This is by no means “breaking news,” but Hornets’ 2018 second-round pick Arnoldas Kulboka has signed with Zalgiris Kaunas, a EuroLeague team based in Kaunas, Lithuania, per Yahoo! Sports’ Keith Smith.
Arnoldas Kulboka, whose NBA draft rights are retained by the Charlotte Hornets, has agreed to sign with Zalgiris in his native Lithuania. 22-year old Kulboka was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft by Charlotte.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 15, 2020
Kulboka makes the move to Zalgiris after playing with RETAbet Bilbao Basket of Spain’s Liga ACB last season, where he averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game. He posted a 38.5 FG% and a 34.9 3PT% while hitting 87.1% of his free throws.
Hornets fans have been awaiting the arrival of the 22-year-old Lithuanian forward, who has played in the past two Summer League tournaments with the team. He’s had a few good games during his two trips to Las Vegas, but otherwise he’s developing pretty slowly. His signing of this contract signals that it’s unlikely Kulboka will be coming to Charlotte any time soon, but he could continue participating in Summer League.
If Kulboka isn’t going to be with the Hornets, it’s nice that he’s going back to his home country of Lithuania. A lot of European players just don’t make the leap to the NBA, and that is fine. Mitch Kupchak (and the rest of the NBA) had to have known that Kulboka staying in Europe was a possibility, or else he would’ve been drafted higher than 55th.
Good luck to Kulboka as he continues to grow his game in the highly-competitive EuroLeague, and if all goes well, maybe he’ll end up in Charlotte at some point in the future.