Ishmail Wainright

Ishmail Wainright Signs Two-Way Deal With Suns

OCTOBER 22: Wainright has officially joined the Suns on a two-way deal, per the team (Twitter link).


OCTOBER 21: Ishmail Wainright is signing a two-way contract with the Suns, his agents Jim Tanner and Deirunas Visockas told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). 

Wainright, 27, was in the Raptors’ training camp. Toronto waived him on Saturday. Wainwright had some partial guarantees on his minimum-salary contract with Toronto, as he’ll collect $250K from the Raptors this season and $125K in 2022/23.

Wainright, who went undrafted out of Baylor in 2017, played for a number of international leagues prior to this season. In 2020/21, he suited up for Strasbourg in France, registering 11.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.8 SPG on .485/.320/.726 shooting in 36 games (28.1 MPG). He’s considered a solid defender, and could carve out a niche role with the Suns.

With Wainright joining the defending conference champions, the Magic are the only team with an unfilled two-way spot. Chandler Hutchison holds Phoenix’s other two-way contract.

Raptors Waive Ishmail Wainright

The Raptors have placed Ishmail Wainright on waivers, according to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter links). That could clear the way for Sam Dekker and Isaac Bonga to make the team’s 15-man roster, though the final roster deadline isn’t until Monday.

Wainwright, 27, had been playing overseas since going undrafted out of Baylor in 2017. Murphy expects other teams to have interest in Wainwright because of his versatility on defense.

Dekker, a 2015 first-round pick, has been out of the league since the end of the 2018/19 season. He spent time in Russia and Turkey before getting an opportunity with Toronto.

Bonga signed with the Raptors as an unrestricted free agent this summer after the Wizards opted not to give him a qualifying offer. 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).

Toronto will take on some dead money for Wainright if he goes unclaimed on waivers, since he had some partial guarantees on his minimum-salary contract. He’s owed $250K this season and $125K in 2022/23.

Dekker and Bonga have partial guarantees too, but their salaries for 2021/22 will reportedly become fully guaranteed if they make the opening-night roster. If the Raptors want to avoid locking in both of those cap hits, they could still decide to cut one of them before Monday’s deadline.

Raptors Notes: Roster Battle, Siakam, Boucher, Anunoby

The fight to make the Raptors‘ 15-man regular season squad has been one of the NBA’s more competitive preseason roster battles, with Sam Dekker, Ishmail Wainright, and Isaac Bonga vying to earn two spots (or just one, if Toronto opens the season with 14 players). Addressing the competition today, Dekker said he’ll be happy for Wainright and/or Bonga if they beat him out for a roster spot.

“These are guys I’ll stay in touch with for a long time no matter what and I’m always going to cheer for them, because it’s the weakness of a man to root for someone to fail,” Dekker said, adding that his current teammates are some of the “kindest human beings” he knows (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca).

Wainright also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to make his case for a regular season roster spot, regardless of what the Raptors decide.

“No matter how it goes, I’m not going to hang my head,” Wainright said (Twitter link via Lewenberg). “My family always told me when one door closes, another opens. I’m coming out of this a better man, a better basketball player, a better person, period… Whatever happens, I gave it my all from start to finish.”

All three players have had strong camps, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link). While many teams will set their rosters by Saturday, the Raptors could wait until Monday if they want, since Dekker, Wainright, and Bonga all have partial guarantees. That means their cap hits would remain unchanged if they don’t clear waivers until after the regular season begins, unlike a player on a non-guaranteed deal, who must be waived by Saturday for a team to avoid incurring a small cap charge.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Tuesday, head coach Nick Nurse said that Pascal Siakam (shoulder) is starting contact work this week and may only be a few weeks away from returning, while big man Chris Boucher (finger) is about 10 days away (Twitter link via Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca).
  • With Siakam sidelined to start the season and Kyle Lowry no longer a Raptor, the team is grooming OG Anunoby to be a centerpiece of its offense, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “He’s our number one option right now,” Fred VanVleet said of his teammate. “He’s been great, he’s been assertive finding his spots, I think me and him are finding a little bit of rhythm together, so it’s good to see.”
  • Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca takes a look at the battle between Goran Dragic and Gary Trent Jr. for the second starting spot in the backcourt alongside VanVleet, suggesting Dragic appears to have the upper hand.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic didn’t love the terms of the Raptors’ free agent contracts with Trent and Khem Birch, but praised the team for getting Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk on a minimum-salary deal. Hollinger projects the team to finish with a 40-42 record, good for ninth in the East.

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.

Atlantic Notes: Bullock, Knicks, Wainright, Sixers

Despite enjoying one of the best years of his career in New York in 2020/21, Reggie Bullock called it an easy decision to leave the Knicks for the Mavericks in free agency, as Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. Bullock received a three-year deal worth a little over $30MM from Dallas.

“When I played against the Mavericks last year, I liked the way that they competed as a team,” Bullock said. “They got great players, so it was an easy, no-brainer for me. Being with the Knicks last year, we made it to the playoffs but I see (the Mavericks) as a team that’s taking that next step to be in the postseason.”

New York re-signed Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson this month, making Bullock the only key free agent who got away. A source tells Berman that Bullock would’ve been open to returning to the Knicks if they’d been willing to get something done quickly, but the team asked him to wait. The veteran wing wasn’t interested in waiting — his deal with the Mavericks was reported about 75 minutes into free agency.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at Raptors camp invitee Ishmail Wainright, a selfless, hard-working player whom Murphy describes as a “walking culture-builder.” Wainright, who has played in Europe since 2018, has a partial guarantee and is vying for a spot on Toronto’s regular season roster. As Murphy writes, the 6’6″ forward is determined to stick in the NBA. “I’m here to stay,” he said. “I don’t plan on going back overseas. Ever.”
  • The $8.1MM trade exception the Sixers generated in last offseason’s Al Horford trade is set to expire on September 7, Derek Bodner of The Athletic observes. Bodner also explores how much of the mid-level exception Philadelphia still has available and the team’s current roster breakdown, which includes 14 players on standard NBA contracts.
  • In case you missed it on Sunday, we relayed some details on new contracts signed by the Celtics and Knicks, and examined the impact the Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk signing will have on the Raptors‘ roster battles.

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.

Contract Details: Clippers, THT, Ball, Nwaba, Bembry, Raptors

After reporting over the weekend that the Clippers used about $3.9MM of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Justise Winslow, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video) confirmed today that the team used the leftover portion of that MLE to sign second-round picks Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to three-year deals, with Preston getting a little more than the rookie minimum.

Keith Smith of Spotrac shares those salary figures down to the dollar, tweeting that Winslow’s first-year salary is $3,902,439 while Preston’s is $1,062,303. Combined with Boston’s rookie minimum of $925,258, those three salaries add up to exactly $5.89MM, the amount of the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Here are a few more details on new contracts from around the NBA:

  • While Talen Horton-Tucker‘s three-year deal with the Lakers was initially said to be worth $32MM, the year-by-year breakdown provided by Smith works out to a total of $30.78MM (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball‘s four-year deal with the Bulls also came in slightly lower than expected, according to Smith, who says it has a base value of $80MM, with $1MM in annual unlikely incentives (Twitter link).
  • David Nwaba‘s three-year, $15MM contract with the Rockets has two fully guaranteed seasons followed by a third-year team option, according to Marks (Instagram video).
  • DeAndre’ Bembry‘s minimum-salary deal with the Nets has a partial guarantee of $750K for now, tweets Smith. That number will increase to $1.25MM on December 15 before becoming fully guaranteed in January.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter links) shares some Raptors contract details, reporting that Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal has a base value of $51.84MM, with $250K in annual unlikely incentives. Murphy adds that Ishmail Wainright got a $250K guarantee in 2021/22 – plus a $125K guarantee in ’22/23 – on his minimum-salary contract, while Yuta Watanabe‘s minimum-salary deal is now partially guaranteed for $375K. Watanabe would get his full guarantee if he makes the regular season roster.

Ishmail Wainright Signs With Raptors

AUGUST 7: The signing is official, the Raptors announced (via Twitter).


AUGUST 5: The Raptors have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent swingman Ishmail Wainright, agents Deirunas Visockas and Jim Tanner tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

While the exact terms of the deal aren’t known, Blake Murphy of The Athletic says (via Twitter) it’ll include a partial guarantee, giving Wainright the opportunity to compete for a regular season roster spot. It seems likely to be worth the minimum.

Wainright, 26, went outdrafted out of Baylor in 2017 and has bounced around a handful of international leagues since then. In 2020/21, he played for Strasbourg in France, registering 11.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.8 SPG on .485/.320/.726 shooting in 36 games (28.1 MPG). He’s considered a versatile defender on the wing, notes Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A report in June stated that Wainright was eyeing a move to the NBA for 2021/22 and identified Toronto as the frontrunner to land him. Murphy reported on Wednesday (via Twitter) that Wainright would be on the Raptors’ Summer League roster in Las Vegas.

Ishmail Wainright Expected To Make Move To NBA; Raptors Said To Be Interested

Ishmail Wainright is expected to come over to the NBA this offseason, writes Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

The 26-year-old played for Strasbourg in the French LNB Pro A League this season, and was the team’s third-leading scorer as Strasbourg went 25-10, tied for the third-best record in the league. He averaged 11.8PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.5 APG in 28 minutes per night.

According to Carchia, the Raptors are the frontrunners to sign Wainright. Blake Murphy of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that Toronto has been interested in the 6’5, 250 pound guard/forward for a while, though they are not the only team with interest.

Wainright played for Baylor University for four seasons from 2013-17, averaging 3.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG and two APG. He also represented Uganda in this year’s FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers, leading the team to a 2-1 record with 36 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in the team’s final game.

If Wainright does sign with the Raptors, he would give them a versatile defender capable of guarding multiple positions who has shown the ability to hit threes in big moments. With their development staff’s track record of helping players become more consistent shooters, the Raptors may be hopeful they can turn his outside shot into more of a weapon.

And-Ones: NBA Calendar, Wainright, COVID-19, More

The idea of switching the order of the NBA’s draft and free agency to emulate the NFL’s offseason has been broached in recent years, but has never gained much momentum, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, who has heard in the past that about two-thirds of the league’s teams opposed the idea.

While a league official tells Goodwill that there hasn’t been any serious discussion about a possible change recently, the concept may be gathering a bit more support. A pair of general managers who spoke to Yahoo Sports said they believe about half the league’s teams are in favor of the change now, while the other half remains resistant.

“Teams couldn’t comprehend having to do free agency and then the draft, which in their mind was overwhelming,” one GM said. “But the reality of it is that it’s the same amount of time. Change is hard for a lot of people.”

Some teams have logistical concerns about moving free agency up, since the NBA has to calculate its year-end revenues after the Finals, which in terms determines the coming year’s salary cap. The idea of pushing back Summer League deeper into the summer to make sure it still comes after the draft is also a potential stumbling block, as Goodwill notes.

“I am open to it, (although) one issue becomes the extension of the summer,” a second GM told Yahoo Sports. “I do like how football can fill free agent needs first and supplement their rosters with the draft second. … The calendar works in football’s favor.”

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

  • Former Baylor wing Ishmail Wainright, who played for SIG Strasbourg in France in 2020/21, appeared at one point to be close to signing with Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas, but now may be prioritizing an NBA opportunity, tweets Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas. According to Urbonas, Wainright previously received an offer from the Raptors and is still drawing a lot of interest from NBA teams.
  • The NBA and NBPA announced on Wednesday that there were two new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests among players during the week of April 21-28. That’s slightly down from the three coronavirus positives among players announced on April 21.
  • Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer digs into the experience of playing on a 10-day contract, exploring how the unusual circumstances of this season have made the short-term auditions even more challenging for players than in past years.