Charles Bassey

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Mavs, Wesley, Bassey

The Grizzlies blew out the Bucks by 41 points on Thursday night, holding stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to 22 total points on a combined 6-of-25 shooting. After guarding Middleton for much of the night, Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks was asked if he ought to be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year and replied that he “100%” should be, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link).

“I don’t get the steals or the big-time blocks, but I’m going to give fits to whoever I got that night,” Brooks said.

Defensive Player of the Year voting typically favors big men, so if a Grizzlies player receives serious consideration for the award, it might end up being Jaren Jackson Jr., who is averaging 3.3 blocks per game. Still, Jackson has missed some time and it’s Brooks who is tied for third in the league in’s defensive win shares stat at 3.8.

Let’s round up a few more Southwest notes…

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has grand ambitions for a new arena in Dallas if the state of Texas legalizes gambling and sports betting, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). “My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino,” Cuban told Townsend. “That’s the mission.”
  • Spurs rookie guard Blake Wesley will be available on Friday for the Austin Spurs’ game in Mexico City, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. A knee injury has sidelined Wesley since October 30 and limited him to just two NBA appearances so far this season, but it sounds like he has been cleared to return.
  • Waived by Philadelphia during the preseason, Charles Bassey made his first career start on Wednesday for the Spurs and admitted after the game that he was “a little bit” nervous. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required) details, Bassey got into early foul trouble and mishandled a couple passes from Doug McDermott in the pick-and-roll. “He just flat-out dropped a few of them; he told me that,” McDermott said. “I told him, ‘I am going to continue to throw it to you, because you are setting great screens. You are either going to have a shot or you are going to have a dunk. So don’t overthink it.'”

Spurs Notes: Bassey, Bates-Diop, White, Murray, Primo

Last month, Charles Bassey was trying to keep his job with the Sixers, but he’s been given a much larger role since joining the Spurs, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. On October 13, Philadelphia waived the 22-year-old, who had fallen to fourth on the team’s center depth chart after the signing of Montrezl Harrell. Eleven days later, Bassey got a second chance with San Antonio on a two-way contract.

“He knows his role,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounds, blocks shots, runs the floor, and he does it with a lot of energy.”

Bassey has more than doubled his playing time in his second NBA season, averaging 6.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per night. He only appeared in just 23 games as a rookie, but he’s still thankful for the opportunity he got from Sixers coach Doc Rivers.

“Me and Doc, we were good,” Bassey said. “Doc was one of the coaches I was excited to play for, but everything didn’t work out. Both these coaches (Rivers and Popovich) have coached great guys. Doc coached ‘KG’ (Kevin Garnett in Boston) and Pop has coached Tim Duncan. Philly gave me the opportunity to play in this league, and I am grateful to that organization. But playing for the Spurs right now is a dream come true.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Since joining the Spurs last season, Keita Bates-Diop has learned to be ready for anything, Orsborn adds in a separate story. That was useful Thursday night in Sacramento when he found out shortly before game time that he would be starting because Keldon Johnson was sidelined by ankle soreness. “I am always constantly ready when I hear a guy is maybe in, maybe out,” Bates-Diop said. “My mind is always ready regardless.”
  • Watching Derrick White and Dejounte Murray square off in Wednesday’s Celtics-Hawks game was a reminder that the Spurs have moved on from what appeared to be their backcourt of the future, notes Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio traded White to Boston in February and dealt Murray to Atlanta in June, and the Spurs are now building around Johnson and Devin Vassell.
  • Although Dr. Hillary Cauthen has reportedly settled her lawsuit against the Spurs and Joshua Primo, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its investigation of the case as it considers possible criminal charges, Orsborn tweets.

Southwest Notes: Jackson Jr., Anderson, Doncic, Bassey

Jaren Jackson Jr. is close to making his season debut for the Grizzlies, according to Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Jackson was listed as doubtful to play against Washington on Sunday, then was declared out. He was listed as out for all previous games this season as he rehabbed from foot surgery. Jackson recently started playing in 5-on-5 situations during practice.

Memphis’ backcourt of Ja Morant (ankle) and Desmond Bane (toe) also missed the game, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Former Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson signed with the Timberwolves as a free agent this summer but the veteran forward is rooting for his former team when they’re not playing his current one, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “They’ve taken it to a whole new level. Those guys put the work and they work very hard so I’m always happy for them on their journey for sure, watching from afar,” Anderson said. “So it’s pretty awesome to see them do big things.”
  • Luka Doncic‘s usage rate is higher than any other player in the league, prompting Tim Cato of The Athletic to consider whether Doncic can keep going at this pace. The Mavericks star admitted after a loss this week, “I’m just feeling more tired on the court these last two games than anything,” and his shooting percentages in the fourth quarter are much lower than in any other quarter. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today explores the same topic, noting that Doncic is playing a career-high 36.9 MPG and has a usage rate of 39.14%, which would be the third-highest all-time behind Russell Westbrook’s 41.65% in 2016/17 and James Harden’s 40.47 in 2018/19.
  • With Zach Collins out approximately a month with a leg fracture, Charles Bassey has an opportunity to get rotation minutes at center for the Spurs, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News points out. “He kind of looks the part,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights or anything like that.” Bassey signed a two-way contract with San Antonio in late October.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Bassey, Hauser, Robinson

Sixers All-NBA center Joel Embiid is playing through multiple injuries as he strives to keep his 6-7 club afloat without injured co-star James Harden, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid is dealing with a tweaked ankle and an injured right shoulder, the latter of which is so restrictive that the big man says he occasionally struggles to lift his arm.

“And when I go block shots, I really feel it,” Embiid said. “I don’t know what’s going on. But it’s whatever.”

Despite the various ailments, Embiid is still having a big on-court impact. Through his nine healthy games this year, the seven-footer is averaging 29.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG and 1.2 BPG.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Spurs two-way player Charles Bassey has impressed with San Antonio thus far, so much so that Pompey wonders in another piece if the Sixers erred in letting him go. He is averaging 6.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.0 BPG as a reserve in just 15.5 MPG. “He knows his role,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounds, blocks shots, runs the floor, and he does it with a lot of energy. He and [starting center Jakob Poeltl] have been a good pair in that regard.” Pompey notes that the 6’11” Bassey has the size to be more of a “true center” than the team’s current backups behind Embiid — 6’9″ Paul Reed and 6’7″ Montrezl Harrell are more combo power forward/centers.
  • Celtics reserve forward Sam Hauser has been given a larger role in his second year with Boston, and has responded well, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “He’s a guy that can create separation, and so usually guys who can shoot the ball are also really good screeners,” head coach Joe Mazzulla said. “So I think putting him in the action is another guy that they have to worry about, along with Jayson [Tatum] and Jaylen [Brown] and whether it’s [Marcus] Smart or Al [Horford], so when you have him involved, it just adds another layer to how they’re going to guard.”
  • Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson continues to make progress from his right knee sprain. New York head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Saturday that Robinson’s availability has been upgraded to day-to-day, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Robinson has played a somewhat reduced role with New York this season, averaging a career-low 19.3 MPG during his eight healthy games with the club. In those minutes, the seven-footer out of Western Kentucky is posting averages of 5.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 BPG. Reserves Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein have stepped up in his absence.

Southwest Notes: J. Smith, Fernando, Bassey, Jackson Jr.

The RocketsJabari Smith and the Magic’s Paolo Banchero had their first regular season matchup Monday since Orlando’s last-minute decision to bypass Smith and make Banchero the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Banchero has gotten off to a sizzling start and is the early favorite for Rookie of the Year, while Smith is still adjusting to the NBA.

“He just needs to feel comfortable on the floor so we’re figuring that out as we go along,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “Having him on the elbow not just as a scorer but as a passer, we’re going to explore that. He has shown the ability to shoot the pull-up in transition as well as give it up and trail in transition. His 3-point shooting really sets up the rest of his game. People are hugged up to him and they close out to him. So, he can get to his drives or his pull-ups or whatever off that.”

Smith, who is shooting just 30.3% from the field and 30% from three-point range, said he hasn’t been discouraged by the slow start. He admits the transition from college is difficult, but he’s focused on learning to play at the NBA level.

“I feel like it’s just confidence, just trusting my work, being aggressive, being real precise with what I’m doing, not hesitating, and just playing my game,” Smith said. “I feel like it’s going to come. I’m not worried at all.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Bruno Fernando, who was the Rockets‘ starting center for the first two games of the season, is working to return from left patellar tendinosis, Feigen adds in a separate story. The team estimates he may need two more weeks to get medically cleared. “Bruno is … moving around pretty well but he has to see the doctor when we get back (from the road trip),” Silas said. “We’re making sure that he’s OK to continue ramping up. He’s ramping up. Hopefully, he’ll be back sooner than later. Conditioning definitely is a part of it.” Silas couldn’t offer a timetable for Jae’Sean Tate, who has been limited to three games because of a sore ankle.
  • The injury to Zach Collins will create an opportunity for Charles Bassey, who signed a two-way deal with the Spurs last month, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich has been impressed with what he’s seen from Bassey so far. “He kind of looks the part, doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights or anything like that,” Popovich said (Twitter link). “He is out there playing. He is aggressive, a good defender, moved the ball well.”
  • Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. recently played five-on-five for the first time since offseason foot surgery, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “It’s kind of baby steps right now,” coach Taylor Jenkins said.

Western Notes: Markkanen, Hart, Bassey, Porter Jr.

Lauri Markkanen was not the centerpiece of the package the Jazz received in the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster with the Cavaliers. However, in his first regular-season week with Utah, Markkanen has played like a star, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. In the first three games, he averaged 24 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists, all career-highs.

“It’s a good fit here,” Markkanen said. “I’ve tried to stay active and aggressive on both ends every time I come out there. It’s a good start, but we’ve still got to keep learning and keep getting better.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Josh Hart‘s contributions are a big part of any Trail Blazers success, according to Damian Lillard. “He’s a winning teammate,” Lillard told Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian and other media members. “The way he plays the game. He plays hard. He’s physical. He does everything that you ask him to do. He’s got his teammates best interest. He communicates.” Hart’s $12.96MM salary for 2023/24 is non-guaranteed but he holds a player option and could choose to become a free agent.
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had a colorful response when asked about the team’s latest addition, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Charles Bassey was signed to a two-way contract on Monday and Jordan Hall was waived. “Management wants me to look at him, so I’m going to look at him,” Popovich said of Bassey.
  • Michael Porter Jr. has shown a greater commitment to playing defense, Nuggets coach Michael Malone told Mike Singer of the Denver Post. “I’m on him a lot about his defense, but I think being a coach in a leadership position, you also have to reward them when they’re doing things correctly and build the confidence up,” Malone said, adding “right now what he’s showing me is that he cares.”

Spurs Notes: Bassey, Jones, Langford

Charles Bassey‘s representatives spoke to 22 teams after the big man was waived by Philadelphia on October 13, including the Pistons, Cavaliers, Suns, and Raptors, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, according to Pompey, most of the teams that reached out to Pompey wanted to sign him to an Exhibit 10 contract and have him play on their G League affiliate this season.

Some of those G League offers might’ve resulted in a promotion to the NBA later this season or in 2023/24, but Bassey didn’t want to settle — he ultimately signed a two-way contract with the Spurs earlier today.

“I didn’t want to wait for the next year for a roster spot,” Bassey said, per Pompey. “That’s too long. The Spurs came hard … Some of the teams wanted to give me a roster spot, but they couldn’t give me one right now. I just didn’t want to go through that (Exhibit 10/G League) route. San Antonio said, ‘We can give you a two-way this year and we’ll see where it goes from there.'”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Bassey, who lived in San Antonio when he first moved to America from Nigeria in 2015 and still has some family in the city. He also believes the franchise is an ideal fit for him.

“It’s a young organization,” Bassey said. “They are rebuilding. I feel like I’m going to have a great chance to play in a pretty good organization. And it’s a character organization. Everybody does stuff the same. … I feel like I’m going to fit right in.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • In an in-depth story for The San Antonio Express-News, Tom Orsborn takes a look at how Tre Jones is embracing what he calls a “big opportunity” to start at point guard for the Spurs this season. Jones is averaging 16.3 PPG on 53.1% shooting in his first three games this season, a significant step up from last season’s 6.0 PPG on 49.0% shooting. “When we find guys we think have that potential (to be leaders), we try to help it grow,” head coach Gregg Popovich. “Tre has just got it. Some people don’t, some people do. I remember Coach K (former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski) telling me about what I would like about Tre, and that was one of the major things. He is just a born leader.”
  • The battle for the Spurs’ 15th regular season spot entering the season was believed to come down to Romeo Langford vs. Joe Wieskamp, with Langford ultimately making the team. Asked what he wants to see from Langford this season, Popovich said he believes the former Indiana standout has the potential to be a “hell of a defender,” per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).
  • Here’s more from Popovich on Langford: “He’s got quick feet, he’s really long, he anticipates well, and he’s got a real bounce to him. Offensively, I think confidence is what he needs right now. I think he an become a two-way player. He can score at one end and really shake it up at the defensive end. That’s what I’ve seen from him in the short time I’ve been around him and that’s why we kept him.”

Spurs Sign Charles Bassey To Two-Way Deal

1:18pm: The Spurs have officially signed Bassey to a two-way contract, the team announced in a press release. San Antonio waived Hall to open up a spot for the new addition.

12:26pm: The Spurs have agreed to sign free agent big man Charles Bassey to a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 53rd overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Western Kentucky, Bassey appeared in 23 games for the Sixers as a rookie, averaging 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 7.3 minutes per contest. He thrived when assigned to the G League, averaging 18.9 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 17 regular season games (28.6 MPG) for the Delaware Blue Coats.

Bassey, who played two years of high school basketball in San Antonio, had been under contract in Philadelphia for two more seasons, but his partial guarantee for 2022/23 was only worth about $75K. That made him one of the odd men out when the Sixers had a roster crunch — he was waived at the end of the preseason and become a free agent earlier this month.

In order to sign Bassey to a two-way deal, the Spurs will have to waive one of their current two-way players, Dominick Barlow or Jordan Hall. Both rookies signed with San Antonio this summer after going undrafted in June, with Hall receiving a two-year contract. He’ll likely be the player cut to make room for Bassey, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.

As our two-way contract tracker shows, 59 of the 60 league-wide two-way slots are currently occupied. The Timberwolves are the only team with an opening.

Sixers Waive Charles Bassey, Isaiah Joe

5:37pm: The Sixers have officially announced in a press release that they’ve waived Bassey and Joe.

8:32am: The Sixers are also waiving Joe, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). With Joe’s non-guaranteed $1.78MM salary no longer on the books, the team will have more than $5.5MM in breathing room below its hard cap, tweets Bodner.

Joe appeared in 55 games for the 76ers last season, averaging 3.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG on .350/.333/.935 shooting in 11.1 MPG.

The two cuts will give the Sixers the option of opening the season with just 14 players on their standard roster or of adding a 15th man (including perhaps Joe) on a new non-guaranteed contract.

Joe’s previous deal called for his full 2022/23 salary to become guaranteed if he made the opening night roster, so Philadelphia theoretically could re-sign him on a more team-friendly contract if he passes through waivers, though it’s unclear if that’s in the plans. The team also may have interest in bringing him back on a two-way deal, says Kyle Neubeck of

8:18am: The Sixers have waived big man Charles Bassey, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

The 53rd overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Western Kentucky, Bassey signed a three-year, minimum-salary contract with Philadelphia last September, then appeared in 23 games as a rookie, averaging 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 7.3 minutes per contest. He played a starring role when assigned to the G League, averaging 18.9 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 17 regular season games (28.6 MPG) for the Delaware Blue Coats.

Although Bassey’s contract ran through 2024, it wasn’t fully guaranteed beyond his rookie season, making his grip on a roster spot tenuous this fall. Isaiah Joe‘s strong Summer League showing and the Sixers’ decision to sign Montrezl Harrell a month ago to fill out their frontcourt also didn’t work in his favor, making Bassey the odd man out.

Assuming Bassey clears waivers without being claimed, the 76ers will be on the hook for his partial guarantee of $74,742. Because that guarantee exceeds $50K, he’s ineligible to play for the Delaware Blue Coats – Philadelphia’s G League team – as an affiliate player or two-way player.

A team with interest in claiming Bassey off waivers would need a trade exception, disabled player exception, or cap room to absorb his $1,563,518 salary. Even though he’s earning the minimum, the fact that Bassey was on a three-year contract means he can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception.

With Bassey and Trevelin Queen out of the picture, Philadelphia looks poised to carry a 15-man roster that features 13 players on fully guaranteed salaries, plus Paul Reed and possibly Joe on non-guaranteed deals. The Sixers’ team salary is now approximately $3.76MM below the hard cap, tweets Derek Bodner of The Daily Six.

Eastern Notes: Suggs, P. Williams, Sixers, Bridges

After battling health issues as a rookie, Magic guard Jalen Suggs was frustrated to sustain another injury during the preseason, so it came as a relief when his diagnosis wasn’t as serious as it could have been. Suggs has a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise.

“Those things really can either go one of two ways — they can be the worst or be things that are really manageable,” Suggs said on Sunday, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Thankfully, it was one of those really manageable things.”

Speaking to Price in a separate Sentinel story, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tony Wanich said Suggs was fortunate to avoid an ACL injury and suggested that the second-year guard could be back on the court in November.

“A capsule injury usually heals in about two-to-four weeks,” Wanich said. “But the bone bruise usually takes a bit longer and closer to the six-week timeline depending on how extensive that bone bruise is.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan downplayed his decision to remove Patrick Williams from the starting lineup for the team’s two most recent preseason games, but the significance of that move is “clear for all to see,” argues Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Javonte Green, who earned the start in Williams’ place on Friday, has scored 50 points in 60 minutes this preseason and is playing like the Bulls want Williams to, Mayberry writes. “When you put Javonte out there, you know what you’re going to get,” Donovan said after Friday’s game.
  • Following the Sixersrelease of Trevelin Queen, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice believes Isaiah Joe looks like the “clear frontrunner” for the team’s final regular season roster spot, ahead of Charles Bassey.
  • The preliminary hearing for Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges was pushed back for a fifth time, to October 12, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (subscriber-only link). That hearing for Bridges, who has pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges, was initially scheduled for August 19.