Jay Huff

Jay Huff Signs Two-Way Deal With Nuggets

JULY 18: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

JULY 16: Free agent center Jay Huff has agreed to sign a two-way deal with the Nuggets, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

This will mark the third two-way contract for Huff, a 7’1″ big man out of Virginia. The 2019 NCAA champion first joined the Lakers on a two-way agreement in 2021/22, and most recently was a two-way player for the Wizards in 2022/23.

Huff has spent most of his pro time with the G League affiliates of those clubs, having appeared in a grand total of just 11 NBA games. In those contests, he’s posted averages of 4.6 PPG on .536/.429/.938 shooting splits, along with 2.3 RPG and 1.0 APG.

Across 28 total regular season appearances split between the Lakers’ NBAGL team, the South Bay Lakers, and then eventually the Wizards’ affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, Huff posted averages of 15.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.9 BPG and 1.3 SPG in 2022/23.

For his efforts last season, he was named the NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year, as well as an All-NBA G League First Teamer and an NBA G League All-Defensive Teamer.

Most recently, Huff has been playing for the Rockets’ Summer League club.

The Nuggets also recently agreed to a two-way deal with forward Braxton Key, and have a two-way qualifying offer on the table for guard Collin Gillespie.

NBAGL Announces 2022/23 All-League Awards

The NBA G League named the recipients of its All-League, All-Rookie, and All-Defensive teams on Thursday (all Twitter links found here). Many of the honorees are on standard NBA or two-way contracts.

Here’s the full list:

All-NBA G League First Team

All-NBA G League Second Team

All-NBA G League Third Team

NBAGL All-Defensive Team

NBAGL All-Rookie Team

  • Kenneth Lofton
  • Lester Quinones – Santa Cruz Warriors *
    • Note: Quinones placed second in ROY voting.
  • Darius Days
    • Note: Days placed third in ROY voting.
  • Jamaree Bouyea
  • Moussa Diabate

(^ denotes standard NBA contract)

(* denotes two-way contract)

(# Bouyea signed 10-day deals with the Heat and Wizards, but is now an NBA free agent)

Both Dunn and Samanic signed standard contracts with the Jazz, while Harrison signed with the Lakers at the very end of the season after playing with Portland on a 10-day deal. Duke and Lofton recently had their two-way contracts converted into standard deals.

Cooper, Chiozza and Anderson all hold NBA experience as well. Cooper spent 2021/22 — his rookie season — on a two-way deal with the Hawks; Chiozza has played for the Rockets, Nets and Warriors, and recently signed with a Spanish team; Anderson has appeared in 242 NBA games with six teams in as many seasons.

Wizards’ Jay Huff Named G League Defensive Player Of The Year

Big man Jay Huff, who is on a two-way contract with the Wizards, has been named the G League’s Defensive Player of the Year, the NBA announced today (via Twitter). Thirty NBAGL head coaches and general manager voted on the award.

Huff, 25, began the G League season playing for the South Bay Lakers before joining the Capital City Go-Go when he signed his two-way deal with Washington in early March.

In 46 total games for South Bay and Capital City across both the Showcase Cup and the NBAGL regular season, Huff blocked an incredible 145 shots, which works out to a league-leading 3.2 per game.

The Go-Go had the G League’s 12th-best defensive rating before adding Huff and had the third-best mark following his arrival. Conversely, South Bay ranked No. 7 in defensive rating following Huff’s last game with the team and were just 14th the rest of the way.

Huff’s two-way contract only covers the 2022/23 season, so he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. He has only logged 15 total minutes in four appearances at the NBA level for the Wizards this season.

Veteran guard Kris Dunn, who was briefly teammates with Huff on the Go-Go, finished second in G League Defensive Player of the Year voting, while South Bay Lakers guard Shaquille Harrison was third (Twitter link). Dunn is now with the Jazz; Harrison is on a 10-day deal with the Trail Blazers.

Wizards Sign Jay Huff To Two-Way Contract

MARCH 2: The signing is official, the Wizards announced in a press release.

MARCH 1: G League center Jay Huff will fill one of the open slots on the Wizards‘ 17-man roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the big man has agreed to sign a two-way contract with Washington.

Huff signed his first NBA contract – an Exhibit 10 deal – with Washington shortly after going undrafted out of Virginia in 2021. After being waived by the Wizards that fall, he inked a two-way deal with the Lakers. He was only on that contract for about three months before being cut again, but he has spent the majority of his first two professional seasons playing for L.A.’s G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

In 18 Showcase Cup games this fall, Huff averaged 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks in 29.3 minutes per night — I highlighted him in November as a G League prospect making a bid for an NBA call-up. He has continued to produce for South Bay since then, posting 14.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 3.6 BPG in 19 NBAGL regular season contests (26.2 MPG).

The Wizards have an open two-way slot after recently promoting Jordan Goodwin to their standard roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to make room for Huff. Having waived Vernon Carey Jr. today, Washington still has one more roster spot available.

Because he’s signing so late in the season, Huff is eligible to be active for a prorated portion of the usual 50-game limit for two-way players. Assuming he signs today, he could be active for up to 12 Wizards games.

And-Ones: World Cup Qualifiers, Nike Summit, MVP Race, Rising Stars, Draft

With two more qualifying matches for the 2023 World Cup right around the corner, USA Basketball has officially announced the 12-man roster that will compete in February’s games. Team USA’s squad is made up primarily of G Leaguers, but features a number of players with NBA experience.

The 12 players who will represent the U.S. on February 23 vs. Uruguay and Feb. 26 vs. Brazil are Deonte Burton, Will Davis II, Abdul Gaddy, Langston Galloway, Treveon Graham, Dusty Hannahs, Nate Hinton, Jay Huff, Xavier Moon, Elijah Pemberton, Reggie Perry, and Craig Sword.

So far, Canada is the only team in the Americas field to qualify for the 2023 World Cup, having won all of its first 10 qualifying contests. However, Team USA – which has an 8-2 record so far – will clinch a World Cup berth by winning either one of its two games this month, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Meanwhile, USA Basketball also announced the rosters for the 2023 Nike Hoop Summit, an annual showcase of U.S. high school prospects that will take place on April 8. The most notable name on the men’s roster is Bronny James, but Bronny isn’t the only son of a former Cavaliers lottery pick to be named to the event — the 13-player roster also includes Dajuan Wagner Jr.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is building a strong case for his third consecutive MVP award and leads the way in the latest straw poll conducted by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Bontemps’ survey asks 100 media members for their current MVP ballots — Jokic received 77 first-place votes, easily besting runners-up Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks (11 first-place votes) and Joel Embiid of the Sixers (6).
  • Rockets guard Jalen Green (left groin strain) and Pistons center Jalen Duren (right ankle sprain) have been forced to withdraw from Friday night’s Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend due to injuries, according to the NBA (Twitter link). They’re being replaced by Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu and Rockets forward Tari Eason.
  • In his latest mock draft for The Athletic, Sam Vecenie moves Alabama wing Brandon Miller up to No. 3, writing that Miller is considered the safest bet in the 2023 draft class – outside of Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson – to be a “really good player” at the NBA level. Vecenie’s top five is rounded out by Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson at No. 4 and Houston forward Jarace Walker at No. 5.

Five G League Players Making Bids For NBA Call-Ups

The NBA G League’s regular season won’t begin for another month, but all 30 NBAGL teams are currently competing in the Showcase Cup, a round-robin event that culminates in a single-elimination tournament at the G League’s Winter Showcase from December 19-22.

We’re only midway through the 16-game Showcase Cup, with each NBAGL team having played between seven and 10 games so far, but a number of standout performers are making their mark.

Some of those top players, like Luka Garza of the Iowa Wolves or Jaden Hardy of the Texas Legends, are already under contract with NBA teams and aren’t free agents. But many of the G League players turning heads are free to sign with any NBA club at any time.

Listed below are five early G League standouts who are making strong cases to be considered for NBA call-ups at some point this season. This is hardly a comprehensive list of the NBAGL’s top performers — it’s a safe bet that many more will receive NBA consideration in the coming days, weeks, or months, especially when the 10-day signing period begins in January. But these five players are worth singling out for their early-season play.

Let’s dive in…

Sharife Cooper, G, Cleveland Charge

A two-way player with the Hawks last season, Cooper accepted a two-way qualifying offer from Atlanta in July, but was waived shortly thereafter and spent training camp with the Cavaliers, becoming an affiliate player for Cleveland.

In 10 games so far for the Charge, Cooper has been one of the G League’s most dynamic offensive players, pouring in 25.3 points per game on .489/.433/.811 shooting while also chipping in 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per night.

Cooper isn’t a consistent defender, but his offensive ability will intrigue NBA evaluators. He’s the G League’s reigning Performer of the Week after posting back-to-back 40-point games on November 15 and 17 and has helped lead the Charge to a 6-4 record.

Carlik Jones, G, Windy City Bulls

Jones, 25 next month, got a brief taste of NBA action last winter as a 10-day hardship signee for the Mavericks and the Nuggets, appearing in five total games for the two teams. After spending training camp with the Bulls, he’s back in the G League this season for the Windy City Bulls, whose 6-2 record places them atop the Central.

Jones has been a major reason for Windy City’s early success, leading the team with 17.5 PPG and 8.1 APG. After struggling to consistently make his three-pointers in his first pro season in 2021/22, the former Louisville standout is hitting 41.9% of his treys so far this season and making 1.6 per game.

Jay Huff, F/C, South Bay Lakers

Huff began the 2021/22 season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and made brief appearances in four NBA games before being waived in January. The 24-year-old is still in the organization at South Bay and has emerged as one of the G League’s most fearsome rim protectors — he has blocked 35 shots in his first eight games this season and comfortably leads the league with 4.4 BPG.

Huff’s impact has gone beyond his shot-blocking ability. He’s also one of South Bay’s go-to scorers, averaging 17.9 PPG on 68.1% shooting; he leads the club with 8.9 RPG; and he has even shown off some play-making ability, averaging 3.1 APG.

If Huff can boost his three-point rate a few points (currently 29.4%), he’ll become an even more appealing target for NBA teams looking to develop a frontcourt prospect.

James Akinjo, G, Westchester Knicks

Although Akinjo earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team during his final college season in 2021/22, the Baylor guard struggled mightily with his shot, making just 38.3% attempts from the field and 29.5% from beyond the arc. So it has been encouraging to see him boost those averages to 46.4% and 46.7% in his first seven G League games.

The Westchester Knicks are just 1-6 so far, but Akinjo has been a bright spot, pouring in 19.9 points per night and tying for the G League lead with an impressive 11.1 assists per game.

Jontay Porter, F/C, Wisconsin Herd

The younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter is a former five-star recruit whose college career was derailed by a pair of ACL tears. He’s still just 23 years old though and has been healthy through the Herd’s first 10 games.

Despite playing just 26.2 minutes per game and primarily coming off the bench, Porter has filled up the box score in Wisconsin, averaging 16.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.8 BPG while making 3.1 three-pointers per game at a 46.3% rate.

The Grizzlies took a flier on Porter during the 2020/21 season and played him in 11 games — it may be just a matter of time before he earns another shot at the NBA level.

Lakers Cut Shaq Harrison, Jay Huff, Nate Pierre-Louis

The Lakers have waived guard Shaquille Harrison, center Jay Huff, and guard Nate Pierre-Louis, the team announced today in a press release.

The cuts had been expected after word broke that sharpshooter Matt Ryan secured a spot on the Lakers’ 15-man regular season roster. The team is carrying 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus Ryan, Austin Reaves, and Wenyen Gabriel on non-guaranteed deals.

Harrison, Huff, and Pierre-Louis were all with the Lakers on non-guaranteed training camp contracts that included Exhibit 10 language. All three are candidates to join the South Bay Lakers, L.A.’s G League affiliate, assuming they clear waivers.

While it’s possible that a last-minute move is coming, the Lakers’ roster is now set for the regular season, with 15 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals.

Lakers Sign Jay Huff To Exhibit 10 Contract

The Lakers have officially signed big man Jay Huff to an Exhibit 10 contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Huff, who went undrafted out of Virginia in 2021, spent the first couple months of his rookie season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and appeared in four NBA games before being waived. The 7’1″ center continued to play for the South Bay Lakers in the G League after being released by the NBA team, averaging 15.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 2.5 BPG in 28 regular season NBAGL games, all starts (25.9 MPG).

Huff suited up for the Lakers’ Summer League teams in San Francisco and Las Vegas this summer and played well, averaging 10.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.0 BPG in four appearances (18.4 MPG).

The Lakers now have 19 players under contract. Of those, 12 have guaranteed deals, two (Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel) have standard non-guaranteed contracts, and two (Cole Swider and Scotty Pippen Jr.) are on two-way deals. Huff joins Fabian White and Javante McCoy as the players on Exhibit 10 pacts.

Dion Waiters, Tyreke Evans Among FAs Attending Mavs’ Mini-Camp

The Mavericks are hosting a free agent mini-camp this week that will have over 30 players in attendance, our JD Shaw reports (via Twitter).

The list of participants includes a handful with extensive NBA experience, including veteran guards Dion Waiters, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway.

Jalen Lecque, Chris Clemons, Emanuel Terry, Grant Riller, Jay Huff, and Tyler Hall are among the other mini-camp invitees who have played in at least one regular season NBA game. A.J. Lawson, Andrew Andrews, Isaiah Brown, Justin Gorham, and Sekou Wiggs are some of the participants without NBA experience (Twitter links).

Teams are permitted to carry up to 20 players during the offseason, giving them some flexibility to take fliers on veterans or youngsters who could come to training camp on non-guaranteed contracts and compete for a 15-man roster spot.

It’s possible one or more of the players at Dallas’ mini-camp this week will make a strong enough impression to earn a camp invite. As Shaw notes, some of the mini-camp participants could also be invited to join the Mavericks’ Summer League team next month.

It’s worth noting that even after agreeing to trade four players for Christian Wood, the Mavs don’t project to have a ton of open 15-man roster spots for 2022/23. Dallas will have nine players on guaranteed salaries, plus Maxi Kleber and Frank Ntilikina on non-guaranteed contracts. Jalen Brunson and Theo Pinson are free agents, but the team reportedly wants to bring back both. If all of those players return, it would leave just two openings on the Mavs’ standard regular season roster.

Lakers Sign Sekou Doumbouya To Two-Way Deal, Waive Jay Huff

The Lakers have made a change to one of their two-way contract slots, announcing today that they’ve signed forward Sekou Doumbouya to a two-way deal and waived big man Jay Huff.

Doumbouya began the season on a two-way contract with the Lakers, but was waived in November while he was recovering from a foot injury. At the time, Los Angeles brought in Chaundee Brown to fill Doumbouya’s two-way slot. Brown has since been replaced by Mason Jones, while Doumbouya is now taking Huff’s spot.

Doumbouya, 21, was the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft and spent the first two years of his NBA career in Detroit. However, he struggled to score efficiently during his time with the Pistons, averaging 5.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG on .384/.254/.691 shooting in 94 games (17.3 MPG).

The Pistons sent Doumbouya to the Nets in their DeAndre Jordan trade during the 2021 offseason, and the young forward was subsequently flipped to the Rockets, who waived him. In the month he spent with the Lakers earlier this season, Doumbouya averaged 7.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG in two appearances (8.0 MPG).

Huff, who caught on with the Lakers after going undrafted out of Virginia, logged just 20 total minutes with the team across four games. At the G League level, he recorded 10.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 2.3 BPG in eight games (22.1 MPG) for the South Bay Lakers.