Jeenathan Williams

Southwest Notes: Wemby, Tillman, J. Williams, McCollum

The Spurs are expected to be very cautious with new franchise player Victor Wembanyama during his rookie season. He won’t be impacted by the league’s new player participation policy, which only applies to recent All-Stars and All-NBA players, which will give San Antonio more flexibility to hold him out of certain games if necessary. However, if it were up to him, Wembanyama would play all full 82-game schedule in 2023/24, as Andrew Lopez of details.

“Every game,” Wembanyama said. “If there’s no excessive risk for my health — of course I can’t predict the future — but I want to play every single game.”

The French phenom will open the season as the Spurs’ starting power forward alongside center Zach Collins, and the team has made developing the chemistry between the two big men a priority this month, notes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. The thinking is that Collins is more equipped to handle the physicality associated with the center position and that having him out there will help reduce the wear and tear on Wembanyama. Still, the 19-year-old is prepared for opponents to test his physicality, Lopez writes.

“Everyone has their strength, and being physical [with me] is something I’ve seen my whole life, basically every time I stepped on a court for the last few years,” Wembanyama said. “It’s not something I’m afraid of. Quickness beats physicality when used correctly. It’s really part of the game. I’m used to it.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Xavier Tillman is “probably a leader in the clubhouse” to start at center for the Grizzlies with both Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke sidelined, head coach Taylor Jenkins said on Tuesday, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The fourth-year big man started 29 games at center last season and Memphis won 18 of them, though his role figures to look a little different this season, as Cole explains.
  • Jeenathan Williams made a positive impression on Rockets head coach Ime Udoka during training camp and the preseason, which helped him secure a promotion from his camp deal to a two-way contract, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “He is a pretty natural, fluid scorer,” Udoka said. “He is a guy that played well in the G League last year and had a good stint at the end of the year with Portland. … He had a good summer with us as well. A guy that gives us a burst and we feel can play with many different lineups. And since he has come in, he has been one of the better guys with the second and third unit.”
  • Speaking to Sam Yip of HoopsHype, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum discussed his expectations for the upcoming season, his role as the NBPA president, and why he’s encouraged by what he’s seen from Zion Williamson entering the season.

Rockets Cut Darius Days, Convert Jeenathan Williams To Two-Way Deal

5:12pm: The Rockets have officially waived Days and converted Williams to a two-way contract, according to’s transaction log.

2:27pm: The Rockets are waiving forward Darius Days ahead of Monday’s regular season roster deadline, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required).

Days, who turned 24 on Friday, had been on a two-way contract with Houston, having accepted his qualifying offer from the team at the start of the offseason. He spent the entire 2022/23 season on a two-way deal with the Rockets, appearing in just four NBA games but enjoying an excellent year for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate.

In 47 total regular season and Showcase Cup games for the Vipers last season, Days averaged 21.9 points and 9.2 rebounds in 33.5 minutes per contest, posting a shooting line of .487/.359/.816. He finished third in NBAGL Rookie of the Year voting and claimed a spot on the All-G League second team.

Despite Days’ strong 2022/23 campaign, he became the victim of a roster crunch this fall, as the Rockets needed to open up a two-way slot for preseason standout Jeenathan Williams, per Feigen.

A 6’5″ shooting guard, Williams put up 8.6 PPG on 63.3% shooting despite logging just 10.2 MPG in five preseason appearances. He had been on an Exhibit 10 contract but remained on the roster through Saturday, which is when virtually every other player on an Exhibit 10 deal was cut so that they could clear waivers before the regular season began. That was a signal that the Rockets intended to keep him around by converting him to a two-way contract.

Once Houston officially waives Days, converts Williams, and cuts Robinson-Earl – whose fate was reported earlier this afternoon – the team will be within the regular season roster limit, carrying 15 players on standard contracts and three on two-way deals.

Rockets Add Jeenathan Williams To Camp Roster

AUGUST 2: The Rockets have officially signed Williams, they announced today in a press release.

AUGUST 1: The Rockets have agreed to a contract with Jeenathan Williams, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. It’s a training camp deal, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Trail Blazers waived Williams last week before his $1,719,864 salary for the 2023/24 season became guaranteed.

Houston had plenty of room on its camp roster to add Williams. His addition will increase the total to 17 players.

Williams, a 6’5” swingman, could have a better shot than most players on training camp contracts to gain a spot on the 15-man roster. The Rockets also have a two-way opening.

Williams, who went undrafted out of Buffalo in 2022, spent most of his first professional season with the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s G League affiliate. In 32 regular season appearances for Salt Lake City, he averaged 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 29.8 minutes per game.

That G League performance earned Williams a late-season call-up with the Blazers, who signed him to a multiyear deal on April 1. He got extended playing time for the lottery-bound club down the stretch, averaging 10.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG in five contests (25.4 MPG), including four starts.

Trail Blazers Waive Jeenathan Williams

11:37am: The Blazers have officially waived Williams, the team confirmed today in a press release.

9:52am: The Trail Blazers will waive shooting guard Jeenathan Williams before his salary for the 2023/24 season becomes guaranteed, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Williams’ $1,719,864 salary for ’23/24 is fully non-guaranteed — it would have become guaranteed if he had remained under contract through August 1, as our tracker shows.

Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report previously noted that the 24-year-old was unlikely to be retained through that date.

Williams, who went undrafted out of Buffalo in 2022, spent most of his first professional season with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate. In 32 regular season appearances for Salt Lake City, he averaged 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 29.8 minutes per game, posting an impressive .523/.417/.848 shooting line.

That G League performance earned Williams a late-season call-up with the Blazers, who signed him to a multiyear deal on April 1. He played a major role for the lottery-bound club down the stretch, averaging 10.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG on .615/.375/.667 shooting in five contests (25.4 MPG), including four starts.

Releasing Williams will leave Portland with 12 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals. If they’d like to keep Williams around without having to guarantee his salary, the Blazers could try to re-sign him on a new non-guaranteed or two-way contract, but he would have to pass through waivers first.

Northwest Notes: Anderson, Yurtseven, Williams, Waters

Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson is set to play for Team China at next month’s FIBA World Cup after becoming a naturalized Chinese citizen, per Reuters.

Anderson represents the first American basketball player to acquire Chinese citizenship via naturalization, though plenty of other athletes in other disciplines have obtained it that way recently. He would also be able to compete for China in next year’s Olympics.

“I’m so happy to announce that I will be representing China at the World Cup,” Anderson said through a Weibo video. “Really proud and honored to wear the Team China jersey.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • New reserve Jazz center Omer Yurtseven has yet to talk the team about his role for the 2023/24 season, he tells Alex Vejar of The Salt Lake Tribune. “Not yet,” Yurtseven said. “But I met with coach [Will] Hardy and talked with [CEO] Danny Ainge as well. We haven’t talked, but we have some time during the summer. We’ll stay in contact and kind of go from there where I’ll be able to understand exactly what they want from me and execute.”
  • Trail Blazers shooting guard Jeenathan Williams is likely to be released before his contract can become guaranteed on August 1, reports Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report (Twitter link). Williams, 24, went undrafted out of Buffalo last summer, and spent most of the 2022/23 season with the Jazz’s NBAGL affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. The 6’6″ wing latched on with Portland in April. In his five contests with the Trail Blazers last year, he averaged 10.6 PPG on .615/.375/.667 shooting splits, along with 3.0 RPG, 2.0 APG and 0.6 SPG.
  • Lindy Waters III is a “strong candidate” to return to the Thunder on a two-way contract, opines Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Oklahoma City converted his 2022/23 two-way deal to a standard roster contract, but declined his $1.9MM team option for this season earlier this summer.

Blazers Sign Jeenathan Williams, Waive Ryan Arcidiacono

3:42pm: The Trail Blazers have confirmed both moves in a press release.

12:00pm: The Trail Blazers are making a change to their standard roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will waive veteran guard Ryan Arcidiacono and use the open roster spot to sign guard Jeenathan Williams to a two-year contract.

Williams, who went undrafted out of Buffalo in 2022, has spent his first professional season with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate. In 32 regular season appearances for Salt Lake City, Williams averaged 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 29.8 minutes per game, posting an impressive .523/.417/.848 shooting line.

While the terms of Williams’ new deal aren’t yet known, it’s unlikely to include much, if any, guaranteed money beyond this season, essentially giving the Blazers a free look at the 24-year-old this summer before they decide whether they want to hang onto him for next season.

Arcidiacono began this season with the Knicks and was traded to Portland in the four-team trade deadline deal that sent Josh Hart to New York. The 29-year-old guard has actually played more in Portland than he did for the Knicks, averaging 2.6 PPG and 2.3 APG in nine games (16.2 MPG), though he’s currently sidelined due to lumbar soreness. He logged just 26 minutes in 11 contests for New York.

Arcidiacono won’t be playoff-eligible if he signs with a new team before the end of the regular season.

Due to a plethora of injuries, the Blazers have qualified for multiple hardship exceptions and signed Skylar Mays and Shaquille Harrison to fortify their standard roster. However, hardship signings can only be 10-day deals, so the team couldn’t give Williams a two-year contract without waiving someone on a rest-of-season deal.

Micah Potter Signs Two-Way Contract With Jazz

OCTOBER 12: Potter has officially signed his two-way contract with the Jazz, who waived Jeenathan Williams to open up a spot on the 20-man preseason roster, the team announced today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 20: The Jazz will sign center Micah Potter to a two-way deal, Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic report (via Twitter).

Utah had a two-way slot open and won’t need to make a corresponding roster move. Johnny Juzang holds the other two-way contract.

The Pistons waived Potter last week just days after officially signing him. He seemed likely to begin the season with the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ NBAGL team, since the Motor City Cruise previously acquired his returning rights from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s affiliate.

However, Potter obviously found a better opportunity.

Potter, 24, initially signed an Exhibit 10 contract with Miami last fall after going undrafted out of Wisconsin. He was released before the regular season began and spent most of his rookie year with the Skyforce, averaging 17.2 PPG and 9.8 RPG on .539/.445/.731 shooting in 33 NBAGL games (28.8 MPG).

Potter’s strong performance at the G League level earned him a brief look at the NBA level. The Pistons signed him to a 10-day contract in December. He appeared in three regular season contests, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 31 total minutes.

Jazz Sign Jeenathan Williams To Exhibit 10 Deal

OCTOBER 11: Williams’ signing is now official, the Jazz confirmed in a press release. To make room on the roster, Utah has waived guard Darryl Morsell, who signed with the team on Sunday.

JUNE 27: The Jazz and free agent swingman Jeenathan Williams have agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal, sources tell Jon Chepkevich of Rookie Scale (Twitter link).

Williams, who declared for the draft this spring following his fourth college season, earned All-MAC First Team honors in 2022 after making the Second Team in 2021.

The undrafted rookie out of Buffalo averaged 18.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game in 54 contests (31.8 MPG) over his last two seasons. He also shot an impressive 42.5% on three-pointers during that time.

As Chepkevich notes, Williams stands at 6’6″ but has a seven-foot wingspan.

Exhibit 10 deals are non-guaranteed pacts that can be converted into two-way contracts before the regular season begins. They also allow a player to earn a bonus of up to $50K if he’s waived before the season and joins his team’s G League affiliate.

Pacific Notes: Murray, Lakers Workout, Kuminga, Moody, Warriors’ Pick

Jaden Ivey, the top rated point guard in the draft, hasn’t worked out for the Kings, who hold the fourth overall pick. It may be a moot point, as Sacramento’s brass is high on Iowa forward Keegan Murray, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The Kings arranged for the prospect to have dinner with the team stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, during his visit. Murray was one of top scorers in Division I last season at 23.5 PPG along with 8.7 RPG.

If he’s selected fourth overall, Murray could slot into the Kings’ frontcourt alongside Sabonis and Harrison Barnes.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers continued to do their homework despite not owning a draft pick, as they worked out six prospects on Monday, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That group included Javante McCoy (Boston University), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Khalifa Diop (Gran Canaria), Jeenathan Williams (Buffalo), Malik Osborne (Florida State) and Danko Brankovic (Cibona).
  • Lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody got the rare experience of playing on a championship team in their first year. Though they didn’t play large roles in the postseason, the Warriors rookies got invaluable experience as their playing time grows in future seasons, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. “I never really worry about whether we’re playing, not playing,” Kuminga said. “As long as I’m still here, learning, getting better every day. When my moments get called, I know I’ll be ready. … Everybody here [is] just helping me, way more than dudes [other rookies around the league] are, wherever they are right now.”
  • The Warriors hold the No. 28 pick but they might not add an rookie, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. The Warriors are looking to trade the pick, in part because of their huge payroll and also because they’ve already got a trio of young players — James Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody — fighting for rotation minutes next season.

Draft Workout Notes: Kings, Wizards, Wolves, Jazz, More

The Kings hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team announced (Twitter links).

The Tuesday group featured Trey McGowens, Ziga Samar, Ron Harper Jr., Brady Manek and Dallas Walton. Wednesday’s group was Jacob Gilyard, Fatts Russell, Yoan Makoundou, Karlo Matkovic, Yannick Nzosa and Kai Sotto.

The Kings control the fourth, 37th and 49th picks in the 2022 draft, and a handful of those players could be targets with one of those second-round picks. Nzosa, Samar, Harper and Matkovic are ranked between 53rd and 58th on ESPN’s big board.

Here are more workout-related notes from around the NBA: