A few news and notes from around the NBA's Northwest Division:
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld.com has a new column touching on a few trade rumors as well as some other topics from around the NBA on Saturday morning:
- Brigham writes that the rumored swap of Kris Humphries for Ben Gordon is a move that makes sense for both the Nets and Bobcats, given the needs each player fills on their roster.
- John Lucas enjoys playing for the Raptors, but he misses the Bulls.
- Following yesterday's report that the Cavaliers are preparing a multiyear offer for Greg Oden, Brigham writes that they are the frontrunners to land him.
- Brigham talks to Trail Blazers rookie center Meyers Leonard about his adjustment to the NBA lifestyle and the difference between the college and pro games.
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Friday evening:
Now that Damian Lillard has gotten a taste of what the NBA is like, the Trail Blazers' rookie point guard told CSNNW.com about his experiences so far and what he's learned after a few preseason games. Here are a few more links out of Portland tonight:
- Mike Tokito of The Oregonian writes that although Will Barton returned to practice, Ronnie Price could possibly sidelined until the season opener after injuring his ankle against Phoenix on Friday. Tokito adds that J.J. Hickson returned to practice, but is still feeling the effects of the bruised left ribs he suffered against the Lakers on Wednesday. Lastly, he said that coach Terry Stotts doesn't anticipate any roster cuts before next Sunday.
- Will Barton spoke with CSNNW.com about his return.
- In this video, Stotts elaborated on possible lineup changes with Barton and Hickson now active.
- During a post-practice interview, Meyers Leonard offered some thoughts on the aspect of his game he deems the strongest, and what he needs to work on.
Here are a few bits of news and notes from around the league.
The latest updates out of Portland from Trail Blazers training camp on Friday evening:
- Rookie guard Will Barton tells CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes that he will continue to sit out team practices until his sore hamstring is completely healed.
- Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge reports that Jared Jeffries underwent the cutting-edge orthokine treatment popularized by Kobe Bryant and baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
- Head coach Terry Stotts tells The Oregonian's Joe Freeman that he will not name a starting center in the immediate future, preferring to create competition in training camp between Meyers Leonard, J.J. Hickson, and Joel Freeland.
- Freeman also reports that Stotts will not begin making cuts to the training-camp roster for another couple of weeks.
Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge.com offered his thoughts on ProBasketballTalk.com's Kurt Helin making the prediction that Damian Lillard would be a good guess for Rookie of the Year award. Golliver essentially agreed with Helin, mentioning that in addition to the explosiveness he displayed at the Las Vegas Summer League, Lillard already displayed more polish than Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose showed as rookies. Despite the level of point guard play to be substantially better than what Lillard faced this summer, Golliver also mentions that the Trail Blazers' lottery pick is in a prime position to succeed alongside veterans such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. Here's more of what we're hearing tonight...
9:07pm: All three years of Claver's deal are guaranteed and without options, tweets Mark Deeks of Sham Sports. Claver will receive $1.3MM in year 1, $1.33MM in year 2, and $1.37MM in the final season.
JULY 11, 11:00pm: The deal for Claver is for three years and a total of $4MM, tweets Jason Quick of The Oregonian.
4:23pm: Claver's deal is for three years, according to GM Neil Olshey (Twitter link via Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com). That means the Blazers likely signed him using cap space rather than the rookie scale.
4:03pm: Amidst rumors that the Trail Blazers are nearing an agreement with Joel Freeland, the team has finalized a multiyear contract for Victor Claver, according to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (via Twitter). The Blazers have officially announced the deal in a press release.
We heard last week that Claver had informed his team in Spain that he intended to make the jump to the NBA this summer. I believe, since it's been more than three years since the 23-year-old was drafted, he can be signed either to a rookie scale deal or a contract using the team's cap space. There's no word yet on which sort of deal he signed, but GM Neil Olshey had this to say in the Blazers' release:
"Victor is a player with a high basketball IQ who will come in as a good complement to our roster. He defends well for his size, has a nice shooting touch, and we look forward to having him on board."
Meanwhile, Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com adds (via Twitter) that rookie point guard Damian Lillard and center Meyers Leonard each signed their contracts with Portland today as well. As the sixth and 11th overall picks in the draft, Lillard and Leonard will likely sign for the maximum allowable first-year salaries of $3.07MM and $2.13MM, respectively.
Our previous round-up of Thursday's draft rumors was getting a little unwieldy, so here's a new post for the evening's rumors. Even with the draft underway, the rumors continue to pour in, so we'll round up the latest updates right here. Here's the latest draft buzz, with the newest items up top:
- After trading three picks for one to land Tyler Zeller, the Cavs are trying to trade back into the draft, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
- The Grizzlies intend to keep Tony Wroten, the 25th overall pick, but are working on a trade, tweets Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
- The Mavericks shopped the No. 24 pick they acquired from Cleveland and were "very open" to moving it, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. However, Stein adds in a second tweet that the Mavs will draft Jared Cunningham for themselves with the pick.
- Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com says he wouldn't be surprised if the Celtics packaged their picks to trade for Royce White, who the Rockets selected at No. 16 (Twitter link). According to Givony, Boston was "very worried" about another team drafting White.
- The Celtics' interest in Austin Rivers was fueled more by GM Danny Ainge than Doc Rivers, says Chris Mannix of SI.com (via Twitter).
- The Cavaliers are still "aggressively pursuing" a second lottery pick, tweets Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.
- Warriors GM Bob Myers says his phone "almost blew up" with teams trying to trade up to No. 7 to draft Harrison Barnes, says Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (Sulia link).
- While Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a surprise pick for the Bobcats at No. 2, multiple reporters, including David Aldridge of TNT and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com tweet that Charlotte isn't expected to trade MKG. However, Givony adds in a second tweet that that door isn't entirely closed.
- Though they couldn't complete a trade with the Kings, the Rockets are still trying to get into the top 10, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- Despite plenty of talks, the Bobcats and Cavaliers "never had anything close," tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- If Austin Rivers and Damian Lillard come off the board within the first nine picks, the Hornets are "strongly leaning" toward Meyers Leonard, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- The Cavs and Bobcats are still engaged in "deep discussions" involving the No. 2 pick, tweets TNT's David Aldridge.
- The Rockets are talking to the Bobcats and Kings and pushing hard to acquire a top-five pick, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com.
- If the Cavs trade up to No. 2 to land Bradley Beal, the Wizards will likely decide between Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No.3, with Barnes having the slight edge, tweets Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
- Teams interested in Fab Melo may be looking to trade into the late teens, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com.
- The Pistons may attempt to trade back into the end of the first round, tweets Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News. Detroit has its eye on a couple players that could slip.
- Several teams believe that there is starting-caliber talent in the second round and are trying to buy second-rounders, tweets SI.com's Chris Mannix.
- The Wizards (No. 3), Kings (No. 5), and Blazers (No. 6) all appear likely to stand pat, tweets TNT's David Aldridge.
- The Cavaliers are offering the Bobcats the 4th, 24th, and 33rd picks for Charlotte's 2nd and 31st picks, tweets ESPN.com's Chris Broussard. According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (Sulia link), the Bobcats still appear set on making Cleveland take a contract in the deal.
- The Blazers are putting out "serious signs" that they might draft Dion Waiters over Damian Lillard at No. 6, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com.
- The Rockets are showing interest in guards like Austin Rivers and Terrence Ross, along with centers like Andre Drummond and Meyers Leonard, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. Berman adds in a separate pair of tweets that the Rockets are also interested in high-upside players like Perry Jones III, and that Houston doctors don't believe Jones' health concerns are serious.
- If the Bobcats can't find a trade partner who will take on Tyrus Thomas' contract, they may look to move Matt Carroll's deal instead, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
- Speaking of the Bobcats, they've narrowed their five offers for the second overall pick to just two offers, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link via Marc Stein). The Rockets and Cavaliers are still in the mix for the No.2 pick.
- The Cavs have also talked to the Warriors at No. 7 and the Rockets at No. 12 about trades involving Anderson Varejao, says Broussard (via Stein on Twitter).
- Austin Rivers tops the Hornets' wish list for the 10th overall pick, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
A number of the rumors we've already covered today involve the draft in some way, whether it's the Rockets looking to acquire top-10 picks to flip for Dwight Howard, or the Bulls' disinterest in trading Luol Deng for a package that includes the Warriors' No. 7 pick. But there are still so many draft-related odds and ends out there that we'll continue to publish daily Draft Updates posts this week, for the latest news on workouts and rumors about what teams are thinking. Here are today's items, with the newest additions added to the top of the page throughout the day....
- New Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap thinks trading the team's No. 2 pick to strengthen its roster with multiple players makes sense, according to an Associated Press report (via ESPN.com).
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle says Rockets head coach Kevin McHale is pleased with the depth of talent available in the draft but would like to add another veteran to his current roster.
- It sounds like John Henson was the standout of the Pistons' workout today, which included Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones III, and Terrence Jones, says Chad Ford of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com publishes his latest mock draft, which includes both rounds, and has a separate piece up on potential under-the-radar prospects.
- Although earlier today he heard from one general manager (linked below) who was bearish on Jared Sullinger, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio talks to another GM who says Sullinger's slide has been greatly exaggerated (Twitter link). "Sullinger will lead all rookies in rebounding," one GM told Amico. "So yeah, please, let him drop to us" (Twitter link).
- In a pair of tweets, the Timberwolves announced the participants in their Tuesday workout, which will include Fab Melo.
- Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv hears from a source close to Moe Harkless that he thinks the Trail Blazers will select Harkless at No. 11.
- Speaking to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Raptors executive Ed Stefanski expressed excitement about last year's fifth overall pick Jonas Valanciunas. Stefanski also conceded that the Raps could take more of a long-term project at No. 8 this year if they so choose, since the team will essentially be adding two lottery picks.
- If Jared Sullinger somehow fell to No. 29, he'd be a terrific fit for the Bulls, says ESPN.com's David Thorpe (Insider link).
- Meyers Leonard will work out for the Sixers tomorrow, the team announced in a press release.
- A GM drafting in the 20s said he probably wouldn't take Jared Sullinger if he were available, tweets Sam Amico. Amico also published his third of four mock drafts today at FOX Sports Ohio.
- Today's Trail Blazers workout is headlined by Jeremy Lamb, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com tweets.
- In the "Nobody Asked Me, But..." section of his weekly column for NBA.com, TNT's David Aldridge runs through the top 15 picks of the draft and passes along what he's hearing. There's a lot of good info in the piece, which is worth checking out, but here's one highlight: The Cavs are dangling Anderson Varejao and the No. 24 pick in an attempt to land a second top-five pick, but the Bobcats, Wizards, and Kings don't appear to have any interest.
- Version 9.0 of Chad Ford's mock draft is up at ESPN.com, and it includes both the first and second rounds (Insider-only links).
- Within a column at Bulls.com, Sam Smith writes of "suspicion around the league" that reports of Jared Sullinger's medical issues were pushed by a team in the mid-first-round, in hopes that Sullinger would slip. For what it's worth, ESPN's Andy Katz reports that the league didn't invite Sullinger to the Green Room for the draft, based on rumblings that he won't go in the top 15 (Twitter link).
- Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld examines which members of this year's draft class, besides Anthony Davis, have the potential to be franchise players.
- The Sixers are still deciding whether they want to draft a big man or a shooter like Terrence Ross, writes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- The official sites for the Bucks and Raptors list the prospects working out for the two teams today. Most are second-round candidates.