High school junior Jalen Lewis — a five-star basketball recruit — is signing a contract with the new Overtime Elite professional league, sources tell The Athletic. His multiyear deal is worth more than $1 million, sources said. Lewis, 16 and born in 2005, is the youngest prospect ever to turn pro in America. The 6-foot-8, 215-pound center from Oakland, Calif., (Bishop O’Dowd High) is 12th in the Class of 2023 in the 247Sports Composite Rating. Kentucky, Duke and UCLA were among the schools recruiting Lewis, sources said.
Overtime Elite has continued to attract top talent, signing a pair of highly ranked twin brothers: Matt and Ryan Bewley and Auser and Amen Thompson. This gives OTE three top prospects for the 2023 high school class. OTE has also signed top international prospects, including Jean Montero, Alexandre Sarr and Nathan Missia-Dio. Overtime Elite is planning to start in September with former Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie serving as head coach.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league’s ability to get over a million fans back into attendance during the playoffs has helped the league stem its financial losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We did somewhat better than we initially projected,” Silver said Tuesday before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “We don’t have the exact numbers yet, but maybe we’ll be down roughly a third in revenue, something around there, instead of 40 percent.”
Silver added that while the burden for those losses will be shared by both franchise owners and players, because of the way the league splits up Basketball Related Income (BRI), he was hopeful that “if things continue on track, we could move toward a new season, next year that looks a lot more like normal” and “we’ll have weathered [the pandemic] very well.”
Silver did not have specifics on when the 2021-22 season will start or if it will feature an 82-game schedule. But Silver was firm on two things. One, Silver offered clarity on if the NBA will have any international exhibition games. “It’s clear it’s not going to happen this fall,” Silver said. “But it’s my hope it will be the following year.”
Two, Silver said the NBA will continue some version of a play-in tournament. “Overall, it was very positive for the league and the players,” Silver said. “Certainly there’d been some suggestions about some tweaks we should consider, but again, I think once we bring it back to our owners for a vote and the Players Association meets and has an opportunity to consider it, it’s my expectation that it will continue for next season.”
Although Silver defended Morey’s freedom of speech and resisted pressure from the Chinese government to fire him, Silver stressed that Morey’s views did not reflect the NBA’s. “It certainly doesn’t mean that we are blessing everything that happens in China by any means. We are at root an American company, and so we follow U.S. government policy,” Silver said. “But it’s my expectation that we will continue to distribute our games in China through their service, Tencent, and others, and that we can play a productive role in helping the people of the United States and the people of China have a better understanding of each other, and see that we’re all human beings and that there is commonality between us.”