Shams Charania: Kai Sotto — a 7-foot-2 center from the Philippines — has decided to skip college and will be the first international draft prospect to sign a deal in the NBA G League pro program, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Memphis’ top target Jalen Green decided to go the NBA’s G-League path. Two other 5-star players decommited from their schools to play a year in the G-League instead. Some of the best young talent has been taken away from the college game. “Taking guys out of their commitments and they’ve already signed and continuing talking to their parents, it’s almost like tampering,” Memphis basketball head coach Penny Hardaway said. “I don’t agree with that.”
“I didn’t think that the G-League was built, and I could be wrong, to go and recruit kids who want to go to college, out of going to college," Hardaway expressed. “I thought they were going to be the organization that was going to be if you want to go overseas or you absolutely didn’t want to play college, 100% that this would be the best situation for you before you go into the NBA.”
John Calipari still thinks the G League path for elite college basketball recruits is a bad idea, even as the NBA's developmental league increases the value of the contracts offered to top prospects.
"My issue with the G League trying to entice players by giving them more money, is not the kids that you’re getting," Calipari said Monday during his weekly "Coffee with Cal" web show featuring guest Charles Barkley. "It’s the thousands of ninth and 10th graders that think that’s how they’re going to make it, when you and I know it’s going to be 2%. We’re not talking 50. It will be thousands and thousands and thousands."
Part of the G League's motivation to increase the value of these contracts is to keep players like R.J. Hampton from going to Australia in the future. "They’re talking about we don’t want them to go to Australia, New Zealand," Calipari said. "They’re not talking that many kids. ‘We don’t want to have to go travel.’ Well, you’re going to have to travel to see these kids anyway... I want to see in the next four or five years, the kids that chose to go to college, how they did. The money you’re going to get (from the G League) is negligible compared to what you will get if you really are good and get to your second (NBA) contract."
Shams Charania: Five-star prospect Daishen Nix has decommitted from UCLA and plans to sign in the NBA G League, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
After signing high school stars Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd to six-figure contracts that made headlines nationally, NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim is still targeting more young players to join the new pathway. The G League missed out on Texas power forward Greg Brown, who on Friday announced his plan to play for the University of Texas instead of accepting a $300,000 deal in the G League. “Yeah, I think there’s options out there to add more and they don’t have to be high school guys, they can be young international guys,” Abdur-Rahim, the No. 3 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, said in a phone interview. “We’ve had conversations there but there is opportunity for more of the high school guys, more young guys, to be a part of the program this year. If not, with Jalen and Isaiah, we think it’s totally fine.”
The 2020 Texas Mr. Basketball also had an offer paying over $300,000 offer from the budding G-League select program as of Wednesday, but Brown said that ultimately it was not a good fit for either side.
September 28, 2021 | 6:58 pm EDT Update
Tim Bontemps: The NBA and NBPA are in the process of finalizing an agreement on COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, sources told ESPN.
Tim Bontemps: The impending agreement will cover the way vaccinated and unvaccinated players will be monitored, sources told ESPN. Unvaccinated players will have restrictions similar to what was in place last season, while vaccinated players largely won’t.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA has given teams a draft of the health and safety protocols for this season. As reported, unvaccinated players will be tested (almost) daily, vaccinated players will not be. Unvaxxed players will also be limited in how much they can be around vaxxed players in team areas.
The Denver Nuggets have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with forward Aaron Gordon, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.
Ben Anderson: Miye Oni said his mom told him he couldn’t declare for the NBA draft early unless he promised to graduate within five years. Said he has four classes left to finish his political science degree. Worked on it, along with his new rap album a lot over the summer.
Jay Allen: Chauncey Billups says he was “pretty bad” with the referees as a player. His daughter will be grading him each game on his interactions with the officials. What will happen if he gets a technical? “I’m pretty sure she’s going to make me pay her. She’s tough on me.” #RipCity
Fans wanting to attend Grizzlies games this season at FedExForum must present proof of having received at least one vaccination dose, or if they are 12 and over and unvaccinated, must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours in advance, according to a team source on Tuesday.
September 28, 2021 | 6:12 pm EDT Update
Things can change fast, but league sources don’t sense that a deal is anywhere close right now. The Sixers still hope Simmons will return to the team so they can experiment with his role, or increase his value and help create more trade possibilities. On media day, Morey compared the Simmons situation to that of Aaron Rodgers, who threatened to leave the Green Bay Packers but ended up returning for one more season. The Sixers hope Simmons will choose to do the same.