The NBA league office has informed teams that they are permitted to scout two practices in Memphis involving projected 2020 top-10 draft pick RJ Hampton, a source told ESPN.
Representatives from NBA teams were expected to attend five New Zealand Breakers practices in Memphis and Oklahoma City this week as part of the National Basketball League team’s trip to the United States for preseason games against the Grizzlies and Thunder. Teams were informed Sunday afternoon that NBA scouts were not allowed to be present to watch Hampton and the Breakers practice until further clarification was obtained by the league office, a source said.
Practices on Sunday night and Monday morning were closed to NBA teams that had traveled to Memphis with the intent of scouting Hampton in practice.
At approximately 10 a.m. ET Monday, Rich Cho, vice president of basketball strategy for the Grizzlies, sent an email to all NBA teams stating that “the league office has notified us that team personnel attendance is approved” for the Breakers’ evening practice at FedEx Forum. In addition, teams will also be allowed to attend the Breakers shootaround on Tuesday.
Teams will also be allowed to attend the Breakers’ morning shootaround before their game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
A source told ESPN that the Grizzlies were supposed to make the league office aware that the Breakers were scheduled to conduct practices in their facility that their scouts planned on attending, so all 30 teams can be invited, a process that did not happen. The process of getting practices of these nature approved, featuring draft-ineligible prospects like Hampton, falls under the no contact rule. Unfortunately the process was not handled correctly by the Grizzlies, the source said.
Seventy NBA representatives have RSVP’d to attend the pro day for projected No. 1 pick James Wiseman and the Memphis Tigers on Monday afternoon, according to the team’s Twitter account. The expectation around the league is that most, if not all, of those scouts will continue on to the Grizzlies’ practice facility immediately after to attend Breakers practice.