Prospect Luka Doncic says he hasn’t made decision to leave for NBA
Top prospect Luka Doncic filed his paperwork to enter the 2018 NBA Draft nearly a month ago, but with two games left in this year’s EuroLeague season, he’s not yet committed to playing in the NBA next season — even if he’s drafted No. 1 or No. 2 as expected.
As his Real Madrid team prepares for a EuroLeague Final Four semifinal Friday against CSKA Moscow, Doncic said at the tournament press conference he’s not made a decision about whether he’ll play in the NBA next season.
“Ι’m not sure if these are the last two games [in EuroLeague]. We have yet to make this decision. Perhaps after the season,” Doncic said Thursday, according to EuroHoops.net.
The Slovenian 19-year-old’s agent, Bill Duffy, already said Doncic will not work out for any team prior to draft day, June 21.
Doncic has played extensively over the past year. He teamed up with Goran Dragic and under new Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov led Slovenia to a EuroBasket championship over the summer. With Real Madrid, his EuroLeague season will wrap on Sunday, but the squad will then pivot into the Spanish ACB league postseason that will keep Doncic occupied as the NBA Draft unfolds.
While Doncic is a consideration for the No. 1 pick owned by the Phoenix Suns, most evaluators believe Phoenix will take Arizona center Deandre Ayton first overall.
And considering that Phoenix just learned of the draft order at the lottery on Tuesday, the timing of Doncic’s comments could be construed a certain way.
Could Doncic be expecting Ayton to go first to play under Kokoskov, making Doncic an option for the Sacramento Kings, who had the seventh-best odds to win the draft lottery but will draft No. 2?
ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla and Jonathan Givony hinted that Doncic’s representation might be attempting to steer him a certain direction.
“He’s going to have a little bit of a say in this process, as well. He’s actually under contract at Real Madrid,” Givony said as a guest on The Woj Pod. “If he doesn’t want to go to Sacramento, he could definitely make things hard on them and give them a lot to think about by saying, ‘Guys, if you draft me, I’m going to sign a huge extension. I’m going to make $2 million Euro next year, and I’m not coming over until you trade my rights.’
“He’s never at any point said he’s coming over next year. I obviously think he’d like to,” Givony added. “But he has a lot more leverage in this process than anybody in this draft. Sacramento is not the most attractive place to go for a young prospect. I’ll be interested to see how that plays out.”