Usman Garuba

Warriors Convert Usman Garuba To Standard Contract

APRIL 14: The Warriors have officially converted Garbua to a standard deal, per a press statement (Twitter link).

APRIL 13: The Warriors intend to convert two-way big man Usman Garuba to a standard NBA contract for the rest of the season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter link). The Warriors had an open roster spot to fill and are thus making Garuba eligible for the playoffs by promoting him.

The 23rd overall pick in the 2021 draft by the Rockets, Garuba played two seasons in Houston before being traded in the five-team deal that brought Dillon Brooks to the Rockets. He was then re-routed again from Atlanta to the Thunder, who waived him prior to the season.

Garuba, touted as a strong defender, has barely played for the Warriors this season after signing his two-way deal. In five games and just 12 minutes, he has totaled two points and three rebounds this year.

Still just 22 years old, Garuba has been more productive in the G League. This season with Santa Cruz, he averaged 12.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks in 35 regular season and Showcase Cup games.

Across his three seasons in the NBA, Garuba holds averages of 2.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 104 games (three starts).

The Warriors will have a full 15-man roster after signing Garuba to his standard deal. Golden State also has two players, Jerome Robinson and Pat Spencer, on two-way contracts. Because the deadline to sign two-way players passed in March, the Warriors aren’t eligible to sign another two-way player this year. Players on two-way contracts aren’t eligible to suit up in the postseason.

Warriors Sign Usman Garuba To Two-Way Contract

SEPTEMBER 25: Garuba’s two-way contract is now official, the Warriors announced on Monday (via Twitter).

SEPTEMBER 15: The Warriors have agreed to sign free agent center Usman Garuba to a two-way contract, sources tell Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Golden State currently only has one player (Lester Quinones) on a two-way deal, leaving a pair of open slots, so no corresponding roster move will be necessary to create room for Garuba.

Garuba, 21, was the 23rd overall pick in the 2021 draft. He spent his first two years in the NBA with Houston, appearing in 99 total games for the Rockets and averaging 2.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per night.

Garuba was included earlier this offseason in the five-team trade that landed Dillon Brooks in Houston. He was sent to the Hawks in that deal as a salary-matching piece, then was flipped to Oklahoma City as part of a trade package for Patty Mills. Oklahoma City subsequently waived him last month, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Garuba, who was born in Madrid and began his professional career with Real Madrid in 2017, represented Spain in the World Cup following his release from the Thunder, and reports last week indicated that a reunion with Real Madrid might be in the works. However, it seems the youngster will make every effort to try to stick in the NBA before seriously considering a return to his home country.

He’ll join a Warriors team that could use some additional frontcourt depth — outside of Kevon Looney and Draymond Green, there aren’t any centers on the roster, though forwards like Dario Saric and Trayce Jackson-Davis could perhaps handle the role in certain five-man lineups. The Dubs are said to be considering a handful of free agent big men, including Dwight Howard.

Garuba’s two-way deal will pay him $559,782 and will make him eligible to appear in up to 50 regular season contests. However, if the Warriors are carrying fewer than 15 players on standard contracts, they’ll only be able to use their two-way players for up to 90 combined games, as we explain in our glossary entry.

Warriors Not Expected To Add Veteran Center Before Camp

Despite having scoured the free agent market in recent weeks, the Warriors aren’t expected to add a veteran center to their roster before training camp gets underway, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter video link).

Dwight Howard met with the Warriors this week and was believed to be receiving legitimate consideration from the team, which has also reportedly taken a look at vets such as Dewayne Dedmon, Derrick Favors, and Tony Bradley. However, Charania says Golden State has decided to put off a frontcourt addition for now and will maintain the flexibility to sign a big man later in camp or during the regular season.

The Warriors are carrying just 13 players on standard contracts and will need to add at least one more to meet the opening-night minimum of 14. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), the club is prioritizing an extra wing for that 14th slot.

Golden State’s roster is short on traditional centers, but the club has several players it believes can capably handle the position. Besides Kevon Looney and Draymond Green, players like Dario Saric, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Usman Garuba may see time at the five. Jackson-Davis has impressed the team since he was drafted in June, per Slater, who adds that Garuba is viewed by the organization as a player with real upside.

With the Warriors not planning to sign another center in the short term, Howard is expected to consider other options and see if there’s another NBA team interested in bringing him in, says Charania.

Usman Garuba Waived By Thunder

The Thunder have placed Usman Garuba on waivers, the team announced (via Twitter).

The 21-year-old power forward/center played his first two seasons with the Rockets after being selected with the 23rd pick in the 2021 draft. Injuries limited him to 24 games as a rookie, but he appeared in 75 contests last season, averaging 3.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per night.

Garuba was sent to the Hawks in a five-team trade that became official when the moratorium was lifted in early July. Atlanta shipped him to OKC in a separate deal four days later.

Garuba started his career with Real Madrid and was named EuroLeague Rising Star in 2021. He gained a reputation as a strong defender and rebounder in Europe before declaring for the NBA draft.

He will now go through the waiver process, where teams will have two days to submit claims. Any team that claims him would be on the hook for his $2.6MM salary for the upcoming season, so it’s more likely that he’ll wind up signing a minimum contract somewhere. He would be eligible for a standard contract with any team except Atlanta and a two-way deal with any team except the Hawks or Thunder.

Garuba’s 2023/24 salary will remain on the Thunder’s cap if he’s not claimed, but the team won’t have to pay the $4.4MM option he had for 2024/25.

Oklahoma City is now down to 18 players on standard contracts and must get rid of at least three more by opening night. The Thunder have two openings on their offseason roster with reported camp deals looming for Caleb McConnell and Adam Flagler.

Western Notes: Davis, Lakers, Kessler, Garuba, Canales

While the Lakers are certainly well aware of Anthony Davis‘ injury history, they were impressed with how he battled through his foot issues last season and recognized that he spearheaded their defensive turnaround after the trade deadline, with the club advancing to the Western Conference Finals despite a terrible start to 2022/23.

“They understand AD and his work ethic has shown,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told Mark Medina of Sportskeeda on Friday. “He has some injuries, but it wasn’t due to him not working. It’s not like he came into camp overweight or showed any laziness. There were just fluke things. That happens in the game.”

Paul said the two sides are still determining whether Davis will have a player option in his new three-year extension, but it will not contain a team option.

Both Medina — writing for The Sporting Tribune — and Jovan Buha of The Athletic believe it’s a win-win for Davis and the Lakers, though there’s obviously some risk involved for Los Angeles. The two authors note that Davis could potentially have earned more money had he hit free agency in 2024.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • After a standout rookie season, Jazz center Walker Kessler, who will be representing Team USA at the upcoming World Cup, has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. “A lot of the offseason has been about gaining weight and gaining strength,” Kessler said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. But I’m excited to try and put myself in a position to make a difference on the floor, so the work has been a lot of fun. I love the weight room. I love working on my body. I’m really excited to be a part of Team USA and extremely thankful that I get to be a part of this. I think the amount of talent and the amount of knowledge that’s going to be on the roster is amazing. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and use this experience to try and better myself in every way that I can.”
  • Speaking to Nacho Duke of Spanish outlet Marca, Thunder big man Usman Garuba said he hopes to spend the rest of his professional career in the NBA. “If possible, I intend to play my entire career in the NBA, and I’m going to push it to the maximum,” Garuba said, per “I do not think about another thing. Anything can happen, but I only have in mind to continue in the NBA all my professional life.” Oklahoma City acquired Garuba last month via trade.
  • Veteran assistant Kaleb Canales is joining the Texas Legends — the Mavericks‘ G League affiliate — as associate head coach, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Canales, who became the NBA’s first Mexican-American head coach in 2012, last worked for the Pacers in 2020/21. He also had stints with Portland, Dallas and New York over his lengthy coaching career, so it will be a reunion with the Mavs organization.

Western Notes: Jackson, Smart, Hughes, Pokusevski, Thunder

Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, says he’s excited to team up with Marcus Smart, who won the award in 2022, writes Jerry Jiang of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Smart was acquired from the Celtics last month in a three-team trade, and Jackson reached out to him when the news broke.

That doesn’t happen pretty often or ever,” Jackson said, referring to a team having two DPOY winners at the same time. “I just know what he brings to Boston. I’ve seen it before I was in the league and it’s crazy.”

Here’s more from the West:

  • The Mavericks intend to hire Eric Hughes as an assistant coach, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Hughes got his NBA start as an assistant with Toronto and previously worked under head coach Jason Kidd with the Nets and Bucks, MacMahon notes. He has been with the Sixers for the past four seasons.
  • Thunder big man Aleksej Pokusevski won’t be able to represent his native Serbia in the FIBA World Cup next month, according to The 17th pick of the 2020 draft, Pokusevski suffered a broken arm during an offseason workout at the end of May and won’t receive medical clearance to train with a basketball until late August, the report states. The World Cup starts August 25 and runs through September 10. The 21-year-old was hoping to secure a spot on the Serbian national team’s 12-man roster.
  • In a mailbag for The Oklahoman, Joe Mussatto predicts that Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Victor Oladipo, Jack White, Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington are the the most likely players to be on the chopping block due to the Thunder‘s roster crunch. However, Mussatto notes that OKC has a few months to figure things out and more trades could be in order rather than outright waiving all five players.

Thunder Notes: Holmgren, Mann, Williams, Presti

No matter what else happened for the Thunder, the highlight of Summer League was seeing Chet Holmgren back on the court, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. After missing all of last season with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft showed off his potential in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, averaging 16.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in four games.

While he looked rusty in some areas, such as committing 15 turnovers and shooting 1-of-9 from three-point range, Mussatto notes that the most encouraging part of Holmgren’s game was watching him protect the basket. He averaged 3.5 blocks per game and used his 7’1″ frame to alter numerous other shots.

“Conditioning wise, there’s millions of hurdles you have to go through in the process of returning to play,” Holmgren said after his Summer League return. “Not being able to play a game for a year, it’s really hard to test and see where you are. … It’s definitely something I have to continue to work on, and I’ll be ready by the time training camp starts. I feel like I’ll have myself prepared to be in in-season shape.”

There’s more on the Thunder:

  • Tre Mann was shut down in Las Vegas due to an avulsion fracture in his right middle finger, but it’s not believed to be a long-term concern, Mussatto adds. The Thunder expect the backup point guard to resume basketball activities by the end of July.
  • The selection of Jaylin Williams in the second round of last year’s draft will allow Holmgren to spend more time at power forward and avoid the physical contact that comes with playing center, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Williams is a rugged 6’10” big man who led the NBA in drawing charges last season and shot 40.7% from beyond the arc. “It’s good because it allows my length to be found in the game in different ways,” Holmgren said of playing alongside Williams. “When he’s at the five, he’s in (screen) coverage more, and I’m able to kind of move around and roam the court a little more on defense, be the low man in help and be able to come over for blocks if somebody gets beat or use my length in the passing lanes and as an on-ball defender.”
  • General manager Sam Presti didn’t add anyone this summer who projects as a long-term keeper, Slater observes in the same piece. Presti opted to use his cap room to collect more draft assets while taking on the contracts of Davis Bertans, Victor Oladipo and Rudy Gay. Slater views Oladipo and Gay as buyout options, while Bertans may reach that status eventually with just $5MM guaranteed for 2024/25. Presti also traded for former first-round picks Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington, but Slater doubts that they’ll see much playing time considering the talent that’s already in place.

Thunder Trade Patty Mills To Hawks For Three Players, Second-Round Pick

JULY 12: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Hawks.

The Thunder’s press release indicates that OKC is receiving a 2026 second-round pick in the deal. Atlanta previously traded away its own ’26 second-rounder, but controlled Golden State’s second-rounder for that year, so that’s presumably the one headed to the Thunder.

JULY 8: The Thunder have agreed to trade guard Patty Mills to the Hawks in exchange for guard TyTy Washington, forward Rudy Gay, big man Usman Garuba, and a second-round pick, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

This trade agreement will likely be separate from the five-team sign-and-trade deal that will send Dillon Brooks to Houston, tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.

Mills, Washington, and Garuba – who are all still technically Rockets for the time being – are all expected to be involved in that Brooks trade, with Mills ticketed for Oklahoma City and Washington and Garuba on track to land in Atlanta.

However, they probably can’t simply be rerouted to new destinations within the same transaction, since the Thunder don’t have the cap room necessary to take on the additional salary, Gozlan notes. OKC would be able to salary-match and go over the cap using Mills ($6.8MM) in a separate deal.

Having initially agreed to take on Washington ($2.3MM) and Garuba ($2.6MM) in a salary-dump trade that netted them two second-round picks, the Hawks will still come out ahead by sending one second-rounder to the Thunder and will shed Rudy Gay‘s unwanted expiring contract ($6.5MM) in the process.

Atlanta will end up with Mills – who may or may not remain on the roster and play a role in the team’s backcourt in 2023/24, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link) – and will save a little money while opening up a couple roster spots. The team is now $8.2MM under the tax line with 16 players on standard contracts, including three on non-guaranteed deals, tweets Gozlan.

Mills almost certainly wasn’t in the Thunder’s plans — they’d agreed to take him into their cap room as part of the Brooks sign-and-trade in order to acquire a pair of second-round picks. Those picks will be Houston’s 2029 and 2030 second-rounders, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

It’s unclear if the Thunder envision Washington, Garuba, or Gay opening the season on their roster. But even if all three of those players are waived, Oklahoma City will add another second-round pick in this deal, which is presumably the priority.

This will be the third time Mills has been traded this offseason. He was sent from Brooklyn to Houston and will move from Houston to OKC before heading to Atlanta.

A veteran combo guard who will turn 35 next month, Mills was no longer a major part of the Nets’ rotation last season — his 14.3 minutes per game represented his lowest average since the 2012/13 season. He recorded 6.2 points and 1.4 assists per game in 40 appearances, with a shooting line of .411/.366/.833.

Garuba was a first-round pick in 2021 and Washington was a first-rounder in 2022, but neither player has established himself as a consistent, reliable NBA player so far. As for Gay, he has compiled an impressive career résumé across 17 seasons in the league, but he’ll turn 37 in August, so his best days are behind him.

Rockets Acquire Dillon Brooks In Five-Team Deal

JULY 8: The complex five-team trade that sends Brooks to Houston has been finalized, the Rockets announced in a press release The breakdown of the deal, which combined several separate trade agreements, is as follows:

  • Rockets acquire Brooks (via sign-and-trade), the Clippers’ 2026 second-round pick, the Grizzlies’ 2027 second-round pick (from Clippers), and the draft rights to Alpha Kaba (from Hawks).
  • Hawks acquire Usman Garuba, TyTy Washington, the Timberwolves’ 2025 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2028 second-round pick, and cash (from Thunder).
  • Grizzlies acquire Josh Christopher.
  • Thunder acquire Patty Mills, a 2024 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2029 second-round pick, and the Rockets’ 2030 second-round pick.
  • Clippers acquire Kenyon Martin Jr.

In a separate deal, Oklahoma City will ship Mills to Atlanta in exchange for Garuba, Washington, Rudy Gay and a second-round pick.

6:04pm: The Rockets will acquire Brooks via sign-and-trade, generating a trade exception for the Grizzlies, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

Sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Houston is trading Josh Christopher to Memphis. Although Iko doesn’t specify it will be part of a Brooks sign-and-trade, that seems logical.

The Grizzlies’ trade exception for Brooks would be $11.4MM due to base year compensation rules, notes Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). If Christopher heads to Memphis in the deal, that TPE would shrink to $8.9MM, Gozlan adds.

5:20pm: The Rockets and Brooks have agreed to a four-year deal worth $80MM, agent Mike George tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will have a descending structure, tweets Wojnarowski. It will be fully guaranteed, with no player or team option, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As with VanVleet, Houston’s offer in order to secure a commitment ended up being for more years and more money than initially anticipated.

JULY 1, 4:35pm: The Rockets are close to reaching a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent Dillon Brooks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Houston has the cap room necessary to sign Brooks outright, the team has been engaged in trade talks around the league, according to Charania, who says a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies is a possibility if the Rockets reach a deal with the veteran forward.

Brooks was frequently linked to the Rockets in the days leading up to free agency. One report indicated that Houston was preparing to offer him a deal in the range of $14-16MM annually, while another stated the team had a meeting lined up for Friday or Saturday with the 27-year-old.

Brooks is a talented perimeter defender who earned All-Defensive Second Team honors this spring, but he has become an increasingly erratic shooter, making a career-worst 39.6% of his field goal attempts in 2022/23. His three-point percentage dipped to 32.1% on 5.6 attempts per game during the last two seasons after he converted 35.3% of 4.5 threes per game in his first four seasons, all with the Grizzlies.

On top of his offensive struggles, Brooks’ outsized personality and aggressive playing style have gotten him into trouble both on the court and in interviews off it. He received three one-game suspensions this season, once for an on-court altercation with Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell and twice for accumulating so many technical fouls.

Brooks ultimately wore out his welcome in Memphis, with a report after the season indicating that the Grizzlies didn’t plan to bring him back “under any circumstances.” His performance during the team’s first-round loss to the Lakers was reportedly considered to be a breaking point. Brooks referred to Lakers star LeBron James as “old” following Memphis’ Game 2 win, suggesting the NBA’s all-time leading scorer was well past his prime.

He was then ejected from Game 3 for hitting James in the groin, surrendered a pair of key baskets to LeBron in a Game 4 loss, and was eventually fined $25K for declining to speak to reporters after three games of the series (all losses). Offensively, Brooks shot just 31.2% from the field and 23.8% on three-pointers across six playoff games.

A change of scenery could benefit Brooks, and the Rockets have reportedly been prioritizing tough, defensive-minded veterans under new head coach Ime Udoka. Houston has reached an agreement with Fred VanVleet and was said to be aggressive in its pursuit of Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Brook Lopez, who ultimately decided to remain in Milwaukee.

Trade Rumors: Lillard, Harden, Brogdon, Fournier, Rockets

The Trail Blazers told rival teams that they are “open for business everywhere in the league” regarding a Damian Lillard trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (YouTube link).

Lillard, who asked for a trade on Saturday after weeks of speculation, reportedly hopes to end up in Miami, where he could be part of a title contender. However, the Heat may not be able to offer the best trade package, and Portland GM Joe Cronin intends to focus on the team’s needs rather than Lillard’s preference while negotiating a deal.

“For Portland, they’re going to go out into the marketplace and try to find the best deal they can,” Wojnarowski said, “a combination of young players, draft picks, salary cap relief, all the things you want when a star of Damian Lillard’s magnitude asks to be traded.”

Woj adds that he doesn’t expect a Lillard deal to be completed quickly and that Miami doesn’t have any advantage because Lillard wants to go there. The Blazers haven’t told Lillard whether they intend to comply with his request to join the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

There are more trade rumors to pass along:

  • The Sixers‘ asking price for James Harden has been “really high,” Wojnarowski said in the same segment, noting that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey tends to seek a lot in return when a star player wants to be traded. Harden picked up his $35.6MM player option this week, and reports have indicated that he wants to be dealt to the Clippers. Wojnarowski adds that it’s “not an easy trade to make” because Philadelphia has to get value in return to pair with MVP Joel Embiid and keep the team in title contention. Woj speculates that trade talks could extend beyond Summer League action.
  • The Celtics aren’t trying to trade Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Brogdon was involved in an early version of the Kristaps Porzingis deal, but that fell through when the Clippers pulled out due to medical concerns about Brogdon. Himmelsbach adds that Brogdon is expected to be ready for the start of next season, even though he’s considering surgery for a right elbow injury he suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • The Knicks will continue to explore trades involving Evan Fournier, per Ian Begley of, but they don’t need to open any more cap flexibility to add Donte DiVincenzo after agreeing to send Obi Toppin to the Pacers. New York doesn’t seem to be actively pursuing either Lillard or Harden, according to Begley.
  • David Weiner of (Twitter link) suspects the Rockets will fold multiple reported trade agreements into their sign-and-trade deal for Dillon Brooks in order to maximize their cap room. After acquiring Patty Mills and using up their remaining cap space, Weiner posits, Houston will package Josh Christopher (to the Grizzlies), Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington (to the Hawks), and Mills (destination TBD), whose combined salaries will be enough to match Brooks’ expected first-year salary (approximately $21.6MM) without requiring room.