Giannis Antetokounmpo

And-Ones: Rondo, Season Questions, EuroBasket

Veteran guard Rajon Rondo has agreed to a settlement with the woman who accused him and his girlfriend of assault and battery in 2020, according to TMZ.

As the report notes, Rondo was allegedly upset at the plaintiff for parking too close to his car. The altercation happened in a parking lot outside of an apartment complex. Rondo’s girlfriend was seen punching and causing injuries, while Rondo appeared to nudge the woman with his elbow.

The 36-year-old is currently a free agent. He played parts of 39 games with the Lakers and Cavaliers last season, averaging 4.8 points and 4.4 assists in 17.9 minutes per game on 39% shooting from the floor.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

EuroBasket Notes: L. Brown, Antetokounmpo, Doncic, Ukraine

Former NBA point guard Lorenzo Brown is part of a controversy at the EuroBasket tournament, according to Eurohoops. Brown scored 28 points and handed out eight assists Saturday, leading Spain to an overtime win over Lithuania in an elimination game. At the post-game press conference, Lithuania’s Mindaugas Kuzminskas suggested the outcome would have been different if not for Brown, who was born in the United States but recently became a Spanish citizen.

“I am not sure how this team would look without Lorenzo Brown because you signed him only this summer,” Kuzminskas said to a Spanish reporter. “But it is how it is.”

Brown, 32, was a second-round pick in the 2013 draft and played for four teams in a five-year NBA career that ended after the 2018/19 season. He has been with several overseas teams since then and recently signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

“Even if I haven’t been here long, I feel like these guys … they have known each other so long and they brought me in as one of them,” Brown said in response to Kuzminskas’ comments. “So it’s just an amazing feeling to have that brotherhood, “la familia” as they call it. It’s really a family. I am coming in here and I am a regular American guy and those guys are talking in Spanish. And I am learning every single day, so it’s amazing what I have learned and how they treated me so far. The outside noise doesn’t bother me at all. I am just worried about what these guys feel about me. And it’s amazing. They love me and I love these guys.”

There’s more from EuroBasket:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to take part in practice without any pain and is expected to play in today’s game against the Czech Republic, according to John Rammas of Eurohoops. Antetokounmpo suffered a mild ankle sprain in Thursday’s contest.
  • Although more than 30 NBA players are involved in this year’s tournament, Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic clearly stand above the rest, Slovenian forward Edo Muric told Rammas in a separate story. “They are both great players, they are next level. So if they want, they can score 50. In (Doncic’s 47-point) game against France, we played without our starting center, so Luka had to step up. That proves he is a very big player, beating France almost by himself, and Giannis is right there, too.”
  • Ukraine’s EuroBasket run ended today with a loss to Poland, but the team served as a source of pride for the war-torn nation, per The Associated Press. Players weren’t able to train in their own country in the wake of the Russian invasion, so they practiced wherever they could. “I hope it inspires and helps them a lot, just to get their thoughts off the war a little bit and just watch us play,” Svi Mykhailiuk said. “Obviously, today was not a great example of us playing, but this whole time, we did our best. I hope they enjoyed it. Obviously, it’s tough for everybody because all the guys’ families are still there and it’s tough having to be here. But I appreciate everyone being here. I appreciate everyone fighting.”

Eastern Notes: Giannis, Dragic, LaVine, Celtics

Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo did some weight training and is expected to practice on Sunday with Greece, according to EuroHoops. Antetokounmpo recently suffered a minor ankle sprain, but he seems to be proceeding without any issues.

“We decided to do just an optional training session,” Greek national team assistant coach Sotiris Manolopoulos said. “We left it up to the players to come and make some shots. Giannis did his own training at the hotel and tomorrow will practice without any issues. He is healthy.”

Antetokounmpo sustained the injury on Thursday. With the NBA season around the corner, this is good news for Bucks fans, as they’re hoping to see Milwaukee start the season without any interruptions and win a second championship in three years.

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference today:

  • Bulls guard Goran Dragic recently came to the defense of Antetokoummpo in light of Gilbert Arenas‘ negative comments, EuroHoops relays. “Giannis is the MVP. Gilbert Arenas is not,” Dragic said as part of a larger quote. “Was he ever the MVP? I don’t think so. So he can’t talk about Giannis. Giannis won the championship, won the MVP award. He has been the defensive player of the year.” Arenas previously stated that Antetokounmpo “doesn’t understand basketball yet” and downplayed the Bucks star’s 2021 championship.
  • Zach LaVine‘s lucrative new contract will created added pressure on the Bulls star this season, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. LaVine signed a five-year, $215MM deal with the team in July, cementing his future in Chicago. He averaged 24.4 points per game last season, shooting 48% from the floor and 39% from three-point range. The Bulls will be looking to contend once again this season.
  • Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com examines a number of Celtics topics in his latest mailbag. Among the subjects Bulpett discusses is whether Payton Pritchard should play more. With Boston adding Malcolm Brogdon this offseason, Pritchard’s role is arguably more unclear, but he remains an effective option off the bench.

Central Notes: Giannis, Mamukelashvili, Bulls, Pacers

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo exited Greece’s 90-69 win over Estonia on Thursday early due to what the Greek team is referring to as a “light” right ankle sprain, per John Rammas of Eurohoops. Although Antetokounmpo checked out in the third quarter and didn’t return, the injury isn’t viewed as serious.

According to an Associated Press report (via ESPN), Greece’s head coach, Dimitrios Itoudis, said after the game that the Bucks forward received ice and treatment. However, it doesn’t sound like Giannis’ availability for the upcoming single-elimination stage of EuroBasket is in jeopardy. “It’s all good,” Itoudis said.

Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic checks in on how the Bucks‘ international players have been performing at EuroBasket 2022. While Antetokounmpo has obviously excelled, Milwaukee is also presumably encouraged by the play of two-way forward Sandro Mamukelashvili, who averaged 15.2 PPG and 11.0 RPG in the group stage for Georgia.
  • Given that Lonzo Ball‘s lengthy injury absence last season hurt the Bulls on both ends of the court, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic wonders if the team is better built to withstand a Ball injury in 2022/23. A recent report indicated that Chicago’s starting point guard may not be ready for the start of the regular season due to a lingering knee issue.
  • The Pacers have hired Isaac Yacob as their head video coordinator, sources tell Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (subscription required). According to Agness, Yacob – who previously worked for the Kings – built a strong rapport with Tyrese Haliburton in Sacramento.
  • In case you missed it, we’re asking you to vote on the projected win totals of all five Central teams for the 2022/23 season.

Eastern Notes: Antetokounmpo, Knicks, Mitchell, Bitadze, Korkmaz

Minor knee pain was enough for Greece’s national team to hold out Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo from its EuroBasket contest on Monday, Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN writes. He wasn’t needed, as Greece posted a 93-77 victory over Great Britain.

“He had discomfort in his knee but nothing major,” Greece head coach Dimitris Itoudis said.

Greece will enter the knockout phase of the tournament this weekend, though Antetokounmpo might return to action Tuesday against Ukraine.

We have more Eastern Conference info:

  • The Knicks made a series of mistakes and botched negotiations with the Jazz regarding a potential Donovan Mitchell trade, Alan Hahn opines in a Substack post. They potentially alienated some young players and essentially sent a message to RJ Barrett that he’s not destined for stardom despite giving him an extension. They also overestimated the value of protected draft picks and the package they offered for Mitchell before Utah completed a deal with the Cavaliers. It now calls into question the franchise’s overall strategy, Hahn adds.
  • Sixers wing and Turkish national team member Furkan Korkmaz was allegedly attacked by Georgia players after he was ejected from a EuroBasket contest. One of those alleged attackers was Pacers’ big man Goga Bitadze, sportscaster Ismal Senol tweets. Even if that’s true, there’s no precedent for the NBA to dole out punishment to a player for his actions in FIBA games, John Hollinger of The Athletic tweetsNenad Krstic, Thon Maker and Nicolas Batum were not disciplined by the NBA for past incidents that occurred in FIBA tournaments, Hollinger notes.
  • In case you missed it, the Celtics are expected to apply for a disabled player exception due to Danilo Gallinari‘s knee injury. Get the info here.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Mamukelashvili, Lee, Kerr

The Bucks and the Greek Basketball Federation have a working relationship regarding Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s presence on the Greek national team, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Greece named Bucks assistant Josh Oppenheimer to its coaching staff so he can monitor Antetokounmpo’s workouts and game preparation. Milwaukee’s sports science group is also involved, and head coach Mike Budenholzer has been attending practices and games.

“It feels like it’s reached a level of cooperation that is pretty high-level,” Budenholzer said. “I don’t think we, either side, has really ever had that before, and so it gives you more confidence that he can compete for his national team, which is very important to him, and still be taking care of himself and still be preparing and getting ready for the NBA season, which is the best of both worlds.”

The relationship between the Bucks and the Greek team wasn’t nearly this friendly before Budenholzer arrived in Milwaukee, Nehm adds. The most famous incident occurred during the last EuroBasket in 2017 when Antetokounmpo announced that he wouldn’t be available to play because of a knee injury that the Bucks’ medical staff discovered. The Greek Basketball Federation accused him of colluding with the team to skip the competition, although an NBA investigation determined that all protocols in the NBA-FIBA agreement were followed correctly.

Budenholzer believes players benefit from international competitions, saying he learned the value during his days as an assistant in San Antonio when Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were regulars on the international stage.

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Sandro Mamukelashvili, who was on a two-way contract last season, is making his international debut in EuroBasket with Georgia’s national team, Nehm adds. At 6’11”, he’s out of position as the starting small forward, but he’s doing his best to fit in. “Coming here, there are guys that have been playing on the national team for 10 years plus, 15 years,” Mamukelashvili said. “So, coming in, you just gotta find your role, find how you can help the team.”
  • Bucks assistant Charles Lee is thrilled to be taking part in a Basketball Without Borders camp in Cairo, Egypt, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel“I’ve always wanted to be part of this initiative and event because of what it does just for our game and what it’s doing for kids in Africa and giving them the resources and the experience to get some quality coaching, some quality game reps and some quality teaching in a four-day period,” Lee said. “This whole thing has just been an unbelievable experience for me to be a part of.”
  • Steve Kerr, who’s among five NBA head coaches participating in the Basketball Without Borders camp, told the Egyptian media outlet FilGoal that Antetokounmpo is the non-Warrior he would most like to coach (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Antetokounmpo, COVID Policy, Wembanyama, D. Stockton

Giannis Antetokounmpo was a runaway winner as the NBA’s best player in an ESPN poll of 15 coaches, scouts and executives. The Bucks star collected 11 votes, with three going to NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry and one to LeBron James. Antetokounmpo tied with Kevin Durant for the top spot in the survey last year.

“He’s healthy, you can put the ball in his hands or play off the ball as a screen-and-roll guy, and his defensive effectiveness,” a Western Conference scout in choosing Antetokounmpo. “I think Durant is the most talented guy because of his shooting and scoring ability, [but] Giannis’ will, the human, the winner, the mentality, the everyday effort, raising the effort of guys around him … it’s hard to top that.”

The 27-year-old Antetokounmpo was also projected to be the league’s best player in five years, narrowly edging Luka Doncic, and he won a tight race to be named MVP for the upcoming season. In other significant categories, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren tied as the best rookie in five years, Donovan Mitchell is almost unanimously expected to be with the Knicks by the trade deadline, the Celtics were picked as the team that had the best offseason and the Mavericks were tabbed as having the worst offseason.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA has revised its health and safety protocols relating to COVID-19 for the 2022/23 season, tweets Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Unvaccinated players will have to undergo coronavirus testing once each week, while vaccinated players will be tested only when they show symptoms. Isolation measures will be implemented immediately following a positive test, and face masks won’t be required in team settings.
  • French center Victor Wembanyama and G League guard Scoot Henderson top the projected 2023 draft class, according to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype“Wembanyama is a physical freak who plays like a guard that can hit step-back shots and handle the ball,” a general manager told Scotto. “His durability is a concern. He’s not Kristaps Porzingis. I think he’s more talented. Defensively, he’s like Evan Mobley. Offensively, he’s like Porzingis.”
  • The Fort Wayne Mad Ants – the Pacers‘ G League affiliate – announced in a press release that they have picked up the returning player rights to David Stockton in a G League trade with the Memphis Hustle.

International Notes: Schröder, Theis, Giannis, Satoransky

Free agent guard Dennis Schröder won’t accompany his German teammates to Sweden for Thursday’s opening game of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, according to Eurohoops. Schröder is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the Hamburg Super Cup tournament and will remain in Germany for treatment. There’s a chance he may recover in time for next Sunday’s home contest against Slovenia.

Schröder remains unsigned after splitting last season with the Celtics and Rockets. Although he received positive reviews in Houston after being acquired at the trade deadline, the team is emphasizing youth and doesn’t appear interested in bringing back Schröder.

Germany is already without Pacers center Daniel Theis, who will miss the World Cup Qualifiers and possibly next month’s EuroBasket tournament due to an undisclosed injury. He is training individually and being monitored by the German national team’s medical staff, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.

The Germans are also missing Maxi Kleber, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga due to injuries.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Greece’s final exhibition game with back soreness, but he’s expected to be ready for Thursday’s World Cup Qualifier against Serbia, Askounis writes in a separate story. Antetokounmpo underwent an MRI that showed no damage to his back.
  • NBA players Dario Saric, Ivica Zubac and Bojan Bogdanovic are all on the final roster for Croatia, Eurohoops reports. Mario Hezonja is also part of the Croatian team, which missed out on the World Cup Qualifiers but will participate in EuroBasket. Saric sat out all of last season with a torn right ACL.
  • Czech Republic guard Tomas Satoransky appears to have avoided a major injury to his right ankle, Eurohoops adds in another piece. Satoransky was hurt in Saturday’s game against Germany, and while there has been no official announcement on his condition, Czech reporter Jakub Kanta offered encouraging news. “The X-ray has already ruled out a fracture,” he tweeted, “but the extent of the injury will only be determined by an MRI in the Czech Republic after the swelling subsides.” Satoransky recently signed with FC Barcelona after spending six seasons in the NBA.

Central Notes: Sexton, Mavericks, Cavs, Giannis, Bulls

The Cavaliers have had discussions with the Mavericks about a potential sign-and-trade involving restricted free agent Collin Sexton, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com said on The Wine & Gold Talk Podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype).

Sexton is still unsigned with training camps set to start next month. Fedor notes that Cleveland wouldn’t be interested in any of Dallas’ moveable pieces, and the Mavs would have to shed salary to accommodate a sign-and-trade deal that would hard-cap them, so it remains unlikely that Sexton ends up in Dallas.

Things can change quickly in the NBA, of course, and Dallas could use another ball-handling guard. The team lost Jalen Brunson to New York in free agency this summer, so Spencer Dinwiddie is an early projected starter. Sexton averaged 16.0 points in 11 games before tearing his meniscus this past season.

Here are some other notes from the Central Division:

  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Tim MacMahon and Tim Bontemps discussed the Cavaliers‘ outlook (video link), which includes Darius Garland, Evan Mobley‘s progression, and where the team may finish this season. Cleveland deployed a big lineup featuring Lauri Markkanen, Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt last season, causing issues with its length. The team also received good production from Ricky Rubio, Cedi Osman and Kevin Love off the bench, but the season took a turn for the worse when key players dealt with injuries.
  • Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo missed an international exhibition game for Greece on Friday, as relayed by Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link). Antetokounmpo is dealing with back soreness, though Nehm notes that his absence on Friday appeared precautionary. Giannis’ MRI came back clean, according to Eurohoops (via Twitter).
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic examines 10 games that will define the Bulls‘ season. The first game on Mayberry’s list is October 19’s season-opener against the Heat, which will be played in Miami. The team lost all four of its games to the Heat last season. Miami finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference last season (53-29), while Chicago was 46-36.

More Than 30 NBA Players On Track To Suit Up For EuroBasket

The first EuroBasket tournament in five years will tip off in two weeks and there are currently 34 NBA players on track to participate in the event, representing 17 different countries, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net.

EuroBasket is a 24-team international basketball competition also known as the European Basketball Championship. It historically took place every two years, but that gap was recently adjusted to four years, emulating the FIBA World Cup schedule.

The last EuroBasket tournament was played in 2017 — the next one had been scheduled for 2021, but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. As a result, after being played every two years since 1947, it has now been five years since the last EuroBasket tournament, easily the longest layoff since World War II.

It’s possible that some NBA players will be cut from their teams’ rosters or will have to drop out due to injuries or personal reasons before the event begins on September 1, but in general enthusiasm to participate in the long-awaited event appears high.

Here’s the list of NBAers currently set to play in EuroBasket, per Eurohoops:

There are also multiple NBA free agents on EuroBasket rosters, including French swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and German guard Dennis Schröder.

A number of young NBA players, such as 2022 draftees Jeremy Sochan and Nikola Jovic, have dropped out to focus on getting ready for the 2022/23 season, while others, including Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) and Frank Ntilikina (France), were ruled out due to injuries.

Round robin play will begin on September 1, with each team facing the other five clubs in its group once. The top four teams in each group will advance to a 16-team bracket that begins on September 10. The final will take place on September 18, just over a week before NBA training camps get underway.