Spanish ACB season ends for Lucas Nogueira, Estudiantes

Mike Stobe

The regular season in the Spanish ACB came to an end on Sunday for Lucas Nogueira and Estudiantes. What's next for Atlanta's 2013 first-round pick?

Lucas Nogueira's season in the Spanish ACB came to an end on Sunday as Estudiantes suffered a 79-71 loss to Gipuzkoa to finish 12-22. Nogueira played 16 minutes on Sunday and finished with two points, three rebounds and three blocks.

Nogueira's season was somewhat tumultuous. He began in the starting lineup but was quickly sidelined due to injury. He eventually left the team to seek a second opinion on his knee soreness which was eventually diagnosed as a severe case of tendinitis.  He missed two months while rehabbing his knees and then returned to Estudiantes to finish the season.

He eventually returned to the court and finished the season with consistent playing time. In all he played in 18 games and averaged 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 16 minutes per contest. He shot 71 percent from the field, most coming from point blank range, and converted 68 percent of his free throw attempts.

Nogueira still has one year remaining on his contract from Estudiantes but is reportedly eyeing his exit. Per a report from Encestando.es, his buyout drops from $1 million to $600,000 this offseason. His first preference is the NBA and he is expected to take part in Atlanta's summer league entry in Las Vegas.

If the Hawks decide that he needs more time to develop, then Nogueira is eyeing other European teams. Nogueira's performance in summer league will play a part in the decision but the rest of the roster makeup will likely be the deciding factor.

Atlanta will return Al Horford and Paul Millsap as starters in the frontcourt. Pero Antic's contract will become guaranteed if he is not waived before July 15. Mike Muscala spent the first part of the year in Spain but eventually signed with the Hawks and has a partially guaranteed deal for next season. Elton Brand is an unrestricted free agent while Mike Scott and Gustavo Ayon are both restricted free agents provided Atlanta issues them a qualifying offer.

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