Luka Samanic

Jazz Notes: Hendricks, Markkanen, Samanic, Injuries

The Jazz have been patiently developing their No. 9 overall pick in the 2023 draft, Taylor Hendricks, which resulted in a slow start to his career — he only played in one game prior to Dec. 2. However, Hendricks has seen playing time in nine of Utah’s last 10 games, averaging 6.3 points per night.

Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscriber link) spoke to the 20-year-old rookie, whose role has grown due to injuries to Utah’s rotation and his own development through time in the G League.

It was kind of up and down,” Hendricks said of the start to his career. “I’ll just start from the beginning. Obviously, starting with the injury, kind of being behind, and then starting the season off in the G League — that was pretty hard for me mentally. That first week, it was tough; I was trying to tell myself, ‘This is for the best.’ Once I figured it out, that I can use this to my advantage, everything started to work in my favor.

When I got called up, then I was ready because of the mindset I had when I was in the G League. I’m still trying to get better, still trying to improve. I’m not perfect.

Walden speaks to Hendricks about a myriad of topics, including learning Utah’s system, improving both offensively and defensively, and what aspect of his game he’d like to work on most.

The best thing you can feel is you can help a team win,” Hendricks said. “I feel that I do that, I help this team win. That’s all you can ask for.

We have more from the Jazz:

  • Recent rumors indicated that opposing teams have been monitoring what it would take to acquire Jazz star Lauri Markkanen. Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune (Subscriber link) reviews the situation and confirms that Markkanen would like to stay with Utah. Larsen also writes that the Jazz have a star player, coaching staff and front office in alignment on a competitive timeline, which is rare and should be savored. “He knows what I believe in. He believes in the same things,” head coach Will Hardy said. “We’re really in lockstep in this whole thing — we both want the same thing for the Utah Jazz.
  • Forward Luka Samanic hasn’t played much for the Jazz this season, appearing in just 13 games. However, he found a way to make an impact in the second half of Utah’s win over the Pistons on Thursday night, drawing unprompted praise from Hardy, who specifically singled him out for staying ready and making the most of his opportunity, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. “His impact on the game was much bigger than his stat line,” Hardy said. “To give us 10 really good minutes in the second half, in an important part of the game, after not playing meaningful minutes for a long time, I think speaks to him and his growth as a young pro.” The 23-year-old forward was the 19th pick in the 2019 draft by the Spurs but bounced around after that before landing with the Jazz. His deal is currently partially guaranteed for $600K, but becomes fully guaranteed for roughly $2.1MM if he’s on the roster beyond January 7.
  • Keyonte George remains out for the Jazz, but Jordan Clarkson and Talen Horton-Tucker are both questionable for Utah’s Saturday night game against the Raptors, Larsen tweets. Clarkson hasn’t played since Dec. 11, while Horton-Tucker missed his first game of the season Thursday against Detroit.

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.

Contract Details: Samanic, Carey, Lakers, Cauley-Stein, More

The Jazz used a portion of their mid-level exception to give Luka Samanic a rest-of-season salary of $432,795 on his new two-year deal, Hoops Rumors has learned. A minimum salary for 2022/23 for the final three days of the season would have paid Samanic just $32,795, so Utah took advantage of its flexibility with the MLE to give him significantly more than that.

In return, the Jazz will have Samanic under contract for a non-guaranteed minimum salary in 2023/24. His $2.07MM cap hit would become partially guaranteed for $400K if he isn’t waived on or before July 18. That partial guarantee would increase to $600K after October 23.

Vernon Carey Jr., the other player who signed with the Jazz during the season’s final weekend, also got a portion of the team’s mid-level exception, receiving $100K for the end of the 2022/23 season. Like Samanic, Carey has a non-guaranteed minimum salary for 2023/24 on his new deal. He doesn’t have any offseason guarantee dates, but would be assured of receiving his full ’23/24 salary (approximately $2MM) if he remains under contract through October 23.

We have a few more details on recently signed contracts:

  • Both Tristan Thompson and Shaquille Harrison signed minimum-salary contracts with the Lakers, but Thompson’s deal only covers the rest of this season, while Harrison’s includes a non-guaranteed salary for 2023/24.
  • The contract that Willie Cauley-Stein signed with the Rockets on the final day of the regular season was just a one-year deal, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent again this summer.
  • Kobi Simmons received a two-year, minimum-salary deal with a non-guaranteed 2023/24 salary when he was promoted to the Hornets‘ standard roster from his two-way contract.
  • The two-way contracts recently signed by RaiQuan Gray (Nets), Dereon Seabron (Pelicans), Jacob Gilyard (Grizzlies), and Xavier Sneed (Hornets) all include a second year.

Luka Samanic Signs Multiyear Deal With Jazz

APRIL 7: Samanic’s new contract with the Jazz is official, the team announced in a press release.

APRIL 6: Jazz power forward Luka Samanic has agreed to a deal with Utah that will run through the 2023/24 season, Samanic’s agents Mark Bartelstein and George Roussakis inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Samanic is on the final day of a 10-day deal with Utah. According to Wojnarowski, the forward’s new agreement with the team includes some level of guaranteed salary for next season and trigger dates for his money to become fully guaranteed.

Even with Samanic joining the team for the rest of the season and potentially next year, the Jazz still have 14 of their 15 standard roster spots filled. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Utah is one of just five NBA clubs who still possess a roster opening.

Selected with the No. 19 pick by the Spurs during the 2019 draft, Samanic spent two seasons in San Antonio, but failed to make much of an impact. He had been out of the league before inking his 10-day contract with Utah in March.

Across four games with the Jazz so far, Samanic is averaging career highs of 7.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 0.8 SPG, plus 1.8 APG, in 17.5 MPG.

Northwest Notes: Reid, Towns, Conley, Lillard, Samanic

Naz Reid is a perfect component in the free-wheeling offense that Timberwolves coach Chris Finch prefers, and his absence was evident in Friday’s loss to the Lakers, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Reid is expected to undergo surgery and miss six weeks after fracturing his left wrist this week.

Finch said the offense lacked “flow” without Reid, who had averaged 18.1 PPG over his last eight games. The team missed Reid’s quick decision-making, Hine notes, and shot just 32% from the field in the second half as it dropped an important game to a rival in the Western Conference playoff race.

The loss of Reid comes while Minnesota is still adjusting to Karl-Anthony Towns, who returned to action 10 days ago. Finch believes the Wolves may be trying to force the ball to Towns too often, and Mike Conley has been working individually with Towns to find the best way to integrate him into the offense.

“Having him back in the mix and him implementing into what we’re already doing is, I wouldn’t say challenging, but it’s the obstacle that we’re trying to (overcome),” Conley said. “How can we get us to space the floor properly. How can we cut? What plays? Plays change when you bring a guy like KAT in. Stuff that we run for him now as opposed to we weren’t running those plays before, so it’s just finding the balance.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Conley talks about the challenges he faced after being traded in midseason for the first time in his career. Although Conley has stabilized the Timberwolves since being acquired from the Jazz in February, he rarely gets to see his wife and three young sons, who are still living in Utah.
  • Appearing Friday on the Dan Patrick Show (video link), Damian Lillard said the Trail Blazers made the choice to shut him down for the rest of the season (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). “I wouldn’t say it’s my decision at all,” said Lillard, who appeared in 58 games this season. “I think maybe the team protecting me from myself. … Every time that I’ve had some type injury like that kind of get irritated or aggravated or something like that, it’s come from just like a heavy load, and stress, and just, you know, going out there and trying to go above and beyond. So, you know, I would say just; there is something there, and also them just trying to protect me from myself as well.” Lillard also reiterated his loyalty to the organization, saying he’s still determined to bring a title to Portland.
  • Luka Samanic is grateful to get another shot at the NBA with the Jazz, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Before signing a 10-day contract with Utah, the former first-round pick hadn’t appeared in an NBA game since the Spurs waived him before the start of last season.

Jazz Sign Luka Samanic To 10-Day Deal

2:39pm: The Jazz have officially signed Samanic to his 10-day deal, the team announced today in a press release.

Brantley informed reporters that he isn’t getting a second 10-day contract from the Jazz, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. So the team still has one spot open on its 15-man roster.

10:05am: Big man Luka Samanic has agreed to sign a 10-day contract with the Jazz, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 19th overall pick in 2019, Samanic appeared in just 36 games in his first two NBA seasons with the Spurs, then was waived by San Antonio prior to the 2021/22 season. The Croatian spent much of last season on a two-way deal with New York, but didn’t appear in a game at the NBA level for the Knicks.

Samanic was in training camp with the Celtics this past fall, and while he didn’t earn a spot on Boston’s regular season roster, he became a key contributor for the Maine Celtics in the G League. The 23-year-old averaged a double-double (20.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG) in 17 Showcase Cup games and has carried his strong play over to the NBAGL regular season, putting up 22.0 PPG and 8.1 RPG in 27 contests (29.3 MPG).

The Jazz haven’t had a full roster in recent weeks and actually dipped to 13 players on standard contracts on Tuesday following the expiration of Jarrell Brantley‘s 10-day deal. If Brantley isn’t re-signed, Utah will still have a roster opening after officially adding Samanic.

Samanic will earn $109,318 on his 10-day contract with the Jazz. Assuming he puts pen to paper on Tuesday or Wednesday, his deal will cover Utah’s next five games.

Celtics Waive Luka Samanic, Sign A.J. Reeves

OCTOBER 11: Reeves has officially signed his Exhibit 10 deal with the Celtics, tweets Weiss.

OCTOBER 10: The Celtics have waived big man Luka Samanic, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. In a corresponding move, they’re adding guard A.J. Reeves on an Exhibit 10 contract, Adam Zagoria tweets.

Boston signed Samanic to a non-guaranteed training camp deal in late September. It’s likely he’ll join the Maine Celtics of the G League once he clears waivers.

Reeves went undrafted after playing four seasons at Providence, where he averaged 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 25.3 MPG last season in 28 games.

Reeves will likely hit the waiver wire soon and join the Maine club, where he could earn a bonus up to $50K if he sticks there for 60 days.

The No. 19 pick in the 2019 draft, Samanic appeared in 36 games with the Spurs during his first two NBA seasons, averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.2 RPG on .430/.294/.576 shooting in 9.9 minutes per contest. He was waived by San Antonio before his third season and spent most of 2021/22 on a two-way deal with the Knicks before being cut in March.

Samanic was affected by plantar fasciitis last season and didn’t play for the Knicks. He appeared in eight total contests for the Westchester Knicks in the G League and put up big numbers, averaging 27.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 3.4 APG.

Celtics Sign Luka Samanic To Camp Deal

The Celtics have officially signed free agent big man Luka Samanic to a contract, according to the NBA transaction log at It’s a non-guaranteed training camp deal for Samanic, per Bobby Manning of CLNS Media (Twitter link), who first reported the agreement.

The No. 19 pick in the 2019 draft, Samanic appeared in 36 games with the Spurs during his first two NBA seasons, averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.2 RPG on .430/.294/.576 shooting in 9.9 minutes per contest. He was waived by San Antonio before his third season and spent most of 2021/22 on a two-way deal with the Knicks before being cut in March.

Samanic was affected by plantar fasciitis last season and didn’t play in a single NBA game for New York. He appeared in eight total contests for the Westchester Knicks in the G League and put up big numbers, averaging 27.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 3.4 APG with an impressive shooting line of .545/.367/.870 in 32.3 MPG.

The Celtics now have 19 players officially under contract with training camp around the corner. Samanic will likely be among the camp invitees vying for one of the back-end spots on the team’s regular season roster. Noah Vonleh, Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, and Denzel Valentine are also in that mix.

Boston’s need for reliable frontcourt depth has increased in recent weeks due to Danilo Gallinari‘s torn ACL and Robert Williams‘ recurring knee issues.

Knicks Sign Feron Hunt To Two-Way Deal

MARCH 18: The Knicks have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed Hunt to a two-way contract.

MARCH 17: The Knicks plan to sign Feron Hunt of the G League to a two-way contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

In order to sign Hunt, the Knicks have waived forward Luka Samanic, the team’s PR department tweets. Samanic is out for the remainder of the season with a left heel injury.

Hunt 22, went undrafted in 2021 after three collegiate seasons at SMU. He was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract by the Mavericks during training camp, but was waived before the season started. The 6’8″ forward signed a 10-day hardship deal with the Pelicans in December, but didn’t receive any NBA playing time.

Through 37 games (35.2 MPG) with the Texas Legends, Dallas’ affiliate, Hunt is averaging 17.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.4 SPG and 1.1 BPG on .547/.361/.737 shooting.

Samanic was the 19th overall pick of the 2019 draft by the Spurs, who waived him in October of 2021, just before the season started. The 22-year-old Croatian appeared in 36 total games as a Spur, averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.2 RPG on .430/.294/.576 shooting in 9.9 MPG.

He caught on with the Knicks a handful of days later, signing a two-way contract. He hasn’t made an NBA appearance for New York and only played two games for its G League affiliate in Westchester, averaging 26.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 2.0 BPG on .524/.125/.667 shooting.

Marc Berman of The New York Post says (via Twitter) Samanic’s heel injury is plantar fasciitis, noting the young forward has only played once in the past nine weeks.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Rose, Barrett, Noel, Samanic

In their last game before the All-Star break, the Knicks had one of their worst losses of the season, letting a 28-point lead slip away against a Brooklyn team that was playing without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News contends that the ugly loss will only intensify the scrutiny on head coach Tom Thibodeau, who mismanaged his timeouts earlier in the week against Oklahoma City and faced criticism for keeping RJ Barrett on the court in the final moments of an out-of-reach game last Tuesday (Barrett injured his ankle with less than a minute left and the Knicks down by 15).

While Bondy says “the temperature on the coach’s seat only got hotter” on Wednesday, forward Julius Randle dismissed the idea that the players are tuning out Thibodeau’s message.

“Coach is amazing. I’m riding with Coach every day,” Randle told reporters after the game (video link via Ian Begley of “He challenges us and prepares us very well every day. His message is still ringing clear in the locker room. We’ve just got to execute.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • There’s optimism that point guard Derrick Rose will be able to return to action for the Knicks immediately after the All-Star break next week, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Rose has been unavailable since December 16 due to an ankle injury, but Wojnarowski says it looks like the former MVP should play next Friday vs. Miami, barring any setbacks.
  • Thibodeau expressed confidence on Wednesday that Barrett will return right after the All-Star break too, telling reporters that the forward was “pretty close” to being ready but that the team wanted to give him an extra week to get back to 100%, per Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • The prognosis wasn’t as positive for Nerlens Noel, who has been bothered this season by knee soreness and has missed the team’s last five games. Asked if Noel may ultimately require surgery, Thibodeau didn’t rule out the possibility, as Popper relays. “Yeah, it’s ongoing, so they’re checking that,” Thibodeau said. “Hopefully it responds better as we go.”
  • Thibodeau is viewing the All-Star break as a “chance to reboot” for the Knicks, according to Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. “Everything is on the table now. Everything has to be merit-based. You earn what you get,” the head coach said. “You look at everything. How are we going to manage this. If a guy is playing good, he plays. If the team is functioning well he should play. The team has to come first for everyone.”
  • The Knicks’ signing of Luka Samanic to a two-way contract hasn’t worked out, as the big man’s season has been marred by a left heel injury, Marc Berman writes for The New York Post. With Samanic still sidelined, it’s unclear if the team will consider making a change to that two-way slot for the rest of the season, says Berman.