Wenyen Gabriel

And-Ones: Mutombo, Robinson, Gabriel, Bates

Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, the NBA announced today (via Twitter).

“He is receiving the best care possible from a collaborative team of specialists in Atlanta and is in great spirits as he begins treatment,” the league wrote in a statement. “Dikembe and his family ask for privacy during this time so they can focus on his care. They are grateful for your prayers and good wishes.”

Mutombo was an eight-time All-Star and four-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He played for six teams during a career that stretched from 1991 to 2009 and saw him play until age 42.

In addition to his basketball accomplishments, Mutombo is also well known for his humanitarian efforts. He won the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009 and has worked closely with Special Olympics and Basketball Without Borders. His foundation was responsible for building a new hospital that opened in 2007 near his Congolese hometown.

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

  • Nate Robinson announced that he’s battling renal kidney failure, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. A three-time winner of the Slam Dunk Contest, the 38-year-old Robinson spent 11 years in the NBA before retiring after the 2015/16 season. “I am currently undergoing treatment for Renal Kidney Failure and have been privately dealing with it for the last four years,” Robinson’s statement read. “I’m sharing this now because I want to be the voice for all those who are having trouble speaking about this illness, and come together for a greater cause – our health. I was never a vocal leader on the court, I preferred to lead by example, but now it’s time for me to speak up and help all those affected by or dealing with Kidney Disease. I am grateful for the care and support I’ve received and continue to receive during this process, and hope through this announcement that I can help others like me.”
  • A trip to South Sudan for a basketball camp this summer has inspired Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel to do more to help his homeland, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Gabriel was overwhelmed by the response from the people he encountered. “I mean a lot of people hold me up high now, trying to be like, ‘This is our child and he made it to the NBA,’” he said. “And I know a lot of people think they can be the next one to make it, too.”
  • Felony charges against Emoni Bates involving a gun-related incident are expected to be dismissed, according to Jeff Borzello and Pete Thamel of ESPN. Bates, who was once considered an elite draft prospect, is now at Eastern Michigan University.

Lakers Pick Up Options On Stanley Johnson, Wenyen Gabriel

The Lakers have exercised their team options for 2022/23 on forwards Stanley Johnson and Wenyen Gabriel, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac.

Johnson’s option will pay him a guaranteed salary of $2,351,521. Gabriel’s option is worth $1,878,720, but that salary will remain non-guaranteed until the NBA’s league-wide salary guarantee deadline in January, so the option pick-up doesn’t necessarily assure him of a spot on the regular season roster.

Johnson, 26, joined the Lakers on a minimum-salary contract in January after signing a series of 10-day deals with the team. He earned a spot in the regular rotation, averaging 6.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.7 APG on .466/.314/.716 shooting in 48 appearances (22.8 MPG). The former eighth overall pick has never been a major offensive weapon, but is a useful depth piece, given his athleticism, energy, and versatility.

Gabriel, meanwhile, signed a two-way contract with the Lakers in March, then was promoted to the standard roster in April. The 25-year-old averaged 6.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 19 contests (16.4 MPG) for the Lakers after spending time earlier in the season with the Nets, Clippers, and Pelicans as well.

With Johnson’s option exercised, the Lakers now have six players on guaranteed contracts for 2022/23. Gabriel and Austin Reaves are on non-guaranteed deals, leaving seven openings on the 15-man roster, one of which will likely go to second-round pick Max Christie.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Klutch, Carmelo, Offseason

The Lakers‘ front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group for last summer’s acquisition of Russell Westbrook, multiple sources tell Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As has been reported by several outlets since last August, Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a part in recruiting Westbrook, helping convince the Lakers to go after the former MVP instead of trying to sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan or acquire Buddy Hield from Sacramento.

Still, while James, Davis, and their agency may have had a hand in the Westbrook trade, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office ultimately had the final say. Pincus, who suggests that assigning the blame to Klutch Sports “may be an epic level of passing the buck,” writes that NBA front offices should consider their stars’ input but that the top basketball executives are responsible for making the decisions they feel are best for the team.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

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.

L.A. Notes: Lakers’ Roster, Howard, Rondo, George, Powell

The Lakers‘ hopes of reaching the play-in tournament were extinguished this week, but these final games are still important for a few players, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The team’s roster figures to look much different next season, and young players such as Mason Jones, who finished third in the G League MVP race, see the late-season contests as a chance to shape their future.

“At the end of the day, I want to be a good player in the league,” he said. “From this day forward, you’ve got to continue to take steps. I was with South Bay earlier and I took that as the right mindset. And I’ll continue to take steps. From here, I want to continue to take the steps and learn from them because possibly, they could be my teammates next year.”

Beyond LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers have only a few players under contract for next season, Goon notes. Talen Horton-Tucker is signed for two more years and Kendrick Nunn for one more, and the team has 2022/23 options on Austin Reaves and Stanley Johnson. That may create an opportunity for Wenyen Gabriel, whose two-way contract was converted to a standard deal on Friday.

“Obviously we didn’t get a lot of wins this month and we obviously wish we could have won more,” Gabriel said. “But I played with a lot of energy, and I feel I showed some things – some tools that the front office thinks can help the next following season. So it’s just them believing in my potential.”

There’s more NBA news from Los Angeles:

  • Michigan coach Juwan Howard has been mentioned as a possibility to replace Frank Vogel as head coach of the Lakers, tweets Steve Bulpett of Heavy, who adds that if that happens Rajon Rondo could join him as an assistant. Rondo, 36, is currently playing for the Cavaliers.
  • There appears to be no concern about Paul George‘s elbow as the Clippers head toward the play-in tournament, according to Joe Reedy of The Associated Press. George, who missed three months with a torn ligament, has been excellent since returning last week and the team has gone 5-1 in the games he has played. “The elbow’s fine. It feels pretty good,” George said. “Overall, I’m trying to take each possession for what it is and trying to make the best play possible.”
  • Norman Powell is happy to back in time for the postseason after fracturing a bone in his left foot shortly after being traded to the Clippers, per Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “I’m excited for what we’re building here,” Powell said after returning Wednesday. “Playing along PG, it still doesn’t seem real to me. He was a guy that I looked up to growing up, a guy, we had some battles in Toronto in the playoffs, and early on in my career he gave me some words of encouragement – my rookie year, that stuck with me. So being able to play alongside with him, and Kawhi (Leonard) when he gets back healthy, it’s going to be fun.”

Lakers Promote Wenyen Gabriel To Standard Contract

3:23pm: Gabriel’s new deal is a two-year contract with a team option for 2022/23, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.


2:44pm: The Lakers have filled the open spot on their 15-man roster by promoting Wenyen Gabriel from his two-way contract to a standard deal, the team announced today (via Twitter). That roster opening was created on Thursday when Trevor Ariza was waived.

Gabriel signed a series of 10-day contracts earlier in the season with the Nets, Clippers, and Pelicans before eventually getting a two-way deal from the Lakers on March 1. The 25-year-old has appeared in 24 total NBA games this season, including 17 for his current club. In those 17 games with the Lakers, he has averaged 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds on .481/.238/.621 shooting in 14.6 minutes per contest.

Gabriel figures to see plenty of action in the club’s final two games of the season this weekend, with a number of regulars sidelined. LeBron James has been ruled out for the season, while Anthony Davis (foot), Russell Westbrook (shoulder), and Carmelo Anthony (non-COVID illness) will all miss at least Friday’s game vs. Oklahoma City.

The exact details of Gabriel’s new contract are unclear. If the Lakers simply converted his two-way deal to a standard contract, it will only cover the rest of the season, but teams and players are free to negotiate new terms in this situation.

Non-playoff clubs that promote two-way players to their 15-man rosters near the end of the season typically want to tack on at least one extra non-guaranteed year to those new contracts — we’ll have to wait for further clarification to see if the Lakers did that with Gabriel.

Los Angeles now has a full 15-man roster, with one open two-way slot.

Lakers Health Updates: Davis, Nunn, LeBron, Gabriel

Lakers star big man Anthony Davis is aiming to return to action this weekend, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Davis has been shelved since spraining his right foot and MCL on February 16. He has missed 37 games for Los Angeles all told this season, including the past 17. The 6’10” big man has produced at a typically high clip this year when healthy, but his shooting numbers and defense have dipped. He is averaging 23.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.3 BPG and 1.2 SPG through his 37 healthy contests.

Sporting a 31-44 record, the Lakers currently occupy the Western Conference’s 11th seed. The team owns a record identical to that of the tenth-seeded Spurs, but the Spurs sport a better intra-conference record. Even with Davis back in the fold this weekend, an extended absence for LeBron James could doom the depth-challenged team’s play-in tournament odds.

The rest of L.A.’s schedule will not get much easier down the home stretch of the 2021/22 season. Across five of their final seven games, the Lakers will face off against four Western Conference playoff-bound teams in the Jazz, Nuggets (twice), Suns, and Warriors.

Here are a few more Lakers-related health updates:

  • Haynes’ sources have informed him that combo guard Kendrick Nunn, one of just five Lakers players earning more than the minimum this year, is expected to miss the rest of the 2021/22 season. Nunn has not played a single game for Los Angeles since incurring a bone bruise in his knee during the 2021 preseason. He signed a two-year, $10MM contract with L.A. during the 2021 offseason with a player option for 2022/23. Given his health predicament, it seems likely he will pick up that option.
  • According to Haynes, All-Star forward LeBron James is expected to miss his second consecutive game on Thursday after rolling his ankle during a 116-108 loss to the Pelicans on Sunday. Thursday would mark the four-time MVP’s 20th missed contest this year.
  • Reserve power forward Wenyen Gabriel, who has emerged as an important role player for Los Angeles, has been listed as day-to-day going forward after suffering a left ankle sprain, tweets Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Caruso, Vogel, Magic, Augustin, Gabriel

LeBron James dropped 56 points on the Warriors Saturday night, leading the Lakers to a 124-116 win and ending a four-game losing streak, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. James shot 19-of-31 from the field, 6-of-11 from three, and 12-of-13 from the line while adding 10 rebounds and three assists in nearly 39 minutes of action.

The 56-point effort tied Trae Young‘s NBA season-high and is the most points LeBron has scored in a game for Los Angeles, Buha notes. James said he was just happy to get a win.

It’s funny, our guys were following me off the floor tonight going into the locker room and they asked me, ‘How does it feel to score 56?’” James said. “I said, ‘Right now, I don’t give a damn about the 56. I’m just happy we got a win.’ That’s just literally the first thing that came to my mind.”

James’ spectacular performance was historic for a couple other reasons, Buha writes. He passed Karl Malone for the most combined regular season and postseason minutes, and became just the fourth player to record 50-plus points in a game at age 37 or older, joining Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Jamal Crawford.

There’s really no words for it,” coach Frank Vogel said of James’ 56-point game. “An incredible performance by the best to ever do it, in my opinion, and as I’ve said.”

The Lakers have had an undeniably disappointing season, barely clinging to the No. 9 seed in the West with a 28-35 record, but James has been consistently great on offense. He’s now tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for second in the league in scoring with 29.4 points per game, just a tenth of a point behind Joel Embiid‘s league-leading 29.5. It’s James’ highest scoring average since 2009/10.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • A source tells Marc Stein of Substack that James was a leading supporter of Alex Caruso and badly wanted the Lakers to re-sign him, but the team declined to offer Caruso a contract comparable to the four-year, $37MM deal he received from the Bulls last summer due to luxury tax concerns. Caruso was having a strong season for Chicago, but has played just 28 games to this point and is currently sidelined with a fractured right wrist.
  • Appearing on NBA Today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (video link) that the Lakers haven’t moved on from Vogel due to long-term injuries to Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn, and more importantly the front office doesn’t think that replacing Vogel would make a difference in the team’s performance. “(The Lakers) would like to get through the rest of this season with Frank Vogel,” Wojnarowski said.
  • Prior to Saturday’s game, in an appearance on NBA Countdown (video link), Magic Johnson said the trade for Westbrook “could go down as the worst trade in Laker history” if L.A. is unable to advance past the play-in tournament.
  • D.J. Augustin and Wenyen Gabriel are eager to make an impact with their new club, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. “I know they haven’t been playing up to everybody’s expectations, I would say,” Augustin said of the Lakers. “But it’s the NBA, and things happen. But we’re still in a good position where we can still have a chance. And that’s all you need in this league, is a chance.”

Players Who Have Spent The Most Time This Season On 10-Day Deals

It has been a record-setting season for the 10-day contract, which got more use than ever this winter as teams missing players due to COVID-19 scrambled to add multiple replacements at a time using the league’s newly-updated hardship provision.

By our count, an unprecedented 118 players have signed at least a single 10-day deal this season, and many of those players received more than one. Because hardship deals didn’t count toward the usual limit of two 10-day contracts per season with a single team, a handful of players even inked three or four 10-day pacts with the same team.

While no players were able to match or exceed the NBA’s rookie minimum salary on 10-day deals alone, a handful of players signed so many 10-day contracts that they earned a salary comparable to a two-way player.

[RELATED: Salaries For 10-Day Contracts In 2021/22]

With the help of our 10-day contract tracker, here’s a look at some of the players that have spent the most time this season on 10-day deals:


Chris Silva

  • Total 10-day contracts: 5
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 50
  • Teams: Heat (x4), Timberwolves
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $479,650

One of two players who has signed four 10-day contracts with the same team this season, Silva might not be done yet — all four of his 10-day deals with the Heat were completed using the hardship provision, which means he could still sign one or two more standard 10-days with the team before the end of the season. Miami has an open roster spot, so it’s not out of the question.

Even if he doesn’t sign another 10-day contract this season, Silva’s earnings have already exceeded the base salary for a player on a two-way deal ($462,629).

Lance Stephenson

  • Total 10-day contracts: 5
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 43
  • Teams: Pacers (x4), Hawks
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $690,095

One of Stephenson’s 10-day hardship deals with the Pacers was terminated after just three days so that he could sign a standard 10-day contract in order to remain on the active roster. As a result, he didn’t spend quite as many days as Silva as a 10-day player this season.

Still, Stephenson is one of just two players to have signed five 10-day contracts this year, and no player has earned more money via 10-day deals than he has this season. Stephenson also parlayed those four short-term commitments from Indiana into a rest-of-season deal.


Stanley Johnson

  • Total 10-day contracts: 4
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 40
  • Teams: Lakers (x3), Bulls
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $480,332

Danuel House

  • Total 10-day contracts: 4
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 40
  • Teams: Jazz (x3), Knicks
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $445,828

Wenyen Gabriel

  • Total 10-day contracts: 4
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 40
  • Teams: Clippers (x2), Nets, Pelicans
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $383,720

There are five NBA players who have signed at least four 10-day contracts so far this season, with Johnson, House, and Gabriel joining Silva and Stephenson.

Johnson and House took very similar paths. Both players signed a single hardship 10-day contract with one team in December (the Bulls for Johnson and the Knicks for House), but didn’t get a chance to make a real impression for that team — Johnson was almost immediately placed in the COVID-19 protocols himself, while House logged just three total minutes for New York. Both players subsequently caught on with new clubs, signing a hardship 10-day contract and then a pair of standard 10-days before finalizing a full-season agreement.

Gabriel, meanwhile, has bounced around the NBA a little more this season, signing a total of four 10-day hardship deals with three separate teams. He didn’t earn a rest-of-season commitment from any of them, but eventually landed with the Lakers on a two-way contract.


Players who have signed three 10-day contracts this season:

* Chriss, Cousins, Diakite, and Jackson each had one of their 10-day contracts terminated early, so they’ve technically spent fewer than 30 days on 10-day deals this season.

^ The third 10-day contracts for Frazier, Thomas, and Wilson are still active.

# Highsmith’s third 10-day contract is still active. Additionally, his second deal was technically an 11-day contract since it ran through the All-Star break and needed to cover a minimum of three games.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Augustin, Gabriel, Nunn

The Lakers‘ record fell to 27-34 on Tuesday, as the team entered the fourth quarter with a lead over Dallas but couldn’t hang on and lost by a score of 109-104. Los Angeles, the No. 9 seed in the West, is now just two games ahead of No. 11 Portland for a play-in spot, but Russell Westbrook – who acknowledged that he has to play better – still believes better things are ahead for the club.

“Super confident that we’re going to be all right,” Westbrook said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I’ve got confidence in this group, like I always have. And we can play the best teams. I’m not worried about nobody we have to play. We’ve beaten the best teams; we’ve lost to some of the worst teams. So, our confidence and my confidence in this group is extremely high because I know what we’re capable of when we put our mind to it and do exactly what we need to do on a night-in, night-out basis.”

As McMenamin writes, LeBron James missed some time about a month ago due to swelling in his left knee and said before the All-Star break that he’s still not 100%. However, James has no plans to shut his season down at any point and is committed to waiting until the offseason to rest his knee, sources tell ESPN.

“We still have games to play,” James said after Tuesday’s loss. “Until you stomp me out, cut my head off, bury me 12 feet under, then I got a chance. So that’s my confidence.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Head coach Frank Vogel is enthusiastic about what newly-signed point guard D.J. Augustin can bring to the team, as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group relays. “I know his game really well,” Vogel said before Tuesday’s game. “He gets in late tonight – we’ll be able to sit down and talk more in depth about where he fits on our team. But I like what he brings to the table, not just with the off-ball ability, to shoot the basketball and stretch the floor and give our guys more space.”
  • Vogel also discussed new two-way player Wenyen Gabriel, who was signed on Tuesday along with Augustin. According to the Lakers’ head coach, Gabriel will join the NBA team immediately rather than being assigned to the G League. “The successful stints this year have been with Bron, Russ, (Anthony Davis), and the younger, energetic guys,” Vogel said, per Goon. “So, we’ll have to see what Wenyen brings to the table, but it is possible that he gets into the rotation and plays some.”
  • While replacing DeAndre Jordan and Sekou Doumbouya with Augustin and Gabriel adds more talent to the Lakers’ roster, the team had a greater need on the wing than at point guard, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines in his analysis of Tuesday’s roster moves.
  • Explaining why the Lakers felt comfortable trading away Rajon Rondo earlier in the season if they still needed to sign a veteran point guard later, Vogel said that Rondo was intended to be a third-string backup behind Westbrook and wasn’t a good fit alongside him, whereas Augustin should be able to play with or without Westbrook. “Their skill sets don’t fit,” Vogel said of Rondo and Westbrook (via Goon). “They don’t match on the floor. So (Rondo) was not playing, or when he was playing, he wasn’t a good formula for us.”
  • There’s still no timeline for injured point guard Kendrick Nunn to make his Lakers debut, Vogel told reporters on Tuesday. “We just don’t know about Kendrick,” he said, according to Goon. “We’re still hopeful that he comes around and is able to ramp up and do it without pain and the MRI comes back where we want to see it. It hasn’t happened yet. Until we see him back on the floor, we need help at that position and that skill set.” Buha believes the signing of Augustin suggests we likely won’t see Nunn this season.