers have reached an agreement with former Notre Dame power forward Zach Auguste, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Auguste played for the Lakers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, averaging 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Terms of the deal were not available.

When Auguste signs, he will be the 16th player on the roster, and Pincus speculates that he could either be ticketed for the D-League or L.A. is planning to open a roster spot by getting rid of Nick Young (Twitter link).

The 6’10”, 240-pound Auguste was a double-double machine with the Irish, averaging 14.0 points and 10.8 rebounds during his senior season. He was rated as the 76th best prospect by DraftExpress and was not selected on draft night.

Draft Notes: Celtics, Beasley, Papagiannis, Hawks

It’s a busy day for Celtics pre-draft workouts, as the team is working out a six-player group and taking a closer look at two more prospects in individual workouts. Those solo workouts belong to Kentucky’s Jamal Murray and Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis, per Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com (Twitter link), and it sounds like it was a good showing for Murray — he hit a record 79 of 100 three-pointers during his session, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. In our community mock draft, Hoops Rumors readers have Murray coming off the board seventh overall and Sabonis being picked 13th..

As for Boston’s larger workout group, in addition to Farad Cobb and Cheick Diallo, whose participation had previously been reported, the Celtics are also working out Terry Allen (Richmond), Zach Auguste (Notre Dame), Adam Pechacek (Czech Republic), and Adam Smith (Georgia Tech), according to Forsberg.

Let’s round up a few more draft updates from around the league…

  • Because former Florida State shooting guard Malik Beasley is coming off stress fracture surgery on his right leg, he won’t be able to work out for teams prior to the draft, but can meet and interview with them, according to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (Twitter link). A report last week indicated that Beasley would be paying a visit to the Bulls today.
  • Greek big man Georgios Papagiannis, who worked out for Phoenix on Tuesday, has upcoming workouts with the Celtics, Bulls, and Pistons, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The 7’2″ center currently ranks 50th on Jonathan Givony’s big board at DraftExpress.com.
  • Former Wichita State guard Ron Baker is schedule to have a pre-draft workout with the Hawks this Friday, reports Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter).
  • Oregon’s Elgin Cook, the 77th-ranked prospect on DraftExpress.com, recently workout for the Raptors and will audition next for the Nets, who are hoping to trade for a pick, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Collison, Suns, Clippers

We heard last week that new Kings head coach Dave Joerger was targeting Bryan Gates as a potential assistant. Now, James Ham of CSN California hears from a source that Gates – a former Sacramento assistant who worked for Minnesota last year and the Pelicans before that – is indeed to set to come aboard Joerger’s staff. Last week’s report indicated that Joerger and the Kings were also pursuing Elston Turner, but there are no official updates yet on that front.

Here’s more from around the Pacific, including a couple more items out of Sacramento:

  • Kings point guard Darren Collison was arrested on a domestic violence charge earlier this week, but his lawyer, Bill Portanova, called it a “misunderstanding” that he’s “working to straighten out,” writes Andy Furillo of The Sacramento Bee. As Furillo observes, it makes sense to wait to see how the case plays out before predicting what it might mean for Collison or the Kings.
  • Emmanuel Malou, who was set to transfer to Iowa State before deciding to remain in the 2016 draft, recently worked out for the Kings, per The Sacramento Bee.
  • The Suns worked out a six-player group of prospects today that included Ryan Anderson (Arizona), Zach Auguste (Notre Dame), Ron Curry (James Madison), Cheick Diallo (Kansas), Lester Medford (Baylor), and Codi Miller-McIntyre (Wake Forest). Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer tweets that Diamond Stone (Maryland) is also heading to Phoenix for his next workout, while Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic tweets that Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis has a solo workout with the team today.
  • The Clippers‘ pre-draft workout group on Wednesday featured Daniel Hamilton (UConn), DeAndre’ Bembry (St. Joseph’s), Guerschon Yabusele (France), Cat Barber (N.C. State), Tyrone Wallace (California), and Zach Auguste (Notre Dame), according to the team.
  • In other Los Angeles workout news, Alex Poythress (Kentucky) has workouts lined up with both the Lakers and Clippers (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com), Rosco Allen (Stanford) is set to work out for the Lakers tomorrow (Twitter link via Camerato), and Czech power forward Adam Pechacek will also participate in that Lakers workout on Friday (Twitter link via Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). Finally, veteran D-League forward Joel Wright is attending a Clippers mini-camp, a league source tells Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter link).