Lucas Nogueira has had an interesting journey since being traded to the Atlanta Hawks after he was selected 16th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The 7-foot Brazilian center showcased his raw talents in the Las Vegas Summer League, but ultimately went sent overseas as a player for Asafa Estudiantes in the Spanish ACB League, the top basketball league of Spain.
However, after only six games with the Estudiantes, he suffered a severe case of tendonitis in his legs. This left him to suspend his contract with the team and seek the opinions of U.S.-based doctors that confirmed the diagnosis.
He has now returned to Spain where he’ll hopefully finish out his season with Estudiantes. He will undergo medical tests in Madrid to confirm his readiness to play again.
The Liga ACB season ends May 25, and after that the Hawks will have the offseason to decide whether or not to buy-out the last year of Nogueira’s contract with Estudiantes (worth around $600,000) and bring him back to the States for the Hawks’ 2014-15 season.
Lower body injuries have off-tracked many 7-footers careers in the NBA so let’s hope Nogueira can make a full recovery. As the guys over at PeachtreeHoops note, Nogueira would be in line to receive a slot amount as a first-round draft pick, somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, so he could be a cheap option to have and develop first-hand from next season forward.
Assuming no other injury setbacks, the Hawks would be wise to continue to bring along young talent, especially talent like Nogueira who can affect the game positively on both ends of the floor.