Author: Brett Pollakoff

Orlando Magic-Blue v Memphis Grizzlies

Russ Smith hits game-winner to give Grizzlies ‘sudden death’ Summer League win (VIDEO)

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Summer League is about player development above all else, but the games are set up to try to replicate real life NBA contests as much as possible.

Once we get to a second overtime session, however, enough is enough, and a “sudden death” rule is put into place where the next basket wins.

Russ Smith of the Grizzlies hit the heroic shot in this situation on Tuesday, to give Memphis the 73-71 victory over one of Orlando’s two Summer League squads.

Lakers anticipate signing D’Angelo Russell in time for Summer League debut vs. Timberwolves

Los Angeles Lakers Draftees Shoot

The Lakers open Summer League action in Las Vegas on Friday with a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns.

They expect to have the second overall pick, D’Angelo Russell, signed to a contract and in uniform in time to participate.

Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:

Lakers anticipate D’Angelo Russell will be signed in time to play in Summer League opener, Fri vs. Minnesota. Randle missed opener last year

The amount of a rookie scale deal is, for the most part, already set. Russell, for example, will make at least $4,108,800 in his first NBA season, but will likely sign for 120% of that number, as is often customary for the league’s top lottery picks.

Julius Randle’s deal was held up last summer because of the Lakers needing to preserve as much salary cap space as possible in case one or more of the marquee free agents agreed to sign. They didn’t, and once that was settled, Randle inked his deal 20 minutes or so before L.A.’s second Summer League contest.

Thankfully for the Lakers, there doesn’t appear to be a similar situation brewing with Russell this year.

Dante Exum impresses in Summer League for Jazz before leaving with ankle injury (VIDEO)

Dante Exum

Dante Exum had a strong outing for the Jazz at Summer League in Salt Lake City on Monday, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Then, this happened.

Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune

“We saw the coaches trying to call us over for a timeout and we just wanted to make sure he was OK,” center Jack Cooley said. “But Dante’s going to be fine. He’ll be all right. It was a little scary, but he’s a real tough kid.” …

Exum may not have been a lock to play in Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs summer squad even if he was healthy. Now his status is certainly in question, though he has not been ruled out.

“He’ll be all right,” forward Rodney Hood said. “He sprained his ankle pretty bad, but he’ll be all right. They’ll see about tomorrow. He might get some treatment, but I think he’ll be fine.”

Toughness isn’t a factor here, obviously, and while the developmental opportunities in Summer League are important, there’s no reason to risk a player’s health just to have him participate in an ultimately meaningless July contest.

Lou Williams ‘disappointed’ Raptors didn’t want him back

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets

Lou Williams won the Sixth Man of the Year award while playing for the Raptors last season, but that wasn’t enough for the team to want him back once he became an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Williams provided a nice, consistent burst of offense off the bench, averaging 15.5 points on 40.4 percent shooting in 25.2 minutes per contest.

He would have liked to return, but the team decided to go in a different direction.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:

Speaking on Tim and Sid on Sportsnet on Monday, Williams admitted he was “kind of a little disappointed I wasn’t allowed to stay in Toronto, but things happen, you move forward.”

Williams said he even offered the Raptors a chance to match the Lakers deal, but Masai Ujiri and Co. told him to take the offer.

“I think the playoffs just left a sour taste in everybody’s mouths,” Williams said, before adding, “we were all disappointed with how the playoffs ended. When things like that happen, you don’t know what to expect. I really wanted to be a part of what they were building there.”

The Raptors needed to make some changes after finishing the season ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency, while seeing their offense stagnate as they were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.

Toronto added Corey Joseph on a four-year deal similar in price to what the Lakers paid to ink Williams, believing he could help facilitate while bringing more to the defensive end of the floor than Williams was able to on a regular basis.

Dwyane Wade cites his scoring average when asked how long he’ll continue to play: ‘I think I’ll stay around a while’


Dwyane Wade has played 12 NBA seasons, and while he is still capable of performing at an elite level at times, there’s no question that his ability to remain healthy for the entirety of an 82-game regular season has long since passed.

Wade appeared in just 62 games for the Heat last season, and 53, 69, and 49 in each of the years prior.

He did finish last season as the third leading scorer in the Eastern Conference behind only Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, however, and believes that 21.5 points per game average proves he can play in this league for at least a few additional seasons.


Wade was at odds with the Heat over his contract this summer, before re-upping on a one-year deal that will pay him $20 million.

The problem with Wade isn’t his level of production; it’s the relative inconsistency. His team essentially has to count on him missing 20 games during the regular season in order to preserve him from a health standpoint, and that’s not a small number of games to be forced to play without your leading scorer.

Wade is likely good for a few more seasons, even if it’s eventually in a reduced role. But how he performs in 2016 — and how healthy he can remain — will be huge factors in the type of deal he’s able to secure on what will likely be his final multi-year contract.