Theo Maledon

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.

Hornets Sign Theo Maledon To Two-Way Contract

OCTOBER 15: The Hornets have officially signed Maleon to his two-way deal, the team confirmed today in a press release. Charlotte created room on its roster by waiving Jaylen Sims and Anthony Duruji on Friday.

OCTOBER 14: Theo Maledon, who cleared waivers on Thursday after being cut by Houston on Tuesday, won’t have to wait long to get back on an NBA roster. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Maledon is signing a two-way contract with the Hornets.

Maledon, the 34th overall pick of the 2020 draft, appeared in 116 regular season games (56 starts, 23.3 MPG) with the Thunder over the past two seasons before being traded to the Rockets last month. He averaged 8.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 2.9 APG on .371/.322/.766 shooting across those two years.

While Maledon struggled to score efficiently in Oklahoma City, he has good size for a point guard (6’4″) and is still just 21 years old, so it seemed likely that another NBA team would take a flier on him. The Frenchman reportedly wanted to remain stateside rather than returning to Europe to continue his career.

There could be an immediate path to playing time for Maledon in Charlotte, where starting point guard LaMelo Ball is recovering from a Grade 2 ankle sprain. Terry Rozier is expected to be the Hornets’ primary ball-handler while Ball is on the shelf, but the team doesn’t have a ton of depth at the position — Dennis Smith Jr., who is in training camp on a non-guaranteed deal, will likely be the backup.

The Hornets are currently only carrying one two-way player, Bryce McGowens, so the other two-way slot is open. However, the club has a full 20-man roster and will have to waive one of its camp invitees to make room for Maledon.

And-Ones: Maledon, One-And-Done, Wembanyama, Ignite, Selden

After being waived by the Rockets this week, French point guard Theo Maledon isn’t eager to head back to Europe to resume his playing career, according to a Eurohoops report. He played for ASVEL in France from 2017-20 before being selected 34th overall in the 2020 NBA draft.

Maledon is still just 21 years old and showed some promise during his two seasons in Oklahoma City, so he looks like a good candidate to get another NBA opportunity. He’ll clear waivers on Thursday, assuming he goes unclaimed.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • There are no indications that the NBA’s one-and-done rule for draft prospects will be scrapped anytime soon, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider-only link). While commissioner Adam Silver would like to eliminate the rule, the players’ union would want “major financial concessions” from team owners in order to agree, according to Givony, who adds that some teams believe allowing younger prospects to enter the NBA would water down the league’s talent level.
  • In a separate Insider-only article for, Givony breaks down last week’s Victor Wembanyama vs. Scoot Henderson showdowns, writing that Wembanyama is the best NBA prospect he’s seen since LeBron James. Givony also explains why Wembanyama is in a great developmental situation with the Metropolitans 92 in France and says the NBA’s G League Ignite program looks like it’s here to stay.
  • Former NBA wing Wayne Selden has left his Italian team, Tezenis Verona, his agency told Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. Verona put out a statement announcing that the club intended to take legal action in response to Seldon’s departure, prompting agent Charles Misuraca to accuse the team of breaching Selden’s contract agreement by not paying him.
  • Just how valuable is it to acquire the swap rights to a future first-round draft pick? Zach Kram of The Ringer explores that question, ultimately concluding that it’s pretty rare for a team to jump up significantly in the draft and the result of a pick swap.

Rockets Release Theo Maledon

5:00pm: The Rockets have officially waived Maledon, per’s transaction log.

3:53pm: The Rockets are releasing guard Theo Maledon, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Like Maurice Harkless, Maledon was acquired by Houston as part of the eight-player swap with the Thunder, and will now be waived as the team eats his $1.9MM salary for 2022/23, which is fully guaranteed.

Once the two transactions are complete, the Rockets will still have 16 players on guaranteed standard deals and Willie Cauley-Stein on a non-guaranteed contract, and they’ll need to reduce the standard roster down to 15 players before the regular season starts.

Maledon, 21, was the 34th overall pick of the 2020 draft. He appeared in 116 regular season games (56 starts, 23.3 MPG) with the Thunder over the past two seasons, averaging a combined 8.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 2.9 APG on .371/.322/.766 shooting.

Evidently neither the Thunder nor the Rockets were high enough on the French point guard to keep him around, despite his above-average size (6’4″) and youth. Since he only has two years of NBA experience, Maledon is eligible to sign a two-way deal if and when he clears waivers on Thursday, and that might be more likely than another guaranteed standard contract at this point considering a couple of rebuilding clubs decided not to retain him.

Western Notes: Hart, Alvarado, Rockets, Jazz

The Trail Blazers have made a decision on their starting small forward job, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, who hears from a source that Josh Hart has won the training camp competition.

Hart had been competing with Nassir Little and Justise Winslow for the right to start at the three for Portland this season, alongside a backcourt of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons and a frontcourt of Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic.

Hart, whom the Blazers acquired in last season’s CJ McCollum blockbuster, has earned praise from head coach Chauncey Billups for his effort on defense and his basketball IQ, as Fentress notes. The veteran swingman is entering a potential contract year — his 2023/24 salary is currently non-guaranteed and he also has the ability to opt out of his deal after the season.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Second-year Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado has long admired Tony Parker‘s game and got the chance to work with the former Spurs star this offseason, meeting Parker at the Las Vegas Summer League and then traveling to San Antonio to train with him. “Actually, I (direct messaged) him and said, ‘I’m a big fan of you,'” Alvarado said, per Christian Clark of “‘Is there any chance me and you can get in the gym this summer? I would love that.’ He replied right away.”
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a look at where things stand with the Rockets‘ rotation, noting that Tari Eason is making a strong case for regular playing time, while Bruno Fernando appears to have passed Usman Garuba on the depth chart at center. Iko also isn’t sure that any of the players acquired in last week’s trade with Oklahoma City (Derrick Favors, Theo Maledon, and Maurice Harkless) will make the regular season roster.
  • Given how significantly they overhauled their roster this offseason, the Jazz will likely need more than just a few preseason games to develop a real sense of chemistry, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “It’s going to take us a while to get used to everyone and learn everyone,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We’re still just getting the basics down. We’re not even at the point of knowing guys’ spots and individual games.”

Thunder, Rockets Complete Eight-Player Trade

SEPTEMBER 30: Both teams have announced that the trade is now official. However, the terms of the deal are slightly different than was previously reported.

Instead of Atlanta’s protected 2025 second-round pick, the Rockets will receive a 2026 second-rounder from Oklahoma City. That pick will be the second-most favorable of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ 2026 second-round picks. Houston is also receiving cash considerations in the deal.

SEPTEMBER 29, 9:15pm: The Rockets intend to waive Jerome, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen adds that Favors and Maledon are considered the most likely among Houston’s new additions to claim spots on the 15-man regular season roster.

SEPTEMBER 29, 8:13pm: The Thunder have agreed to send center/power forward Derrick Favors, shooting guard Ty Jerome, forward Maurice Harkless, point guard Theo Maledon and the Hawks’ 2025 second-round draft pick (top-40 protected) to the Rockets in exchange for athletic swingman David Nwaba, wing Sterling Brown, point guard Trey Burke and power forward Marquese Chriss, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As Wojnarowski observes, Oklahoma City will create two trade exceptions in the deal. In pure salary terms, the exchange will help the Thunder get $10MM under the league’s punitive luxury tax cap threshold. Wojnarowski notes that Favors in particular is tradable among the returning players arriving in Houston, as a solid backup big man on an expiring $10.2MM salary.

The 6’9″ Favors, 31, spent most of the last decade as a key role player with several good playoff-bound Jazz teams. Last year with the Thunder, he appeared in just 39 games, averaging 5.3 PPG on 51.6% shooting, plus 4.7 RPG, across 16.7 MPG.

Jerome and Maledon are both young players on modest contracts with remaining potential upside. Harkless, like Favors, is a veteran on an expiring deal.

On the Rockets’ side of the transaction, Houston is acquiring a future second-round draft pick in exchange for taking on some added salary, as Woj details.

According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (via Twitter) if that Hawks 2025 second-rounder lands in the top 40 and is protected, Houston will instead receive the second-best of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ 2026 second-round picks.

Given that No. 2 draft pick Chet Holmgren has been ruled out for the year with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot, and with the best player in this new trade being sent away from the team, it appears the Thunder are once again prioritizing a year of youthful development, as they look to the 2023 draft lottery to build out their impressive young roster.

Oklahoma City added four rookies in the 2022 draft, including two additional lottery picks beyond Holmgren. The Thunder have been in full-on rebuild mode since the end of the 2019/20 season, winning a total of 46 games over the last two years.

Houston has also been in the asset-collection and draft lottery-targeting phase of its journey since 2020. The team went 37-127 from 2020-22. This year, the Rockets drafted intriguing rookie power forward Jabari Smith with the third pick out of Auburn. They also made two other selections in the first round.

It appears unlikely that every player in this deal will be with their new clubs when the regular season opens. Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter) notes that both teams will still have 18 guaranteed contracts on their books following this deal. Per league rules, they’ll each need to get down to 15 players by October 17.