Luis Scola

And-Ones: Projected Taxpayers, Parity, Sovereign Funds, Scola

The Warriors, Clippers, and Nets are the three teams projected to pay a nine-figure luxury bill in 2023, according to Eric Pincus of Sports Business Classroom. In his roundup of each team’s proximity to the tax line, Pincus has Golden State’s tax bill estimated at $176.5MM, with L.A. at $144.7MM and Brooklyn at approximately $109MM.

The 2021/22 campaign represented a record-setting year for luxury tax payments, with the Warriors, Nets, and Clippers heading up seven taxpayers that were penalized a total of $481MM, by far a single-season NBA high.

However, as Pincus outlines, NBA teams are on track to smash that record in 2022/23, with the Bucks ($69.8MM), Celtics ($66MM), Lakers ($40.6MM), Mavericks ($33.6MM), Suns ($32.6MM), Nuggets ($17.6MM), and Sixers ($1.8MM) joining the three aforementioned clubs to total over $692MM in projected tax payments.

That number will likely dip a little before the end of the season, with certain teams trading some salary to reduce their end-of-season bill and others – such as Philadelphia – perhaps trying to get out of tax territory altogether. But it seems safe to assume the teams that finish the season below the tax line will still see a major windfall.

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

  • There’s more parity than ever at the one-quarter mark of the 2022/23 NBA season, according to Howard Beck of, who breaks down the numbers on the glut of teams hovering around .500 and explores several theories from people around the league about why parity might be on the rise.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst takes a closer look at the NBA’s rule change allowing sovereign wealth funds to purchase minority stakes in NBA franchises, which we briefly covered last week. Under the new policy, a foreign fund could buy up to 20% of a team, though any such purchase would be “subject to significant vetting,” sources tell Windhorst. There are currently no sales to sovereign funds under review by the league, Windhorst adds.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Mike Vorkunov speaks to Luis Scola about the veteran NBA forward’s transition from longtime player to team owner. Scola, who appeared in 743 games across 10 NBA seasons from 2007-17 and won an Olympic gold medal playing for Argentina in 2004, became the controlling owner of the Italian team Pallacanestro Varese earlier this year.

And-Ones: Musa, Scola, Mannion, Nigeria

Former Nets wing Dzanan Musa, a first-round pick in 2018, has been named the Most Valuable Player of Liga ACB, Spain’s top basketball league, for the 2021/22 season, per an official press release.

Fans, reporters, players, and coaches vote on the award, and Musa was the top pick among all four groups, earning the maximum 100 points. Ex-NBA forward Nikola Mirotic finished fourth with 30 points.

After appearing in just 49 games in his two seasons with Brooklyn from 2018-20, Musa returned to Europe and has played in Turkey and Spain over the last two years. He averaged 20.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .494/.381/.787 shooting in 29 Liga ACB games (32.0 MPG) for CB Breogan this season.

Former NBA forward Mirza Teletovic stated earlier this year that he’s confident Musa, who just turned 23 years old this month, will return stateside sooner or later.

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

  • Veteran forward Luis Scola, who played in the NBA from 2007-17, will exercise his option to assume majority ownership of the Italian team Pallacanestro Varese, the club announced in a press release. Once the paperwork is official, Scola will own 51% of the franchise’s shares.
  • Former Warriors guard Nico Mannion is drawing some interest from NBA teams as a possible Summer League player, tweets George Zakkas of SDNA in Greece. Mannion remains under contract with Virtus Bologna in Italy for the time being.
  • Having opened a league office in Lagos earlier this year, the NBA is on the lookout for the next Giannis Antetokounmpo in Nigeria, according to Lindsay du Plessis of ESPN, who spoke to NBA Africa VP Gbemisola Abudu about NBA Nigeria’s goals in the country.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic takes a look at what the offseason for the holds for the four teams eliminated in round two, examining the key areas for the Grizzlies, Bucks, Sixers, and Suns to address this summer.

And-Ones: Young, Scola, Breakout Candidates, Salary Cap

Guard Joe Young is taking a proactive approach to getting back in the league. He’ll work out for NBA teams in Houston this week, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tweets. Young, who appeared in 127 games for the Pacers from 2015-18, has been playing in China since the Pacers parted ways with him.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Longtime NBA forward Luis Scola has been named CEO of Italy’s Pallacanestro Varese, Sportando relays. Scola retired after playing for Varese last season and Argentina’s national team in the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Darius Garland, Keldon Johnson and Jaren Jackson Jr. are some of the top breakout candidates for the upcoming season, according to a poll of 15 NBA executives conducted by Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto.
  • The salary cap could increase significantly when new TV deals are signed, Morten Jensen of Forbes Sports notes. Citing a league source, Jensen writes that a $171MM salary cap is possible, assuming no cap smoothing, by 2025. Even with cap smoothing, the cap will likely increase by $15MM annually. However, it should be pointed out that it’s unknown how much the NBA’s next TV deal will be worth, so these figures are speculative.

And-Ones: Bates, Olympics, Free Agents, VanDeWeghe

Emoni Bates, who is considered the best high school prospect in the country, will reclassify into the Class of 2021  but still won’t be eligible for the NBA draft until 2023, writes Jeff Borzello of ESPN.

A 6’9″ small forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Bates committed to Michigan State last summer, but reconsidered in April. The Spartans are still among the options he is considering, along with Oregon, Memphis and the G League. Wherever Bates goes, he may stay for two years.

NBA draft rules require players to be a year removed from their high school graduating class and turn 19 in that calendar year. Bates’ 19th birthday isn’t until January of 2023.

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

  • Tuesday’s losses by Argentina and Spain probably ended the long Olympic careers of Luis Scola, Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol, notes Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. All three players had success in the NBA, but they’re equally famous throughout the world for what they accomplished in international competitions. “I’m 41,” said Scola, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 and a bronze in 2008. “I don’t see that many people playing that are my age.”
  • French teammates Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum were both in Tokyo when their contract agreements were being finalized, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. They are among a handful of players who are having the unprecedented experience of focusing on the Olympics and NBA free agency at the same time. “This morning I woke up at 3:30, I called my agent, like, ‘You gotta get a deal done right now so I can move on from it,’” said Batum, who got a new two-year contract from the Clippers.
  • Long-time NBA league office executive VP of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe has moved into a new role as special advisor, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Olympics Notes: Team USA, Brown, Agada, Scola

Team USA is still be the favorite to capture the gold medal in Tokyo, but there are plenty of questions after Saturday’s 90-87 loss to Nigeria in exhibition play, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Coached by Mike Brown and sporting seven current NBA players on its roster, Nigeria led throughout the fourth quarter and held off American rallies with a combination of physical defense and three-point shooting, hitting 20 of 42 from beyond the arc.

“That’s a talented group of players. It’s not a bunch of people off the street playing basketball,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “Every year, teams are better and better, and every year, one or two or three more NBA players are on their teams, so they’re a quality team. Mike’s done a great job with them, and they’re as athletic as anybody. They’re very physical, and they’ve been practicing for three weeks.”

Team USA is loaded with All-Stars, but just began practicing together this week in Las Vegas. A lack of continuity could be a concern, as it was with the last major international tournament, the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where the Americans lost to France and Serbia and wound up finishing seventh.

“None of us have ever played with each other, we’re just trying to figure it out,” Celtics forward Jayson Tatum said. “We don’t have three to four weeks. This is good for us, we’ll learn a lot from the film and we’ll regroup.”

There’s more Olympics-related news this morning:

  • Brown recognizes the significance of Saturday’s win, which was the first ever for an African team against the United States, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The Nigerians, who are aiming for the first Olympic basketball medal in African history, lost to the Americans by 83 points in the 2012 Olympics and by 44 in a 2016 exhibition game. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t mean much in the standings as far as where we’re trying to get to,” Brown said. “But it’s a good win for us. I don’t think any African team has been able to beat USA Basketball in an exhibition game or a real game. … We’re trying to get a little bit of momentum for Nigeria and for the continent of Africa.”
  • NBA interest has “spiked” in Nigeria’s Caleb Agada, who came off the bench to score 17 points in the upset, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Agada recently had a workout with the Jazz and will play for the Nuggets‘ team in next month’s Summer League.
  • Former NBA forward Luis Scola scored 25 points for Argentina in a loss to Australia Saturday night. At age 41, Scola indicated he may keep playing once the Olympics are over. “I don’t even know if I’m going to retire after the tournament,” he said (Twitter link from Reynolds).

And-Ones: Albert, EuroLeague Imports, Scola, Offseason

The NBA will lose an iconic voice later this year, as Hall of Fame broadcaster Marv Albert is retiring at the conclusion of the NBA’s postseason, as reported by Andrew Marchand and Phil Mushnick of The New York Post. Albert and Turner Sports put out an official announcement today confirming the decision.

Albert, who will turn 80 in June, began calling NBA games in the 1960s and was the longtime voice of the Knicks. He also called the NBA Finals for NBC for many years. This year’s Eastern Conference Finals will be his last series as a broadcaster.

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

  • In the wake of EuroLeague standouts like Luca Vildoza, Gabriel Deck, and Mike James signing late-season NBA contracts, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype explored whether those in-season arrivals from Europe’s top league could become a trend going forward or whether they’re just a byproduct of the NBA’s unusual 2020/21 schedule.
  • There’s a growing expectation that longtime NBA forward Luis Scola will officially retire as a player after he represents Argentina in this year’s Olympics, per a report from La Prealpina in Italy (hat tip to Sportando). Scola, who played for Varese in Italy in 2020/21, could end up returning to the club in a management role.
  • In an Insider-only article for, Bobby Marks breaks down the key dates and deadlines to watch during the coming NBA offseason.

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 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 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.