The Celtics have interviewed Stanley Johnson, Justise Winslow and Willie Cauley Stein, each of whom has a strong chance to be picked within the top 10, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, taking it as a sign that the C’s, who have the No. 16 pick, plan to trade up. Of course, NBA teams line up teams and prospects for interviews at the combine, taking place this week in Chicago, so clubs don’t always get the players they want, but teams can give the league an idea of the sort of player they’d like to talk to, Murphy notes (on Twitter). There’s more on the Celtics and the draft amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:
- The Celtics also interviewed Robert Upshaw, Murphy reports in a second tweet. Upshaw’s combine measurements stood out, but in part because of the issues surrounding the University of Washington’s decision to dismiss him for a violation of team rules in January, both Chad Ford of ESPN.com and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress rank him only 30th.
- The Raptors will gauge Monty Williams‘ interest in joining their team as an assistant coach, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears (Twitter links). Still, it’s much more likely that Williams will wait for his next chance at a head coaching job, Stein adds, postulating that he could get a look from either the Nuggets or the Magic.
- Sixers prospect Dario Saric insists that his father, a key figure in reports about Saric’s career, isn’t exerting undue influence, as Saric says to Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. The 2014 No. 12 pick who’s playing overseas for Turkey’s Anadolu Efes largely avoided Sierra’s question about whether he might play with the Sixers next season, though his contract with Efes doesn’t include an escape clause until 2016. “Next season? I don’t know and I can’t speak about that because I don’t know yet the situation, how things are going to work out,” Saric said. “I can say that I’m happy here at Efes and I’m also happy that people from Philadelphia came here and want me there. That’s all I can tell you right now. I don’t have any information or any feeling regarding what could happen. I’m just focused on the rest of the season. If I stay here or if I go to the NBA, I will be happy [either way]. I don’t know what could happen this summer or next summer. Now it’s not the time to talk about that.”
This year’s crop of international players isn’t an especially deep group, and if the Celtics decide to try and strike gold by drafting a player from overseas, the team is more likely to do so in the second round, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes. Boston currently owns the No. 33 and No. 48 overall selections in the second round, and potential international targets could include Timothe Luwawu (France), Cedi Osman (Turkey), and Aleksander Vezenkov (Bulgaria), Blakley opines.
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Mirza Teletovic, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent this summer if the Nets tender him a qualifying offer worth $4,210,125, indicated that he strongly wishes to remain in Brooklyn, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily writes. “I like Brooklyn, people are great, I know the team and everyone, especially doctors, treated me great when all that happened. I really would like to stay in Brooklyn,” said Teletovic, referring to the multiple blood clots found in in his lungs in January. “I know my teammates and everything is really great. I do not know what will be, but I’ll know more in June when free agent market starts.“
- The 29-year-old forward also expressed the importance for the Nets to have continuity heading into the 2015/16 campaign, Windrem adds. “I think we had a good season, given the fact that they changed the coach and teammates,” Teletovic said. “Deron [Williams], Brook [Lopez], Joe [Johnson] and I are the only players who have not changed. I think it is important for the Nets to stay with the same system. Some changes good and some bad … but it is very difficult when there are a lot of changes.“
- Sixers draft-and-stash pick Dario Saric has impressed a number of scouts and journalists who have watched the 21-year-old Croatian play this season, Tom Moore of Calkins Media writes. Saric’s overseas contract doesn’t include a buyout provision until after the second season, so it’s unlikely that Philadelphia’s fans will see him in a Sixers jersey until the 2016/17 campaign at the earliest, Moore notes.
With Dwyane Wade‘s injury history and the lack of production from the bench, one possibility for the Heat to correct this deficiency is Celtics shooting guard Marcus Thornton, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Miami wanted to sign Thornton this past offseason, but Thornton was unable to come to terms on a buyout arrangement with Boston, Jackson notes. In 20 games for the Celtics this season, Thornton has averaged 8.2 points and is nailing 42.3% of his three-pointers. The 27-year-old is currently suffering from a small tear in his left calf and is expected to miss a few weeks of action.
Here’s more from the East:
- The deal with the Nets that garnered Boston three first round draft picks, but also required the Celtics to take back Gerald Wallace‘s bloated contract is looking better for Boston every day, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Though Boston would jump at the chance to trade Wallace and the remaining $10.1MM that he is owed for next season, the veteran is providing value as a leader and a spot defender, notes Forsberg.
- With J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert currently out for the Knicks with injuries, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been struggling with his increased minutes, but Hardaway says the pressure to make his case for more playing time in the future isn’t a factor in his struggles, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “I’m not going to hold my head. I’m not going to get frustrated,” Hardaway said. “I’ve just got to go in the gym and work on it. I’ve got to see the ball going in the basket. That’s what I’m going to do.”
- The play of Sixers‘ 2014 first-rounder Dario Saric overseas has Philadelphia’s coaches and front office excited for the future, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Saric is currently the only player in the Turkish Basketball League who is averaging at least 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, notes Pompey. “I pay attention to him [in] all the games he plays,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I’ll go and either watch a portion or all of it or highlights. We play text tag all the time. [GM] Sam [Hinkie] was just over there last week. The exciting thing is he’s ours. He will be a Philadelphia 76er and we all have to be excited about that.“
With Rockets and Timberwolves playing below the border and the Blazers scoring 111 points in the first three quarters in Denver, the NBA’s Wednesday night has been anything but normal. As the final quarter ticks away in Mexico City, let’s look at some news and notes from around the league:
- David Pick of Basketball Insiders includes Vasilije Micic (Sixers), Alex Abrines (Thunder), Davis Bertans (Spurs), Dario Saric (Sixers), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (Suns) on his list of six international draft-and-stashes who could contribute in the NBA now.
- In a chat with readers, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News calls the Mavericks‘ Jae Crowder a “keeper in this league” on a good team. Crowder will hit restricted free agency after this season, but has not really gotten an opportunity to put his skills on display thus far in his third NBA season, as Sefko adds.
- Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders provides an extensive evaluation of how the Cavaliers have handled building around their trio of stars, for this and the coming years. As Duncan points out, the Anderson Varejao extension now looks a bit riskier considering the team’s defense struggles. Duncan opines that locking up fellow big Tristan Thompson might be shrewd since the Varejao deal has limited any other options.
Dario Saric is unlikely to end up signing with the Sixers this season even as his father threatens to find a way out of the forward’s deal with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes, sources tell Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Shorr-Parks hears there’s no buyout clause in the Efes deal, so Saric couldn’t come to NBA next season, either, as he hinted he might, unless Anadolu Efes consents.
Here’s more from the east:
- Positions won’t play much into the Sixers‘ thinking when the team decides on its opening night roster, as coach Brett Brown said, notes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m not out to construct an incredibly well-balanced team,” Brown said. “If we’ve got to tilt because we’ve got a bunch of interesting wings, then that’s the way we will go. … This team is going to be fluid, as we all know.”
- Jordan Hamilton said he knows he’s working to impress not just the Raptors but for the other 29 teams, too, in case Toronto doesn’t retain his partially guaranteed contract come opening night, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Hamilton is up against Greg Stiemsma and Will Cherry, each of whom has the same $25K partial guarantee, with seemingly one regular season roster spot to go around for the three.
- There’s more talk around the Bulls that the team will give Tom Thibodeau a raise than that the coach will be on his way out of Chicago in the foreseeable future, as USA Today’s Sam Amick writes in a piece that sizes up the job security of all 30 coaches.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The father of lottery pick Dario Saric is upset about his son’s lack of playing time for Turkey’s Anadolu Efes and is threatening to end his son’s deal with the Euroleague team, David Pick of Eurobasket.com tweets. Predrag Saric said he’ll look for someone who would finance a buyout if his son, whose NBA rights belong to the Sixers, doesn’t start to see the floor soon, as he told Hrvoje Slišković of Jutarnji.hr, a outlet in Saric’s native Croatia. Dario agreed to a long-term contract with Efes shortly before the draft, one that was to keep him out of the NBA for at least this season and likely until 2016, but it’s not clear if Predrag’s agitation is a precursor to an early NBA jump, particularly since he’s advocated in the past for his son to remain in Europe. There’s more on the Sixers in our look around the league:
- There have been conflicting reports about whether Klay Thompson is asking for the maximum salary in an extension with the Warriors, but Thompson’s father says it’s indeed the max that he’s after. Mychal Thompson made his comments Monday on his own ESPNLosAngeles radio show (audio link), as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group transcribes.
- Mychal, a former Lakers player, also signaled that he’d like to see his son play for the Lakers at some point, Leung observes in the same piece.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown clarified to reporters that the team never gave a recovery timetable for Michael Carter-Williams, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Carter-Williams said yesterday that he was told when his shoulder surgery took place in May that he would be out six to nine months. Indeed, Philly’s release at the time stated that there was no timetable. Pompey and other reporters gave a two-to-four month estimate shortly after the surgery based on the way others have come back from the injury.
- Shawn Marion, who left Dallas for the Cavs this summer, still has a bitter taste in his mouth from the Mavs‘ decision to let go of Tyson Chandler soon after the team won the championship in 2011, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to defend [our title],” Marion said.
There are two remote possibilities for the Pistons to keep Greg Monroe past this season, Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press writes. The first way would be for Detroit to offer Monroe a max contract, something they have been unwilling to do thus far, Farrell notes. The second would be for coach Stan Van Gundy to convince Monroe that his future would be best served by staying with the Pistons, something that can only happen if Detroit starts winning, opines Farrell.
Here’s more from the east:
- Sixers coach Brett Brown was in Spain to check out Dario Saric, the No. 12 overall draft pick that Philadelphia acquired from the Magic in a draft night trade, Rigas Dardalis of Eurohoops.net reports. Saric won’t play in the NBA this season, but when asked what he thought of Saric’s potential, Brown said, “I think he can play [in the NBA] now! I think that in Philadelphia we are about development and about opportunity. He would look around and see a lot of fellow young players that just want a chance to play. Our whole emphasis in Philadelphia is about development and help our players. We are trying to be as good as we can be in sport science and growing up players physically and from a skill perceptive. He is an other one of our young lottery picks that we hope to grow the program with”.
- Celtics team president Rich Gotham is excited for the potential of Boston’s two first-rounders, Marcus Smart and James Young, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. “I’ve been loving Marcus Smart’s play, because he’s just tough. He goes out there and he competes. I saw James Young for the first time the other day, and I saw him stroke a couple of lefty 3-pointers from a couple feet beyond the arc and I was like, Hmmm, we could use that.”
- One single play may have led to David Blatt becoming the first European coach to make the jump to being an NBA head coach with the Cavs, and Ettore Messina becoming an assistant with the Spurs, Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News writes.
- The crew over at Basketball Insiders ran down their predictions for the Sixers 2014/15 season, and the consensus was that Philadelphia would finish fifth in the Atlantic Division and miss the playoffs yet again.
The Sixers never made a run at trading for the No. 1 pick in spite of the rumors to the contrary, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). That seems hard to believe given the volume of chatter about Philly’s supposed pursuit of Andrew Wiggins, whom the Cavs wound up taking with the top pick. Still, the Sixers wound up with Joel Embiid, who had been the front-runner to go No. 1 before he broke his foot. Philadelphia will have to wait on Embiid, who went third overall, as well as No. 12 selection Dario Saric, whose rights they obtained from the Magic. There’s news on Saric among the continuing reverberations from Thursday’s draft:
- Saric says he might come to the NBA in one year rather than two, as had been the assumption, but he’d have to discuss it with Anadolu Efes Pilson, his team in Turkey, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
- The Heat didn’t consult with LeBron James on their trade to acquire Shabazz Napier, though his affection for the former Connecticut point guard was no secret, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.
- The Thunder promised Mitch McGary that they’d draft him at No. 21, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Rumors had suggested the Hornets and Bucks instead had given him a promise. Charlotte had interest, tweets Jeff Zillgitt, but Oklahoma City snapped him up before the Hornets could take him at No. 24.
- Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Suns took at No. 27, is one or two years away from joining Phoenix, GM Ryan McDonough said, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic notes (on Twitter). No. 50 pick Alec Brown is also expected to play in Europe next season rather than sign this summer with the Suns, according to Coro.
- Undrafted Canisius guard Billy Baron is drawing interest from several teams who’d like to bring him to training camp in addition to summer league, Wojnarowski reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockets are highly interested in Patric Young, while the Hawks, Thunder and Grizzlies eye LaQuinton Ross and the Raptors, Pacers and Spurs are keen on Aaron Craft, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (All Twitter links). It’s unclear if the interest is in regard to training camp or merely summer league.
9:35pm: The trade is official, the Magic announce via press release. The Magic get Payton, and the Sixers get Saric, a 2015 second-round pick, and the 2017 first-round pick that Philadelphia sent to the Magic in the Howard/Bynum trade.
8:10pm: The Sixers are getting back the 2017 first-rounder they sent to the Magic in the four-team Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum trade, Wojnarowski tweets. Presumably, that’s the 2017 first-rounder Berger was referring to.
7:55pm: The Sixers are sending 10th overall pick Elfrid Payton to the Magic for Dario Saric, the No. 12 selection, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Orlando is sending its 2017 first-rounder, top-11 protected, to the Sixers, and that protection goes to top-eight for 2018, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The Magic will also give up a 2015 second-round pick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter).
Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe spoke to rival execs who offered up anonymous advice for Celtics GM Danny Ainge heading into tonight’s draft. “You’ve got to get Love,” said one Western Conference scout. “You could argue or suggest that you roll the dice on Andrew Wiggins being an All-Pro or Joel Embiid being the next dominant center, but you can’t argue that anybody at 6 and 17 will be better than what Kevin Love, barring injury, will be for a minimum of the next 10 years. You’re basically dealing for one of the conservatively 10 best players in basketball. You can’t turn that down.” Meanwhile, another exec says Boston should hold on to their two first-round choices. Here’s more from around the league..
- Marc Berman of the New York Post (on Twitter) hears that the Knicks have no intention of waiving Samuel Dalembert to turn their taxpayer mini midlevel exception to a full mid-level exception of $5MM. The Knicks like the shot blocker and want him on the roster this season.
- It’s hard to get read on how far Dario Saric will fall, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Several lottery teams liked him before he signed his deal in Turkey and one exec thinks that the Celtics at No. 17 is his floor.
- Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com wonders if the Tyson Chandler deal can help the Knicks hold on to Carmelo Anthony.
- A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com (on Twitter) opines that the Celtics won’t land Love today as they have a better shot of getting a deal done in-season.
- The Knicks acquired a $3,637,073 trade exception equal to the salary of Raymond Felton in Wednesday’s trade with the Mavericks. Meanwhile, the Mavs get a trade exception worth $1,536,960 from Shane Larkin’s salary.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.