Emmanuel Mudiay

Emmanuel Mudiay Signs With Lithuanian Team

Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has inked a one-year contract with the Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas, per an official team announcement.

The 25-year-old was selected with the No. 7 pick by the Nuggets in the 2015 draft. Across his 300 NBA games played between 2015-20, Mudiay averaged 11.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.9 RPG on .401/.323/.744 shooting. Beyond his tenure with the Nuggets, Mudiay also suited up for the Knicks and Jazz. His last NBA stint was spent with Utah during the 2019/20 season.

Mudiay received offers to play in the G League and in Europe in 2020/21, according to a recent report, but turned them down in hopes of catching on with an NBA team. The former lottery pick, who played on the Trail Blazers’ Summer League team this year, was once again angling for an NBA comeback. However, his agreement with Zalgiris Kaunas had been anticipated as a contingency plan.

Though this marks Mudiay’s first appearance with a European team, this is not his first experience in a non-NBA pro league. Back when he was an elite high school prospect, the 6’3″ Mudiay opted to bypass college, instead signing a one-year, $1.2MM deal with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China for the 2014/15 season before entering his name into NBA draft consideration.

Mudiay still has to report to the team in Lithuania and undergo a physical examination.

And-Ones: Mudiay, Vonleh, Griggs, Schedule

Free agent guard Emmanuel Mudiay will likely sign with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania if he doesn’t receive an NBA offer before training camps open, according to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews. Mudiay is currently playing for the Trail Blazers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

After five years in the NBA, the 25-year-old sat out all of last season. He received offers to play in the G League and in Europe, according to Urbonas, but turned them down in hopes of catching on with an NBA team.

Mudiay was taken by the Nuggets with the seventh pick in the 2015 draft and spent two and a half seasons in Denver before being traded to the Knicks. After a year and a half in New York, he signed with the Jazz as a free agent in 2019. Mudiay averaged 7.3 points and 2.1 assists per game as a backup during his lone season in Utah.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent big man Noah Vonleh is getting interest from some NBA teams, but is considering offers in Europe and China as well, according to Sportando (Twitter link). The 25-year-old spent two weeks with the Nets in February and appeared in four games before being waived.
  • Highly-recruited high school guard Bryce Griggs has signed with Overtime Elite, the league announced in a press release. The 17-year-old out of Missouri City, Texas, will join the new league when it begins play next month. “Bryce Griggs is a player that has been recognized as one the nation’s most promising playmaking guards and we are thrilled to welcome him to the OTE family,” said Brandon Williams, OTE’s executive vice president and head of basketball operations. “Bryce has had one of the best coaches and mentors in John Lucas, and has been attracted to the combination of an NBA caliber coaching staff, sports science, performance and nutrition focuses that will play a crucial role in his development into an NBA player.”
  • The NBA will release its schedule for the 2021/22 season in the 7-10 days, tweets Marc Stein of Substack. Celtics writer Steve Bulpett hears that Friday is the target date (Twitter link).

Northwest Notes: Wolves, J. Butler, Mudiay, Favors

The Timberwolves‘ second stint with former No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio wasn’t the fairy tale reunion either side hoped for, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a breakdown of the team’s trade with Cleveland and what it means for the Wolves moving forward.

While the Wolves are receiving solid three-and-D wing Taurean Prince as the return for Rubio, Krawczynski writes that Prince isn’t viewed as the solution to the team’s long-running search for a starting power forward, but rather as a rotation wing.

One benefit to the deal is an added $4.8MM in cap flexibility, which could allow the Wolves to use their entire taxpayer mid-level exception while possibly adding last year’s first round pick Leandro Bolmaro as well. Kracwzynski writes that the team explored trades into the draft and for Hawksforward Danilo Gallinari, but in the end were satisfied with the return of Prince.

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details the Jazz‘s excitement upon trading down in the draft to land Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick, as well as two future second rounders. Butler, whom Utah was initially targeting in the first round, is viewed as someone who can play off the bench immediately, or even fill in should the Jazz lose Mike Conley to free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will play for the Trail Blazers during Summer League, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The former No. 7 pick has bounced around the league since being traded from the team that drafted him, the Nuggets, to the Knicks in 2018, but the 25-year-old will be looking for a chance to get his career back on track with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
  • Derrick Favors was caught off-guard by the trade that will send him from the Jazz to the Thunder,writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “Honestly, I’m still trying to process what happened,” Favors said. “It was tough to go to New Orleans, but I thought that there was a chance that I would come back to Utah. Now, I know this is it. So, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to work out.”

And-Ones: Lowry, Summer League, EuroLeague, Mudiay

The destiny of unrestricted free agent veteran Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry this offseason will be a key story to monitor. The Athletic’s writers engaged in entertaining mock Lowry free agency negotiations this week, acting as Lowry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, and team reps for the Raptors, Heat, Mavericks, Knicks, and Sixers. In the exercise, Lowry ultimately selected the Heat.

The 35-year-old Lowry, a six-time All-Star and a 2019 champion with the Raptors, averaged 17.2 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 5.4 across 46 games during the 2020/21 season. He posted a shooting line of .436/.396/.875.

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

  • The NBA has announced its COVID-19 health and safety protocols ahead of the upcoming 2021 Summer League in Las Vegas, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. There are significant differences between the restrictions placed on fully-vaccinated players and non-vaccinated players, ranging from quarantine restrictions to the frequency of testing for the novel coronavirus and permitted activities while in Las Vegas.
  • The EuroLeague has reached an agreement with its players’ association, the ELPA, on the first unified CBA across the league, per Alessandro Maggiuro of Sportando.
  • Lithuanian EuroLeague club Zalgiris Kaunas may sign recent former NBA lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay, writes Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. The 6’3″ point guard opted to bypass college ball and turned pro after high school, playing with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the CBA during the 2014/15 season. He was selected by the Nuggets in the 2015 draft with the No. 7 pick, and served stints with the Knicks and Jazz. He last played in the NBA for Utah during the 2019/20 season.

Free Agent Rumors: Batum, Thomas, Mudiay, Ferrell, Briscoe

The Hornets plan to waive Nicolas Batum and use the stretch provision on his $27.1MM contract for the upcoming season in order to sign Gordon Hayward, unless they can figure out a sign-and-trade deal that would save them from stretching Batum.

Assuming he’s released, Batum shouldn’t have trouble finding a new home. His agent, Jeremy Medjana, told Basket Session that the Warriors, Jazz, Clippers, Bucks and Raptors are interested in signing him once he clears waivers (hat tip to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype). Batum, who has played for Charlotte the past five seasons, only appeared in 22 games last season.

Here are more free agency notes and rumors:

  • Former MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas said his latest hip procedure was a success and he’s eager to prove it, the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach reports. Thomas says he feels like his former self in workouts. “I was blowing by people,” he said. “I haven’t blown by anybody since I had a Celtics uniform on.” Thomas was waived after the Wizards traded him to the Clippers in February and remains unsigned.
  • Reserve point guards Emmanuel Mudiay and Yogi Ferrell are generating some interest on the free agent market, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Both players could likely be had for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Point guard Isaiah Briscoe hopes to return to the NBA, according to Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw (Twitter link). Briscoe went undrafted out of Kentucky in 2017, but made it onto the Magic’s roster for the 2018/19 season. He spent the 2019/20 season in Poland playing for King Szczecin. In 39 games with Orlando, Briscoe averaged 3.5 PPG, 2.2 APG, and 1.9 RPG, across 14.3 MPG.

Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this post.

Northwest Notes: Mudiay, Jazz, Dooling, Thunder, Nuggets

After signing a one-year contract with the Jazz during the 2019 offseason, Emmanuel Mudiay didn’t play a major role in Utah. His 15.7 minutes per game represented a career low and he fell out of the team’s rotation in the postseason.

Still, Mudiay tells Brandon Robinson on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show that his year with the Jazz was “great” and that he “learned a lot” from head coach Quin Snyder and top assistant Johnnie Bryant. The veteran point guard added that he’d be open to a new deal with the club if the opportunity arises.

“Like I said, they taught me so much,” Mudiay said of the Jazz. “The staff was amazing; I have nothing negative to say about Utah, everything was great. So if it’s there, it’s definitely something that I’ll look into. I’m not about to make a decision right now, but definitely, like I said before, the team was great and that’s definitely something that I’ll reconsider for sure.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

Bulls Notes: Unseld, Coaching Candidates, FA Targets

Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. made a stronger case for the Bulls‘ head coaching vacancy after Denver defeated the Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski notes that Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas, who worked in Denver’s front office with Unseld, already thought highly of him. The 44-year-old assistant coach also received a ringing endorsement from Nuggets head coach Mike Malone after their victory in Game 7. “Wes Unseld should be a head coach,” Malone said.

Unseld is reportedly among 10 candidates who were a part of Karnisovas’ original list for the Bulls’ head coaching job.

Here’s more from the Windy City:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago evaluates the 10 candidates connected to the Bulls’ head coaching vacancy. Johnson notes that outside of former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and former Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, the rest of the candidates are assistant coaches. Former Bulls coach Jim Boylen was an assistant before getting promoted to head coach.
  • Bulls rookie point guard Coby White potentially divulged some inside information about the team’s head coaching search on Wednesday, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. White was asked by reporters what he wants in the next head coach and mentioned the team’s timeline for the position. “We haven’t talked about the new coach because it’s so spread out right now. They haven’t really narrowed it down to the people that — I think, don’t they narrow it down Friday or something like that?” According to Cowley, there are indications that Chicago has moved on to the second round of interviews, with the first round reportedly wrapping up last week.
  • In his latest mailbag, Sam Smith of Bulls.com takes a look at some potential free agent targets for Chicago. Smith writes that if veteran forward Otto Porter opts into his $28MM player option, the Bulls will be over the salary cap. Therefore, the team will likely be out of the running for a top-tier free agent until next offseason. That being said, Smith likes Markieff Morris or Marcus Morris, along with Davis Bertans, and possibly former first-round pick Emmanuel Mudiay.

Northwest Notes: Clarkson, Mudiay, Beasley, Dort

Earlier this season, the Jazz traded former first-round pick point guard Dante Exum and a pair of second-round picks to the Cavaliers in exchange for guard Jordan Clarkson.

While Clarkson was already a proven commodity as a veteran scoring option off the bench, he has also been labeled as a “ball stopper” or a subpar defender by critics in the past, writes Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. In Utah though, the combo guard has done a good job immersing himself into the Jazz’s culture, working hard to fit into the team’s system on both ends of the court, as Dowsett details.

In 31 games this season with the Jazz, Clarkson is averaging 15.8 PPG, while shooting 48.3% from the field and 38.2% from three-point range.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Staying with the Jazz, backup point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is happy in Utah and feels like his game has gone to another level, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The former first-round pick returned to Madison Square Garden this week after the Knicks decided not to re-sign him last offseason.
  • It looks like the Timberwolves might’ve found a gem in Malik Beasleysuggests Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. Minnesota acquired Beasley from the Nuggets just days before the trade deadline in a massive four-team trade. In 11 games this season with the Wolves, he is averaging 21.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.3 APG, while shooting an impressive 43.9% from three-point range.
  • Rookie guard Luguentz Dort has now elevated himself into cult hero status with the Thunder fanbase, writes Logan Meyer of Daily Thunder. The undrafted guard out of Arizona State was signed to a two-way deal this summer but could be on the verge of signing a standard NBA deal soon. If the Thunder were to add him officially to the 15-man roster, he would able to participate in the postseason.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Northwest 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 take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Malik Beasley, Timberwolves, 23, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $7.8MM deal in 2016
Beasley turned down an extension offer with the Nuggets last offseason, which looked like a really bad decision when he struggled to get steady playing time on Denver’s deep bench. Freedom came in the form of a trade with the Timberwolves and Beasley quickly seized the opportunity. He averaged 22.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 3.0 APG in his first three games with his new team. Of course, Minnesota made an even bigger deadline deal. The chemistry that Beasley forms with backourt partner D’Angelo Russell will determine how much Minnesota would be willing to fork up to re-sign the restricted free agent.

Jordan McRae, Nuggets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.65MM deal in 2019
The Nuggets made a series of minor moves prior to the trade deadline. In the short run, the most significant was the acquisition of McRae, who was quietly enjoying a career year with the Wizards. McRae, who also had stints with Cleveland and Phoenix during his NBA career, was averaging 12.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 2.8 APG in 22.8 MPG with Washington. Stats with bad teams can be shrugged off but McRae, who missed some games with hand and ankle injuries, has a chance to show that he can be a second-unit factor for a quality team. The Nuggets possess his Early Bird rights, which increases the possibility of re-signing him if they like what they see.

Andre Roberson, Thunder, 28, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $30MM deal in 2017
It’s sad that Roberson hasn’t been able to resurrect his career after suffering a serious knee injury at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena in January 2018. There have been many stops and starts during the rehab process since he ruptured his left patella tendon but Roberson has never been able to reach the point where he could play again. Oklahoma City was unable to move his expiring contract before the trade deadline. The last update on Roberson was that he was continuing his rehab in Los Angeles but there’s a strong possibility that the one-time lockdown defender has played his last NBA game.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Jazz, 23, PG (Down) – Signed to one-year, $1.74MM deal in 2019
Mudiay, the seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft, was signed as a backup to Mike Conley and was playing around 20 MPG until Conley returned from his latest injury. Mudiay hasn’t seen the floor for more than 15 minutes since mid-January and that’s not going to change when Conley suits up. Mudiay posted a career year statistically with the woeful Knicks last season but they didn’t make him a qualifying offer, which thrust him into unrestricted free agency. He can stick around the league for awhile if he’s willing to accept short-term, minimum-salary deals.

Mario Hezonja, Trail Blazers, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.66MM deal in 2019
Hezonja was hoping last summer that the Knicks would re-sign him. The call never came and Hezonja, who started 24 games with New York last season, wound up signing a two-year, minimum-salary contract with Portland. Hezonja, who is currently nursing an ankle injury, was playing regularly but not effectively before the team signed Carmelo Anthony. When he’s gotten opportunities to shoot it, he hasn’t been able to knock them down (38.5% overall, 28.4% from distance). Hezonja holds a $1.978MM player option on his contract for next season and it will be interesting to see if he opts in or chooses to see if another franchise will give him a chance to play regularly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Suns, Gallinari, Hood, Lakers, Mudiay

After the Suns waived Tyler Johnson earlier this week, head coach Monty Williams said Johnson’s replacement on the roster will get the chance to be part of the team’s longer-term plans rather than just being a rental for the rest of the 2019/20 season, as Gina Mizell of The Athletic relays.

Word broke this afternoon that, for now, Jonah Bolden will be the player occupying the roster spot that Johnson previously held. Bolden is only getting a 10-day contract and could end up being a short-term solution as the Suns deal with a bevy of frontcourt injuries. However, if he makes a strong impression during his first few games with the team, a second 10-day contract and perhaps even a multiyear deal could follow. If not, Phoenix may look elsewhere for a player that can fit into the club’s plans beyond this season.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • After holding onto Danilo Gallinari through the trade deadline, the Thunder may explore sign-and-trade scenarios for the veteran forward this offseason, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, who is skeptical that the rebuilding squad will be enthusiastic about a pricey multiyear contract for a player entering his age-32 season.
  • Trail Blazers swingman Rodney Hood, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles, spoke to Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com about his recovery process and sounded like someone who plans to pick up his 2020/21 player option. “I really want to get back as soon as possible so I can help our goal toward a championship next year,” Hood said.
  • Some rival executives believe there are holes on the Lakers‘ roster and are skeptical of the team’s chances to defeat the Clippers in a seven-game series, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. With those critiques in mind, Pincus explores what options the Lakers might have on the buyout market in the coming weeks.
  • With Mike Conley healthy again, Emmanuel Mudiay has mostly fallen out of the Jazz‘s rotation for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean the team doesn’t need Mudiay, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.