Caleb Houstan

Southeast Notes: Magic, Martin, Young, Coulibaly

Three starters and another rotation player sat out Friday’s game with injuries, but the Magic barely missed them in a 32-point win over Detroit, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. With Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr. and Jonathan Isaac all unavailable, Orlando got production from Caleb Houstan, Chuma Okeke, Anthony Black and Goga Bitadze, who made his 17th straight start since Carter fractured the third metacarpal in left hand.

“We’ve said it from training camp and on, it’s a ‘we.’ No matter who it is, no matter who steps on that floor, they’re ready to go,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “That’s what it says about our coaching staff, about these guys taking ownership of who we are.”

The Magic have shown tremendous depth and resilience in response to the bad injury luck, posting a 15-7 record that has them tied for second in the Eastern Conference. Mosley has been particularly impressed with Black, a rookie guard who was moved into the starting lineup when Fultz began experiencing left knee tendinitis in early November.

“He’s a kid that wants to take on every challenge,” Mosley said. “He does things that I haven’t seen certain guys do in a while with his length and size. That’s where his confidence comes from.”

Mosley didn’t provide many details about Suggs’ right ankle sprain, Beede tweets, saying team doctors are going to monitor how much he improves from game to game.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Injuries have also been an issue for the Heat, who were missing three starters in Friday’s loss to Cleveland, notes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami has dropped five of its last seven games, but Caleb Martin doesn’t believe being short-handed should be used as an excuse. “It doesn’t matter who’s out there and who’s playing, who’s not,” Martin said. “We know what we should be doing, we just got to be better.”
  • Hawks guard Trae Young has been fined $25K for “confronting and directing inappropriate language toward a game official,” the league announced (via Twitter). The incident took place after Wednesday’s one-point loss to Brooklyn as Young thought he was fouled by Dennis Smith Jr. while trying to get off a potential game-winning shot (Twitter video link). The league’s last-two-minute review confirmed that Smith’s play was legal, tweets Kevin Chouinard of
  • Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly studies a lot of game film to see where he can improve, and he concentrates on Kyle Kuzma as much as himself, according to Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports. “I watch the whole game to see how he plays. There’s a lot to take,” Coulibaly said of his teammate. “He’s been talking to me a lot about eventually going through the guy when going up for the layup. He’s got some great advice for me.”

Southeast Notes: Magic, Houstan, Young, Kuzma

The Magic are in the midst of their best nine-game stretch in more than a decade, but there’s no single reason why it’s happening, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando has moved into the race for the play-in tournament by winning eight of its last nine games, and head coach Jamahl Mosley believes everything he’s been trying to teach his young players over the past two seasons is taking hold.

“We’ve been saying it from the beginning: understanding we’re close (and) getting over the hump,” Mosley said. “You just have to stick with that process. The growth, understanding those close games and what those mean later on in the season. It’s just the belief system these young men are starting to grow into.”

The Magic own the NBA’s second-best rating in clutch situations and have started winning tight games that they couldn’t close out earlier in the season. Orlando is also among the league’s top seven teams in both offensive and defensive rating during the last two and a half weeks.

“As a young team, sometimes we can get caught up in ‘Oh, we won a certain amount of games. Let’s get comfortable,’” said Wendell Carter Jr., who returned to the lineup Friday after missing more than a month. “I feel like the biggest thing for us is to continue to do what got us here. Not to change the formula or too many things. Just do what got us to this point.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic have considered sending Caleb Houstan to the G League to get more playing time, tweets Aaron Goldstone of Orlando Pinstriped Post. The rookie small forward has appeared in 22 of the team’s 34 games.
  • Trae Young‘s father responded to a recent article by Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report speculating about Young’s future in Atlanta and a tweet by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer suggesting the Hawks guard isn’t willing to play off the ball alongside Dejounte Murray. “Although I like Kevin’s stuff, now there’ll be articles on Trae like this just because ‘rival execs’ believe something!” Ray Young tweeted. “Trae doesn’t talk to other teams. He’s busy trying to win in Atlanta. Will this ever end?”
  • With their roster almost fully healthy, the Wizards understand they have to start producing to prevent a shakeup at the trade deadline, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “It’s tough for you to make decisions without a healthy team, and we’ve got to make up some ground,” Kyle Kuzma said. “We’ve been injured a lot, but we’ve got a chance to rewrite some things. The trade deadline is in six weeks, and everyone in this locker room knows about that.”

Magic Notes: Rookies, Training Camp, Wagner, Lineups

When the 2022/23 season tips off next month, the Magic may be looking for instant contributions from first-year starting power forward Paolo Banchero, the top pick in the 2022 draft out of Duke, while his fellow rookie small forward Caleb Houstan, the No. 32 pick this season out of Michigan, will have more modest expectations as a rookie, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.

Price notes that Banchero thrived in Summer League play, and, thanks to his well-rounded offensive game, is currently the preseason Rookie of the Year favorite. Houstan, meanwhile, could become a 3-and-D swingman eventually. The 6’8″ swingman could see some minutes for Orlando in the early going, especially with veteran shooting guard Gary Harris sidelined for the start of the year, but Price expects Houstan to also log some time with the Lakeland Magic, the club’s NBAGL affiliate.

There’s more out of Orlando:

  • With the Magic’s training camp around the corner, Khobi Price and Rich Pope of The Orlando Sentinel (video link) break down which players have the most to gain from the preseason. Price thinks that the team’s backcourt, including key players R.J. Hampton, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs, could benefit from a competitive camp experience.
  • Magic second-year small forward Franz Wagner enjoyed a memorable EuroBasket 2022 adventure playing for his native Germany this summer, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The team fell to Spain in the semifinals, but ultimately managed to secure a bronze medal by beating Poland. Wagner averaged 15.2 PPG, 4 RPG and 1.7 APG, while connecting on 46.3% of his triples. “We played a lot of tight games,” Wagner said. “A lot of important games and games where every possession matters. That mindset should help me this next year and hopefully, I can help the team with that.. I want to continue to improve as a player. Playmaking, shooting — honestly, whatever the team needs. I just to be an impactful player on the team.”

Contract Details: Kornet, Wall, Jokic, Garland, Reed, More

Luke Kornet‘s new two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Celtics includes multiple salary guarantee dates this year, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Currently, Kornet’s $2.13MM salary for 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed for $100K, but that guarantee would increase to $300K if the big man remains under contract through August 15. If Kornet makes Boston’s regular season roster, half of his salary (approximately $1.07MM) would become guaranteed.

Kornet’s deal with the Celtics doesn’t include any guarantee triggers beyond that, so his ’22/23 salary would become fully guaranteed after the league-wide salary guarantee deadline in January. His ’23/24 salary is non-guaranteed and would become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract through January 7, 2024.

Here are a few more details on newly signed contracts:

  • The second year of John Wall‘s two-year deal with the Clippers is a team option, Hoops Rumors has learned. Los Angeles used its full $6,479,000 taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Wall.
  • Nikola Jokic‘s super-max extension with the Nuggets and Darius Garland‘s new maximum-salary extension with the Cavaliers both feature 15% trade kickers.
  • Davon Reed‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nuggets is fully guaranteed in year one and non-guaranteed in year two. Reed’s second-year salary will become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived by July 8, 2023.
  • The Magic used a portion of their mid-level exception to sign second-round pick Caleb Houstan to a four-year contract that includes guaranteed $2MM salaries in each of the first two seasons. The third and fourth years are worth the minimum and are non-guaranteed — there’s also a team option on the fourth year.
  • As expected, the Lakers signed second-rounder Max Christie to a two-year, minimum-salary contract. That deal will be fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. L.A. couldn’t offer Christie more than two years or more than the rookie minimum after using the full taxpayer mid-level exception on Lonnie Walker.
  • Michael Foster Jr.‘s deal with the Sixers is an Exhibit 10 contract, meaning the team has the option of converting it into a two-way contract before the season.

Magic Sign Second-Rounder Caleb Houstan

The Magic have signed wing Caleb Houstan, the 32nd pick of last month’s draft, the team announced (via Twitter).

Houstan, 19, was a five-star recruit out of high school and a projected lottery pick entering college. However, he struggled a bit in his lone season with Michigan, averaging 10.1 PPG, 4 RPG and 1.4 APG on .384/.355/.783 shooting in 34 games (32 MPG), causing his draft stock to slide.

In an unusual move, Houstan was one of the only players to decline an invitation to this year’s draft combine, leading to speculation that he might have received a first-round promise. He wound up being the second pick of the second round instead.

The terms of Houstan’s deal were not disclosed, but if the Magic wanted to sign him to a three- or four-year deal, they would have to use part of their mid-level exception to do so, like the Grizzlies did with Kennedy Chandler and the Thunder did with Jaylin Williams.

Draft Notes: Rockets, Nuggets, Green Room, Houstan, Sharpe, Roddy

Now that they’re poised to add the No. 26 pick to their list of draft assets, the Rockets are looking into the possibility of trading up in the draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports within his latest mock draft. According to O’Connor, Houston has inquired about moving up from No. 3 into one of the top two spots in the draft, and has also explored the possibility of moving up from No. 17 into the late lottery.

Like Houston, the Nuggets have agreed to acquire an extra first-round pick (No. 30) and are trying to package it with No. 21 in order to move into the middle of the first round, O’Connor writes. However, O’Connor expects Denver to have to add a young player or a future asset to its package in order to make any real headway.

O’Connor’s newest mock draft includes a few more interesting tidbits, including his suggestion that there’s still some “chatter” about teams trying to trade for the Magic‘s No. 1 overall pick.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Five more players have been invited to the green room for next Thursday’s draft, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Tari Eason, Jalen Williams, TyTy Washington, MarJon Beauchamp, and Jaden Hardy received invites, joining an initial list of 16 invitees. Of the 21 players invited to the green room, only Hardy (No. 22) and Beauchamp (No. 23) are outside of the top 21 prospects on ESPN’s big board.
  • Michigan’s Caleb Houstan, one of the only prospects to decline a combine invite this year, worked out this week for the Grizzlies and Nuggets, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Those two teams control the last two picks of the first round.
  • Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe told reporters today that the Spurs, Thunder, and Magic are among the teams he has worked out for in the pre-draft process, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Sharpe will work out for the Pacers on Monday, a source tells James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy still has workouts coming up with the Thunder and Celtics, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. By the time draft night arrives, Roddy will have visited “half the league,” Wolfson adds.

Draft Notes: Green Room, Houstan, Nembhard, O’Neal, Gillespie

There were no surprises in the 11 green room invitations forwarded to the draft’s top prospects. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony confirmed that the list includes Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin, Jalen Duren and Johnny Davis. Approximately four more green room invites will be sent out next week, a source tells Givony.

We have more draft news:

  • Michigan’s Caleb Houstan and Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard, who both hail from Canada, will work out for the Raptors on Friday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. They’re both considered late first-round or second-round prospects and Toronto has the No. 33 overall pick.
  • LSU forward Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaquille O’Neal, worked out for the Bucks on Thursday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. The younger O’Neal will visit the Lakers, Cavaliers, Hawks and Wizards in the very near future.
  • Villanova guard Collin Gillespie also worked out for the Bucks on Thursday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. He’ll soon visit the Suns, Nuggets, Jazz and Trail Blazers. Gillespie is ranked at No. 64 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

David Roddy, John Butler, Caleb Houstan Staying In Draft

Colorado State swingman David Roddy and Florida State big man John Butler Jr. both plan to stay in the 2022 NBA draft, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter links).

Both players have a chance to hear their names called on June 23; Roddy is currently ranked No. 47 on ESPN’s big board, while Butler is No. 72.

In 31 games (32.9 MPG) as a junior in 2021/22, Roddy stuffed the stat sheet with averages of 19.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.1 BPG on .571/.438/.691. The 7’1″ Butler had a lesser role in his lone season for FSU, averaging 5.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.2 BPG in 31 games (19 MPG), but he did shoot an impressive .393 from three-point range.

Michigan’s Caleb Houstan will also stay in the draft, according to a team press release (via Twitter). The guard/forward averaged 10.1 PPG, 4 RPG, and 1.4 APG on .384/.355/.783 shooting for the Wolverines as a freshman in ’21/22.

Houstan is No. 49 on ESPN’s board, but there have been rumors that he received a first-round promise, with some league insiders speculating that it may have come from OKC at No. 30.

Here are more updates on the early entrants who are up against the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline:

  • Pete Nance, the younger brother of Larry Nance Jr., will withdraw from the draft and transfer from Northwestern, per Jeff Goodman of Stadium (twitter link). Nance averaged 14.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.1 BPG for the Wildcats last season. He’s No. 77 on ESPN’s board and will use his extra year of eligibility to play a fifth college season.
  • Florida A&M’s MJ Randolph and Coastal Carolina’s Vince Cole are both staying in the draft, as Rothstein relays (Twitter links). Both players were seniors in 2021/22, but could have used an extra year of eligibility to play one more season in college. Instead, they’ll turn pro.
  • Drew Peterson is withdrawing from the draft and using his extra year of eligibility to return to USC next season, tweets Rothstein. Peterson, who recently worked out for the Lakers, averaged 12.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 3.3 APG on .467/.412/.717 shooting for the Trojans last season (34 games, 33 MPG).
  • Forward Jalen Wilson is also withdrawing from the draft and returning to Kansas for his senior season, Goodman reports (via Twitter). Jayhawks fans will certainly be happy to hear the news, as he averaged 11.1 PPG and 7.4 for the champs last season.
  • Mouhamed Gueye will withdraw from the draft and transfer from Washington State, Goodman tweets. The 6-foot-11 big man averaged 7.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG for the Cougars in ’21/22.

Draft Notes: J. Williams, Sasser, LaRavia, Houstan, Minott, More

Santa Clara wing Jalen Williams was perhaps the standout of last week’s draft combine in Chicago, while Houston guard Marcus Sasser looked like the best player at the G League Elite Camp, John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic write as part of their analysis of the combine.

Hollinger and Vecenie suggest that Williams’ stock has “exploded into the stratosphere” as a result of his performance in Chicago and that he looks like a safe bet to be a first-round pick. As for Sasser, he got “nearly unanimous praise” from scouts, who believe he has a chance to start his rookie season on a standard NBA contract, rather than a two-way deal.

The Athletic’s duo shares several more combine-related tidbits in their full story, including identifying Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia as a prospect who is drawing legitimate interest from contending teams in the last 10 picks of the first round.

Hollinger and Vecenie also say that chatter about Michigan forward Caleb Houstan having received a promise continues to circulate among league insiders. Those insiders have speculated that Oklahoma City at No. 30 could be the team eyeing Houstan, given the Thunder‘s history of shutting down their targets well ahead of draft night.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Josh Minott, the No. 48 player on ESPN’s 2022 big board, will be keeping his name in the NBA draft, according to his uncle (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). The freshman forward played fewer than 500 total minutes in his first and only college season at Memphis in 2021/22.
  • Wyoming guard Hunter Maldonado tells Rothstein (Twitter link) that he’ll withdraw from the draft and use his final year of NCAA eligibility. Maldonado had a big senior year in 2021/22, averaging 18.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 5.7 RPG and making the All-Mountain West Conference first team.
  • George Washington junior guard James Bishop will withdraw from the draft and return to school for at least one more year, tweets Rothstein. Bishop has been the Colonials’ go-to scorer since transferring for his sophomore season, averaging 17.6 PPG in 47 games over the last two years.
  • Senior guard Emmanuel Bandoumel will also withdraw from the draft as he transfers from SMU to Nebraska, tweets Rothstein.
  • Former Louisiana senior center Theo Akwuba has withdrawn from the draft and Oklahoma State junior guard Avery Anderson III and Tennessee junior guard Santiago Vescovi are expected to do the same, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all Twitter links). Goodman notes that Akwuba will be transferring to Ole Miss for his final college season.

Draft Notes: Robinson, Scheierman, Daye, Murray, Houstan

Fresno State center Orlando Robinson intends to remain in the 2022 NBA draft and hire an agent, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The No. 75 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Robinson declared for the draft after averaging 19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .484/.352/.716 shooting in 36 games (33.2 MPG) as a junior. He’s participating in the draft combine in Chicago this week.

Meanwhile, three more prospects have opted to stay in the draft after declaring as early entrants, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (all Twitter links), who reports that UTSA guard Dhieu Deing, Wake Forest big man Dallas Walton, and UC Irvine forward Collin Welp are going pro.

Deing is coming off of his junior year, while Walton and Welp were seniors in 2021/22 — they won’t take advantage of their extra year of NCAA eligibility that was granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. None of the three prospects are on ESPN’s top-100 list.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Having spent the first three years of his college career with South Dakota State, forward Baylor Scheierman has committed to Creighton for 2022/23, but he’ll remain in the draft if he gets a promise that he’ll be selected, per Adam Zagoria of “Ultimately, I want to stay in the draft obviously,” said Scheierman, the No. 76 prospect on ESPN’s board. “If I can get picked, I’m going to stay in. And then the undrafted waters, I’ll have to talk to my agent and what not.”
  • After declaring for the draft as early entrants, Coastal Carolina guard Antonio Daye and Rider guard Dwight Murray Jr. will withdraw from this year’s draft and return to school, using their final year of college eligibility, according to Rothstein (Twitter links).
  • Iowa’s Kris Murray and Michigan’s Caleb Houstan are among a very small group of players that declined invites for this year’s draft combine, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link). Givony and Schmitz suggest Murray will likely return to school and say that some NBA teams think Houstan may have a first-round promise.