UPDATE 11:08 AM: According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, it’s not a make-good deal after all. Despite earlier reports from the Republic pointing to a fully unguaranteed, make-good agreement, the Suns have signed Lawal to a three-year contract with the initial season fully guaranteed for $473,604. The second and third seasons will only be partially guaranteed, and could be options.
8:00 AM: It was a little hard to judge Gani Lawal coming into the draft. He was a power forward for Georgia Tech which meant two things: He had Derrick Favors on the other side of the lane drawing a lot of attention, and he had point guards incapable of getting him the ball in a good position.
So he dropped to the second round, where the Phoenix Suns grabbed him at 46.
Then Lawal went to Summer League in Vegas and impressed — he was athletic, hard working and consistent. He got out on the break, he was very good at drawing contact and getting to the line. He averaged 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Suns coaches spoke well of him, as did scouts watching the games.
The Suns and Lawal have agreed to a deal, according to the Arizona Republic. This is a make-good contract — meaning he gets invited to training camp but the deal is not guaranteed. They can still cut him.
Lawal has a chance to make the roster, however. For one thing, the Suns now have just 12 people under contract, so there is roster room. Also, he showed at Summer League he can play in the system, and coaches like guys who are hard workers. He could fill that Lou Amundson role coming off the bench. At least, he’ll get the chance to prove he can.
The Nets have been without a general manager since January 10, when Billy King stepped down coinciding with the firing of head coach Lionel Hollins. Since then, a few names have come up in rumors about their search, including Danny Ferry, who appears to be out of the running. But there may be a new GM in place soon.
Via Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post:
Not that the Nets will be able to do much at the deadline, since they don’t really have a lot to trade that will be of interest to other teams, and at 13-38 they’re already essentially out of playoff contention. But having a GM in place will allow them to get a head start on planning for the offseason, which will include free agency, hiring a new coach, scouting for the draft … actually, forget that last part.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.