Isaac Bonga

Atlantic Notes: Watanabe, Gillespie, Schroder, Williams, Maxey

The Raptors have 12 players with guaranteed contracts and five others with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. Eric Koreen of The Athletic speculates on who might grab the remaining roster openings, with Yuta Watanabe and Freddie Gillespie most likely to nail down spots. That would leave Sam Dekker, Ishmail Wainright and Isaac Bonga in a battle for the final spot, unless Toronto chooses to carry 14 players on the regular roster.

We have more on the Atlantic Division:

  • Dennis Schroder cost himself serious money but passing on a four-year, $84MM extension offer from the Lakers but he’s taking a lighthearted approach to that mistake, Brianna Williams of ESPN relays. In an Instagram post, the Celtics guard — who settled for a one-year, $5.9MM contract — said he “fumbled the bag” and invited fans to insert their best joke about his bad free agent gamble.
  • Details on Robert Williams‘ extension with the Celtics were reported late last month and now Keith Smith provides more specifics on the incentives in the four-year deal (Twitter link). Williams will make $446,429 if he plays 69 games; an additional $223,215 if the team reaches the conference semifinals along with meeting the games criteria; $223,214 more if the Celtics make the Eastern Conference finals; and $446,429 if he’s named to the league’s All-Defense First Team, or $223,215 if he’s named to the All-Defense Second Team. Those incentives will increase by 8% per year after the deal goes into effect in 2022/23.
  • Would the Sixers benefit from Tyrese Maxey‘s offensive skills in the starting lineup? Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice takes a closer look at whether playing Maxey with the other starters would make Philadelphia a better postseason team in the long run.

Implications Of Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Deal For Raptors

With the signing of Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, the battles for the Raptors’ final roster spots are coming into focus, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Murphy writes that the player option included in Mykhailiuk’s deal makes it very likely he gets one of the team’s final roster spots, especially given Toronto’s lack of guaranteed depth at the shooting guard spot. Second-round pick David Johnson and partially-guaranteed Ishmail Wainright are the only shooting guards on the roster beyond Gary Trent Jr. Fred VanVleet has seen plenty of time at the position in recent years, but is almost certainly going to start games as the team’s point guard.

Murphy adds that if Mykhailiuk is guaranteed a spot on the 15-man roster, that means that Wainright, Freddie Gillespie, Sam Dekker, Isaac Bonga, and Yuta Watanabe will vie for the final three openings. Gillespie and Watanabe both showed promise for the Raptors in limited time last season, while Bonga has at times proved an interesting, potential-filled player as a 6’9″ playmaker with decent defensive instincts and some shooting ability.

Murphy added in a response to his initial tweet that Watanabe is considered a heavy favorite for a spot after his strong play last season, but given his non-guaranteed contract, he’s not quite a lock. Murphy also says that Egyptian big man Anas Mahmoud is likely to receive an Exhibit 10 deal.

In a final tweet, Murphy adds that the Raptors are operating like a team that knows that it’ll be able to move Goran Dragic by the deadline to avoid a tax bill.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Robinson, Bonga, Begarin

Nerlens Noel had several suitors in free agency, but wanted to return to the Knicks to continue building on the progress from last year, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

There were other opportunities but I want to build on that and get this team to the next level,” Noel said. “Guys like Julius (Randle), RJ (Barrett), Derrick (Rose), we had pieces that can really come together. And I’m really confident we can be better.”

Berman also writes that Noel’s three-year, $27.2MM deal presents the Knicks with questions regarding young center Mitchell Robinson, who was one of the more productive young defensive centers in the league before injuries derailed his 2020/21 season. Robinson is eligible for a contract extension, but there has yet to be any indication whether the two sides will be able to get a deal done.

We have more news from around the Atlantic Division:

  • In the same piece, Berman writes that Robinson has been in Las Vegas, working out with Knicks staffers as he continues to progress from his broken foot. In a tweet, Robinson writes: “I look big asf them weights doing me some good and form looking great thanks Knicks staff.”
  • Isaac Bonga‘s deal with the Raptors includes a $200K guarantee, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The deal is presumed to be a training camp try-out, but the guarantee offers hope that Bonga may be able to stick. If so, the versatile wing could find himself in an ideal developmental situation with a team known for helping young players grow.
  • The Celtics’ 45th pick, Juhann Begarin, is ready to come over from France, writes Jay King of The Athletic, but team president Brad Stevens has other ideas. “Brad told me I would play in France for one more year,” Begarin said. “I think I’m ready to play with (the Celtics), and I knew summer league was an opportunity to show them I’m ready. I just asked him to play and show I can play with them.”

Isaac Bonga Signs With Raptors

8:35pm: The signing is official, according to a press release from the team.


5:37pm: Free agent swingman Isaac Bonga is signing with the Raptors, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports.

Bonga’s deal will likely include a small guarantee and give him a chance to compete for a roster spot in training camp, Murphy adds.

Bonga became an unrestricted free agent when the Wizards declined to extend him a qualifying offer. He has played for Washington the past two seasons after beginning his career with the Lakers.

The 2018 second-round pick started 49 of 66 games in 2019/20, averaging 5.0 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 18.9 MPG. His playing time dropped dramatically this past season, as he played in 40 games (eight starts) and posted modest stats (2.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG in 10.8 MPG). He went scoreless in 10 playoff minutes.

Bonga, 21, projects to be one of a handful of players with partial guarantees vying for roster spots in Toronto, joining the likes of Sam Dekker, Ishmail Wainright, and Yuta Watanabe.

Wizards Issue QOs To Mathews, Winston; Will Make Bonga UFA

The Wizards will not issue a qualifying offer to Isaac Bonga, thereby making him an unrestricted free agent, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The 6’8″ point forward saw his playing time cut nearly in half from the 2019/2020 season to last year. Despite the flashes of potential he showed, the Wizards now find themselves with a logjam of forwards, and Bonga appears to be the odd man out. His QO would’ve been worth about $2.08MM.

The Wizards are, however, extending qualifying offers to guards Garrison Mathews and Cassius Winston, according to a tweet from The Athletic’s Fred Katz. Both players finished the season on two-way contracts with Washington.

Mathews, who went undrafted in 2019, was a revelation as a feisty sharp-shooter for the Wizards this season, and even started 24 games. Winston, last year’s No. 53 overall pick, wasn’t able to crack Washington’s rotation in a major way during his rookie year, but the accomplished collegiate point guard has potential as a shooter and pick and roll play-maker, and the Wizards have need of guards.

Mathews’ qualifying offer will be a standard minimum-salary contract with a small partial guarantee, while Winston’s will be another two-way deal.

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Davis Bertans Expected To Miss Two Weeks

Wizards forward Davis Bertans is expected to miss two weeks after suffering a right calf strain, according to a team press release.

An MRI on Friday revealed the extent of the injury, which he suffered against Utah on Thursday.

Bertans was one of the biggest free agent signings during the offseason, as Washington lavished the stretch four with a five-year, $80MM contract to retain his services.

Bertans picked a good time to have a career year last season, averaging a career-high 15.4 PPG and 4.5 RPG while shooting 42.4% from 3-point range. In 35 games this season, he’s averaging 10.8 PPG and 2.9 RPG while making 38.2% of his threes.

Bertans had a 35-point game in mid-February but he’s struggled lately, scoring in single digits the last four games. Rookie Deni Avdija and Isaac Bonga should see an uptick in minutes with Bertans sidelined.

Wizards Rumors: Brown, Drummond, Mathews, Bell, More

While Bradley Beal remains extremely unlikely to be traded within the next nine days, that doesn’t mean the Wizards will stand pat at this month’s trade deadline. According to Fred Katz and David Aldridge of The Athletic, league sources have suggested that Washington appears open to moving young players like Troy Brown, Moritz Wagner, Jerome Robinson, and Isaac Bonga.

All of those players are between 21 and 24 years old and are on relatively inexpensive contracts, but they’ve been in and out of the rotation this season and aren’t particularly valuable trade assets. Of the four, Brown probably has the most appeal. One executive told Katz and Aldridge that the Wizrads could probably get a “second-round-equivalent asset” for the former 15th overall pick.

“My guess is an early second(-rounder) and/or a decent young player,” another executive said. “I’m sure they’d like more, but not sure those guys have much more value than that at this point.”

Here’s more on the Wizards from Katz and Aldridge:

  • Although a quad injury will keep Ish Smith on the shelf through the trade deadline, one opposing GM thinks the point guard could have a little trade value to any team “looking to add veteran pace to its second unit.”
  • The Wizards are keeping an eye on Cavaliers center Andre Drummond as a possible buyout target, sources tell The Athletic. Drummond would probably prefer a contending team in that scenario, but Washington could pique his interest by using its $4.2MM disabled player exception to offer more than the veteran’s minimum.
  • Since players on two-way contracts can now appear in all 72 games and are eligible to play in the postseason, there’s less urgency to convert Garrison Mathews to a standard contract. Still, he’s a candidate to be promoted to the 15-man roster, especially if the Wizards can lock him up to a multiyear deal. In that scenario, Jordan Bell would be a leading contender to fill Mathews’ vacated two-way slot, per Katz and Aldridge.
  • According to The Athletic’s duo, one obstacle that could complicate the Wizards’ pursuit of Drummond or negotiations with Mathews is the club’s desire to stay below the luxury tax threshold — team salary is currently within $1MM of that line, though certain trades could create more breathing room.

Southeast Notes: Bonga, Dunn, Bogdanovic, Herro, Robinson

Wizards forward Isaac Bonga got benched on Thursday after starting the first four games and coach Scott Brooks said it was simply a numbers game, Kevin Brown of NBC Sports Washington writes. With Rui Hachimura returning from an eye injury and reclaiming his usual spot in the lineup, Brooks had to choose between Bonga and Troy Brown as the backup. He chose Brown. “We’re trying to find minutes for Troy (Brown Jr.) and Bonga, and (Thursday) it was Troy, but who knows who it will be (Friday) night,” Brooks said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said he had promising reports regarding guard Kris Dunn‘s arthroscopic right ankle surgery on Tuesday, according to Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Dunn is wearing a walking boot and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The former Bull has yet to make his Atlanta debut. “It sounds as if everything went well, as well as the surgery can go, and he’s staying here at the hotel,” Pierce said. “But he’s post-op and laying low.”
  • Hawks free agent acquisition Bogdan Bogdanovic has averaged 15.3 PPG on 42.9% shooting from deep but Pierce says his value goes beyond perimeter shooting, Spencer writes in a separate story. “He hasn’t had any bad games,” Pierce said. “Bad games aren’t ‘make or miss.’ He’s taking those shots, I’ll live with them…. I trust his work. I’ve been praising the fact that he’s probably our hardest post-practice worker.”
  • Would the combination of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson be enough to satisfy the Rockets in a potential deal with the Heat for James Harden? Not even close, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Houston wants “significantly more than that” for Harden, sources inform Jackson.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Bertans, Lopez, Westbrook, More

Ensuring that Bradley Beal wants to remain in Washington was a top priority for the Wizards as they made their offseason moves, including the blockbuster trade that brought Russell Westbrook to D.C. So did the acquisition of Westbrook have an impact on Beal’s desire to stick with the team?

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about that. I haven’t,” Beal said, per Fred Katz of The Athletic. “My biggest thing is win now, you know? I wanna win.

“I’m here under contract for this year, next year and a player option, too. So, it’s just a matter of, we gotta win. And the organization knows that. It’s up to me, too, so I can’t just sit here and … look at (general manager Tommy Sheppard) like he’s crazy. I have to go out and lead the team, put in the work and get better every day and bring the results.”

As Katz writes, the Wizards have a tricky tightrope to walk, as they focus not only on building a roster capable of long-term success, but also on winning enough in the next year or two to convince Beal that he doesn’t need to move to a new team to contend.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Davis Bertans and Robin Lopez haven’t yet been able to join the Wizards for practice, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bertans was held up by visa issues, according to Wallace, who notes that the team also had one of its new players test positive for the coronavirus. There hasn’t been confirmation that the affected player was Lopez, but it sounds like that’s very possible.
  • The Wizards are counting on point guard Russell Westbrook, who is known for his competitiveness and tenacity, to help set the culture for their young roster, Wallace writes for The Washington Post.
  • Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said today that the starting small forward position will be “fluid,” with Troy Brown, Isaac Bonga, Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, and Jerome Robinson all among the options there, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Brooks also said today that the Wizards are close to a decision on whether or not to participate in the NBA G League’s proposed Atlanta bubble. He believes there’s a good chance the Wizards will opt in, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).