Sharife Cooper

And-Ones: Harding, Cooper, All-NBA, Kaba, Bronny

Stockton Kings head coach Lindsey Harding has been named the NBA G League Coach of the Year in a vote by G League head coaches and general managers, NBA Communications tweets. Harding is the first woman to win the Coach of the Year award in the NBA G League. She’ll receive the Dennis Johnson Trophy.

Harding was hired to coach Sacramento’s NBAGL affiliate last June. Harding spent the past four seasons as an assistant/player development coach with the NBA’s Kings.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Sharife Cooper has signed with China’s Liaoning Flying Leopards, according to Sportando. Cooper signed a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers in late February but didn’t play at all and didn’t receive a second 10-day contract. He has spent the bulk of this season with the Cavs’ G League team, the Cleveland Charge.
  • Who are the highest-paid players who have never received All-NBA honors? HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto ranks the top 50 in that category, with the TimberwolvesMike Conley ($276.5MM), the Thunder‘s Gordon Hayward ($271MM) and the CelticsJrue Holiday ($259.4MM) topping the list.
  • Alpha Kaba, a 2017 draft-and-stash prospect, has signed with Valencia, the Spanish team tweets. The Rockets acquired the NBA rights to Kaba in a five-team trade last summer, though it appears unlikely that Kaba is planning on an NBA career. The big man had been playing with China’s Jiangsu Dragons.
  • Bronny James has entered the transfer portal, college basketball expert Dick Weiss tweets. Following an underwhelming freshman year at USC, Bronny is considered more likely to stay in college for another year than to be drafted in 2024. LeBron James‘ son posted averages of 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 36.6% from the field in 25 games for the Trojans.
    [UPDATE: Weiss has since walked back his report on Bronny entering the transfer portal, tweeting that it’s not yet confirmed.]

Cavs Notes: Mitchell, Wade, Mobley, 15th Man

When they announced on Monday that Donovan Mitchell had received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat his left knee injury, the Cavaliers ruled him out for their next three games. However, there’s no guarantee that Mitchell will be ready to return following those three games, as head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters on Tuesday before his team faced the Celtics.

“I expect him to be back before a month,” Bickerstaff said, per Tom Withers of The Associated Press. “I don’t like to overstep my bounds, but at the end of the three games, they’ll reevaluate and then we’ll make a decision from there. I’m hopeful and do not expect this to be a long break, but we will always do what’s best by our guys to make sure they’re healthy.”

The Cavaliers have referred to Mitchell’s injury as a bone bruise, but Bickerstaff suggested that it’s an issue that has developed over time and got to the point where it didn’t make sense for the star guard to play through it.

“It’s more of a wear and tear thing,” the Cavs’ coach said. “It was like a tendinitis-type thing that kind of just flared up. So it’s not something that just happened, but something that just built over time.

“… He couldn’t move going certain directions because of the pain and how it was limited. I’m not a doctor, but from everything that I’m hearing, the time, the rest and the process should get him back to full strength.”

As we noted on Monday, while Mitchell has put up All-NBA numbers in Cleveland this season, leading the team with 28.0 points and a career-best 6.2 assists per game, he’s in danger of falling short of the 65-game minimum required to qualify for end-of-season awards. After Friday, he’ll have missed 16 games this season — he can’t miss more than 17 if he hopes to be eligible for All-NBA consideration, but getting him healthy for a playoff run figures to be the priority.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • An unlikely hero led the Cavaliers past Boston in a stunning comeback win on Tuesday, as Withers writes in a separate Associated Press story. Forward Dean Wade, who has been coming off the bench since January 26 after starting earlier in the season, made five three-pointers and scored 20 points in the fourth quarter as Cleveland erased a 22-point deficit and pulled out a one-point upset victory. “The rim looked like a swimming pool,” Wade told reporters after the game.
  • The good vibes in the locker room after Tuesday’s win were diminished somewhat by the fact that Evan Mobley exited the game in the third quarter due to a left ankle sprain, writes Chris Fedor of According to Fedor, Mobley was seen leaving the arena on crutches and likely won’t be available on Wednesday vs. Atlanta. It’s unclear how much more time the big man might miss beyond that.
  • The Cavaliers will open up a roster spot after Wednesday’s contest when Sharife Cooper‘s 10-day contract expires. It’s unclear if the Cavs intend to sign Cooper to a second 10-day deal — he has yet to appear in an NBA game through his first nine days under contract. The club wouldn’t necessarily have to fill that open 15-man roster spot immediately.

Cavaliers Sign Sharife Cooper To 10-Day Deal

The Cavaliers have signed free agent Sharife Cooper to a 10-day contract, according to’s official transactions log (hat tip to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype).

Cooper, 22, was the 48th overall pick of the 2021 draft after spending one season at Auburn. He spent his rookie season — 2021/22 — on a two-way deal with Atlanta, making 13 brief NBA appearances for 39 total minutes.

A 6’0″ point guard, Cooper signed a two-way deal in the summer of 2022 to return to the Hawks, but they released him a few days later. Prior to each of the past two seasons, Cooper has signed Exhibit 10 training camp deals with the Cavs and then was waived to receive a bonus for playing for the Cleveland Charge, the team’s NBA G League affiliate.

In 34 games with the Charge in 2023/24, Cooper has averaged 18.2 PPG, 7.1 APG, 4.0 RPG and 1.6 SPG on .448/.313/.809 shooting in 32.4 MPG. He averaged 22.8 PPG, 7.0 APG, 3.6 RPG and 1.0 SPG on .453/.356/.841 shooting in 43 games at the NBAGL level last season (33.7 MPG).

Since the Cavs have an open spot on their standard roster, they didn’t have to waive anyone to sign Cooper. As a one-year veteran, he will earn $103,550 over the course of his 10-day contract.

Cavaliers Waive Seven Players

The Cavaliers have released seven players, including three who were just signed, according to the transactions log.

Point guard Sharife Cooper, forward Pete Nance, guard Justin Powell and swingman Zhaire Smith all have Exhibit 10 contracts, so they’re likely headed to the Cleveland Charge, the organization’s G League affiliate. They can earn bonuses of up to $75K if they spend at least 60 days with the team.

Also placed on waivers were shooting guard Rob Edwards, small forward Aleem Ford and guard Devontae Shuler, who hadn’t been listed on the Cavs’ roster prior to today. They were likely all signed and waived with Exhibit 10 deals and will be eligible for the same $75K bonus.

Two of the players have brief NBA experience, as Edwards played two games for the Thunder and Ford appeared in five games with the Magic, both during the 2021/22 season.

The moves leave Cleveland with 12 fully guaranteed salaries and all three of its two-way slots filled. Veteran center Tristan Thompson and shooting guard Sam Merrill remain with the team on non-guaranteed deals.

Cavaliers Sign Sharife Cooper, Pete Nance

The Cavaliers have officially signed free agent guard Sharife Cooper and forward Pete Nance, the team announced today in a press release. Cleveland also formally confirmed its deal with Justin Powell, which we previously detailed.

The 48th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Cooper spent his rookie year on a two-way contract with Atlanta, then played for the Cleveland Charge in the G League last season. Appearing in – and starting – 25 games for the Charge, he averaged 21.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 32.5 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .431/.316/.853.

Nance’s Exhibit 10 agreement with the Cavs was reported shortly after he went undrafted in June. He has ties to the organization — he’s the son of former Cavs legend Larry Nance and the younger brother of Larry Nance Jr., who spent parts of four seasons with Cleveland.

After spending four seasons with Northwestern, Nance transferred to North Carolina for a “super senior” season in 2022/23, averaging 10.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 1.1 BPG on .422/.320/.816 shooting in 30 games (30.1 MPG) for the Tar Heels. He had a larger offensive role with the Wildcats in ’21/22, posting 14.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.1 BPG on .497/.452/.768 shooting in 30 games (27.2 MPG).

While it hasn’t been confirmed in each case, Cooper, Nance, and Powell likely all received Exhibit 10 contracts, which can be converted into two-way deals before the regular season or would put them on track to earn bonuses worth up to $75K if they’re waived and then spend at least 60 days with the Charge.

Cleveland now has 20 players under contract, one away from the offseason limit.

Western Notes: Gordon, Nuggets, Booth, Cooper, Spurs

Aaron Gordon‘s siblings noticed a positive change in his focus, demeanor and approach last offseason after the Nuggets were eliminated in their first-round playoff series against the Warriors, they told Marc J. Spears of Andscape. The 27-year-old responded with a career year.

As the team’s best defensive player, Gordon is often given the unenviable task of attempting to slow down the world’s best scorers. He limited Heat star Jimmy Butler to just two field goal attempts in 34 half-court possessions during Denver’s Game 1 victory, per Spears. Butler finished with his fewest points scored (13 on 6-of-14 shooting) since March 29, Spears adds.

Gordon, who had 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and four rebounds in the first quarter en route to a lead the Nuggets would never relinquish, says he isn’t interested in anything but winning.

I’m not here for the credit. I’m here for the wins,” Gordon said in the post-game presser. “Playing with guys like the guys that are on this team is just a blessing. It’s a beautiful opportunity to play with guys on the team that have so much talent, have so much skill and have so much passion for the game of basketball.

That’s what I’ve always loved is to play the right way of basketball, and we do that here. I don’t care if I score 50 or 0, as long as I’m helping impact the game and we’re winning.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • In another story for Andscape, Spears details general manager Calvin Booth‘s influence on the Nuggets reaching the NBA Finals. “It’s pretty well known now the guys he brought in are a huge part of the reason why we’re in the Finals,” forward Michael Porter Jr. said. “Obviously, KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) and Bruce (Brown) being two of those guys. But really the vets, too, as much as the guys on the floor, are contributing to us winning, like DJ (DeAndre Jordan), Jeff (Green), Ish (Smith), Reggie (Jackson). Those guys’ attitude and their leadership is just part of the reason why we’re doing so well. It’s really just finding a group of guys that mesh in the locker room is a big part of winning. Calvin did a great job of that.
  • The Timberwolves are hosting a free agent camp on June 14 and 15, reports Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Skor North (via Twitter). One former NBA player who will be present is guard Sharife Cooper, who spent his rookie season in 2021/22 with the Hawks. Cooper played for the Cavs’ G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge, this past season, averaging 21.3 PPG, 6.3 APG and 3.8 RPG on .431/.316/.853 shooting in 25 regular season games (32.5 MPG).
  • As Mike Vorukov of The Athletic writes, the Spurs were the only NBA team in ’22/23 to finish below the league’s salary cap floor, coming in at about $14MM under the threshold. Because that amount is then distributed to the players, each member of the roster will be getting a check for more than $700K, sources tell Vorkunov. San Antonio might be the last team to go under the salary floor for quite a while, Vorkunov adds, since the new CBA penalizes teams for not spending enough.
  • LJ Ellis of recently took a look at San Antonio’s roster following the news that Victor Wembanyama will be in the fold. Ellis likes the fit between Wembanyama and big man Zach Collins, but thinks the Spurs will likely wait to see how they play together before contemplating a possible extension for Collins.

NBAGL Announces 2022/23 All-League Awards

The NBA G League named the recipients of its All-League, All-Rookie, and All-Defensive teams on Thursday (all Twitter links found here). Many of the honorees are on standard NBA or two-way contracts.

Here’s the full list:

All-NBA G League First Team

All-NBA G League Second Team

All-NBA G League Third Team

NBAGL All-Defensive Team

NBAGL All-Rookie Team

  • Kenneth Lofton
  • Lester Quinones – Santa Cruz Warriors *
    • Note: Quinones placed second in ROY voting.
  • Darius Days
    • Note: Days placed third in ROY voting.
  • Jamaree Bouyea
  • Moussa Diabate

(^ denotes standard NBA contract)

(* denotes two-way contract)

(# Bouyea signed 10-day deals with the Heat and Wizards, but is now an NBA free agent)

Both Dunn and Samanic signed standard contracts with the Jazz, while Harrison signed with the Lakers at the very end of the season after playing with Portland on a 10-day deal. Duke and Lofton recently had their two-way contracts converted into standard deals.

Cooper, Chiozza and Anderson all hold NBA experience as well. Cooper spent 2021/22 — his rookie season — on a two-way deal with the Hawks; Chiozza has played for the Rockets, Nets and Warriors, and recently signed with a Spanish team; Anderson has appeared in 242 NBA games with six teams in as many seasons.

NBA G League Announces 24 Players For Next Up Game

The NBA G League announced today that G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Timberwolves/Iowa Wolves forward Luka Garza have been named team captains for the NBAGL Next Up Game, which will take place in Salt Lake City during All-Star weekend.

While the exhibition match isn’t technically being called a G League All-Star Game, that’s essentially what it is. The 24-player pool was selected by a fan vote and by the league itself.

Henderson averaged 21.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG in six Showcase Cup games (28.5 MPG) before missing time with an injury. The guard, widely projected to be the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, has registered 17.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.5 RPG in 11 regular season games (29.8 MPG) since returning.

Garza, meanwhile, has been dominant at the G League level while playing for the Timberwolves on a two-way contract. He averaged 29.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .628/.500/.794 shooting in nine Showcase Cup games (34.4 MPG) and has been boosted those averages in two regular season games (32.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 5.0 APG) for the Iowa Wolves.

Here’s the full list of players who will take part in the G League Next Up Game:

(* Players marked with an asterisk are on two-way contracts with NBA teams.)

As is the case with the NBA All-Star Game, the team captains – in this case, Henderson and Garza – will select their 12-man squads in a draft. The draft for the G League Next Up Game will take place on February 14.

Five G League Players Making Bids For NBA Call-Ups

The NBA G League’s regular season won’t begin for another month, but all 30 NBAGL teams are currently competing in the Showcase Cup, a round-robin event that culminates in a single-elimination tournament at the G League’s Winter Showcase from December 19-22.

We’re only midway through the 16-game Showcase Cup, with each NBAGL team having played between seven and 10 games so far, but a number of standout performers are making their mark.

Some of those top players, like Luka Garza of the Iowa Wolves or Jaden Hardy of the Texas Legends, are already under contract with NBA teams and aren’t free agents. But many of the G League players turning heads are free to sign with any NBA club at any time.

Listed below are five early G League standouts who are making strong cases to be considered for NBA call-ups at some point this season. This is hardly a comprehensive list of the NBAGL’s top performers — it’s a safe bet that many more will receive NBA consideration in the coming days, weeks, or months, especially when the 10-day signing period begins in January. But these five players are worth singling out for their early-season play.

Let’s dive in…

Sharife Cooper, G, Cleveland Charge

A two-way player with the Hawks last season, Cooper accepted a two-way qualifying offer from Atlanta in July, but was waived shortly thereafter and spent training camp with the Cavaliers, becoming an affiliate player for Cleveland.

In 10 games so far for the Charge, Cooper has been one of the G League’s most dynamic offensive players, pouring in 25.3 points per game on .489/.433/.811 shooting while also chipping in 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per night.

Cooper isn’t a consistent defender, but his offensive ability will intrigue NBA evaluators. He’s the G League’s reigning Performer of the Week after posting back-to-back 40-point games on November 15 and 17 and has helped lead the Charge to a 6-4 record.

Carlik Jones, G, Windy City Bulls

Jones, 25 next month, got a brief taste of NBA action last winter as a 10-day hardship signee for the Mavericks and the Nuggets, appearing in five total games for the two teams. After spending training camp with the Bulls, he’s back in the G League this season for the Windy City Bulls, whose 6-2 record places them atop the Central.

Jones has been a major reason for Windy City’s early success, leading the team with 17.5 PPG and 8.1 APG. After struggling to consistently make his three-pointers in his first pro season in 2021/22, the former Louisville standout is hitting 41.9% of his treys so far this season and making 1.6 per game.

Jay Huff, F/C, South Bay Lakers

Huff began the 2021/22 season on a two-way contract with the Lakers and made brief appearances in four NBA games before being waived in January. The 24-year-old is still in the organization at South Bay and has emerged as one of the G League’s most fearsome rim protectors — he has blocked 35 shots in his first eight games this season and comfortably leads the league with 4.4 BPG.

Huff’s impact has gone beyond his shot-blocking ability. He’s also one of South Bay’s go-to scorers, averaging 17.9 PPG on 68.1% shooting; he leads the club with 8.9 RPG; and he has even shown off some play-making ability, averaging 3.1 APG.

If Huff can boost his three-point rate a few points (currently 29.4%), he’ll become an even more appealing target for NBA teams looking to develop a frontcourt prospect.

James Akinjo, G, Westchester Knicks

Although Akinjo earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team during his final college season in 2021/22, the Baylor guard struggled mightily with his shot, making just 38.3% attempts from the field and 29.5% from beyond the arc. So it has been encouraging to see him boost those averages to 46.4% and 46.7% in his first seven G League games.

The Westchester Knicks are just 1-6 so far, but Akinjo has been a bright spot, pouring in 19.9 points per night and tying for the G League lead with an impressive 11.1 assists per game.

Jontay Porter, F/C, Wisconsin Herd

The younger brother of Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter is a former five-star recruit whose college career was derailed by a pair of ACL tears. He’s still just 23 years old though and has been healthy through the Herd’s first 10 games.

Despite playing just 26.2 minutes per game and primarily coming off the bench, Porter has filled up the box score in Wisconsin, averaging 16.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.8 BPG while making 3.1 three-pointers per game at a 46.3% rate.

The Grizzlies took a flier on Porter during the 2020/21 season and played him in 11 games — it may be just a matter of time before he earns another shot at the NBA level.

Cavs Exercise Options On E. Mobley, Okoro; Waive Five Players

The Cavaliers are exercising their 2023/24 rookie scale options on Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro, sources tell Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). The team has officially confirmed the moves (Twitter link).

The news was expected, as both 21-year-olds are key members of a young Cleveland squad. Mobley will earn $8,882,640 in his third season, while Okoro will make $8,920,795 in his fourth. Exercising Okoro’s fourth-year option also makes him eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer.

Mobley was the Rookie of the Year runner-up in ’21/22 after averaging 15 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG and 1.7 BPG in 69 games (33.8 MPG). The 7’0″ big man was the third overall pick in 2021.

Okoro was the fifth overall pick in 2020. The 6’5″ wing is an impressive athlete and strong defender, but needs to develop his offensive game. He’s averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.9 APG and 0.9 SPG over his first two seasons (134 games, 31 MPG).

In unrelated news, the Cavs have waived Mamadi Diakite, Sharife Cooper, Nate Hinton, Jamorko Pickett and RJ Nembhard, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. The team officially confirmed the roster cuts (via Twitter). The Cavs now have 14 players on standard contracts and one two-way spot open after waiving Nembhard.

The Cavaliers plan to keep their 15th standard roster spot open to start the season, according to Fedor (Twitter link), who adds that Cooper, Hinton and Pickett are expected to join the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs’ G League affiliate. If they spend at least 60 days with the Charge, they could each receive a bonus worth up to $50K due to their Exhibit 10 contracts.

Diakite had a strong preseason showing for the Cavs, and Fedor wondered last night if they might keep him around. Obviously he won’t receive the final standard roster spot right now, but there’s a chance they could re-sign him to a two-way contract if he clears waivers. He was on an Exhibit 9 training camp deal, which cannot be converted into a two-way deal.