Zavier Simpson

Thunder Sign, Waive Zavier Simpson

OCTOBER 16: As expected, Simpson has been waived, according to a tweet from their PR department. Simpson will likely play for the Blue once he clears waivers.


OCTOBER 15: The Thunder have signed Zavier Simpson to an Exhibit 10 deal, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (via Twitter). The move was first reported yesterday by Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw.

Simpson will likely be waived before the start of the regular season. If he spends at least 60 days with the OKC Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate, he could earn a bonus of up to $50k.

Simpson, a 6’0″ point guard, went undrafted in 2019-20 after four seasons with the Michigan Wolverines. He played well as a senior, averaging 12.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 6.9 APG (33.7 MPG) in 30 games. He spent last season with the OKC Blue in the G League bubble, averaging 9.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 6.1 APG (28.5 MPG) in 15 games, all starts.

Thunder Release D.J. Wilson, Scotty Hopson

The Thunder have waived forward D.J. Wilson and guard Scotty Hopson, the team announced today. The moves reduce Oklahoma City’s roster count to 18 players, for the time being.

Wilson, the 17th overall pick in the 2017 draft, spent the first three-and-a-half season of his career in Milwaukee before being traded to Houston at last season’s trade deadline. He had fallen out of the Bucks’ rotation, but averaged 6.1 PPG and 3.8 RPG with a shooting line of .416/.339/.696 in 23 games (14.3 MPG) during his stint with the Rockets.

Hopson, who appeared in two NBA games in 2014 with Cleveland and one in 2018 with Dallas, has spent most of his career in the G League or playing in international leagues. The 6’7″ wing played for Melbourne United in 2020/21 after appearing in 41 G League games for the Oklahoma City Blue from 2018-20.

Hopson looks like a good bet to rejoin the Blue for the upcoming season, and it’s possible Wilson will join him.

Meanwhile, it appears the Thunder have also officially signed Zavier Simpson, whose Exhibit 10 deal with the team we reported on Thursday. Oklahoma City hasn’t formally announced the signing, but Simpson is listed on the team’s official roster page.

Thunder Waive Melvin Frazier, Expected To Sign Zavier Simpson

After joining the Thunder on a training camp deal earlier in the week, veteran wing Melvin Frazier has been waived, the team announced today.

The No. 35 pick in the 2018 draft, Frazier played in just 29 NBA games in his first two professional seasons, with Orlando. He has spent more time in the G League over the last three years, appearing in 41 games with the Lakeland Magic from 2018-20, then suiting up for the Oklahoma City Blue in the 2021 NBAGL bubble.

Frazier played a limited role with the Blue, averaging just 6.8 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 12 games (20.8 MPG), but the fact that he received an Exhibit 10 deal this week suggests the Thunder plan on having him return to their G League affiliate for the 2021/22 season.

The Thunder now have an open roster spot and may use it to sign Zavier Simpson. Our JD Shaw (Twitter link) hears from a source that Oklahoma City is expected to sign the guard to an Exhibit 10 deal.

Like Frazier, Simpson played for the OKC Blue last season and would be in line for a bonus worth up to $50K if he returns to the G League and spends at least 60 days with the club. The former Michigan Wolverine averaged 9.8 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 4.3 RPG in 15 games (28.5 MPG) in the G League in 2021.

Justin Patton, Others Commit To Summer League

Former Rockets center Justin Patton will play with the Jazz during the Salt Lake City Summer League and Knicks during the Las Vegas Summer League next month, a source told Hoops Rumors.

Throughout his career, Patton, 24, has made stops with the Wolves, Sixers, Thunder, and Rockets. He was selected No. 16 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft by Chicago, but his rights were immediately traded to Minnesota as part of the Jimmy ButlerZach LaVine deal.

Patton joined the Bucks for training camp last year and was waived before the season started. He was drafted by the Westchester Knicks in the January G League draft, later earning a two-way deal with Houston due to his impressive play.

The Salt Lake City Summer League (four teams) will be held on August 3, 4 and 6, while the Las Vegas Summer League (all 30 teams) will take place from August 8-17.

Here are some other noteworthy commitments to report:

  • Former Michigan point guard Zavier Simpson has committed to play summer league with the Lakers in Las Vegas, a source told Hoops Rumors. Simpson signed with the Lakers as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He averaged 9.8 points, 6.1 assists and 28.5 minutes with Oklahoma City’s G League affiliate this past season.
  • Tahjere McCall has accepted a summer league invitation with the Magic, Hoops Rumors has learned. McCall was part of the team’s G League championship roster last season, averaging 11.9 points per game. The 26-year-old guard was also named to the G League All-Defensive Team and finished second in G League Defensive Player of the Year voting.
  • Free agent big man Dewan Hernandez has agreed to play summer league with the Wizards, according to a source. Hernandez, a Miami product, was drafted No. 59 overall by the Raptors back in 2019. He played six games with Toronto in 2019-20.
  • Another commitment for the Salt Lake City Summer League, Hoops Rumors has learned: Jarell Martin with the Jazz. Martin holds 184 games of NBA experience and most recently spent time in Australia. He was selected 25th in the 2015 draft.

2020/21 NBA G League Draft Results

The NBA G League held its draft for the 2020/21 season on Monday afternoon.

In a typical year, the G League draft lasts four rounds and teams are only required to make two selections. However, this year’s draft was just three rounds and teams weren’t required to make any picks.

Because only 17 of 28 NBA G League affiliates (plus the G League Ignite) are participating in the revamped season at Walt Disney World in Florida, and because teams aren’t permitted to bring extra players to training camp for health and safety reasons, roster spots will be at a premium in the NBAGL this season, and the draft reflected that. Only 25 players were selected.

With the first overall pick, the Greensboro Swarm – the Hornets‘ affiliate – nabbed former Wizard Admiral Schofield. The 42nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Schofield averaged 3.0 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 33 games (11.2 MPG) as a rookie before being traded to the Thunder during the offseason. Oklahoma City waived him last month.

With the second overall pick, which they acquired in a trade earlier in the day, the Memphis Hustle selected former Baylor standout Freddie Gillespie, who had been in camp with the Mavericks. Gillespie recently spoke to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors about his desire to make it to the NBA and his plans to begin his professional career in the G League. He’s now in position to suit up for the Grizzlies‘ affiliate.

Here are the full 2020/21 G League draft results:

Round One:

  1. Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): Admiral Schofield (Tennessee)
  2. Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): Freddie Gillespie (Baylor)
  3. Canton Charge (Cavaliers): Antonio Blakeney (LSU)
  4. Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves): Allonzo Trier (Arizona)
  5. Lakeland Magic (Magic):  Tahjere McCall (Tennessee State)
  6. Canton Charge: Anthony Lamb (Vermont)
  7. Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder): Zavier Simpson (Michigan)
  8. Lakeland Magic: DJ Hogg (Texas A&M)
  9. Westchester Knicks (Knicks): Justin Patton (Creighton)
  10. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): Armoni Brooks (Houston)
  11. Raptors 905 (Raptors): Kevon Harris (Stephen F. Austin)
  12. Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  13. Oklahoma City Blue: Vince Edwards (Purdue)
  14. Austin Spurs (Spurs): Jonathan Kasibabu (Fairfield)
  15. Raptors 905: Gary Payton II (Oregon State)
  16. Memphis Hustle: Anthony Cowan Jr. (Maryland)
  17. Iowa Wolves: Dakarai Tucker (Utah)
  18. Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): No pick
  19. N/A

Round Two:

  1. Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers): Jemerrio Jones (New Mexico State)
  2. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  3. Westchester Knicks: No pick
  4. Iowa Wolves: No pick
  5. Long Island Nets (Nets): No pick
  6. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): No pick
  7. Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Quincy McKnight (Seton Hall)
  8. Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers): No pick
  9. Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors): Selom Mawugbe (Azusa Pacific)
  10. Raptors 905: No pick
  11. Memphis Hustle: No pick
  12. Austin Spurs: Anthony Mathis (Oregon)
  13. Erie BayHawks (Pelicans): No pick
  14. Greensboro Swarm: No pick
  15. Austin Spurs: Kaleb Johnson (Georgetown)
  16. Santa Cruz Warriors: No pick
  17. Memphis Hustle: No pick
  18. Oklahoma City Blue: Rob Edwards (Arizona State)
  19. Salt Lake City Stars: No pick

Round Three:

  1. Greensboro Swarm: No pick
  2. Erie BayHawks: No pick
  3. Westchester Knicks: No pick
  4. Delaware Blue Coats: Braxton Key (Virginia)
  5. No picks from 43-57

The teams that didn’t make any picks will fill their rosters with affiliate players and returning rights players, meaning they didn’t need to draft anyone and/or didn’t have the open spots to do so.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Blake Murphy of The Athletic noted (via Twitter), NBAGL teams overwhelmingly opted for youth, passing on most of the notable veteran NBA players in the draft pool. That group included Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, Emeka Okafor, and Shabazz Muhammad, among others.

Former Nets first-rounder Dzanan Musa removed his name from the draft pool before the event began, per Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Lakers Waive Zavier Simpson, Kevon Harris, Tres Tinkle

The Lakers waived guard Zavier Simpson, guard Kevon Harris, and forward Tres Tinkle on Sunday, according to the NBA’s official transactions log.

Simpson, Harris, and Tinkle were all rookie free agents who went undrafted last month, then agreed to Exhibit 10 contracts with the Lakers. It looked as if the plan was for them to participate in training camp and then perhaps join Los Angeles’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. However, the team reportedly opted not to bring them to camp as a coronavirus precaution.

The Lakers are also among the teams expected to bypass the proposed G League bubble, as our JD Shaw has reported. As such, Harris, Simpson, and Tinkle may not get an opportunity to play for South Bay this season. Still, it appears all three players officially signed their Exhibit 10 deals, just in case.

Following the series of transactions, the Lakers are once again carrying 16 players on their roster, including 14 on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals. They seem likely to open the season with those 16 players under contract.

L.A. Notes: Lakers, Cook, Davis, George, Clippers

According to a report from Ben Stinar of Forbes (Twitter link), the Lakers have sent home their players who don’t have guaranteed contracts as a coronavirus precaution in order to limit the number of people on the court during training camp.

The exact details here are a little unclear. The Lakers reportedly agreed to Exhibit 10 deals with undrafted rookies Zavier Simpson, Tres Tinkle, and Kevon Harris, but those signings haven’t been announced by the team and haven’t shown up in the league’s public transactions log, so it’s possible they simply won’t be officially finalized.

Meanwhile, Quinn Cook formally re-signed with the Lakers on Friday, and Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Cook received a non-guaranteed training camp contract. However, it doesn’t appear that Stinar’s report would apply to the veteran guard. Head coach Frank Vogel suggested on Sunday that he expects Cook to begin practicing later this week once he clears COVID-19 protocols, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets.

As we await more details on the Lakers’ camp roster, let’s round up a few more notes on the NBA’s two L.A. teams…

  • After signing a five-year contract with the Lakers, Anthony Davis explained that he felt more comfortable locking in a longer-term deal in part because of his injury history, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “I do have a little history with injuries, and a two-year deal, you kind of bet on yourself. … God forbid, knock on wood, something happens,” Davis said. “… I want to secure the most amount of years possible and be here long-term with this team, so I thought the five-year deal was best for me in my situation.”
  • After suggesting during an appearance on the All The Smoke podcast that Doc Rivers misused him last season and suggesting the Clippers failed to make adjustments during their second-round loss to Denver, Paul George walked those comments back a little on Friday, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. Rivers’ response, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Hey, listen, I enjoyed coaching him. So not a lot to say there. (New Clippers coach) Ty Lue was sitting right next to me. So he better hope it’s not adjustments. It ain’t going to be much different.”
  • Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley said that he and his teammates are entering the season angry and looking to make up for their disappointing playoff showing. “The attitude around here is guys are pissed off,” Beverley said, according to Youngmisuk. “Which is good. We should be pissed off after our exit last year in the playoffs. … It is a little quieter workplace and guys are more locked in, more focused, and that is the way it should be.”

Lakers Agree To Sign Zavier Simpson

The Lakers have agreed to sign free agent guard Zavier Simpson, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Simpson went undrafted on Wednesday night.

A four-year college player at Michigan, Simpson had his best year as a senior in 2019/20, averaging 12.9 PPG, 7.9 APG, and 4.5 RPG on .476/.360/.574 shooting in 30 games (33.7 MPG) for the Wolverines.

Charania didn’t offer any specifics on Simpson’s deal, so it doesn’t sound like it’s a two-way pact. A non-guaranteed or lightly guaranteed standard contract, perhaps with an Exhibit 10 clause, is probably most likely.

The Lakers traded away their draft picks and didn’t make a selection on Wednesday night, so Simpson is the first rookie confirmed to be joining the roster for training camp.