Chimezie Metu

California Notes: Iguodala, Bledsoe, Metu, Longabardi

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is excited to have veteran swingman Andre Iguodala back for his second stint with the club, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He means the world to us,” Kerr told Poole, echoing a sentiment he recently expressed to The Athletic. “The last two seasons, we’ve been somewhat rudderless in many ways. I suspect we’re going to get our rudder back with Andre.”

Iguodala signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with Golden State after spending the last two seasons with the Grizzlies (for whom he never played) and Heat.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Clippers‘ reunion with point guard Eric Bledsoe received an A-minus grade from Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Bledsoe was re-acquired in a trade this week that sent point guards Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo and center Daniel Oturu to the Grizzlies. Pelton praised the cost savings of the deal, which will amount to a reduction of about $30MM off L.A.’s luxury tax bill. Pelton also notes that the younger, more durable Bledsoe could prove to be an on-court upgrade for the Clippers as well, though he struggled in recent playoff appearances with the Bucks.
  • Fourth-year Kings center Chimezie Metu has been suspended for one Summer League game after punching two-way rookie Mavericks forward Eugene Omoruyi in the head during the fourth quarter of an eventual 86-70 win Sunday, per an NBA press release (Twitter link). Metu will miss the Summer League title game on Tuesday against the Celtics.
  • The Kings will be hiring Mike Longabardi as a front-of-bench assistant coach, per Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link). Longabardi, most recently an assistant with the Wizards since 2019, won the 2008 title as a Celtics assistant and the 2016 championship as a Cavaliers assistant.

Pacific Notes: Kawhi, Metu, Batum, Fitts

The Clippers will have most of their key players from last season coming back in 2021/22, but Kawhi Leonard‘s health remains a major question mark. Leonard, of course, suffered a partially torn ACL in the playoffs this spring, an injury that could force him to miss much (or all) of next season.

As Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes, it’s been one month since Leonard underwent surgery on his right knee. He’ll need a significant amount of time to rehab the injury, but it’s possible he could be ready to play before the 2022 postseason begins in mid-April.

“In Kawhi’s case it will be a little less than a year, which is very doable,” said Alan Beyer, executive medical director and orthopedic surgeon at Orange County’s Hoag Orthopedic Institute. “No two players are alike, so some would take seven or eight months to come back. With the caliber of these players, I would not rush. But I certainly would give him the full nine to 10 months at least before I’d expect to see him back.”

Leonard recently signed a new four-year deal with the Clippers, cementing his long-term status with the franchise. He averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 52 games last season, shooting 51% from the floor.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • Kings center Chimezie Metu swung at Mavericks two-way player Eugene Omoruyi during the team’s summer league game on Sunday, as relayed by ESPN (video link). Such a play typically warrants a suspension from the NBA. Metu’s frustration stemmed from Omoruyi’s hard foul, one that occurred as Metu was in mid-air. The 24-year-old Metu suffered a broken wrist last season after being fouled in mid-air by Jonas Valanciunas.
  • Nicolas Batum‘s new contract with the Clippers is a two-year, $6.49MM deal, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). The deal, completed using his Non-Bird rights, includes a player option worth $3.3MM in the second season.
  • The Clippers are adding forward Malik Fitts to their summer league team, according to Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link). Fitts signed a 10-day contract with the team back in April.

Kings Guarantee Salaries For Damian Jones, Chimezie Metu

The Kings have guaranteed the contracts of center Damian Jones and Chimezie Metu, according to tweets from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and NBC Sports Bay Area’s James Ham, respectively. Jones’ contract is now fully guaranteed while Metu received a partial guarantee.

The 26-year-old Jones, the former 30th overall pick by the Warriors in 2016, was assured of his $1.98MM salary for 2021/22 as long as he wasn’t waived today, ESPN’s Bobby Marks explains (via Twitter). After bouncing around the league, Jones finished last season in Sacramento, playing 17 games for the Kings and averaging 6.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 1.0 BPG in 20 minutes a night.

His play as the team’s backup center at the end of the season allowed him to parlay his two separate 10-day contracts into a partially-guaranteed deal. He will now go into the season holding onto the Kings’ 14th roster spot.

Metu, who was converted from a two-way contract at the end of last season, is he Kings’ 15th man for the time being. The 24-year-old power forward/center has improved each year in the league, averaging 6.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG while shooting 35% from three last season, all career-highs.

According to Ham, Metu’s contract is now partially guaranteed for $881,398 — it has the potential to be worth $1.8MM over the entire season if he sticks with the team.

Eight Current NBA Players On Nigeria’s 12-Man Olympic Roster

After making some noise in the exhibition schedule by upsetting Team USA, Nigeria will be looking to become the first African men’s basketball team to win an Olympic medal. And they’ll be doing so with a roster that features eight current NBA players, along with one former NBA player.

Here’s the 12-man squad that will represent Nigeria at the Tokyo games, per the Nigeria Basketball Federation (Twitter link):

Achiuwa, Nwora, Okafor, Okogie, and Okpala are all on guaranteed contracts for next season with their respective teams. Metu and Oni are on non-guaranteed deals, while Vincent will be eligible for restricted free agency after finishing the season on a two-way pact. Udoh, a former sixth overall pick who just finalized a two-year deal with Italian club Virtus Bologna, has appeared in a total of 400 NBA games (regular season and postseason)

While the Nigerian squad isn’t exactly loaded with star power, it’s worth highlighting since it’s rare for any country besides Team USA to send so many current NBA players to the Olympics.

Australia’s team will have seven players who finished the season on NBA rosters, while Spain’s roster features 10 players with at least some NBA experience. But the U.S. team is the only other one in Tokyo that will feature at least eight current NBAers.

Olympic Notes: Nigeria, Morris, Nnaji, Team USA

The Nigerian national team, having originally invited more than 40 players to its training camp, has trimmed its roster to 15 players, according to an announcement earlier in the week (Twitter link).

Three more cuts will be required to set the official roster for the Tokyo Olympics, but it appears there will be no shortage of NBA players on the 12-man squad. Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, Miye Oni, Josh Okogie, Jordan Nwora, Chimezie Metu, Jahlil Okafor, and Gabe Vincent remain in the mix for the final roster.

One notable player missing from that list is Monte Morris. According to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link), the Nuggets guard has been bothered by a nagging knee injury and wants to focus on getting fully healthy for the 2021/22 season. He’s sitting out of the Olympics for precautionary reasons.

Nuggets forward Zeke Nnaji received consideration for Team Nigeria as well, according to Singer (Twitter link), but the 2020 first-rounder decided to focus on individual development this season. Nnaji has interest in representing Nigeria in future international competitions, Singer notes.

Here’s more on the Tokyo games:

  • Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said on Wednesday that he has yet to decide on a captain for the U.S. squad (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press). Given his résumé, his veteran status, and his previous international experience, Kevin Durant seems like the most obvious choice, though Draymond Green and Damian Lillard could also be candidates.
  • Asked how likely it is that members of the U.S. Olympic squad will talk during the next month about teaming up in the NBA, Bradley Beal acknowledged that “probably a lot” of those conversations will take place. “Depends on who’s a free agent or not,” Beal said (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic). “But for the most part, we can’t mix that in right now. We’re focused on one goal at hand, and that’s bringing back a gold medal. Granted, we all have our respective, individual goals and talents once this is done. We can address those issues then.”
  • Organizers confirmed on Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases in the area. Ayano Shimizu of Kyodo News has the full story.

Pacific Notes: Drummond, Metu, Bagley, Curry

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond played together for the first time as teammates on Friday night in the Lakers‘ loss at home to the Kings.

Drummond, who signed a free-agent deal to join the team in March, had yet to play with the superstar duo together as James and Davis recovered from injuries. The 28-year-old finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and 24 minutes in the losing effort against Sacramento.

“He makes the game very easy for everybody,” Drummond said after his first game with James, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. “I feel like he sees everything. He’s like a quarterback, so having him out there’s been really fun — my first game being on the same side as him. It’s definitely been a great learning experience for me, I’m looking forward to being on the court with him more to do better things.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division today:

  • Kings center Chimezie Metu underwent an X-ray on his lower back that came back clean on Friday, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento tweets. Metu is experiencing back soreness after sustaining a hard fall in the contest. He left in the second quarter and didn’t return.
  • Marvin Bagley III‘s recent time away from the Kings was something that he and the team both agreed upon, Jason Jones of The Athletic tweets. Bagley, who returned on Friday after missing 23 games due to a fractured left hand, told reporters that his absence wasn’t a vacation and said that both sides felt it was best.
  • Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is continuing to accelerate his team’s timeline, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic writes. Curry has put forth an MVP-caliber season despite Golden State owning just a 31-32 record, averaging a career-high 31.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.

Kings Promote Chimezie Metu To 15-Man Roster

11:33am: Metu’s deal is for three years, meaning the Kings used some of their mid-level exception to complete the signing, tweets Jones.

Metu received about $700K for the rest of the season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who tweets that the following two years are non-guaranteed.


11:17am: Kings big man Chimezie Metu has spent all of 2020/21 on a two-way contract, but with just 19 days left in the regular season, Sacramento is signing him to a standard contract, promoting him to the 15-man roster, reports Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has confirmed Metu’s new multiyear deal, announcing it in a press release.

“Chimezie has worked hard this season and done a terrific job to earn his place on the team,” Kings general manager Monte McNair said in a statement. “He provides toughness and energy to the group. We are happy to watch his career develop in a Kings uniform.”

Metu, 24, initially came to training camp in December on a non-guaranteed contract, and while he didn’t earn a spot on the 15-man roster to start the season, the Kings liked him enough to bring him back on a two-way deal after he cleared waivers.

Metu has since emerged as a regular rotation player, appearing in 28 games (10.1 MPG) and averaging 5.1 PPG and 2.5 RPG. The former USC standout missed a chunk of the season after breaking his wrist on February 14, but he has appeared in all but one game since returning to action on March 24.

The Kings had one open spot on their 15-man roster before promoting Metu. They also intend to waive Chris Silva, opening up another spot in order to sign Damian Jones to a rest-of-season contract. Once all those moves are official, Sacramento will have a full 15-man roster, with an open two-way slot.

Although the exact terms of Metu’s new multiyear deal are unclear for now, the Kings could theoretically use their mid-level exception to sign him to a contract that goes beyond 2021/22 and/or exceeds the minimum. If they do, it would be the second time this season they’ve used a portion of their mid-level on Metu — his non-guaranteed camp deal was a three-year pact that took $1.6MM out of Sacramento’s $9.26MM MLE.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: CP3, Suns, Oubre, Kings, Metu

The Suns, who last made the NBA postseason 11 years ago, remain very much in the hunt for the top seed in the Western Conference, as their 41-16 mark puts them just a game-and-a-half behind the 43-15 Jazz. While the ongoing development of several young Phoenix players has been a major factor in the team’s improvement, the offseason arrival of Chris Paul was arguably the key turning point in making the Suns a legitimate contender.

“I don’t have enough time to talk about everything he’s done,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said of Paul, per Royce Young of ESPN. “He’s brought such a — he’s improved the winning mentality. All of our guys want to win. But when you see a guy that has done it from afar and then you look at how he does it, from his diet to the exercise routine he has every day, and then in game when he’s able to be in those situations and really lift the level of our team, it’s pretty cool to watch.”

In addition to impressing Williams, who said he has “story after story” about the impact Paul has had in Phoenix, the veteran point guard has made a lasting impression on his young teammates, including fellow All-Star guard Devin Booker.

“I’m inspired every day. I tell Chris that every day. It’s not something I’m going to take for granted,” Booker said of his Suns’ backcourt mate. “I pick his brain. I listen to him — closely. I watch how he moves, and even when he’s not talking or leading us, I just watch how he goes about his business. There’s so much respect for him and not just from me, but leaguewide and worldwide.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Warriors forward Kelly Oubre made some comments in March suggesting he wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea of coming off the bench, but he accepted a reserve role in stride upon his return to action on Monday, head coach Steve Kerr told reporters (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Oubre’s role as a sixth man gives the second unit a boost this season and could be a preview of next season’s rotation if the 25-year-old re-signs with Golden State, writes Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The Kings have been in a brutal slump this month, but their deadline additions continue to look good, as Delon Wright and Terence Davis played key role in a Sunday win that snapped a nine-game losing streak, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.
  • Kings big man Chimezie Metu, who missed nearly a month-and-a-half earlier this season due to broken wrist he suffered when he was thrown to the court by Jonas Valanciunas, said he’s not holding a grudge toward the Grizzlies center, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays. “It is frustrating looking back on it at times because who knows what could have happened in those six weeks for myself and what that could have meant for my career or for the team, for the team’s success,” Metu said. “… It’s tough looking back at it. It was tough in the moment, but I hold no hate in my heart for Valanciunas.”

Pacific Notes: Kings, Metu, Holmes, Wiseman, Coffey

The Kings remain upset about a play in their game on Sunday against Memphis, when Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas threw Chimezie Metu to the ground following a dunk. Metu, who is on a two-way contract with Sacramento, fractured his wrist while trying to break his fall and will miss at least the next month.

After dunking, Metu hung on the rim with Valanciunas underneath him and the Grizzlies’ big man responded by grabbing Metu’s legs and throw him to the court. Memphis contends that Metu was trying to show up Valanciunas by hanging over him following the dunk, while the Kings insist the 23-year-old had no place to safely land. Valanciunas was assessed with a technical foul, not a flagrant, a ruling the NBA upheld after reviewing the play, much to the Kings’ displeasure.

“I thought it was a dirty play — still do,” Kings coach Luke Walton said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “Watched it a lot since and just disappointed. … He hooked him by the leg and tried to throw him down, so I didn’t understand how that is not, in what today’s NBA is, is not even considered a flagrant foul. I don’t see how that’s a basketball play.”

“There are people who think that was right or (Valanciunas) was in the right by any means, which is also ridiculous,” Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton said. “It’s hard to understand if you think that, because Mezie has nowhere to go. He can’t land on the ground there and the timing between him being thrown to the ground and the timing of the dunk, there’s not a lot of time there. It’s not like he wrapped his legs around and tried to taunt. We were down 20. He’s not trying to taunt him. He’s trying to stay safe.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Asked about his priorities when he reaches free agency this summer, Kings center Richaun Holmes told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, “I want to be able to take care of my family.” While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll simply accept the most lucrative offer available, it sounds like Holmes won’t be eager to accept any sort of home-team discount.
  • The Warriors issued a formal update on James Wiseman on Thursday, announcing that they hope he’ll return from his left wrist injury at some point during the team’s four-game road trip that begins Friday in Orlando. While it remains to be seen if he’ll be available on Saturday in Charlotte, that game will represent the first checkpoint in what figures to be an ongoing Wiseman/LaMelo Ball redraft debate, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Golden State picked Wiseman second overall, leaving Ball – the standout rookie so far this season – for the Hornets at No. 3.
  • Amir Coffey hasn’t played much for the Clippers since signing a two-way contract in the summer of 2019, but injuries have cleared the way for him to earn major minutes this week — he has averaged 14.0 PPG on 76.9% shooting in the last two games (29.0 MPG). As Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes, Reggie Jackson observed that Coffey is “trying not to be sent back down” to the G League bubble once L.A.’s roster gets healthier.

Kings Forward Chimezie Metu Has Fractured Wrist

8:44pm: Metu will be re-evaluated in four weeks, according to a team press release.


5:09pm: Kings forward Chimezie Metu has a fractured wrist and will be sidelined for several weeks, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.

The injury occurred on what Kings coach Luke Walton deemed a “dangerous play” by Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas on Sunday.

Metu continued to experience soreness after going through pregame warmups for Monday’s game against the Nets. An X-ray afterward revealed a right wrist fracture.

He’ll be examined by a hand specialist to determine his recovery timeline, Anderson adds.

After Metu dunked during the fourth quarter on Sunday, he hung from the rim with Valanciunas standing beneath him. Valanciunas appeared to pull Metu down by his left leg, according to Anderson, causing him to crash to the floor. Metu extended his right hand to break his fall.

Valanciunas was given a technical foul on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct, but not a flagrant foul.

Metu is on a two-way contract with the Kings. A 2018 second-round pick of the Spurs, Metu has appeared in 11 games for the Kings this season. He’s averaging 3.4 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 6.5 MPG.