James Nunnally

And-Ones: Koufos, Nunnally, Embiid, ABA

Veteran center Kosta Koufos, who played 11 years in the NBA from 2008-2019, is finalizing a contract to join the London Lions of the British Basketball League, sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Across 686 career games, including 229 starts, Koufos averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per night while playing solid defense. He played for Utah, Minnesota, Denver, Memphis and Sacramento during his time in the league.

The 33-year-old made a couple of international stops with CSKA Moscow in 2019/20 and Olympiacos in ’20/21, per Basketball-Reference. Both teams compete in the EuroLeague. Last season he was a veteran mentor for the G League Ignite.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA forward James Nunnally has signed with Serbian club Partizan Belgrade, according to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The 31-year-old played parts of three seasons in the league for five teams, most recently with the Pelicans in ’20/21. He only played in 37 career games with modest averages of 8.5 MPG and 2.6 PPG, but he has had a lengthy and productive career overseas, with career averages of 12.1 PPG and 3.1 RPG on an impressive shooting line of .471/.437/.896. He played in Israel last season for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
  • Joel Embiid has reportedly been granted French citizenship, clearing the way for him to join France’s national team in international competition, writes Antigoni Zachari of Eurohoops.net. The original report came from French outlet BeBasket.fr. The French team’s frontcourt could feature a staggering amount of size and talent in future competitions if Embiid participates, with the center potentially joining three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama, the projected first overall pick of the 2023 draft.
  • After reporting in February of last year that the NBA was in discussions with the Dropping Dimes Foundation about potentially assisting more than 100 remaining American Basketball Association players, many of whom are struggling financially and are in dire need of pensions, Dana Hunsinger Benbow of The Indianapolis Star writes that the NBA’s Board of Governors voted yesterday to pay the ABA players $24.5MM. According to Hunsinger Benbow, approximately 115 players are eligible for the payout, which the league is calling “recognition payments” instead of pensions. In order to be eligible, the players must have played at least three years in the ABA or at least three combined years in the ABA and NBA while never receiving a pension from the NBA. The players will receive $3,828 annually for each year they played in the league, for a minimum of $11,484 per year, Hunsinger Benbow reports. The funding for the payments will be split 50-50 between the NBA and the Players Association.

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.

Pelicans Sign James Nunnally, Waive Will Magnay

11:35am: The Pelicans have officially signed Nunnally and cut Magnay, the team confirmed in a press release.

11:24am: The Pelicans will waive Magnay to make room for Nunnally, a source tells Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A 6’10” center from Australia, Magnay appeared in just one game for the Pelicans this season, going scoreless in three minutes. He also averaged 9.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 10 appearances (22.2 MPG) for the Erie BayHawks in the G League.

10:08am: The Pelicans intend to sign veteran wing James Nunnally to a two-way contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Nunnally, 30, made his NBA debut back in the 2013/14 season, but only played in 13 contests that season, then didn’t appear in an NBA game again until ’18/19. In total, he has played in 28 regular season games for four teams, having spent most of his professional career overseas in Europe and Asia.

Most recently, Nunnally played for Fenerbahce during the 2019/20 season. While he had a limited role for the Turkish club in EuroLeague play, he continued to knock down three-pointers at a high rate (.417 3PT%), something he has done throughout his international career.

The Pelicans don’t currently have an open two-way contract slot, but have an opening on their 15-man roster, even if they re-sign Isaiah Thomas to a second 10-day contract once his first deal expires tonight.

Naji Marshall has been a rotation player for the Pelicans as of late and seems unlikely to be waived, so if the team cuts a two-way player, Will Magnay is the more likely choice. New Orleans could also promote Marshall to the standard roster to open up a two-way spot for Nunnally, though the club doesn’t have much breathing room below the luxury tax line.

And-Ones: AmeriCup, Olympics, All-Star Break, Draft

USA Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 12-man roster for the AmeriCup qualifying tournament taking place in Puerto Rico later this month. Several players representing Team USA in games against The Bahamas on February 19 and Mexico on February 20 have already been reported, with former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson leading the way.

However, today’s announcement includes a few more players with NBA experience that we haven’t already passed along. Josh Boone, James Nunnally, and Jordan Sibert will also be part of the roster, per today’s announcement.

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

  • FIBA has revealed the groups for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament, announcing today that Team USA will be part of Group A alongside France and Iran. The fourth team in the group will be the winner of a qualifying tournament that includes Canada, Greece, Turkey, China, the Czech Republic, and Uruguay..
  • While players will get a break from March 5-10, between the first and second halves of the season, they’ll have to undergo daily COVID-19 testing during that time and will likely be required to be back in their team’s market two days before the end of that break, says Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report released an updated version of his 2021 mock draft, as did ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link). Both mocks have Cade Cunningham at No. 1, Evan Mobley at No. 2, and Jalen Suggs at No. 4, but disagree about which G League Ignite player should be at No. 3 — Wasserman has Jonathan Kuminga there, while Givony and Schmitz favor Jalen Green.

International Notes: Lin, Germany, Turkey, Powell

Jeremy Lin posted a message to fans on Instagram as he returned to China for the resumption of the CBA season, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Overseas players have come back to the nation and are undergoing a two-week quarantine before play resumes in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season,” Lin wrote. “Excited to hoop again, but leaving the bay worried and with a heavy heart for the sick, the jobless and all those fighting fear, anxiety and stress over the unknown future. Shoutout to our medical staff in the 50 states for working tirelessly and everyone keep doing your part in slowing the virus!

“It’s been an awesome 2 months camped out in the gym…basketball has never been more meaningful. The world needs basketball now more than ever. I still remember when I went through my toughest moments and worst injuries, you guys were there for me. I hope to return the favor. As all you beloved fans told me the day after my knee injury, keep fighting bc we’re #NeverDone.”

There’s more international news this morning:

  • Brose Bamberg in Germany is the latest team to permit its American players to return home, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Former NBA guard Jordan Crawford is the most recognizable name on the roster.
  • All players from the Fenerbahce team in Turkey, along with coaches and staff members, have been tested for the coronavirus and a team manager in under observation in the hospital, writes Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The roster includes former NBA players James Nunnally, Nando De Colo, Derrick Williams, Malcolm Thomas, Jan Vesely, Luigi Datome and Joffrey Lauvergne.
  • New Iona coach Rick Pitino, who had been coaching Panathinaikos in Greece since 2018 before recently leaving the team, tells Lupo that Seton Hall’s Myles Powell could have a bright future in the EuroLeague. He compares Powell to former Suns and Pelicans guard Mike James, who has become a star in Europe. “Myles Powell reminds me of Mike a little bit,” Pitino said. “Do I think he’ll be in the NBA? I think he’ll try out with a team, but I think he’ll be a terrific player over in Europe and make a lot of money and be very successful. Could he play in the NBA? I’m sure he could, but I don’t think he’s somebody you’re gonna say he’s definitely gonna make it, but he’s a very talented young man and I think he’ll get a good shot at the NBA.”

James Nunnally Signs With Fenerbahce

Former Timberwolves and Rockets forward James Nunnally has officially completed a deal with Turkish team Fenerbahce, the club announced today in a press release.

Nunnally had previously been playing for the Shanghai Sharks, but the Chinese club released him from his contract. In 12 games in the Chinese Basketball Association this season, the 29-year-old averaged 22.3 PPG and 5.5 RPG while making 50.0% of his three-point attempts.

A former UC Santa Barbara standout, Nunnally has spent most of his professional career overseas, but has logged a total of 28 NBA games in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Houston. He started the 2018/19 season with the Wolves before being waived at the salary guarantee deadline; he later signed a 10-day contract with the Rockets, but hasn’t played in the NBA since then.

The move to Turkey represents a reunion for Nunnally, who played for Fenerbahce from 2016-18 and and won a EuroLeague title with the organization in 2017.

James Nunnally Signs With Shanghai Sharks

AUGUST 12: Nunnally has reached a buyout agreement with Olimpia Milano and finalized his deal with China’s Shanghai Sharks, according to a pair of stories from Sportando.

JULY 28: James Nunnally, who spent time with the Timberwolves and Rockets last season, is expected to sign with the Shanghai Sharks, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

After four years out of the NBA, the 29-year-old small forward won a roster spot with Minnesota last fall and saw limited playing time in 13 games. He was waived in early January before the league-wide salary guarantee date. He signed a 10-day contract with Houston later that month, but was released after six days to open a roster spot for Kenneth Faried.

Nunnally returned to Europe to finish the season, signing a two-year deal with Olimpia Milano. However, former Spurs assistant Ettore Messina took over the team last month and wants to move on from Nunnally, Carchia adds, so he will be released from his contract.

James Nunnally Will Play In Italy

JANUARY 27: Nunnally has signed a two-year deal with Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano, according to Sportando.

JANUARY 22, 8:59am: Agent Bill Neff tells Sportando that Milano was one of five teams to make Nunnally an offer before he signed with the Rockets, but the two sides aren’t in agreement on a new deal at this point. Nunnally has not yet decided on his next move, per Neff.

8:45am: After being waived by the Rockets on Monday, veteran swingman James Nunnally is expected to head back overseas, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, who hears from a source that Nunnally will likely sign a two-year contract with Italian club Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano.

Nunnally, initially released by the Timberwolves earlier this month, reportedly turned down EuroLeague offers to join the Rockets on a 10-day contract, with at least one report suggesting that he was “giving up a lot” by opting to remain in the NBA.

However, the 28-year-old had his 10-day deal terminated after just six days when Houston needed to open up a roster spot to sign Kenneth Faried. Given how quickly he reportedly agreed to terms with Milano, it appears that EuroLeague interest in Nunnally didn’t wane over the last week.

For Nunnally, the move overseas will represent a return to the European leagues where he has enjoyed his most professional success. He averaged 18.4 PPG in 30 Italian League games in 2015/16 for Sidigas Avellino before joining Fenerbahce for the next two seasons. Last season, in 29 EuroLeague contests, he shot a sizzling 55.4% on three-pointers, averaging 9.3 PPG for the Turkish squad.

Assuming Nunnally makes his deal with Milano official, it will presumably rule out a return to the NBA this season. It’s not clear if the agreement would include a potential NBA out for the 2019 offseason.

Rockets Release James Nunnally

5:00pm: The Rockets have officially waived Nunnally, the team confirmed in a press release announcing the signing of Faried.

4:01pm: The Rockets will terminate James Nunnally‘s 10-day deal early, releasing him before the contract expires, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. As Charania notes, cutting Nunnally will allow Houston to finalize its signing of Kenneth Faried tonight.

Nunnally, 28, reportedly turned down lucrative offers from international teams to sign a 10-day contract with the Rockets last Thursday. With Houston in need of help on the wing, the veteran sharpshooter immediately claimed a rotation role, averaging 19 minutes per game in two contests with the club. However, he struggled to make an impact, making just 3-of-13 shots from the floor, including 3-of-12 from beyond the arc.

Parting ways with Nunnally was the simplest way for the Rockets to open up a roster spot to sign Faried. The club’s other option would have been to trade or release Carmelo Anthony, but it appears a viable trade involving Anthony has yet to materialize. Houston would like to avoid cutting Anthony outright, since trading him would reduce the team’s projected tax bill.

As for Nunnally, he’ll get paid for the full 10 days, even though his 10-day contract is being terminated on day six. The Rockets could bring back the 28-year-old swingman later in the season if a roster spot opens up, but if there are no NBA opportunities out there for him right away, Nunnally might end up returning to Europe, where he has thrived in recent years.

Rockets Sign James Nunnally To 10-Day Deal

5:02pm: The Rockets have signed Nunnally to a 10-day deal, per an official release from the team. In anticipation of the signing, Nunnally had the following to say, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

I thought I would sign with (the Rockets) after meeting them on July 1st in LA. It didn’t happen. Now over six months later, I was going to make a decision today to go to a great Euroleague situation and the Rockets called last night. Crazy 24 hours! I am very excited.”

9:26pm: The Rockets are expected to fill the opening on their 15-man roster by signing veteran sharpshooter James Nunnally to a 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A source confirms to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) that the Rockets are “heading in that direction.” Feigen first reported on Tuesday that Houston would likely sign a veteran wing to a 10-day contract, identifying Nunnally as a candidate.

After playing in Europe for the past two seasons, Nunnally signed with the Timberwolves during free agency, as Minnesota was looking to add players that could space the floor and provide solid defense. However, Nunnally was not a regular part of the rotation and rarely saw the court during his time with the Wolves, who waived him last week before his full 2018/19 salary became guaranteed.

The 28-year-old wing only played 64 minutes this season, averaging 2.1 points per game while knocking down 38.5% of his 3-pointers. Despite his limited role in Minnesota, Nunnally received offers from multiple teams in Europe when he became a free agent again this month, according to Feigen, who hears that the former UC Santa Barbara standout is “giving up a lot” by opting instead for a 10-day contract (Twitter link).

Nunnally may get an opportunity to play a little more over the next 10 days in Houston than he typically did in Minnesota, given the Rockets’ injury and depth issues. While Eric Gordon‘s return appears imminent, the Rockets are missing Chris Paul and Clint Capela due to injuries, while Danuel House has returned to the G League for now and Carmelo Anthony remains away from the team.

The Rockets will incur a cap hit worth just over $76K for Nunnally’s 10-day deal, which will slightly increase the club’s projected year-end tax bill.