Luka Samanic

NBA G League Assignment/Recalls: 10/30/19

Every night during the NBA G League season, Hoops Rumors provides the assignments and recalls for each team. With training camps now open, here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the G League:

Spurs Sign First-Round Rookies

The Spurs signed both of their first-round selections, forward Luka Samanic and swingman Keldon Johnson, to rookie contracts, according to team press releases.

Assuming they received the max of 120 percent of the rookie scale, Samanic will make $2.69MM in his rookie year, ascending to 2.82MM and 2.959MM in the next two seasons. Johnson will get $1.95MM in the upcoming season and $2.05MM and $2.146MM in his second and third years.

Samanic was the 19th overall pick. The 6’10” Samanic spent last season with KK Olimpija in the Slovenian League, averaging 10.1 PPG and 5.9 RPG in 20.7 MPG over 17 games. The 19-year-old also saw action in 12 games in the FIBA Champions League, posting averages of 8.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 19.4 MPG.

Johnson was chosen with the No. 29 pick, which was acquired from Toronto as part of the Kawhi Leonard trade. The 6’6” Johnson averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 1.6 APG in 30.7 MPG while playing 37 games for Kentucky last season.

Both will play on the Spurs’ summer league teams in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Western Notes: Lakers, Katsikaris, Sikka, Turner, Samanic

After re-adjusting the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers find themselves with approximately $32MM to spend in free agency. With Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and others available, Los Angeles figures to use the newfound space to pursue one of those premier players.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus examined how the team may approach free agency with $32MM at their disposal. Pincus labeled Leonard as the only player who may be worth the sizable investment for the Lakers. Otherwise, the team would be better off spreading the available money around to create a more balanced roster.

Among Pincus’ breakdown includes hypothetical deals – mimicking the 2017 Heat’s trick of signing several players to unlikely incentives – for D’Angelo Russell and a slew of veterans. Whichever way the Lakers elect to go, Pincus notes that pursuit, and possible acquisition of Leonard, remains a realistic outcome.

Check out more Western Conference notes below:

  • After spending one season with the Jazz as an assistant coach, Fotis Katsikaris is headed to Spain to become the new head coach of Herbalife Gran Canaria, as first reported by Eurohoops. Katsikaris is the second Jazz assistant coach to depart this offseason as Antonio Lang recently joined the Cavaliers’ staff.
  • The Spurs are set to bring their 2019 first-round pick, Luka Samanic, stateside after reaching an agreement with his former team Petrol Olimpija Lubiana to release him, according to Sportando. The Croatian forward averaged 8.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG last season.
  • Elston Turner is set to return to the Rockets as a lead assistant coach, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Turner previously spent four years as an assistant with the Rockets under Rick Adelman.
  • The Timberwolves announced the hiring of Robby Sikka as vice president of basketball performance and technology. Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter links), Sikka is giving up consulting gigs to focus solely on Minnesota. “Robby’s background and skillset strongly aligns with our desire to be a modern, player-centric organization,” said Timberwolves’ president Gersson Rosas said. “In his new position, Robby will play a key role in the integration of medical, technology, analytics and player development with the goal of improving basketball performance and player wellness.”

New York Notes: Barrett, Durant, Bol, Bazley

Family considerations are part of the reason R.J. Barrett wants to be drafted by the Knicks tomorrow, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. At a press conference today, Barrett explained that his grandfather was a huge Knicks fan, his mother is from Brooklyn and his father played at St. John’s.

It appears Barrett will get his wish, unless someone leapfrogs New York and makes a deal with Memphis for the No. 2 pick. He has turned down requests for a workout with the Grizzlies, saying he prefers to play for the Knicks.

“My agent and I and my parents, we just decided not to (work out for Memphis),’’ Barrett said. “Not really anything wrong with Memphis. New York is just more where I wanted to be.”

Ja Morant ranks slightly higher on the Knicks’ board, but the team will be content to stay put at No. 3 and take Barrett if that’s how the draft works out, a source tells Berman.

There’s more from New York on the eve of the draft:

  • While the Knicks have clarity about their draft situation, free agency looks very different, notes Frank Isola of The Athletic. He cites league sources who believe Kevin Durant is headed to New York, even if Kyrie Irving winds up in Brooklyn. However, Isola is skeptical after hearing months of rumors that they want to play together. He adds that Durant’s Achilles surgery last week was performed by an orthopedic surgeon who formerly worked for the Knicks but is now with the Nets.
  • The Nets attended a private workout for Oregon center Bol Bol last week, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Brooklyn has the 27th pick and would probably have to move up for Bol, but the foot injury he suffered in college make his draft range unpredictable.
  • Darius Bazley is a name to watch if he’s still on the board for the Nets‘ selection, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The 6’10” forward didn’t play college basketball after committing to Syracuse, but he has been impressive in workouts. Lewis mentions Stanford’s KZ Okpala, Auburn’s Chuma Okeke, USC’s Kevin Porter, Arizona State’s Luguentz Dort and Croatian Luka Samanic as other possibilities at No. 27.

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Barrett, Herro, Porter, More

Although they brought in Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland for a last-minute workout today, the Knicks remain locked in on selecting Duke forward R.J. Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

With just over 24 hours to go until the 2019 NBA draft, rumors continue to trickle in about which prospects other teams might be targeting with their first-round picks. Jeremy Woo and Jake Fischer of SI.com suggest that league sources believe the Celtics – who hold Nos. 14, 20, and 22 – have serious interest in Kentucky sharpshooter Tyler Herro. The SI duo also reports that the Spurs – who pick at 19 and 29 – are among the teams with real interest in Croatian forward Luka Samanic.

Woo and Fischer share a few more tidbits in their latest mock draft, writing that the Hornets, Heat, and Celtics are all showing “a degree of interest” in USC’s Kevin Porter Jr., who could be in play to come off the board near the end of the lottery.

League sources also tell SI.com that the Magic have put the No. 46 pick on the trade block and could sell it, with the Lakers, Wizards, and Trail Blazers among the teams believed to have interest in purchasing a second-rounder.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Kevin Porter Jr. (USC), Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), and Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State) have received last-minute invites to the Green Room for Thursday’s NBA draft, reports ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links). That increases the number of prospects expected to be in attendance in the Green Room to 23, Givony notes.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), Texas center Jaxson Hayes said he only worked out for two teams, the Bulls and Hawks, during the pre-draft process. Those clubs hold three top-10 picks between them.
  • UNC guard Coby White also confirmed his pre-draft workouts today, as Gina Mizell of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). White worked out for four lottery teams, including the Suns and Bulls, who are both believed to be in the market for a point guard.
  • Terry Harris, the younger brother of pending free agent Tobias Harris, is seeing his stock rise, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). The younger Harris has worked out for the Suns and Thunder, among many other teams.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Draft Notes: Blazers, Hawks, Hunter, Samanic, Kings, Warriors

The Trail Blazers, who hold just one pick – No. 25 overall – in this year’s draft, brought in a total of 24 prospects for workouts, according to Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com.

In addition to the 12 prospects whose names we previously relayed, the Trail Blazers also brought in David Crisp (Washington), Matur Maker (Slovenia), KZ Okpala (Stanford), Samir Sehic (Tulane), Jaylin Walker (Kent State), Cameron Young (Quinnipiac), Vic Law (Northwestern), Ignas Brazdeikis (Michigan), Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State), Louis King (Oregon), Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), Rayjon Tucker (Little Rock) over the last week.

Not all of those players are candidates to be selected 25th overall, so the Trail Blazers were also doing their homework on potential undrafted free agent signings — or possibly even second-round picks, if Portland opts to trade back into the draft.

Here are a few more draft-related notes and rumors worth rounding up:

  • The Hawks are “very high” on Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link). Sources tell Givony that Atlanta is the only team Hunter has worked out for, though if the Hawks want to secure him, they may have to trade up from No. 8. The Hawks are also said to like Jarrett Culver.
  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic isn’t interested in becoming a draft-and-stash player, sources tell Givony. That might cause his stock to fall a little, since he’s still “raw and inexperienced,” Givony writes. Some teams may be reluctant to guarantee him a roster spot until he’s a little more NBA-ready.
  • The Kings worked out Kyle Guy (Virginia), Jaylen Hands (UCLA), Rayjon Tucker (Little Rock), Miye Oni (Yale), Daulton Hommes (Point Loma), and Kenny Wooten (Oregon) on Monday, per James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets are among the teams that brought in Purdue Fort Wayne’s John Konchar for a pre-draft workout, tweets ESPN’s Jordan Schultz.
  • Jordan Poole (Michigan) and Jarrell Brantley (Charleston) auditioned for the Warriors today, per Gery Woelfel and Adam Zagoria, respectively (Twitter links).

Draft Notes: Bol, Williamson, Hawks, Knicks, Langford

Oregon center Bol Bol has received the last of 20 invites to the draft’s Green Room, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Bol Bol is ranked No. 15 overall by Givony. The 7’2” freshman appeared in only nine games with the Ducks due to a foot injury but averaged 21.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG and 2.7 BPG.

We have more draft notes:

  • Projected top pick Zion Williamson has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to terminate an agreement he signed with a Florida marketing company, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Williamson signed a marketing deal, which included a clause that it couldn’t be terminated for five years, with Gina Ford and Prime Sports in April. Williamson’s family told the agency two weeks ago that it was terminating the agreement and the agency responded that it would sue for damages in excess of $100MM, Wojnarowski continues. According to Williamson’s suit, the agreement was unlawful under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Sports is not certified by the Players Association or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida.
  • The Knicks’ workout on Friday included St. John guard Justin Simon and Kansas power forward Dedric Lawson, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Virginia Tech swingman Ahmed Hill and St. Louis guard Javon Bess also participated in the workout, Zagoria adds.
  • The Pistons, Magic and Hornets are the teams most likely to take first-round prospect and former Indiana swingman Romeo Langford, Dustic Dopirak of The Athletic writes.
  • The Hawks will look at six big men on Saturday according to a team press release. That group includes center Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), Aric Holman (Mississippi State), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State) and Naz Reid (LSU) along with Europeans Sekou Doumbouya and Luka Samanic. Langford will also visit with the Hawks on Saturday but will not workout.

Eastern Draft Notes: Culver, Wizards, King, Sixers

According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, the Cavaliers, who hold the No. 5 overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft, conducted a private workout with top prospect Jarrett Culver on Monday before hosting him for dinner with general manager Koby Altman, assistant GM Mike Gansey, head coach John Beilein, and assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

As Fedor details, the Cavaliers have been keeping tabs on Culver throughout the entire season, watching him in person multiple times. In addition, both Altman and Gansey were  in attendance for Culver’s 22-point game against Michigan in the Sweet 16. Beilein, of course, coached the Wolverines in that game.

The Cavaliers are still hoping to conduct a workout with De’Andre Hunter as well, but it reportedly hasn’t happened yet. Culver is currently the No. 6 ranked prospect in ESPN’s top 100, while Hunter is No. 5, so both are obviously in consideration for the fifth pick.

The No. 7 overall prospect, forward Cam Reddish, won’t work out with the Cavaliers due to recent surgery on a core muscle, but the Cavs would like to meet with him in person again prior to draft night.

There’s more draft notes tonight from around the Eastern Conference.

Draft Updates: Green Room, Culver, Samanic, More

The NBA continues to invite potential first-round picks to the Green Room for next Thursday’s draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that Nassir Little (UNC), Romeo Langford (Indiana), and Tyler Herro (Kentucky) were the next invitees after the initial nine-player group.

According to Givony (Twitter links), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), PJ Washington (Kentucky) also received Green Room invites, as did international prospect Sekou Doumbouya. That brings us to 16 prospects who are expected to be in the Green Room on draft night, with four others still expected to be invited, per Givony.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Within his latest mock draft, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cites league sources who say that both the Suns and Hawks are high on Texas Tech swingman Jarrett Culver. However, it’s possible that neither team will have a shot at him without trading up — Woo has Culver coming off the board at No. 5 to the Cavaliers in his mock.
  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic has a busy workout schedule, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), who adds the Warriors and Spurs to the list of teams Samanic has auditioned for. He also has workouts lined up with the Hawks and Bucks.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has worked out for the Celtics, Pelicans, Knicks, and Raptors, and still has the Mavericks, Rockets, and Hornets on his workout schedule, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
  • Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter links) provides a pair of updates on pre-draft workouts for prospects, reporting that Chris Silva (South Carolina) is working out for the Heat and Spurs, while Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s) worked out for the Cavaliers and Mavericks and has the Sixers and Rockets on tap.

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Barrett, Knicks, Pistons

With six of the top 44 picks in the 2019 NBA draft, the Hawks have been understandably busy when it comes to bringing in prospects for pre-draft workouts. While Atlanta is unlikely to keep all six of its selections, the club is doing its due diligence on players who might be available at each spot — or as undrafted free agents.

On Sunday, the Hawks worked out Darius Bazley (Princeton HS), Robert Franks (Washington State), Matur Maker (Zlatorog Lasko), William McDowell-White (Baunach), Miye Oni (Yale), and Trayvon Reed (Texas Southern), according to the team.

The Hawks conducted another workout on Monday, bringing in Jordan Bone (Tennessee), Brian Bowen (Sydney), Dewan Hernandez (Miami), Jordan Poole (Michigan), Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech), and Dean Wade (Kansas State) in for a look.

On Tuesday, the Hawks will host yet another workout, with Charlie Brown Jr. (St. Joe’s), Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), Keldon Johnson (Kentucky), Nassir Little (UNC), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) set to participate.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the Eastern Conference: