RJ Nembhard

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 Cleveland.com (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.

Cavaliers Re-Sign RJ Nembhard To Two-Way Deal

The Cavaliers have re-signed free agent shooting guard RJ Nembhard to a two-way contract, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

After going undrafted out of TCU in 2021, Nembhard spent his rookie season with the Cavs. He joined the team for training camp on an Exhibit 10 contract, had it converted to a two-way deal, was promoted to the 15-man roster in March, then was waived and signed another two-way contract near the end of the season.

Nembhard only played 63 total minutes across 14 appearances at the NBA level for the Cavs, but was a key member of the Cleveland Charge in the G League, averaging 24.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 5.3 APG in 15 regular season games (38.3 MPG).

The Cavs liked what they saw from Nembhard enough to issue him a two-way qualifying offer earlier this week. It’s possible he simply accepted that QO, which is for another two-way deal with a $50K guarantee.

Nembhard and second-round pick Isaiah Mobley now hold the Cavs’ two-way contract slots.

Miles Bridges, Collin Sexton Among Players Receiving QOs

The Hornets have issued qualifying offers to a pair of forwards, officially making Miles Bridges and Cody Martin restricted free agents, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Bridges’ qualifying offer is worth $7,921,300 as a result of him meeting the starter criteria in 2021/22. That one-year offer is essentially a placeholder, giving the Hornets the ability to match any offer sheet Bridges signs as a free agent. He could accept the QO, but will likely receive a far more lucrative long-term contract — perhaps even a max deal.

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak expressed confidence in the team’s ability to re-sign Bridges today, telling reporters that “we’re going to bring him back.”

As for Martin, his qualifying offer is worth a more modest $2,228,276. He’s coming off a strong season as a rotation player in Charlotte and has earned a raise himself, albeit not one as substantial as the one Bridges will receive.

Bridges and Martin rank sixth and 29th, respectively, on our list of the top 50 free agents of 2022, and will each move up a spot when we officially remove Kyrie Irving.

Here are a few more qualifying offer updates from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers have extended qualifying offers to Collin Sexton and RJ Nembhard, making both players restricted free agents, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter links). Sexton’s QO will be worth $7,228,448 instead of $8,559,357 because his torn meniscus prevented him from meeting the starter criteria. Nembard’s QO is for a two-way deal with a small partial guarantee.
  • The Raptors made qualifying offers to both of their two-way free agents, Justin Champagnie and David Johnson, tweets Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto has reportedly agreed to a two-way deal with Ron Harper Jr., which would leave only one two-way slot for Champagnie or Johnson, so perhaps the team plans to promote one of them to a standard contract.
  • The Raptors also continued their annual tradition of submitting a qualifying offer to French guard Nando De Colo, who has been out of the NBA since 2014 and continues to play for Fenerbahçe in Turkey, Murphy notes. There’s no indication De Colo will ever return to the NBA, but if he does, the 35-year-old’s RFA rights would be controlled by Toronto. The qualifying offer projects to be worth $2,011,516, based on a $122MM cap.

Contract Details: Gabriel, K. Edwards, Cannady, More

During the final three days of the regular season, five NBA players who had been on two-way contracts were promoted to their respective teams’ 15-man rosters.

[RELATED: 2021/22 NBA Two-Way Contract Conversions]

Three of those five players – Jazz guard Trent Forrest, Suns forward Ish Wainright, and Cavaliers Moses Brown – received straight conversions, having their contracts turned into one-year, minimum-salary contracts, Hoops Rumors has learned. Forrest, Wainright, and Brown will be eligible to play in the postseason with their respective teams, but won’t be under contract beyond the 2021/22 season.

The other two – Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel and Nets forward Kessler Edwards – signed two-year, minimum-salary deals that include team options for the 2022/23 season. Their clubs will have the opportunity to bring them back for another year if they pick up those options before the June 29 deadline. Gabriel’s salary will remain non-guaranteed even if his option is exercised.

Here are a few more details on contracts signed in recent days:

  • The Magic used a portion of their mid-level exception to give Devin Cannady a three-year deal and a $100K rest-of-season salary on Sunday, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. A minimum-salary contract would’ve been limited to two years and would’ve resulted in a rest-of-season salary of just $8,558. Smith adds that Cannady’s second- and third-year salaries (worth the minimum) are non-guaranteed, with a team option on the 2023/24 season.
  • The Bucks dipped into their mid-level exception in order to give Rayjon Tucker a three-year, minimum-salary deal, according to Smith (Twitter link). The contract is non-guaranteed beyond this season.
  • Juwan Morgan‘s new two-year deal with the Celtics includes a minimum-salary team option for 2022/23, tweets Smith. Morgan’s salary will remain non-guaranteed even if the option is exercised.
  • Chaundee Brown‘s new two-way contract with the Hawks is a two-year deal, while the two-ways signed in recent days by Mac McClung (Lakers) and RJ Nembhard (Cavaliers) were just rest-of-season agreements, Hoops Rumors has learned. The majority of the players on two-way deals will be free agents this summer, but Brown is one of 13 who is also under contract for 2022/23, as our tracker shows.

Cavaliers Bring Back RJ Nembhard On Two-Way Deal

Shooting guard RJ Nembhard has returned to the Cavaliers on a two-way contract, the team announced in a press release.

Nembhard originally signed a two-way deal with Cleveland in October and was converted to a standard contract on March 31. He was waived Thursday to give the Cavs a roster opening to convert Moses Brown‘s contract, a move that was confirmed in today’s press release.

A rookie out of TCU, the 23-year-old Nembhard appeared in 13 games this season, playing just 4.6 minutes per night. He had a much bigger role with the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate, averaging 24.5 points, 8.1 rebounds an 5.5 assists in 23 games.

It’s unclear if Nembhard’s new contract is for one or two years. If it’s a one-year deal, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. A two-year deal would give Cleveland the option of keeping Nembhard in one of the team’s two-way slots next season.

Cavaliers Waive RJ Nembhard

The Cavaliers have waived guard RJ Nembhard, who was recently promoted to a standard contract from a two-way deal, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

As Fedor observes, waiving Nembhard creates an opening for Moses Brown or Brandon Goodwin to be promoted from their two-way contracts, but Cleveland hasn’t decided which route to take with the standard spot available. Both players were ahead of Nembhard in the team’s rotation.

Nembhard, 23, signed with Cleveland last summer after going undrafted out of TCU and was given a two-way deal before the start of the season. He has played in just 13 NBA games, averaging 4.6 minutes per night, and spent much of his time in the G League, where he put up 24.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 22 games.

Although Nembhard was only on a standard contract with the Cavs for a week, the deal will pay him $58,493.

At 43-37, the Cavs are currently the No. 7 seed in the East with two games remaining. Their last two games are in Brooklyn on Friday and at home against Milwaukee on Sunday. Cleveland has been playing poorly recently, going 2-7 over the last nine games.

Central Notes: Bickerstaff, Nembhard, P. Williams, Key, Vildoza

Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was fined $15K on Monday for his public criticism of the league’s officiating, the NBA announced in a press release. Bickerstaff griped about the foul calls on Sunday following a 112-108 loss to Philadelphia in which James Harden and Joel Embiid combined to attempt 32 free throws.

“We deserved to win that game. That game was taken from us,” Bickerstaff said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We did a great job defensively, making their two best players have a difficult time from the field. But one thing you can’t defend is the free throw line. That’s absurd. That’s absurd. Our guys deserve way better than what they got tonight.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • RJ Nembhard‘s new contract with the Cavaliers is a straight-up conversion from his two-way deal, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Nembhard, who will earn $58,493 on the prorated minimum-salary contract, remains on track for restricted free agency this offseason.
  • Having returned from a wrist injury on March 21, Patrick Williams is playing increasingly well for the Bulls as the postseason nears, according to Cole Huff of The Athletic, who says the second-year forward has been “efficient and opportunistic” on offense while showcasing his usual versatility on the defensive end. Having already displayed the potential to be a long-term cornerstone in Chicago, Williams could help in the short term too and be an asset in the playoffs if he keeps progressing, Huff writes.
  • Braxton Key‘s new two-way contract with the Pistons is a two-year agreement, covering 2022/23 as well as the rest of this season, league sources tell our JD Shaw (Twitter link).
  • Luca Vildoza‘s two-year deal with the Bucks will be non-guaranteed for next season, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

Cavaliers Promote RJ Nembhard To Standard Deal, Sign Moses Brown To Two-Way Contract

MARCH 31: The Cavs have officially promoted Nembhard to a standard deal and signed Brown to a two-way contract, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).


MARCH 30: The Cavaliers will convert guard RJ Nembhard to a standard contract and give his two-way spot to Moses Brown, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Nembhard, 23, signed with Cleveland last summer after going undrafted out of TCU and was given a two-way deal before the start of the season. He has played in just 12 NBA games, averaging 4.8 minutes per night, and spent much of his time in the G League, where he put up 22.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 13 games.

Brown, 22, was on the last night of his second 10-day contract with the Cavs, so the team had to make a roster move to keep him. He made his first start for Cleveland tonight, posting 12 points and nine rebounds in a loss to Dallas.

Brown, who was traded twice last summer, started the season with the Mavericks and averaged 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 26 games before being waived at the trade deadline in February. He has also spent time with the Trail Blazers and Thunder.

The Cavaliers will have a roster opening with Brown’s 10-day contract expiring, so no other moves will be necessary to complete the signings.

COVID-19 Updates: Suns, Blazers, Rockets, Wolves, More

Here are the latest health and safety protocols updates from around the NBA:

Entering the protocols:

  • Jae Crowder and Elfrid Payton have become the first two Suns players to enter the COVID-19 protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers‘ outbreak continues to grow, with Jusuf Nurkic and Cody Zeller among the players now in the protocols, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Seven Portland players have been placed in the protocols since Friday.
  • Rockets guard Garrison Mathews became the second Houston guard to enter the protocols today, joining teammate D.J. Augustin, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Timberwolves big man Naz Reid is now in the health and safety protocols, bringing Minnesota’s list of affected players up to eight, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.
  • The Thunder announced today that they’ve placed rookie guard Tre Mann in the protocols. Oklahoma City now has two players affected — Mann and Darius Bazley.

Exiting the protocols:

  • Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to action on Sunday when the Kings hosted Memphis. Fox had been in the health and safety protocols since December 16.
  • A pair of TimberwolvesPatrick Beverley and Josh Okogie – are no longer in the health and safety protocols, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. They’re both listed as questionable for Monday’s game vs. Boston.
  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris has cleared the health and safety protocols, though he remained inactive on Sunday as he goes through a reconditioning period, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
  • Cavaliers wing RJ Nembhard was no longer listed on the team’s injury report on Sunday and played vs. Toronto, so he’s out of the protocols. Isaac Okoro has exited the protocols too, though he’s still working his way back, according to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (Twitter link via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic).

Five More Cavaliers Players Enter Protocols

12:28 PM: The five players who have entered the protocols are Allen, Lamar Stevens, Dylan Windler, Denzel Valentine and RJ Nembhard, the Cavaliers announced (via Twitter). Their game with the Hawks Sunday has been postponed due to the outbreak.


11:24 AM: Tonight’s game between the Cavaliers and Hawks is expected to be postponed, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). It would be the third game of the season to be called off, following the Bulls’ games this week against the Pistons and Raptors.


11:21 AM: Center Jarrett Allen is among the five players being placed in the protocols, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Allen has been among the reasons for Cleveland’s turnaround, averaging 16.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 28 games.


10:30 AM: Five Cavaliers tested positive for COVID-19 today and there are concerns that the team may not have eight available players for tonight’s game in Atlanta, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Cleveland is already without Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro, who both entered the protocols this week.

Most players who would be eligible to join the team under the hardship provision are currently in Las Vegas for the G League Showcase, explains Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Travel issues would make it difficult for any of them to be in Atlanta by game time.

The Cleveland players haven’t been identified yet, but because they tested positive, they will have to spend 10 days in the protocols unless they can submit two consecutive negative tests for the virus at least 24 hours apart. The Cavaliers, one of the season’s early surprises with a 19-12 record, are scheduled to play four times in the next 10 days, including tonight’s game.

Follow all the latest COVID-19 updates in our daily tracker.