Ante Zizic

International Notes: EuroLeague, Exum, Reath, Cauley-Stein, Zizic

Kemba Walker is among several former NBA players struggling to make the adjustment to the EuroLeague, writes Dimitris Minaretzis of Eurohoops. After signing with AS Monaco this summer, the 33-year-old guard is averaging just 4.4 points and 1.1 assists per game as he fights for playing time in a crowded backcourt. Knee injuries plagued Walker throughout the end of his NBA career, and they appear to still be limiting his effectiveness in Europe.

Elsewhere, Minaretzis notes that FC Barcelona’s Jabari Parker is averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, while KK Partizan has PJ Dozier at 9.2 points and 3.2 assists per night and Frank Kaminsky at 8.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

The only players who are standing out after being on NBA rosters last season are Serge Ibaka, who’s averaging 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for Bayern Munich, and Kendrick Nunn, who is at 11.6 points and 2.5 assists per night with Panathinaikos. Ibaka has previous EuroLeague experience, having played in Spain before being drafted in 2008.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • After making a surprising impact with their NBA clubs, Dante Exum and Duop Reath are in contention for starting spots with the Australian Olympic team, according to Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Exum, who recently moved into the Mavericks‘ starting lineup because of his strong play, is averaging 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists over his last 10 games, and Uluc notes that he’s given Dallas a secondary ball-handler while serving as a strong complement to Luka Doncic. Reath has become a productive weapon for the Trail Blazers after earning a two-way deal in camp. He provides an outside shooting threat and has reached double figures in scoring in seven of Portland’s last 10 games. Reath posted a career-high 25 points against Sacramento this week and may have surpassed Jock Landale as the Boomers’ best option at center.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein‘s first venture in Europe has ended after 20 games, per Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Pallacanestro Varese announced that it has parted ways with the 30-year-old center, who averaged 9.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks for the Italian team.
  • Croatian center Ante Zizic has signed with Virtus Bologna, the team announced in a press release. Zizic, 26, was a first-round pick in 2017 and played 113 total games with Cleveland from 2017 to 2020. He captured a Turkish championship and the President’s Cup last season with Anadolu Efes.

And-Ones: Gasol, Trade Cash, 2023 Draft, Ignite, Zizic

It doesn’t appear that veteran center Marc Gasol will be making an NBA comeback this fall. As Johnny Askounis of Eurhoops.net relays, multiple reports out of Spain have indicated that Gasol intends to remain a member of Girona, the Spanish team he owns and plays for.

Girona competed this past season in Spain’s second-division Liga Española de Baloncesto, but has received a promotion to the top Spanish league, Liga Endesa, for the 2022/23 season. Having helped his team earn that promotion by averaging 14.5 PPG and 8.2 RPG this season, Gasol’s goal is now to actually play for Girona in Liga Endesa competition, according to Askounis.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (all Twitter links) has the details on the cash that changed hands in a few draft-night trades, reporting that the Magic received $2.15MM from the Lakers as part of the deal for the No. 35 pick; the Grizzlies sent $1MM to the Spurs as part of the swap for Kennedy Chandler‘s draft rights; and the Pacers got $1MM from the Bucks for selling the final pick in the draft (No. 58 pick Hugo Besson). That $2.15MM was the most Orlando could have acquired in a deal, as our cash tracker shows.
  • With the 2022 draft in the books, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) has already turned his attention to 2023, publishing an initial mock draft for next year. As Givony and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic write, the 2023 NBA draft looks like it’ll be the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.
  • The NBA G League announced in a press release that Washington State center Efe Abogidi has officially signed with the G League Ignite, as expected. Meanwhile, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, five-star recruit Matas Buzelis, one of the top prospects in the class of 2023, has committed to the Ignite for the 2023/24 season.
  • Former NBA first-round pick Ante Zizic has officially signed with Turkish team Anadolu Efes following his departure from Maccabi Tel Aviv. Zizc, who received a two-year deal with a third-year option, appeared in 113 NBA games for Boston and Cleveland from 2017-20.

And-Ones: Zizic, LeBron, TV Ratings, 2023 Draft

EuroLeague champion Anadolu Efes will be signing former NBA big man Ante Zizic on a two-year deal, with an opt-out clause after the first season, Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops.net reports. Zizic, 25, averaged 12.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 21 MPG over 31 games for Maccabi Tel Aviv last season.

A first-round pick in 2016, Zizic spent three seasons in the NBA with the Cavaliers from 2017-20, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 113 games (13.4 MPG).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Lakers star LeBron James has reached a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes’ calculations, Chase Peterson-Withorn writes. James made $121.2MM last year, pushing him over the $1 billion mark. He’s the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list. Even Michael Jordan, the only other basketball billionaire, didn’t reach that mark until 2014, well after he retired.
  • The NBA’s TV ratings for the postseason have risen significantly. There are number of reasons for the upswing, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, including the Warriors’ resurgence, an influx of new stars making their mark and Nielsen’s new method for collecting viewership numbers. Since September 2020, Nielsen has included out-of-home viewers as part of its tallies, including those watching at bars and restaurants.
  • While many draft prospects are busy working out for NBA teams, some have dropped out and returned to school to improve their stock for the 2023 draft. Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo takes a look at six players who could make a significant jump in the next year, including Iowa’s Kris Murray and Houston’s Marcus Sasser.

International Notes: Zizic, Nunnally, Daniels, Yabusele, Macon

Former NBA first-round pick Ante Zizic, who signed last summer with Maccabi Tel Aviv, will be returning to the Israeli club for another season, the team confirmed today (via Twitter). The 24-year-old previously spent three seasons in the NBA, all with the Cavaliers, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 113 games (13.4 MPG).

Maccabi Tel Aviv also recently announced the signing of an NBA free agent, announcing in a press release that James Nunnally was joining the team on a one-year contract with a second-year option. Nunnally has plenty of EuroLeague experience under his belt, but actually finished the 2020/21 season on an NBA roster, having signed a two-way contract with the Pelicans in April.

Here are a few more updates from the international basketball world:

  • After announcing the signing of Nicolo Melli last week, Olimpia Milano has added another veteran with NBA experience, inking shooting guard Troy Daniels to a contract, per the team. Daniels, who will turn 30 on Thursday, has played 339 NBA games for seven teams, averaging 6.6 PPG with a .395 3PT%. He last played for Denver in 2020.
  • Former NBA first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele, who played in France last season, is headed to Spain for the 2021/22 season. He has signed a one-year contract with Real Madrid, according to a team press release. Yabusele spent two NBA seasons with the Celtics , appearing in 74 games from 2017-19.
  • Panathinaikos BC has officially signed former NBA guard Daryl Macon to a one-year contract with a second-year option, the Greek club stated in a press release. A report last week indicated the move was expected to happen. Macon saw a little NBA action from 2018-20 for Dallas and Miami.

Maccabi Tel Aviv Announces Signing Of Ante Zizic

Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv has announced the signing of veteran center Ante Zizic, indicating in a press release that he has agreed to a two-year contract with the club.

Zizic, who has spent the last three seasons with the Cavaliers, was on track to become an unrestricted free agent in October. His new deal has been confirmed by agent Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link).

It’s a little unusual to see a player sign with an international team before his NBA contract technically expires, but the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic presumably played a part in Zizic’s early exit from Cleveland. The 2020/21 season in several European leagues is on track to get underway this fall before the NBA’s offseason begins.

[RELATED: NBPA Preparing For Possible Delay Of Free Agency Start Date]

Zizic, a 2016 first-round pick who was acquired by Cleveland in the 2017 blockbuster that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston, didn’t make a major impact in 113 games over three seasons for the Cavaliers, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest. The Croatian native played just 10.0 MPG in 22 contests in 2019/20 for the Cavs, but should take on a more substantial role with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Reports earlier this summer suggested that Zizic appeared likely to join Spanish team Real Madrid for the ’20/21 season, but the two sides never finalized a deal, and the 23-year-old shifted his focus to Maccabi Tel Aviv earlier in August.

The move represents a return to Europe for Zizic, who spent time with clubs in Croatia and Turkey from 2013-17.

Ante Zizic Now On Track For Deal With Maccabi Tel Aviv?

A return to Europe appears to be in the cards for Cavaliers center Ante Zizic, whose rookie contract is expiring this October after the team turned down his fourth-year option for 2020/21 last fall.

Reports earlier this summer suggested that Zizic appeared likely to join Spanish team Real Madrid for the ’20/21 season, but the two sides couldn’t officially finalize a deal as long as the big man remained under contract with the Cavs.

Now, it looks as if another EuroLeague team is the frontrunner for Zizic. According to journalist Moses Barda (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando), Zizic has tentatively agreed to terms on a two-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Israeli club was a top-five EuroLeague squad last season at 19-9, finishing just a few games behind second-place Real Madrid (22-6).

Zizic, who was acquired by Cleveland in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston, didn’t make a major impact in 113 games over three seasons for the Cavs, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest. The Croatian native played just 10.0 MPG in 22 contests in 2019/20 for the Cavs, so it makes some sense that he’d explore a return to Europe, where he’d have a much larger role. He played for Turkey’s Darussafaka before making the move to the NBA.

Despite the latest report of a contract agreement, Zizic technically remains under Cleveland’s control. Until he and the Cavs formally sever ties and he signs a contract with a new team, it’s possible his outlook for next season will change.

Ante Zizic Eyeing Move To Real Madrid?

Cavaliers center Ante Zizic is entering free agency this fall on an expiring contract that technically won’t expire until mid-October. However, it sounds as if Zizic may already be in the process of lining up his next contract.

According to a pair of reports – one from Chema de Lucas (Twitter link) and another from Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops – Zizic is expected to sign with Real Madrid in Spain. Varlas writes that Zizic has received a verbal commitment from the Spanish club and will sign a multiyear deal once his contract with the Cavs formally expires.

It’ll be some time before Zizic can officially sign with Real Madrid or any other team, but it won’t be a major surprise if he does head back overseas. His contributions in 113 games for Cleveland were modest, as he averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest. The Croatian native played just 10.0 MPG in 22 contests in 2019/20 for the Cavs, and would be unlikely to generate significant NBA interest in free agency.

While Zizic has never played in Spain, he’ll be returning to the EuroLeague if he finalizes a deal with Real Madrid. After being selected 23rd overall in the 2016 draft by the Celtics, Zizic spent the ’16/17 season with Darussafaka in Turkey before making the move stateside.

International Notes: Zizic, EuroLeague, Schroder, Sirvydis

Maccabi Tel Aviv is interested in signing Cavaliers center Ante Zizic next season, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Zizic will be a free agent after Cleveland declined his fourth-year option in October.

Zizic got into just 22 games this year, averaging 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 10 minutes per night. The 23-year-old center is in his third season with the Cavs after being acquired from Boston in the Kyrie Irving deal.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Most EuroLeague players are against resuming the season, tweets Greek basketball writer George Zakkas. A conference call was held yesterday in which players expressed their concerns about the coronavirus and the risk of injury if the season were to start again. The players were unanimous in their stance, which surprised league officials, according to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The 11 A-licensed EuroLeague teams will vote tomorrow morning on whether the season will resume. Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia has heard that four teams seem to be in favor of restarting, while five clubs are against it (Twitter link).
  • The BBL in Germany has released its schedule for a 10-team tournament to crown a league champion, Borghesan writes in a separate piece. The opening game is set for June 6 with the finals on June 26 and 28.
  • Thunder guard Dennis Schroder will become the sole owner of his hometown team in Braunschweig, Germany, on July 1, Skerletic notes in a separate story. “I am very happy to be the sole shareholder of the Lions.” Schroder said. “… I want to give something back to the region. I am convinced that we can develop the team further and make it a top club in the league.”
  • Pistons draft-and-stash player Deividas Sirvydis has agreed to a long-term deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, Carchia writes. Detroit selected the 19-year-old forward in the second round last year.
  • Former NBA center Tarik Black has left Maccabi Tel Aviv, Lupo relays.

Three-Week Minimum Anticipated For Training Camp

Commissioner Adam Silver believes a three-to-six week ramp-up period would be needed in order to resume the season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Silver was asked about the length of training camp during a conference call with players on Friday. A minimum of three weeks has been discussed around the league, Silver replied, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

With Silver indicating that no decision regarding the resumption of the season needed to made this month, that would suggest that play would resume no earlier than July.

The league is taking baby steps toward getting players back into training facilities. The NBA has given the go-ahead for teams to allow players back into their usual facilities under heavy restrictions. Only the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers were able or willing to unlock their facilities on Friday, displaying the cautious approach many franchises and players have adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic showed up at the Cavaliers’ practice facility. Nance spent approximately 90 minutes taking shots and doing weight work, while the others spend their time at separate baskets. All the players were subject to temperature checks before being allowed in the facility.

“They did a really good job of making sure we all felt great about being there,” Nance told Stein. “They could make it at 4 in the morning and I would be there.”

Other players around the league don’t share Nance’s enthusiasm. During the conference call with Silver, Thunder guard and Players Association president Chris Paul expressed the concerns of some players that they felt pressure to work out at their teams’ facilities, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Silver reiterated that the workouts are optional and advised Paul to follow up with the league if any players had issues with their respective teams during the reopening of the facilities.

Injury Updates: R. Jackson, Hachimura, Wagner, R. Williams

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson hopes to play tonight after being sidelined since the second game of the season with a back injury, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson is officially listed as questionable for the game against the Kings. He’ll be on a minutes restriction and isn’t sure if he’ll be used as a starter or a reserve (Twitter link).

“I don’t know how well I’m going to feel. Adrenaline is a different thing so I imagine I’ll probably be winded a little early,” Jackson said (Twitter link).

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura has been cleared for all basketball activities, head coach Scott Brooks told reporters, including Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Hachimura hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury December 16. “It’ll be great to have him back before the All-Star break, but you never know,” Brooks said (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards also got good news on Moritz Wagner, who has been cleared for non-contact activities after a check-up in New York City, Buckner tweets. Wagner has missed the past month with a sprained left ankle.
  • Injured Celtics center Robert Williams was able to do some running Tuesday and is set for another scan and evaluation February 4, the team tweeted. Team doctors expect to have a more concrete idea of when he can start playing again after that session. Williams has a bone edema in his left hip and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
  • Cavaliers center Ante Zizic is out indefinitely, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. He has been diagnosed with a vestibular condition that has forced him to miss the past five games.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters that among his injured rotation players, Gary Harris is the closest to returning, relays Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). “When I say closest, I don’t know how close that is,” Malone explained.Paul (Millsap) and Jamal (Murray) are still a ways off.”