Ognjen Kuzmic

And-Ones: Pelinka, Jackson, Sanders

As the Lakers undergo their own transition as a franchise, recently appointed general manager Rob Pelinka‘s sports agency Landmark Sports is undergoing one of its own. Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer explored what the process will entail for Pelinka, the agency in general and, most of all, all of the players who’ve suddenly seen a change in representation.

Currently Pelinka’s clients, like James Harden, have been transferred to other members of the Landmark Sports agency and Fischer wonders if pending free agents like Andre Iguodala and Dion Waiters will seek agencies with sturdier leadership.

The three representatives who’ve inherited the client list, Fischer writes, were previously responsible for salary cap analysis, public relations and marketing at the agency. The Lakers can’t formally hire Pelinka until he is officially divested from Landmark Sports.

There’s more from around the NBA:

International Notes: Beaubois, Maynor, Claver

Former Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois, who appeared in 182 games for Dallas between 2009 and 2013, has been linked back to the Mavs multiple times this offseason. However, Beaubois continues to draw international interest as well. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Baskonia, a Spanish team, has interest in the 28-year-old free agent, as reported by multiple international outlets. It sounds as if Beaubois would like to return to the NBA, but he’s no lock for a roster spot in Dallas, so he’ll have to decide whether he wants to fight for an NBA job or continue to play a major role for an overseas club.

Here are a few more international items of interest:

  • Former Thunder point guard Eric Maynor is in “advanced talks” for a return to Italy’s Pallacanestro Varese, a team he played for in 2015, per Carchia. Maynor, who also spent time with the Jazz, Blazers, Wizards, and Sixers during his time in the NBA, is coming off a major knee injury.
  • Serbia’s KK Crvena Zvezda has officially announced the signing of former Warriors big man Ognjen Kuzmic to a three-year deal, as Carchia details. A second-round pick in 2012, Kuzmic previously appeared in 37 games for Golden State and had “solid interest” from the Warriors this offseason, per international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link)
  • Former Iona guard A.J. English, who worked out for at least a dozen NBA teams this spring, has signed with Enel Brindisi in Italy, as Carchia passes along. English went undrafted last month after averaging 22.6 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 5.0 RPG in his senior season at Iona.
  • A source tells Pick (Twitter link) that ex-Blazers forward Victor Claver is finalizing a deal with Barcelona that will lock him up through 2019. The Spaniard was a first-round pick in 2009, but never carved out a significant role with Portland after the team brought him stateside in 2012.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Raptors, Embiid, Kuzmic

The ESPN analytics department has used its NBA draft projection model to evaluate this year’s class, and found that the average draft grade for the top 50 college prospects this year is the highest it has been since the model began tracking in 2001. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com writes, that high average grade for the top 50 NCAA prospects suggests that this is a deep class, which is good news for a team like the Celtics — Boston holds eight of the 60 picks in the 2016 draft. The C’s surely won’t keep all those picks, but if there are still plenty of prospects drawing interest in the second round, it should increase the trade value of those selections.

Armed with those eight picks, the Celtics figure to strongly consider draft-and-stash prospects, a scenario that Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com examines. As Petraglia details, Austin Ainge is open to the idea of drafting a prospect who will continue to play overseas rather than coming to the NBA immediately.

“[Draft-and-stash talks] will be finalized kind of after you draft a kid, sit down and determine a plan of action, but those discussions go on all the time, year-round, contract situations, age, different levels of maturity and in the players’ game, all those come into play,” said the Celtics director of player personnel. “It’s a partnership with the player, his representatives and the team to try to make the best decisions for him.”

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:

  • The Raptors, who hold a pair of first-round picks, have been busy working out prospects. According to the team (Twitter links), Julian Jacobs (USC), Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Justin Edwards (Kansas State), Brice Johnson (UNC), and Jalen Reynolds (Xavier) worked out for Toronto on Monday, with David Walker (Northeastern), Michael Gbinije (Syracuse), Alex Poythress (Kentucky), Troy Williams (Indiana), Daniel Ochefu (Villanova), and A.J. Hammons (Purdue) working out for the club today.
  • Joel Embiid won’t be playing for the 76ers‘ summer league team this year, but Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer was impressed with how the oft-injured big man looked during a workout on Monday.
  • Ognjen Kuzmic, a former Warriors second-round pick who played 37 games with the club from 2013 to 2015, has agreed to play for the Knicks at the Orlando Summer League, his agent tells international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link).

And-Ones: USA Basketball, Felder, Bentil, Draft

Following this morning’s report that Stephen Curry would skip the 2016 Olympics in Brazil for health reasons, the Warriors and Curry issued a statement confirming that decision. And, as ESPN’s Marc Stein tweets, Curry isn’t the only USA Basketball star who won’t be available this summer due to injury. Stein says that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, John Wall, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who is dealing with a recent finger/hand injury (Twitter link), also won’t be a part of Team USA’s roster.

As we wait to see which other players may drop out of the 2016 Olympics due to health or safety concerns, let’s round up some odds and ends from around the NBA…

  • Former Oakland University point guard Kay Felder is working out for the Lakers today, and has a workout with the Pistons lined up for next Wednesday, tweets Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.
  • Former Providence forward Ben Bentil will work out for the Magic this Friday after having worked out for the Hawks and Bulls, a source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
  • Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon and Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku are among the draft prospects whom Sam Vecenie of CBSSports.com views as potential second-round steals later this month. Vecenie also identifies three other players who fit that bill.
  • Former Michigan State forward Deyonta Davis has hired BDA Sports for representation, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link). Hoops Rumors readers voted on Sunday to send Davis to Chicago with the 14th overall pick in our community mock draft.
  • In other player representation news, Serbian bigs Miroslav Raduljica and Ognjen Kuzmic have hired agent Chris Patrick of Relativity Sports for representation, per HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Ognjen Kuzmic Signs To Play In Greece

Former Warriors center Ognjen Kuzmic has signed with Panathinaikos of Greece, the team announced (on Twitter; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Golden State last week withdrew its qualifying offer of more than $1.147MM to Kuzmic, making him an unrestricted free agent, though the power to match other offers that the Warriors possessed before that move wouldn’t have precluded the native of Bosnia from jumping back overseas. It’s unclear if Kuzmic’s new deal is as lucrative for him as it would have been if he’d taken the qualifying offer from Golden State while it was on the table.

Regardless, it’s no surprise to see the 7-footer exit the NBA, as he saw action in only 36 games over two years in the league, both with Golden State. He logged significantly more time on D-League assignment, making 57 appearances for the Santa Cruz Warriors. I speculated earlier this month that Kuzmic would sign overseas.

The Warriors reportedly reached a deal with shooting guard Ian Clark earlier today, but it’s not clear if that represented the final door closing on any hope Kuzmic had of returning to the team. Regardless, Panathinaikos figures to give Kuzmic a chance to remain on the NBA radar, as the club also added NBA veterans Miroslav Raduljica and Nick Calathes earlier this month.

Do you think we’ll see Ognjen Kuzmic in the NBA again? Leave a comment to let us know.

Warriors Rescind Qualifying Offer To Kuzmic

The Warriors have withdrawn their $1,147,276 qualifying offer to Ognjen Kuzmic, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). He’s now become an unrestricted free agent, as Golden State has forfeited its right to match offers for him. The Warriors were facing a deadline, as Thursday is the final day that a team may withdraw a qualifying offer to a player without his consent.

The two sides can still strike a deal, but the Warriors can no longer prevent Kuzmic from joining another NBA squad. There hasn’t been much chatter regarding any NBA teams being interested in the seven-footer’s services, though now that the ability for Golden State to match any offers is gone, the market could pick up for Kuzmic. The Mavs are still in need of frontcourt depth, and could give the big man a look, though that is merely my speculation.

Kuzmic appeared in just 16 games for the Warriors last season, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per contest. The 25-year-old spent the bulk of last season in the D-League playing for Golden State’s affiliate. Kuzmic played in 29 contests for Santa Cruz, logging 12.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 2.0 BPG with a slash line of .493/.000/.772.

Qualifying Offers: Tuesday

Here are the latest qualifying offer decisions to come in..

Earlier Updates:

  • The Sixers declined to offer guard Glenn Robinson III a qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  However, Philly has shown an inclination to revisit a longer-term deal for Robinson this summer, according to those same sources.  In 35 games as a rookie, Robinson averaged 2.1 PPG.
  • The Hornets will not make a qualifying offer to guard Jeffery Taylor, according to a source that spoke with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo (on Twitter).  Taylor will now become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Pero Antic, who was rumored to be going overseas, was given a qualifying offer by the Hawks, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).  If the Hawks need to maximize their cap space, Pincus adds (link), they can revoke the qualifying offer to Antic and renounce him.
  • As expected, the Magic have extended qualifying offers to both Tobias Harris and Kyle O’Quinn, according to John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com (on Twitter).
  • The Rockets made Patrick Beverley and K.J. McDaniels restricted free agents by extending QOs to them, Pincus tweets.

Western Notes: Brooks, Love, Parsons

Scott Brooks would still be the Thunder coach if Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook had strongly objected to the decision to fire him, David Aldridge of NBA.com opines. While Durant and Westbrook were protective of Brooks, they accepted the decision by Oklahoma City’s management, Aldridge continues. The Thunder could not afford the risk of waiting to bring in a new coach after next season when Durant hits the free agent market, Aldridge concludes.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Kevin Love‘s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of the Eastern Conference playoff semifinals, could have a major impact on his potential free agency and the Lakers’ offseason blueprint, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report tweets. Love, who holds an approximate $16.7MM player option on his contract for next season, is at the forefront of the Lakers’ rebuilding plans, Ding adds.
  • Chandler Parsons might need microfracture surgery on his right knee, which could keep him out of action at the start of next season, sources told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. That could play a role in the Mavericks’ offseason strategy, considering they signed Parsons last summer to be their starting small forward. Parsons will make approximately $15.36MM next season and holds an option of just over $16MM on the final year of his deal in 2016/17. It’s still possible Parsons would only require arthroscopic surgery on the knee, which has a shorter recovery period, MacMahon adds.
  • The Warriors added more depth to their postseason roster by recalling center Ognjen Kuzmic and forward James Michael McAdoo from their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to the team’s website. Kuzmic and McAdoo helped Santa Cruz win the D-League championship over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, as the duo combined for 31 points and 17 rebounds in the clinching 109-96 victory on Sunday night.

And-Ones: Wolves, Knicks, Draft

If the Wolves win the lottery and land the top pick in the NBA draft, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the only players whom the team should seriously consider using the selection on, opines Joel Brigham in a collaborative piece for Basketball Insiders. Point guard may be a position of need, considering Ricky Rubio‘s history of injuries, but the team has already indicated it will take a best-player-available approach when using its selection rather than drafting for need.

“I think when you’re a lottery-type team, you have to take the best player available,” President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said. “If you’re there, you probably got there because you lost, and you’re probably still a little ways away. There’s not probably one player, really, that you think, wherever you’re at, ‘Hey, if I take that position, he can help me.’ The better chance you have of improving the team is to take whoever the best player you evaluate is there.”

Minnesota finished the season with a record of 16-66, which gives the team the best chance at winning the lottery and a 46.5% chance at landing one of the top two picks, as our 2015 Lottery Odds page indicates.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • If the Knicks win the lottery, Towns should be the selection, Tommy Beer opines in the same piece for Basketball Insiders. Beer believes Towns could be the defensive anchor that New York hasn’t had since it traded Tyson Chandler to the Mavs. The Kentucky product averaged 2.3 blocks while playing only 21 minutes per game during his lone college season.
  • The Warriors have recalled Ognjen Kuzmic from their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to a team press release. To date this season, the center has appeared in 16 games for Golden State, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game.
  • The Magic showed flashes of potential, but ultimately they turned in another sub-par season. Center Nikola Vucevic believes it’s time the team takes the next step, Denton writes in a seperate piece. “Now, we’ve got to accept the fact that we’ve got to change this and turn this thing around. Rebuilding was fine for two or even three years, but we’ve got to find a way to turn it around because [youth] is not an excuse anymore,” said Vucevic, who led the Magic in points and rebounds this season. “So we’ve got to find a way to turn this thing around quickly.’’ 

Pacific Notes: Robinson, Goodwin, Kuzmic

Nate Robinson‘s energy off the bench played a vital role in earning his second 10-day contract, which he signed on Tuesday, writes Rowan Kavner of NBA.com. The guard hasn’t played his best lately, but he believes he can contribute to the team without touching a basketball. Doc [Rivers] gave me a great opportunity to come in and showcase my talent and be here for these guys and be a veteran leader,” Robinson said. “That’s what I’m working on now, maturing myself and my game and helping our younger guys and leading by example by just playing hard. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic examines the development of 2013 29th overall pick Archie Goodwin, who’s seeing more playing time for the Suns of late, a couple of months after he vented about his lack of minutes. The Suns drew trade suitors for Goodwin but let them know that he remains a significant part of their plan.
  • The Warriors have assigned Ognjen Kuzmic to their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to the team’s Twitter feed. To date, the 7’1″ center has only played in 16 games this season, totaling 72 minutes of NBA action.
  • Chris Paul elevated his game and kept the Clippers afloat in the Western Conference while Blake Griffin was out due to an injuryTom Ziller of SB Nation believes Paul deserves to receive the NBA’s MVP award. Ziller points out that in addition to scoring 18.4 points per game, the point guard creates 23.4 points per game off of his assists. This, along with Paul’s low turnover rate and quality defense, makes the 29-year-old a dark horse contender in the wide open MVP race.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.