Kevin Pangos

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Kevin Pangos, Aaron White Drawing NBA Interest

A pair of North-American-born veterans playing for Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas are drawing NBA interest, reports Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas. According to Urbonas (Twitter links), guard Kevin Pangos and forward Aaron White have caught the eye of NBA teams.

Pangos, who played his college ball at Gonzaga, went undrafted in 2015 and began his professional career in Spain before heading to Lithuania in 2016. He enjoyed the best season of his three-year career in 2017/18, averaging a team-high 12.7 PPG and 5.9 APG in 36 EuroLeague games, and helping lead Zalgiris to the EuroLeague Final Four.

It’s not clear whether Pangos will make the leap to the NBA this offseason – the Canadian recently told Urbonas that he’s unsure about participating in the Las Vegas Summer League in July – but if he doesn’t return stateside, he should have plenty of options in Europe. A source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando that Barcelona is ready to offer Pangos a lucrative two-year contract.

As for White, he was the 49th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Iowa, but has also spent the last three seasons playing internationally, spending time in Germany, Russia, and Lithuania. White, who averaged 8.9 PPG and 4.4 RPG in EuroLeague action this season, remains under contract with Zalgiris for next year, but his deal includes an NBA out clause, Urbonas notes.

The Wizards, who drafted White in 2015, still hold his NBA rights, so it’s not clear if the “strong interest” he’s receiving from the NBA is coming from Washington or another club. If White isn’t part of the Wizards’ future plans, another team could probably trade for his draft rights at a very modest price.

And-Ones: NBPA, Hackett, Stoudemire

The way teams discuss their own pending restricted free agents is under fire from the National Basketball Players Association, which has officially taken the position that the traditional “we’ll match any offer” comments so often made by NBA executives are a circumvention of the salary cap in their intent to discourage potential rival bidders, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. The league had issued a memo back in November warning teams that, while the NBA itself doesn’t agree with the NBPA’s stance on the matter, league officials see enough potential merit in the union’s stance to advise those who continue with match-any-offer comments that they could be opening themselves up to legal action, Stein notes.

The ESPN scribe’s sources informed him that this impetus stems from Klutch Sports agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini, who urged the NBPA to challenge the way that teams have historically dropped none-too-subtle hints about their plans to match offers in an attempt to depress the market for restricted free agents. This movement stems from the willingness of new NBPA head Michele Roberts to aggressively speak up for the players, Stein adds. It’s not too surprising to see Paul and Termini at the center of this, given that they represent Eric Bledsoe, whose restricted free agency dragged on for months last year after the Suns pledged to match any offer. The duo also represent Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Norris Cole, all of whom could become restricted free agents this offseason.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Unrestricted free agent Amar’e Stoudemire said that he’d love to return to the Mavericks next season, but is also potentially interested in returning to play for the Suns or Knicks, Jared Zwerling of BleacherReport tweets.
  • Euroleague guard Daniel Hackett intends to void his contract with Emporio Armani Milano in order to pursue an NBA contract, David Pick of Eurobasket.com relays (Twitter link). The 27-year-old out of USC went undrafted back in 2009.
  • The Blazers held workouts on Friday for Gary Bell Jr. (Gonzaga), Seth Gearhart (Rice),  Jelani Hewitt (Georgia Southern), Dakari Johnson (Kentucky), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), and Thomas van der Mars (Netherlands), the team announced.

Western Notes: Aldridge, Porzingis, Gordon

The Lakers worked out Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports relays. Porzingis takes issue with scouts labeling him a finesse player or discounting him as another potential European bust, the Yahoo! scribe adds. “I don’t like being labeled soft,” Porzingis told Wojnarowski. “I’m very hungry. I love the game. I’ve got to prove to coaches and GMs that I’m not soft just because I’m from Europe. They need to see that I’m not just some skinny white guy, that I’m going to be there fighting. They’ll need to see that I’m a worker who’s going to play hard, and play tough. There are guys who have had incredible NBA careers – like Dirk Nowitzki and the Gasols [Pau and Marc] – and there are guys who haven’t. They’ll say, this guy is a bust. He’ll be Nikoloz Tskitishvili, this Georgian guy. Andrea Bargnani, Darko Milicic … That’s why I am talking, because I want the fear to go away with me. I want people to get to know me. I don’t want to be the mystery man from Europe.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Despite the reports relaying that Eric Gordon is likely to exercise his player option worth more than $15.514MM to stay with the Pelicans for next season, the 26-year-old guard has scoured the NBA market for a potential long-term deal outside of New Orleans, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. According to league sources, Gordon has been seeking four or five year contract possibilities with other teams, Charania notes.
  • The Lakers are a “distant third” in the running to lure LaMarcus Aldridge away from Portland, behind the Mavs, who are the favorites, and the Spurs, as Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher says in a video report. Bucher cites Aldridge’s strong relationship with former Blazers interim head coach Kaleb Canales, now a Mavs assistant, as reason to think Dallas holds appeal for the power forward, though Bucher speculates that Aldridge will ultimately chooses to re-sign with the Blazers.
  • The Jazz held pre-draft workouts today for J.J. Avila (Colorado State), Michael Frazier (Florida), Damarcus Harrison (Clemson), Youssou Ndoye (St. Bonaventure), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), and Travis Trice (Michigan State), the team announced (on Twitter).
  • The Clippers will bring in Damontre Harris (South Carolina) and Michale Kyser (Louisiana Tech) as part of a group workout on Wednesday, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Carroll, Hornets, Wizards

Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll is the top unrestricted free agent set to hit the open market this summer, and Carroll can expect to command an annual salary in the $14MM-$15MM range, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The 28-year-old also believes that his best basketball is still ahead of him, Vivlamore adds. “I think I have a lot more to come,” Carroll told Vivlamore. “I think I can be an All-Star player, like Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. I see myself as one of those guys, but in order for me to get to being on the elite level, like Paul George, you have to be consistent. People got a glimpse of it this year.

Here’s more out of the Southeast:

  • Though Carroll is happy in Atlanta and with the Hawks, he still intends to test the market this offseason, Vivlamore notes. “A player has few opportunities to hit the free-agent market and get a contract to take care of his family,” said Mark Bartelstein, Carroll’s agent. “However, there are a lot of elements to consider other than pure economics. The Hawks have been sensational with DeMarre’s development in so many ways. They deserve a lot of credit. At the same time, DeMarre’s work ethic and his relentless pursuit of greatness is why he continues to get better every single year, and I know it will just continue. We will weigh everything in making a great decision for DeMarre.
  • The Hornets held workouts today for Devin Booker (Kentucky), Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), Keon Moore (Winthrop), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Travis Trice (Michigan State), and Julian Washburn (UTEP), the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Scheduled to work out for the Wizards on Thursday are Brandon Ashley (Arizona), Corey Hawkins (UC Davis), David Laury (Iona), Nikola Radicevic (Serbia), Rashad Vaughn (UNLV), and Dez Wells (Maryland), the team has announced.
  • Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre has a workout scheduled with the Hornets on Thursday, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Casey, Knicks

Warriors consultant Jerry West is not impressed with the work of Knicks team president Phil Jackson thus far, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays. West questioned the trades Jackson has made with the Knicks and wondered about his ability to succeed in a front office role, Begley notes. In an interview on SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio’s “NBA Sunday Tip,” West said, “It’s a little easier for [Heat president Pat Riley]. He’s had a lot more experience on both sides in coaching and now in the front office. With Phil, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens back there. They didn’t have the kind of year I’m sure they wanted to have. Everyone in the league feels like they made two trades that helped Cleveland tremendously and one that helped Dallas this year.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors coach Dwane Casey says that he wasn’t concerned about his job security for next season, despite his squad getting swept in the first round of this year’s NBA Playoffs, Steven Loung of Sportsnet.ca writes. “I wasn’t worried about my job, never have been, never will be,” Casey said during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 the FAN’s “Brady and Walker” program. “[GM] Masai [Ujiri] has every right to look at the entire organization, [like] the coaching staff, and evaluate everything that we’ve done as a staff and as a team but I think, if we’re all honest with ourselves and look where we come from and look how the growth process is going, we’re going in the right direction. I think that’s what the evaluation process shows. Did we make mistakes as a coaching staff? Yes. Did we make mistakes as an organization and players making mistakes as players? Yes. We all do. We all are accountable for everything that goes on, but again, big picture, we’re going in the right direction from where we started last year.
  • The Knicks held workouts this past Friday for Andrew Harrison (Kentucky), Quinn Cook (Duke), Jordan Sibert (Dayton), and Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv relays.
  • Notre Dame swingman Pat Connaughton is scheduled to work out for the Celtics on Wednesday, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald tweets.

Pacific Notes: D’Alessandro, Draft, Clippers

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers denies that there is any rift between teammates Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays. “I can put this to rest: They get along great,” Rivers told Fred Roggin of The Beast 980. “Clearly, like everybody, they don’t get along all the time, and they don’t get along with me all the time, either, by the way. I don’t see that as an issue. I think all three, and I’m including Blake [Griffin] in this as well, understand how important the other guy is to them. Meaning, they all three need each other to win, and I think all three get that and all three know that and all three want to do it together. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

Here’s the latest out of the NBA’s Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers held workouts today for Phil Greene, Rayvonte Rice, Cady Lalanne, Maurice Walker, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Matt Carlino, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reports (Twitter link).
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro is a “significant candidate” for the now vacant athletic director post at St. John’s University, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). D’Alessandro lost a significant amount of his authority when the team hired new president of basketball and franchise operations, Vlade Divac.
  • The Suns worked out Quinn Cook, Marcus Thornton (Georgia), D.J. Newbill, Tyler Haws, Matt Stainbrook, and Aaron Thomas, Scotto tweets.
  • When speaking about potential 2015 draftees Aaron Harrison and Kevin Pangos, both of whom recently worked out for the team, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek noted that both players may not get selected this June, but could have a shot at making an NBA roster because of the changes in how guards are used today, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “There are probably more guys that are the combo guards because they’re not really true point guards,” Hornacek said. “They’re all scoring guys. They all come up with the scoring mentality. You try to find those guys that can do both those things. But especially in today’s game, the point guard, he may be a scorer but he’s still got to lead the team. He’s still got to have that ability to direct guys and not be afraid.

Eastern Notes: Curry, Celtics, Perkins

The Hornets announced today that former player and current broadcaster Dell Curry has expanded his role with the organization, becoming a team Ambassador and Special Projects Advisor. Curry will serve as an ambassador for the team at events related to both basketball and business operations, such as community programs, charity outings, speaking engagements and fundraising galas. “We are pleased that Dell has agreed to expand his role with our organization,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield.  “Dell’s name is synonymous with the words ‘Charlotte Hornets.’  Our fans know him well from both his history as a player and his six seasons as our TV analyst.  We are excited that he will be strengthening his relationship with our franchise.

Here’s the latest out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics held workouts today for David Kravish (California), Cliff Alexander (Kansas), Chasson Randle (Stanford), George Lucas (Brazil), Maxie Esho (UMass), and Satnam Singh (IMG Academy), Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com relays (via Twitter).
  • Kendrick Perkins had a choice to sign with either the Clippers or the Cavaliers after parting ways with the Jazz at midseason via a buyout arrangement, and the big man is thrilled that he ultimately decided on Cleveland, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media writes. “Just to come and have a chance to win a title is beautiful,” Perkins told Haynes. “Anytime you have that chance to make it to The Finals, you’re definitely a championship-type team. … We’re proving it every night.
  • The Nets have three sets of workouts scheduled for next week, the team announced. The group on Monday will consist of Terry Rozier (Louisville), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Treveon Graham (VCU), Aaron Thomas (FSU), Mike Myers (MD-Eastern Shore), and Kendall Gray (Delaware State). Tuesday’s crop will consist of Phil Greene (St. John’s), Darrick Marks (Boise State), Darrun Hilliard (Villanova), Greg Whittington (Georgetown), Aaron White (Iowa), and David Laury (Iona). And on Wednesday the team will work out Jarvis Summers (Mississippi), Quinn Cook (Duke), Jesse Morgan (Temple), J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina), Jonathan Holmes (Texas), and JayVaughn Pinkston (Villanova).

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Bogdanovic, Draft

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak indicated that he hasn’t heard any offers enticing enough to sway him to deal away the No. 2 overall pick this June, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “It would have to be a heck of an opportunity for us to consider doing something like that,” Kupchak said. “You have to weigh it against who you would get as the second pick. We’re a little bit impatient. So if you came across something that made your team better quicker, that would probably be a veteran. That’s something you would consider.

But the GM also noted that even acquiring a solid veteran might not be enough for the franchise to make a trade, Holmes adds. “Something could be said for having the No. 2 pick in terms of building going forward,” Kupchak said. “You know you’re going to get a really good player. You know you’re going to get a player under a contract that you’ll be able to control for at least five years at a reasonable amount before you have to consider an extension. Those are pluses in addition to getting a heck of a talent.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns draft-and-stash pick Bogdan Bogdanovic won’t be making the jump to the NBA next season, and he will remain with the Turkish club Fenerbahce, David Pick of Eurobasket.com tweets. The 22-year-old was the No. 27 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
  • The Lakers held workouts today for T.J. McConnell (Arizona), Bryce Dejean-Jones (Iowa State), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Dez Wells (Maryland), Seth Tuttle (Northern Iowa), and Maurice Walker (Minnesota), Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays.
  • Wyoming big man Larry Nance Jr. has a workout with the Lakers scheduled for next week, Robert Gagliardi of WyomingCowboysBlog.com reports.
  • The Suns worked out Askia Booker (Colorado), Branden Dawson (Michigan State), Kendall Gray (Delaware State), Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington), Le’Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), and Chris Walker (Florida), Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic relays (via Twitter).