Ignas Brazdeikis

Ignas Brazdeikis Signs With Lithuanian Team

Ignas Brazdeikis, who played for the Magic last season, has signed with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, according to Eurohoops. He received a one-year contract with an option for a second season, the team stated in an announcement confirming the move.

Brazdeikis was born in Lithuania, but his family moved to Canada while he was young. The 23-year-old small forward regained his Lithuanian citizenship last year and played for the national team in June.

“We have been following Ignas for a few years now and wanted to see him in a Zalgiris jersey,” said team CEO Paulius Motiejunas. “Ignas is from Kaunas, he has regained his Lithuanian citizenship and now we will see him wearing the Zalgiris jersey. Coach (Kazys) Maksvytis has already worked with him, so there are no doubts about his abilities anymore.”

Brazdeikis was on a two-way contract with Orlando, playing 42 games and averaging 5.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per night. He began his NBA career with the Knicks, who acquired him in a draft night trade in 2019, and he appeared in one game for the Sixers as well.

And-Ones: Brazdeikis, Hall, Harden, Johnson, Lofton Jr.

After finishing the 2021/22 season in Orlando, Ignas Brazdeikis remains on the free agent market and he’s drawing interest from two EuroLeague teams, according to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com.

Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zalgiris Kaunas are the teams pursuing Brazdeikis, though he’d prefer to stay in the NBA. Both Zalgiris and Baskonia are desperately looking for a perimeter player, according to Urbonas. Baskonia is trying to replace Simone Fontecchio, who is signing a two-year deal with the Jazz. Brazdeikis appeared in 42 games with the Magic last season.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Former NBA forward Donta Hall has signed a three-year extension with AS Monaco, the team announced in a press release. Hall’s last NBA action came during the 2020/21 campaign, when he played 13 games with Orlando.
  • James Harden is a bargain? If he takes a pay cut and signs a two-year contract worth approximately $68MM with the Sixers, he’d rank as the best free agent value this offseason, Keith Smith writes in a Spotrac article. Keldon Johnson‘s four-year, $80MM extension with the Spurs and Kevon Looney‘s three-year, $25.5MM deal with the Warriors are also among the summer’s most team-friendly deals, in Smith’s estimation.
  • There were some eye-popping performances and some clunkers in the final Summer League games played over the weekend. Ethan Fuller of Basketball News takes a look at the “Studs,” including Kenneth Lofton Jr.’s 27-point, 12-rebound performance for the Grizzlies, and “Duds” from those contests.

And-Ones: Hernangomez, Brazdeikis, Take Fouls, Mitrou-Long

Juancho Hernangomez told Daniel Arribas of El Pais (hat tip to HoopsHype) that he “can’t picture himself” returning to Europe next season, despite speculation about that possibility. “I have spoken to nobody or signed any offer,” he said.

While the Celtics are three wins away from the championship, Hernangomez said his 18-game stint with Boston wasn’t a pleasant experience. “I wasn’t happy there, it was very hard. There was no communication,” he said. “I didn’t know what was expected of me. There were many super selfish players, no team building. I lost my love for basketball a bit.”

Hernangomez finished the season with the Jazz and is technically under contract through 2022/23, but his $7.42MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed. Utah is expected to make him a free agent before the guarantee deadline at the end of the month.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Magic forward Ignas Brazdeikis will play for Lithuania in FIBA World Cup qualifiers this summer, according to BasketNews.com. “I want to play, and I will play for Lithuania,” Brazdeikis said. Brazdeikis was born in Lithuania but grew up in Canada, and has a Canadian passport. It took nearly two years for the Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) to complete all the paperwork required to receive official FIBA confirmation he could play for their national team.
  • NBA coaches and players frustrated by transition take fouls will see a rules change next season, according to commissioner Adam Silver, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. The fouls, committed to prevent fast-break baskets, will include stiffer penalties next season. The G League rule awards teams one free throw and possession, while international rules have a penalty of two free throws plus possession.
  • Fenerbahce is currently leading the race for former NBA guard Naz Mitrou-Long, according to Italian newspaper La Prealpina (hat tip to Sportando). Mitrou-Long is also being pursued by Olimpia Milano after a strong season with Germani Brescia. He appeared in 20 NBA games, most recently with Indiana in 2019/20.

NBA, NBPA Agree To Adjust COVID-19 Protocols

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement to adjust the league’s COVID-19 protocols amidst a wave of positive tests among players and coaches, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. ESPN obtained a memo stating that the NBA will increase testing and face mask use for players and staff during the holiday season.

Beginning on December 26, players and staffers – besides those who received their booster shot at least 14 days ago or those who recently recovered from the virus – will be tested for COVID-19 on game days. For most of the season, vaccinated players haven’t been tested unless they showed symptoms or were a close contact of someone who contracted the virus.

Additionally, as Wojnarowski details, players and staffers will be required to wear face masks on the bench, in their team’s workout facility, and while traveling with the team.

With so many teams shorthanded and taking advantage of the hardship provision to sign extra players, sources tell Wojnarowski that there’s been some league-wide discussion about finding an easier way to expand rosters.

The Magic added forward Ignas Brazdeikis to their injury report on Thursday night due to the health and safety protocols, making Orlando the 12th team to have at least one player currently in the protocols. A 13th team – Indiana – has its head coach, Rick Carlisle, in the protocols.

Of course, that number seems very likely to change in one direction or the other by the end of the day, since players are entering and exiting the protocols with increasing frequency this month. Lakers guard Malik Monk was the latest player to test out of the protocols on Thursday, per Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link).

Magic Sign Ignas Brazdeikis To Two-Way Deal

AUGUST 11: The Magic have officially announced that they’ve inked Brazdeikis to a two-way contract, per a press release (Twitter link).

AUGUST 10: The Magic plan on signing Ignas Brazdeikis to a two-way contract, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

The 6’6 lefty was originally drafted with the 47th pick by the Knicks during the 2019 draft, but failed to crack New York’s rotation before being traded in a three-team deal that sent George Hill to the Sixers and two second-round picks to the Knicks.

Despite his difficulty carving out a spot in either New York or Philadelphia, Brazdeikis has a versatile offensive game and a propensity for making big shots going back to his time at Michigan. The 22-year-old wing played eight games at the end of last season for the Magic after being waived by the Sixers, and averaged 11.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG and 2.0 APG while shooting 40.7% from three.

As per the rules on two-way contracts, Brazdeikis will be limited to a maximum of 50 games with Orlando, and will likely spend some time with the team’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. He should help shore up Orlando’s wing depth during his time in the NBA.

Brazdeikis is the first reported two-way signing for the Magic in 2021/22, so the team still has another slot to fill.

And-Ones: Lin, Appling, Brazdeikis, Bucks

Jeremy Lin plans to keep on playing next season with the hope of hooking onto an NBA franchise, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Lin played in the G League this season, with the aim of landing another NBA contract. That didn’t happen, much to his dismay, despite averaging 19.8 PPG in nine G League contests. Lin is preparing for next season and evaluating his options, Stein adds. Lin hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since 2019.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Keith Appling, who played five games for the Magic during the 2015/16 season, has been arrested in regard to a homicide investigation in Detroit, according to an Associated Press report. The former Michigan State star has been accused of shooting a 66-year-old man after an argument on Saturday night. Appling was placed on probation last year in a heroin-related case.
  • Forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who finished this season with the Magic, is looking to make the Lithuanian national team, Marius Milasius tweets. He’ll participate in the team’s camp before the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas. Brazdeikis, who has previously represented Canada in international play, is officially a Lithuanian citizen, but doesn’t have his passport yet and still needs to meet FIBA requirements. He will be among 14-15 national team candidates.
  • The Bucks are partnering with Motorola and will wear the company’s “batwing” logo on the front left shoulder of their jerseys, according to a team press release. The team previously wore a Harley-Davidson patch.

Magic Sign Ignas Brazdeikis For Rest Of Season

Following the expiration of his 10-day contract on Tuesday night, Ignas Brazdeikis has signed a new rest-of-season contract with the Magic. The team announced the deal in a press release.

Brazdeikis, 22, appeared in five games during his first 10 days with the Magic, averaging a solid 10.0 points and 4.6 rebounds on .432/.500/.700 shooting in 28.4 minutes per contest.

The second-year wing, who was selected 47th overall in the 2019 draft, previously spent time with the Knicks and Sixers, but only appeared in 14 total games for those two clubs, logging limited playing time at the NBA level. Of Brazdeikis’ 210 career NBA minutes, 142 have come during his brief stint with the Magic.

With Brazdeikis back under contract, Orlando is once again carrying 18 players (including two-ways). Although 17 is the usual limit, the Magic have been granted a hardship exception allowing them to carry an extra player, due to all the injuries the team is dealing with.

Southeast Notes: Ariza, Westbrook, Robinson, Brazdeikis

Heat forward Trevor Ariza has provided a maximum payoff since being traded to Miami earlier this year, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Ariza has since earned a role in the team’s starting lineup, giving consistent production on both ends of the floor.

“Trevor’s one of the most underrated players in this league,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Ariza. “But I would say that the contending teams that had him before, he’s not underrated. He does so many things — his activity, his deflections, his ability to guard multiple positions.

“And he also has been a very underrated scorer over the course of his career.”

Ariza has averaged 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this season, playing an average of 27.1 minutes across 23 contests. He’s provided versatility alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo at 6’8″, also shooting 35% from downtown.

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Wizards guard Russell Westbrook further proved that he’s still a star in the team’s game against the Mavericks on Saturday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Westbrook finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two steals against Dallas, shooting 17-of-30 from the floor.
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald examines the impressive milestone from Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson. Robinson became the fastest player to reach 500 made threes in NBA history on Saturday, finishing the game against Cleveland shooting 6-of-9 from deep. He’ll be a restricted free agent in August.
  • Josh Cohen of NBA.com examines 10 interesting basketball facts about new Magic forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who signed a 10-day contract with the team on Sunday. Brazdeikis, the No. 47 pick in 2019, holds brief NBA experience with the Knicks and Sixers.

Magic Sign Ignas Brazdeikis To 10-Day Deal, Release Donta Hall

9:39am: The Magic announced the Brazdeikis signing (via Twitter) and have released Hall from his 10-day contract a day before it would have expired.

8:33 am: Ignas Brazdeikis will sign a 10-day contract with the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. 

Brazdeikis, 22, started the season with the Knicks, but only played four games before being traded to the Sixers in March. He got into one game for Philadelphia, but was waived last month to open a roster spot.

In two NBA seasons, Brazdeikis has played a total of 14 games, averaging 1.4 points in 4.9 minutes per night. Most of his action has come in the G League, where he averaged 20.9 PPG and 8.1 RPG in two seasons with Westchester.

Orlando has a full roster, with Donta Hall‘s second 10-day contract expiring later today, so it appears Hall won’t be signed for the rest of the season. The 23-year-old big man got into eight games for the Magic, averaging 3.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per night.

Sixers Waive Ignas Brazdeikis

10:13am: The Sixers have officially waived Brazdeikis, according to the team (Twitter link).

10:04am: The Sixers are waiving forward Ignas Brazdeikis, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move will create an opening on Philadelphia’s 15-man roster.

The 76ers acquired Brazdeikis at the March 25 trade deadline along with George Hill in a three-team, six-player trade with the Knicks and Thunder. The 22-year-old was included in that deal for roster and salary purposes and wasn’t thought to be a player Philadelphia was specifically targeting, so it doesn’t come as a major surprise that he’s being released.

Brazdeikis was originally selected with the 47th overall pick in 2019 and acquired by the Knicks in a draft-night trade. However, the Lithuanian failed to earn regular playing time in New York, appearing in just 13 games in a season-and-a-half with the team. He did play well in the G League, however, with 20.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 3.3 APG in 36 total appearances (33.7 MPG) for the Westchester Knicks.

Assuming Brazdeikis goes unclaimed on waivers, Philadelphia will remain on the hook for the rest of his $1.52MM salary this season, but won’t owe him any of his $1.78MM team option for 2021/22. If he becomes a free agent, the second-year forward would be eligible to sign with any team except the Knicks.