Daniel Ochefu

And-Ones: Calipari, Trice, Ochefu, Pistons

After receiving some interest from UCLA, Kentucky head coach John Calipari has elected to remain with the Wildcats, and the program made it worth his while to do so, reports Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com. According to Borzello, Calipari – who was already under contract through 2024 – has agreed to an extension that will run through his retirement, and will also feature a lifetime role as an ambassador to the university.

“Where else would I want to coach?” Calipari said on his radio show in confirming the news.

Calipari reportedly received a six-year, $48MM offer from UCLA before electing to extend his agreement with Kentucky, per Seth Davis of The Athletic. The 60-year-old is the highest-paid head coach in the NCAA ranks, earning a reported $9.2MM salary this season.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Travis Trice, a veteran G League guard who has been in camp with the Knicks and Bucks in recent years, is headed to Turkey to continue his professional career. After averaging 16.9 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 4.3 RPG in 36 total NBAGL games this season for the Austin Spurs and Wisconsin Herd, Trice has officially signed with Tofas SK, the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Former Wizards center Daniel Ochefu, who appeared in 19 games for Washington in 2016/17, has signed with Spanish team CB Breogan, according to an announcement from the club (via Twitter). Ochefu spent most of the 2018/19 season with the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, posting 14.8 PPG and 8.9 RPG in 39 games (24.2 MPG).
  • The Pistons will enter the offseason looking to fortify their point guard and wing spots, but won’t have much financial flexibility to do so. As such, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press wonders if attempting to re-sign Ish Smith and Wayne Ellington might make the most sense for the club.

Celtics Waive Daniel Ochefu

The Celtics reached their roster limit Saturday by waiving Daniel Ochefu, according to RealGM’s official NBA transactions log.

The 23-year-old center signed with Boston on Friday. He will be eligible to join the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine if he clears waivers tomorrow.

Undrafted out of Villanova last year, Ochefu spent his rookie season with the Wizards, appearing in 19 games. He was waived last week and received a $50K guarantee on his $1,312,611 salary for this season.

Celtics Sign Daniel Ochefu

The Celtics have signed free agent center Daniel Ochefu to their NBA roster, the team announced today (via Twitter). Ochefu recently cleared waivers after being cut by the Wizards.

Ochefu, who played his college ball at Villanova, signed with the Wizards last year as an undrafted free agent. The 6’11” rookie was an unexpected addition to the club’s 15-man regular season roster and spent the year with the franchise, appearing in 19 games. Ochefu played sparingly in those contests, averaging 1.3 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 3.9 minutes per game.

With only $50K of his minimum salary for 2017/18 guaranteed, Ochefu was a roster casualty for Washington earlier this week, but it didn’t take him long to find a new home.

It will be interesting to see whether the Celtics view Ochefu as a keeper when they set their 15-man regular season roster next week, or whether the C’s hope to eventually get him on their G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Boston currently has just 14 players on guaranteed salaries, leaving the 15th spot available for Ochefu if the team wants to retain him.

Wizards Waive Daniel Ochefu

The Wizards have waived second-year big man Daniel Ochefu, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The move reduces Washington’s roster count to 18 players, including two on two-way contracts.

Ochefu, who played his college ball at Villanova, signed with the Wizards last year as an undrafted free agent. The 6’11” forward/center was an unexpected addition to the club’s 15-man regular season roster and spent the year with the franchise, appearing in 19 games. Ochefu played sparingly in those contests, averaging 1.3 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 3.9 minutes per game.

Ochefu’s contract with the Wizards includes a $50K guarantee, so that figure will remain on the club’s cap for 2017/18. Washington won’t be on the hook for the rest of his minimum salary, however.

With Ochefu no longer in the mix, the Wizards have 16 players on NBA contracts, including 13 on fully guaranteed deals. The Wizards figure to part with at least one of Carrick Felix, Donald Sloan, and Sheldon Mac before the regular season begins to reach the 15-man limit. If Mac is the player waived, Washington will remain on the hook for his salary until he recovers from an Achilles tear.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Crawford, Mack

The Hornets have taken significant steps forward this offseason but one of the big questions heading into the 2017/18 campaign will be whether wings Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum will be able to thrive together.

In a recent mailbag, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tackled the question arguing that the lanky pair help the squad more than hinder them. Bonnell refers to the Hornets’ defensive woes as the major culprit for Charlotte’s disappointing 2016/17 campaign, saying that taking Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture would only make matters worse.

Bonnell does add, however, that the Hornets would be wise to feature rookie Malik Monk as soon as he’s able to prove that he’s reasonably competent on the defensive end. If he slots in at the two, Batum could then slide up to the three.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks acquired Jamal Crawford in the three-way deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers and immediately began pursuing a buyout with the 36-year-old veteran. Exact details of the buyout are not yet known but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the guard’s cap hit will be around $11MM in 2017/18.
  • There’s no disputing Shelvin Mack‘s track record of success, he suited up for the 60-win Hawks of 2014/15 and served a valuable role for the 2016/17 Jazz squad that climbed back to relevance. According to John Denton of Orlando’s official website, the former Butler Bulldog thinks that even the Magic can be winners in the immediate future.
  • After a breakout 2013/14 campaign in which he filled in admirably for an injured Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks has posted three forgettable, injury-plagued seasons. Now a member of the Wizards, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is ready to reset and start anew. “I came back from my thumb at the end of the season,” he told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I played okay and finished out the season healthy. This summer I got some rest. Now I’m working out again and I feel fine.
  • After riding the pine for the Wizards in 2016/17, Sheldon Mac and Daniel Ochefu have taken noticeable steps forward, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes.

Wizards Notes: Bogdanovic, Oubre, Burke, Mac

Playing time will be the priority for Bojan Bogdanovic when he enters free agency this summer, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic was averaging about 27 minutes per game with the Nets before a midseason trade to Washington cut that number to about 23. Bogdanovic may have to look elsewhere if he wants a larger role, particularly if the Wizards are able to re-sign fellow small forward Otto Porter, who has the starting job locked down. Washington used a three-man rotation at the position after the deal, Hughes notes, with Porter, Bogdanovic and Kelly Oubre all contributing. Oubre is expected to have an expanded role next season. “I want to try to find a team where I can play heavy minutes,” Bogdanovic said. “I hope that I will play here maybe, but we will see. It’s a long summer in front of us before free agency. We’ll see.” Bogdanovic, who will represent Croatia in the European Championship this summer, added that he would like to remain on the same team with John Wall or find a point guard with similar skills.

There’s more news out of D.C.:

  • A platelet-rich plasma treatment has been prescribed for Oubre’s right knee, Hughes notes in a separate story. Oubre plans offseason workouts with teammate Bradley Beal, and possibly Wall, in hopes of becoming a better ballhandler.
  • The minutes totals for the starters in the Game 7 loss to the Celtics emphasizes the need to build a stronger bench, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Wall and Beal barely came out of Monday’s game, while Markieff Morris played nearly 42 minutes and Porter was close to 40. Buckner cites point guard as an area where important decisions must be made, with backups Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings both headed toward free agency. Burke fell behind rookie Tomas Satoransky in the rotation, then dropped out completely once Jennings was signed. Burke expressed frustration with the way things worked out and sounded ready to move on. “I don’t plan on my role being the same next year,” he said. “My agency is working very hard for me right now. I know what type of player I can be and I know what type of player I want to be. That’s not my plan. This summer, it’ll be great. I’m looking forward to the summer.”
  • The Wizards will take a closer look at three young prospects this offseason, Buckner adds in the same piece. Shooting guard Sheldon Mac and big men Daniel Ochefu and Chris McCullough will all be part of Washington’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. Mac, who changed his name from McClellan at midseason, has the best chance of the three to crack the rotation next year, according to Buckner, but his $1.3MM contract for 2017/18 in non-guaranteed.

Southeast Notes: Hezonja, Wall, Heat

Second-year shooting guard Mario Hezonja will get a shot at reclaiming his spot in the Magic rotation, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The 21-year-old slipped out of head coach Frank Vogel‘s core lineup in mid-November.

For the next little while at least, expect Hezonja to back up starting small forward Aaron Gordon when the Magic elect to run a small ball lineup with Jeff Green at the four. After racking up 13 DNP-CDs in the first 40 games of the season, Hezonja will take what he can get.

I’m 300% ready,” Hezonja said Friday. “I’ve got to use that in a smart way and manage all that energy. I’ve got to manage it in the right way so the team wins.”

In another piece, John Denton of the Magic’s website, explores other ways Vogel is shaking up his lineup – including returning Nikola Vucevic to the starting lineup.

There’s more new out of the Southeast Division today:

  • The Magic should pay, and perhaps overpay, to keep Serge Ibaka in Orlando, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Schmitz argues that the 27-year-old big man has been the team’s best player on both ends of the floor. Ibaka has averaged 15.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game through Orlando’s first 40.
  • An MRI on John Wall‘s right-hand pinkie finger came back negative, says Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. The Wizards guard is expected to play through the injury so long as he’s able to properly stabilize it and that it doesn’t impact his shot. “One thing I know about John, being around him for the six or seven months now, he is as tough as they come,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s going to put himself out there, which is definitely something that I admire.”
  • Danuel House, Sheldon McClellan and Daniel Ochefu have been able to breath easier since Tuesday, writes Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. January 10 marked the day that the three undrafted rookies saw their partially guaranteed contracts become guaranteed with the Wizards. Buckner discusses their frames of mind prior to the deadline.
  • The Heat are doing their due diligence when it comes to fielding trade offers, so Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel went so far as to break down each major player’s case as an available asset.

Wizards Notes: McClellan, Thornton, Wall

Sheldon McClellan, whose contract with the Wizards became fully guaranteed over the weekend, is earning the trust of the team’s coaching staff, J. Michael of Comcast Sportsnet writes. Washington’s bench was an area of concern heading into the season, but it appears McClellan is on his way to solidifying a role in the second unit.  “I like what Sheldon has been able to do. He plays hard,” coach Scott Brooks said. “When you play hard it gives you a chance to stay on the court and make good things happen for your team. I think he does that”

Here’s more from Washington:

  • If the Wizards decide to open up a roster spot, Marcus Thornton is the player most likely to be waived, Michael writes in a separate piece. McClellan’s success has pushed Thornton to the bench, leaving the 29-year-old without any minutes over the team’s last two games.
  • Daniel Ochefu‘s roster spot appears to be safe, Michael contends in the same piece. The Wizards are still waiting for Ian Mahinmi to recover from a pair of knee injuries, which leaves the team in need of frontcourt players.
  • Rival executives don’t view John Wall as a franchise player in the same way they view other team’s top players, such as Russell Westbrook and James Harden, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical relays (Twitter video link). Marks also examines the 2011 draft where the Wizards took Jan Vesely with the No. 6 overall pick and wonders what the team would look like had it selected Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard.

Southeast Notes: Mahinmi, Wizards, Wade, Heat

Even though they could use his help, the Wizards don’t plan to rush Ian Mahinmi back on the court, writes Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. The 6’11” center is a month removed from surgery to repair a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee. His recovery time was set at six weeks, and coach Scott Brooks said his return will depend on how the knee responds. Mahinmi was jumping and rebounding today without a brace at today’s practice. “Once you’re able to get on the practice court with the group, it’s going to take some time to gain condition,” Brooks said. “He’s still some time away. Like I said, I hate to put a timetable on it, but I know he’s going to do his job to get back as soon as he can, but we’re not going to push him. We want to make sure he’s fit to play for the remainder of the season.” Washington signed Mahinmi to a four-year $64MM deal over the offseason.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • If Brooks is as unhappy with the team’s 1-5 start as Bradley Beal suggested this weekend, it may result in opportunities for younger players, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Rookies Sheldon McClellan, Danuel House and Daniel Ochefu could see increased minutes if the team doesn’t improve soon.
  • As Dwyane Wade prepares for his return to Miami on Thursday, he tells Nick Friedell of ESPN.com that he still pays attention to his former team. “I definitely watch when I get an opportunity to watch them play,” Wade said. “One, because it’s a lot of my young guys over there. I want to see them succeed. I want to see Tyler [Johnson] and Justise [Winslow] and all those guys take that next step. I want to see how Hassan [Whiteside] is going to respond to everyone saying this and that about him since he got paid. So I watch that as someone who knows them, then I watch the game as a fan and I watch it as a competitor. I watch it so many different ways.”
  • Wade also likes the moves the Magic made over the offseason, writes John Denton of NBA.com. Orlando overhauled its roster by adding nine new players, including a trade for Serge Ibaka and the free agent signing of Bismack Biyombo. “I thought they did a great job in Orlando of putting together a competitive team,’’ Wade said. “They did it a little different – like a throwback – where they went and got two bigs. Most people are trying to get smaller, but they went and got two bigs and that’s a throwback. But their bigs spread the floor and shoot the jump shot.”

Wizards Expected To Waive Daniel Ochefu

The Wizards will soon waive Daniel Ochefu, international journalist David Pick reports (Twitter link). Washington signed the forward to partially guaranteed, three year minimum salary deal over the summer.

The franchise entered the day with 18 players under contract, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates. Washington bolstered their bench through free agency, adding Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith in the frontcourt, so the 22-year-old was never expected to make the team.

Ochefu averaged 10.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game for Villanova. He was a major contributor in the Wildcats’ championship run.