Emmanuel Mudiay

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: 2024 Offseason, Vegas, Mudiay, Forbes, More

The NBA had a busy trade deadline, but there were no blockbuster deals completed last week, with role players like Buddy Hield, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Gordon Hayward among the biggest names who were on the move. However, according to Howard Beck of The Ringer, executives around the league are expecting more fireworks during the 2024 offseason.

“There will be a lot of parts moved this offseason,” one Eastern Conference executive told Beck. “There’s going to be some options, some high-level guys that ask to get moved.”

As Beck writes, this spring’s playoff results could have a significant impact on what the trade market looks like this offseason. If a team with expectations of a deep playoff run gets bounced early, rival executives will be watching closely to see if that team’s stars have a wandering eye. The Lakers (LeBron James), Suns (Kevin Durant), and Cavaliers (Donovan Mitchell) are among the examples Beck provides, with one exec predicting that “there’s no doubt” Mitchell leaves Cleveland at the end of his current contract in 2025.

There will also be franchises with increasingly expensive rosters who may begin to feel pressure to make a move to generate more financial flexibility or to avoid committing to a pricey luxury tax bill, Beck notes, identifying the Celtics, Timberwolves, and Pelicans as some of the teams that rivals will be monitoring.

Beck is also the latest reporter to say that executives around the NBA believe Trae Young‘s name will pop up in trade rumors this offseason. One Western Conference exec told Beck, “I think they would love to trade Trae,” while another said the Hawks discussed a potential Young deal with the Spurs prior to last Thursday’s deadline.

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

  • Appearing on ESPN on Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver once again stated that Las Vegas is “definitely on our list” of markets that will receive consideration for the next round of expansion, according to The Associated Press. “We want to figure out what our media relationships are going to look like but then we will turn to expansion,” Silver said.
  • Former NBA lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay has signed with Piratas de Quebradillas, according to an Instagram post from the Puerto Rican team. Mudiay, who also played in Puerto Rico’s BSN league last season for Cangrejeros de Santurce, was the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft and has appeared in over 300 NBA games, most recently with Sacramento in 2021/22.
  • Former NBA sharpshooter Bryn Forbes has been arrested on a family violence charge, per an Associated Press report. Forbes, who was also arrested last February following a domestic incident, was jailed on Tuesday in San Antonio on a charge of assaulting a family member by choking/strangulation, which is considered a third-degree felony. The 30-year-old hasn’t been in the NBA since he was waived by Minnesota a year ago.
  • With G League Ignite prospect Ron Holland unable to participate in All-Star weekend due to a thumb injury, the NBA has announced that Cavaliers two-way forward Emoni Bates will replace him in the Rising Stars game (press release) and that Bulls two-way center Adama Sanogo will take his place in the G League Up Next game (Twitter link).

Timberwolves Sign-And-Waive Emmanuel Mudiay, Two Others

The Timberwolves announced the signing of former lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay, along with guard Matt Lewis and forward Phillip Wheeler. All three were later waived, the team tweeted.

Mudiay will join Minnesota’s G League team in Iowa, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), and Lewis and Wheeler will likely be headed there also. Krawczynski points out that new Timberwolves president Tim Connelly was running the Nuggets when they selected Mudiay with the seventh pick in the 2015 draft (Twitter link).

Mudiay, 26, was traded from Denver to the Knicks in 2018 and signed with the Jazz in 2019. He appeared in two games for the Kings last season after signing a 10-day contract in December and had a brief stay in Lithuania as well.

Lewis, 23, signed with the Timberwolves after going undrafted out of James Madison and played for Iowa last season. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32 G League games.

Wheeler, 20, played eight G League games last season with Rio Grande Valley and Mexico City. He also spent part of the year in Puerto Rico. His agreement with Minnesota was originally reported in June.

Kings Sign Emmanuel Mudiay Via Hardship Exception

DECEMBER 22: Mudiay’s 10-day deal is now official, the Kings announced in a press release.

DECEMBER 21: Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is set to ink a new 10-day contract with the Kings via hardship exception, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Mudiay was drafted with the seventh overall pick by the Nuggets in 2015 after playing for the CBA’s Guangdong Southern Tigers. He was named to the All-Rookie Second Team in 2016, but struggled to find a consistent place on the Denver roster as the club’s fortunes improved with the development of All-Star center Nikola Jokic and elite shooting guard Jamal Murray. Mudiay, still just 25, has also played for the Knicks and Jazz.

The 6’3″ guard holds career averages of 11.0 PPG, 3.8 APG and 2.9 RPG across 300 games, 165 of them starts. He boasts a career NBA shooting line of .401/.323/.759.

The five-year NBA vet’s last stint in the league came with the Jazz during the 2019/20 season. Mudiay most recently suited up for Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas this year, but split with the team last month.

Woj adds that the team expects Mudiay to be available as soon as Wednesday against the Clippers for a very short-handed Sacramento team.

Per our health and safety protocols tracker, the Kings have seven players in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols as of this writing: star point guard De’Aaron Fox, intriguing rookie guard Davion Mitchell, wings Terence Davis and Louis King, and big men Marvin Bagley IIIAlex Len and Neemias Queta. The team is also without 67-year-old interim head coach Alvin Gentry, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Assistant coach Doug Christie has coached the team in Gentry’s stead.

And-Ones: Foul Calls, New Ball, Mudiay, Acy

The NBA is pleased with the way its referees have handled the crackdown on foul calls on non-basketball moves so far this season, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s VP of referee development and training, said that the refs are still focused on allowing offensive players to have freedom of movement and will continue to seek the right balance of foul calls as the season progresses.

“There’ve been a few instances, nothing that’s raised to a significant level, where we would still want a defensive foul where it’s getting lumped into a non-basketball move,” McCutchen said, per Bontemps. “We’re in the middle of that adjustment period with the staff. We have staff calls at a higher cadence than we would when we’re not implementing something as significant as this, and we’re showing them examples so that we can adjust in real-time to meet the demands of the league.”

As Shams Charania of The Athletic relays (via Twitter), the NBA’s competition committee has also discussed the increase in “take” fouls on transition plays and has encouraged the league to office to consider tweaking the rules for those fouls. However, that’s unlikely to happen in the middle of the season, so it may have to wait until 2022/23.

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

  • The NBA is using a new basketball this season, having switched from Spalding to Wilson. Clippers star Paul George said on Monday night that the Wilson ball doesn’t have the “touch and softness” of the Spalding one (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times) and NBPA president CJ McCollum said he’ll discuss the ball this week with players to get their input (Twitter link via Chris Mannix of SI.com). For what it’s worth, president of league operations Byron Spruell said on Tuesday that the NBA hasn’t gotten much feedback on the new ball (link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN), and Seth Partnow of The Athletic is skeptical it’s the reason for the early-season dip in offensive efficiency.
  • Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas has parted ways with former NBA lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay, according to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com (Twitter link). Sources tell Urbonas that Mudiay will likely continue playing in Europe — he’ll be eligible to sign with a new EuroLeague team next month.
  • Former NBA big man Quincy Acy has signed with Olympiacos, the Greek team announced in a press release. Acy, who appeared in 337 NBA games from 2012-19 and has since played in China and Israel, agreed to a deal that runs through 2022/23.

And-Ones: Njie, Young, Mannion, Mudiay

Swedish player Barra Njie is signing a contract in the NBA G League and entering the October 23 draft, agent Jerry Dianis told Hoops Rumors.

Njie rejected multiple offers from the EuroLeague and Liga ACB, Dianis said. The 6’3″ point guard was named Rookie of the Year in the Swedish Basketball League last season, averaging 17.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

Njie, 20, will be NBA draft-eligible for 2022 and attended St. Benedict’s Preparatory school before signing overseas.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Speaking of the G League Draft, former NBA guard Joe Young will also sign a contract and enter the event, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Young played 127 games with the Pacers from 2015-18, most recently spending time in China.
  • Former Warriors guard Nico Mannion dealt with an intestinal infection caused by salmonella this summer, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Mannion estimates that he lost over 40 pounds due to the infection, and photos eventually surfaced online of his poor condition. He made his debut with Italian club Virtus Bologna on Saturday.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay recently discussed a variety of subjects with Antonis Stroggylakis of EuroHoops, including his recent impressive performance overseas and why he chose to spend the last year away from basketball. “I just wanted to take some time off and spend time with my family,” said Mudiay, a five-year NBA veteran who signed with Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania) in August. “I just stayed at home to be with my family.”

Emmanuel Mudiay Signs With Lithuanian Team

Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has inked a one-year contract with the Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas, per an official team announcement.

The 25-year-old was selected with the No. 7 pick by the Nuggets in the 2015 draft. Across his 300 NBA games played between 2015-20, Mudiay averaged 11.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.9 RPG on .401/.323/.744 shooting. Beyond his tenure with the Nuggets, Mudiay also suited up for the Knicks and Jazz. His last NBA stint was spent with Utah during the 2019/20 season.

Mudiay received offers to play in the G League and in Europe in 2020/21, according to a recent report, but turned them down in hopes of catching on with an NBA team. The former lottery pick, who played on the Trail Blazers’ Summer League team this year, was once again angling for an NBA comeback. However, his agreement with Zalgiris Kaunas had been anticipated as a contingency plan.

Though this marks Mudiay’s first appearance with a European team, this is not his first experience in a non-NBA pro league. Back when he was an elite high school prospect, the 6’3″ Mudiay opted to bypass college, instead signing a one-year, $1.2MM deal with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China for the 2014/15 season before entering his name into NBA draft consideration.

Mudiay still has to report to the team in Lithuania and undergo a physical examination.

And-Ones: Mudiay, Vonleh, Griggs, Schedule

Free agent guard Emmanuel Mudiay will likely sign with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania if he doesn’t receive an NBA offer before training camps open, according to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews. Mudiay is currently playing for the Trail Blazers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

After five years in the NBA, the 25-year-old sat out all of last season. He received offers to play in the G League and in Europe, according to Urbonas, but turned them down in hopes of catching on with an NBA team.

Mudiay was taken by the Nuggets with the seventh pick in the 2015 draft and spent two and a half seasons in Denver before being traded to the Knicks. After a year and a half in New York, he signed with the Jazz as a free agent in 2019. Mudiay averaged 7.3 points and 2.1 assists per game as a backup during his lone season in Utah.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent big man Noah Vonleh is getting interest from some NBA teams, but is considering offers in Europe and China as well, according to Sportando (Twitter link). The 25-year-old spent two weeks with the Nets in February and appeared in four games before being waived.
  • Highly-recruited high school guard Bryce Griggs has signed with Overtime Elite, the league announced in a press release. The 17-year-old out of Missouri City, Texas, will join the new league when it begins play next month. “Bryce Griggs is a player that has been recognized as one the nation’s most promising playmaking guards and we are thrilled to welcome him to the OTE family,” said Brandon Williams, OTE’s executive vice president and head of basketball operations. “Bryce has had one of the best coaches and mentors in John Lucas, and has been attracted to the combination of an NBA caliber coaching staff, sports science, performance and nutrition focuses that will play a crucial role in his development into an NBA player.”
  • The NBA will release its schedule for the 2021/22 season in the 7-10 days, tweets Marc Stein of Substack. Celtics writer Steve Bulpett hears that Friday is the target date (Twitter link).

Northwest Notes: Wolves, J. Butler, Mudiay, Favors

The Timberwolves‘ second stint with former No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio wasn’t the fairy tale reunion either side hoped for, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a breakdown of the team’s trade with Cleveland and what it means for the Wolves moving forward.

While the Wolves are receiving solid three-and-D wing Taurean Prince as the return for Rubio, Krawczynski writes that Prince isn’t viewed as the solution to the team’s long-running search for a starting power forward, but rather as a rotation wing.

One benefit to the deal is an added $4.8MM in cap flexibility, which could allow the Wolves to use their entire taxpayer mid-level exception while possibly adding last year’s first round pick Leandro Bolmaro as well. Kracwzynski writes that the team explored trades into the draft and for Hawksforward Danilo Gallinari, but in the end were satisfied with the return of Prince.

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details the Jazz‘s excitement upon trading down in the draft to land Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick, as well as two future second rounders. Butler, whom Utah was initially targeting in the first round, is viewed as someone who can play off the bench immediately, or even fill in should the Jazz lose Mike Conley to free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will play for the Trail Blazers during Summer League, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The former No. 7 pick has bounced around the league since being traded from the team that drafted him, the Nuggets, to the Knicks in 2018, but the 25-year-old will be looking for a chance to get his career back on track with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
  • Derrick Favors was caught off-guard by the trade that will send him from the Jazz to the Thunder,writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “Honestly, I’m still trying to process what happened,” Favors said. “It was tough to go to New Orleans, but I thought that there was a chance that I would come back to Utah. Now, I know this is it. So, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to work out.”

And-Ones: Lowry, Summer League, EuroLeague, Mudiay

The destiny of unrestricted free agent veteran Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry this offseason will be a key story to monitor. The Athletic’s writers engaged in entertaining mock Lowry free agency negotiations this week, acting as Lowry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, and team reps for the Raptors, Heat, Mavericks, Knicks, and Sixers. In the exercise, Lowry ultimately selected the Heat.

The 35-year-old Lowry, a six-time All-Star and a 2019 champion with the Raptors, averaged 17.2 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 5.4 across 46 games during the 2020/21 season. He posted a shooting line of .436/.396/.875.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world today:

  • The NBA has announced its COVID-19 health and safety protocols ahead of the upcoming 2021 Summer League in Las Vegas, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. There are significant differences between the restrictions placed on fully-vaccinated players and non-vaccinated players, ranging from quarantine restrictions to the frequency of testing for the novel coronavirus and permitted activities while in Las Vegas.
  • The EuroLeague has reached an agreement with its players’ association, the ELPA, on the first unified CBA across the league, per Alessandro Maggiuro of Sportando.
  • Lithuanian EuroLeague club Zalgiris Kaunas may sign recent former NBA lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay, writes Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. The 6’3″ point guard opted to bypass college ball and turned pro after high school, playing with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the CBA during the 2014/15 season. He was selected by the Nuggets in the 2015 draft with the No. 7 pick, and served stints with the Knicks and Jazz. He last played in the NBA for Utah during the 2019/20 season.