Luis Scola

And-Ones: Poirier, Scola, Middleton, Mobley

Former Sixers center Vincent Poirier has agreed to a multiyear contract with Real Madrid, writes Nicola Lupo of Sportando. The news was first reported by Jose Luis Sanchez (Twitter link).

Poirier, 27, played 10 games for Philadelphia after being acquired from the Thunder in a December trade. He saw just 3.9 minutes per game, averaging 0.8 points and 1.4 rebounds, before being traded to the Knicks at the deadline. New York waived him three days later.

The seven-footer was a star in Europe before signing with the Celtics in 2019. He led the EuroLeague in rebounding and was a second-team all-league selection during the 2018/19 season. Poirier won’t be able to join the EuroLeague until next season, Lupo adds, but he is eligible for Liga ACB.

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

  • NBA veteran Luis Scola will make a decision on retirement after his season ends with Varese in Italy, relays Alessandro Maggi of Sportando. Scola, who will turn 41 at the end of April, discussed his future with La Prealpina, an Italian newspaper. “I am happy here in Varese,” he said. “I will decide my future as soon as the season is over. My decision will be quick out of respect for the team and the club.” Scola indicated in November that he was planning to retire after the Olympics.
  • Bucks guard Khris Middleton is about to become a minority owner of the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Bulls forward Thaddeus Young is also part of the Australian team’s ownership (Twitter link), with former NBA guard Kevin Martin serving as majority owner. Several other players with NBA connections have stakes in NBL franchises, Stein adds (via Twitter). Rockets guards John Wall and Dante Exum are part owners of the South East Melbourne Phoenix, along with Zach Randolph, Al Harrington and Josh Childress. The New Zealand Breakers’ ownership is led by former Heat player Matt Walsh and includes Victor Oladipo and Shawn Marion.
  • A strong performance in the NCAA tournament moves USC big man Evan Mobley up to second in the latest mock draft by Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Woo suggests that Mobley’s defensive impact should make him be considered a “1B” pick to Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham‘s “1A.” Woo adds that some teams may prefer Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs with the top pick, depending on need.

Luis Scola Intends To Retire After 2021 Olympics In Tokyo

Former NBA big man Luis Scola has reiterated his intention to retire from basketball after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, according to Sportweek (via Sportando).

“When will it end? In a year, after the Olympics. Only then I will decide what to do,” Scola said. “I could stay involved in basketball, but not as a coach: eventually, only for young players. I’m already receiving plenty of proposals, but no one of those has been just as exciting as the idea of playing.”

Scola, 40, has not suited up for an NBA team since the 2016/17 campaign but has nonetheless remained active overseas. Last season, Scola played for Olimpia Milano. The Argentinian averaged 11.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 15 Italian League games and 9.2 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 28 EuroLeague contests.

Across 743 regular season NBA games, Scola averaged 12.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers, Raptors and Nets. In his prime with Houston, Scola was a durable player and an efficient scorer, averaging a career-best 18.3 PPG during the 2010/11 season.

Scola indicated earlier this year that he was weighing retirement but still wanted to represent Argentina on the worldwide stage. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Olympics to move to 2021, which could mark the end of Scola’s career. However, he will look to add another medal to his mantle to join his gold and bronze medals from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

And-Ones: Luxury Tax, Thomas, Scola, Top Defenders

The Trail Blazers have the highest luxury tax bill at $5.9MM, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Team salaries are now frozen after the one-week transactions period that closed late Tuesday. The Heat ($2.9MM), Thunder ($2.5MM) and Timberwolves ($582K) are also over the luxury tax line but the projected $11.9MM total is the lowest since the luxury tax was introduced in 2002/03, Marks notes.

We have more from around the basketball world:

International Notes: Mirotic, Scola, M. Gasol, Rudez

Former NBA forward Nikola Mirotic has been named MVP of Liga ACB, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. It’s the second European MVP award for the 29-year-old, who is preparing for a semifinal playoff game tomorrow with his FC Barcelona team.

Mirotic made a surprising decision to return to Europe last summer after five NBA seasons. He was projected to land a contract somewhere in the range of $45MM over three years if he had remained in the NBA, and Johnson reports that he had an offer in place from the Jazz. Mirotic spent most of his career with the Bulls, and split last season between the Pelicans and Bucks.

“You can see it in my face, in my smile. It was a good surprise, it brightened my day,” he said in an interview with Eurohoops.net about winning the award. “The MVP award for me means a collective work of the team. This award goes to all my teammates who have helped me to be better every day. Each game has helped me to feel good. And of course to the coaching staff who have managed to put me in the best position that I feel effective. And also for all those who support us, the fans.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Luis Scola, who left Olympia Milano earlier this month, will remain in Italy and sign with Varese, a source tells Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The 40-year-old forward hopes to play one more season before ending his career with the Olympics next summer.
  • Raptors center Marc Gasol announced Friday that the club he owns in Spain, Girona Basket, will create the country’s first 3×3 professional team, according to Michael Houston of insidethegame.biz. Growing in popularity around the world, 3×3 basketball will make its Olympics debut next year in Tokyo.
  • Former Pacers, Timberwolves and Magic forward Damjan Rudez signed a two-year deal with Donar in the Netherlands, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Luis Scola Leaves Olimpia Milano, Weighing Future

Former NBA big man Luis Scola, who spent the 2019/20 season playing for Olimpia Milano, announced on Thursday that he won’t be returning to the Italian club – or any other EuroLeague team – for the ’20/21 campaign. Scola added in a statement that he’ll decide within the next few weeks whether or not to continue his playing career.

“I have chosen not to play in the EuroLeague anymore, neither in Milan nor with another team,” Scola said. “I want to thank Olimpia for giving me this opportunity, it was a fun year in which I experienced a good environment where I felt right at home.

“On the other hand, I have not decided whether to retire from basketball for good or keep playing in another competition. I’ll make a final decision during the next few weeks.”

Scola, who appeared in 743 regular season NBA games during 10 years in the league, hasn’t suited up for an NBA team since the 2016/17 season, when he played for Brooklyn. However, he showed this season in Italy that he still has something left in the tank.

The 40-year-old averaged 11.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG with a .571/.560/.642 shooting line in 15 Italian League games (18.9 MPG), contributing 9.2 PPG and 4.4 RPG on .454/.353/.655 shooting in 28 EuroLeague contests (19.2 MPG).

Even if Scola decides not to play in a professional league in 2020/21, he presumably has one more competition circled on his calendar before he officially hangs up his sneakers. As a result of their second-place finish at last year’s World Cup, Argentina has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed until July 2021. Scola – who won gold and bronze medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics – likely plans on representing his country one last time on that international stage.

And-Ones: Scola, Aldridge, 2020 Draft, Delgado

Luis Scola, who continues to play overseas with Italy’s Olimpia Milano, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2016/17 season and the 39-year-old sounds pretty confident that a comeback isn’t happening. As he explains to Marc Stein of The New York Times, even the younger version of himself would have a hard time keeping up in today’s version of the NBA, with its faster pace and lack of low-post play.

“The good teams, they have better players. The bad teams, they have younger players. I just don’t think I am at that level anymore,” Scola said. “I was there at some point. But the game changed also. It would be more difficult for me to play, even at my prime, in today’s NBA.”

“I got a little bit lucky,” he continued. “The big change happened right at the end of my career, and I was able to play until I was 37. The low-post game is not there anymore. The long two are not there. I would adjust a little bit and be a different player, but I think this would be a little bit more difficult. The game is faster. The players move faster. They’re more athletic, longer. And I’m not a very good athlete. Those things would be against me in today’s NBA.”

While Scola recognizes a return to the NBA isn’t in the cards, he’s pleased about Argentina’s performance at this year’s World Cup, which secured the team a spot in the 2020 Olympics. Participating in those Olympics had been a major goal for Scola, which is one reason he has pushed to continue his professional career, as he tells Stein.

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

  • Frank Urbina and Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype spoke to NBA executives to try to gauge what LaMarcus Aldridge‘s trade value might be if the Spurs decide to become sellers. Various execs identified the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Suns, and Kings as possible fits.
  • The general feeling among NBA teams about the top of the 2020 draft class remains “lukewarm,” according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who explores how LaMelo’s stellar NBL play is becoming harder to ignore as teams consider next spring’s top prospects.
  • Former Seton Hall standout and Clippers two-way player Angel Delgado has signed Israeli team Hapoel Holon, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Delgado, who appeared in two games for the Clips last season, spent time with the Beijing Royal Fighters earlier this year before being replaced by former NBA big man Jason Thompson.
  • Mike Conley is looking for the same kind of experience with the Jazz that his longtime Grizzlies teammate Marc Gasol had last season in Toronto, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Conley said he called Gasol on FaceTime shortly after the Raptors won the 2019 title. “Man, I watched every game and was rooting and hoping and praying,” Conley said. “… We were talking about that thing all our career, having an experience like that for himself is, just happy for him.”

And-Ones: Maker, Wade, CBA, Thompson, Robinson

Makur Maker, ranked No. 10 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony in the 2020 high school class, is exploring his eligibility for next June’s draft, according to Givony. The NBA Players Association is assisting Makur and believes he’ll be declared eligible due to the fact he’ll turn 19 in November, Givony adds. He’s also in his fifth year of high school at Pacific Academy in Irvine, California, as the 6’11’ Maker was two credits short of receiving a high school diploma from his previous school. He’s the cousin of Pistons big man Thon Maker.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Italy’s Olimpia Milano was interested in signing Dwyane Wade, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Team president Leo Dell’Orco revealed that the franchise considered making a run at the retired NBA star before settling on another former NBA veteran, Luis Scola. “This summer we wanted to sign an important NBA player,” he said. “We were interested in Dwyane Wade but we took some time (and chose Scola).”
  • The Chinese Basketball Association has increased its restrictions on foreign players, Carchia relays in a separate story. Among the changes is a rule that only two foreign players can be on the roster for each game and they can’t be on the court at the same time. The CBA has also imposed a salary cap but it only applies to Chinese players, according to another note from Carchia.
  • Former NBA forward Jason Thompson is returning to the Chinese league and will replace Angel Delgado on the Beijing Royal Fighters, according to a Sportando report. Thompson spent last season with Fenerbahce D Istanbul. In 36 games with Fenerbahce, Thompson averaged 5.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 16.0 MPG. Thompson played in China during the 2016/17 season after averaging 8.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 588 career NBA games. Delgado had to leave China for personal matters.
  • Another former NBA forward, Thomas Robinson, reached an agreement with the CBA’s Sichuan Blue Whales, Sportando relays.  Robinson spent last season with Beijing, averaging 21.9 PPG and 13.6 RPG. The 2012 lottery pick last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he saw action in 48 games with the Lakers.

And-Ones: FT Rule, Jeezy, Kobe, Scola, Title Odds

According to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days, there are some concerns regarding the new free throw rule implemented in the G League for the 2019/20 season.

One concern is whether the decrease in rest time (which would occur during second or third free throw attempts) could lead to more injuries. Another is whether coaches will forget to send players in for substitutions before the first (and only) free throw.

One G League front office employee is also concerned that the game flow would impact assignment players – their free throw attempts, as well as their in-game rhythm – as they adjust back and forth between the G League and the NBA.

“For us, we want the G League game to model the NBA as closely as possible… I understand what the league is trying to do but there are other options to consider before this one.”

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

  • Rapper Jeezy is launching his own sports agency called “Sports 99” and will begin representing NBA and NFL players, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
  • Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic explore some details about the select group of players that participated in the Mamba Sports Pro Invitational, hosted by Kobe Bryant, at the end of August.
  • Veteran forward Luis Scola has signed a deal with EuroLeague’s Olimpia Milano, head coach Ettore Messina announced, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando.
  • Adam Zagoria of Forbes notes that the LakersClippers, and Bucks are early favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship.

World Cup Notes: Spain, Rubio, Popovich, Fox

Suns guard Ricky Rubio was named World Cup MVP as Spain captured the gold medal this morning by rolling past Argentina, 95-75. France claimed the bronze by defeating Australia.

The all-World Cup team had a strong NBA flavor as Rubio was joined by Spanish teammate Marc Gasol, Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, France’s Evan Fournier and Argentina’s Luis Scola. Gasol capped a memorable three-month stretch that included an NBA title with the Raptors and the World Cup crown.

“We were not the most talented team,” Rubio said. “We were not the biggest team. But we played with heart. We will be family for life.” (Twitter link from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando)

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Coach Gregg Popovich blasted critics who are taking shots at Team USA after a seventh-place finish, relays Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The Americans won the past two World Cups, but fell far short this time, losing back-to-back games to France and Serbia. “Some people want to play the blame game. There’s no blame to be placed anywhere,” Popovich said. “They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn’t win a gold medal? That’s a ridiculous attitude. It’s immature, it’s arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn’t respect all the other teams in the world and doesn’t respect that these guys did the best they could.” Windhorst notes that only four of the 35 players who were on the projected U.S. roster last summer wound up playing in China.
  • There are no hard feelings from USA Basketball toward Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who left the team shortly before it departed for exhibition games in Australia, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. It was suggested on ESPN’s “The Jump” this week that Fox wouldn’t be considered for future international teams, but USA Basketball communications director Craig Miller said the organization “understands De’Aaron’s decision.”
  • Both of this year’s finalists were successful with players who are considered past their prime, strengthening the argument that continuity provides a huge advantage in international play, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Argentina was led by the 39-year-old Scola, while Spain’s foundation of Rubio, Gasol, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver has been together for many years.

World Cup Notes: Nurse, Team USA, Mills, Scola

Team Canada coach Nick Nurse is frustrated by the lack of commitment from the nation’s top stars, according to a Canadian Press report (link via Sportsnet.ca). The Canadians had a disappointing performance in this year’s World Cup, being relegated to the classification round rather than fighting for a medal or an Olympic berth. Seventeen NBA players were invited to Canada’s training camp, but Cory Joseph and Khem Birch are the only ones representing the country in China.

“I see it as a really interesting unique time in Canada basketball,” Nurse said. “The talent’s really pouring out, the young talent continues to pour out, the Raptors had a pretty good season, the fan base, the people are interested all over the country in basketball, I think it’s an important time for a group of six, eight, 10 guys to stick together for five or six years.”

Eight of the 12 berths for next year’s Olympics will have been decided once the World Cup ends, leaving Canada with an uphill fight to qualify. They will have to win one of four second-chance tournaments next summer, but they’ll likely be given a low seed because they didn’t advance at the World Cup. Former Gonzaga star Kyle Wiltjer agrees that a unified effort is necessary.

“It’s building that cohesion, and even for myself as a player, I didn’t really know what to expect because we brought in a new coach and with that comes a new system,” he said, “and if we have to play next year guys like Cory, Khem, me, we know the system now, we feel comfortable in it.”

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Team USA had its best performance of the tournament in today’s win over Greece, and much of the credit should go to Gregg Popovich and his staff for devising a plan to control Giannis Antetokounmpo, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Even though Antetokounmpo posted 15 points and 13 rebounds, he wasn’t the dominant force that Greece needed and wound up sitting out the entire fourth quarter to rest for Monday’s game. “Everything is always a compilation of experiences. Obviously we’ve seen him play, and he’s a great player,” Popovich said. “It’s a little bit of everything. Overall we did a good job of being active.”
  • Australia’s Patty Mills transforms from sixth man to superstar in international competition, writes Dan Devine of The Ringer. He’s the top scorer among teams that advanced past the first group stage.
  • Luis Scola, the last link to Argentina’s “golden generation,” has remained productive at age 39, Devine observes. Scola averaged 17 points and nine rebounds per game as Argentina cruised through Group B with a 3-0 record.