Several players and agents suggested to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that any given Eastern Conference team would be more attractive than a comparable one from the Western Conference given the disparity between the conferences. One agent told Kennedy that players “absolutely” want to be the East and that he hopes his draft clients are taken by Eastern teams, though an executive cautioned that the presence of LeBron James might dissuade free agents from jumping out of the West. James is set to represent the East for the fifth straight time in the NBA Finals, and while we wait more than a week for tip-off, here’s more from around the NBA:
- Chad Ford of ESPN.com hears D’Angelo Russell is in the mix for the Timberwolves at No. 1, says Karl-Anthony Towns, but not necessarily Jahlil Okafor, would be a lock for the Lakers at No. 2, and also writes in his chat with readers that the Pacers and Celtics would love to move up. Ford has heard chatter among GMs that the Thunder have promised Cameron Payne they’ll take him at No. 14, but he isn’t sure just how much truth there is to that, as the ESPN scribe writes in the same piece. Sources have suggested to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that Payne has a promise from some team. Our Eddie Scarito has Payne going to the Thunder in the Hoops Rumors Mock Draft.
- UNLV shooting guard Rashad Vaughn had an especially impressive workout this past weekend, Ford observes in an Insider-only piece, and Vaughn also opened eyes in his workout Tuesday for the Heat, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Ford adds in his piece that scouts have told him that French center Alpha Kaba is willing to stay in the draft rather than withdraw by the June 15th deadline if he receives a promise from a team.
- The Bulls and Pelicans have interest in former 16th overall pick Royce White, reports Shams Charania of RealGM, though it’s not clear if they’re yet considering him for any sort of deal that would go beyond summer league.