On May 11, the Italian club Virtus Bologna made good on one of its biggest goals for the 2021-22 season by beating the Turkish side Bursaspor in the EuroCup Final. As a result, the team locked down a spot in the EuroLeague next season.
Alas, Golden State Warriors draftee and former two-way player Nico Mannion — who was expected to play an important role for Virtus this season — spent most of the game watching from the bench. Mannion played all of 42 seconds in the contest, missing his only shot attempt from the floor.
That’s just the kind of year it has been for the one-time McDonald’s All-American and All Pac-12 pick.
Nevertheless, a report coming out of Europe earlier this week has indicated that Mannion continues to hold intrigue for NBA teams.
Mannion a Summer League Possibility?
According to SDNA’s George Zakkas, “multiple teams” are monitoring Mannion’s situation in Bologna with next season in mind. More immediately, though, teams around the Association are said to be considering the former Warrior for a summer league spot.
Whether or not the Dubs are one of those teams is difficult to say, but Mannion definitely showed flashes of potential during his abbreviated run with the team. Over a 10-game stretch midway through his rookie campaign in 2020-21, he averaged 8.1 points, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals per outing while making 44.4% of his triples.
Moreover, Golden State is a club that will undoubtedly be looking to fill its back-end roster spots on the cheap given that it currently has more than $171 in salary committed to just eight players for 2022-23.
If Mannion is going to make an NBA return with anyone next season, though, he’ll have to get out of the have his contract with Virtus, which runs through ’22-23. He’ll also have to show that he’s put the trials and tribulations of the current campaign behind him.
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Down & Out in Serie A
When Mannion made the call to take his game to the Italian Serie A as opposed to remaining with the Warriors, the idea was that he’d be getting more minutes, a bigger role and a better opportunity to develop. Instead, he has been beset by one issue after another.
Right off the bat, the 21-year-old’s debut with Virtus was delayed when he contracted an intestinal infection. The illness was so severe that he lost nearly 20 pounds and was hospitalized for multiple days as a result. Photos depicting Mannion’s extreme weight loss later went viral.
Although he eventually returned to the court, Mannion has also dealt with back problems, an ankle injury and a rough bout with COVID-19. In turn, he has been forced to scrap for playing time behind the likes of Milos Teodosic, Marco Belinelli and Daniel Hackett.
The year hasn’t been all bad for Mannion, though. He averaged 19.5 points and hit 7-of-14 shots from deep over a two-game run with Team Italy during FIBA World Cup qualifiers in February. And last month, he scored 18 points and added seven assists for Virtus in a game against Pesaro.