Mfiondu Kabengele

Cavs Ink Mfiondu Kabengele To Three-Year Deal

MAY 1: The Cavaliers have made their deal with Kabengele official, per a press release on Saturday.


APRIL 30: With the second 10-day deal for Cavaliers big man Mfiondu Kabengele set to expire tonight, Cleveland plans to retain him for the rest of the season, with an opportunity to stick around for two more years, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Woj reports that the Cavaliers will ink Kabengele for the rest of the 2020/21 and will add non-guaranteed salaries for the ’21/22 and ’22/23 seasons to the deal. A three-year contract would mean that the Cavaliers are using a portion of their mid-level exception to complete the move.

Selected with the No. 27 pick out of FSU in 2019, Kabengele spent his rookie season and half of the 2020/21 season with the Clippers. He was included in a trade deadline deal to the Kings and ultimately waived, after which he caught on with Cleveland.

Across six games with the developing Cavaliers thus far, the 6’9″ 23-year-old is averaging 7.3 MPG.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Cavs Sign Mfiondu Kabengele To Second 10-Day Contract

The Cavaliers have re-signed big man Mfiondu Kabengele, bringing him back on a second 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. His initial 10-day deal, signed on April 10, expired on Monday night.

A former first-round pick, Kabengele caught on with the Cavaliers after being waived by the Clippers. During his first 10 days with Cleveland, he saw limited action, recording a total of five points and five rebounds across three games (21 minutes). However, he showed enough to earn another 10 days with the team.

Kabengele’s second 10-day deal with the Cavs, like his first, will be worth $99,020. Because Cleveland waited an extra day to complete the signing, the contract will cover the club’s next six games instead of just five. Once it expires, the team will have to either let Kabengele walk or sign him to a rest-of-season deal.

The Cavaliers now once again have a full 15-man roster. They do have an open two-way contract slot and are expected to fill it at some point before the end of the regular season.

Cavaliers Sign Mfiondu Kabengele To 10-Day Deal

APRIL 10: The 10-day contract for Kabengele is official, the Cavaliers announced in a press release on Saturday.


APRIL 9: Free agent big man Mfiondu Kabengele will sign a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 23-year-old Kabengele played 23 games for the Clippers this season before being traded last month to the Kings, who released him three days later. He appeared in 35 total games in two seasons with L.A., averaging just 4.5 minutes per night. He was the 27th pick in 2019, and the Clippers acquired him in a draft-night trade with the Nets.

The signing will take place on Saturday, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), who adds that the Cavaliers considered drafting Kabengele in 2019.

Cleveland has two open roster spots, so another move won’t be needed to add Kabengele, who will earn $99,020 on the 10-day deal.

Kings Waive Jabari Parker, Mfiondu Kabengele

9:33pm: Kabengele has officially been released as well by the Kings, per a Sacramento press release.


8:23pm: The Kings have officially waived Parker, according to a team press release.


3:33pm: The Kings are also expected to release newly-acquired big man Mfiondu Kabengele in order to open the roster spots necessary to accommodate their deadline-day deals, reports Ham (via Twitter).


3:26pm: The Kings are expected to waive forward Jabari Parker, James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets.

Parker, who has a $6.5MM salary this season, was scheduled to hit the free agent market after the season. He’ll reach that point sooner once he clears waivers.

The second overall pick of the 2014 draft only appeared in three games with Sacramento this season, due to a back injury, personal reasons, and most recently the league’s health and safety protocols.

Sacramento was Parker’s fifth NBA stop. He was included a trade deadline swap with Atlanta last February. Parker averaged 15.0 PPG in 32 games with the Hawks but only played six games with Sacramento last season.

The Kings needed to open up two roster spots after a reported two-for-one deal with Miami that is sending Nemanja Bjelica to the Heat, along with an agreed-upon trade with the Raptors that will send Terence Davis to the West Coast.

Clippers Trade Mfiondu Kabengele To Kings

10:54pm: The trade is official, according to a Clippers press release.


9:07pm: The Clippers are trading big man Mfiondu Kabengele, a future second-round pick, and cash to the Kings in exchange for a future second-rounder, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Both second-round picks are heavily protected and are unlikely to convey, Woj adds (via Twitter).

The Kings, who have an open roster spot to and won’t need to cut anyone, are using a $2,673,334 trade exception that was set to expire on Monday to take on Kabengele’s salary. They’ll presumably receive more than enough cash to cover the money owed to him for the rest of the season, making the deal worth their while.

The Clippers, meanwhile, open up a roster spot with the deal and create some extra room below their hard cap, giving them more flexibility to make another trade or sign a free agent.

As a hard-capped team, the Clippers would have needed to wait until March 30 to sign another player. With two roster spots open, they can now fill one or both of those spots, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The club moves to $2.6MM below the hard cap (Twitter link via Marks).

Kabengele has appeared in 23 games this season but is only averaging 4.1 MPG in those outings, having essentially been limited to garbage time. The 27th overall pick in 2019, Kabengele saw action in 12 games last season as a rookie.

The 23-year-old power forward, who played college ball at Florida State, had his third-year option for 2021/22 declined, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, assuming he spends the rest of the season under contract.

Clippers Turn Down Team Option On Mfiondu Kabengele

The Clippers will not exercise their $2,174,880 third-year team option on center Mfiondu Kabengele, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Today was the deadline to pick up rookie scale team options for 2021/22.

Greif adds that Los Angeles will continue to assess the big man’s play throughout the rest of the 2020/21 season, and could sign him to another contract in free agency. Kabengele, the No. 27 pick in the 2019 draft out of Florida State, will enter unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021 and the Clippers won’t be able to offer him a starting salary worth more than his declined option.

Kabengele saw limited time for playoff-contending L.A. during his rookie season last year, averaging just 3.5 PPG and 0.9 RPG in 5.3 MPG across 12 games with the team.

In 27 games (all starts) for L.A.’s G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, the 6’9″ center averaged a much more robust 18.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.9 BPG and 1.3 APG.

Kabengele is the only 2019 first-rounder to have his third-year option for ’21/22 declined.

Clippers Notes: Kennard, Leonard, West, Kabengele

After a pair of uninspiring games to start the preseason, Luke Kennard promised his Clippers teammates he would become more aggressive, write Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Kennard delivered on Thursday night, coming off the bench to score 13 points and hit 3-of-4 three-point attempts.

“After our first scrimmage in training camp, I just told him, ‘Be aggressive, be who you are,’” coach Tyronn Lue said. “‘If you’re doing too much, I’ll let you know – and I doubt I would ever say that.’ And I told him, ‘Kawhi (Leonard) and (Paul George), they need that from you. They want that from you. So don’t come here trying to fit in, trying to please guys. Just play your game, and then we’ll make sure we tailor your game around our offensive foundation.’”

Kennard is getting used to competition again after being shut down for more than a year. He was sidelined by knee tendinitis last December with the Pistons, and the league went on hiatus before he could return. The Clippers picked him up in a three-team trade on draft night.

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Leonard has responded to charges that the team and executive board member Jerry West used improper tactics to lure him to L.A., tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. According to a TMZ report, Johnny Wilkes, who claims to be Leonard’s friend, is suing West for $2.5MM. “That has nothing to do with me swaying my mind to go somewhere,” Leonard said. “I’m from L.A. and I grew up here my whole life and out here people try to find any way to get some money, so he probably won’t be the last. I know a lot of people out here.” TMZ has published a voicemail allegedly left by West.
  • Mfiondu Kabengele remains in the Clippers’ plans for the future, even though the team elected not to take him to Orlando for the restart, Greif writes in a full story. President of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said it was difficult to decide who was brought to the Disney World campus. “We obviously were in a championship and still are in a championship contending mode, and we prioritize performance and medical for the playing group,” Frank explained. “You would have loved to have brought Fi there. Fi has a contagious personality. He stayed engaged throughout. He would jump on Zooms and watch practice. He would talk to his teammates. He talked to the staff. He kind of lived the journey remotely.” 
  • ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz examines how the Clippers can fix the flaws that caused them to underachieve last season with a second-round exit after adding two All-Stars.

Clippers Rumors: Lue, Young Players, Kawhi

After parting ways with Doc Rivers, the Clippers initially put together a list of about 10 possible candidates to replace him, according to Jovan Buha and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The team seriously considered five of those candidates before narrowing their search to three finalists.

Although the Clippers did conduct a full search, Tyronn Lue was the first candidate they contacted following Rivers’ departure and was one of just two candidates who checked every one of the team’s boxes. As Buha and Vardon explain, the Clippers consider Lue an “elite tactician” and viewed his familiarity with the roster as a positive — having spent the 2019/20 season as Rivers’ lead assistant, Lue got to see first-hand what went wrong, and has ideas for potential solutions.

[RELATED: Clippers to promote Tyronn Lue to head coach]

According to The Athletic’s duo, the Clippers also like that Lue isn’t a “staunch idealist” like Mike D’Antoni or Tom Thibodeau, and is more willing to tinker with lineups and styles, adapting to the roster he has. The club hopes to keep Kawhi Leonard and Paul George around for multiple seasons but recognizes that the roster might change around them. L.A.’s front office believes Lue is capable of adjusting to those changes and getting the best out of his players.

Speaking of Leonard and George, they were consulted by the Clippers’ top decision-makers during the search, per Buha and Vardon. However, neither star forward wanted to steer the search in a particular direction and told the team that they trusted the front office. They were both ultimately on board with the choice of Lue.

Here’s more on the Clippers and their new head coaching hire:

  • Lue will be aiming to bring more ball movement and a faster pace to the Clippers next season, sources tell Buha and Vardon. He also intends to switch up defensive coverages more often and give the club’s younger players – such as Ivica Zubac, Landry Shamet, Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele – more playing time.
  • Lue’s five-year contract is believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $7MM per year, according to Buha and Vardon.
  • The Clippers would like to establish better “synergy” between the coaching staff and front office, sources tell The Athletic. Lue is willing to work with the front office as he fills out his staff.
  • Buha and Vardon also reiterated a point that we’ve heard in the past, writing that some Clippers players – including Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams – bristled at the preferential treatment that Leonard received during his first season in L.A. The star forward was allowed to dictate to Rivers when he came out of games and was often late for team flights because he lived in San Diego, according to The Athletic’s reporters.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton offers up three areas for Lue to focus on as he attempts to get the Clippers to the NBA Finals. Those include tightening up the defense and not overreacting to a disappointing postseason outcome.

NBA Announces Official Rosters For Summer Restart

The NBA has announced the official summer rosters for each of the 22 teams involved in the resumption of the 2019/20 season. A total of 350 players make up the 22 squads, with only eight clubs carrying the maximum allowable 17 players. The Trail Blazers have the smallest summer roster, with just 13 players.

Injured players who didn’t make the trip to Orlando – such as Nets stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant – don’t show up on the official rosters list, but injured players who traveled with their teams – including Mavericks big man Dwight Powell and Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb – are included, even if they won’t play this summer.

Besides players who are injured, voluntarily opted out, or were ruled out after contracting COVID-19, there are a few more notable omissions on the list, which we’ll round up here:

  • Houston Rockets: William Howard
    • A two-way player, Howard recently reached a two-year deal with ASVEL Basket in France, so it makes sense that he won’t be playing for the Rockets this summer.
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Johnathan Motley, Mfiondu Kabengele
    • As previously reported, Motley and Kabengele didn’t travel to Orlando with the Clippers and won’t be playing this summer.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Cameron Reynolds
    • The Bucks only brought one of their two-way players (Frank Mason III), as Reynolds doesn’t show up on their official roster. The reason for his absence is unclear.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Gray
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Ryan Broekhoff
    • Broekhoff was signed as a substitute player to fill the Sixers’ open two-way slot, but later announced that he hadn’t traveled to Orlando because his wife, who is “high risk,” tested positive for COVID-19. Based on his omission from Philadelphia’s roster, it appears that Broekhoff won’t be joining the club after all.
  • Phoenix Suns: Tariq Owens
    • The Suns left one of their two-way slots open and apparently didn’t bring their lone two-way player to Orlando. The reason for Owens’ absence is unclear.
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Moses Brown
    • Despite only having 13 players available in Orlando, the Trail Blazers won’t have Brown – their second two-way player – with them. The reason for his absence is unclear.
  • Washington Wizards: Gary Payton II

L.A. Notes: Kawhi, Clippers, Lakers, KCP, Waiters

After appearing in 51 of the Clippers‘ 64 games before the NBA went on hiatus in March, star forward Kawhi Leonard said this week that he feels good and is ready to go, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times writes.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers suggested there would be “no limits” on the former Finals MVP, who hasn’t played in back-to-back sets over the last couple seasons due to leg issues. However, Rivers acknowledged that the Clips’ priority will be to keep Leonard in top shape, which may mean not pushing him too hard during the eight seeding games.

“Kawhi is healthy for the most part,” Rivers said. “That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this. Not just for Kawhi, it’s with everybody.”

Here’s more on the Clippers and their L.A. rivals:

  • The Clippers will have 15 players available in Orlando when the season resumes, according to Greif, who notes in a separate Times story that the club didn’t bring rookie forward Mfiondu Kabengele or two-way center Johnathan Motley. Teams were permitted to bring up to 17 players to the NBA’s campus, but the Clips elected to “load up on medical personnel” to fill out their traveling party, writes Greif.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley in the Lakers‘ starting lineup, head coach Frank Vogel said on Monday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bradley, who opted out of the rest of the season, started 44 games this year, typically alongside Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Danny Green, and JaVale McGee.
  • With Bradley not playing this summer and Rajon Rondo sidelined due to a broken thumb, Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register wonders if Dion Waiters could assume some ball-handling duties off the bench for the Lakers. “Losing Rondo put more of a need on Dion’s skillset, so I look forward to seeing what he can do more as we get into games,” Vogel said.