DECEMBER 24TH, 1:04pm: The move is official, the D-League team announced (another hat tip to Reichert).
DECEMBER 4TH, 11:02am: Draft-and-stash prospect Tomislav Zubčić will sign with the D-League affiliate of the Thunder, according to Vedran Modrić of the Eurohopes scouting service (Twitter link; hat tip to Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor). Oklahoma City acquired the NBA rights to Zubčić, the 56th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, when they sent Luke Ridnour to Toronto in a late June trade this year. The 25-year-old Zubčić left KK Cedevita in his native Croatia shortly after the start of the season.
Zubčić, who’s 6’11”, plays both forward positions, is a proficient corner 3-point shooter and performs well in transition, but he lacks the strength to put up much of a fight for rebounds inside, Modrić observes (Twitter links). He had a fairly limited role for Cedevita last season, averaging 7.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game, and he shot 39.8% from behind the arc.
He’ll be perhaps the most high-profile European player to come stateside directly via the D-League, Modrić posits. It’s a move that takes advantage of a rule put into place last season that allows NBA teams to allocate draft picks directly to their D-League affiliates. In previous years, Zubčić would have been subject to D-League waivers, and any NBA team’s affiliate could have grabbed him. The Thunder have frequently used the rule to their advantage, funneling 2014 draft picks Josh Huestis and Semaj Christon to their D-League team, and they did the same with Dakari Johnson, whom they drafted 48th overall this year.
The Thunder have 15 fully guaranteed contracts on their NBA roster, so it appears that unlikely Oklahoma City will be bringing Zubčić to the NBA in the near future, barring another roster move.