Four Former Ohio State Players Currently Signed to NBA Teams, Two Still Vying for Contracts

By Jake Anderson on July 15, 2019 at 1:05 pm
Mike Conley and D'Angelo Russell matched up against each other.
Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

Four former Ohio State players are now on NBA rosters, with one still looking at their options and another finishing up in the Summer League. We take a midsummer look at what each former Buckeye in the league has been up to this offseason.

D'Angelo Russell

Russell made headlines on June 30 when it was announced that he would be joining the Golden State Warriors as a part of a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets. Silk signed a four year, $117 million max contract and now makes up one of the most fearsome backcourts in the league alongside Stephen Curry, even with Klay Thompson out.

Russell has had an interesting start to his NBA career, going from bust to All-Star in his two years with Brooklyn. The combo guard finished his 2018-2019 campaign averaging 21.1 points and seven assists a night while leading the Nets to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. 

Mike Conley

After averaging a career-high 21.1 points last season, Conley was traded to the Utah Jazz. He will be joining third-year shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and Australian sharpshooter Joe Ingles to make up one of most underrated title contenders in the league. 

The Grizzlies, who obtained Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and a first-round pick as part of the trade, later announced they plan to retire Conley's No. 11 jersey. Conley has two years left on his deal, where he will make $33.5 million each year. 

Evan Turner

The Villain, fresh off of a run to the Western Conference Finals with the Portland Trail Blazers, will be on the Atlanta Hawks next season. The Blazers traded Turner for Atlanta wing Kent Bazemore. 

The 2010 National Player of the Year averaged 6.8 points per game last season and will be a veteran presence in a young, inexperienced Hawks locker room. He will make $18.6 million next year on an expiring deal. 

Kosta Koufos

Koufos is still a free agent but has been generating some interest around the league. 

The seven-foot center played for the Sacramento Kings last season and grabbed four boards a game. Koufos earned $8.7 million last season after exercising his player option. He is a likely candidate for the veteran minimum this season.

Keita Bates-Diop

The former Big Ten Player of the Year finished his rookie year averaging five points and 2.8 rebounds a night with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who fired coach Tom Thibodeau in the middle of the season. 

Entering the second year of his four-year deal with the Timberwolves, Bates-Diop is spending part of his offseason in the NBA Summer League, where he has averaged 10.5 points and five rebounds per contest. His best game came against the Cleveland Cavaliers' summer team, where he led the team in scoring with 17 points. 

Bates-Diop and the Timberwolves will play the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at 9 p.m. in the Summer League championship game. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Jae'Sean Tate

Tate joined the Denver Nuggets' Summer League team, reviving his NBA aspirations after spending a year in Belgium. He led the Antwerp Giants to the Final Four of the Basketball Champions League while averaging 13 points per game on 62.3 percent shooting from the field in his first season in Europe.

Tate averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in five games while shooting 50 percent from the field in Summer League play. His best two points came against the Orlando Magic on this thundering jam.

Tate is also set to play with former teammate C.J. Jackson and fellow former Ohio Staet player Keyshawn Woods for team Big X at The Basketball Tournament; their first game is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at Capital University in Columbus and will be televised on ESPN2.

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