Gorgui Dieng

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southeast Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Southeast players.


P.J. Tucker, F, Heat

2021/22: $7MM
2022/23: $7.35MM player option
Stock: Up ⬆️

Tucker will turn 37 years old in May, and there aren’t many non-stars in the NBA who could realistically turn down a $7.35MM guarantee at that age. Tucker might be in position to do so though. He has been everything the Heat hoped for this season, starting 56 games, playing stellar defense, and knocking down a career-high 44.9% of his three-point attempts. If that performance carries over to the postseason and he plays a key role in a deep playoff run, Tucker could realistically command one more multiyear contract this summer.

Mohamed Bamba, C, Magic

2021/22: $7.57MM
2022/23: RFA
Stock: Up ⬆️

Entering 2021/22, Bamba was facing a make-or-break year. He had battled injuries and failed to take major steps forward in his first three seasons after being drafted sixth overall in 2018. If this season had resembled his first three, he would’ve been hard-pressed to find more than a minimum-salary deal during his upcoming free agency.

Bamba has responded to the challenge, starting 52 games so far for a rebuilding Magic team and establishing new career highs in PPG (10.2), RPG (7.9), BPG (1.8), and MPG (26.1), among other categories. While he hasn’t yet reached the level that some envisioned when he was drafted, his ability to protect the rim and hit the occasional three-pointer (34.5% on 3.6 attempts per game) should make him a popular target for teams in need of a center this offseason.

Bamba will be a restricted free agent if Orlando extends him a $10.1MM qualifying offer. I expect the Magic will do so unless they don’t see Bamba as part of their future.

Thomas Bryant, C, Wizards

2021/22: $8.67MM
2022/23: UFA
Stock: Down ⬇️

Bryant hasn’t been bad since returning to action following his recovery from a torn ACL, but he hasn’t been the same player he was prior to the injury in 2019-21, when he averaged 13.4 PPG and 7.0 RPG with a .411 3PT%.

The Wizards have a -11.7 net rating when Bryant plays this season, compared to a -1.2 mark when he doesn’t. And there’s no guarantee he’ll see consistent minutes the rest of the way if Kristaps Porzingis stays healthy — Bryant was a DNP-CD in Porzingis’ Wizards debut on Sunday.

Gorgui Dieng, F/C, Hawks

2021/22: $4MM
2022/23: UFA
Stock: Down ⬇️

The Hawks presumably envisioned Dieng being a regular part of the frontcourt rotation when they used part of their mid-level exception to sign him last summer. And for a while, he was.

Dieng played in 28 of Atlanta’s first 33 games, but following a stint in the health and safety protocols and the emergence of Onyeka Okongwu, his role has all but disappeared. Dieng has only appeared in 12 of the team’s last 30 games, logging more than eight minutes just three times during that stretch. At this point, it’s hard to imagine the 32-year-old getting another offer above the minimum this summer.

Cody Martin, G/F, Hornets

2021/22: $1.78MM
2022/23: RFA
Stock: Up ⬆️

Cody’s twin brother Caleb Martin has gotten more press for his breakout year in Miami, but Cody has also taken his game to another level this season. He has averaged career highs virtually across the board, putting up 8.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG and a .465/.406/.692 shooting line while playing an important role in Charlotte’s rotation.

While he’s probably not in line for a massive payday, Cody has assured himself of a qualifying offer (it’ll likely be worth $2.23MM) and should have some leverage to negotiate a multiyear deal with the Hornets, who won’t want to lose him in unrestricted free agency in 2023.

COVID/Injury Notes: Batum, Hawks, J. Murray, Celtics, More

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), that forward Nicolas Batum will be available Friday night at Philadelphia. Batum had been placed in the health and safety protocols as a result of an inconclusive test, missing Wednesday’s 130-128 overtime loss at Denver, but obviously has been cleared by testing negative twice since.

Here are more COVID-19 and injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan told reporters, including Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter), that starting center Clint Capela will return to action Friday night against Miami, but will be on a minutes restriction. Capela had missed Atlanta’s last six games with an ankle injury and the team went 2-4 in his absence. Spencer also tweets that the Hawks will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (sore Achilles), while Gorgui Dieng will be available (non-COVID illness).
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered last April, has entered the health and safety protocols, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets.
  • Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters that Marcus Smart and Aaron Nesmith will miss Friday’s game vs. Portland, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link). Smart is still ramping up his conditioning after battling COVID-19, while Nesmith is dealing with a sprained ankle.
  • Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is out Friday vs. Toronto with a sprained neck, per Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated (via Twitter). Kuzma is having a solid first season with Washington, averaging 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 43 games, all starts.
  • Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley and top assistant coach Nate Tibbetts have both cleared the protocols and will be coaching Friday’s game against the Lakers, Orlando’s PR department tweets.
  • Grizzlies forward Killian Tillie has been upgraded from questionable to available for Friday’s game at Denver, so he has cleared the health and safety protocols, Memphis’ PR department tweets.

COVID-19 Updates: McMillan, Casey, Dieng, Suns, Holmes, More

Two NBA head coaches have exited the health and safety protocols today. Hawks coach Nate McMillan was back at practice with the team on Tuesday, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). McMillan should be ready to return to Atlanta’s bench on Wednesday night when the team hosts Miami.

Additionally, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey is no longer in the protocols after having entered them on Monday. In a press release confirming Casey’s status, the club stated that Casey registered two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests following what was believed to be a false positive. Casey will coach Detroit on Tuesday night against Chicago.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Hawks big man Gorgui Dieng has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta had one of the league’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks this season, with a staggering 13 players in the protocols at one point in late December. However, the team doesn’t have any players left in the protocols now.
  • The Suns got guard Landry Shamet out of the COVID-19 protocols on Monday, but saw two-way forward Ish Wainright enter them, as Kellan Olson of 98.7 Arizona Sports tweets. Wainright is currently the only Sun affected.
  • Richaun Holmes has cleared the protocols and is headed to the Kings‘ G League affiliate in Stockton for some reconditioning work, says James Ham of ESPN 1320 (Twitter links).
  • The Thunder placed forward Kenrich Williams in the protocols on Monday and ruled him out for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington, tweets Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic.
  • The Grizzlies are once again listing Yves Pons as being in the health and safety protocols (Twitter link). Pons initially entered the protocols on Saturday and exited them on Sunday. It’s unclear whether that status update on Sunday was a mistake or if his test results have been inconsistent in recent days, but Pons is once again listed in our health and safety protocols tracker.

Hawks Sign Cameron Oliver, Chris Clemons To 10-Day Contracts

DECEMBER 29: Oliver and Clemons have officially joined the Hawks on 10-day deals, the team announced in a press release. Atlanta is now carrying an unprecedented nine extra players via hardship exceptions and 26 players in total.


DECEMBER 28: With their roster ravaged by COVID-19, the Hawks will sign Cameron Oliver and Chris Clemons to 10-day contracts under the hardship provision, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Atlanta already had 10 players in the league’s health and safety protocols, and that number grew today when Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gorgui Dieng and Malik Ellison were all added, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Trae Young cleared protocols Monday after submitting two negative COVID-19 tests.

Oliver, a 25-year-old forward, has been in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, averaging 14.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 14 games. He was in training camp with the Lakers, but was waived before the season began. He played four games for the Rockets last season after signing a 10-day deal in May.

Clemons, a 24-year-old guard, was playing for the Maine Celtics in the G League, where he averaged 16.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 14 games. He was with the Celtics in training camp and played 33 games for the Rockets during the 2019/20 season.

Southeast Notes: Bertans, Wright, Dieng, Ball, Heat

The Wizards have plenty of options at the forward spots and that makes it difficult to project what will happen with Davis Bertans, Fred Katz of The Athletic notes. Bertans had a disappointing season after being re-signed on a five-year, $80MM contract. If Bertans drains 3-pointers at a prolific rate, he’ll play regularly. But if he gets off to a slow start, Washington will have a difficult decision to make regarding the highly-paid stretch four.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Summertime acquisitions Delon Wright and Gorgui Dieng project to play on the Hawks’ second unit, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic says in his look at the team’s likely depth chart. De’Andre Hunter is tentatively penciled in as the starting small forward, though his meniscus surgery in June could alter that.
  • LaMelo Ball took an unusual path to the NBA, leaving high school to play professionally in Lithuania and Australia before he was drafted. He has no regrets about that strategy, Scott Gleeson of USA Today relays from a GQ interview with the Hornets point guard. “You want go to the league, so school’s not your priority,” he said. “We not trippin’ off school. … We don’t need school.”
  • The Heat have a reputation for developing unheralded and undrafted players, prompting Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald to take a closer look at their program.

Hawks Sign Gorgui Dieng To One-Year Deal

AUGUST 9: A week after agreeing to sign him, the Hawks have now finalized Dieng’s deal, the team announced today in a press release.

“With the signing of Gorgui, we’ve added more size and depth to our frontcourt rotation. He’s an experienced big with length who can space the floor and defend,” president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said in a statement.

It looks like Dieng’s contract will use part of Atlanta’s mid-level exception.


AUGUST 2: The Hawks and free agent big man Gorgui Dieng have agreed to terms on a one-year, $4MM contract, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Dieng, 31, has bounced around the league in recent years, playing for Minnesota, Memphis, and San Antonio since the start of the 2019/20 season. Last season, he averaged 6.8 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 38 games (14.5 MPG) for the Grizzlies and Spurs.

While he wasn’t exactly a bargain on his previous four-year, $63MM contract, Dieng should be a much better value at $4MM. He’ll be a nice fit in the Hawks’ frontcourt behind starting center Clint Capela and should see regular minutes while Onyeka Okongwu recovers from shoulder surgery, if not beyond that.

Given the reported terms on Dieng’s deal, the Hawks could either be using a portion of the mid-level exception or the bi-annual exception to complete the signing. The BAE is worth about $3.7MM this season.

Fischer’s Latest: Iguodala, Millsap, Mills, Robinson, McDermott, More

The Lakers and Warriors, a pair of Pacific rivals, may be competing for some of the same veterans in free agency, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who notes that both teams are believed to be eyeing Andre Iguodala.

League sources tell Bleacher Report that Paul Millsap would be interested in joining the Warriors for a deal in the range of the taxpayer mid-level exception (approximately $5.9MM), though a reunion with the Hawks is also a possibility for Millsap, Fischer adds.

The Lakers, meanwhile, have been linked to Patty Mills, according to Fischer, who notes that the team would likely have to offer Mills more than the minimum to lure him to L.A.

Here are a few more free agency rumors from Fischer:

  • Fischer says the numbers floating around for Duncan Robinson‘s next contract are about $16-18MM per year, which is the range I previously speculated for the Heat forward, given last year’s market for top shooters.
  • Another three-point marksman, Pacers wing Doug McDermott, is expected to get a deal worth more than the $9.5MM mid-level exception, per Fischer.
  • The Spurs and Pistons are among the teams with Bulls restricted free agent forward Lauri Markkanen on their radar, according to Fischer.
  • Veteran swingman Danny Green is thought to have interest in playing for the Heat, Fischer reports.
  • Gorgui Dieng will likely be in line for a deal worth about the bi-annual exception ($3.7MM), with the Suns and Spurs among his potential suitors, writes Fischer.

Southwest Notes: Dieng, Wall, Thomas, Williamson

Big man Gorgui Dieng is dealing with a right shoulder injury that will nag him the rest of the season but he’ll play through the pain, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News. Dieng banged his shoulder into Kings forward Chimezie Metu while making his Spurs debut late last month. Dieng signed with San Antonio after getting bought out and waived by Memphis. “It’s going to hurt throughout the whole season, but from this point on it cannot get worse,” Dieng said.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets guard John Wall will not play both ends of a back-to-back set for the remainder of the season, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reports. “Moving forward, we are going to make sure we’re smart with his injury management, the wear that he has, all of these things,” head coach Stephen Silas said. Wall has started 33 games in his first season with Houston, averaging 20.5 PPG and 6.8 APG, after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon that sidelined him last season.
  • Isaiah Thomas is back in the NBA on a 10-day contract with the Pelicans and he claims his hip injuries are now a non-issue, Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes. “I’m 102%. I’m more than good,” Thomas said. “This is the best I ever felt since before I got injured. It’s not even a question no more.” In his first two appearances with New Orleans, Thomas has averaged 10.5 PPG and 2.5 APG in 22.o MPG.
  • Zion Williamson is increasingly serving as a point forward for the Pelicans and coach Stan Van Gundy believes that’s the role the All-Star will have going forward, according to William Guillory of The Athletic. Williamson piled up 37 points and eight assists against Philadelphia on Friday. “We want to get him more experience with that stuff going forward because I think that’s where his future is in this game. I really do,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve increased it throughout the year, giving him more and more opportunities. We’d like to get him more moving forward.”

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. 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 Southwest Division:

Justise Winslow, Grizzlies, 24, SF/PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $39MM extension in 2019

The Grizzlies waited a long time to see what they had in Winslow after acquiring him from the Heat last February. The 25-year-old was injured when he was traded and never returned to action last season. During the summer restart in Orlando, he suffered a left hip displacement, which also caused him to miss the first 25 games this season.

Winslow appeared in 16 games off the bench since returning to action and hasn’t provided much punch, averaging 7.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a woeful PER of 5.28. He’s currently sidelined by a sore thigh. The team holds a $13MM option on his contract for next season and Winslow, whose career seemed to be taking off two seasons ago as a point forward, will be hunting for another fresh start this summer.

Gorgui Dieng, Spurs, 31, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1MM deal in 2021

The Grizzlies couldn’t find a trade for Dieng because his contract was too big but after he cleared waivers, he reportedly had at least eight teams interested in signing him. The Spurs, who had just reached a buyout with LaMarcus Aldridge, won him over with a recruiting pitch. Dieng’s popularity as a free agent last week bodes well for him this summer, though he’s currently sidelined by a sore shoulder. Minnesota overpaid him for him in 2017 (four-year, $62.8MM). Dieng’s next contract will probably be closer to veteran’s minimum numbers but he’s still valued as a quality second-unit big.

Boban Marjanovic, Mavericks, 32, C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $7MM deal in 2019

Boban still has enough star power to land a Goldfish cracker commercial. In another era, Marjanovic might have been one of the game’s biggest draws. Alas, there’s little use for a slow-footed 7’4’’ center the way the game is played today. Marjanovic can still dominate in spurts against certain opponents but those opportunities are few and far between. The gentle giant is always fun to watch when he gets a chance to play but he’s only seen spot duty in 22 games. Hopefully, Dallas or another team will give him at least a minimum deal this summer so he can make a few more commercials with his pal Tobias Harris.

Avery Bradley, Rockets, 30, PG, (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $11.6MM deal in 2020

Bradley started 44 games for the Lakers last season, then opted out of the restart and watched the team win the championship from afar. He declined a $5MM option to stay with the Lakers and signed a two-year deal with Miami to join its guard rotation. That didn’t go well, as Bradley has been injured most of the season. His salary was thrown into the Victor Oladipo trade and he now finds himself on one of the league’s worst teams. It’s hard to imagine that Houston will exercise its $5.9MM option on Bradley’s contract for next season, so he’ll be shopping his services again this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.