Zalgiris Kaunas and center Joffrey Lauvergne reached a new agreement to extend their contract for one more season, with an option for the 2022-23 campaign, the club announced on Thursday. Lauvergne (2.11 meters, 29 years old) is averaging 11.6 points on 61.5% two-point shooting and 5.8 rebounds in 21 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games so far this season. On a per-40-minute basis, Lauvergne ranks 13th overall in PIR (24.4), 15th in scoring (21.6) and seventh in rebounds (10.8). He earned MVP of the Week honors once, getting a career bests of 29 points and a 38 PIR against Khimki Moscow Region. In that game, he made 13 of 14 two-point shots (92.8%), which ranks second all-time for two-point accuracy in a EuroLeague game. Lauvergne joined Zalgiris from Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, where he averaged 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 19 EuroLeague games in the 2019-20 season. It was his second campaign for Fenerbahce, with whom he won two Turkish Cup titles.
Lauvergne started his career with the French youth institute CFBB/INSEP before playing with Elan Chalon for three full seasons, winning the 2012 French League trophy and 2011 and 2012 French National Cups. During the 2012-13 season, he made his EuroLeague debut and also played for Valencia Basket of Spain and Partizan Belgrade. He played in the EuroLeague in 2013-14 with Partizan and led the EuroLeague in rebounding while also winning the 2013 Adriatic League crown and the 2013 and 2014 Serbian League titles. The following season Lauvergne played for Khimki in the EuroCup and then went to the NBA for three-plus seasons, playing for Denver, Oklahoma City, Chicago and San Antonio. Lauvergne is also a French national team member, having won gold at EuroBasket 2013 and bronzes at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 and EuroBasket 2015.
"We are delighted to have Joffrey coming back. He's a vital part of our team and our club. His qualities on the floor are obvious, but what he shows off of it is just as important. The combination of the two is why we wanted to extend his stay in Kaunas. He identifies with the club, he's a great teammate, and putting all that next to his immense basketball skills, it makes it a no-brainer for us," Zalgiris head coach Martin Schiller said after the agreement. "The fact that he signed so early is also a good sign on its own, as it shows that he trusts the program and likes what he sees here."