Boris Diaw

International Notes: All-Star Game, Embiid, Wembanyama, Canada

In an appearance with Gayle King and Charles Barkley on CNN (video link), Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA will consider a U.S. vs. international format to revamp the All-Star Game. It’s one of several ideas that were brought up after last month’s All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, which concluded with the East defeating the West 211-186 in a contest that was low on competitiveness and defensive effort.

Silver called it “a great weekend, but it was not a basketball game,” and said changes to the format are being studied.

“I think maybe as opposed to trying to create a super competitive basketball game, which I am not sure the teams or the players really want, we should do different things and make it a celebration of basketball,” Silver said. “… “We are going to look at U.S. vs. international. I just think maybe we are past that point where we are going to play a truly competitive game.” 

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Joel Embiid opted to join Team USA in the Summer Olympics, assuming he’s healthy enough, but French basketball officials say they had serious discussions with the Sixers center before the decision was made, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Jean-Pierre Siutat, president of French basketball, and former NBA player Boris Diaw, general manager of the French men’s team, contend they had two meetings with Embiid regarding the possibility that he might play for France. “He said, yes, I want to (play), make the (passport),” Siutat said. “So I make the job, with the help of the government, to get a passport for him and for his son. And all the time, he said, ‘I want to play for the national team of France.’” Embiid disputes that version of events through a spokesman, claiming he never asked for a passport, Vardon adds.
  • Victor Wembanyama is setting the bar high as he tries to win a gold medal while playing at home in Paris, according to a Eurohoops story.  “Any other result than the first place would be a failure since we could have done better,” the Spurs rookie said. “You shouldn’t have any regrets, but it’s a very achievable goal”.
  • Canadian coach Jordi Fernandez is looking to fill out his Olympic roster around a core group consisting of Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderLuguentz DortRJ BarrettKelly OlynykNickeil Alexander-WalkerDwight Powell and Dillon Brooks, notes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Jamal Murray is expected to join them if health permits, and international star Melvin Ejim could get a spot as well. Koreen expects Canada to search around the NBA for the remainder of its 12-man roster.

And-Ones: Ball Brothers, Creek, Diaw, P. Jackson

The Ball brothers – Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, and LiAngelo Ball – intend to sign with Roc Nation Sports for representation, LaMelo’s manager Jermaine Jackson tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Lonzo had previously been represented by CAA, but parted ways with the agency earlier this year. Now, he appears set to make the move to Roc Nation along with his two younger brothers, including LaMelo, who is one of the top prospects in the 2020 draft.

“This was a family decision,” Jackson told ESPN. “… We talked to several agents, but the family had good vibes with Roc Nation. I’ve known Jay-Z since I played for the Knicks, but this is what the kids wanted to do. Jay-Z is a master at what he does. He’s global. It’s power beyond power.”

While Jay-Z launched Roc Nation Sports in 2013, he obviously won’t be the one handling basketball matters for the Ball brothers. Veteran agent Raymond Brothers will be the Balls’ lead agent at Roc Nation, according to Givony.

Here are more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • Australian forward Mitch Creek, who spent this past season in Australia after appearing in five games for the Nets and Timberwolves in 2018/19, was in “advanced talks” with a Western Conference team this winter, says Shayne Hope of The Australian Associated Press. However, as Hope explains, a knee injury and the coronavirus pandemic ultimately derailed Creek’s plans to return stateside.
  • Former NBA forward Boris Diaw has stepped down from his position as president of French team Metropolitans 92, the club announced in a press release (French link; hat tip to Sportando). The team suggested in its announcement that difficulties arose this season in the way the club operated and Diaw’s relationship to certain members of the executive board.
  • Following episodes three and four of The Last Dance on Sunday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne explores how former Bulls head coach Phil Jackson continues to have an impact on today’s NBA head coaches, despite the fact that Jackson hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2011.

And-Ones: Early Entrants, Ball, Pierce, Diaw

After releasing a 233-player list of early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft on Tuesday, the league followed up today by adding a few more names to that list. According to an announcement from the league, “timely letters” were received from three more prospects who declared for the draft. Those players are as follows:

Leading up to the early entry deadline, there were reports that Cham, Lamb, and Sneed all intended to enter the draft, so it was a little surprising not to see them on the NBA’s official list this week. They’re on there now though, and the additions of those three names mean that this year’s early entrant total is up to 236 players, matching a record set in 2018.

As we noted on Tuesday, there were still several players who reportedly intended to declare for the draft as early entrants and aren’t on the NBA’s list, so they either had second thoughts or missed the deadline. The next deadline will arrive on May 29, when NCAA prospects will have to either withdraw from this year’s draft pool or officially forfeit their remaining college eligibility.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Alan Foster, a former associate of Lonzo Ball and the Ball family, is under FBI investigation, according to a report from Tania Ganguli and Richard Winton of The Los Angeles Times. The Bureau is looking into whether Foster defrauded the Ball family out of millions of dollars, according to Ganguli and Winton, who say the investigation has been going on for more than two months. Foster was already facing a lawsuit accusing him of embezzling over $2MM from Big Baller Brand for his personal use.
  • Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce has taken the place of Pacers head coach Nate McMillan as an assistant on Team USA’s coaching staff for 2019/20, according to a press release. McMillan withdrew due to scheduling conflicts, opening the door for Pierce to claim a spot on Gregg Popovich’s staff for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.
  • Longtime NBA forward Boris Diaw is reportedly poised to take over as the president of French team Levallois Metropolitans. The news was reported by Le Parisien, and relayed by Sportando and Eurohoops. Assuming it becomes official, Diaw will become the second notable NBA player to assume the role of team president for a French club, joining former teammate Tony Parker, who runs ASVEL Villeurbanne.

And-Ones: Jefferson, Diaw, Magic, Blazers, Rockets

As expected, after announcing his retirement as a player over the weekend, Richard Jefferson has quickly secured a new job. The longtime NBA forward has officially joined the YES Network and will work as a Nets game and studio analyst this season, according to a press release.

Speaking of post-retirement jobs, Boris Diaw – who called it a career last month – has joined France’s national team as the program’s deputy general manager, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays.

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

  • A pair of longtime NBA owners – Richard DeVos of the Magic and Paul Allen of the Trail Blazers – have passed way in the last month and a half. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders explores what that means for the future of those two franchises.
  • Bobby Marks of passes along some interesting data on the NBA’s opening-night rosters, tweeting that the Nuggets, Knicks, and Trail Blazers have the youngest rosters, while the Rockets, Heat, and Mavericks are on the other end of the spectrum. Meanwhile, the NBA announces that the opening-night rosters feature a total of 108 international players from 42 different countries and territories.
  • The Rockets have agreed to a partnership with a new jersey sponsor, announcing today that the ROKiT Phones logo will appear in the top-left corner of their uniforms during the 2018/19 season. Twenty-seven NBA teams now have ad patches on their jerseys — Indiana, Oklahoma City, and Washington are the lone holdouts.

Boris Diaw Announces Retirement

Boris Diaw, who played 14 seasons in the NBA, has officially retired from basketball, according to a tweet from Sportando. The versatile big man played for five teams, but is best known for his time in San Antonio, where he won a championship in 2014.

A French native, the 36-year-old spent last season with Paris-Levallois. He built a strong international reputation in France before coming to the NBA, winning the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in 2000. He was named captain of the French national team in 2006 and led his nation to the gold medal at the 2013 EuroBasket tournament.

Diaw was drafted by the Hawks with the 21st pick in 2003. He spent two years in Atlanta before being traded to the Suns, and later played for the Bobcats and Spurs before finishing his NBA career with the Jazz in 2017. Several playoff teams reportedly had interest in signing him late last season, but nothing ever materialized.

Over the course of his NBA career, Diaw averaged 8.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 1,064 contests (27.0 MPG). According to Basketball-Reference, the 2006 NBA Most Improved Player earned more than $80MM during his 14 seasons in the NBA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Players/Officials, Diaw, Modern Approach

Several current NBA players and referees will meet privately Saturday during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles to discuss player-referee relations, according to a release posted on the Players’ Association’s website. Tensions between players and officials have been a hot topic this year and the aim of the meeting is to improve communication and transparency. Among the topics that will be discussed is on-court communication and demeanor; perception in media, optics, and reality of issues between players and officials; respect for game rules and their consistent enforcement; tactics for de-escalation of tension from each side; and equality of treatment for all players and officials.

In other news around the league and overseas:

  • Veteran big man Boris Diaw is expected to remain with his French team until the end of its season, Sportando relays via Le Parisien. Diaw has drawn interest from NBA teams and has an opt-out clause he could exercise by March 1 but he’ll stay with Paris-Levallois. He played 73 games for the Jazz last season.
  • Changes to the All-Star format and the league embracing pro sports betting are ways that the NBA is trying to remain relevant, Howard Bryant of ESPN argues. Oversaturation will eventually override nostalgia, tradition and enormous television rights fees, which has propped up major sports over the years, Bryant continues. That’s why the leagues are desperately trying to reinvent themselves, Bryant adds.

Bogut, Diaw Drawing Interest From Playoff Teams

With the trade deadline gone, now is the time when teams scour the market for veteran help to aid a playoff run. Two players who are currently receiving interest from contending teams are Andrew Bogut and Boris Diaw.

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (via Twitter), Diaw, who is currently with the French team Paris-Levallois, has “touched base” with several playoff teams. The 35-year-old is a 14-year NBA veteran with 119 games of postseason experience, including the 2013/14 championship Spurs team. MacMahon notes that teams like Diaw’s locker room presence and unselfish role play.

Diaw last appeared in the NBA with the Jazz last season, averaging 4.6 PPG in 73 games.

As for Bogut, he has yet to latch on with a team since the Lakers released him in early January. Bogut’s agent, David Bauman, tells Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times (via Twitter) that the Australian big man is considering four playoff-bound teams and that,”the good news is Andrew will be in the playoffs.” Bogut is expected to sign next week, Bauman tells Woelfel.

Bogut played sparingly for the Lakers, appearing in just 24 games while averaging 1.5 PPG. However, the 33-year-old brings his own postseason pedigree as he was part of the Warriors‘ 2014/15 championship team. The 13-year veteran has been consistently regarded as a steady veteran presence and defensive asset.

And-Ones: Diaw, Silver, Contract Years, Doncic

Having signed to play for a team in France, Boris Diaw explains in a YouTube video (French, with English subtitles) why he made the decision to join Levallois Metropolitans for the 2017/18 season after 14 years in the NBA.

“This decision wasn’t about the money,” Diaw said. “It was about joining a club that could benefit from my presence, where I could help guide and teach the younger players. It was about bringing them my experience, my advice. It was also about staying fit. It provided me with an opportunity to play at a high level and stay physically fit while waiting for a potential offer from an NBA team that might need me during the season.”

As we wait to see if Diaw makes his way back to the NBA at some point in 2017/18, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • While commissioner Adam Silver hoped NBA owners could reach on gentlemen’s agreement on policing the rest of healthy players, team owners – led by Robert Sarver of the Suns – encouraged Silver to institute concrete rules and potential punishments in order to curb the issue, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Wojnarowski’s piece examines Silver’s role in addressing the DNP-Rest problem, and looks at the commissioner’s push for lottery reform.
  • In a piece for HoopsHype, Bryan Kalbrosky identifies a number of players who may end up exceeding expectations in contract years. Of course, many of the players on Kalbrosky’s list – including Gary Harris, Rodney Hood, and Jusuf Nurkic – are eligible for extensions until opening night, so 2017/18 may not end up being a contract year for some of them.
  • Sasa Doncic, the father of young Real Madrid star Luka Doncic, called his son a unique talent who “plays in a magical way,” but acknowledged that he’d like to see him improve his shot a little (link via; translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Doncic is expected to be one of the first players to come off the board in the 2018 draft.

Boris Diaw Set To Play In France

SEPTEMBER 17, 8:14am: Diaw’s signing is official, the French club announced in a tweet.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1:47pm: Veteran NBA forward Boris Diaw will head back to France to start the 2017/18 season, according to David Cozette of SFR Sport (Twitter link), who reports that Diaw has agreed to sign with Levallois Metropolitans. The deal will feature an NBA out clause, per Sportando (Twitter link).

Diaw, 35, has spent the last 14 seasons in the NBA, beginning his career with the Hawks before moving on to the Suns, Bobcats, Spurs, and Jazz. Diaw started 33 games and appeared in 73 overall regular season contests for Utah last season, but saw his production dip — his PPG (4.6), FG% (.446), and 3PT% (.247) marks were all among the worst of his career. He had a $7.5MM salary for 2017/18 that would have become guaranteed if the Jazz had not waived him in July.

While Diaw has played in the NBA for nearly a decade and a half, he’s no stranger to French competition either. Before being drafted 21st overall in 2003, Diaw spent multiple seasons with Pau-Orthez in France, and he returned to his home country during the 2011 lockout to play for JSA Bordeaux. The veteran forward has also represented France in several international tournaments.

Levallois Metropolitans, Diaw’s new team, was formerly known as Paris-Levallois Basket. The club was led last season by former Florida State standout Jason Rich and Knicks draft-and-stash big man Louis Labeyrie, but both players have found new homes for the 2017/18 campaign, so the team figures to lean heavily on Diaw.

Boris Diaw Uncertain About NBA Future

Having been waived by the Jazz earlier this summer, forward Boris Diaw remains an unrestricted free agent and his future as a player remains up in the air. Diaw recently told Le Figaro that he’s not 100% sure that he’ll find an NBA home for the 2017/18 season, suggesting that a return to Europe is a possibility (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).

According to Diaw, he has been in touch with a few NBA teams, but nothing concrete came out of those conversations. The French forward added that there are several factors he has to take into account as he considers his next move, and he’s not yet closing any doors.

Diaw, 35, has spent the last 14 seasons in the NBA, beginning his career with the Hawks before moving on to the Suns, Bobcats, Spurs, and Jazz. Diaw started 33 games and appeared in 73 overall regular season contests for Utah last season, but saw his production dip — his PPG (4.6), FG% (.446), and 3PT% (.247) marks were all among the worst of his career. He had a $7.5MM salary for 2017/18 that would have become guaranteed if the Jazz had not waived him last month.

While Diaw has played in the NBA for the last 14 years, he also has some international experience, so playing in Europe wouldn’t be new to him. Before being drafted 21st overall in 2003, Diaw spent multiple seasons with Pau-Orthez in France, and he returned to his home country during the 2011 lockout to play for JSA Bordeaux. The veteran forward has also represented France in several international competitions.

The Raptors reportedly inquired on Diaw last month just before he was waived by the Jazz, but no NBA teams have been linked to him within the last few weeks.