Luca Vildoza

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 Cleveland.com. “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.

Atlantic Notes: Nesmith, Barnes, Knox, Vildoza

Aaron Nesmith‘s rookie season saw him go from the end of the Celtics‘ bench to a spot in their playoff rotation and he’s hoping to make a greater impact in his second year, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. The 14th pick in the 2020 draft was dealing with a foot injury when last season started, and he had to adjust to the NBA during a short offseason with no Summer League. The swingman eventually settled into a consistent role and shot 50% from the field and 42% from three-point range over the final two months of the season.

“It was definitely a quick turnaround from the moment I got drafted,” Nesmith said. “The season started and I didn’t get a lot of preparation or many chances to get my feet wet. Coming off the injury and not being able to play 5-on-5 for almost a year, that definitely was a whirlwind. It also taught me a lot of good lessons as well. It taught me how to adjust faster and adapt to a new system, a new level of play very quickly so if there was ever a point in time where I have to adapt very quickly again, I already know how to do it and I have a layout to do it as well.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Rookie forward Scottie Barnes introduced himself to Raptors fans with a first-hand piece on The Players Tribune. The No. 4 overall pick out of Florida State states that he was quickly embraced by the Toronto fanbase and gained about 80-100K new followers on social media within 24 hours of being drafted. He shares experiences from Summer League and draft night and says there was one message he wanted to deliver in his first post-draft meeting with the Raptors’ front office. “I’m ready to work,” he wrote. “Not ease into it, not half-do things or make excuses because I’m one of the new guys. I’m ready to work. I’m ready to grind. I’m ready to WIN. And I could tell that the feeling was definitely mutual.”
  • Knicks forward Kevin Knox is about to enter the most important season of his NBA career, observes David Vertsberger of Yahoo Sports. Knox is now the longest-tenured player on New York’s roster, but unless he finds a way to become a contributor, this could be his last season with the team.
  • Luca Vildoza returned to the Knicks this week to let team doctors examine his injured right foot before the start of training camp, per Alder Almo of Empire Sports Media. The injury limited Vildoza to two games during Summer League, and he was prescribed rest and treatment rather than surgery. He also played for Argentina during the Summer Olympics.

New York Notes: Knight, Durant, Vildoza, Walker

Former lottery pick Brandon Knight is trying to work his way back into the NBA with the Nets‘ Summer League team, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Knight’s career was derailed by knee injuries, and he hasn’t played in the NBA since splitting 25 games with the Cavaliers and Pistons in 2019/20.

Knight worked out for the Bucks in March, but Milwaukee decided against signing him. The 29-year-old says his knees are no longer an issue and he’s eager to show that he still has an NBA future.

“The narrative of my knees, that I’m not healthy, that’s not right,” Knight said. “So for me, the narrative is just to show that I’m healthy. I’m ready to play. And I’m here. Most importantly, I’m here to serve these young guys. Summer league is not about me. … My goal is to serve to serve these young guys, give them wisdom, and try to help them and be a servant in any place that I can be.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Nets star Kevin Durant was named MVP of the Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament, FIBA announced in a press release. He capped off a brilliant performance with 29 points in the gold medal game against France. Australia’s Patty Mills, who agreed to a two-year deal with Brooklyn in free agency, was named to the all-tournament team.
  • The Knicks will get their first look at Luca Vildoza when Summer League play starts today, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Argentinian point guard signed a four-year, non-guaranteed contract in May, but he wasn’t used in any games. Vildoza’s future with New York seems less certain after the team drafted point guards Miles McBride and Rokas Jokubaitis, Berman adds. “I’m trying to work hard. I’m trying to show myself,” said Vildoza, who just returned from the Olympics. “I just want to show who I am. If after that, I can’t get onto the team, that’s OK. At least I gave everything.’’
  • The Knicks‘ offseason appears successful, but there are some risks involved, states Steve Popper of Newsday. The most significant one involves whether Kemba Walker‘s knee can hold up for an entire season.

Knicks Notes: Sexton, Vildoza, Noel

There has been talk that the Knicks are aggressively pursuing a trade with the Cavaliers for high-scoring young guard Collin Sexton. With that in mind, The Athletic’s Kelsey Russo and Mike Vornukov examine what New York might give up for Sexton. The Knicks don’t have available veteran players that the Cavaliers would be interested in, so it’s more likely to be a combination of last year’s lottery selection, Obi Toppin, and a first-round pick.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Luca Vildoza scored nine points in Argentina’s loss to Team USA on Tuesday while guarding some high-level players such as Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine and Damian Lillard. He’s looking forward to doing that on a regular basis, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “Today was a test for me against the best players in the world,” he said. “I felt really good against them, but we lost by 30, and I got to get better. I got work to do.’’ Vildoza signed a four-year pact with the Knicks in May.
  • The team is interested in re-signing free agent Nerlens Noel but they’ll have plenty of competition, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The Kings and Raptors are expected to make a run at the big man. The Mavericks, Nets and Hornets are also potential suitors for Noel, Ian Begley of SNY.tv tweets. Sacramento’s pursuit of Noel hinges on what happens with one of its own free agents, Richaun Holmes, Scotto adds.
  • What are the Knicks’ offseason plans and just how much cap room will it have? Check out our Offseason Preview.

Atlantic Notes: Tatum, Harrison, Vildoza, Knicks

Speaking to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Celtics All-Star forward Jayson Tatum discussed the hiring of new Boston head coach Ime Udoka, logging time with Team USA in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, and more.

“Extremely happy about Ime,” Tatum said of Udoka. “I’ve known him for a little while. He’s extremely motivated and I think everybody has a good feeling about this. I think this is going to be great.” Tatum noted that he and fellow Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown were both consulted as the team interviewed a variety of head coach candidates.

“It was tough, just everything that we had to endure, everything that kind of happened,” Tatum said of the Celtics’ disappointing 2020/21 season, which saw the club finish as the No. 7 seed in the East and lose in the first round to the Nets. “It put in perspective and made me appreciate those good years that we had and we made those deep playoff runs. It’s not always guaranteed and it made me appreciate that.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Shooting guard D’Angelo Harrison is scheduled to attend the Sixers‘ mini-camp later in July, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Since going undrafted out of St. John’s in 2015, the 6’4″ 27-year-old has played for a variety of international teams. During the 2020/21 season, Harrison played for Italian League club New Basket Brindisi.
  • Newly-added Knicks point guard Luca Vildoza showed off his sharpshooting bona fides during an Olympics exhibition match for Team Argentina last Saturday, as Marc Berman of the New York Post details. Vildoza connected on three of his eight three-point looks in the 87-84 loss to Team Australia.
  • The Knicks have a clear need to upgrade their starting point guard position. With that in mind, Ian Begley of SNY.tv examines several restricted free agent options for New York, noting that lead guards who are not ball-dominant (including Lonzo BallKendrick Nunn, and Devonte’ Graham) could be ideal fits alongside All-Star forward Julius Randle, who thrives with the ball in his hands.