Georgios Kalaitzakis

Northwest Notes: DSJ, Zeller, Nuggets, Beverley, Azubuike, Kalaitzakis

The Trail Blazers will keep Dennis Smith Jr. on their roster through the salary guarantee date, ensuring that he receives his full salary for 2021/22, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Smith won a training camp battle to earn a regular season roster spot and has averaged 5.4 PPG and 3.3 APG in 19 games (17.2 MPG). While his shooting numbers (.396 FG%, .273 3PT%) are below his mediocre career rates, Smith has apparently made enough of an impress on the Trail Blazers to stick around as the team’s 14th man. He’ll earn a $1,789,256 salary ($1,669,178 cap hit) for the season.

Wojnarowski also provides another updates on the Trail Blazers, tweeting that center Cody Zeller is expected to be available vs. Cleveland on Friday night. Zeller, who hasn’t played since December 6, missed time due to a knee injury and a stint in the health and safety protocols, but it appears he’s been cleared to return on both fronts.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nuggets forwards Jeff Green and Zeke Nnaji are no longer in the health and safety protocols, but two-way rookie Petr Cornelie has entered them, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Because the team still has one player in the COVID-19 protocols, hardship signee Davon Reed can remain active.
  • The Patrick Beverley trade has been a major coup for the Timberwolves, according to Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune, who says the veteran guard has been an “ideal leader” for the young team. Minnesota gave up Jarrett Culver and Juan Hernangomez to land Beverley.
  • Udoka Azubuike hasn’t played much for the Jazz since being selected with the 27th pick in the 2020 draft, but he logged a career-high 16 minutes in his first ever start on Wednesday in Denver, holding his own against Nikola Jokic. Tony Jones of The Athletic has the story on the young center’s unexpected showcase, which came with Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside unavailable. “I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little nervous,” Azubuike said. “I just came back from (an ankle) injury, and I’m playing against the MVP? That was a lot to process.”
  • Georgios Kalaitzakis, the 60th overall pick in the 2021 draft who was waived by Milwaukee earlier this season, has signed an NBA G League contract, as our JD Shaw recently reported (via Twitter). The 23-year-old Greek forward joined the Oklahoma City Blue and appeared in his first game with the Thunder‘s affiliate on Thursday.

Bucks Sign Wesley Matthews, Waive Georgios Kalaitzakis

6:14pm: The Bucks have officially signed Matthews and requested waivers on Kalaitzakis, the team announced. Matthews’ contract is non-guaranteed, a source tells Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link).


4:07pm: The Bucks are signing veteran wing Wesley Matthews and waiving rookie forward Georgios Kalaitzakis in order to create a roster spot, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

It’s another win-now move for the defending champions, who signed center DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday. The Bucks will be on the hook for the guaranteed portion of Kalaitzakis’ salary — he has a partial guarantee of $462,629. However, he’s already earned a good chunk of that amount by this point in the season, which makes it a very understandable move from both a basketball and financial perspective.

Matthews, 35, is entering his 13th season in the NBA. This will be a reunion for both player and team, as he spent the 2019/20 season with the Bucks, starting all 67 games he appeared in with averages of 7.4 PPG and 2.5 RPG on .396/.364/.765 shooting (24.4 MPG). He played for the Lakers last season, appearing in 58 contests (19.5 MPG) while averaging 4.8 PPG and 1.6 RPG on .353/.335/.854 shooting.

Matthews was a top-tier 3-and-D player in the early part of his career prior to tearing his Achilles tendon in 2015. He’s never put up the same type of efficient offensive numbers since suffering the injury, but he’s still regarded as a good defensive player and is a highly respected veteran. In 849 career games (739 starts), he holds career averages of 12.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.0 SPG on .421/.379/.824 shooting.

Kalaitzakis, the 60th pick in the 2021 draft, was signed to a partially guaranteed, three-year deal ahead of his rookie season. The Greece native appeared in nine games for the Bucks for a total of 48 minutes, putting up modest stats of 1.8 PPG and 0.9 RPG in 5.3 MPG. Evidently Milwaukee did not see enough from the 22-year-0ld to justify keeping him on a standard contract.

It’s very unlikely that he gets signed by a team with an open roster spot, as that list is comprised of either contending teams or teams right against the luxury tax, or both. Perhaps a two-way spot could be possible, but all 60 of those spots are taken right now, so that would require a team to waive a current two-way player. Kalaitzakis’ most realistic path back to the NBA is probably through the G League, but returning to Europe could be a viable possibility, too.

Bucks Sign Georgios Kalaitzakis To Three-Year Deal

2:40pm: Kalaitzakis‘ three-year, minimum-salary deal with the Bucks is currently 50% guaranteed ($462,629) in year one and will become 50% guaranteed ($781,759) for year two if he remains under contract through August 25, 2022, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac.


12:44pm: The Bucks have officially signed Georgios Kalaitzakis, the last pick in this year’s draft, to his first NBA contract, the team announced today in a press release. According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link), it’s a three-year deal.

A 6’8″ guard/forward from Greece, Kalaitzakis has been under contract with Panathinaikos since 2016, having spent four seasons with the Greek club and one year on loan to Nevezis Kedainiai in Lithuania in 2019/20. The Pacers drafted the 22-year-old with the No. 60 pick on behalf of the Bucks, sending his rights to Milwaukee in a trade involving the No. 31 selection.

Assessing the pick on draft night, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony praised Kalaitzakis’ physical tools, positional versatility, and “terrific” frame, but cautioned that he’s an average decision-maker and shooter whose stock leveled off over the last couple years due to his lack of playing time for Panathinaikos. Kalaitzakis averaged just 2.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG in 27 Greek League and EuroLeague games in 2020/21.

Milwaukee used a portion of its mid-level exception to complete the signing, which allowed the team to offer Kalaitzakis more than just two years. The Bucks, who also used $4MM of their mid-level on George Hill, aren’t hard-capped because they haven’t spent more than the $5.89MM taxpayer portion of the MLE.

Unlike a veteran or undrafted free agent, Kalaitzakis will only count for about $926K for tax purposes, assuming he signed for the rookie minimum, which should help keep the Bucks’ year-end tax bill in check.

Bucks Trade No. 31 Pick Isaiah Todd To Pacers

JULY 30: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Bucks.

Isaiah Todd was selected with the No. 31 pick, but he’s being rerouted to the Wizards along with Aaron Holiday in a separate trade. The Bucks, meanwhile, used the No. 54 pick on Sandro Mamukelashvili and the No. 60 selection on Georgios Kalaitzakis.


JULY 29: The Bucks have agreed to trade the No. 31 pick in tonight’s draft to the Pacers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who reports that Milwaukee is received the Nos. 54 and 60 picks in return, along with two future second-round picks.

The Bucks had entered the night with only the No. 31 pick, having agreed to swap their first-round selection for Houston’s second-rounder in the P.J. Tucker trade at this year’s deadline. They’ll now have a pair of picks right near the end of the draft, which they could use to select a potential two-way player or low-cost roster player.

The Pacers, meanwhile, give up a couple future picks in order to move up to the top of the second round tonight. They now control the 13th and 31st overall selections.

According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link), the two future second-rounders Milwaukee receives will be as follows:

  1. Either Indiana’s 2024 second-round pick or the lesser of Cleveland’s and Utah’s 2024 second-round picks (whichever is most favorable).
  2. Either Indiana’s 2026 second-round pick or Miami’s 2026 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable).

Several International Players Pull Out Of Draft

Sunday marks the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft, and a handful of international players have reached their decisions. The date doesn’t affect college players because the NCAA set an Aug. 3 deadline for players to remove their names from the draft and retain their eligibility.

  • Lithuanian guard Arnas Velicka has decided to take his name out of the draft, tweets Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Velicka currently plays in France.
  • Belgian guard Joel Ekamba is skipping this year’s draft, a source tells Lupo. The 19-year-old also plays in France.
  • Brancou “Papi” Badio of Senegal has decided to withdraw, according to Lupo. The 21-year-old guard is playing his first season on the senior team for FC Barcelona.
  • Also removing his name from the draft is Greek guard Nikos Rogkavopoulos, Lupo adds. Rogkavopoulos is playing this season with AEK Athens.
  • Greek shooting guard Georgios Kalaitzakis is withdrawing, agent Marius Rutkauskas confirmed to Lithuanian basketball writer Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link). Kalaitzakis is ranked 90th on ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects.
  • Lithuanian center Marek Blazevic is pulling out of the draft, sources tell Urbonas (Twitter link). He currently plays for  Zalgiris Kaunas of the Lithuanian Basketball League.
  • Deciding to remain in the draft is Adrian Bogucki, a 20-year-old center from Poland, according to Lupo. The 7’1″ Bogucki is playing in Poland and has been part of the U16, U18 and U20 Polish national teams.

Draft Notes: Bailey, Tucker, Wesson, Kalaitzakis

Marquette forward Brendan Bailey has decided to remain in the draft, the university announced in a press release. Coach Steve Wojciechowski delivered the news about Bailey, who entered the draft pool in April.

A sophomore, Bailey played 64 games in two seasons for the Golden Eagles, averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per night. The 22-year-old did a two-year Mormon mission after high school and didn’t join the team until the 2018/19 season.

“After counseling with my family, I have decided to forgo my junior and senior years and pursue a career in professional basketball,” Bailey added. “This has always been a dream of mine and Marquette has helped prepare me to make this dream a reality.  Thank you Marquette, you will always have a special place in my heart.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Butler’s Jordan Tucker has also opted to remain in the draft, announcing his decision on Twitter. The junior forward averaged 8.9 PPG and 3.8 RPG this season. “Playing in the NBA has always been my dream,” Tucker wrote. “… This is a difficult decision, but it’s the one I want to make to be completely focused on my professional goals over the next few months.”
  • Ohio State early entrant Kaleb Wesson has signed with Jelani Floyd of Beyond Athlete Management, tweets Jeff Goodman of GoodmanHoops. Floyd isn’t certified by the NCAA, so it appears Wesson has decided to give up his remaining year of eligibility.
  • Greek guard Georgios Kalaitzakis entered the draft last month, but Panathinaikos is interested in keeping him for another season, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Kalaitzakis, 21, said he wants to go to a situation where he will get playing time.

International Notes: Kalaitzakis, Broekhoff, Milutoniv, NBL

Euro guard Georgios Kalaitzakis has submitted paperwork to make himself eligible for the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. Kalaitzakis is ranked as the No. 96 prospect in the ESPN Top 100. The native of Greece averaged 12.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 2.3 APG in 29 MPG for Nevezis in Lithuania this season. The 6’7” Kalaitzakis led the U20 European Championship in scoring last summer at 19.7 PPG.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Mavericks swingman Ryan Broekhoff has reportedly received an offer from Greece’s Olympiacos, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Israeli reporter Roi Cohen broke the news on Broekhoff, who was waived by Dallas in February. The 6’6″, 29-year-old Broekhoff appeared in 59 games during his two seasons with the Mavericks, including one start this season.
  • Spurs draft-and-stash prospect Nikola Milutinov is signing a three-year deal with CSKA Moscow, Carchia reports in another tweet. Barcelona also made a multi-year offer for the center, Carchia adds. The 7-footer, the 26th pick in the 2015 draft, averaged 10.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 24 games for Olympiacos this season.
  • NBL players in Australia have been asked by the league to take a 50% pay cut next season, Carchia reports. The league and team owners have also threatened to pull the players’ health insurance and career-ending injury insurance.

Draft Decisions: Antetokounmpo, Bowen, Kurucs, Bonga

Kostas Antetokounmpo opted to remain in the draft prior to Monday afternoon’s early-entry deadline, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets. The 6’10” forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s brother, cancelled all of his remaining scheduled private workouts, Givony adds. That suggests that he might have a guarantee from some team to draft him.

The Dayton freshman averaged a mere 5.2 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 15.1 MPG during his lone college season. Givony has the younger Antetokounmpo ranked No. 57 in his latest Top 100 rankings.

We have other early-entrant decisions to pass along:

  • Swingman Brian Bowen has withdrawn his name from the draft, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com reports. Bowen, who was swept up in the Louisville scandal and then transferred to South Carolina, would have had to sit out next college season. He is now free to pursue opportunities in the NBA G League or overseas and then potentially re-enter the draft next year, Zagoria adds.
  • Rodions Kurucs will remain in the draft, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. The 6’10” Latvian forward, who withdrew from the draft last year, is ranked No. 42 by Givony. Isaac Bonga has also remained in the June draft, Charania adds in another tweet. The 6’9”, 18-year-old German forward is ranked No. 54 by Givony.
  • Matur Maker, brother of the Bucks’ Thon Maker, has withdrawn from the draft, Zagoria tweets.
  • Karim Jallow, a small forward from Greece, has decided to pass on this year’s draft, according to Givony (Twitter link). He was ranked No. 67. Georgios Kalaitzakis and Vasilis Charalampopoulos, another pair of Greek prospects, have withdrawn their names, Givony tweets. The same goes for two French prospects, Adam Mokoka and Amine Noua, Givony adds in another tweet.
  • We relayed several other prospects’ decisions earlier today, including that of Luka Doncic.

Draft Updates: Metu, Kalaitzakis, Foster, Froling

USC big man Chimezie Metu has decided to enter the 2018 NBA draft, he announced last week (via Twitter). As Joey Kaufman of The Orange County Register details, the decision was expected, since Metu had sat out this month’s National Invitation Tournament in order to avoid a potential injury as he prepares for his professional career.

Metu, a junior, is expected to graduate early this spring and will forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility. After deciding last spring to return to USC for another season, Metu averaged 15.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.7 BPG in 34 games. He currently comes in at No. 37 on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related notes and news items…

  • Greek guard Georgios Kalaitzakis has joined the ranks of 2018’s international early entrants, telling Jonathan Givony of ESPN that he’s declaring for the draft. “I am very happy with Panathinaikos, but I decided to enter the draft because it’s my dream to play in the NBA,” Kalaitzakis told ESPN. “With hard work and commitment, I think I will achieve my goal.”
  • SMU swingman Jarrey Foster will test the draft waters without hiring an agent, he tells Givony (Twitter link). “This has been my dream ever since I started playing basketball,” said Foster, who averaged 13.2 PPG and 5.9 RPG in his junior year.
  • After Marquette announced that sophomore center Harry Froling wouldn’t be returning to the program next season, Olgun Uluc of FoxSports.com.au hears that the Australian will hire an agent and begin his professional career.
  • In a piece for NBA.com, TNT’s David Aldridge identifies 11 college prospects who impressed NBA scouts with their play during the NCAA tournament.