Chima Moneke

And-Ones: Towns, Smith, George, Moneke

The President of the Dominican Basketball Federation, Rafael Uribe, says there’s a “90 percent” chance that Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns will play in this summer’s FIBA World Cup, Hoops Hype relays. The Dominican team also has several other NBA performers. Lester Quinones, Justin Minaya and Chris Duarte will be part of the Dominican squad that will play a warm-up match against the University of Memphis on August 2, Diamante Deportivo tweets.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Jabari Smith‘s scoring explosion was one of the notable developments in the Summer League, The Athletic’s John Hollinger writes in a recap of this month’s action. The Rockets’ second-year forward scored 71 points in his 64 summer minutes, signaling that he could be a breakout performer next season after struggling through his rookie campaign.
  • In a similar story, ESPN’s Insiders take a closer look at the Summer League’s surprises and disappointments. Kendra Andrews and Tim Bontemps both note that Jazz rookie Keyonte George, the 16th overall pick, was a standout.
  • Former NBA forward Chima Moneke has finalized a two-year agreement with Spain’s Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, according to Moneke played with AC Monaco last season after a stint with the Kings. Moneke appeared in two NBA games before Sacramento waived him in January.

Pacific Notes: James, Moneke, Vezenkov, Suns, Winger

LeBron James twisted his left ankle in the late going of Game 2 against the Nuggets on Thursday but the Lakers’ superstar said he’ll play in Game 3, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. James, who has dealt with right foot problems this season, stepped on Anthony Davis‘ foot. “A little ankle [injury] isn’t going to stop me,” James said.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chima Moneke, who played two games with the Kings this season before signing with AS Monaco in the EuroLeague, fully expects league MVP Sasha Vezenkov to play for his former NBA team next season, Aris Barkas of writes. Sacramento holds Vezenkov’s NBA rights. “I know that they love him over there. They’re really excited to bring him over,” Moneke said. “I believe they’re going to do what it takes to implement him on the team. I think he can contribute in a lot of ways.”
  • The Suns have gotten numerous inquiries from college coaches regarding their head coaching job, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. While Rankin doesn’t reveal any specific names, he notes that owner Mat Ishbia is extremely close to his former college coach, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.
  • Clippers general manager Michael Winger has interviewed with the Wizards in Washington’s search for a top executive. However, there’s skepticism around the league that Winger, one of the highest paid GMs in the league, will leave the stability of his current job, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Pacific Notes: Moneke, Barnes, Wiseman, Suns

After spending four professional seasons playing for teams in France and Spain, forward Chima Moneke got his first opportunity with an NBA team this past fall when he received a partially guaranteed contract from the Kings and made their regular season roster.

Although he was on Sacramento’s roster until early January, Moneke logged just eight total minutes in two games at the NBA level. The 27-year-old – who spent most of his time in the G League, appearing in 18 total contests for the Stockton Kings – admitted in a conversation with Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops that his NBA experience was a bit of a letdown.

“It wasn’t what I expected and it was disappointing, because I feel like up until the training camp started, at the end of September, I was there for two months and I was playing open gym with them, working out. I felt like I was really gonna be given an opportunity,” Moneke said. “But when the whole team got there and the training camp started, I felt like I wasn’t.

“… Getting sent to the G League… I tried to be positive about it, but in my heart, I knew that I just didn’t want to be there. I just wasn’t having fun playing in a big cold hockey arena with 20 people watching the game when I could have been playing in Europe with fans who care about the sport. Every time I was there it really hurt me. I tried to be positive but I knew in November that I didn’t want to be there.”

Waived by the Kings about three weeks ago before his 2022/23 salary became fully guaranteed, Moneke has since returned to Europe, completing a deal last week with AS Monaco.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Having been the subject of trade rumors while playing for losing Kings teams over the last few seasons, veteran forward Harrison Barnes tells Anthony Slater of The Athletic that it has been especially rewarding to see the team turn the corner this year. “A lot of these guys — Malik (Monk), Kevin (Huerter), Keegan (Murray) — just walk in here and all (they) know with Kings basketball is us winning a bunch of games, playing winning basketball,” Barnes said. “… But at the same time, you know how fragile that is. You have to continue to work to not get back to the other side.”
  • After missing the Warriors‘ last 11 games due to a left ankle sprain, center James Wiseman should be available on Wednesday. He’s listed as probable vs. Memphis, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • In the wake of the news that incoming Suns owner Mat Ishbia is expected to officially purchase the team in early February, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explores what that could mean for the team at the trade deadline. Gozlan argues that Phoenix is in position to be one of the NBA’s biggest in-season buyers, since the club hasn’t traded away any of its future first-round picks.

Chima Moneke Signs With AS Monaco

After being waived by the Kings earlier this month, Chima Moneke will resume his basketball career with AS Monaco, according to Eurohoops. The 27-year-old small forward has signed a contract with the EuroLeague club that will run through the end of the 2023/24 season.

“I chose Monaco because the coach, the general manager, and the president showed a great interest in me directly,” Moneke said. “I felt wanted by the club and they thought I could really contribute to this team. They immediately seduced me and in addition, the objectives are high. The idea of ​​living in Monaco also appealed to me enormously, I want to live a peaceful and happy life.”

Moneke was a star in Europe for four seasons before signing with Sacramento in July. He only appeared in two NBA games, scoring two points in eight total minutes, and spent most of his time with the Kings’ G League affiliate in Stockton.

Moneke was released Jan. 6, shortly before his contract would have been guaranteed for the rest of the season. He received $500K during his time with Sacramento.

Kings Waive Chima Moneke

The Kings have waived forward Chima Moneke, a source tells James Ham of ESPN 1320 and (Twitter link).

Moneke was one of three players on Sacramento’s roster on partially guaranteed contracts — Matthew Dellavedova and KZ Okpala are the others. The deadline to waive partially and non-guaranteed deals before they become fully guaranteed is tomorrow, January 7.

The 27-year-old rookie out of Australia only appeared in two NBA games this season for a total of eight minutes. He spent the majority of the season with the team’s G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, averaging 17.6 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.6 SPG and 0.8 BPG in 16 games (36.3 MPG) during the Showcase Cup.

After going undrafted in 2018, Moneke played internationally for teams in France and Spain, first competing in the French LNB Pro B league before receiving a promotion to Orléans Loiret Basket of LNB Pro A, the top league in France, in 2020/21.

Last season he played for Baxi Manresa of Liga ACB, the top Spanish league, averaging 14.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 1.6 SPG on .521/.290/.735 shooting in 36 games (30 starts, 24.1 MPG). He was also named the MVP of the Basketball Champions League with Baxi Manresa in ’21/22.

Moneke was on a standard contract, so the Kings now have 14 players on their 15-man roster, with both two-way contracts filled.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Klay, Kawhi, Clippers, Kings

The Warriors provided updates (via Twitter) on several injured players on Wednesday evening. Star guard Stephen Curry will have his left shoulder reevaluated on Saturday, which is in line with what the team previously announced.

Starting forward Andrew Wiggins has begun practicing and is ramping up his conditioning after missing the past 14 games due to a strained right adductor and then an illness. He will be reevaluated later this week, per the team.

The Warriors also announced that JaMychal Green (right lower leg infection), Jonathan Kuminga (right foot sprain) and James Wiseman (left ankle sprain) will all be out at least one more week — that’s when they’ll be reevaluated.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Klay Thompson missed two-plus seasons after a couple of major injuries, first a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, followed by a torn Achilles tendon. On Monday, he scored a season-high 54 points in the Warriors‘ double-overtime victory over the Hawks, a performance he doesn’t take for granted. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Thompson said, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “There were some hard days for me when I didn’t know that this would be possible in real time. I am just going to embrace the heck out of it.”
  • After missing Monday’s loss to Miami with a non-COVID illness, Kawhi Leonard is no longer on the Clippers‘ injury report for Thursday’s contest in Denver, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Paul George, who tweaked his hamstring on Monday, is listed as questionable, while Nicolas Batum is out with a left ankle sprain.
  • Can Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue find lineups that work whether or not Leonard and/or George are in the lineup? Law Murray of The Athletic explores that topic, writing that if Lue is unable to optimize the current group, trades could be in order for a team that hopes to compete for a championship.
  • The Kings have three players — Matthew Dellavedova, Chima Moneke and KZ Okpala — on partially guaranteed deals, and none are locks to have their salaries guaranteed for the rest of the season, writes James Ham of It’s possible one or more might be released in the next few days (the deadline to waive partially and non-guaranteed deals before they become fully guaranteed is January 7) in order to create roster flexibility ahead of the trade deadline, according to Ham, who says the Kings figure to be aggressive in their push to break their lengthy playoff drought.

Several Players Set To Receive Salary Guarantees

Most players who are still on non-guaranteed contracts as the NBA’s regular season begins won’t have their salaries for 2022/23 fully guaranteed until January. The league-wide salary guarantee date is January 10, and teams must waive players on non-guaranteed contracts on or before January 7 in order to avoid being on the hook for the full-season salaries.

However, a number of players on non-guaranteed deals have language in their contracts that calls for them to receive full or partial guarantees if they’re not waived before their team’s first game of the regular season. Those players are as follows:

Full guarantees:

  • Dalano Banton (Raptors): Partial guarantee ($300,000) increases to full guarantee ($1,563,518).
  • Keita Bates-Diop (Spurs): Non-guaranteed salary ($1,878,720) becomes fully guaranteed.
  • Justin Champagnie (Raptors): Partial guarantee ($325,000) increases to full guarantee ($1,637,966).
  • Tre Jones (Spurs): Partial guarantee ($500,000) increases to full guarantee ($1,782,621).

As our full list of early salary guarantee dates shows, Isaiah Joe (Sixers), Josh Jackson (Raptors), and D.J. Wilson (Raptors) also would’ve had their salaries become fully guaranteed if they had remained under contract through their teams’ first regular season games. However, they were all waived within the last week. Joe has since signed with the Thunder on a deal that includes a guaranteed first-year salary.

Partial guarantees:

  • Matthew Dellavedova (Kings): Non-guaranteed salary ($2,628,597) becomes partially guaranteed ($250,000).
  • Haywood Highsmith (Heat): Partial guarantee ($50,000) increases to $400,000.
  • Luke Kornet (Celtics): Partial guarantee ($300,000) increases to $1,066,639.
  • Chima Moneke (Kings): Partial guarantee ($250,000) increases to $500,000.
  • Markieff Morris (Nets): Non-guaranteed salary ($2,905,581) becomes partially guaranteed ($500,000).
  • KZ Okpala (Kings): Partial guarantee ($250,000) increases to $500,000.
  • Edmond Sumner (Nets): Partial guarantee ($250,000) increases to $500,000.

Guarantee dates are a matter of negotiation between a team and a player, so there’s nothing stopping a club from approaching a player and asking him to agree to push that date back. If a player feels as if he’ll be waived if he says no, he may agree.

This happened last season, for instance, when Isaac Bonga‘s and Sam Dekker‘s contracts with the Raptors called for their salaries to be fully guaranteed as of opening night. Both players assented to moving their guarantee dates back to November 6. When that new deadline arrived, Toronto opted to retain Bonga and guarantee his full salary while waiving Dekker.

In other words, it’s not yet a sure thing that all the players mentioned above will get the guarantees described here, even if they remain under contract through Wednesday (or Tuesday, in Kornet’s case). We may get word in a day or two that a couple of them agreed to postpone their salary guarantee dates.

For the most part though, we should count on this group of players receiving some added security, with a handful of names coming off our list of players who still have non-guaranteed salaries.

California Notes: Jackson, Wall, Zubac, Kings, Poole

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has claimed that a report indicating that Reggie Jackson had won the L.A. starting point guard gig over John Wall did not come from him, and that he has yet to make a final decision, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles will play its first regular season contest this Thursday.

“Both guys are in a great position, and their mindset is in the right place,” Lue said. “It is about winning. It is not about who’s the starter, who’s the best player. It’s about the right fit and trying to win, and both of those guys are on board with that.”

Here’s more out of California:

  • Clippers center Ivica Zubac spoke with Mark Medina of for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on the team’s hoped-for title contention this season, its stars’ injury woes, the development of Zubac around the rim, and more. Zubac also gave head coach Tyronn Lue a rave review. “Ty has been around the team and me for a while, even before he became a head coach,” Zubac noted. “He’s been seeing the progress for a while. It’s in big part thanks to him. He’s been pushing us. Last season, he asked me to do some things on the court that he hadn’t asked me to do in a while. He involved me more offensively. I think that was a big part of my progression.”
  • Following a rigorous training camp, the Kings opted to retain point guard Matthew Dellavedova, forward Chima Moneke, and power forward KZ Okpala into the regular season. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee breaks down how the new Sacramento additions made the grade. All are currently signed to non-guaranteed deals with the team. “As training camp has gone on, [Moneke] is trending upwards,” head coach Mike Brown said. “I think the initial shock of being in the NBA and the speed and athleticism and all that stuff caught him off guard a little bit, but he belongs on this level and he can help us. I think KZ, too. Both of those guys were two of my first calls, even before I really got the job.” Brown also raved about Dellavedova’s effort on defense. “If Davion [Mitchell] ain’t going hard, he will get embarrassed by Delly… If [De’Aaron] Fox isn’t going hard, he will get embarrassed by Delly. To have a guy like that raises the level of intensity.”
  • Warriors reserve guard Jordan Poole signed a four-year contract extension with Golden State worth up to $140MM. Now, new details have emerged about the contract’s various incentives. Anthony Slater of The Athletic unpacks the deal, revealing that – beyond the guaranteed $123MM – Poole will make an extra $1.25MM per year (i.e. $5MM across all four seasons) depending on how far the team gets in the playoffs. He will net an additional $1MM for each year he wins the league MVP award (so a very, very hypothetical total of $4MM), plus $1MM annually per every Defensive Player of the Year award. Considering his skillset, earning either honor even once seems fairly far-fetched. Poole could earn $500K per season should he qualify for an All-NBA team (there are a total of 15 such slots available) and another $500K annually should he qualify for an All-Defensive Team (there are 10 available openings). Slater notes that it is possible Poole grows into being an All-NBA talent, but is skeptical he could ever be an elite defender or named the league MVP.

Kings Waive Sam Merrill, Set Roster For Season

Veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova and forwards KZ Okpala and Chima Moneke have claimed the final three spots on the Kings‘ 15-man roster to open the regular season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Veteran wing Sam Merrill had also been vying for a regular season roster spot, but the Kings have opted to waive him, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets.

The team also cut Jeriah Horne and Alex O’Connell, per James Ham of ESPN 1320 Sacramento (Twitter link), who says the plan is for both players to join the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate.

Okpala earned some starts at power forward for Sacramento this preseason and always seemed like a safe bet to make the roster. Dellavedova, meanwhile, looked like a logical keeper after the team waived another veteran point guard, Quinn Cook. Moneke has spent the last several years playing in international leagues and will be getting his first shot in the NBA as a 26-year-old rookie.

Okpala and Moneke currently have partial guarantees worth $250K and will earn another $250K if they remain on the roster through Wednesday. Dellavedova is on a non-guaranteed contract and will also get $250K for sticking through Wednesday.

Merrill’s contract included a $150K partial guarantee. The Kings will be on the hook for that amount unless he’s claimed on waivers on Monday.

Contract Details: Moneke, Ibaka, J. Williams, Gibson

Chima Moneke‘s new contract with the Kings is a two-year, minimum-salary deal that includes a partial guarantee in year one, Hoops Rumors has learned. Currently, only $250K of Moneke’s $1.02MM salary for 2022/23 is guaranteed, but that figure will increase to $500K if the forward isn’t waived before Sacramento’s first regular season game.

The second year of Moneke’s contract is non-guaranteed, but his 2023/24 salary would become partially guaranteed for $250K if he plays at least 1,000 minutes in ’22/23 and his team wins 41 games. Moneke’s full $1.72MM salary for ’23/24 would become guaranteed if he remains under contract through June 30, 2023.

Here are a few more details on recently signed NBA contracts:

  • Serge Ibaka‘s one-year contract with the Bucks is worth the veteran’s minimum, Hoops Rumors has learned. Milwaukee had Ibaka’s Early Bird rights and could have gone above the minimum, but will instead carry a cap hit of just $1,836,090 for the big man, who will earn $2,905,851.
  • Jaylin Williams‘ four-year contract with the Thunder is, as initially reported, worth approximately $8.2MM. Williams will earn fully guaranteed salaries of $2MM in each of the first two years of the deal. His minimum salaries for 2024/25 and ’25/26 are non-guaranteed, with a team option on the fourth year. Since Oklahoma City used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to give Williams a four-year deal, the club will be hard-capped for the rest of the ’22/23 league year.
  • As anticipated, Taj Gibson‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Wizards is fully guaranteed. Washington now has 15 guaranteed salaries on its books for 2022/23.