Devontae Cacok

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Duke, Cacok, Brown, Raptors

Kyrie Irving has not yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports reports. Under current New York City restrictions, players are prohibited from practicing or playing in their home arena “without providing proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.” Thus, the Nets star point guard could technically miss all 41 of his team’s home games unless he receives one of these approved exemptions. GM Sean Marks said this week that he doesn’t expect vaccine-related issues to prevent any of his players from suiting up during the regular season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Undrafted rookie David Duke Jr. and third-year forward Devontae Cacok are among the players who will be competing for the Nets’ remaining two-way contract, according to Tom Dowd of the team’s website. “Regarding the two-way, I think it’s nice to go in and have healthy competition,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s the way we’re going to look at that. There’s going to be nothing set in stone. There’s nobody with a leg up, per se.”
  • Celtics forward Jaylen Brown admits he’s still dealing with soreness in his wrist, he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated. Brown is recovering from a torn ligament in his left wrist, which required surgery in May and sidelined him for the postseason. “My wrist has been healing. Some days it’s better than others,” he said. “I got to continue to push and work, but I’m excited to be there for camp.”
  • The Raptors must find ways to maximize a “formless” style of basketball due to the configuration of the roster, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes. Lacking an efficient, high-usage star, they must rely on versatility, flexibility and unpredictability to keep defenses off-balance about where the ball is designed to go.

Nets Notes: Extension Talks, Vaccinations, Two-Way Slot, Aldridge

With a week left until training camp commences for the Nets, general manager Sean Marks expressed optimism during a press conference today that the club will be able to come to terms on contract extensions for All-Star guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving, writes Peter Botte of the New York Post.

“Regarding the extension conversations, we’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys and whether it’s family members, (their) people, and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” Marks said.  “We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”

As Botte writes, Irving is eligible to sign a contract that tacks on an additional four years and $181.6MM to his current agreement. Harden, the better player, can agree to terms on an extension that would pay him $161.1MM over three additional years. All-Star forward Kevin Durant signed a four-year, $197.7MM extension that will keep him on the Nets through the 2025/26 season.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets still need to get a few of their players fully vaccinated for COVID-19 so that they are permitted to practice and play in New York City under the terms of the city’s new vaccine mandate, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I won’t get into who it is, but we feel confident in the following several days before camp everybody would be allowed to participate and so forth,” Marks said about the situation. The Nets’ GM expects everyone to be vaccinated before the 2021/22 regular season begins. Per the new vaccine executive order, individuals over the age of 12 without at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will not be permitted inside certain indoor locations, including the Nets’ and Knicks’ home arenas.
  • Marks said today that the Nets will have a “healthy competition” for the team’s current available two-way contract during training camp, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). Big man Devontae Cacok and guard David Duke seem destined to be in the mix for the opening. Brooklyn still has an open spot on its 20-man roster, so the club may yet invite another candidate to compete for the second two-way slot before camp begins.
  • During a press conference today, Marks admitted he was initially wary about bringing back center LaMarcus Aldridge, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Aldridge was compelled to retire just five games after joining the Nets during the 2020/21 due to an irregular heart beat issue. “I tried to talk him out of it,” Marks said. “I said, ‘You don’t need this. Why would you come back?’ I think it was important to see his conviction, and it’s not a conviction made without really doing due diligence.” According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (via Twitter), Marks revealed that Aldridge reached out to the Nets as soon as he was medically cleared to return to the hardwood.

Nets Sign Devontae Cacok

SEPTEMBER 20: The Nets have officially signed Cacok, the team confirmed today in a press release.


SEPTEMBER 17: The Nets are signing free agent forward Devontae Cacok to their 20-man preseason roster, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, Cacok will attend training camp with the team and compete for a two-way contract.

Cacok, who went undrafted out of UNC Wilmington in 2019, spent his first two professional seasons on a two-way contract with the Lakers. He barely played at the NBA level as a rookie, but appeared in 20 regular season games in 2020/21, albeit primarily in garbage time. The 24-year-old averaged 2.0 PPG and 1.6 RPG in 4.9 minutes per contest.

While his NBA impact has been limited, Cacok excelled in the G League in 2019/20, putting up 19.3 PPG and 11.9 RPG with a .660 FG% in 33 games for the South Bay Lakers. He recorded a double-double and earned a spot on the All-NBAGL First Team while averaging just 23.9 minutes per game and coming off the bench in all but two contests.

The Nets have two open spots on their 20-man roster, so Cacok will fill one of them. Kessler Edwards holds one of Brooklyn’s two-way contract slots, but the other is up for grabs. Camp invitee David Duke figures to be in the mix for that opening, along with Cacok and perhaps one or both of the Nets’ unsigned second-round picks (Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray).

Like Duke, Cacok is likely receiving an Exhibit 10 contract, which can be converted into a two-way deal before the start of the regular season without having to pass the player through waivers.

L.A. Notes: Horton-Tucker, LeBron, AD, COVID-19, Mann

With his second consecutive impressive preseason performance on Sunday, second-year Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker is making a strong case to be part of the team’s regular season rotation, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes.

“It’s going to make my job difficult for sure,” head coach Frank Vogel said when asked about finding a role for Horton-Tucker, who poured in 33 points in Sunday’s win to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, and four steals.

“We have a very deep team. No minutes are guaranteed,” Vogel added. “He’s going to keep playing at a high level, and that should push everybody else to stay playing at a high level. It does give us that luxury of having him carry the load some for some of our guys who played deep in the championship run last year and had a short offseason.”

Even if the Lakers stay relatively healthy this season, the club should prioritize finding regular minutes for Horton-Tucker, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says the franchise will need to develop young talent if it wants to remain a title contender for years to come

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis didn’t play at all during the team’s first two preseason contests, but they’ll both be “ready to go” when the regular season gets underway next week, according to Vogel (link via Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times).
  • Both the Lakers and Clippers were missing players on Sunday due to “excused absences” believed to be related to the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Those absences may be related to inconclusive tests or contact tracing, so they don’t necessarily mean the individual tested positive for COVID-19, according to Greif, who notes that the Lakers were without Kostas Antetokounmpo and Devontae Cacok, while the Clippers were missing Reggie Jackson and assistant coach Chauncey Billups.
  • Although Terance Mann has seen some time at shooting guard and small forward, the Clippers view the 24-year-old as a point guard and expect him to be a key contributor off the bench, as Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes.

NBA G League Announces 2019/20 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player on Thursday, Wisconsin Herd guard Frank Mason III – who is on a two-way contract with the Bucks – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Mason was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by teammate Jaylen Adams, as well as Salt Lake City Stars forward Jarrell Brantley, South Bay Lakers big man Devontae Cacok, and Memphis Hustle forward Jarrod Uthoff. Mason, Brantley, and Cacok are currently on two-way contracts with NBA teams.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently on two-way contracts or have had NBA experience in the past.

The complete list of the 2019/20 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Jaylen Adams (Wisconsin Herd)
  • Jarrell Brantley (Salt Lake City Stars) ^
  • Devontae Cacok (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Frank Mason III (Wisconsin Herd) ^
  • Jarrod Uthoff (Memphis Hustle)

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Jarrell Brantley (Salt Lake City Stars) ^
  • Devontae Cacok (South Bay Lakers) ^
  • Donta Hall (Grand Rapids Drive)
  • Marial Shayok (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Tremont Waters (Maine Red Claws) ^

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

Of the 20 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Adams, Jones, Koumadje, and Hollins – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’19/20 season began.

Adams and Jones have previous NBA experience, while Koumadje and Hollins have yet to make their regular-season NBA debuts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics’ Tremont Waters Named NBAGL Rookie Of The Year

Celtics two-way player Tremont Waters has been named the NBA G League Rookie of the Year for the 2019/20 season, the league announced today in a press release.

The 51st overall pick in the 2019 draft, Waters didn’t receive the attention from media and fans that fellow Celtics two-way player Tacko Fall did, but the former LSU guard thrived in his first professional season.

In addition to appearing in 10 games for Boston, Waters was Maine’s starting point guard for 36 games, averaging 18.0 PPG, 7.3 APG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.0 SPG with a shooting line of .429/.354/.780 in 33.8 minutes per contest. He helped lead the Red Claws to a 28-14 record, good for third in the NBAGL’s Eastern Conference.

Previous NBA G League Rookies of the Year don’t necessarily have a lengthy track record of eventual NBA success, but several recent recipients of the award have become rotation players at the NBA level, including Quinn Cook, Abdel Nader, Tim Frazier, and especially Robert Covington.

Waters beat out Jarrell Brantley and Devontae Cacok, who finished second and third, respectively, in the NBAGL Rookie of the Year vote. Brantley plays for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz‘s affiliate, while Cacok is a member of the South Bay Lakers.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Cook, Warriors, Clippers

The Kings will place more than one third of their full-time workers on four-month furloughs beginning June 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee reports. The employees were informed in an email from President of Business Operations John Rinehart.  The furloughs will impact approximately 100 workers but the front office, health and performance, and scouting/analytics staffs will not be affected.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Quinn Cook detailed all the precautions being taken at the team’s practice facility after it was reopened. In an Instagram post relayed by The Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli, Cook said even his shoes were not exempt. “We had to leave whatever we wore, whatever shoes and flip-flops we wore, we had to leave them outside,” he said. “We had to wash our hands as soon as we walk in the door. Once we get inside, all of our stuff is kind of right there on the court.” Cook and Devontae Cacok were the only two players to use the facility on Saturday, according to Ganguli. Veterans Jared Dudley and Danny Green were planning to use the facility on Monday.
  • Guards Derrick Rose, Tomas Satoransky and Reggie Bullock are among the guards the Warriors could target with their $17MM trade exception, Grant Liffmann of NBC Sports Bay Area opines. The Warriors obtained the large exception in the Andre Iguodala trade with Memphis last summer.
  • The Clippers’ workout plan during the stoppage of play should have them well-prepared whenever practices and games resume, as Jovan Buha of The Athletic details. The Clippers held weekly group workouts over Zoom as well as chats with famous athletes, along with creating personalized home workout rooms for each player. The organization ordered equipment to ensure each player could work out from home via video calls with individualized player-coaches and strength trainers.

And-Ones: E. Okafor, Trade Season, 2020 Draft, Cacok

Former No. 2 overall pick Emeka Okafor made an NBA comeback during the 2017/18 season, appearing in 26 regular season contests for the Pelicans after being out of the league for nearly five years. Although Okafor made 19 starts for a New Orleans team that ultimately made it to the Western Conference Semifinals, the veteran big man hasn’t appeared in the NBA since then.

Still, that doesn’t mean Okafor is giving up on his professional career. As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays, the former UConn star has found a new home in South Korea, where he has already appeared in a pair of games for Mobis Phoebus. At age 37, Okafor may not return to the NBA again, but he’s averaging a double-double so far in the KBL, with 11.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG.

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

  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) shares his comprehensive and invaluable trade guide for 2019/20, while John Hollinger of The Athletic provides five reasons why the ’19/20 trade season may turn out to be a dud.
  • Within his article, Hollinger makes a case for why the Warriors may push hard to get out of luxury-tax territory before the end of the season, noting that doing so would allow the team to avoid repeater penalties in 2020/21. It won’t be easy for Golden State to sneak below the tax line, but if the team is willing to discuss a Kevon Looney trade, that could open up one path, Hollinger observes.
  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic have published their first big boards for the 2020 NBA draft. Georgia freshman guard Anthony Edwards tops both lists, but they diverge from there, with LaMelo Ball coming in at No. 2 in Woo’s rankings, while Vecenie has UNC’s Cole Anthony at No. 2.
  • Devontae Cacok‘s new two-way contract with the Lakers is a two-year agreement, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Cacok is one of six two-way players who is in the first year of a two-year deal.

Lakers Waive Zach Norvell Jr., Sign Devontae Cacok

7:30pm: The Lakers have officially signed Cacok to a two-way contract and waived Norvell, the team announced in a press release.

3:38pm: The Lakers are making a change to one of their two-way contract slots, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the club is waiving guard Zach Norvell Jr. and signing big man Devontae Cacok.

[RELATED: 2019/20 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Norvell, who went undrafted earlier this year, signed a two-way contract with the Lakers on the first day of the league year in July. He has logged just five minutes in two games with the NBA club this season, spending most of his time with the South Bay Lakers. In 23 G League games (24.7 MPG), he averaged 13.3 PPG on .353/.340/.867 shooting.

Cacok, meanwhile, was in camp with the Lakers this fall on an Exhibit 10 contract but was cut at the end of the preseason when the team set its regular season roster. He reported to South Bay as an affiliate player and has been productive as a member of the Lakers’ G League squad, recording 16.3 PPG and 11.7 RPG with a .669 FG% in 12 games (22.8 MPG).

Because he’s signing his two-way contract partway through the regular season, Cacok will be eligible to spend up to 33 days with the Lakers, a prorated portion of the usual 45-day limit.

Kostas Antetokounmpo is the Lakers’ other two-way player. His status remains unchanged.

Lakers Cut Devontae Cacok, Demetrius Jackson

The Lakers have finalized their roster for the regular season, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived Devontae Cacok and Demetrius Jackson.

Los Angeles took the decision down to the wire, but Cacok and Jackson were always the most likely players to be released. The Lakers have 14 players on fully guaranteed salaries, with Dwight Howard and his non-guaranteed contract set to occupy the 15th and final slot on the standard roster.

Cacok or Jackson could have received a two-way contract, but the Lakers have already filled both of those slots as well, with Zach Norvell Jr. and Kostas Antetokounmpo starting the season as the club’s two-way players.

Although Cacok and Jackson had non-guaranteed contracts, the Lakers will be on hook for two days’ worth of their minimum salaries, since they won’t clear waivers until the second day of the regular season.