Theo Maledon

Olympic Notes: France, Australia, Germany, Brazil

Ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the host nation has announced its preliminary 19-man roster (Twitter link). As Eurohoops relays, the headliners on France’s squad are big men Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert, the top two finishers in this year’s Defensive Player of the Year vote.

However, there are several more notable NBA names on the list, including Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Bilal Coulibaly, and Ousmane Dieng. Other recent NBAers who didn’t finish the 2023/24 season on a roster include Killian Hayes, Frank Ntilikina, and Theo Maledon.

One player not on France’s roster is veteran guard Mike James. The 2023/24 EuroLeague MVP is an American, but according to a report from L’Equipe (hat tip to BasketNews.com), the French Basketball Federation explored the possibility of getting a French passport for James, who has played for AS Monaco in France’s LNB Pro A since 2021. That effort didn’t make any real headway, however.

“We do not have the culture of other nations which use naturalized players in a systematic way,” an unnamed executive told L’Equipe. “But we have a duty to explore all possibilities. In this case, we were asked, we looked at it and quickly established that it was not a question.”

The French national team will have to make seven cuts and set a 12-man roster for this July’s event.

Here are a few more updates related to the 2024 Olympics:

  • The Australian national team has trimmed its preliminary Olympic roster from 22 players to 17, the Boomers announced in a press release. None of the NBA players on the roster – including Josh Giddey, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Dante Exum, Matisse Thybulle, and Dyson Daniels, among others – were among the cuts, but potential 2024 first-round pick Johnny Furphy was. The plan is for those 17 Australian players to attend training camp this summer before setting the final 12-man roster.
  • The German national team announced this week that head coach Gordon Herbert won’t continue on in that role after the conclusion of the Paris Olympics (hat tip to Sportando). The two sides are going their separate ways after a fruitful partnership that included a gold medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
  • The Brazilian national team has announced its preliminary roster for this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Latvia. The notable names include veteran point guard Raul Neto, former first-round pick Bruno Caboclo, Warriors rookie Gui Santos, and former NBA guard Didi Louzada. The Brazilians will need to win the six-team qualifier to earn a spot in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Suns Waive Theo Maledon

The Suns have waived two-way guard Theo Maledon, according to the league’s official transaction log. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto first reported the move (Twitter link).

Phoenix was reported to be signing Ish Wainright to a two-way contract earlier Monday, but all three of the team’s two-way contracts were filled. There was some speculation that Saben Lee might be earning a promotion to the 15-man roster, and while that could still happen down the line, the Suns are creating a roster space for Wainright in the short term by waiving Maledon.

The Suns originally claimed Maledon on waivers after he was cut by the Hornets in December. The 34th overall pick of the 2020 draft, he began his career with the Thunder, where he made 56 starts across two seasons. After departing Oklahoma City, he spent part of the next two years with Charlotte on a two-way deal before landing in Phoenix.

Maledon only made four appearances during his time in Phoenix, totaling five points in 13 minutes. In 177 career games (64 starts), the 22-year-old guard holds career averages of 7.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He had his most productive season when he averaged 10.1 points and 3.5 assists in his age-19 rookie year in Oklahoma City in ’20/21.

Pacific Notes: Vincent, Lakers’ Trip, Maledon, Beal, George

The Lakers are poised to get one of their top guards back in action. Gabe Vincent is listed as probable to play Wednesday against Chicago, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register tweets.

Vincent, who has been sidelined since Oct. 30 due to left knee effusion, appeared in just four games before he was sidelined. He joined the Lakers in free agency on a three-year, $33MM contract after playing a key part in the Heat’s playoff run to the Finals.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are 1-3 since winning the in-season tournament, and playing their next three games in four nights on the road won’t make things any easier, Anthony Davis admits. “It’s tough,” said Davis, as relayed by Price. “For the whole month of December, we’ve really been on the road – and are gonna be on the road for probably the rest of December. But there’s nothing we can really do about it. It’s the schedule. Just gotta take care of our bodies and get some guys back hopefully within the next couple of games. But it’s definitely a mental challenge going on the road as much as we are right now.”
  • Theo Maledon, who was claimed off waivers from Charlotte by the Suns on Sunday, has been on Phoenix’s radar for a while, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Maledon, who is on a two-way deal, worked out for the Suns during the offseason. “I want to say two months before training camp probably,” Maledon said. He’ll give the team another point guard option. “For sure, but I just want to do my role on what coach expects from me or the team expects me to do. Whatever they need, I feel like that’s the biggest priority,” he said.
  • Suns wing Bradley Beal, who is expected to miss at least the rest of this month with an ankle injury, was a spectator when Phoenix defeated his former team on Sunday. The ex-Wizards star says it’s “surreal” to be on the same team as Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. “It’s definitely surreal at times,” he told Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. “… That’s two guys I competed against for a long time in this league, and now we’re all sharing the opportunity to go compete for a title. It’s surreal in a lot of ways. But it kind of motivates you, too, to just continue to be the best version of yourself you can be.”
  • Clippers forward Paul George is listed as questionable to play against Dallas on Wednesday due to an illness, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk tweets.

Suns Claim Theo Maledon Off Waivers

The Suns have claimed guard Theo Maledon off waivers, according to the NBA transactions log.

Maledon was waived on Thursday by Charlotte, where he was playing on a two-way contract. Maledon appeared in 13 games with the Hornets this season, including one start. He was averaging 4.2 points and 2.2 assists in 15.4 minutes per game and shooting just 28.8 percent from the field.

Maledon also played last season with the Hornets after two years with Oklahoma City. Overall, he has averaged 7.9 points, 3.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 21.6 minutes over 173 regular season games. Maledon was an early second-round pick in 2020.

The Suns have a full 15-man roster but there was an open two-way spot to slot in Maledon, who will give the team more backcourt depth. Bradley Beal is expected to miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury.

Hornets Sign Theo Maledon To Two-Way Deal, Waive Three Players

4:58pm: Maledon’s contract is official, according to NBA.com’s transaction log.

In order to make room for Maledon and Edmond Sumner, who is signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal, Charlotte released Angelo Allegri, Tre Scott and Jaylen Sims. All three players were on Exhibit 10 contracts and will likely be heading to the G League.


4:17 pm: Free agent guard Theo Maledon is returning to the Hornets on a two-way contract, sources tell Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the news (via Twitter).

The Hornets gave Maledon a two-way qualifying offer at the end of June, making him a restricted free agent. He was the last restricted free agent left on the board this offseason, and likely just accepted his QO ahead of training camp.

The French point guard was the 34th overall pick of the 2020 draft. He spent his first two NBA seasons with the Thunder, but was traded to Houston prior to last season. The Rockets waived Maledon, and he signed a two-way deal with Charlotte a few days later.

Maledon averaged 6.7 PPG, 3.5 APG and 2.8 RPG in 44 games for the Hornets in 2022/23 (19.4 MPG), posting a .402/.297/.851 shooting slash line. Overall, he has appeared in 160 NBA games.

The Hornets will have to release someone to make room for Maledon, as their roster is currently at the offseason maximum of 21 players under contract. The 22-year-old will fill the team’s final two-way spot.

Five Two-Way Restricted Free Agents Remain Unsigned

As of July 18, there were 12 two-way restricted free agents who had yet to sign new contracts.

Over the past three-plus weeks, six of those players — Lester Quinones (Warriors), Kendall Brown (Pacers), Trevor Keels (Knicks), Duane Washington (Knicks), Dominick Barlow (Spurs) and Ron Harper Jr. (Raptors) — returned to their clubs on two-way deals.

Keels and Washington were subsequently waived to create roster space for Nathan Knight and Dylan Windler, respectively. Washington re-signed with New York on a training camp contract, while Keels is an NBA free agent (the Knicks retained his G League rights).

A seventh player — Jeff Dowtin — returned to Toronto on a one-year, minimum-salary contract that is fully non-guaranteed. He would receive $900K if he’s not waived on or before October 21, but may face an uphill battle to claim a roster spot, as the Raptors now have 15 players with guaranteed deals on their roster.

That leaves a total of five two-way restricted free agents available, as our up-to-date list shows. Those players are as follows:

Of the five-player group, Maledon had the largest role last season. The 34th pick of the 2020 draft appeared in 44 games for Charlotte in 2022/23, averaging 6.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game.

If they’re willing to accept their one-year, two-way qualifying offers, four of these five players seemingly have an easy path back to the teams that hold their rights — the Hawks, Hornets, Heat and Wolves all have an open two-way slot available.

That is not true for the Bulls, however — all three of their two-way slots are filled. If Taylor accepts his QO, Chicago might just release him, similar to what happened with Washington and Keels.

Some two-way RFAs have managed to earn standard contracts this offseason. Cain has reportedly been discussing that possibility with rival teams, but Miami has been reluctant to give him a standard deal.

It will be interesting to see if any of the five players are able to land a standard contract instead of another two-way deal. However, being RFAs hurts their leverage to negotiate with rival teams, and offer sheets for two-way restricted free agents essentially never happen.

12 Two-Way Restricted Free Agents Remain Unsigned

The action on the NBA’s free agent market has slowed since the start of July, but there are still many FAs seeking new deals, including a notable group of under-the-radar players whose situations will need to be resolved in the coming days, weeks, and months.

A total of 12 two-way restricted free agents are still available, as our up-to-date list shows. Those players are as follows:

That group doesn’t include a 13th player, Neemias Queta, who is also a restricted free agent after finishing last season on a two-way deal. Although he remains eligible to sign another two-way contract, Queta was ineligible for a two-way qualifying offer after having played on a two-way with the Kings for consecutive seasons — his QO is a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a small ($75K) partial guarantee.

For the rest of these players, their qualifying offer is simply another one-year, two-way deal, which limits their leverage to negotiate a more lucrative standard contract.

Some two-way RFAs have managed to earn standard deals this offseason. A.J. Green of the Bucks was one. Julian Champagnie of the Spurs was another. Ty Jerome (Warriors) and Jack White (Nuggets) received standard contract offers from the Cavaliers and Thunder, respectively, that their former teams were unwilling to match, so Golden State and Denver simply withdrew their respective qualifying offers, making Jerome and White unrestricted free agents.

Offer sheets for two-way restricted free agents essentially never happen though. And in general, unless a team has earmarked a 15-man roster spot for a two-way free agent, it’s an uphill battle for these players to earn offseason promotions.

As a result, the majority of the dozen restricted free agents listed above will likely end up accepting their qualifying offers and hoping that their play in 2023/24 forces their clubs to find 15-man roster spots for them later in the season.

Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on this group to see if any of them can do better than another two-way — and to see how long some of them might be willing to wait in the hope of earning that opportunity.

Hornets Extend QOs to Washington, Bridges, Maledon

The Hornets have made qualifying offers to P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges and Theo Maledon, the team announced (via Twitter). All three players will be restricted when free agency begins on Friday.

Washington will be a highly sought-after target on the free agent market, and extending the QO gives Charlotte the opportunity to match any offer he receives. The 24-year-old power forward is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 73 games. His qualifying offer will be $8,486,620.

Charlotte is reportedly interested in bringing back Bridges, who sat out sat out all of last season after pleading no contest to felony domestic violence. General manager Mitch Kupchak declined to comment on Bridges at a post-draft press conference, but rival front offices believe he’ll re-sign with the Hornets. Bridges’ qualifying offer is worth $7,744,600.

Maledon appeared in 44 games for Charlotte after signing a two-way contract shortly before the start of last season. His qualifying offer is equivalent to another one-year, two-way deal.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Maledon, Washington, Strus, Heat

Responding to reports that Wizards guard Bradley Beal is under police investigation for a postgame altercation with fans in Orlando, agent Mark Bartelstein told Marc J. Spears of ESPN (Twitter link) that his client is “one of the NBA’s classiest and outstanding citizens” and blamed the fans for their “abusive” language.

“The comments and words that were spewed at Brad in Orlando have no place anywhere in our society,” Bartelstein wrote in a statement. “For him to be subject to that type of verbal abuse is absolutely unacceptable. I believe the league is going to have to take a much closer look as to what is happening in NBA arenas to protect the players and I know that where we have advanced with gambling is certainly having a huge impact on this behavior!”

As we previously relayed, a man in the stands who had made a bet on the game allegedly told Beal, “You made me lose $1,300, you f–k,” while the guard was heading toward the locker room. The police report stated that Beal turned around and walked toward the stands, then swatted at a friend of the man who made the comment, making contact with his head and knocking his hat off.

According to TMZ Sports, the fans involved in the confrontation, who were sitting courtside, were heckling Beal for much of the night and made multiple “disparaging” comments aimed at the Wizards star. There has been no clarity yet on whether or not Beal will face any charges for the incident.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hornetssigning of Xavier Sneed to a 10-day contract helped clear the way for Theo Maledon to have a career night on Tuesday, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer explains. Teams are limited to having their two-way players active for just 90 combined games (instead of 100) if they don’t have full 15-man rosters, so adding Sneed as a 15th man allowed the team to start Maledon. He responded with 19 points and nine assists in a road win over Oklahoma City.
  • Hornets forward P.J. Washington may have played his last game before he becomes a restricted free agent. Washington left Friday’s loss to Chicago due to a sprained right ankle, and Boone isn’t sure whether he’ll return for any of the four games left on Charlotte’s schedule.
  • Heat guard Max Strus, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, admitted that he can’t help but think about what his next contract might look like and whether he’ll remain in Miami going forward, but he doesn’t feel like it’s affecting his play at all, per Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It wouldn’t be human to not think about it,” Strus said. “I wouldn’t say it’s added pressure or anything like that.”
  • Following the bankruptcy of crypto exchange company FTX, the Heat‘s arena will be getting a new name. As Douglas Hanks of The Miami Herald details, the arena will be called the Kaseya Center, assuming a $117MM agreement with a local software company is approved next week by Miami-Dade County commissioners.

Hornets Notes: Williams, Maledon, Oubre, Smith Jr.

Mark Williams hasn’t played as much as some of his fellow first-round picks, so he’s taking advantage of the opportunities the Hornets are giving him in the G League, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Williams was selected 15th overall, but the Hornets view him as a long-term project at center. He’s behind Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards on the depth chart and has logged 13 total minutes in three games, so Williams is focused on making an impact with Greensboro Swarm.

“Go down there, dominate, show the pro that I am and I try to do that,” Williams said. “There’s nothing like playing five-on-five. It’s good to get in a flow, get into rhythm and be able to play, go down and do that. I just got to make the most of the opportunity when I’m out there, just try to work on my game. Work on the defensive principles and stuff like that, so whenever the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready for it.”

Boone points out that Charlotte traditionally has young players work on their skills in the G League, with Richards and Kai Jones as two recent examples. Coach Steve Clifford said it’s beneficial for rookies to play regularly and experience success, and Williams is on board with that philosophy.

“At the end of the day it’s not like when I’m there I can do anything about it,” Williams said. “You’ve just got to make the most of it, turn it into a positive and just go out there and play basketball. It’s definitely great for your confidence, going there, playing there, playing well. It’s definitely great for your confidence to go there and show what you are capable of.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets’ top four guards have all battled injuries this season, so Theo Maledon has been playing more than expected, Boone adds. Maledon signed a two-way contract on October 15, four days after being waived by the Rockets, and is averaging 16.7 minutes in 20 games. “It’s for sure a huge confidence boost,” Maledon said. “Just not being there for preseason and just getting in with the team and just being able to do what I’m doing right now is a great feeling, and I just want it to keep going and have that same mentality for sure.”
  • With free agency looming next summer, Kelly Oubre sounds interested in a long-term future in Charlotte. He talked about his love for the city in an appearance on Boone’s podcast. “Just coming from where I’ve been at in my career, just like the ups and downs, the uneasiness, I’ve never been able to find a consistent flow in a city, other than the city I was drafted in because I was there for so long,” Oubre said. “It’s just been amazing, man, to come and play for this city and for this organization.”
  • Dennis Smith Jr. will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a sprained left ankle, but he’s no longer wearing a walking boot, Boone tweets.