As Summer League winds down, most of the boys of summer will disperse. Some will sign on with G League teams, to maximize exposure. Others will ink European contracts, where the money is better. They will ride buses to small towns in the U.S. or live in isolation in far-flung cities around the world. They will do it, and they will hope for an invitation back to Las Vegas next summer, for the opportunity to impress once again. “There’s only about 1% of me that thinks about not playing,” Cooley said. “This life is pretty intense. But I love it, I’m glad it’s not easy. Not playing would be a terrible itch that I wouldn’t be able to scratch. I know once the time comes, I will definitely be a part of the game, because I’ll go crazy if I go cold-turkey out of basketball. But right now, I’m a player. The body of work I have put together has caused a pretty good stir here. I believe I’m an NBA player. I believe I can play in the league for a long time.”
These are the real boys of summer, the grinders using the 12-day audition in the desert to impress NBA executives enough to earn the honor of an invitation to training camp. Take Cooley, 27, the unofficial dean of NBA Summer League stars. This is Cooley’s sixth stint in Vegas. He’s a member of the Phoenix Suns now, a teammate of Ayton’s. Before that he was a Sacramento King, setting screens for De’Aaron Fox, and before that a Cleveland Cavalier, throwing outlet passes to Andrew Wiggins. For Cooley, this was never a dream. In 2009, he chose Notre Dame, not for a springboard to the NBA, but because it had a top business school. “I used basketball to get the best education,” Cooley said.
But when he graduated, NBA teams called. Some 18 brought him in for pre-draft workouts. When he went undrafted, he started getting invitations to Summer League. “I remember my first year I was struggling to remember all the plays,” Cooley said. “Now my sixth year, this is the most complicated offense I’ve had, but it’s second nature, basic easy stuff. It’s a lot easier to understand.”
The Sacramento Kings today announced that the team has signed forward Jack Cooley to a two-way contract. Cooley joins the Kings after a productive tournament during the 2017 NBA Las Vegas Summer League in Las Vegas, where the 6-10, 274-pound forward registered 9.2 points (.640 FG%, 1-1 3pt, .619 FT%), 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 17 minutes in five games. He posted two double-doubles, highlighted by 11 points (4-5 FG, 3-5 FT), 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block against Phoenix (7/7/17) and 13 points (4-8 FG, 1-4 3pt, 4-8 FT), a game-high 11 rebounds, two steals and one block versus the Suns (7/14/17). The 2017 Summer League marked Cooley’s fourth consecutive year competing in the event.
Jack Cooley must have made a good impression on the Kings during the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League. The former Notre Dame will sign a two-way contract with Sacramento, a league source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com's James Ham.
Chris Reichert: The Sacramento Kings will sign Jack Cooley to a two-way contract, per league sources
May 15, 2022 | 11:05 pm EDT Update
Gerald Bourguet: Chris Paul on this possibly being his best shot at a title: “They said that last year. They probably said it back in ’08. Every time you lose, they’re gonna say it’s your best chance…but we’ll be back next year. I ain’t retiring tomorrow, thank God.”
Marc J. Spears: Suns point guard Chris Paul limped out of the arena with a very slow walk. @andscape learned that Paul had a left quad injury. When asked about his quad injury, Paul declined comment.
Gerald Bourguet: “His contract situation is between him and the front office. I care about him as a brother. Just making sure his mental is right…whatever happens, happens. Kind of hard to look so far in the future.” – Devin Booker on Deandre Ayton’s contract situation
“Giannis is the best player in the world. You can see why a lot of people say that,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said. “He’s just relentless in his approach. He is aggressive all the time. He’s not going to be denied. And that was tough for us in the series.” Antetokounmpo finished the semifinals with back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound games. He had 44 points and 20 rebounds in Game 6, and 25 points and 20 rebounds with 9 assists in Game 7. And they were both losses. Antetokounmpo joined Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to lose consecutive postseason games with a 20-20, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Antetokounmpo started off hot on Sunday, going 6-for-10 in the first half for 17 points before he appeared to get fatigued while struggling down the stretch. He shot just 4 of 16 in the second half with 8 points as the Celtics pulled away after halftime. “Legs heavy. Body heavy. Mind heavy. Everything was heavy,” Antetokounmpo said with a smile after the game. “I was just trying to be aggressive. At the end of the day, it’s Game 7 and I’m not going to hold the ball and not look at the rim, I’d rather miss a bunch of shots and keep playing and keep coming and keep being aggressive. Keep looking for my teammates and keep making the right plays then go in passive mode. I can live with that.”