Tornike Shengelia

Luka Doncic Named EuroLeague MVP, Rising Star

Luka Doncic picked up a pair of honors at today’s EuroLeague Awards Gala, relays Nicola Lupo of Sportando. The 19-year-old, who is expected to be taken early in next month’s NBA draft, was named both MVP and Rising Star. The MVP is determined by a vote of the media and fans, while the coaches choose the Rising Star.

Doncic, who became the youngest MVP in league history, put up a 14.5/5.2/4.7 line this year in helping Real Madrid reach the league final, which will be played tomorrow. He declared for the draft in March, but indicated this week that he might play another season or two in Europe, depending on the circumstances.

“It’s amazing. It’s like a dream come true,” Doncic said in a video tweeted by the EuroLeague. “Still we have one more game to go, which would make me so much happier. But thank you to all the media, all the fans and all the coaches. Especially to my coaches, my teammates and all my team. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”

The All-EuroLeague First Team is filled with names that are familiar to NBA fans, as Doncic is joined by Nick Calathes, Nando De Colo and Jan Vesely. Calathes spent two seasons with the Grizzlies, DeColo played for the Spurs and Raptors and Vesely played three NBA seasons after being drafted sixth overall by the Wizards in 2011.

The fifth member of the First Team is Tornike Shengelia, who was taken by the Sixers in the second round of the 2012 draft. His NBA career consisted of 36 games with the Nets and nine with the Bulls.

The Defensive Player of the Year is Kyle Hines, who played at North Carolina Greensboro and went undrafted in 2008.

And-Ones: Russell, Fultz, Chriss

Eleven-time NBA champion Bill Russell will be honored with the NBA’s first ever Lifetime Achievement Award, an Associated Press report states. The Hall of Fame center will be presented with the award during the NBA’s award show on June 26.

With five NBA MVPs to his name, the Celtics Hall of Famer is a living legend with an endless resume of historic achievements. Not only has Russell remained a visible representative of the Boston franchise and league in general’s sustained success, he lays claim to the title of being the first player to win an NBA title, an NCAA crown and an Olympic gold medal.

Per the Associated Press, Russell was also the first African American to coach a team in one of the major professional sports leagues.

Across 13 NBA seasons as a player, Russell averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

There’s more from around the NBA:

Tornike Shengelia Aiming To Return To NBA

Former NBA forward Tornike Shengelia, who is currently playing for Baskonia in Spain, will be a free agent this offseason, and he’s eyeing a potential return to the NBA. According to a Eurohoops report, Shengelia expressed a desire to return stateside if there’s interest, per Spanish news agency EFE.

“My goal is to try to return to the NBA,” Shengelia said. “If I stay in Europe it will be in a team that can win trophies and everyone knows that Baskonia is one of them.”

Shengelia, 25, is averaging 11.6 PPG and 3.7 RPG in Euroleague action, with 10.0 PPG and 4.9 RPG in Spanish League play. As a member of Baskonia, the former second-round pick plays alongside a handful of former NBA players, including Chase Budinger, Rodrigue Beaubois, Shane Larkin, and Andrea Bargnani — it will be interesting to see how many of Shengelia’s teammates join him this summer in pursuit of an NBA home.

During his initial NBA stint, Shengelia appeared in 45 total games, including 36 for the Nets. The 6’9″ forward, who also played for the Bulls, rarely saw the floor in his two NBA seasons, averaging 1.3 PPG and 0.9 RPG in 5.5 minutes per contest. Shengelia had just turned 21 when he made his debut for the Nets, so perhaps with a few more years of professional experience under his belt, he’ll be more equipped to contribute to an NBA rotation.

Tornike Shengelia To Play In Spain

Former Nets and Bulls forward Tornike Shengelia has agreed to a three-year deal with Baskonia of Spain, Lefteris Moutis of Eurohoops.net reports. Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia confirms the deal, having noted earlier that the sides were in talks. It’s for the equivalent of about $2.855MM, according to Moutis, although it’s not clear what, if any, NBA escape clauses will be a part of the contract.

The Guy Zucker client was the 54th overall pick in the 2012 draft and wound up with a guaranteed two-year deal for the minimum salary from Brooklyn that summer. He played sparingly for the Nets, appearing in just 36 games over a season and a half before they sent him to the Bulls in a January trade. He saw even less playing time in Chicago, which waived him shortly before the season to accommodate multiyear contracts for Ronnie Brewer, Mike James and Louis Amundson that will help the Bulls assemble trade packages this summer.

Shengelia, a native of the Republic of Georgia, averaged 1.3 points in 5.5 minutes per game across 45 NBA appearances. His talent was on greater display while on D-League assignment, as he racked up 21.1 PPG in 33.9 MPG over 14 contests the past two years for the affiliate of the Nets.

And-Ones: Kerr, Shengelia, Coaches

Tornike Shengelia is in talks to sign with a Spanish league team, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Shengalia has played in 45 games over the last two seasons for the Nets and Bulls, who waived the small forward in April. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • Steve Kerr‘s agent tells Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group that there is “nothing new” for his client this evening (Twitter link). The Knicks were expected to extend a written contract offer to Kerr by the end of the day.
  • Sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post that a decision from Kerr won’t happen until next week, due in part to formal details that need to be worked out on a contract.
  • In the same piece, Kerr tells Berman that he decided to finish out the playoffs as a commentator for TNT because he is under contract and it’s “the right thing to do.” Berman reports that the Knicks aren’t bothered by Kerr’s choice.
  • Tim Bontemps of The New York Post ranks the six head coaching vacancies in the NBA, and offers some under-the-radar candidates for each.

Bulls Waive Tornike Shengelia

The Bulls have waived Tornike Shengelia, the team announced via press release. The team hasn’t announced a corresponding move, making Shengelia’s dismissal a bit curious even though he hasn’t been a part of Chicago’s rotation since coming over from the Nets in a January trade. Shengelia is on an expiring contract that pays him the one-year veteran’s minimum salary of $788,872, but unless a team claims him off waivers, that money will remain on Chicago’s books. It seems less likely that Shengelia, on an expiring deal, would warrant a waiver claim like former Bull Erik Murphy did, as Murphy’s contract includes a non-guaranteed 2014/15.

Shengelia saw a total of just 17 minutes for the Bulls, who acquired him in a cost-cutting move for Marquis Teague, who makes $1,074,720 this season. The difference was not insignificant to Chicago, which has struggled to create room beneath the luxury tax threshold in case Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah trigger bonuses that force the team into the tax for the second year in a row. That would set the team up for the league’s steep repeat offender tax rates if the team made it three straight taxpaying seasons in 2014/15.

The 22-year-old saw slightly more playing time while with the Nets, who acquired him shortly after the Sixers drafted him 54th overall in 2012. He averaged 1.5 points in 8.1 minutes per game in 17 appearances for Brooklyn this season, and 1.6 PPG in 4.9 MPG in 19 contests for the Nets as a rookie.

Nets Swap Backup PGs With Pelicans, Bulls

The Nets have officially announced a pair of trades, acquiring Marquis Teague from the Bulls in a one-for-one swap for Tornike Shengelia, and sending Tyshawn Taylor and cash to the Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights to Edin Bavcic, a 29-year-old big man playing in Greece.

The moves won’t greatly impact any of the teams’ rotations, as none of the active players involved in the trade have averaged as much as 13 minutes per game this season, and each of them has seen multiple D-League assignments. Teague was a first-round pick in 2012, but he struggled to find minutes for Chicago. Shengelia doesn’t figure to be a critical piece for the Bulls, but he is a big body who can potentially provide frontcourt depth off the bench. Shams Charania of RealGM.com tweets the Bulls intend to give him a shot at some minutes. Bavcic was originally a second-round draft choice of the Raptors in 2006, but he’s never played in the NBA, so it appears he’s merely a throw-in.

Sending off Taylor will provide a bit of much-needed financial relief for Brooklyn, which is currently set to face about $80MM in luxury tax penalties in July. Shengelia and Taylor will both earn $788,872 this season, while Teague will make $1,074,720. The move will save the Nets from paying some extra tax dollars this season, but Teague’s contract runs through 2014/15, one year longer than the pacts Shengelia and Taylor are signed to.

Since the Pelicans had an open roster spot and Taylor is on a minimum-salary contract, they can absorb him without giving up a player. Brooklyn creates a vacancy on its roster with the moves, as the Nets had been carrying the maximum 15 players all season.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the trades, which were agreed upon Saturday (Twitter links). Originally, it appeared the Pelicans would send the Nets a heavily protected second-rounder, but it looks like the teams agreed on including Bavcic in the deal instead.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

D-League Notes: Gobert, Clark, Shengelia

Here are a few points pertaining to the NBA’s D-League:

  • The Jazz are expected to recall rookies Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark from the D-League this weekend, tweets Jody Genessy of Deseret News. The duo spent time playing for the Bakersfield Jam but should rejoin the Jazz sometime today or tomorrow.
  • Tornike Shengelia has been recalled by the Nets, the team announced. Shengelia, who had been playing with the Springfield Armor, has played sparingly throughout his career after being selected late in the 2012 draft by the 76ers. So far for this season, Shengelia has averaged 8.4 MPG in 15 contests for Brooklyn.
  • Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times takes a look at how a couple of former D-League players, Jon Leuer and Ed Davis, have been able to be productive for the Grizzlies. With Marc Gasol sidelined, the two big men have gained valuable experience by playing more minutes than they would have otherwise.
  • Earlier today, we passed along that the Hawks had officially signed James Nunnally to a 10-day contract. Nunnally caught Atlanta’s attention after a strong showing in this year’s D-League Showcase where he earned a spot as a member of the All-Showcase Second Team.

Atlantic Notes: Carmelo, Nets, Raptors, C’s

Regardless of whether or not Carmelo Anthony plans to re-sign with the Knicks, the team should trade him, opines Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Beck argues that even if Carmelo stays, building a contender around him would be tricky, and that the Knicks would be better off starting the retooling process now. Multiple league executives agree with that assessment, with one suggesting that an ideal trade partner for New York would be “a team that so wants a star and so wants it now and will do anything to get it, and that thinks Carmelo is still a star.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

Eastern Notes: DeRozan, Magic, Nets, Heat

The Raptors‘ decision to trade Rudy Gay earlier this month may have looked on the surface like a signal that the team was giving up its shot at the playoffs. Instead, the new-look Raps have reeled off their best stretch of the year, handing the Thunder their first home loss of the season last night. Toronto may not be done making moves, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein says that the latest indications suggest DeMar DeRozan isn’t being “overtly shopped.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, league sources characterize the Magic as “value shoppers” in the trade market. The team wouldn’t be opposed to moving players like Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis, but doesn’t appear to be actively engaged in finding deals. As we heard earlier today, the Magic also continue to turn away inquiries on Arron Afflalo.
  • The Nets have recalled Tornike Shengelia and Tyshawn Taylor from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. The duo appeared in a pair of games for the Springfield Armor this weekend, with Shengelia’s 23 points on Sunday helping to lead the Armor to a victory over the Maine Red Claws.
  • Since the Nets may not have their own first-round pick for the next five years, it doesn’t make sense to bottom out, meaning the team will need to find a way to field a competitive roster, writes Tom Ziller of SBNation.com.
  • Responding to an inquiry on whether the Heat should explore trading for Kyle Lowry as an upgrade on Mario Chalmers, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests Chalmers represents an ideal fit for the team, since he understands his role and doesn’t push for more minutes or shots.