Romeo Langford

Jazz Waive Romeo Langford, Two Others

The Jazz have removed three players from their preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived swingman Romeo Langford, guard Michael Devoe, and forward Keshawn Justice.

All three moves had been anticipated. Langford, Devoe, and Justice were on Exhibit 10 contracts, which will put them in line for bonuses worth up to $75K if they spend at least 60 days with Utah’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. They’re not obligated to head to the NBAGL now that they’ve been cut – they could find an opportunity elsewhere they like more – but it appears that’s the plan for all three.

Langford, who will turn 24 next Wednesday, was drafted 14th overall by the Celtics in 2019 when current Jazz CEO Danny Ainge was Boston’s head of basketball operations. He has shown some promise as a defender but hasn’t displayed much of an offensive game since entering the NBA, averaging 4.6 points per night on .430/.288/.659 shooting in 141 career games (16.1 MPG).

Devoe played for the Ontario Clippers in the G League last season after going undrafted out of Georgia Tech. He put up modest stats in his rookie season (6.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 20.8 minutes over 29 regular season games), but he had a strong Summer League showing for Portland, averaging 18.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals in just 23.9 minutes per game (four games).

Justice went undrafted in June after five seasons at Santa Clara. As a “super senior” in 2022/23, the 23-year-old averaged 13.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds in 33 games for the Broncos (34.9 minutes). He played for the Jazz’s Summer League squad, averaging 10.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in five games (23.4 minutes).

The Jazz now have 18 players under contract. Utah’s roster looks ready for the regular season, though the club could still shuffle players in and out of its three open roster spots for G League purposes.

Jazz Sign Taevion Kinsey, Romeo Langford, Nick Ongenda

The Jazz have officially signed Taevion Kinsey, Romeo Langford and Nick Ongenda, per a team press release.

While the terms of the contracts were not disclosed, the Jazz said the trio of free agents were added to their training camp roster, so they’ll likely all be on Exhibit 10 deals — it has already been reported that Langford will receive an Exhibit 10 contract.

Kinsey, a 6’5″ guard, went undrafted in June after five college seasons, all at Marshall. As a “super senior” in 2022/23, he averaged 22.1 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.9 RPG and 1.7 SPG on .542/.404/.744 shooting in 32 games (37.8 MPG), earning Sun Belt Player of the Year for his efforts.

Ongenda, a 6’11” center, also went undrafted in June. He spent all four of his college seasons at DePaul, averaging 12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.1 SPG and 4.4 BPG in 2022/23. However, those numbers came in a small sample size — the Canadian big man was limited to just eight games (30.5 MPG) this past season due to a wrist injury.

Both Kinsey and Ongenda played for the Jazz during Summer League action in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

The Jazz have now reached the offseason maximum of 21 players under contract, with 15 players on standard deals (12 guaranteed) and all three two-way slots filled.

If Kinsey and Ongenda signed Exhibit 10 contracts and are waived before the season starts, they could each receive a bonus worth up to $75K if they spend at least 60 days with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate. Exhibit 10 deals can also be converted into two-way contracts, though as we previously noted, Langford is ineligible for a two-way deal because he has already played four NBA seasons.

Jazz, Romeo Langford Agree To Exhibit 10 Deal

The Jazz have agreed to sign free agent wing Romeo Langford to an Exhibit 10 contract, sources tell Tony Jones and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Langford, who will turn 24 this October, was drafted 14th overall by the Celtics in 2019 when current Jazz CEO Danny Ainge was Boston’s head of basketball operations.

The former Indiana Hoosier spent his first two-and-a-half NBA seasons in Boston before being traded to San Antonio, where he has played since February 2022. He became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after the Spurs opted not issue him a qualifying offer.

Langford is a solid defender, but has struggled to make much of an impact on the offensive end of the floor. In 141 career regular season games, he has averaged 4.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .430/.288/.659.

Since he has four years of NBA service under his belt, Langford will be ineligible to have his Exhibit 10 contract converted into a two-way deal. However, if he doesn’t earn a spot on Utah’s standard 15-man regular season roster and then spends at least 60 days with the team’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, he’d be in line for a bonus worth up to $75K.

With 15 players on standard contracts and three on two-way deals, the Jazz currently have three open spots on their 21-man offseason roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to create space for Langford.

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Dolan, Harden, Griffin, Langford

Evan Fournier could eventually become a buyout possibility if the Knicks can’t find somewhere to trade him, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Fournier played just 27 games last season as coach Tom Thibodeau pulled him from the rotation, and he doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans for the upcoming campaign.

While Fournier may not have any remaining value to the organization as a player, his contract remains an asset in a potential trade. He will make $18.8MM this season and has the equivalent of an expiring deal with a team option of $19MM for 2024/25.

Fournier was benched because Thibodeau opted for a focus on defense, but he can still help a team as a shooter and play-maker. He set a Knicks record for most three-pointers made in a season during 2021/22.

With his 31st birthday upcoming in October, Fournier is concerned about what another season of inactivity will mean for his career, as he said in a recent interview with the French outlet L’ Equipe. Popper notes that the Knicks haven’t pursued any stars so far this offseason, but Fournier will probably remain on the roster for a while in case an opportunity for a significant deal arises.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks owner James Dolan cast the only vote against the sale of the Hornets, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The transfer of a majority stake in the team to a group led by Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin was approved by a 29-1 margin.
  • It’s difficult to envision a quick resolution to the trade request submitted by Sixers guard James Harden, observes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harden asked for a deal when he picked up his option for next season at the end of June, but little to no progress has been made. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey has reportedly set a high asking price that no teams have been willing to meet. Harden recently removed all references to Philadelphia and the team from his social media pages and wrote “Been comfortable for so long. It’s time to get uncomfortable” on his Instagram account.
  • The Celtics are likely exploring other options before deciding whether to re-sign Blake Griffin, Brian Robb of MassLive writes in a mailbag column. Robb points out that president of basketball operations Brad Stevens hasn’t mentioned Griffin in any of his sessions with the media since Boston was knocked out of the playoffs. Robb also expects Romeo Langford to get a training camp opportunity with another team rather than returning to the Celtics.

Texas Notes: Mavericks, Hardaway, Irving, Rockets, Spurs

Despite falling below .500, the 36-37 Mavericks remain intent on competing for a title this season, writes Eddie Sefko of

“The standings are going to change to the last game of the season,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “If we can get healthy and have everyone on the court, that gives us the best chance to win… We feel we have the pieces to be a championship team. We’re playing for a championship. But we just right now have to focus on the game that’s in front of us and that’s Charlotte.”

Over the past two weeks, Dallas has gone just 2-5, while slipping from the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference to No. 9. They have been without one or both of their two All-Star guards, Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, in each of their past six games.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr. are both questionable to suit up for the Mavericks in their next game, Friday against the Hornets, the team has announced (Twitter link). Irving is dealing with a sore right foot, while Hardaway continues to struggle through a non-COVID illness.
  • Two Rockets players may not be available for Houston on Friday against the Grizzlies, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Small forward Jae’Sean Tate will miss another game due to his sore left knee, while center Frank Kaminsky is considered questionable to play due to migraines.
  • Several key Spurs players will be sidelined Friday night against the Wizards, as the team continues to tank. Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News reports (Twitter link) that rookie Jeremy Sochan will be shelved with a sore knee and guard Romeo Langford will miss the action with an adductor injury. The team’s second-leading scorer, Devin Vassell, is questionable with a knee injury, as is center Zach Collins, who is dealing with a biceps bruise.

Checking In On RFAs-To-Be Who Have Met Starter Criteria

As we explain in a glossary entry, a player who is eligible for restricted free agency at the end of a given season can have the value of his qualifying offer adjusted depending on whether or not he meets the “starter criteria.”

A player is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency. A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency.

If a top-14 pick doesn’t meet the starter criteria, he has the value of his qualifying offer adjusted downward and receives a QO equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would get if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.

A player drafted at No. 10  or later can increase the value of his qualifying offer by meeting the starter criteria.

Players drafted between 10th and 30th who meet the starter criteria receive a QO equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale, while second-round picks or undrafted free agents who meet the criteria receive a QO equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.

In simplified terms, here’s how those rules will apply in 2022/23:

  • A top-14 pick who falls short of the starter criteria will have a qualifying offer worth $7,744,600.
  • A player picked between No. 10 and No. 30 who meets the starter criteria will have a qualifying offer worth $8,486,620.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted free agent who meets the starter criteria will have a qualifying offer worth $5,216,324.

A qualifying offer is essentially a one-year contract offer that functions as a placeholder if the player doesn’t accept it. If a player is considered a good bet to sign a lucrative long-term contract, a slight adjustment to his qualifying offer generally has no material impact on his free agency.

However, a change in a qualifying offer can sometimes be a difference maker. The best recent example of this came in 2020, when then-Bulls guard Kris Dunn met the starter criteria, ensuring that his qualifying offer would be worth $7,091,457 instead of $4,642,800.

The Bulls opted not to extend that $7MM+ QO, making him an unrestricted free agent, and he ended up signing a two-year, $10MM contract with Atlanta. If Dunn hadn’t met the starter criteria, it’s possible Chicago would’ve been more comfortable issuing a $4.6MM qualifying offer, which would’ve significantly changed the way Dunn’s free agency played out.

So far in 2022/23, three players have met the starter criteria:

Washington was the 12th overall pick in 2019 and will therefore have his qualifying offer bumped up to $8,486,620.

As second-round picks in 2020 and 2021, respectively, Jones and Dosunmu will now have QOs worth $5,216,324.

Here are some more players eligible for restricted free agency this summer whose qualifying offers can – or will – be impacted by the starter criteria:

(* Player has a team option for 2023/24)

White, Hayes, Hachimura, and Langford have no realistic path to meeting the starter criteria this season, so if their teams want to make them restricted free agents this summer, the qualifying offer cost will be $7,744,600. Johnson could join them in that group, though he has started 20 games so far this season and Brooklyn still has 23 contests left, so he still has a shot to make 41 starts as long as he stays healthy and the Nets don’t move him to the bench.

Thybulle and Williams are the only two non-lottery first-round picks who will be RFA-eligible later this year and still have a chance to meet the starter criteria, bumping their QOs to $8,486,620.

It’s probably a long shot for Thybulle, who has made 59 starts since the beginning of 2021/22 — the Trail Blazers only have 23 games remaining, so Thybulle would have to start every single one of them to get to 82 total starts (an average of 41) over the last two seasons.

Williams has a clearer path to get there. He has logged 1,651 minutes so far this season, averaging 27.5 per game. The Celtics play 21 more times this season and Williams would have to play 349 more minutes (16.6 per night) to reach the 2,000-minute threshold. That seems likely as long as he stays off the injured list.

Jones, Martin, and Marshall belong in a different group. All three players have team options on their contracts for 2023/24, so their clubs could simply exercise those options and not have to worry about restricted free agency this year. That’s absolutely what will happen in Jones’ case, since he’ll still be RFA-eligible in 2024.

Martin and Marshall, however, would be on track for unrestricted free agency in 2024 if their team options for next season are picked up — the Rockets and Pelicans could decide to decline this options this summer and negotiate with their players as restricted free agents instead, giving them more control over the process. Houston took this route last summer with Jae’Sean Tate.

With that in mind, it’s worth keeping an eye on whether Martin and/or Marshall will reach the starter criteria and bump their potential QOs to $5,216,324 (from approximately $2.3MM). Martin, who has been in the Rockets’ starting five since mid-January, would need to start 15 of the team’s last 23 games to get there. It’s a more difficult path for Marshall, who would need to average 29.6 minutes per game in the Pelicans’ final 21 contests to get to 2,000 minutes on the season.

Southwest Notes: Jones, Langford, Vassell, Bassey, Grizzlies, Green

There’s optimism that the Spurs will get some key players back shortly after the All-Star break, head coach Gregg Popovich said on Wednesday (Twitter link via Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News). According to Popovich, Tre Jones, Romeo Langford, and even Devin Vassell are all getting close to returning.

Jones has missed six of the Spurs’ last seven games due to left foot soreness, while Langford has been out since January 23 with a left adductor injury. As for Vassell, he underwent a procedure on his left knee in early January and has been on the mend since then. All three players were part of San Antonio’s starting five before being sidelined.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Charles Bassey‘s new four-year contract with the Spurs has matching $2.6MM cap hits in its first two seasons, both of which are fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. Bassey’s third- and fourth-year salaries are each $2.5MM and are non-guaranteed. His third-year salary would become guaranteed if he remains under contract through August 1, 2024 and his fourth-year salary would be guaranteed if he stays under contract through August 1, 2025.
  • When Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. were named All-Stars for 2023, it the first time in franchise history that two Grizzlies players had made the All-Star team in the same season. As Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes, the achievement serves as validation for the franchise that the right core pieces are in place, even if the club is still working on the complementary parts.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic examines Jalen Green‘s development and explores how important the growth of the former No. 2 overall pick is in the Rockets‘ long-term plans. As Iko details, Houston wants to take a significant step forward next season — adding another lottery talent in the draft and having up to $60MM+ in cap room will help, but the team also needs its own young players to take a leap.

Injury Updates: Tatum, Herro, Barnes, Langford, More

The Celtics will have star forward Jayson Tatum on the court for tonight’s showdown with the Mavericks, according to Souichi Terada of MassLive.

Tatum was listed as questionable after hurting his left ankle in Monday’s game at Chicago, but coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters that he’ll be able to play without any limitations. Tatum appeared to be moving normally during shootaround, Terada observes.

Tatum is among the early favorites in the MVP race, averaging 30.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists while playing 37.2 minutes per game, the most in his career. He has led Boston to the best start in the league at 13-4.

There’s more injury-related news to pass along:

  • Tyler Herro will return for the Heat tonight after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle, the team announced (via Twitter). Max Strus was downgraded to out due to a shoulder injury, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • Raptors forward Scottie Barnes will miss tonight’s game with a sprained left knee, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Fred VanVleet is sidelined with an illness, so Toronto is down to 10 available players.
  • Spurs guard Romeo Langford has been cleared to return tonight after missing five games while in the health and safety protocols. Josh Richardson will miss the game after suffering a sprained ankle in Tuesday’s practice (Twitter link), and Zach Collins has been downgraded from probable to out as he recovers from a non-displaced fracture of his fibula (Twitter link). Coach Gregg Popovich sounded optimistic when asked if Collins is close to returning. “Yes, I guess is the answer,” he replied. “He’s just not ready yet. We thought he might be, but he’s not.” Popovich also refused to provide any details about the illness that forced him to miss Sunday’s game, telling reporters, “I’m fine,” Orsborn tweets.
  • Dean Wade, who missed the past six games with knee soreness, will come off the Cavaliers‘ bench tonight and will be on a minutes restriction, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link).
  • Nets forward Yuta Watanabe will be sidelined through at least Friday with a hamstring issue, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. An MRI taken Tuesday night confirmed the injury (Twitter link), but Watanabe doesn’t seem concerned. “It’s not that serious,” he said. “… It’s day to day. We’ll see how long it takes.” (Twitter link)
  • Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is optimistic that Maxi Kleber, who’s dealing with a lower back contusion, will be available Saturday or Sunday, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Southwest Injury Notes: Morant, Jackson Jr., Wesley, Langford, Tate, Bertans

Ja Morant missed Sunday’s game against Washington with an ankle injury but it apparently will only be a one-game absence. The Grizzlies’ star guard is not on the injury report for Tuesday’s game against New Orleans, the team’s PR department tweets.

Meanwhile, Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. could make his season debut on Tuesday, as the forward is listed as questionable. Jackson has been rehabbing from offseason right foot surgery. Morant’s backcourt partner, Desmond Bane, is doubtful due to toe soreness.

We have more injury updates regarding the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie guard Blake Wesley has begun his rehab from a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News reports. Wesley is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action. “It’s going good,” he said. “I’ve started jogging, lifting and getting my routine back. I’m on the court, not moving, but getting up shots and taking it day by day.”
  • Spurs guard Romeo Langford has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and will miss Monday’s game against Golden State, Orsborn tweets.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate has appeared in just three games due to an ankle injury and he’ll miss several more games. Coach Stephen Silas said Tate will be reevaluated in two or three weeks, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Mavericks forward Davis Bertans, who has been sidelined with a right knee injury, participated in his first full practice on Monday since early in training camp, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Bertans is still listed out for the team’s game against the Clippers on Tuesday, the team’s PR department tweets.

Spurs Notes: Langford, Primo, Johnson, Poeltl

Romeo Langford beat out Joe Wieskamp for the final roster spot during the Spurs‘ training camp. Due to injuries and the release of Joshua Primo, Langford found himself in the starting lineup on Sunday, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News writes. Langford played 34 minutes in the victory over Minnesota.

“He might be our best on-ball defender,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He has a knack for it. He enjoys it. It was good to find that out.”

Langford is headed for free agency next summer, though San Antonio can make him a restricted free agent if the team extends a qualifying offer.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Despite the troubling circumstances surrounding the franchise’s decision to cut ties with Primo, the Spurs have stuck together and continued to play inspired basketball, McDonald reports in a separate story. “They’re young enough they don’t know any better,” Popovich said. “They just keep playing hard. They enjoy playing with each other, and they’re pretty much obeying the basketball gods and doing all the simple things that help win games.”
  • Keldon Johnson signed a four-year, $80MM this summer and that deal is looking better every game. Johnson is averaging career highs in scoring (23.9 points), assists (4.1) and steals (1.3) per game while making 43.5 percent of his 3-point attempts, McDonald notes. “He’s been unreal to me,” center Zach Collins said. “It seems like every time he shoots the ball, it’s going in.”
  • It’s unlikely that Jakob Poeltl will sign an extension, since he could probably do better in the open market, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to RealGM). That also makes Poeltl a trade candidate. The veteran center, who is pulling in just under $9.4MM this season, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. “From what I’m told, the Spurs discussed a contract extension with him, but he’s limited by how much he can sign for,” Windhorst said. “It’s the same reason they traded Dejounte Murray. They did such a good job on the contract that it almost works against you because when you want to sign a player, the player wants more than you can give him because you’re limited on how much of a raise you can give in an extension.”