James Banks

Celtics Sign, Waive James Banks, Reginald Kissoonlal

The Celtics have signed and waived free agent centers James Banks and Reginald Kissoonlal, according to NBA.com’s official transactions log. Both players will likely be heading to Maine to play for Boston’s G League affiliate.

Banks went undrafted in 2020 out of Georgia Tech. After spending 2020/21 — his first pro season — playing in Israel, the 25-year-old returned stateside and has been playing in the G League the past two seasons.

In 41 career regular season contests with the Birmingham Squadron (Pelicans’ affiliate) and the Texas Legends (Mavs’ affiliate), Banks has averaged 6.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 19.0 MPG.

Kissoonlal, meanwhile, went undrafted in 2019 out of Marian University. He spent his first three professional seasons in Europe prior to signing an Exhibit 10 deal with the Celtics last fall. He was waived the same day. The 27-year-old averaged 5.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 1.2 BPG in 18 regular season games with the Maine Celtics in 2022/23 (10.6 MPG).

Boston now has 17 players under contract.

Celtics Sign James Banks To Exhibit 10 Deal

Free agent center James Banks has signed with the Celtics, according to the Real GM transactions log.

It’s an Exhibit 10 contract, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac, who adds that Banks will ultimately be sent to Boston’s G League affiliate in Maine. The team recently completed a trade for Banks’ returning player rights. The Exhibit 10 language gives Banks an opportunity to earn a bonus up to $75K if he spends at least 60 days with Maine.

Banks, 25, has played the last two years in the G League with the Birmingham Squadron and the Texas Legends. He averaged 5.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in nine regular season games with Texas last season.

With the addition of Banks, the Celtics have 19 players on their preseason roster.

Pelicans Waive Wenyen Gabriel, Malcolm Hill, James Banks

The Pelicans have waived three players, per a team press release. New Orleans has cut training camp players James Banks and Malcolm Hill, plus the non-guaranteed contract of power forward Wenyen Gabriel. As Andrew Lopez of ESPN notes (Twitter link), this move reduces the team’s current roster to 15 players, plus two players on two-way contracts.

The Pelicans announced the additions of Banks and Hill over the weekend. Gabriel saw action in 21 games during the 2021/22 season.

It was generally considered an uphill battle for either Banks, a 6’10” center out of Georgia Tech, or Hill, a 6’6″ wing out of Illinois, to make the opening night roster for New Orleans. Both players had been inked to Exhibit 10 training camp contracts, and will now mostly likely join the Pelicans’ NBAGL affiliate club, the Birmingham Squadron.

After going undrafted in 2018 out of Kentucky, the 6’9″ Gabriel joined the Kings on a two-way deal for the 2018/19 season. His contract was converted to a standard deal ahead of the 2019/20, and he was eventually dealt to the Trail Blazers. He signed with the Pelicans as a free agent during the 2020 offseason. In his 21 games with the club, he averaged 3.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG across 11.5 MPG.

Pelicans Sign James Banks, Malcolm Hill; Waive Zylan Cheatham, Jared Harper

The Pelicans have signed James Banks and Malcolm Hill, the team announced in a press release. In order to create the roster space to sign both players, the team waived Zylan Cheatham and Jared Harper.

Both of the signings were previously reported, and are now official.

Banks, a 6’10” center, went undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2020 after making the ACC All-Defensive Team in both his junior and senior seasons. He spent last season in Israel with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, playing 13 games while averaging 5.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game. He most recently played for the Cavaliers at the Las Vegas Summer League.

Hill, a 6’6″ wing, is a well-traveled international veteran. He’s played for teams in the Philippines, Germany, Kazakhstan and Israel over the past four seasons. During the 2020/21 season, Hill played for Hapoel Jerusalem.

Harper, a 5’10” point guard, spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with the Suns in 2019/20, then spent most of last season on a two-way pact with the Knicks. Harper rarely saw NBA action, but he played well in the G League, averaging 20.5 PPG and 5.9 APG in 30 MPG across 46 games the past two seasons.

Cheatham spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with Pelicans. He played very well at the G League level, but only saw action in four NBA games. He received a full minimum salary last season as part of the Steven Adams sign-and-trade, but was waived by OKC before he ever played a game for the team. After being waived, Cheatham briefly spent time with Minnesota on an Exhibit 10 contract, then appeared in 15 G League games for the Iowa Wolves.

The Pelicans have 15 players with guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots are filled, so Banks and Hill are probably long shots to make the regular season roster. However, because both players are on Exhibit 10 deals, if they’re waived before the start of the regular season and spend at least 60 days with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron, they’d be eligible for bonuses worth up to $50K in addition to their G League salaries.