Mfiondu Kabengele

Atlantic Notes: Tsai, Irving, Nets, Celtics, Thybulle

As of Thursday night, Nets owner Joe Tsai was supporting general manager Sean Marks‘ decision not to offer Kyrie Irving a max extension, according to Ian Begley of Irving has until June 29 to decide whether to exercise his $36.9MM player option for next season, and the two sides seem to be far apart in negotiations on an extension.

Should Irving leave, it could prompt Kevin Durant to further consider his situation with the Nets, as we previously relayed. Irving didn’t get vaccinated this season, so he only appeared in 29 games due to New York City’s vaccine requirement. He averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists during those outings, shooting 47%.

We have more notes from the Atlantic Division to pass along:

Rockets Claim Garrison Mathews, Waive Anthony Lamb

The Rockets have made a change to one of their two-way contract slots, waiving forward Anthony Lamb and replacing him with guard Garrison Mathews, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Iko, Houston claimed Mathews off waivers and converted his Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal.

Mathews, who was on a two-way contract with Washington for each of the past two seasons after going undrafted out of Lipscomb in 2019, emerged as a regular rotation player for Washington in 2020/21, averaging 5.5 PPG in 64 games (16.2 MPG). The 24-year-old shooting guard has displayed a reliable outside shot since entering the NBA, making 38.9% of 244 total three-point attempts.

The Celtics signed Mathews to a training camp contract this offseason and he was a candidate to be converted to a two-way deal in Boston, but he reportedly asked the team not to do so. According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Mathews thought it was unlikely he’d be promoted to the Celtics’ standard roster during the season if he were on a two-way deal with the team. There’s a better path to a 15-man roster spot in Houston, where the Rockets will likely try to trade some veterans this season.

As for Lamb, he played in the G League bubble with the Canton Charge and Rio Grande Valley Vipers earlier this year after going undrafted out of Vermont in 2020. His solid showing for Houston’s G League affiliate (the Vipers) earned him a two-way deal with the Rockets in March. He averaged 5.5 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 24 games (17.3 MPG) for Houston, then accepted his two-way qualifying offer this offseason. He’s a candidate to return to the Vipers.

The Rockets also completed another minor transaction, quietly signing and waiving big man Mfiondu Kabengele, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The sign-and-waive move ensures that Houston can make Kabengele an affiliate player for Rio Grande Valley, assuming he signs a G League contract.

Kabengele, 24, was the 27th overall pick in the 2019 draft, but barely played for the Clippers in his rookie year and had his rookie scale team option for the 2021/22 season turned down. He was traded to the Kings at the 2021 deadline, then caught on with the Cavaliers after being cut by Sacramento. The 6’9″ Canadian played in 16 games for the Cavs down the stretch, averaging 4.3 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 11.6 minutes per contest.

Because Kabengele signed his Exhibit 10 contract with Houston on Sunday and wasn’t cut until Monday, he’ll still be on waivers when the regular season begins. That means the Rockets will take on a small cap hit for a couple days worth of his minimum salary.

Cavaliers Waive Mfiondu Kabengele, Brodric Thomas

The Cavaliers have trimmed their roster by waiving center Mfiondu Kabengele and guard Brodric Thomas, the team announced in a press release.

Kabengele signed a pair of 10-day deals with Cleveland in April before inking a contract for the remainder of the season. He appeared in 16 games, averaging 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per night. He also played 23 games for the Clippers last season.

Thomas signed a two-way contract with the Cavs in late February and appeared in 32 games, putting up 4.1 PPG and 1.8 RPG. After exploring free agency, he accepted his qualifying offer last month, which was the equivalent of another two-way deal with a $50K guarantee. Thomas played four games for the Rockets last season before coming to Cleveland and spent time in the G League as well.

The moves bring the Cavaliers down to 18 players on the roster, with 11 guaranteed contracts. The team now has a pair of open two-way slots.

Central Notes: Cavs’ Rotation, Pacers’ TPE, Vaulet, Cunningham

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is planning on a 10-man rotation but the last two spots could change from game-to-game, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates.

“We’re working our way to what will be probably a 10-man rotation and then there’s different nights that are going to call for different things and we will go to those different guys,” Bickerstaff said.

By process of elimination, Denzel Valentine, Kevin Pangos, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and Mfiondu Kabengele are the players vying for those rotation minutes and each brings a different skill set to the table.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • The Pacers picked up a $7.33MM traded player exception from the Spurs in the Doug McDermott sign-and-trade but it’s highly unlikely they’ll use it this season, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. They were just $763,905 below the luxury tax line before dumping Edmond Sumner‘s contract on Wednesday, which moved them $2.8MM under the tax line. That’s still not nearly enough incentive to use the exception, since the franchise has no desire to be a taxpayer.
  • The Pacers received the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet in the Sumner trade with Brooklyn but he won’t be playing in the NBA this season, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star notes. He signed a two-year contract with AEK Athens in July. The 6’6” Vaulet was originally drafted by Charlotte in 2015.
  • Top pick Cade Cunningham sat out the Pistons‘ preseason opener against San Antonio on Wednesday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Cunningham is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.

Cavs Rumors: Valentine, Reddish, Hartenstein, Kabengele

The Cavaliers remain on the hunt for a wing who can play rotation minutes, according to Chris Fedor of, who reports that Denzel Valentine is among the free agents drawing interest from the team.

Valentine, 27, spent the first five years of his NBA career in Chicago. He had a promising 2017/18 season (10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, .386 3PT%), but missed all of the ’18/19 campaign due to an ankle injury and has provided inconsistent production since then.

Here’s more on the Cavaliers from Fedor:

  • The Cavs have interest in adding a third point guard and/or a backup center. However, Fedor believes addressing the wing remains Cleveland’s top priority — the point guard spot would be next, followed by the five.
  • The Cavs have been exploring the trade market as they search for another wing, but appear unwilling to part with a first-round pick – even if it’s protected – for any of the currently-available options, Fedor writes. The club has been in contact with the Hawks about Cam Reddish, Fedor adds.
  • Sources tell that the door remains open for free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein to re-sign with the Cavs. Assistant GM Mike Gansey watched Hartenstein work out for teams in Las Vegas, according to Fedor, who says the Thunder, Clippers, and Nets also had reps in attendance. If the Cavs were to sign Hartenstein or another center, Mfiondu Kabengele‘s roster spot would be in jeopardy, Fedor notes.

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 (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.