Hoops Rumors has a full log of 2015 draft news that you can see anytime at the link here. You can also set that page up as an RSS feed to receive constant updates. All you’d need to do would be to add /feed to the url, like so: hoopsrumors.com/2015-nba-draft/feed. Other draft-related resources include our latest Mock Draft, the full list of early entrants, as well as our ongoing Prospect Profile series. Here’s more news regarding the 2015 NBA Draft:
- League sources have suggested to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link) that Murray State guard Cameron Payne has a draft promise from a team, and that there is a very good chance he is going to be a lottery pick. If Payne has indeed been targeted by a lottery team, his most likely destination is the Thunder, whom I predicted would be selecting the guard in my latest mock draft, though this is merely my speculation of course.
- The Spurs brought in Syracuse forward Chris McCullough for an interview today, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops tweets.
- Scheduled for workouts this Friday with the Grizzlies are Josh Richardson, Ky Madden, Aaron Thomas, Pat Connaughton, Chris Walker, and Brandon Ashley, Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal (subscription required) relays.
- Arkansas forward Bobby Portis has workouts scheduled with the Thunder, Heat, Pistons, Raptors, Pacers, Hornets, Bucks, Suns, and Jazz, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe tweets.
- Former Colorado guard Askia Booker worked out for the Suns on Tuesday, and has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Lakers and the Jazz, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post relays (Twitter link).
- Booker said that he was asked about his refusal to play in this year’s College Basketball Invitational tournament by the Sixers, and also expects the subject to come up in other interviews, Dempsey relays in a series of tweets. “It’s something I’m willing to address no doubt. I have no issue addressing that. When the question comes I’ll be able to answer it,” Booker said. “It was a mutual decision. We came to an agreement, and the decision was made.” Booker reportedly passed on playing in the tourney to prepare for the upcoming draft instead.
Bucks team president Peter Feigin and Milwaukee leaders all said today that sides are close to a deal for the public’s share of funding for a new Bucks arena in the city, Scott Bauer of The Associated Press reports. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker expressed the same sentiments at the beginning of the month, though negotiations continue. Feigin and city leaders expressed optimism today that talks can result in a deal by the end of the week, and a key state legislator said the goal is to announce a deal Wednesday, Bauer tweets, though Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett added that there’s still work to be done, as Bauer writes in his story.
The Bucks face an NBA-imposed deadline to have an arena ready by opening night in 2017, and funding has to be secured by June in order for the project to remain on track, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com wrote recently. The league, should it determine at any point that the arena effort is not moving swiftly enough, intends to exercise its right to seize the team from owners Wesley Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan and seek to move it elsewhere, according to Windhorst. Commissioner Adam Silver has nonetheless publicly maintained confidence that public funding will come.
Feigin backed off an assertion in late April that a deal for public funding had to be done within 10 days from that point. State, county and city leaders have been squabbling over how to finance their $250MM share of the proposed $500MM arena. The Bucks owners, as well as former owner principal owner Herb Kohl, have committed the other $250MM.
Goran Dragic is a fan of coach Erik Spoelstra as well as team president Pat Riley, and the Heat’s status as the front-runner to keep him remains unchanged, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears. Jackson lists the Lakers, Knicks, Pelicans, Kings and Bucks as other teams that are expected to have interest in signing the guard.
Dragic has previously confirmed that he’ll turn down his $7.5MM player option. The Heat possess the guard’s Bird rights, meaning they can offer him a fifth year, which is reportedly something Dragic values highly. The 29-year-old has previously said the Heat meet all the criteria he’s looking for in a team from a basketball standpoint and he’s named Miami as his favorite U.S. city. Dragic wants the Heat to play much faster next season, but he’s been assured that’s a key part of Miami’s plan, a source tells Jackson.
Still, Dragic has reportedly viewed the Lakers as a “perfect fit,” so perhaps Los Angeles is Miami’s biggest threat to sign the winner of the NBA’s 2013/14 Most Improved Player award. The Knicks and Lakers, along with the Heat, were among Dragic’s preferred destinations prior to the deadline trade that sent him from Phoenix to Miami.
The relationship between the NBA and the D-League continues to grow, and 17 NBA franchises currently have one-to-one D-League affiliates amongst the 18 D-League teams. The remaining 13 NBA teams shared the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season. We at Hoops Rumors will be recapping each team’s use of the D-League this season, looking at assignments and recalls as well as the players signed out of the D-League. We’ll complete the series with a look back at how the Bucks utilized the D-League during the 2014/15 campaign…
D-League Team: Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Affiliation Type: Shared
D-League Team Record: 28-22
Number of NBA Players Assigned To D-League: 0
Total D-League Assignments: 0
Player Stats While On Assignment:
- No player assignments made.
- No player assignments made.
Part of the heat that’s surrounded Cavs coach David Blatt this year is media-driven, argues Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. His brusque manner with reporters has fueled a perhaps unprecedented level of criticism, Amico writes, but owner Dan Gilbert is in his corner one year after making the surprising hire. While we wait to see if Blatt can lead the Cavs to a 2-0 series lead on the Hawks tonight, here’s more from around the Central Division:
- Mario Hezonja makes sense for the Pistons at draft pick No. 8, and while he’s a streaky shooter who has a prickly demeanor with teammates, he doesn’t carry nearly the same risk as Darko Milicic did when the Pistons blew the No. 2 pick on him in 2003, writes Terry Foster of The Detroit News.
- Bucks GM John Hammond wants the team to build “organically” with a long-term approach and said Milwaukee will target size and shooting in the draft this year, as The Associated Press relays. “We’re still very much an unfinished product,” Hammond said. “We need to continue to add toughness and energy to our team, so we have multiple needs.”
- The Pacers on Tuesday will work out draft prospects Delon Wright, Marcus Thornton, Pat Connaughton, Jabril Trawick, Greg Whittington and Jonathan Holmes, the team announced. Thornton, a point guard from William & Mary, is not to be confused with the forward from Georgia by the same name who worked out for the Sixers, and of course he isn’t the six-year NBA veteran shooting guard who also goes by that name.
Prior to the trade that brought J.R. Smith to Cleveland, Cavs GM David Griffin consulted with LeBron James, who immediately gave his approval of the deal, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes. “I knew the man he was and I didn’t really care about what everybody else thought of him,” James said. “Our front office, they have the last say. … I was definitely all for it.” The franchise’s faith in Smith is paying off during the playoffs, with Smith torching the Hawks Wednesday night for 28 points off of the bench. “He’s been great for us, and he’s been a great teammate, and he’s been a great guy to coach,” coach David Blatt said. “And no question, he’s one of the reasons, one of the main reasons, we’re here.”
Here’s more out of the NBA’s Central Division:
- Center Sasha Kaun, whose draft rights are held by the Cavaliers, will likely leave CSKA Moscow at the end of the Russian League’s season, Chema de Lucas of Gigantes.com reports (translation by Enea Trapani of Sportando). Kaun is averaging 9.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game this season.
- Bucks GM John Hammond acknowledges it will be a difficult task to improve upon the team’s surprising 2014/15 campaign, Charles Gardner of The Journal Sentinel writes. “The key is to become a 50-win team, be a home-court playoff team, start to compete for a championship and be able to do that year in and year out for years to come,” Hammond said. “The next step is to go from good to great. That’s where the real work comes in. You need some breaks along the way. You need some guys to continue to develop. The culture needs to stay right.“
- There is a consensus around the league as to who the top four players in the NBA Draft are, but the rest of the draft order is still up in the air, David Mayo of MLive notes. “I don’t think there’s a set order from that group on,” Pistons GM Jeff Bower said. “I think that next group of players is really a group that will have varied opinions and varied orders, and the teams and the evaluations will kind of determine a lot of things.”
- The Pistons are expected to target a forward this June, notes Mayo. “I think there’s a lot of depth at positions in this draft that fit targets that we would have to fill this summer,” Bower said. “And again, whether it’s in the draft or free agency, we will plan to address them. As we look at this class and this draft, there are a lot of players that do have that projection of being at that position.“
Kevin Seraphin, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, wants to play for a team that would allow him to compete for a starting job, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com reports, and that likely means that the center won’t re-sign with the Wizards, Michael adds. Seraphin matched his career high with 79 regular-season appearances but didn’t start a game after inking a one-year qualifying offer last summer for $3.9MM to stay in Washington, as Michael points out. The Wizards are set at center, Michael adds, because Marcin Gortat will be entering the second year of a five-year deal with the team. “I definitely want a chance to be a starter,” Seraphin told Michael. “I definitely want to be somewhere I have a chance to be a starter.”
- Willie Cauley-Stein said on Friday that he would work out with the Knicks today, but the Knicks didn’t end up bringing him in, tweets ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, who added that a league source told him that a workout was actually never scheduled. The Knicks met with D’Angelo Russell and Justise Winslow at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, according to ESPN.com. All three players are expected to be selected within the first 10 picks of the draft. The Knicks own a top-five pick heading into the lottery. According to Hoops Rumors’ odds page, the most likely spot for the Knicks is fourth. New York has a 31.9% chance of picking fourth.
- If the Sixers slide into the fifth or sixth spot in the draft, Justise Winslow, who played at Duke, might be a solid option, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The Sixers have a 15.6% chance of winning the draft lottery and are guaranteed to pick at least sixth.
- The Bucks, who own the No. 17 pick in the draft, met with small forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who played at Arizona, and big man Frank Kaminsky, who earned college player of the year honors with Wisconsin, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel tweets.
The Bucks were interested in speaking with Kevon Looney, according to Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel, but he was not among the 18 players they spoke to at the combine in Chicago. The Wisconsin native would be delighted if the team drafts him with their first round selection.
“A lot of people from Milwaukee support me a lot and I think they would love to see me come back and play and represent our city,” Looney said. “I try to represent the best that I can out in LA and everywhere I go.”
The UCLA product is ranked ninth by Chad Ford of ESPN.com, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranks him 19th. Here’s more from Milwaukee:
- R.J. Hunter met with the Bucks on Saturday, according to Velazquez (Twitter link). The shooting guard is the 21st best prospect according to Ford, while Givony has him ranked 24th.
- The Bucks have the 17th pick in the upcoming draft and Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel is optimistic that the team can repeat its success drafting near the middle of the first round. “If you look at the history of the draft and you start talking about that 12 to 17 and 18 range, you can miss on those guys,” GM John Hammond said. “We would consider ourselves fortunate when you start mentioning John [Henson], Larry [Sanders], Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Those guys all have proven to be quality players in this league.” Milwaukee picked Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick in 2013, Henson with the 14th pick in 2012 and Sanders with the 15th pick in 2010.
At least one GM is among the multiple executives who believe Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis has a shot to be drafted as highly as No. 2, reports Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. The head of basketball ops for another team said that he’s a “lock” for the top five and that it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go within the top three, adding that he’d draft him in front of Jahlil Okafor, the Duke center who occupied the top spot in projections for most of the season. The 19-year-old is No. 5 in Chad Ford’s ESPN.com rankings and No. 8 with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Here’s more as draft rumors kick into high gear:
- Christian Wood, a power forward out of UNLV, is hoping to follow in Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s footsteps as a ball-handler with unusual height and length, Howard-Cooper writes in the same piece. The Bucks intend to interview Wood, Virginia small forward Justin Anderson and others today, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times.
- Both the DraftExpress team and Ford go in depth on the measurements from the combine, with Ford, in his Insider-only piece, noting that most top prospects sized up well and that this year’s draft class is among the longest groups in memory in terms of both height and wingspan.
- Michigan State power forward Branden Dawson has interviewed with the Wizards, Clippers and Pelicans at the draft combine, as he told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Ellis, in the same report, adds Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky and Rashad Vaughn to the list of prospects with whom the Pistons have spoken.
- Terry Rozier met with the Pistons, too, as well as the Mavs, Suns, Knicks and Spurs, reports Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
- The Sixers, Lakers, Cavs and Bucks have interviewed Cameron Payne, Kyler also tweets. Payne spoke with our Zach Links recently about his draft prospects.
- Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer adds the Hornets and Warriors to the list of teams speaking with Rakeem Christmas (Twitter link).
The 2015 NBA Draft combine is underway in Chicago and Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) offers up a primer for all of the scheduled events. The return of five-on-five play to the event has scouts and GMs excited, but that anticipation is tempered by the fact that only one player ranked in the top 30 — Terry Rozier, will be participating in the scrimmages, Ford notes.
Here’s more regarding the 2015 NBA Draft:
- Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal caught up with ESPN’s Chad Ford to talk about the Kentucky Wildcats’ seven NBA Draft hopefuls. Ford spoke highly of Trey Lyles, but says that he needs to prove himself in workouts between now and the draft.
- Former Virgina swingman Justin Anderson met with the Celtics today, and the player has a workout scheduled with the team on June 1st, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com tweets.
- The Wolves interviewed UNLV big man Christian Wood, and are also expected to sit down with Texas center Myles Turner, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweets.
- Arizona forward Stanley Johnson interviewed with the Hornets today, and Johnson touted himself as “the best two-way player in the draft,” Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer notes (Twitter link).
- Former Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas met with the Bucks, Magic, and Suns today, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Twitter links). Christmas is also scheduled to workout for the Sixers, but he will not interview with the team at the combine, Pompey notes.
- Projected second-rounder J.P. Tokoto interviewed with the Cavaliers, Clippers, and Pistons on Wednesday, Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays (via Twitter). The guard met with the Hawks, Nets, and Mavs today, Gardner adds.