Mike Tobey

International Notes: Slovenia, Doncic, Croatia, South Sudan, Siulepa

The Slovenian national team has officially announced the 16 players who will make up its preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Greece next month (Twitter link). While the 16-man group features currently Nuggets forward Vlatko Cancar and a couple other players with prior NBA experience (Zoran Dragic and Mike Tobey), the headliner is Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

Slovenia obviously hopes that Doncic will be available to help the team try to claim one of the final four Olympic berths this summer, and the Mavs star said on Wednesday that he wants to do so, despite battling knee issues this spring, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets. Doncic still has one more series to get through, so his availability in Greece will presumably hinge on how he’s feeling at the conclusion of the NBA Finals.

Here’s more from around the international basketball world:

  • Croatia, which will be in Slovenia’s group at the qualifying tournament in Greece, has also announced a preliminary roster for that event. Warriors forward Dario Saric and Clippers center Ivica Zubac are among the 17 players who are candidates to make up the 12-man roster, while former NBA wing Mario Hezonja is one of the other notable names in that group.
  • South Sudan, which has already qualified for the Olympics based on its results at last year’s World Cup, revealed a 25-man preliminary roster for Paris (Twitter link). Some of the biggest names in the mix for roster spots include Bol Bol, Wenyen Gabriel, Thon Maker, JT Thor, and World Cup star Carlik Jones.
  • Seventeen-year-old Australian prospect Roman Siulepa is signing with the Tasmania JackJumpers as part of the National Basketball League’s Next Stars program, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Givony identifies Siulepa as one of the most promising international prospects in his age group, noting that the 6’7″ small forward has averaged 21.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in the second division of Australia’s NBL this season.

World Cup Notes: Brooks, Motiejunas, F. Wagner, Naturalized Players

After a difficult season with the Grizzlies, Dillon Brooks feels rejuvenated by his World Cup experience, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. Brooks has moved past the acrimonious ending of his time in Memphis and is enjoying a summer that has included an $86MM contract with the Rockets and a chance to lead Canada to new heights in international competition.

Brooks had 22 points and five rebounds while playing his usual disruptive defense in Sunday’s win over Spain, moving Canada into the quarterfinal round and wrapping up a spot in the Olympics. The Canadians trailed by 12 points entering the fourth quarter, but Brooks hit three three-pointers during a rally in the must-win game.

“Coming off a tough year with my old squad, it was great having a refresh with Canadian blood,” Brooks said. “Guys who believe in me. Guys who trust in me.”

Reaching the Olympics is a life-long dream for Canadian teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, whose mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, competed for Antigua and Barbuda in the 400 meters during the 1992 games, Stroggylakis adds.

“In my whole life I knew what’s like going to the Olympics because of that,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “And I know the best athletes are there.”

There’s more from the World Cup:

  • Former NBA big man Donatas Motiejunas tells Aris Barkis of Eurohoops that beating Team USA on Sunday compares to Lithuania’s last victory over the Americans in the 2004 Olympics. “I was a kid at that time, I was 14 years old so I remember watching the game and it was something spectacular,” he said. “Like I said from the first day we are here to bring joy to our people, to our basketball and I know how crazy it’s right now in Lithuania. And I really loved that we, as a team, can bring this joy to our people.”
  • Germany reached the quarterfinals without Magic forward Franz Wagner, who suffered a sprained ankle in the opening game, and it appears his status for Wednesday’s contest against Latvia won’t be decided until shortly before game time, per Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. Wagner is considered day to day, but he hasn’t been active since the injury. “He had no team practice yet. We’re gonna have to see what his situation is tomorrow, and the medical staff will make a decision on Wednesday,” Germany head coach Gordon Herbert told reporters. “We go day by day; we have to see how his ankle feels in the morning, see if he’s able tomorrow or not, and we go from there. It’s a process. He wants to play, but he’s pretty frustrated and disappointed he can’t play.”
  • Along with Mavericks star Luka Doncic, one of Slovenia’s most important players has been center Mike Tobey, who obtained a passport in advance of the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament, Milanti adds in another piece. Tobey believes naturalized players will have an increased impact in international basketball. “I understand both sides of the rule,” he said. “For me, I think it helps make teams competitive. I’m sure in the future the national teams will do it more because sometimes teams are really just a piece away. Slovenia shows it’s just adding one person in the position they don’t have as many big guys in this generation. I think it can make a big difference, and help small countries compete.” 

And-Ones: Lawson, Tobey, Lin, Ainge, Alkins

Former Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson has signed with Kolossos Rhodes, a team in the Greek League, per a team press release. According to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando, Lawson originally signed with the Greek club last January, but was unable to leave China to join the team due to travel complications.

Lawson, who is still only 33 years old, had several seasons of borderline All-Star level play for the Nuggets before off-court issues derailed him. The 5’11” point guard has averaged 26+ PPG and 8.7+ APG the last two seasons in China. This stint marks his first time in the European leagues since he played with BC Zalgiris during the 2011 NBA lockout.

We have more news from around the world of basketball:

  • Mike Tobey, who played in two games for the Hornets during the 2016/17 season, had a strong showing for the Slovenian Olympic team alongside Luka Doncic in Tokyo, averaging 13.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 2.5 APG while shooting 38% from three. But Marc Stein reports that Tobey has a significant buyout with his current team of Valencia in Spain, making a return to the NBA a complicated proposition, at least in the near future.
  • Former Knick – and NBA champion with the Raptors – Jeremy Lin tested positive for COVID-19 upon landing in Shanghai, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Lin said he is vaccinated, and is only experiencing minor symptoms.
  • Danny Ainge may not be with the Celtics anymore, but he calls his current status “taking a break,” rather than “retired,” according to an interview with A. Sherrod Blakely. “I’m pretty sure I don’t want to re-enter to the level I was at, for sure,” Ainge said. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. I’m in no rush.”
  • Rawle Alkins plans to sign with Ukraine’s Dnipro, according to our JD Shaw (Twitter link). The 23-year-old 6’5 guard from the University of Arizona played 10 games for the Bulls during the 2018/19 season.

Jazz Host 32 Free Agents At Veteran Mini-Camp

The Jazz are hosting a veteran mini-camp on Friday and Saturday, with 32 players set to participate in the event, the team announced in a press release.

While the list of participants isn’t exactly star-studded, there are a handful of intriguing names, including several players who have spent time in NBA training camps and some who have played in regular season games. Lavoy Allen, K.J. McDaniels, Diamond Stone, Jarrod Uthoff, and Mike Tobey are among the free agents at Utah’s mini-camp who have logged NBA minutes.

While many of the participants in this weekend’s mini-camp won’t ever play in an NBA game, the event has paid dividends for the Jazz in the past. As Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes, Royce O’Neale made a strong impression on the franchise during a free agent mini-camp in 2016, which eventually led to O’Neale signing a contract with Utah last summer and becoming a key part of the rotation in 2017/18.

“We tried to get him that summer (2016), tried to sign him but he decided to go to Spain and made the right choice for him because he got better over there and it ended up working out in the long run for him,” Jazz director of scouting Bart Taylor said. “Royce is a great story and we like to say it puts pressure on us to find another one.”

Taylor is optimistic about identifying another future contributor among this year’s group.

“There’s some good talent out here,” Taylor said. “I like to joke with all our guys and say there’s three or four guys out here that’ll play in the NBA, but you’ve got to find them. So there’s definitely a few guys out here that we like, a lot of guys actually that we really like but we’re just trying to see how they do over the course of the three practices and hopefully one of them does turn into Royce.”

Here’s the full list of participants for Utah’s free agent mini-camp:

International Notes: Boozer, Teodosic, Hollins

Could a return to the NBA be in the cards for Carlos Boozer? According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter), the veteran big man is playing his way into contention for an NBA job. Boozer, who signed a deal last summer to play in China for the 2016/17 season, is a member of the Guangdong Southern Tigers, who are currently just one win away from a spot in the Chinese Basketball Association Finals.

Booazer, who is playing on a team with other former NBA players Donald Sloan and Yi Jianlian, has averaged 17.7 PPG and 10.6 RPG in 45 games for the Tigers this season. Still, it’s hard to imagine a current NBA contender clamoring to sign him when the CBA season ends, unless one of those teams suffers a frontcourt injury or two down the stretch.

Here are a few more updates and notes from international basketball leagues:

  • Nets general manager Sean Marks is headed overseas to scout a game between CSKA Moscow and Darussafaka Dogus on March 22, according to international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Standout CSKA guard Milos Teodosic, who has expressed a desire to make the leap to the NBA later this year, is one player Marks will likely have his eye on in that matchup.
  • Pick also notes (via Twitter) that former Pittsburgh guard Brad Wanamaker, who is currently playing for Darussafaka Dogus, has an NBA out in his deal. Wanamaker tells Pick that he met with Brett Brown last summer and was “real close” to signing with the Sixers.
  • Former NBA center Ryan Hollins, who was recently cut by CB Gran Canaria in Spain, is headed to Italy after agreeing to terms with Fiat Torino, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. If Hollins remains overseas for the rest of this season, it will be the first year he hasn’t played an NBA game since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2006.
  • After receiving a pair of 10-day contracts from the Hornets earlier this year, rookie center Mike Tobey returned to the team’s D-League affiliate. However, Tobey has now left the Greensboro Swarm and signed with Valencia in Spain, as Chris Reichert of The Step Back tweets.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Porter, McClellan

Some Hawks fans were underwhelmed with Atlanta’s decision to quickly fill their roster vacancies with players they had cut previously in the year but head coach Mike Budenholzer cites their familiarity with the team’s system as the motivating factor, says Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, well within reach of home-court advantage in the first-round if things break right in the second half of the season.

The two wings, Ryan Kelly and Lamar Patterson, have had multiple stints with the franchise, Kelly spending time with the club in training camp prior to being waived, later signed again shortly after opening day and waived once more in January and then Patterson playing last season with the franchise, getting cut over the summer and then coming back on a pair of 10-day contracts last month.

We’ve continued to follow them closely,” Budenholzer told Vivlamore. “We feel like adding them to the group this year, not just this year because there is potential and hope that these are guys who fit us and understand how we play. Lots of time we talk about fit. We feel like Ryan and Lamar have that potential.”

Though the pair have only played in a combined 87 minutes for Atlanta in 2016/17, they’ll round out a lineup in “win-now” mode. Previously it seemed likely that the franchise would trade pending free agent Paul Millsap and embrace a rebuild but they’ve publicly changed course.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards freed up cap space to make signing forward Otto Porter to an extension this summer possible. General manager Ernie Grunfeld recently spoke with J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic about just that. “We love the way that he’s developed and how he’s come along. I think Otto fits in very well with what we’re trying to do,” Grunfeld said. “I said he’s part of our core and we want to keep him here.”
  • Over the All-Star Break, Wizards rookie Sheldon McClellan announced that he has legally changed his name to Sheldon Mac, says Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The guard had thought about it for a while but held off for fear of complicating the scouting and drafting process he went through last year.
  • If the Heat want to free up a roster spot for the upcoming buyout market or even just for flexibility down the stretch, they’ll have to first deal with the Chris Bosh situation, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
  • Recently acquired forward Bojan Bogdanovic was looking forward to the trade that officially sent him to the Wizards. The veteran will come off the bench in Washington and tells J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic that he doesn’t think it will be that big of an adjustment.
  • After getting waived by the Hornets, big man Mike Tobey has returned to the Greensboro Swarm of the D-League writes Chris Reichert of The Step Back.

Hornets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To 10-Day Deal

3:14pm: The Hornets have officially signed O’Bryant to a 10-day contract, the team announced this afternoon in a press release.

7:32am: After playing on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Nuggets earlier this season, Johnny O’Bryant is poised to join a new team, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back, who reports (via Twitter) that the Hornets will sign the free agent forward to a 10-day contract.

The Hornets have been carrying 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, along with a pair of players – Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey – on 10-day contracts. The latest 10-day deals for both McCallum and Tobey expired overnight, so it seems the Hornets won’t retain both players.

Assuming the team finalizes a deal with O’Bryant, there would still be one opening on the roster to sign McCallum, Tobey, or someone else. Since McCallum and Tobey each signed two 10-day contracts with Charlotte, they would need to be signed for the season to stick with the Hornets.

O’Bryant, 23, was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Bucks. In 100 games for the club, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The LSU product signed as a free agent with the Wizards prior to training camp last fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with the team.

O’Bryant subsequently joined the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, averaging 18.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 24 games for Phoenix’s affiliate this season. He even added a three-point shot to his game during his time in the NBADL, making 38.0% of his attempts and averaging more than one three-pointer per game. That earned O’Bryant a couple 10-day contracts with the Nuggets, for whom he appeared in seven games, averaging 2.9 PPG and 1.6 RPG.

Hornets Sign Mike Tobey To Second 10-Day Deal

1:34pm: After initially keeping their 15th roster spot open to acquire Chris Andersen, the Hornets have officially waived the Birdman, allowing the team to finalize Tobey’s second 10-day contract. The team confirmed the signing this afternoon in a press release.

9:32am: Like Hornets teammate Ray McCallum, rookie center Mike Tobey will sign a second 10-day contract with Charlotte, a league source tells Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While McCallum’s deal is official, Tobey’s new contract has yet to be formally confirmed by the Hornets.

Tobey, a 7’1″ center out of Virginia, averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 15.7 minutes per contest during his senior year in 2015/16. The 22-year-old joined the Hornets for Summer League action in Orlando last year, then inked a training camp deal with Charlotte that featured a $75K guarantee. However, he didn’t earn a spot on the team’s regular season roster, and landed with the Hornets’ D-League affiliate instead.

In 28 games this season with the Greensboro Swarm, Tobey averaged 11.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 25.9 minutes per contest, earning a call-up to Charlotte earlier this month. Although the Hornets re-added Tobey to their roster after trading Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes to Milwaukee, the Virginia alum has yet to make his regular-season NBA debut.

With Tobey and McCallum back under contract, the Hornets will have a full 15-man roster for the next week and a half. Both 10-day deals are set to expire the night before the trade deadline, which will give Charlotte some deadline-day roster flexibility if needed.

Hornets Sign Mike Tobey To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 3rd, 10:34am: The signing is official, according to a tweet from the team.

FEBRUARY 2nd, 2:06pm: The Hornets are set to open up a roster spot after agreeing to a two-for-one trade with the Bucks, and Charlotte plans to use that roster opening to bring back a player they waived in the preseason. According to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter), the Hornets will sign D-League center Mike Tobey to a 10-day contract.

[RELATED: Hornets to acquire Miles Plumlee from Bucks]

Tobey, a 7’1″ center out of Virginia, averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 15.7 minutes per contest during his senior year in 2015/16. The 22-year-old joined the Hornets for Summer League action in Orlando last year, then inked a training camp deal with Charlotte that featured a $75K guarantee. However, he didn’t earn a spot on the team’s regular season roster, and landed with the Hornets’ D-League affiliate instead. In 28 games this season with the Greensboro Swarm, Tobey has averaged 11.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 25.9 minutes per contest.

When he officially joins the Hornets, Tobey will provide some depth up front for a club that just agreed to send two big men – Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes – to Milwaukee. Tobey will join Miles Plumlee, who will be acquired in that deal with the Bucks, as the newest members of the Hornets.

Tobey’s 10-day deal with Charlotte will count for $31,969 toward the team’s salary cap.

NBA D-League Affiliate Players For 2016/17

Throughout the offseason, and in the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season, NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players, but that total must be cut down to 15 in advance of opening night. However, up to four players waived by teams before the season can be designated as affiliate players and assigned to their D-League squads.

The players have some say in the decision — if they’d prefer to sign with a team overseas, or if they get an opportunity with another NBA club, they’re free to turn down their team’s request to have them play in the D-League. Most NBA and international teams have fairly set rosters by late October though, so having the opportunity to continue playing in the same system is appealing to many of those preseason cuts. Especially since they’ll maintain NBA free agency while they play in the D-League.

There are a few other rules related to D-League affiliate players. A player whose returning rights are held by a D-League team can’t be an affiliate player for another club, which is why undrafted free agents from the current year are commonly signed and assigned. Additionally, an affiliate player must have signed with his team during the current league year, which explains why we often see players signed and quickly waived in the days leading up to the regular season. And, of course, not every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, so clubs like the Hawks, Nuggets, or Clippers have no place to send affiliate players.

With all that in mind, here are the NBA D-League affiliate players to start the 2016/17 season:

Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)

Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)

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