Gorgui Dieng

Gorgui Dieng Working For Spurs As Basketball Operations Representative

Veteran big man Gorgui Dieng never formally announced his retirement as a player, but it sounds as if he has moved onto the next stage of his career. As Jeff McDonald details for The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required), Dieng is working with the Spurs as a basketball operations representative, a title the team created for him.

According to McDonald, Dieng splits his time between the front office and coaching staff, working with general manager Brian Wright in addition to mentoring young big men like Victor Wembanyama and Charles Bassey.

“I’m very free on what I’m doing,” Dieng said. “I’m in the front office learning and doing stuff. When they start practice, I come here and help the team. I’m here just to be around them and help.”

Dieng, who will turn 34 in January, appeared in a total of 628 regular season NBA games from 2013-23, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per night for the Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Hawks. In 2022/23, he played in 31 games for San Antonio, providing some veteran frontcourt depth and serving as a leader in the locker room.

“Everyone around me knew I wanted to play 10 years and that was it,” Dieng said. “I always said that. When I reached 10, I said I’ve reached my goal. It was time to stop and try different stuff.”

Despite his stated desire to play just 10 years, Dieng was open to contract offers this past offseason, but didn’t generate much interest on the free agent market, McDonald reports.

The Senegalese forward/center, who has a house in San Antonio and spent some time at the team’s practice facility during the summer, approached Wright about joining the organization as an intern, according to McDonald, who says the team insisted on giving Dieng a formal position and a salary. Head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs’ players are happy to have him around.

“He’s a wonderful human being,” Popovich said. “He’s one of the all-time favorite teammates of everybody. He’s a great source of experience in the league, and anybody can talk to him.”

“He’s someone you can always talk to at any time,” Spurs guard Tre Jones agreed. “He is always open. I think just having that personal connection to everybody and having such good relationships with people, that’s what makes him who he is.”

For his part, Dieng says he’s “learning a lot of stuff” in his new role and that he’s especially enjoyed the work he’s doing in the Spurs’ front office. According to McDonald, Dieng said he can imagine himself one day becoming a team’s top basketball operations executive, but for now he’s happy to play a far more modest role in San Antonio and perhaps work his way up the ladder.

“The front office, it takes talent,” Dieng said. “It takes hard work. Us (players), we just play and go home. They put everything together.”

Celtics Notes: Pritchard, Kornet, Holiday, Luxury Tax

The Celtics have started extension talks with Payton Pritchard, sources tell Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Although Pritchard’s representatives are talking to the front office about a long-term deal, there’s still “a gap to close” before an agreement can be finalized, Weiss adds.

The 25-year-old guard figures to have a much larger role in a revamped Boston backcourt after offseason trades that sent out Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon and brought in Jrue Holiday. Playing time has been an issue for Pritchard, who expressed a desire to be traded in February because he wasn’t seeing consistent minutes.

That shouldn’t be a problem anymore, as Pritchard’s smooth shooting stroke makes him a welcome backcourt partner for Holiday or Derrick White. Pritchard has connected at 40% from three-point range during his three seasons in Boston.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Coach Joe Mazzulla was preparing to utilize more double-big lineups after Boston traded for Kristaps Porzingis, but those plans have changed with Robert Williams being sent to Portland in the Holiday deal, notes Jay King of The Athletic. Luke Kornet should have a larger role with Williams gone and may see time next to Porzingis, but Mazzulla will likely rely on smaller lineups with the current roster. The Celtics are bringing in Wenyen Gabriel and could look to add more frontcourt help, with King noting that Bismack Biyombo, Dewayne Dedmon and Gorgui Dieng are all free agents, along with Blake Griffin, whom president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said the team would like to bring back if he doesn’t retire.
  • The Celtics had to consider Holiday’s next contract when deciding to acquire him, per Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. The 33-year-old guard will become eligible for an extension on February 22, but he’ll only be able to add two more years to his current deal, if he declines his $39.4MM option for 2024/25. If he waits until six months after the trade date, he can add four years and will have the choice of extending at a lower starting salary than his player option under changes made in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Gozlan points out that Holiday can also pick up the option and extend on a “team-friendly” deal similar to what Porzingis did.
  • Boston’s team salary will reach $222.6MM once the team signs a 14th player, increasing its tax penalty by $14.4MM for this season, Gozlan adds. With Jaylen Brown‘s super-max deal taking effect next year, team payroll is set to rise into the $260MM range. That figure could increase to $350MM to $400MM in 2025/26, Gozlan notes, when Jayson Tatum‘s expected super-max takes effect, if the club extends Holiday and White.
  • The Celtics have options to improve their roster even after sending two first-round picks to Portland to acquire Holiday, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Boston still has first-rounders to trade in 2024, 2026 and 2031, along with eight second-round picks through 2030. The team also has a $6.2MM TPE from the Grant Williams trade.

Texas Notes: Dieng, McDermott, Graham, Kleber, Stone

Spurs veterans Gorgui Dieng and Doug McDermott will be tasked with helping to ensure that San Antonio’s young players continue to grow as the year winds down, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

The team is currently mired in a 14-game losing streak en route to a prime lottery pick. McDonald writes that some of the coaching burden falls onto the team’s two most experienced players, McDermott and Dieng, who can operate as unofficial coaches on the floor.

How long both players remain on the roster beyond this season is anyone’s guess. Dieng, 33, is signed to a one-year minimum deal, and will be a free agent this summer. McDermott, 31, is the team’s highest-paid player, and is set to earn $13.8MM in the final season of his very tradable current deal, 2023/24.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • New Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham is still acclimating to his new environs, McDonald reports in another piece. After arriving in San Antonio by way of the Pelicans in a trade, he has yet to suit up for his new club in a home game. “I’m just trying to get adjusted,” Graham said. “I just packed enough to maintain for a couple of weeks… I’m just living out of a suitcase right now.”
  • Mavericks big man Maxi Kleber indicated to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) that he expects he will miss at least Dallas’ next two games as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Previous reporting suggested Kleber was hoping to return by the end of February.
  • Rockets team president Rafael Stone sat done for an extensive discussion about the team’s rebuild with Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “When we came into (the rebuild), we didn’t really have talent on the roster,” Stone said. “We didn’t have any cap space, we didn’t have any draft picks. We now have been able to recoup our draft picks, we have more cap space this summer than anybody else and I think we have a very talented roster… We need to translate those things into a team that becomes competitive and hopefully starts winning and winning big over time. And that’s the challenge in front of us starting this summer, but continuing on.”

Spurs Re-Sign Gorgui Dieng

Veteran center Gorgui Dieng is once again back under contract with the Spurs, according to a press release from the team announcing that he has signed a rest-of-season deal.

Dieng, who began the season in San Antonio, was waived a little over a month ago to accommodate the team’s acquisition of Noah Vonleh. He subsequently signed a pair of 10-day contracts, and now that the Spurs got through the trade deadline with an open spot on their 15-man roster, he’s back as the club’s 15th man.

Dieng, 33, has played sparingly for the Spurs in 2022/23, averaging 3.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 17 contests (9.8 MPG). However, the organization highly values his veteran leadership and his presence in the locker room.

On his new minimum-salary contract, Dieng will earn $895,743 for the rest of the season while the team takes on a $622,582 cap hit.

With their roster now full, it’s unclear whether more moves could be coming for the Spurs. They acquired Khem Birch and Devonte’ Graham as salary-matching pieces at the trade deadline, and while those two veterans may not be in San Antonio’s long-term plans, they’re both owed guaranteed salary in 2023/24, so they’re not ideal buyout candidates.

Spurs Sign Gorgui Dieng To Second 10-Day Contract

10:41am: The signing is now official, the Spurs confirmed in a press release.

10:08am: The Spurs are bringing back big man Gorgui Dieng, having agreed to sign him to a second 10-day contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Dieng’s initial 10-day deal with San Antonio expired on Tuesday night following the team’s win over Brooklyn. However, there was no rush to get him re-signed immediately, since the Spurs were off on Wednesday and Thursday. If Dieng officially signs his second contract before Friday’s contest, it will run through January 29, making him eligible for the club’s next five games.

Dieng, who turned 33 on Wednesday, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with San Antonio during the 2022 offseason. The former Louisville standout played sparingly for the team in the first half, averaging 4.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 13 appearances (11.6 MPG), and was perhaps valued more for his veteran leadership in the locker room than his contributions on the court.

He was waived earlier this month when San Antonio acquired Noah Vonleh from Boston in a salary-dump trade, but returned to the team on a 10-day deal after Vonleh was cut. Dieng only appeared in one game during his first 10-day contract, logging 74 seconds, but it appears the Spurs still want him in their locker room and on their bench, providing frontcourt depth.

After Dieng’s second 10-day pact expires, the Spurs won’t be eligible to sign him to a third one, so they’ll have to decide whether or not to offer him a new rest-of-season contract. With the trade deadline looming and San Antonio likely to be active, I could see the team putting off a decision on Dieng until after February 9 in order to maximize its roster flexibility.

Checking In On 10-Day Contracts

NBA teams gained the ability to sign players to 10-day contracts on January 5, which was 13 days ago. As a result, a few of the first 10-day deals signed this season have already expired.

Of the three players whose 10-day contracts have expired, only one – Joe Wieskamp of the Raptors – has received a second 10-day commitment. His new 10-day deal will run through next Thursday (January 26).

Lakers guard Sterling Brown had his 10-day deal expire on Sunday night and wasn’t re-signed by Los Angeles before the team took the floor on Monday, which is an indication that L.A. is exploring other options for that roster spot. Meyers Leonard and DeMarcus Cousins recently worked out for the Lakers and may be candidates to become the club’s 15th man for at least 10 days.

Spurs big man Gorgui Dieng saw his 10-day contract expire on Tuesday night following the team’s win over Brooklyn. Dieng was only on the court for a total of 74 seconds during his 10-day deal, but he has spent most of the season out of San Antonio’s rotation and the team has seemed happy to keep him around, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he receives another 10-day offer from the Spurs. It may not happen for another day or two though, since Dieng would only be available for four games instead of five if he re-signs before Thursday.

Since teams can only sign a player to two standard 10-day contracts in a season, the Raptors will have to decide next week whether to commit to Wieskamp for the rest of the season or let him walk. I’d guess the team will choose the latter path, at least for now — it wouldn’t make sense for Toronto to compromise its roster flexibility by filling its 15th spot with a guaranteed contract before the trade deadline arrives.

Brown would only be able to sign one more 10-day contract this season with the Lakers, while Dieng could do the same with the Spurs, though both players are free to sign two 10-day deals with any other team.

Three more 10-day contracts will expire later this week. PJ Dozier‘s deal with the Kings ends after tonight’s game, while Friday will mark the 10th day under contract for both Derrick Favors (with the Hawks) and Saben Lee (Suns).

Dozier has only seen garbage-time action for Sacramento and Favors has yet to take the court for Atlanta, but Lee is playing rotation minutes for an injury-ravaged Phoenix squad. He has averaged 10.0 points and 3.0 assists in 19.0 minutes per game in three appearances with the Suns, making him a strong candidate to spend at least 10 more days with the team beyond Friday.

Be sure to use our 10-day contract tracker and our roster counts page to keep tabs on the active 10-day contracts.

Spurs Sign Gorgui Dieng To 10-Day Contract

10:57am: The deal is now official, per NBA.com’s transaction log. It will run through Tuesday, January 17.

7:14am: Just days after waiving him, the Spurs have agreed to re-sign big man Gorgui Dieng, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A source tells Wojnarowski that San Antonio is bringing back Dieng on a 10-day contract.

Dieng, who will turn 33 later this month, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with San Antonio over the summer. The former Louisville standout played sparingly for the team in the first half of the season, averaging 4.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 13 appearances (11.6 MPG), and was perhaps valued more for his veteran leadership in the locker room than his contributions on the court.

Because the Spurs had a full 15-man standard roster, they had to cut a player when they agreed to acquire Noah Vonleh and cash in a salary-dump trade with the Celtics. Dieng was the odd man out, despite having a fully guaranteed salary.

Having already locked in his full-season $2.64MM salary, Dieng will now get the opportunity to double-dip with the Spurs on a 10-day deal, which will pay him approximately $152K.

No corresponding roster move will be necessary for San Antonio to open up a spot for Dieng, since the club waived Vonleh shortly after trading for him. Assuming the signing becomes official today or tomorrow, Dieng will be eligible to play in the Spurs’ next five games, starting with Monday’s contest in Memphis.

Western Notes: Spurs Trade, Mavs, Kemba, Nnaji, M. Brown

The Spurs received $1.5MM from the Celtics as part of Thursday’s Noah Vonleh trade, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). As Marks lays out, the deal resulted in cash savings for both teams.

Because Vonleh’s cap hit is no longer on their books, the Celtics will save about $7.1MM on their projected luxury tax bill, so sending out just $1.5MM to realize those savings was a no-brainer for Boston.

As for the Spurs, they’ll only owe Vonleh about $28K in salary for the two days he spends on waivers, but will have to pay Gorgui Dieng an additional $992K for the rest of the season, since his salary was fully guaranteed. Still, factoring in the $1.5MM in cash that they got from Boston, the Spurs will come out about $480K ahead after waiving both players — on top of that, they have a newly opened roster spot, which they could use to take fliers on 10-day signees.

The draft pick the Spurs sent to the Celtics in the deal is San Antonio’s top-54 protected 2024 second-rounder, tweets Marks.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd didn’t rule out the possibility of the team bringing back Kemba Walker on a 10-day contract after waiving him earlier today, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. The team now has an open roster spot to bring in Walker or another player on a 10-day deal.
  • Playing out of position as a center rather than a forward is getting Zeke Nnaji minutes in the Nuggets‘ rotation, but the role may not play to his strengths, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscription required). After making 61-of-139 threes (43.9%) in his first two seasons, Nnaji is just 3-of-18 this season from beyond the arc. “With the five, it’s a lot less picking-and-popping,” he said. “They want me more rolling and putting pressure on that rim because if I’m popping every time, there’s not as much thrust on the rim, which collapses the defense. Right now I gotta roll more, even though I feel like I’m a capable shooter, I gotta do what’s best for the team.”
  • In an in-depth story for The Athletic, Jason Lloyd explores why Mike Brown was so intrigued by the Kings‘ head coaching opening this past spring and what he learned in his previous head coaching jobs that he brought with him to Sacramento.

Celtics Trade Vonleh To Spurs; Spurs Waive Dieng, Vonleh

3:18pm: The trade is now official, per Boston. The Celtics acquired a future protected second-round pick from the Spurs to complete the deal.

The Spurs have waived both Dieng and Vonleh, as expected, per NBA.com’s transaction log.

1:08pm: The Celtics are trading big man Noah Vonleh and cash considerations to the Spurs, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Spurs are waiving center Gorgui Dieng to create a roster spot for Vonleh, who will also be waived, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

It’s a salary dump move for Boston, as Vonleh’s salary is non-guaranteed and would have become fully guaranteed if he remained under contract through Saturday. The Celtics will free up a roster spot and save $7.15MM toward their projected luxury tax bill, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

The Celtics will also generate a small $1.16MM traded player exception, Marks notes (via Twitter). That’s the amount of guaranteed money owed to Vonleh.

The 27-year-old was a deep-bench reserve for Boston. In 23 games, he averaged just 7.4 minutes per contest. The ninth overall pick of the 2014 draft, Vonleh has played for eight different teams in as many NBA seasons. He played in China in 2021/22.

San Antonio has plenty of cap room available — $27.1MM, per Marks — to waive Dieng’s guaranteed salary without worrying about the financial implication. He was on a veteran’s minimum deal and rarely saw the court this season, appearing in just 13 games with averages of 4.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.0 APG in 11.6 MPG.

In fact, the Spurs are well below the salary cap “floor” of $111,290,000, so it was an easy decision for them from a financial standpoint — adding more money to the books just means they’ll be that much closer to the floor. If they don’t reach the threshold, the Spurs are obligated to make up the difference by distributing the shortfall to the players on their roster.

San Antonio will also open a roster spot with an eye toward flexibility ahead of the February 9 trade deadline. Since the Spurs still have so much cap room available, they’re likely to be involved in more minor trades that involve dumping salary.

The Spurs will have to send something back to Boston to make the trade official, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic, likely something with little-to-no value, like a heavily protected second-round pick or the rights to a draft-and-stash player.

As Hollinger tweets, it’s possible that a couple more players with non-guaranteed contracts could be traded in advance of the January 7 deadline, with an eye on savings toward the luxury tax.

Southwest Notes: Dieng, Primo, McCollum, Jackson Jr.

Gorgui Dieng was signed by the Spurs on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract. Dieng’s influence in the locker room is the main reason why the team wanted the veteran big man, who has thus far only appeared in three games, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

“We just love Gorgui,” teammate Doug McDermott said. “I’ve been on six (NBA) teams, and you don’t see guys make a connection that quickly in a locker room. It usually doesn’t happen.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • While details regarding the Spurs’ abrupt decision to waive Joshua Primo have leaked out, coach Gregg Popovich refuses to comment on the situation, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. “I think under the circumstances, I think it’s inappropriate for me to say anything beyond what we have already put out for our statement,” Popovich said. Primo allegedly exposed himself to multiple women.
  • Pelicans guard CJ McCollum prefers to give his teammates an honest and sometimes blunt assessment of what they’re doing wrong. That’s his style of leadership, he told Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune. “I am going to be very direct. I am not going to tell you what you want to hear,” he said. “I think you can respect that because of how consistent I am.”
  • While the Grizzlies are 4-2, their defense has often been lacking, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. They have given up more than 120 points in four of their first six games. The absence of Jaren Jackson Jr. during his injury rehab has contributed to the problem, as he’s adept at contesting stretch fours in addition to protecting the rim.