Sagaba Konate

Raptors Waive Sagaba Konate

The Raptors have made a minor roster move, waiving forward Sagaba Konate, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Konate had been in camp with Toronto on an Exhibit 10 contract.

Konate, who played his college ball at West Virginia, declared for the draft this spring after being limited to just eight games in his junior season due to knee injuries. He averaged 13.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 2.8 BPG in just 24.1 minutes per contest.

After going undrafted, Konate caught on with the Raptors and was viewed as a potential candidate for a two-way contract with the team. However, now that he has been released, it appears likely he’ll end up with the Raptors 905 – Toronto’s G League squad – as an affiliate player.

The Raptors now have 19 players under contract, including 12 on fully guaranteed salaries. The other seven players are competing for the team’s three open roster spots and two two-way contract slots.

Raptors Notes: Ujiri, Camp Battles, T. Davis, Lowry

Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri reportedly drew interest from the Wizards this spring when Washington was in the market for a new head of basketball operations, and will likely continue to be targeted by teams making front office changes.

However, speaking to Frank Isola of The Athletic last weekend about his job status, Ujiri made it clear he intends to remain in Toronto at least through the end of his current contract in 2021, if not longer.

“The most important thing is that when you sign a contract you’re obligated to serve it,” Ujiri said. “I signed the contract and I have time left on that contract and I will serve the time. This place has been unbelievable to me. It’s been just a blessing.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

Atlantic Notes: Ellington, Konate, Horford, Simmons

With Wayne Ellington headed back to the Knicks, he recalls that his first stay with the team was so short that he “never put the jersey on,” relays Steve Popper of Newsday. The Mavericks sent Ellington to New York in a trade during the summer of 2014, but the Knicks shipped him to the Kings before the season started. So it doesn’t officially count as one of his eight stops during a 10-year NBA career.

Ellington is back in New York after signing a two-year deal last month with the first season fully guaranteed. Along with providing a veteran presence, Ellington will bring a much-needed 3-point threat to the Knicks, who were among the league’s worst teams from behind the arc last season.

“I’m here first and foremost to help lead a very young team,” Ellington said. “That’s one of the things (Knicks coach David Fizdale) and I spoke about, helping to lead. And of course, I’m here be a player, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, whatever Fiz needed me to do, I’m going to be ready and prepared for it. That’s really not my main focus, whether I’m a starter or not, but I’m definitely coming in here to compete.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors are being careful with shot-blocking specialist Sagaba Konate, who missed most of last season at West Virginia because of knee problems, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Konate signed with Toronto shortly after being passed over in the draft, but hasn’t seen much on-court action in the past two months. He was held out of the Las Vegas Summer League and hasn’t participated in five-on-five scrimmages. “We feel really strong about our medical staff and what the proper sort of approach you can take to a rehabilitation project,” assistant GM Dan Tolzman said. “We’re curious to see what he can become. It’s all about getting him ready for the start of the training camp and see what he does from there.”
  • Al Horford is likely to become more of an outside shooter playing alongside Joel Embiid, predicts Rich Hofmann of The Athletic. Horford, who signed with the Sixers in free agency, took 203 3-point shots last season, but Hofmann expects that number to grow as he tries to provide more spacing for his teammates.
  • With a video circulating of Ben Simmons sinking long 3-pointers, Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports notes that the All-Star guard’s development in that area could be critical for the Sixers‘ long-term success. Simmons, who signed a five-year extension last month, hasn’t made a 3-point shot during his first two NBA seasons.

Sagaba Konate Signs With Raptors

The Raptors have signed West Virginia center Sagaba Konate, the team announced in an email. Terms of the deal were not released, but it is believed to be an Exhibit 10 contract. The release also confirms the signings of forwards Devin Robinson and Oshae Brissett.

Knee injuries limited Konate to eight games as a junior with the Mountaineers, but he was able to average 13.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in about 24 minutes per night. He was on Toronto’s Summer League team, but didn’t see any game action.

Konate is a defensive standout who holds the school record for blocked shots in a career. He earned third team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore along with a spot on the conference’s All-Defensive Team.

Raptors Issue QOs To Patrick McCaw, Nando De Colo

The Raptors have tendered qualifying offers to guards Patrick McCaw and Nando De Colo, making them restricted free agents, tweets Keith Smith of RealGM.com. RealGM’s log of official transactions confirms that Toronto issued those QOs on Friday.

As we explain in our glossary entry on the subject, qualifying offers are essentially one-year contract offers worth a set amount that give a team the right of first refusal on a free agent. If McCaw or De Colo signs an offer sheet with another team, Toronto will now have the opportunity to match that offer.

McCaw, who had a lengthy restricted free agency standoff with the Warriors last summer, briefly joined the Cavaliers before eventually ending up with the Raptors. The 23-year-old played a modest role in Toronto, averaging 2.7 PPG and 1.7 RPG in 26 games (13.2 MPG). McCaw, who won his third consecutive NBA title in 2019, has a QO worth about $1.88MM.

As for De Colo, he hasn’t actually played in the NBA since 2014, but the Raptors have held his rights since then by issuing him a qualifying offer every year while he played overseas. The veteran guard recently left CSKA Moscow and is looking to return to the NBA, so it will be interesting to see whether Toronto makes it a priority to retain him. His QO is worth about $1.83MM.

In other Raptors news, the team agreed to a deal with undrafted rookie Sagaba Konate out of West Virginia, a league source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). Scotto’s report doesn’t include additional details, but Blake Murphy of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that Kobate will sign an Exhibit 10 contract, which would give him a spot on Toronto’s 20-man offseason roster.

A 6’8″ forward, Konate was limited to just eight games in 2018/19 due to a lingering knee injury, but opted to go pro as an early entrant anyway. In his last full college season in ’17/18, he averaged 10.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 3.2 BPG in 36 games as a sophomore.

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Knicks, Celtics

As we relayed earlier this week, new Sixers coach Ime Udoka is replacing Monty Williams as lead assistant coach under head man Brett Brown. Unlike Williams, however, Idoka will also be tasked with being the team’s new defensive coordinator next season, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Udoka has interviewed unsuccessfully for some head coaching positions over the last couple offseasons in Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando, but this new position for the Sixers will still be a promotion for him, as Ettore Messina is the lead assistant in San Antonio.

Getting the opportunity to be a lead assistant may very well increase Udoka’s chances of landing a head coaching role in the near future, especially considering the success that Brown’s other assistants for the Sixers like Lloyd Pierce (Hawks) and Williams (Suns) have had when they had the opportunity to interview for top jobs.

In the meantime, Udoka will oversee a defense that largely underperformed during the 2018/19 season given the talent on the Sixers’ roster.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this afternoon:

Southeast Notes: Heat, Hawks, Jerome, Vucevic

The Heat probably don’t have enough to offer to trade into the top 10 of the draft, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald opines. Miami has the No. 13 pick and would likely have to get a third party involved in order to move up, Chiang continues, noting that the Heat can’t combine their first-rounder with their 2020 or 2022 first-round pick under current rules. Miami might be able to secure a future protected first-rounder if it trades down in the first round. If the club trades the pick without getting a first-rounder in return, the incentive would be to dump a big contract, Chiang adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks worked out six prospects on Friday, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. The group included guards Jalek Felton (BC Nokia), Joshua Obiesie (Oliver Wurzburg) and Charles Matthews (Michigan), forwards Daulton Hommes (Point Loma) and Nikola Miskovic (Mega Bemax) and center Sagaba Konate (West Virginia).
  • Shooting guard Ty Jerome, a mid- to late first-round prospect, worked out for the Magic on Friday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Jerome is ranked No. 25 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The Magic hold the No. 16 pick in the first round.
  • The Magic worked out Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke on Wednesday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Clarke is ranked No. 13 overall by Givony. Forwards Paul Eboua (Italy), Miskovic and Grant Williams (Tennessee) visited on the same day as well as point guards Chris Clemons (Campbell) and Jeremiah Martin (Memphis).
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic will be highly coveted on the free agent market but he’ll strongly consider staying put in Orlando, Stefan Djordjevic of Eurohoops.net relays. “I’m satisfied in Orlando. This was our best season since I arrived,” Vucevic said. “Everything clicked with the arrival of the new coach. We advanced to the playoffs surpassing all expectations and everything’s fine on that side. I’ve also been reading that many are interested but to be honest, I don’t know which teams want me. When I see all the offers, I’ll think and decide.”
  • Taking on a bad contract or two in order to add draft picks might be a prudent strategy for the Heat next summer, Winderman writes in a commentary.

Draft Decisions: Konate, King, Enoch, Queta, More

We rounded up a series of draft decisions by early entrants this morning, but with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline (May 29) looming, we’ve already got many more decisions to pass along.

Here’s the latest:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate plans to remain in the 2019 NBA draft and will forgo his final year of college eligibility, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Louisville junior forward V.J. King is also keeping his name in the draft, he announced today (via Twitter). However, the Cardinals will get another key player back, as Steven Enoch‘s father told 93.9 The Ville that his son is “looking forward to next season” in Louisville (Twitter link).
  • Utah State center Neemias Queta announced today (via a Twitter video) that he’ll return to school for his sophomore season.
  • Three Xavier prospects who tested the draft waters as early entrants – Paul Scruggs, Tyrique Jones, and Naji Marshall – are headed back to the Musketeers, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Texas A&M guard Savion Flagg tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’ll remove his name from the draft and rejoin the Aggies for his junior season.
  • Providence junior guard Alpha Diallo is also expected to withdraw from the draft and go back to school, agent Javon Phillips tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Dayton forward Obi Toppin announced in an Instagram post that he’ll pull out of the draft and head back to school for his sophomore year.
  • Keith Braxton, a junior guard out of St. Francis (PA), has elected to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, tweets Rothstein.

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating l in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)

Draft Updates: Lecque, Konate, Bowman

North Carolina State recruit Jalen Lecque has submitted paperwork to expore entering the 2019 NBA draft, his father Derrick tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. Lecque and his father believe the 6’4″ guard should be draft-eligible because he’s in his fifth year of high school and after meeting the NCAA requirements to graduate high school in 2018.

“We’re waiting to hear if he’s eligible or not,” Derrick Lecque told Givony. “We’re waiting for them to evaluate the transcripts.”

As Givony details, NBA scouts have attended Lecque’s games at Brewster Academy to evaluate him in the event that he becomes eligible. He appears to have a strong case for inclusion in the 2019 draft class, Givony notes, but he’ll have to wait for an official decision before he submits his early-entrant paperwork. He currently ranks No. 76 on Givony’s big board for 2019 prospects.

Here are a few more of Tuesday’s draft-related updates:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate tells Jon Rothstein of SI.com (Twitter link) that he’ll enter the 2019 NBA draft now that his junior year is over. According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter), Konate is testing the waters and keeping his options open, but is focusing on the draft for now. The No. 83 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Konate averaged 13.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG in an injury-shortened 2018/19 season.
  • The 84th overall prospect on ESPN’s top 100, Boston College guard Ky Bowman, has also decided to enter the draft, writes Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. Bowman, who will hire an agent, put up 19.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 4.0 APG in his junior year in 2018/19.
  • Earlier today, we published our running list of early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft. That list, which will be updated multiple times daily leading up to the April 21 entry deadline, now includes both Konate and Bowman.