Alpha Kaba

And-Ones: Harding, Cooper, All-NBA, Kaba, Bronny

Stockton Kings head coach Lindsey Harding has been named the NBA G League Coach of the Year in a vote by G League head coaches and general managers, NBA Communications tweets. Harding is the first woman to win the Coach of the Year award in the NBA G League. She’ll receive the Dennis Johnson Trophy.

Harding was hired to coach Sacramento’s NBAGL affiliate last June. Harding spent the past four seasons as an assistant/player development coach with the NBA’s Kings.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Sharife Cooper has signed with China’s Liaoning Flying Leopards, according to Sportando. Cooper signed a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers in late February but didn’t play at all and didn’t receive a second 10-day contract. He has spent the bulk of this season with the Cavs’ G League team, the Cleveland Charge.
  • Who are the highest-paid players who have never received All-NBA honors? HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto ranks the top 50 in that category, with the TimberwolvesMike Conley ($276.5MM), the Thunder‘s Gordon Hayward ($271MM) and the CelticsJrue Holiday ($259.4MM) topping the list.
  • Alpha Kaba, a 2017 draft-and-stash prospect, has signed with Valencia, the Spanish team tweets. The Rockets acquired the NBA rights to Kaba in a five-team trade last summer, though it appears unlikely that Kaba is planning on an NBA career. The big man had been playing with China’s Jiangsu Dragons.
  • Bronny James has entered the transfer portal, college basketball expert Dick Weiss tweets. Following an underwhelming freshman year at USC, Bronny is considered more likely to stay in college for another year than to be drafted in 2024. LeBron James‘ son posted averages of 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 36.6% from the field in 25 games for the Trojans.
    [UPDATE: Weiss has since walked back his report on Bronny entering the transfer portal, tweeting that it’s not yet confirmed.]

Rockets Acquire Dillon Brooks In Five-Team Deal

JULY 8: The complex five-team trade that sends Brooks to Houston has been finalized, the Rockets announced in a press release The breakdown of the deal, which combined several separate trade agreements, is as follows:

  • Rockets acquire Brooks (via sign-and-trade), the Clippers’ 2026 second-round pick, the Grizzlies’ 2027 second-round pick (from Clippers), and the draft rights to Alpha Kaba (from Hawks).
  • Hawks acquire Usman Garuba, TyTy Washington, the Timberwolves’ 2025 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2028 second-round pick, and cash (from Thunder).
  • Grizzlies acquire Josh Christopher.
  • Thunder acquire Patty Mills, a 2024 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2029 second-round pick, and the Rockets’ 2030 second-round pick.
  • Clippers acquire Kenyon Martin Jr.

In a separate deal, Oklahoma City will ship Mills to Atlanta in exchange for Garuba, Washington, Rudy Gay and a second-round pick.

6:04pm: The Rockets will acquire Brooks via sign-and-trade, generating a trade exception for the Grizzlies, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

Sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Houston is trading Josh Christopher to Memphis. Although Iko doesn’t specify it will be part of a Brooks sign-and-trade, that seems logical.

The Grizzlies’ trade exception for Brooks would be $11.4MM due to base year compensation rules, notes Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). If Christopher heads to Memphis in the deal, that TPE would shrink to $8.9MM, Gozlan adds.

5:20pm: The Rockets and Brooks have agreed to a four-year deal worth $80MM, agent Mike George tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will have a descending structure, tweets Wojnarowski. It will be fully guaranteed, with no player or team option, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As with VanVleet, Houston’s offer in order to secure a commitment ended up being for more years and more money than initially anticipated.

JULY 1, 4:35pm: The Rockets are close to reaching a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent Dillon Brooks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Houston has the cap room necessary to sign Brooks outright, the team has been engaged in trade talks around the league, according to Charania, who says a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies is a possibility if the Rockets reach a deal with the veteran forward.

Brooks was frequently linked to the Rockets in the days leading up to free agency. One report indicated that Houston was preparing to offer him a deal in the range of $14-16MM annually, while another stated the team had a meeting lined up for Friday or Saturday with the 27-year-old.

Brooks is a talented perimeter defender who earned All-Defensive Second Team honors this spring, but he has become an increasingly erratic shooter, making a career-worst 39.6% of his field goal attempts in 2022/23. His three-point percentage dipped to 32.1% on 5.6 attempts per game during the last two seasons after he converted 35.3% of 4.5 threes per game in his first four seasons, all with the Grizzlies.

On top of his offensive struggles, Brooks’ outsized personality and aggressive playing style have gotten him into trouble both on the court and in interviews off it. He received three one-game suspensions this season, once for an on-court altercation with Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell and twice for accumulating so many technical fouls.

Brooks ultimately wore out his welcome in Memphis, with a report after the season indicating that the Grizzlies didn’t plan to bring him back “under any circumstances.” His performance during the team’s first-round loss to the Lakers was reportedly considered to be a breaking point. Brooks referred to Lakers star LeBron James as “old” following Memphis’ Game 2 win, suggesting the NBA’s all-time leading scorer was well past his prime.

He was then ejected from Game 3 for hitting James in the groin, surrendered a pair of key baskets to LeBron in a Game 4 loss, and was eventually fined $25K for declining to speak to reporters after three games of the series (all losses). Offensively, Brooks shot just 31.2% from the field and 23.8% on three-pointers across six playoff games.

A change of scenery could benefit Brooks, and the Rockets have reportedly been prioritizing tough, defensive-minded veterans under new head coach Ime Udoka. Houston has reached an agreement with Fred VanVleet and was said to be aggressive in its pursuit of Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Brook Lopez, who ultimately decided to remain in Milwaukee.

Rockets Trading Garuba, Washington, Picks To Hawks

The Rockets are shipping out two young players still on their rookie scale deals, center Usman Garuba and point guard TyTy Washington, plus two future second-round draft picks and $1.1MM in cash considerations, to the Hawks in exchange for the draft rights to 2017 No. 60 pick Alpha Kaba, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links).

The picks the Hawks will be receiving are the Timberwolves’ 2025 second-round selection and Houston’s own 2028 second-rounder, per Williams. Atlanta has trade exceptions available to absorb Garuba and Washington without sending out any of the team’s own players.

Garuba, 21, might be able to carve out legitimate rotation minutes for a reconfigured Hawks frontline missing longtime starting power forward John Collins, who is being sent to the Jazz. The 6’8″ big man appeared in 75 games off the bench for a rebuilding Houston team last year, his second NBA season. He logged averages of 3.0 PPG on .486/.407/.617 shooting splits, 4.1 RPG and 0.9 APG in 12.9 MPG.

Upon being drafted out of Kentucky with the No. 29 pick last summer, the 6’3″ Washington played sparingly for Houston as a rookie in 2022/23, averaging 4.7 PPG, 1.5 APG and 1.5 RPG in just 31 contests. He posted much more robust numbers with Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 26.6 PPG, 7.6 APG, 6.6 RPG and 1.6 SPG.

Kaba, a 6’10” power forward/center, is currently playing for Montenegrin club KK Budućnost and seems unlikely to ever play at the NBA level.

For Atlanta, this appears to be an asset-gathering move, as the team adds future draft equity and two intriguing young prospects under cheap team control.

As for the Rockets, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets that Houston now has carved out $29MM in available space under the salary cap. The team also opens up a couple extra roster spots and now has 11 players on guaranteed contracts for 2023/24, including Fred VanVleet, whose deal isn’t yet official.

International Notes: James, Koufos, Kaba, Delaney, Clark

EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow has agreed to a two-year contract extension with former NBA guard Mike James, according to a report from Russian outlet Izvestia (hat tip to Sportando). James enjoyed a brief NBA stint in 2017/18 when he appeared in 36 games for Phoenix and New Orleans, but has otherwise spent his professional career overseas, playing for teams in Greece and Italy before joining CSKA.

Meanwhile, the same Izvestia report also indicates that CSKA Moscow isn’t expected to exercise its second-year option on veteran center Kosta Koufos, who signed a one-plus-one deal with the team in 2019. Koufos spent over a decade in the NBA, playing in 686 games from 2008-19, but it’s not clear if the 31-year-old would draw any stateside interest if and when he becomes a free agent.

Here are a few more NBA-adjacent updates on international basketball leagues:

  • Alpha Kaba, whose NBA rights are held by the Hawks, is joining French team Nanterre 92, according to a report from BeBasket (French link). A 24-year-old forward/center, Kaba was selected by Atlanta with the No. 60 pick in the 2017 draft, but has continued to play in France since then.
  • Spanish team FC Barcelona has parted ways with veteran guard Malcolm Delaney, per a team press release (h/t to Sportando). A standout EuroLeague contributor who spent two seasons with the Hawks from 2016-18, Delanyed is in talks with Italian club Olimpia Milano and has drawn interest from Olympiacos in Greece, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
  • Veteran forward Earl Clark, who appeared in 261 NBA games from 2009-15, has parted ways with Spanish team San Pablo Burgos, according to the club (h/t to Sportando). Clark has spent time in China, Turkey, Montenegro, Spain, and the G League since last playing in the NBA.

Hawks’ Alpha Kaba To Play In France

Hawks second-round center Alpha Kaba will spend the 2017/18 in France, having signed a three-year deal with ASVEL of the French Pro A League, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kaba’s agent confirmed the contract agreement.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Draft Pick Signings]

Kaba, 21, spent the last two seasons in Serbia playing for Mega Leks, and was the 60th overall pick in last month’s draft — Atlanta made him 2017’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” the last player drafted. New Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated earlier this month that he expected Kaba to return to Mega Leks or to play with another team overseas, so the big man’s deal with ASVEL doesn’t come as a surprise.

Spurs guard Tony Parker serves as president of ASVEL, and issued a statement announcing the team’s new deal with Kaba, as Vivlamore details. Parker’s translated statement reads as follows:

“It is a great satisfaction to have been able to sign Alpha, a young but already productive and promising interior that is part of a long-term project with us. The fact that he signed three years is a continuation of our desire to retain the players and to have a real identity to which our public and our partners can join. Alpha will be the last rookie of our offseason and will complete an ambitious and competitive workforce on our two major objectives: the French championship and the EuroCup.”

It’s not clear whether Kaba’s three-year deal includes NBA outs, but the Hawks don’t appear to be in any rush to bring the youngster stateside. Atlanta will retain his NBA rights going forward.

Hawks GM Talks Offseason, Millsap, Cordinier, Kaba

It has been an interesting offseason in Atlanta for new Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, whose roster no longer features three of the team’s top four players in terms of minutes played. Paul Millsap departed in free agency, Dwight Howard was traded, and the Hawks opted not to match a pricey offer sheet for Tim Hardaway.

It’s clearly a retooling period for the Hawks, but Schlenk is averse to calling it a full-fledged rebuild. He touched on that topic and several other items of note during a conversation with Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so let’s dive in and round up a few highlights from the Q&A…

On whether the Hawks are rebuilding and where they stand now:

“We don’t want to concede to losing. I think a lot of times that what the term rebuilding means, you are conceding to losing. We don’t want to do that. We want to be competitive every night. The term I like to use, we are investing in the future. We have young guys. We have probably five more first-round picks over the next two years to add to this group. We are investing in our future. The young guys we have, we want to keep developing them. We want to keep our flexibility, collect assets, build the guys we have. Investing in the future. The end goal is to be able a team able to compete for a championship. We didn’t feel like maintaining where we were – where you go 60, 48, 43 (wins). We have to start going up again.”

On Millsap’s departure and why the Hawks didn’t make a stronger effort to bring him back:

“We were in contact with his representation throughout the whole process. We knew he was going to get a very good deal. Where we are as a franchise and the path we are on, it just didn’t make sense for us at this time.

“Like I’ve maintained from the beginning, our goal is to maintain our flexibility. Get good guys on good contracts. Going into free agency, we weren’t going to be out of the gates early. We are going to take our time and let everything play out. That’s what we’ve done as we sit on [July] 10th and we’ve signed one guy.”

On what the Hawks still plan to add in free agency:

“We’ll sign a third point guard. We are deciding to we get a veteran guy or do we get a young guy that we think has upside. Do we bring in a couple guys and let them battle it out? We are going to sign a power forward for sure. We’ll sign a center for sure. Probably sign three more big guys so we end up with six.”

On the plans for 2016 second-round pick Isaia Cordinier and 2017 second-rounder Alpha Kaba:

“I think Alpha will go back to Mega Leks or another team in Europe. I haven’t really talked to his agent but I expect he’ll go back there. Cordinier has expressed a desire to play in Erie (with Atlanta’s G League team). We’ve talked to his agent a little bit. We aren’t really sure if he’ll go back but he’s expressed a desire to maybe do that. We’ll figure all that out in the next month.”

Southeast Notes: Richardson, White, Kaba

The Wizards are no closer to landing Paul George than they were a week ago but recent comments from John Wall have resurrected speculation that he could possibly end up in D.C. Per CSN Mid-Atlantic’s J. Michael, there are a number of things that would need to happen for the pipe dream to become a reality, here are just a few:

For starters, the Wizards will have to come to terms with something that all of George’s other suitors have already come to terms with: they would need to build an appealing enough package of young players and assets without any guarantee that they’ll get to re-sign him next summer.

The Wizards would also need Otto Porter to be up for a sign-and-trade, something that would require him to take less money than he’s eligible for, just to pack his bags and move to Indianapolis.

Even if the Wizards did manage to land George and played him alongside Wall and Bradley Beal, however, the organization would be extremely crunched financially for the foreseeable future.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Don’t expect the Magic to make a major splash in free agency, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. The team would need to reel off a series of moves just to clear up space for a major signing and that’s not really their focus at this point in time.
  • Coming off a season in which he averaged career highs, Hawks center Mike Muscala is experiencing unrestricted free agency for the first time. He spoke with Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune about the process. “It’s crazy how basketball can change from high school to college to the NBA and what you work on, what you’re compensated for,” he said, referring to his coveted skill set as a three-point shooting big man. “I’ve found if you do things the right way — if you play the right way, if you work on your game, if you’re a good teammate — you’ll be rewarded for it.”
  • The Heat will retain Okaro White and Josh Richardson, thus guaranteeing their contracts (or in White’s case, partially guaranteeing the deal he signed last season). Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes about how Richardson’s $1.5MM for 2017/18 will be locked in after Friday and how White will clinch $226K on Saturday.
  • One of the major areas that the Wizards will need to improve upon next year is in their backcourt depth, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic says. They’ve already gotten a head start in doing so with their addition of Tim Frazier.
  • Second-round draft pick Alpha Kaba will play with the Hawks‘ summer league team before deciding where to play next season, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Workouts

The Celtics and Sixers have been active this offseason and are poised to make significant moves both in this Thursday’s NBA Draft and free agency. However, those teams’ upgrades highlight the Wizards‘ potential lack of movement this offseason, Candace Buckner of The Washington Post writes.

Philadelphia acquired Boston’s first overall pick in exchange for its third overall pick and is poised to land Washington’s Markelle Fultz at No. 1. Meanwhile, the Celtics picked up another future first-rounder and are monitoring the free agent and trade market, with names like Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and even Kristaps Porzingis at the forefront. The Sixers also still have last year’s first overall pick, Ben Simmons, who missed 2016/17 due to injury, ready to go.

“If you’re a Philly fan, you’ve got to be thrilled. These are the kinds of moves you want to see, and if you’re a Boston fan, you have to feel great as well,” one longtime Eastern Conference scout said to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity. “How that affects [Washington]? It’s like you’re a bystander.”

Here are additional notes around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks enter Thursday’s draft with the 19th overall pick and while the team may look to move up, general manager Travis Schlenk says it’s not a priority, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.
  • Assistant coach Neven Spahija has been granted Mike Budenholzer’s blessing  to leave the Hawks and sign as head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv through 2020, according to David Pick (via Twitter).
  • The Wizards are set to host their final pre-draft workout and J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic tweets that the attendees will include international prospect Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain, VCU’s JeQuan Lewis., Hartford’s Jalen Ross, Tennessee State’s Tahjere McCall, and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.
  • Walt Disney and the Magic have agreed to a three-year agreement to have the Disney logo appear on jerseys starting in 2017/18, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes.  The Magic become the eight team to secure a sponsorship deal with players wearing logos on jerseys. Check out the full list here.
  • Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu is scheduled to have a second workout with the Magic, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). The Magic have the 25th, 33rd, and 35th picks in the draft.

Atlantic Notes: James, Celtics, Pre-Draft Workouts

Rumors are swirling that LeBron James will look to leave Cleveland for a second time after next season and potentially head out west. If he is not on the Cavaliers after 2017/18, James’ departure would have a domino effect across the league. A. Sherrod Blakely joined Mike Felger and Gary Tanguay at CSN New England to discuss Celtics general manager Danny Ainge‘s potential moves if James heads out West and weakens the Eastern Conference.

Blakely believes that no matter James’ future, Ainge should not focus on what’s going around the league, focusing instead on his own team. The Celtics have the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft and are coming off a year where they were the first seed in the East. The Celtics have their own issues to address, including the impending free agency of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, and others.

In any case, the Celtics are in the best position of any Eastern Conference team to unseat the Cavaliers as the class of division and a James departure after next season only strengthens that.

Here are other notes from around the Atlantic Division:

Four International Prospects Enter 2017 NBA Draft

Four international prospects have declared for the 2017 NBA draft, according to agent Misko Raznatovic. Kostja Mushidi, Vlatko Cancar, Alpha Kaba, and Borisa Simanic will enter the draft pool, as Raznatovic tweets.

All four players are on Serbian teams, with Mushidi, Cancar, and Kaba representing Mega Leks and Simanic playing for BC Red Star in Belgrade. They all also earn spots on Jonathan Givony’s top 100 list at

The top-ranked player of the group, Mushidi comes in at No. 51 on DraftExpress’ big board, and ranks 10th among international players born in 1998. The 18-year-old shooting guard averaged 9.3 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 24 ABA games this season. According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, who ranks Mushidi 38th on his big board, the Belgium native has a combination of strength, athletic ability, and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that has intrigued scouts.

Mushidi’s Mega Leks teammates are slightly less highly regarded by draft experts, but are still solid prospects. Cancar, a 6’8″ small forward, comes in at No. 63 on the DraftExpress top 100, while Kaba, a big man with an outside shot, ranks 74th. Kaba entered the draft a year ago, but withdrew his name before June’s deadline.

As for Simanic, the 6’10” power forward comes in at No. 59 on DraftExpress’ big board, though he played very sparingly for Red Star this season.

Our full list of early entrants for this year’s draft can be found right here.