NBA team, Chicago Bulls have claimed Nigerian-born free agent David Nwaba off waivers, after league rivals, Los Angeles Lakers waived him in order to free salary space to sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year, $18 million deal.
Nwaba was called up to The Lakers last season, after they were intrigued with his development and defensive abilities, following which he went on to average six points and 3.2 rebounds in 20 games, but understood the possibility he could be claimed off waivers.
Nwaba, who has a guaranteed minimum contract for next season, previously played for The Lakers’ affiliate, South Bay, before signing a two-year deal, before which he went undrafted in 2016 after collegiate stops at Division II Hawaii Pacific and Santa Monica College, then transferred to finish his career at Cal Poly.
The 24-year-old player is the son of Theodore and Blessing Nwaba, both of whom are Nigerians, while his sister, Barbara, is a professional heptathlete from UC Santa Barbara, who won the 2015 and 2016 National Championships titles, then competed in the 2016 Olympics.
After graduating from Cal Poly in the spring of 2016 with a sociology degree, Nwaba headed to Reno, Nevada to try out for the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns.
The Bighorns were awarded his rights but later traded those rights to Los Angeles D-Fenders on October 30, 2016 and, after joining for training camp, he made the opening-night roster.
On February 28, 2017, Nwaba signed a 10-day contract with Lakers and immediately made his NBA debut in a 109–104 loss to Charlotte Hornets, playing six minutes of fourth-quarter action.
On March 11, 2017, he signed a second 10-day contract with The Lakers, then made his first start a day later, scoring six points in a 118–116 loss to Philadelphia 76ers.
On March 21, 2017, he signed a multi-year contract with the Lakers and, on April 1, 2017, he scored 19 points in a 115–104 loss to Los Angeles Clippers.
During his rookie season with Lakers, Nwaba was assigned back down to D-Fenders four times but, on July 12, 2017, he was waived by the Los Angeles-based side.