Vit Krejci

Vit Krejci Has Left Knee Procedure, Back By Start Of Next Season

Rookie Thunder shooting guard Vit Krejci addressed a left knee injury with an arthroscopic procedure, according to Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman (Twitter link). Oklahoma City expects Krejci to return to the floor by the beginning of the 2022/23 NBA season, Mussatto tweets.

Mussatto points to the surgery as the probable reason behind Krejci’s missing the team’s exit interviews on Tuesday.

After signing a multiyear contract ahead of the 2021/22 NBA season, the 21-year-old appeared in 30 games in his first NBA season, averaging 6.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 1.9 APG. He posted shooting splits of .407/.327/.864.

Krejci was a small part of a concerted youth movement for a rebuilding 24-58 Thunder squad. The team has been accumulating draft assets and prioritizing young players around star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. It remains to be seen whether this injury will set back Krejci’s role in the team’s rotation next season.

Northwest Notes: Little, Thunder, Porter Jr., Nuggets

The Trail Blazers have received a much-needed boost from swingman Nassir Little, who helped the team secure a 105-90 victory over the Lakers on Saturday, Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com writes.

Little finished with eight points, five rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes of action off the bench. His strong effort helped lift Portland back to a .500 record (5-5).

“Energy. I think that’s it,” teammate Larry Nance Jr. said of what comes to mind when he thinks of Little. “Nas comes in and plays with so much energy. Obviously, Ant (Anfernee Simons) plays with a lot of energy. Cody (Zeller) getting after every ball and myself, that’s a lot of what I’ve prided myself on for the past few years.

“I think playing with a certain level of intensity. I think we’ve got some rangy defenders as well. So that group is looking to provide a spark every time we check-in and so far, we’re doing a pretty good job of it.”

Here are some other notes out of the Northwest Division tonight:

  • The Thunder have recalled Vit Krejci, Tre Mann and Isaiah Roby from their G League affiliate, the team announced in a release. Oklahoma City has upcoming games against the Spurs on Sunday, Pelicans on Wednesday and Kings on Friday.
  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. will undergo further testing on his lower back, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Porter exited the team’s game against Houston on Saturday with soreness and will miss Monday’s contest against Miami. Back issues sidelined Porter for his entire rookie season in 2018/19.
  • Speaking of Porter, Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post believes the Nuggets should remove him from the starting lineup and relegate him to a bench role. The 23-year-old is shooting just 36% through nine games, averaging 9.9 points per contest.

Northwest Notes: Simons, Gupta, Towns, Krejci

No rookie scale extension is expected for Anfernee Simons before today’s deadline, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says the Trail Blazers want to see more from the fourth-year guard before committing to him beyond the 2021/22 season. The club believes Simons can be more consistent and productive under new head coach Chauncey Billups, Quick adds.

Simons hit 42.6% of his three-pointers last season for the Trail Blazers, but played a fairly modest role off the bench, with 7.8 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 64 games (17.3 MPG). He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2022.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune takes an in-depth look at the philosophy new Timberwolves head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta is bringing to the role. Despite not having any assurances that he’ll keep the job long-term, Gupta insists he doesn’t feel pressure to impress ownership by making a major move. “I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said. “I don’t view it as like, ‘Oh I’ve got this for a time. I’ve got to try and prove myself and I’ve got to make a splash quickly and try to save the job.'”
  • Speaking to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns compared staying in Minnesota to sticking with the Dominican Republic national team rather than reclassifying to play for Team USA. “I like taking the hard route. I like going the more rewarding route,” Towns said. “I love being with the Dominican Republic national team. There’s a lot of things they haven’t done, and I’m able to possibly change that. The challenge is what I’ve always strived for.”
  • Thunder guard Vit Krejci, who had been dealing with visa issues, has been cleared to practice and play with the team, head coach Mark Daigneault said this weekend (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Krejci is expected to spend a good chunk of time this season with the Oklahoma City Blue in the G League.

Northwest Notes: Billups, Lillard, Thunder, Jazz

Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups recently sat down for an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link), and he says he’s not going to be preaching “stay here” to star point guard Damian Lillard.

Billups adds that he won’t be constantly discussing whether or not Lillard wants to stay with the team with his star player, saying he has a responsibility to coach the rest of the players. However, he definitely wants him to stay, and believes Lillard when he says he’s “all in” for the upcoming season with the Trail Blazers.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Former first-round pick D.J. Wilson knows he might be a long-shot to make the Thunder‘s 15-man regular season roster, but that’s not going to stop him from trying, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Mussatto notes that the Thunder had their eyes on Wilson in the 2017 draft, but the Bucks selected him (17th) before Oklahoma City was able to (21st). Wilson is on a non-guaranteed training camp contract.
  • In a tweet, Mussatto says the Thunder are being cautious with Vit Krejci, who’s a year removed from an ACL tear. Coach Mark Daigneault said Krejci has been cleared to play, but he’s still not a full participant in practices. This could be a result of the “slight setback” Krejci had last week. Mussatto adds that the bigger issue for Krejci is his visa status, which has no timeline for a resolution.
  • One reason the Jazz appealed to Rudy Gay in free agency is they had the best regular season record in the NBA last season, so he doesn’t feel any pressure to rush his recovery process following heel surgery, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Northwest Notes: Bol Bol, Krejci, Powell

Bol Bol has only appeared in 39 regular-season games since entering the league in 2019 as a second-round pick. The Nuggets center appears poised for a bigger role in his third season, as Mike Singer of the Denver Post details. The son of Manute Bol has made a strong impression during camp.

“I think Bol Bol’s had a really good camp and a consistent camp,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “When people ask me about Bol, it’s never about is he talented enough. It’s about, is he willing to do the little things and be consistent with his effort … After three, four days, whatever it’s been, I think Bol’s effort has been really good.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder point guard Vit Krejci has suffered a “slight setback” in his rehab from an ACL injury, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets. The draft-and-stash prospect signed a multi-year contract early last month. He’s expected to spend the bulk of the season in the G League once he’s ready to play.
  • Norman Powell was shipped by the Raptors to the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline last season. After re-signing with Portland, he’s looking forward to spending a full training camp and season building chemistry with his teammates, Casey Holdahl of the team’s website writes. “Totally different. I feel really a part of the team, a part of the organization,” Powell said. “It’s starting to feel natural and normal to me, just getting into a routine, knowing exactly where I need to be. It’s definitely going to still take some time but it’s definitely a process that’s speeding up day by day.” Powell signed a five-year, $90MM contract in August.
  • In case you missed it, Jazz surprisingly released two-way player Justin James on Friday after signing him last week. Get the details here.

Thunder Notes: Favors, SGA, Vaccinations, Krejci, Deck

After being traded from a title contender in Utah to a fully rebuilding team in Oklahoma City this offseason, Derrick Favors admitted on Monday that the idea of not reporting to his new team and/or asking to be sent elsewhere crossed his mind. However, he said he didn’t “want to be that guy,” as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman relays (via Twitter).

Favors likely isn’t part of the Thunder‘s long-term plans, but he’s under contract for another year beyond this season, so the team likely won’t consider buying him out or releasing him anytime soon. As they did with veterans like Chris Paul and Al Horford, the Thunder will likely try to build up Favors’ value as much as they can before perhaps pursuing a trade at the 2022 deadline or next summer.

Here’s more out of Oklahoma City:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who missed the last two months of the 2020/21 season due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, has “no limitations at all” entering training camp, Thunder general manager Sam Presti said last week, according to Paris Lawson of OKCThunder.com. Presti admitted the team took a “conservative approach” to the injury last season in the hopes that Gilgeous-Alexander would be 100% now.
  • Presti also said last week that all of the Thunder’s players are vaccinated against COVID-19, per Lawson.
  • It has now been a full year since rookie guard Vit Krejci tore his ACL, and he said today that his knee isn’t giving him any problems, tweets Mussatto. Krejci was selected with the 37th pick in the 2020 draft, but spent the year rehabbing his injury and didn’t sign his first NBA contract until this offseason.
  • There were rumors in international outlets over the summer that Gabriel Deck, who is on a non-guaranteed contract with the Thunder, might return to Spain this offseason. However, Deck denied those reports today. The rumors are not true,” he said, per Mussatto (Twitter link). “It was always my plan to be here with the Thunder.”

Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Micić, Krejci, Simmons

Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell played through an ankle injury during Utah’s two-round 2021 postseason run. In a new conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Mitchell has indicated that the injury is healing nicely.

“The ankle feels good,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be ready to go. I think last year definitely was shaky. There were just so many different obstacles with the ankle and whatnot, but — like I said — no slight to Phoenix or Milwaukee or the Clippers, you know, (but) I feel like if we were healthy, you know, we… get to the Finals.”

The Jazz fell 4-2 to the Clippers in the second round of the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers were missing their best player, Kawhi Leonard, for the final three contests of the series, while Utah’s starting guards – Mitchell and Mike Conley – were coming off injuries of their own.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Guard Vasilije Micić revealed in a podcast interview with Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews that he was tendered a strong offer to join the Thunder for the 2021/22 season, but ultimately decided to remain in Europe, with the Turkish club Anadolu Efes. Micić cited a few factors behind his decision. A big one was that he wanted to be able to play in the Olympic qualifying games for Serbia in July and wouldn’t be able to sign Oklahoma City until August, so he didn’t want to risk an injury while he was still unsigned. Micić, a draft-and-stash prospect, was named the EuroLeague MVP while helping Anadolu Efes win the 2021 EuroLeague title.
  • Thunder guard Vit Krejci will resume five-on-five workouts this week, reports Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The 21-year-old Krejci, selected with the No. 37 pick and flipped to the Thunder on draft night, tore his ACL in September 2020. He recently signed his first NBA contract.
  • As chatter grows surrounding a potential Timberwolves deal for Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic unpacks what a deal could look like, as well as how likely it looks that a deal could happen between these particular franchises, with Minnesota apparently uninterested in including their two most valuable players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. Krawczynski notes that a trade appears unlikely before the start of training camp, and that Sixers team president Daryl Morey will do his darnedest to drum up more interest in Simmons around the league. If the market for Simmons remains relatively apathetic, Krawczynski opines that the Timberwolves have a chance to add him.

Northwest Notes: Nance Jr., Newton, Krejci, Giddey

Larry Nance Jr.,who was shipped to the Trail Blazers as part of the three-team blockbuster deal that landed Lauri Markkanen in Cleveland, believes he’s a piece that could change Portland’s postseason fortunes, as he told Blazers’ website writer Casey Holdahl.

“It’s a team I’ve been rooting for in the playoffs for a while now, just feel like it’s impossible to root against a guy like Dame and CJ (Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum), seems like they have great guys on the roster,” Nance said. “I felt it was an opportunity where I really have a chance to step in and make a difference.

“This is a team that’s been on the edge of something special for a while now and the higher ups in the organization deemed me as someone that could help them get higher. I’m thrilled at the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to taking it. Getting a chance to play with players of this caliber doesn’t come around too often.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves have hired Jeff Newton as their G League coach, according to a team press release. Prior to taking the helm of the Iowa Wolves, Newton spent the last two seasons as an offensive associate/player development coach for the Timberwolves. “Jeff has proven throughout the last couple years that he is dedicated to the Timberwolves overall mission, including developing our young players which makes him a natural choice as the Wolves head coach,” Timberwolves assistant GM Gianluca Pascucci said.
  • The contract that Vit Krejci signed with the Thunder is a four-year deal, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Krejci’s first-year salary of $925,258 is guaranteed. The second year salary of $1,563,518 includes a partial guarantee of $781,759, while his $1,836,096 third-season salary is non-guaranteed. The final year of the deal is a team option at $1,988,598. The draft-and-stash wing was selected in the second round of the 2020 draft and acquired in a draft-night deal with Washington.
  • Thunder first-round pick Josh Giddey is already a big star in his native Australia, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. In Melbourne, Australia, his fans snapped up Thunder merchandise after he was drafted, his mother Kim Giddey said. “As soon as the draft ended they all went out to buy Oklahoma merchandise,” she said. “It sold out.”

Thunder Sign Vit Krejci To Multiyear Deal

The Thunder have signed draft-and-stash prospect Vit Krejci to a multiyear deal, the team announced today in a press release.

A 6’7″ point guard from the Czech Republic, Krejci was selected by Washington with the 37th overall pick in the 2020 draft and was sent to Oklahoma City in a draft-night deal. After spending the last several seasons with Zaragoza in Spain, Krejci came stateside earlier this year to join the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate. He spent the season rehabbing an ACL injury and didn’t play at all for the Blue.

Prior to signing Krejci, the Thunder were carrying 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Kenrich Williams, Gabriel Deck, and Charlie Brown on non-guaranteed deals. Williams is a safe bet to stick around, so Krejci will likely claim one of the last two spots on the 15-man regular season roster over either Brown or Deck.

The expectation is that Krejci will once again spend most of his time in the G League in 2021/22, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link).

Details of the 21-year-old’s new contract aren’t yet known, but the Thunder could have used a portion of their mid-level exception to offer a three- or four-year deal with a starting salary above the rookie minimum.

Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Horford, Jerome, Krejci, Saunders

Michael Porter Jr. missed his 10th consecutive game on Tuesday due to the league’s health and safety protocols but he could join the Nuggets on their five-game road trip that begins Friday in Phoenix, according to an Associated Press report. Porter hasn’t played since he racked up 30 points and 10 rebounds against Sacramento on December 29. “He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here,”  coach Michael Malone said. “When we do get him back, he will be a welcome sight.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Al Horford and Ty Jerome did not travel with the Thunder at the start of their road trip this week, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. Horford’s wife just gave birth to their fourth child and it’s uncertain if Horford will rejoin the team during the trip. Jerome, who was acquired from Phoenix as a throw-in to the Chris Paul deal, has yet to make his Oklahoma City debut. He’s rehabbing from a left ankle sprain.
  • The Thunder’s second-round pick, Vit Krejci, will be stashed on the roster of their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, Mussatto tweets. Krejci is rehabbing from an ACL injury that he suffered in September.
  • Ryan Saunders deserves more time to get the Timberwolves righted, Jim Souhan of The Minneapolis Star Tribune opines. The current roster doesn’t seem capable of competing without a healthy Karl-Anthony Towns and the young coach should be given a chance to show what he can do when Towns returns after testing positive for COVID-19. Towns had a wrist injury earlier in the season and has only appeared in four games.