Denzel Valentine

Suns’ G League Team Selects 14 Players In Expansion Draft

The Valley Suns, Phoenix’s new G League affiliate, were awarded the returning rights to 14 players as part of the 2024 expansion draft, the league announced in a press release.

Each existing G League team was permitted to protect up to 12 players and had until June 5 to provide that list of protected players to the league. The Valley Suns received the full list of unprotected players on June 6 and had until June 13 at 3:00 pm Eastern time to select up to 14 of those players, drafting no more than two per team.

Crucially, while Phoenix’s affiliate now controls these players NBAGL returning rights, that does not mean all of them – or any of them, for that matter – will suit up for the Valley Suns in 2024/25, since they’re not obligated to play in the G League.

Many could end up playing for teams in non-NBA leagues around the world or even getting another shot in the NBA, in which case the Suns’ rights wouldn’t amount to much. But if any of these players sign G League contracts for next season, the Valley Suns will get first dibs at bringing them to training camp.

Here are the 14 players selected by the Valley Suns in the expansion draft:

Of those names, Mudiay, Okafor, and Valentine are the most notable. All three are former NBA lottery picks who spent several seasons in the league and are still no older than 30 years old. Brown, Clark, Louzada, Maledon, Mulder, Weatherspoon, and Wigginton have also seen NBA regular season action in recent years.

Returning rights players are just one group of the many that make up a G League team, so if only a small handful of the players listed above sign NBAGL contracts, the Suns will have plenty of other paths to fill out their roster. Those paths are as follows:

  • Affiliate players: Players who are signed (generally to Exhibit 10 contracts) and then cut by the parent NBA club, as detailed here.
  • G League draft rights: Players who are selected in the G League draft in the fall.
  • NBA draft rights: Players who are drafted by an NBA team and sign a G League contract instead of an NBA contract.
  • Local tryout: Players who earn a shot via a local tryout.
  • G League player pool: Players who sign G League contracts and go undrafted (or sign their contracts after the draft). Newly signed players go through a waiver process and enter the league’s free agent pool if they go unclaimed.
  • Two-way contract: Players who are on a two-way contract with an NBA team and are transferred to the G League.
  • NBA assignment: Players who are on a standard contract with an NBA team and are assigned to the G League.

And-Ones: Cousins, Cooks, Eubanks, Valentine

DeMarcus Cousins‘ contract with the Taiwan Beer Leopards, slated to begin in mid-April, will cover a month-and-a-half, sources inform Marc Stein (Twitter link).

The 6’10” big man was a four-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA honoree while with the Kings and Pelicans. Major lower leg injuries cut his career short at an all-too-brief 11 years.

Following his All-Star prime, he played for the Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Bucks and Nuggets in brief stints as a reserve. Across 654 total NBA regular season contests, he boasts averages of 19.6 PPG (on .460/.331/.737 shooting), 10.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.1 BPG.

Cousins hasn’t been able to find an NBA home since the end of the 2021/22. He has since played for clubs in Puerto Rico and Taiwan.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Suns reserve big man Drew Eubanks wants to play for the Italian team in a future Olympics, according to Simone Sandri of La Gazzetta (hat tip to Kevin Martorano of Sportando for the translation). “I would certainly like to be able to play in an Olympics,” Eubanks said. “…I like to play competitive games even in the offseason. In fact, the idea of playing different basketball during the summer is intriguing to me and can only be beneficial to my NBA career. The prospect of joining a new team intrigues me, but let’s see what happens with the paperwork and then we’ll decide.”
  • Former Wizards guard Xavier Cooks has inked the biggest deal in the history of Australia’s National Basketball League to return to the Sydney Kings, per Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Cooks, a league MVP, helped propel Sydney to consecutive titles in 2022 and ’23. He has agreed to a three-year contract with the Kings.
  • One-time NBA lottery pick Denzel Valentine, hot off his own stint with the Sydney Kings, has signed a contract for the rest of the 2023/24 season with Italian club Olimpia Milano, per Alessandro Maggic of Valentine was selected with the No. 14 pick in 2016 out of Michigan State by the Bulls. He also suited up for the Cavaliers and Jazz.

Raptors Notes: Lillard, Siakam, Anunoby, Barnes, Holiday

The Raptors were willing to part with a slew of draft assets to acquire Damian Lillard, according to Michael Grange of, but a Western Conference source tells him they were hoping to reach a deal with the Trail Blazers that didn’t include Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby or Scottie Barnes.

Grange hears that Toronto’s offer included up to three future first-round picks, two pick swaps and rookie forward Gradey Dick. Team officials believed they could become title contenders by adding Lillard to their existing talent, but not by having him replace one of their key components.

The fact that the Raptors were involved in discussions for Lillard shows that the front office isn’t content with the team in its current form, observes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Big decisions are coming up soon that will affect the organization’s future, and team officials will have to determine whether they’re planning to contend or rebuild.

Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. both have expiring contracts and are currently eligible for extensions. Another potential free agent next summer is Anunoby, who has a $19.9MM player option for 2024/25 that he’s expected to decline. Koreen notes that means the window is closing on a potential win-now move if the Raptors don’t do something by February’s trade deadline.

There’s more from Toronto:

  • The Raptors aren’t likely to pursue Jrue Holiday, who is reportedly back on the market after being sent to Portland in the Lillard deal, Grange states in the same piece. Toronto wanted Lillard to provide more spacing for Barnes and Siakam, and Holiday isn’t on the same level as an outside shooter.
  • The Raptors haven’t held any extension talks with Siakam, Grange adds. Siakam will become eligible for a super-max deal if he remains in Toronto and makes an All-NBA team in 2024.
  • In a separate story, Koreen looks at questions for every player on the Raptors’ roster, including the need for a new lead guard after the loss of Fred VanVleet in free agency. He notes that Dennis Schröder normally excels at getting into the paint, but he may find that more difficult as Toronto doesn’t have enough outside shooting to provide driving lanes.
  • Toronto pulled off a G League trade this week, with the Raptors 905 acquiring the rights to Denzel Valentine from the Maine Celtics in exchange for Kylor Kelley, tweets Blake Murphy of SportsNet.

Celtics Waive Denzel Valentine

6:00pm: The move is official, per’s transaction log.

4:09pm: The Celtics intend to waive veteran swingman Denzel Valentine, according to Jared Weiss and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

After the news broke that Boston was signing Blake Griffin, the team had to release a player to make room on its 20-man training camp roster. Since Valentine was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract, he’ll be eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least 60 days with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate — assuming, of course, that he doesn’t land with another NBA team in the meantime.

The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Michigan State, Valentine spent the first five years of his NBA career in Chicago before signing last offseason with the Cavaliers. He played a minor role in 22 games for Cleveland, then was dealt in January to the Knicks, who waived him.

Following a 10-day contract with the Jazz, Valentine played in the G League for the rest of the 2021/22 season. In 12 games with the Maine Celtics last season, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 7.0 APG and 1.1 APG on .440/.352/.786 shooting.

In 256 career NBA games (18.8 MPG), Valentine holds averages of 7.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 1.8 APG on .394/.360/.787 shooting.

Celtics Officially Sign Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, Denzel Valentine

The Celtics have officially completed three previously reported deals with veteran free agents, signing forward Jake Layman, swingman Justin Jackson, and guard Denzel Valentine to their training camp roster, according to RealGM’s NBA transaction log.

A report in August indicated that Valentine would be signing an Exhibit 10 contract with Boston. The exact terms of the team’s agreements with Layman and Jackson, which were reported more recently, aren’t known, but those are presumably non-guaranteed camp deals as well.

All three veterans are expected to take part in a preseason competition for one of the Celtics’ back-end roster spots. The club currently has 10 players with guaranteed standard contracts, plus Al Horford with a significant partial guarantee. That leaves three – or possibly four – spots available on the regular season roster for a group of players with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salaries.

Besides Layman, Jackson, and Valentine, those camp invitees vying for roster spots includes Noah Vonleh, Luke Kornet, and Bruno Caboclo. Two-way players Mfiondu Kabengele and JD Davison could also be in the mix for promotions to standard contracts. Boston has one more open spot on its 20-man offseason roster, with restricted free agent Brodric Thomas among the top candidates to fill it.

A second-round pick in 2016, Layman has appeared in 243 regular season games across six NBA seasons in Portland and Minnesota. In total, the former Maryland forward – who is a Massachusetts native – has averaged 4.8 PPG and 1.7 RPG on .460/.300/.719 shooting in 12.8 minutes per contest over the course of his NBA career.

Jackson, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2017 draft, signed two 10-day contracts with the Suns last season and one with the Celtics, appearing in seven total games (just one with Boston). In Las Vegas this July, he averaged 15.0 PPG in four appearances (29.0 MPG) for Boston’s Summer League squad.

The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Valentine spent the first five years of his NBA career in Chicago before signing last offseason with the Cavaliers. He played a minor role in 22 games for Cleveland, then was dealt in January to the Knicks, who waived him. Following a 10-day contract with the Jazz, Valentine played in the G League for the rest of the 2021/22 season. Considered a strong three-point shooter, Valentine has made 36.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc in 256 NBA appearances (18.8 MPG).

Celtics To Sign Denzel Valentine To Exhibit 10 Contract

The Celtics have agreed to a deal with free agent swingman Denzel Valentine, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Valentine will be signing an Exhibit 10 contract with Boston and will compete in training camp for a spot on the regular season roster.

The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Valentine spent the first five years of his NBA career in Chicago before signing last offseason with the Cavaliers. He played a minor role in 22 games for Cleveland, then was dealt in January to the Knicks, who waived him. Following a 10-day contract with the Jazz, Valentine played in the G League for the rest of the 2021/22 season.

Considered a strong three-point shooter, Valentine has made 36.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc in 256 NBA appearances (18.8 MPG). He has also knocked down 41.2% of his three-pointers in a small G League sample (16 games). Valentine appeared in 12 games (31.9 MPG) last season with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate, filling up the box score with 14.6 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 7.0 APG.

The Celtics have at least 11 players expected to make their regular season roster, with Luke Kornet viewed as a strong candidate to be the 12th. The team has reportedly reached deals with Valentine, Bruno Caboclo, and Noah Vonleh to compete for the 13th and 14th spots — free agents like Brodric Thomas and Justin Jackson are also expected by local reporters to vie for a spot on Boston’s roster.

Because Valentine has been in the NBA for five seasons, he’s ineligible to have his Exhibit 10 contract converted into a two-way deal, but he could earn a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived and reports back to Maine for at least 60 days.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Workouts, Jokic, Wolves, Roddy

The Jazz hosted another free agent mini-camp this week, bringing in 20 players on Monday and Tuesday for a closer look, as our JD Shaw relays (Twitter links). While not all of the invitees have NBA experience, there are a handful of noteworthy names in the group, including former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Big man Reggie Perry, swingman Denzel Valentine, forward Bruno Caboclo, and guards Langston Galloway, Sindarius Thornwell, and Grant Riller were among the other players to audition for Utah.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Jazz are working out six more draft-eligible prospects on Wednesday, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, who tweets that Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Tommy Kuhse (Saint Mary’s), Josh Minott (Memphis), Darryl Morsell (Marquette), Henri Drell (G League), and Jermaine Samuels (Villanova) will be in town.
  • Nuggets star and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has committed to playing for the Serbian national team this offseason, the Serbian Basketball Federation announced on Wednesday (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). Jokic likely won’t participate in the qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup that will take place in a couple weeks, but he’s expected to be available later in the summer for the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy, who went to high school in Minnesota, is working out for his hometown Timberwolves on Wednesday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Roddy, the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s big board, could be an option for the Wolves in the first round at No. 19 or in the second round if he slips — Minnesota holds the 40th, 48th, and 50th overall picks.

Denzel Valentine, Allen Crabbe Sign G League Contracts

A pair of veteran wings have signed NBA G League contracts, according to reports. Jay King of The Athletic (Twitter link) says Denzel Valentine is headed to the NBAGL, while Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) says Allen Crabbe is doing the same.

Valentine will join the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate, sources tell King. The 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Valentine has appeared in 256 total regular season games for the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Jazz.

The former Michigan State swingman had a promising 2017/18 season (10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, .386 3PT%) with the Bulls, but missed the entire ’18/19 campaign due to an ankle injury and has provided inconsistent production since then. After starting this season in Cleveland, Valentine was traded to the Knicks in the three-team Rajon Rondo deal and was subsequently waived. He spent 10 days with the Jazz on a hardship contract this month — that deal expired earlier this week.

Crabbe has been out of the NBA since the 2019/20 season, having been waived by Minnesota in February 2020. The 29-year-old has a solid résumé though, with 381 regular season appearances (24.0 MPG) for the Trail Blazers, Nets, Hawks, and Timberwolves. He averaged 9.1 PPG and 2.8 RPG with a .387 3PT% during his seven NBA seasons.

It’s unclear at this point which G League team Crabbe will join as he seeks an NBA comeback.

Jazz Sign Denzel Valentine To 10-Day Contract

JANUARY 10, 1:02pm: The Jazz have officially signed Valentine to a 10-day contract, according to’s transactions log.

Utah pivoted away from Ennis because he was a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and the Jazz wanted to make sure their newly-added player could be cleared in advance of Monday’s game vs. Detroit, Charania tweets.

JANUARY 9, 7:12pm: Utah no longer plans to sign James Ennis to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Instead, the team will sign forward Denzel Valentine in his place, Wojnarowski tweets.

Valentine holds five years of NBA experience and most recently played in Cleveland. He has appeared in 254 games in his career, averaging 7.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. In his 22 games with the Cavaliers this season, he averaged 2.9 PPG in 9.3 MPG, shooting 37.1% from the floor.

JANUARY 9, 5:52pm: The Jazz plan to sign veteran forward James Ennis to a 10-day contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Ennis most recently played on 10-day contracts with the Nets and Clippers.

Utah lost forwards Rudy Gay and Elijah Hughes to the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Sunday, opening space to add Ennis to the rotation. The team is also missing Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles due to the protocols.

For his career, Ennis has averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game across 392 appearances, making stops with nine different NBA teams. In 41 games with the Magic last season, the 31-year-old averaged 8.4 PPG and 4.0 RPG, shooting 43.3% from three-point range.

Utah owns the third-best record in the Western Conference at 28-12. The team is also 17-3 at home and has upcoming games against Detroit on Monday and Cleveland on Wednesday.

Knicks Waive Denzel Valentine

4:56pm: The Knicks have officially waived Valentine, the team tweets.

4:20pm: The Knicks are placing Denzel Valentine on waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Valentine was just acquired from Cleveland in a three-team deal but New York obviously had no plans to retain the five-year veteran guard.

The dead-money cap hit for waiving Valentine is $880,509. However, New York received $1.1MM from the Lakers in the trade, offsetting the move. Wayne Selden was also waived on Monday, so New York will now have an open spot on the 15-man roster.

Valentine appeared in 22 games off the bench for Cleveland, averaging 2.9 PPG in 9.3 MPG. Valentine, who played four seasons for Chicago, will now try to hook onto another team in free agency.