Vasilije Micic

Vasilije Micić Expected To Join Thunder Next Season?

Draft-and-stash prospect Vasilije Micić is expected to join the Thunder next season, according to Chema De Lucas (hat tip to Andrew Schlecht). Micić reportedly rejected a renewal offer from Turkey’s Anadolu Efes and an offer from Real Madrid in order to play in the NBA in 2021/22.

The Serbian swingman was originally selected by the 76ers with the No. 52 pick in the 2014 draft. His rights were acquired by Oklahoma City in December as part of a multi-player deal that featured Al Horford going to the Western Conference and Danny Green joining Philadelphia.

Last season, the 6’6” Micić averaged 14.5 PPG and 5.8 APG while shooting 39.7% from distance for his Turkish club. In 32 games this season, he’s averaging 16.4 PPG and 5.0 APG in the EuroLeague.

While at least one report suggests Micić is headed to the NBA, agent Misko Raznatovic says it’s too early to be certain about that, tweeting that any report suggesting Micić has a deal lined up is “completely false.”

Sixers Trading Al Horford, Draft Picks To Thunder For Danny Green

The Sixers and Thunder have agreed to a trade that will send Al Horford and two draft picks to Oklahoma City and Danny Green to Philadelphia, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The two picks headed to Oklahoma City are the Sixers’ 2025 first-round pick – which will be “lightly” protected – and the 34th pick in tonight’s draft, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer clarifies (via Twitter) that the ’25 first-rounder will be top-six protected.

According to Woj (Twitter link), Philadelphia will also receive wing Terrance Ferguson in the swap, while OKC will acquire the rights to draft-and-stash prospect Vasilije Micic, a 26-year-old who is considered one of the top point guards in Europe.

For the Sixers, the move represents a way to get off the most cumbersome prospect on the team’s books. While Horford (owed $27.5MM in 2020/21) would only have been Philadelphia’s fourth highest-paid player, the other three – Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris – all have clear roles on the team going forward, whereas Horford wasn’t a great fit during his first year as a Sixer.

The 76ers will replace Horford will Green, a three-and-D wing who adds some much-needed outside shooting to their lineup. Although Green struggled for the Lakers late in the postseason, he was a solid starter throughout the regular season, averaging 8.0 PPG with a .367 3PT% in 68 games (24.8 MPG). He has won championships in each of the last two seasons, having been a major part of Toronto’s rotation in 2018/19.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN details (via Twitter), the Sixers’ financial savings as a result of the deal should be substantial. Marks estimates it’ll save the team $18MM in tax penalties in 2020/21, as well as $7.7MM in salary. There will also be $42MM in long-term savings, with Green on a $15MM expiring contract and Horford still owed guaranteed money in ’21/22 and ’22/23.

The Thunder, who are acquiring Green in a not-yet-finalized deal with the Lakers, will either fold this deal into that one, making it a three-teamer, or renounce their free agents and use cap room to take on Horford, as Marks notes (via Twitter). If Oklahoma City takes the latter route, it would presumably close the door on the possibility of a Danilo Gallinari sign-and-trade scenario.

The Thunder now hold four picks in tonight’s draft — Nos. 25, 28, 34, and 53. And, of course, the 2025 pick is the latest in a long line of future first-rounders acquired by GM Sam Presti, who continues to stockpile assets for the franchise’s rebuild.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Nunn, Warren, Micic

Wizards point guard John Wall expects to have a different role in the team’s offense once he rejoins Washington, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Wall has missed the entire 2019/20 season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“My game is going to be totally different than what it was before because now with the way [Bradley Beal] can handle the ball,” Wall said of his Wizards teammate. “I can be off the ball a little bit and score from the wing and score in transition by running the wing.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Micic, Sixers, Knicks

Approximately two-thirds of the NBA’s teams have reopened their practice facilities, but the Celtics aren’t yet among that group. According to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, the club is still waiting on the go-ahead from the state government before moving forward with those plans. The C’s, who have been in frequent contact with Massachusetts officials, are hoping they’ll get that green light soon, as Bulpett details.

“I mean, we’re hoping it’s any day. We’re just waiting to hear,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “… What we’re trying to do is have one-on-zero workouts. Like, it’s probably the cleanest environment that anybody’s working at in the country, with the sanitization that has to go on and the coaches wearing masks and gloves. I mean, heck, it doesn’t seem that complicated. But I understand that people in leadership have very difficult jobs right now.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic is coming off an impressive season with EuroLeague team Anadolu Efes and is one of the NBA’s most intriguing draft-and-stash players. The Sixers hold Micic’s NBA rights, prompting Derek Bodner, Mike O’Connor, and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic to explore whether this offseason is the right time for Philadelphia to try to convince the 26-year-old to come stateside.
  • In Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Pascal Siakam (Raptors), and Ben Simmons (Sixers), the Atlantic Division features a trio of rising young wings who appear poised to play important roles for their teams for years to come. In a two-part series, Jared Weiss, Blake Murphy, and Mike O’Connor of The Athletic debate which of the three players has the brightest future.
  • It has been a bit of an awkward transition period for the Knicks and new president of basketball operations Leon Rose, who was officially hired just nine days before the NBA’s season was suspended. However, Rose has received positive reviews for the changes he has made to the club’s front office so far, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

International Notes: Micic, Campazzo, EuroLeague, Italy

Vasilije Micic, whose draft rights are owned by the Sixers, believes he can become an impact player in the NBA, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. In an interview with 15min.lt., the Serbian point guard, who currently plays for Anadolu Efes in Turkey, said he improved this season, even though it has been placed on hold because of coronavirus concerns.

“This year I feel I climbed one or two steps higher, because this season was even more successful for me,” Micic said. “My team played even better and I was an important part of that. I don’t want to just play in the NBA. I don’t want to be proud of just an NBA record. I want to be part of an NBA team, get the chance to play. Playing in the NBA alone won’t make me happy if I can’t be significant there.

“I like to play a lot. I like to control the game. This is my style of play. I could play fewer minutes, play a smaller role, but I think that during my career in Europe I have already gained the status of a player, which shows that I could play a role longer than 20 minutes, which might be waiting for me in the NBA.”

Philadelphia selected the 26-year-old with the 52nd pick in the 2014 draft. Several NBA teams have been monitoring his situation in the event of a possible trade.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Recent reports indicated the Spurs and Mavericks have interest in Real Madrid guard Facundo Campazzo, but his agent, Claudio Villanueva, says they aren’t the only ones, Skerletic writes in a separate piece. “In the past two years, during the season, NBA scouts have spoken to me a thousand times,” Villanueva said. “… If the NBA does not keep an eye on one of the best, it would be crazy. But there is nothing concrete, there is nothing spoken.”
  • There’s “constrained optimism” that the EuroLeague will have an announcement on the resumption of its season before the end of the month, according to Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net. Leagues in Germany and Israel both announced plans this week to return to action.
  • The encouraging news also extends to Italy, which was once the hardest-hit spot for COVID-19, adds Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Individual workouts resumed today for AX Armani Exchange Milano, although there are no plans in place to resume formal team activities.

O’Connor’s Latest: Lakers, Kings, Wolves, Gordon, More

When reports surfaced earlier in January suggesting that the Lakers and Kings had discussed a possible deal involving Kyle Kuzma and Bogdan Bogdanovic, there were conflicting accounts on which team instigated the talks and what was offered.

In his latest article for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor provides some clarity on those discussions, citing sources who say the Kings offered Nemanja Bjelica and a draft pick in exchange for Kuzma. The Lakers countered by asking for Bogdanovic and Sacramento balked, according to O’Connor.

Bogdanovic is one of a handful of players that O’Connor would target in trade talks over the next week, as he explains in today’s article. That piece also features a few more noteworthy tidbits from O’Connor’s sources, so let’s round up some highlights…

  • The Timberwolves called the Magic about Aaron Gordon earlier in the season, league sources tell O’Connor. If Minnesota made an offer for Gordon, it’s unclear what exactly that offer consisted of, per O’Connor. However, he notes that the Wolves are shopping Robert Covington.
  • League sources don’t expect any major deals from the Pacers at this year’s deadline, according to O’Connor. However, the club could consider a significant move in the offseason if it’s eliminated in the first round this spring. O’Connor points to Myles Turner as a potential trade candidate down the road, though he acknowledges that Indiana would likely be more inclined to consider moving Turner if rookie Goga Bitadze was closer to being a reliable contributor.
  • NBA teams have begun to monitor Vasilije Micic‘s situation in Europe, since the Anadolu Efes guard has become one of the world’s best non-NBA players, sources tell O’Connor. Currently, the Sixers hold Micic’s rights. The 26-year-old, who was the No. 52 pick in the 2014 draft, is averaging 14.2 PPG and 5.8 APG in EuroLeague play this season.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Tsai, Sixers, J. Brown

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who is entering the final year of his contract, suggested last week that he’d love to remain in Toronto beyond the 2019/20 season and would have interest in signing an extension with the team. However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic believes it’s unlikely that Lowry and the Raptors will find common ground on a new deal before he reaches free agency next summer.

As Koreen explains, Lowry projects to be one of the very best free agents on the market next offseason, particularly if Anthony Davis re-ups with the Lakers. He’s also a five-time All-Star who just helped lead the Raptors to a championship. In other words, he’ll likely be expecting another big payday.

On the other hand, the Raptors are entering a transition year and are still trying to figure out what their post-Kawhi Leonard future might look like. With barely any guaranteed money on the books for next season, Toronto may prefer to maintain its flexibility rather than entering into a new agreement with Lowry right away.

Plus, with Lowry set to turn 34 during the 2019/20 season, it’s not clear how heavily the Raptors would be willing to invest in him going forward. While a contract extension is still a possibility, Koreen wouldn’t be surprised if those discussions are “put on hold for a while.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With the Nets swapping one wealthy foreign owner for another, Brian Lewis of The New York Post suggests that the team’s willingness to spend won’t change much as Joseph Tsai takes the reins from Mikhail Prokhorov. However, Lewis expects Tsai to be far more visible around the Nets and the NBA than Prokhorov had been in recent years.
  • In his latest mailbag for The Athletic, Derek Bodner explores the likelihood of the Sixers bringing draft-and-stash prospect Vasilije Micic stateside at some point, weighs the team’s ability to make another big splash on the trade market, and addresses a handful of other 76ers-related topics.
  • After being a full-time starter for the Celtics in 2017/18, Jaylen Brown started just 25 of his 74 contests last season and saw his playing time reduced by nearly five minutes per game. Appearing on this week’s episode of The Michael Holley Podcast, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge praised Brown for the way he responded. “He might have handled a difficult situation better than anybody on our team last year,” Ainge said (per Dave Green of NBC Sports Boston). “Very mature kid, wants to be great, knows that his time is coming.”

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.

Eastern Notes: Bargnani, Micic, Sloan, Porter

Former fixture on the injury reports of both the Knicks and the Nets, Andrea Bargnani, has inked a deal to play overseas in Spain with Baskonia, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (Twitter link). The agreement is for two years and contains opt outs for both sides, the report notes. Bargnani also reportedly drew interest from Turkey’s Darussafaka Dogus, who are now being coached by David Blatt. The 30-year-old made 46 appearances for Brooklyn last season and averaged 6.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per outing.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers draft-and-stash pick Vasilije Micic has signed a one-year deal with Tofas Bursa to play overseas in Turkey, Carchia also reports (on Twitter). The 22-year-old point guard was the No. 52 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
  • Another former Nets player is headed overseas, with Donald Sloan inking a one-year deal worth approximately $2.5MM-$2.8MM with Guangdong of The Chinese Basketball Association, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Sloan will have the opportunity to sign with an NBA club once the Chinese season concludes in late March/early April of 2017.
  • The Wizards aren’t expected to ink forward Otto Porter to an extension this fall, preferring instead to see how he develops this season before committing to him for the long-term, J. Michael of CSNMid-Atlantic.com writes.
  • Former NBA player Eric Maynor, who missed the entire 2015/16 campaign with a torn ACL, has signed with the Italian club Varese, international journalist David Pick relays (via Twitter). Maynor last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 season when he split time between the Sixers and the Wizards.
  • The Celtics remain a team on the rise, with a deep roster and talented coach in Brad Stevens, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes, noting that the future is bright in Beantown in his look at the strengths of the team.

Sixers Draft-And-Stash Prospect To Play In Serbia

3:35pm: Pick has informed Hoops Rumors that Micic has been loaned to Crvena Zvezda by Bayern, and the German club still possesses an option on Micic for the 2016/17 season.

3:26pm: Sixers draft-and-stash pick Vasilije Micic has signed with the Serbian club Crvena Zvezda, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (on Twitter). Chema de Lucas of Gigantes del Basket first reported the deal (Twitter link; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). International journalist David Pick confirms the signing has taken place (Twitter link). The length and terms of the arrangement are not yet known, nor if the deal includes an NBA buyout clause that would allow Micic to join the Sixers if his deal with Crvena Zvezda spans multiple seasons.

Micic, 21, was the No. 52 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, but he signed with Bayern Munich in Germany on a multiyear pact rather than heading stateside that year. The point guard averaged a combined 7.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists on 38.4% shooting in 2014/15 while playing overseas. Micic’s numbers took a significant dip this season, with the point guard notching a meager 1.5 points and 1.5 assists for Bayern while appearing in just eight of the team’s 24 regular season and Euroleague contests. It has yet to be announced if Micic was released by Bayern or if he exercised an escape clause in his contract that allowed him to depart.

It is unclear if Philadelphia has any intention of bringing Micic stateside at any time in the near future, though, judging by his poor play overseas this season, he doesn’t appear ready to contribute at the NBA level regardless of the Sixers’ current backcourt woes. In all fairness to Micic, he did suffer an ankle injury over the summer and may not have been fully recovered when play began this year, but his numbers last season when healthy fail to impress as well.