Mamadi Diakite

Mamadi Diakite Signs Two-Way Contract With Cavs

6:20pm: Diakite has officially signed a two-way deal with the Cavaliers, the team confirmed (via Twitter).


5:16pm: After being cut by the Cavaliers on Saturday, big man Mamadi Diakite has cleared waivers and the team intends to bring him back on a two-way deal, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). However, Fedor says “there are a few hurdles both sides need to clear” before the contract is signed.

Diakite had a strong preseason performance with the Cavaliers on a non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 contract, which cannot be converted to a two-way deal, so that’s why the team had to waive him before giving him a two-way deal. He averaged 9.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG and 1.3 BPG on .824/.571/.833 shooting in four preseason games (16.8 MPG), per RealGM.

Diakite has appeared in a total of 27 regular season games for the Bucks and Thunder since going undrafted out of Virginia in 2020. He spent most of his rookie season on a two-way deal with Milwaukee before being promoted to the standard roster down the stretch. In 2021/22, he signed three separate 10-day contracts with Oklahoma City.

The 25-year-old has averaged 3.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG in his 27 NBA contests (12.2 MPG). He also put up 18.5 PPG and 10.4 RPG in 12 G League appearances (27.7 MPG) for the Lakeland Magic during the truncated 2020/21 season, earning a place on both the All-NBAGL First Team and the league’s All-Defensive Team.

Relatedly, Fedor and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links) both say the Cavaliers signed and waived Brazilian wing Didi Louzada in order to secure his G League affiliate rights for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs’ NBAGL team.

Assuming the Cavs signed Louzada to an Exhibit 10 contract for that purpose, the team will be on the hook for two days’ worth of his prorated minimum salary, since he’ll spend the first two days of the regular season on waivers.

However, NBA.com’s transaction log indicates that Louzada was signed to a two-way deal. If Louzada briefly occupied the Cavs’ open two-way slot, it’s possible that’s one of the “hurdles” mentioned by Fedor to be cleared before Diakite signs. But it’s unclear if signing a player to a two-way contract and then waiving him secures his G League affiliate rights.

We’ll have to wait for a little more clarity on the Louzada situation, but in any case, it appears it will be Diakite who ultimately claims the two-way roster spot that opened up when Cleveland waived RJ Nembhard on Saturday.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

Cavs Exercise Options On E. Mobley, Okoro; Waive Five Players

The Cavaliers are exercising their 2023/24 rookie scale options on Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). The team has officially confirmed the moves (Twitter link).

The news was expected, as both 21-year-olds are key members of a young Cleveland squad. Mobley will earn $8,882,640 in his third season, while Okoro will make $8,920,795 in his fourth. Exercising Okoro’s fourth-year option also makes him eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer.

Mobley was the Rookie of the Year runner-up in ’21/22 after averaging 15 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG and 1.7 BPG in 69 games (33.8 MPG). The 7’0″ big man was the third overall pick in 2021.

Okoro was the fifth overall pick in 2020. The 6’5″ wing is an impressive athlete and strong defender, but needs to develop his offensive game. He’s averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.9 APG and 0.9 SPG over his first two seasons (134 games, 31 MPG).

In unrelated news, the Cavs have waived Mamadi Diakite, Sharife Cooper, Nate Hinton, Jamorko Pickett and RJ Nembhard, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. The team officially confirmed the roster cuts (via Twitter). The Cavs now have 14 players on standard contracts and one two-way spot open after waiving Nembhard.

The Cavaliers plan to keep their 15th standard roster spot open to start the season, according to Fedor (Twitter link), who adds that Cooper, Hinton and Pickett are expected to join the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs’ G League affiliate. If they spend at least 60 days with the Charge, they could each receive a bonus worth up to $50K due to their Exhibit 10 contracts.

Diakite had a strong preseason showing for the Cavs, and Fedor wondered last night if they might keep him around. Obviously he won’t receive the final standard roster spot right now, but there’s a chance they could re-sign him to a two-way contract if he clears waivers. He was on an Exhibit 9 training camp deal, which cannot be converted into a two-way deal.

Central Notes: Bulls, Mobley, Cavs, Diakite, Pacers

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan says he’s still tinkering with different lineup combinations and hasn’t decided which player will start at power forward, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Certainly, the rest of this week and going into next week, we’ll do that,” Donovan said when he was asked about experimenting with different looks and combinations.

Cowley writes that the Bulls are trying to determine whether Patrick Williams‘ development would be aided more by starting or coming off the bench. Javonte Green is his primary competition for the starting job.

Donovan has said “several times” during training camp that the power forward spot could fluctuate during the season, and it’s not clear if he’s prioritizing performance or matchups, according to Cowley.

2022/23 will be an important season for both players. Williams will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer after the Bulls exercised his fourth-year option, while Green will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers rested several key players in Friday’s 114-108 loss to Orlando, but Evan Mobley looked good, and more importantly healthy, in his preseason debut after dealing with a sprained right ankle, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Last season’s Rookie of the Year runner-up will be a huge piece of the puzzle for the Cavs if they hope to return to the postseason for the first time since 2018.
  • Both Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert made a strong case for the Cavaliers‘ starting small forward job in the loss to the Magic, Fedor adds in the same piece. Okoro finished with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added three rebounds, while LeVert had 15 points (on 5-of-12 shooting), four rebounds, three assists and four steals.
  • The Cavaliers preferred to keep their 15th standard roster spot open to maintain flexibility, but Fedor wonders (via Twitter) if Mamadi Diakite might be forcing their hand after a strong preseason performance. According to Fedor, Diakite has intrigued with his mix of activity, energy and productivity. He’s on a non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 deal after playing for the Bucks and Thunder the past two seasons.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic previews the Pacers, projecting them to finish with a 27-55 record, 14th in the Eastern Conference. Though he expects them to be bad, Hollinger thinks the Pacers will be entertaining to watch and notes that they have a lot of interesting decisions to make, including potentially dealing away veterans and exploring ways to utilize their $29MM in cap space.

Cavaliers Sign Mamadi Diakite To Camp Deal

The Cavaliers have signed free agent forward Mamadi Diakite to a contract, per the team’s official website. It’s a non-guaranteed Exhibit 9 deal, Hoops Rumors has learned.

One of several free agents to work out for the Cavaliers earlier this month, Diakite has appeared in a total of 27 regular season games for the Bucks and Thunder since going undrafted out of Virginia in 2020. He spent most of his rookie season on a two-way deal with Milwaukee before being promoted to the standard roster down the stretch. In 2021/22, he signed three separate 10-day contracts with Oklahoma City.

Diakite has averaged 3.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG in his 27 NBA contests (12.2 MPG). He also put up 18.5 PPG and 10.4 RPG in 12 G League appearances (27.7 MPG) for the Lakeland Magic during the truncated 2020/21 season, earning a place on both the All-NBAGL First Team and the league’s All-Defensive Team.

There could be a path for Diakite to earn a regular season roster spot in Cleveland. The Cavs only have 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus Lamar Stevens and Dean Wade on non-guaranteed deals.

The terms of Diakite’s agreement mean he can’t have his contract converted into a two-way deal, since it doesn’t include an Exhibit 10 clause. That absence of Exhibit 10 language also suggests the Cavs don’t anticipate him playing for their G League affiliate – the Cleveland Charge – if he doesn’t make the NBA squad.

The Cavs now have a full 20-man offseason roster. The team has also reportedly agreed to sign guard Sharife Cooper, but will need to trade or waive a player to make room for him.

Armoni Brooks, Kelan Martin Among FAs Working Out For Cavs

The Cavaliers have nine free agents in town this week for workouts, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who reports that guard Armoni Brooks and swingman Kelan Martin are among the players in attendance.

Sources tell Fedor that the first workout took place on Tuesday, with another scheduled for Wednesday. Big men Mamadi Diakite and Ray Spalding are a couple of the other free agents who are participating, Fedor adds.

Following the blockbuster trade for Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland has 16 players under contract — 14 on standard deals and a pair on two-way contracts. That leaves four openings on the team’s 20-man training camp roster and one possible open spot on the projected regular season roster. As Fedor notes, the Cavaliers are still about $2.5MM below the luxury tax line, so they could comfortably carry a 15th man on a minimum-salary deal if they so choose.

While there’s no guarantee that any of the players working out for the Cavs will receive training camp invites, Fedor points out that Denzel Valentine earned a roster spot a year ago after impressing the team during a September workout.

Brooks, Martin, Diakite, and Spalding all have multiple seasons of NBA experience under their belts, and all but Spalding saw action during the 2021/22 season. Brooks averaged 5.3 points per game in 54 appearances for the Rockets and Raptors; Martin posted 5.7 PPG in 30 contests for the Pacers and Celtics; and Diakite put up 4.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 13 games for the Thunder.

Heat Trade KZ Okpala To Thunder

2:05pm: As part of the deal, the Heat have amended their future draft obligations to the Thunder, the Heat announced in a full press release and the Thunder confirmed in a release of their own.

Instead of owing Oklahoma City their top-14 protected first-round pick in 2023, the Heat will now owe OKC their 2025 first-rounder (also top-14 protected).

That ’23 first-rounder would have been top-14 protected for three straight seasons before becoming unprotected in 2026. Now, the Heat’s ’25 first-rounder will be lottery-protected for just one year before becoming unprotected in ’26.

Essentially, the Thunder improved their odds of gaining a higher first-rounder by pushing the pick a couple years into the future (when the Heat could theoretically be less assured of having a playoff-caliber roster) and ensuring it has just one year of protection. Miami could also now trade its 2022 or 2023 first-round pick without running afoul of the Stepien rule.

The 2026 second-rounder the Heat acquired in the trade will be the least favorable of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ second-rounders that year, according to the Heat’s announcement.

Oklahoma City ended Mamadi Diakite‘s 10-day contract a day early in order to complete the trade, per the team. It’s not yet clear if the Thunder plan to hang onto Okpala, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.


1:50pm: The Heat have traded forward KZ Okpala to the Thunder in exchange for a 2026 second-round pick, Miami announced today (via Twitter).

While the Thunder, who have a massive collection of future draft picks, can certainly afford to give up a ’26 second-rounder, we’ll have to wait for their official announcement to see if there are protections on the pick or if the Heat are sending out any cash in the deal, since Okpala’s trade value is presumably limited.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Stanford, Okpala has appeared in just 63 games across three seasons for Miami. In 2021/22, he has averaged 3.7 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 21 contests (11.6 MPG). Okapala hasn’t played since December due to a wrist injury. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end.

By moving Okpala, the Heat, who had been right up against the luxury tax line, open a second spot on their 15-man roster and now should be in a comfortable position to promote Caleb Martin from his two-way contract.

Miami may wait until after Thursday’s trade deadline to make that move in order to maximize its roster and financial flexibility. But it’s a safe bet Martin will be added to the 15-man roster sooner or later. If they don’t make any other trades, the Heat could go shopping on the buyout market with their other roster opening.

Thunder Re-Sign Mamadi Diakite To 10-Day Deal

The Thunder have brought back forward Mamadi Diakite on another 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. Diakite’s previous 10-day deal expired on Sunday night.

Diakite, 25, has averaged 3.0 PPG and 3.3 RPG in eight games (11.6 MPG) with the Thunder over the course of a pair of 10-day contracts. This will be Diakite’s third 10-day pact with Oklahoma City — the first was a hardship deal and the second was a standard agreement.

The Thunder don’t currently have any players in the health and safety protocols, so this new deal will be a standard contract too. Assuming they aren’t eligible for a hardship exception when Diakite’s 10-day deal expires, the Thunder will have to either sign him to a rest-of-season contract or let him go at that point.

Diakite was in training camp with Oklahoma City in the fall, but fractured his hip and was waived at the end of the preseason. He spent his rookie year in 2020/21 with the Bucks after going undrafted out of Virginia, appearing in 14 regular season games and seven postseason contests for the NBA champions.

The 6’9″ forward will earn another $85,578 over the course of his 10 days with Oklahoma City. That figure will count against team salary for cap and tax purposes, which won’t be a problem for a Thunder club that remains significantly below the league’s minimum salary floor.

Diakite’s contract will run through February 9, covering OKC’s next six games.

Thunder Re-Sign Mamadi Diakite To 10-Day Deal

The Thunder have officially signed forward Mamadi Diakite to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release.

Diakite’s first 10-day deal with Oklahoma City, which expired overnight, was completed using a COVID-related hardship exception. However, with Kenrich Williams no longer in the health and safety protocols, the Thunder are ineligible for another hardship exception, so Diakite will be on a standard 10-day contract, filling the open spot on the club’s 15-man roster.

In his first 10 days with the Thunder, Diakite saw action in four games, averaging 3.5 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 11.8 minutes per contest.

The 6’9″ forward, who is celebrating his 25th birthday today, was in training camp with Oklahoma City in the fall, but fractured his hip and was waived at the end of the preseason. He spent his rookie year in 2020/21 with the Bucks after going undrafted out of Virginia, appearing in 14 regular season games and seven postseason contests for the NBA champions.

Diakite will earn $85,578 over the course of his 10 days with Oklahoma City. Unlike his last deal, this one will count against team salary for cap and tax purposes — that’s not a problem for a Thunder club that remains significantly below the league’s minimum salary floor.

Thunder Sign Mamadi Diakite To 10-Day Contract

The Thunder have signed forward Mamadi Diakite to a 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. The deal was completed using a COVID-related hardship allowance.

Diakite, who will turn 25 next Friday, was in training camp with Oklahoma City in the fall, but fractured his hip and was waived at the end of the preseason. The 6’9″ forward spent his rookie season in 2020/21 with the Bucks after going undrafted out of Virginia. He initially signed a two-way contract, then was converted to a standard deal last April ahead of Milwaukee’s championship run.

Diakite played a very limited role at the NBA level in 14 regular season games and seven postseason contests. However, he put up big numbers in the G League bubble last winter for the Lakeland Magic, averaging a double-double (18.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG) and 2.1 BPG in just 27.7 MPG (12 games). He made 58.0% of his shots from the field for Lakeland, including half of his three-point tries (7-for-14).

The Thunder currently have two players – Isaiah Roby and Kenrich Williams – in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, allowing them to sign two replacement players using hardship exceptions. The team now has Diakite and Olivier Sarr on 10-day deals.

Diakite will earn $85,578 over the course of his 10 days with Oklahoma City, but it won’t count against team salary for cap or tax purposes. His deal will cover the Thunder’s next five games before expiring on his birthday.

Thunder Waive Mamadi Diakite, Two Others

The Thunder have waived forward Mamadi Diakite, guard Justin Jaworski and center Olivier Sarr, the team announced in a press release today.

Diakite was claimed off waivers by Oklahoma City last month, while Jaworski and Sarr both signed Exhibit 10 deals with the club earlier today. Diakite was only guaranteed $100K this season and held a non-guaranteed salary for the 2022/23 campaign.

Jaworski and Sarr are strong contenders to join the Thunder’s G League team this season.

Diakite is coming off a G League season where he averaged 18.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He was recently diagnosed with a left hip fracture.

Oklahoma City now has 17 players under contract, including Paul Watson and Aaron Wiggins on two-way deals. It appears that Gabriel Deck, whose deal is non-guaranteed, has earned a spot on the Thunder’s 15-man opening night roster.