The Toronto Raptors are closing in on completing the buyout of center Lucas Nogueira from Asefa Estudiantes much to the disappointment of several top Eurloeague teams that had hoped to acquire the ACB top defensive player from last season as reported by Javier Maestro on encestando.es. (translated)
“Until this week there has been much uncertainty. So much that even Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia Basket called to inquire about his situation.
Except for a last minute surprise that is no longer expected,(Nogueira) will pay his buyout and sign with the Toronto Raptors.
The NBA exit clause for Nogueira is 600,000 euros as set 13 months ago, when the center was taken in the 2016 draft by the Atlanta Hawks. As franchises can only add about $ 550,000 to buy players under contract in Europe according to NBA rules, the rest should be paid the Brazilian.”
In early July Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri confirmed his team was working hard to get the buyout completed. Obviously the process which has yet to be finalized has taken a little longer than expected to complete.
“We are looking to bring Bebe, Lucas Nogueira, to sign him,” Ujiri said. “We are trying to figure that out.
“Nogueira can block shots and he’s played in the in the ACB which is the second best league in the world. He played a good role there when he was healthy. He is a big player that is very mobile and can protect the rim and he can rebound. His body is still a-ways-a-way, but we’ll get him there. Contributing consistently, he’s still a-ways-a-way, but we plan to develop him.
“He has recovered from (knee tendonitis). Right now we are just trying to figure out how to get him cleared. He had a little calf incident before he came, but other than that he’s been working out and we hope to get him going soon.”
Nicknamed Bebe, Nogueira is from Sao Goncalo, Brazil and has played for Asefa Estudiantes in Spain since 2009. Typical of how European teams develop young players, Nogueira had to fight for minutes and he only averaged 13.6 minutes and 16.6 minutes over the past two seasons respectively. He did, however, make an impact by blocking shots and finishing at a very high percentage around the hoop. Last season he shot over 70 percent from the field and his 1.6 blocks translates to almost 4 blocks per 40 minutes.
In Summer League with Toronto, Nogueira averaged 5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks and 20.4 minutes over 5 games. His presence at Summer League was doubtful because of a calf injury he suffered after the end of his season in Spain, however, he was cleared in time to participate.