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NBA News Roundup: LaMelo Ball will wear a new jersey number next season, Dion Wright's only motivation to join the Drew League was LeBron James, and more - July 18th, 2022

LaMelo Ball will wear a new jersey number next season
LaMelo Ball will wear a new jersey number next season
Kunal Sethi
LeBron James of the LA Lakers and LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets in 2021
LeBron James of the LA Lakers and LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets in 2021

The NBA offseason has seen some blockbuster trades shift the free agency landscape. The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving saga in Brooklyn continues to make headlines, but there aren't any updates regarding the matter.

The 2022 NBA Draft and the Summer League in Las Vegas have ended. The next item on the offseason agenda is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement of the 2022 class on September 9th.

Let's look at a few new stories from around the league from July 18th.

Denver Nuggets sign Australian forward Jack White after impressive performances in Las Vegas

Jack White of Australia against China in the 2022 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
Jack White of Australia against China in the 2022 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

The Denver Nuggets are constantly trying to improve their roster to support Nikola Jokic. Their latest offseason move is signing Australian forward Jack White to a two-way contract, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

White went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft and signed a three-year deal with Melbourne United of Australia's NBL. He was invited to the 2022 NBA Summer League and performed impressively, earning a two-way contract with the Nuggets.

The Denver Nuggets are signing Australian F Jack White to a two-way contract, sources tell ESPN. White had a strong Summer League performance for Denver.

Jack White played all five games for the Nuggets in Las Vegas, averaging 7.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. He shot 69% from the field and 50% from downtown.

LaMelo Ball will don a new jersey number next season

LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets in 2022
LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets in 2022

LaMelo Ball is finally getting his wish to change his jersey number to #1. Malik Monk wore the number for the Charlotte Hornets in Ball's rookie year, so Ball chose to wear #2. However, when Monk signed with the Lakers last season, Ball had the opportunity to change his number, but he missed the deadline.

how i miss but been tellin em since i got drafted lol 😂🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️ twitter.com/TheNBACentral/…

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, LaMelo Ball is finally changing his number from #2 to #1. Before his time with the Hornets, Ball has always worn #1. This includes his time with the Illawarra Hawks, Los Angeles Ballers and BC Prienai. Ball spoke to reporters about the number change:

"It's supposed to [happen]. I ain't supposed to wear #2 ever again in my life. If I see a #2, ah man, I don't know what I'm going to do, I ain't going to lie to you. I just ain't never been #2. It's just weird for me. It just don't feel like you playing, for real. Like, I don't know who this is. I don't know who No. 2 is. I know my brother, that's it. No other No. 2s."

Utah Jazz sign 26-year-old high-ranking Italian forward

Simone Fontecchio of Italy during the Men's Basketball Quarterfinal game in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Simone Fontecchio of Italy during the Men's Basketball Quarterfinal game in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Utah Jazz are signing Italian forward Simone Fontecchio to a two-year deal worth $6.25 million. According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, the 26-year-old player is the "best available international small forward prospect." He could be helpful for a reportedly rebuilding Jazz team.

With @wojespn’s report that Italian SF Simone Fontecchio has agreed to a two-year deal with the @utahjazz here are some highlights of the 26-year-old. He’s a chiseled, athletic and competitive defender who shot 41% from 3 the past two seasons https://t.co/YSeWBVDQSK

Fontecchio went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, so he went back to Europe for his professional career. He has had various stints in Italy, Spain and Germany. He is now getting his shot in the NBA. Fontecchio won the Italian Cup in 2016 and the Italian Super Cup from 2016-2018. He was an LBA All-Star in 2014 at 19 years old. The following year, he was named the LBA's "Best Player Under 22."

Portland Trail Blazers win the 2022 NBA Summer League

Portland Trail Blazers celebrate the 2022 NBA Summer League championship [Source: USA Today]
Portland Trail Blazers celebrate the 2022 NBA Summer League championship [Source: USA Today]

The Portland Trail Blazers won the 2022 NBA Summer League championship game against the New York Knicks 85-77, securing their second summer league title in four years. Trendon Watford was unanimously awarded the Championship Game MVP after posting 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. This year marks the first time the NBA Summer League champions will receive a ring.

Portland Trailblazers win the Summer League championship 🏆 First team in Summer League history to get finals rings https://t.co/jWBr1kbdDb

Jabari Walker and Brandon Williams also had incredible contributions in the final game. Walker, the 57th overall pick this year, stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks. He shot 50/40/100. Williams had 22 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal while shooting 55/40/100.

Dion Wight reveals his motivation to participate in the Drew League was sharing a court with LeBron James

Dion Wright tries to guard LeBron James in the 2022 Drew League [Source: Twitter]
Dion Wright tries to guard LeBron James in the 2022 Drew League [Source: Twitter]

Dion Wright is a 30-year-old basketball player from St. Bonaventure University. Since LeBron James scored on him in the Drew League this weekend, his name has drawn attention. James dropped 42 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in the exhibition game, declaring he is "100% healthy."

Wright was reportedly not going to play in the Drew League until he heard King James would appear. As reported by The Athletic's Law Murray, Wright said:

"I had told my boy, 'Yo, Bron's coming to the Drew. You got to drop me off at the airport' ... I just appreciate the opportunity. Like, a lot of people can never say they were on the same court with LeBron. A couple of months ago, I was sitting behind him at a Laker game. Now I’m on the same court with him. It’s just crazy. Life comes at you fast sometimes."

Despite LeBron's incredible performance, Dion Wright's team lost the game by just 2 points. Wright added that his opponents had two NBA players, James and DeMar DeRozan, while his team had none.

He dropped 40 I had 20 for every 2 points he had I had 1 . . . That’s really a once in a lifetime player we had no nba guys they had 2 and only loss by 2 points if bron doesn’t show up we win for sure twitter.com/bleacherreport…

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Q. Will LeBron James lead the LA Lakers to the postseason next year?

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Edited by Chad Marriott

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