Georgios Papagiannis

Georgios Papagiannis Signs Long-Term Deal With Panathinaikos

Georgios Papagiannis‘ time in the NBA is over, at least for now. After spending two seasons with the Kings and Trail Blazers, Papagiannis is heading back to Greece, having signed a five-year contract with Panathinaikos, the team announced today (Twitter link).

Papagiannis, 21, was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Kings, who had traded down from No. 8. It was a surprising pick at the time, and the 7’1″ center was unable to prove skeptics wrong during his brief NBA stint. He appeared in just 38 games for Sacramento before being waived in February as part of a series of trade-deadline moves.

Although Papagiannis caught on the with the Trail Blazers to end the 2017/18 campaign, the club waived him earlier this week, clearing a path for him to return to his old team in Greece. Papagiannis played for Panathinaikos from 2014 to 2016 before he made the leap to the NBA.

Northwest Notes: Noel, Thomas, Favors, Blazers

Five years removed from being drafted No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, newly-acquired Thunder big man Nerlens Noel is looking to rehabilitate both his game and reputation in Oklahoma City, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman.

A one-and-done talent at college powerhouse Kentucky, Noel is aware of the rumors surrounding his game – that he’s a talented but unwilling to work – but he’s ready to come out this season and turn things around.

The Thunder are ready for that too, which is why head coach Billy Donovan and All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George all made recruiting pitches to Noel on the first night of free agency.

“I’m excited about having him,” Donovan said. “He’s early in his career, and I know his career probably hasn’t evolved into what he’d hoped when he was a rookie. But he’s still very young, and he’s still got a lot of time to continue to get better.”

Noel has yet to have much of any success at the NBA level so far. He sat out his first season in Philadelphia recovering from injury and then saw his playing time dwindle after the Sixers drafted up-and-coming star Joel Embiid. But now that Noel feels he has a new home where winning is a priority, he is ready to prove his worth.

“You want to be in a situation where you’re wanted on a team that really wants to win,” Noel said. “That means the utmost to me, and that’s what my game is. I don’t think playing on teams that are really headed in the other direction complements me as well or makes me look as good as I might want to.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Armed with deep motivation after having his career curtailed by injury, Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas is eager to play for a team who wanted him, reports Christopher Dempsey of Nuggets.com. Thomas, who played for head coach Mike Malone in Sacramento during his breakout season in 2013-14, credits Malone’s trust in him as a key to his continued success.
  • Per Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.comJazz forward Derrick Favors is looking for an increased role on offense next season. During his free agent meeting with Utah’s front office, the two parties spoke about getting Favors more cuts to the basket and playing out of pick-and-roll or dribble-handoffs more often.
  • The Trail Blazers have made a couple of minor roster moves in the past day or so, deciding to retain guard Wade Baldwin and part ways with center Georgios Papagiannis.

Trail Blazers Waive Georgios Papagiannis

The Trail Blazers have waived former lottery pick Georgios Papagiannis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). It’s the second time this year that Papagiannis will hit the waiver wire.

Papagiannis, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft, spent a season and a half in Sacramento but played sparingly for the Kings, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 38 games (12.4 MPG). The Kings cut their losses in February, releasing Papagiannis as part of a series of moves at the trade deadline.

The Greek center caught on with the Trail Blazers in March, but never carved out a role in Portland either. While his contract with the team covered the 2018/19 season, his $1,544,951 salary was non-guaranteed, and he always seemed likely to be waived, particularly once the Blazers decided to retain Wade Baldwin as their 15th player.

Papagiannis will become an unrestricted free agent later this week when he clears waivers, but he won’t remain on the open market for long. Wojnarowski indicates that the 21-year-old intends to sign a deal with a Greek team, and that club is expected to be Panathinaikos, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relayed earlier this week.

Blazers To Retain Guard Wade Baldwin

The Trail Blazers will retain guard Wade Baldwin and guarantee his contract for next season, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports.

Baldwin’s $1,544,951 salary will be guaranteed once he remains on the roster through Thursday. Baldwin will claim the 15th spot on the roster and center Georgios Papagiannis is expected to be waived, Freeman adds. The team also had a Thursday deadline to guarantee Papagiannis’ salary.

Baldwin solidified his roster spot with a strong showing in the summer league. The former first-round pick by the Grizzlies joined Portland last season on a two-way contract after Memphis waived him, then received a standard contract in March. He played seven regular-season games with the Trail Blazers last season after playing in 33 games with the Grizzlies.

He then appeared in three of Portland’s four postseason games against the Pelicans. Baldwin earned spot duty in the rotation with his tenacious on-ball defense, Freeman notes.

Papagiannis appeared in just one game with Portland last season after seeing action in 38 games over two seasons with the Kings.

Georgios Papagiannis May Return To Europe

After two unproductive NBA seasons, Georgios Papagiannis is considering a return to the EuroLeague, according to Aharale Weisberg of Walla, an Israeli news site.

Papagiannis is still under contract with the Trail Blazers, but his $1,544,951 salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until July 19. He appeared in just one game for Portland after signing with the team in March.

The 21-year-old center was the 13th pick by the Kings in the 2016 draft, but was never able to establish himself in Sacramento. Papagiannis spent most of his time in the G League before being released in February. He appeared in 38 total games for the Kings, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG per night.

If Papagiannis does return to Europe, his former team, Panathinaikos is among the front-runners to sign him, along with Olympiacos.

Northwest Notes: Udoh, Thunder, Tolliver, Blazers

The Jazz have been relatively generous during free agency so far this summer compared to most teams, handing out a two-year, $36MM contract to forward Derrick Favors, agreeing to a three-year, $33MM deal with backup guard Dante Exum, and reaching terms on a two-year, $4MM pact with seldom-used guard Raul Neto.

Furthermore, Utah has already guaranteed the 2018/19 salary of Thabo Sefolosha, who was limited to only 39 games last season. As such, it would appear that the Jazz are intent on sticking with their 2017/18 roster for now, which means that both Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh can be cautiously optimistic while waiting for their 2018/19 salary to become guaranteed.

Udoh in particular, who averaged 2.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 63 games for the Jazz last season, and whose $3.36MM salary becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on Utah’s roster past July 9, is trying to remain positive while awaiting Utah’s decision on his future, writes Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News.

“You know, we’ll see what happens,” Udoh told the Deseret News. “I’m grateful. I’m getting great workouts at the facility. I’ve been here pretty much since the season has been over outside of a couple trips, but I’ve just been getting in good work.”

Per Woodyard, Udoh is excited and prepared to return in a Jazz uniform next season, but also understands the business-like nature of the NBA.

“It’s gonna be a fun season,” Udoh said. “The West has gotten better but we’ve gotten better and we’re gonna be the same team next year. Starting last year, you didn’t know what you were going to get with so many new pieces, but now we’ll be ready from the beginning.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes that although Paul George did in fact want to be a Laker at this time last year, he is now happy in Oklahoma City after signing a four-year, $137MM max contract with the Thunder on the eve of free agency.
  • According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star TribuneTimberwolves’ free-agent signee forward Anthony Tolliver chose a return to Minnesota over four other pursuing teams because of the familiarity he has for the franchise – he played for the Wolves from 2010 to 2012 – and because “(he) want(s) to win.”
  • While it’s probably a bit bold to get too excited about the free agent signing of a backup, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes that the addition of 24 year-old center Nerlens Noel on a minimum-salary deal is a low-risk, high-reward move by the Thunder.
  • Per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, a couple of key subplots have emerged for the Trail Blazers during the team’s summer league minicamp. First, it’s an opportunity for Portland to get a first-hand look at rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. in an NBA practice. Moreover, both Wade Baldwin and Georgios Papagiannis are fighting for their NBA lives while Jake Layman looks to secure a more prominent role for next season.

Blazers Sign Papagiannis Through 2018/19 Season

MARCH 18, 12:54pm: The Blazers have reached an agreement with Papagiannis that will run through 2018/19, the team announced on its website.

MARCH 17, 7:00pm: The Trail Blazers will sign center Georgios Papagiannis for the remainder of the regular season, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The 20-year-old signed a 10-day contract with Portland last week that was set to expire. The Blazers could have made another 10-day offer to the seven-footer, but are choosing to keep him on the roster throughout the season.

Papagiannis was the 13th player taken in the 2016 draft, but he had a lackluster rookie season with the Kings, appearing in just 22 games and averaging 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per night. He played 16 more games for Sacramento this season before being waived at the trade deadline to open a roster space.

Papagiannis hasn’t seen any playing time since joining the Trail Blazers.

Trail Blazers Sign Georgios Papagiannis To 10-Day Deal

MARCH 8, 12:16pm: The signing is official, the Blazers announced on their website.

MARCH 6, 7:15pm: The Trail Blazers are signing center Georgios Papagiannis to a 10-day contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Kings waived Papagiannis on February 8 after completing a three-team trade with the Cavaliers and Jazz.

Papagiannis, 20, was one of the Kings’ first-round picks (13th overall) in the 2016 draft after the team traded down from the eighth overall pick. He struggled in 38 career games with Sacramento, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG; his field-goal percentage also took a hit this season, going from .549 to .415.

The 7’1″ center’s agent, Marios Olympios, criticized the Kings’ treatment of Papagiannis after he was waived. Olympios cited Papagiannis’ performance with the G League’s Reno Bighorns, where he averaged 13.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG in 10 contests, as a sign that can perform at a high level.

“He (Papagiannis) never got a chance by the Kings,” Olympios said on the Greek radio station Sport FM, Aris Barkas of Euro Hoops writes “He had a double-double every time he played in the G-League. He had to travel for two and a half hours everytime he was assigned to Reno and still he performed. There are many details that prove that he never got a real chance”.

Papagiannis figures to battle for playing time with the likes of Jusuf Nurkic, Ed Davis and Zach Collins present on the depth chart.

Woj’s Latest: Cavaliers, Clippers, Kings, Jazz

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Adrian Wojnarowski goes into extensive detail on the deadline deals completed last week by the Cavaliers, and offers some fascinating tidbits on how those trades got done, and one potential blockbuster that didn’t get done. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Before making his series of trades, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman got an elusive face-to-face sitdown with LeBron James to let his star player know what he was working on. Altman later met with LeBron again to tell him that the trades for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood were complete, and to ask for his blessing on the deal that sent Dwyane Wade to Miami, says Wojnarowski.
  • Altman had received ownership approval to trade Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, according to Wojnarowski. Los Angeles was on board with the deal, but wanted to find a third team to take Shumpert and to give the Clips a center, since they didn’t want another shooting guard. Altman and Clippers GM Michael Winger weren’t able to find that third team, and since L.A. was unwilling to take on Shumpert (or Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith) and the Cavs had some reservations about extending Jordan’s contract in the offseason, the deal ultimately fell through.
  • The three-way trade between the Cavaliers, Kings, and Jazz nearly fell apart on deadline day when Sacramento insisted that Georgios Papagiannis be included in the deal. According to Woj, Cleveland and Utah were “adamant” that Papagiannis had never been discussed, but Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams insists that his notes confirm that either Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson would be included.
  • As an aside, Wojnarowski writes that Williams was handling negotiations because GM Vlade Divac “seldom gets on the phone for the trade-building parts,” even though any Kings trade requires his approval, along with the approval of owner Vivek Ranadive.
  • The Cavaliers were very much against Papagiannis’ inclusion in the trade, since taking on his $2.3MM cap hit would have cost the club significantly more than that in tax payments. Utah also had no interest in acquiring the former lottery pick, with Wojnarowski suggesting that Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was “livid” about the insertion of Papagiannis and was ready to call off the trade. As for the Kings, they were hoping to move 2016’s 13th overall pick to avoid the embarrassment of waiving him themselves, says Woj.
  • Eventually, Altman was able to work out a solution and talked Lindsey into it, per Wojnarowski. Papagiannis’ rest-of-season salary for this year and his guaranteed salary for 2018/19 totaled $3.2MM, and the Cavaliers were willing to pay that amount to Sacramento, but Cleveland was limited to sending out $2.1MM for the rest of this league year. Altman convinced the Jazz to send the Kings the remaining $1.1MM, with Lindsey getting a little something out of the deal: the ability to swap 2024 second-round picks with the Cavs. The Kings, having been compensated for Papagiannis’ remaining salary, simply waived him rather than insisting he be a part of the trade.

Pacific Notes: Payton, Papagiannis, Green, Suns

Elfrid Payton‘s stint with the Magic ended on Thursday and by Saturday, he was putting up a solid performance in his Suns debut. The former lottery pick posted 19 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds in the Suns’ 123-113 loss to the Nuggets. Payton’s performance drew rave reviews from his teammates and coaches, NBA.com’s Cody Cunningham writes.

“I thought he was good,” Suns head coach Jay Triano said. “It was different, the pace of play was better, getting the ball up and down the court, getting into the lane when he needed to, and making passes. He made the guys on the floor with him better.”

Payton, 23, has been viewed a disappointment through his first four NBA seasons after being the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. However, given his age and upside, Payton drew interest from several teams prior to the deadline.

Check out other Pacific Division notes:

  • The agent of now-former Kings center Georgios PapagiannisMarios Olympios, was critical of the team’s decision to waive the 20-year-old, Aris Barkas of Euro Hoops writes. “He (Papagiannis) never got a chance by the Kings,” Olympios said on the Greek radio station Sport FM, Barkas writes. “He had a double-double every time he played in the G-League. He had to travel for two and a half hour everytime he was assigned to Reno and still he performed. There are many details that prove that he never got a real chance”.
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green was fined $50,000 for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official, the NBA announced on its website. The incident occurred during the Warriors’ loss to the Thunder this past Tuesday.
  • The Suns received $1.5MM back in the buyout of new Celtics center Greg Monroe, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad.
  • After a blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers on Thursday, the Lakers freed up a ton of cap space that could be used to lure two premiere free agents to Los Angeles this summer. Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register writes that the organization’s moves have put it in position to be relevant again.