- Magic big man Moritz Wagner won’t play for Germany in the World Cup qualifiers or FIBA EuroBasket 2022 due to an ankle injury, according to Eurohoops.net. The severity of the ankle injury wasn’t revealed but Wagner expressed disappointment that he won’t be able to participate. “The fact that my ankle isn’t healed is difficult to accept at first, but it’s part of the game,” he said in a statement released by the German federation. “This team is special and I’m looking forward to watching the boys play and supporting them.”
Given that Orlando has 15 players on guaranteed deals for its full roster and both its two-way slots are occupied, the agreement seems likely to be an Exhibit 10 training camp contract. The Magic has also reportedly reached Exhibit 10 agreements with Drake Jeffries and Zavier Simpson.
Shittu, still just 22, went undrafted out of Vanderbilt in 2019, then joined the Bulls’ NBAGL affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, for the 2019/20 season. He linked up with the Knicks’ G League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks, during the team’s abbreviated ’20/21 season.
Shittu then set his sights internationally for the 2021/22 season, joining Israeli club Ironi Ness Ziona. During 15 contests for Ironi Ness Ziona, he sported averages of 7.1 PPG on 50.6% shooting, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG and 0.8 SPG across 17.5 MPG.
The 6’10” big man played with the Pacers during the 2022 Summer League in Las Vegas.
- New Hawks guard Dejounte Murray and the draft’s top pick, the Magic’s Paolo Banchero, exchanged words on and off the court after taking the court at Isaiah Thomas‘ annual summer pro-am, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Murray faked out Banchero before doing a self alley-oop, then took to social media to give the rookie more grief. Banchero responded by saying that Murray had unfollowed him, while adding some choices words of his own.
Scott, who went undrafted out of Cincinnati in 2020, has spent most of his first two professional seasons in the NBAGL, playing for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, and the Cleveland Charge.
The 6’8″ forward earned a call-up to the NBA last December during the league’s COVID-19 outbreak, signing a 10-day hardship deal with the Cavaliers. He appeared in two games for the Cavs during his brief NBA stint, scoring six points and grabbing a couple rebounds in 11 total minutes of action.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report shares his first 2023 mock draft, headed by French big man Victor Wembanyama and G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson. Overtime Elite wing Amen Thompson, Duke swingman Dariq Whitehead, and Villanova forward Cam Whitmore round out Wasserman’s initial top five.
- Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype takes a look at the teams currently projected to have the most cap room in 2023, including the Spurs, Rockets, Pistons, and Magic.
- In an interview with Israeli outlet Walla, free agent center Enes Freedom said he hasn’t received any offers from NBA teams this offseason (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). Freedom attributed that lack of NBA interest to the comments he has made denouncing China, though it’s worth noting that his minutes were already on the decline due to his subpar outside shooting and defense.
Juancho Hernangomez‘s one-year contract with the Raptors is fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. That full guarantee should put the veteran forward in a good position to earn a spot on the team’s 15-man regular season roster. Hernangomez’s deal is worth the veteran’s minimum, so he’ll earn a $2,298,385 salary while Toronto takes on a cap hit of $1,836,090.
Here are a few more notes on new contracts from around the NBA:
- Simone Fontecchio‘s two-year, $6.25MM deal with the Jazz is fully guaranteed and was completed using a portion of the club’s mid-level exception. Fontecchio will earn $3,205,128 in 2022/23 and $3,044,872 in ’23/24.
- Ryan Rollins‘ three-year contract with the Warriors is worth the minimum salary and is fully guaranteed for the first two seasons, as previously reported. The third year includes a partial guarantee worth $600K — that third year would become fully guaranteed if Rollins hasn’t been waived by June 28, 2024. Golden State used a portion of the taxpayer mid-level exception to complete the signing.
- Kevon Harris‘ two-way contract with the Magic is for two years, Hoops Rumors has learned. Most two-way deals are for just one year, but Harris is the third player this offseason to sign a two-year two-way pact, joining Cole Swider (Lakers) and Vince Williams (Grizzlies).
Magic rookie Paolo Banchero entertained his hometown fans Saturday with a 50-point performance at the CrawsOver Pro-Am in Seattle (video link from NBA.com). The overall No. 1 pick teamed up with No. 2 selection Chet Holmgren, who had 34 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the exhibition.
Banchero has a long relationship with the event’s organizer, former NBA player Jamal Crawford. In a recent appearance with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their “All The Smoke” podcast, Banchero talked about valuable advice that he received from Crawford (hat tip to Cody Taylor of USA Today’s Rookie Wire).
“Since my freshman year of high school, he has kind of took me under his wing and started taking me to the gym and letting me play in the pro-am, all of the pick-up games and stuff from when I was 15,” Banchero said. “At that time, (the NBA) seemed so far but he was like, ‘High school is going to fly by. It’s closer than you think. You just gotta start getting prepared for it now even though it may seem like it’s far away. You gotta lock in now.’ That put things into perspective and kinda made me take it even that more serious. I was always in the gym working and trying to chase my dream but that’s when I started taking really taking care of my body and doing the right things because he was talking to me about it all of the time.”
There’s more from Orlando:
- An aiding and abetting charge against Banchero related to a Duke teammate’s drunk driving arrest last year has been dropped, according to Steve Wiseman of The Raleigh News & Observer. Police said Banchero was riding in the back seat and was charged because the vehicle was registered to him.
- Kevon Harris, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic this week, is thrilled to finally get his shot at the NBA, per Dan Savage of NBA.com. Harris, who went undrafted out of Stephen F. Austin in 2020, played in the G League and spent some time in Croatia over the past two years. The 25-year-old guard is coming off a strong Summer League showing with Minnesota, averaging 15.8 points per game in Las Vegas. “I was able to show that I can do more than just score the basketball,” Harris said. “I feel like that was a stigma on me. I’m able to guard and be very versatile on and off ball. I feel like I was able to show my skillset and everything and show that I belong in the NBA.”
- Markelle Fultz, who returned from an ACL tear in late February, can be a positive influence on the rest of Orlando’s young roster, writes Jackson Frank of Uproxx.
5:27pm: Simpson will indeed be signing an Exhibit 10 deal, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.
While the terms of Simpson’s deal were not disclosed, it’s probably going to be a non-guaranteed contract, possibly an Exhibit 10 deal. As shown by our roster count page, Orlando already has 15 players on guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots filled, and once the contracts for Simpson and Drake Jeffries (Exhibit 10) become official, the Magic will have a 20-man roster, which is the maximum an NBA team can carry during the offseason.
Simpson, 25, went undrafted out of Michigan in 2020 and spent his first two pro seasons with the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. In 35 regular season games (32.4 MPG) with the Blue in 2022, the 6’0″ point guard averaged 14.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.5 APG and 1.8 SPG on .488/.350/.692 shooting.
The Thunder signed Simpson to a 10-day hardship contract to finish out last season as the team dealt with several injuries. In his first taste of NBA action, he averaged 11 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.0 BPG on .365/.125/1.000 shooting in four games.
Simpson most recently suited up for the Magic during Summer League in Las Vegas, appearing in five games (three starts, 22.6 MPG) while averaging 8.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.0 BPG on .357/.286/.600 shooting, per RealGM.
Given the Magic’s lack of open regular season roster spots, the most likely outcome for Simpson is that he’s waived before the regular season begins and subsequently joins Orlando’s G League team in Lakeland as an affiliate player. In that scenario, he’d receive a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least 60 days with Lakeland.
“I feel like everything we didn’t have a season or two ago, we have,” Ross said on The T. Ross Podcast. “Everything in bulk. I’m literally shooting in the middle of my workout, not even talking to the coaches or anything, and just in my head thinking. And halfway through, I’m like, ‘We could [expletive] go to the playoffs.’
“We have a lot to play for this year. That kind of got me hype. And then to see all the youth we have and they’re ready to go out the gate. It’s going to make me optimistic about what we can achieve this season and moving forward. Granted, I’m still with the team.”
Ross said back in April that he’d welcome a trade out of Orlando, but he’s obviously still on the roster — at least for now. Part of the reason the Magic might not have been able to move Ross to this point is he had a down season in 2021/22, appearing in 63 games (23 MPG) while averaging 10 PPG and 2.6 RPG on .397/.292/.862 shooting.
Still, he’s an athletic scorer with a 36.1% career mark from three-point range, so the Magic might find a taker at some point, depending on their asking price. Orlando was reportedly looking for a first-round pick for Ross prior to the February trade deadline, but I’m pretty skeptical they’d get that much value for him right now.
Here’s more from the Southeast:
- Chase Hughes and Bijan Todd of NBC Sports Washington analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Wizards‘ roster. According to Hughes and Todd, the Wizards have capable scorers at every spot in the projected starting lineup of Monte Morris, Bradley Beal, Will Barton, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis. The center position, with a depth chart of Porzingis, Daniel Gafford, Taj Gibson and Vernon Carey Jr., looks like one of the strong points of the roster, Hughes and Todd note. Weaknesses include defensive question marks throughout the roster, whether Beal and Porzingis can stay healthy, and whether former first-round picks like Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert will develop their games, per Hughes and Todd.
- In his latest mailbag article, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald covers a couple of Heat-related topics, writing not to expect a rookie scale extension for Tyler Herro anytime soon. If the Heat do offer Herro an extension, Chiang doesn’t believe it will be for a maximum salary, and it could come right before the deadline in October. Chiang also expects Miami to keep its options open and maintain flexibility to pursue stars, so dealing for a starting-caliber power forward likely won’t be a priority unless the player is part of a larger trade package.
The 6’5” Jeffries averaged 10.3 PPG, with a 40.9% success rate in 3-point attempts, and 5.4 RPG for Wyoming in his senior season. Jeffries spent two seasons with the Cowboys. After going undrafted, Jeffries appeared in one game for the Nuggets‘ Summer League team.
The addition of Jeffries will give Orlando 19 players under contract heading into training camp. That total includes 15 on standard guaranteed contracts and a pair on two-way deals.
Given the Magic’s lack of open regular season roster spots, the most likely outcome for Jeffries is that he’s waived before the regular season begins and subsequently joins Orlando’s G League team in Lakeland as an affiliate player. In that scenario, he’d receive a $50K bonus if he spends at least 60 days with Lakeland.
- Paolo Banchero may be a big part of the foundation in Orlando after being taken with the No. 1 pick, but the Magic don’t expect him to assume a leadership role right away, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. Coach Jamahl Mosley hopes to emulate the Warriors, who give every player a role in building the culture. “You look at how Draymond [Green] is so vocal, but everybody knows how he ties and glues that team together,” Mosley said. “Steph [Curry] doesn’t have to say much, but when he does, it speaks volumes. We want to build our guys in that regard where there’s such a chemistry, and then as guys rise and they get their voice and they get that feel of leadership, they start to stand up. “
- The Magic‘s Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner are on Germany’s roster for FIBA EuroBasket 2022, which will take place in September, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The Wagner brothers may also participate in World Cup qualifying games in late August.