Quick Bit: O’Neal has played with the Lakers during the Summer League, but now will play with the G League Ignite in 2022-23.

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After spending the Summer League with the Lakers, Shareef O’Neal is headed to the G League.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Monday O’Neal, son of Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal, had signed a deal with the NBA G League Ignite, a developmental basketball team that has helped players ascend to the pros and gain experience against veteran players in showcase matchups in the G League.

O’Neal, who went undrafted after two years at LSU and two years at UCLA, was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and was rated by 247Sports Composite rankings as the No. 41 player in the 2018 class.

Why did O’Neal sign with Ignite, and what does it mean for his future? The Sporting News takes a look.

MORE: What is G League Ignite?

Why Shareef O’Neal signed with G League Ignite

O’Neal was one of the top players who wasn’t drafted in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he still has aspirations to reach the NBA.

Charania reported teams were “intrigued” with his athleticism and pedigree. During the summer league, he appeared in six games and averaged 4.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 10.9 minutes per game.

In choosing to sign with G League Invite, O’Neal is giving himself another chance to establish he is ready for the pros, and that, if given the time on the court, he can be an impact player.

MORE: How good is O’Neal? Summer League scouting report

O’Neal has dealt with a number of health issues in his collegiate playing career, having taken a medical redshirt his freshman year at UCLA in 2018 and sustaining foot injuries in both 2020 and 2021.

He transferred from UCLA to LSU, his father’s alma mater, after the 2019-20 season. He averaged 2.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 9.2 minutes per game in his redshirt junior year at LSU in 14 games played, a personal-best in his college career, before declaring for the NBA Draft.

Shaq didn’t like the idea of Shareef entering the NBA Draft when he did, either.

“We kind of bump heads about this process,” O’Neal said in a video news conference.

He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this… It sucks that he didn’t like that idea, but I’m a grown man, I’m 22 years old, I can make my own decisions. It was right in front of my face. I’m not backing up from it. I’m going to go get it if I see it.

“That’s just how I’m built. I take everything the same way. I took my heart surgery the same way. Being cleared was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me, and I went for it.”

Shareef O’Neal contract details

Charania reported O’Neal has signed a six-figure deal with G League Ignite, though the terms are not known. The most the G League Ignite has paid players in the past has reportedly been $500,000.

G League Ignite players in NBA draft

G League Ignite has quickly established itself as a new pipeline for players to reach the NBA.

Most players that sign with G League Ignite are prospects that choose to play for the professional team instead of going the collegiate route. As one of the teams in the G League, it is also comprised of veterans looking to stay in professional basketball and aim for another chance at reaching the pros.

There have been six players drafted to the NBA after playing with G League Ignite, including three players going within the top 10 picks in the draft.

Year
Player
Pick
Team
2021
Jalen Green
2
Rockets
2021
Jonathan Kuminga
7
Warriors
2021
Isaiah Todd
31
Bucks
2022
Dyson Daniels
8
Pelicans
2022
MarJon Beauchamp
24
Bucks
2022
Jaden Hardy
37
Mavericks

In addition to those six, Daishen Nix went undrafted in 2021 after spending the 2020-21 season with the G League Ignite. He then joined the 76ers in the 2021 Summer League and signed with the Rockets in August.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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