Brian Wright To Become Spurs GM

The Spurs are promoting assistant GM Brian Wright to the role of GM, Jabari Young of The Athletic reports. Buford will remain in the organization and Wright will report directly to him, Young adds.

Buford, 58, has been in San Antonio’s organization since 1994 and has served as the team’s GM since 2002. The Spurs have won four championships with Buford running the front office.

Buford will likely help oversee Spurs Sports & Entertainment under his new title, Young adds.

Wright was hired by the Spurs in his current capacity during the summer of 2016. He was previously an assistant GM with the Pistons after an eight-year stint in the Magic organization.

Initially, Wright focused mainly on scouting with San Antonio. He’s been more active over the past year, fielding trade calls for Kawhi Leonard, leading the negotiations to re-sign Rudy Gay and engineering the sign-and-trade involving DeMarre Carroll, according to Young.

The restructuring of the front office could lead to an additional hire, Young adds.

Jazz Sign Emmanuel Mudiay

JULY 20, 8:30am: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

JULY 2, 7:53pm: Free agent point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Jazz, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While terms of the deal weren’t mentioned, it figures to be a minimum-salary pact. Utah is using its cap room to take on Mike Conley, and has committed its room exception to Ed Davis.

Mudiay, a former seventh overall pick, enjoyed the most productive year of his NBA career in 2018/19 for the Knicks, averaging 14.8 PPG, 3.9 APG, and 3.3 RPG on .446/.329/.774 shooting in 59 games (27.2 MPG). He was eligible for a qualifying offer, but New York opted not to extend one, making him an unrestricted free agent.

While Mudiay hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft hype during his four NBA seasons, he’s still just 23 years. The Jazz want to help him develop, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter links), who adds that Utah’s strong developmental program also appealed to Mudiay’s camp.

With Raul Neto hitting waivers as a cap casualty, Mudiay projects to come off the bench along with Dante Exum as Conley’s backups at the point.

Jazz Sign Jeff Green To One-Year Deal

JULY 20, 8:09am: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

JULY 2, 6:10pm: The Jazz will sign Jeff Green to a one-year deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Green will make $2.5MM, the minimum for a player of his experience level.

Green played last season for the Wizards. He had said he would “love to come back” to Washington but the franchise added wings/forwards in the draft, which complicated matters. The 32-year-old was speculated to be a target of the Lakers, given his previous success playing alongside LeBron James.

Utah needed replacements for both Derrick Favors (sent to the Pelicans) and Jae Crowder (dealt to the Grizzlies). Green will help replenish the team’s depth. Utah came to agreements with Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis to help stabilize the frontcourt.

Ed Davis Signs Two-Year Deal With Jazz

JULY 20, 8:03am: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

JUNE 30, 9:20pm: The Jazz have agreed to sign big man Ed Davis to a two-year deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com passes along via Twitter. Davis will make $10MM over the next two seasons.

Utah will use the room exception to sign Davis, which is the same type of deal the big man inked last summer in Brooklyn. Davis was our Room Exception MVP, as I broke down in our contract awards.

Davis had previously stated that the financials would likely dictate his destination in free agency. “First is the money…Then, two is fit,” Davis said last month.

The Jazz agreed to a contract with Bojan Bogdanovic earlier in the day, reaching a four-year, $73MM deal with the wing. The team is expected to either trade or waive Derrick Favors in order to accommodate the signing. Davis will help Utah fortify its big man rotation.

Celtics Notes: Horford, Green, Roster, Walker

The Celtics feel there was tampering involved in the departure of Al Horford to rival Philadelphia, according to Brian Windhorst. The ESPN analyst made that revelation on a Hoop Collective Podcast (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Justin Leger). “What happened with Horford, again from what I’m told, really upset the Celtics,” Windhorst said. “They were thinking they were going to be able to negotiate with him. Talk to him about a new contract and all of a sudden it was like he already knew what his market was and he was out of there.” The Sixers inked Horford to a four-year, $109MM deal.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Swingman Javonte Green is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Celtics, with a partial guarantee in the first year and a non-guarantee in the second, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The news that Green was signing with Boston surfaced on Thursday. Green, who has played overseas since going undrafted in 2015, averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.8 SPG in 22.6 MPG over five Summer League games at Las Vegas this month.
  • The Celtics will have an open competition for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reveals in the same tweet. Players with partial guarantees and their two-way contract players will try to earn that spot. Guards Max Strus and reportedly Tremont Waters are their two-way players.
  • Kemba Walker received the max allowed for a free agent from an opposing team but the opportunity to join a contender seeking a point guard tipped the scales to Boston, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer relays. “It really came down to my happiness and how I want to compete night-in and night-out,” Walker said. “It’s a winning organization, and I want to win. That’s what it’s all about. Throughout my basketball career as a pro, I haven’t won consistently, and I want to get a taste of that.”

Wizards Close To Naming Tommy Sheppard As GM

The Wizards will promote interim GM Tommy Sheppard to the position on a permanent basis, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. The contract details are still being worked out but an official announcement could come within the next week, Katz adds. The news is affirmed by the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner.

The hiring of Sheppard, 50, would end a long and strange journey since the team fired longtime GM Ernie Grunfeld just before the end of the regular season. Sheppard has been in charge since April 2.

During the search, the Wizards reportedly made at a run at Raptors top executive Masai Ujiri, though owner Ted Leonsis later denied that he asked permission to speak with Ujiri. Washington also made an offer to Tim Connelly, but the executive chose to remain with the Nuggets as their team president.

The team also interviewed Gersson Rosas, who is now running the Timberwolves, along with Danny Ferry and Troy Weaver.

Sixers Reach Deal With Christ Koumadje

6:01pm: It’s an  Exhibit 10 contract, according to Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter link).

4:46pm: The Sixers have agreed to a one-year, partially-guaranteed deal with center Christ Koumadje, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. The news that Koumadje would sign a contract with Philadelphia was first reported by Mark Deeks of SkySport, though that was prior to summer league competition.

The 7’4” Florida State alum played for Philadelphia’s summer league team after going undrafted. He played four seasons with the Seminoles and started all 37 games as a senior. He averaged 6.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 16.0 MPG in his final year.

In five summer league appearances, he averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 13.6 MPG.

The addition of Koumadje gives Philadelphia 14 players on the roster, along with a pair on two-way deals. There’s a crowd at center —Joel Embiid, Kyle O’Quinn and Norvel Pelle (who is on a two-way contract) are already on the depth chart and Al Horford can swing over to that spot.

Koumadje is a developmental project who will likely spend most of next season in the G League.

Kings Waive Swingman B.J. Johnson

The Kings have waived swingman B.J. Johnson, according to a team press release.

Johnson had a non-guaranteed salary of $1,416,852.

Johnson played on the Kings’ summer league team, averaging 7.3 PPG in 16.9 MPG. The 6’7” Johnson, who went undrafted out of La Salle, appeared in seven NBA games with Atlanta and Sacramento last season, averaging 3.3 PPG in 7.0 MPG. Johnson played with the Hawks on a pair of 10-day contracts before the Kings added him late in the season.

He spent most of his first professional season playing for the Lakeland Magic in the G League. He averaged 15.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.4 SPG with a shooting line of .476/.444/.841 in 39 NBAGL games.

Sacramento now has 13 players with guaranteed contracts and two with non- or partially-guaranteed deals, along with a pair of two-way players. The Kings reached an agreement with former University of San Diego forward Isaiah Pineiro earlier in the day.

Mavs Waive Kostas Antetokounmpo

The Mavericks have waived forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, according to a team press release.

The brother of league Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo had a two-way contract with the Mavs.

Daryl Macon holds the other two-way deal with Dallas. By waiving Antetokounmpo, Penn State alum and shooting guard  Josh Reaves may have his contract converted a two-way deal. He was signed to an Exhibit 10 deal earlier this summer.

The 6’10” Antetokounmpo was chosen by the 76ers late in the second round of the 2018 draft. Dallas acquired him in a draft-night deal. He saw action in two games last season, making his NBA debut on March 20, 2019 in Portland.

“We are excited for Kostas to pursue other professional opportunities,” Mavs GM Donnie Nelson said in a statement. “Kostas worked very hard to improve his game and we are proud to have been a step in his development.”

Antetokounmpo played in five summer league games in Las Vegas this month, averaging 5.8 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 13.5 MPG.

The brothers are expected to play for Greece in the FIBA World Cup.

James Harden Won’t Play In 2019 World Cup

Another star player has pulled out of the 2019 World Cup, with James Harden confirming today that he’ll skip this year’s event to focus on adjusting to the new-look Rockets backcourt (Twitter link via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).

[RELATED: Rockets acquire Russell Westbrook]

A report earlier this week indicated that new Lakers big man Anthony Davis was also withdrawing his name from consideration for Team USA’s 12-man World Cup roster.

While the removal of Harden and Davis from USA Basketball’s 20-man training camp roster reduces the group’s star power to some extent, there’s still a ton of talent among the 18-player group, which will eventually be pared down to 12 players for China.

Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, and Kyle Lowry are among the 2019 All-Stars who are a part of Team USA’s preliminary roster.

They’ll be joined by younger prospects like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, and Kyle Kuzma, as well as reliable veteran role players like P.J. Tucker, Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, and Paul Millsap.

Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Kevin Love, CJ McCollum, and Myles Turner round out the 18-man group.

It remains to be seen if Team USA will add replacements for Harden and Davis.