Draft Workouts: Jazz, English, Pacers, Pistons

The Jazz, armed with four picks in this year’s draft, are doing plenty of due diligence in the weeks leading up to June 23rd, and will bring in six more prospects for workouts tomorrow. According to the team (via Twitter), the following players will participate in that workout: Bryn Forbes (Michigan State), Max Landis (IPFW), Trevor Cooney (Syracuse), Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette), Kenny Gaines (Georgia), and Pascal Siakam (New Mexico State).

Utah is hardly the only NBA team bringing in prospects for pre-draft workouts, so let’s round up a few more updates from around the league…

  • Former Iona guard A.J. English has a pair of workouts for Eastern Conference teams lined up this week, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, who writes that English will get a look from the Wizards on Wednesday and the Knicks on Thursday.
  • Thon Maker‘s previously-reported workout with the Pacers will take place on Wednesday, and the seven-footer will be joined by five other players, according to Zagoria (Twitter link). Jake Layman (Maryland), Retin Obasohan (Alabama), Shavon Shields (Nebraska), Fred VanVleet (Wichita State), and Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV) will also participate in the workout.
  • Zagoria provides a couple more workout updates, tweeting that Manhattan’s Jermaine Lawrence will work out for the Warriors on June 6th, while his college teammate Shane Richards works out for the Nets on Wednesday.
  • Yogi Ferrell (Indiana), Ron Baker (Wichita State), Derrick Jones (UNLV), Thomas Walkup (Stephen F. Austin), and Marcus Paige (UNC) worked out for the Pistons on Tuesday, tweets Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Ferrell’s participation had been previously reported. Meanwhile, per Ellis (Twitter link), Tobias Harris‘ brother Tyler Harris also was a part of Detroit’s workout — the younger Harris played college ball for N.C. State, Providence, and Auburn.

Southwest Notes: D’Antoni, Bzdelik, Pera, Maker

The Rockets finished the paperwork for new coach Mike D’Antoni today and are reportedly close to hiring Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen adds that some contract “language” is holding up the deal for Bzdelik, who is expected to run the defense under D’Antoni. Houston will hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to introduce D’Antoni. (Twitter link).

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • D’Antoni will begin to make decisions about his staff, Calvin Watkins posts on ESPN NowGreg Buckner and T.R. Dunn are two of former coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s assistants who are waiting to hear if they will be retained.
  • D’Antoni arrived in Houston earlier today and had kind words for his new bosses and players, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26. On owner Leslie Alexander: “He’s been voted a few times the best owner in the NBA. He continues to be that.” (Twitter link). On GM Daryl Morey: “[He] does an unbelievable job. I’m happy to be able to hopefully assist in it and be a part of it and try to get the job done.” (Twtter link). On James Harden: “He’s one of the biggest threats, period. Just a great player. So really looking forward to it.” (Twitter link).
  • Grizzlies owner Robert Pera took an instant liking to new coach David Fizdale during his job interview, according to David Williams of The Commercial Appeal. “I asked him what his goals were for the team, and he didn’t say, ‘Hey, I want to finish in the Top 10’ or anything,” Pera related. “He said ‘Championship.’ … That was one. The second is, as soon as we gave him the job, he’s heading out to the players. He’s visiting [Mike] Conley. He’s setting up meetings.”
  • Nineteen-year-old center Thon Maker may be a good draft gamble for the Spurs, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Maker was once projected as a lottery pick, but his stock has fallen because of his unstable high school background and because coaches haven’t seen him play against quality competition. He is now projected to go late in the first round or early in the second round, and the Spurs might consider him too tempting to pass up with the 29th pick.

Latest On Kevin Durant’s Free Agency

League insiders believe the second-round win over the Spurs was enough to keep Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. In a video, Marks says the most likely scenario is for Durant to sign a one-year deal with the Thunder worth about $25.9MM that includes a player option for 2017/18.

Next summer, Durant will have 10 years of NBA experience and will become a Tier Three Max player, which means Oklahoma City could offer him more than $200MM over five seasons. If Durant opts for a long-term deal this offseason, OKC can offer five years at about $145MM. Risks involved in choosing a single-season deal are Durant’s injury history and the possibility of a new collective bargaining agreement next year that would shake up the league’s salary structure. Marks lists the Spurs, Heat, Celtics and Warriors as teams expected to make a run at Durant, while ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter) adds the Rockets, Knicks, Lakers, and Wizards to that list.

Durant told Sam Amick of USA Today that he was able to push the free agency issue aside and concentrate fully on every playoff game. “If this would have happened four years ago, I would have been everywhere – my mind would have been everywhere,” he said. “So I’m happy that I was able to focus and lock in and give my all to my team every single night.” Whether it’s a clue to his decision or not, Durant later added, “I see bright things for this team. And it’s great to be a part of it.”

San Antonio, Miami and Golden State are the top contenders if Durant decides to go elsewhere, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Isola contends the Knicks could be helped if Durant opts for a one-year contract because it gives them another season to improve, along with another year of growth for rookie Kristaps Porzingis.

The Knicks hurt their case when they fired coach Derek Fisher, Durant’s former teammate, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Two advantages they have are that Carmelo Anthony, who has a good relationship with Durant, wants to be part of the recruitment process, and that Durant’s father is a longtime fan of the Knicks. However, New York assistant Brian Keefe, who was Durant’s workout partner in Oklahoma City, reportedly won’t be part of Jeff Hornacek’s new staff.

The odds against Durant signing with the Heat are even greater than they were against LeBron James coming to Miami in 2010, argues Ethan Skolnick of The Miami Herald. Skolnick writes that team president Pat Riley’s best chance is to sell Durant on the possibility of winning a championship with the Heat. However, the 55-win Thunder are also serious title contenders, Durant doesn’t have a close relationship with any of the Miami players like James did with Dwyane Wade and the new restrictions on sign-and-trade deals make it more difficult for players to recoup whatever money they give up to sign with another team.

Durant and the Clippers could both change their postseason fortunes if they unite, writes Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Woike notes that L.A. won’t have the money to pursue the OKC star because two thirds of its cap room is tied up in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but he argues that it might be worth trading one of those three to create the room to sign Durant.

Durant’s friendship with James Harden and the addition of an offensive-minded coach in Mike D’Antoni give the Rockets a least a fighting chance of landing Durant, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. In addition, Rex Kalamian, who may join D’Antoni’s staff, coached both Harden and Durant when he was an assistant with the Thunder.

Grizzlies Introduce David Fizdale As Coach

David Fizdale plans a full-court press to keep Mike Conley in Memphis, relays Tom Schad of The Commercial Appeal. The free agent point guard was among many topics Fizdale addressed this afternoon as he was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Grizzlies. “I’ve spoken to Mike Conley,” Fizdale said. “We had a fantastic conversation, a very energized, open conversation and an honest conversation. He’s going to get sick of me, because I’m going to follow him. I’m going to just follow him everywhere he goes. I’m going to hound him and teach him and collaborate with him and make him feel a part of this thing in a way that only a guy like [Dwyane] Wade can feel, in Miami. That’s my approach with him. I see him being a big part of this thing for a long time.” Fizdale worked with Wade during eight years as an assistant coach with the Heat.

Fizdale was hired from a crowded field of candidates that included Spurs assistants James Borrego and Ettore Messina, Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing, Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik and Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts. Memphis also spoke to ex-Pacers coach Frank Vogel, who was the only one other than Fizdale to meet with Grizzlies owner Robert Pera. Fizdale called their session a “fantastic meeting” and said he and Pera have similar philosophies about the game. “We speak the same language,” the new coach said. “He’s about culture. He’s about leadership. He’s about allowing people to do their work, hiring talent and empowering them to do their work. Growth mindset, big-time, like he’s so open-minded to stuff and innovative.”

Fizdale added that he’s in no hurry to put together his staff. It’s not certain if any of former coach Dave Joerger’s assistants will be retained. “We’re going to be very patient and methodical and we’re going to work very closely on this,” Fizdale said, “because I really want input so that we all feel good about this.”

Fizdale doesn’t mind inheriting a veteran team, writes David Williams of The Commercial Appeal. The Grizzlies are among the NBA’s oldest squads and are built around a foundation of Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, who have all been in the league for at least eight seasons. “My most proudest moments of development aren’t with the young guys,” Fizdale said. “It’s with the older guys. We just believed that our old guys could always get better, to have a growth mindset about everyone. If you look at Dwyane Wade, he’s constantly evolved. … LeBron James evolved and developed underneath us. Chris Bosh never shot a 3-point shot — and all of the sudden he’s one of the most deadly 3-point shooting 5 men in the league.”

2015/16 D-League Usage Report: Sixers

The NBA’s relationship with the D-League continues to grow, and this season a total of 19 NBA teams had one-to-one affiliations with D-League clubs. Those NBA organizations without their own affiliates were required to assign players to D-League clubs associated with other NBA franchises. D-League teams could volunteer to take on the assigned players, and if no volunteers emerged, the players were assigned at random.

This significant change from the 2014/15 season came about after the Pacers purchased the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and turned them into their one-to-one partner for the 2015/16 campaign. Other NBA teams have interest in following suit in the years ahead, and the NBA’s ultimate goal for the D-League is for all 30 NBA franchises to have their own D-League squads. You can view the complete list of D-League affiliates here.

We at Hoops Rumors are recapping the D-League-related activity for the 2015/16 campaign for each team and we’ll continue with the Philadelphia 76ers, whose D-League affiliate is the Delaware 87ers:


The Sixers made 6 assignments for the 2015/16 season, sending four players to the D-League for a total of 86 days. Listed below are all the assignments and recalls made by Philadelphia for the 2015/16 campaign:


Here’s how Philadelphia’s players performed while on assignment to the D-League this season:

  • Carl Landry: Landry was sent to the D-League for rehab purposes and did not appear in any games.
  • Kendall Marshall: Marshall was sent to the D-League for rehab purposes and did not appear in any games.
  • Christian Wood: In 32 appearances Wood averaged 17.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 28.8 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .529/.253/.707.
  • Tony Wroten: Wroten was sent to the D-League for rehab purposes and did not appear in any games.

Western Notes: Durant, Nedovic, Warriors

Kevin Durant, fresh off the Thunder being eliminated by Golden State in the playoffs, said it was too soon for him to start thinking about where he will be playing next season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays. “I mean, we just lost like 30 minutes ago, so I haven’t even thought about it,” Durant, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, said. “I’m just embracing my teammates and just reflecting on the season. I’ll think about that stuff, I don’t know when. But we just lost an hour ago, 30 minutes ago, so I don’t know.

There’s no moral victories in our locker room after the game,” a frustrated Durant continued. “We’re all upset. We wanted to get a chance to play for a championship in the Finals, so that hurts. But when you sit down and look back at what happened throughout the season, you can be proud of not just the players, but everybody in the organization, from the top to the bottom, people that you guys don’t know or ever see contribute to what we bring out on the court. That’s just pride, effort, passion, love for the game. Pure love for the game every single night, and that comes from just walking into our practice facility every single day and feeling those vibes and feeling that energy from everyone. I’m just proud of what we’ve all been through this season. We stuck together and we sacrificed for each other. That’s just what makes this game so special.

Here’s the latest from out West:

  • Former Warriors point guard Nemanja Nedovic inked a two-year contract extension to remain with the Spanish club Unicaja Malaga, the team announced (translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). The 24-year-old former first-rounder last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 campaign. Nedovic had given up $599,760 of his $1.104MM guaranteed salary in a buyout deal to secure his release from Golden State after he had grown unhappy with his lack of playing time.
  • Golden State has been rumored to be “significant” frontrunners for Durant should he leave the Thunder this summer, and current Warriors forward Andre Iguodala noted that it would be entertaining to play alongside the “Slim Reaper,” Jimmy Durkin of The Mercury News relays. He made some really tough shots, which is what I expected,” Iguodala said of Durant. “He’s a fighter and competitor and fought to the end. It must be fun playing with a guy like that. Unless I’m not playing with him.” Of course, the rub for Iguodala is that it would be extremely difficult for the team to retain him and his 2016/17 salary of $11,131,368 and sign Durant to a max deal. This is regardless of whether or not Golden State retains restricted free agents Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, though keeping both would make adding Durant virtually impossible without some significant corresponding roster moves.
  • Speculating on Durant’s impending free agency, ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links) noted that many league insiders predict the forward will ink a two-year deal to remain with the Thunder that includes an opt-out after the first season. The scribe lists the Wizards, Heat, Celtics, Rockets, Knicks, Lakers, Spurs and Warriors as the teams expected to make the most aggressive pitches for Durant this summer.

Following Specific Players On Hoops Rumors

Hoops Rumors lets you keep up with your favorite teams as they plot their moves, and we also provide ways to easily follow the latest on all of your favorite players and trade candidates. You can get news about players wherever you go with our Trade Rumors app, available for iOS and Android devices. The app is free and allows you to add a feed for any player and set up notifications that will alert you whenever we write about him.

Every player we’ve written about has his own rumors page. You can find any player by using our search box (located in the right sidebar); by clicking his tag at the bottom of a post in which he’s discussed; or, by simply typing his name in your address bar after hoopsrumors.com, substituting dashes for spaces. For example, Kevin Durant’s page is hoopsrumors.com/kevin-durant.

You can also set up an RSS feed for any of our player pages by adding /feed to the end of the page URL, like this: hoopsrumors.com/bismack-biyombo/feed. Entering that URL into the reader of your choice should enable you to get updates whenever we write about Bismack Biyombo. It works for teams, too. If you’re a Raptors fan, you can enter hoopsrumors.com/toronto-raptors/feed into your reader and stay on top of all the latest from Toronto.

In addition to players and teams, there are a number of other subjects you can track by clicking on the tags that we use at the bottom of posts. You can keep tabs on news related to the draft right here. Items about the salary cap can be found on this page. You can simply scan our top stories here. Again, you can set up a feed with any of these pages by adding /feed to the end of the URL.

Atlantic Notes: DeRozan, Carlesimo, Whitehead

Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but judging by his comments made after Toronto was eliminated from the postseason, the shooting guard prefers to remain in Toronto, Scott Stinson of The National Post writes. When asked pointedly if there was a better place in the league for him than Toronto, DeRozan told the media, “I don’t think so. My mindset has always been Toronto. I always preached it. I was passionate about it when we was losing. When we was terrible, I said I’m going to stick through this whole thing and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don’t want to switch up after we win.

DeRozan also noted that he feels like he has unfinished business in Toronto and expressed his desire to bring a title to the team and its fans, Stinson relays. “I feel like I really haven’t done anything, to be honest,” DeRozan said. “I’m just telling you the God-honest truth, I really feel like I haven’t did anything. It’s still so much to be done. Still so much.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown said that P.J. Carlesimo declined the offer to become Philly’s lead assistant because of his family ties to the west coast, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “As we talked, he felt like he couldn’t make the move and I respect it, knowing him like I know him,” Brown said.  “It didn’t surprise me. He’s got two young boys, one’s in high school. They are on the West Coast. Maybe if I was the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, the distance would have been palatable.”
  • Former Knicks coach and current broadcaster Hubie Brown believes it will take much more than new coach Jeff Hornacek to turn around the franchise, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “The hiring of anybody taking over a bad team that has limited talent and needs definite additions at key positions, you have to be lucky and fortunate that the players who are there can buy into the system and give it 100 [percent] every single night,’’ Brown told Berman. “I would expect he comes in and gets that. I know they’ll be more accountable. That’s key anytime you comes into a bad situation. You’re not going anywhere without accountability.’’
  • The Knicks have a pre-draft workout scheduled on June 4th for former Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead, Ian Begley of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). Whitehead s a projected second-rounder, coming in at No. 56 overall in the top 100 of Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.

Poll: 2016 Community Mock Draft (Pick No. 9)

The results of the 2016 NBA Draft lottery are in and the Sixers finally landed the elusive No. 1 overall pick after missing out the past two seasons. Now that the exact draft order is locked in, teams can begin targeting specific players who are likely to still be on the board when it is their time to choose. Drafting players is far from an exact science, and many a GM has been second-guessed for his draft night decisions. I’m willing to bet that every team executive has at least one pick that he would like a mulligan for. We at Hoops Rumors thought it would be fun to give our readers the chance to predict the results of this June’s draft, which is what we intend to do with a series of polls.

We’ll continue on with the Raptors, who may need to replace DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo next season. Readers, you are now on the clock! Cast your vote for Toronto’s pick and check back Wednesday for the results, as well as to cast your vote for who the Bucks will select with the No. 10 overall pick. But don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the No. 9 overall pick and why you voted the way that you did.

Previous Selections

  1. Sixers — Ben Simmons (LSU)
  2. Lakers — Brandon Ingram (Duke)
  3. Celtics — Dragan Bender (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
  4. Suns — Jaylen Brown (California)
  5. Timberwolves — Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
  6. Pelicans — Kris Dunn (Providence)
  7. Nuggets — Jamal Murray (Kentucky)
  8. Kings — Henry Ellenson (Marquette)

David Blatt To Coach Overseas

Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt is heading back overseas after agreeing to a deal to become the head coach of the Turkish club Darussafaka, international journalist David Pick reports (Twitter links). The exact parameters of the deal are unknown, but Pick notes that it will be a long-term contract that will pay Blatt in the range of $1.7MM-$2MM per season.

Blatt’s tenure in Cleveland was a difficult one, with the team apparently not buying in to what the former coach was selling. He notched a solid record of 83-40 in the regular season and 14-6 in the playoffs during his season and a half in charge of the Cavs, a team possessing the highest of expectations. LeBron James returned to Cleveland from his time with the Heat just weeks after the Cavs hired Blatt, and that drastically changed the nature of the job, which became a win-or-else proposition as the team moved away from rebuilding and positioned itself to win immediately. The team’s seeming lack of chemistry under Blatt was one of the major contributing factors that led to his dismissal in January.

The 57-year-old was mentioned as a candidate for the vacant head coaching posts of the Knicks, Rocket, Kings and Lakers prior to those posts being filled, plus he was also rumored to be a target of Spanish power FC Barcelona.

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