Neemias Queta

Celtics Notes: Rivers, Brogdon, Tatum, Queta

Free agent guard Austin Rivers is interested in signing with the Celtics before the start of training camp, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Appearing on a podcast with Bill Simmons of The Ringer, Rivers revealed that he recently reached out to the team to see if there’s a spot open for him.

“I had a great talk with (president of basketball operations) Brad (Stevens) actually like a week ago,” Rivers said.

Boston may have a need for backcourt depth after sending Marcus Smart to Memphis in a three-team deal to acquire Kristaps Porzingis. Payton Pritchard expects to see more playing time, and the Celtics added free agents Svi Mykhailiuk and Dalano Banton, but there’s no one who can fill Smart’s role as a veteran leader.

“That’s why I called (Brad),” Rivers said. “I told him I’d love to be a part of the team. He said a lot of positive things. We’ll see if that’s something that will come to fruition. I’ve always loved Brad. I’ve always been a fan of him.”

The 31-year-old combo guard spent last season with the Timberwolves, averaging 4.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 52 games.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Any “bad feelings” that Malcolm Brogdon has toward the team aren’t related to his near inclusion in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN said on “NBA Today” (video link). She suggests the dispute is related to the “golfer’s elbow” injury that Brogdon suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals. Brogdon elected not to have surgery during the summer, and Shelburne indicated there are questions about when he’ll be available for the upcoming season.
  • With Smart gone, Jayson Tatum will spend more time running the offense this season, Shelburne adds in the same segment. She points out that Tatum frequently filled that role in the playoffs, averaging 5.3 assists in 20 postseason games. In a look at Boston’s projected starting lineup, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said he expects Al Horford to be in the middle alongside Tatum and Porzingis, with Robert Williams coming off the bench.
  • Paul Pierce tells Conor Ryan of The Boston Globe that Celtics assistant coach Sam Cassell got him involved in summer workouts with Tatum. Pierce attended numerous sessions with Tatum in Los Angeles, offering advice and joining him on the court. “He’s one of the top five players in the league, so it’s an honor to be there and see him go through his journey to see him get ready,” Pierce said. “I’m there really on some support, just to see his growth. He’s already at the top of the food chain, so I’m just part of being a support system.”
  • Neemias Queta‘s two-way deal with the Celtics covers only the 2023/24 season, Hoops Rumors has learned. Queta will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer if he plays out the contract.

Neemias Queta Signs Two-Way Deal With Celtics

SEPTEMBER 19: The Celtics have officially signed Queta to a two-way contract, the team announced on Tuesday in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 16: Free agent center Neemias Queta is signing a two-way contract with the Celtics, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link).

Queta played three college seasons at Utah State before Sacramento drafted him 39th overall in 2021. He spent his first two professional seasons with the Kings on two-way contracts, appearing in 20 total NBA games for an average of 7.5 MPG.

While his role with the Kings was modest, Queta excelled in the G League with their affiliate in Stockton. In 2022/23, he earned a spot on the All-NBAGL First Team and finishing second in MVP voting. He averaged 16.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.9 BPG in 27.7 MPG across 29 regular season appearances for the Stockton Kings.

Queta, who is the NBA’s first player from Portugal, was a restricted free this summer. He ultimately signed a partially guaranteed two-year deal to return to the Kings, but was waived this week after the team signed JaVale McGee to a guaranteed contract.

It’s worth noting that the 7’0″ big man sustained a stress reaction and sprain in his right foot during July Summer League action. However, that was more than two months ago, and clearly the Celtics are comfortable with Queta’s health.

As James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets, Boston could be a good landing spot for Queta. Kristaps Porzingis and Robert Williams have dealt with numerous injuries over the years, and Al Horford is 37. The only other big man on the roster is Luke Kornet, whose contract for 2023/24 is non-guaranteed.

Queta’s two-way deal will pay him $559,782 and will make him eligible to appear in up to 50 regular season contests. Once the signing is official, the Celtics will have 18 players under contract, with all three two-way slots filled.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Wood, Hood-Schifino, Queta

Suns star Devin Booker appears ready to commit to the U.S. Olympic team no matter what role he’s asked to play, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Booker expressed his intentions this week in a Twitter exchange with Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. “USA basketball better get some nba stars that know how to play a role,” Kuzma wrote. “Anybody can be nice with the ball in their hands but can you be cool with defending and going to the corner for a few possessions?”

Booker responded, “I’ll do it.”

Rankin notes that Booker accepted that responsibility two years ago when the U.S. won the gold medal in China. He only averaged 9.3 PPG during that Olympics, but he often guarded the opponent’s best scorer.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Christian Wood projects to play a significant role for the Lakers, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Wood will become the primary backup to Anthony Davis at center and can expect to see a lot of time at power forward as well. Buha adds that L.A. has a lot of interchangeable frontcourt players, with Wood, LeBron James, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and Taurean Prince all capable of handling either forward spot, while Davis, Wood and Jaxson Hayes can play either the four or five.
  • Lakers rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino has been working to develop his three-point shot this summer, Buha adds in a separate story. The No. 17 pick connected at just 33% from beyond the arc at Indiana last season. “I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “Being in the gym every day, getting up a lot of reps, working on my footwork, my form, mechanics and everything. Getting everything sharp. That’s definitely been a strong point and something that I’ve been really attacking every day.”
  • Neemias Queta, who was waived by the Kings this week, could be an intriguing option for the Warriors, suggests Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Johnson notes the 24-year-old center is still eligible for a two-way contract and Golden State has two slots open. Queta was runner-up in the G League’s MVP voting after averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game with the Stockton Kings. Johnson also points out that Seth Cooper and David Fatoki, who are now in charge of the Warriors’ player development system, got a close look at Queta last year while running Golden State’s G League team.

Kings Waive Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta

8:12pm: The duo has officially been waived, according to a team press release.

5:02pm: The Kings are waiving centers Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Both big men were signed by Sacramento this offseason to partially guaranteed one-year deals, but the Kings subsequently signed JaVale McGee to a guaranteed one-year deal after he cleared waivers.

The Kings want to give Noel and Queta an opportunity to hook on with another organization before training camp rather than hanging onto them and then waiving them shortly before the season begins.

Noel was signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal as a free agent this summer. He received a $300K guarantee, which would have increased to $600K if he made the 15-man opening night roster.

Noel has appeared in 467 career regular season games since being drafted sixth overall in 2013 but didn’t play much in 2022/23. After being traded from New York to Detroit during the 2022 offseason, the 29-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Pistons, who bought him out at the end of February. He signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn and played in three games for the Nets, but didn’t get a second 10-day and finished the season as a free agent.

The Kings signed Queta to a two-year, minimum-salary contract. His $2,019,706 salary for the upcoming season included a $250K guarantee, while the second season was non-guaranteed. The guarantee for the upcoming season would have doubled if he was on the opening night roster.

Queta has been on Sacramento’s roster the past two seasons, appearing in a total of 20 NBA games. The 7’0” Queta was a second-round pick in 2021 out of Utah State.

Noel and Queta were projected to fight for one roster spot as the No. 3 center behind Domantas Sabonis and Alex Len. That changed when the Mavericks waived McGee and the Kings signed him after he cleared waivers. Sacramento has 14 guaranteed contracts and could explore other options, or just leave open the 15th roster spot.

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Durant, Reaves

The Kings have signed JaVale McGee to a one-year contract. McGee got a guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal but that doesn’t mean he’s assured of making the roster out of training camp, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes.

The Kings have McGee, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta and Skal Labissiere on the camp roster as potential backups to star center Domantas Sabonis. Labissiere is ticketed to the G League but Len has a fully guaranteed one-year deal, while Noel and Queta have partial guarantees. That means four players are essentially vying for two roster spots.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors won championships in 2017 and 2018 with Kevin Durant on their roster. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic compares those Warriors teams to the current Suns group with Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal as the main trio, evaluating how Phoenix might emulate those championship clubs.
  • The Lakers have tried to acquire a third star in recent years to join forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Do they now have that player on the roster in the form of Austin Reaves? Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores that topic, considering how well Reaves has performed for Team USA. With several weeks to adjust to his new role as a primary ball-handler during training camp, Reaves can cement his status as an All-Star-level third option, Buha concludes.
  • Reaves said the World Cup hasn’t taken a physical toll on him, he told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A session. “I feel great. It’s been better than I expected,” the Lakers guard said. “You look at it, you go down the list of minutes guys have played and nobody plays more than 25 minutes. On max, someone might play 30 minutes a game. So, it’s not really like the NBA season where you’re playing 32, 35, maybe 40 minutes. The minutes are way shorter.”

Kings Interested In JaVale McGee

The Kings are interested in signing veteran center JaVale McGee once he clears waivers, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and NBA on TNT tweets.

The Mavericks officially waived McGee on Monday and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday.

Sacramento has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and two more frontcourt players —  Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel — on partially guaranteed deals. The Kings also have Alex Len behind Domantas Sabonis in the center spot with Trey Lyles another possibility in small-ball lineups.

McGee could join the battle for backup minutes behind Sabonis. He’d be on his ninth NBA team since entering the league in 2008.

McGee signed a three-year, $17MM+ contract with Dallas last offseason, but only spent seven games in the starting lineup and subsequently fell out of the rotation altogether. The 35-year-old averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in a career-low 8.5 minutes per game across 42 appearances during his second stint as a Maverick.

Pacific Notes: Queta, Noel, Ham, Reaves, Azubuike

A training camp roster battle is on tap between Kings big men Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, according to James Ham of The Kings Beat.

Sacramento now has essentially five options at center. Queta and Noel have partially guaranteed contracts and with starter Domantas Sabonis, Alex Len and small-ball center Trey Lyles also on the roster, there’s probably no need to carry both Queta and Noel out of camp. Queta offers much more on the offensive end, while Noel is the safer choice defensively.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers coach Darvin Ham is thrilled with the depth moves the front office made this offseason, he told ESPN’s Leonard Solms. The team signed Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes in free agency. “I think we added a lot of depth, a lot of guys that have skill, size and athleticism, so I look forward to all of that coming together,” Ham said.
  • Austin Reaves re-signed with the Lakers on a four-year deal worth nearly $54MM. He said the money won’t change him or his approach. “It obviously changes things in the fact that me and my family, my friends, don’t have to worry about that part of life anymore,” Reaves told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. “Like, if you’re good with me, you’re good on that standard. But my everyday life, I don’t think anything really will change. It’s not like I’m going to go out and buy the craziest stuff or things like that.”
  • Udoka Azubuike played against Deandre Ayton in high school. They’re now on the same NBA team after Azubuike signed a two-way contract with the Suns. Azubuike is excited to compete against his new teammate in practice. “Playing alongside him, it’ll be great. Just us competing. Ultimately, we’re competing for one another,” he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “We’re a team. It’s all for the best interest of the team. Whatever is going to make the team better, just competing. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to that from the jump, going into training camp and competing and working hard.”

Pacific Notes: Payne, Durant, Queta

Cameron Payne isn’t hiding his feelings about the Suns dealing him to the rebuilding Spurs. Payne admits he’d rather be in Phoenix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic relays via an Instagram Live post from the point guard.

“Man, I love Phoenix, bro, I miss Phoenix already,” Payne said. “I wish I was in Phoenix still but hey, it is where it is, man. They’re trying to win a chip and I respect it. I feel like they could’ve won a chip with me though ’cause like, I’m tough.”

Payne was dealt, along with the Pelicans’ 2025 second-rounder acquired in a previous deal, to the Spurs for a protected 2024 second-rounder. Phoenix reduced its luxury tax bill by trading Payne’s $6.5MM salary and also acquired a trade exception of the same value.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Due to injury and other factors, Kevin Durant hasn’t played in Golden State since he left the Warriors and signed with the Nets in 2019. As long as he’s not injured coming out of training camp, Durant will finally make his return to the Warriors’ home floor when the Suns open their regular season there on Oct. 24, according to Rankin.
  • The Kings signed Neemias Queta to a two-year, $4.2MM contract, according to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype (Twitter link). The first year is partially guaranteed and the second season salary is non-guaranteed. Queta, who played with Sacramento on a two-way contract last season, signed a standard contract earlier this week. According to Ricardo Brito Reis (Twitter link), Queta’s $2,019,706 salary for next season includes a $250K guarantee. It’s guaranteed for $500K if he’s on the Opening Day roster and becomes fully guaranteed on Jan. 10. His 2024/25 salary of $2,196,970 becomes guaranteed for $1,098,485 on July 10 and fully guaranteed on Jan. 10, 2025.
  • In case you missed it, the Clippers have guaranteed the final year of Tyronn Lue’s contract. Get the details here.

Kings Re-Sign Neemias Queta On Standard Contract

9:40pm: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

7:35pm: The Kings are re-signing Neemias Queta to a standard contract, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets.

Queta has been on Sacramento’s roster the past two seasons, appearing in a total of 20 NBA games. The 7’0” Queta was a second-round pick in 2021 out of Utah State.

Queta entered the summer as a restricted free agent after finishing last season on a two-way deal. He was eligible for another two-way contract but ineligible for a two-way qualifying offer after having played on a two-way with the Kings for consecutive seasons.

As a result, Queta’s qualifying offer was equivalent to a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a $75K partial guarantee. It’s unclear whether he’s accepting that QO or if he negotiated different terms with Sacramento.

Queta’s health is a question mark. He was diagnosed with a stress reaction and a metatarsal capsule sprain in his right foot last month. That injury occurred during a Summer League game against the Clippers.

Queta only appeared in five NBA games for Sacramento last season, but thrived at the G League level, earning a spot on the All-NBAGL First Team and finishing second in MVP voting. He averaged 16.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.9 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game across 29 regular season appearances for the Stockton Kings.

Prior to the agreement with Queta, Sacramento had 13 players on guaranteed deals and another — Nerlens Noel — on a partially guaranteed contract.