Shane Larkin

And-Ones: NBA Layoffs, Larkin, N’Diaye, Weber

The NBA has laid off a number of its behind-the-scenes employees this week, according to reports from Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News and Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links). Alex Silverman of Morning Consult suggests that approximately 100 employees were affected. League spokesperson Mike Bass confirmed the layoffs, though he declined to specify how many employees were let go.

We are restructuring certain functions at the league office to better align with changes in our business, particularly around digital media, and be well-positioned for future growth,” Bass said in a statement.

While Silverman’s report indicates that the cutbacks are related to the coronavirus pandemic, Bondy says it’s unclear what role the pandemic played, if any. The league’s events staff, ticketing staff and team business staff were affected by the layoffs, Bondy adds.

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

  • Former first-rounder Shane Larkin, who last played in the NBA in 2018, has agreed to a two-year, $7.7MM contract extension with Turkish team Anadolu Efes, according to Semih Tuna of The deal includes an NBA opt-out for 2021, though Larkin recently said he’d only consider a return stateside if he were offered a favorable role.
  • Former NBA big man Makhtar N’Diaye has agreed to be the new general manager of Senegal’s national men’s basketball team, reports Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). N’Diaye only appeared in four games back in 1999, but made history as the first player from Senegal to play in the NBA.
  • Veteran guard Briante Weber, who suited up for five NBA teams between 2015-18, has signed with Canada’s Hamilton Honey Badgers, the team announced in a press release (hat tip to Sportando). Weber, 27, was a G League All-Star in 2017 and made the NBAGL’s All-Defensive Team twice, but never carved out a regular rotation role with an NBA team for any extended stretch.

And-Ones: Larkin, Kulboka, Brussino, U17 World Cup

Shane Larkin won’t return to the NBA unless he’s guaranteed consistent playing time, Andrew Favakeh of reports. Larkin has established himself as one of the top point guards in Europe and played for Istanbul’s Anadolu Efes this season. In his last NBA stint in 2017/18, Larkin played 54 games for the Celtics. “I will not go back to the NBA as a third point guard,” Larkin said. “So, if any team asks about that, we’re not even gonna answer the phone.”

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Hornets’ draft-and-stash prospect Arnoldas Kulboka has officially re-signed with Spanish club Bilbao Basket for two more seasons, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 22-year-old Lithuanian forward was selected by the Hornets with the No. 55 overall pick in the 2018 draft, but has yet to sign an NBA contract. His agent previously stated that that if not for the coronavirus pandemic, his client planned to join Charlotte next season. It’s uncertain whether there are any opt-outs in Kulboka’s newest contract.
  • Former NBA wing Nicolas Brussino has re-signed with Spain’s Casademont Zaragoza, Carchia notes in a separate Sportando story. The Argentinean was averaging 9.8 PPG and 4,0 RPG in ACB. Brussino’s last appearance in the NBA came during the 2017/18 season, when he played four games with Atlanta.
  • The FIBA U17 World Cup has been cancelled, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. It had previously been postponed until August. FIBA will look into holding the event next year, Givony adds.

International Notes: Beaubois, Spain, Nurse, James

Anadolu Efes of Turkey and former NBA guard Rodrigue Beaubois have reached a contract extension agreement until 2022, Sportando’s Dario Skerletic relays via Israeli reporter Roi Cohen. Beaubois played four seasons for Dallas from 2009-13. This season, the French guard averaged 11.1 PPG over 43 games.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Spain’s ACB league has been suspended indefinitely, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Play was already suspended until April 24th due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The league’s teams will decide how to proceed n the upcoming weeks.
  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse remains fully committed to coaching Team Canada in Tokyo Olympic qualifiers, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Nurse is “really excited” about it and hopes the Olympics, rescheduled for next summer, can go forward as planned.
  • A trio of former NBA players heads the list of the best players in Europe, according to Jeff Greer of The Athletic. A survey of 21 coaches and players overseas choose former Phoenix and New Orleans guard Mike James as the top player in Europe this season in a close votes. Guard Shane Larkin and forward Nikola Mirotic tied for the second-most votes. Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija, a likely top-10 pick in this year’s draft, is considered the top international NBA prospect.

Players Dismayed As Games Continue In Turkey

Most sports leagues around the world have suspended play amid the coronavirus pandemic, but games are still going on in Turkey’s BSL, leading to fear and exasperation among the players.

A presidential spokesman announced Thursday that all sporting events in the nation will be played with no fans present through the end of April, according to EuroHoops, Turkey is one of the least affected countries in the region, with just six cases of COVID-19 reported through Friday.

Former NBA guard Shane Larkin, now a high-scoring star with star for Istanbul’s Anadolu Efes, sent out a tweet last night questioning why the league continues to operate.

“In no way do I mean any disrespect to any of the decision-makers that are responsible for handling this coronavirus pandemic,” he wrote, “but I do not understand why the Turkish league is continuing to play when every other league in the world is either suspended or canceled. I understand playing games behind closed doors makes things somewhat safer, but that is NOT safe enough.”

Larkin, considered one of the top players in Europe, is under contract for one more season, but he has an opt-out clause allowing him to accept an NBA offer this summer. He reportedly turned down opportunities last year, but the current situation might affect his upcoming decision.

Also Friday, players from the Galatasaray team in the BSL issued a joint statement calling for games to be suspended immediately.

“There have been no precautions taken prior to this for our safety,” tweeted Galatasaray center Zach Auguste“Expecting us to participate in a game tomorrow during this pandemic is asking us to willingly risk not just our own health and safety but our families who live with us as well.”

Shane Larkin Building Strong Overseas Resume

After being selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2013 draft, former Miami Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin posted modest numbers in the NBA for four seasons, spending time with four teams – the Mavericks, Knicks, Nets, and Celtics – during that stretch. Most recently, he appeared in 54 games for the 2017/18 C’s, averaging 4.3 PPG and 1.8 APG in a part-time role (14.4 MPG).

Following his one year in Boston, Larkin headed overseas to play for Turkish club Anadolu Efes Istanbul. And in contrast to his fairly pedestrian NBA production, the 27-year-old point guard has been putting up increasingly eyebrow-raising stats in the EuroLeague.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets, Larkin’s most recent achievement came on Friday, when he broke the EuroLeague’s single-game scoring record by racking up 49 points in 31 minutes on just 19 field goal attempts. Larkin’s 10-for-12 performance on three-pointers in that blowout win over Bayern Munich is further evidence of his improved shooting, according to Givony, who notes that the former first-round pick has also been “living at the free throw line” in Europe.

Through 10 EuroLeague contests this season, Larkin is the league’s leading scorer with 22.0 PPG. His shooting line is a scorching .512/.508/.871, and he’s going to the free throw line seven times per game.

Larkin’s strong EuroLeague play didn’t just begin this season. When Anadolu Efes earned a spot in last season’s EuroLeague Final Four, he led the team to the final with a 30-point showing in the semis, then scored a record-breaking 29 points in the championship game, though his team lost to CSKA Moscow. His 59 points in a EuroLeague Final Four marked the highest total since 1994.

Larkin’s current contract with Anadolu Efes runs through the 2020/21 season, but it reportedly features an NBA opt-out during the summer of 2020, so the veteran point guard could return stateside next year he gets an offer he likes. According to a EuroHoops report, he received at least a couple NBA offers last offseason, but they wouldn’t have provided the sort of role he sought.

With Larkin showing he deserves another shot in the NBA, it will be interesting to see which teams might pursue him next summer, and whether or not he’ll even want to return. He’s currently one of the highest-paid players in Europe and is the star of one of the EuroLeague’s best teams (Anadolu Efes is 9-2 so far this season). In other words, it will likely take more than a small bench role on a minimum-salary deal to lure him back.

And-Ones: Dolan, Klutch Sports, Larkin, M. Williams

Knicks owner James Dolan continues to stand in the way of a new arena for the Clippers, even though he seems to know few details about the lawsuits he’s involved with, according to Stefan Bondy and Nancy Dillon of The New York Daily News. Dolan has filed several suits to protect his interests in the Forum, the authors allege, citing his testimony in a deposition in which he admits he doesn’t have much knowledge about the City of Inglewood, the contractual issues involved with the proposed arena or the mayoral candidate he supported in an effort to block the project.

The story states that Dolan made two attempts to convince Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to move her team to Inglewood, that he wasn’t aware Inglewood loaned his MSG company $18MM to buy the Forum or that his company was funding lawsuits that a community group has been filing against Inglewood. NBA commisioner Adam Silver tried to work out a compromise between Dolan and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, but Dolan allegedly refused.

MSG responded with a statement disputing the article and claiming it’s the latest example of “egregious, personal attacks” by The Daily News. “The fact is, there is widespread concern across the Inglewood community about the proposed Clippers arena – with thousands of Inglewood residents actively voicing their opposition since the day the project was announced,” the statement reads. “Residents have raised several, serious concerns – about the project’s ‘backroom’ dealings, its devastating environmental impacts, and the way it would overwhelm the surrounding neighborhood with traffic and force out residents.”

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • United Talent Agency will make a “significant” financial investment in Klutch Sports Group and will appoint agent Rich Paul as the head of UTA’s new sports division, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Paul, who represents some of the NBA’s top stars, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons, will branch out to the NFL and Major League Baseball as well, armed with a long list of Hollywood contacts and major brand labels that will allow him to provide athletes with career options once their playing days are over.
  • Shane Larkin, who last played in the NBA with the Celtics during the 2017/18 season, is negotiating a two-year deal to return to Anadolu Efes Istanbul, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Larkin, the MVP of the EuroLeague Finals, will reportedly have an NBA out after the first year of his new contract.
  • Former Heat guard Matt Williams has signed with Donar in the Netherlands, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Williams attended a free agent mini-camp with the Pistons last month.

And-Ones: Global Camp, Gasol, EuroLeague, Free Agents

This year’s NBA Global Camp is in serious jeopardy, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Organizers fear the league’s official international combine will have to be cancelled due to logistical issues with the venue in Monaco, as well as other concerns.

“Chances are greater that it may not happen but situations are in play that may still save the camp,” a source told Givony.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Pau Gasol has officially decided not to play for Spain during the FIBA tournament this summer, according to a Sportando report. The Bucks big man underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. He’s hopeful of playing in the Olympics next year if his national team qualifies.
  • The EuroLeague has been affected by a talent drain from the NBA, the G League and China, according to Givony. The top international free agents shooting guard Cory Higgins, former Celtics point man Shane Larkin and combo guard Vasilije Micic. Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Deni Avdija was a standout in the Adidas Next Generation tournament and the 6’9” point forward could be a Top 10 selection in next year’s draft.
  • Headed by the Knicks, teams with the most salary-cap space and their ability to land top free agents go under the microscope in ESPN’s Bobby Marks latest in-depth piece.
  • In his own look at free agency, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports explores how this season’s All-NBA choices – which will be announced very soon – could impact contract situations for several stars. We took a deep dive into this subject earlier in the year too.

Shane Larkin To Play In Turkey

Free agent point guard Shane Larkin has elected to return overseas to continue his career, according to international basketball reporter David Pick, who tweets that Larkin has signed a one-year, $1.8MM offer from Anadolu Efes. The Turkish club has since confirmed the addition of Larkin (via Twitter).

Larkin, 25, spent last season with the Celtics, averaging 4.3 PPG and 1.8 APG in 54 games (14.4 MPG). While the former first-round pick didn’t have a major role in Boston, he did see regular minutes during the team’s first-round playoff series against the Bucks when both Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart were sidelined with injuries.

This won’t be the first stint in Europe for Larkin, who has also spent time with the Mavericks, Knicks, and Nets in four NBA seasons. The former Miami Hurricane played in Spain with Baskonia during the 2016/17 season, earning a spot on the All-Spanish League Second Team that year.

With Irving, Smart, and Terry Rozier all set to return in Boston and Brad Wanamaker also joining the mix, the Celtics’ point guard depth chart was probably too crowded to justify a reunion with Larkin. Now that Larkin is headed overseas, the most notable point guards still on the free agent market include Mario Chalmers, Ty Lawson, Jameer Nelson, and Tyrone Wallace.

European Teams Interested In Shane Larkin

Celtics point guard Shane Larkin has several offers waiting if he decides to return to Europe, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.

Cauchi cites a report out of Spain that Baskonia, where Larkin played two seasons ago, is interested in a reunion. The team is trying to make its roster as strong as possible in preparation for the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria, Spain. Anadolu Efes in Turkey and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel would also like to add Larkin, according to Cauchi.

The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Celtics last summer. He appeared in 54 games and posted a 4.3/1.7/1.8 line. He put up similar numbers in the playoffs before being sidelined by a sprained left shoulder in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

A first-round pick by the Hawks in 2013, Larkin never suited up for Atlanta but spent one season each with the Mavericks, Knicks and Nets. His best season came in 2015/16 when he averaged 7.3 points in 78 games for Brooklyn.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Rozier, Larkin, Baynes

The Celtics would like to retain both Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier next season as they look to maintain depth, sources tell Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. While the franchise would like to bring everyone back, GM Danny Ainge acknowledged that tough decisions could be on the horizon.

“We’ve been managing the payroll pretty well up to this point and we know that there are some really big, tough decisions going forward,” Ainge said.

[RELATED: Will Marcus Smart Be A Celtic Next Season?]

Here’s more from Washburn on the Celtics:

  • Shane Larkin, who will be an unrestricted free agent, will likely command a multiyear offer, as other teams will see him as a player who could hold down the backup point guard spot, Washburn speculates. The scribe adds that Larkin could see a substantial raise on his 2017/18 salary, which came in at slightly more than $1.47MM.
  • The market for Smart will be difficult to predict, Washburn contends in the same piece. The Celtics are expected to allow Smart, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, to find an offer and evaluate whether or not it makes sense to match.
  • If the Celtics are going to bring Aron Baynes back, they may have to use their mid-level exception since they do not own his Bird Rights, Washburn notes. The scribe argues that the team should attempt to sell Baynes on a one-year discounted deal with the lure of playing for a serious championship contender. However, he admits that such an arrangement is unlikely given the big man’s solid 2017/18 campaign.
  • Washburn believes Greg Monroe is unlikely to return next season. Monroe’s defense prevented him from carving out a significant role during the Celtics’ postseason run.