Kevin Pangos

Central Notes: Cavs’ Rotation, Pacers’ TPE, Vaulet, Cunningham

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is planning on a 10-man rotation but the last two spots could change from game-to-game, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates.

“We’re working our way to what will be probably a 10-man rotation and then there’s different nights that are going to call for different things and we will go to those different guys,” Bickerstaff said.

By process of elimination, Denzel Valentine, Kevin Pangos, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and Mfiondu Kabengele are the players vying for those rotation minutes and each brings a different skill set to the table.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • The Pacers picked up a $7.33MM traded player exception from the Spurs in the Doug McDermott sign-and-trade but it’s highly unlikely they’ll use it this season, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. They were just $763,905 below the luxury tax line before dumping Edmond Sumner‘s contract on Wednesday, which moved them $2.8MM under the tax line. That’s still not nearly enough incentive to use the exception, since the franchise has no desire to be a taxpayer.
  • The Pacers received the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet in the Sumner trade with Brooklyn but he won’t be playing in the NBA this season, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star notes. He signed a two-year contract with AEK Athens in July. The 6’6” Vaulet was originally drafted by Charlotte in 2015.
  • Top pick Cade Cunningham sat out the Pistons‘ preseason opener against San Antonio on Wednesday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Cunningham is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.

Contract Details: Pangos, Exum, Heat, Robinson

Although new Cavaliers guard Kevin Pangos has no years of NBA service under his belt, he’s not receiving the rookie minimum on his new two-year deal with the team. As Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets, Pangos’ guaranteed first-year salary is $1,669,178, while his non-guaranteed second-year salary is $1,752,637.

Interestingly, while they don’t align with the rookie minimum, those two figures do show up on our minimum-salary chart for this season. Pangos’ first-year salary is the equivalent of the minimum salary for a player with two years of NBA experience. His second-year salary is the equivalent of the second-year minimum salary for a player who currently has one year of NBA experience.

Here are a few more contract details from around the league:

  • Dante Exum‘s new three-year deal with the Rockets is even more complicated than initially reported. Exum’s base salaries increase by 8% annually ($2.5MM, $2.7MM, and $2.9MM), while his likely bonuses decrease by 8% per year ($2.5MM, $2.3MM, and $2.1MM). Exum also has some unlikely incentives which increase by 8% annually ($375K, $405K, and $435K). In total, his three-year deal could be worth as much as $16.215MM, but only his first-year base salary ($2.5MM) is guaranteed.
  • As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald notes, several of the Heat‘s newly-signed contracts include up-front payments. For instance, Kyle Lowry can get $21.25MM of his $26.98MM salary for 2021/22 by opening night, rather than receiving it in equal installments all season. Jimmy Butler‘s extension also features a substantial advance payment, while Duncan Robinson and P.J. Tucker are entitled to more modest ones.
  • Speaking of Robinson, the final year of his new five-year contract with the Heat isn’t just an early termination option — it’s also only partially guaranteed. That means even if he opts into his fifth year, the Heat could save $10MM of his $19.888MM salary by waiving him. However, Robinson’s fifth-year salary would become fully guaranteed if Miami wins a title by that point and he meets certain minutes and games-played thresholds.

Kevin Pangos Signs Two-Year Deal With Cavs

SEPTEMBER 17: Pangos’ deal with the Cavaliers is now official, the team announced in a press release.


SEPTEMBER 8: Former Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos, who has spent the last several seasons playing in Europe, has agreed to a two-year, $3.5MM contract with the Cavaliers, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

The first-year salary of $1.67M is fully guaranteed, Marks adds. Cleveland’s interest in Pangos was reported last month and he chose to make the move to the NBA despite reportedly drawing major offers to remain in Europe.

Pangos, 28, emerged as one of the top point guards in Europe in recent seasons. He has spent time in Spain, Lithuania, and Russia since going undrafted in 2015.

In 2020/21, he averaged 13.5 PPG and 6.6 APG on .449/.390/.845 shooting in 39 EuroLeague contests (28.9 MPG) for Zenit Saint Petersburg, earning a spot on the All-EuroLeague First Team.

Cleveland had been looking to add point guard depth even though it acquired Ricky Rubio earlier this offseason. With only 10 other players on guaranteed contracts, the Cavs had the flexibility to add Pangos.

Eastern Notes: Ujiri, Markkanen, Pangos, Pacers

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri admits his franchise is in a transition phase, Gilbert McGregor of NBA.com relays. Ujiri discussed the state of the team with Jayme Poisson on CBC’s Front Burner podcast.

“We are not a team of ‘now,'” Ujiri said. “There are going to be growing pains, trust me, you know like, sometimes it’s going to be tough to watch but we know what’s coming, we know we’re excited about the young talent. They are excited to play – to see how, OG (Anunoby), Pascal (Siakam), Fred (VanVleet), are going to evolve as leaders – as elite players.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Lauri Markkanen, acquired by the Cavaliers from the Bulls in a sign-and-trade, says he’ll bring his new team more than just a stretch four option on offense, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “Obviously I’m seven feet but I feel like I can do a lot of different stuff. I’m not strictly a post-up guy,” Markkanen said. “I’m not strictly a 3-point shooter. I’ve been shooting more 3s now but I feel I can do a lot more stuff — put the ball on the floor and create for others from there. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing. Just be active on both ends of the floor.”
  • The Cavaliers will use a portion of their mid-level exception to sign point guard Kevin Pangos, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Pangos agreed to a two-year, $3.5MM contract with a first-year salary of $1.67MM. Pangos is receiving $700K above the rookie minimum, Marks notes.
  • The biggest upgrade the Pacers made this offseason was on the sidelines, Zach Harper of The Athletic opines. While the front office acquired a couple of potentially important role players, the key move was hiring Rick Carlisle for a second stint as their head coach. Carlisle replaces Nate Bjorkgren, who quickly fell out of favor with the team’s players and even his staff, Harper adds.

Kevin Pangos Drawing Interest From Cavaliers, Others

Former Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos, who has spent the last several seasons playing in Europe, is garnering interest from the Cavaliers, according to reports from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com and Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com.

Pangos, 28, has carved out an impressive career overseas, having spent time in Spain, Lithuania, and Russia since going undrafted in 2015. In 2020/21, he averaged 13.5 PPG and 6.6 APG on .449/.390/.845 shooting in 39 EuroLeague contests (28.9 MPG) for Zenit Saint Petersburg, earning a spot on the All-EuroLeague First Team.

According to Fedor, Pangos has received “big” offers to remain in Europe, but it sounds like he’s interested in making the move to the NBA. Urbonas and Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link) both suggest that the Canadian guard would likely need a guaranteed contract offer to justify a return stateside.

As Urbonas writes, the Grizzlies are among the other teams eyeing Pangos, but they already have too many players on guaranteed salaries on their roster and likely aren’t in position to offer more than an Exhibit 10 contract. Murphy names the Raptors as another NBA club with interest.

Cleveland could ultimately be the best fit for Pangos. As Fedor has previously reported, the team remains in the market for one more point guard even after acquiring Ricky Rubio earlier this offseason. The Cavs also have plenty of roster flexibility, with just 10 players on guaranteed contracts so far — Lamar Stevens, Damyean Dotson, Dean Wade, and Mfiondu Kabengele don’t have full guarantees.

And-Ones: Jrue, Vegas, Pangos, Payton, Big Markets

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy, having been named the winner of the 2020/21 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the league announced today in a press release.

The award, which aims to honor the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” is voted on by current NBA players. Each team nominates one of its players, a panel of league executives pares the list down to six finalists (one from each division), and the players vote on those six finalists.

Holiday, who earned 130 of 343 first-place votes, beat out runner-up Kemba Walker (74 first-place votes) for the award. Bam Adebayo, Harrison Barnes, Derrick White, and Josh Okogie were the other finalists.

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

  • While it’s unclear when the NBA might seriously pursue expansion, Las Vegas has frequently been cited as a city the league would consider, and a Yahoo News report suggests one potential ownership group may be in place in Vegas. As Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays, billionaire Jay Bloom heads a series of investors who reportedly have the funds and the connections necessary to be the frontrunners to own a Vegas NBA franchise if the opportunity arises.
  • Kevin Pangos, one of the top point guards in the EuroLeague, is drawing plenty of interest from European teams but may wait until NBA free agency to make a decision, says Aris Barkas of Eurohoops. There’s no indication that Pangos has an NBA offer awaiting him, but the former Gonzaga standout wants to consider all his options before making a decision.
  • Hall-of-Fame guard Gary Payton, who has spoken in the past about wanting to coach in the NBA, tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he has agreed to a multiyear contract to coach Lincoln University in his hometown of Oakland, California.
  • In the wake of teams like the Celtics, the Knicks, and especially the Lakers being eliminated from the postseason, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic explores just how dependent the NBA is on its marquee, big-market franchises, and what the league can do to reduce that dependence.

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.