Christian Koloko

Contract Details: Koloko, Caboclo, Silva, Tillman, Watanabe, Spurs

As initially reported by Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca, the Raptors used exactly $1.5MM of their mid-level exception to sign rookie big man Christian Koloko to a three-year contract on Friday. With the second and third years worth the minimum, Koloko’s deal has a total three-year value of $5,239,563.

The first two years of that contract are fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned, with the third year non-guaranteed. Koloko’s salary for 2024/25 would become fully guaranteed if he hasn’t been waived within 48 hours of the 2024 NBA draft.

Here are a few more details on newly-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • The new one-year, non-guaranteed contracts for Bruno Caboclo (Celtics), Chris Silva (Hawks), and Justin Tillman (Nuggets) all include Exhibit 10 language. Silva’s and Tillman’s deals could be converted into two-way contracts, but Caboclo’s can’t, since he has too many years of NBA service to be two-way eligible.
  • Yuta Watanabe‘s one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Nets includes an Exhibit 9 clause, but not an Exhibit 10. That essentially means that Watanabe is only in the mix to compete for a regular season roster spot and probably won’t be joining Brooklyn’s G League affiliate if he’s cut (he’s ineligible for a two-way deal).
  • Alize Johnson‘s non-guaranteed contract with the Spurs is an Exhibit 9, but not an Exhibit 10. Tommy Kuhse‘s deal is an Exhibit 10, so he could have it converted into a two-way deal or could become an affiliate player for the Austin Spurs.

Raptors Sign Second-Rounder Christian Koloko

The Raptors have signed second-round pick Christian Koloko to a multiyear contract, the team announced today in a press release.

According to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link), Toronto used a portion of its mid-level exception to give Koloko a three-year contract. He’ll earn $1.5MM in 2022/23 and minimum salaries the following two seasons, Murphy reports.

Since the Raptors already gave Otto Porter Jr. $6MM of their mid-level exception in free agency, using an additional $1.5MM on Koloko will push them over the taxpayer portion ($6,479,000) of the MLE, so Toronto will be hard-capped for the rest of the season, meaning the team will be unable to surpass the tax apron of $156,983,000. Currently, the Raptors’ team salary is below the luxury tax line of $150,267,000, so the hard cap shouldn’t be a pressing issue.

The 33rd pick of June’s draft, Koloko was one of only three remaining players who was drafted, had yet to be signed, and wasn’t expected to play overseas. The other two players are Pelicans forward E.J. Liddell, who unfortunately suffered a torn ACL in Summer League, and Pacers forward Kendall Brown.

The long delay in Koloko’s signing was speculated to be tied to Kevin Durant‘s trade request out of Brooklyn, as the Raptors likely wanted to keep their options open in case of a deal. However, Durant and the Nets are said to be “moving forward” together, and now Toronto has signed its lone 2022 draft pick.

A 7’1″ big man from Cameroon, Koloko most recently played for the Raptors in Summer League, appearing in five games (22 MPG) while averaging 7.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.8 SPG and a team-high 2.2 BPG.

Koloko played three seasons of college ball at Arizona, earning numerous accolades for his breakout junior season in ’21/22, including Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, and first-team All-Pac-12. In 37 games (25.4 MPG) for the Wildcats last season, he averaged 12.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.8 BPG while shooting 63.5% from the floor and 73.5% from the line.

Raptors Notes: Harris, Koloko, Trent, Birch

The Raptors have several options with Jalen Harris now that they’ve reportedly extended a two-way qualifying offer, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Harris, who was dismissed from the NBA in July of 2021 for violating the terms of the league’s anti-drug program, was reinstated last week.

The QO makes Harris a restricted free agent and gives Toronto the opportunity to match any offer he might receive. He can also be signed-and-traded, although Koreen believes that’s unlikely considering his year-long absence.

The Raptors are likely targeting Harris for their G League affiliate, but first he would have to sign an Exhibit 10 contract or enter the G League draft. Toronto currently has 19 players under contract, and Koreen expects the final spot to go to Arizona center Christian Koloko, who was taken with the 33rd pick in this year’s draft. However, rookie forward Gabe Brown has an Exhibit 10 deal and appears ticketed for the G League. Once he’s waived, there would be an opening for Harris.

There’s more from Toronto:

  • Contract considerations may affect how the Raptors utilize Gary Trent Jr. this season, Koreen adds in the same piece. Trent holds an $18.56MM player option for the 2023/24 season, so Koreen believes the team may be reluctant to move him to a full-time sixth-man role, which could reduce his desire to remain in Toronto. Koreen also notes that the Raptors will eventually run into salary issues, so they might not be planning to pay Trent as a starter beyond his current contract. Trent put up career-best numbers in his first full season in Toronto, averaging 18.3 points and 2.0 assists in 70 games.
  • Khem Birch expects to be ready for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in late May, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Injuries limited the 29-year-old center to 55 games last season.
  • The Raptors are a “sleeping giant” in the East, according to Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. Golliver notes that the organization is set up well for the future with no bad contracts on its books and all its future first-round picks available. Toronto has two current All-Stars in Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, a potential franchise player in Scottie Barnes and a group of rotation players who are all younger than 30.

Checking In Again On Unsigned 2022 Draft Picks

We’re about a month-and-a-half removed from the 2022 NBA draft, and – as our tracker shows – 46 of the 58 players selected on June 23 have signed their first NBA contracts.

The 12 unsigned players are as follows:

  1. Toronto Raptors: Christian Koloko, F/C
  2. Detroit Pistons: Gabriele Procida, G
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Khalifa Diop, C
  4. New Orleans Pelicans: E.J. Liddell, F
  5. Denver Nuggets: Ismael Kamagate, C
  6. Indiana Pacers: Kendall Brown, F
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Matteo Spagnolo, G
  8. New Orleans Pelicans: Karlo Matkovic, F
  9. Washington Wizards: Yannick Nzosa, C
  10. Golden State Warriors: Gui Santos, F
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: Luke Travers, G/F
  12. Milwaukee Bucks: Hugo Besson, G

Most of these prospects will likely spend the 2022/23 season playing in non-NBA leagues around the world. Procida, Diop, Kamagate, Spagnolo, Matkovic, Nzosa, Santos, Travers, and Besson are all good bets to be draft-and-stash players.

That essentially just leaves three 2022 draftees in limbo: Koloko, Liddell, and Brown.

A player selected within the first five picks of the second round, like Koloko was, virtually always receives a multiyear contract that includes at least a year or two of guaranteed money. It’s hard to imagine that won’t be the case for Koloko, despite the Raptors‘ roster crunch. Toronto already has 13 players on guaranteed contracts, with three players on partial guarantees vying for a regular season spot, so if Koloko signs, it would leave one fewer spot up for grabs.

It’s worth noting that once Koloko officially signs, he’ll be ineligible to be traded for 30 days, so it’s possible the Raptors are keeping their options open in case their Kevin Durant trade talks with the Nets get serious.

Toronto may also be mulling whether to use a portion of its mid-level exception to sign Koloko to a contract that spans three or four years. Taking that route, instead of signing him to a two-year, minimum-salary contract, would ensure he remains under team control for an extra season or two, but would hard-cap the Raptors for the 2022/23 season, since the club already used $6MM of its MLE to sign Otto Porter.

Liddell, meanwhile, suffered an unfortunate break to begin his professional career, tearing his ACL during the Las Vegas Summer League. Before he sustained that injury, the question was probably whether Liddell would receive a standard contract or a two-way deal. Now, the question is whether New Orleans still willing to sign him to a two-way contract or whether the team wants to use that slot on someone who could actually contribute on the court in 2022/23.

If they fill their two-way slots, the Pelicans would probably like to see Liddell sign a G League contract and spend the season rehabbing with the Birmingham Squadron before he signs his first NBA deal a year from now.

As for Brown, it remains to be seen whether he’ll begin the season on the Pacers‘ standard 15-man roster or on a two-way deal. For now, Indiana could go in either direction, but the club could be waiting to see whether there are any more trades to be made before training camp begins — if the Pacers were to complete a deal involving Myles Turner and/or Buddy Hield, the number of players they receive in that trade would have an impact on whether or not there’s room on the standard roster for Brown.

For example, if Indiana send Turner and Hield to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook and draft assets, then bought out Westbrook, it would open up two extra spots on the projected 15-man roster. In that scenario, signing Brown to a three- or four-year standard contract would make sense.

Atlantic Notes: G. Williams, Duke, Koloko, Mitchell

The Celtics have a recent history of reaching extensions with their first-round picks, and Grant Williams hopes to be next, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Weiss reports that Boston has already started extension talks with Williams, who displayed his value during the team’s run to the NBA Finals. He provides a strong defensive presence off the bench and shot 39.3% from three-point range during this year’s playoffs.

Williams talks about wanting to play his entire career for the Celtics and help the organization add more banners to the rafters. Weiss notes that negotiations might be tricky in light of recent deals for similar players, but Williams expressed confidence that management will be fair with him.

“Just making sure that the extension works for both sides. My number one focus is winning,” Williams said. “You take care of the good guys. You take care of the guys that provide value to your team, both on and off the floor. I feel like the Celtics are feeling the same way. I’m not too stressed about the negotiations because I feel like both parties want to get a deal done.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • David Duke Jr. improved his chances for a standard contract after turning down a two-way offer from the Nets prior to Summer League, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Duke, who also had a Summer League offer from the Raptors, showed the most improvement among Brooklyn’s second-year players in Las Vegas, Lewis observes. “The great thing is I haven’t noticed anything other than complete professionalism and dedication to playing well and doing everything we asked of him: Attacking and being aggressive within the team framework,” coach Adam Caporn said. “I just love what he’s doing defensively, picking the ball up, setting the tone. He’s doing everything the right way.”
  • The Raptors may be saving part of their mid-level exception to sign second-round pick Christian Koloko, Eric Koreen of The Athletic suggests in an overview of Toronto’s roster. Koreen adds that the team might also be waiting to to see if the Arizona center’s draft rights are needed in a trade package before officially signing him.
  • The Knicks‘ collection of young players and draft assets makes them seem like a logical landing spot for Donovan Mitchell, but Fred Katz of The Athletic looks at why Jazz CEO Danny Ainge and New York’s front office might night not be perfect trading partners.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sumner, Sims, Mazzulla

There will be quite the competition for the Raptors‘ final roster spots, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Although rookie Christian Koloko still hasn’t been signed, he seems like a safe bet to be the 13th player on a standard deal, per Lewenberg.

He does what he does very well and we probably don’t need him to do much more than that,” head coach Nick Nurse told TSN. “I love the way he runs, his feet are great, he’s blocking shots, screening OK and he’s got a pretty decent, safe pair of hands. And it’s probably a good roster fit.”

The 7’1″ center was the 33rd pick of last month’s draft. Second-year guard/forward Dalano Banton also has a good chance to be on the opening night roster, Lewenberg writes.

That leaves Justin Champagnie, D.J. Wilson, Armoni Brooks, David Johnson and Ron Harper Jr. battling it out for the final few roster spots. Toronto is expected to sign Harper to a two-way deal but he could earn a promotion if he impresses in training camp, according to Lewenberg, who notes that there’s also a chance the Raptors could waive Svi Mykhailiuk, who exercised his minimum-salary player option last month, in order to keep more than one of that group on a standard deal.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently reported that guard Edmond Sumner signed a two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Nets, and the second year is non-guaranteed. Ian Begley of SNY.tv provides more details about Sumner’s contract (via Twitter), reporting that the first years isn’tfully guaranteed either. Sumner’s 2022/23 guarantee will increase from $250K to $500K if he’s on the opening night roster, and the second season becomes fully guaranteed once the free agency moratorium lifts in 2023. That typically occurs on July 6.
  • As Fred Katz of The Athletic recently relayed, Jericho Sims‘ new contract with the Knicks is fully guaranteed at $2K above the minimum in ’22/23, the second year is at the minimum and partially guaranteed for $600K, and the final year is a team option for the minimum with a $651,180 partial guarantee. Begley reports (Twitter link) that the $600K in year two increases to $1.2MM if Sims is still on the roster by mid-July 2023, and the deal becomes fully guaranteed in mid-August ’23. The same structure applies to the third year, with the $651,180 increasing to $1.3MM in mid-July ’24 and a full guarantee in mid-August ’24.
  • Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said he will be promoting Joe Mazzulla to a role on the bench in place of Will Hardy, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Mazzulla recently interviewed for Utah’s head coaching vacancy, which ultimately went to Hardy. He also interviewed for Boston’s job last summer.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Harden, Anunoby, Koloko, Celtics

As rumors swirl that Kyrie Irving is entertaining an exit out of Brooklyn that could impact Kevin Durant‘s future with the Nets, Durant himself said on the ETCs podcast that he doesn’t plan to get involved in Irving’s free agency decision.

“This is this man’s livelihood. This is much bigger than me,” Durant said, according to NetsDaily. “Being a free agent, it’s one of the most important times in your career. That can’t be swayed by anybody else. I just do me and wait for the time.

“There’s nothing that can happen right now. I don’t think he can even make a decision on opting out until the 29th, I think. I just let things play out and see what happens, but keep the regular contact up with Kai and see what happens. It’s something that’s so much out of my control that I don’t want to be a part of it. We’ll see what happens though.”

Asked about this week’s reports about him and Irving, Durant downplayed them without dismissing them entirely.

“It’s just reports. You know, that go around this time, the draft, the Finals just ended. You just got to keep that dialogue going, keep that engagement going. So, obviously, it’s an interesting topic,” Durant said. “There’s a lot going on with our team. Uncertainty with Ben (Simmons) not playing with us, us being swept in the playoffs, Kyrie’s situation being a free agent. So there’s a lot of certainty with our team. I understand why there’s so much noise around us, but as individuals, you control what you can. If the time’s right, everything will work out for itself.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Asked about James Harden‘s contract situation on Thursday, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey didn’t offer up any specifics, but expressed optimism about the relationship going forward, writes Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “As you guys have heard, it’s a mutual lovefest, so we feel like we’ll work it out,” Morey said.
  • The Trail Blazers engaged in a “full-court press” this week in an effort to acquire OG Anunoby from the Raptors, but Toronto was unmoved, reports Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. While that doesn’t rule out the possibility of Anunoby being traded later in the offseason, head coach Nick Nurse said on Thursday that “guys like him are hard to find in this league.”
  • Within the same story, Grange writes that the Raptors‘ No. 33 pick – Christian Koloko – brings the sort of height and rim-protecting ability that the team had been lacking. “It’s something we don’t have,” general manager Bobby Webster said of Koloko’s skill set.
  • The Celtics have done their homework on the players that fit into their $17MM+ trade exception and have considered various scenarios, but haven’t found one they like yet, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said during his post-draft media session on Thursday. “If that thing vanishes because we don’t find the right deal, we still have two other (trade exceptions) that don’t expire until the trade deadline,” Stevens said, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links). As our tracker shows, Boston’s $17MM exception will expire on July 18, at which point the team will still have TPEs worth about $7MM and $6MM.

Southeast Draft Notes: Wizards, Magic, Hawks, Hornets

The Wizards have six draft prospects visiting on Tuesday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. They’ll evaluate Jules Bernard (UCLA), Theo John (Duke), Davion Mintz (Kentucky), Alex O’Connell (Creighton), Nate Roberts (Washington) and Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas).

We have more draft-related news involving Southeast Division clubs:

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Hunter, Jovic, Griffin, Maker

The Hawks have been identified in previous reports as a possible Rudy Gobert suitor, and multiple league sources have indicated the Jazz are interested in De’Andre Hunter, according to Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. Hunter is extension-eligible this offseason. However, according to Moore, the Hawks have tried to steer any teams inquiring on Hunter to players like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter instead.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)