Ousmane Dieng

Northwest Notes: KCP, Porter Jr., Jazz, Thunder

Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has set a goal of making the All-Defensive Team, The Denver Post’s Bennett Durando writes.

“I feel like I’ve been snubbed a couple years from that. Or even just being mentioned,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve even been mentioned in that category, and now it’s a goal this year. I’ll make some noise, so they can’t ignore me.”

Coach Michael Malone typically assigns KCP to guard the opponent’s top guard. He already held Desmond Bane and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to poor shooting performances this season.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Speaking of the Nuggets and defense, Malone awarded Michael Porter Jr. with the team’s defensive player of the game “chain” for the way he blanketed Luka Doncic on Friday, Harrison Wind of TheDNVR.com relays. “Part of it is experience,” he said. “Playing against certain players, just being out there on the floor more over the years, you naturally get better. Part of it has to do with how I feel physically. My ankle doesn’t feel 100%, but I’ve kind of figured out how I should be playing guys on defense in ISO situations. And that’s not crowding them. It’s using my length. I think it’s just something you get better with over time.”
  • The Jazz have the league’s worst half-court defense in the early going and the Salt Lake Tribune’s Andy Larsen opines that the players simply aren’t taking enough pride at that end of the floor. The Jazz allowed 123 points in just 95 Minnesota possessions on Saturday. “We’ve got way too many moments where we’re not doing a good job on the ball. We’re not doing a very good job with secondary defenders. The activity has been pretty lackluster in general,” coach Will Hardy said.
  • The Thunder assigned Ousmane Dieng, Aleksej Pokusevski and Tre Mann to the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue. According to Thunder beat writer Brett Dawson (Twitter link), the Blue held a scrimmage on Sunday and it allowed that trio to get in some five-on-five work.

Thunder Exercise 2024/25 Team Options On Five Players

The Thunder have exercised their rookie scale team options for the 2024/25 season on five players, the team announced today in a press release. Those options are as follows:

Most of these decisions were no-brainers. Holmgren, Giddey, and Williams project as long-term building blocks for the franchise. Dieng didn’t have a major role as a rookie but is only a year removed from being selected 11th overall in the 2022 draft.

The most noteworthy option pick-up of the bunch is Mann’s. The 22-year-old guard had a promising rookie season in 2021/22, averaging 10.4 points per game with a .360 3PT%, but saw his scoring average (7.7 PPG) and 3PT% (.315) dip last season as his playing time was cut back, from 22.8 minutes per game to 17.7 MPG.

Given the Thunder’s roster crunch this offseason, Mann looked like a candidate to be one of the odd men out, but today’s decision signals that the club has no plans to waive him. That leaves Jack White, whose 2023/24 salary is only partially guaranteed for $600K, as perhaps the most likely release candidate on the roster, though the club could go in another direction. Oklahoma City previously traded Victor Oladipo and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to get down from 18 players on standard contracts to 16.

Giddey and Mann will now become eligible for rookie scale extensions next July, while the Thunder will have to decide by next October 31 whether to exercise their fourth-year options on Holmgren, Dieng, and Williams.

Thunder Notes: Williams, Micic, Dort

Thunder reserve big man Jaylin Williams will miss some early regular season games due a hamstring strain suffered in practice, Brett Dawson tweets. Williams will be reevaluated in a couple of weeks.

Williams projects as Chet Holmgren‘s backup this season after starting 36 of 49 games last season during his rookie campaign. A second-round pick in 2022, Williams averaged 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 18.7 minutes.

Olivier Sarr and Ousmane Dieng could see more action until Williams returns.

We have more on the Thunder:

  • Vasilije Micic has noticed some major differences between the EuroLeague and NBA, as Eurohoops.net relays. “It’s open space, with a much higher pace of play compared to the EuroLeague,” he said. “The paint is more open, providing a lot of opportunities for creative players to penetrate and gain an advantage, especially for skilled ball handlers. It’s also a bit easier to create from that spacing. I’m still trying to adjust. Everything is still new for me, but my teammates are helping me learn as quickly as possible. I believe that, together, we will get there eventually.” The former EuroLeague MVP signed a three-year, $23.5MM contract with Oklahoma City in July.
  • Luguentz Dort scored a team-high 24 points during the team’s exhibition game Thursday in Montreal. It was an emotional homecoming for the Montreal native, he told Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. He spoke in French to the crowd prior to the contest. “I just told them that we were honored to be here,” Dort said, “As a Montreal guy, it was an honor for me to bring my team here and play in front of them.”
  • Get all the details on the big Thunder-Rockets trade here.

Northwest Notes: Micic, Williams, Holmgren, Wolves, Blazers’ Pick

Former EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic is in Oklahoma City to discuss a potential contract with the Thunder, Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net reports. Negotiations can commence after the draft, Barkas adds.

Micic, who plays for Anadolu Efes, hired the Wasserman Media Group as his new representative in March. Micic, whose draft rights are owned by the Thunder, is a two-time Euroleague Final Four MVP. However, it’s unclear whether the Thunder would have a role for the 29-year-old guard, whose rights could be traded if he wants to make the jump to the NBA.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Coming off an excellent rookie season, Jalen Williams will play in Summer League games for the Thunder in Salt Lake City next month, Thunder reporter Rylan Stiles tweets. Ousmane Dieng will also play and it’s “very possible” Chet Holmgren, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, could participate.
  • The Timberwolves hosted six prospects in a pre-draft workout on Monday, the team tweets. They took a closer look at Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton), Jazian Gortman (Overtime Elite), D’Moi Hodge (Missouri), Gabe Kalscheur (Iowa State), Mojave King (G League Ignite) and Jalen Slawson (Furman).
  • Rumors have been flying that the Trail Blazers will deal their lottery pick. Bill Oram of The Oregonian argues that the Blazers need to hold onto the No. 3 overall selection and choose their next star, regardless of whether Damian Lillard remains with the team or requests a trade.

Thunder’s Dieng Out At Least Six Weeks With Wrist Fracture

Thunder rookie Ousmane Dieng, the No. 11 overall pick of June’s draft, has been diagnosed with a small, non-displaced fracture in his right wrist and will be reevaluated in about six weeks, the team announced (via Twitter).

Dieng also suffered a “slight chip fracture” in his right wrist during Summer League action, but Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports (via Twitter) that the two injuries aren’t related.

Dieng was viewed as a developmental prospect after playing last season for the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s National Basketball League. The French 19-year-old was the first top European prospect to take advantage of the NBL’s Next Stars program.

The 6’10” forward hasn’t played much at the NBA level thus far, appearing in 14 games (15.7 MPG) while averaging 4.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 1.4 APG.

However, he has played extensively in the G League — he suffered the injury in Wednesday’s game for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s affiliate. In 11 games with the Blue, he averaged 15.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 4.4 APG and 1.2 BPG on .449/.343/.700 shooting.

Dieng hasn’t been a regular member of the Thunder’s rotation, so his absence won’t necessarily impact other players. Still, it’s an unfortunate setback for the versatile teenager, and hopefully he recovers quickly.

Thunder First-Rounder Ousmane Dieng Suffers Wrist Injury

Ousmane Dieng, the No. 11 overall pick of last month’s draft, has suffered a “slight chip fracture” in his right wrist, the Thunder announced (via Twitter).

The 19-year-old French forward will miss the rest of Summer League action, but he should be healed and ready to go by training camp, per the team.

Dieng was the first top European prospect to take advantage of the National Basketball League’s Next Stars program. He spent the 2021/22 season with the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s NBL, averaging 8.9 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 23 games (20.3 MPG) against professional competition.

The Thunder sent three protected future first-round picks to the Knicks in order to land the No. 11 pick and select Dieng on draft night.

Second-year guard Tre Mann will also miss Friday’s contest against Golden State due to a sprained left ankle, Oklahoma City said. The No. 18 pick of last year’s draft, Mann appeared in 60 games (26 starts, 22.8 MPG) as a rookie for the Thunder in ’21/22, with averages of 10.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.7 APG on .393/.360/.793 shooting.

Thunder Sign Ousmane Dieng To Rookie Contract

The Thunder have officially signed No. 11 overall pick Ousmane Dieng to his rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release.

Oklahoma City’s announcement also confirmed the signings of the team’s other first-rounders – No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren and No. 12 pick Jalen Williams – which we wrote about on Friday.

Dieng was the first top European prospect to take advantage of the National Basketball League’s Next Stars program. The French forward spent the 2021/22 season with the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s NBL, averaging 8.9 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 23 games (20.3 MPG) against professional competition.

The Thunder sent three protected future first-round picks to the Knicks in order to land the No. 11 pick and select Dieng on draft night.

As our chart of 2022/23 rookie salaries shows, Dieng is on track to earn $4.57MM as a rookie and $21.17MM across four years, assuming he signed for the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale.

Central Notes: Ayton, Duren, Agbaji, Pacers, Bulls

The Pistons‘ draft haul Thursday night makes it less likely that they’ll pursue Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Ayton was believed to be Detroit’s main target after opening up roughly $43MM in cap space by agreeing to trade Jerami Grant to the Trail Blazers. Thursday’s deals knock that number down to about $30MM, which sources tell Edwards the team plans to use to sign multiple players rather than handing out one large contract.

The Pistons landed their center of the future by acquiring Jalen Duren of Memphis, who “blew away” the organization during the pre-draft process, according to Edwards’ sources. Multiple teams called Detroit in hopes of making a deal for No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey, but the Pistons were more interested in landing another first-round selection. One of those calls came from the Knicks, who needed to offload salary in hopes of making a run at free agent guard Jalen Brunson. Detroit was able to use some of its cap room to take on Kemba Walker‘s contract, valued at $9.17MM next season, and received Duren, whom New York acquired from the Hornets in a previous deal.

Detroit now has an exciting young core with Ivey and Duren joining Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey, along with enough cap room to be a significant player in free agency. The Pistons are still expected to be big spenders when the process begins next week, sources tell Edwards.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers passed on several younger talents to take four-year college player Ochai Agbaji, notes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. After reaching the play-in tournament this season, Cleveland was focused on finding someone who could contribute right away, and there’s hope that the Kansas sharpshooter will add another dimension to the offense. The Cavs were extremely interested in French star Ousmane Dieng, Fedor adds, and would have considered him at No. 14 if the Thunder hadn’t traded up to grab him with the 11th pick.
  • The Pacers had numerous trade opportunities Thursday night, but nothing worth pulling the trigger on, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “We’re always gonna be aggressive, but there’s always certain price points,” general manager Chad Buchanan said. “Sometimes you have to walk away from deals if it’s not right for your team.”
  • Finding a rim protector will be one of the Bulls‘ priorities for the summer, tweets Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls will explore their options through free agency and trades, according to general manager Marc Eversley, who suggested the team wants a player who can complement current center Nikola Vucevic.

Thunder Acquire No. 11 From Knicks, Select Ousmane Dieng

9:33pm: Commissioner Adam Silver officially announced the trade between the Thunder and Knicks on the NBA’s draft broadcast.

According to Silver, New York is receiving three conditional future first-round picks in the deal. Shams Charania of The Athletic provides more details, tweeting that New York is acquiring the Nuggets’ 2023 first-rounder (top-14 protected), the Pistons’ 2023 first-rounder (top-18 protected), and the Wizards’ 2023 first-rounder (top-14 protected).

It appears the Denver pick will be re-routed to Charlotte in a salary-dump deal involving Kemba Walker.

8:13pm: The Knicks selected French forward Ousmane Dieng with the No. 11 pick in tonight’s draft, but he won’t play for them.

New York is trading Dieng to the Thunder, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Oklahoma City is sending the Knicks multiple first-round picks in the deal, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

That gave the Thunder back-to-back picks, since they also owned the No. 12 selection via the Clippers. That pick isn’t part of the trade with the Knicks, Wojnarowski tweets. OKC used that pick on wing Jalen Williams from Santa Clara.

Dieng, who played last season with the New Zealand Breakers, is considered the top international prospect in the draft and will give OKC another lengthy big man to pair up with No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren.

New York tried in vain to move up and acquire guard Jaden Ivey and ultimately decided to move down in the draft. By trading out of the first round, the Knicks reduce their salary cap obligations for this year, giving them more elbow room to dump salary if needed for another trade, perhaps as soon as a few days from now, cap expert Nate Duncan tweets.

Draft Rumors: Pistons, Duren, Dieng, Mavericks, Raptors, Anunoby

The Pistons, who already made news this week with their impending trade of Jerami Grant to Portland, could make another significant move this evening. They are holding ongoing conversations to acquire another lottery pick, with Memphis center Jalen Duren believed to be the target, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets.

Detroit already holds the No. 5 selection in the draft. A report earlier today indicated Pistons GM Troy Weaver is a big fan of Duren.

  • Ousmane Dieng seems destined to be chosen higher than any other international prospect. The French big man, who played for the New Zealand Breakers, has been surging up draft boards and could go as high as No. 8, where the Pelicans are picking, Marc Stein tweets.
  • The Mavericks are covering all their bases, even though their first-round pick is headed to Houston and their second-rounder is headed to Washington, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. GM Nico Harrison says they’re are not actively calling teams to trade into the draft, but have done the prep work needed in case they end up with a draft pick in either round.
  • The Raptors are unlikely to move into the lottery and trade forward OG Anunoby, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. Most of the chatter surrounding Anunoby has come from the Trail Blazers, who are trying to add veterans around Damian Lillard, Grange adds, while Toronto remains in a ‘be patient and grow’ mode.