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.
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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.”
There’s Justin Harper, with the New York Knicks. Casper Ware, with the Portland Trail Blazers. Brady Heslip with the Memphis Grizzlies. There are no paychecks for playing in Summer League. There’s per diem, around $100 per day. There’s a hotel room, two-hour practices, daily bus rides and no guarantee of playing time. “It’s a grind, man,” Machado said. “Every time you come out to Summer League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Me, trying to facilitate, sometimes you overthink it. Every time you come back, you think, ‘Man I did this already.’ It’s a constant grind and constant pressure you put on yourself.”
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.”
Josh Lewenberg: Icelandic giant Tryggvi Hlinason (DNP in Friday’s Summer League opener) is making his Raptors debut. Early analysis: he’s a large man.
Kyle Goon: Wade Baldwin and Grayson Allen separated after a hot exchange. Baldwin might’ve shoved Allen in the face as Allen got in tight on defense. Under review.
David Pick: Dallas and Real Madrid have reached a buyout agreement for Luka Doncic, according to sources in Las Vegas. Mavs waiting for the official LOC to clear the Euroleague MVP for the NBA Summer League.
Brett Dawson: With the trade official, Hamidou Diallo is available to play for the Thunder in today’s Summer League game. Expectation is that he will play here in Vegas, but might or might not be today.
Michael Wallace: Couple @Memphis Grizzlies housekeeping items. The summer league roster in Vegas next week will be slightly different than the one in Utah. Dillon Brooks, fresh off 2019 World Cup Qualifying games with Team Canada, is slated to join the Grizzlies. DJ Stephens also in after arriving today.
Brett Dawson: Thunder Summer League roster.
Adam Johnson: Looking over summer league rosters and the Pacers have 10(!) of 13 players on their roster with G League experience. Incredible numbers.
Mark Montieth: Pacers Summer League coach Steve Gansey says he’ll start @Aaron Holiday, @Edmund Sumner, @TJ Leaf, @Alex Poythress and @Ben Moore when play opens in Las Vegas on Friday.
Sexton is expected to compete with the Cavs in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League that starts Friday.
Dave McMenamin: The Cavs released their squad for Las Vegas
Harrison Wind: Can confirm Nuggets intend to sign 58th overall pick Thomas Welsh to a two-way contract. Welsh is a true 7-footer with a knockdown jumper. He hit 40% of his threes last season at UCLA. He’s in line for a significant role later this week at Summer League @BSNDenver
Adam Himmelsbach: I’m told Celtics draft pick Robert Williams is at summer league practice this morning.
Challenged by coach Don Verlin before the start of his senior season to become a player Idaho could count on every game, Brayon Blake responded with a dozen double-doubles and scored 20 or more points 11 times last season. The NBA noticed. Blake signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers to compete in the NBA MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas.
James Ham: After not receiving a qualifying offer on his two-way contract from Sacramento, Jack Cooley will play summer league with the Phoenix Suns next week in Las Vegas.
Kyle Neubeck: Been told Sixers do not currently expect Jonah Bolden to be a Summer League participant. Still currently under contract with Maccabi, which complicates things
Jessica Camerato: Markelle Fultz will not play in summer league. He’s been working out in LA w Drew Hanlen. #Sixers have been in frequent contact w Fultz and feel his offseason development won’t be defined by summer league participation. Sixers following a formal plan w Fultz’s offseason training.
Kyle Neubeck: #Sixers guard Markelle Fultz will not play in Summer League, a team source tells PhillyVoice. Story to follow shortly.
Former Nevada Star Cameron Oliver will play for the Philadelphia 76ers in this years NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Jovan Buha: The Clippers announced their Las Vegas Summer League roster, which notably includes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson, Sindarius Thornwell, Jawun Evans and Angel Delgado (two-way). Clippers begin summer league against the Warriors on Friday, July 6.
Scott Agnes: 2017 second-round pick Ike Anigbogu obviously left off the summer league roster. League souce says he’s dealing with an injury.
Harrison Wind: As expected, draft picks Michael Porter Jr and Jarred Vanderbilt will not play at Summer League for the Nuggets. Here’s the team’s full roster including 2017 draft-and-stash Vlatko Cancar, who’s playing for Slovenia in 2019 World Cup qualifiers right now.
The Indiana Pacers announced Friday their rookie/free agent camp roster. Highlighting the roster are 2018 first-round pick Aaron Holiday from UCLA and second-round pick Alize Johnson from Missouri State, as well as returning players TJ Leaf, Ben Moore, Alex Poythress, and Edmond Sumner.
Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry won’t participate in the team’s summer league games over the next two weeks as he recovers from April surgery to repair a fractured right wrist.
Bembry participated in portions of the team’s practice Friday. He said plans to travel with the Hawks to Utah and Las Vegas. “As you can see I’m shooting and working out and everything like that,” he said. “It’s still a process. I’m almost back, not quite yet.”
Brian Robb: Celtics summer league roster is out. Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele, Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen are all on the roster
Nets Daily: Although Nets SL roster includes @Dzanan Musa he will not play. Nets resting him after long year. Musa played 75 games in three leagues and FIBA since last summer. He will accompany team to Las Vegas much as @Jarrett Allen did last year while he recovered from hip injury.
Nets Daily: One of the Nets two stashes, @Juan Pablo Vaulet will finally play for the Nets in Las Vegas. The other, @Aleksandar Vezenkov is in Botevgrad, Bulgaria playing in FIBA World Cup qualifiers. He had 19 points and 7 rebounds today as Bulgaria beat Iceland.
Sean Cunningham: Kings PG De’Aaron Fox says he’ll be playing in just the Sacramento Summer League games – not in Las Vegas.
Kristian Winfield: Nets Summer League roster includes Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and rookies Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs. Assistant coach Jacque Vaughn will be head coach during Summer League. Kenny Atkinson coached last season.
Mark Berman: #Rockets announce Summer League roster: pic.twitter.com/LS4LhW6T8Z
Josh Lewenberg: Raptors announce their Summer League roster, which includes OG Anunoby, Alfonzo McKinnie, Malachi Richardson, Malcolm Miller and Canadian Chris Boucher. Nick Nurse will coach. pic.twitter.com/JgV5ksCsdA
Al Iannazzone: Knicks Summer League roster pic.twitter.com/pU2HGHbqcD
Ian Begley: The expectation is that Luke Kornet, who was on a 2-way contract with the Knicks last season and is a restricted free agent, will play Summer League with New York.
Mark Berman: NBA source confirms Isaiah Wilkins (@isaiahwilkins21), 6-8 forward from Virginia who went undrafted, invited to play for the #Rockets Summer League team. In 2018 Wilkins started all 34 games, averaging 6 points & 6.2 rebounds. He’s the stepson of Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.
The Charlotte Hornets announced today the 19-man roster for the team’s mini-camp beginning July 2 in advance of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas. The team’s full mini-camp roster is listed below. The four-day mini-camp will take place at the Novant Health Training Center inside Spectrum Center from Monday, July 2 through Thursday, July 5. Hornets Head Coach James Borrego and players participating in the mini-camp will be available to the media after the first practice each day.
The Atlanta Hawks announced their 2018 Summer League roster today, which will compete in the Utah Jazz Summer League in Salt Lake City, UT from July 2-5, and the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas, NV between July 6-17 under the guidance of first-year Head Coach Lloyd Pierce and his staff. All of Atlanta’s games will be televised on either NBA TV, ESPN or ESPN2.
Blake Murphy: Chris Boucher will be joining the Raptors for Summer League.
Tiwian Kendley, who spent two years at Morgan State University, will play for the Washington Wizards in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas. Kendley, who went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, signed an agreement to play for Washington’s summer league team earlier this week.
Eric Woodyard: The Utah Jazz have announced their summer league roster. Here it is.
Three years —and two surgeries— after he was drafted, Juan Pablo Vaulet will finally don a Nets uniform at the Las Vegas Summer League next month. Vaulet, a month younger than D’Angelo Russell, was drafted at age 19 in the second round of the 2015 Draft, the Nets sending two second rounders and $880,000 to Charlotte to secure his rights.
”I was very happy to be invited to the Summer League,” Vaulet told NBA Mexico. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me, not only to be seen, but also to continue learning, to see how they are handled there, how they play and what are the issues basketball and physical I must continue to improve, it will be a great opportunity to see how I feel in that environment.“
Scott Agness: Mad Ants guard Trey McKinney Jones will play in the Utah Summer League with the @Spurs.
Ian Begley: Power forward Justin Harper has committed to playing Summer League with the Knicks, per ESPN sources.
Jason Jones: The Kings have announced their summer league roster which includes De’Aaron Fox, Frank Mason III, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, Marvin Bagley III and Nigel Hayes. Asst. coach Larry Lewis will coach the team.
Josh Robbins: Magic second-rounder Justin Jackson is not listed on the team’s summer league roster. His status for summer league is to be determined, a team official said. Jackson underwent surgery this past season to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Ian Begley: Isaiah Hicks, who was on a 2-way contract with the Knicks last season and is a restricted free agent, will play Summer League with New York, league sources told ESPN.
Clevis Murray: Source: 2018 @EuroCup champion and former Colorado State Ram, Stanton Kidd, will be on the Utah Jazz’s Summer League team.
Clevis Murray: Source: Kadeem Allen will be on the Boston Celtics’ Summer League team. He was one of their two-way players this past season.
Former Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball star Shawn Long became the second alum to earn an invitation to the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League when he selected by the Chicago Bulls in an announcement Wednesday. The Morgan City native and member of the 2015 U.S. Pan American Men’s Basketball Team, will join former UL great Jay Wright in the Summer League. Wright, a three-year letterwinner for the Ragin’ Cajuns, earned an invitation Tuesday with the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Matt Norlander: Former Wyoming star Hayden Dalton will play for the Denver Nuggets in the Summer League, source told CBS Sports.
Mike Bresnahan: Josh Hart will play one game in Sacramento summer league and one game in Vegas summer league, Magic Johnson told us yesterday on @SpectrumSN
Bryan Kalbrosky: Source: Jairus Lyles (@_jlyles) will play for the Utah Jazz in Summer League.
Barry Jackson: Former UNLV shooting guard Rashad Vaughn, the 17th pick of 2015 draft, an interesting name added to Heat summer league roster. Averaged 3.0 ppg in 139 NBA games.
Scott Bordow: Dusan Ristic has decided not to play for Suns’ Las Vegas Summer League team. Phoenix will be looking for backup center to play behind Deandre Ayton
Ian Begley: Former UIC star Tai Odiase, the back-to-back DPOY in the Horizon League, has committed to playing with the Phoenix Suns in Summer League, per ESPN sources.
Anthony Puccio: Brooklyn Nets second-round pick Rodions Kurucs will play in summer league, according to sources. #Nets
After finishing off the 2017-18 season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Omari Johnson will play for the Golden State Warriors during NBA Summer League, RidiculousUpside.com has learned. This news comes just two days after the Grizzlies waived him. The 28 year old received a late season NBA call-up (the first of his career) and appeared in four April contests for the big league club. He spent most of the campaign playing for the G League affiliate Memphis Hustle, averaging 16.5 points on 46% from the field and 42% from deep to go with 6.4 rebounds. He provided an invaluable veteran presence for a young and scrappy squad full of up and comers.
Anthony Puccio: Isaiah Whitehead unlikely to be on Brooklyn’s summer league roster, sources say. Still dealing with injured right wrist. #Nets
Frank Sulkowski: Getting word former @echsrebels and @RaginCajunsMBB standout Jay Wright has been invited to NBA Summer League Camp with @OrlandoMagic He’s currently playing for @LakelandMagic @WJCLNews @Jhoopaholic
Eric Woodyard: Georges Niang is officially a restricted free agent, but will play summer league with the Utah Jazz. His goal is to finalize a spot in Utah this season, according to a source. His team will field calls when free agency opens on July 1 but ideally, they think Utah is the best fit.
Olgun Uluc: Xavier Cooks will play NBA Summer League basketball with the Golden State Warriors, per a source.
Dave McMenamin: Jamel Artis, a former wing player at University of Pittsburgh, will play on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ summer league roster in Las Vegas, Artis’ agent, Daniel Hazan of Hazan Sports Management, told ESPN. Artis was a two-way player with the Orlando Magic last season,
Mark Berman: NBA sources: #Rockets added Houstonian Danuel House to their Summer League roster
Former Northwestern guard Scottie Lindsey will join the Detroit Pistons’ summer league team, joining Bryant McIntosh in NU’s summer league contingent.
Pierria Henry of Tofas will play in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League with the Boston Celtics. The competition starts on July 6 and ends on July 17.
Chris McCullough, the former Syracuse University player, will play for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA’s Summer League, according to a source. McCullough, a 6-foot-11 forward, is an unrestricted free agent. The opportunity to play for the 76ers this summer could help him generate interest from teams.
Former Gonzaga Bulldog Kyle Wiltjer tweeted Monday that he’s joining the Portland Trail Blazers’ summer league team. Wiltjer, a native of Portland, tweeted he’s “hyped cuz it’s the hometown squad.” Las Vegas is hosting the NBA summer league for all 30 teams July 6-17.
Emiliano Carchia: Undrafted combo guard Allerik Freeman will play the NBA Summer League with the Sacramento Kings, per sources. Freeman spent his senior season in NCAA with NC State averaging 16.1ppg
Cody Taylor: Source: Matt Williams Jr. will play with the Chicago Bulls in Summer League. Williams spent time with the Heat and the Skyforce last season. He averaged 10.2 points per game with the Skyforce while shooting 39 percent from three-point.
Chase Hughes: Former Kentucky star Aaron Harrison is set to play for the Wizards’ Summer League team, @NBCSWashington has learned. bit.ly/2IrNEe6
Ian Begley: UConn guard Terry Larrier has committed to playing with the Memphis Grizzlies in Summer League, per ESPN sources.
Doug Haller: Former ASU guard Tra Holder plans to play for the 76ers in the NBA Summer League. I believe @Anthony_Totri had this first.
After an All-Star season in Australia, 2013 St. Bonaventure graduate Demitrius Conger has signed an NBA Summer League contract with the Boston Celtics.
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July 22, 2018 | 12:15 pm EDT Update
What does the late Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss have to do with LeBron James joining his team in 2018? The query sounds like a trick question, but a new story has come to light that makes it seem as though Dr. Buss was the one to kickstart the Lakers’ eventual pursuit and signing of their now-superstar all the way back in 2010. The Lakers didn’t have nearly enough cap space then to actually be a serious threat to sign James. But according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, Buss was thinking beyond that: Buss thought about calling James anyway. Over lunch with his kids, he mentioned the idea, offhandedly. “It’d be good to know that guy,” his son Joey recalled him saying.
League rules allowed teams to meet with any free agent. Why not meet with James to introduce him to the Lakers’ vision? Why not sow the seeds of a future partnership? “LeBron was always somebody that he was interested in,” said Buss’ daughter Jeanie, the Lakers co-owner.
One colleague during that period was Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who was an assistant with the Cavaliers from 2005-10. Impressed with Fernandez’s development in the organization, Malone hired Fernandez as an assistant coach in 2016. “He gets his foot in the door,” Malone said of Fernandez, “and he’s going to find a way to continue to fill gaps and do things that are necessary for the team and the staff to move forward.”
Now, the 35-year-old Fernandez is regarded as an up-and-comer in his field, perhaps a future NBA head coach. There are two primary reasons why. One, he has a thirst for knowledge. And two, as one former boss said, he’s the ultimate “people coach.” “He’s been around Hall of Famers, but he’s also been around the last guys in the G League,” said Mike Gansey, the Cavaliers’ assistant general manager. “Whoever walks through that door, he can relate to them … he’s either watched it, lived it or seen it. That’s why he’s so valuable. “He gives more than basketball. That’s why I think our guys got so much better and people liked him so much … He could read people and knew when he had to get on them and when not (to) and how to treat them to get the most out of them.”
July 22, 2018 | 5:42 am EDT Update
The Thunder, Hawks and Sixers agreed on a deal that involves sending Anthony to the Hawks, and the Hawks plan to buy out Anthony, per USA TODAY Sports. It’s reported that the Rockets are the favorites to sign Anthony once that happens. Morey was asked, “So are we for sure getting Carmelo Anthony?” He responded, “In the mix.” Morey also said, “Yes,” as a reply to, “Does Daryl still have something up his sleeve?”
“It would be a great acquisition for us,” said Harden, who did run into Anthony at Paris Fashion Week last month when Harden was making the rounds with teammate P.J. Tucker. “Melo’s a proven vet. He just wants to win at this point, so it would be great for him to be on our team. The current roster we have now, we’ve got good guys back and we keep making forward progress.”
Italian team Fiat Torino announced the signing of Molloy product Jaylen Morris. Morris had a good rookie season in the NBA G League with the Erie BayHawks as he averaged 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. In late February, he was called up by the Atlanta Hawks.