By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
Antonio Blakeney bet on himself by leaving LSU early for the NBA. That gamble paid off on Friday.
In Vegas, of all places.
Following explosive performances in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Blakeney signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls on Friday, the franchise announced.
“I want to thank the organization for the opportunity and believing in me,” Blakeney said in an Instagram post. “This wouldn’t be possible without the everyday guidance of God and my family along the way. Coming from a city where nobody has played in the NBA makes this moment even more special for me and my whole community.”
Blakeney averaged 16.8 points and 5.0 points per game in four summer league appearances for the Bulls, with a pair of 20-plus point games and a 64.8 percent mark from 3-point territory.
For context on Antonio Blakeney's new contract with the Bulls… https://t.co/cpP5Wk7Lc4
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) July 14, 2017
The two-way deal is a new contract structure which allows NBA teams two additional roster spots in addition to their previous limit of 15. Two-way players can spend up to 45 days in the NBA season with their parent club, with the rest of their time allocated to the franchise’s G-League team.
Blakeney will make a minimum of $75,000 next year, and up to $275,000, earning 1/170th of the NBA rookie minimum ($815,615) for each day he spends with the Bulls.
The Sarasota, Fla. native averaged 17.2 points per game last season for LSU, but went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft. He signed on with the Bulls before the start of the Las Vegas Summer League after a good pre-draft workouts with the team.
“We were not a winning program, so that hurt me,” Blakeney told the team website earlier this week. “But the draft is over. I’m still chasing my dream. To get drafted high is not the ultimate goal. It’s to play in the league multiple years. So that’s what I’m working toward. I’m not worried about what happened in the draft. I have to move forward.”
His first summer league game was uneventful but solid. He scored 6 points and was +14 in 13 minutes, knocking down 2-of-3 from deep. He followed up with 11 points in 23 minutes the next game, before going off for 23 points and hitting 4-of-5 from 3 in game three, playing 34 minutes and grabbing eight rebounds. After a 27 point, 11 rebound showing in game four, Blakeney landed the deal he’d been seeking.
“They felt I was a good story, but there are things I needed to work on, like defense,” Blakeney said. “They were honest with me. The coaches are on me here in camp to get better and I like that. I want to get better, work on my weaknesses. So it’s a good thing.”
Antonio Blakeney NBA Summer League Stats – Per Game