Cheick Diallo

Pacific Notes: Smailagic, Adams, Diallo, Shamet

Warriors rookie big man Alen Smailagic has a severe ankle sprain, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Coach Steve Kerr said Smailagic, a second-round pick, will be out for the “foreseeable future” due to the injury.

The 18-year-old Serbian played in the G League for Santa Cruz – the Warriors’ affiliate – in 2018/19 but wasn’t draft-eligible until this year. He was shut down early in the pre-draft process and was “hidden” in Serbia from the rest of the NBA. He signed a four-year, minimum salary contract with two years guaranteed.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings never seriously considered trading for Thunder center Steven Adams, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.  The Thunder are reportedly seeking a significant return for their top big man and were hoping to pry away Buddy Hield or Bogdan Bogdanovic in talks with Sacramento.
  • The Suns have numerous options at the power forward and center spots but Cheick Diallo could be in the mix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Diallo was signed to a two-year contract after spending three seasons with the Pelicans. “He’s a really active player,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “He can score around the basket. He’s trying to defend. … He just plays hard. Gives you a different edge at that four-five spot.”
  • Landry Shamet and rookie Terance Mann are the main backup options to Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley despite having backgrounds at the wing positions, Mirjan Swanson of the Orange County Register relays. Coach Doc Rivers believes Shamet will emerge in that role. “Landry will play point a lot this year,” Rivers said. “There’s no doubt about that. Because he can do a lot of things that very few guys can do, (Stephen) Curry-like. He can push it up, throw it and run and still score.”

Southwest Notes: Diallo, Morris, Iguodala, Favors

Cheick Diallo was squeezed out of New Orleans due to a numbers crunch, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets. The Pelicans didn’t want to lose the young power forward but they essentially had to choose between him and Jahlil Okafor, according to Gambadoro. New Orleans got three players back in the Anthony Davis deal, added three first-rounders including top pick Zion Williamson, and signed free agent guard J.J. Redick. New Orleans did not make a qualifying offer to Diallo, which made him an unrestricted free agent. He signed a two-year contract with the Suns.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Marcus Morris said he meant no disrespect when backed out of a verbal two-year agreement with the Spurs to sign a one-year contract with the Knicks, as he told Shams Charania of The Athletic“The first thing that I did when I knew I would be going another direction, I called and made sure they knew. There was no shade. There’s no disrespect,” Morris said. “I had great conversations afterward, and as long as I feel that I’m clear with them and gave them my truth, I feel good about moving forward. … I thought at the time that the Spurs deal was all that I had. The process wasn’t what I expected and it didn’t go the right way.” The way Morris’ free agent journey played out contributed to bad blood between the two organizations.
  • Andre Iguodala remains in limbo after getting traded to the Grizzlies, Charania reports in a video post. The Rockets, Clippers, Mavericks and Nuggets have all shown interest in the veteran forward. Houston and the Clippers are the top contenders but the Rockets have major luxury tax concerns while the only thing that would make sense for the Clippers salary-wise would be to move Maurice Harkless, whom they acquired from the Trail Blazers. However, the Clippers don’t want to ship out Harkless, Charania adds.
  • The Pelicans believe they can turn big man Derrick Favors into a bigger offensive threat than he was with the Jazz, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. Favors was acquired for two second-rounders in a salary dump by Utah. The opportunity to play alongside Jrue Holiday, Zion Williamson and Redick will facilitate the process. Favors will be utilized more often as a passer and be encouraged to develop his 3-point game, Guillory adds.

Cheick Diallo To Sign With Suns

The Suns have reached a two-year deal with Cheick Diallo, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Phoenix holds a team option on the second season, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 22-year-old power forward spent the past three seasons in New Orleans. He has been a steady rotation player during the last two years and averaged 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 64 games this season.

Phoenix could only offer Diallo a veteran’s minimum deal, which will pay about $1.7MM and $1.8MM over the next two years, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The Suns now have 15 players under contract, not counting their two-way deals.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, I. Smith, Diallo, Mavs, More

While rumors of Kevin Durant‘s possible departure continue to persist, the Warriors have recently expressed some private optimism about their chances of re-signing the former MVP, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Amick explains, that hope stems from the fact that Golden State is the only team with the ability to make Durant a five-year, $221MM offer. That extra year and money could be a more significant factor with KD recovering from an Achilles tear.

Earlier this week, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers indicated that the team has formal plans to talk to both Durant and Klay Thompson about new deals, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). Myers also said that Thompson is expected to undergo his ACL surgery later this week.

Here’s more from around the NBA on free agency:

  • Ish Smith is among the free agent point guards who are on the Timberwolves‘ radar, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. Wolfson previously identified T.J. McConnell as a target of interest to Minnesota.
  • Cheick Diallo, who shares an agent with Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Mavs free agent target Patrick Beverley, is a potential fit for Dallas, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Diallo reportedly won’t receive a qualifying offer from New Orleans, so he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, team owner Mark Cuban downplayed the importance of face-to-face meetings for free agents, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. “There’s some players that want a presentation and they want the dog-and-pony show,” Cuban said. “And there’s some players, they don’t care. They have a feel and they just want to ask some questions and you don’t really have to have a meeting to do that. … It really depends on the players. I can give you a long list of players we didn’t have meetings with that we signed, and a lot of teams that didn’t have meetings and they signed people. There’s not a lot of secrets. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re going to say something they didn’t know.”
  • Although Willie Cauley-Stein‘s agent doesn’t want the Kings to give his client a qualifying offer, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to forgo that QO, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Pelicans Won’t Make Qualifying Offer To Cheick Diallo

The Pelicans will not make a qualifying offer to forward Cheick Diallo, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. As a result, the 22-year-old Malian will become an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

While Diallo projects as a promising young player, the move is not entirely surprising, as the Pelicans have the opportunity to be active in free agency after trading away Anthony Davis. Even though it’s a relatively modest amount, clearing Diallo’s $1.93MM cap hold from their books creates more cap room for the team to pursue top free agents.

Additionally, the Pelicans just drafted Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick and he projects to play the same position as Diallo.

Diallo, a former McDonald’s All-American, was drafted 33rd overall in 2016 by the Clippers, but was acquired by New Orleans on draft night. In three seasons, he’s averaged 12.6 minutes, 5.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest while appearing in 133 games.

And-Ones: NBA Africa Game, Global Camp, Upshaw

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Sixers center Joel Embiid will headline the rosters in this summer’s NBA Africa Game, the league announced today. The event, which will take place on Saturday, August 4 in Pretoria, South Africa, will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format, with Cameroon native Embiid heading Team Africa and DeRozan representing Team World.

Joining Embiid on Team Africa will be fellow NBAers Al-Farouq Aminu, Bismack Biyombo, Cheick Diallo, Evan Fournier, Serge Ibaka, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Pascal Siakam. DeRozan’s teamates on Team World will include Harrison Barnes, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay, Khris Middleton, and Hassan Whiteside.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • A total of 40 draft-eligible prospects from outside the United States will take part in the NBA Global Camp 2018 in Treviso, Italy from June 2-5, the NBA announced on Wednesday. While Luka Doncic won’t attend the pre-draft showcase, there will be plenty of prospects worth watching, including Cedevita forward Dzanan Musa, who is the No. 19 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.
  • The mother of Zeke Upshaw, the G League player who passed away earlier this year after collapsing during a Grand Rapids Drive game, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the NBA and the Pistons of negligence. The suit alleges that the defendants failed to provide the Drive with the “the resources, policies, and procedures reasonably necessary” to prevent or handle Upshaw’s collapse. Noah Trister of The Associated Press has the full story and more details.
  • Now that two-way contracts have been in effect for nearly a full year, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days explores what sort of changes we may see to the rules surrounding those contracts in the future.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Kawhi, Grizzlies, Pelicans

While Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has deservedly received much of the praise for shaping Houston’s roster into a title contender, Morey credit his star guard James Harden for his ability as a recruiter and a pitchman, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com.

“James was everything,” Morey said in discussing the Rockets’ roster building and the addition of Chris Paul. “Not only is he a great player on the floor, but he’s someone who’s just focused on winning and is willing to do anything to make it happen, whether it be meet with people, call them, text them, whatever is required. He makes my job easy.”

As MacMahon details, Harden and Paul were both instrumental in convincing P.J. Tucker to sign with the Rockets last summer. The veteran forward turned down a larger offer from the Raptors in order to join Harden and Paul in Houston, and he showed on Wednesday night how valuable he can be for the Rockets. Tucker, who scored 20 points in his first game with the team last October, hadn’t reached that mark again until he poured in 22 against Golden State in Game 2.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

Southwest Notes: Boogie, Davis, Curry, Anderson, Diallo

Having been eliminated from the playoffs, the Pelicans will regroup and focus on 2017/18, Justin Verrier of ESPN writes. As Alvin Gentry notes, the Pels will benefit from Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins having a full preseason to learn how to play off one another.

“You can see he [Davis] and DeMarcus are going to be fine together,” Gentry said. “You put them in a training camp and you’re able to really hone in on what you want to do and how they can play together. They can be very, very effective. I think we have a chance to move forward.”

Aside from questions surrounding Jrue Holiday‘s free agency, the Pelicans will also have to sort out a roster shuffled by the Cousins trade. Over the season’s remaining four games, Verrier points out, the Pels would be best served to showcase Cheick Diallo and Quinn Cook over their frontcourt veterans.

More from around the Southwest…

  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t sure Seth Curry will return by the end of the regular season, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reports. Depending on the condition of Curry’s left shoulder, the team could shut down the former Blue Devil. “Seth’s doing all right,” Carlisle said. “I’m not sure at this point (about him playing in the final three games). It’s not something that we just rubber stamp and send him back out there. I hope he can play a couple of games, but if it’s not the right thing, he won’t do it.”
  • Ryan Anderson will play limited minutes in tonight’s matchup with Detroit, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. An ankle injury had sidelined Anderson for Houston’s last six games. As the postseason nears, Anderson is eager to get back on track. “I’m going to play limited minutes, but that’s the plan,” Anderson told Feigen. “I’m excited about it. I feel strong. I feel good. I feel ready to go. It’s going to take a game or two to get back. That’s why we have these last few games to get ready and get mentally prepared for the playoffs, and physically.”
  • The Pelicans not having a designated D-League affiliate resulted in an “unorthodox” year of development for Diallo. A former Kansas Jayhawks standout, Cheick was assigned to the D-League seven times, playing for three different teams in 2016/17. “I just want to play, you know?” Diallo told Scott Kushner of The Advocate. “I go to any place and I don’t even know the coaches or the players on some of these D-League teams. Sometimes I didn’t even know where I was, whether in North Carolina or Texas or wherever. I just know the D-Leagues helped me a lot and it would help anyone a lot.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/21/17

Here are Tuesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Veteran big man Tiago Splitter has been assigned to the D-League as part of his rehab process, the Sixers announced today in a press release. Hip and calf injuries have sidelined Splitter for the entire 2016/17 campaign so far, but there’s a chance he’ll get back on the court by season’s end.
  • The Grizzlies have assigned rookie big man Deyonta Davis to the Iowa Energy, the team announced today in a press release. With just a few weeks left in the 2016/17 season, Davis will be one of the last Grizzlies ever assigned to the Energy, since Memphis is poised to take control of a new NBADL affiliate next season.
  • The Celtics have sent Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson to the D-League, according to the club (Twitter link). The Maine Red Claws don’t play until Thursday, so it’s possible the assignment is just for practice purposes.
  • Rookie forward Cheick Diallo is headed back to the Greensboro Swarm, the Pelicans announced today (via Twitter). With no NBADL affiliate of their own, the Pelicans are sending Diallo to Charlotte’s affiliate using the flexible assignment rule.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/17/17

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors assigned Kevon Looney to Santa Cruz, the team announced on its official website (link). The assignment will allow Looney to soak up minutes against the Texas Legends in tonight’s game. Looney’s presence has been diminished in Steve Kerr’s rotation lately, averaging 5.2 minutes with six DNPs over Golden State’s last 12 games.
  • The Pelicans recalled Cheick Diallo from Greensboro, the team announced on its official website (link). Diallo will be available for tonight’s match-up with the Rockets. Diallo has impressed in the D-League this season, averaging 14 points with 8.2 rebounds over 23 games.
  • The Cavs assigned Larry Sanders to the Canton Charge, where he’ll be available for tomorrow’s game against the Windy City Bulls (press release). Sanders will likely have a one-game assignment, as the Charge don’t play again until the 23rd after Saturday’s game. While Sanders is expected to bolster Cleveland’s playoff run, he’s still a bit of a project after sitting out the entire 2015/16 season.