Potential first-rounder Rodions Kurucs withdraws from 2017 NBA draft

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The first – and most important – withdrawal deadline for the NBA draft came last month, but that’s set by the NCAA for players to maintain eligibility.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline was this week, and that’s the relevant one for international players not shackled by the NCAA’s ever-shifting definition of “amateurism.”

Before the NBA’s deadline, 38 more players (oddly including two college players) withdrew from the draft. The most notable: Rodions Kurucs, a 19-year-old forward who appeared to have a solid shot of going in the first round.

Kurucs has mostly played for FC Barcelona’s lower teams. He needs more experience and to get stronger. But he has the size, athleticism and shooting stroke to project in the NBA.

It seemed he could develop in the NBA or even D-League while on an NBA contract. Alas, he went another route.

Here’s a full update on draft bookkeeping. NBA release:

Here is the list of international players who have withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              TEAM (COUNTRY*)

Ege Arar                                                Galatasaray (Turkey)

Laurynas Beliauskas                              Neptunas (Lithuania)

Terrence Bieshaar                                  Joventut (Spain)

Laurynas Birutis                                    Vytautas (Lithuania)

Leo Cizmic                                            Sevilla (Spain)         

Berkan Durmaz                                      Tofas (Turkey)

Martynas Echodas                                  Siauliai (Lithuania)

Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot                          Levallois (France)

Aquiles Ferreira                                     Pinheiros (Brazil)

Diego Flaccadori                                    Trento (Italy)

Tolga Gecim                                          Banvit (Turkey)

Yoan Granvorka                                    Nancy (France)

Egemen Guven                                      Karsiyaka (Turkey)

Karlis Helmanis                                     RTU Riga (Latvia)

Aleksa Ilic                                             Buducnost (Montenegro)

Verners Kohs                                         GBA Sparta (Czech Republic)

Antonios Koniaris                                  PAOK (Greece)

Arnoldas Kulboka                                  Baunach (Germany)

Rodions Kurucs                                     Barcelona (Spain)

Axel Louissaint                                      Lugano (Switzerland)

Michail Lountzis                                    Panathinaikos (Greece)

Gytis Masiulis                                        Zalgiris (Lithuania)

Lovro Mazalin                                       Zadar (Croatia)

Regimantas Miniotas                              Vytautas (Lithuania)

Kostja Mushidi                                      Mega Leks (Serbia)

Margiris Normantas                               Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)

Elie Okobo                                            Pau Orthez (France)

Viny Okouo                                            Unicaja (Spain)

Ayberk Olmaz                                         Istanbul BSB (Turkey)

Lucas Pereira                                          Pinheiros (Brazil)

Martynas Sajus                                        Starogard (Poland)

Borisa Simanic                                        Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)

Nik Slavica                                             Cibona (Croatia)

Berk Ugurlu                                            Fenerbahce (Turkey)

Kristupas Zemaitis                                   Vytautas (Lithuania)

Zou Yuchen                                            Bayi Fubang (China)

 

Here is the list of additional players from colleges who have withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              SCHOOL

Darin Johnson                                        CSU-Northridge

Maverick Rowan                                   North Carolina State

 

Following is a list of players from colleges who remain early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              SCHOOL

Edrice Adebayo                                     Kentucky

Jarrett Allen                                           Texas

Ike Anigbogu                                         UCLA

OG Anunoby                                         Indiana

Dwayne Bacon                                      Florida State

Lonzo Ball                                             UCLA

Jordan Bell                                            Oregon

James Blackmon Jr.                               Indiana

Antonio Blakeney                                  LSU

Tony Bradley                                         North Carolina

Isaiah Briscoe                                        Kentucky

Dillon Brooks                                        Oregon

Thomas Bryant                                      Indiana

Clandell Cetoute                                    Thiel College (PA)

John Collins                                          Wake Forest

Zach Collins                                          Gonzaga

Chance Comanche                                 Arizona

Tyler Dorsey                                         Oregon

PJ Dozier                                               South Carolina

Jawun Evans                                          Oklahoma State

Tony Farmer                                          Lee College (TX)

De’Aaron Fox                                        Kentucky

Markelle Fultz                                       Washington

Harry Giles                                            Duke

Isaac Humphries                                    Kentucky

Tre Hunter                                             Mt. San Jacinto College (CA)

Jonathan Isaac                                       Florida State

Frank Jackson                                        Duke

Josh Jackson                                          Kansas

Justin Jackson                                        North Carolina

Jaylen Johnson                                       Louisville

Ted Kapita                                             North Carolina State

Marcus Keene                                        Central Michigan

Luke Kennard                                        Duke

Kyle Kuzma                                          Utah

TJ Leaf                                                  UCLA

Tyler Lydon                                          Syracuse

Lauri Markkanen                                   Arizona

Eric Mika                                               BYU

Donovan Mitchell                                  Louisville

Malik Monk                                           Kentucky

Johnathan Motley                                  Baylor

Austin Nichols                                       Virginia

Semi Ojeleye                                         SMU

Cameron Oliver                                     Nevada

Justin Patton                                          Creighton

L.J. Peak                                                Georgetown

Ivan Rabb                                              California

Xavier Rathan-Mayes                             Florida State

Devin Robinson                                     Florida

Josh Robinson                                       Austin Peay

Kobi Simmons                                       Arizona

Dennis Smith Jr.                                    North Carolina State

Edmond Sumner                                    Xavier

Caleb Swanigan                                     Purdue

Jayson Tatum                                        Duke

Matt Taylor                                            New Mexico State

Trevor Thompson                                  Ohio State

Melo Trimble                                         Maryland

Craig Victor II                                        LSU

Antone Warren                                      Antelope Valley CC (CA)

Nigel Williams-Goss                              Gonzaga

D.J. Wilson                                            Michigan

 

Following is a list of international players who remain early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              TEAM (COUNTRY*)

Simon Birgander                                    Clavijo (Spain)

Luka Bozic                                            Zagreb (Croatia)

Vlatko Cancar                                        Mega Leks (Serbia)

Wesley Alves Da Silva                           Paulistano (Brazil)

George de Paula                                     Paulistano (Brazil)

Isaiah Hartenstein                                  Zalgiris (Lithuania)

Jonathan Jeanne                                     Nancy (France)

Alpha Kaba                                           Mega Leks (Serbia)

Tidjan Keita                                           Cegep de Thetford (Canada)

Frank Ntilikina                                      Strasbourg (France)

 

*Country indicates where team plays, not country of players nationality

Thunder rookie Holmgren trying to focus on learning NBA during rehab

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren is experiencing the rehab process for the first time.

The No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA draft suffered a right foot injury during a pro-am game in August while defending as LeBron James drove to the basket on a fast break. He had surgery, and the Thunder declared him out for the season.

“I’ve never had a serious injury in my life, so I didn’t really know, I had nothing to base it off of and compare to,” Holmgren said Thursday. “So when it happened, I had to get it looked at and see how serious it was. I didn’t imagine anything like this.”

Holmgren, a versatile 7-footer who had great moments during summer league, is dealing with being sidelined as the Thunder start training camp this week.

“Definitely something that I really had to put my mind to and spend some time to think on,” he said. “And kind of come to some conclusions on things and really settle my mind so I could kind of stop focusing on what happened and focus in on what’s going to happen, what I’ve got to do to get where I need to be.”

Even without practicing, he has already left an impression on his teammates.

“He’s a great guy,” guard Lu Dort said. “I can already feel a connection with me and the rest of the team. He’s a pretty vocal guy, too. He talks a lot, and that’s good for the team.”

Holmgren said his only workout limitation is that he can’t put weight on the injured foot. So, that forces him to focus on other aspects of the game. Coach Mark Daigneault said Holmgren has been working hard on film study.

“It just comes down to putting my mental energy towards it, learning how to really be a professional in areas off the court,” Holmgren said. “I’ve dedicated so much time to really hustling at my craft on the court. Now, this event is making me step back and kind of rework how how I do things. And one of those ways is to become professional with watching film and speaking with coaches, trying to learn, watching what’s happening and really being engaged, in trying to get better with different avenues.”

Holmgren has spoken with Joel Embiid about his injury. Embiid, the reigning NBA scoring champion, was the No. 3 pick in 2014 before missing his first two seasons with foot issues.

Holmgren hopes he can recover as well as Embiid.

“What I’m trying to do right now is just kind of soak up all the knowledge of how things are done around here, how they’re going to be done going forward,” Holmgren said. “So when I’m ready to get get back in there, I can just kind of seamlessly plug myself in.”

Holmgren is expected to be ready for the start of next season. He said he’s trying to keep his thoughts positive.

“It all comes down to keeping a level head because there’s so many ups and downs,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is a down. But I’ve got to keep my head level and focus on getting better. And no matter what the circumstances are, that’s the goal.”

Daigneault believes Holmgren’s mindset will net positive results.

“We’d like him to be out here,” Daigneault said. “But since he’s not, we’re certainly going to make a lot of investments, and the thing that makes me the most optimistic about that is the approach that he takes.”

Houston acquires 2025 2nd-round pick in eight-player trade with Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski described this as a “cap-centric deal” since it helped the Thunder get around $10 million below the luxury tax, while Houston added a 2nd-round pick by taking on $1 million in cap space.

The Rockets acquired Derrick Favors, Ty Jerome, Moe Harkless, Theo Maledon and a protected 2025 2nd-round pick from the Hawks and sent David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss to Oklahoma City.

The 2nd-rounder from Atlanta is protected 31-40, and it will become the second best 2026 2nd-round pick between the Mavericks, Thunder, and 76ers if it doesn’t convey in 2025.

A tweet from Jackson Gatlin of Locked On Rockets indicates that Houston will also receive $6.3 million in cash from the Thunder.

Previous reports indicated that Derrick Favors was unlikely to remain with the Thunder this season, while Ty Jerome wasn’t participating in training camp as his representatives worked with the team to find an exit strategy for him. Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported that Houston plans to waive Jerome. Harkless was traded for the third time this summer. He was dealt from Sacramento to Atlanta in July as part of the Kevin Huerter deal, and then was shipped to OKC for Vit Krejci earlier this week. Hopefully he’ll be able to settle in with Houston this season.

As he enters his seventh season, this will be the sixth team that Nwaba has suited up for. The journeyman has had a few solid seasons, including averaging 9.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.0 steals for Houston during the 2020-21 season. Among the players in the deal, he’s the most likely candidate to carve out a role on his new team next season.

Brown, Burke, and Chriss were already traded once this summer as part of the deal that said Christian Wood to Dallas. Now, they’ll be depth pieces in Oklahoma City if the team decides to keep them around.

Daily Thunder’s beat writer Brandon Rahbar pointed out that the trade wouldn’t have been possible without the Disabled Player Exception that the Thunder received because of Chet Holmgren’s injury.

Spurs’ Josh Primo out for preseason with left knee MCL sprain

Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs
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Josh Primo is going to get his chance this season. The Spurs are rebuilding — even Gregg Popovich says not to bet on them to win the title — and Primo, entering his second season (and still 19), is one of the most promising young players on their roster, someone with the chance to be part of whatever will be built in San Antonio the future. He just needs more experience.

Unfortunately, he’s going to start this season half a step behind after missing most of training camp due to a sprained left MCL, the team announced Thursday. He is expected to return in time for the season opener, according to the team.

Promo, the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, got into 50 games for the Spurs last season and averaged 5.8 points a game but wasn’t very efficient with his shot yet. He also spent a lot of time in the G-League (but then had to miss this past Summer League due to COVID).

With Dejounte Murray now in Atlanta, there is not only a starting spot open but also opportunities to run the offense — Primo is going to get a chance to show what he can do with that. It’s just not going to be for a little while due to his knee sprain.

Anthony Davis ‘excited’ to be Lakers’ No.1 offensive option, LeBron pushing him to do it

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Is Anthony Davis a No.1 offensive option on a championship team?

The Lakers made a massive bet in trading for Davis — both in good young players and picks — that he could help them win a title now and be the bridge to the future post-LeBron James. Davis was everything the Lakers hoped in the bubble and did win them banner No. 17. However, he has not stayed healthy or consistently played up to that standard.

New Lakers coach Darvin Ham is betting on Davis again and is going to run more of the offense through him this season. LeBron James reportedly backs Ham up. Can Davis stay healthy, find that form again and look like that bridge to the future? If he can’t, the Lakers have to reconsider their post-LeBron plans. That’s why there is pressure on Davis this season.

Davis is excited to prove he is ready for the role, he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. He added LeBron is pushing him to do it.

“I’m so excited that I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about this year,” Davis told Yahoo Sports this week. “I’m looking forward to a healthy year and doing what I know we can do.”…

Davis said James, 37, has been in his ear about taking over the reins of the team, while the rest of the roster would follow his lead.

The first step in Davis being that No.1 option: Staying healthy. He played 40 games last season and 36 the season before that. While some of that was due to fluke injuries, the history of Davis missing time is long.

When healthy, Davis is an unquestionably elite player — to use the bubble example, Davis was a defensive force in Orlando who knocked down midrange jumpers after facing up, averaging 27.7 points on a 66.5 true shooting percentage, plus grabbed 9.7 rebounds a game. That is the AD the Lakers need this season.

Which can be a lot of pressure, but Davis said he doesn’t feel that.

“But for me, I’m not putting any pressure on myself at all,” Davis said at media day. “I’m gonna go out there and play basketball, work hard, defend and do what the team needs to win basketball games. I’m not going to overthink and, you know, listen to what everybody else is saying and try to be this ‘whatever’ player they want me to be.”

“Whatever” the Lakers want Davis to be is the Top 10 player in the world he has shown for stretches in Los Angeles. If he can be consistent, that Davis helps the Lakers be more of a threat in the West. If Davis can’t be that guy, it could be another long season for Lakers nation.