“We would like to thank Kosta for his contributions to the Club, both on and off the court,” Lions GM Brett Burman said. “Aside from being a dominant interior presence, Kosta was a mentor and locker room connector. He came in and represented the Club and the BBL, and the City of London to the highest standard. He left a huge impression on the basketball footprint here, and we thank him for his impact… We wish him and his family all the best.”
The 23rd overall pick of the 2008 draft, Koufos played 11 NBA seasons with Utah, Minnesota, Denver, Memphis and Sacramento. His last season in the league was 2018/19 with the Kings.
The 34-year-old had a solid showing with the Lions, leading the British Basketball League in rebounds per game (9.1) during the regular season while chipping in 12.1 points and 1.1 blocks (sixth-best in the BBL). Koufos has also played for CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and G League Ignite in recent years after his NBA departure.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- Joe Vardon of The Athletic examines why the NBA got serious about mental health, noting that DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love were at the forefront of discussing their mental health struggles in 2018. According to Vardon, since 2019/20 the league has required teams to have a “formal relationship” with an in-market therapist or psychologist, a psychiatrist for medication, action plans for emergencies, and a “playbook” featuring health and wellness exercises. “People think (NBA players) can just pump fame, or pump money, or pump Twitter followers into their lives and it’s going to just fix everything,” Love told Vardon. “But unfortunately, brains and souls just don’t work like that. If you have a chemical imbalance, that’s not going to help it.”
- Seth Partnow of The Athletic polled 17 members of the advanced analytics community — some who work for teams and some who don’t — to see who they would choose for the NBA’s annual regular season awards. Those polled tended to favor peak performance rather than durability, with stars like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis making the informal All-NBA teams despite only playing between 47 and 58 regular season games.
- The Chinese Basketball Association disqualified the Shanghai Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons from the postseason amid match-fixing allegations, according to ESPN.com. The Dragons were up four points with 1:36 remaining in the finale of their three-game series, but subsequently committed five straight questionable turnovers to help the Sharks build a 10-point lead, with Shanghai ultimately winning 108-104. The teams were fined $5MM apiece and their GMs and head coaches will be suspended for up to five years. The Sharks also allegedly lost Game 2 on purpose so former All-Defensive guard Eric Bledsoe could return for Game 3 — he had been suspended prior to the playoffs. Both Bledsoe and Michael Beasley — another former NBA player who was injured for most of the season and didn’t play in the games — denied being part of the match-fixing. Beasley said he mutually and amicably agreed to leave the team in part because it “failed to provide me with the necessary assistance and accommodations to properly address my injury,” per ESPN.