Efe Abogidi

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: Gobert, Ibaka, Wembanyama, Ataman, Abogidi

Utah center Rudy Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, will compete for France in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament this summer, writes Yann Ohnona of French outlet L’Equipe (hat tip to BasketNews.com). Gobert said he had some concerns about his knee, but his MRI was clear so he’ll be ready to go in a few months (the event runs from September 1-18).

It’s been a few days that it’s been clear in my head,” he said, per L’Equipe. “The process took some time. If I listened to myself, I would still be 200 percent to go, but in recent years I’ve had a few breaks because of knee pain.

Once I had an MRI to ensure there was no problem, I was able to organize my summer. It was important that everything was clear in my head before I committed. The fact that Evan [Fournier] is there is a factor, I love going to war with him.”

Gobert helped guide France to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran center Serge Ibaka, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, hopes to play for Spain at EuroBasket, as reported by Spanish journalist Marc Mundet (hat tip to BasketNews.com). Ibaka hasn’t played for Spain in international competition since 2014 at the FIBA World Cup. After undergoing back surgery last June, Ibaka struggled to regain his old form this season, averaging just 6.8 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 54 games (16.2 MPG) for the Clippers and Bucks.
  • French phenom Victor Wembanyama is the reason why NBA teams are already eyeing the 2023 draft, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, who says Wembanyama is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James and “would likely have rated as the top prospect in any draft in the past decade,” including 2022, were he eligible. The 7’3″ big man possesses a 7’9″ wingspan and a tantalizing combination of mobility and skill, Woo notes. Rival teams believe the Thunder will continue their losing ways for at least one more season to keep their hat in the ring for a chance to select the 18-year-old in ’23, Woo writes.
  • Turkish National Team head coach Ergin Ataman, who has led Anadolu Efes to two consecutive EuroLeague titles, has emerged as a candidate for an NBA assistant coaching job, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Ataman joked about joining Gregg Popovich‘s staff in San Antonio earlier this month after the long-time coach came to watch the EuroLeague Final Four, per Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. “Maybe after three consecutive final appearances, he (Popovich) thinks that let’s take one European coach to the NBA and help me go to the NBA,” Ataman laughed. “He’s a good friend of mine. He helped me a lot four years ago when I went to San Antonio. I stayed ten days with him. He’s an amazing person.”
  • Former Washington State center Efe Abogidi, who withdrew from the ’22 draft earlier today, is expected to sign with G League Ignite, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). The big man averaged 8.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.8 BPG in 37 games (20.9 MPG) for the Cougars as a sophomore last season.

Draft Decisions: LaRavia, McGowens, Abogidi, Bolton, More

Wake Forest junior forward Jake LaRavia will remain in the 2022 NBA draft rather than returning to school and taking advantage of his remaining NCAA eligibility, he announced on Twitter. LaRavia, who spent a single season with the Demon Deacons after transferring from Indiana State, is considered a borderline first-round pick. He currently ranks No. 32 overall on ESPN’s big board.

Meanwhile, Nebraska guard Trey McGowens is also going pro and remaining in the draft rather than using his final year of college eligibility, according to a press release from the school. Unlike his brother Bryce McGowens – who is the No. 29 player on ESPN’s board – Trey isn’t in the top 100, so he’s a long shot to be among the 58 players drafted later this month.

While LaRavia and McGowens will remain in the draft, the following early entrants are withdrawing, according to various reports and announcements:

Pacific Notes: James, Kuminga, Booker, Kings Draft Workout

LeBron James can sign a two-year extension this offseason and it increasingly appears he’s on board with the team’s future plans. Brian Windhorst said on ESPN’s Get Up show that James and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss are “in a good place” as the franchise tries to move on from a disastrous season (hat tip to Hoops Hype).

“From what I understand, LeBron and Jeanie are in a good place right now, despite the frustrations of this season,” Windhorst said. “LeBron believes that a few tweaks and some health can actually turn this thing around, and they can be super competitive. He is invested, wants to be there.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jonathan Kuminga didn’t play in Game 6 against the Grizzlies but Draymond Green believes the Warriors rookie has a very bright future, as he told Marc Spears of Andscape. “He can be a perennial All-Star in this league,” Green said. “That’s up to him and the work he puts in. But he has the skills, the tools, he can see the floor, he has the opportunity if he puts the work in to be a perennial All-Star.”
  • Devin Booker finished fourth in the voting for the Most Valuable Player award but the Suns guard should be at the forefront of the conversation for next year’s award, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Along with his scoring and play-making, Booker has cut down on his turnovers and improved defensively.
  • The Kings brought in six draft prospects on Thursday, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets. That group included Will Richardson (Oregon), Jamal Bieniemy (UTEP), Lester Quinones (Memphis), Jeriah Horne (Tulsa), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech) and Efe Abogidi (Washington State).

Draft Notes: Ellis, Murray, Roberts, Early Entrants

Alabama guard Keon Ellis, who has one year of college eligibility remaining, will go pro rather than staying in school for another year. Ellis has hired EZ Sports Group for representation, the agency announced earlier this week (via Instagram), making him draft-eligible this June.

The No. 48 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Ellis averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.9 SPG in 33 games (30.9 MPG) in 2021/22 for the Crimson Tide and earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Defense team.

Another prospect in ESPN’s top 100, Iowa sophomore forward Kris Murray, has also declared for the 2022 NBA draft, but he’ll maintain his college eligibility and just test the waters for now, he announced on Twitter.

Murray, who comes in at No. 98 on ESPN’s board, barely played in his freshman year, but emerged as a rotation player in 2021/22, averaging 9.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .479/.387/.645 shooting in 35 games (17.9 MPG). His twin brother Keegan Murray, a projected top-10 pick, declared for the draft last month.

Here’s more on the draft: