Karlo Matkovic Joins Pelicans’ G League Team

Croatian big man Karlo Matkovic has joined the Birmingham Squadron, the Pelicans‘ G League team, according to the league’s official transaction log (hat tip to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype).

Matkovic was selected 52nd overall in the 2022 NBA draft by the Pelicans, who still control his NBA rights. He had remained overseas since that draft, spending this season with KK Cedevita Olimpija in Slovenia.

Matkovic, who will turn 23 in March, enjoyed a strong year with Olimpija, averaging 14.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 28.8 minutes per game across 15 EuroCup appearances. He also averaged 15.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 2.8 BPG in 17 ABA contests (28.4 MPG).

Word broke last month that Matkovic would be leaving his team in Slovenia to come stateside, but it wasn’t reported at that time whether he would be signing a standard NBA contract, a two-way deal, or a G League contract.

It turned out to be the latter, which means the Pelicans will retain the forward/center’s exclusive NBA rights going forward and will get a closer look at him in Birmingham without having him occupy one of the team’s 15 standard roster spots or three two-way slots. Depending how his rest-of-season audition goes, Matkovic could earn one of those 18 spots in New Orleans next season.

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