Greece's Olympiacos has won its second straight Euroleague title, and at least one of the club's players seems to be drawing trade interest from NBA teams. Rigas Dardalis of EuroHoops.net writes that Kostas Papanikolaou, who received the Euroleague's Rising Star award, has received interest from the Spurs, Mavericks, and Knicks, among other teams.
Papanikolaou was selected by the Knicks 48th overall in the second round of the 2012 draft, but was sent to the Trail Blazers in the deal that brought Raymond Felton to New York. Although Portland currently holds Papanikolaou's rights, the small forward doesn't seem to be in the team's immediate plans, given the presence of Nicolas Batum and Victor Claver on the roster, according to Dardalis.
The Blazers are expected to be involved in free agency this summer as the team looks to upgrade its bench, but with plenty of cap space and four draft picks, Portland should also have plenty of worthwhile assets at its disposal in addition to Papanikolaou's rights, if the club decides to explore the trade market.
The Dallas Morning News
relayed some quotes from Mavericks
beat writer Eddie Sefko today, from his appearance on 1310 AM The Ticket. Regarding O.J. Mayo
, Sefko doesn't think that the Mavs will make an offer "too far north of the mid-level exception" and estimates a reasonable offer to be close to around a four-year deal at around $30MM. He also thinks that Mayo's starting offers will be for the mid-level exception. As for Brandan Wright
, Sefko believes that retaining the 6'9 big man as a reserve in addition to finding a starting center would help shore up their rotation at the five spot. Here are a few more miscellaneous notes out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Fresh off of his 16-point, 12-rebound, and six assists performance against Oklahoma City, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley isn't fazed at all by the playoff atmosphere, crediting the hostile environment from his experiences in Europe for his ability to handle the pressure now (Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets writes): “It’s different here. You have cities versus cities, states versus states. There, it’s countries against countries. I’ve played in games and got hit in the face with quarters, played with my face bleeding. I’ve played in hostile environments a lot. The first round of the playoffs I can deal with.”
- Max Ogden of Sheridan Hoops gives an update on Kostas Papanikolaou, the 48th selection of last year's NBA draft by the Knicks whose draft rights were later traded to the Trail Blazers. The 22-year-old forward has continued his progression for the defending Euroleague champion Olympiacos.
- NBA commissioner David Stern commended the Rockets for how they handled Royce White's situation, saying "we'll see what happens" with regard to White's future (Reid Laymance of Ultimate Rockets).
- This NBA.com article focuses on Andre Miller, who at age 37 is leading the third-seeded Nuggets in his quest to get out of the first round for the first time in nine playoff appearances.
We've been hearing plenty about the Lakers' possible interest in Raja Bell today, but he remains on the Jazz roster even though he's been estranged from the team all season. Tonight, Utah welcomed back another player they hadn't used this year, as Earl Watson made his return from a right knee injury he suffered in the middle of last season. One of the Jazz's division rivals could be without a key offseason acquisition longer than they originally thought, and we've got more on that as well as the rest of the night's news from the Northwest.
- Wolves coach Rick Adelman indicated Chase Budinger will be out longer than the initial projection of three months, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). "He tells me he'll be back in March, so we'll see," Adelman said.
- There's a "very good chance" the Blazers, who acquired the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou from the Knicks in the Raymond Felton deal, will bring the 6'8" power forward to Portland next year, reports Jason Quick of The Oregonian. Quick notes that Papanikolaou is leading the Euroleague in three-point percentage (Twitter links).
- The Jazz are taking more three-pointers than they have in the last 10 years, thanks in large part to offseason signees Randy Foye, Marvin Williams and Mo Williams, observes Jody Genessey of the Deseret News. It's also because of the improved perimeter game of impending free agent Paul Millsap, Genessey points out.
THURSDAY, 1:42pm: Mark Deeks of ShamSports clarifies that Felton's deal with the Knicks is for four years and about $14.86MM, with a fourth-year player option.
MONDAY, 4:13pm: The trade is official, according to a Blazers press release. The Knicks receive Felton and Thomas, while the Blazers get Jeffries, Gadzuric, Papanikolaou, Printezis, cash, and a 2016 second-round pick. As ESPN.com's John Hollinger points out (via Twitter), the Knicks can't be sending more than $1MM to Portland, since they already sent $2MM to Houston in the Marcus Camby deal.
A few more details of the swap, courtesy of Jason Quick of the Oregonian and Howard Beck of the New York Times: The Blazers will acquire Jeffries, Gadzuric, Papanikolaou, and Georgios Printezis
, and cash from the Knicks, with New York also paying for Jeffries' 2012/13 salary, which appears to be for the veteran's minimum (Twitter links
). Felton, meanwhile, will earn $10.5MM on his three-year deal (Twitter link
SUNDAY, 11:37am: According to a tweet from the Oregonian's Jason Quick, the Knicks might be sending Kostas Papanikolaou to Portland along with an undetermined amount of cash to help pay Jared Jeffries' $3.1MM salary. Papanikolaou is a Greek forward who was selected by New York in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft.
SATURDAY, 9:53pm: The Knicks are set to acquire Raymond Felton from the Trail Blazers in a sign-and-trade deal, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Blazers will sign Felton to a three-year, $10MM contract prior to completing the trade. Forward Kurt Thomas will be joining Felton in New York as the Knicks will send Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric and a 2016 second round pick to Portland to round out the deal.
In addition to receiving Thomas and Felton from the Trail Blazers, the Knicks will also acquire the rights to two players currently in Europe. The Knicks now face the decision of matching the Rockets' offer sheet to Jeremy Lin or allowing the former Harvard star to leave for Houston as Felton becomes New York's latest starting point guard.
The acquisition of Felton will provide the Knicks with a seemingly cheaper alternative to Lin as the third year of his offer sheet from the Rockets was designed to be cost prohibitive. While it appeared Lin was destined to return to the Knicks regardless of price, the Knicks may simply not believe that the 23-year-old is worth the money being offered to him by the Houston. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News suggests that Lin may not even want to play in New York, which would be reason enough for the Knicks to reconsider making such a heft investment in the young guard (via Twitter).
Felton, 28, enjoyed success with the Knicks during his first stop with the team during the 2010/11 season before being trade to the Nuggets as part of a package to acquire Carmelo Anthony. The former Tar Heels star averaged 17.1 PPG and 9.0 APG in 54 starts with the Knicks under then head coach Mike D'Antoni's tutelage. Felton's play fell off after landing in Denver and continued to struggle when he was traded to the Trail Blazers after the 2010/11 season. His time in Portland saw the veteran guard average a career-low 11.4 PPG as he started nearly all of his team's games.
For the Trail Blazers, receiving anything for Felton, an unrestricted free agent, serves as an added benefit for the franchise as it crafts a new identity. Look for Portland to waive Gadzuric and use Jeffries as a defensive specialist off the bench.
While the Bulls will be involved in free agency, expect the team to take a more casual approach, says Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to Hayes, Bulls GM Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson figure to be mostly spectators during the "fast-and-furious" portion of free agency. The team will still explore possibilities, but those possibilities are more likely to come at the back end of free agency than the front end.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA, as we count down to free agency....
- Discussing the Timberwolves' rumored interest in Pau Gasol, Brian Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com says it's far too early for the Lakers to settle for less than full value for Gasol.
- Knicks GM Glen Grunwald isn't exactly sure how the first free agent period under the new CBA will play out, but he figures to be patient in the negotiations for Jeremy Lin, letting the market set Lin's price, says Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- The agent for Kostas Papanikolaou, the Knicks' second-round pick on Thursday, expects his client to play in New York in 2013/14, according to Berman.
- The Pistons will monitor the free agent market, but are unlikely to make a big splash, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Raptors, meanwhile, will be aggressive but not reckless in free agency, according to Eric Koreen of the National Post.
Well, we're here. After weeks of following draft rumors and speculating on which player will be picked by which team, we're just hours away from the 2012 draft. Before things get underway tonight though, we're sure to hear plenty more draft rumors, so be sure to follow this page for the latest updates throughout the day. And to fully immerse yourself in tonight's draft, you can also check out our most recent mock draft, the complete draft order, our Prospect Profiles series, and all the rest of our draft content. Here are today's updates, with the latest up top:
- The Kings and Warriors will make decisions on whether to trade their picks while they're on the clock, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports says (Twitter link).
- It's highly unlikely the Grizzlies use the 25th pick on a point guard, the Memphis Commercial Appeal tweets.
- The Grizzlies, Rockets and Celtics are all interested in Royce White, says Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The Warriors may trade up from No. 30 to land him, Rothstein also tweets.
- The Bobcats are "getting closer" to trading the No. 2 pick, tweets ESPN.com's Andy Katz (hat tip to Tom Ziller of SBNation).
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets the Rockets aren't as close to a deal with the Kings for the fifth pick as an earlier report suggested (see below). Sam Amick of SI.com agrees, as has the Kings taking Harrison Barnes at No. 5 in his latest mock.
- The Warriors will likely keep the No. 7 pick after talks with the Rockets broke down, says Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, via Twitter.
- Part of the reason the Celtics are trying to move up into the lottery is because they'd like to draft Austin Rivers, son of coach Doc Rivers, Sam Amick of SI.com reports (Sulia link). Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN.com say the team is pessimistic about its chances to get Rivers (Twitter link).
- If the Warriors trade down to No. 12 or lower, the team would consider Moe Harkless, tweets Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.
- Thomas Robinson appears to be the preferred target of the Kings, who will wait as long as possible to decide whether to trade the No. 5 pick, Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com report. If they do trade it, the Rockets are "in position" to acquire that pick, the report says. Stein and Ford suggest that means the Kings are in line to get even more thanKyle Lowry and a package of first-rounders if the deal is done.
- Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group hears the Warriors will take Dion Waiters at No. 7 if he's there.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer passes on the latest on the Cavs' interest in Waiters and more from around the draft.
- Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider link) and Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com have updated their mock drafts, both of which cover all 60 picks.
- The Warriors are leaning away from Andre Drummond, writes Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.
- The Blazers appear to be holding on to the sixth and 11th picks for now, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.
- Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is in the process of selling the team, and he would also like to trade the team's first-round pick, at No. 25, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Twitter account. The team's execs, however, like Royce White and John Jenkins.
- There is a "growing expectation" the Bobcats will swap the No. 2 pick, Chris Mannix of SI.com tweets.
- Teams drafting before pick No. 20 have little interest in Jared Sullinger, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Sullinger is "falling like a rock," says Mannix (Twitter link).
- Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee looks at what the Kings can do to upgrade at small forward through the draft, and speculates via Twitter that the team could trade down to draft a player at another position and re-sign Terrence Williams.
- The Cavs are actively pursuing another lottery pick, says Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Sulia link). Discussions with the Warriors for No. 7 have stalled, but the No. 12 pick, held by the Rockets, is in play. Lloyd speculates it will be tough to trade for a pick that high without including Anderson Varejao in the deal.
- Jared Sullinger's stock was slipping even before word came out about the medical red flag on his back, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.
- Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the league's recent small ball trend doesn't mean prospects like Fab Melo and Festus Ezeli won't be highly valued.
- The Nets could bundle Johan Petro and $3MM in cash to try to acquire a second-round pick and clear cap space, according to NetsDaily.com via Twitter.
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune tweets that the Blazers are eyeing Damian Lillard and Dion Waiters with the No. 6 pick, with a "hard lean" toward Lillard. Smith also says the Jazz still have hopes of moving into the lottery, and may be targeting a "draft-and-stash" international player in the second round (Sulia link).
- Chad Ford of ESPN.com unveils the site's final top 100 ranking before the draft (Insider only).
- Vin Parise of NBC Sports is hearing that the Bulls intend to draft Tyshawn Taylor at No. 29 (Twitter link).
- Besides liking Thomas Robinson at No. 5, the Kings are also high on Harrison Barnes,tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
- Sam Amick shares a number of draft tidbits in his latest piece for SI.com, including items onJared Sullinger, the Kings, and the Rockets.
- According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the Cavaliers have narrowed their choices at No. 4 toBradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Harrison Barnes. While the team has interest in Dion Waiters (as linked below), that interest doesn't extend to the fourth overall pick, says Ford.
- As for the Cavs' second-round picks, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports says the team has "strong interest" in Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir (Twitter link). Aldemir doesn't have an NBA out clause until 2014.
- Temple center Michael Eric is drawing interest from teams in the second round, including the Warriors, Sixers, and Nuggets, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- The Kings won't decide whether or not to trade the No. 5 pick until they see who is available, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. According to Spears, the Kings loveThomas Robinson, so if he slips past the first four picks, Sacramento is unlikely to trade down.
- While Evan Fournier has long been considered the only international player that will go in the first round, interest in Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou is intensifying. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Heat and Thunder are considering Papanikolaou with their late-first-round picks, and Al Iannazzone of Newsday says theKnicks could try to acquire another pick to draft him.
- Wojnarowski's piece also includes a few other updates, including the Bucks seriously considering Terrence Jones at No. 14, and Andrew Nicholson drawing interest from the Rockets and Nuggets.
- Perry Jones III may have a knee issue that's causing his slide down draft boards, reportsESPN.com's Chad Ford.
- The Bobcats have five "legit offers" for the second overall pick that they're considering, tweets TNT's David Aldridge.
- Rumblings that the Cavaliers are seriously considering Dion Waiters at No. 4 continue to gain momentum. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Cavs are losing interest in dealing with the Bobcats if taking Tyrus Thomas is a requirement in any trade, and are leaning toward Waiters if Bradley Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are off the board at No. 4.
- According to Wojnarowski, the Raptors are also looking into trading up for Waiters, and there's plenty of members of the Warriors' front office that like him a lot too.
- The Grizzlies have talked to a number of teams about trading the No. 25 pick, according toRonald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. However, Tillery tweets that there's a major internal push for Memphis to select John Jenkins or Royce White.
- ESPN.com's Chad Ford (Insider link) has released version 10.0 of his 2012 mock draft. Ford also heard from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who explained to the ESPN.com draft expert why he shouldn't be down on Austin Rivers.
- In a pair of tweets, Ford reports that the Pistons conducted a last-minute workout withAndre Drummond and that Detroit would likely take the big man if he slips to them at No. 9.
- Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details on the players the Knicks are eyeing with their second-round pick.