Wes Iwundu

Kings Sign Horne, O’Connell; Waive Iwundu, Ford

The Kings have completed a series of minor roster moves, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), who reports that the team signed Jeriah Horne and Alex O’Connell to Exhibit 10 contracts while waiving Wes Iwundu and Jordan Ford.

Horne’s deal with the Kings was first reported in June, shortly after he went undrafted out of Tulsa. He and O’Connell, another undrafted rookie who spent his last two college seasons with Creighton, will likely be waived within the next day or two and then become affiliate players for the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate.

Iwundu and Ford, who were signed on Thursday, are also presumably ticketed for Stockton. Both players’ G League returning rights had been held by other teams, but the Kings acquired Iwundu’s rights from the Cleveland Charge on Thursday after acquiring Ford’s rights from the Ontario Clippers in August.

Sacramento still has 20 players on its preseason roster after its latest series of moves. That number will have to be reduced to 17 (15 on standard contracts and two on two-ways) by Monday evening.

Kings Sign Wesley Iwundu, Jordan Ford To Training Camp Deals

7:30pm: Iwundu and Ford have officially signed with the Kings, per RealGM’s transaction log.

4:41pm: Swingman Wes Iwundu and guard Jordan Ford are set to ink Exhibit 10 training camp contracts with the Kings, sources inform James Ham of ESPN 1320 (Twitter link). Though the signings haven’t been officially announced, Ham indicates that both players were to join Sacramento in a team scrimmage today.

Iwundu, 27, was first selected out of Kansas State by the Magic in the 2017 NBA draft. He served primarily as a bench reserve for Orlando across three seasons, and has had limited runs with the Mavericks, Pelicans, and most recently the Hawks. Across 226 career games, the 6’6″ small forward/shooting guard holds career averages of 4.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 0.9 APG.

Ford, 24, went undrafted out of Saint Mary’s in 2020. He has split his pro career between the Clippers’ G League affiliate, the Ontario Clippers, and Greek team Peristeri. In 31 games last year with the Ontario Clippers (then the Agua Caliente Clippers), Ford averaged 9.8 PPG on .461/.412/.857 shooting splits, plus 3.1 APG, 2.0 RPG, and 0.7 SPG.

Iwundu and Ford will most likely be waived ahead of the NBA regular season next week. Inking these deals now will allow them to net $50K bonuses should they join Sacramento’s NBAGL affiliate club, the Stockton Kings, and remain on the roster for 60 days or more.

Blazers Waive Devontae Cacok, Wes Iwundu, Brandon Williams

The Trail Blazers have opened up three spots on their 20-man preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived forward Devontae Cacok, swingman Wes Iwundu, and guard Brandon Williams.

Cacok and Iwundu had been on non-guaranteed training camp contracts, while Williams was on a two-way deal. Portland now has 17 players under contract — 14 on standard guaranteed deals and three on Exhibit 10 pacts. That means both of the Blazers’ two-way slots are now up for grabs.

Cacok, who will celebrate his 26th birthday on Saturday, has appeared in 36 total NBA games, including 15 for the Spurs last season. His contract included Exhibit 10 language, but since Portland doesn’t have a G League team, Cacok won’t have the option of reporting to the Blazers’ affiliate and earning a $50K bonus.

Iwundu, who had been vying for a spot on the Blazers’ 15-man roster, has played in 226 total NBA games, though he only appeared in three last season while on a 10-day contract with Atlanta.

Williams, whose two-year, two-way contract began last February, averaged 12.9 PPG, 3.9 APG, and 3.1 RPG in 24 games (26.7 MPG) for Portland down the stretch. He shot just 37.2% from the field, including 29.2% on threes.

All three players will clear waivers on Sunday, assuming they go unclaimed.

Contract Details: Lakers, Galloway, DSJ, McCollum, More

When the Lakers signed Matt Ryan and Dwayne Bacon to non-guaranteed training camp contracts earlier this month, both players received Exhibit 9 clauses in their new deals, but not Exhibit 10s, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Exhibit 9 contracts are non-guaranteed camp deals that don’t count against the cap during the preseason and offer teams some protection in the event of an injury. Exhibit 10s are similar, but also allow teams to convert the player to a two-way deal (if he’s eligible) or to give him a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived and then spends at least 60 days with the team’s G League affiliate.

As a general rule, a player who signs a training camp contract without an Exhibit 10 clause is usually just competing for a spot on his team’s 15-man regular season roster and won’t end up playing for the club’s G League affiliate if he doesn’t make the cut.

Langston Galloway (Pacers), Dennis Smith Jr. (Hornets), LiAngelo Ball (Hornets), Cody Zeller (Jazz), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Suns), and Wes Iwundu (Trail Blazers) are among the other recently signed free agents who signed Exhibit 9 – not Exhibit 10 – contracts.

Here are a few more contract details from around the NBA:

Trail Blazers Sign Wes Iwundu To Camp Deal

The Trail Blazers have signed Wes Iwundu to a contract, the team announced today in a press release.

While the Blazers opted not to disclose the terms of the deal, Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian (subscriber-only link) hears from a source that it’s a training camp contract. That’s a non-guaranteed one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum.

Iwundu, 27, has appeared in 226 regular season games for the Magic, Mavericks, Pelicans, and Hawks since being selected 33rd overall in the 2017 draft out of Kansas State. He’s considered a solid perimeter defender, but doesn’t produce much on the offensive end, with career averages of 4.4 PPG and 2.5 RPG on .408/.292/.798 shooting in 16.9 minutes per contest.

Iwundu played in just three games at the NBA level last season while on a 10-day contract with the Hawks. He spent much of the year with the Cleveland Charge in the G League.

The Blazers don’t have a G League team and Iwundu isn’t eligible for a two-way contract, so if he’s going to stick in the organization, he’ll have to earn a spot on Portland’s 15-man regular season roster. The team only has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, but seems likely to keep that 15th spot open at the start of the season to avoid going into the tax.

Jazz Notes: Far From Contending, Mini-Camp, Prospect Workouts

All four of the 2021/22 Conference Finalists — the Warriors, Mavericks, Celtics and Heat — proved how far the Jazz are from contending for a championship, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News opines.

Todd notes that head coach Quin Snyder, whose status remains uncertain for next season, said Utah was very close to competing at the highest level at his end-of-season press conference.

This year, I thought that our record didn’t necessarily reflect what we could do in the playoffs. I felt like we were this close to having a spark and kicking it in and finding that unity, that extra secret sauce, and taking off. And obviously that didn’t happen,” Snyder said, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Todd disagrees. Even assuming the Jazz had advanced past Dallas in the first round (they lost in six games), Todd is doubtful the Jazz would have been able to take the Suns to seven games in the second round, as Dallas was able to do.

She also doesn’t think the Jazz would have fared any better than the Mavs did against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, if they’d gotten past Phoenix.

Ultimately, the Todd believes the flawed roster was too much to overcome, and Utah’s front office will have a tough job improving it this summer.

Here’s more from Utah:

And-Ones: Beasley, Rising Stars, Graham, Iwundu, Draft

Veteran forward Michael Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, is training in Miami in the hopes of making an NBA comeback, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who says Beasley and his representatives have been in touch with multiple teams.

In a candid conversation with Scotto, Beasley spoke about his NBA career to date, revisiting some of the good stretches, including his season with the Knicks in 2017/18, and the bad, like his time with the Lakers in 2018/19.

“My mom died when I was playing for the Lakers,” Beasley said. “I fought through that, and I came back. My cousin died the game I forgot my shorts in Oklahoma. I was battling that day, trying to fight through it. I wanted to go to the funeral, but I was already gone when my mom died. I just wanted to be there for the team, and the whole world just laughed at me. … It hurt my feelings. I’m not going to lie.”

Beasley is now 33 years old and has been out of the league since 2019, but he tells Scotto he’s “better than I’ve ever been” and has spent the last three years “perfecting my craft on every level on both sides of the ball.”

Agent Charles Briscoe tells Scotto (Twitter link) that the NBA sent a memo to teams informing them Beasley will be eligible to return to play on February 14. It’s unclear whether the forward’s current ineligibility is related to his 2019 suspension (which he never got a chance to serve), delayed FIBA paperwork following a brief stint in Puerto Rico, or something else. In any case, it sounds like he’ll be an option for NBA teams in a few weeks.

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

  • The NBA has announced a new format for its Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend, which will take place on Friday, February 18. The event will feature four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament (two semifinals and a final). The player pool will be comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 sophomores, and four players from the G League Ignite, while the games will be played to a target score: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.
  • The four Ignite players in the Rising Stars event will likely be Jaden Hardy, Michael Foster, Dyson Daniels, and MarJon Beauchamp, tweets Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Those four players will be draft-eligible in 2022, unlike 17-year-old Scoot Henderson.
  • After signing NBA G League contracts, veteran wings Treveon Graham and Wes Iwundu have new teams, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link), who hears from league sources that Graham has been acquired by the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn’s affiliate), while Iwundu has joined the Cleveland Charge (the Cavaliers‘ affiliate).
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report provides a stock report on some of the top prospects of the 2022 NBA draft class, identifying Duke forward AJ Griffin, G League Ignite forward MarJon Beauchamp, and LSU Tari Eason as some players who are climbing up draft boards.

Wes Iwundu Signs G League Contract

Free agent swingman Wes Iwundu has signed a G League contract, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Iwundu played three games for the Hawks in late December on a 10-day contract under the hardship exception. He averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 27.3 MPG in those contests.

Iwundu spent his first four professional seasons in the NBA after being selected 33rd overall in the 2017 draft by the Magic. He was in Orlando for three years, then played for the Mavericks and Pelicans in 2020/21.

In 226 total games (16.9 MPG), he has averaged 4.4 PPG and 2.5 RPG on .408/.292/.750 shooting.

The Hornets waived Iwundu in October  The Pelicans dealt Iwundu to Charlotte as part of the Devonte’ Graham sign-and-trade.

Eastern Notes: Rubio, Iwundu, Beal, Livers

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio, who left Tuesday’s game after injuring his left knee, will get an MRI on that knee today to determine the severity of the injury, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Rubio has played a key role in the Cavaliers’ resurgence this season — although he hasn’t been in the starting lineup for most of the year, the veteran point guard has logged 970 total minutes, the second-highest mark on the team.

Rubio, who wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg as he left the court on Tuesday night, tore his left ACL back in 2012, Lopez notes. The Cavaliers are holding their breath and hoping that this injury isn’t as serious as that one.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Hawks wing Wes Iwundu has exited the health and safety protocols, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Woj, Iwundu will rejoin the team in Chicago on Wednesday ahead of its game vs. the Bulls.
  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who stated in September that he remained unvaccinated, has since received a COVID-19 vaccine, people familiar with the situation tell Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Beal is currently in the health and safety protocols, but his updated vaccinated status was “welcome news to many in the organization,” says Wallace.
  • After growing up in Kalamazoo and playing his college ball at Michigan, Isaiah Livers appreciated the opportunity to stay close to home with the Pistons and tells James L. Edwards III of The Athletic that he had a sense entering this year’s draft that Detroit would try to land him. “(General manager) Troy (Weaver), we were talking. A lot of the pre-draft, he was very interested,” Livers said. “He told me straight-up that he was interested in me and talked about what I could bring to the table, to the team. Once he told me that, he was one of the few GMs to say that to me. I thought he was definitely going to grab me if he had the chance. I was ready.”

COVID-19 Updates: Hawks, Blazers, Celtics, Bucks, Nets

Wesley Iwundu, who just signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks on Thursday, has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Iwundu played 23 minutes in the Hawks’ 98-96 victory over the Sixers Thursday night, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds. ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets that the Hawks will need to sign another replacement player to replace Iwundu — himself a replacement player.

Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu, who made his season debut last week, has entered the protocols as well, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. In three games this season (22.3 MPG), Okongwu is averaging 10.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 BPG. The Hawks now have nine players in the protocols.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and two-way rookie Trendon Watford have entered the protocols for the Trail Blazers and the rest of the team will now be re-tested, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). DSJ and Watford are the only players currently in the protocols for the Blazers.
  • The Celtics have four new players entering the protocols: C.J. Miles, Justin Jackson, Aaron Nesmith, and Bruno Fernando, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. However, Al Horford, Juan Hernangomez, Jabari Parker, and Brodric Thomas, who’ve all been in the protocols, are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, so they could be exiting the protocols soon. Until those four are cleared, the Celtics will have 12 players in the COVID-19 protocols — the largest outbreak in the NBA.
  • In addition to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis has exited the protocols for the Bucks, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets. Like Horford and the other Celtics, Donte DiVincenzo, who’s also been in the protocols, is listed as questionable to make his season debut Saturday.
  • Meanwhile, Bruce Brown and James Johnson have exited the protocols for the Nets, but seven others, including star Kevin Durant, remain in the protocols for their game Saturday against the Lakers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
  • Warriors rookie Moses Moody has entered the protocols, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Golden State now has four players in the protocols.