The Jazz drafted Olivier Hanlan No. 42, but they didn’t have a roster spot for him this season. So, the former Boston College guard signed in Lithuania.
Team Canada apparently didn’t have room for him, either.
Canada announced its roster for FIBA Americas, and Hanlan was the final cut.
It’s remarkable that Canada can afford to drop a player drafted to the NBA, but the country’s basketball team has come a long way in a short time. The Canadians will have nine NBA players:
- Andrew Wiggins
- Cory Joseph
- Kelly Olynyk
- Anthony Bennett
- Nik Stauskas
- Robert Sacre
- Andrew Nicholson
- Dwight Powell
- Melvin Ejim
Aaron Doornekamp, Phil Scrubb and Brady Heslip round out the 12-man roster.
The top two teams in FIBA Americas – besides Brazil, which got an automatic bid as host nation – will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The next three teams, again excluding Brazil, advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Canada is definitely a threat this year and next. With such a young team, its future might be even brighter.
Maybe with a little seasoning, Hanlan will eventually make the squad.
Then again, he’ll also have to fend off the next generation of Canadian basketballers, players like Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray.
A few years ago, it would have seemed incomprehensible Canada could afford to cut a player drafted by an NBA team.
Soon, Canada might form its roster completely from NBA players.
There were reports that the Lakers and Robert Upshaw had reached a training camp deal way back in July during Summer League — but that turned out to be premature, the contract has never been formally offered. The Lakers put the undrafted Upshaw — an imposing, physical, shot-blocking seven-foot center who was dropped from two college programs — on their Summer League team. He looked like a project Las Vegas, one who may be years from being a rotation player, but one with some promise (he set good screens, for example). He’s the kind of player that teams bring to training camp so they can get a closer look.
But will Upshaw be at Lakers’ training camp?
Upshaw seems to think so. After a Seattle Pro-Am game Upshaw spoke with Scout.com about it — as found by our friend Darius Soriano at Forum Blue and Gold — and said he expects to be at Lakers’ training camp if he does the things he needs to do.
Eric Pincus of the LA Times tweeted something similar.
It’s unlikely Upshaw makes the Lakers’ roster. They will start Roy Hibbert at center and bring Robert Sacre in off the bench, plus they are pretty stacked at the four spot with Julius Randle, Brandon Bass, Tarik Black and Larry Nance Jr. Difficult to imagine Upshaw in that mix right now. This may be something where the Lakers would love to get him on their D-League team and have him work on his conditioning, his offense and game skills, plus show he’s got his life in order.
But first he’s got to get his life on track, and then get to training camp.
The best big man still truly available on the free agent market? (Tristan Thompson isn’t truly available to anybody but Cleveland.)
He’s a respectable NBA backup center who thought he could find a starting role but learned the hard way that’s not happening. Last season with the Wizards he averaged 15 minutes a night, scored 6.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting, grabbed 3.3 boards and was reliable. He doesn’t have much shooting range, and in the past there have been issues with fouls and turnovers. Still, he can give a team quality minutes.
He’s likely going to do that next season somewhere on a short, veteran minimum kind of deal. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops lists the most recent possibilities.
The Mavericks, Suns, and Spurs have in the past expressed some interest.
The smart money has him landing in Washington, where he would play behind Marcin Gortat in the rotation again.
The Knicks and Lakers don’t make a lot of sense. The Knicks have Robin Lopez and Kyle O’Quinn, so there are not minutes to be had. The Lakers have Roy Hibbert and Robert Sacre under contract, plus they are bringing in rookie Robert Upshaw and to see if he can make the roster.
Unfortunately for Seraphin, the music has stopped and he doesn’t have a chair. Or leverage. Or many options. Someone will grab him before the season starts, but he’s going to have to show an improved game to get more run (then eventually, more money).
Kevin Seraphin is a solid NBA backup center who wanted to find a starting job somewhere this summer. I’m sorry Kevin, but it’s not going to work out that way.
He’s solid, but not really starter quality. Last season in Washington he played 15 minutes a night, scored 6.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting, grabbed 3.3 boards and was reliable nightly. He doesn’t have much shooting range, and in the past there have been issues with fouling and turnovers. That was enough to keep teams with starting spots looking elsewhere.
Washington would love to bring him back and have him behind Marcin Gortat in the rotation again. But they are not alone in the mix, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
The Suns and Spurs also have some interest.
Dallas makes sense, they will start Zaza Pachulia at the five and try to have shooters everywhere, Seraphin would get some good run behind him and be a quality change of pace. It has long been known that once DeAndre Jordan flipped on the Mavericks Seraphin became a big target of theirs.
The Lakers make less sense, they have Roy Hibbert and Robert Sacre under contract, plus they are bringing in rookie Robert Upshaw and giving him a chance to make the roster. Seraphin only makes sense if they don’t think Upshaw makes the team and they plan to move Sacre.
We know the Wizards want him back, we know that. The Suns already have Tyson Chandler and Alex Len at the five. The Spurs don’t have a more traditional big-body center with Tiago Splitter gone, but their roster seems fairly set.
Of course, the decision will come down to one thing: Money. Playing time too, but money wins out almost every time.
In his Summer League debut, Robert Upshaw went out and battled, he stood toe-to-toe with No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns. While Towns had an impressive first Summer League game, the shot-blocking Upshaw got him once and finished the night with three blocks, two points, and six rebounds, playing 12 minutes.
That and what the Lakers saw in practices for Summer League is enough — they will bring Upshaw into training camp and he will get a shot to make the roster.
Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (and a Fresno guy, where Upshaw is from), broke the news. This will be a two-year deal with a partial guarantee the first year and no guarantee the second year, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN, which means this is a training camp invite where the 7’2″ will get a chance to prove he should make the roster.
The Lakers will start Roy Hibbert at center and bring Robert Sacre in behind him, plus they are pretty stacked at the four spot with Julius Randle, Brandon Bass, Tarik Black and Larry Nance. The Lakers don’t need to sign another big for depth, so Upshaw is going to need to prove to the team he is worth keeping around to develop.
And that he has got his head screwed on correctly.
Potential was never the question for Upshaw — last season while at Washington he led the NCAA in blocked shots — but his off-the-court issues had him kicked off two college teams before he turned pro. Washington cut him loose mid-season last year. Those issues are the reason he went undrafted — no team even took a second-round gamble on him.
Upshaw has the tools to be a defensive and rebounding machine at the NBA level. However, he has a lot of work to do on his conditioning, the offensive side of his game, and he has to prove to Lakers brass he can be trusted.
He’s at least going to get that shot.