International

And-Ones: Buycks, Hannahs, Belinelli, Deck

Guard Dwight Buycks is seeking a two-way NBA contract after cutting ties with French team Nanterre 92 earlier this month, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweetsBuycks, who turned down multiple NBA offers last year, averaged 7.4 PPG in 29 games with the Pistons in 2017-18. Buycks, who went undrafted in 2011, played for EuroLeague Greek team Olympiacos last season.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Dusty Hannahs has signed with Kolossos Rodou in Greece, the team announced (hat tip to Sportando). Hannahs, 27, played two game with the Grizzlies last season on a pair of 10-day contracts. He spent most of the season in the G League.
  • Marco Belinelli‘s three-year contract with Virtus Bologna is worth $5MM Euros, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (hat tip to Sportando). Belinelli chose to return to Europe after failing to receive an attractive offer in free agency. The 18th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Belinelli spent 13 years in the NBA, playing for nine different teams during that stretch. The 34-year-old guard accepted a reduced role for the Spurs last season, averaging 6.3 PPG on .392/.376/.828 shooting in 57 games.
  • Gabriel Deck could leave Real Madrid for the NBA if the Spanish team doesn’t give him an extension, Sportando relays in a report by Marca. The Argentinian forward will be an unrestricted free agent next summer but would be willing to exercise an escape clause to play in the NBA this upcoming season. He’s averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG in nine games with Madrid this season.

Marco Belinelli Signs With Virtus Bologna

Free agent shooting guard Marco Belinelli is headed back overseas to continue his playing career, as Italian team Virtus Bologna confirmed today in a press release that it has signed Belinelli to a three-year contract.

Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport first reported Belinelli’s agreement with Virtus Bologna, indicating that the veteran sharpshooter didn’t receive any offers he liked from NBA teams (hat tip to Sportando).

The 18th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Belinelli has spent 13 years in the NBA, playing for nine different teams during that stretch. The 34-year-old accepted a reduced role for San Antonio in 2019/20, averaging 6.3 PPG on .392/.376/.828 shooting in 57 games. His 15.5 minutes per contest last season represented his lowest mark since his rookie year in ’07/08.

By returning to his home country of Italy, Belinelli will reunite with his first professional team — he began his career with Virtus Bologna in 2002 at age 16.

It’s not clear whether or not Belinelli’s new deal will have NBA outs. Either way, it’s possible he has played his last NBA game.

Draft Notes: Tyrell Terry, Isaiah Joe, LaMelo, Hayes

Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry has worked out for the Nets and Grizzlies, in addition to conducting Zoom meetings with Brooklyn and the Knicks, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). Lewis notes that Terry has not worked out in person for any other clubs as of earlier today. Brooklyn has the No. 19 and No. 55 picks in tomorrow’s draft, while Memphis owns the No. 40 pick.

There’s more in the the lead up to the big day tomorrow:

  • According to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), there is buzz that the Sixers may have promised to draft 6’5″ Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe with either the No. 21 or No. 34 pick tomorrow.
  • Ahead of tomorrow’s draft, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reflects back on LaMelo Ball‘s 2018/19 tenure with SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio before heading overseas before his NBA eligibility. “It was great for a time and it was helpful to our brand and it was good for the program and it was interesting, but I don’t think that’s something we want,” SPIRE chief operating officer Jeff Orloff said.
  • 6’4″ Ratiopharm Ulm combo guard Killian Hayes reflected on his international career prior to this season’s NBA draft with Sean Deveney of Forbes.com. “It wasn’t easy at all,” Hayes said. “The physical part was very tough for me.”

And-Ones: Fan Attendance, 2022 Draft, March Madness, Oladipo

For the time being, the NBA is expecting between about five and 10 teams to have fans in their arenas (at partial capacity) to start the 2020/21 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The league has expressed a hope that teams will be able to have some amount of fans attend games this season despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and has sent teams a list of health and safety protocols that will apply to each home arena.

However, clubs’ decisions will be dictated in large part by local government officials. In areas where large-scale gatherings aren’t permitted, it seems safe to assume that teams will open the season playing in front of empty arenas.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world as we gear up for a wild week:

  • There’s growing pessimism around the NBA that the age limit for draft-eligible players will be eliminated in time for the 2022 draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). There’s still an expectation that the one-and-done rule – which prevents players from entering the draft right out of high school – will be adjusted at some point, but the target date for that rule change continues to be pushed back.
  • The NCAA announced this week that it plans to have its March Madness tournament for 2021 take place in a single location, likely in Indianapolis. The event had originally been scheduled for 13 separate sites, but the NCAA has decided a single site makes more sense for safety reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has joined the ownership group assuming control of the New Zealand Breakers of Australia’s National Basketball League, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press. “I was always interested in being part of team ownership, having input with a team and helping a team be successful on the business side of things,” Oladipo said. “To work with a team from this perspective, I’m sure I’ll have newfound respect for the guys who have been in that position.”

And-Ones: G League, Mitchell, Magnay, GM Moves, Jones

The G League plans to have its elite Ignite team, which includes top 2021 draft prospects Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Isaiah Todd, face G League alumni in closed-door scrimmages in Walnut Creek, California this week, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. They will also hold two streamed scrimmages next month, Charania adds. The Ignite team, which is based in Walnut Creek, was formed as a part of the league’s development program for top prospects.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Donovan Mitchell, Lonzo Ball and John Collins are some of the high-profile rookie scale extension candidates who might not be worth a full max, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. Hollinger anticipates Mitchell will get a max extension but the Jazz might be wise to go four years rather than five. Hollinger takes a closer look at the value of all extension-eligible candidates from the class of 2017.
  • Australian big man Will Magnay is drawing interest from NBA clubs, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc tweets. His current club, the Brisbane Bullets, is preparing to play without him this season, Uluc adds. Magnay, 22, was named the NBL’s Most Improved Player last season.
  • What are the best and worst moves that top NBA executives have made with their current teams? ESPN’s Bobby Marks takes a closer look at all the GMs who haven’t been recently hired by their current organizations.
  • Former NBA player Jalen Jones may have suffered a torn Achilles playing in Italy, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Jones was playing his first game this season for Pallacanestro Varese. The prognosis was first reported by La Prealpina. He last appeared in the NBA during the 2018/19 season during a 16-game stint with Cleveland.

Luis Scola Intends To Retire After 2021 Olympics In Tokyo

Former NBA big man Luis Scola has reiterated his intention to retire from basketball after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, according to Sportweek (via Sportando).

“When will it end? In a year, after the Olympics. Only then I will decide what to do,” Scola said. “I could stay involved in basketball, but not as a coach: eventually, only for young players. I’m already receiving plenty of proposals, but no one of those has been just as exciting as the idea of playing.”

Scola, 40, has not suited up for an NBA team since the 2016/17 campaign but has nonetheless remained active overseas. Last season, Scola played for Olimpia Milano. The Argentinian averaged 11.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 15 Italian League games and 9.2 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 28 EuroLeague contests.

Across 743 regular season NBA games, Scola averaged 12.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers, Raptors and Nets. In his prime with Houston, Scola was a durable player and an efficient scorer, averaging a career-best 18.3 PPG during the 2010/11 season.

Scola indicated earlier this year that he was weighing retirement but still wanted to represent Argentina on the worldwide stage. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Olympics to move to 2021, which could mark the end of Scola’s career. However, he will look to add another medal to his mantle to join his gold and bronze medals from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Draft Notes: Edwards, Okoro, Toppin, Haliburton, Hampton

Former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards has long been considered a strong bet to be one of the first three players off the board in the 2020 NBA draft, and his list of workouts confirms as much. Speaking today to reporters, including Mark Medina of USA Today (Twitter link), Edwards said he has worked out for the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Hornets, the teams that hold 2020’s top three picks.

That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that Edwards will be selected by one of those three teams, but he also said today that he hasn’t had any contact with the Bulls, who hold the No. 4 pick, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). That’s a reasonably solid sign that Chicago doesn’t expect him to be available.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Lottery prospects Isaac Okoro, Obi Toppin, and Tyrese Haliburton have only worked out so far for teams holding top-eight picks. Okoro has worked out for the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Cavaliers (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News); Toppin has auditioned for the Wolves, Cavs, Hornets, and Knicks (Twitter link via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com); and Haliburton has had workouts for the Wolves, Warriors, Bulls, and Pistons (Twitter link via Beard).
  • RJ Hampton has auditioned for a wider range of teams, telling reporters today that he worked out for the Cavaliers, Pistons, Wizards, Celtics, Magic, Nets, and Nuggets (Twitter link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv). While three of those clubs have top-10 picks, three are outside the lottery, including Denver at No. 22.
  • After announcing earlier this week that 86 early entrant prospects had remained in the 2020 draft pool, the NBA announced today that two of those prospects submitted their paperwork in time to withdraw. Spanish forwards Sergi Martinez and Joel Parra have pulled out of the draft, per the league, leaving 84 early entrants – including 13 international prospects – eligible to be picked next Wednesday.

And-Ones: Social Justice Board, Boatright, Jazz, Moore

Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, Donovan Mitchell and Karl-Anthony Towns are the players chosen to serve on the league’s Social Justice Coalition Board, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter links).

The NBA and NBPA agreed to create the group to advance equality and social justice after teams walked out of games in late August to protest a police shooting. Commissioner Adam Silver, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, as well as owners Micky Arison, Steve Ballmer, Clay Bennett, Marc Lasry and Vivek Randadive and coaches Lloyd Pierce and Doc Rivers.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Ryan Boatright has signed with Lithuanian club team BC Rytas Vilnius, the team tweets. Boatright, 28, played in Europe last season after spending time in the G League during the 2018/19 season. The former University of Connecticut guard also played in Italy, China and Turkey.
  • The sale price of the Jazz bodes well for the league’s franchise valuations, Bill Shea of The Athletic notes. The team, along with an arena and a couple of minor-league teams, were sold to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for $1.66 billion, and the league’s owners are expected to approve the sale. The valuation falls in line with expectations and doesn’t reflect any pandemic discount, Shea continues. It also reinforces the notion that team values keep going up.
  • Former Pacers forward Ben Moore has signed with South East Melbourne Phoenix of Australia’s NBL, according to the team. Moore is expected to join the club for preseason training next month. Moore, who also spent time in the Spurs organization, logged two games with Indiana during the 2017/18 season.

Draft Notes: International Prospects, Wolves, Suns, Lewis, Terry

The NBA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from this year’s draft has now passed, which means it should just be a matter of time before we get an updated official list from the league of the early entrants who have kept their names in this year’s pool.

In the meantime, updates on a handful of international prospects continue to trickle in. According to Nicola Lupo of Sportando, Estonian forward Henri Drell – who is currently playing for Pesaro in Italy – has withdrawn his name from the 2020 draft.

On the other hand, Isralie point guard Yam Madar, a member of Hapoel Tel Aviv, has elected to keep his name in the draft, per Barak Haklai of ynetsport (Twitter link). And after initially announcing that his client Marko Simonovic would be pulling out of the draft, agent Misko Raznatovic has clarified (via Twitter) that Simonovic will remain in the draft after all.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • An NBA general manager who spoke to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) this morning said he doesn’t envy the Timberwolves and their efforts to maximize the value of the No. 1 pick. The teams at the top are desperate to try and trade down, but there just isn’t much value with the top few picks this year,” the GM said.
  • Within a piece on Kira Lewis Jr., Mike Mazzeo of Forbes says the Timberwolves and Suns are among the teams that have watched the Alabama guard work out in person. Lewis also worked out in person for Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Orlando, as previously reported.
  • Few prospects have increased their stock in recent months as substantially as Stanford’s Tyrell Terry, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who notes within a profile of Terry that the 20-year-old has interviewed virtually with all 30 NBA teams.
  • In an Insider-only article, Kevin Pelton of ESPN uses advanced stats to break down this year’s prospects into tiers. Pelton has LaMelo Ball on his own in tier one, followed by Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton in tier two, with Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu, and James Wiseman in tier three.

And-Ones: G League, Acy, Mack, COVID-19

The NBA G League is discussing a number of options with its 28 teams for the 2020/21 season, one of which includes playing in a bubble environment, according to Harrison Feigen of SB Nation.

Teams were notified that the goal remains to play out a full season, Feigen reports, though exact details of the campaign remain unknown. The bubble environment could also exist in ‘regional bubbles’, rather than the Disney format used to finish the 2019/20 NBA season.

Besides the importance of developing young talent, another major push for the G League season to happen is the newly introduced Select Team, league sources told Hoops Rumors. The team acts as a one-year development program for NBA prospects fresh out of high school, with five-star recruits such as Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd set to play if a season is held.

Despite much about the G League campaign being unknown, the NBA and its players’ union have agreed to a start date for their season: December 22. The draft remains scheduled to be held on November 18, with free agency expected to commence shortly thereafter.

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

  • Veteran forward Quincy Acy is in discussions on a new deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, according to Roi Cohen (as relayed by Sportando). Acy holds several years of NBA experience with the Raptors, Kings, Knicks, Mavericks, Nets and Suns, getting drafted No. 37 in 2012.
  • Free agent Shelvin Mack has signed in Greece with Panathinaikos, the team announced on social media. Mack, 30, also holds several years of NBA experience, making past stops with the Wizards, Sixers, Hawks, Jazz, Magic, Grizzlies and Hornets. He most recently played with Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel.
  • Patrick Reusse of The Star Tribune grades how different sports leagues adapted to COVID-19 this year. The NBA ranked in the “A” category, as the league successfully kept the virus away from its players in the Disney campus restart format.