Chinanu Onuaku

And-Ones: Onuaku, Davies, Grantham, Christon

Former NBA big man Chinanu Onuaku, the reigning Israeli Winner League MVP with Bnei Herzliya, is set to work out for the Raptors, Mavericks and Celtics this month, per Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.

The Rockets selected the 6’10” Onuaku out of Louisville with the No. 37 pick in 2016. He appeared in just six games across two seasons with Houston, averaging 3.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 0.7 APG across 12.3 MPG.

Several EuroLeague teams, including Maccabi Tel Aviv, are interested in Onuaku following his strong performance in the Israeli League playoffs. He averaged 15.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals during the Israeli Winner League’s regular season.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Brandon Davies is set to leave FC Barcelona and sign with Italian club Olimpia Milano, per Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The 30-year-old former NBA power forward went undrafted out of BYU in 2013, before latching on with the Sixers in the 2013/14 NBA season. He played 51 games for Philadelphia that year, then split his time between the Sixers and Nets in ’14/15. He holds career NBA averages of 3.7 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 78 contests.
  • After spending the 2021/22 season with Chalons-Reims, former NBA forward Donte Grantham is signing with French team SLUC Nancy, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Grantham played in just three games for Oklahoma City in 2018/19.
  • Former Thunder guard Semaj Christon will sign with Italian club Bertram Derthona Tortona, writes Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. Christon appeared in 64 games as OKC’s backup point guard in 2016/17.

Central Notes: Allen, Οnuaku, Pacers Arena, Robinson

The fractured finger that All-Star Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen has been struggling with since March has healed, sources inform Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).

Fedor adds that over ten Cleveland players are returning to the club’s practice facility this week. Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton is partaking in on-court workouts but is not yet practicing with others, Fedor adds. Sexton is still on the mend from a meniscus tear that cost him all but 11 games this season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are among the NBA teams scouting Israeli Basketball Premier League big man Chinanu Οnuaku, per Aris Barkas and Stefan Djordjevic of Eurohoops. After being selected by the Rockets with the No. 37 pick in the 2016 draft, Onuaku played for two years with Houston and its NBAGL affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He has since suited up for clubs in Korea, Croatia and now Israel, where his club, Bnei Herzliya, is facing Maccabi Tel Aviv in the league semifinals. Barkas and Djordjevic note that EuroLeague teams are also intrigued by Onuaku’s recent performance.
  • The Pacers‘ home arena is putting the finishing touches on a three-year facelift. Gainbridge Fieldhouse is closing its doors until October as it undergoes the last in a series of renovations that will total a projected sticker price of $360MM, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.
  • A league source has told Marc Berman of the New York Post that the Pistons are expected to pursue unrestricted free agent center Mitchell Robinson, now that draft target Chet Holmgren, projected to be a top-three pick, appears to be off the table for Detroit. The Pistons slipped to No. 5 in the draft as a result of the lottery.

And-Ones: Option Decisions, Avdija, Draft, Onuaku

With the NBA season over and 2020’s free agent period approaching (eventually), John Hollinger of The Athletic takes a look at all 43 team and player option decisions that must be made this fall, evaluating which options are likely to be exercised and which will be turned down.

While Anthony Davis and Jerami Grant are viewed as the only locks to decline their respective player options this offseason, Hollinger identifies seven more players who he thinks will opt for free agency: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Wesley Matthews, Austin Rivers, Willie Cauley-Stein, and James Ennis.

With the exception of Caldwell-Pope, McGee, and Cauley-Stein – who is technically earning slightly above the minimum – those players are all on minimum-salary deals, so it won’t be a surprise if they explore the open market, even if they have to settle for another minimum contract. However, KCP’s case should be interesting — his $8.49MM option for 2020/21 is close to mid-level territory, but he could still probably do better after an impressive showing in the NBA Finals.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks take a look at next steps for the NBA, including what next season’s schedule might look like and when roster moves might resume. While there’s currently a freeze on transactions, team executives confirmed to ESPN that the moratorium will be lifted and trades will be permitted before the draft on November 18.
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and Jeremy Woo of SI.com have each published updated versions of their mock drafts for 2020. Both draft experts have Anthony Edwards going No. 1, but O’Connor has a surprise pick at No. 2, penciling in Deni Avdija. League executives expect Avdija to “enter the mainstream conversation as a top-three pick” in the coming weeks, according to O’Connor.
  • Former NBA big man Chinanu Onuaku has reached an agreement to sign with Croatian team KK Zadar, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Onuaku was the 37th overall pick in the 2016 draft, but didn’t see much action in two seasons with Houston, appearing in just six total games before being traded and waived.

World Cup Notes: Olynyk, Canada, Select Team

As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a knee injury will prevent Heat forward Kelly Olynyk from playing for Team Canada during this year’s World Cup in China. The Heat confirmed as much today in a press release announcing Olynyk’s right knee bone bruise.

According to Wojnarowski and the Heat, Olynyk is expected to be ready for the start of the NBA regular season. However, it’s not clear whether he’ll be healthy enough to fully participate in training camp next month. If he’s not, it could mean added reps for the likes of Meyers Leonard, James Johnson, Duncan Robinson, and/or some camp invitees.

As for Team Canada, their World Cup squad takes yet another hit. It has been overshadowed by all the Team USA withdrawals, but Team Canada has also experienced an exodus of NBA players from its roster, as we detailed last week. Olynyk joins Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tristan Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Dwight Powell, and many other Canadians on the list of players won’t be participating in the 2019 World Cup.

Here are a few more notes related to the World Cup:

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)

And-Ones: Team USA, Walton, J. Crawford, Draft

USA Basketball has announced its 13-man roster for the upcoming 2019 World Cup qualifiers, with the squad once again made up of NBA G League players. Of the 13 players on the roster, Reggie Hearn, Xavier Munford, Cameron Reynolds, and Travis Trice have suited up for previous World Cup qualifiers.

They’ll be joined by nine newcomers, including players with a little NBA experience like Chinanu Onuaku and Emanuel Terry.

Josh Adams, Kyle Casey, Chris Chiozza, Charles Cooke, Michael Frazier II, D.J. Hogg, and Tanner McGrew round out the roster.

Team USA, having gone 8-2 in previous qualifiers, has already earned its spot in the 2019 World Cup, so there won’t be as much pressure on this group for the games taking place in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 22 (vs. Panama) and February 25 (vs. Argentina).

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

  • Former Michigan and Heat point guard Derrick Walton, who recently left his team in Lithuania, has signed with ALBA Berlin in Germany, according to the club (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). Walton was on a two-way contract with Miami last season and was in training camp with the Bulls in the fall before heading overseas.
  • Veteran NBA guard Jordan Crawford saw his one-month contract with Israeli club Ironi Nahariya expire and is once again a free agent, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando relays.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has released an updated 2019 mock draft at ESPN.com, with Murray State’s Ja Morant moving up to No. 3 to break up a run of Duke prospects at the top of the draft.
  • In an entertaining piece for SI.com, Jake Fischer spoke to a number of role players who have been traded along with stars to find out what it’s like to be an afterthought at an introductory press conference.

2018 NBA G League Draft Recap

The Jazz’ G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, selected five-year NBA veteran Willie Reed with the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s G League draft. Reed, 28, has played for the Nets, Heat, Clippers, and Pistons, holding career averages of 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 152 career contests. Some other notable selections include:

Onuaku, 21, was just recently waived by the Trail Blazers. He was selected in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, and has extensive G League experience, playing in 83 total games for the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers the past two seasons.

Warrick, 36, last played in the NBA during the 2012-13 season with the Charlotte Bobcats, where he appeared in 27 games and scored 7.0 PPG. In 526 career games, the Syracuse product averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Last season, the veteran played with Ironi Nahariya of the Israeli Premier League.

Blair, 29, last played in the NBA during the 2015-16 season with the Wizards, where he appeared in 29 games and averaged only 7.5 minutes per contest. In 424 career games, the big man averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Blair most recently played professionally for San Lorenzo de Almagro in Argentina.

The full results of all four rounds of this year’s G League draft can be viewed here.

Trail Blazers Cut Payton, Oliver, Onuaku

The Trail Blazers have waived Gary Payton II, Cameron Oliver and Chinanu Onuaku, according to an official release from the team. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. All three players were on fully non-guaranteed contracts, so Portland won’t be on the hook for any money.

With the moves, the Trail Blazers have lowered their roster count to 15 players in anticipation of the upcoming regular season. Portland could have kept one or two of Payton, Oliver, and/or Onuaku as two-way players, but with no G League affiliate, the team decided not to go that route.

Payton, 25, is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton. He has seen a little NBA action over the last two seasons with the Lakers and Bucks, but spent most of his time in the G League.

Oliver, 22, signed a training camp contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in 2017, but was waived before the regular season.  He averaged 10.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 39 total G League games last season.

Onuaku, 21, was selected in the second-round of the 2016 NBA Draft, but has only appeared in six NBA regular season games in his first two NBA seasons. Like Payton and Oliver, he has extensive G League experience, playing in 83 total games for the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers the past two seasons.

Trail Blazers Sign Three Players To Camp Deals

SEPTEMBER 4: The Trail Blazers have officially announced their deals with Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton, confirming the signings in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 3: Three free agents are set to join the Trail Blazers on training camp deals, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that Chinanu Onuaku, Cameron Oliver, and Gary Payton II have all reached agreements with Portland.

Onuaku, a 2016 second-round pick, appeared in just six NBA regular season games in two seasons with the Rockets. The former Louisville center has spent most of his two professional seasons in the G League, playing in 83 total games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and averaging 12.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG to go along with 2.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.1 SPG, and a .617 FG%. The 21-year-old was traded from Houston to Dallas earlier this offseason, with the Mavericks subsequently waiving him.

Oliver, a former Nevada standout, signed a training camp contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in 2017, but was waived by Houston just before the regular season began. The 6’8″ forward spent his rookie season in the G League with Delaware and Wisconsin, averaging 10.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 39 total games.

Payton, meanwhile, is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton. The 25-year-old point guard has seen a little NBA action over the last two seasons, appearing in 29 total contests for the Lakers and Bucks. Like Onuaku and Oliver, he also had a stint with the Rockets earlier in his career and has extensive G League experience.

The Trail Blazers already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, meaning there might not be any opportunities for their camp invitees to earn regular season roster spots. Portland also doesn’t have its own G League squad, so Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton won’t become affiliate players for the Blazers.

Still, the Blazers haven’t filled either of their two-way contract slots, and Onuaku, Oliver, and Payton would all qualify for a two-way deal. It’s possible that one or two of them could have their camp contracts converted to two-way pacts if they look good in the preseason.

Mavericks Waive Chinanu Onuaku

AUGUST 6: The Mavs have officially waived Onuaku, according to a team press release.

AUGUST 2: The Mavericks will waive newly-acquired center Chinanu Onuaku, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). After completing the move, Dallas will be able to move forward with other signings, such as the club’s new deal with free agent guard Devin Harris.

Onuaku, 21, appeared in just six NBA regular season games in two NBA seasons with the Rockets. The former Louisville big man has spent most of his two professional seasons in the G League, playing in 83 total games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and averaging 12.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG to go along with 2.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.1 SPG. He also has a .617 FG% in the NBAGL.

While the Mavs’ acquisition of Onuaku may look pointless now that he’s being released, it essentially represented a no-cost opportunity to move up a few spots in the second round of the 2020 draft. The Rockets are reportedly covering Onuaku’s salary with cash as part of the trade, with the Mavs giving up the rights to a player who will likely never play in the NBA. Dallas will get the chance to swap the Warriors’ 2020 second-round pick for Houston’s second-rounder.

As we noted earlier today, the Mavs had already committed to free agent deals with 21 players this offseason, so it’s not a surprise that they’re cutting Onuaku to help make room for those signings. They’ll need to release or trade one more player to finalize all their reported deals.

As for Onuaku, once he’s officially waived, he’ll spent two days on waivers. If he goes unclaimed, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, eligible to sign with any team except the Rockets.