When he signed a two-way contract with the Grizzlies on Thursday, No. 45 pick overall pick GG Jackson became the 54th player selected in the 2023 draft to sign with his NBA team. Two of the 60 picks in this year’s draft were forfeited, which means there are just four players who have yet to sign NBA contracts.
As our tracker shows, those players are as follows:
- Charlotte Hornets: James Nnaji, C
- Washington Wizards: Tristan Vukcevic, F
- Indiana Pacers: Mojave King, G
- Memphis Grizzlies: Tarik Biberovic, G/F
It seems safe to assume we won’t see King and Biberovic in the NBA this season. Reports during or shortly after the draft indicated that they’ll be draft-and-stash prospects who will continue to hone their skills in international leagues while the Pacers and Grizzlies, respectively, control their NBA rights.
It’s possible that Nnaji and Vukcevic will take a similar path, but that has not yet been confirmed.
Speaking in July to Tony Canyameras of Mundo Deportivo (translation via Eurohoops), Nnaji said his expectation at that point was that he’d spend another season in Europe with FC Barcelona, but his future remained up in the air.
“We have to see how everything goes. The circumstances depend on what happens in the Summer League. But for now, I would say yes,” Nnaji said of returning to Barcelona.
The Hornets currently only have 13 players on guaranteed salaries for 2023/24, so they’d have room on their roster to add Nnaji if they want to.
But Frank Ntilikina, who has a $200K partial guarantee, looks like a good bet to be the 14th man, while JT Thor (non-guaranteed contract) and Theo Maledon (two-way RFA) are candidates for the 15th spot. So Charlotte has options and may prefer to wait a year on the 19-year-old Nnaji, who could use another developmental season in Spain.
As for Vukcevic, Christos Tsaltas of Sportal.gr (Twitter link) reported in mid-August that there’s a “strong possibility” the 42nd overall pick will remain with overseas for 2023/24. He’s under contract with Partizan Belgrade, though there were rumors in July that the Serbian club was considering loaning him to Greek team Peristeri BC.
Like Nnaji, Vukcevic isn’t locked into a plan for next season yet, but it would make sense for the 20-year-old to spend at least one more season in Europe, despite his desire to come stateside right away. The Wizards currently have 16 players on guaranteed contracts, so their standard roster is already pretty crowded. And they wouldn’t be permitted to sign him to a two-way deal if they were to buy him out from Partizan.
We’ll wait for further clarity on the plans for Nnaji and Vukcevic, but it’s possible that Jackson’s deal with the Grizzlies will be the last contract signed by a 2023 NBA draft pick before the ’23/24 season begins.