Jock Landale

Southwest Notes: Poeltl, Landale, Zion, Silas

Spurs center Jakob Poeltl returned to action last Thursday after missing six games due to COVID-19, but he’s still feeling the effects of the layoff, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Poeltl, who is fully vaccinated, was in the league’s health and safety protocols for 16 days and said the adjustment of returning to a full-time schedule has been difficult.

“I had to get my conditioning, but also sitting at home for a week and a half, you’re not shooting the basketball,” he said. “It’s tough to get back in game rhythm. But it’s feeling better with every minute I am out there.”

Poeltl, who moved into the starting lineup in the middle of last season, has been putting up career-best numbers this year with 12.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He said recovering from the virus has been different than coming back after being injured.

“It’s a little weird, because with getting COVID and stuff, it takes the wind away,” Poeltl said. “Everybody is cautious about running or whether you’re putting out too much energy. So even the build-up process was slower than it would be for a regular injury.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie center Jock Landale has also cleared protocols, McDonald adds. Landale, who has only appeared in four games this season, is available tonight for the first time since November 10.
  • The Pelicans are waiting for a foot specialist to process the latest scans on Zion Williamson, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Williamson has been playing 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 games, but hasn’t been cleared to participate in practice. The team expects the results to be available within a few days.
  • Amid rumors about his job security, Rockets coach Stephen Silas hasn’t lost track of his dual responsibilities of trying to get a few wins while developing his young players, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “It’s yeah, we want to win a game,” Silas said in tonight’s pre-game session with the media. “We want to get off this (15-game losing) streak. We want to get off this slide and I want it so badly for the group, but I also understand it’s developing these guys and I got to do both.”

Spurs Notes: Players’ Meeting, Landale, COVID Concerns, Walker

The Spurs held a players-only meeting in the locker room after last Thursday’s 25-point loss to the Timberwolves, forward Thaddeus Young informed Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “We took that butt whooping and we went back into the locker room and we talked for 20, 30 minutes, the whole team,” Young said. “Everyone voiced their issues and their points.”

Second-year lottery pick Devin Vassell was among those who spoke most eloquently.

“He basically said, ‘Come on. Let’s try to figure this thing out. Let’s talk about it. Let’s put everything out there on the table,'” Young said.

Young viewed that as a positive sign for the team building around young players.

“That’s what you want from young guys. I could do it, but at the end of the day, you want these younger guys to start stepping up,” Young said (Twitter links here).

San Antonio had the weekend off and will face Phoenix on Monday.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Big man Jock Landale has entered the reconditioning phase after being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Orsborn tweets. Landale entered protocols approximately two weeks ago and hasn’t played since November 1.
  • Though the team is fully vaccinated and some have received booster shots, players are wary of contracting the virus and are taking more precautions on the road, forward Doug McDermott told Orsborn. “That (being vaccinated) still doesn’t mean anything because you still see positive tests. I think a good example was in the NFL,” McDermott said. “You are seeing a lot of positive cases there and I think the same will be true of us (in the NBA) around Thanksgiving.”
  • Guard Lonnie Walker IV holds no hard feelings toward Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, Orsborn writes. Prince was ejected after being issued a Flagrant 2 foul for striking Walker in the chest and face during the second half as Walker drove to the basket. “It was fine,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten hit a lot worse than that. I don’t think it was on purpose. I’m real cool with Prince.”

Western Notes: Blazers, Ainge, Lillard, Landale, Gay

It’s too early to say whether the Trail Blazersinvestigation into Neil Olshey‘s conduct will lead the franchise to make any major changes at the top of the front office. However, Howard Beck of SI.com said on the latest episode of The Crossover NBA Show that he wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Ainge‘s name is connected to the president of basketball operations role in Portland if the team looks to replace Olshey (hat tip to RealGM).

“I don’t know if Danny would take it, but I would expect Danny Ainge would be in the mix for a vacancy in Portland,” Beck said, admitting that he was putting the horse before the cart. “It’s one of the cities he’s been connected to over the years because of his history there.”

Ainge, who spent a couple seasons with the Blazers as a player, was also born and raised in Oregon, which is the “history” Beck is referring to. Ainge has shifted into a consultant role in Boston after stepping down as the Celtics’ head of basketball operations this summer.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Western Conference…

  • The NBA has acknowledged that its referees are still working to find the right balance between instituting the league’s new philosophy on foul calling and continuing to allow freedom of movement. Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believes there’s still plenty of work to do, as Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. “I feel like the way the game is being officiated is unacceptable,” Lillard said on Tuesday night. “I don’t want to go too deep into it so they make a big deal out of it, but the explanations, the s–t that’s getting missed, I mean, come on. I felt like coming in, the rule change wouldn’t affect me, because I don’t do the trick the referees, the trick plays… (but) it’s just unacceptable.”
  • Spurs big man Jock Landale has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who says it’s unclear whether or not Landale tested positive for COVID-19. The rookie is the second Spur to enter the protocols, joining fellow center Jakob Poeltl.
  • Rudy Gay, who signed with the Jazz in the offseason, is inching closer to making his debut for the team, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. The team said on Tuesday that Gay has been taking part in “controlled court work,” and Todd says he’s begun participating in 3-on-3 action. Utah will provide another update on the veteran forward on Monday.

Southwest Notes: Landale, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Bane

Big man Jock Landale, who signed with the Spurs last month after spending last season with Melbourne United, referred to Australia’s National Basketball League as “the best place to be” for players trying to make jump to the NBA. In an appearance on the NBL’s The Huddle podcast, Landale praised the league’s willingness to let players pursue NBA opportunities.

“I think the NBL does themselves such a service in having that leniency to let people go and pursue that dream, that people now look at it as a legitimate pathway,” Landale said.

Landale signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Spurs as a free agent this offseason. While the second year isn’t guaranteed, the first season is, so he’s in position to make San Antonio’s 15-man squad.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic was underwhelmed by the Pelicans‘ offseason, giving the team a grade of D-plus for its summer moves. While Harper liked the acquisition of Jonas Valanciunas and New Orleans’ deal with Josh Hart, he believes the club significantly downgraded its backcourt, calling the Devonte’ Graham signing a “pretty bad” deal.
  • While the city of New Orleans was hit hard by Hurricane Ida, the Pelicans‘ Smoothie King Center only sustained “minor exterior damage,” according to the team. The Pels will be able to play their home games there this fall without issue, as Christian Clark of NOLA.com details.
  • The Grizzlies plan to retire the jerseys for two key members of the team’s “Grit and Grind” era, announcing (via Twitter) that they’ll retire Zach Randolph‘s No. 50 on December 11 and Tony Allen‘s No. 9 on January 28.
  • Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane is changing agents, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, who tweets that Bane has left Seth Cohen of SAC Sports Family and is in the process of hiring new representation. Bane is still two years away from being extension-eligible for the first time.

Western Notes: Popovich, Landale, Can, Beckett

Gregg Popovich may not seem the type of coach who is interested in records, but he wants to become the NBA’s all-time winningest coach more than many people would suspect, according to Marc Stein of Substack (subscription required). The Spurs’ longtime coach is 26 wins shy of passing Don Nelson for the most regular-season coaching victories. The fact that they are close friends adds to the appeal. Prior to becoming a head coach, Popovich spent two seasons in Golden State as Nelson’s top assistant.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  •  Jock Landale’s two-year contract with the Spurs is a minimum-salary deal, Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. The first year is fully guaranteed, while the second year is non-guaranteed. The Australian big man was the NBL Grand Final MVP last season.
  • The Jazz have added Erdem Can to their coaching staff, according to a team press release. Can joins Quin Snyder‘s staff after serving as an assistant coach for Fenerbahce in the Turkish first division from 2012-21.  He has also assisted the Jazz’s summer league coaching staff five times in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
  • Assistant coach John Beckett is signing a new contract with the Nuggets, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Beckett was under consideration to join Wes Unseld Jr.‘s staff with the Wizards. Beckett and Unseld worked together under Michael Malone last season.

Spurs Sign Jock Landale

AUGUST 20: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.


AUGUST 3: The Spurs have agreed to a two-year deal with Australian big man Jock Landale, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Landale, a 25-year-old, 6’11” center, is fresh off winning the 2021 NBL Grand Final MVP for Melbourne United. He averaged 16.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.5 BPG while shooting 38.9% from three on 149 total attempts during the 2020/21 season.

The Spurs are light in established frontcourt players, leaving the possibility of Landale to carve out a role for himself, especially if newly-signed Zach Collins is unable to stay healthy. With the team officially losing Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, the youth movement appears to be in full swing in San Antonio.

International Notes: Satoransky, Olympics, Shayok, Landale

Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is the only current NBA player on the Czech Republic’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month (link via FIBA). Former NBA lottery pick Jan Vesely is among the other notable names on the roster.

Satoransky, Vesely, and the Czechs will be looking to earn a berth in the Tokyo Olympics by winning a six-team tournament that also features Canada, Greece, Turkey, China, and Uruguay. It won’t be an easy path, as only one of the six teams will advance to Tokyo. Canada’s roster features many NBA players, while Greece could have Giannis Antetokounmpo available if the Bucks don’t advance past Brooklyn in round two of the NBA playoffs.

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

  • Former NBA second-rounder Marial Shayok is joining Turkish club Fenerbahce, according to a report from Ismail Senol of beIN Sports (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). After being selected 54th overall in 2019, Shayok spent his rookie season with the 76ers, but was waived last November. The 25-year-old forward played for Frutti Extra Bursaspor in Turkey for most of 2021.
  • Former Saint Mary’s big man Jock Landale, who is currently playing for Melbourne United in Australia’s National Basketball League, is hoping to use the NBL playoffs as a springboard to a potential NBA contract, telling Matt Logue of News.com.au that he has received “a lot” of NBA interest this season. Landale also sought a move to the NBA last summer, but could have more luck this time around following a big year for Melbourne.
  • Nick Lagios, who will be the general manager of the NBA G League’s new franchise based in Mexico City, told Achilleas Mavrodontis of Eurohoops.net that he likes the idea of someday overseeing a European team’s basketball operations department. “Many people call me crazy because my dream job is to work as a GM or president in the EuroLeague,” Lagios said. “I think it would be a great experience working (for) a European team or a top-notch Greek team and I would love that in the future.”

And-Ones: G League, Bubble, Landale, Munford

The NBA G League’s new Select Team will play in Walnut Creek, California, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). While the squad was always expected to be based out of California, previous reports suggested the Los Angeles area was most likely —  Walnut Creek is in the Bay Area.

The Select Team is expected to be made up of a combination of noteworthy prospects and veteran mentors. Five-star recruits Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Daishen Nix, and Isaiah Todd have signed on to be part of the team, as have intriguing international big men Kai Sotto and Princepal Singh.

It remains to be seen which vets might fill out the roster, but Brian Shaw will be the club’s head coach. The Select Team won’t be part of the NBAGL’s traditional regular season schedule, but is expected to play exhibition games against G League teams, as well as against foreign national teams and NBA academies, as the program focuses on helping top prospects prepare for the NBA.

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

  • It’s too early to declare it a complete success, but the NBA’s “bubble” experiment is off to a great start, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. “Seriously, it’s a great stage to play,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “There’s not a lot of distractions. It’s the same court every night, so you get your shooting depth perception and all of that. It’s pure basketball. So, you see some of the talents these guys have are coming out.”
  • Big man Jock Landale has officially parted ways with Zalgiris Launas, the Lithuanian team announced today in a press release. As the club noted in its announcement, Landale will be seeking an NBA job this fall when free agency opens.
  • Former Grizzlies and Bucks guard Xavier Munford has joined Turkish team Bursaspor Basketbol, according to the club (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). A former Rhode Island standout, Munford has appeared in just 20 NBA games, though he’s a G League veteran, having logged 209 NBAGL appearances, including 43 this past season with the Delaware Blue Coats.

And-Ones: Landale, CBA, Wolters, Stuart

Former NBA player Jock Landale is prioritizing a return to the league instead of playing overseas next season, he told Olgun Uluc of ESPN (Twitter link).

“My sole focus is on making this offseason count because it’s time I’ll never get back… that’s all in the lead-up to hopefully signing an NBA contract in October,” Landale said. “I feel ready.”

Landale remains under contract with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania through 2021, but the Australian big man isn’t expected to continue with the team. Landale averaged 11 points, 4.4 rebounds and 20.6 minutes in 25 EuroLeague games last season. He shot 53% from the floor and 30% from downtown.

Landale, 24, went undrafted in 2018 after spending four seasons at Saint Mary’s College. He signed with the Hawks for summer league shortly after going undrafted, later signing in Serbia that summer. He played stateside with the Bucks during summer league last year.

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

  • The Chinese Basketball Association is set to start allowing fans to attend games, according to an ESPN.com article. The CBA will let a limited amount of fans into games on Sunday before opening for the public on July 31. Fans will be required to buy tickets online within 48 hours of testing negative for coronavirus, the league said in a release.
  • Free agent Nate Wolters has reached agreement on a one-year deal with UNICS Kazan in Russia, the team announced on social media. Wolters averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 assists with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the EuroLeague last year, making past NBA stops with the Bucks, Pelicans and Jazz.
  • The NBA has named Oris Stuart as the league’s Chief People and Inclusion Officer, announcing the news in a press release. Stuart will begin the role on August 15, leading the combined Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion groups. He’ll oversee diversity strategies for the NBA, WNBA and other associated leagues, holding a goal of expanding programs to increase the representation of people of color and women in various leadership roles.

International Notes: Ennis, Dekker, Macon, Adel, Landale

Veteran guard Tyler Ennis and forward Sam Dekker spent a half-season in 2016/17 as teammates with the Rockets. Now, they’re set to team up again for the 2020/21 season — this time, it’ll happen in Turkey rather than in Houston.

Turk Telekom BK published a pair of tweets this week welcoming Ennis and Dekker to the team, an indication that both players have reached deals with the Turkish club.

Ennis and Dekker were 18th overall picks in back-to-back NBA drafts (2014 and 2015), with Ennis appearing in 186 total games for four clubs, while Dekker logged 200 appearances for four clubs. Neither player was in the NBA in 2019/20, as Ennis spent the season with Raptors 905 in the G League, while Dekker played in Russia for Lokomotiv Kuban.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the world of international basketball:

  • Turkish team Galatasaray has signed former Arkansas guard Daryl Macon to a one-year contract, the team announced in a press release. Macon began the 2019/20 season on a two-year deal with Miami, but was waived in January to open up a spot for Gabe Vincent.
  • Former Louisville forward Deng Adel, who was on a two-way contract with Cleveland in 2018/19 and was with the Nets in camp last fall, has signed with the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League, the team announced in a press release. According to the club, Adel received interest from several others NBL teams before signing with the Hawks.
  • Former Saint Mary’s big man Jock Landale isn’t expected to return to Zalgiris Kaunas for the 2020/21 season, according to Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link). Urbonas previously reported that the Lithuanian team was preparing for Landale to opt out of the final year of his contract and potentially seek an NBA job.