6:20pm: Diakite has officially signed a two-way deal with the Cavaliers, the team confirmed (via Twitter).
5:16pm: After being cut by the Cavaliers on Saturday, big man Mamadi Diakite has cleared waivers and the team intends to bring him back on a two-way deal, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). However, Fedor says “there are a few hurdles both sides need to clear” before the contract is signed.
Diakite had a strong preseason performance with the Cavaliers on a non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 contract, which cannot be converted to a two-way deal, so that’s why the team had to waive him before giving him a two-way deal. He averaged 9.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG and 1.3 BPG on .824/.571/.833 shooting in four preseason games (16.8 MPG), per RealGM.
Diakite has appeared in a total of 27 regular season games for the Bucks and Thunder since going undrafted out of Virginia in 2020. He spent most of his rookie season on a two-way deal with Milwaukee before being promoted to the standard roster down the stretch. In 2021/22, he signed three separate 10-day contracts with Oklahoma City.
The 25-year-old has averaged 3.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG in his 27 NBA contests (12.2 MPG). He also put up 18.5 PPG and 10.4 RPG in 12 G League appearances (27.7 MPG) for the Lakeland Magic during the truncated 2020/21 season, earning a place on both the All-NBAGL First Team and the league’s All-Defensive Team.
Relatedly, Fedor and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links) both say the Cavaliers signed and waived Brazilian wing Didi Louzada in order to secure his G League affiliate rights for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs’ NBAGL team.
Assuming the Cavs signed Louzada to an Exhibit 10 contract for that purpose, the team will be on the hook for two days’ worth of his prorated minimum salary, since he’ll spend the first two days of the regular season on waivers.
However, NBA.com’s transaction log indicates that Louzada was signed to a two-way deal. If Louzada briefly occupied the Cavs’ open two-way slot, it’s possible that’s one of the “hurdles” mentioned by Fedor to be cleared before Diakite signs. But it’s unclear if signing a player to a two-way contract and then waiving him secures his G League affiliate rights.
We’ll have to wait for a little more clarity on the Louzada situation, but in any case, it appears it will be Diakite who ultimately claims the two-way roster spot that opened up when Cleveland waived RJ Nembhard on Saturday.
Rory Maher contributed to this post.