Guerschon Yabusele

And-Ones: Yabusele, All-Stars, Shannon, Awards

Former NBA first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele, currently a member of Real Madrid, likely won’t be looking to return stateside anytime in the near future, he said in an interview with French outlet L’Equipe.

“I would like to return to the NBA, but I play for the best team in Europe and win championships,” Yabusele said (hat tip to Eurohoops). “Why would I leave that to sit on a bench? I will join the French National Team after the end of the season this summer, so I am waiting for the Olympics, not the NBA.”

The 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Yabusele joined the Celtics in 2017 and spent two seasons in Boston, appearing in 74 total games and seeing limited action. He averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per contest.

The 6’8″ forward, who is now 28, has had more success since returning to Europe in 2020. Yabusele won a French League (LNB Pro A) title with ASVEL in 2021, a Spanish League (Liga ACB) title with Real Madrid in 2022, and a EuroLeague championship in 2023 while playing a key role for his teams.

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

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic previews what this year’s All-Star rosters might look like and considers which players could be left on the outside looking in. The Western Conference backcourt will be especially competitive, according to Harper, who suggests that star guards like Devin Booker and De’Aaron Fox aren’t locks to be All-Stars.
  • A federal judge reinstated Illinois wing Terrence Shannon Jr. on Friday, ending his suspension and ruling that the university had violated his civil rights by depriving him of “protected property interests” without due process, according to John O’Connor of The Associated Press. Shannon, who had been considered a probable first-round pick in the 2024 draft, was suspended indefinitely by Illinois after being accused of rape last month.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer picks his award winners for the first half of the 2023/24 season, including narrowly choosing Sixers star Joel Embiid over Nuggets star Nikola Jokic as the MVP so far.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic poses a few questions for the Pacers and Raptors in the wake of their Pascal Siakam blockbuster, including what Siakam’s next contract will look like and whether Toronto will look to tank in the second half in an effort to hang onto its top-six protected first-round pick for 2024.

Team France Notes: Elimination, Canada, Yabusele, Fournier, Batum

The 2023 FIBA World Cup has registered its first shocking upset. Team France, winners of the silver medal in the 2021 Olympics and led by three-time NBA All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who by day plays for the Timberwolves, has been eliminated from tournament contention after a scant two games, writes The Associated Press. The club will play a third group-play contest on Tuesday vs. Lebanon, but neither club will advance to the next round.

France was bested by Team Latvia, 88-86, Sunday night. Latvia and Team Canada, who defeated France on Friday, now move on to the second round. France had won bronze at the two most recent World Cups, eliminating Team USA in the knockout round in 2019.

Here are more notes on Team France:

  • Following Canada’s win over France on Friday, French forward Guerschon Yabusele, a former Celtics power forward, discussed some quick takeaways from the matchup, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoop. “Of course there are a lot of things to learn,” Yabusele said. “The way we came into the game. The first quarter was good and then we entered the second half with less intensity. We let them play and do their stuff. Defense, offense, we all saw what went wrong in the video.”
  • Team Canada’s 95-65 massacre of Team France could serve as a galvanizing moment in the long-term trajectory of the Great White North’s national program, opines Michael Grange of Such a dominant victory, and hopefully an extended World Cup run, could well set the table for a deep, talented Canadian club to make a legitimate push for a medal in next summer’s Paris Olympics, Grange argues. Thanks to the win on Friday, Grange believes Team Canada should handily storm to a 3-0 record in Group H play.
  • With fifth-ranked France now out of contention, the national team will strive to reset and prep for the 2024 Olympic games, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. As the host nation, France has automatically qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics. “It’s very hard,” Knicks guard Evan Fournier said of his national club’s morale after its miserable 2023 FIBA performance. “Not much to say. We didn’t think we would leave the tournament like this. We have to learn from it and come back next year. There isn’t anything else to do.” Clippers forward Nicolas Batum spoke about the task ahead of France in international competition: “We have a big thing coming up in 12 months. We have to now look back at what happened — everybody, from players to coach to staff to federation. … Today was a big reality check for us.”
  • The 34-year-old Batum confirmed in a live broadcast following France’s defeat that he will not play for his national club in the 2027 FIBA World Cup, according to Eurohoops. “This is my last World Cup,” Batum said. “I sacrificed many summers for this jersey and I don’t regret it… I have one more year left in France. We need them all next summer in Paris. And the best possible conditions. I messed up my last World Cup and it really hurts. That’s why I’m not interested in politics and I want the strongest possible team next summer at the Olympic Games.”

And-Ones: Durant, Suns, EuroLeague Brawl, World Cup

Suns star Kevin Durant has agreeed to a lifetime contract with Nike, writes David Brandt of The Associated Press. Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only other NBA players to ever sign similar deals.

“It means a lot, man,” Durant said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s something that I’ve been working towards since I was a kid and having a partnership with Nike. To be in that company is a blessing. Looking forward to what we can do in the future.”

Durant’s relationship with the athletic wear company began in 2007, Brandt adds. He has released 15 signature shoes during that time, and a 16th is due out soon. The new contract will include shoes and other apparel, as well as “community and philanthropic collaboration focused on grassroots basketball.”

“I did think that if I stay focused and stay locked in to what I know I can do, I could do some big things and I can have a huge partner like Nike,” he said. “It’s just a matter of staying focused and having that endurance to keep getting up and doing this every day. So yeah, I had confidence that I can do so. But I had to put in a lot of work to get here.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury unveiled a new arrangement on Friday that will move their games off cable, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The teams won’t renew their contract with Bally Sports Arizona, which has expired. Instead, games will be broadcast on free TV and will be available online through the streaming firm Kiswe on a direct-to-consumer service. “We’re not focusing on money. We’re focusing on winning, success and taking care of fans, taking care of the community,” new owner Mat Ishbia said. “What happens is you always end up making money. It always works out. We’re going to have more fans than ever before. … And more people buying merchandise because they’re bigger fans.”
  • Former NBA player Guerschon Yabusele was suspended for five games following a wild EuroLeague brawl late in a playoff contest between Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade, according to an ESPN report. Yabusele slammed ex-NBA player Dante Exum to the court, causing him to rupture a tendon in his toe.
  • FIBA has announced the results of Saturday’s draw for this year’s World Cup. Thirty-two teams are in the competition, which will be held from August 25 to September 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Qatar will host the World Cup in 2027, according to an AP story.

International Notes: Howard, Bjelica, Ataman, Yabusele

The opportunity to earn guaranteed money was behind Markus Howard‘s decision to sign with Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in the EuroLeague, he explained on the Role Player Podcast. Howard spent the past two seasons with the Nuggets on a two-way contract, and although he had two-way offers from other NBA teams, he opted for more security in Europe.

“Two years, that’s what I was saying,” Howard explained of his commitment to the NBA. “Because honestly I could have taken a two-way with a lot of teams now and maybe had more chances to play. Maybe. But at the end of the day, I’m not going through what I went through in Denver. I ain’t doing that again. I have a family. It’s not just me. … I want to earn my keep. I want to feel like I earned what I get.”

Howard appeared in 31 games last season and 37 games as a rookie, but he only averaged 5.6 minutes per night. He became frustrated by the inconsistent playing time and the constant uncertainty about his NBA future.

“I don’t look the part,” said Howard, who’s only 5’10”. “So they have no problem throwing you to the side. … Being in college for four years, you don’t get comfortable, but you understand where you are in your position on a team. In the NBA, you never know and you’re walking on tippy toes. For me, just having that mindset every day, like I could be gone.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Former Warriors forward Nemanja Bjelica, who signed with Fenerbahce last week, may have to miss the EuroBasket tournament because of a calf injury, according to a Eurohoops report. He was hurt this week on a non-contact play in Serbia’s exhibition game with Montenegro.
  • Ergin Ataman of Turkey’s Anadolu Efes, the reigning Coach of the Year in the EuroLeague, was rumored for NBA assistant jobs this summer but said the prospect doesn’t excite him, writes Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops“My goal to go to the NBA has decreasing chances because I see that the NBA is a different world,” Ataman said. “Their perspective of basketball head coaches in Europe is very different. No European coach has ever gone from Europe to the NBA as a head coach. There is no NBA history, zero.”
  • Guerschon Yabusele, who spent two seasons with the Celtics, talks to Eurohoops about the joy he gets from being a starter with Real Madrid and the French national team.

And-Ones: Exum, Thomas, Doncic, Tatum, Yabusele

Former NBA guard Dante Exum plans to return to the NBA when his three-month contract with Barcelona expires, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Exum is averaging just 4.4 PPG in the EuroLeague after signing with the Spanish team early last month.

Exum was waived by the Rockets during training camp. He signed a three-year deal with Houston in September but the contract was non-guaranteed and Houston had 15 other players with guaranteed deals.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Khyri Thomas has officially signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to a team press release. A report surfaced over the weekend that Maccabi was interested in the former NBA guard. Thomas, a 2018 second-round pick, played in Spain last month before suffering an injury. He saw action in five games with Houston last season and came off the bench in 34 games for Detroit during the previous two seasons.
  • Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum remain the two players under 25 years old that NBA talent evaluators would want to build their teams around, according to an annual poll conducted by Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype. Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball and Trae Young round out the top five.
  • Guerschon Yabusele has agreed to a contract extension with Real Madrid, according to a team press release. The three-year extension runs through June 2025. Yabusele, a first-round pick by the Celtics in 2016, last appeared in the NBA during the 2018/19 season when he saw action in 41 games for Boston.

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.

And-Ones: Wiggins, Canada, Overtime Elite, Yabusele, More

It has been several years since Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins represented Team Canada in an international competition, but it appears that’s about to change. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets, Wiggins posted a message on Instagram strongly suggesting that he’ll suit up for Canada when the team competes in the Olympic qualifiers this summer.

Eight of the 12 teams that will compete in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics have clinched their spots, including Team USA. Twenty-four countries will compete in four separate tournaments from June 29 to July 4 for the final four Olympic berths. In order to qualify for the Tokyo games, Canada will have to top Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic.

While it certainly won’t be a cakewalk, Canada will benefit from home-court advantage – the tournament will take place in Victoria, British Columbia – and could deploy a roster featuring far more NBA players than their opponents. Wiggins, who averaged 18.6 points per game in 71 contests for Golden State this season, would be a key addition.

“I don’t think there’s any question about what he can bring,” Canada Basketball general manager Rowan Barrett said, per Michael Grange of “The versatility he has at 6’8″ with a tremendous wingspan and with the focus he has on defense now will help us. And as an offensive player, it’s clear. He’s got a career average of 20 points a game in the NBA. Clearly he can score the ball.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Overtime Elite league has secured two more commitments from top high school prospects, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Florida twins Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson are signing two-year contracts with OTE. The Thompson twins rank 22nd and 23rd in ESPN’s list of top class-of-2022 recruits. Overtime’s first two commits were twin brothers Matt Bewley and Ryan Bewley.
  • Speaking of high school basketball, Jeff Borzello and Paul Biancardi of ESPN report that several of the nation’s biggest high school powerhouses are forming an elite national league called the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference in advance of the 2021/22 season. Six programs – including Oak Hill, Montverde, and IMG Academy – have committed so far to the eight-team league that will feature a 10-game regular season and a postseason tournament, per ESPN’s duo.
  • Former Celtics first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele is in advanced talks with Real Madrid, reports Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (via Twitter). If Yabusele doesn’t feel he has an NBA opportunity lined up, he’ll likely sign with Real Madrid, Urbonas adds.

And-Ones: Yabusele, British League, Jones, NBCA

Former NBA forward Guerschon Yabusele has signed a one-year contract with LDLC Asvel, according to a press release from the French club (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Yabusele appeared in four games for Asvel before the pandemic suspended play after beginning the season in China. Yabusele was drafted in the first round by the Celtics in 2016 and played 74 games over two seasons with Boston.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The British Basketball League has canceled the remainder of its season, according to a statement from the league. “We looked at every option, including playing behind closed doors or restarting the season in the summer, in order that we could get to a league and playoff winners, but with the continued uncertainty, we just ran out of time and options,” BBL Chairman Sir Rodney Walker said. “The clubs were united that now was the right time to bring the current season to a close.”
  • Veteran NBA forward Terrence Jones has signed with Team Washington for TBT 2020, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. The Basketball Tournament is a 5-on-5, winner-take-all event with a grand prize of $2MM. Jones has played with Houston, New Orleans and Milwaukee since being drafted 18th overall back in 2012.
  • A number of prominent coaches have been selected by the National Basketball Coaches Association for a committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale and Stan Van Gundy were among the coaches selected to a committee in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and a continuing pattern of violence and intolerance toward African Americans in the U.S.

International Notes: LNB, Yabusele, Calathes, Blatt

One side effect of the NBA’s changing schedule will be the impact it has on international players interested in coming stateside, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes. If the NBA’s free agency period doesn’t begin until September or October, it will no longer line up with the offseason for international leagues, reducing the likelihood that players in Europe will be able to exercise NBA outs in their contracts.

“Every year, there are a number of overseas players who exercise their buyout clause to sign with an NBA team, and the deadline for those buyout clauses is normally between July 10 and July 20,” one international agent told Kennedy. “That way, it’s during the free-agency period and the player has the option of participating in Summer League beforehand to see if an NBA team is going to offer him a guaranteed deal or a two-way contract.”

Typically, the offseasons for the NBA and most top international leagues overlap, making it simpler for players to make the leap one way or the other. If that’s not the case for 2020, it’ll be a minor problem in the coming months. However, if this season’s unusual circumstances prompt the NBA to shift its calendar on a more permanent basis, it’ll become a more significant long-term issue that will require some sort of solution.

Here are a few more notes from around the basketball world:

  • The LNB, France’s top basketball league, has canceled the rest of its 2019/20 season without crowing a champion due to COVID-19, as Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays. The league announced the news in a press release.
  • French team ASVEL Basket is prioritizing a contract extension for former NBA first-rounder and Celtics forward Guerschon Yabusele, and both sides are optimistic about reaching a new deal, according to a report from BeBasket (hat tip to Sportando).
  • Former NBA guard Nick Calathes, who played in 129 games with Memphis from 2013-15, has reportedly agreed to terms on a three-year deal with Barcelona, per (hat tip to Sportando). Calathes had spent the last several seasons with Panathinaikos in Greece, earning a spot on the All-EuroLeague First Team in 2018 and 2019.
  • Czech basketball club BC Brno has a new co-owner, and former NBA head coach David Blatt is involved, per Valia Pilianidi of TalkBasket. As Pilianidi details – and as the club announced in a press release – Brno’s new co-owners are the Israeli company True Player Group, which is half-owned by Blatt’s family.

International Notes: Randle, Olympics, Broekhoff, Yabusele, More

The coronavirus outbreak continues to have an impact on the international basketball world, with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reporting that guard Chasson Randle is among the players affected by the Chinese Basketball Association’s hiatus.

Agent Darrell Comer tells Givony that Randle has twice tried to sign a 10-day contract with an NBA team since returning stateside last month. However, his club in Tianjian blocked him from receiving FIBA clearance in both cases, despite there being no official word yet on if or when the CBA will resume play this season.

“His payments are currently behind with no date provided of when he will receive salary owed,” Comer said of Randle. “He has been offered opportunities to sign 10-day contracts with NBA teams, but Tianjin has denied his FIBA clearance despite the fact that the 10-day contracts will expire before all rumored dates if the China season will resume.

“Chasson is not only being prevented from making income, but also from furthering his career as a NBA player. We are speaking to bring awareness to this unfair issue for Chasson, but also for the other talented players who are back from China and may experience similar issues soon.”

The coronavirus epidemic could also be bad news for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told Stephen Wade of The Associated Press that the IOC will likely have to make a decision by May on this summer’s games. Pound still anticipates the Olympics will move forward as planned, but if the IOC determines that the risk related to coronavirus is too high, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation” rather than a postponement, he said.

Here are more basketball-related notes from around the world:

  • After being waived two weeks ago by Dallas, sharpshooter Ryan Broekhoff is drawing interest from EuroLeague team CSKA Moscow, a source tells Sportando. Before joining the Mavericks in 2018, Broekhoff spent several seasons with EuroCup club Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia.
  • Former Celtics first-rounder Guerschon Yabusele has returned to his home country of France, signing a new deal with ASVEL Villeurbanne, according to the team (hat tip to Sportando). It’s a rest-of-season contract for Yabusele, who played in 74 games for Boston between 2017-19.
  • Veteran guard Jordan Crawford, who has appeared in 281 NBA games, appears likely to join Brose Bamberg for the rest of the season, according to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. Crawford worked out for the German club earlier this month.
  • Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantu has announced the signing of former NBA swingman Rodney Purvis (hat tip to Sportando). Purvis, 26, appeared in 16 games for Orlando during the 2017/18 season.