David Nwaba

Rockets Sign David Nwaba To Two-Year Deal

10:28pm: The Rockets have officially signed Nwaba, waiving Hartenstein to create the necessary roster spot, the club confirmed in a press release.

5:54pm: The Rockets have reached an agreement with free agent swingman David Nwaba, who will sign a two-year deal with the club, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Nwaba started the 2019/20 season with the Nets, but suffered a torn Achilles tendon in December and was waived shortly thereafter. The 27-year-old is still recovering from that Achilles injury, so he won’t actually play for Houston during the resumed season in Orlando, per Charania.

In other words, the Rockets are signing Nwaba for his potential 2020/21 value, and they’re reportedly paying well above the minimum to secure his rights — Charania suggests (via Twitter) that the two-year agreement will pay Nwaba $900K this season, with a team option for ’20/21. A minimum salary for the rest of the season would pay Nwaba less than $200K, so Houston will have to use the remaining portion of its taxpayer mid-level exception to complete the signing.

Nwaba, a strong perimeter defender, also held his own on the offensive end for Brooklyn in 20 games this season, averaging 5.2 PPG on .521/.429/.667 shooting in 13.4 minutes per contest. He previously appeared in 141 total games for the Lakers, Bulls, and Cavaliers, dating back to 2017.

In order to officially complete their deal with Nwaba, the Rockets will need to waive a player on their 15-man roster to create an opening. There’s no word yet on who will be the odd man out, but Houston has a handful of players on the roster who have limited roles and aren’t owed guaranteed money beyond this season, including Tyson Chandler, Bruno Caboclo, Isaiah Hartenstein, Thabo Sefolosha, and Chris Clemons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: Robinson, Irving, Nwaba, Ellenson, Payton

The past two seasons, one of the few bright spots on the Knicks‘ roster has been athletic center, Mitchell Robinson. As an elite shot-blocker and rebounder who has developing scoring ability, Robinson has cemented himself as a key part of New York’s future.

Offseason acquisition and NBA veteran Taj Gibson has taken on the role of mentor for the 21-year-old big man. In Gibson’s opinion, Robinson possesses talent that could make him an NBA All-Star, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

“This guy, a lot of players don’t have a niche. A lot of them don’t know where to start,” he said. “A lot of guys just come in and think it’s all about scoring and not defense. A lot of players are lost in the sauce with that. With Mitch, he already knows what he has to do. He’s a starting center and all he has to do is grow. If he pushes himself like he’s doing, he’ll be an All-Star. He doesn’t know how good he is.”

Check out more news from New York’s basketball teams:

  • Nets point guard Kyrie Irving will miss out on two additional bonuses, worth $125K each, for failing to play in at least 60 games this season, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (Twitter link). This brings the total money in incentives lost to $375K for the mercurial Brooklyn guard. We detailed Irving’s eight $125K incentives, totaling $1MM, right here.
  • Injuries and other roster needs forced the Nets to part with injured guard David Nwaba and Henry Ellenson in recent days. As Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes, Brooklyn is currently exploring options to upgrade the roster. “Obviously with all our injuries, we need the roster spot. We’re in discussions to see who we bring in,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said.
  • It was a life-changing and busy day for Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. After his girlfriend gave birth to their son on Friday morning, Payton flew to Phoenix for the Knicks’ evening tilt against the Suns. Payton finished with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Nets Waive David Nwaba, Will Sign Justin Anderson

JANUARY 3: The Nets have officially waived Nwaba, the team announced today in a press release.

JANUARY 2: Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reports (Twitter link) that the Nets will be waiving swingman David Nwaba, who has been ruled out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter) that Nwaba has a cap hit of $1.7MM for the 2019/20 season, but his non-guaranteed salary in 2020/21 will not impact Brooklyn’s salary cap next year. The team still has an $839,000 disabled player exception even after waiving Nwaba.

[RELATED: 2019/20 NBA Disabled Player Exceptions]

Since going undrafted in 2016, Nwaba has managed to carve out a small niche for himself as an athletic wing defender. Returning to the league after one of the most devastating injuries an NBA player can suffer will be no small feat.

In Nwaba’s stead, Brooklyn will ink G League wing Justin Anderson, currently on the Raptors 905, to a 10-day contract, Charania tweets. Anderson, the No. 21 pick by Dallas in 2015, has a career slash line of 5.3 PPG/2.6 RPG/0.7 APG in 13.2 MPG. He has played for the Mavericks, Sixers and Hawks.

Teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts as of this Sunday.

Nets Receive Disabled Player Exception

DECEMBER 24: The Nets’ DPE request has been granted, tweets Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.

DECEMBER 20: With David Nwaba expected to miss the rest of the season due to a torn right Achilles, the Nets have applied for a disabled player exception, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As we outline in our glossary entry on the disabled player exception, the NBA can grant a team a DPE to replace an injured player if the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15 of that league year.

If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. The DPE, which doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, can also be used to acquire a player on an expiring contract via trade or waivers if his salary fits into the exception.

[RELATED: 2019/20 NBA Disabled Player Exceptions]

Nwaba is on a minimum-salary contract, so even though the Nets’ request is very likely to be approved, it won’t help the team a whole lot. Brooklyn’s DPE would be worth just $839K.

The Nets would have until March 10 to use the exception, so it could come in handy later in the season when a prorated minimum-salary contract for a veteran will be worth less than $839K. For the time being, a minimum-salary deal would be worth more than the DPE for any player who’s not a rookie.

If the Nets want to bring back Iman Shumpert or sign another free agent, they’ll need to open up a roster spot. Trading or waiving Nwaba or another player would be the easiest path. Applying for a 16th roster spot via the hardship provision is another option, though the uncertain recovery timelines for Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, and Nicolas Claxton make it unclear whether or not that request would be approved.

Nets’ David Nwaba Suffers Torn Achilles

7:27pm: Nwaba underwent surgery Friday afternoon, according to a team press release.

7:45am: Nets swingman David Nwaba suffered a torn right Achilles tendon during Thursday’s loss in San Antonio, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Nwaba will undergo surgery on Friday to repair the tear.

While neither Charania nor Haynes offers a timeline for Nwaba’s recovery, it seems safe to assume he’ll miss the rest of the 2019/20 season. There’s also no guarantee he’ll be ready to go by opening night next fall, given how long it usually takes players to recover from Achilles tears.

“I just wish him the speediest recovery,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said after the game, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “There’s no guy on the team who does things more perfectly in terms of preparing for a game, preparing for a season. You just feel ill when you think about it.

It’s a tough blow for Nwaba, who had recently established himself as a regular contributor for Brooklyn. In the club’s first 19 games, he only appeared in 11 and averaged just 10.8 minutes per contest. Since then though, he had appeared in all nine games and never played fewer than 14 minutes during that stretch.

While the 26-year-old had been averaging a career-low 5.2 PPG, his shooting percentages were very good (.521 FG%, .429 3PT%) and he provided the Nets with strong perimeter defense.

With Nwaba out, Lewis wonders if the Nets will turn back to Iman Shumpert, who was recently waived due to a roster crunch but would provide a similar skill set. To re-sign Shumpert, Brooklyn would likely have to trade or waive Nwaba or another player to open up a spot on the 15-man roster.

Nwaba’s contract includes a July 7, 2020 trigger date for his non-guaranteed $1.82MM salary for the 2020/21 season, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). Even if the Nets waive him before that date, they’d be responsible for paying his ’20/21 salary until he’s fully healthy and able to return to the court.

The Nets are now eligible to apply for a disabled player exception (and have done so), but since Nwaba was on a minimum-salary deal, the value of such an exception would be limited to just $839K.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Fizdale, Powell, Nwaba, Temple

A member of the Knicks organization expects management to fire coach David Fizdale soon, Ian Begley of SNY-TV reports. Though that source doesn’t have decision-making authority on those matters, it shows the uneasiness within the organization at the moment, Begley adds. The Knicks have the Eastern Conference’s worst record and have dropped seven straight despite adding several veteran free agents over the summer.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Swingman Norman Powell has returned to the bench with Kyle Lowry back in the lineup but he’ll be an important part of the Raptors’ second unit, Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports. Powell scored 23 points against the Heat on Tuesday. Coach Nick Nurse told Powell, “‘Your role is an off the bench guy for this team, so let’s go kick some butt in this role and start getting used to it.’ And I was proud of him for doing that last night. He was huge.” Powell’s contract runs through 2021/22, with an $11.6MM player option on the final year.
  • Guard David Nwaba doesn’t have a guaranteed spot on the Nets‘ roster but coach Kenny Atkinson said he’s earned more playing time, Zach Brazilier of the New York Post relays. The team will have to make a roster move on December 15 when Wilson Chandler’s 25-game suspension ends and it could come down to Nwaba and Iman Shumpert, who was signed last month. “I’m not worried about that,” said Nwaba, whose salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed. “I just play my game and worry about contributing.”
  • With Kyrie Irving sidelined by a shoulder injury, Garrett Temple has made a big contribution, Howard Kussoy of the New York Post writes. Temple averaged 12.1 PPG and 2.8 APG during the first eight games Irving missed. Temple’s two-year, $9.8MM contract with the Nets includes a $5MM team option next season. “We all collectively wanted him. Everybody checked a yes box when we were in our recruiting phase, here’s a guy that would fit in well,” Atkinson said. “I’m a little surprised how he’s stepped it up to another level. … I’m really surprised but content.”

Nets Sign David Nwaba

JULY 17: The Nets have officially signed Nwaba, the team confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 14: David Nwaba has agreed to a two-year contract with the Nets, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The deal includes a team option for the second season, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who adds that the Pacers, Kings, Rockets and Suns all had interest in Nwaba (Twitter link).

It’ll be a minimum-salary deal for Nwaba, who will make approximately $1.7MM for the upcoming season and $1.8MM in 2020/21 with a July 7 deadline for the option decision, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Nets now have 15 players with guaranteed contracts.

Brooklyn will be the fourth stop in four years for the 26-year-old shooting guard, who spent his first three seasons with the Lakers, Bulls and Cavaliers. He appeared in 51 games for Cleveland this year, averaging 6.5 points in about 19 minutes per night.

The Cavs opted last month not to tender a $1.9MM qualifying offer to Nwaba, making him an unrestricted free agent. Even so, Cleveland had expressed some interest in bringing him back.

The addition of Nwaba continues an impressive summer for Brooklyn, which hit the free agent jackpot by signing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Smith, Nwaba

There’s a belief within the league that the Cavaliers will receive trade inquiries for Kevin Love this offseason, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes.

“Yes, one of the big-market teams that fail to land a big fish are going to make an offer for Kevin,” an executive told Vardon. Another source said that if Love was a free agent this summer and coming off of an injury-free year, he would be in line for a massive deal.

“He would get four years and $120MM in this marketplace,” the other executive said. “I mean, Al Horford might get a similar deal.”

Love will make slightly under $29MM during the 2019/20 season and has approximately $91MM on his deal in the ensuing three years. The opinion that Love’s contract allows him to be a positive asset isn’t unanimous throughout the league.

“His contract is hard to digest unless he’s clearly the missing piece,” a separate league executive told Vardon.

Love has been the subject of trade rumors ever since the Cavaliers acquired him during the 2014 offseason. He signed an extension with the club last offseason and the team has resisted trade overtures. GM Koby Altman won’t deal Love unless the return makes the Cavs a better squad, and Vardon writes that it’s unlikely that the kind of deal that Altman is looking for will surface.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • Trading J.R. Smith appears unlikely at this point, Vardon adds in the same piece. The team will need to waive him by June 30 to avoid paying his full contract. Only $3.9MM of his deal is guaranteed for next season.
  • Vardon (same piece) hears that the Cavs are likely to do David Nwaba “a favor” by not tendering him a qualifying offer, thus allowing him to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.
  • Free agency in Cleveland should be quiet with the franchise currently over the salary cap, Vardon explains. It’s unlikely the team uses a “significant” portion of its mid-level exception or the trade exception the franchise netted when it dealt away Rodney Hood this past season.
  • While cutting Smith loose will get the Cavaliers below the luxury tax threshold, it’s unlikely the team will consider going back over that line to fill their last couple open roster spots. Vardon expects Cleveland to fill those spots with minimum salary players.

Cavaliers Notes: Nwaba, Drew, Sexton, Frye

Having signed a one-year contract with the Cavaliers last summer in the hopes of playing a regular role, David Nwaba put up modest numbers in Cleveland, averaging 6.7 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 50 games (19.4 MPG) while playing solid perimeter defense. Now, he’s hoping for a longer-term stay with the Cavs, as he tells Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Nwaba said. “Hopefully everything works out where I’m back here. I don’t know what their plans are, but I want to come back.”

Nwaba, who missed time due to health issues in 2018/19, can be a restricted free agent this summer if the Cavaliers opt to issue a qualifying offer worth approximately $1.9MM. It remains to be seen if the team will do so.

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • Prior to what could have been his last game as the Cavaliers’ head coach, Larry Drew sidestepped a question asking whether he wanted to keep the job in 2019/20, writes Fedor. “I really don’t want to get into that part of it right now,” Drew said. “What I really want to do is just finish this game tonight and (general manager) Koby (Altman) and I will sit down and talk about it. We’re going to give it a few days and we’ll sit down and discuss it.”
  • It has been mostly a lost season in Cleveland, but the development of rookie point guard Collin Sexton has been a major silver lining, as Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com details.
  • In an entertaining piece for Cleveland.com, Fedor spoke to several of Channing Frye‘s teammates, ex-teammates, and executives who know him well. Those sources shared their memories of Frye, who will retire after having played his last NBA game on Tuesday.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Wayne Selden, Bulls, 24, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $2.86MM deal in 2017
Selden was part of the Justin Holiday deal with the Grizzlies in January. He could be a restricted free agent if Chicago chooses to extend a $1.93MM qualifying offer. Selden hasn’t done anything to convince the front office to retain his rights. He had an 18-point game in a blowout loss to Detroit on Sunday but he’s mostly been a non-factor off the bench. He’s posted a minus 4.5 Box Plus/Minus Rating, according to Basketball-Reference, which runs parallel to his career rating.

David Nwaba, Cavaliers, 26, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.5MM deal in 2018
Injuries and a lack of production have made this a ho-hum season for Nwaba, who is playing for his third team in three years. He’s had occasional outbursts, such as a 22-point outing against Brooklyn this month, but has otherwise done little to dent the stat sheet. He can be a restricted free agent if the front office extends a low-cost $1.89MM qualifying offer. The cash-strapped Cavs will probably decline that option unless they see him as a rotation piece going forward.

Jose Calderon, Pistons, 37, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.39MM deal in 2018
Calderon has carved out a nice, long NBA career that began in the 2005/06 season with Toronto. He rejoined his former Raptors coach, Dwane Casey, in Detroit as a third-string point guard after some good moments in Cleveland last season. It hasn’t gone well. Father Time has clearly caught up to Calderon, who was exposed when primary backup Ish Smith was sidelined by a adductor injury. This is likely Calderon’s last hurrah, though he could remain in the league as a coach if he so chooses.

Thaddeus Young, Pacers, 30, PF (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $54MM deal in 2015
A steady, durable big man, Young has been a consistent contributor throughout his career. This year might be best, reinforcing his value in a walk year. His Box Plus/Minus rating on Basketball-Reference is a career-best 3.1 and coach Nate McMillan has flowed with praise over Young’s play and leadership. Young doesn’t post big numbers, but he fills the stat sheet and provides intangibles that endears him to teammates and coaches. He should receive another pricey, multiyear offer this summer.

Malcolm Brogdon, Bucks, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.78MM deal in 2016
An unlikely Rookie of the Year recipient after getting drafted in the second round, Brogdon has taken his play up a level or two after an injury-marred sophomore campaign. Starting for the current top seed in the East, Brogdon is averaging 15.6 PPG on 50.5% overall shooting. He’s a 42.6% shooter from distance and is virtually automatic at the free throw line (92.8%). He also rebounds well for his position and facilitates the offense (3.2 APG). Brogdon will be a restricted free agent and the Bucks may have to match a big offer sheet to retain him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.