Neemias Queta

Western Notes: Wall, Lakers, Rockets, Sabonis, Queta, Metu

John Wall, who didn’t play last season for the Rockets, has looked sharp in offseason workouts, according to Marc Stein in a Substack post. Wall reached a buyout agreement this summer and signed with the Clippers after clearing waivers. Wall is expected to have a significant role with the Clippers, either as the starting point guard or as Reggie Jackson‘s backup.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers are about to let a traded player exception lapse. Their TPE of $2,692,991 generated in a deal with the Grizzlies will expire if they don’t make use of it on Monday. In that swap, the Lakers sent Marc Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick, and cash to Memphis in exchange for the draft rights to 2016 second-rounder Wang Zhelin. Memphis soon waived Gasol, who returned to Europe.
  • A fan survey conducted by Kelly Iko of The Athletic shows that Rockets supporters are pleased with the direction of the franchise. Even though fans anticipate Houston having little to no chance of making even the play-in tournament during the upcoming season, 90 percent of them have a positive view of the team’s “process” and a similar amount are “confident” or “very confident” in GM Rafael Stone and the front office.
  • The Kings’ Domantas Sabonis, Neemias Queta and Chimezie Metu had productive outings for their teams in FIBA World Cup qualifiers, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee notes. Sabonis led Lithuania to two victories in Group K, while Queta recorded two double-doubles to help Portugal win a pair of games in Group F. Nigeria went 1-2 in Group E but Metu also contributed two double-doubles.

Kings Sign Neemias Queta, Keon Ellis To Two-Way Contracts

The Kings have filled both of their two-way contract slots, announcing in a press release that center Neemias Queta and guard Keon Ellis have signed two-way deals.

A seven-footer out of Utah State University, Queta was the 39th overall pick in the 2021 draft and spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with Sacramento. He played sparingly at the NBA level, averaging 3.2 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 14 games (8.6 MPG), but was the starting center for the Stockton Kings in the G League, putting up 16.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 1.9 BPG in 14 regular season NBAGL contests (28.4 MPG).

Queta received a two-way qualifying offer from the Kings, so it’s not clear if he accepted that QO or signed a new two-way deal with the team. Either way, he’s back under contract with Sacramento.

The Kings’ other two-way slot belongs with Ellis, an undrafted rookie free agent whose agreement with the team was reported shortly after the draft wrapped up last week.

The 6’6″ guard averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.9 SPG in his senior year at Alabama. He made 43.7% of his field goal attempts and 36.6% of his 3-point tries. Ellis began his college career at Florida Southwestern State before playing his final two seasons for the Crimson Tide.

QO Decisions: M. Brown, Coffey, Pinson, Two-Way FAs

The Cavaliers won’t be issuing a qualifying offer to free agent big man Moses Brown, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). A qualifying offer for Brown would have been worth $2,076,674, but Cleveland will instead let him become an unrestricted free agent.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Qualifying Offers]

Brown has bounced around the league since debuting in 2019, appearing in games for Portland, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Cleveland. He has flashed some potential, averaging 6.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG in just 14.1 MPG in 92 career appearances, and could catch on with a new team this summer.

Here are a few more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • Clippers wing Amir Coffey has received a qualifying offer after earning a promotion to the team’s standard roster in 2021/22, per RealGM’s official NBA transactions log. Coffey’s QO projects to be worth $2,076,674 based on a $122MM salary cap and makes him a restricted free agent.
  • The Mavericks have issued two-way player Theo Pinson a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Because Pinson is ineligible to sign another two-way contract, his QO will be worth his minimum salary (projected to be $1,941,833), including a small partial guarantee of $86,946. Dallas reportedly wants to have him on its 15-man roster this season.
  • The following players coming off two-way contracts have received qualifying offers and are now restricted free agents, according to RealGM’s transactions log: Hawks guard Sharife Cooper, Bulls forward Malcolm Hill, and Kings big man Neemias Queta. Those QOs would all be for new two-way deals, with partial guarantees worth $50K.
  • The Warriors extended a qualifying offer to former guard Nico Mannion, per RealGM. Mannion played for Virtus Bologna in Italy in 2021/22 after leaving the NBA last summer, but Golden State continues to hold his rights in the event that he returns stateside. He received a two-way qualifying offer with a $50K partial guarantee.

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

Caldwell-Pope, Gallinari, Capela, Others Enter Protocols

Wizards wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Washington had been one of 10 teams that didn’t currently have any players in the protocols, but that’s no longer the case.

According to Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr., Caldwell-Pope returned a positive COVID-19 test on Monday evening (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). He’ll be sidelined for 10 days or until he can return consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari and center Clint Capela been placed in the health and safety protocols, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). An earlier report stated that two Atlanta players were entering the protocols today — now we know that Gallinari and Capela are those two players.
  • Lakers center Dwight Howard and guard Talen Horton-Tucker have exited the health and safety protocols, the team announced today (Twitter link via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). That doesn’t necessarily mean that both players have been cleared to return to action, but they’re able to rejoin the team for practices and should be available soon.
  • Bulls two-way guard Devon Dotson is now in the health and safety protocols, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). Chicago has had some players return since the team’s initial COVID-19 outbreak, but still has five other players in the protocols in addition to Dotson.
  • Kings two-way center Neemias Queta is the latest Sacramento player to enter the COVID-19 protocols, tweets Wojnarowski. The club now has seven players in the protocols.
  • The NBA has told the 10 teams scheduled to play on December 25 that some of their games could be shifted to new times if any Christmas Day contests have to be postponed, tweets Wojnarowski. As Woj explains, the league is prioritizing the 2:30pm ET, 5:00pm, and 8:00pm windows, so if one of those games is postponed, either the early or late game would likely be moved.

Kings Sign Neemias Queta To Two-Way Contract

Neemias Queta, the 39th overall pick in July’s NBA draft, has officially signed a two-way contract with the Kings, the club announced today in a press release.

Queta, 22, played his college ball at Utah State. As a junior in 2020/21, the young center averaged a double-double (14.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG) with an impressive 3.3 blocks per game in 29 contests (30.0 MPG).

The Kings carried over Louis King as a two-way player from last season, so King and Queta will occupy the team’s two-way contract slots.

[RELATED: 2021/22 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Sacramento is currently carrying 12 players on guaranteed contracts, three players on non-guaranteed deals, and two on two-way pacts, for a total of 17. That number will increase to 20 (the offseason limit) if and when the Kings complete their previously-reported deals with Alex Len, Matt Coleman, and DJ Steward.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, K. Jones, Lakers, Warriors

Deandre Ayton, fresh off of his first NBA Finals appearance with the Suns, is eligible for a five-year, $168MM max contract that would kick in at the start of the 2022/23 season, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what could be next for the big man.

Ayton’s career lows in PPG and APG were a result more of the context of adding Chris Paul and reorganizing the offense, rather than any regression on Ayton’s end, Rankin writes. In fact, Ayton’s growth as a team-first player willing to do whatever it takes for the success of the Suns adds even more appeal for the club as it decides if it will offer him a max deal.

If sacrificing is leading the wins and where we are today, I’ll sacrifice everything, you know what I’m saying,” Ayton said. “Everything (Paul’s) told me has led up to here, so why stop now?

We have more news from the Pacific Division:

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Sixers, Cavaliers, Hornets

Tennessee guard Jaden Springer and Oregon guard Chris Duarte are expected to work out for the Hawks shortly before the draft, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Duarte is ranked No. 23 on ESPN’s Best Available list, though he’s expected by some outlets to go higher, and Springer is rated No. 27. Atlanta holds the No. 20 pick.

We have more draft news involving Eastern Conference teams:

Draft Notes: Garza, Cooper, Pacers, Mock Drafts

The Sixers, who are in the market for a reserve center, worked out a pair of big men today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Iowa’s Luka Garza, the two-time national player of the year, was in Philadelphia, along with Utah State’s Neemias Queta.

Garza, who is projected to be taken anywhere from the end of the first round to the middle of the second round, has dropped weight since the college season ended in an effort to become more mobile on defense. Queta was named Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With Dwight Howard entering free agency, Pompey notes that the Sixers don’t have a reliable backup to Joel Embiid. Philadelphia holds the 28th and 50th selections in next week’s draft.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-27.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)