Luca Vildoza

And-Ones: NBA Rosters, Barkley, Vildoza, Wembanyama

The NBA’s opening night rosters feature a total of 120 international players, including a record-setting 22 from Canada and 10 from Australia, the league announced today in a press release. All 30 teams have at least one international player, while the Raptors – the NBA’s only international team – lead the way with eight international players.

Meanwhile, the opening night rosters also include a record-setting 234 players with some G League experience, according to the NBA (Twitter link). All 30 teams are carrying at least four players with G League experience, while the Nets‘ roster features a record 12 players who have spent time in the NBAGL — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Markieff Morris, and rookie Alondes Williams are the only Brooklyn players without G League experience.

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

  • The four members of TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show – Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal – have agreed to new multiyear contracts, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports announced this week. Barkley’s new deal covers 10 years and will be worth well above $100MM, reports Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, though Barkley said during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show that there’s “probably zero chance” he’ll stay for the entire 10 years (story via Awful Announcing).
  • Argentinian guard Luca Vildoza, who spent parts of the last two seasons with the Knicks and Bucks, told Mozzart Sport (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops) that he didn’t get the opportunity he had hoped for in the NBA, but that he still feels like he benefited from his time stateside. “I feel better physically and stronger,” Vildoza said as he prepares to resume playing in Europe. He appeared in seven games for Milwaukee during the 2022 postseason, but has yet to play in a regular season NBA contest.
  • Lakers star LeBron James isn’t the NBA’s highest-paid player in terms of salary this season, but he’ll earn the most money after accounting for endorsements, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico. Baenhausen pegs James’ total 2022/23 earnings at $119.5MM, putting him ahead of Warriors guard Stephen Curry ($93.1MM) and Nets forward Kevin Durant ($91MM).
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report takes a look at which teams can realistically be expected to tank in 2022/23 for a shot to draft Victor Wembanyama next June.

Luca Vildoza Waived By Bucks, Signs With Serbian Team

1:55pm: The Bucks have requested waivers on Vildoza, the team announced in a press release.

Meanwhile, as Eurohoops relays, Vildoza’s old team in Europe is unhappy with his new deal. Baskonia is threatening legal action, issuing a statement to say they still hold the guard’s rights.

9:14am: KK Crvena zvezda has signed Argentinian guard Luca Vildoza to a two-year contract, the Serbian team announced today in a press release.

Vildoza, 27, has yet to play in an NBA regular season game, but has finished each of the last two seasons on an NBA roster, first with the Knicks in 2021, then with the Bucks in 2022. He played garbage-time minutes in seven playoff games for Milwaukee this past spring.

The Bucks waived Vildoza in July, but re-signed him on a training camp deal a few days later, and he technically remains under contract — for the time being at least, Milwaukee’s official website still lists Vildoza on the roster. Clearly though, his new deal with Crvena zvezda is an indication that his days with the Bucks are numbered. We should expect him to be officially waived in the coming days.

Vildoza’s new deal in Serbia will give him an opportunity to return to the EuroLeague, where he thrived with Spanish team Baskonia from 2017-21. The veteran guard won a Liga ACB title in 2020 and was named the Finals MVP that year.

Bucks Re-Sign Luca Vildoza, Rayjon Tucker

After waiving both players on Tuesday, the Bucks have officially re-signed guards Luca Vildoza and Rayjon Tucker to one-year, minimum-salary contracts.

The new deals for Vildoza and Tucker are both non-guaranteed. Tucker’s contract includes Exhibit 10 language, which would allow Milwaukee to convert his deal to a two-way contract, but Vildoza’s does not.

Vildoza, 26, played internationally in Spain for several seasons prior to reaching a buyout to sign with the Knicks in May 2021. The Argentian guard was waived after he underwent foot surgery last October, but caught on with the Bucks and made seven very brief postseason appearances with the team. He has yet to make his NBA regular season debut.

Tucker has appeared in a total of 39 NBA games across three seasons for Utah, Philadelphia, Denver a nd Milwaukee, averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.0 RPG in just 7.7 minutes per contest. He has been much more active in the G League during that span, having played for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Wisconsin Herd, and the Delaware Blue Coats. In 27 regular season games this past season for the Herd (the Bucks’ NBAGL affiliate), the wing averaged an impressive 21.1 PPG on 53% shooting. He also chipped in 7.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG.

The Bucks now have 17 total players under contract, including 13 on guaranteed salaries and two on two-way deals. The team is also expected to make its new deal with Serge Ibaka official soon.

Bucks Waive Rayjon Tucker, Luca Vildoza

The Bucks have waived Rayjon Tucker and Luca Vildoza, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (via Twitter).

The three-year, minimum-salary deal that Tucker signed with the Bucks at the end of last season was non-guaranteed entering the offseason, as was the two-year deal that Vildoza signed, so Milwaukee won’t face any financial penalties for releasing either player. Vildoza’s contract would have been partially guaranteed for $500K had he made it to the start of the 2022/23 regular season with the Bucks.

The 24-year-old Tucker went undrafted out of Little Rock in 2019 and spent most of the 2019/20 season with the Jazz, then signed a two-way contract with the Sixers in January 2021 and got a 10-day deal from the Nuggets in December 2021. Tucker was signed by the Bucks with a couple of days left in the ’21/22 regular season and played in two games, plus eight postseason appearances at the end of lopsided games.

Tucker has appeared in a total of 39 NBA games across three seasons, averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.0 RPG in just 7.7 minutes per contest. He has been much more active in the G League during that span, having played for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Wisconsin Herd, and the Delaware Blue Coats. In 27 regular season games this past season for the Herd (the Bucks’ NBAGL affiliate), the wing averaged an impressive 21.1 PPG on 53% shooting. He also chipped in 7.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG.

Vildoza, 26, played internationally in Spain for several seasons prior to reaching a buyout to sign with the Knicks in May 2021. His four-year deal with New York was non-guaranteed beyond the end of that season, and the team ended up waiving him before he underwent foot surgery last October.

The Argentinian guard is reportedly fully healthy and recovered from the surgery, but he has yet to make his regular season debut. He did, however, make seven very brief postseason appearances with the Bucks, his only official NBA action to date beyond Summer League.

After re-signing the majority of their own free agents and agreeing to a deal with Joe Ingles, the Bucks will tentatively have 14 players on their roster once first-round pick MarJon Beauchamp is signed to his rookie deal. The 15th spot could be reserved for restricted free agent Jordan Nwora, assuming the two sides can find a deal that works for both parties.

Central Notes: Bagley, Mobley, Vildoza, McConnell, Komoroski

Marvin Bagley III is headed to free agency this summer but Pistons coach Dwane Casey hopes the front office re-signs the young power forward, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Detroit can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $7.3MM qualifying offer. Bagley has played well since being traded by Sacramento, averaging 14.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 27.2 MPG while appearing in 18 games for the Pistons.

We have more Central Division news:

  • Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley is questionable to play against Brooklyn on Friday, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. Mobley hasn’t played since March 28 due to an ankle injury but he was able to do “everything” at practice in Orlando on Thursday, coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. Jarrett Allen is listed as out, although he went through an individual workout.
  • Guard Luca Vildoza signed a two-year, $1.8MM contract with the Bucks, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed and includes a $500K trigger date if he’s not waived before Milwaukee’s first regular season game. Vildoza was signed on Wednesday.
  • T.J. McConnell surprised a lot of people by returning to action this week, even though the Pacers are out of the playoff picture. McConnell played 15 minutes on Tuesday after missing 55 games due to a hand injury. McConnell told Joel Lorenzi of the Indianapolis Star he just “wanted to feel like a basketball player again.” “They’ve been talking about coming out here and creating that chemistry, and what better way to get that chemistry started than to come back now?” he said. “You know, I just wanted to feel like a basketball player again. It was hard sitting there.”
  • Cavaliers CEO Len Komoroski is stepping down from his post at the end of the season, according to a team press release. Komoroski’s career with the Cavaliers began in 2003 as a team president. He took on the CEO title in 2013. He will remain affiliated with Rock Entertainment Group.

Luca Vildoza Signs With Bucks

APRIL 6: The Bucks have officially signed Vildoza, the team announced today in a press release. As we relayed on Tuesday, the two-year deal isn’t guaranteed for next season.

APRIL 4: Free agent guard Luca Vildoza is signing a two-year contract with the Bucks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

Vildoza has fully recovered from foot surgery and will be activated by the defending champions for the playoffs. His agent, Alex Saratsis of Octagon Sports, and Bucks GM Jon Horst are expected to finalize terms of the deal this week, Wojnarowski adds.

Vildoza underwent the surgical procedure in October.

The Knicks signed him to a four-year deal last May but the contract wasn’t guaranteed beyond last season. They waived the Argentinian guard prior to his surgery.

Vildoza had negotiated a contract buyout with Baskonia of the Spanish ACB League before agreeing to the deal with the Knicks. Vildoza, 26, played for Argentina in the Olympics before joining the Knicks in the Las Vegas Summer League. He made brief appearances in two of those games, but averaged just 6.4 minutes and didn’t score any points.

Milwaukee had an open spot on its 15-man roster. The Bucks lost wing DeAndre’ Bembry to a season-ending knee injury last month and Vildoza will give them more depth at both guard spots.

Central Notes: Bickerstaff, Nembhard, P. Williams, Key, Vildoza

Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was fined $15K on Monday for his public criticism of the league’s officiating, the NBA announced in a press release. Bickerstaff griped about the foul calls on Sunday following a 112-108 loss to Philadelphia in which James Harden and Joel Embiid combined to attempt 32 free throws.

“We deserved to win that game. That game was taken from us,” Bickerstaff said, per Chris Fedor of “We did a great job defensively, making their two best players have a difficult time from the field. But one thing you can’t defend is the free throw line. That’s absurd. That’s absurd. Our guys deserve way better than what they got tonight.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • RJ Nembhard‘s new contract with the Cavaliers is a straight-up conversion from his two-way deal, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Nembhard, who will earn $58,493 on the prorated minimum-salary contract, remains on track for restricted free agency this offseason.
  • Having returned from a wrist injury on March 21, Patrick Williams is playing increasingly well for the Bulls as the postseason nears, according to Cole Huff of The Athletic, who says the second-year forward has been “efficient and opportunistic” on offense while showcasing his usual versatility on the defensive end. Having already displayed the potential to be a long-term cornerstone in Chicago, Williams could help in the short term too and be an asset in the playoffs if he keeps progressing, Huff writes.
  • Braxton Key‘s new two-way contract with the Pistons is a two-year agreement, covering 2022/23 as well as the rest of this season, league sources tell our JD Shaw (Twitter link).
  • Luca Vildoza‘s two-year deal with the Bucks will be non-guaranteed for next season, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

And-Ones: Vildoza, Las Vegas, Elite, Smart

Luca Vildoza announced on his Twitter feed that he underwent foot surgery and that he will continue to pursue his NBA dream (Twitter link).

The Knicks placed Vildoza on waivers on Oct. 3. New York signed the Argentinian guard to a four-year deal in May, but there was no guaranteed money beyond the 2020/21 season and he never played for the team.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Las Vegas is a possible destination if the NBA decides to expand, according to Mike Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). Commissioner Adam Silver made that statement at the CAA World Congress of Sports. “It’s on a list at the point that we do turn to expansion, which isn’t right now, but at some point, no doubt Vegas will be on the list,” Silver said.
  • Overtime Elite will begin its inaugural season on October 29, Jonathan Givony of ESPN writes. Overtime Elite – a developmental program comprised of 16-to-20-year-old prospects, many of whom were four- or five-star recruits – will be split into three teams. Those teams will also play each other as part of the OTE League Series.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been suspended for the team’s final preseason game on Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Smart missed the team’s flight to Orlando for its preseason game on Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Smart signed a four-year, $77.1MM extension in August.

Knicks Waive Luca Vildoza

The Knicks have placed Luca Vildoza on waivers, the team announced (via Twitter).

New York signed the Argentinian guard to a four-year deal in May, but there was no guaranteed money and he never played for the team. Vildoza’s contract for the upcoming season would have been guaranteed for $3.32MM if he was still on the roster at 11:59pm on October 21, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Vildoza reported to camp with “complicated ankle issues” and hasn’t been able to practice, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). He had a sprained ankle, along with fluid in the back of his foot that was discovered after Summer League (Twitter link).

“Availability is a big part of it and we just feel like the guys who are here, they are the guys fighting it out for that last spot,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But he’s a good player, and we wish him well.” (Twitter link from Fred Katz of The Athletic)

Vildoza, 26, played for Argentina in the Olympics before joining the Knicks in Las Vegas. He made brief appearances in two Summer League games, but averaged just 6.4 minutes and didn’t score any points. In addition to his injury issues, Vildoza’s future in New York appeared uncertain after the team added point guards Miles McBride and Rokas Jokubaitis in the draft.

The move leaves the Knicks with 19 players on their training camp roster, 14 of whom have guaranteed contracts. The team also has a two-way slot open, and Thibodeau has indicated that final decisions won’t be made until after the preseason.

Atlantic Notes: Kyrie, Knicks, Vildoza, Bassey, Sixers

Kyrie Irving declined to offer any details on his vaccination status or his plans going forward when asked about the subject on Monday. However, sources believe that the Nets guard will ultimately take the COVID-19 vaccine, says Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.

According to Goodwill, those sources believe that Irving’s teammate – and good friend – Kevin Durant will help influence that decision. If Kyrie remains unvaccinated and doesn’t receive an exemption from the city of New York, he’d be ineligible to play in the team’s home games, which likely wouldn’t go over especially well with Durant and the rest of Irving’s Nets teammates.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said today that the team will make a decision on its 15th roster spot after the preseason, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). The team has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Luca Vildoza on a non-guaranteed contract, so Thibodeau’s comments suggest Vildoza certainly isn’t locked into that spot. The Argentine guard, who is coming off a right foot injury, is still in a walking boot, according to Thibodeau.
  • Charles Bassey‘s new three-year deal with the Sixers is worth the minimum and is fully guaranteed in year one, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). As previously reported, year two is partially guaranteed, while year three is non-guaranteed. Bassey’s first-year salary ($925,258) and his second-year guarantee ($74,742) add up to exactly $1MM in total guaranteed money, which is almost certainly less than he sought, but isn’t bad at all for a No. 53 pick.
  • The Sixers issued a press release today confirming the previously-reported hire of assistant coach Jamie Young and announcing a few more coaching changes for the 76ers and the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate. Dwayne Jones has been promoted to assistant coach/skill development at the NBA level, while Coby Karl will coach the G League team.
  • We passed along several Raptors-related items earlier this afternoon.