JaVale McGee

Kings Waive Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta

8:12pm: The duo has officially been waived, according to a team press release.

5:02pm: The Kings are waiving centers Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Both big men were signed by Sacramento this offseason to partially guaranteed one-year deals, but the Kings subsequently signed JaVale McGee to a guaranteed one-year deal after he cleared waivers.

The Kings want to give Noel and Queta an opportunity to hook on with another organization before training camp rather than hanging onto them and then waiving them shortly before the season begins.

Noel was signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal as a free agent this summer. He received a $300K guarantee, which would have increased to $600K if he made the 15-man opening night roster.

Noel has appeared in 467 career regular season games since being drafted sixth overall in 2013 but didn’t play much in 2022/23. After being traded from New York to Detroit during the 2022 offseason, the 29-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Pistons, who bought him out at the end of February. He signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn and played in three games for the Nets, but didn’t get a second 10-day and finished the season as a free agent.

The Kings signed Queta to a two-year, minimum-salary contract. His $2,019,706 salary for the upcoming season included a $250K guarantee, while the second season was non-guaranteed. The guarantee for the upcoming season would have doubled if he was on the opening night roster.

Queta has been on Sacramento’s roster the past two seasons, appearing in a total of 20 NBA games. The 7’0” Queta was a second-round pick in 2021 out of Utah State.

Noel and Queta were projected to fight for one roster spot as the No. 3 center behind Domantas Sabonis and Alex Len. That changed when the Mavericks waived McGee and the Kings signed him after he cleared waivers. Sacramento has 14 guaranteed contracts and could explore other options, or just leave open the 15th roster spot.

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Warriors, Kings, Vanderbilt, Vogel

The Kings beat out the Warriors for free agent center JaVale McGee, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, who suggests both Pacific clubs were in pursuit of the big man after he was waived by Dallas last week.

McGee’s new deal with Sacramento is only for one year and is worth the veteran’s minimum, but it’s fully guaranteed. It’s unclear whether or not Golden State was willing to offer a fully guaranteed contract to the former Warrior. According to Amick, the Kings envision McGee playing a “significant” role in 2023/24 if he shows he’s capable of handling it.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Stockton Kings – Sacramento’s G League affiliate – announced in a press release on Thursday that they’ve acquired Skal Labissiere‘s returning rights from the Mexico City Capitanes in a three-team trade that sent DJ Steward‘s rights to the Maine Celtics. Labissiere has agreed to sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the Kings, while Steward has reached an agreement on an Exhibit 10 deal with the Celtics. This trade will ensure both players are in line to receive their Exhibit 10 bonuses.
  • Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt became extension-eligible on Thursday, notes Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Vanderbilt, whose maximum extension would be $75MM over four years, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024 if he doesn’t sign a new contract before then.
  • In a two-part interview with Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, new Suns head coach Frank Vogel discussed several topics, including the philosophy he’ll bring to his new job and what he’s looking for in Phoenix’s fifth starter alongside Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Deandre Ayton. “We’ll have a lot of guys that have an opportunity to be that fifth guy,” Vogel said. “The versatility of maybe being able to guard multiple positions or maybe it’s an elite shooter. Maybe it’s just another play-maker. I think we have a lot of guys with a lot of different skill sets and we’ll put a lot of different combinations throughout the year.”

Southwest Notes: Luka, Brooks, Mavs, Whitmore, Branham

Speaking to reporters after Slovenia’s loss to Canada on Wednesday, Mavericks star Luka Doncic claimed that the FIBA officials said they weren’t inclined to give him foul calls due to the way he was arguing with them all night, as Aris Barkas of Eurohoops relays.

“The refs told one of the guys, ‘We’re not going to call a foul on him because he’s coming at us,'” Doncic said. “I know I complain a lot, but I don’t think this is fair. They were playing physically against me, but that’s not fair, to say something like this.”

Both Doncic and Rockets forward Dillon Brooks were ejected from the game with technical fouls in the fourth quarter — Doncic for objecting to a non-call and Brooks for taunting. Brooks was the primary defender on Doncic and guarded him aggressively for much of the game. However, Doncic said his anger wasn’t aimed at Brooks.

“I respect Dillon, he is very physical,” Doncic said. “People may not like him, but I respect him for what he does. And he does that really good.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks will benefit a little financially from JaVale McGee‘s contract with Sacramento, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Dallas will receive $697,340 in “set-off” based on McGee’s new deal, and that amount will spread across the five years he remains on the team’s books, reducing his annual cap hits by $139,468.
  • Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore, the MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League in July, spoke to Kelly Iko of The Athletic about his experience in Vegas and his expectations for his first NBA season. According to Whitmore, his focus when he reports to the team this fall will be on learning his role. “Whatever the coaching staff wants me to do, I’ll do it,” Whitmore said. “If they mention something to me, I’ll make sure it’s taken care of. I’m all ears in training camp.”
  • As he prepares for his second NBA season, Spurs wing Malaki Branham has spent the offseason in gyms in San Antonio, Washington, D.C., and even in Madrid during his first ever trip overseas, part of an NBPA retreat. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes in a subscriber-only story, Branham is optimistic that the work he has put into improving his game this summer will be readily apparent in the fall. “Even the guys I’ve seen since I’ve been back are like, ‘I see you’ve been in the gym a lot this summer,'” Branham said.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Durant, Reaves

The Kings have signed JaVale McGee to a one-year contract. McGee got a guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal but that doesn’t mean he’s assured of making the roster out of training camp, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes.

The Kings have McGee, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta and Skal Labissiere on the camp roster as potential backups to star center Domantas Sabonis. Labissiere is ticketed to the G League but Len has a fully guaranteed one-year deal, while Noel and Queta have partial guarantees. That means four players are essentially vying for two roster spots.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors won championships in 2017 and 2018 with Kevin Durant on their roster. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic compares those Warriors teams to the current Suns group with Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal as the main trio, evaluating how Phoenix might emulate those championship clubs.
  • The Lakers have tried to acquire a third star in recent years to join forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Do they now have that player on the roster in the form of Austin Reaves? Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores that topic, considering how well Reaves has performed for Team USA. With several weeks to adjust to his new role as a primary ball-handler during training camp, Reaves can cement his status as an All-Star-level third option, Buha concludes.
  • Reaves said the World Cup hasn’t taken a physical toll on him, he told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A session. “I feel great. It’s been better than I expected,” the Lakers guard said. “You look at it, you go down the list of minutes guys have played and nobody plays more than 25 minutes. On max, someone might play 30 minutes a game. So, it’s not really like the NBA season where you’re playing 32, 35, maybe 40 minutes. The minutes are way shorter.”

JaVale McGee Signs With Kings

SEPTEMBER 2: The signing is official, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

SEPTEMBER 1: McGee is signing a guaranteed minimum-salary contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

AUGUST 31: Free agent center JaVale McGee is signing with the Kings, according to Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report (Twitter link). The Mavericks officially waived McGee on Tuesday and now he’s set to join another Western Conference contender.

McGee, 35, signed with Dallas last year on a three-year, $17MM deal and opened the year as a starter, but quickly fell out of the rotation altogether. In all, McGee averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 42 games (career-low 8.5 minutes) with the Mavericks. Once it was clear McGee was no longer in the team’s future plans, Dallas cut him loose this offseason and is stretching his remaining salary over the next five years for roughly $2.35MM through 2027/28.

The Kings will hope McGee, a three-time champion, has enough left in the tank to help contribute to a team that ended a 16-season playoff drought last year. McGee is just one season removed from averaging 9.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in Phoenix, where he played in 74 games and made 17 starts.

Sacramento’s interest in McGee was reported shortly after he was waived by Dallas. It’s unclear what kind of deal he’s signing, but it likely isn’t for more than the veteran’s minimum and may not be fully guaranteed.

Sacramento’s roster is stacked with backup centers. Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta, Alex Len and Skal Labissiere (reported) are likely to compete with McGee for minutes and/or a roster spot. Queta and Noel are in more direct competition with McGee for a roster spot. Len’s roster spot appears safe and Labissiere is joining on a training camp deal with the goal of him playing for the Stockton Kings next year. Meanwhile, Noel has a $300K partial guarantee and Queta has a $250K partial guarantee.

Kings Notes: Vezenkov, Monk, McGee

Former Olympiacos star Sasha Vezenkov decided to come stateside for the 2023/24 season, signing a three-year, $20MM contract with the Kings, who held his draft rights. At his introductory press conference on Thursday, Vezenkov said the team’s months-long pursuit to sign him played a factor in his decision, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays.

I’m really happy, really excited,” Vezenkov said. “It was a big decision for my career and I’m really happy to do it for Sacramento. I’m really thankful to the organization because throughout the last year, they came overseas. They show me their commitment. They show me how much they want me to be here and I’m really happy.”

The reigning EuroLeague MVP had a lot of success playing with Olympiacos, winning back-to-back domestic titles the past two seasons and losing the EuroLeague final to Real Madrid by one point in 2022/23. The Kings’ success last season — winning 48 games and breaking their 16-year playoff drought — was another reason the Bulgarian forward wanted to join the team, according to James Ham of

I like to win,” Vezenkov said. “That’s why we play basketball — to enjoy, to win games. This helped in my decision. As we saw last year, the Kings were a fantastic team, playing beautiful basketball, but most importantly, winning.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Adjusting to the pace, space, and athleticism of the NBA can sometimes be a challenge for European players, especially right away. But Vezenkov is confident he’ll make an impact with Sacramento and believes it will be a good fit, per Johnny Askounis of The 28-year-old sharpshooter said it was a “dream” to play in the league. “The NBA was like a goal, a dream for me,” Vezenkov said. “Every kid who plays in Europe wants to come to the NBA. … I am here to help with my experience, with whatever coach needs from me for this team to continue to win games and perform better and better.”
  • Ham of TheKingsBeat recently touched on Malik Monk‘s contract situation in an appearance on ESPN 1320’s D-Lo & KC show (Twitter video link). Monk, who is entering the final year of his deal, will only have Early Bird rights in 2024 after signing a two-year contract with the Kings, and he is not extension-eligible. That means Sacramento will be somewhat limited in what it can offer him in free agency next summer, Ham notes. After a solid regular season as the team’s sixth man, Monk had a breakout performance in Sacramento’s first-round playoff loss to Golden State, averaging 19.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 3.6 APG in seven games (29.3 MPG).
  • Veteran center JaVale McGee is reportedly signing a one-year, fully guaranteed minimum-salary contract to join the Kings after being waived by Dallas. He’s expected to compete for minutes behind Domantas Sabonis, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, who writes that McGee has the trust of head coach Mike Brown, as they won a pair of championships together with Golden State. McGee’s mother also played for Sacramento’s WNBA team, the Monarchs, Amick adds.

Kings Interested In JaVale McGee

The Kings are interested in signing veteran center JaVale McGee once he clears waivers, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and NBA on TNT tweets.

The Mavericks officially waived McGee on Monday and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday.

Sacramento has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and two more frontcourt players —  Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel — on partially guaranteed deals. The Kings also have Alex Len behind Domantas Sabonis in the center spot with Trey Lyles another possibility in small-ball lineups.

McGee could join the battle for backup minutes behind Sabonis. He’d be on his ninth NBA team since entering the league in 2008.

McGee signed a three-year, $17MM+ contract with Dallas last offseason, but only spent seven games in the starting lineup and subsequently fell out of the rotation altogether. The 35-year-old averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in a career-low 8.5 minutes per game across 42 appearances during his second stint as a Maverick.

Mavericks Officially Waive JaVale McGee

The Mavericks have officially requested waivers on center JaVale McGee, the team announced today (via Twitter). McGee will clear waivers in about 48 hours, becoming an unrestricted free agent on Thursday.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported a week ago that Dallas intended to waive McGee and use the stretch provision on his remaining salary. As we outlined last Wednesday, August 31 is the deadline to waive a player if his club intends to stretch the player’s current-year salary across multiple seasons.

Assuming the Mavs’ plan to stretch McGee’s salary remains unchanged, that means that instead of counting against the cap for $5.7MM in 2023/24 and $6MM in ’24/25, his cap hits will be spread across five seasons at a rate of about $2.35MM per year. His dead money will be on the team’s books through ’27/28.

McGee signed a three-year, $17MM+ contract with Dallas last offseason, but only spent seven games in the starting lineup and subsequently fell out of the rotation altogether. The 35-year-old averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in a career-low 8.5 minutes per game across 42 appearances during his second stint as a Maverick.

The Mavs shopped McGee in various trade talks throughout the offseason, but were unable to find a taker, given the negative value of his contract. By stretching his remaining salary, they’ll become ineligible to re-sign him until the 2025 offseason, after his deal would have expired.

Dallas reportedly intends to sign free agent forward Markieff Morris to replace McGee on its projected 15-man regular season roster. Prior to signing Morris, the team’s salary is $5.5MM below the luxury tax line, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Reducing McGee’s 2023/24 cap hit will give the Mavs some additional breathing room to maneuver below the tax this season.

Warriors Notes: McGee, Toscano-Anderson, Saric, Weems

The Warriors should consider a reunion with JaVale McGee once he gets waived by the Mavericks, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Dallas reportedly plans to use the stretch provision on the remainder of McGee’s contract, so he would have to be let go before the deadline to do that arrives at the end of the month.

The 35-year-old center spent two seasons with Golden State and was part of title-winning teams in 2017 and 2018. Although he averaged less than 10 minutes per game in both years, he made valuable contributions as a rebounder and rim protector off the bench.

Johnson points out that McGee would be the only seven-footer on a roster that needs size, and his understanding of the team’s culture could give him an edge in filling one of the final spots. With Kevon Looney and Draymond Green handling most of the minutes at center, McGee wouldn’t have to play extensively and he could help tutor young players such as Trayce Jackson-Davis.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Former Golden State players Juan Toscano-Anderson and Kent Bazemore are part of a group that was scheduled to work out for the team this month. If the Warriors are planning to bring back someone who has played for coach Steve Kerr, Johnson sees Toscano-Anderson as the best candidate because he’s younger and more versatile than Bazemore or McGee.
  • Dario Saric‘s performance in helping Croatia win an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament demonstrated why he was Golden State’s top free agent target this summer, Johnson adds in a separate story. Saric posted 22 points and 11 rebounds in the final game, and Johnson notes that he looked like a perfect fit for Kerr’s system. He seems fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in the 2021 NBA Finals, and he had plenty of experience running the two-man game with new Warriors guard Chris Paul in Phoenix.
  • Newly promoted assistant coach Kris Weems will have a large role in determining how successful Paul will be in his first year with the team, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Weems, who was promoted to the front of the bench after two years as a player development coach, replaces Jama Mahlalela, who was responsible for determining who was on the court at any given time.