Davis Bertans

World Cup Semifinals Set; Serbia, Germany Qualify For Olympics

Germany completed a comeback win over Latvia on Wednesday to earn a place in the World Cup semifinals, while Canada defeated Slovenia to claim a spot in the final four as well.

The World Cup semifinal games, which will take place on Friday, are as follows:

  • United States vs. Germany
  • Canada vs. Serbia

Although Team USA will enter the semifinal as a heavy favorite, Germany is the only undefeated team left in the tournament, having come out victorious in all six of their games so far.

The Germans, who got Magic forward Franz Wagner back on Wednesday following an ankle injury, recovered from an early deficit and overcame an off day from guard Dennis Schröder, who made just four of his 26 shot attempts from the floor. The rest of the team shot 54.5% (24-of-44), with Wagner contributing a team-high 16 points to overcome Davis Bertans (20 points) and the Latvians by a score of 81-79.

The Canadians, meanwhile, pulled away from Luka Doncic and the Slovenians in a strong third quarter and won 100-89, earning their first-ever berth in a World Cup semifinal.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 points on 8-of-12 shooting) and RJ Barrett (24 points on 9-of-22 shooting) scored more than half of Canada’s points, while Dillon Brooks (14 points on 5-of-7 shooting) chipped in and played tough defense on Doncic, who scored 26 points on 8-of-20 shooting. Both Doncic and Brooks were ejected during a chippy fourth quarter.

While Latvia and Slovenia will join Lithuania and Italy in the classification games to determine the fifth-through-eight seeds, Germany and Serbia have assured themselves of spots in the 2024 Olympics by finishing as the top two European teams in the World Cup, regardless of the semifinal outcomes.

The eight teams that have qualified for the Paris Olympics so far are the United States, Canada, Germany, Serbia, France, Australia, Japan, and South Sudan. The remaining four spots will be claimed next summer in a series of qualifying tournaments.

World Cup Notes: Edwards, Italy, Australia, Bertans

Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards has been the team’s top scorer for most of the World Cup but he was silent in the quarterfinals, as he produced just three points and three assists in the rout of Italy. He wasn’t upset about it afterward, The Athletic’s Joe Vardon reports.

“Ant could get 30 whatever he wants, like easily,” said Mikal Bridges, who led the team with 24 points. “We talked to him and tried to help him out just to find guys, and that’s what he did. And he’s probably the happiest dude in the locker room right now.”

We have more from the World Cup:

  • Italy’s coach wasn’t happy his club had to play Team USA in the quarterfinals after winning its group, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. USA finished second in its group due to the upset loss to Lithuania. “My players didn’t deserve it to play against America because we were first in our group,” Gianmarco Pozzecco said. “You need to be a little bit lucky. I think we did everything we could do in our group. … We deserve maybe a little bit better, we deserve to overcome quarterfinals.”
  • Following Australia’s disappointing performance in the World Cup, CEO Matt Scriven gave head coach Brian Goorjian a vote of confidence via a press release, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc tweets. “Brian is one of the country’s most respected and qualified coaches, he is contracted until Paris and our support of him is unwavering… he will be at the helm of the Boomers,” Scriven wrote. However, there will be some other changes made prior to the Olympics. “There is no doubt we’ll have to make some tough decisions around selections but when the time is right, we’ll commence discussions with players around their availability and willingness to represent the green and gold,” Scriven wrote.
  • Davis Bertans, currently on the Thunder‘s roster, has been in the NBA since 2016. Nothing he’s done in his career compares to Latvia’s success in the World Cup. Latvia advanced to the quarterfinals and will face Germany on Wednesday. “Every game playing for the national team is already up there,” he told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “And this tournament, making history for our country… I’m pretty sure that every single person [in Latvia] was at the TV screens or watching big screens somewhere in the cities watching us. We felt that energy from almost two million people.”

Davis Bertans On Thunder Expectations, World Cup, More

Forward Davis Bertans is coming off a disappointing NBA season, averaging a career-low 10.9 minutes per game in 45 contests (also a career low) with Dallas in 2022/23.

He was traded to the Thunder last month, with the Mavs motivated to dump his salary. Oklahoma City is facing a roster crunch, so Bertans isn’t a lock to be on the team’s roster entering ’23/24, despite carrying a $17MM cap hit for the upcoming season and a $5MM partial guarantee for ’24/25.

The 30-year-old sharpshooter is currently competing for his native Latvia at the 2023 World Cup. The Latvians got off to a strong start on Friday, easily defeating Lebanon by a score of 109-70.

Bertans spoke to Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net ahead of Latvia’s Sunday clash with France, touching on a number of topics.

On Bertans’ expectations with the Thunder:

“My role has always changed for reasons that have to do with what every team expects from me and wants from me. I always try to adapt. Whatever the coach is going to ask from me, that’s what I’m going to do. Everyone knows that when I step on the court I go 100 percent regardless of what I have to do on the court. Whatever the role is, I’ll try to be the best player I can be on that role.”

On hearing about Brazilian guard Raul Neto‘s major knee injury (they were teammates with the Wizards from 2020-22):

“Great guy, great teammate when I was in D.C. Knowing him, he’s a tough guy and he’ll bounce back and hopefully sooner than later he’ll be back on the court.”

On Latvia’s matchup with Olympic silver medalist France, which was dominated by Canada in its opener:

“Even if they won the game, it would be the same France coming at us. Of course, they are facing relegation, in a way of speaking. Honestly, I think they would’ve probably played the same way regardless of the outcome against Canada. That’s because they know that we can be a dangerous team. It’s going to be more about us and the way we command the game. The first minutes are going to be important. You got to be ready for physicality anyway. On offense try to get to our shots, use our advantages and be extremely physical on the defensive end with their big guys.”

World Cup Notes: Latvia, Japan, Philippines, China, Australia

The Latvian Basketball Association has officially announced the national team’s 12-man roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup (Twitter link).

Thunder forward Davis Bertans is the only active NBA player on Latvia’s roster, but the team features a handful of former NBAers, including Bertans’ brother Dairis Bertans. Former Nets forward Rodions Kurucs and ex-Wizards big man Anzejs Pasecniks are the other Latvians with NBA experience.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 World Cup:

  • Japan and the Philippines, two of the host nations of the World Cup, have announced their 12-man rosters for the event. Suns forward Yuta Watanabe is the only NBA player representing Japan in this year’s tournament, while Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is the lone NBA player for the Philippines (Twitter link). Young center Kai Sotto, who committed to the G League Ignite in 2020 and has spent the past two seasons in Australia, is also suiting up for the Philippines.
  • China and Australia are among the other national teams to finalize their 12-man World Cup squads. There are no surprises in either case — while Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson is China’s only NBA player (Twitter link), the Boomers have nine active NBAers on a loaded roster that includes up-and-comers like Thunder guard Josh Giddey and Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (link via BasketNews.com).
  • A panel of ESPN’s basketball writers, including Brian Windhorst, has previewed the 2023 World Cup and made predictions for the event. South Sudan is a popular sleeper pick to make it to the knockout round and potentially earn an Olympic berth, but Team USA is widely expected to win the tournament — France was the only other team to receive a single vote.

Thunder Notes: Holmgren, Mann, Williams, Presti

No matter what else happened for the Thunder, the highlight of Summer League was seeing Chet Holmgren back on the court, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. After missing all of last season with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft showed off his potential in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, averaging 16.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in four games.

While he looked rusty in some areas, such as committing 15 turnovers and shooting 1-of-9 from three-point range, Mussatto notes that the most encouraging part of Holmgren’s game was watching him protect the basket. He averaged 3.5 blocks per game and used his 7’1″ frame to alter numerous other shots.

“Conditioning wise, there’s millions of hurdles you have to go through in the process of returning to play,” Holmgren said after his Summer League return. “Not being able to play a game for a year, it’s really hard to test and see where you are. … It’s definitely something I have to continue to work on, and I’ll be ready by the time training camp starts. I feel like I’ll have myself prepared to be in in-season shape.”

There’s more on the Thunder:

  • Tre Mann was shut down in Las Vegas due to an avulsion fracture in his right middle finger, but it’s not believed to be a long-term concern, Mussatto adds. The Thunder expect the backup point guard to resume basketball activities by the end of July.
  • The selection of Jaylin Williams in the second round of last year’s draft will allow Holmgren to spend more time at power forward and avoid the physical contact that comes with playing center, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Williams is a rugged 6’10” big man who led the NBA in drawing charges last season and shot 40.7% from beyond the arc. “It’s good because it allows my length to be found in the game in different ways,” Holmgren said of playing alongside Williams. “When he’s at the five, he’s in (screen) coverage more, and I’m able to kind of move around and roam the court a little more on defense, be the low man in help and be able to come over for blocks if somebody gets beat or use my length in the passing lanes and as an on-ball defender.”
  • General manager Sam Presti didn’t add anyone this summer who projects as a long-term keeper, Slater observes in the same piece. Presti opted to use his cap room to collect more draft assets while taking on the contracts of Davis Bertans, Victor Oladipo and Rudy Gay. Slater views Oladipo and Gay as buyout options, while Bertans may reach that status eventually with just $5MM guaranteed for 2024/25. Presti also traded for former first-round picks Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington, but Slater doubts that they’ll see much playing time considering the talent that’s already in place.

Mavericks Trade Davis Bertans, Cason Wallace To Thunder

JULY 6: The Mavericks have officially acquired Lively’s rights in exchange for Bertans and the rights to Wallace, the team announced today (via Twitter).

JUNE 22: The Mavericks and Thunder have agreed to a trade, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Davis Bertans and the No. 10 pick are headed to Oklahoma City in exchange for the No. 12 pick.

The Thunder selected Kentucky guard Cason Wallace at No. 10, Charania adds, while Dallas will get off Bertans’ pricey multiyear contract. The No. 12 pick that Dallas acquired was used on Duke big man Dereck Lively II, Shams Charania of The Stadium tweets.

The Mavericks will generate a $17MM trade exception with this trade, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). They’ll now be approximately $74MM under to projected luxury tax line, which will help them make other moves, such as re-signing Kyrie Irving.

[UPDATE: Mavs to use trade exception to acquire Richaun Holmes]

The Mavs were looking to move down in the lottery, get off a bad contract and acquire a veteran starter, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). They accomplished the first two goals with this deal. They also add a promising young rim protector in Lively, who will fill a hole in the Dallas frontcourt with the team considered unlikely to re-sign big man Christian Wood.

Bertans had a career year in 2019/20 with the Wizards and cashed in with a five-year, $80MM deal. Dallas acquired Bertans as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade with Washington.

The Thunder now pick up the two remaining years left on his deal — $17MM next season and $16MM in 2024/25 with an early termination option. The final year is only partially guaranteed for $5MM.

Oklahoma City’s desire to move up was motivated by the concern that another team might jump the Thunder by making a trade with Orlando, which held the No. 11 pick, Jeremy Woo of ESPN tweets. The Raptors, who held the No. 13 selection, were a potential trade-up suitor for Wallace.

Stein’s Latest: Porzingis, Jazz, Hawks, Mavs, Pistons, Johnson

Rival teams were “convinced” the Jazz were going to make a run at Kristaps Porzingis in free agency if he had declined his $36MM player option, Marc Stein writes at Substack. As Stein details, the threat of losing Porzingis for nothing may have motivated the Wizards to find compensation for him before his opt-out deadline. They found a way to send him to his preferred destination — the Celtics — despite an initial roadblock after the Clippers had concerns over Malcolm Brogdon‘s health.

The Celtics are “strongly expected” to sign Porzingis to a contract extension this offseason, Stein adds.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Hawks and Mavericks, who held frequent talks about deals involving the 10th and 15th overall picks leading up to the draft, couldn’t find common ground because Atlanta wanted to include John Collins in a proposed deal, while Dallas preferred Clint Capela. According to Stein, the Hawks told the Mavs they’d move No. 15 and Capela for No. 10 and Davis Bertans if Josh Green was also included in the package, but Dallas didn’t go for it.
  • The Hawks remain active in trade talks and appear most motivated to move Collins, but Capela and De’Andre Hunter are drawing more interest, per Stein. The Hawks, who have been trying and failing – so far – to convince the Raptors to part with Pascal Siakam, had talks with the Pistons and Pacers prior to the draft about deals involving Hunter and the Nos. 5 and 7 picks.
  • With the additional flexibility they created by dumping Bertans’ salary, the Mavericks are in a better position to use their mid-level exception to pursue a wing, according to Stein, who names Bruce Brown as a possible Dallas free agent target.
  • Having previously reported that the Pistons are expected to be as suitor for Cameron Johnson in free agency, Stein says the Nets RFA forward continues to be cited by league sources as an “increasingly likely” target for Detroit. The Pistons will have the cap space necessary to put pressure on Brooklyn with a substantial offer sheet if they so choose.

Rory Maher contributed to this story.

Hawks “Open To Conversations” On Anyone But Trae Young

After a tumultuous 2022/23 season saw the Hawks fire their head coach for the second time in three seasons, there was a rumor they might consider trading Trae Young, who reportedly had issues with both Lloyd Pierce and Nate McMillan.

However, Young expressed confidence in new head coach Quin Snyder after the 2022/23 season ended, and league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports the Hawks are “open to conversations” on anyone on their roster except for their point guard, implying they plan to continue building around the two-time All-Star.

That said, Fischer cautions Atlanta isn’t actively looking to move certain players, particularly Dejounte Murray. Sources tell Fischer the Hawks highly value Murray, whom the team acquired last offseason from San Antonio. Atlanta’s front office is apparently using some sort of tiered ranking system for the roster, and the 26-year-old stands on his own just below Young, according to Fischer.

Fischer previously reported that the Hawks discussed a framework of a trade that would have sent John Collins and the No. 15 pick in next week’s draft to the Mavericks in exchange for Davis Bertans and No. 10. It sounds as though Dallas balked at that proposal, so there wasn’t much progress in the talks, but Fischer hears from sources who say the Mavs might be open to a deal if Clint Capela was the incoming player instead of Collins.

Onyeka Okongwu is the Hawks player most rival teams have expressed interest in, according to Fischer, with Capela, Collins and De’Andre Hunter also viewed as trade candidates. However, Capela has good chemistry with Young, and the Hawks value Hunter, having signed him to a lucrative rookie scale extension before ’22/23 started, Fischer notes.

The Hawks are expected to keep Saddiq Bey, whom the team acquired for five second-round picks at the February trade deadline, Fischer adds. Like Okongwu, Bey will be eligible for a rookie scale extension extension this summer.

Sources tell Fischer that Atlanta is thought to be high on Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who has one year left on his contract. Siakam will be extension-eligible this summer, but the two-time All-NBA member could choose to hold off on that decision, as he’ll be eligible for a super-max extension with Toronto in 2024 if he makes another All-NBA team in ’23/24 (he missed out on the honor this past season).

Mavericks Rumors: No. 10 Pick, Collins, Bertans, Wood

The Mavericks are mulling trade opportunities that would move them down from No. 10 in the draft to the middle of the first round, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. The goal would be to acquire more veteran help to supplement franchise cornerstone Luka Doncic and free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving, whom Dallas will look to re-sign.

According to Fischer, the Mavericks and Hawks have discussed the idea of a trade that would see the No. 10 pick and Davis Bertans going to Atlanta, with the No. 15 selection and John Collins sent to Dallas. It’s unclear if other pieces would be involved in that hypothetical swap, but either way, the two teams don’t appear to have made a ton of progress in those discussions, Fischer says.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • In his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer also cites sources who say Dallas is trying to move down or even out of the draft entirely. The Mavs have interest in turning the No. 10 pick into multiple players or picks, O’Connor adds.
  • Not many sources that Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has spoken to believe that the Mavericks will end up staying at No. 10. While it’s possible Dallas won’t find a deal it likes, the team is definitely preparing for the possibility of moving down — Vecenie has heard from agents that the team has been asking for workouts with players likely to be drafted in the 20s or 30s, despite not owning a pick besides No. 10 this year.
  • The Mavericks aren’t expected to make Christian Wood an offer when he reaches unrestricted free agency in a couple weeks, Marc Stein writes at Substack. Sources tell Stein that the Mavs have essentially moved on from Wood and are looking to “remake” their center rotation.

“Handshake Deal” For Kyrie Irving In Dallas?

Representatives of rival teams at last week’s NBA Draft Combine expect Kyrie Irving to re-sign with the Mavericks this summer, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Dallas missed the playoffs after acquiring Irving from Brooklyn in a February trade and he often appeared to be an awkward fit alongside Luka Doncic, but sources tell Pincus that the Mavs didn’t trade for Irving as a short-term experiment.

“I hear they had a handshake deal before the trade,” one of Pincus’ sources said. “And Kyrie wouldn’t have said yes to anything less than the max.”

Irving will be eligible for a new five-year contract in Dallas that could be worth $272MM, Pincus adds. Although he was an All-Star this season for the 10th time in his career, off-court incidents in Brooklyn — and Boston and Cleveland before that — may limit the number of teams interested in signing him.

“I’m not sure what the market is for Kyrie, but no one with cap room is giving it to Kyrie,” another source told Pincus. “He comes with too much drama.”

Pincus talked to an agent who expects Irving to receive a four-year deal with a player option on the final season. It would be worth about $201MM in guaranteed money and would line up with Doncic, who can opt out of his current contract in 2026.

In an appearance Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” Brian Windhorst suggested that the Lakers shouldn’t be dismissed as a possible Irving suitor (video link). L.A. was reportedly interested in Irving when he considered opting out of his contract last summer and again when he submitted a trade request to the Nets in February.

Windhorst admits the Lakers would have to give up most of the assets they just acquired in order to sign Irving outright, but he says the landscape could be more favorable if Dallas would agree to a sign-and-trade. Regardless, Windhorst added that it helps Irving’s negotiating position if he can convince the Mavericks that L.A. is interested.

Pincus also talked with several sources who expect Dallas to be a potential landing spot for Suns center Deandre Ayton, who shares an agent with Doncic.

“The Suns need depth,” a source told Pincus. “I can see them getting Tim Hardaway Jr., JaVale (McGee) back, Josh Green and No. 10 (draft pick). Phoenix would probably flip the pick to another team for depth, or maybe it’d be a big multi-team deal.”

Pincus lists Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans, Reggie Bullock and Jaden Hardy as other players who might be moved in a hypothetical Ayton trade, but he notes that Kleber is among Doncic’s best friends on the team, which gives Dallas incentive to keep him.