Jamal Shead

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Council, Hauser, Shead

The Sixers have enjoyed a banner offseason with their ample cap space, signing top priority Paul George, as well as Caleb Martin, Andre Drummond and Eric Gordon. They also gave Tyrese Maxey a max rookie scale extension and re-signed Kelly Oubre and Kyle Lowry. Nick Nurse can’t wait to put all the pieces together.

“We certainly had a great summer,” the Sixers’ head coach said, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There’s just no other way of looking at it in that there’s a lot of guys that we targeted that were at the very top of our list, and a lot of categories that we needed to fill, and we got a lot of them.”

Nurse is especially excited by the prospect of George complementing the skills of the other Sixers stars, Maxey and Joel Embiid. “We had the one, five [positions] solidified. We needed something in the middle. That’s PG,” he said. “We are going to have to wait and see. I’m sure it’s going to take some time, you know, for total connection and chemistry, but obviously they all can score at all levels. So it should be a great fit.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Ricky Council has emerged as a go-to scorer during Summer League action and could jump into the Sixers’ rotation next season, Pompey writes in a separate story. Council was signed to a four-year contract in April. “If you can play basketball, someone will find you at some time,” assistant coach Mike Brase said. “It might be when you are young in the process and being recruited or when you get older. And in Ricky’s case, he went to Wichita State and Arkansas and [goes] undrafted [last summer] and makes the most of it.”
  • The Celtics exercised their $2.1MM club option on Sam Hauser‘s contract but Hauser could be a cap casualty next offseason, Brian Robb of MassLive.com speculates. Hauser’s next contract will be significantly larger, so the Celtics’ efforts to re-sign him next summer could hinge on whether they move a big salary.
  • Second-round pick Jamal Shead exemplifies the Raptors‘ commitment to getting better defensively, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes. Shead has displayed his defensive tenacity during Summer League play. “As you can see in the draft class as well, we’re trying to find as many possible two-way guys that can be — we call them the most important guy,” coach Darko Rajakovic said. “(The) most important guy is the guy who’s got who’s guarding the ball. He makes it easier for everybody else.”

Raptors Announce Several Signings, Including First-Rounder Walter

The Raptors have announced a series of signings, confirming in a pair of press releases that they’ve signed second-round picks Jonathan Mogbo and Jamal Shead to standard contracts and undrafted free agent Branden Carlson to a two-way deal. Those agreements were all previously reported.

The team also announced that it has signed first-round pick Ja’Kobe Walter to his rookie scale contract.

The 6’5″ Walter was one of the top recruits in the nation heading into college. He made an immediate impact with the Bears as a freshman in 2023/24, starting all 35 games he played and averaging 14.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 37.6% from the field and 34.1% from three-point range. He was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and earned third-team all-conference honors.

As the No. 19 pick in the draft, Walter figures to earn about $3.47MM salary as a rookie and $16.79MM across the entirety of his four-year contract. Those numbers assume he signed for 120% of the rookie scale amount, which almost every player does.

With Walter, Mogbo, and Shead all signed, the Raptors are up to 13 players on guaranteed standard contracts, with Immanuel Quickley and Garrett Temple expected to fill the 14th and 15th roster spots once their deals are official.

The team’s other draftee, No. 57 pick Ulrich Chomche, is considered likely to end up on a two-way deal, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. However, the team is still waiting to officially acquire Chomche and can’t complete that signing yet.

Raptors Signing Jamal Shead To Three-Year Deal

The Raptors are signing second-round pick Jamal Shead to a three-year, $6.11MM contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). That’s the maximum amount permitted under the second-round pick exception for a three-year deal.

Shead, who turned 22 in June, spent all four of his college seasons at the University of Houston, serving as the Cougars’ starting point guard for the past three seasons. In 2023/24, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.2 steals in 31.1 minutes per game (37 contests).

Shead’s shooting line last season was a modest .409/.309/.779, which is about in line with his career college numbers. However, he’s considered a strong defender, having won this year’s Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Raptors selected Shead using the No. 45 pick they acquired in their trade with the Kings last week.

Reporting on draft night indicated that Shead received interest from more than a dozen teams hoping to sign him to a two-way contract, but was assured of getting a guaranteed salary from Toronto. His contract – which begins at $1.86MM – will be guaranteed for the first two seasons, per Charania, with a third-year team option. It’s the same deal that fellow second-rounder Jonathan Mogbo is signing with the Raptors.

Kings Trade Davion Mitchell, Sasha Vezenkov To Raptors

JUNE 28: The trade is official, the Raptors announced in a press release, confirming the details outlined below. Toronto used the No. 45 pick to select Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead on Thursday.

“This trade provides us with a mix of young and veteran players, as well as future flexibility and draft assets, as we continue our quest to win, and so we’re pleased to welcome Davion, Sasha and Jamal to the Raptors and to Toronto,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said in a statement. “We thank Jalen for his contributions, and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Because the trade was completed before the new league year began, Toronto completed it using salary-matching and the Siakam trade exception (as explained below) rather than using cap room, which is a signal that they intend to operate over the cap this offseason.

JUNE 27: The Kings have agreed to trade guard Davion Mitchell and forward Sasha Vezenkov to the Raptors, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Toronto is also receiving the No. 45 pick in tonight’s draft, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link), as well as Portland’s 2025 second-round pick, according to Sean Cunningham of FOX 40 Sacramento (Twitter link).

Sacramento will acquire forward Jalen McDaniels from Toronto in the swap, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

The ninth overall pick in the 2021 draft, Mitchell averaged 11.5 points per game as a rookie but is primarily known as a defensive specialist. In 2023/24, he averaged 5.3 points and 1.9 assists in 15.3 minutes per game across 72 appearances for the Kings, almost exclusively in a reserve role.

Keon Ellis‘ emergence last season and the arrival of No. 13 pick Devin Carter created a crowded backcourt picture in Sacramento and it appears Mitchell will be the odd man out.

Vezenkov, the 2022/23 EuroLeague MVP, was selected 57th overall in the 2017 draft but didn’t make the move to the NBA until last summer, when he signed a three-year, $20MM contract with the Kings. It was an up-and-down NBA rookie year for the 28-year-old, who converted 37.5% of his three-point tries but averaged just 12.2 minutes per game in 42 contests, contributing 5.4 PPG and 2.3 RPG.

A series of June reports suggested that a trade involving Vezenkov was a possibility for the Kings, who projected to be up against the luxury tax after agreeing to re-sign Malik Monk to a four-year, $78MM contract. As cap expert Yossi Gozlan tweets, swapping out Vezenkov’s $6.66MM salary and Mitchell’s $6.45MM cap hit for McDaniels’ incoming $4.74MM salary will give Sacramento about $7MM in spending flexibility below the tax heading into free agency.

The move will also open up a spot on the Kings’ 15-man roster and should generate a pair of trade exceptions for Sacramento, including one worth Vezenkov’s salary ($6.66MM).

McDaniels had a poor season in Toronto in 2023/24, averaging just 3.4 PPG on .344/.169/.730 shooting in 50 games (10.8 MPG). But the athletic 6’9″ wing is only one year removed from scoring a career-high 9.4 PPG, and he had a career shooting line of .465/.345/.784 prior to last season.

As for the Raptors, they’ll take on some extra salary for 2024/25 but neither Mitchell nor Vezenkov is owed guaranteed money beyond next season, and both players could vie for rotation minutes if they remain on the roster. Mitchell is extension-eligible this offseason before potentially reaching restricted free agency in 2025, while Vezenkov’s deal includes a $6.98MM team option for 2025/26.

Toronto now controls the No. 31 and No. 45 picks on Thursday after selecting Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter at No. 19 on Wednesday.

The Raptors have multiple options for how to complete the deal. If they intend to operate over the cap, they could use McDaniels’ outgoing salary to match Vezenkov’s incoming figure, then take Mitchell’s salary into a $10MM+ trade exception they created in January’s Pascal Siakam deal. If they plan to operate under the cap, they’ll simply absorb the two incoming salaries using their room. Taking the former route would hard-cap them at the first tax apron for 2024/25.

Raptors Notes: Mogbo, Quickley, Shead, Chomche

The Raptors selected San Francisco’s Jonathan Mogbo with the first pick in the second round because they like his game, but it didn’t hurt that he was a childhood friend of Scottie Barnes, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN. The former AAU teammates grew up together in Florida and still train together during the offseason. General manager Bobby Webster said the team wasn’t aware of their friendship – which dates back to the fourth grade – when it started scouting Mogbo.

“Around the league a lot of guys grow up playing with each other, and I think those relationships are fun to see from afar, but you can probably imagine the basketball [piece] has to work and we have to like him as a player,” Webster said. “By doing that it creates a basis for that relationship to be fun, and I’m sure they enjoy it, but he has to fit as a basketball player first.”

Mogbo is only 6’6″, but he was used as a big man in college because of his 7’2″ wingspan. He’s considered a potentially elite defender with a questionable shot, but the Raptors are impressed by his versatility and believe he can adjust to a wing role in the NBA.

“It probably feels like a bit more of a Raptors pick,” Webster added. “An athletic wing who can do a little bit of everything. There’s probably some development curve for him, shooting-wise. But I think, physically, [he has an] NBA body… He can really run, can really jump. So that felt like us; the makings of a two-way Raptors wing.”

There’s more from Toronto:

  • There may be some “sticker shock” regarding Immanuel Quickley‘s new five-year, $175MM contract, but it should wind up being an average salary for a starting NBA point guard, contends Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen points out that 11 point guards will already earn more than Quickley next season, and Jamal Murray, Jalen Brunson, De’Aaron Fox and Derrick White may surpass him soon. Koreen adds that Quickley will get 8% annual raises while the salary cap is expected to rise by 10% each year, so the new contract will steadily become less burdensome.
  • Although they opted to keep the 31st pick, the Raptors’ front office got plenty of phone calls between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, Koreen states in a separate story. Webster is among several executives who prefer the new draft format with the first and second rounds on separate days. “There’s a little interesting dynamic in the late first, early second, and that’s what we’ve kind of found with 31,” he said. “In some ways teams would almost prefer the early seconds. They cost a little bit less (against) the tax.”
  • Toronto appears to have promised a guaranteed contract to Houston guard Jamal Shead, who was selected with the 45th pick. Sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic that the NCAA’s Defensive Player of the Year turned down more than a dozen two-way offers before getting guaranteed money from the Raptors (Twitter link).
  • Toronto paid $1MM to acquire the 57th pick from Memphis, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link). It was used to select Cameroon center Ulrich Chomche, making him the first player ever drafted from the NBA Academy Africa, which Raptors executive Masai Ujiri helped to develop.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics FAs, White, Hauser, Raptors, Missi, Porter

The Celtics have all of their rotation players signed through next season and they could have even more continuity, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. Reserve centers Luke Kornet, Xavier Tillman Sr. and Neemias Queta are headed to free agency but the Celtics are open to bringing any or all of them back if the price is reasonable.

The Celtics are also willing to do more extensions beyond a potential super-max deal for Jayson Tatum. They’re interested in locking up Derrick White and Sam Hauser and both are extension-eligible this offseason. White is eligible for a four-year, $127MM extension — including incentives — and the front office will likely need to go that high to get White’s signature.

The team holds a $2MM option on Hauser’s contract for next season. The Celtics could offer a creative deal with the second tax apron in mind. In that scenario, they’d decline the option, then re-sign him for a lower annual salary and more years than an extension that started in 2025/26.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors hold the No. 19 and 31 picks in this year’s draft. The Athletic’s Eric Koreen takes a look at some of the guard prospects they might consider at those spots, including USC’s Isaiah Collier, Duke’s Jared McCain and Houston’s Jamal Shead.
  • Baylor center Yves Missi participated in a pre-draft workout for the Sixers on Tuesday at their practice facility, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The Sixers have picks 16 and 41 in the draft. Missi is ranked No. 23 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • Canadian authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the Jontay Porter betting scandal, ESPN’s David Purdum reports. They will try to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted after evaluating information related to “online betting irregularities from the Jan. 26 and March 20 Raptors games.” Porter was a two-way player for Toronto before he received a lifetime ban from the league.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Mavs, Spurs, Rockets, Pelicans

Luka Doncic has averaged nearly 30 points per night in the first three games of the NBA Finals, but the Mavericks were outscored by 10 points when he was on the floor in Game 1; he committed eight turnovers and missed four free throws in Game 2; and he made just 11-of-27 shots in Game 3 before fouling out of a three-point game with over four minutes still on the clock. He has also been repeatedly targeted on defense over the course of the series.

While head coach Jason Kidd isn’t throwing in the towel on this series with his team facing a 3-0 deficit, he noted on Thursday that no matter what happens the rest of the way, he expects his star player to learn from the challenges he has faced this spring and use those experiences as a springboard to get even better in future seasons.

“The history is there for us to learn from, when you look at great players and the struggles,” Kidd told reporters (story via Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports). “You look at (Michael Jordan) and the struggles that he had against Detroit. You look at some of Magic Johnson’s struggles. You look at LeBron (James‘) first time around (against the Spurs in the 2007 Finals). It’s there to learn from. But the great ones, they use that going into the next season, or the next couple of seasons, to try to get back there. Because now they understand experience is a big thing.”

Here’ more from around the Southwest:

  • Kidd isn’t planning to make any changes to the Mavericks‘ starting lineup in Game 4, he said on Thursday, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays.
  • Which prospects in this year’s draft would fit best next to Victor Wembanyama for the Spurs? Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) considers that question, offering up some suggestions for San Antonio at No. 4, No. 8, No. 35, and No. 48. Kentucky guards Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham are Givony’s top suggestions for the fourth overall pick, while Nikola Topic and Dalton Knecht lead his list at eighth overall. Terrence Shannon, Adem Bona, Cam Spencer, and Jaylen Wells are among the players Givony likes as second-round targets.
  • The Spurs appear to be eyeing more experienced backcourt prospects with their second-round picks, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required), who takes a closer look at Boogie Ellis‘ recent visit to San Antonio and notes that Houston’s Jamal Shead also recently worked out for the club.
  • Shead visited Houston on Friday, confirms Kelly Iko of The Athletic, tweeting that Tyler Thomas (Hofstra), Isaiah Stevens (Colorado State), and N’Faly Dante (Oregon) were among the other prospects working out for the Rockets. The club controls the No. 44 overall pick in addition to No. 3.
  • An evaluation of Smoothie King Center’s infrastructure is nearing completion, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, who says the results of that assessment will help determine whether the Pelicans renovate their current arena or need to build a new one.

Texas Notes: Wembanyama, Carter, Shead, Luka

With Spurs rookie center Victor Wembanyama already seemingly on the cusp of superstardom, Andrew Lopez of ESPN wonders if San Antonio will be able to make itself an appetizing landing spot for free agents.

The 7’4″ Rookie of the Year averaged 21.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.9 APG and 3.6 BPG across his 71 healthy contests with the club in 2023/24.

Should the Spurs cut veterans Devonte’ Graham and Charles Bassey, they could easily open up close to $20MM in cap space this summer to upgrade their roster around Wembanyama.

Lopez acknowledges that San Antonio did sign free agent All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge while he was still in his prime, and, later, an aging Pau Gasol after a pair of All-Star berths on the Bulls. Otherwise, San Antonio has generally grown internally, signed role player free agents, or improved via trades.

During remarks made at the end of the 2023/24 regular season, general manager Brian Wright indicated that he hoped to use the 20-year-old Wembanyama to lure top-tier free agents eventually.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • The Spurs, possessors of the Nos. 4 and 8 lottery picks in this month’s forthcoming draft, still need a long-term point guard compatriot for Wembanyama. Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News argues in favor of San Antonio considering Providence guard Devin Carter. The 2023/24 Big East Player of the Year seems likely to be available with the eighth pick, McDonald speculates.
  • University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson revealed that former Cougars point guard Jamal Shead is slated to work out for the Rockets this Friday, reports Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • All-NBA Mavericks guard Luka Doncic conceded that he has been frustrated by the officiating in the ongoing NBA Finals, in which Dallas trails the Celtics 3-0. The All-NBA guard was whistled for his sixth foul and thus ejected from a critical Game 3 matchup Wednesday with 4:12 left in regulation. Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Doncic is looking to move past his frustrations with the recent refereeing. “Go back to playing fun,” Doncic said of his intended approach on Thursday. “We talk about how we come back from [21] points in the fourth quarter in the Finals. We were having fun. We were defending. We were running. Our pace was great. Just taking good shots.” During a conversation with ESPN’s Malika Andrews (Twitter video link), Doncic ultimately still felt responsible for the team’s eventual 106-99 loss in Game 3. “It was tough, probably wasn’t the smartest thing,” he said of fouling out.

Central Notes: Pistons, Ham, Bucks, Cavaliers

Reports that the Bulls, Trail Blazers and Grizzlies are all interested in moving up in the draft could create some trade options for the Pistons with the No. 5 pick, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. He explores potential deals with all three teams that would still leave Detroit with a first-round selection.

Edwards’ proposed trade with Chicago is a swap for No. 11 in this year’s draft, plus a top-four protected pick in 2027. That would allow the Pistons to pick up some future draft capital and still wind up with a prospect such as Colorado’s Cody Williams, G League wing Ron Holland or French forward Tidjane Salaun.

Edwards suggests helping Portland clear cap space by taking Jerami Grant, the No. 14 pick and possibly Matisse Thybulle in exchange for No. 5. That could speed up the Blazers’ rebuilding process by giving them two selections in this year’s top seven while saving them about $40MM next season.

With Memphis, Edwards proposes parting with the fifth pick in exchange for the ninth choice in this year’s draft and a top-four protected pick in 2025. That gives Detroit an extra selection in what’s projected to be a stronger draft next near, while Memphis has a better shot to land a center such as UConn’s Donovan Clingan.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Darvin Ham, who was fired by the Lakers last month after their first-round playoff loss, will rejoin the Bucks as the top assistant to Doc Rivers, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Before being hired by L.A., Ham spent four years in Milwaukee, where he built a reputation as one of the league’s top assistant coaches.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic kicks off a series of Bucks draft previews by looking at guards who could still be on the board at No. 23 and 33. Nehm profiles Pitt’s Carlton Carrington, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, A.J. Johnson, who played in Australia this season, UC Santa Barbara’s Ajay Mitchell, Creighton’s Trey Alexander, Houston’s Jamal Shead, UConn’s Cam Spencer and Colorado’s KJ Simpson.
  • Speaking on the Wine and Gold podcast, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com said he doesn’t expect Dan Hurley‘s decision on the Lakers‘ coaching job to impact the Cavaliers‘ search. Fedor considers James Borrego to be the current front-runner in Cleveland, and he speculates L.A. will turn to J.J. Redick if Hurley declines the team’s offer.

Central Notes: Mathurin, Pacers, Atkinson, Borrego, Bucks

Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin, who missed Indiana’s entire playoff run due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder, struggled with having to watch from the sidelines as his team advance all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

“It was hard,” Mathurin said. “It was harder than expected, honestly. Watching the playoffs, watching the guys have fun and just being out there and competing at the highest level was hard for sure. But I think it has a positive side, just seeing the guys out there hooping. It definitely builds fire in me coming into next season.”

His head coach, Rick Carlisle, believes the former No. 6 overall pick can eventual blossom into stardom at the pro level.

“Benn Mathurin has a chance to be a star caliber player for the Indiana Pacers,” Carlisle said. “He has gotten to see over the last two-and-a-half months what wins. It is defense, speed, quick decision making and recognition. And so his workouts this summer are going to be geared toward fast, efficient, quick decision making and developing defensively. He has the ability to be a terrific two-way player in this league.”

This year, Mathurin saw his touches and minutes reduced somewhat as the club realigned itself around All-Star Tyrese Haliburton‘s orbit. Mathurin averaged 14.5 points on a .446/.374/.821 shooting line, plus 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.6 steals per game.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pacers’ first pre-draft workout is slated for Friday, and will feature six players, per a team press release. Pittsburgh’s Blake Hinson, Tennessee’s Josiah-Jordan James, Weber State’s Dillon Jones, Florida’s Zyon Pullin, Liberty’s Kyle Rode, and Houston’s Jamal Shead will all attend the workout.
  • The Cavaliers have gotten the green light to interview Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson and Pelicans assistant coach James Borrego, sources inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Cleveland fired coach J.B. Bickerstaff, even after he led the club to the second round in the East for the first time since LeBron James departed in 2018 free agency.
  • Though the Bucks finished their 2023/24 season with a respectable 49-33 record and the East’s No. 3 seed, injuries to All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard doomed them to a swift first-round playoff upset against Indiana. Keith Smith of Spotrac previews the 2024 offseason in Milwaukee as the club looks to retool and hopefully return to the Finals for the first time since 2021.