Bostjan Nachbar

Hiatus Notes: Cuban, Paul, Season, EuroLeague

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the latest NBA figure to discuss why the league should consider starting the regular season on Christmas Day, as he explained on ESPN’s The Jump with Rachel Nichols (Twitter link).

The current NBA season begins in mid-October and ends with the NBA Finals concluding in early June. The NBA draft happens shortly after that, with free agency commencing at the end of June and early July.

“I think you work backwards from next season,” Cuban said after being asked when he believes the league should release its official plans for the season. “I’ve always been a proponent of starting on Christmas Day when we go to broadcast. And so if you work backwards from there and say, ‘We want to have two months off for the draft and everything, for players to recover’, so you have all of November and all of October and we don’t have to finish (this season) until the end of September.”

If the league chooses to work backwards from next season and finish this campaign in September, the 2020/21 season likely won’t start until December. This could open a pathway toward a brand new schedule, so long as the league can overcome some of the various obstacles it will likely encounter.

Cuban also gave his opinion on whether we’ll see a traditional 16-team playoff format this year, which includes eight teams from the East and West.

“I don’t think it’ll be regular,” he said of this year’s format. “This is our chance to experiment and learn. Unique circumstances, unique opportunities. So I’m confident we’ll take advantage of it and do something differently. I just think that’s smart from a business perspective and I think the players want that too.”

Here are a few more items related to the NBA’s hiatus:

  • Royce Young of ESPN details the role Thunder guard Chris Paul has played during the coronavirus pandemic, with Paul currently serving as president of the players’ union. The NBA season has been on hiatus for roughly two-and-a-half months to date.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday makes the case for why only 16 teams should play in the event the NBA season is resumed. The league is planning a Thursday vote between the Board of Governors on how and whether to restart the season, with owners expected to approve a plan, according to an ESPN report.
  • Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype discussed the EuroLeague’s decision to cancel the season and more with veteran forward Bostjan Nachbar, who believes the biggest fear from EuroLeague players was related to injuries following the long layoff — not COVID-19. Nachbar plays a key role in the EuroLeague Players Association, which was recently created to represent players across the league.

International Star Bostjan Nachbar Announces Retirement

Former NBA and EuroLeague forward Bostjan Nachbar has formally announced his retirement as a player, tweeting that his “journey” as a basketball player is over. The Slovenian veteran, who didn’t suit up for a team during the 2017/18 season, also penned a letter on his decision, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays.

“Even though I haven’t stepped on the basketball court for a few months now, I felt that there could still be a possibility to return and play again,” Nachbar wrote. “After giving it a lot of thought I realized that the desire to return back to playing simply is not big enough and that I have different priorities than before. My basketball career is over.”

Nachbar, who began his professional career in the late-1990s in Slovenia, was selected 15th overall by the Rockets in the 2002 NBA draft. The 6’9″ forward ultimately appeared in over 300 NBA regular season games for the Rockets, the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, and the New Jersey Nets, averaging 7.1 PPG on .406/.375/.784 shooting.

After his stint in the NBA, Nachbar returned to Europe in 2008 and spent nine more seasons playing in the EuroLeague and in Spain’s Liga ACB. Over the course of his international career, he won championships in Slovenia, Germany, and Spain, and earned All-Star nods in Slovenia, Germany, and Turkey.

Central Rumors: Zipser, Markkanen, Ellenson, Nachbar

Bulls swingman Paul Zipser projects as a starter during his second season in the league but he sees himself as more of a role player, as Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders details. Zipser, a second-round pick in 2016, will receive expanded playing time after the franchise moved All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves this summer. Zipser won’t provide All-Star level production but he’ll help the Bulls at both ends of the floor and deliver 12-15 points per game, according to Brigham. “I don’t need to be the leader of the team or the top scorer of the team or to have the ball in my hands the whole time,” he told Brigham. “That’s not who I am as a person, but I wanted a bigger role and more opportunity to do some leading along with some other guys on the team. And that’s what I think is going to happen.” If Zipser flops, his future with the Bulls beyond this season is uncertain. His $1,544,951 salary for 2018/19 is not guaranteed.

In other developments concerning the Central Division:

  • The Bulls would be wise to leave rookie big man Lauri Markkanen at power forward, Vince Goodwill of opines. Markkanen looks overmatched at this stage trying to guard the likes of Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins, as he did in a preseason game on Sunday, Goodwill continues. However, since the Bulls have two rotation-worthy centers and power forwards, he’ll have to play both positions to get playing time this season, Goodwill notes.
  • Veteran Anthony Tolliver is likely to nab a rotation spot over second-year player Henry Ellenson, but the young Pistons power forward is making that a tougher call, as Keith Langlois of explains. Coach Stan Van Gundy told Langlois and other media members after Ellenson scored 16 points against the Hawks in a preseason game this weekend that Ellenson has made a strong impression in training camp. “He’s probably been the most consistent of anybody,” Van Gundy said. “Every time we play, every time we practice, he really hasn’t had – I don’t remember a bad day since the start of camp. I think his confidence is sky high. He’s really focused on what he has to do. He’s playing very, very well.”
  • The Pistons have added Bostjan Nachbar to their international scouting staff, overseas expert David Pick tweets. Nachbar played for three NBA franchises from 2002-08 after the Rockets made him a mid-first-round selection in 2002.

Eastern Notes: Crowder, Hezonja, Pacers

Celtics forward Jae Crowder is making “great strides” recovering from his left knee sprain injury suffered last month and has begun to do some workout-related activities, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes. Crowder can become a restricted free agent this summer if Boston tenders him a qualifying offer worth $1,181,34. The team has already indicated that it plans to re-sign Crowder, who is the only player remaining on Boston’s roster from the Rajon Rondo trade.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Croatian swingman Mario Hezonja would be a fit for the Pistons with the No. 8 pick, but the same fiery attitude that fuels his play won’t fly in Detroit if it manifests in on-court tongue-lashings of teammates, as it has in past, writes Terry Foster of The Detroit News.
  • The Pacers have workouts scheduled on Thursday for Andrew Harrison, Terran Petteway, Terry Rozier, J.P. Tokoto, Rashad Vaughn, and Dez Wells, the team announced.
  • The Lakers have the potential to throw a wrench in the Sixers‘ draft plans if Los Angeles opts to select D’Angelo Russell instead of a big man with the No. 2 overall pick, as is widely expected, John Gonzalez of writes. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie isn’t concerned, noting how in flux the NBA Draft rumors can be, Gonzalez adds. “Let’s see how things go,” Hinkie said. “Not only us, but I suspect the Lakers and the Timberwolves and the Knicks, they will do what we all do — spend a lot of time trying to analyze the players that are likely to be available to them. That time may yield different results than what the prognosticators are saying so far.
  • The Sixers held workouts today for Amere May Jr., Jherrod Stiggers, Kyle Anderson and Alpha Kaba, Jake Fischer of tweets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Howard, Lakers, Nachbar, Gomes

Here's tonight's look around the Association as the Heat find themselves in a battle with the 15-26 Raptors..

  • When asked about his impending free agency earlier today, Dwight Howard said "We're not discussing that," tweets Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.  Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak might start feeling uneasy if the star big man has the same stance a few weeks from now when the trade deadline comes and goes.
  • Bostjan Nachbar told Beko BBL that he will likely stay with his team in Germany next season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.  The forward was a prominent bench player for the Nets in 2006/07 and 2007/08.
  • Former NBA forward Ryan Gomes has parted ways with Germany's Artland Dragons, according to David Pick of Sportando (on Twitter).  Gomes, who played for the Celtics, Wolves, and Clippers, averaged 11 PPG in ten games for the German club.