University of Kansas

Former KU guard Malik Newman hopes to ride 33-point outing to NBA contract with Cavs

Malik Newman had one sensational game, one good game and two nondescript performances in four appearances for the Cleveland Cavaliers at the 2019 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

“Most definitely,” Newman, a 22-year-old former University of Kansas combo guard told on Friday asked if he took a “step forward” at the 10-day summer league in his quest to stick with an NBA team.

He had just exploded for 33 points with four rebounds, one assist, three turnovers and two steals in an overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings.. It was a performance that certainly gives first-year Cavalier head coach John Beilein and the Cavs’ front office a lot to think about regarding the future of Newman, who played in the NBA’s G-League his first year as a pro. Newman in Vegas summer league action also had 15 points versus the New Orleans Pelicans, five points versus the Chicago Bulls and just three points versus the Boston Celtics.

“Coach Beilein and the coaching staff … they really challenged me to go out and make plays for other people other than just making plays for myself. And being able to play defense … they just challenged me to do almost every aspect of the game. I think I handled this pretty well,” Newman added.

Newman hit 11 of 17 shots in his summer-league finale. He was 4 of 6 from three and 7 of 9 from the line. Playing mostly point guard, he dashed from the top of the key to the basket for several driving layups.

“My point guard play. Being able to create for others has been a big piece to my game,” Newman told The Star’s Alex Schiffer, when asked about his play in Las Vegas. “Being able to control the pace more too (has been important).”

Newman — he averaged 14.0 points, 1.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game for the Cavs in Vegas — improved on his 2018-19 G-League numbers. After going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, he averaged 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 42 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Canton Charge. He hit 44.8% of his shots, including 35.6% of his threes in G-League action.

“It was a good experience, being able to go through the season and have a pretty good season,” he told The Star’s Schiffer. “Coach Reinking (Nate, Canton Charge) did a great job of being able to help me understand pace and timing of the game, being able to read pick and rolls better. My time in Canton … it was amazing for me.”

Now would appear to be the time for Newman to land a two-way contract (between G-League and NBA) or at the very least secure an invitation to a team’s training camp if his NBA career is ready to take off.

“The goal is always to make a roster. I think that’s the only goal right now,” Newman told The Star.

Asked about the Cleveland situation, he noted: “I think any situation where I have a chance to make it is a great situation.”

The Cavaliers won two games and lost three in Vegas. A 98-96 win over the Kings on Friday had the Cavs leaving Vegas on a high note. Newman also played two games for Cleveland in the Utah Jazz summer league which preceded Vegas. He scored 13 points versus Utah and 16 points versus San Antonio, combining to hit 4 of 8 threes.

“The whole process, from Day One just being able to go out, not really knowing each other, but competing and having fun, starting to jell, coming out and competing in front of a great fan base, that’s what it’s all about,” Newman said. “I think each guy will remember that. That’s the most memorable part about it.”

Newman was one of several former Kansas players, coaches and staff members to attend a dinner in Vegas hosted by KU coach Bill Self last Tuesday night.

“Kansas is home,” Newman told The Star’s Schiffer.

He averaged 14.2 points a game for KU during the 2017-18 Final Four season, his only season as a Jayhawk. He sat out the 2016-17 season in Lawrence after transferring from Mississippi State where he averaged 11.3 ppg in 2015-16.

Oubre nets lucrative two-year deal

Former Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre has agreed to a two-year, $30 million contract to stay with the Phoenix Suns, reported Thursday.

Oubre, 23, averaged 16.9 points (on 45.3% shooting), 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 40 games with Phoenix last season. The Suns during the season acquired Oubre and Austin Rivers from Washington for Trevor Ariza.

The 6-foot-7 Oubre suffered a thumb injury that required minor surgery and ended his season in March.

“I’ve said before, we love Kelly,” Suns general manager James Jones told ESPN in April. “We want Kelly here.”

Oubre, the 15th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, averaged 8.2 points a game in three plus seasons in Washington.

“Oubre gets financial security now with an opportunity to return to the marketplace as a 25-year-old unrestricted free agent in 2021,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Twitter.

Morris picks Knicks

Former KU forward Marcus Morris will sign a one-year contract worth $15 million with the New York Knicks, according to the New York Post and other outlets.

Morris, 29, earlier had agreed to sign a two-year, $20 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs. According to Post writer Howie Kussoy, “his motivation is believed to stem from what is expected to be a larger payout by re-entering free agency next summer, while also commanding a higher salary this coming season.”

Morris averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds a game with Boston last season.

He was the 14th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He’s played for Houston, Phoenix, Detroit and Boston in an eight-year career. His brother Markieff signed with Detroit this offseason.

The Post said some NBA player agents are “furious” at Morris for pulling out of an agreement with San Antonio.

“San Antonio, which has one of the strongest winning cultures in the NBA, went to the length of trading away sharpshooter Davis Bertans to open up the cap space needed for Morris,” wrote Marc Berman of the Post. “Meanwhile, the woebegone Knicks have not made the playoffs in six straight seasons and look to be on the outside looking in again in 2019-20 after failing to land superstars Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.”

In an interesting development, Morris and his agent, Rich Paul, have agreed to part ways, the New York Daily News reported Saturday. According to the Daily News, Morris turned down a $41 million multi-year offer from the Los Angeles Clippers before agreeing to the Spurs offer, then ultimately choosing the Knicks’ agreement.

Svi’s Pistons eliminated in quarters

Former KU guard Svi Mykhailiuk scored six points on 2-of-12 shooting (1 of 6 threes) in the Detroit Pistons’ 105-85 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in the quarterfinals of the summer league playoffs on Saturday in Las Vegas. Mykhailiuk averaged 11.4 points, 4.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds a game in five games for Detroit (4-1). He hit 38 percent of his shots. The tourney now moves to the semifinal round of the playoffs

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