Emoni Bates

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).

NBA G League Announces Up Next Participants

A pool of 28 players has been selected for the NBA G League’s Up Next Game at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, the NBAGL announced in a press release.

According to the release, the event features “four teams of seven players competing in two semifinal games. The winner of each semifinal will face off in a Championship game.

“The teams will be made up of 28 NBA G League players, including 10 selected by a fan vote. The remaining 18 players will be selected by the NBA G League and will include eight members of NBA G League Ignite and at least one member of the Indiana Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the All-Star hosting Indiana Pacers. Each team will be coached by a head coach from the NBA G League.”

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are on two-way contracts.

Fan vote:

Former Kentucky guard Hagans received the most votes.

NBAGL selections:

G League Ignite:

They aren’t currently on NBA teams, but it’s worth noting that Labissiere and Bazley are ineligible for two-way deals because they each hold four years of NBA experience. Weatherspoon (three years), Hagans (one) and Williams (one) also hold at least some NBA experience.

Central Notes: Bates, LaVine, Walker, Williams

Cavaliers rookie second-rounder Emoni Bates and Gabe Osabuohien were each suspended for two games without pay for entering the spectator stands while playing for the G League Cleveland Charge, according to an NBA Communications press release.

The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Charge’s 126-105 loss to the Birmingham Squadron on Saturday. Bates, who is on a two-way contract with the Cavaliers, will lose over $7,700 in pay during the G League suspension, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff defended the actions of the two players, claiming that they were subjected to nasty and inappropriate comments from the stands, Peter Dewey of CavaliersNation.com relays.

“We talked to Emoni and I want to be clear about the circumstances of that and I don’t think it’s been clear. It was an ugly incident from the fan standpoint,” the Cavaliers coach said. “Emoni and Gabe , they draw the attention and I understand the league’s hard and fast rule on approaching the stands and that type of thing, but there’s also a line that needs to be drawn between how fans believe they can interact with players, how they can interact with players’ families and the things that were said to Emoni and his family. I let him know we’ve got his back, we’re still supporting him and as a league there needs to be more done to protect those guys. They should never have to go through what they went through and be called the names they were called.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls revealed on Friday that Zach LaVine would miss at least a week due to a right ankle sprain. The Athletic’s Shams Charania said on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (Twitter link) that LaVine’s injury is worse than a Grade 1 (mild) sprain.
  • In light of the Pascal Siakam acquisition, Pacers’ rookie forward Jarace Walker would seemingly have an even smaller role. However, coach Rick Carlisle has been giving Walker more opportunities to play small forward, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star notes. “Once we acquired Pascal, you gotta take a hard look at how this thing is shaping up,” Carlisle said. “With the realities about the importance of playing with size to being a good defensive team, it makes sense to put him in that equation somewhere. It doesn’t mean he will always play 3. The more I’m going through this, I like playing with size, size that can move and make plays and stay in front of people is even better.” Walker, the eighth overall pick of last year’s draft, has averaged 21.3 minutes of playing time over the last three games.
  • Patrick Williams, a restricted free agent after the season, remains a work in progress when it comes to decision-making on offense, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. Bulls coach Billy Donovan gave Williams a quick hook on Saturday when he made two passive decisions instead of being aggressive. “Guys grow and develop at different rates. It’s not like he doesn’t want to do it. I just think he’s got to be more decisive when the ball comes,” Donovan said.

Central Notes: Stotts, Griffin, Cunningham, Bates, Allen, Nembhard

Terry Stotts isn’t retiring, even though the 65-year-old coach is exiting Adrian Griffin’s staff with the Bucks, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Stotts wasn’t comfortable with his fit on Milwaukee’s staff. Griffin claimed they got along just fine.

“It caught all of us off guard, of course, but again, you just support him,” Griffin said. “He was a terrific guy. I learned a lot from him in a very short time. He was really good at what he does. He made a decision – a personal decision – and we just have to respect that.”

However, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm and Shams Charania report that Stotts and Griffin had a tenuous relationship. That included a shootaround incident in which Griffin yelled for Stotts to join the coaches’ huddle when Stotts was about to have a conversation with the team’s star players. That highlighted the potential difficulty of Stotts adapting to an assistant role under rookie head coach Griffin. Conversely, it also spoke about the treatment and level of respect that Griffin needed to show Stotts, considering his lengthy coaching career.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons paid Monty Williams a lot of money to coach their team, and their star player, Cade Cunningham, has bought in to Williams’ hard-driving style, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “I love the way he pushes us,” Cunningham said. “He calls things the way he sees them. I think that honesty and that bluntness towards us, that’s huge. Especially for a young team. The systems that he’s put in, the way that he’s made it around our abilities and the personnel we have has been great for us. It’ll continue to get better as he learns us and we learn him.”
  • Rookie second-round pick Emoni Bates has led the Cavaliers in scoring during the preseason. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that he’s thrilled Bates dropped to the No. 49 overall pick. “I believe if Emoni had gone in the lottery he’d have been the type of player who’d have been in the Rookie of the Year conversation,” Bickerstaff said. “We are extremely fortunate that he’s here with us and we look forward to working with him.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is showing progress from the right ankle injury that has sidelined him during much of training camp. On Thursday afternoon, he went through post-practice shooting drills and then went through an individual workout, according to Fedor. He is set for re-evaluation this weekend and there’s hope he can return for Cleveland’s regular-season opener on Wednesday night.
  • Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard went through a full practice this week and is on track to play in the team’s preseason finale on Friday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Nembhard is working his way back from an ankle injury.

Central Notes: Bulls, Cavs, Thompson, Pacers

The starting lineup has received more attention this fall, but the Bulls are also still determining which players will make up their closing lineup, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. While it seems safe to assume that Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic, at least, will be part of those groups, head coach Billy Donovan suggested that different end-of-game scenarios might call for different looks.

“We have a lot of guys that can finish in certain situations,” Donovan said. “Theoretically, you’re up by five points with maybe 20 seconds to go, maybe you decide to go all defense in that situation. The last five minutes of the game, based on who the other team has out there, maybe we feel we have guys that have guarded a guy particularly well. So I do feel we have some versatility certainly defensively, to play a number of guys closing a game.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers‘ starting lineup on Monday – in a game its five regular starters sat – could provide a glimpse at what the team’s second unit will look like when the season begins, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Ty Jerome, Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade, and Damian Jones made up the team’s replacement starting five, with Georges Niang and Emoni Bates as the first two players off the bench.
  • Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson, whose defensive ability may earn him a starting job, relishes the idea of becoming the club’s perimeter stopper, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “That’s the most exciting thing for me, that they trust me to go out and guard those guys,” Thompson said after matching up with Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Detroit’s first two preseason games. “I’ve always believed those are the guys I want and now those are the guys who are going to make me better and learn more.”
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle pushed back on Monday against the idea that his starting lineup is settled, telling reporters that Bruce Brown, Bennedict Mathurin, and Obi Toppin need reps alongside Tyrese Haliburton before any final decisions are made, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton missed the Pacers’ first two preseason games, but looked good as part of the new-look starting five on Monday vs. Atlanta, expressing enthusiasm about the pace that Indiana’s tentative starters can play with. “With Obi and Benn and Bruce, those are guys that can really get up and down the floor,” Haliburton said. “… As long as we get stops and rebound, not many people are going to beat us up and down the floor.”

Central Notes: Giannis, Lillard, Beasley, Ivey, Bates

The NBA’s newest superstar duo will be in action for the first time this weekend, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link).

Appearing on NBA Today on ESPN on Wednesday, Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin confirmed that the plan is for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, who sat out the team’s first two preseason games, to be active on Sunday in Los Angeles when the Bucks visit the Lakers.

Here are a few more notes from around the Central:

  • Malik Beasley, long known as a three-point specialist, is making his case for a spot in the Bucks‘ starting lineup by working on improving his defense, according to stories from Eric Nehm of The Athletic and Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Beasley is on a minimum-salary contract, but is confident that a strong season with a title-contending team will help secure his long-term future in the NBA, writes Owczarski. “The market right now is not that good and I read into all that and I’m betting on myself like I did for my first contract,” Beasley said. “If things go as planned, and God forbid an injury or anything like that, I’ll just let the work do itself.”
  • New Pistons head coach Monty Williams values having a mix of veterans and youngsters in his lineups, which is a key reason why guard Jaden Ivey may find himself coming off the bench when his second NBA season begins, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “Putting in too many young guys on the floor, I think, is a disservice to them,” Williams said on Tuesday. “You have to have some really good vets who know how to play. They settle us down a little bit, their voice is good on the floor, they know how to space, they know how to make the right plays.”
  • The Cavaliers are still working out their plan for rookie Emoni Bates, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he trusts the coaches with the Cleveland Charge (the Cavs’ G League affiliate) to develop Bates, but would like the 19-year-old to spend a good amount of time with the NBA team too. “I think there is value in him being around the caliber of people and talent we have in that locker room,” Bickerstaff said.

Rockets’ Cam Whitmore Named Summer League MVP

Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been named the Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced (via Twitter).

The NBA also announced its All-Summer League First and Second Teams, which are as follows (Twitter links):

First Team

Second Team

According to the NBA (Twitter link), Christie and Moon received the same amount of votes, which is why there is an additional backcourt player on the second team.

Whitmore, a projected lottery pick in last month’s draft who fell to Houston at No. 20, averaged 20.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG and 3.0 SPG on .465/.293/.625 shooting in his five Vegas Summer League games, per NBA.com.

Houston faces Cleveland at 8 p.m. CT tonight in the Summer League championship game. Both teams are undefeated, holding identical 5-0 records.

Cavaliers Notes: Mitchell, Roster Moves, Garland, Bates

Friday marked the first day the Cavaliers were permitted to submit an extension offer to Donovan Mitchell, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The All-Star guard has two years left on his current contract, along with a $37MM player option for 2025/26. President of basketball operations Koby Altman hopes to iron out a long-term agreement this summer and shut down rumors that the New York native has an eye on eventually joining the Knicks in free agency.

Altman said the front office will have “internal discussions” about the details of an extension that he hopes will appeal to Mitchell. He added that keeping a competitive roster around Mitchell is the best way to make him want to stay in Cleveland.

“He’s really, really happy here and he’ll tell you that,” Altman said. “All I can go off is Donovan’s actions and his intentions. He’s with us in Vegas right now. He’s super excited about the future. He’ll be at the game tonight. He’s been in Cleveland multiple times this offseason already. He’s worked out with guys, he’s bringing guys with him wherever he is. All you can go off are those actions and how genuine he talks about his experience in Cleveland. I think he sees the runway of the players around him and the youth around him. All I can go off is his actions and his intentions and they’ve all been really genuine.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Altman told reporters that Mitchell helped with recruiting during free agency, Fedor relays. Cleveland was able to re-sign Caris LeVert, bring in Max Strus in a sign-and-trade and add Georges Niang and Ty Jerome, even though Fedor notes that they all had other options. “This is the team they wanted to come to,” Altman said. “They saw the fit. They saw the upside. They think that we can go a long way.” 
  • Altman pledged to keep the core of last year’s team together and dismissed speculation that he was considering offers for Darius Garland, calling it “the most crazy rumor you’ve ever heard in your life,” Fedor adds.
  • The Cavs are hoping for gradual progress from second-round pick Emoni Bates, Fedor states in a separate Cleveland.com story. Bates, who was once considered the top high school prospect in the nation, is hoping to re-establish himself after struggling through two collegiate seasons. “There’s no expectation here,” Altman said. “Don’t have to come in here and shock the world. Really learn from this group and have fun again. If he blossoms into a rotational player down the road that can really help us space the floor and shoot, which I think is one of his best traits, that’d be great. But no expectation for him and certainly have patience and let him grow.”

Cavaliers Sign Emoni Bates To Two-Way Deal

The Cavaliers have officially signed second-round pick Emoni Bates to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

A former consensus five-star recruit and one of the top high school prospects in the country, Bates saw his stock slip when he averaged 9.7 points per game on .386/.329/.646 shooting as a freshman at Memphis in 2021/22, then was arrested on gun charges in September 2022.

Bates ultimately had his felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. The 6’10” forward had a bounce-back season on the court in 2022/23 after transferring to Eastern Michigan, putting up 19.2 PPG on .405/.330/.782 shooting in 30 games (33.8 MPG). He declared for the draft as an early entrant following his sophomore year and was selected 49th overall by Cleveland.

While he’s no longer viewed as a future NBA star, the former High School Player of the Year still has intriguing upside. He’ll likely begin his professional career by seeing plenty of action for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate, as a rookie.

The Cavaliers, who also confirmed the signings of Isaiah Mobley and Craig Porter to two-way deals, have become the second NBA team to fill all three two-way slots, joining the Lakers. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows clubs to carry up to three players on two-way contracts instead of just two.

Craig Porter Jr. Joining Cavaliers On Two-Way Deal

Craig Porter Jr. has reached an agreement with the Cavaliers on a two-way contract, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

The Wichita State point guard conducted workouts with at least 10 teams and had been considered a possible late second-round pick. Instead, he will try to earn a roster spot with Cleveland through the two-way route.

Porter, 23, is a fifth-year senior who played three seasons with the Shockers after transferring from Vincennes. He had by far his best season in 2022/23, averaging 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 31 games and earning third-team All-AAC honors.

Mamadi Diakite and Isaiah Mobley finished this season as Cleveland’s two-way players. Mobley will likely return for another season on a two-way contract, and the Cavs may sign second-round pick Emoni Bates to a two-way deal with the intent of keeping him in the G League for most of his first season, Fedor adds in a full story.