Despite his impressive performances in the Summer League, the fate of Brazilian Lucas Nogueira isn’t sealed yet regarding his next season, but it’s getting more and more likely that he will start his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks sooner rather than later.
According to Sportando.net, the Hawks are trying to work out a deal with Nogueira’s team in Spain, Asefa Estudiantes, in order to secure his release, meaning they’re not planning on having him continue his development in Europe. The buyout should be around something close to $1 million.
Nogueira himself said in the past, before the Summer League began, that he knows he needs to bulk up in order to be more prepared for playing in the NBA, and that another year in Europe won’t help him that way. His impressive showing in Las Vegas probably convinced the Hawks there is already enough polished skill to work with right now, and all that’s missing is a more massive figure in the paint.
The Hawks have a pretty dominant frontcourt as is, with Al Horford and Paul Millsap tabbed as starters for next season, while Elton Brand should be the primary back up for both of them. However, it doesn’t end there, with Mike Scott and Mike Muscala also looking to get some minutes next season, while the Hawks also added Pero Antic, the 31-year old Macedonian big man who won the Euroleague title with Olympiacos these past two seasons.
The most likely scenario is Nogueira, at least early on, is going to feature quite a lot on the Hawks’ D-League team, with their frontcourt being so loaded heading into the new season. Eventually, he should head on up to the NBA roster, and have three veteran big man to learn from, with the Hawks hoping he can become a high-energy, solid rebounding with some impact defense for the few minutes he’ll be getting during his first season.