The Nets are back up to 20 players in training camp, signing 6’3” guard Elie Okobo, who was cut by the Suns last month, and 6’7” small forward Kaiser Gates, a top G League player. The two players were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, per Brian Lewis.
(On Thursday, the Nets cut Gates, making him eligible to play for the Long Island Nets once the G League starts up again, probably next month.)
Under league rules, the Nets have to be down to 17 players — 15 on standard NBA deals and two two-ways — by Monday. The Nets currently have one player signed to a two-way, Jeremiah Martin, who played for both Long Island and Brooklyn last season. With Wednesday’s signings, they have four players on Exhibit 10 deals. In addition to Okobo and Gates, the Nets second round pick, Reggie Perry, and fan favorite Chris Chiozza are on Exhibit 10 deals. Teams can move players up from an Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal or even a standard NBA contract.
Five days ago, the Nets cut two other training camp invites who had been on Exhibit 10 deals, Nate Sestina, a 6’9” stretch 4, and Jordan Bowden, a 6’5” 3-and-D prospect. They will likely be assigned to the Long Island Nets, assuming the G League returns this season.
The Athletic reported two weeks ago that Okobo, a member of the French national team, would eventually sign with the Nets.
Okobo, 23, was selected with the 31st pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Suns and played with both the Suns and their G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, the last two years. In the NBA last season, the left-handed Okobo played in 55 games, including three starts, averaging 4.0 points and 2.1 assists in 15 minutes while shooting 40/35/70. Although Okobo showed flashes, the Suns felt he was too inconsistent.
Signed to a four-year deal in 2018 with the final two years at a team option. He was waived after the Suns traded for Chris Paul, added veteran guards E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway, and re-signed guard Jevon Carter. Phoenix also picked up the team option on another guard, Cameron Payne, leaving Okobo as the odd man out. If not waived, Okobo would’ve earned $1.7 million this season.
The Nets liked Okobo enough in the run-up to the 2018 Draft that Sean Marks reportedly diverted his plane to watch him. According to French press reports, Marks had changed the itinerary of his European scouting trip and decided to take in a French league game in March 2018. The French-Congolese combo guard had been invited to work out for the Nets in the spring of 2017 before dropping out of the Draft.
The Gates signing was a surprise. Gates, 24, played college ball at Xavier and went undrafted in 2018. Since then, he has played 86 games for the WIndy City Bulls and Maine Red Claws. He has averaged 12.5 points and 6.7 rebounds over the two seasons, with a career shooting line of 41/36/76.
Here’s highlights from his 28-point game vs. the Westchester Knicks from March 7, 2019.
Gates attended St. Francis High School in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he played alongside two future NBA players, Kobi Simmons and Malik Beasley. He led the team to two, back to back, state titles. Gates finished with more than 1,200 points and is the school’s all-time leading rebounder. He was regarded as three-star recruit and the 10th best player in Georgia by 247 sports.
Both players have represented their home countries in FIBA competition.
- BROOKLYN NETS SIGN ELIE OKOBO AND KAISER GATES - Brooklyn Nets