The Rockets head into the 2013/14 season considered one of the legit contenders to come out of the Western Conference, but according to GM Daryl Morey, the Houston roster is still a work in progress.
“We’re not all the way there, we’re not a finished team,” Morey told Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. “We’re going to be experimenting. We want to be a great team by mid-April.”
In his piece, Windhorst points to Omer Asik as the Rockets’ most significant trade chip, suggesting that it wouldn’t be surprising if the club worked out a deal involving the big center prior to the trade deadline. Here are a few more items from out of the Western Conference:
- Chris Kaman was the Lakers‘ “unheralded consolation prize” after they lost out on Dwight Howard in free agency. But Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com explains why the veteran center could play a crucial role in the team’s season.
- After his seeing his role and his production decline during the last several seasons in Golden State, Andris Biedrins says he’s happy to get a “fresh start” with the Jazz, tweets Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Jazz are one of eight NBA teams carrying the maximum 20 players, meaning they’ll need to make at least five cuts before the regular season begins. However, coach Tyrone Corbin says no roster moves are imminent at this point, according to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter).
- Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic takes an extensive look at rookie guard Archie Goodwin, who the Suns hope will become a part of the team’s long-term core.
Let's round up a few links from around the Western Conference on Tuesday night:
- Despite already inking a two-year year deal with the Mavericks last month, Brandan Wright has vowed to return to the court in the upcoming season as a drastically improved player, writes Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. Wright averaged career highs in points, rebounds, blocks and minutes last season and shot nearly 60 percent from the field. At only 25, the Mavs are hoping he has finally tapped into the potential that made him a top-10 selection in 2007.
- It's been two months since he was selected with the 29th pick in the draft, but Suns rookie Archie Goodwin says his existence as a player in the NBA has yet to sink in, writes Matt Petersen of Suns.com. Goodwin, 19, was the youngest American player to declare for the draft and second youngest overall behind Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo. He was drafted by Oklahoma City and then traded twice before ending up in Phoenix, where he signed on in July.
- Despite his long list of Utah ties, Alex Jensen was added to the Jazz coaching staff on merit alone according to general manager Dennis Lindsey, writes Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune. Jensen, the reigning D-League Coach of the Year, was hired last month by Utah as a player development assistant. Before coaching in the D-League, Jensen spent four years on Rick Majerus' staff at Saint Louis University. He played for Majerus at Utah and grew up in the beehive state.
The Suns announced they've signed No. 29 overall pick Archie Goodwin. He's in line for slightly more than $1MM, as our chart of likely first-round salaries shows. Phoenix acquired the rights to the No. 29 pick from the Thunder, via the Warriors, as part of a complex draft-night trade.
Goodwin was a highly ranked recruit entering his freshman year at Kentucky in 2012, though his lone season there was something of a disappointment. The shooting guard put up 14.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, but he shot just 26.6% from three-point range. He was widely seen as a second-round prospect as the draft approached, but he sneaked into the first-round, ensuring a guaranteed contract when he signed.
Last year's 29th overall pick, Marquis Teague, was the only first-rounder to receive less than 120% of his scale amount, so it's possible Goodwin is getting less than expected, but given that he was fairly quick to sign, I don't think that's the case.
FRIDAY, 9:52pm: The Thunder confirmed their end of the trade via press release. Oklahoma City acquired the rights to Roberson (No. 26) in exchange for Archie Goodwin (No. 29) and cash (presumably the $1MM that Kawakami reported).
THURSDAY, 11:22pm: Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has the details on the Warriors' trades via Twitter. According to Kawakami, Golden State gave up $1.6MM and a 2014 second-rounder for the Wolves' 26th overall pick and Malcolm Lee. The Warriors then got $1MM from the Thunder to move back to No. 29. Finally, Golden State sent Lee and the 29th pick to the Suns for No. 30. The key takeaway here is that Lee's guaranteed 2013/14 salary is now on Phoenix's books.
9:42pm: According to Katz (via Twitter), the Warriors also sent a future second-round pick to the Wolves in order to initially grab the 26th pick.
9:17pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports now reports (via Twitter) that the Thunder have moved up to No. 26, while the Warriors will acquire OKC's No. 29 pick. According to ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman (via Twitter), Golden State bought the 26th pick from Minnesota, then sent it to the Thunder for the 29th pick and cash. The Thunder will take Andre Roberson with the 26th pick, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
9:13pm: The Timberwolves have agreed to send the No. 26 overall pick to the Warriors, according to ESPN.com's Andy Katz (via Twitter). The Wolves had previously picked up an extra first-rounder by sending their 9th overall pick to the Jazz for the 14th and 21st picks. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune first reported (via Twitter) that the Wolves appeared likely to move the 26th pick.
The Warriors have reached an agreement with the Suns that will see Golden State move back to No. 30 from No. 29, while Phoenix moves up a spot, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). The Suns will use the 29th pick to select Archie Goodwin.
We rounded up the morning updates on the draft earlier today, and passed along a few of the day's more notable draft-related rumors in their own separate posts. Now, a few more afternoon updates, with just over 24 hours to go until the 2013 draft:
- If the Thunder are able to trade up and acquire a top-five pick, their primary target figures to be Alex Len, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (via Twitter), Oklahoma City is likely dangling its two first-round picks (Nos. 12 and 29), along with Kendrick Perkins and perhaps its second-rounder (No. 32).
- The Hawks are working out Jeff Withey, Kelly Olynyk, and Grant Jerrett in Atlanta today, tweets Wojnarowski.
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News writes in his latest rumor roundup that it's appearing more and more likely that the Cavaliers will keep the first overall pick.
- Some sources believe that the Thunder won't let Deshaun Thomas get past them at No. 32 tomorrow night, according to Amico. However, many executives believe Thomas could go as high as No. 19 or as low as the mid-second-round.
- Archie Goodwin's stock appears to be slipping as tomorrow night approaches, says Amico, adding that there's an outside chance he may not even get drafted.
- The Clippers are said to be high on Allen Crabbe and it's possible he'll still be on the board at No. 25 for L.A., says Amico.
With the 2013 NBA draft just eight days away, various outlets continue to update their mock drafts, with Chris Mannix of SI.com and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com the latest experts to provide new versions of their respective mocks. Mannix and Givony actually agree on the top four – Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, and Alex Len, respectively – but starting at No. 5, their first rounds diverge significantly. Here are more of today's draft-related updates:
- Mannix's latest mock draft includes a number of interesting tidbits, including word that the Cavaliers continue to shop the first overall pick, but "have completely overvalued it," according to one executive.
- We already passed along one notable update from Chad Ford's latest chat at ESPN.com, but the entire chat was full of interesting answers, as Ford addressed nearly every first-round pick.
- C.J. McCollum and Michael Carter-Williams worked out with the Pistons today, tweets Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News.
- If Carter-Williams falls to No. 12, he'd be an ideal fit for the Thunder, says David Thorpe of ESPN.com (Insider-only link).
- The Trail Blazers worked out Mason Plumlee, Archie Goodwin, Myck Kabongo, Phil Pressey, E.J. Singler, and Dewayne Dedmon today, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (Twitter link).
- The Grizzlies, who hold three second-round picks, will work out Erick Green, Elias Harris, Brandon Davies, Jason Jones, D.J. Stephens, and Mareks Mejeris tomorrow, the team announced in a release.
- James Ennis was among the players who worked out for the Clippers today, according to the team's official site.
Up to this point, we've heard that the Cavaliers are weighing a number of options for their first overall pick. Assuming they don't trade the pick, it's possible the Cavs could select Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Alex Len, or Anthony Bennett. Previous reports have suggested Cleveland isn't tipping its hand, but Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is hearing that Len appears to be the frontrunner for that No. 1 spot (Twitter link)
As we wait to see whether Smith is right, or whether the Cavs' top choice turns out to be someone else 10 days from now, let's round up a few draft items….
- Gorgui Dieng and Nate Wolters are among the prospects scheduled to work out with the Knicks tomorrow, according to the team's PR Twitter account.
- Wolters is also among the six prospects working out for the Bucks today, per Milwaukee's PR department (Twitter link).
- Archie Goodwin has workouts lined up with three Western teams, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (via Twitter): The Jazz, Kings, and Trail Blazers.
- With three second-round picks in hand, the Blazers brought in a handful of potential targets for those picks today, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com tweets.
- The Wizards will work out a number of international prospects later this week, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
- Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld identifies a few of the players he thinks will be steals in this year's draft.
It's tough when you dominate at your college, but fail to see any interest from the professional ranks. That's what Santa Clara's all-time leading scorer, Kevin Foster, is facing as he prepares to possibly be snubbed later this month in the draft.
Foster told the San Jose Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka "it would be a dream come true" to play for the Warriors, who are so close to his adopted hometown. Foster participated in a predraft workout with six other hopefuls including five guards this morning.
Even after workouts with the Rockets and Bucks, Foster said the Warriors are his "preference" because of their locale, but followed that up by saying, "I just want to get drafted somewhere." Here are some more notes surrounding the upcoming draft.
- Former Temple guard, Khalif Wyatt, worked out for the Sixers today, writes Keith Pompey at the Philadelphia Inquirer. But what wasn't reported was that Wyatt was joined by Shane Larkin, DeShaun Thomas and Glen Rice Jr. in the unannounced workout.
- Tom Moore of Phillyburbs.com notes that Wyatt spent six weeks at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, eating better and getting stronger while dropping from 223 lbs. to 210 on his 6'4" frame.
- Keith Schlosser of SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside breaks down the intriguing prospects at the NBA's only 2012 National D-League Tryout next Saturday.
- The Jazz had a big day of workouts highlighted by Gonzaga University center Kelly Olynyk, writes the Salt Lake Tribune's Bill Oram, but it's his connection to Hall of Famer John Stockton, who is also a Gonzaga alum, that made the workout so enjoyable.
- The Salt Lake Tribune's Steve Luhm said the Jazz also worked out three other likely first round selections today: Gorgui Dieng, Rudy Gobert, and Jamaal Franklin (Twitter).
- About Franklin, SB Nation's Mountain West Connection profiled the San Diego State shooting guard.
- Oram said the Jazz will work out Will Clyburn, Robert Covington, Troy Daniels, Rodney McGruder, E.J. Singler and Adonis Thomas tomorrow (Twitter).
- Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic said the Suns worked out Steven Adams, Lorenzo Brown, Myck Kabongo, Mike Muscala, Alex Oriakhi and Brandon Paul today (Twitter)
- Nerlens Noel was featured in a courtside report video by Monumental Network.
- The Knicks will work out Archie Goodwin, Jordan Henriquez, Trent Lockett, Dejan Musli, Stan Okoye and Josiah Turner on Monday, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley (Twitter).
- Sportando.net reports Janis Timma will work out with five NBA teams before the draft and then head to the Las Vegas. After the draft, he may play in the NBA's summer league.
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel profiled 6'6" Providence prospect, Ricky Ledo, who is receiving interest from NBA teams after workouts despite being deemed ineligible to play as a freshman for the Friars.
With the 2013 draft less than two weeks away, the majority of the NBA's teams are continuing to bring in prospects to get a closer look at them. Here are the latest updates on draft workouts:
- In addition to Michael Carter-Williams, who we heard about yesterday, Trey Burke and Alex Len also participated in the Pelicans' first draft workout today, tweets Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.
- The Pistons won't start working out players for the No. 8 pick until next week, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that Mason Plumlee will work out for the club next Friday.
- The six players scheduled to work out for the Nets on Monday include C.J. Leslie and Tony Mitchell, according to a team release.
- Ray McCallum, Brandon Paul, Tony Snell, Nate Wolters, Jack Cooley, and Zeke Marshall worked out for the Trail Blazers today, according to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (Twitter link).
- The Timberwolves will work out six players on Sunday, according to the team's PR Twitter account: Shabazz Muhammad, Archie Goodwin, Rodney Williams, James Ennis, Kyle Barone, and Jamelle Hagins (Twitter links).
- Brandon Davies, Mike Muscala, Elijah Johnson, B.J. Young, Grant Jerrett, and Colton Iverson worked out for the Clippers today, tweets Clips reporter Madelyn Burke.
- Jerrett and Davies are also among the players who will work out for the Jazz tomorrow, along with Snell, Gorgui Dieng, Jamaal Franklin, Isaiah Canaan, and Kelly Olynyk, among others (link via Utah's official site).