Ivica Zubac

International Notes: Schröder, Theis, Giannis, Satoransky

Free agent guard Dennis Schröder won’t accompany his German teammates to Sweden for Thursday’s opening game of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, according to Eurohoops. Schröder is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the Hamburg Super Cup tournament and will remain in Germany for treatment. There’s a chance he may recover in time for next Sunday’s home contest against Slovenia.

Schröder remains unsigned after splitting last season with the Celtics and Rockets. Although he received positive reviews in Houston after being acquired at the trade deadline, the team is emphasizing youth and doesn’t appear interested in bringing back Schröder.

Germany is already without Pacers center Daniel Theis, who will miss the World Cup Qualifiers and possibly next month’s EuroBasket tournament due to an undisclosed injury. He is training individually and being monitored by the German national team’s medical staff, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.

The Germans are also missing Maxi Kleber, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga due to injuries.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Greece’s final exhibition game with back soreness, but he’s expected to be ready for Thursday’s World Cup Qualifier against Serbia, Askounis writes in a separate story. Antetokounmpo underwent an MRI that showed no damage to his back.
  • NBA players Dario Saric, Ivica Zubac and Bojan Bogdanovic are all on the final roster for Croatia, Eurohoops reports. Mario Hezonja is also part of the Croatian team, which missed out on the World Cup Qualifiers but will participate in EuroBasket. Saric sat out all of last season with a torn right ACL.
  • Czech Republic guard Tomas Satoransky appears to have avoided a major injury to his right ankle, Eurohoops adds in another piece. Satoransky was hurt in Saturday’s game against Germany, and while there has been no official announcement on his condition, Czech reporter Jakub Kanta offered encouraging news. “The X-ray has already ruled out a fracture,” he tweeted, “but the extent of the injury will only be determined by an MRI in the Czech Republic after the swelling subsides.” Satoransky recently signed with FC Barcelona after spending six seasons in the NBA.

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.

Clippers Sign Ivica Zubac To Three-Year Extension

8:37pm: The Clippers have officially announced their extension with Zubac, issuing a press release to confirm the move.

“For four seasons, Zu has been a pillar of our team, durable and dependable,” president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “He does whatever is needed: setting screens, rolling to the rim, anchoring the interior of the defense. He is a reliable teammate and a consistent pro, just entering the prime of his career. We are excited to continue growing with him.”


4:12pm: The Clippers and Ivica Zubac have agreed to a contract extension that will cover the next three years and will be worth $33MM, agents Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Clippers held a team option on Zubac for the 2022/23 season worth $7,518,518, but will decline that option as part of the extension agreement, Wojnarowski reports.

The new deal, which will run through the 2024/25 season, won’t include any options, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Zubac, 25, was the Clippers’ starting center in 2021/22, appearing in a career-high 76 games and starting all of them. He also established new career highs in PPG (10.3), RPG (8.5), APG (1.6), and BPG (1.0) in 24.4 minutes per contest.

Zubac will be the second Clippers player to receive an extension between the end of the regular season and the start of the NBA’s 2022/23 league year, joining Robert Covington.

Los Angeles now has more than $171MM in guaranteed money on its books for next season without accounting for their reported agreement with John Wall – rumored to be worth the taxpayer mid-level exception – or possible new deals for free agents like Nicolas Batum, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Amir Coffey. The team’s tax bill projects to be worth at least $80MM, assuming a taxpayer MLE contract for Wall, tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype, and that number could continue to grow.

Zubac won’t be eligible to be traded for six months once he officially signs the extension, since it exceeds the extend-and-trade limits.

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Curry, Lakers Draft, Coaching Search

As we noted in our Clippers offseason preview earlier today, L.A. holds a $7,518,518 team option on center Ivica Zubac, who is also extension-eligible this offseason. He said this week that he enjoys playing for the team and hopes to stick around.

I want to stay and I think they want to keep me,” Zubac told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “I think I should be there and they’re going to pick (the option) up. I like Los Angeles a lot and I like the Clippers. It’s like a family to me. Hopefully, everything is going to work out.”

Zubac notched several career-high marks in 2021/22, including games played (76, all starts), minutes per game (24.4), points (10.3), rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.0). He said he hopes his role continues to expand going forward.

It’s great,” Zubac said about the trust he receives from Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “I hope that keeps on going. Every year I get more and more minutes so, hopefully, by the next year I’ll get even more. The coach trusts me, the teammates trust me and I’m really enjoying my time there.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry, who was recently named the Western Conference Finals MVP, could have pushed Golden State to trade its high draft picks and prospects to improve the roster the past couple seasons, but he said the team’s patience was rewarded as it heads to the Finals for the sixth time in eight years. “That’s not how I operate,” Curry told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “There were conversations and different paths to take, and we all had conversations about going different ways. But at the end of the day, I have a lot of trust in (president/GM) Bob (Myers), a lot of confidence in what we’re about. There was no panic. Obviously, it helps that we had won a couple championships. It affords patience. But there was no panic in terms of getting me, Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) another run at it, figuring out how we could get pieces around us to make it work. It’s just patience at the end of the day.”
  • The Lakers don’t currently own a draft pick, but that isn’t stopping them from working out six prospects on Saturday, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The six players are Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, UConn’s Tyrese Martin, USC’s Drew Peterson, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, Syracuse’s Cole Swider, and Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson. Ellis, Gillespie and Martin are all in the 60s on ESPN’s big board, while Jackson is No. 95; both Peterson and Swider are unranked. There’s a good chance at least a few prospects in the group will go undrafted.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy.com queried rival front office executives to get their opinions on the Lakers‘ head coaching search, with some mixed opinions on which candidates might be favored by certain segments of the team.

Western Notes: Zubac, Ayton, Paul, McLaughlin

The Clippers are expecting Ivica Zubac to take another step forward offensively next season, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Los Angeles owns a $7.5MM team option in Zubac’s contract for 2022/23, which requires a decision to be made by June 29.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Zu and Isaiah (Hartenstein),” president Lawrence Frank said. “Sometimes we take it for granted because Zu … at his age, to have the experience to anchor a top defense, and you look at his rim protection, rebounding. But I think offensively, he’ll make another jump.”

Zubac, 24, averaged 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game this season, starting in all 76 of his contests. He’ll also be eligible to sign a four-year extension worth up to about $61MM with the Clippers this summer, Swanson notes.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic explores whether the real Deandre Ayton has showed up against the Pelicans this series. Ayton has seen plenty of highs and lows through three games. He most recently finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds in the Suns’ Game 3 victory on Friday. Game 4 is currently in progress.
  • In a separate story for the Arizona Republic, Somers examines a simple-but-effective winning formula: Let Chris Paul take over down the stretch. Paul scored 19 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3, helping seal the 114-111 victory for the Suns.
  • Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin rewarded himself and the team by staying prepared ahead of Game 4, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune writes. McLaughlin has seen inconsistent playing time this season, but he made the most of his opportunity on Saturday. The 26-year-old scored 16 points (4-of-4 from deep) in 14 minutes off the bench. “It’s always what he does,” teammate Karl-Anthony Towns said of McLaughlin. “Consummate professional. Every day he steps on the court he makes an impact. It’s normal, it’s routine. We need someone like him, someone who comes off the bench and dominates the game.”

Clippers Notes: Leonard, George, Covington, Batum, Hartenstein, Outlook

The Clippers were a much more optimistic bunch than most teams after getting eliminated from playoff contention, Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register writes. That’s due to the return of perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard from his knee injury, plus the expectation that Paul George will have better injury luck next season.

In addition to being out for most of the season due to an elbow injury, George missed Friday’s play-in tournament loss to New Orleans after testing positive for COVID-19.

We get our main guys back. I mean, we can be dangerous,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “I think when you get Kawhi and PG back healthy, Norm (Powell for) a full season … this team can be pretty special. But it’s all about health. Our young guys (Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, (Luke) Kennard, Ivica Zubac), all those guys have (had) a chance to develop and play meaningful games. They played big for us. Our veteran guys, we already talked about what Marcus (Morris), Nico (Batum), Reggie (Jackson) have brought to this team. We got to get back, get back to the drawing board. But I’m very excited for this group, the guys coming back.”

We have more on the Clippers:

  • Robert Covington will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but the prospect of playing with Leonard and George is enticing to him, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets“The way that we played tonight when we went small, imagine PG and Kawhi in that lineup,’ he said. “That’s a lot of versatility … Once them guys come back next year, if I’m here, I’m really looking forward to that.”
  • By trading for Covington, the Clippers also acquired his Bird rights, which will allow them to exceed the salary cap and luxury tux to retain him, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes in his guide to the team’s offseason. They don’t have a first-rounder due to the George trade but they will have two trade exceptions of $9.7MM and $8.3MM, plus the taxpayer mid-level exception of $6.3MM, to make roster upgrades.
  • Another potential decision is whether to re-sign Batum if he declines his $3.3MM option, Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype notes in his offseason preview. They hold Non-Bird rights on another unrestricted free agent, Isaiah Hartenstein. Gozlan also breaks down the remaining salary due to each player on the roster.
  • After blowing two chances to make the playoffs, the Clippers are in typical wait-til-next-year mode, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times opines. Despite the rosy outlook, the Clippers can’t guarantee that Leonard will regain his pre-injury form, that the chemistry will be the same or that someone else won’t get hurt.

Trade Rumors: Dragic, Noel, Zubac, Batum, Millsap

The Raptors have phoned rival teams to gauge what sort of return they could get in exchange for Goran Dragic‘s expiring contract and a first-round pick, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Toronto is known to be in the market for an upgrade at center, but likely won’t want to part with any of its core players in an in-season deal. That makes Dragic’s expiring deal and a draft pick the most logical package for the Raptors to offer.

That framework of Dragic and draft assets was brought up in negotiations for Pacers center Myles Turner before he sustained a stress fracture in his foot, says Fischer.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors from around the NBA:

Clippers Seek Point Guard; Bledsoe, Ibaka, Morris Available

The Clippers are shopping for a play-making point guard and are willing to move several veterans in order to achieve that goal, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports.

The Clippers believe a starting point guard is the missing piece to become a championship contender when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return to action, even though it’s uncertain whether they’ll be back this season or next year.

The front office has made Eric Bledsoe, Serge Ibaka, and Marcus Morris available to acquire another floor leader, O’Connor says. The team views current starter Reggie Jackson as more of a scorer than a pure point guard.

Bledsoe is signed through next season but his $19.38MM salary next season is only guaranteed for $3.9MM. Ibaka is making $9.7MM this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Clippers would prefer to hold onto Morris, who is in the second year of a four-year, $64MM contract, but the forward may be their most attractive trade piece.

O’Connor suggests the Clippers would also be willing to part with Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Jason Preston, Brandon Boston Jr., or Keon Johnson if the right deal came along.

As O’Connor notes, the Clippers have been linked in some fashion to Jalen Brunson, Dennis Schröder, Kemba Walker, Goran Dragic, Spencer Dinwiddie and John Wall in recent weeks. Brunson would seemingly be the best fit, though the Mavericks aren’t inclined to deal him, despite the fact that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Dragic, currently in limbo, might be a good short-term fit. Wall, who hasn’t played this season while the Rockets seek a new home for him, could also be an intriguing possibility. The salaries of Bledsoe, Ibaka and Morris could be matched up to obtain Wall. The Clippers could also simply wait to see if Wall winds up on the buyout market and make a play for him at that point.

Western Notes: Adams, Zubac, LeBron, House, Nowell

Grizzlies starting center Steven Adams has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, the team’s PR tweets. Adams had been the only member of the team to play in every game this season, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).

In other COVID-19 news, Clippers center Ivica Zubac has cleared the protocols and is listed as questionable (reconditioning) for Saturday’s game against Memphis, per the Clippers’ PR department (via Twitter).

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers have found success with LeBron James at center lineups, and Nekias Duncan of BasketballNews relays that it’s the next evolution of James’ lengthy career. Duncan writes that in 345 minutes with James as the lone big man, his per-36 averages are 32.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists (2.0 turnovers), 1.8 steals, and 1.5 blocks with a 61/41/83 shooting line. More importantly, L.A. has outscored opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions during those minutes.
  • Since the Jazz were only carrying 13 players on standard contracts, there was some uncertainty about whether Danuel House had received a traditional or hardship exception 10-day deal, but Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets that it used a hardship exception. House’s contract won’t count against the salary cap or luxury tax, but it’s still an opportunity for him to potentially earn a roster spot with Utah, as the team is only carrying 14 players on standard deals. He had 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists in 26 minutes in his debut Friday, a 122-108 loss to Toronto.
  • With the Timberwolves shorthanded due to COVID-19 absences, Jaylen Nowell stepped up and earned his guaranteed contract, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Hine notes that Nowell was averaging 13.9 points over his last 10 games entering Friday, while shooting 50% from the field and 36% on three-pointers. Nowell concedes he may not be the most explosive player, but he’s still finding ways to be effective. “I watch a lot of older players and how they maneuver and got to the rim,” Nowell said. “I’m not the most explosive guy. I have a little bit of explosiveness, so I can use that to my advantage. … I’ve got to find certain ways to get to the spots I want.”

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA: