Chris Duarte

International Notes: Irving, Adams, Bey, Dominican National Team

Nets guard Kyrie Irving is already thinking about his career beyond the NBA. In response to a fan’s tweet about “gassing up” for the regular season, Irving speculated about his future several years down the road, saying he eventually expects to play overseas.

“I don’t ever have to Gas myself up,” Irving wrote (Twitter link). “I am going on my 12th year in the best league in the world and I am only getting better. When I am 38 years old and have time to reflect on my career truly, I will do so, but until then, I am enjoying every moment.”

“And no I won’t be done playing basketball at 38 years old lol,” he added (Twitter link). “I’ll be in leagues all over the world playing and teaching the youth all that was taught to me.”

Irving just turned 30 in March, so the future he’s talking about is several years away. He’s under contract to Brooklyn for one more season after picking up his $36.9MM option last month.

Here are some more notes related to international basketball:

  • Jaylen Adams, the Most Valuable Player in Australia’s NBL last season, has signed with KK Crvena Zvezda in Serbia, according to Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw (Twitter link). Adams, who appeared in seven games with the Bucks during the 2020/21 season, attended a mini-camp with the Lakers last month.
  • Former NBA small forward Tyler Bey is receiving interest from Ironi Ness Ziona in Israel, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Bey held a two-way contract with the Rockets in training camp last year, but he was waived before the start of the season and wound up playing for Houston’s G League affiliate. A former star at Colorado, Bey played 18 games with the Mavericks in 2020/21.
  • Al Horford, Karl-Anthony Towns and Chris Duarte are the most prominent names on the Dominican Republic’s preliminary 25-man World Cup roster, according to Cancha Latina. The team has qualifying games next month against Panama and Venezuela. Horford has been a member of the national team since 2008, and Towns has represented the country since 2012.

Central Notes: Duarte, Travers, Smith, Simonovic

The toe injury that marred Chris Duarte‘s rookie season is still lingering, according to James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. The Pacers guard initially suffered the left toe injury on February 13. He only played in five of the Pacers’ last 24 games.

“I’m just listening to my body right now,” he said. “Whatever my body tells me, if that be to stop, I stop. If not, then I keep going.”

Duarte still plans to play on the Pacers’ Summer League team.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers second-round pick Luke Travers will likely remain overseas next season, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Travers is participating on the Cavs’ summer league team but with Cleveland’s current roster situation, the plan all along has been to stash the 6’7” wing. “At the end of the day, it’s whatever the team wants and that’s what I’m willing to do,” he said. “If that’s to go back and do another year then it is what it is. If that’s to stay, then I will do that as well.”
  • Jalen Smith could have gotten more money in free agency but he chose to re-sign with the Pacers because of his comfort level and the opportunity to be a starter, Boyd writes. “I chose my future over instant gratification,” said Smith, who signed a three-year deal with a player option. “I feel as though that was the biggest part. You don’t want to take on such a big task so early on in your life rather than trying to work towards it and miss out on it in the future, and that was pretty much the main thing that was going through my head the whole entire time.”
  • Improved conditioning could lead to more minutes for the Bulls’ Marko Simonovic, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago“Every day I try to improve my body and put some muscles on. The last two months, I did it,” he said. “And when I came back here, everybody said I’m looking better than I was before. Just keep working.” He appeared in nine games last season.

Givony’s Latest: Sharpe, Magic, Kings, Duarte, Suns, Knicks, More

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link).

Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”

A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.

Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.

Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:

  • Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
  • The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
  • Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
  • There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
  • Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
  • Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.

Barnes, Cunningham, Mobley Head All-Rookie Team

Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner and Jalen Green comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley were all unanimous selections, receiving the maximum total of 200 points each. Wagner received 183 points, followed by Green with 158. Strangely, one media member left Wagner off their ballot completely, as he received 99 of 100 possible votes.

Raptors wing Barnes, who narrowly edged Cavaliers big man Mobley for the Rookie of the Year award, ranked third in points (15.3) and rebounds (7.5) among all rookies, and fifth in assists (3.5). Mobley was fifth in points (15.0) and led all first-year players in rebounds (8.3) and blocks (1.67) per game.

Pistons guard Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, was first among rookies in points (17.4), second in assists (5.6) and fifth in rebounds (5.5). Magic forward Wagner also had a great year, averaging 15.4 points (fourth among rookies), 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 79 games. Rockets guard Green finished the season strong, scoring 20+ points in 17 of his last 25 games on his way to averaging 17.3 points, second among first-year players.

Pelicans defensive ace Herbert Jones (123 votes) and Thunder floor general Josh Giddey (122 votes) headline the Second Team. Jones averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals (first among rookies) and should at least receive votes for an All-Defensive nod, even if he doesn’t end up making one of the two teams.

In addition to averaging 12.5 points, Giddey was second among rookies in rebounds (7.8) and first in assists (6.4), but he only appeared in 54 of 82 games, having missed the final 23 contests with a hip injury, which is likely why he didn’t receive more First Team votes.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Rookie First Team:

2021/22 All-Rookie Second Team:

Ten other rookies received votes — you can view the full voting results right here. Among the group that missed the cut, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (47) was just behind Duarte, with Kings guard Davion Mitchell (28) the only other player receiving a significant number of votes.

And-Ones: Beasley, Delaney, Bolmaro, Duarte, EuroLeague, Ticket Prices

Michael Beasley has officially committed to play in the BIG3 league with 3’s Company this summer, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets. ESPN’s Marc J. Spears recently reported Beasley was expected to play in the league. The former No. 2 pick, who last played in the NBA with the Lakers during the 2018/19 season, has hired agent Andre Buck and will continue pursuing an NBA comeback. 

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA player Malcolm Delaney will miss the remainder of Olimpio Milano’s season due to an abdominal injury, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Delaney won’t return to Milan next season. “Two special years, in which I played in two of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of, but with a lot of bad luck,” Delaney said. “I enjoyed my experience in Milan, on and off the court.”
  • Timberwolves rookie Leandro Bolmaro and Pacers rookie Chris Duarte will be among the coaches at the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Americas camp next week, according to an NBA press release. The camp will be held from Monday to Thursday in San Luis Potosí, Mexico and will bring together the top high-school age boys and girls from Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean.
  • This year’s EuroLeague First Team selections have a distinct NBA flavor. NBA veterans Mike James, Shane Larkin and Nikola Mirotic were all selected to the First Team along with Walter Tavares and Sasha Vezenkov, Eurohoops.net tweets.
  • Ticket prices around the NBA continue to rise as attendance drops, Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of the New York Post report. According to the Post, fans are now paying an average of $109 per ticket, an 18.6% increase since 2018/19. However, the number of paid fans at arenas has dropped 7.1% to 13,603 per game. Those numbers could impact the league’s negotiations with its broadcast partners.

Eastern Notes: Hayward, Lowry, Barnes, Duarte, Porzingis

Incorporating Gordon Hayward back into the rotation is a tricky task for Hornets coach James Borrego, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer notes. Hayward missed nearly two months of action due to a foot injury. He had five points, four rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes against Philadelphia on Saturday.

“Well, it’s a challenge, but that’s my job and I’ll figure it out,” Borrego said. “We’ll take a look at the film, look at the rotations. We’ve got two days now to digest and figure out what we are going to do. … I’ll try to bring some consistency to the lineup and try to communicate that to our group, making sure everybody understands their role and what this rotation is going to look like moving forward.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry is impressed by the lottery pick his former team drafted, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Lowry sees Scottie Barnes as a potential franchise player for the Raptors. “He’s a special talent. He’s going to be a cornerstone of the franchise,” Lowry said. “He fits in perfectly here – how hard he plays, how passionate he is for the game. And he’s only going to continue to get better.”
  • Pacers rookie Chris Duarte won’t play during the final week of the season, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Duarte hasn’t played since March 15 due to a left big toe injury. Duarte, the 13th pick of last year’s draft, averaged 13.1 PPG in 28 MPG while appearing in 55 games.
  • The Wizards defeated Dallas on Friday, the first time Kristaps Porzingis played against his former team. Porzingis was grateful for the intensity his new teammates showed, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “What I liked is everybody had my back (Friday),” Porzingis said. “They knew it was, I don’t want to say a personal game, but it’s always fun to compete against your former team. Everybody had my back.”

Central Notes: Cunningham, Duarte, Rubio, Osman

Pistons Rookie of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham played just eight minutes on Friday but he wasn’t injured. Head coach Dwane Casey gave Cunningham a chance to rest in the second game of a back-to-back, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart also only made cameo appearances.

A handful of other rotation players missed the game due to rest or injuries.

“It gave us the opportunity to play the young guys and that’s what we wanted to do,” Casey said. “If we were competing for a playoff position, they could have definitely gone out and played. But we wanted to make sure we didn’t risk anything.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers rookie guard Chris Duarte is unlikely to play the rest of the season, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Duarte has been dealing with a sore left toe since February and last played on March 15.
  • Don’t rule out a possible reunion between the Cavaliers and Ricky Rubio, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rubio was a key part in their success before he tore his ACL and his expiring contract was traded, Fedor points out. Cleveland targeted Rubio last offseason but a reunion may depend on whether he’ll accept a one-year, prove-it deal after his latest knee injury.
  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman received two DNPs, then got a chance to reclaim a rotation spot. He responded with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes on Thursday, Fedor notes. “Cedi’s a good basketball player and we need him to be his best, so we can be our best,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

Western Notes: Cousins, George, Kuminga, Kings

DeMarcus Cousins‘ current 10-day contract with the Nuggets will expire this weekend, but head coach Michael Malone doesn’t sound like someone who expects to part ways the veteran center in a few days, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post relays.

“You can see all the guys on our bench, even on the court and on the bench, how much they’re rooting for DeMarcus, which is really neat for me, just from a personal level, from a family atmosphere type of a thing,” Malone said on Monday. “Like here’s DeMarcus, four-time All-Star, out of the league. Shouldn’t be the case, and he’s here with us, he’s found a home.

“I love him, and I think you can see all the teammates, when he has a play like that, whether it’s blocking a shot, rolling and dunking, hitting a three, you can feel the energy.”

Cousins has signed three 10-day pacts with Denver so far and the last two have been standard (non-hardship) deals, which means the team will have to decide whether to sign him for the rest of the season when his current contract expires. There has been no confirmation yet that the Nuggets plan to take that route, but it certainly seems like it’s trending that way.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • If a February 24 MRI on Paul George‘s injured elbow comes back clean, the expectation is that the Clippers forward will begin a ramp-up period of approximately two weeks and could return to the court – barring setbacks – during the second week of March, Chris Haynes reported on Tuesday’s TNT broadcast (video link via Tomas Azarly of ClutchPoints).
  • Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga has been named a replacement for Pacers guard Chris Duarte in this Friday’s Rising Stars game, the league announced today in a press release. Kuminga will replace Duarte, who is dealing with a left toe injury, on Team Payton for the event.
  • Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee believes there are a handful of parallels between the Kings‘ pre-deadline acquisition of Domantas Sabonis and their trade for Chris Webber nearly 24 years ago.

Central Notes: Jones Jr., Duarte, Cavaliers, Smith

Bulls wing Derrick Jones Jr. is determined to play through the pain of a fractured right index finger, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The Bulls are already playing without Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams and Javonte Green due to injuries.

When Jones initially broke his finger in January, he was given a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. However, the Bulls later issued an update saying the forward would be able to return sooner if he was able to play with a splint. That was less than three weeks ago.

Jones returned on Saturday against the Thunder, playing 23 minutes off the bench. In addition to a finger injury, he was also dealing with a knee injury he suffered a couple weeks before breaking his finger, so this was his first action in a month.

“Personally, I love to compete, and me being out since January 12 has been eating me alive on the inside,” Jones said. “I was just waiting for this pain to die down a little bit so I could hop back out there. Soon as it went away a little bit, I was right back out there tonight.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers rookie Chris Duarte will miss the team’s next two games after jamming his toe, Scott Agness of FieldHouse Files tweets. Duarte exited early in Sunday’s game against Minnesota due to the injury. It could impact his availability for the Rising Stars Game, which takes place on Friday, Agness notes.
  • The Cavaliers‘ loss to the Sixers on Saturday was a valuable experience for the team, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Cleveland lost the road game 93-103, allowing Joel Embiid to finish with a 40-point triple-double. “The intensity of which you’re going to have to play at in order to compete with teams like this down the stretch,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after being asked what could be taken from the loss, according to Fedor. “It was a clear message from the beginning of the game the intensity that they were coming with, the physicality that they played with. These are the tests that we talk about, and these are the lessons that we have to learn.”
  • Despite joining the Pacers on the day of a game, Jalen Smith showed promise in his debut on Sunday, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes. Smith finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, logging 23 minutes. Indiana acquired him and a 2022 second-round pick from Phoenix in exchange for Torrey Craig last week.

2021/22 Rising Stars Team Rosters

As we previously relayed, the NBA announced a new format for its Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend, which will take place on Friday, February 18. The event will feature four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament (two semifinals and a final).

The player pool is comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 sophomores, and four players from the G League Ignite, while the games will be played to a target score: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.

The rosters were announced on February 1, but now the four honorary coaches (75th anniversary team members Rick Barry, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy) have selected their seven-man teams, per our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Here are the rosters:

Team Barry:

Team Isiah:

Team Payton:

Team Worthy:

James Ham of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat provides (via Twitter) the full draft results.

The top 10, in order, were: Edwards, Mobley, Ball, Anthony, Giddey, Barnes, Cunningham, Bey, Bane, and Wagner. It’s worth noting that Worthy and Anthony both went to the University of North Carolina, so Anthony’s selection at No. 4 is less surprising given that context.

What do you think of the teams? Who do you think will come out on top? Head to the comments section and let us know your thoughts!