Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis and Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas are expected to join the Lithuanian National Team for the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 qualifiers next month, according to Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link). Lithuania is scheduled to play qualifying games in Vilnius against Denmark on November 26 and Belgium on November 29, and the country’s basketball federation has confirmed that Sabonis and Valanciunas are part of the team’s preliminary squad.
Unfortunately for Lithuania, it’s not clear yet whether Sabonis and Valanciunas will be available next summer for the all-important Olympic qualifying tournament that begins on June 29. Lithuania will be vying for one of four final spots in the Tokyo Olympics, and typically NBA players would be free to join their national teams by that point. In 2021, however, it’s possible the NBA’s regular season won’t yet have finished by the end of June.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Veteran guard Nate Robinson hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015/16 season and his odds of making a comeback at this point are incredibly long. However, he hasn’t given up on the idea, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN relays (via Twitter). “Even at 36, I could still play and still ball out, still be a good spark off the bench,” Robinson said. “But times have changed, the NBA has changed so much. Naw, I will never say I’m retired. They retired me. I didn’t retire.”
- Several ESPN reporters and analysts discussed a series of NBA offseason issues, including the most intriguing player on the free agent market, the trade candidate most worth watching, and the team worth keeping an eye on. Fred VanVleet, Jrue Holiday, and the Warriors, respectively, received the most votes in those three categories.
- In the second part of their survey of NBA agents, Ben Standig and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic solicited opinions on the league’s best player, how many games the NBA will be able to play in 2020/21, and when the season will start, among other topics. We recapped the first part of the agent survey on Wednesday.
- Several beat writers from The Athletic conducted a new mock draft for the top 10 picks this week. The exercise saw LaMelo Ball go No. 1 to the Timberwolves and included a trade involving the Knicks‘ No. 8 pick and the Suns‘ No. 10 selection, with Phoenix trading up for Tyrese Haliburton.