CHICAGO - While NBA prospects are here being poked, prodded, chatted to and sized up by NBA scouts and executives, one significant member of the 2018 NBA Draft class remains an ocean away: guard Luka Doncic, who will play for Real Madrid in the Euroleague Final Four this weekend.
Even in his absence, though, Doncic created a stir when he told reporters in Europe this week that he was not sure he would be playing his final games for Real Madrid. That led to speculation that Doncic, perhaps, would not play for the team that landed the No. 2 pick in the lottery on Tuesday, the Kings - but would, instead, opt to sign a new contract and stay in Spain unless he could steer his way to a team of his choosing.
But Kings fans - and fans of any of the teams at the top of next month's draft - can breathe easy. Doncic's comments had nothing to do with Sacramento or an intention to use the threat of staying in Europe to pick his team.
"Luka has stated no particular thought on any NBA teams," his agent, Bill Duffy, on Thursday.
In other words, if Sacramento - or any team - were to draft Doncic, the location of that team would have no bearing whether he continues in Europe or comes to the NBA.
The important thing is that Doncic is still under contract with Real Madrid, and will participate in the ACB (Spanish League) playoffs next month. Duffy earlier said that Doncic would not be participating in workouts for NBA teams ahead of the draft, for much the same reason - he wants to show respect to his current teammates and team.
Doncic, remember, has been with Real Madrid since 2015, when the team made him the youngest player in franchise history at 16 years old. It would only make sense that he remain sensitive in his treatment of the organization, and put off all discussion of his NBA future until this season wraps up.