NBA notebook: Oladipo recovery to extend into season

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo will miss the start of the 2019-20 season as he continues his recovery from a ruptured right quad tendon, team president Kevin Pritchard said Friday.

FILE PHOTO – Oct 18, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) dunks against the Brooklyn Nets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“He might be out a little bit,” Pritchard told the Indianapolis Star. “I’m hopeful he’ll be back December or January.”

Oladipo, a two-time All-Star, injured the tendon in his right knee in a Jan. 23 win against the Toronto Raptors and had surgery later that month. The 27-year-old averaged 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 36 starts before the injury.

—Rick Pitino is leaving Panathinaikos, the team he coached to a Greek League championship this season, he told ESPN. The Hall of Famer said he turned down an offer to return as the franchise’s president and head coach to pursue a job in the NBA, either in coaching or in a player personnel or advisory role.

Pitino, 66, was fired after a long run at Louisville following an FBI probe into college basketball recruiting. He coached the Cardinals from 2001 until the end of the 2016-17 season, posting a 416-143 record.

Pitino, who also coached at Hawaii, Boston University, Providence and Kentucky, has 770 career college victories over 1,041 games, winning NCAA titles in 1996 with Kentucky and 2013 with Louisville, though the latter championship was vacated.

—Drafting Zion Williamson No. 1 overall brought a jolt to New Orleans and gave an immediate boost to the Pelicans’ NBA title odds.

The Pelicans took a hit when the Anthony Davis deal reportedly was agreed to with the Los Angeles Lakers, who remain the favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship, according to Westgate. The Lakers are 3-1 with Davis now in partnership with LeBron James. But the Pelicans, who began the offseason at 300-1 at Westgate, climbed to 25-1 after a huge move in May when the draft lottery bounced New Orleans’ way.

The Bucks are second at 6-1, the Clippers next at 7-1 — primarily on the notion that they’re still the favorite for free agent Kawhi Leonard — ahead of the Rockets (8-1), Raptors (10-1) and the Warriors and 76ers (12-1). Brooklyn is even with the Pelicans at 25-1, as well as the Utah Jazz, who agreed Thursday to acquire Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies.

—Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Johnson will exercise his one-year contract option and stay with the team for $19.25 million, ESPN reported.

Johnson, a Fresno State product, was traded along with Wayne Ellington to the Suns in February from the Miami Heat in exchange for Ryan Anderson. He scored 11.1 points per game and had 4.2 assists per game for the Suns in 13 contests. He missed the final 13 games of the season with a knee injury sustained in mid-March and had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Over his five-year career, the 27-year old has averaged 11 points and 2.5 assists per game. He has appeared in 270 games, 257 of them with the Heat.

—Heat center Hassan Whiteside decided to forgo free agency, electing to exercise his one-year, $27.1 million player option to remain in Miami for the 2019-20 season, multiple outlets reported.

Whiteside, 30, averaged 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds for the Heat this past season. In five seasons with Miami, the 7-foot, 265-pounder has averaged 13.4 points and 11.4 rebounds.

He had five games with at least 20 rebounds this past season, all by Dec. 2, including a 24-rebound game Oct. 29 against the Sacramento Kings. He then added a 29-point, 20-rebound game against the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 7.

—Nando De Colo, who last played in the NBA during the 2013-14 season, is looking to make a return after spending the past five seasons in the EuroLeague with CSKA Moscow, ESPN reported.

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The 6-foot-5 guard played for the San Antonio Spurs during the 2012-13 season before splitting the 2013-14 season with the Spurs and Toronto Raptors following a Feb. 20, 2014, trade. He was drafted in the second round by the Spurs in 2009.

The Frenchman, who turns 32 on Sunday, averaged 3.8 points and 1.7 assists over 119 NBA games, with 11.9 minutes per game. He thrived in the EuroLeague, however, winning two championships with CSKA Moscow. The Raptors still hold his NBA rights. If they extend him a qualifying offer, they would be able to match any restricted free agent offer from another NBA team.

—Field Level Media

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