Rudy Fernandez

World Cup Notes: Banchero, Reaves, F. Wagner, Fernandez

Team USA got an early taste of the physical approach that World Cup opponents are likely to try, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. For all their talent, the Americans only have one true center on their roster and they aren’t as big and strong as many of the teams they’ll face. New Zealand attacked the U.S. frontline from the outset in Saturday’s opener and built a 14-4 lead before the game turned around.

“They came out right away and were very physical and took it to us,” said head coach Steve Kerr said. “We need to feel that, because that’s what these games are going to be like.”

With Jaren Jackson Jr. in foul trouble early in the second half, Kerr turned to Paolo Banchero, a natural forward who’s being asked to play center during the tournament. Banchero wound up leading Team USA with 21 points while blocking four shots, several of which led to fast-break opportunities.

“Being in the World Cup, my role is my role. I kind of have accepted it,” Banchero said. “I just want to do it to the best of my ability. J.J., he’s a great player. I gotta be able to pick up where he left off when he comes out the game.”

There’s more from the World Cup:

  • The fan favorite in the Philippines is Austin Reaves, who benefits from playing for the Lakers, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. L.A. is the nation’s favorite NBA team because of past visits to Manila by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. “I was talking to (Lakers assistant) Phil Handy, and he was telling me that they love the Lakers out here,” said Reaves, who got a huge ovation during pre-game introductions. “So I kind of seen it coming. It’s special for me.”
  • Magic forward Franz Wagner is considered day-to-day after turning his ankle in Germany’s first game, per Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Team doctor Oliver Putz provided an update Saturday, telling reporters that the injury doesn’t appear to be serious. “Nothing is broken, torn or anything like this, things that would end the FIBA World Cup for him,” he said. “Franz feels better this morning than yesterday. We did another MRI this morning. But the problem is that we don’t have the imaging yet, so we can’t say exactly what’s hurt yet.”
  • Spain’s Rudy Fernandez set a European record Saturday by playing in his fifth World Cup tournament, notes Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.

EuroBasket Notes: Brown, Vezenkov, Sengun, Micic, Fernandez

Mike Brown is among the NBA head coaches who fully endorse having their players take part in international competitions, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. Brown is attending the EuroBasket tournament to watch and support two Kings players, Domantas Sabonis of Lithuania and Alex Len of Ukraine.

“There’s nothing better in my opinion than getting yourself ready for an NBA season than playing and practicing at the level that these guys [in the EuroBasket] do,” Brown said. “You know you always worry about injury and that’s a concern of all of ours, but these guys are so passionate about playing for their country that it’s hard to not support them. You want them to do what they’re passionate about because that’s what life is about.”

Stroggylakis notes that the Kings had interest in signing another international player, Sasha Vezenkov, for the upcoming season after acquiring his rights from the Cavaliers on draft night. Brown said the organization invited Vezenkov to visit Sacramento this summer, but he declined due to his commitment to the Bulgarian national team. Vezenkov will play this season for Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece.

“We were hoping he could come out so we’d get to know him a little bit and take a look at him, but he had other commitments this summer, especially with the national team and all this stuff,” Brown said. “We have his rights, so we’ll circle back at him next summer. He’s big and versatile. He can shoot the ball, he’s a veteran, he’s smart. He just knows how to play the game.”

There’s more from EuroBasket:

  • Rockets center Alperen Sengun is turning Turkey into a medal contender, per Semih Tuna of Eurohoops. The Turkish team is off to a 2-0 start and appears ready to challenge Spain for the top spot in Group A. “In the NBA we play a lot of games against legendary players,” Sengun said after Saturday’s win over Bulgaria. “We are learning constantly everything. We are learning about that busy schedule too, which I am used to it. Here, we play two back-to-back games and then have a day of rest, so we are ready for this. In the next season, things will be even better for me.”
  • Vasilije Micic won’t be coming to the NBA this season, but he’s enjoying the chance to play alongside two-time MVP Nikola Jokic with Serbia, according to a Eurohoops story. The Thunder were willing to trade Micic’s draft rights this summer, but no one offered the first-round pick they were reportedly seeking.
  • Former Trail Blazers and Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez is nearing the career record for games played for the Spanish national team, Eurohoops notes in another piece. The 37-year-old moved into second place Saturday and is now just 13 games behind Juan Carlos Navarro.

World Cup Notes: Joseph, Spain, Teodosic, Rankings

Is guard Cory Joseph in or out of the FIBA World Cup for Team Canada? Joseph, the most prominent NBA member remaining on the depleted Team Canada roster, was withdrawing from the competition, according to a tweet from Toronto Star reporter Doug Smith. However, Team Canada coach Nick Nurse said that report was incorrect and that Joseph would indeed join the team in China, John Casey of 7Olympics tweets.

Joseph is not currently with the team during exhibition games in Australia and Sportsnet Canada’s Michael Grange notes that Joseph would have to leave for China soon, given that the tournament begins in 10 days and he needs to adjust to the 12-hour time difference (Twitter link).

We have more World Cup news:

And-Ones: Howard, Summer League, Spain, BIG3

Having been sent from Washington to Memphis in a trade for C.J. Miles, veteran center Dwight Howard is a member of the Grizzlies for now. However, the club is expected to waive or trade him at some point. After he was limited to just nine games in 2018/19 for health reasons, it’s not clear what the next step will be for Howard, but the eight-time All-Star tells Shams Charania of The Athletic that he has adjusted his mindset and is prepared to do whatever it takes to help his next team win.

“I don’t have an ego — it’s dead,” Howard said. “It had to die for me to be who I am. Sometimes when you want to become who you want to be, you have to die within yourself. Once you learn that you have to give up yourself for the team, that’s when things flourish.”

According to Charania, several NBA teams have said that they’re intrigued by Howard, who says he has been fully cleared after last year’s injury issues. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year claims he has lost 25 pounds since the end of the season, and one executive who saw him recently said he appears to be in his best shape in years, per Charania.

It remains to be seen whether Howard will get an opportunity to choose his next team on the free agent market, but if he does, he has one clear priority, he tells Charania: “Winning. Winning. Winning. I want to win. Nothing else. Just win.”

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

  • According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), there has been talk in Las Vegas about the possibility of moving back the start of Summer League in future years. Postponing the start date until after the end of the July moratorium would help address the problem of having traded 2019 draftees tied up in deals that can’t be made official until after Summer League is underway.
  • Spain announced its preliminary roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup this week, as Sportando relays, and the group includes a number of familiar names. The 16-man list, which will be cut down to 12 for the competition, features Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Willy Hernangomez, Juan Hernangomez, and former NBA players like Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver.
  • The BIG3 announced on Wednesday that Baron Davis, Bonzi Wells, Lamar Odom, and Jermaine O’Neal are being “deactivated” for the 2019 season. The league cited the need to “maximize competition, protect the health of players, and to raise the level of the professionalism of the BIG3.”

Free Agent Notes: Clippers, Harrell, Papanikolaou

We heard earlier today that the Clippers, who already have veteran centers Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic under contract, are exploring the idea of adding Kyle O’Quinn, having met with him on Tuesday. In addition to their pursuit of O’Quinn, the Clips also maintain interest in re-signing Montrezl Harrell, reports Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Harrell is currently a restricted free agent.

As they weight their options at center, the Clippers will also have to be wary of their roster limits. The team entered the offseason with 12 players under contract, not counting rookies Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. L.A. also reached deals with Mike Scott and Avery Bradley, increase the team’s tentative roster count to 16. Adding O’Quinn or re-signing Harrell would bump that total to 17, meaning two players would have to be waived or traded at some point.

Milos Teodosic, who has a partially guaranteed contract, and C.J. Williams, who is on a non-guaranteed contract, may be at risk of losing their roster spots with the Clippers, though that’s just my speculation.

Here are a few more free agent notes from around the league:

  • Dwight Howard is on track to sign with the Wizards when he officially becomes a free agent, but before he reached a deal with Washington, the veteran was said to have interest in the Warriors. In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast (hat tip to RealGM), Tim Kawkami of The Athletic suggested the idea of adding Howard was internally discussed in Golden State, but he “was a ‘no’ in a lot of precincts of the Warriors.” We previously heard that the Dubs’ interest in Howard was tepid at best.
  • Former NBA forward Kostas Papanikolaou, who appeared in 69 total games for Houston and Denver between 2014 and 2016, is considering the possibility of an NBA return, tweets Ian Begley of Papanikolaou played for Olympiacos in Greece last season.
  • One former NBA contributor who won’t be returning from Europe anytime soon is veteran guard Rudy Fernandez. The ex-Blazer signed a new two-year deal with Real Madrid in Spain, and said in a statement that he hopes to spend the rest of his career with the club.
  • In an informative piece for, Bobby Marks takes a team-by-team look at every club’s free agency situation, examining cap exceptions available, outstanding contract decisions, and much more.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Fernandez, Raps, Knicks

Although they weren’t able to make a trade on draft night, the Celtics are still open to dealing if teams are willing to meet their asking price, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. According to Bulpett, there are indications that the C’s may still be able to do business with teams like the Sixers and Bulls, for trade candidates like Jahlil Okafor and Jimmy Butler. But it will be much trickier for Boston to make a deal now than it was on draft night, since Philadelphia and Chicago likely would’ve wanted to get the No. 3 overall selection to nab Kris Dunn, rather than Jaylen Brown.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • There were whispers this week linking the Sixers to Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez, but the former NBA veteran isn’t going anywhere at this point. As detailed by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Fernandez says he’s always open to offers, but for now he plans to stick with Real Madrid for the remaining two years of his contract, rather than returning to the NBA.
  • Outside of their big, new contract agreement with DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors have been fairly quiet so far in July. However, as Doug Smith of The Toronto Star observes, GM Masai Ujiri and the Raptors did a big chunk of their 2016 spending in 2015, when they secured Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross to extensions. If the team had waited to lock up Valanciunas and Ross, they’d be restricted free agents, and would likely be in line for much bigger deals than the ones they signed last fall.
  • Frank Isola of The New York Daily News wonders if the Knicks will get back into the conversation for a top-tier free agent – such as Russell Westbrook – in 2017 if Phil Jackson‘s moves this summer pay off and result in a strong 2016/17 season. We asked you yesterday to make predictions for the Knicks’ forthcoming season.

Free Agent Rumors: LeBron, Rush, Galloway

After four days of breathless speculation about where Kevin Durant would land, KD is off the market, leaving the title of best available free agent to another superstar: LeBron James. We’ve hardly heard a word since July began about the status of LeBron, who said in June he’d return to the Cavaliers, but he’s technically not under contract. So it comes as no surprise that, as Marc Stein of tweets, teams are calling to inquire about the Finals MVP. However, agent Rich Paul has been “politely” informing those teams that his client isn’t leaving Cleveland, says Stein.

Here’s more on several free agents around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves inquired about free agent shooter Brandon Rush on Monday, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Minnesota has reached out to a ton of players over the last several days, but so far Cole Aldrich is the club’s only free agent contract agreement.
  • Although the Knicks rescinded Langston Galloway‘s qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent, the team still holds his Early Bird rights and could exceed the cap to re-sign him, notes Ian Begley of
  • While a report out of Spain (hat tip to suggests that the Sixers have made a two-year, $20MM contract offer to veteran Real Madrid guard Rudy Fernandez, a league source denies that report to Jessica Camerato of
  • Former NBA lottery pick Anthony Randolph, who has spent the last couple seasons playing for a Russian team, is receiving interest from NBA clubs, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).
  • According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the Warriors have pushed for a Ray Allen comeback since 2014, and will likely give the longtime shooting guard a call asking him about playing for the minimum this year.

Nuggets Waive Jamaal Franklin

The Nuggets have waived Jamaal Franklin, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets and as the RealGM transactions log shows. The team has yet to make any formal announcement, but it appears the move has indeed taken place. Franklin, whom Denver signed during the final week of the regular season to a three-year deal, didn’t have any guaranteed salary remaining on his contract. He’ll become a free agent, assuming he clears waivers.

Franklin’s release may well be part of an effort to clear cap room to accommodate the extension and renegotiation of Wilson Chandler‘s contract. The Nuggets also released their cap holds for Darrell Arthur, Rudy Fernandez, Ian Clark, Wesley Person and Jan Vesely, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Dropping Franklin’s $947,276 minimum salary brings Denver’s cap figure to $64,149,043, based on the data that Pincus has compiled. That leaves $5,850,957 under the $70MM cap to add to Chandler’s $7,171,662 salary, enough to bring it to $13,022,619, which would be a front-loaded figure for the first season of Chandler’s new deal, which reportedly is to give him $46MM over the next for years. That isn’t necessarily the reason for Franklin’s release, as Denver doesn’t have to front-load the Chandler deal. The Nuggets have already officially announced Chandler’s new deal, but RealGM nonetheless doesn’t show the move having taken place just yet, leaving room for Denver to make moves to clear the way for it.

Franklin, who turns 24 this month, is just two years removed from having been the 41st overall pick in 2013. The Grizzlies waived him using the stretch provision last summer, so the Brian Elfus client continue to pick up NBA paychecks through 2018/19. The shooting guard spent time playing in China and for the Lakers D-League affiliate last season before the Nuggets picked him up.

And-Ones: Carroll, Heat, Humphries, Fernandez

A longer All-Star break just might put the fun back in All-Star weekend, writes Ken Berger of  Each team will have a minimum of seven days between games with the new format, with the majority of the league not resuming play until the Friday after the All-Star Game.  However, there is one catch for players.  Since the season doesn’t begin any sooner or end any later than usual, there are more back-to-backs in this year’s schedule.  Here’s more from around the league..

  • With some help from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll writes that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce tried to convince the Celtics to sign him in 2011 after a strong summer.  “The Celtics got with my agent, Mark Bartelstein, but that didn’t work out. To this day, [Pierce] always tells Danny, ‘I told you DeMarre was going to be good,'” said Carroll.
  • In today’s mailbag, a reader asks Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel if the Heat could conceivably put together a package for Pacers center Roy Hibbert.  Winderman explains that the only players the Heat can put into a trade are Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, and Shabazz Napier since since every veteran free agent signed this offseason cannot be dealt until December 15th.  Of course, there’s no guarantee the two sides could be a match for a deal beyond that date.
  • Big man Kris Humphries has become a more efficient player and he’s excited to bring his new game to the Wizards, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Hump’s 8.6 PPG and 5.9 RPG aren’t the double-double figures he was posting for the Nets during his best season, but he got those points and boards more efficiently with the C’s as he played just 19.9 minutes per game.
  • Real Madrid announced that they have extended guard Rudy Fernandez through the 2018 season, according to the ACB League’s official Twitter (translation via Sportando).  A report in February indicated that Fernandez had attention from the Thunder and other NBA teams, but Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman recently said that there was nothing between the 29-year-old and OKC.
  • Former NBA forward Derrick Byars has signed a two-year deal with ACB Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Byars played in two games for the Spurs in 2011/12 and was in training camp with the Grizzlies last season.

Western Notes: Kerr, Fernandez, Draft

Money wasn’t the issue for Steve Kerr when he chose the Warriors over the Knicks, as Howard Beck of Bleacher Report hears that New York would have met whatever salary demand he made, as Beck said on the Knickerblogger Podcast. Robert Silverman of provides the transcription.

More from out west:

  • A source close to Rudy Fernandez told The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry that there wasn’t anything to a February report that the Thunder were interested in the four-year NBA veteran, as Mayberry writes amid a chat with readers.
  • The Grizzlies announced they will be holding workouts this Monday for Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jahii Carson, Bryce Cotton, Cleanthony Early, Geron Johnson, and Glenn Robinson III.
  • The Jazz have workouts scheduled on Friday with Kyle Anderson, Devin Oliver, Melvin Johnson III, Tyler Stone, Jeronne Maymon, and Davon Usher, the team announced via Twitter.
  • Darvin Ham is being considered by the Jazz for an assistant coaching position on Quin Snyder‘s staff, reports Jody Genessy of The Deseret News.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.