Yuta Watanabe

Grizzlies Sign John Konchar To Two-Way Deal

JULY 8: The Grizzlies have officially signed Konchar to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release. Memphis opened up a two-way slot by sending Washburn to Golden State in the Andre Iguodala trade.

JUNE 21: Purdue-Fort Wayne guard John Konchar will sign a two-way contract with the Grizzlies, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The senior went undrafted despite participating in a large number of workouts. However, he impressed Memphis enough to get a shot at the NBA on a two-way deal.

Konchar posted a 19.5/8.5/5.4 line this year at IPFW. He is the only player ever to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists and 200 steals during his college career, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype (Twitter link).

Current Grizzlies two-way players Yuta Watanabe and Julian Washburn both have two-way deals that extend into 2019/20. Konchar is expected to replace Washburn in that second slot, with Watanabe returning, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian.

Injury Updates: Knight, Pistons, Grizzlies, MPJ

Brandon Knight, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2016/17 season, is expected to make his Rockets debut next week, head coach Mike D’Antoni said on Tuesday evening (Twitter link via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com). While Knight isn’t expected to take on a major role for his new team, he could help provide some backcourt depth if James Harden, Chris Paul, or Eric Gordon are banged up, perhaps regaining some trade value if he looks good.

As the Rockets prepare to welcome Knight to the active roster, they’re dealing with another injury to a rotation player. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays (via Twitter), James Ennis will miss Thursday’s game and will likely remain on the shelf for a few more days due to a right hamstring issue.

As Houston looks to get healthy, here are a few more health updates from around the NBA:

  • A pair of Pistons players, Glenn Robinson III and Henry Ellenson, have been diagnosed with ankle sprains and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Ellenson had only appeared in two games this season, so his absence won’t impact the team significantly, but Robinson has started 16 games so far, averaging 16.0 MPG.
  • The Grizzlies provided updates on four players today, announcing in a press release that Dillon Brooks is expected to return by the end of the month while Chandler Parsons will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Jevon Carter and Yuta Watanabe are set to resume basketball activities within the next week, according to the club.
  • We haven’t heard much this season about Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr., who continues to recover from back surgery. However, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst hears that Porter is “looking impressive” and says Denver has been surprised with how well Porter has been shooting from beyond the arc.
  • Hawks big man Miles Plumlee recently underwent a non-surgical procedure on his left knee and will be re-evaluated on December 18, according to a press release from the team.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, Holiday, Watanabe

After playing 16 seasons in the NBA, former Sixth Man of the Year Manu Ginobili retired earlier this week. His departure now opens the door for increased roles on the Spurs for both Derrick White and Lonnie Walker, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.

As Kalbrosky notes, Ginobili was used as the primary ball handler in pick-and-rolls for a majority of his possessions last season, and was also used as a spot-up shooter. White also excelled on these play types during his 17 games as a rookie for the Spurs last season. White was also dominant in the G League, meaning he may be ready for an increased role in his second season in the NBA.

Walker, meanwhile, has shown tremendous flashes of potential. At Miami, he was also thrust into the role as a spot-up shooter and ball handler. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich does not generally give a lot of playing time to rookies, but with Ginobili gone, it’s possible he may change his tune with Walker.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans caught up with starting point guard Jrue Holiday to discuss the team’s 2017/18 playoff run, the team’s acquisitions like Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, his off-season preparation, and what he expects for this upcoming season.
  • According to Michael Wallace of Grind City Media, Grizzlies rookie Yuta Watanabe is a perfect developmental prospect for today’s NBA because of his combination of length, shot-blocking and three-point range. Watanabe, 23, is trying to become only the second Japanese player to see action in an NBA game.
  • In another article for HoopsHype, Kalbrosky looks at how even though the Spurs have always been at the forefront of basketball analytics, they will now heavily rely on two of the most mid-range-happy jump shooters in the NBA in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.

Contract Details: Bolden, Carter, Harrell, Smart

Sixers forward Jonah Bolden has received the largest contract of any rookie second-round pick this summer, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The 36th player taken in the 2017 draft, Bolden spent a season with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel before coming to the NBA. Philadelphia gave him a four-year, $7MM deal with a starting salary of $1.69MM, although the third and fourth seasons are non-guaranteed.

The Nets signed Rodions Kurucs to a similar arrangement, Pincus adds (Twitter link). The 40th pick in this year’s draft, Kurucs will make $1.62MM in his first year and has incentives that could bring the value of his four-year contract up to $6.96MM. The first three seasons are fully guaranteed.

Pincus passes on a few more details about deals signed this summer:

  • Although Jevon Carter was taken 32nd overall, he signed for just the minimum salary over two seasons, less than others in his draft range (Twitter link). However, he received a full guarantee from the Grizzlies on both years. Jalen Brunson, taken at No. 33 by the Mavericks, makes more per season but is locked into a four-year deal (Twitter link). He will receive $1.23MM in his rookie year, with minimum salaries for the next three seasons. The first three years are fully guaranteed. Elie Okobo, the 31st pick, signed a four-year agreement with the Suns that will pay him $1.24MM in his first year, with three seasons at the minimum to follow. Only his first two years are guaranteed, and Phoenix has a team option on the final season (Twitter link).
  • Among the two-way contracts handed out this summer, only four players signed multi-year deals. Kostas Antetokounmpo of the Mavericks, Billy Preston of the Cavaliers, Yuta Watanabe of the Grizzlies and Thomas Welsh of the Nuggets all have two-year agreements (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers will pay Montrezl Harrell $6MM in each season of his two-year, $12MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has a base salary of $11.16MM in the first year of his new deal, but $500K of likely incentives place the cap hit at $11.66MM. The incentives remain in effect for each season of his four-year contract.

Grizzlies Sign Yuta Watanabe To Two-Way Deal

The Grizzlies have signed rookie forward Yuta Watanabe to a two-way contract, according to a team press release.

The signing has international significance. Watanabe will likely become just the second player born in Japan to appear in an NBA game. Yuta Tabuse appeared in four games for the Suns during the 2004/05 season.

The Grizzlies opened up a two-way contract slot by waiving swingman Myke Henry earlier on Friday.

The 6’9” Watanabe played for the Nets’ summer league team after going undrafted and averaged 9.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 24.0 MPG over five games.

Watanabe played four years of college ball at George Washington University. Watanabe, 23, was named the 2017/18 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 16.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.6 blocks in 36.6 MPG.

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, DeRozan, Russell, Watanabe

The Raptors‘ potential pursuit of Kawhi Leonard is the hottest rumor making the rounds at summer league, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Toronto appears poised to join the Lakers, Sixers and Celtics as teams in the conversation for the Spurs’ star. With LeBron James out of the East, the addition of Leonard could tilt the balance of power in the race for the conference title.

Smith speculates that San Antonio would ask for DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, two first-round draft choices and another player or pick. Smith suggests countering with an offer of DeRozan or Kyle Lowry, along with either Norman Powell or Jakob Poeltl, plus Delon Wright and a pair of first-rounders.

DeRozan erased his Instagram feed this week and posted the message, “We had some bumps along the way. But the reward is in the journey. I’m in my bag.” However, a source close to him tells Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet that there’s no significance behind the move and it’s not an indication that a trade is coming (Twitter link).

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors have become the new odds-on favorite to acquire Leonard, notes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. OddsShark.com, a sports betting site, lists Toronto as the even-money favorite to swing a deal for Leonard.
  • The Nets haven’t had any extension talks with D’Angelo Russell, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Russell, who was acquired in a trade with the Lakers last summer, put up some impressive numbers in first 12 games with Brooklyn before being sidelined by a left knee injury. He posted a 20.9/4.7/5.7 line on 46% shooting prior to the injury, which required arthroscopic surgery. Russell, 22, will make $7.02MM in the upcoming season and will be a restricted free agent next summer if no extension deal is reached.
  • Japanese star Yuta Watanabe is making a bid for an NBA job with his performance for the Nets‘ summer league team, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Watanabe averaged 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in four summer league games. “It’s great for me,” he said. “Great experience, but it’s still summer league. I still have a lot to go, so my goal is not here.”

Atlantic Notes: Chandler, Williams, Russell, Nets

While he reportedly wasn’t always happy with role in Denver, Wilson Chandler sounds ready to take on whatever role he’s asked to play with his new team After being acquired by the Sixers, Chandler spoke to reporters – including Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com – about how he thinks he’ll fit in Philadelphia.

“Me personally, I don’t worry about coming off the bench or starting – I have had both of them in my career,” said the Sixers’ newest forward. “I have come off the bench before and I’ve started before. I’m not opposed to that at all. I just want to win. I’m just blessed to be back with a playoff team and looking forward to pushing it as far as we can.”

For his part, Sixers head coach Brett Brown is excited to have Chandler in his lineup, citing the veteran’s ability to make three-pointers and guard multiple positions. “The versatility in his game is extremely impressive,” Brown said of Chandler.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Atlantic…

  • Celtics rookie Robert Williams has an artery condition in both of his legs, multiple sources tell Fred Katz of MassLive.com. According to Katz, the condition – known as popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES), is considered “not too serious” for now. NBA teams, including the Celtics, were aware of Williams’ condition heading into the draft, per Katz, who says the team will regular monitor the big man’s PAES.
  • The Nets and D’Angelo Russell‘s camp have yet to discuss a rookie scale extension, but Russell is using his friend Devin Booker‘s new $158MM deal as motivation, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • Nets Summer League swingman Yuta Watanabe is making a case for a training camp invite and a chance to become the NBA’s second-ever Japanese-born player, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.
  • Raptors forward Malcolm Miller, who received a qualifying offer as a two-way player, suffered a dislocated shoulder and will miss the rest of Summer League play, according to the team (Twitter link). It’s not clear how the injury might impact Miller’s free agency.

Draft Updates: Musa, Knox, Williams, Sixers

The Nets may be willing to package their picks to move up for Bosnia’s Dzanan Musa, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The 19-year-old small forward has spent the past week visiting teams that might be willing to use a first-round selection on him. The Nets hold the 29th pick, but may have to give up their second-rounders at 40 and 45 to get into Musa’s range.

Musa has two years remaining on his contract with KK Cedevita in the EuroLeague, but he plans to come to the NBA next season.

“I want to compete at the highest level and to compete with the best players in the world,” Musa said in an interview with CBS Sports affiliate 1430-AM in Indianapolis. “[My strength is] scoring: shooting, midrange floaters, to the rim. … I just want to get picked by the team who sees me as a project. But I think I’m a lottery pick for sure.”

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Draft Notes: Sixers, Z. Smith, Pacers, Suns, Wolves

The Sixerspreviously-reported workout with Villanova wing Mikal Bridges is taking place today, but Bridges isn’t the only prospect in town to get a look from the club. According to a press release, the 76ers also hosted a group workout today, with Marcus Derrickson (Georgetown), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Donte Ingram (Loyola Chicago), Nick King (Middle Tennessee State), MiKyle McIntosh), and Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech) taking part.

Speaking of Smith, his busy workout schedule will continue, with an audition for the Hornets still on tap, as Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia tweets. We previously heard that Smith also has a workout lined up with Phoenix.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related notes…

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Gordon, Wizards

The Hawks will host another pre-draft workout tomorrow morning with six participants, per an official release from the team. The headliners include Bruce Brown from Miami and De’Anthony Melton from USC.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Brown being selected by the Knicks in the second round at No. 36 overall in his current mock draft, while he has Melton going in the first round at No. 25 overall to the Lakers. The Hawks select at No. 3, 19, 30, and 34.

In addition to Brown and Melton, the Hawks will host Thon Maker‘s younger brother Matur Maker, Cameron Reynolds (Tulane), Yuta Watanabe (George Washington), and Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • As reported by John and Hugh of 92.9 The GameHawks’ GM Travis Schlenk is confident that he knows who Phoenix is planning to take at No. 1, meaning the team need only concern itself with Sacramento’s decision. Per Schlenk, the Hawks are down to “three or four guys” who they are contemplating taking with the No. 3 selection, but they are also open to trading back.
  • The Magic, armed with a new and experienced head coach in Steve Clifford, are turning their focus to the draft and free agency, analyzes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Most importantly, the team must decide what its plan is with the impending restricted free agency of forward Aaron Gordon. Marks opines that the Magic should sign Gordon as a future tradeable asset, if nothing else.
  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post takes a look at the options the Wizards are thinking about with the No. 15 pick in this month’s NBA Draft. Three prospects that Buckner specifically mentions are point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV, and big man Robert Williams.