NBA Rumor: Jalen Johnson Going Pro

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Jalen Johnson opts out of the rest of the season

Duke freshman and potential lottery pick Jalen Johnson has called it a season. Johnson, the program announced on Monday afternoon, officially opted out of the rest of the season. “I appreciate everything about my time at Duke,” Johnson said in a statement. “Coach K, my teammates and the program have been nothing but supportive throughout this season, especially during the rehab of my foot injury. “My family, coach and I have made the decision that I should not play the remainder of the season so I can be 100% healthy in preparation for the NBA draft. This was not easy but we feel it’s best for my future.”

Johnson averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 13 games this season for the Blue Devils. The former Rivals.com five-star recruit out of Wisconsin is widely considered to be a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek had him going No. 7 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in her latest mock draft. “While we are encouraged by what we are seeing medically, for Jalen’s future, we believe this decision is in his best interest,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “We are ultimately careful with every one of our players and will continue to support Jalen as he progresses toward his goal of playing professional basketball. He deserves to be fully healthy for the upcoming NBA draft.”
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April 19, 2021 | 8:10 am EDT Update
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.

Raptors sign Yuta Watanabe to standard NBA contract

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Yuta Watanabe (YOU-tuh wah-tuh-NAH-bay) to a standard NBA contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Watanabe, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, is averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 39 games (one start) as a two-way player with the Raptors this season. He is shooting .448 (56-125) from the field, including .400 (24-40) from three-point range, and has scored in double figures six times. Watanabe recorded a career-high 21 points Apr. 16 vs. Orlando.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
Storyline: Hasheem Thabeet NBA return?
To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”