Joffrey Lauvergne

International Notes: Monroe, Poythress, Brown, Lauvergne

Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg is interested in signing former NBA big man Greg Monroe for the 2020/21 season, according to Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops, who tweets that there are “ongoing talks” between the two sides.

Varlas suggests that Monroe is still considering both NBA and international options, with Zenit looking like one of the strongest contenders to sign him if he continues his career overseas. Monroe, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft, spent the 2019/20 campaign with Bayern Munich in Germany after nine years in the NBA.

Players like Monroe, who may prefer to seek an NBA deal, are in a tough spot, since European clubs are filling their rosters now while the NBA’s free agency period won’t begin for another three months. Some players with NBA aspirations may decide it’s not worth the risk to wait until the fall.

Here are a few more international updates on players with NBA experience:

  • If Monroe ends up joining Zenit St. Petersburg, he’ll join another former NBA big man in the frontcourt — Zenit announced on Monday (via Twitter) that Alex Poythress has reached a one-year deal with the team. Poythress previously appeared in 52 NBA games for Philadelphia, Indiana, and Atlanta from 2017-19.
  • Turkish team Fenerbache has agreed to a one-year contract with veteran point guard Lorenzo Brown, according to a press release. Brown has played in a total of 103 NBA regular season games since making his debut in 2013, making 26 appearances in 2018/19 for the eventual-champion Raptors before being waived last January.
  • Veteran big man Joffrey Lauvergne, who suited up for the Nuggets, Thunder, Bulls, and Spurs from 2014-18, has signed a one-year deal with Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas, the team announced in a press release (hat tip to Sportando). The Frenchman returned to Europe after his contract with San Antonio expired in 2018, spending the last two seasons with Fenerbahce.

International Notes: Lin, Germany, Turkey, Powell

Jeremy Lin posted a message to fans on Instagram as he returned to China for the resumption of the CBA season, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Overseas players have come back to the nation and are undergoing a two-week quarantine before play resumes in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season,” Lin wrote. “Excited to hoop again, but leaving the bay worried and with a heavy heart for the sick, the jobless and all those fighting fear, anxiety and stress over the unknown future. Shoutout to our medical staff in the 50 states for working tirelessly and everyone keep doing your part in slowing the virus!

“It’s been an awesome 2 months camped out in the gym…basketball has never been more meaningful. The world needs basketball now more than ever. I still remember when I went through my toughest moments and worst injuries, you guys were there for me. I hope to return the favor. As all you beloved fans told me the day after my knee injury, keep fighting bc we’re #NeverDone.”

There’s more international news this morning:

  • Brose Bamberg in Germany is the latest team to permit its American players to return home, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Former NBA guard Jordan Crawford is the most recognizable name on the roster.
  • All players from the Fenerbahce team in Turkey, along with coaches and staff members, have been tested for the coronavirus and a team manager in under observation in the hospital, writes Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The roster includes former NBA players James Nunnally, Nando De Colo, Derrick Williams, Malcolm Thomas, Jan Vesely, Luigi Datome and Joffrey Lauvergne.
  • New Iona coach Rick Pitino, who had been coaching Panathinaikos in Greece since 2018 before recently leaving the team, tells Lupo that Seton Hall’s Myles Powell could have a bright future in the EuroLeague. He compares Powell to former Suns and Pelicans guard Mike James, who has become a star in Europe. “Myles Powell reminds me of Mike a little bit,” Pitino said. “Do I think he’ll be in the NBA? I think he’ll try out with a team, but I think he’ll be a terrific player over in Europe and make a lot of money and be very successful. Could he play in the NBA? I’m sure he could, but I don’t think he’s somebody you’re gonna say he’s definitely gonna make it, but he’s a very talented young man and I think he’ll get a good shot at the NBA.”

Southwest Rumors: Gasol, Nowitzki, Lauvergne, Finney-Smith

Spurs center Pau Gasol hopes to play for Spain in the FIBA World Cup next summer, according to a Sportando report. Gasol told the Spanish website El Dia he’ll wait until after the NBA season to make a final decision whether he’ll play for his home country as it attempts to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. “I am about to turn 39,” Gasol said. “I love playing with the national team and I would like to continue, and qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and help the team with my presence, if I am physically well my belief and my wish is to be in the World Cup.”

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Dirk Nowitzki scrimmaged with his Mavericks teammates for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery in April, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. Coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki should be available for training camp, which opens September 21, Sefko continues. Lottery pick Luka Doncic and J.J. Barea were among the other players in the scrimmage, Sefko adds.
  • Former Spurs big man Joffrey Lauvergne said he would have stayed in San Antonio if he didn’t get an offer to play with Turkey’s Fenerbahce, he told Fenerbahce TV in an interview relayed by Sportando. Lauvergne declined a $1.656MM player option to sign a two-year deal overseas with the anticipation of getting more playing time. “I wanted to come back to Europe and the team that I wanted to play is Fenerbahçe,” he said. “I accepted the offer without thinking but if Fenerbahçe didn’t offer me i would probably stay in Spurs for one more season.”
  • Mavericks swingman Dorian Finney-Smith should find more playing time in the frontcourt rather than the crowded backcourt, Sefko writes in a separate story. The club hopes he can develop into a 3-and-D player and he’ll earn more minutes if his outside shot improves, Sefko continues. It’s a pivotal year for Finney-Smith, who will become a restricted free agent after the season if he receives a qualifying offer or unrestricted if the club declines to do so, Sefko adds.

Joffrey Lauvergne Finalizes Deal With Fenerbahce

Former Spurs big man Joffrey Lauvergne officially has a new team, according to agent Misko Raznatovic, who tweets that his client has signed a two-year contract with Turkey’s Fenerbahce. The club has officially confirmed the signing as well (via Twitter).

Lauvergne, who signed a minimum-salary contract with the Spurs a year ago, played just 9.7 minutes per contest in 55 games for the club, averaging 4.1 PPG and 3.1 RPG.

Although Lauvergne had a player option for 2018/19 and could have remained in San Antonio, he turned down that option, with reports at the time suggesting he was on track to complete a deal with Fenerbahce. While it’s not clear how his new salary will compare to his $1.656MM option, Lauvergne will be on track for a larger role in Turkey.

Lauvergne has had a well-traveled professional career since 2009, playing for teams in France, Spain, Serbia, and Russia before arriving in the NBA in February 2015. Over the course of his four-season NBA career, Lauvergne was unable to find a long-term home or a consistent role, having spent time with Denver, Oklahoma City, and Chicago in addition to San Antonio.

Spurs’ Joffrey Lauvergne Won’t Pick Up Player Option

Spurs big man Joffrey Lauvergne has decided not to exercise his player option for the 2018/19 season, and is now on track to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News first reported in mid-June that Lauvergne was considering declining his player option, which is worth $1,656,092. Orazio Cauchi of Sportando confirmed earlier today that the 26-year-old was leaning toward opting out.

Both of those reports suggested that there was a good chance Lauvergne would continue his career overseas, and it appears that will be the case. In a second tweet, Wojnarowski confirms a report from Istanbul-based reporter Ismail Senol, who says (via Twitter) that the big man will sign with Turkish team Fenerbahce.

Lauvergne, who signed a minimum-salary contract with the Spurs a year ago, played just 9.7 minutes per contest in 55 games for the club. He averaged 4.1 PPG and 3.1 RPG. Over the course of his four-year NBA career, Lauvergne was unable to find a long-term home or a consistent role, having spent time with Denver, Oklahoma City, and Chicago as well.

As our player-option decision tracker shows, Lauvergne is just seventh veteran to turn down a player option this offseason.

Free Agent Rumors: Knicks, Beasley, Lauvergne

While the Knicks don’t plan on offering any contracts with second-year guarantees, they’re unlikely to sit out free agency entirely. As Marc Berman of The New York Post details, the club is exploring the possibility of re-signing Michael Beasley or adding another veteran forward.

According to Berman, Anthony Tolliver is a potential target for the Knicks, who may want to use their mid-level exception on a “high-character veteran.” Berman identifies Jeff Green, Ersan Ilyasova, and Luc Mbah a Moute as other options within the New York’s price range.

[RELATED: Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2018]

As for Beasley, while a return to the Knicks is possible, sources tell Berman that the Trail Blazers, Hawks, and Bucks are among the other teams that could have interest. The Warriors have also internally discussed the possibility of offering Beasley a minimum-salary deal, but it doesn’t look like they’ll do so, Berman adds.

Here are more notes and rumors on free agency from around the NBA:

  • Spurs big man Joffrey Lauvergne is leaning toward declining his player option and becoming a free agent, reports Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. If Lauvergne opts out, he may head to Europe, where he’d be in line for a larger role — Fenerbahce (Turkey) and CSKA Moscow (Russia) are two teams with apparent interest, per Cauchi.
  • Within a league-wide look at each team’s priorities in free agency, Michael Scotto of The Athletic reports that the Nets are in the market for a stretch four this offseason.
  • Former lottery pick Anthony Randolph, who played in the NBA from 2008 to 2014, is a candidate to return to the league, says Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Randolph has played in Russia and Spain over the last few seasons, but a source tells Deveney that the forward/center is receiving interest from multiple NBA teams. For now, Randolph remains under contract with Real Madrid, but a jump back to the NBA is possible.
  • Aaron Harrison, eligible for restricted free agency with the Mavericks, has committed to joining the Wizards‘ Summer League team, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Dallas tendered qualifying offers to a few other RFA-eligible players this week, but it seems Harrison isn’t in the team’s plans. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

Joffrey Lauvergne Mulling Declining Player Option

Spurs big man Joffrey Lauvergne is reportedly considering declining his player option for the 2018/19 season to pursue more lucrative offers overseas, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

“On the Joffrey Lauvergne front, the belief is he will not opt into his $1.6 million player option, while more lucrative offers he’ll consider to play overseas,” Young writes.

Lauvergne, 26, appeared in 55 games off the San Antonio bench this past season, averaging 4.1 PPG and 3.1 RPG. In four NBA seasons with the Nuggets, Thunder, Bulls, and Spurs, the Frenchman has averaged 5.6 PPG and 3.8 RPG. If Lauvergne does opt-out and pursue opportunities elsewhere, the only big men left on the Spurs’ roster would be LaMarcus Aldridge and Davis Bertans.

In the story, Young notes that veteran Pau Gasol is expected to be shopped this summer while the Spurs target Villanova’s Omari Spellman in the draft.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: San Antonio Spurs

The fate of the Spurs is in the hands of Kawhi Leonard and it’s hard to get a clear read on his current relationship with the franchise. With Leonard, a savvy veteran core, and a world-class coaching staff, the Spurs are capable of competing in the West. Without him, however, the forecast in San Antonio is considerably more bleak, and that impacts everything, including the club’s pending free agency decisions.

Given the franchise’s track record of stability, I’d posit that Leonard returns at full health next season and this entire debacle gets chalked up to a superstar-level player lacking faith in an organization’s medical staff mandated to prod him back into action as soon as reasonably possible.

While much of the disappointment around the team this year can be traced back to this one isolated case of melodrama, that shouldn’t veil the fact that the Spurs – who’ve been ancient for over a decade now – are looking older than ever. Is a major shakeup right around the bend? That may be the case with or without Leonard eventually, but in 2018/19 at least, we can expect something along the lines of the status quo.

Kyle Anderson, SF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6MM deal in 2014
Like any good Spurs prospect, Anderson slowly marinated in winning culture for three years before taking a leap in the final year of his rookie contract. The versatile forward thrived in the minutes made available by the injury to Leonard and could draw interest as a capable, multifaceted young asset on the open market this summer. San Antonio has some flexibility to match a raise if Anderson’s camp goes out and gets one — the Spurs may have no other choice if they end up needing to consider a full roster reboot anyway.

Davis Bertans, PF, 25 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2016
Although he didn’t play major minutes on a consistent basis for the Spurs in 2017/18, Bertans established himself as a player who could contribute when given an opportunity. The stretch four isn’t likely to command a significant price tag as a restricted free agent, so San Antonio could probably lock him in as an affordable, yet capable rotation piece in an effort to add depth to an aging frontcourt.

Bryn Forbes, SG, 24 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2016
With much of San Antonio’s rotation planted firmly in their late-30s, competent young players that can be locked in to affordable deals are a special commodity. In Forbes, the club has a combo guard capable of instant offense off the bench. The MSU product could generate interest from other teams looking to add fresh legs and a potent long ball, but the Spurs should have enough financial flexibility to match anything within reason.

Rudy Gay, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $17MM deal in 2017
An Achilles injury forced Gay into signing a short-term “prove-it” deal with the Spurs last summer and the combo forward appears to have done just that. Still, while Gay performed admirably in a reduced role with his new franchise, it’s hard to imagine he’d garner much interest on the open market given his age and relatively underwhelming portfolio as a big investment. Gay looked solid as a supplementary player for the Spurs in 2017/18 and seems to be content. Given that there won’t be a long line of teams interested in overpaying for the 31-year-old in 2018, accepting the $9MM player option for next season may be Gay’s best bet.

Danny Green, SG, 31 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
While Green’s calling card has become ever more important in today’s NBA, there’s no denying that the three-point specialist benefited from perfect timing the last time he hit free agency. Green could conceivably turn down his 2018/19 player option worth $10MM next season in the hopes of landing a modest raise on a lucrative short-term deal like J.J. Redick did last summer, but the former bit player could also play things safe and continue to enjoy his last haul.

Joffrey Lauvergne, C, 26 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3MM deal in 2017
Lauvergne has seen his role decrease as he’s bounced from destination to destination over the last three seasons, but he remains a vaguely intriguing reserve asset despite the fact that he’ll turn 27 before next season. This summer, the big man’s best option to stick around in the league long-term might be to accept his 2018/19 player option and battle his way into a bigger role in San Antonio’s frontcourt. If he does that, he could open more opportunities for himself.

Tony Parker, PG, 36 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $56MM deal in 2014
The Spurs have consistently paid their veteran point guard eight-digit salaries for the past decade and while his place in the upper echelon of franchise history is secure, the organization doesn’t face any pressure to sign him to a bloated lifetime achievement contract as he enters the twilight of his career. Parker handled a demotion to the second unit professionally this year and has previously said that he’d like to play 20 seasons. That said, if indications that the team’s culture is going south are true, there may not be much of a point to keeping the band together.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Spurs Notes: Leonard, Ginobili, Parker, Gasol

A meeting with Kawhi Leonard will be the Spurs’ top priority of the offseason, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Head coach Gregg Popovich is expected to lead the session as the team tries to determine whether it can work through a dispute with its top player and forge a long-term relationship.

An MVP candidate last year, Leonard was limited to nine games this season by a lingering quad injury. He was cleared to return by team doctors, but not by his personal physicians in New York, where he made two extended visits during the season. Rumors persisted of disharmony between Leonard and the organization, and they intensified when he opted not to join the team for its playoff series.

“Kawhi, everybody asks questions, but he’s still here,” Danny Green said after last night’s season-ending loss at Golden State. “He’s still locked in. He’s a part of the team until things change.”

This summer’s meeting will go a long way for the Spurs in deciding whether to offer Leonard a supermax extension valued at about $219MM over five years. Complicating matters, Wright notes, are divorce proceedings between Peter Holt, the team’s former chairman and CEO, and Juliana Hawn Holt, the current chairman and co-CEO, which could affect any major financial decisions for the organization.

Wright offers more news about possible changes coming in San Antonio:

  • Manu Ginobili is signed for $2.5MM next season, but isn’t sure if he’ll return. Ginobili, who will turn 41 in July, plans to make the decision sometime this summer. “As I’ve done it the last two or three seasons, I’ll sit back, relax and, after two or three months, see if I feel retired or not,” he said. “I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don’t expect news until July, probably. I just don’t know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I’m not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever.”
  • Tony Parker, who turns 36 next month, is headed toward free agency after 17 years with the Spurs. He has expressed a desire to return to the team, but will probably have to accept a significant pay cut after making $15.4MM this season. “I said already I want to keep playing,” Parker stated. “I’m happy I don’t have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we’ll see if it’s in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we’ll see.”
  • Pau Gasol, 37, expressed a desire to play another three to four seasons. He is under contract for $16.8MM next year, with a non-guaranteed $16MM in 2019/20.
  • Green [$10MM for next season], Rudy Gay [$8.8MM] and Joffrey Lauvergne [$1.7MM] all have a June 29 deadline to exercise their player options. “This organization is a big part of me,” Green said, “and I would love to play here again, would love to come back. But things get interesting in free agency.”

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Embiid, Turner, Lauvergne

Donovan Mitchell will be a game-time decision for the Jazz tonight, according to Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune. Mitchell, who stubbed a toe during the second half of the series opener with Oklahoma City, plans to go through warm-ups before deciding if he can play.

“If I’m limping or whatever, if I’m out there kinda trying to adjust and not playing right like my normal self, that will dictate it,” he said. “That was really my first time going at it since the game. … I’m waiting to see what I feel right before the game, so we’ll go from there.”

Mitchell, who is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest, was able to return to Sunday’s game after the injury, but has been limited at practice this week. He is Utah’s leading scorer at 20.5 points per game and posted 27 in the series opener.

There’s more injury-related news to pass along:

  • The Sixers are listing Joel Embiid as doubtful for Game 3, the team announced on Twitter. Coach Brett Brown said Embiid, who is recovering from March 31 facial surgery, was able to handle contact “quite well” in Tuesday’s practice, relays Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link). “He did a little bit of contact,” Brown said. “Not much, but a little. Got up and down and scripted some plays. But really not much more than that.” Embiid will be evaluated again at tomorrow’s shootaround (Twitter link).
  • Trail Blazers guard Evan Turner is questionable for Game 3 after suffering a bruised toe last night against the Pelicans, reports Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. Turner was kicked in his big toe during a scramble for a loose ball and was limping after the game. Jusuf Nurkic, who left Tuesday’s game with a leg bruise, is expected to be OK.
  • The Spurs are listing Joffrey Lauvergne as out for Game 3 because of “personal business,” with no explanation of what that involves, relays Cody McCrary of The San Antonio Express-News.
  • The Timberwolves will be without rookie center Justin Patton tonight because of a sore left foot, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.