RaiQuan Gray

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, McDermott, Branham, Barlow, Gray

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne declared during an NBA Today segment on Monday (Twitter video link) that Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama is “ready to win” and questioned how patient the Rookie of the Year frontrunner will be as the front office looks to build out the roster around him.

However, Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link) pushed back against the idea that Wembanyama will be urging the team to accelerate the roster-building process.

“I say this without an ounce of exaggeration or hyperbole: I talk to people about the Spurs every day. And of all those people, there is one who is, by far, the most forward-thinking and relentlessly patient when it comes to the plan,” Finger wrote. “It’s the 20-year-old kid. And it’s not close.”

Armed with plenty of cap flexibility and an excess of draft picks this offseason, the Spurs will be well positioned to continue adding talent to their young core, but there’s no indication that the club will be looking to consolidate several of its assets in a win-now move quite yet.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Ahead of the Spurs’s game against the Pacers on Sunday, Zach Collins admitted that he was sad to see former teammate Doug McDermott go at last month’s trade deadline, though he appreciated that McDermott landed in a favorable situation. “I talked to him the day it happened and just told him I was going to miss him and that it was really fun playing with him,” Collins said, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). “But I am happy for him that he got to go (to a playoff contender). In the playoffs you need shooting, and he is going to be really valuable for them.” McDermott was unable to suit up against his old team on Sunday due to a calf injury.
  • A full-time starter for the Spurs in November and December, Malaki Branham had been coming off the bench since January 2. However, he earned a rare start on Sunday and took full advantage by scoring 18 points and handing out six assists, much to the delight of his teammates, Orsborn writes (subscription required). “I don’t have words to say how excited I am for him,” Keldon Johnson said. “I’m happy for him and the way he stepped up tonight. We really needed it and it was big.”
  • After having been promoted to the Spurs’ standard roster from his two-way contract, Dominick Barlow earned praise from head coach Gregg Popovich for having improved “pretty dramatically” since joining the team, according to Orsborn. “He is someone who plays in a solid manner,” Popovich said. “You don’t see him making mistakes really. He is not really a shooter. He is a pretty good defender and he goes to the boards pretty well, runs well. So, all those kind of basic things he puts together and plays a game that kind of complements everybody else.”
  • RaiQuan Gray‘s new two-way contract with the Spurs will cover two years, running through next season, Hoops Rumors has confirmed.

Spurs Sign RaiQuan Gray To Two-Way Deal, Cut Diakite

MARCH 2: The Spurs have officially signed Gray and waived Diakite, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).

MARCH 1: The Spurs are signing free agent forward RaiQuan Gray to a two-way contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Mamadi Diakite will be waived to create a roster opening.

The 59th pick of the 2021 draft out of Florida State, Gray signed a two-way deal with Brooklyn at the very end of last season, posting 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and one block in his lone NBA appearance in 2022/23. That one game means he’s now in his second season.

Gray signed a training camp deal with the Spurs in the fall and was waived before the ’23/24 season began. He has been playing for the team’s G League affiliate in Austin, averaging 18.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.9 APG and 2.1 SPG on .629/.353/.780 shooting in 19 regular season games (29.4 MPG).

Diakite, 27, is in his fourth NBA season, having made previous stops with the Bucks, Thunder and Cavaliers. The Guinea native made three brief appearances for the Spurs this season.

USA Basketball Announces February AmeriCup Qualifying Roster

USA Basketball has announced its 12-man roster for a pair of AmeriCup qualifying games that will be played later this month, according to a press release written by Michael Terry. The Americans will host Cuba in Kissimmee, Florida, on February 22, then will travel to Cuba for a second game on Feb. 25.

The roster is as follows:

Ten of the 12 players have at least some level of NBA experience, with Davis and Jayce Johnson the only exceptions. Carter-Williams, Stanley Johnson, and Payton are all former lottery picks. None of those 10 players are currently on NBA rosters, however, with Hurt being the most recent to play in the league (with Memphis on a 10-day hardship contract).

As previously reported, Jerome Allen will be the head coach for this round of qualifying games, with Melvin Hunt, Sydney Johnson and Bill Bayno serving as assistants. Bayno will also be a scout, per the release. Allen, Hunt and Bayno are all former NBA assistant coaches.

As Terry writes, the two qualifying games this month are the first of three qualifying windows ahead of the 2025 AmeriCup. In the other two qualifying windows, held Nov. 2024 and Feb. 2025, the U.S. will face Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, respectively.

Per the release, qualifying rounds consist of 16 teams distributed into four, four-team groups. Each team will play each opponent in their group twice, once at home and once away. The top three teams in each group (12 total) will advance to next year’s AmeriCup, which will occur Aug. 23-31, 2025, in Managua, Nicaragua.

Team USA has won the AmeriCup seven times, according to Terry, with the last victory coming in 2017. The Americans won bronze in 2022, which was the last time the tournament was held.

Spurs Waive Millner, Gray Ahead Of Camp

The Spurs have waived forward  Setric Millner and forward/center RaiQuan Gray, according to the NBA transactions log.

Milner was on a two-way contract, which he signed on Sept. 18. Waiving him will open a two-way slot entering training camp.

Millner, who began his college career with Cleveland State in 2018/19, spent his sophomore year with Northwest Florida State College, then transferred to Toledo, where he played his junior, senior, and “super-senior” seasons.

In 35 games (32.7 MPG) in 2022/23, Millner averaged 16.1 PPG and 5.9 RPG with a shooting line of .496/.420/.784, earning a spot on the All-MAC Second Team. He joined the Spurs for Summer League after going undrafted and appeared in five total games for the club in Las Vegas and Sacramento this July.

Gray was signed to a training camp deal on Sept. 28. Gray was waived by Brooklyn this summer after he signed a two-way deal during the final week of the 2022/23 season in April. For the Long Island Nets, Gray averaged 15.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG with a .578/.382/.629 shooting line in 18 games (30.6 MPG).

The Austin Spurs – San Antonio’s G League affiliate – recently acquired Gray’s returning rights from Long Island in an NBAGL trade. Assuming Gray’s new deal includes Exhibit 10 language, he’ll be in line to earn a bonus worth up to $75K if he spends at least 60 days with the Spurs’ G League team.

San Antonio now has 19 players on its camp, which means more moves may be forthcoming.

Spurs Sign RaiQuan Gray

The Spurs have filled their 21-man offseason roster by signing free agent forward/center RaiQuan Gray to a training camp contract, per RealGM’s transaction log.

The 59th overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Florida State, Gray spent his first professional season in the G League with the Long Island Nets. He signed a training camp contract with Brooklyn in the fall of 2022 but didn’t make the regular season roster and was cut before opening night, ultimately spending a second season in Long Island before being promoted to a two-way deal during the final week of the 2022/23 season in April.

After an underwhelming rookie season at the G League level, Gray emerged as a full-time starter in ’22/23, averaging 15.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG with a .578/.382/.629 shooting line in 18 games (30.6 MPG). However, he was waived by Brooklyn this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Austin Spurs – San Antonio’s G League affiliate – acquired Gray’s returning rights from Long Island in an NBAGL trade last month. That move, along with Gray’s new training camp contract, signals that San Antonio will likely waive the big man ahead of the regular season and have him report to Austin.

Assuming Gray’s new deal includes Exhibit 10 language, he’ll be in line to earn a bonus worth up to $75K if he spends at least 60 days with the Spurs’ G League team.

Atlantic Notes: G League Trades, Celtics Fan Survey, Sixers

The Raptors 905, the G League affiliate of Toronto, acquired Derrick Walton, Tremont Waters and a future first-round pick in exchange for David Johnson and a second-round pick from the Grizzlies‘ affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, according to Sportsnet’s Blake Murphy (Twitter link).

The trade marks an end for Johnson’s Raptors organization tenure after being selected with the No. 47 overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Louisville. Johnson played for the Raptors in his rookie season on a two-way deal. After that expired, he signed an Exhibit 10 deal with Toronto last season but didn’t crack the opening-day roster. He spent the remainder of the 2022/23 season with the 905. There were hopes that Johnson could develop into a lead guard off the bench for the Raptors, but that didn’t happen in Toronto and now he’ll get a chance to develop in Memphis.

Walton and Waters are both guards with 40 or more games of NBA experience. Walton made his debut in ’17/18 with the Heat and had stints with the Clippers and Pistons. He averaged 16.8 points and 9.4 assists in his last season in the G League, ’21/22, in 25 regular season games.

Waters played on a two-way deal with the Celtics for two seasons in a row as the No. 51 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He spent some time with the Raptors and Wizards on 10-day deals as well. The 5’10” guard holds career NBA averages of 3.7 points and 2.1 assists. Waters is currently tearing it up for Puerto Rico in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, averaging 16.7 points and 8.7 assists through three games.

G League trades that happen before the NBA’s training camps are worth noting. Usually, a trade such as this indicates one or more of the players involved will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the parent club of the team trading for them. For example, Alondes Williams was traded from the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s affiliate, to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the affiliate of the Heat, and then signed a training camp deal with Miami about two weeks later.

It’s to be determined whether or not any of these players will spend training camps with NBA teams, but it is something to monitor going forward.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • A second G League trade took place on Thursday, with Long Island trading the returning player rights to RaiQuan Gray in exchange for the returning player rights to Jordan Hall from the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s affiliate, according to a press release. Gray signed a two-year, two-way contract with Brooklyn at the end of the ’22/23 season but was waived this offseason. In his lone appearance with the Nets, he put up 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Hall began last year with San Antonio on a two-way deal but he was cut shortly after the season began. He was then re-signed by the Spurs and subsequently waived again later that season. Hall averaged 3.1 points in nine NBA games last year.
  • The Celtics made several big moves this offseason after being eliminated from the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. Jay King and Jared Weiss of The Athletic are taking the pulse of Celtics fans entering a season with high expectations in their annual survey. King and Weiss pose 30 questions in an expansive survey that’s open to The Athletic subscribers, including how fans feel about the Marcus Smart trade and Kristaps Porzingis‘ fit with the team. The results of the survey will be shared soon.
  • In a recent mailbag, Kyle Neubeck of the PhillyVoice discussed several topics related to what has shaped up to be a busy Sixers offseason. Despite Ben Simmons recently leaving the door open for a possible reunion with the Sixers, Neubeck doesn’t see that happening anytime soon. Neubeck also goes over Tyrese Maxey‘s All-Star candidacy for next season and beyond, as well as how he thinks Nick Nurse will develop the team’s young players like Jaden Springer.

Atlantic Notes: Chandler, Siakam, Anonoby, Harden, Harris

Kennedy Chandler is hoping for a two-way contract offer from the Nets after getting extensive playing time with their Summer League team, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Chandler averaged 14.0 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in Las Vegas, but he did little to ease concerns about his outside shot. He was just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc during Summer League after shooting 13.3% on three-pointers with the Grizzlies last season.

Armoni Brooks and second-round pick Jalen Wilson hold two of Brooklyn’s two-way spots, but there’s an opening after RaiQuan Gray, who was in line for the other one, was waived this week. Chandler is expected to receive consideration, according to Lewis, but his fate might depend on who else becomes available.

Chandler was an intriguing prospect with Memphis a year ago after a strong season at Tennessee and a 41 1/2-inch leap at the draft combine. However, he was waived on the final weekend of the season when the Grizzlies promoted Kenneth Lofton Jr. to a standard contract. Chandler has guaranteed money for two more years, but he doesn’t want to face the end of his NBA career at age 20.

“That’s the whole point of me playing this summer,” he said. “I want to play every single game, kill, dominate whoever is in front of me. And not just worry about myself, honestly. You just worry about doing what I can do; then the rest will come.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors are exploring the market for Pascal Siakam, but they aren’t interested in trading OG Anunoby, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen confirms that Toronto talked to Charlotte and Portland about moving Siakam in a deal for the No. 2 or No. 3 pick, but never got close to a trade with either team. He adds that if Raptors officials don’t like the offers they get for Siakam, they’re likely to begin extension talks sometime this summer.
  • As Sixers guard James Harden waits for a trade, he has removed any mention of the team or Philadelphia from his social media accounts, per Dhani Joseph of The New York Post.
  • Sixers owner Josh Harris felt “humbled and awed” after his group’s purchase of the NFL’s Washington Commanders for a record $6.05 billion was finalized this week, writes John Keim of ESPN. “I feel an awesome responsibility to the city of Washington,” said Harris, who grew up in the area. “I know what I’ve got to do. It comes down to winning. It’s on me and on our ownership group to deliver. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Nets Waive RaiQuan Gray

The Nets have officially waived forward RaiQuan Gray, the team announced today (Twitter link). Gray had been on a two-way contract with the team.

The 59th overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Florida State, Gray spent his first professional season in the G League with the Long Island Nets. He signed a training camp contract with Brooklyn in the fall of 2022 but didn’t make the regular season roster and was cut before opening night, ultimately spending a second season in Long Island before being promoted to a two-way deal during the final week of the 2022/23 season in April.

After an underwhelming rookie season at the G League level, Gray emerged as a full-time starter this past year, averaging 15.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG with a .578/.382/.629 shooting line in 18 games (30.6 MPG).

Because the two-way deal he signed in the spring included a second year, Gray remained under contract with the Nets when the ’22/23 league year ended and the ’23/24 league year began. However, it seems he wasn’t in the team’s plans for the coming season after all.

With Gray on waivers, Brooklyn now has Jalen Wilson and Armoni Brooks, who signed with the team today, on two-way contracts.

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.

Atlantic Notes: Randle, Maxey, Gray, Mazzulla

Injured All-Star Knicks power forward Julius Randle is now out of the protective walking boot he had worn since spraining his left ankle on March 29, writes Steve Popper of Newsday.

“Yeah, just the next step, following the protocol progression,” New York head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Randle’s departure from the boot. “So making good, steady progress.”

Popper notes that the team is hopeful Randle can return at some point during the postseason. The first game of the Knicks’ Eastern Conference quarterfinals matchup against the Cavaliers is scheduled for this Saturday.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has had a 2022/23 season filled with peaks and valleys. At one point, he was demoted to a bench role in favor of De’Anthony Melton due to Melton’s defensive play. Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer unpacks how Maxey bounced back to once again becoming the team’s starting shooting guard. Maxey missed roughly six weeks of action due to fracturing a foot in November, and was relatively unaggressive upon his return. A pair of no-nonsense chats in February with All-NBA Philadelphia center Joel Embiid, who encouraged the third-year guard to look for his own shot more often, helped galvanize his resurgence. Maxey rejoined the club’s starting five on March 2. “I was just in a weird space mentally,” Maxey said of the slump. “Once I got out of that, I think I’ve helped us try to win games and came back to being myself. I feel like this was the same type of pace I was on at the beginning of the year, before I got hurt.” 
  • The Nets’ new two-way signing, RaiQuan Gray, enjoyed a terrific debut game with Brooklyn on Sunday, scoring 16 points on 50% shooting, pulling down nine rebounds, dishing seven dimes and rejecting one shot. Net Income of Nets Daily unpacks potential next steps for the 23-year-old rookie. Net Income believes Brooklyn will extend a qualifying offer to Gray by the June 29 deadline and anticipates he will suit up for the team’s Summer League club in July.
  • First-year Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is looking forward to facing Boston’s playoff challenges head-on, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “Listen, you can’t run away from the fact that the playoffs have a different consequence,” Mazzulla told Bulpett. “But the bigger things are, the more simple they are. So my goals are to do the same things I’ve done all season — rely on my staff, rely on the players and rely on the experience that I’ve had, because I’ve worked for great people… Our locker room is really intact, and I think that’s just as important as anything else.”