Luis Scola

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.

World Cup Notes: Walker, Gobert, Scola, Guduric

Chinese fans have embraced Kemba Walker and he’s enjoying the attention as the biggest star on Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports. Many fans are wearing his jersey in the stands.

“To know you have fans in other places, especially me, it was very humbling,” Walker said. “It’s just a great feeling.”

While many stars passed on playing for their national teams this summer, Walker has looked forward to this opportunity for years.

“It’s special to be a part of this team,” Walker said. “I’ve been a part of USA Basketball for years, I was on a couple Select Teams where I didn’t get this far. I appreciate it.”

We have more World Cup news:

  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is representing France, is upset by FIBA’s drug testing procedure, Sportando relays. Gobert posted on Twitter that he was awaken after a late game to get tested. “No respect for the player’s recovery time,” he wrote in part.
  • Former NBA forward Luis Scola has moved into second place on FIBA’s all-time World Cup scoring list, Sportando reports. The 39-year-old Scola trails only Brazilian legend Oscar Schmidt. He surpassed Australia’s Andrew Gaze during a game against Nigeria.
  • Marko Guduric, who signed with the Grizzlies this summer, is averaging 10.5 PPG for Serbia through two games in the FIBA World Cup, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. The swingman inked a two-year, $5.3MM deal with Memphis after playing the last two seasons for Fenerbahçe in Turkey.

World Cup Notes: Teodosic, Colangelo, Tatum, Fox

Former Clippers guard Milos Teodosic will miss the FIBA World Cup tournament after going through another bout of plantar fascitiis in his foot, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Teodosic, who reached an agreement last month to play for Virtus Bologna in Italy, was part of a powerful Serbian team that is expected to challenge for a gold medal.

“He suffered again a plantar fascitiis injury,” said Serbian team doctor Dragan Radovanovic. “We already started intense therapies and they will continue in the next couple of days. We will see how the foot reacts and after we will able to know more precisely how long he has to rest.”

Teodosic was a star in the EuroLeague before coming to the NBA, but only played 60 games in two seasons for the Clippers before being waived in February. He suffered a plantar fascia tear during the 2017/18 campaign that ended his season early.

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Jerry Colangelo, who serves as director of USA Basketball, isn’t concerned about the number of big-name players who turned down invitations to training camp, relays Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Even though Kyle Lowry and Harrison Barnes are the only members of the 2016 Olympic team who have returned for the World Cup, Colangelo doesn’t see it as a crisis. “There isn’t any one reason—there’s myriad reasons,” he said. “We had 30 guys here last summer — they all said they wanted to play. Things happen. I think as we move forward, the World Cup is going to played with young players. It’s going to be a training site for the Olympics.”
  • Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox were standouts in Team USA’s first public scrimmage Friday night, according to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports. Tatum led all scorers with 17 points and hit 3-of-5 shots from 3-point range. He also displayed a quicker release that was a welcome sight for Celtics fans. Fox had 12 points off the bench and brought plenty of energy to the game that resulted in several steals and fast-break dunks. He could have a significant role in the World Cup if Lowry is unable to play after thumb surgery.
  • Argentina’s final roster contains several familiar names, Carchia writes in a separate story. In addition to Luis Scola, who played 10 NBA seasons, the roster features Nicolas LaprovittolaNicolas Brussino and Patricio Garino.

Scola, Nicholson Expected To Continue Playing In China

Former NBA power forwards Luis Scola and Andrew Nicholson are expected to continue their playing careers in China, according to a pair of reports relayed by Sportando.

Scola, who initially signed with the Shanxi Brave Dragons last July, is signing with the Shanghai Sharks for the 2018/19 Chinese Basketball Association season, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The news comes on the heels of Trevor Booker‘s announcement that he’d be joining Shanxi, presumably taking over Scola’s old role.

In his first CBA season, Scola averaged 27.8 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG in 37 games for the Brave Dragons, though the team only managed a 16-22 record. Scola, a longtime NBA big man who played for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers, Raptors, and Nets from 2007 to 2017, will be joining a Sharks team that was led by Jimmer Fredette (36.9 PPG) last season.

As for Nicholson, he’s expected to sign with the Fujian Sturgeons after playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in 2017/18, according to a Chinese report passed along by Sportando.

Nicholson, who teamed with fellow NBA vets Yi Jianlian and Donald Sloan last season for Guangdong, recorded 22.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 46 CBA contests. The Tigers advanced to the CBA semifinals before being eliminated by the Liaoning Flying Leopards.

A former Magic first-round pick, Nicholson appeared in 285 total NBA regular season games from 2012 to 2017 with Orlando, Washington, and Brooklyn before making the leap to China last September.

Luis Scola Signs With Chinese Team

Veteran forward Luis Scola will play in China next season, according to a tweet from Sportando. The 37-year-old has signed a contract with the Shanxi Brave Dragons in the Chinese Basketball Association.

A 10-year NBA veteran, Scola played 36 games for the Nets last season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in about 13 minutes per night. He was waived by Brooklyn on February 27th.

An Argentinian star and a veteran of international basketball, Scola was part of the gold-medal winners at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He also played for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers and Raptors.

And-Ones: Scola, Gay, India, Bird, Combine

Luis Scola‘s first and only season in Brooklyn came to an early end in February when the Nets waived him shortly after the trade deadline. At the time, it seemed like the lottery-bound Nets were giving the veteran big man a chance to catch on with another team on the buyout market, but Scola has remained unsigned since then, and admitted last month that his NBA career could be over.

Speaking this week about his future, Scola suggested that he doesn’t want to retire, but admitted he doesn’t have a ton left in the tank. According to the 37-year-old, he’s not overly eager to sign with a team in Argentina, and if he were to head to Europe, it’d be “tough” for him to play for a team besides Baskonia in Spain (link via Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). Baskonia employed several other former Nets this past season, including Chase Budinger, Andrea Bargnani, Tornike Shengelia, and Shane Larkin.

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

  • Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders suggests that the Celtics, Thunder, and Clippers could be logical landing spots for Rudy Gay, who will opt out of his contract with the Kings this summer.
  • Looking to expand its international reach, the NBA opened a new basketball academy in India on Tuesday, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com details. The academy will train top male and female scholarship players from the country, and NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum tells Youngmisuk that he feels like India could be “the next China” for the NBA. “There are some elite prospects here who we think have an opportunity,” Tatum said of India. “One of the reasons why it is so important is that we are going to give them exposure to world-class NBA-type coaching and training and development to make sure they are given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
  • In the wake of the resignation from his role as the Pacers‘ president of basketball operations, is Larry Bird done in the NBA? Scott Agness of VigilantSports.com takes a look at what’s next for the Hall-of-Famer and longtime executive.
  • With this year’s NBA draft combine getting underway in Chicago, Adam Zagoria of FanRagSports.com identifies five key combine-related storylines to watch in the next few days.