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Croatian Prospects to Showcase Talents in NYC

David Pick

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NBA Croatian prospects Dragan Bender and Lovro Mazalin are among the overseas stars to receive invitations to the Basketball Without Borders Global camp in New York City, sources told Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

Bender and Mazalin, both 17 years old, will participate in and attend the NBA All-Star festivities from February 13-15, 2015.

Bender, the most coveted Croatian projected NBA draftee — ranked No. 13 in the 2016 NBA Draft, according to DraftExpress — averages 10.5 points, 8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 27 minutes over six games for Maccabi Ramat-Gan of the Israeli Second Division.

Bender, a lengthy small-forward who signed a seven-year pact during the offseason with reigning Euro Champs Maccabi Tel Aviv, is expected to return from a single-season loan and make the jump to Tel Aviv next season, I’m told. Bender will also compete in the upcoming Euroleague International Junior Tournament in Rome, Italy, from December 27-29.

Mazalin, a creative wingman is set to sign a four-year deal next summer with Croatian power-club Cedevita Zagreb, according to sources. He’s currently registering 1.9 points, 0.7 boards and 0.2 assists over 5.2 minutes per showcase through 11 Euroleague and Adriatic League appearances.

David Pick has extensively covered European basketball and American players abroad since 2010. His work can be found at Eurobasket.com and ONE.co.il. Follow him on Twitter @iamdpick

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Jeff Hornacek: ‘We’ve moved on’ from Joakim Noah

Basketball Insiders

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New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek strongly indicated Tuesday that exiled center Joakim Noah will not be back with the team.

“We’ve moved on. He’s ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else,” Hornacek said following the Knicks’ first practice after the All-Star break.

Noah and the Knicks have mutually agreed that the veteran forward be away from the team indefinitely following a heated argument between him and the coach at practice in late January.

Hornacek said Tuesday that the plan is for Noah to remain away for the foreseeable future. He wasn’t sure if Noah would return before the end of the season, noting that the decision would come from team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry.

Source: Ian Begley of ESPN

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Anthony Davis: ‘We go to the Finals’ with DeMarcus Cousins Healthy

Basketball Insiders

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As New Orleans star Anthony Davis prepares for the second half of the season with the Pelicans holding on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference, he still thinks about what could have been this year had teammate DeMarcus Cousins not ruptured his Achilles.

“We could have gone through the playoffs. No one could really stop us as bigs. We go to the Finals if we went,” Davis told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview over All-Star weekend.

Davis and Cousins were on pace to become the first teammates ever to each average 25 points and 10 rebounds per game when Cousins went down with the season-ending injury on Jan. 26. The Pelicans were sixth in the West at that point and climbing in the standings. Cousins was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, over the past 50 seasons, only four players averaged those numbers for an entire season — and all four were named MVP.

Source: ESPN

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Source: Trail Blazers, Brandon Rush Agree to Deal

Basketball Insiders

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Brandon Rush has agreed to a 10-day contract with Portland, league source tells ESPN.

Sources: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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