NBA G League

Raptors Notes: Lineup, Schröder, Trent, Siakam, Gueye

Prior to Friday’s game against Charlotte, Eric Koreen of The Athletic and Blake Murphy of both made the case that the Raptors should make a lineup change. Koreen advocated for Gary Trent Jr. to replace Dennis Schröder in the starting five, with Murphy acknowledging that’s the “most obvious immediate move.”

The logic, as Murphy explains, is that the trio of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes would benefit from playing with at least one outside shooter, if not two. Instead, the three forwards have spent most of the season alongside Schröder, an inconsistent marksman (he’s at 33.3% on threes this season) and Jakob Poeltl, a non-shooter. The five-man unit had a minus-3.1 net rating entering Friday, which isn’t acceptable for the team’s top lineup, writes Murphy.

However, head coach Darko Rajakovic stuck with his usual group against the Hornets. The starting five spent 17 minutes on the floor together and was outscored by three points during that time while making just 2-of-11 outside shots. The rest of the Raptors’ lineups played Charlotte to a draw, but the starters’ three-point deficit was ultimately reflected in the final score: Toronto lost 119-116 to fall to 9-13 on the season.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors are at a familiar crossroads, according to Michael Grange of, who says the team has failed to properly judge the level of its roster and where it stands relative to its competition in recent years. The franchise can’t afford to make that mistake again and will need to be prepared to make difficult personnel decisions at this season’s trade deadline, Grange writes.
  • Josh Lewenberg of explores the same subject as Grange, suggesting that time is running out for the current roster to prove it deserves to be kept intact. Within his story, Lewenberg cites league sources who say the Raptors still haven’t opened extension negotiations with Siakam but also haven’t discussed him in trade talks since the summer. Siakam will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
  • Mouhamadou Gueye has gotten off to a strong start for the Raptors 905 this season, averaging 15.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game through his first nine contests with Toronto’s G League affiliate. Gueye would’ve been the most logical in-house candidate to fill the two-way contract slot that opened when the Raptors waived Ron Harper Jr., according to Murphy, but he’s currently dealing with a neck injury. Using that two-way spot to sign Jontay Porter away from another organization will provide the banged-up 905 with some additional depth.

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Paul, Wiggins, Reddish, Plumlee

The Kings‘ NBA G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, are trading for the rights to forward Stanley Johnson from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat‘s affiliate, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

Johnson had auditions with Golden State and Phoenix during the offseason but was unable to get a contract offer. Johnson has played for five organizations since being picked in the lottery by Detroit in 2015. He saw action in 30 games off the bench for the Spurs last season.

The Kings have an open roster spot, so this could be an opportunity for Johnson to work his way back into the NBA.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins are probable to play on Wednesday against Portland, according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Both participated in practice on Tuesday, Kendra Andrews of ESPN tweets. Paul has been out since Nov. 28 due to a lower leg injury. Wiggins has also missed the last two games due to a finger injury.
  • Cam Reddish has endured a rocky start to his NBA career but he’s flourishing with the Lakers as a hustle player, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. He’s become a favorite among fans and teammates alike. “Cam is great,” LeBron James said. “He has a knack for just being around the ball, getting deflections. I guarantee in the minutes that he’s played, he’s probably one of the league leaders in deflections, steals. Anything around the ball, he’s just really good.” Reddish was averaging 23.7 minutes in 17 games, including 10 starts, heading into Tuesday’s tournament quarterfinal.
  • Mason Plumlee has a long way to go before returning to action, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The Clippers big man isn’t practicing 5-on-5 or running full speed yet as he rehabs from a knee injury. Plumlee, who is on a one-year, $5MM deal, hasn’t played since Nov. 6.

Rockets Notes: Whitmore, Thompson, Sengun, Udoka

It was a big offseason for Cam Whitmore, who was named the Summer League MVP in Las Vegas, then was voted the biggest steal of the 2023 draft by NBA general managers. However, the rookie forward hasn’t been part of the Rockets‘ rotation this fall, logging just 32 total minutes in five appearances at the NBA level.

Whitmore has seen more action in the G League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate. In six games as a Viper, the 19-year-old has put up 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per night with a shooting line of .486/.431/.786.

While the scoring numbers are impressive, the Rockets have been even more encouraged by Whitmore’s assist totals, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), who notes that the youngster only had 19 assists in 26 college games at Villanova. Head coach Ime Udoka said the team liked what it saw from the rookie in several other areas too.

“He did well,” Udoka said of Whitmore’s G League play. “He had numbers, obviously. But it’s not really the scoring. It’s shot selection, improvement on defense, recognition. They do the same schemes that we do.

“One thing about the G League, people go down there to score; it doesn’t always translate to the NBA. You’re not always going to get those same looks or other things. It’s how you blend in with the team and the scheme. When you’re getting a lot of time as a young guy, I think it’s invaluable to go down there to … play. We’re looking at everything, from understanding game plans, coverages and everything we don’t get a chance to work on daily.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Whitmore was one of four Rockets sent to the Vipers on Tuesday, along with fellow first-rounder Amen Thompson and two-way players Jermaine Samuels and Nate Hinton. Thompson is recovering from an ankle injury and Feigen suggests (via Twitter) that playing with the Vipers may be the next step in his return for the NBA club. Rio Grande Valley has three games in four days beginning on Wednesday.
  • Rockets center Alperen Sengun has put up All-Star caliber numbers, averaging 21.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 5.5 APG through his first 17 games this season. However, he’ll face tough competition as a frontcourt player in the Western Conference, so his case would be strengthened if the Rockets – who have lost six of their last eight games – can reverse their recent slide and remain in the thick of the West’s playoff race, Feigen writes for The Houston Chronicle (subscription required).
  • The Rockets’ loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Saturday night wasn’t the team’s finest hour. As Kelly Iko of The Athletic details, Ime Udoka was ejected following a verbal altercation with LeBron James, while Dillon Brooks ripped the officiating after the game, referring to them as a “terrible group” of referees. Still, if the team emulates Udoka’s intensity and “don’t get punked” attitude going forward, the game could prove beneficial, according to Feigen (subscription required). “We’re trying to imitate our coach,” Jabari Smith Jr. said. “That’s who he is. That’s how he is. We’re trying to be like that.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Ball, Heat, McClung

With Jalen Johnson unavailable due to a wrist injury, the Hawks have been experimenting a little more with different frontcourt combinations, including playing centers Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu alongside one another, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required).

The pairing is very much a work in progress, particularly on the offensive end, but it showed some intriguing potential against bigger teams like San Antonio and Milwaukee, according to Williams.

“There’s certain times in the game where that allows itself and there’s certain matchups where I think it pays dividends defensively,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “(Saturday vs. Milwaukee) was one of those nights).”

For his part, Okongwu is on board with the idea of handling power forward alongside Capela if it means he’ll get an opportunity to play a little more.

“Whatever it takes for me to be on the court longer, I’ll do it,” Okongwu said. “Playing the four, it’s obviously is an adjustment but nothing I can’t do.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hornets guard LaMelo Ball still has a noticeable limp and isn’t expected to return anytime soon, but he’s no longer wearing a walking boot, tweets Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. That’s a promising first step in Ball’s recovery from a severely sprained right ankle, which he’s scheduled to have reevaluated this week.
  • Buoyed by a seven-game winning streak in the first half of November, the Heat are 11-9 after 20 games, but many of their victories have come against subpar competition and they’ve lost four of their last five contests. Jimmy Butler kept coming back to one word when describing the team’s performance so far, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “We stand right where we don’t want to be, which is very mediocre, not good, not bad, not great, not any of those things,” Butler said. “Just mediocre. You talk about our offense has been mediocre. You talk about our defense has been mediocre. That’s the word I would use.”
  • Mac McClung, who has been playing for the Magic‘s G League affiliate this season, was named the NBAGL’s player of the month for November, the league announced on Monday (Twitter link). McClung averaged 25.4 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game in nine November contests for the Osceola Magic, but isn’t under contract with Orlando — the 2023 slam dunk champion remains an NBA free agent, available to sign with any team.

And-Ones: In-Season Tournament, Point Differential, Cole

While most of the league has gotten back to business as usual, the eight teams that advanced in the NBA’s first-ever in-season tournament are focused on the knockout round and a trip to Las Vegas for the semifinals and title game, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Single-elimination games will start Monday with the Pacers hosting the Celtics and the Pelicans meeting the Kings, and will continue Tuesday with Knicks-Bucks and Lakers-Suns matchups.

“I just want to make every appeal I can to our fans that we need the loudest building possible,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “To show you that no good deed goes unpunished, we draw the team with the best record in basketball. But we do get to play them at home. So that’s something important. We need our building to be as loud and raucous as it possibly can and we need to throw a game out there that’s exceptional.”

The new tournament falls at a perfect time on the NBA calendar, notes Sam Amick of The Athletic. It brings added stakes to numerous early-season games and ends six days before December 15, which marks the unofficial start of trading season as most free agents who signed during the summer become eligible to be dealt. Ten days later marks the Christmas Day showcase, which Amick points out is when much of the general public typically starts paying attention to the league.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA may have to address the point-differential issue before next year’s tourney, Amick adds in the same piece. Having it as the primary tie-breaker led to unusual strategy in several late-game situations on Tuesday, and Knicks guard Josh Hart said it “messes with the integrity of the game a little bit.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose team needed a 13-point win at Sacramento to reach the final eight, talked with reporters before the game about a scenario where it might be advantageous to let the Kings force overtime and try to dominate the extra session. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t pursue that strategy. “I’ll let (commissioner) Adam Silver answer,” Kerr said. “He gets to decide what we should do. I don’t know. It’s a very interesting question.”
  • The Athletic’s NBA staff examines the most pressing concerns for all 30 teams, from the top of the league, where the Celtics have to be worried about frontcourt depth in light of Kristaps Porzingis‘ injury history, to the bottom, where the Pistons might be forced into upending their roster sooner than expected.
  • Veteran guard Norris Cole has joined the G League Ignite, tweets Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Cole, 35, won two titles with the Heat but has been out of the NBA since 2017.

Davon Reed To Join Grizzlies’ G League Affiliate

Free agent guard/forward Davon Reed is signing an NBA G League contract to play with the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies‘ affiliate, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

The 32nd overall pick of the 2017 draft, Reed spent his first two seasons with the Suns and Pacers before spending time in the NBAGL and playing professionally in Taiwan. He returned to the NBA in 2021/22 with the Nuggets and re-signed with Denver as a free agent last summer.

Reed was traded to the Lakers in February in a multi-team deal that sent Thomas Bryant to the Nuggets. The 28-year-old wing was waived by Los Angeles on the last day of the regular season to create roster space.

Reed, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game while shooting 40.9% from deep over the past two seasons (91 games, 11.1 minutes), signed with Ukrainian team Prometey BC as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

His stint with Prometey — which is currently in the EuroCup tournament and competes in the Estonian-Latvian Basketball League due to the ongoing war in Ukraine — was short-lived, however, as he’ll reportedly be returning stateside in an effort to make it back to the NBA.

It’s worth noting that Reed holds four seasons of NBA experience and is thus ineligible for a two-way contract. In order to return to the league, he’ll have to be offered a standard deal.

It’s possible Reed could be competing for a chance at a 10-day contract with Memphis — the Grizzlies currently have guards Shaquille Harrison and Jaylen Nowell on 10-day deals after qualifying for a couple extra roster spots via the hardship provision. Those contracts expire on December 3.

And-Ones: Howard, Harkless, 2024 Draft, Buzelis

Former NBA star Dwight Howard is exploring potential opportunities in Europe and Australia in the hopes of playing his way back to the NBA, reports Donatas Urbonas of As Urbonas explains, if Howard were to sign with a team in the EuroLeague or Australia’s National Basketball League, he’d look to include an NBA out clause in his contract.

Howard, who played in Taiwan last season, met with Golden State in September, but the Warriors opted not to sign him. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is facing sexual assault and battery allegations and is seeking to dismiss a civil lawsuit in Georgia related to those allegations.

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

  • Veteran NBA forward Maurice Harkless signed a G League contract and has been acquired from the available player pool by the Rip City Remix, the Trail Blazers‘ affiliate (Twitter link). Harkless, a first-round pick in 2012, appeared in 621 NBA regular season games across 10 years, but wasn’t in the league last season. He’s just just 30 years old and will be looking to show with the Remix that he deserves a call-up.
  • In their latest dispatch on the 2024 draft class, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of (Insider link) identify Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Iowa State’s Milan Momcilovic as the most surprising NCAA freshmen so far this season and single out several prospects who have boosted their stock in November, including Arizona’s Keshad Johnson, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, and Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro.
  • G League Ignite prospect Matas Buzelis, a contender for the No. 1 spot in the 2024 NBA draft, has yet to make his season debut in the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup due to an ankle injury. The Ignite have taken a cautious approach with Buzelis, according to Woo, who hears from a source that the 6’10” point forward is nearing a return and could play this weekend.

Raptors Notes: Temple, Dick, Trent, Offense

Appearing on The Raptors Show with William Lou (audio link), veteran guard Garrett Temple said he had a preexisting relationship with Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri prior to this offseason, and that the two men exchanged numbers “as friends” during a 2018 event in South Africa. When Temple was waived by New Orleans this past July, Toronto was the first team to reach out to express interest in him.

“(Head coach) Darko (Rajakovic) called, told me he’d admired me from afar. Then I talked to (general manager) Bobby (Webster) and Masai,” Temple said. “They told me they wanted me to be a veteran leader, to be a guy that’s ready to play whenever my name is called, but first and foremost, be a guy that can be a good influence on the players here, show them what professionalism is. That’s what I’m trying to do every day.”

Temple has never been the sort of player who fills up a stat sheet, but he has long been valued for his on-court smarts, his defensive versatility, and his leadership in the locker room. The 14-year veteran has appeared in just five games for the Raptors so far this season, but has been effective when called upon, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 16 minutes of action.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors assigned lottery pick Gradey Dick to the G League ahead of Saturday’s game vs. the Capital City Go-Go in order to get him more playing time than he’s getting with the NBA team, tweets Michael Grange of However, Dick struggled in his Raptors 905 debut, scoring just two points on 1-of-12 shooting and committing three turnovers while recording a single assist. It sounds like the No. 13 overall pick may remain with the 905 for Monday’s game, notes Blake Murphy of (Twitter links).
  • While the 2024 free agencies of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby have stolen most of the headlines, the Raptors will also have to determine in the coming months what to do with Gary Trent Jr., who is on an expiring contract too. As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, Trent’s value is difficult to gauge, given that his play on defense has been inconsistent, so it’s unclear at this point whether he’ll emerge as a deadline trade chip or if he has a decent chance to stick with Toronto beyond this season.
  • The Raptors’ half-court offense, which has ranked near the bottom of the league in recent years, seemed to still be a problem at the start of this season, but the club has shown some encouraging signs offensively as of late, Grange notes at Although Toronto is still only 17th in overall offensive rating and has struggled against some top defenses, the team is making good on Rajakovic’s desire to pass more, ranking second in the NBA with 28.8 assists per game.

Heat Notes: Jovic, Adebayo, Smith, Bouyea

Heat forward Nikola Jovic was assigned to the G League for nearly a week, but will be back with the NBA club on Saturday, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. According to Chiang, Jovic saw plenty of time at the five during his stint with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and believes that he may have a clearer path to playing time if he can get accustomed to playing center.

“I think it’s going to be the fastest way to get on the court because we have a lot of fours,” Jovic said. “It’s something that everybody can see. At five right now, we have Bam (Adebayo) and Kevin Love is coming off the bench as like a stretch five. So I think and I think the coaches also think the fastest way for me to get back on the court will be just playing at the five.”

While Adebayo typically gets the brunt of the playing time in the middle, he has been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Brooklyn – the second in a back-to-back set – due to a left hip injury (Twitter link via the team). Adebayo’s absence could result in an immediate opportunity for Jovic to get some minutes. Still, head coach Erik Spoelstra indicated he won’t be viewing the 20-year-old Serbian only as a center.

“I want to get him minutes at both positions,” Spoelstra said, per Chiang. “… And when he plays five for us, it looks a little bit different than it does down there (in the G League). He’s got a lot more bigger wings and there’s a dimension that can really help Jimmy (Butler) that’s intriguing to us. So he has to gobble up all those different experiences and it will change game to game.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • According to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), the Heat confirmed on Friday that Dru Smith will eventually require surgery on his ACL injury, which will sideline him for the rest of the season. Erik Spoelstra also reiterated his dissatisfaction with the sideline area of the court in Cleveland where Smith fell and suffered the injury. “Maybe this is something that can be addressed with the league moving forward,” he said (Twitter link via Winderman). “I doubt anything will change with the floor. It is a hazard in our mind and probably in a lot of other teams’ minds, too.”
  • After being cut by Portland and clearing waivers, guard Jamaree Bouyea is rejoining the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, tweets Winderman. Bouyea opened the season with the Skyforce before spending 10 days on a two-way contract with the Trail Blazers.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype takes a closer look at the Heat’s roster, suggesting that if the team makes a trade before the deadline, the priority should be to try to bring some long-term stability to the point guard position.

Kobi Simmons Signs G League Contract, Joins Raptors 905

Veteran NBA guard Kobi Simmons has signed a G League contract and is joining the Raptors 905, who acquired his returning rights earlier this week, according to Blake Murphy of (Twitter link).

Simmons, 26, appeared in 32 games for the Grizzlies as a rookie back in 2017/18 after going undrafted out of Arizona. He hasn’t played much in the NBA since then, having spent most of his career either in the G League or overseas (he played in Poland in 2021/22).

However, in addition to a single appearance with the Cavaliers in 2018/19, Simmons suited up for the Hornets in five games near the end of last season. He signed a two-way contract with Charlotte in March, then was elevated to the standard roster in April during the final week of the regular season. Simmons’ contract with the Hornets covered ’23/24 too, but his salary was non-guaranteed and he was waived prior to training camp.

Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 33.7 minutes per game (46 games) and had a shooting line of .489/.381/.810 with the Greensboro Swarm, Charlotte’s G League affiliate, last season. The Swarm traded his rights to Toronto’s affiliate on Wednesday in exchange for the rights to Sterling Brown and Gabe Brown.

While the Raptors now control Simmons’ G League rights, he remains an NBA free agent and could sign with any team if he gets an offer.