Joe Wieskamp

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Wieskamp, Primo, Nix

The Pelicans‘ recent surge is largely because of their improved defense, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. New Orleans has won four straight games, including a 124-90 victory over the Jazz on Friday.

Prior to that, the Pelicans held the Kings and Lakers to 95 points each, plus the Suns to 102 points. On the season, the team has allowed 108.7 points per game, which ranks 13th in the league. New Orleans currently holds the No. 10 seed in the West at 27-36.

“I feel like we’re doing a great job of defending, keeping guys out of the paint and just forcing them into tough shots,” said Herbert Jones, one of the league’s rising young defenders. “We’re flying all over the place, helping each other out. One guy gets beat, it’s another one of our brothers there to help him out. Hopefully, we can stay consistent and keep defending how we’re defending.”

There’s more from the Southwest:

Spurs Promote Devontae Cacok, Joe Wieskamp To 15-Man Roster

3:41pm: Both deals are for the rest of the season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. That means Cacok and Wieskamp will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer.


2:04pm: The Spurs have promoted both of their two-way players, forward/center Devontae Cacok and swingman Joe Wieskamp, to the 15-man roster, signing them to standard contracts, the team announced today (Twitter link via JD Shaw).

Cacok, 25, has appeared in 11 games for San Antonio this season, averaging 3.6 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 8.4 minutes per contest. The former Laker has been a double-double machine at the G League level, averaging 19.2 PPG and 12.9 RPG in 21 NBAGL appearances (31.6 MPG) for the Austin Spurs.

The 22-year-old Wieskamp, meanwhile, has seen limited action in 17 NBA games as a rookie after being selected 41st overall in the 2021 draft. Like Cacok, he has played a larger role in the G League than in the NBA, averaging 15.9 PPG and 3.9 RPG on .439/.315/.800 shooting in 14 games (33.7 MPG) for Austin.

After buying out Goran Dragic and Tomas Satoransky, the Spurs had two openings on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding moves were required to make room for Cacok and Wieskamp. The club now has a pair of two-way slots open.

The exact terms of Cacok’s and Wieskamp’s new contracts haven’t yet been reported. A standard conversion from a two-way deal would just result in a minimum-salary, rest-of-season contract, but most clubs try to negotiate longer-term agreements. The Spurs wouldn’t be able to offer either player more than a two-year deal.

Southwest Notes: Bane, Tillie, Terry, Spurs, G. Green

As the 30th overall pick of the 2020 draft, Grizzlies second-year guard Desmond Bane is used to being overlooked, but he’ll always feel like he should’ve gone off the board earlier, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

I will never let it go,” Bane told The Athletic. “I feel like teams had their chance to get me and knew who I was. It wasn’t like I was one of those one-and-done guys. You had four years to do your research on me. All my background stuff checked out. That’s on them.”

Bane has proven to be an ideal fit with star Ja Morant, Vokunov adds. After putting up 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 68 games (17 starts) as a rookie, Bane has increased those numbers to 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists through 39 games this season. He also sports a stellar shooting line of .466/.416/.906 for the 26-14 Grizzlies, currently the No. 4 seed in the West.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Keith Smith of Spotrac provides contract details (via Twitter) for Killian Tillie and Tyrell Terry of the Grizzlies. Tillie was promoted to a standard deal from a two-way contract last week, with Terry taking his two-way spot. Smith relays that Tillie will receive a portion of the room exception for his two-year deal, which is fully guaranteed at $1,901,625 for both 2021/22 and 2022/23, while Terry signed a two-year, two-way contract.
  • Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop leans on an ancient philosophy to adjust to life as a NBA journeyman, especially during a pandemic, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Bates-Diop, an avid reader, utilizes Stoicism to deal with the uncertainties of life. “I’ve tried to be even-keeled throughout it all, just trusting the work without getting too emotional, too high or too low,” Bates-Diop said. “It’s all about acceptance. Accepting the things that happen, the things you can and can’t control. That was a big thing for me, separating the two.
  • Spurs rookies Joshua Primo and Joe Wieskamp performed well in a blowout loss on Tuesday, but both players know they’re going to spend more time in the G League when the team returns to full strength, Orsborn writes in a separate article for the Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich says Primo is very mature for his young age (he just turned 19 two weeks ago). “Joshua has an uncanny maturity about him, kind of a steady demeanor,” Popovich said. “He is not awed by the NBA or anything like that. He makes good decisions. He definitely knows how to play. It’s just a matter of getting stronger and aware that these are men and they are coming after your head, so to speak. He just has to get used to that physicality and all that sort of thing.”
  • 35-year-old veteran Gerald Green, who recently decided to unretire and take another shot at the NBA, will be playing for the Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Spurs Notes: Bates-Diop, Murray, Hammon, G League

Keita Bates-Diop was an unlikely candidate to become the first Spurs player with a 30-point game this season, but the little-used forward reached that number in Thursday’s win over the Lakers, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Bates-Diop had 88 total points in his first 23 games, but he exploded in L.A., hitting all 11 of his shots from the field in the best night of his career.

“That’s why he’s in the NBA,” teammate Lonnie Walker said. “You’ve got to put respect on almost any player that’s out there. We’re all here for a reason.”

Bates-Diop was named Big Ten Player of the Year at Ohio State in 2018, but he has found only limited success in the NBA. Taken by the Timberwolves with the 48th pick in that year’s draft, he spent a season and a half in Minnesota before being traded to Denver. He signed a two-way contract with the Spurs last season and earned a standard deal this year.

“He’s a conscientious guy,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s becoming more and more conscientious all the time — and also a bit more confident, like he feels like he has a place.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • It took a lot of years and a lot of help for Dejounte Murray to develop into a top-level point guard, McDonald notes in a separate story. Drafted in 2016, Murray got to learn from Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard early in his career, but also had to overcome a torn ACL that wiped out his entire third season. “He had very little experience coming into the league and basically missed one whole season where he wasn’t able to develop,” Popovich said. “So at this point to see him playing the way he is, the confidence arena, where he’s got habits that are formed now — he understands the position. He understands the role and responsibility every night.”
  • Two WNBA teams have expressed interest in hiring Spurs assistant Becky Hammon as their head coach, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces have both reached out and there is mutual interest, according to Charania. Hammon has been rumored for years as a potential replacement for Popovich whenever he retires.
  • With the G League delaying the start of its regular season, Joshua Primo, Joe Wieskamp and Devontae Cacok may join the Spurs for Sunday’s game against Detroit, Orsborn tweets.

Southwest Notes: Morant, Burke, Wieskamp, Temple

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant says he’s motivated by his desire to be recognized as an All-Star player, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Morant, who has been on a scoring tear this season, averaging 30.5 PPG and 8.5 APG, says he has a chip on his shoulder after being passed over for the All-Star Game in his first two NBA seasons.

“I feel like it took me averaging 35 points a game to finally get some All-Star recognition,” Morant said. “But, I really can’t speak too much on that. I feel like my chip will never leave.”

We have more on the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke will not play against San Antonio on Thursday due to COVID-19 protocols, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Burke is not sick, but he missed part of his protocol sequence, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Unvaccinated players are required to go through more COVID protocols between games than those who are vaccinated. Burke, who is signed through 2022/23, has only made two brief appearances this season.
  • Rookie Joe Wieskamp is taking a positive approach to being assigned to the G League by the Spurs, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. “It was really fun to be around the (NBA) team and go to the games, but obviously we weren’t getting too many minutes, if at all,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to go out there and play and develop.” The former Iowa wing is playing on a two-way contract.
  • Pelicans guard Garrett Temple is doubtful to play on Friday after injuring his ankle on Wednesday, according to a post on the team’s website. “It’s still pretty sore with his left ankle,” coach Willie Green said. “We’re not sure about (Temple’s availability for) tomorrow, but we’ll know more as we get closer to the game.”

Spurs Notes: Popovich, Offseason, Primo, Wieskamp

A report earlier this month indicated that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has seemed revitalized by the influx of young talent in San Antonio, and his comments to reporters this week back up that report. Although this year’s version of the Spurs won’t be a title contender like some of Popovich’s past teams, he said he’s “thrilled with this group,” according to Raul Dominguez of The Associated Press.

“They are basically young, energetic, have got a lot of speed,” Popovich said. “There is no need to pace yourself. Nobody is going to play 39 minutes a game, don’t have to worry about stats or individual honors or anything like that. These guys are just going to have a ball playing.”

The days of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are long gone, but even in recent years, Popovich was able to rely on veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Rudy Gay. This season, the Spurs are short on go-to vets, but the veteran coach sounds perfectly fine with that.

“I have no idea who I’m going to give it to or what play we’re going to run,” Popovich said, per Dominguez. “That’s something we’re going to figure out as we move along, and to me, that’s exciting as hell.”

Here’s more from out of San Antonio:

  • The Spurs’ offseason moves – including signing Doug McDermott and Bryn Forbes in free agency – suggest they plan to shoot more three-pointers this season, says John Hollinger of The Athletic. San Antonio ranked dead last in the NBA last season in three-point makes (9.9) and attempts (28.4) per game.
  • Rookie guard Joshua Primo was “ecstatic” to land with the Spurs on draft night, according to agent Todd Ramasar, who tells Madalyn Mendoza of The San Antonio Express-News that his client had long admired the franchise. “When you think about them being the gold standard in the NBA from an organization standpoint, I think all that ties in to just how unreal it was to hear his name called at 12,” Ramasar said.
  • Although the Spurs essentially admitted defeat on one of their 2019 first-round picks this week when they cut Luka Samanic, the team’s hit rate in the draft remains high, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. As Finger observes, of San Antonio’s seven first-rounders since 2016, five (Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell) should be, at the very least, solid NBA contributors, while a sixth (Primo) is off to a promising start this fall.
  • Second-round pick Joe Wieskamp is prepared to spend a good chunk of his rookie season in the G League with the Austin Spurs and plans to make the most of it, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I just view this as a developing year. It’s all about learning, all about growing,” Wieskamp said. “Just to have that experience of playing in Austin will be great. You get more opportunities to truly be yourself and work on things in a game environment.”

Spurs Sign Joe Wieskamp To Two-Way Contract

SEPTEMBER 7: The Spurs have officially announced the signing of Wieskamp to a two-way deal, per a team press release.


AUGUST 17: Former Iowa wing Joe Wieskamp will sign a two-way contract with the Spurs, according to Scott Dochterman of The Athletic (Twitter link; hat tip to RealGM).

Wieskamp, who will turn 22 next Monday, averaged 14.8 PPG and 6.6 RPG on .491/.462/.677 shooting in 31 games (29.3 MPG) as a junior in 2020/21. He earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors and was the 41st player to come off the board in the July 29 draft.

The Spurs already have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Drew Eubanks on a partially guaranteed deal and Bryn Forbes and Jock Landale still to sign. As such, there probably wouldn’t have a spot for Wieskamp on the 15-man regular season roster, so it makes sense that San Antonio will start him off on a two-way contract.

Once they sign Wieskamp, the Spurs will still have their second two-way slot open, though Keita Bates-Diop is a candidate to fill it — the team still has a two-way qualifying offer out to him.

Jazz Considered Likely To Re-Sign Mike Conley

Free agent point guard Mike Conley is likely to return to the Jazz, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, though Jones cautions that the price tag “won’t be cheap.”

The report comes on the heels of a pair of similar stories from Tuesday. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote that league executives believe Conley is most likely to remain in Utah, while Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said there’s a “strong belief” around the league that the Jazz will be able to shed some salary and make Conley a substantial offer.

The Mavericks have been cited repeatedly as one team expected to show interest in Conley, but their focus is said to be more on Kyle Lowry, which perhaps reflects their belief that Lowry will be more attainable.

As we outlined in our preview of Utah’s offseason, the team is already on the hook for nearly $130MM in guaranteed salary for nine players. Even if Conley is willing to take a pay cut after earning $34.5MM last season, a reasonable deal for him (perhaps in the neighborhood of $20MM+ per year) would push the Jazz way into luxury tax territory.

Virtually all of Utah’s biggest contracts belong to productive rotation players, so if the club wants to trim salary, it may come at the cost of a regular contributor. The Jazz have reportedly explored trades involving Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Derrick Favors.

Multiple reports have suggested the team could end up attaching this year’s No. 30 pick to Favors in a cost-cutting deal. Since Favors’ contract (two years, $20MM) isn’t especially unwieldy, it’s possible Utah could get a less expensive rotation player back in such a deal, though that’s just my speculation.

Here are a few more notes on the Jazz:

  • Sources tell Jones that the Jazz remain high on second-year shooting guard Elijah Hughes and believe he could play his way into the team’s 2021/22 rotation. The team likes what he brings to the table offensively and will be looking for him to show defensive improvement in Summer League play, per Jones.
  • Miles McBride, Ayo Dosunmu, and Nah’Shon Hyland are among the guards the Jazz like as possible targets if they keep the No. 30 pick, says Jones.
  • If Utah trades the No. 30 pick and remains in the draft, moving up is unlikely, but a move down is a possibility, according to Jones, who says there are multiple players the team likes in the second round. One potential second-round target would be Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp, Jones adds.

Eastern Notes: Sexton, Knicks, Heat, Hawks, Raptors

Following up on Shams Charania’s report that the Knicks have been the most aggressive trade suitor for Collin Sexton so far, Marc Berman of The New York Post confirms that the team has the Cavaliers guard on its trade radar.

According to Berman, the Knicks would’ve picked Sexton over Kevin Knox in the 2018 draft if he had slipped to No. 9 instead of being selected at No. 8. Berman adds that Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who played his college ball at Dayton, may be a player the Cavs would target in a trade.

A source tells Berman that the Knicks – who hold the 19th and 21st overall picks – are open to trading out of the first round entirely in order to acquire an “established player.” Sexton has certainly established himself as a talented scorer, having averaged 24.5 points per game in 2020/21, though it’s unclear if New York would be willing to offer both of its first-round picks in a package for him.

Here’s more from around the East:

Draft Notes: Early Entrant Decisions, Mintz, Obanor, Duarte

Kentucky guard Davion Mintz has withdrawn from the draft and will return to the Wildcats for another year, per an ESPN report.

Jalen Wilson (Kansas), Orlando Robinson (Fresno State), Josh Mballa (Buffalo), Moussa Cisse (Memphis), Stanley Umude (transferring to Arkansas from South Dakota), and Alex Morales (Wagner) are also pulling out of the draft in order to return to school, according to a series of tweets from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

The NCAA’s early entrant deadline is July 7, so players who declared for the draft and are testing the waters will have until next Wednesday to either withdraw or keep their names in the pool.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports takes a look at a dozen college programs whose rosters for 2021/22 will be affected by key decisions made on or before the July 7 early entrant withdrawal deadline.
  • Nebraska guard Dalano Banton will remain in the 2021 draft, he told Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Iowa forward Joe Wieskamp and Evansville wing Sam Cunliffe are staying in the draft too, while Coppin State wing Koby Thomas has also signed with an agent and will go pro rather than returning to school, according to Rothstein (Twitter links).
  • Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn and Oral Roberts forward Kevin Obanor have entered the transfer portal but are remaining in the draft for now, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com and Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Obanor has worked out for the Warriors and Cavaliers and has auditions lined up with the Sixers and Magic, per Goodman.
  • Oregon guard Chris Duarte tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he believes he should be a lottery pick in this year’s draft.