Former Tennessee Vol Wayne Chism has NBA summer league agreements to play for the New Jersey Nets in Orlando, Fla., and the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas after not getting drafted Thursday night.
The New Jersey deal was offered prior to the NBA draft while the Sacramento deal came about Friday, according to Chism’s agent, Jared Karnes.
The Kings went 25-57 last season, while the Nets were 12-70 and have a new coach, Avery Johnson.
Chism, 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, departs for New Jersey on Tuesday and begins practice with the Nets on Wednesday. Johnson will conduct the practices for the summer team, which plays in Orlando, July 5-9.
Chism is scheduled to leave Orlando after his final game on July 9 and report to Sacramento. From there, Chism begins play in Las Vegas with the Kings, July 12-18.
Chism is hoping to impress New Jersey or Sacramento — or any other team, for that matter — enough to get invited to a team camp. The summer leagues consist of players in their first three years in the NBA along with undrafted free agents.
As UT coach Bruce Pearl indicated in the days leading up to the draft, a benefit of not getting picked is that players are free to negotiate with any of the 30 teams until they are under contract.
“You see some guys celebrating getting picked late in the second round,’’ Pearl said. “But if it’s after about the 40th (overall) pick, it’s really a false hope.’’
Former Vols Tyler Smith, J.P. Prince and Bobby Maze, who also went undrafted, could find places in the NBA summer leagues, too. If not, they’ll likely play overseas for contracts in the neighborhood of $100,000, or perhaps try to find a spot in the NBA D-League for significantly less money.
“I’ve got plenty of offers, I’m just deciding who I want to go with,’’ Prince said. “I plan on making a decision by the end of the weekend, but right now I’m exploring all options.’’
Smith said before the draft he would likely spend another year overseas before trying to play in the NBA.
“I feel like I need to go back overseas to keep improving,’’ Smith said. “The two months I was there (in Turkey), I felt I did a pretty good job. But I can get my shooting numbers up.’’
Maze is trying to work out a summer league deal with the Chicago Bulls.
Statistical trends and recent history indicate chances are slim for undrafted free agents to make an NBA roster next season.
Players selected in the first round of the draft have the advantage of guaranteed contracts, as do a handful of the top second-round picks.
Tennessee hasn’t had any players selected in the NBA draft since 2002, and C.J. Watson of the Golden State Warriors is the only Vol now in the NBA.
Chism will do his best to change that, and while the Nets need a lot of help, the franchise has a lot of salary cap room and is expected to be aggressive in the free-agent market.
New Jersey selected former Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors (6-10, 245) with the third overall pick. The Nets traded their No. 27 (Jordan Crawford) and No. 31 (Tibor Pleiss) selections for Texas small forward Damion James (6-7, 227), who was originally selected by Atlanta with the No. 24 pick.
James, like Chism, is considered a “tweener” between small forward and power forward.
Sacramento addressed it’s team need for big men by drafting Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins (6-11, 292) with the fifth overall pick and Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside (7-0, 227) in the second round.
Chism worked for most NBA teams at power forward, but his height and durability have been questioned at the league’s interior positions. Some teams see Chism finding his niche as a small forward; he has shown good shooting range and quickness for a bigger player. But Chism’s consistency shooting 3-pointers remains in question.
Chism did not get a private workout with the Nets nor the Kings prior to the draft, but both franchises had seen him play in person.
Should Chism not make an NBA club, he’s expected to play overseas, most likely in Spain or Italy. Karnes said Chism had a six-figure offer on the table from a team in Europe prior to the draft.
Smith also has a six-figure offer in Europe, but Karnes said Smith is weighing all options.