Miye Oni

Magic, Miye Oni Agree To Deal

The Magic have reached an agreement on a one-year contract with free agent wing Miye Oni, reports Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).

According to Beede, it will be a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 agreement. A contract with Exhibit 10 language can be converted to a two-way deal or can put a player in line for a bonus worth up to $75K if he’s waived in the preseason and then spends at least 60 days with his team’s G League affiliate.

A former Yale standout who was drafted 58th overall in 2019, Oni appeared in 80 games for the Jazz across three seasons from 2019-22, but never developed into a consistent, reliable NBA rotation player. He averaged just 1.8 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 8.4 minutes per contest in those three years.

Oni, 26, was traded in January 2022 from the Jazz to the Thunder, who subsequently waived him. He signed a 10-day hardship contract with New Orleans later that season, but didn’t appear in a game for the Pelicans.

After reaching free agency last summer, Oni signed with the London Lions of the British Basketball League and had a strong season in England, helping the Lions claim a BBL championship and a spot in the EuroCup playoffs.

Orlando currently has 17 players under contract — 14 on guaranteed contracts, one (Jonathan Isaac) on a partially guaranteed deal, and a pair on two-way pacts. The Magic also haven’t yet completed a reported training camp deal with Trevelin Queen. Signing Queen and Oni would increase their roster count to 19 players, two shy of the offseason limit.

Miye Oni Signs With London Lions

Former Jazz swingman Miye Oni is resuming his career overseas, having signed with the London Lions, the British team announced today in a press release.

Marc Stein first reported (via Twitter) that Oni and the Lions had an agreement in place, noting that the 25-year-old wing will become the third NBA veteran on London’s roster. Forward Sam Dekker and center Kosta Koufos also currently play for the Lions.

A former Yale standout who was drafted 58th overall in 2019, Oni appeared in 80 games for the Jazz across three seasons from 2019-22, but never developed into a consistent, reliable rotation player. He averaged just 1.8 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 8.4 minutes per contest in those three years.

Oni was traded this past January from the Jazz to the Thunder, who subsequently waived him. He signed a 10-day hardship contract with New Orleans in February, but didn’t appear in a game for the Pelicans and has been a free agent since then.

Oni’s new team competes in the British Basketball League and the EuroCup. The Lions currently have a 7-2 record in BBL play, putting them atop the league. They’re off to a slower start in EuroCup play, having lost three of their first four games.

Lakers Work Out Several Veteran Free Agents

SEPTEMBER 18: Thomas disputed the claim that he participated in the Lakers’ workout, posting a tweet stating that he didn’t work out for the club.

SEPTEMBER 17: Isaiah Thomas was among several free agents who worked out recently for the Lakers, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The 33-year-old guard is looking for his next team after finishing last season with the Hornets.

If Thomas earns a roster spot, it would mark his third stint with the organization. He signed a 10-day contract with L.A. under the hardship provision last December, appearing in four games and averaging 9.3 PPG in 25.3 minutes per night. Thomas also played 17 games with the Lakers during the 2017/18 season.

A report in July indicated that the Hornets still had some interest in bringing back Thomas, who signed a rest-of-the-season contract after joining the team on a pair of 10-day deals in March. Charlotte currently has two openings on its offseason roster.

Armoni Brooks, Sharife Cooper and Mychal Mulder took part in the workout as well, according to Scotto. He also identifies Shabazz Muhammad, Jeremy Lamb, Dwayne Bacon and Miye Oni as participants (Twitter link).

L.A. currently has one opening on its 20-man roster, but it’s a long shot for any of these players to be with the team once the season begins. Luxury tax penalties would cost the Lakers about $7MM to fill their final roster spot, so they will likely operate with 14 players for most of the season. Friday’s signing of Dennis Schröder gives them 12 fully guaranteed contracts, while Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel are on non-guaranteed deals.

Warriors Working Out Ben McLemore, Elfrid Payton, Others

The Warriors are bringing in a number of veteran free agents this week for workouts, league sources tell Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

According to Charania and Slater, some of the free agents taking part in the workouts are Ben McLemore, Elfrid Payton, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kenneth Faried, Miye Oni, Ty-Shon Alexander, Wesley Saunders, and Jon Axel Gudmundsson.

Golden State also held similar free agent workouts in August, according to Charania and Slater, who say that Shabazz Muhammad, Solomon Hill, Tyler Cook, and Kelan Martin were among the players who participated in those sessions about two weeks ago.

The purpose of this week’s workouts is twofold — as Tim Kawakami of The Athletic tweets, the players currently on the Warriors’ roster are beginning their informal pre-camp work at the team’s facility this week, so the free agents who join them will help ensure there are enough bodies to play 5-on-5 scrimmages. Additionally, there’s an expectation that the Warriors could sign one or more of the auditioning veterans to their 20-man training camp roster, per Charania and Slater.

Golden State currently has 18 players under contract (13 on guaranteed standard deals), with Jerome Robinson expected to be the 19th. That leaves one spot available for now.

Andre Iguodala has yet to decide whether he’ll retire or return to the Warriors for another season, so it’s possible he could fill that 20th and final roster spot (and become the 14th man on the team’s projected regular season roster). Robinson, Mac McClung, Pat Spencer, and Trevion Williams are among the camp invitees who could compete for a place on the 15-man regular season roster, especially if Iguodala doesn’t return.

Charania and Slater also note that that, while Lester Quinones and Quinndary Weatherspoon are currently on two-way deals, those roster spots are flexible. According to The Athletic’s duo, the Warriors are high on Weatherspoon, who is a candidate to join the 15-man roster either this fall or later in the season

Pelicans Sign Zylan Cheatham, Miye Oni To 10-Day Deals

The Pelicans have signed Zylan Cheatham and Miye Oni to 10-day contracts via a hardship exception, the team announced in a press release.

The Pelicans currently have three players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per our tracker, making the signings possible. New Orleans subsequently announced (via Twitter) that Cheatham has been assigned to the Birmingham Squadron, the team’s G League affiliate.

Cheatham, who went undrafted out of Arizona State in 2019, spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with the Pelicans. However, he appeared in just four NBA games for the club and was sent to Oklahoma City in a sign-and-trade for salary-matching purposes during the 2020 offseason.

He spent most of this season in the G League, splitting time with the Salt Lake City Stars and the Birmingham Squadron. Through 12 GL games (31.1 MPG), he averaged 15.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.2 BPG on .571/.364/.733 shooting.

That performance earned Cheatham a 10-day contract with Miami just before Christmas, but he didn’t play at all for the Heat and entered the COVID-19 protocols before his deal expired. He has since cleared the protocols. A couple weeks later, he signed a 10-day hardship deal with Utah, appearing in one game for five minutes. His contract with Utah expired January 21.

Oni, 24, appeared in 80 games for the Jazz across three seasons, but never developed into a consistent, reliable rotation player. He averaged just 1.8 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 8.4 minutes per contest in those three years.

Utah sent Oni to Oklahoma City last month in order to reduce their projected end-of-season luxury tax payment. The Thunder were incentivized to make the deal because they got a future second-round pick out of it, but Oni wasn’t part of their on-court plans, so they ended up waiving him. After he cleared waivers, he became an unrestricted free agent.

Due to the deals coming via a hardship exception, they won’t count towards the Pelicans’ team salary for salary cap or luxury tax purposes.

Thunder Officially Waive Miye Oni

The Thunder have officially waived forward Miye Oni, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. The move had been expected ever since Oklahoma City acquired Oni in a salary-dump deal on Tuesday, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported at the time that he would be released.

Oni, 24, appeared in 80 games for the Jazz across three seasons, but never developed into a consistent, reliable rotation player. He averaged just 1.8 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 8.4 minutes per contest in those three years.

Utah sent Oni to Oklahoma City earlier this week in order to reduce their projected end-of-season luxury tax payment. The Thunder were incentivized to make the deal because they got a future second-round pick out of it, but Oni wasn’t part of their on-court plans.

Assuming Oni goes unclaimed on waivers, the Thunder will carry a dead-money cap hit of $850,331 for a prorated portion of his minimum salary. The 24-year-old would be eligible to sign as a free agent with any NBA team except the Jazz, who wouldn’t be able to immediately re-add him after trading him to OKC.

Jazz/Thunder Trade Notes: Draft Pick, Cash, Deck

The 2028 second-round pick the Thunder acquired from the Jazz in Tuesday’s Miye Oni trade was technically already owed to Oklahoma City conditionally, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter).

When the Jazz sent Derrick Favors to the Thunder in an offseason deal, Utah included a top-10 protected 2024 first-round pick. If that pick falls in its protected range, the Jazz would instead owe the Thunder their top-10 protected first-round pick pick in 2025. If it still hasn’t changed hands by that point, it would become a top-eight protected 2026 first-rounder.

The conditions of the Favors trade called for the Thunder to get Utah’s 2028 second-round pick if that first-rounder fell in its protected range all three years. Now, Oklahoma City will receive the pick unconditionally. If the Jazz’s 2024 first-rounder isn’t conveyed after 2026, the Thunder will instead receive $890K in cash, according to Marks.

Here’s more on the Jazz/Thunder swap:

  • The Thunder sent $1MM in cash to Utah as part of the trade, according to Marks. So not only did the Jazz avoid having Oni’s dead money increase their year-end tax bill — they also received more than enough cash to cover the prorated salary they’d already paid him this season.
  • The Thunder, who had to waive Gabriel Deck to make room on their roster for Oni, will carry a cap hit of $1,690,507 in dead money for Deck. His $3,676,852 salary wasn’t guaranteed, but Oklahoma City paid him a portion of that figure prorated across 80 days.
  • Sarah Todd of The Deseret News considers how trading away Oni and creating another opening on the roster could affect the Jazz’s plans on the trade market in the coming weeks.

Jazz Trade Miye Oni, Second-Round Pick To Thunder

4:51pm: In a press release, the Thunder have confirmed their trade to acquire Oni and the Jazz’s 2028 second-round pick, in addition to the release of Deck. Utah acquired cash in return, according to the announcement.

3:03pm: The Jazz are finalizing an agreement with the Thunder on a trade that will send swingman Miye Oni to Oklahoma City, according to Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Thunder will also receive Utah’s 2028 second-round pick in the deal, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Oni doesn’t have a fully guaranteed salary for the 2021/22 season, so he can be waived by Friday without his entire $1,782,621 cap hit applying to team salary. Presumably, the Jazz planned to part ways with Oni before Friday’s salary guarantee deadline and will trade him instead of cutting him so that his cap hit won’t apply to team salary at all for cap or tax purposes.

If Utah had released him, Oni would’ve counted against the cap for a prorated portion of his minimum salary — that amount (about $820K as of Monday) would’ve further increased the team’s end-of-season tax penalty. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), the Jazz’s projected tax bill would’ve been about $2.4MM higher if Oni had been waived rather than traded.

Instead, the Thunder will be the ones releasing Oni, according to Wojnarowski. They’re well below the salary floor despite technically operating over the cap, so adding a little dead money to their cap is well worth it to acquire a future second-round pick.

With no players headed from Oklahoma City to Utah in the swap, the Jazz will open up a second spot on their 15-man roster, which they’ll have to fill within the next two weeks.

The Thunder will have to waive someone in order to make room on the roster for Oni, even though they don’t plan to keep him. Gabriel Deck, who has a partially guaranteed salary, will be the odd man out in OKC, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Once they officially release Deck and then acquire and waive Oni, the Thunder will have an opening on their 15-man roster too.

Since Oni is in the final season of a three-year contract, he can’t be acquired using the minimum salary exception, so the Thunder will have to use a traded player exception to absorb his salary. They have two sizeable TPEs expiring next month that would work.

The Jazz will create a small traded player exception worth a prorated portion of Oni’s salary in the deal.

Eight Current NBA Players On Nigeria’s 12-Man Olympic Roster

After making some noise in the exhibition schedule by upsetting Team USA, Nigeria will be looking to become the first African men’s basketball team to win an Olympic medal. And they’ll be doing so with a roster that features eight current NBA players, along with one former NBA player.

Here’s the 12-man squad that will represent Nigeria at the Tokyo games, per the Nigeria Basketball Federation (Twitter link):

Achiuwa, Nwora, Okafor, Okogie, and Okpala are all on guaranteed contracts for next season with their respective teams. Metu and Oni are on non-guaranteed deals, while Vincent will be eligible for restricted free agency after finishing the season on a two-way pact. Udoh, a former sixth overall pick who just finalized a two-year deal with Italian club Virtus Bologna, has appeared in a total of 400 NBA games (regular season and postseason)

While the Nigerian squad isn’t exactly loaded with star power, it’s worth highlighting since it’s rare for any country besides Team USA to send so many current NBA players to the Olympics.

Australia’s team will have seven players who finished the season on NBA rosters, while Spain’s roster features 10 players with at least some NBA experience. But the U.S. team is the only other one in Tokyo that will feature at least eight current NBAers.

Olympic Notes: Nigeria, Morris, Nnaji, Team USA

The Nigerian national team, having originally invited more than 40 players to its training camp, has trimmed its roster to 15 players, according to an announcement earlier in the week (Twitter link).

Three more cuts will be required to set the official roster for the Tokyo Olympics, but it appears there will be no shortage of NBA players on the 12-man squad. Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, Miye Oni, Josh Okogie, Jordan Nwora, Chimezie Metu, Jahlil Okafor, and Gabe Vincent remain in the mix for the final roster.

One notable player missing from that list is Monte Morris. According to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link), the Nuggets guard has been bothered by a nagging knee injury and wants to focus on getting fully healthy for the 2021/22 season. He’s sitting out of the Olympics for precautionary reasons.

Nuggets forward Zeke Nnaji received consideration for Team Nigeria as well, according to Singer (Twitter link), but the 2020 first-rounder decided to focus on individual development this season. Nnaji has interest in representing Nigeria in future international competitions, Singer notes.

Here’s more on the Tokyo games:

  • Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said on Wednesday that he has yet to decide on a captain for the U.S. squad (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press). Given his résumé, his veteran status, and his previous international experience, Kevin Durant seems like the most obvious choice, though Draymond Green and Damian Lillard could also be candidates.
  • Asked how likely it is that members of the U.S. Olympic squad will talk during the next month about teaming up in the NBA, Bradley Beal acknowledged that “probably a lot” of those conversations will take place. “Depends on who’s a free agent or not,” Beal said (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic). “But for the most part, we can’t mix that in right now. We’re focused on one goal at hand, and that’s bringing back a gold medal. Granted, we all have our respective, individual goals and talents once this is done. We can address those issues then.”
  • Organizers confirmed on Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases in the area. Ayano Shimizu of Kyodo News has the full story.