Goga Bitadze

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.

Pacers Rumors: Simmons, Turner, Sabonis, Duarte, Jackson

The Pacers are considered the NBA team most likely to make a significant move on the trade market, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, Fischer says there’s a leaguewide skepticism that Indiana will embark on a full-fledged rebuild after hiring head coach Rick Carlisle to a four-year contract just months ago.

“Carlisle is not going to allow that to happen,” one assistant general manager told Bleacher Report. “They’re going to ‘middle build.’ They’re going to go with a sense of competing.”

As Fischer observes, a deal for 25-year-old star Ben Simmons would be the sort of big move the Pacers could make if they want to look toward the future while remaining competitive in the present. But none of Indiana’s top trade chips is the kind of star the Sixers would covet as the centerpiece as a Simmons deal. If the Pacers make a serious push for Simmons, they may have to loop in a third team, Fischer writes.

Here’s more on the Pacers from Fischer:

  • As Shams Charania reported on Monday, the expectation among rival executives is that the Pacers will move one of their standout big men – Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis – but not both. Fischer says Indiana may ultimately make its decision based on which player commands a higher return, which suggests the team doesn’t strongly prefer one over the other.
  • Although Turner has been involved in trade rumors for years, the Pacers have always highly valued him, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club turned down a Pelicans offer that included the No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft. That pick was eventually sent to the Hawks, who drafted De’Andre Hunter.
  • Sabonis’ value around the NBA is mixed, but Fischer names the Trail Blazers as one team that may be interested. Fischer also mentions the Kings, pointing out that Carlisle thinks highly of Harrison Barnes, but a Monday report indicated Sacramento hasn’t pursued Sabonis or Turner at all this season.
  • Malcolm Brogdon can’t be traded this season after recently signing an extension. But besides Brogdon, rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson are viewed by rival executives as the only Pacers players who are probably off-limits in trade talks. “Sabonis, Turner, (T.J.) Warren, (and Caris) LeVert all can be had at the right price,” another assistant GM told Fischer.
  • In other Pacers news, the team has assigned center Goga Bitadze to the G League for the first time this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. As Agness points out, Bitadze has been out of Indiana’s rotation for weeks and could use some reps with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Pacers Exercise 2022/23 Option On Goga Bitadze

6:20pm: The Pacers have officially exercised Bitadze’s option, the team announced in a press release.


2:22pm: The Pacers are exercising the 2022/23 rookie scale team option in the contract of center Goga Bitadze, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). The move guarantees Bitadze’s $4.76MM salary for next season.

The deadline for teams to exercise third or fourth-year rookie-scale options is this Monday, November 1. Bitadze is Indiana’s only player with one of these options, as detailed in our tracker.

Bitadze, the No. 18 pick in 2019, is in his third season with the franchise. He appeared in 45 games last season, averaging 5.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 12.5 minutes per contest.

The Pacers have opened the 2021/22 season with a 1-5 record, playing without Caris LeVert (back) and T.J. Warren (foot).

Eastern Rumors: Dinwiddie, Wizards, Avdija, Oladipo, Knicks, Bitadze

The Wizards continue to work through their complicated sign-and-trade acquisition of Spencer Dinwiddie, according to multiple reports.

Quinton Mayo (Twitter link) has heard the Bulls and Thunder mentioned as teams that could end up getting involved in a multi-team trade involving Dinwiddie. Mayo also reports that the Nets asked the Wizards for Deni Avdija during those negotiations, which Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News (twitter link) corroborates.

If and when the Wizards, Nets, and other potential trade partners figure out a deal, Dinwiddie is expected to get a three-year, $62MM deal from Washington, reports Winfield (Twitter link).

Here are a few more updates from around the East:

  • Although Victor Oladipo‘s camp is optimistic that he’ll be able to return to action sometime between late December and early February, some Heat people believe March is a more realistic target, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Oladipo, who underwent quad tendon surgery in May, agreed to a minimum-salary contract with Miami.
  • Following up on an Ian Begley report that stated the final year in the Knicks‘ deals with Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Evan Fournier aren’t guaranteed, ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link) clarifies that all four deals are expected to have standard team options in their last years. Noel, Burks, and Rose will have those options in year three, while Fournier’s will be in year four.
  • Pacers big man Goga Bitadze wanted to play for the team in Summer League this month, but he missed Indiana’s first two SL practices due to back soreness and is now away from the club due to a personal matter, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Central Notes: Temple, Bryant, Pacers, Hayes

As his first year with the Bulls nears its end, veteran swingman Garrett Temple praised the job that president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have done for the franchise so far, suggesting that the front office is one reason why Chicago will be an appealing destination for free agents.

“I think people that understand and are free agents and things of that nature, are probably looking at the Bulls front office as a place, a group of people that know what they’re doing for sure,” Temple said, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

Temple, whose one-year contract with the Bulls will expire at season’s end, added that he believes the club is capable of taking “great steps in the next year or two” and expressed interest in remaining in Chicago beyond 2020/21.

“Yeah, no question. I love what we’re doing here. I love the coaching staff. I’m enjoying the front office. I’m really enjoying being around the guys,” Temple said. “For example in Detroit (Saturday) night we were hanging out together in the lobby area, talking and playing cards. Those type of things. Not every team is like that. I enjoy being here. And I would love to see what we could do to progress this type of team.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv issued a press release confirming that they’ve officially parted with Elijah Bryant, allowing him to pursue an NBA opportunity. Having left his team in Israel, Bryant is on track to sign with the Bucks.
  • After their very public altercation on the sidelines last week, Pacers center Goga Bitadze and assistant coach Greg Foster appear to have smoothed things over. Video from before Saturday’s game showed them embracing, laughing, and working together, as Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star relays.
  • Pistons rookie Killian Hayes racked up a career-high 21 points against Chicago on Sunday and said after the game that he appreciated being able to play off the ball alongside fellow guard Saben Lee. This is the second time I played with Saben, I loved it,” Hayes said, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). “… When you always have the ball in your hands, the defense can read what you’re going to do.” As Sankofa observes (via Twitter), Hayes’ comfort level in that role could be important if the Pistons find themselves in position to select an on-ball guard such as Cade Cunningham near the top of this year’s draft.