And-Ones: Ibaka, Foster, Dragic, Olympic Qualifiers

Serge Ibaka is focused more on contributing to his new EuroLeague team than returning to the NBA, writes Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews (subscription required). Ibaka signed with FC Bayern Munich this summer and is adjusting to being back in Europe again after spending the past 14 seasons in the NBA. He’s coming off a season-best 20-point game and is averaging 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per night while shooting 56.7% from the floor for the German squad.

The 34-year-old big man is grateful to be playing again after ending last season in limbo. He appeared in just 16 games with Milwaukee before being traded at the February deadline to Indiana, which waived him two days later.

“My focus is playing in Bayern. I want to keep improving here,” Ibaka said. “Playing basketball is one of the most beautiful things one can do. I didn’t play for 10 months and now I’m playing basketball, something I like to do. I’m grateful for this moment.”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports believes the NBA needs to address its Scott Foster situation after the official’s latest incident with Warriors guard Chris Paul Wednesday night. Calling Foster “a prima donna ref” with an “outrageous and unchecked ego,” Bourguet points out that he ruined Paul’s return to Phoenix by giving him two quick technicals and ejecting him late in the first half. Suns fans turned out to welcome back one of the most significant players in franchise history, but Foster upstaged that by extending the long-running feud he has with Paul. Suns star Devin Booker told reporters that he could feel the tension between Foster and Paul before the ejection. “Yeah, ’cause I’ve seen it closely too,” Booker said. “This was long before Chris was in Phoenix, so that’s some history that they might have to settle between themselves one day, when they’re both retired.”
  • Partizan Belgrade and Olimpia Milano are among the teams that have expressed interest in Goran Dragic, relays Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The report, which originated in the Serbian media outlet SportKlub, said Dragic is still hoping for an NBA offer and is reluctant to commit to a European team. The 37-year-old point guard wasn’t picked up this summer after spending last season with Chicago and Milwaukee.
  • Spain, Latvia, Greece, and Puerto Rico have emerged as the favorites to host Olympic qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Games in Paris, Urbonas adds in a separate story. A draw ceremony is set for November 27 in Switzerland, and the official announcement of the host nations is expected before then. Twenty-four nations will be vying for four Olympic spots in the six-team qualifying tournaments.
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