Goga Bitadze

Central Notes: Crowder, Drummond, Sirvydis, Bitadze, Cavs, Garland

The Bucks are a potential suitor for Jae Crowder, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Milwaukee is interested in forwards like Crowder who can guard multiple positions. They had some interest in a former Pistons forward, according to Lowe.

“The Bucks were sneakily kind of sniffing around Jerami Grant in Detroit before Portland swooped in,” he said. “I think they like the idea of the switchable, switchable, switchable guys.”

Crowder won’t participate in the Suns training camp as they look to move him.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls center Andre Drummond will back up Nikola Vucevic, but Drummond still views himself as a starter, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. The former All-Star signed a two-year, $6.6MM contract with Chicago early in free agency.
  • A trio of Pacers big men are nursing ankle injuries, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Deividas Sirvydis will miss some time after injuring his ankle in a pick-up game last week. Center Goga Bitadze is close, but not 100%, due his gimpy ankle, while Jalen Smith is close to full strength. Sirvydis’ ailment could cost him a shot at a roster spot — he signed a non-guaranteed, one-year contract that included Exhibit 10 language.
  • With the addition of Donovan Mitchell, the Cavaliers realize that they’re not going to surprise anyone this season, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “I think people know what we’re capable of now,” forward Kevin Love said. “If we put it together, we aren’t a team that’s really going to surprise anybody anymore. We’ve got some young stars that I think are going to make a lot of noise this year.”
  • Fresh off signing a five-year extension, Darius Garland is looked upon as the leader of the Cavaliers, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes. “He’s a guy that people want to follow, they want to see him be successful, so it’s his opportunity and his responsibility to lead those guys in that way,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

And-Ones: Referees, Harrison, Bitadze, Korkmaz, Hoard

There won’t be any labor strife regarding NBA officials for several years. The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association announced that they have entered into a new collective bargaining agreement that covers the next seven seasons.

That CBA runs through the 2028/29 season. The contract addressed salary, travel, pension and marketing issue rights and was ratified by the overwhelming majority of the NBA referees, the NBRA announced (hat tip to Andrew Lopez of ESPN).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Aaron Harrison has signed in Slovenia with KK Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Harrison played 38 games with the Hornets and Mavericks from 2015-18. He played in Turkey last season.
  • FIBA officially announced that disciplinary proceedings have been opened for the alleged attack on Sixers wing and Turkish national team member Furkan Korkmaz by Georgia players, including the Pacers’ Goga Bitadze, after Korkmaz was ejected from a EuroBasket contest, Eurohoops.net relays. Both sides agree that an incident happened and FIBA clarifies that they have the security camera footage from that day. What remains unclear is what kind of sanctions can be imposed, Eurohoops adds, as FIBA uses the wording “applicable disciplinary measures.”
  • Hapoel Tel Aviv has elected to retain Jaylen Hoard for the rest of he 2022/23 season, the team announced. Hoard joined the club on a partially guaranteed deal and now will get a full guarantee. After going undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2019, the 6’8″, French-born swingman joined the Trail Blazers on a two-way deal for the 2019/20 season. He then spent the subsequent two NBA seasons bouncing between the Thunder and their NBAGL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

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.

Central Notes: Osman, Bitadze, Cunningham, Bulls

Cedi Osman believes the Cavaliers will “definitely” be contenders in the Eastern Conference following the trade for Donovan Mitchell, writes Edvinas Jablonskis of BasketNews. Osman commented on the deal in a press conference at EuroBasket, where he scored 25 points in today’s win over Bulgaria.

“Obviously, it’s a great addition to the team,” he said. “I believe that everybody [in the organization] is excited.”

With Mitchell and Darius Garland in the backcourt and Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front, Cleveland has four set starters heading into training camp. Osman, who had been a starter before transitioning to a reserve role over the past two seasons, will be in contention to join them.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Also taking part in EuroBasket is Pacers center Goga Bitadze, who is hoping for an increased role this season following the trade of Domantas Sabonis, per Tony East of Forbes. Bitadze hasn’t played more than 54 games in any of his three years with Indiana, and with Myles Turner still on hand, along with Jalen Smith, Isaiah JacksonOshae Brissett, Terry Taylor and Daniel Theis, Bitadze will still be in a fight for playing time. “It takes reps, it just takes playing in live games,” Bitadze said when asked what’s needed to improve as a player.
  • Cade Cunningham is hoping to take the next step after the most exciting season from any Pistons rookie since Grant Hill, states Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Cunningham was torrid after the All-Star break — averaging 21.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per night — and Langlois believes he’ll be in All-Star contention if he can continue that production this season.
  • The Cavaliers’ acquisition of Mitchell may push the Bulls down another notch in the Eastern Conference playoff race, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. After injuries led to a late fade last season, Chicago is counting on renewed health to advance past the first round of the playoffs, but it may not be enough considering the improved competition. Johnson cites the Celtics, Bucks, Sixers, Heat and Nets as the top teams in the East and says the Bulls will be fighting with the Cavs, Raptors and Hawks to avoid the play-in tournament.

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.

Central Notes: Pistons, Turner, Bitadze

There are many ways Pistons coach Dwane Casey could go with his rotation next season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. In Langlois’ view, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Jaden Ivey are the only rotation locks, with Kelly Olynyk, Marvin Bagley III, Killian Hayes and Alec Burks “good bets” to join them. Beyond that, Casey has numerous choices between youth and experience.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons fans are brimming with optimism, though they’re realistic about next season’s prospects, The Athletic’s James Edwards III revealed in a fan poll. With nearly 2,000 subscribers weighing in, 98 percent professed confidence in the team’s direction and 64 percent said they were very confident in the front office. However, 72.5 percent voted that the team would only win between 26-35 games next season. Second-year forward Isaiah Livers received the most votes for “breakout” player.
  • Myles Turner‘s season could play out similar to the way Victor Oladipo departed from the Pacers organization in 2020, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files opines. Turner could get off to a good start and pump up his trade value. In the same mailbag piece, Agness speculates that Goga Bitadze won’t have a long-term role in the organization due to the team’s current playing style, along with the presence of Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith.
  • Earlier on Monday, Giannis Antetokounmpo stated he wouldn’t mind playing for the Bulls later in his career. Get the details here.

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Nets, Cavaliers, Bitadze

Nets guard Ben Simmons won’t play on Thursday in Philadelphia, but he’s expected to be with the team at Wells Fargo Center, reports Shams Charania of Stadium (video link). Simmons figures to face plenty of vitriol from the Sixers faithful, but it will likely be diluted to some extent by the fact that he’ll be on the bench rather than on the court. According to Charania, there’s optimism that Simmons will make his Nets debut later this month.

  • If the Nets were to win a title this year, it would be bad for the NBA, argues Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Brooklyn has “blatantly treated the regular season as a waste of time,” according to Bondy, who notes that Kyrie Irving essentially chose not to play in over half of this season’s games, while the team traded a superstar for a player (Simmons) who will require a ramp-up process of more than a month.
  • Having sustained both a quad contusion and a fractured finger in Sunday’s game, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen has reportedly been ruled out indefinitely. While the team hasn’t issued an update on Allen’s status, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen sound prepared to adjust their roles if the All-Star big man misses time, as Kelsey Russo of The Athletic relays. Kevin Love would play in my position; it would just shift down the line,” Mobley said. “Lauri could also play four more often because it would be less. But we still got like three bigs, me, K-Love and Lauri. So we’re still a very big team, and I feel like we can still play a similar way as we have.”
  • Pacers center Goga Bitadze had a career night on Sunday with 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star writes. The third-year center, who hasn’t been a regular part of Indiana’s rotation since being drafted in the first round in 2019, has a chance to prove his value down the stretch before becoming extension-eligible this summer.

Central Notes: Bulls, Allen, Pistons, Bitadze

There have been expectations the Bulls will do something to improve their frontcourt depth before next month’s trade deadline, but that may be much more difficult due to backcourt injuries, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes. Long-term injuries to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso could alter the Bulls’ plans, since their backcourt trade assets are now depleted.

We’re thin there now, and we went from really having a deep backcourt – but our backcourt was never really deep this year because we were always dealing with something,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said. “It’s been a flux of guys in and out so we were never whole back there. So I haven’t had enough conversations with (executive VP) Arturas (Karnisovas) to really get into any details of what the thought process may be at this point and time.’’

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks issued a statement voicing their displeasure over Grayson Allen‘s one-game league suspension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Allen’s hard foul caused Caruso’s wrist injury. “We disagree with the suspension. We support Grayson and look forward to him rejoining our team for Friday’s game vs. New York,” the statement read. The Bulls, on the other hand, feel Allen barely got a proverbial slap on the wrist. Nikola Vucevic said, “The play Grayson Allen made has no place in basketball,” adding that it was a “very, very dirty play,” K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.
  • While development of young players is the Pistons’ top priority, coach Dwane Casey is weary of moral victories, Pistons.com Keith Langlois writes. The Pistons committed 22 turnovers in a six-point loss at Denver on Sunday. “We’re getting to the point, going into the end of the year and next year, where close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” Casey said. “It’s things we can control. Last 10 games we were fourth in the league in turnovers, 12 a game, and then we had this tonight. That’s what was more disappointing.”
  • Pacers third-year center Goga Bitadze has received extensive playing time in three of the last four games. Bitazde, who hails from the country of Georgia, is excited for the opportunity. “For three years everybody has been waiting for me to play and waiting for me to play,” Bitadze said to the Indianapolis Star’s James Boyd. “It was frustrating for them and me as well, but finally for me to get these minutes and for people to get to see me play against the Warriors … it was a really good game for me and for my country.” Indiana has already exercised its option on Bitadze’s contract for next season.

COVID-19 Updates: Beal, Gill, Pacers, Pritchard, Young, Sixers

Wizards guard Bradley Beal re-entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. It’s Beal’s second protocol-related absence within the last month — he missed three games between December 23-28 due to contact tracing, Robbins notes.

Unlike last season, when any player determined to be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was placed in the protocols, those guidelines only apply to unvaccinated players this season. Beal began the season unvaccinated, but confirmed when he returned in late December that he had recently received the vaccine. That could mean his absence this time around isn’t related to contact tracing, and that he returned a positive or inconclusive test.

The Wizards did get one piece of good news on Tuesday afternoon, as forward Anthony Gill exited the protocols, per Robbins (Twitter link). That means Beal is currently the only Washington player affected.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers announced on Tuesday that Caris LeVert and Goga Bitadze have exited the health and safety protocols, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star writes. Both players have a chance to be available on Wednesday vs. Boston. They’re listed as questionable for now.
  • The Celtics no longer have any players in the COVID-19 protocols, as guard Payton Pritchard has been cleared, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
  • Spurs forward Thaddeus Young is no longer in the health and safety protocols, tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs. However, San Antonio still has five players in the protocols, tied with Utah for the highest current total in the league.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey and forward Paul Reed aren’t listed on the team’s latest injury report, indicating that they’ve both cleared the protocols (Twitter links via Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia).
  • Of approximately 2,400 “tier 1” staffers working for NBA teams, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 this season, creating major challenges for franchises, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “You’re basically taking an assembly of people who help the athletes and taking a few people off the line every few days for a week or more,” one athletic training official told ESPN. “It has interfered significantly with the regular protocols and people being given responsibilities/duties they don’t normally have or are even qualified to do in order to get the job done. It’s been the Wild Wild West.”

COVID-19 Updates: Magic, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Pacers

Here are the latest updates on players and coaches entering and exiting the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols:

  • Four Magic players have cleared the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will suit up for Orlando against the Celtics. The team has announced (Twitter link) that center Mohamed Bamba, shooting guard Mychal Mulder, swingman Terrence Ross and point guard Hassani Gravett are all now available.
  • Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, who has been unavailable since December 27, has exited the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Portland lead assistant Scott Brooks, who had been serving in Billups’s stead as acting head coach, has entered COVID-19 protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hardship signee Cameron McGriff has entered the protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter). Combo guard Anfernee Simons has left protocols after just three days, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The 13-22 Trail Blazers could certainly use all the help they can get, and the return of the 6’3″ guard will help shore up a team still missing seven players to health and safety protocols, with McGriff now replacing Simons in coronavirus protocols.
  • Rockets wing Garrison Mathews has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Houston rewarded Mathews for a solid performance early in the 2021/22 season by converting his two-way contract into a fresh four-year, $8MM deal last month.
  • Pacers small forwards Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, plus center Goga Bitadze, have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Warren has been dealing with a major foot injury since the start of 2020/21, and has only played in four games over the past two seasons. Today’s news brings Indiana’s total count for players in protocols to eight.
  • After exiting the protocols on Friday, Pistons guard Cory Joseph has re-entered them, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.