Ike Diogu

World Cup Updates: Lithuania, Joseph, Nigeria, France

The Lithuanian national team has announced its roster for the 2019 World Cup, according to Donatas Urbonas, who tweets that the 12-man squad will include Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas and Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt. Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas is also on the roster.

Lithuania is viewed as a contender to make a deep run in this year’s tournament, but it won’t have an easy path to even make it out of the first round. The Lithuanian national team is part of a group that also includes Australia, Canada, and Senegal — only two of those clubs will advance to the round of 16.

Here’s more on the 2019 World Cup, which will tip off in just four days in China:

Ike Diogu, Tim Quarterman To Play In China

A pair of former NBA players have signed to new teams in China to kick off the 2018 calendar year, according to international basketball reporter David Pick. Former first-rounder Ike Diogu has signed with the Sichuan Whales, while former Trail Blazers guard Tim Quarterman has agreed to join the Jiangsu Dragons, per Pick (Twitter links).

Diogu, 34, was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft by the Warriors. The veteran big man ultimately appeared in 225 NBA regular season games, spending time with the Dubs, Pacers, Trail Blazers, Kings, Clippers, and Spurs.

Diogu has played for a variety of international teams since 2012, and according to Pick, he’ll replace former NBA guard Jamaal Franklin on the Whales, who have a CBA-worst 3-20 record this season.

As for Quarterman, the former LSU standout began his NBA career with the Blazers last season, appearing sparingly in 16 games in his rookie season. The 23-year-old shooting guard was traded to the Rockets in June and was later cut by Houston.

Quarterman, who averaged 11.2 PPG, 7.1 APG, and 6.3 RPG in 22 G League games last season, is signing a one-month contract with the Dragons. He’ll step in for former NBA guard MarShon Brooks, who is returning to America for the birth of his son, Pick reports.

And-Ones: Diogu, Silver, Labissiere

Ike Diogu has signed with Guangdong Southern Tigers of Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando reports. The power forward played last season with Dongguan Leopards of the CBA and he last played in the NBA for the Spurs during the 2011/12 campaign.

Here are a few more notes from the basketball world:

  • During his press conference on Friday, commissioner Adam Silver emphasized transparency and the sharing of financial information, which could be a big issue for the NBPA, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Silver also admitted that the influx of TV money into NBA will reduce the number of teams losing money, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets.
  • Kentucky Freshman Skal Labissiere has received NCAA eligibility to play the 2015/16 season, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. Labissiere is projected to be a top pick in the 2016 draft.
  • Jeff Green, who will be a free agent after the 2015/16 season, hopes to stay in Memphis long-term, but the forward also understands that basketball is a business and that a lot can change between now and the end of the season, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes. “It’s too far [away] for me to think about,” Green said. “You just have to take it one game at a time. If we do what we have to do and win, everything will take care of itself. My main approach is to continue to be Jeff Green, continue to be aggressive and more consistent. Then, everything will fall into place next summer.”

And-Ones: Deng, Novak, Rockets, Bazemore

Erik Spoelstra joined Pat Riley to meet with Luol Deng in Chicago today, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Heat are said to have interest in Deng, but they might not be willing to take on the reported $12MM annual price tag for the forward. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has indicated that second round pick DeAndre Daniels will be stashed in Europe for a year to get some much-needed playing time, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
  • The Thunder are bringing aboard Darko Rajakovic as an assistant coach, the team announced via press release. Rajakovic has spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers, OKC’s D-League affiliate.
  • Steve Novak will bring some much needed shooting to the Jazz, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune.  Novak is a career 43.9% shooter from 3-point range over eight seasons, almost exactly the same figure as Kyle Korver.  The money owed to him over the next two years (about $7.5MM) was enough to make the Raptors want to dump his salary, but it wasn’t prohibitive for Utah.
  • Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow extended a two-year, €3MM offer to free agent guard Nando De Colo, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. That figure translates into roughly $4.08MM.
  • Put the Rockets on the growing list of teams interested in Kent Bazemore, says Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
  • Ike Diogu has signed with Dongguan in China on a deal that allows him to jump ship to the NBA anytime between now and August 15th, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
  • A rumored agreement between Andres Nocioni and Real Madrid is not a done deal, according to Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (on Twitter).  The forward is still receiving interest from NBA teams (link).

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Boylen, Silver, Diogu

You can find tonight’s miscellaneous notes worth passing along below:

  • While it’s anyone’s guess as to who the next head coach of the Jazz will be, it’ll be surprising if the team ultimately decides to hire Jim Boylen, as Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News explains.
  • Following Adam Silver’s decisive ruling over Donald Sterling, J.A. Adande of ESPN wonders how much this enhances Silver’s credibility with the players and how it’ll factor in during the next round of collective bargaining.
  • Ike Diogu has signed on with Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican league, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Earlier this month, the Knicks mulled signing the 6’8 forward to a deal that would have extended into next season.
  • Emerson College has become a breeding ground for front office positions around the NBA, details Liam Boylan-Pett of SB Nation. Thunder GM Sam Presti and Magic GM Rob Hennigan are among the school’s most recent notable alumni.

Knicks Mull Signing Ike Diogu

The Knicks are considering a deal with Ike Diogu today that would extend into next season, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Presumably, such a move would be instead of signing Lamar Odom. The team is still in talks with Odom, according to Begley, but apparently he’s not the only one on the Knicks’ radar as they look to fill their open roster spot.

Diogu was with the Knicks during the preseason, but apparently they never intended to keep him into the regular season before cutting him prior to opening night. Still, he remained on the team’s short list, and a report in late February indicated the team was thinking about re-signing him. The Bobcats also reportedly auditioned the 30-year-old big man about a month ago before signing DJ White instead.

The veteran of parts of six NBA seasons has spent most of 2013/14 with the Bakersfield Jam in the D-League, appearing in 42 games and averaging 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest. He hasn’t appeared in official NBA games since 2011/12, when he made a two-game cameo with the Spurs. Diogu, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft, last saw significant NBA action with the Clippers in 2010/11.

Diogu’s salary for next season would almost certainly be non-guaranteed. The motivation to sign a player today is so that the Knicks could use that non-guaranteed salary as trade ballast to help salaries match if they make a swap before July. Still, Odom, a 14-year veteran, would be more valuable in that regard than Diogu, whose minimum salary wouldn’t be quite as high.

Bobcats To Work Out Players For Possible 10-Day

THURSDAY, 3:40pm: NBA free agent Chris Johnson is part of the workout session today, league sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter).

WEDNESDAY, 7:19pm: The Bobcats plan to work out Ike Diogu, Mickell Gladness, and Denzel Bowles on Thursday for a possible 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of RealGM.com (Twitter link). The Bobcats currently have 15 players on the roster, so someone would need to be released. It’s possible they could let go of Justin Hamilton to make space when his 10-day contract expires tomorrow.

Diogu has been playing with Bakersfield in the NBA D-League. In 30 games he is averaging 16.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 1.4 APG in 30.2 MPG. The 6’8″ forward was taken in the first-round of the 2005 draft by the Warriors. He last saw NBA action during the 2011/12 season with the Spurs. His career numbers are 6.0 PPG, and 3.1 RPG over 12.4 MPG.

Gladness went undrafted in 2008 and has been playing for Reno in the D-League this season. His numbers in 30 games are 8.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 0.5 APG in 24.2 MPG. The 6’11” center saw limited NBA action during the 2011/2012 season with the Heat and the Warriors.

Bowles, a 6’10” center who averaged 26.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG in the Chinese Basketball Association this season, is seen as a talented project, according to Charania. Bowles also has received interest from the Heat per Charania’s sources.

Knicks Considering Ike Diogu

The Knicks are mulling whether to use one of two soon-to-be-open roster spots on power forward Ike Diogu, an NBA source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post.  The former lottery pick impressed the team during training camp, but was ultimately released.

The Knicks will have two open spots when Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih’s buyouts become official tomorrow.  The undersized forward, who is in the D-League with the Bakersfield Jam and averaging 16.2 points and 8.2 rebounds, could be an option for the club.  It should come as no surprise that the Knicks would have interest in Danny Granger if he is bought out by the Sixers but they’ve also got interest in Earl Clark, Ben Gordon (if his buyout is completed), and Antawn Jamison.

Because the club is well into luxury tax territory and owner James Dolan is already paying 17 players this season, the Knicks may only sign one player.  With solid rebounding ability and a decent mid-range game, New York may make Diogu their pick.

Possible 10-Day Contracts From The D-League

With the D-League Showcase under way in Reno, more league attention has been turned the direction of the young players outside the NBA. The Showcase alone is not the reason for the shift in focus. All of the players on NBA rosters are now guaranteed salaries for the remainder of the season, and teams are now able to sign players to 10-day contracts. Below are a few of the players that have already drawn attention around the league.

  • Ike Diogu is playing well at the D-League Showcase and league sources say he could draw interest from Lakers, Clippers, Thunder and Pelicans, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter links).
  • James Nunnally of the Bakersfield Jam is a D-League call-up candidate and has had meetings with the Cavs, Bulls, and Thunder at the D-League showcase in Reno, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Amick later tweeted the Hawks are also a team interested in Nunnally.
  • James Southerland has met with at least three teams this week, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com. He has played one game with the Bobcats and spent the summer with the 76ers and Warriors.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Knicks, Salmons, Bobcats

The Knicks were bent on injecting youth into their team, and they brought Josh Powell and Ike Diogu to camp with no intention of retaining them for opening night, no matter how well the two veterans played in preseason, a source tells Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. For now, New York seems engaged in a pursuit of Kyle Lowry as it tries to unload Raymond Felton, who made Ben Golliver of SI.com‘s “All-Atrocious Team.” Here’s more from around the league:

  • New Raptors small forward John Salmons is a “prime candidate” to be dealt again before the trade deadline, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, pointing to his de-facto expiring contract. No Raptors appear off-limits for a trade.
  • The Bobcats released James Southerland on Wednesday, but not because the organization was disappointed with him, notes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer“He was brought in as a developmental player. We like him a lot,” coach Steve Clifford said. “Nothing he did he could have done better. We just needed someone more ready to play.” Charlotte signed veteran Chris Douglas-Roberts to replace Southerland.
  • Pau Gasol hinted that there’s a chance he could sign an extension with the Lakers, during his recent interview with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. The possibility of an in-season agreement has seemed like a long shot.
  • A Prim Capital investor was found guilty of obstructing a grand jury investigation into the firm’s ties to the players union, reports Nate Raymond of Reuters. The son of former union executive director Billy Hunter has served as a Prim executive.
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports profiles freelance trainer Rob McClanaghan, who works with some of the NBA’s top players and has exerted influence on front office decision-making.
  • Mark Deeks of ShamSports examines several free agents and D-Leaguers who could be on the radar of NBA teams in a piece for the Score, calling Drew Gooden perhaps the most talented among available big men. Deeks looked at guards on Wednesday.