Olek Czyz

Draft & D-League: Top Five, Smart, 66ers, Czyz

With David Stern putting all his weight behind the positive evolution of the D-League, it’s only natural for that avenue of player development to be contrasted with the more traditional one. Let’s take a look at Thursday night’s news and notes from the draft and the D-League here:

  • The kickoff of the NBA season isn’t complete without our first wave of NBA mock drafts. Chad Ford provides ESPN insiders a look at what the first round might look like in June 2014. In what some pundits are dubbing the best draft since 2003, Ford predicts a top five of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum.
  • Speaking of Oklahoma State’s Smart, the sophomore point guard is still unsure that he made the right decision to return to school last April, writes ESPN’s Myron Medcalf. Considering the shocking results of last June’s draft, it probably isn’t far fetched to say that Smart would have been the best player on the board when the Cavs went on the clock.
  • The Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder‘s D-League affiliate, have acquired the number one pick in tomorrow night’s D-League draft along with Ben Uzoh in a three team deal with the Iowa Energy and Springfield Armor, writes Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside. Along with other picks tomorrow night, Diante Garrett and Lorenzo Brown were also involved in the deal.
  • Polish forward Olek Czyz has signed a deal to join the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the D-League, Sportando reports on Twitter. The Bucks, who use Fort Wayne as their D-League affiliate, cut Czyz on Saturday after he spent training camp with the team, indicating that they protected his D-League rights. Czyz played at Duke and Nevada before going undrafted in 2012. He played last season for Virtus Roma of the Italian League.

Bucks Cut Graham, McKinney Jones, Czyz

1:03pm: The Bucks have also released Stephen Graham and Trey McKinney Jones, taking their roster down to 15, the team announced on Twitter. Both were on non-guaranteed contracts. None of the team’s camp invitees had much of a shot to make the opening-night roster, since the team began preseason with 15 fully guaranteed deals.

9:45am: The Bucks have released Olek Czyz, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter).  The Polish forward spent last season with Virtus Roma in Italy and left a guaranteed gig overseas to try and hook on with Milwaukee this offseason.

Czyz played alongside Gigi Datome in Italy and averaged 5.6 PPG and 3.7 RPG in just 14.5 minutes per contest across 48 games.  Czyz joined the Bucks at a time when they already had 15 players under guaranteed contracts and was signed at the same time as Junior Cadougan, Trey McKinney Jones, and Stephen Graham, so his chances were never that strong.

The Bucks could theoretically try and steer him to their D-League affiliate, but it could be tough to pry open a spot as they share the Fort Wayne Mad Ants with five other clubs.

Bucks Officially Sign Cadougan, Jones, Graham, Czyz

According to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel, the Bucks have officially signed Junior Cadougan, Trey McKinney Jones, Stephen Graham, and Olek Czyz to non-guaranteed deals. We heard about the invitations of Cadougan, Jones, and Czyz earlier this month, although it should be noted that Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times had implied the training camp addition of Graham earlier this afternoon.

These signings will bring Milwaukee's training camp roster to 19, which is currently made up of 15 guaranteed and four non-guaranteed contracts. 

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Olek Czyz To Attend Camp With Bucks

Olek Czyz will attend training camp with the Bucks next month, according to an announcement on the player's official website (hat tip to Sportando). As our international tracker shows, Czyz spent last season with Virtus Roma in Italy.

Playing for a Virtus Roma team that also included Gigi Datome, who signed with the Pistons this summer, Czyz appeared in 48 games last season, averaging 5.6 PPG and 3.7 RPG in just 14.5 minutes per contest. The 6'8" forward becomes the third Bucks camp invitee to be reported this week, as the club is set to bring in Trey McKinney Jones and Junior Cadougan as well.

The Bucks already have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, so their camp invitees won't have a great shot to make the regular-season roster. It's possible that Milwaukee is looking to retain the D-League rights to a few players, but the Bucks share their affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, with five other NBA teams, so their control over the D-League squad is limited.

Eastern Notes: Carmelo, Knicks, Bucks, Czyz

Roughly two-and-a-half years after the Knicks-Nuggets trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York, Keith Schlosser of Knicks Journal tries to parcel out who got the better of the swap.  While stars of Melo's caliber are hard to come by, they did give up quite a bit to get him - Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and draft picks were all shipped out to Denver.  Ultimately, Schlosser believes that only time (namely, this season) will tell if acquiring Anthony was worth blowing up the roster.  Here's a quick look around the Eastern Conference..

  • The Knicks aren't getting any closer to a title, and that means Anthony's ability to become a free agent next summer will be a cloud over the Knicks' heads all season, writes Howard Beck of The New York Times.
  • Polish forward Olek Czyz has an offer from Italian club Vanoli Cremona but he may join the Bucks in training camp instead, according to a report from la Provincia di Cremona passed along by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter).  The 23-year-old forward was in summer league with the Bulls last summer but wasn't able to make the roster.
  • To say that this year's Bucks team is different from last year’s Bucks team would be a massive understatement, the HoopsWorld staff writes in their preview of Milwaukee for the upcoming season.  How far will they get with Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo replacing Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis as the Bucks’ starting backcourt?  Most of the staff sees them finishing in the basement of the Central with one vote putting them in fourth place.
  • Victor Oladipo's past detractors motivate him to achieve as much success as possible in the NBA, writes John Denton of NBA.com.  The Indiana University product is now being predicted by many to win the 2013/14 Rookie of the Year award.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Pelicans, Grizzlies, Miller, D-League

We started the day off here at Hoops Rumors with some very pleasant news as Rick Adelman is confirmed to return to the sidelines as Timberwolves coach this season.  The T-Wolves haven’t been to the postseason in nearly a decade, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that this will be the year that they break through.  Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..