NBA personnel are keeping an eye on guard Nico Mannion, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, who says there’s a good chance the former second-round pick will end up returning to the league at some point within the next year — if not this season, then perhaps next summer.
Mannion, 21, was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft and spent his rookie season with the Warriors in 2020/21, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.3 APG in 30 games (12.1 MPG). Last summer, he returned to his home country of Italy, signing a two-year deal with Virtus Bologna that includes an NBA out.
A severe illness sidelined Mannion at the start of the 2021/22 season, but he eventually made his debut for Virtus Bologna and averaged 9.4 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game in 17 appearances (17.6 MPG) in Italy’s top league (Lega Serie A).
As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays, a report from Italian outlet Il Resto del Carlino indicated that Virtus Bologna wants to extended Mannion’s contract, and Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com has heard that the two sides are making progress on a deal that would keep the 21-year-old under contract until 2025. However, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Deveney that an extension isn’t happening for the time being.
If Mannion does sign a new deal in Italy at some point, it would likely include another out clause that allows him to explore NBA opportunities, even though his ability to sign with a team stateside is somewhat limited. The Warriors issued qualifying offers to the former Arizona Wildcat last year and this year, meaning they retain the right of first refusal if another NBA team wants to sign him, and could match any offer sheet he receives.
While Golden State controls Mannion’s NBA free agency, it’s unclear whether he’s part of the team’s future plans.
“He will get another chance in the league but it is not going to be with Golden State, or it’s unlikely that happens soon,” a rival GM told Deveney, noting that the Warriors drafted guard Ryan Rollins in June and have interest in developing training camp invitee Mac McClung.
Since Mannion was on a two-way contract in 2020/21, his qualifying offer would just be another two-way deal, so simply accepting it next year or further down the road may not be an appealing option.