The former Euroleague and NBA baller, who had been a Spurs player in 2009, broke the news himself in a podcast interview with SLAM, also revealing that if this opportunity didn’t arrive, we could very well see him returning to courts. “I was actually thinking about going back to play this year and all of a sudden the Spurs called. For me, I’m big on signs. It was weird because when I was going to decide whether I was going to stay with the Players Association or go back to play, I was leaning more toward playing, even though I loved my job at the Players Association, but people always tell me if you still have that itch then you still have that love for the game, you have to scratch it. That void is never going to be filled if you don’t go back, so I was strongly considering playing.” “All of a sudden I get a call and I’m like, ‘someone’s trying to tell me something’, so I have to take heed. Putting things in perspective, I think my impact on the game is probably going to be on this side of the game now.”
The Brooklyn Nets have named Gianluca Pascucci as director of global scouting and BJ Johnson as coordinator of player evaluation. “We are thrilled to add Gianluca and BJ to our front office,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Collectively, they bring valuable experiences that cross many platforms and their extensive knowledge of both the NBA and the global game will be tremendous assets to our scouting department. Both will be excellent additions to our culture and we are excited about welcoming them to Brooklyn.”
Every team had advanced scouts who’d dutifully jot down the plays that the next opponent was running, but few, if any, had pro personnel departments dedicated to gathering every last tidbit of information about NBA veterans they might acquire via trade or sign as free agents. Now, most teams have numerous people doing this dirty but necessary work. The proliferation of pro scouting came at a time when less information about college players was available than ever before, as players stayed in school for at most one or two years. The draft was becoming a much riskier way to build your team. With this trend came the realization that the financial investment in draft picks was minimal compared to a big-ticket free-agent signing or franchise-shaping trade, either of which could make or break your franchise.
Scouts and personnel men quickly learned that the real scoop would come from ball boys, equipment guys, teammates, various members of a player’s entourage and even other scouts. (In case you’re wondering, yes, media reporting on the NBA has evolved in much the same way.) “All the GMs have their guys out there, and their job is to go get information,” said another person who is an executive with a team. “It’s really extreme, but it’s what is going on right now. That is the norm, it has to be done, and every team does it.”