Theo Maledon

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 ESPN.com, 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 NBA.com’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 NOLA.com. “‘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.

More Than 30 NBA Players On Track To Suit Up For EuroBasket

The first EuroBasket tournament in five years will tip off in two weeks and there are currently 34 NBA players on track to participate in the event, representing 17 different countries, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net.

EuroBasket is a 24-team international basketball competition also known as the European Basketball Championship. It historically took place every two years, but that gap was recently adjusted to four years, emulating the FIBA World Cup schedule.

The last EuroBasket tournament was played in 2017 — the next one had been scheduled for 2021, but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. As a result, after being played every two years since 1947, it has now been five years since the last EuroBasket tournament, easily the longest layoff since World War II.

It’s possible that some NBA players will be cut from their teams’ rosters or will have to drop out due to injuries or personal reasons before the event begins on September 1, but in general enthusiasm to participate in the long-awaited event appears high.

Here’s the list of NBAers currently set to play in EuroBasket, per Eurohoops:

There are also multiple NBA free agents on EuroBasket rosters, including French swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and German guard Dennis Schröder.

A number of young NBA players, such as 2022 draftees Jeremy Sochan and Nikola Jovic, have dropped out to focus on getting ready for the 2022/23 season, while others, including Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) and Frank Ntilikina (France), were ruled out due to injuries.

Round robin play will begin on September 1, with each team facing the other five clubs in its group once. The top four teams in each group will advance to a 16-team bracket that begins on September 10. The final will take place on September 18, just over a week before NBA training camps get underway.

Northwest Notes: Ingles, Thunder, Beasley, Hyland

If Joe Ingles‘ left knee injury sidelines him for an extended period, it won’t be easy for the Jazz to replace his presence on the court and in the locker room, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. While Ingles still has to undergo an MRI to confirm the severity of the injury, team doctors – who conducted an initial examination on Sunday – fear that it’s significant, according to Jones.

“It’s not even about the basketball at this point,” Jazz forward Rudy Gay said. “Just having him in the locker room is good for us. That’s our guy.”

“Seeing Joe at halftime, that took a lot out of guys,” Jazz point guard Mike Conley said. “Seeing him in pain. Seeing him in tears that was tough. We knew how much this meant to him. All we could do was tell him that we loved him and tell him to keep his head up.”

Ingles, who is on an expiring contract, was already considered a potential trade candidate for a Jazz team seeking a defensive upgrade on the wing. If the 34-year-old is ruled out for several months – or possibly the rest of the season – as a result of his knee injury, the Jazz will be under even more pressure to acquire another forward or wing if they want to have a chance to seriously contend for a title this season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman considers what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s right ankle injury means for the Thunder in both the short- and long-term. The team will get an extended look at rookie Josh Giddey as the primary creator on offense, with Ty Jerome, Theo Maledon, and Tre Mann playing increased roles. Oklahoma City also could see its lottery odds increase, given how poorly the club has played without Gilgeous-Alexander this season.
  • Malik Beasley‘s last five games have been a microcosm of his season as a whole — the Timberwolves wing scored 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting in Phoenix on Friday, but put up a total of 17 points on 7-of-31 shooting in the other four contests. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes, Minnesota badly needs to see Friday’s version of Beasley more often. “It’s on him now,” head coach Chris Finch said. “He’s got to have the right approach. He’s got to stay confident and it’s on him. Opportunity is never going to be the issue. Never going to be the issue.”
  • The Nuggets have been impressed with the growth they’ve seen from rookie Bones Hyland, who has been given more ball-handling responsibilities on the team’s second unit, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “I’m proud of Bones,” head coach Michael Malone said. “Going out there, playing with great pace, making plays for his teammates, taking the open shot, guarding, competing, and that’s what you want to see from a young player like that who’s got so much potential in front of him.” Hyland’s play has helped Denver remain in contention while Jamal Murray recovers from ACL surgery.

Northwest Notes: Nowell, Towns, Maledon, Rivers

Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell had a rough time coming back from a right tibia contusion suffered on April 3, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune details. He tried to come back 10 days later and shot 1-for-14 from the field in two games. After taking some time off, Nowell returned on Friday and saw 25 minutes of action on Sunday against Orlando.

“It affected my shot the most,” he said. “I was really shooting off one leg and trying to come back, I came back a little too early; I came back when I was still hurting.”

Nowell, the team’s 2019 second-round pick, has a non-guaranteed $1.78MM contract for next season.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Karl-Anthony Towns will remain with the Timberwolves long term if the franchise continues to add quality pieces, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic speculates in an interview with Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto. ‘Ultimately, what it comes down to is will the Timberwolves put a winning team around Towns? If they don’t, eventually, he will go. If they do, I think he’ll stay for a long time,” Krawczynski said. “I don’t think that this summer is the be-all and end-all for it. I think he’s got one more year at least of seeing how this is all going to work out.”
  • Rookie Theo Maledon finds himself in a much different role with the Thunder than when he began the season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. With many players injured or sitting out, Maledon has become more of a scoring guard. “The injuries and the new guys on the roster forced me to be that kind of guy, be more aggressive and have more opportunity to create for me and my teammates,” he said. The early second-round pick has averaged 12.4 PPG since the All-Star break.
  • Austin Rivers has learned to become more of a team player, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. Rivers, who signed a rest-of-the-season contract with the Nuggets late last month after completing a 10-day deal, has scored 55 points over the last three games while receiving extensive playing time. “When you have a fresh start like (in Denver) … and then you just stop trying to put so much emphasis on yourself,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest difference in my game right now and just my approach as a player. I’ve given myself to the team. Whether I play 35 minutes or five minutes, I’m going to be positive as hell.”

NBA Announces 2020/21 Rising Stars Rosters

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the pared-down nature of the NBA’s 2021 All-Star weekend, a Rising Stars Game showcasing the league’s top rookies and sophomores won’t be played this year.

However, the league has still announced the rosters for the event, via NBA Top Shot, naming the 20 players who would have been selected to participate if the game was taking place. Here are those rosters:

U.S. Team:

World Team:

The 20-man group includes eight rookies and 11 sophomores. The 20th player, Porter, made the cut as a sophomore since he missed his entire rookie season in 2018/19 due to an injury — this is technically his third year of NBA service.

Northwest Notes: McCollum, Towns, Daigneault, Maledon

After James Harden added the Trail Blazers to his list of preferred destinations this week, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard made a powerful statement Saturday night for keeping the current backcourt together, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. McCollum especially stood out in the win over the Rockets with 44 points, eight assists, and a game-winning three-pointer in overtime.

“What am I supposed to think?” McCollum responded when asked about trade rumors. “I play the same position as James. If there is a trade for James, who is going to be in the trade?”

McCollum’s $29.3MM salary also makes him a logical candidate to be included if the Trail Blazers need to match salaries with Houston, Quick adds. The 29-year-old has been a 20+ PPG scorer for the past five years and would help replace some of the offense the Rockets will lose by dealing Harden. McCollum prefers to try to win a title with Lillard in Portland.

“I think besides Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson), we are probably the only backcourt that not only gets along, but like, empowers the other,” McCollum said. “There is no competition. I don’t force my way into the game if he is playing well; he doesn’t force his way into the game. I just let whatever is going to happen, happen. I’m comfortable not taking shots, I’m comfortable playing a role. I do what is necessary for the team.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves got a scare when Karl-Anthony Towns had to leave Saturday’s game after falling hard on his left wrist, notes Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Towns returned to help Minnesota win at Utah, but the team won’t know how much damage was done until he undergoes further testing. “I didn’t want to just quit the game and go get X-rays and stuff,” he said. “I wanted to be available in case my team needed me, and just be out there cheering them on. I did what I had to do.”
  • Mark Daigneault impressed Thunder players with his calm demeanor in his first NBA game as a head coach, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Daigneault picked up his first win Saturday, but not before OKC let a big lead slip away at Charlotte. “We, myself, almost gave the game away,” said Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. “But (Daigneault was) super composed, kept our heads up, kept us confident. He was our leader down the stretch, even though things weren’t going the right way. And just in the right mind frame. Cool, calm, collected.”
  • Former NBA guard Tony Parker tells French outlet L’Equipe (hat tip to Stefan Djordjevic of EuroHoops) that Thunder rookie Theo Maledon should have been a first-round pick, but his stock fell because he wasn’t used properly in Europe by Zvezdan Mitrovic, the former head coach of Parker’s ASVEL franchise. OKC grabbed Maledon with the 34th selection.