Draft Workouts: Spurs, Suns, Pacers, Blazers, Lakers, Wolves, Thomas

The Spurs, who are widely expected to draft at least one guard next Wednesday, recently worked out both Stephon Castle of UConn and Devin Carter of Providence, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

As we relayed on Wednesday, recent mock drafts from ESPN and Bleacher Report both have San Antonio drafting Castle at No. 4, and the team is said to be high on Carter as well. Iko confirms as much, writing that the Spurs have “strong interest” in Carter, Castle, and Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard, with Carter’s private workout “resonating” among the team’s decision-makers.

Here’s more pre-draft workout news from around the NBA:

International Notes: Giannis, Team Canada, Hezonja, Clarkson, Vildoza, Ataman, Team China

Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking forward to participating in Greece’s training camp, though he’s still dealing with the injury that short-circuited the Bucks’ playoff run. Milwaukee’s superstar will look to help Greece advance out of the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in Piraeus early next month.

“I have not practiced yet, but I feel better. I cannot wait to join the training camp,” he told Johnny Askounis of and other reporters.

Antetokounmpo suffered a calf strain late in the NBA regular season. The announcement that he would play for Greece was made at the beginning of this month.

We have more international basketball news:

  • Canada’s preliminary Olympic roster is loaded with NBA players and there will be tough decisions ahead to pare it to 12 players, Josh Lewenberg of TSN notes. Kings forward Trey Lyles, former NBA bigs Khem Birch and Mfiondu Kabengele and two-time National Player of the Year Zach Edey are some of the players who, on paper, will be fighting for the last two spots on the roster, writes Lewenberg.
  • Former NBA forward Mario Hezonja announced on social media that he’s re-signing with Real Madrid, Sportando relays. “Real Madrid believed in me when many didn’t, cared for me and my family since the first day I arrived and made us feel at home. My only intention was to stay so I am happy to communicate to you that I will continue my journey at MY HOME, MY REAL MADRID for a long time!” he wrote. There had been speculation he might look at NBA opportunities.
  • Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was not on the Philippines’ 12-man roster for the FIBA Olympic qualifier. Coach Tim Cone opted for continuity, according to executive director Erika Dy. Cone decided to go with the same group that participated in an Asia Cup qualifier over the winter. “Premise of coach Tim, we have the same roster every time. The shorter training periods will accumulate, and the players will build chemistry,” Dy said, per BasketNews.
  • Virtus Bologna is reportedly interested in former NBA guard Luca Vildoza, who is leaving Greece’s Panathinaikos, according to another Sportando report. Vildoza had a seven-game stint with the Bucks in 2021/22.
  • After leading Panathinaikos to a Euroleague title, Ergin Ataman is eager to get a shot at coaching in the NBA. But he told the Spanish outlet AS that he only wants to make the jump if he’s offered a head coaching job. “Before it was my dream, now it’s not, but if you want a star coach from Europe, here I am. Why would I be afraid of training NBA stars?” he said, per
  • The Chinese national team will participate in the California Classic in Sacramento next month, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. They’ll be grouped against Summer League teams from the Kings, Hornets, and Spurs. Squads from the Warriors, Lakers and Heat will play against each other in San Francisco.

International Notes: Brooks, Rodriguez, Cousins, Howard, Cook, Canaan

Veteran free agent guard Armoni Brooks has signed a two-year contract with Olimpia Milano, the Italian team announced today in a press release.

Brooks was in the NBA as recently as this year, having appeared in 10 games for the Nets on a two-way contract before being waived in January. The 26-year-old, who has also suited up for the Rockets and Raptors since making his NBA debut in 2021, spent the rest of the 2023/24 season with the Clippers’ G League affiliate.

Brooks will join an Olimpia Milano team that has won three straight Italian League titles but struggled in EuroLeague competition this past season, finishing just 15-19 and missing the playoffs.

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Sergio Rodriguez has called it a career, formally announcing his retirement on social media (Twitter link). A first-round pick in 2006, Rodriguez spent four seasons in the NBA with Portland, Sacramento, and New York from 2006-10 before returning for the 2016/17 season with Philadelphia. However, the 38-year-old spent most of his career overseas, winning three EuroLeague titles, a EuroLeague MVP award (in 2014), and several other domestic championships in Europe. He was also a mainstay on Spain’s national team, winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics and bronze in 2016, as well as a gold medal at the 2006 World Cup.
  • DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, and Quinn Cook – three members of the 2019/20 Lakers – are reuniting as with the Taiwan Mustags for the Asian Tournament this July, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Cousins and Howard have been out of the NBA since 2022, while Cook last played in the league in 2021.
  • Former NBA guard Isaiah Canaan has signed a two-year deal with Crvena Zvezda, according to a press release from the Serbian team. Canaan has 235 total regular season NBA games under his belt, though he hasn’t been in the league since 2019.

And-Ones: Barkley, Nunn, Ibaka, Africa

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley recently said he’s going to retire from TV at the conclusion of 2024/25, which could be the final season TNT holds the media rights to NBA games. Barkley has been an analyst on Inside the NBA since 2000.

While his comments certainly seemed genuine, Andrew Marchand of The Athletic believes Barkley will cover the NBA again in some fashion after next season ends, noting the 61-year-old has frequently talked about retirement in the past but he just signed a highly lucrative 10-year contract a couple years ago.

That long-term deal with TNT could complicate matters, but potential new (or returning) media rights holders like Amazon and NBC would love to have Barkley and the entire Inside the NBA crew on board, Marchand writes. A “more plausible” scenario, according to Marchand, would be ESPN giving Barkley a “sweetheart deal” he can’t refuse, perhaps offering to let him work less frequently while still covering the most important games, such as the NBA Finals.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Kendrick Nunn, who helped lead Panathinaikos to a EuroLeague championship in ’23/24, was arrested less than a day after helping his Greek club win a domestic title, according to Eurohoops. Nunn was detained after a verbal exchange with his wife, who declined to press charges, and has subsequently been released. The 28-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with Panathinaikos last month, but he hasn’t ruled out an NBA return, as his deal contains out clauses. Nunn last played for the Lakers and Wizards in ’22/23.
  • Big man Serge Ibaka, who played 14 NBA seasons from 2009-2023, says he’s undecided on what he’s going to do next season after spending the ’23/24 campaign with Bayern Munich in Germany, per Eurohoops. Ibaka was rumored to be signing a one-year deal with Real Madrid, but he denied that’s the case.
  • Tania Ganguli of The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the NBA’s investment in Africa, which includes the Basketball Africa League. The NBA has long believed the continent could be a key way to grow the popularity of the sport and add young talent to the league’s player pool, but commissioner Adam Silver wonders if enough money is being spent to support growth. “As much as we are investing in Africa, the opportunity is so enormous I worry that we’re under-investing,” Silver said in an interview. “There’s so much opportunity, but it’s not always easy to know how to deploy capital, which government you should be dealing with, who the honest brokers are. And so we’re learning as we go.”

NBA’s 2024 Draft Withdrawal Deadline Has Passed

The deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the 2024 NBA draft passed on Sunday at 5:00 pm Eastern time, meaning that any players who haven’t removed their names from consideration at that point will remain in this year’s draft pool.

Because the NCAA has its own draft withdrawal deadline earlier in the spring, the NBA’s deadline typically represents decision day for non-college players, including international prospects. As we relayed on Sunday, several of those international early entrants who initially tested the draft waters decided to pull out before the deadline.

The following players also withdrew from the draft ahead of Sunday’s deadline:

Additionally, there were several reports on Sunday about international prospects who decided to keep their names in the draft pool. Here are those players:

There was no word on Sunday about several of the big-name international prospects, such as Alexandre Sarr, Zaccharie Risacher, and Tidjane Salaun, but there’s no doubt they kept their names in the draft, since they’re projected lottery picks. Nikola Topic is in that group as well, despite the fact that he recently suffered a partially torn ACL.

As our early entrant tracker shows, there are still a handful of prospects whose intentions haven’t been announced or reported, but it shouldn’t be long before we get clarity on them — the NBA will likely announce its official early entrant list for the 2024 draft at some point within the next 24 to 48 hours or so.

Draft Notes: Jelavic, Lewis, De Ridder, Ndiaye, Darlan, Cui, Green Room Invites

Croatian big man Andrija Jelavic is withdrawing from the draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets. He had been considered a fringe second-round prospect, ranked No. 77 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.

A trio of other international prospects — Timotej Malovec, Luka Bogavac and Bogoljub Markovic — are also pulling their names from draft consideration. The deadline for international prospects to withdraw came on Sunday afternoon.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Trinidad and Tobago wing Malique Lewis, ranked No. 76 by ESPN, has also decided to pass on the draft, Givony tweets.
  • Forward Thijs De Ridder will withdraw from the draft, Jon Chepkevich of tweets. He’ll look to build upon a strong ACB and FIBA Europe Cup season with Bilbao Basket and will be automatically eligible for next year’s draft.
  • Senegalese big man Eli Ndiaye and Central African Republic guard Thierry Darlan (G League Ignite) are also pulling out of the draft, according to Givony (Twitter links). Darlan was ranked N0.  84 overall by ESPN.
  • Chinese wing Yongxi Cui kept his name in the draft, Chepkevich tweets. Cui participated in the G League Elite Camp.
  • There have been 21 green room invitations extended to first-round prospects thus far. There will be four more green room invites made this week, according to Givony (Twitter link). The only player to decline an invitation is two-time National Player of the Year Zach Edey, who will watch from Purdue with family, friends and coaches.

International Notes: Valanciunas, Layman, Simonovic, Garza

Unrestricted free agent Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas, the captain of his native Lithuanian national team, is slated to skip his club’s Olympic qualifiers to preserve his body, reports Eurohoops. Valanciunas can’t sign a new contract prior to July 6, and the Olympic qualifying tournament will take place from July 2-7.

If Lithuania wins the six-team tournament in Puerto Rico, it sounds like Valanciunas would like to suit up for the squad at this year’s Paris competition.

“Unfortunately, this situation happened for the first time in my life – not being able to be a national team player,” Valanciunas said. “I’m definitely with the team, my spirit, my advice… I will practice, I will prepare, I believe that I will prepare for Paris, the Olympics. I will help in any way I can. I hope Lithuania understands me and we’ll do what we’ll do in Paris.”

There’s more from around the basketball stratosphere:

  • Journeyman NBA forward Jake Layman is signing a deal to return to Japanese club Seahorses Mikawa, the team announced (via Twitter). As Dario Skerletic of Sportando notes, Layman made his debut with Seahorses Mikawa last season, averaging 15.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals a night. The 30-year-old spent six NBA seasons with the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves, plus the Bulls’ NBAGL affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. He hasn’t been on an NBA roster since being waived by Boston in October 2022.
  • Former NBA center/power forward Marko Simonovic has inked an agreement with Turkish team Bahcesehir, reports Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The seven-foot Simonovic, now 24, was the No. 44 pick in the 2020 draft by the Bulls while still playing for Mega Basket. He suited up for Chicago from 2021-23 before ultimately resuming his basketball career abroad. Across 16 NBA games in his two seasons, Simonovic averaged just 1.4 points on 27.3% shooting for Chicago.
  • Reserve Timberwolves center Luka Garza, a restricted free agent this summer, is open to possibly playing in Europe, according to Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. “I would love [to play] for anyone in the EuroLeague,” Garza said. “When you see crowds like Partizan, Fenerbahce, and all these different teams with such environments.” Last year with Minnesota, the 6’10” big man averaged 4.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.9 minutes a night as a little-used bench player.

Izan Almansa Among Players Withdrawing From Draft

After five workouts with NBA teams, Reggio Emilia center Mouhamed Faye has decided to withdraw from the 2024 draft and will return to the Italian pro club, his agent Matteo Comellini informed Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Last year, the 6’9″ big man averaged 7.9 points on 62.4% field goal shooting, while also contributing 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest in 30 games for Reggio Emilia.

Another international prospect, French guard Ilias Kamardine, also plans to withdraw from the draft this year, his rep Herman Manakyan told Givony (via Twitter). Kamardine spent 2023/24 with JDA Dijon in Pro A France. He played sparingly for Dijon last year, averaging 5.3 minutes per game.

6’10” former Illinois power forward Zacharie Perrin, now with SLUC Nancy in his native France, is also opting out of the draft, his agents Nicolas Dos Santos and Max Wiepking tell Givony (Twitter link).

Nineteen-year-old former G League Ignite big man Izan Almansa also intends to withdraw from the draft, his agents Wiepking, Jim Tanner and Guillermo Bermejo have informed Givony  (Twitter link). In an effort to become a first-round draft selection next season, the 6’10” Spaniard is looking to continue his career for a team in Australia or Europe for 2024/25. Across 32 regular season contests (30 starts), Almansa averaged 11.7 points on 56% shooting from the field for the Ignite, along with 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.7 steals per game.

Of these players, Almansa is the top-ranked prospect on ESPN’s current big board, where he was listed as the No. 49 prospect. Perrin is at No. 67, Kamardine is No. 80, and Faye narrowly made the list at No. 99.

International Notes: Mexico City Game, James, Teodosic, Harper

The NBA’s Mexico City Game in 2024 will feature a pair of Southeast rivals, as the Heat and Wizards will match up in the contest on Saturday, November 2, the league announced today in a press release. It will be the NBA’s 14th regular season contest and 33rd game overall in Mexico.

The game will be the fourth in Mexico for the Wizards, who last played there in 2019, and the third for the Heat. Since Miami’s last visit in 2022, the team has added Mexican-American forward Jaime Jaquez, which likely factored into the NBA’s decision to have the team return just two years later.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Reigning EuroLeague MVP Mike James has a new three-year deal in place with AS Monaco Basket, the team officially announced on Friday (via Twitter). The former NBA guard was initially said to be nearing an agreement a week ago before Donatas Urbonas of reported that James was considering testing the open market. According to Urbonas (Twitter link), Monaco improved its offer to ensure that a deal got done. James previously appeared in 49 NBA games from 2017-21 with the Suns, Pelicans, and Nets.
  • Former NBA guard Milos Teodosic, who played for the Clippers from 2017-19, will spend another season with Crvena Zvezda in Serbia. The team announced (via Twitter) that it has signed the 37-year-old to a new one-year contract (hat tip to Sportando).
  • Valencia Basket and Jared Harper, who suited up for the Suns, Knicks, and Pelicans from 2019-22, have parted ways, the Spanish club announced in a press release. A former All-NBAGL first-teamer, Harper spent the past two seasons with Valencia but will be a free agent this summer.

And-Ones: Luwawu-Cabarrot, 2024 FAs, M. Thomas, ESPN

Former NBA forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has reached an agreement on a two-year contract with Baskonia, the Spanish club announced today in a press release.

Luwawu-Cabarrot played in the NBA from 2016-22 after being selected 24th overall in the 2016 draft. He saw rotation minutes for several seasons but never developed into a high-level contributor in the NBA, averaging 5.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 16.0 minutes per game across 328 regular season appearances (60 starts) for the Sixers, Thunder, Bulls, Nets, and Hawks.

The French forward has played a more significant role in Europe over the past two seasons for Olimpia Milano in 2022/23 and ASVEL in 2023/24. As he makes the move to Spain, Luwawu-Cabarrot will be looking to help boost a Baskonia team that missed the Spanish League (ACB) postseason in 2024 and was swept out of the first round of the EuroLeague playoffs by Real Madrid.

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