Rodions Kurucs

World Cup Notes: Latvia, Japan, Philippines, China, Australia

The Latvian Basketball Association has officially announced the national team’s 12-man roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup (Twitter link).

Thunder forward Davis Bertans is the only active NBA player on Latvia’s roster, but the team features a handful of former NBAers, including Bertans’ brother Dairis Bertans. Former Nets forward Rodions Kurucs and ex-Wizards big man Anzejs Pasecniks are the other Latvians with NBA experience.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 World Cup:

  • Japan and the Philippines, two of the host nations of the World Cup, have announced their 12-man rosters for the event. Suns forward Yuta Watanabe is the only NBA player representing Japan in this year’s tournament, while Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is the lone NBA player for the Philippines (Twitter link). Young center Kai Sotto, who committed to the G League Ignite in 2020 and has spent the past two seasons in Australia, is also suiting up for the Philippines.
  • China and Australia are among the other national teams to finalize their 12-man World Cup squads. There are no surprises in either case — while Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson is China’s only NBA player (Twitter link), the Boomers have nine active NBAers on a loaded roster that includes up-and-comers like Thunder guard Josh Giddey and Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (link via
  • A panel of ESPN’s basketball writers, including Brian Windhorst, has previewed the 2023 World Cup and made predictions for the event. South Sudan is a popular sleeper pick to make it to the knockout round and potentially earn an Olympic berth, but Team USA is widely expected to win the tournament — France was the only other team to receive a single vote.

International Notes: Campazzo, Scott, Kurucs, Evans

Argentinian guard Facundo Campazzo had an eventful stint in the NBA over the past three seasons, appearing in 138 games with Denver and Dallas.

Campazzo joined the Nuggets in 2020, playing in 65 games and making 19 starts, averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 assists. The 5’10” guard became integral to the Nuggets’ rotation, starting nine out of 10 of Denver’s playoff games and averaging 9.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 27.0 minutes. However, Campazzo’s regular season role diminished slightly the following season and he only averaged 3.3 minutes in Denver’s ’21/22 playoff run.

In an interview with Marca (hat tip to Eurohoops), Campazzo spoke about the unpredictability of the NBA.

It’s a roller coaster, you always have to be ready,” he said. “Knowing that it is a seesaw, I tried to put my energy into things that I could control, like having an impact on the game when it was my turn to play and, if not, being ready when the coach called my name.

After spending two years in Denver, Campazzo didn’t return to the Nuggets. The Mavericks signed him to a deal at the beginning of the ’22/23 season, but he only appeared in eight games with Dallas, averaging 6.5 minutes.

I wanted to try another year in the NBA and it happened that they cut me after a month and a half,” Campazzo said. “That’s why my return to Europe after the cut was a bit strange, in the middle of the season, with the teams already assembled, it was difficult… There were offers, but it was complicated.

Campazzo ended up signing with Crvena Zvezda of the Serbian League before inking a four-year contract with Liga ACB’s Real Madrid, where he previously played in ’14/15 and ’17-20.

It was possible to negotiate a return and [I’m] happy to be able to return to a place that I feel is my home,” Campazzo said. “I am super motivated and looking forward to everything starting now.

There’s more international news.

  • Forward Rodions Kurucs, the No. 40 overall pick from the 2018 NBA draft, signed with UCAM Murcia of Liga ACB, according to a release from the club. Kurucs played in 115 games for the Nets from 2018-20, averaging 6.5 points per game for the team, before making brief stops with the Rockets and Bucks. As a 20-year-old rookie for the Nets, Kurucs averaged 8.5 points for a Brooklyn squad that earned the sixth seed in the playoffs. During his rookie season, Kurucs was named to the Rising Stars Challenge. Eventually, Kurucs was part of the trade that sent James Harden to the Nets from the Rockets, but he wasn’t in the Rockets’ long-term plans and returned to play overseas in 2021.
  • Fresh off being named MVP of the Puerto Rican League final, former NBA forward Mike Scott is reportedly signing with ASVEL Basket and will make his EuroLeague debut next season, as Sportando relays (original report via Théo Quintard). Scott played in the NBA from 2013-21, averaging 6.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 555 career appearances across stints with the Hawks, Wizards, Clippers and Sixers. Following his time with the Sixers, Scott played with SLUC Nancy Basket of the LNB Pro A in 2022/23 before playing with Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rico, where he won the aforementioned finals MVP after averaging 26.7 PPG in the team’s four wins.
  • Former NBA guard Jawun Evans has signed with Poland’s Slask Wroclaw, the team announced in a press release. Evans, the No. 39 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, has 56 games of NBA experience with the Clippers, Suns and Thunder. Evans’ played 48 of those games with the Clippers, averaging 4.8 PPG with the team in ’17/18. Evans played in summer league with the Suns this month before signing with Slask.

And-Ones: Kurucs, Smith, Iguodala, Brooks, Trent Jr.

Former NBA forward Rodions Kurucs has officially signed a one-year contract with Real Betis Baloncesto in Seville, Spain, according to a team press release. The Spanish team’s interest in Kurucs was reported earlier this month.

Kurucs has appeared in 131 NBA games, including a total of 21 with Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Houston during the 2020/21 campaign. He played with KK Partizan in Serbia last season. Kurucs also saw action in four Summer League contests with the Raptors in July.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • French big man Victor Wembanyama and G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson are the early favorites to go 1-2 in next year’s draft. Who’s No. 3? Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo chooses Arkansas freshman guard Nick Smith. Woo unveils his early first-round mock for 2023, which is filled with wings and guards.
  • Andre Iguodala believes the NBA should continue to play 82 regular season games, Lee Tran of relays. On his Point Forward podcast, Iguodala says the grind of an NBA season “separates the men from the boys,” adding “We can’t change 82 games. 82 games … there’s a mental side of it. That’s why we talk about rookie wall. Records are made to be broken, and as we get better over time we’ll break more records. But I do think that there’s a foundation in all sports, you have to carry on that tradition.”
  • Dillon Brooks, Gary Trent Jr. and Victor Oladipo are among the potential free agents in next year’s class who could pump up their value during the upcoming season, Dan Devine of The Ringer writes. Devine takes a closer look at eight “compelling” players to watch as they head into possible contract years.

And-Ones: Election Day, Free Agent History, Kurucs, Hall Of Fame

In an effort to encourage fans, players, staff members and arena workers to vote in the midterm elections, the NBA will not play any games on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, the league’s communications department tweets. The scheduling decision came out of the league’s focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement. Some of the league’s practice facilities and arenas have been used as polling places.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Ben Wallace, Shawn Marion and Kevin Durant. Those are some of the players chosen by HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina as the best free agent signings in the history of the Pistons, Mavericks and Warriors, respectively. Urbina makes his top free agent selections for every team in the league.
  • Former NBA forward Rodions Kurucs is close to signing with Spanish team Real Betis Baloncesto, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports. Kurucs has appeared in 131 NBA games, including a total of 21 with Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Houston during the 2020/21 campaign. He played with KK Partizan in Serbia last season. Kurucs saw action in four Summer League contests with the Raptors last month.
  • Manu Ginobili will be presented by longtime Spurs teammate and Hall of Fame inductee Tim Duncan during this year’s enshrinement ceremony on September 10, according to Hoophall.comIsiah Thomas will be among five Hall of Famers to present Tim Hardaway.

Rodions Kurucs Signs In Serbia

Free agent Rodions Kurucs has agreed to a two-year contract with KK Partizan in Serbia, the club announced today. The agreement contains NBA outs and marks his first stint overseas since 2017.

Kurucs, a 6’9″ forward, spent two-and-a-half seasons with Brooklyn before being acquired by Houston in the January deal featuring James Harden. He was then dealt to Milwaukee as part of the P.J. Tucker trade in March, getting waived after five games.

Kurucs holds career averages of six points, 3.1 rebounds and 16.1 minutes per game in 131 contests. The 23-year-old was selected with the No. 40 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by Brooklyn.

Before the draft, Kurucs also made professional stops in Latvia from 2012-15 and Spain from 2015-18.

Bucks Officially Waive Rodions Kurucs

The Bucks have formally requested waivers on forward Rodions Kurucs, the team announced today (via Twitter).

The move had been anticipated, since Milwaukee needed to release a player in order to make room on the 15-man roster for Elijah Bryant. The club hasn’t officially announced Bryant’s deal yet, but that figures to happen soon.

Kurucs, who was the 40th overall pick in the 2018 draft, spent two-plus seasons with Brooklyn before being dealt to Houston in the James Harden blockbuster earlier this year. The 23-year-old was later flipped to the Bucks along with P.J. Tucker.

Kurucs showed promise as a rookie in 2018/19, averaging 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 63 games (20.5 MPG) for Brooklyn. However, he saw his role cut back in his second season as he dealt with legal issues stemming from an assault allegation, and he has barely played at all in 2020/21.

Across 21 games for three teams this season, the Latvian forward has put up 1.5 PPG and 1.1 RPG in 6.0 minutes per contest. He resolved his legal situation in March by pleading guilty to disorderly conduct.

Assuming he goes unclaimed, Kurucs will officially clear waivers on Friday. He could theoretically be signed by a new NBA team before the regular season ends on Sunday, but he wouldn’t be playoff-eligible.

Bucks To Sign Elijah Bryant, Waive Rodions Kurucs

MAY 8: Bryant is leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv and will sign a two-year contract with the Bucks, a source tells Sportando. According to Carchia and Cohen, the Israeli team will receive a buyout worth $500K.

As Carchia reports and as Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter), Kurucs is expected to be waived to make room on the roster for Bryant.

MAY 5: The Bucks are expected to sign guard Elijah Bryant once he leaves his current team in Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando and Roi Cohen of Sport5 (Twitter links).

Bryant, however, doesn’t have a buyout clause in his contract, which could complicate any agreement between the sides. As Stefan Djordjevic of EuroHoops relays, Maccabi Tel Aviv views Bryant as an important piece to its team and could request up to $750K for a buyout to be formally processed.

Should the agreement go through, Milwaukee could part ways with forward Rodions Kurucs to make room for Bryant, Carchia adds (Twitter link). Kurucs has only appeared in five contests since being acquired in a trade with Houston in March.

Bryant averaged 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game in 34 EuroLeague contests (23.3 MPG) this season, shooting 44.0% from the field and 36.9% from deep. The 26-year-old went undrafted in 2018 after spending collegiate seasons at Elon and BYU. He also played summer league ball with the Bucks in 2019.

Milwaukee currently holds the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 41-24 and officially clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Nets on Tuesday.

Central Notes: Dellavedova, Markkanen, Tucker, Kurucs

Matthew Dellavedova hasn’t played yet this season, but the Cavaliers are hoping he can be ready during the team’s upcoming road trip, according to Chris Fedor of The 30-year-old guard went through a 45-minute shooting workout before Friday’s game and was scheduled to join the team for practice today.

Dellavedova, who hasn’t played a regular season game in more than a year, suffered a concussion in the preseason opener that sidelined him for two months. That was followed by an emergency appendectomy in February, which further delayed his return.

“Obviously we know how long he’s been out and what he had to deal with with the concussion and then as he started to work his way back the appendectomy happens you’re off two to three weeks,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He’s making progress and I would expect him back sooner rather than later.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Lauri Markkanen‘s long-term future with the Bulls may appear uncertain, but he believes he could get an explanation any time from executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. A source tells Johnson that a rumored deal involving Markkanen and Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball stems mostly from the fact that both are headed for restricted free agency.  I have a good relationship with AK and same thing with (coach Billy Donovan),” Markkanen said. “If that wasn’t the case, they would tell me. I’m happy. Obviously, we’ve gotta win more games and there’s things we can get better at. And that’s what we’re trying to focus on right now.’’
  • This week’s trade for P.J. Tucker will give Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer more flexibility with the lineups he uses to close out games, notes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Milwaukee may use small-ball lineups in crunch time with Tucker on the court instead of Brook Lopez, unless the team is facing a legitimate center like the Sixers’ Joel Embiid.
  • With D.J. Augustin gone, Donte DiVincenzo will take over as the backup point guard, but the Bucks will continue to look for help, Nehm adds. A report this week listed Milwaukee as a possible destination if Isaiah Thomas returns to the NBA.
  • New Bucks forward Rodions Kurucs, who was also acquired in the Tucker deal, has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Nehm tweets.

Rockets Trade P.J. Tucker To Bucks

MARCH 19: The Rockets and Bucks have officially completed their trade, per a press release.

MARCH 17: Milwaukee is making some roster adjustments ahead of a playoff push.

The Bucks are acquiring forwards P.J. Tucker and Rodions Kurucs and reacquiring their own 2022 first-round pick from the Rockets in exchange for veteran point guard D.J. Augustin, forward D.J. Wilson, the Bucks’ 2023 unprotected first-round draft pick, and the right to swap the Rockets’ 2021 second-round pick for Milwaukee’s first-round draft pick (top-nine protected), reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal will add Tucker to the Bucks’ frontcourt, giving the team a strong, versatile defender to match up with opposing forwards and big men in the second half and in the postseason. After three-and-a-half seasons in Houston, the 35-year-old reached an agreement with the team last week that allowed him to remain away from the Rockets while they sought a trade for him.

Tucker hasn’t contributed much on offense this season, averaging a career-low 4.4 PPG with a .314 3PT% in 32 games (30.0 MPG), but he’s still a solid defender and could be rejuvenated by a change of scenery that gets him to a contender.

The Rockets, losers of 17 straight games, clearly appear to be in asset acquisition mode now. The deal should allow them to move up at least a few spots in the 2021 draft, as they’ll swap their second-round pick for Milwaukee’s first-rounder. By reacquiring their 2022 first-round pick from Houston, the Bucks are able to surrender both their 2021 and 2023 first-rounders in this deal without violating the Stepien rule.

While the Rockets were rumored to be seeking a young impact player in exchange for Tucker, that was always considered an ambitious goal, given the forward’s recent decline. But the club will get a chance to look at a former first-rounder in Wilson before he becomes eligible for restricted free agency in the summer.

It’s not yet clear what Houston’s plan for Augustin is, but he’s the one player in the deal who is owed guaranteed money beyond this season, with a $7MM guaranteed salary for 2021/22 and a non-guaranteed $7.3MM salary in ’22/23. He could provide depth at the point guard spot for the Rockets or be rerouted to a new team at some point.

The Bucks have also reportedly agreed to send Torrey Craig to the Suns and will now have two open roster spots. They’ll go from about $442K below the hard cap to $3.5MM below, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), so they’ll have a little more breathing room to fill out their 15-man roster via trade or on the buyout market.

Luke Adams contributed to this story. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rockets Notes: Young Players, Tucker Deal, Lamb

As injured Rockets veterans continue to rejoin the roster, head coach Stephen Silas still intends to keep some rotation minutes open for the development of Houston’s youth movement, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

The most recent player to return to the Houston lineup is center Christian Wood, who rejoined the team on the floor last night after a 17-game absence due to a sprained ankle. Wing Danuel House Jr. also recently returned from his own injury absence, and veteran guards John Wall and Victor Oladipo are expected back Friday.

A pair of tantalizing 20-year-olds – Kevin Porter Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr. – still figure to earn major minutes even with the older players back on the floor. “I will say I am working on it and I am attentive to the fact I want those young guys to play,” Silas said.

There’s more out of Houston:

  • Following the deal that sent P.J. Tucker, Rodions Kurucs and a 2022 first-round draft pick (Milwaukee’s own) to the Bucks, Kelly Iko of The Athletic explains why he thinks both the Rockets and Milwaukee should be happy with the trade. In return, Houston received some promising draft assets, plus veteran reserve point guard D.J. Augustin and young power forward D.J. Wilson. Iko is intrigued by the lengthy Wilson’s upside and fit within a Silas system, Augustin’s veteran know-how, and the Rockets front office’s acquisition of two Bucks first-round picks in the deal.
  • Rockets two-way player Anthony Lamb was named the G League’s Most Improved Player due to his stellar output for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, G League affiliate for the Rockets, according to an NBAGL press release.
  • As we previously relayed, Rockets swingman David Nwaba initially opted to avoid surgery on his injured wrist to help a Rockets club riddled with player absences. He subsequently re-aggravated the injury, making surgery a possibility once again.