Here’s a quick rundown of some notes around the NBA this Saturday:
- Josh Howard was named to the training camp roster for the Austin Toros, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. The 10-year veteran, who underwent season-ending ACL surgery last winter, will play for the Spurs’ D-League affiliate as he rehabs his knee. The Spurs signed and waived Howard just last Saturday to ensure that they would retain his D-League rights.
- McDonald adds that San Antonio camp invitees Courtney Fells and Myck Kabongo will join Howard in Austin.
- The Timberwolves announced today (via Twitter) that Ronny Turiaf has undergone an MRI revealing a fracture of his right elbow. No timetable for his return has been given. The Wolves are already missing forward Chase Budinger, who is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery. We heard last night that no Wolves roster moves were brewing, but if Turiaf and Budinger miss significant time, the team may need to reconsider its options.
- Bobcats owner Michael Jordan oversaw a summer in which the team hurt its chances for next year’s No. 1 pick, but he finally showed that he has a legitimate plan in place for the team, argues Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel notes that Michael Beasley and Roger Mason of the Heat need to prove they can provide value off the bench since their non-guaranteed contracts can be waived until the January 10th NBA guarantee date. Beasley in particular needs to demonstrate that he has grown out of his off-the-court issues that caused many NBA GMs to look past him during free agency.
- The NBA Player’s Association has started to narrow down candidates for the executive director position, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBPA aims to have finalists selected by All-Star weekend.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Spurs have reduced their preseason roster by three players, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, Corey Maggette, Myck Kabongo, and Marcus Cousin have been waived.
Maggette’s release is particularly notable, since the veteran scorer suggested over the weekend that he’d be headed for retirement if he didn’t earn an NBA roster spot this season. There has been no official announcement from Maggette yet, but assuming he does retire, he’ll finish his 14-year NBA playing career with 13,198 points in 827 total contests, having played for the Magic, Clippers, Warriors, Bucks, Bobcats, and Pistons. The longtime Clipper is expected to transition into a front office role at some point.
Having waived three camp invitees, the Spurs are now carrying 16 players — 14 guaranteed contracts, plus Courtney Fells and Daniel Nwaelele. Fells and Nwaelele may both be cut before opening night, as at least one report has indicated San Antonio is likely to start the season with a 14-man roster.
As for Kabongo and Cousin, one or both of them could end up with the Spurs’ D-League affiliate in Austin. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported when San Antonio first added Kabongo to its camp roster that the undrafted rookie would likely land in the D-League with the Toros, and reiterated that point today (Twitter link).
Undrafted rookie Myck Kabongo has reached an agreement with the Spurs and will attend camp with the team, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Kabongo figures to ultimately end up with San Antonio's D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros.
Kabongo, 20, left Texas after his sophomore year, ranked among Chad Ford's top 50 prospects for 2013, and was getting buzz during draft week as a potential late first-round pick, so it was a little surprising when he wasn't selected on draft night. The Canadian point guard played for the Heat in Summer League action, and switched agents last month, leaving Rich Paul for Bill Duffy.
NBA teams are permitted to retain the D-League rights to three players that attend training camp and don't make the NBA roster, so it appears that Kabongo will be one of those players for the Spurs. He'll become the 17th player on a roster that includes 14 guaranteed contracts and camp invitees Sam Young and Corey Maggette.
Mickael Pietrus's agent Bill McCandless tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that the 6'6 forward has a workout scheduled with an undisclosed NBA team in September, and that two other teams have shown interest in bringing him in for a look as well. The 31-year-old swingman last played for the Raptors in 2012-13, averaging 20.3 MPG, 5.3 PPG, and 34.7% shooting from the field in 19 games. McCandless added that Pietrus is currently working out in France and is "100% healthy." Here are a few more news and notes from around the NBA:
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter) confirms that undrafted point guard Myck Kabongo has left agent Rich Paul and will now be represented by Bill Duffy, who also represents Lakers guard Steve Nash.
- Citing a source familiar with the Knicks' plans, Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York tweets that the Knicks could possibly be looking to add another big man, but it isn't clear if they're looking to do so now or during veteran's camp (Twitter link).
- Along with most free agents right now, Ivan Johnson isn't making much progress on any contract talks, as Zwerling (via Twitter) relays a source close to the situation who says that things are still in "slow motion right now."
- Grantland's Jonathan Abrams writes an excellent piece which revisits the circumstances that contributed to Jonny Flynn's struggles with finding a niche in the NBA and the hip injury in Minnesota that stifled his development. Despite the lack of opportunity with the Clippers in this year's summer league, the 24-year-old guard is still determined to make it out of an NBA training camp in the fall. However, he could possibly opt for China or Spain if it doesn't work out.
- Jeff Caplan of NBA.com thinks the change of scenery from Milwaukee to Dallas could be just what Mavericks guard Monta Ellis needed to become more efficient and consistent at this point in his career.
Chad Ford of ESPN.com revealed his mock draft 7.0 this morning and just like every previous incarnation, Nerlens Noel sits at No. 1. Ford heard that the Cavs' top option is to trade the No. 1 overall pick for a combination of a veteran plus a 2014 first-round pick, but if not, he believes Noel will be the pick. Owner Dan Gilbert likes Victor Oladipo and other people in the front office are pushing for Alex Len, but GM Chris Grant likes Noel and Ford sees him as the tiebreaker. Here's more as we approach tonight's draft..
- Cody Zeller could be a surprise high pick, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. One NBA executive who loves the Indiana product's athleticism says that he is someone to keep an eye on towards the top of the board. Last night's mock draft from Alex Lee of Hoops Rumors had Zeller going No. 11 to the Sixers.
- One NBA exec told Spears (Twitter link) says that guard Myck Kabongo is a possible late first-round pick after an impressive interview. The Texas standout gave the impression that he can be a leader at the next level and also looks bigger than expected.
- Lucas Nogueira has officially extended his contract with Asefa Estudiantes through June 2015, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter). The center is in tonight's draft and has picked up some buzz as a possible stash pick.
The Jazz have a lot of question marks this summer, but with the 14th, 21st, and 46th picks in what many consider a wild card "down" draft, their chances of landing a quality starter with a high upside leaves a lot to be desired.
Brad Rock of the Desert News writes about how rare it is to land anyone of merit with the 14th pick in the draft. Sure, there are exceptions, Rock mentions Tim Hardaway's selection by the Warriors with the 14th pick in 1989, but usually there's a dearth of talent in that position, with the pick being "unproductive at worst, respectable at best."
Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune reiterates what Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld wrote in his NBA AM piece: the Jazz will select a point guard, but there aren't a lot of options at their current picks. With few options for a point guard selected in their range, it's unlikely the Jazz will find a difference maker at point guard. When Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey was asked if he would be surprised if the draft came and went without the Jazz selecting a point guard, he said "Not at all."
But Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun said there's a lot of talent at point guard in the late first early second rounds, mentioning Dennis Schroeder, Myck Kabongo, Peyton Siva, Pierre Jackson, Isaiah Canaan, Nate Wolters, and Phil Pressey (Twitter). Here are a few more tidbits from the Jazz and the rest of the league with just five days before the 2013 draft.
- Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune believes the Jazz should move up if they're looking for a difference maker, largely mirroring what his colleague Oram wrote; the Jazz aren't going to land anything special, unless they luck out, if they stay put.
- ESPN.com's Chad Ford has a list of the 10 green room invites for ESPN's Thursday draft coverage: Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Alex Len, Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Cody Zeller & C.J. McCollum.
- The selections perfectly align with the top 10 in Ford's latest mock draft, but Ford mentions the NBA is likely to add some more green room attendees as we get closer to the big night, and even offers some guesses as to who else will be invited (Twitter).
- About one of those confirmed green room invites, John Rohde of the Oklahoman has a piece on how far McCollum has come since he was a middle school phenom in Oklahoma City.
- Another green room invite, Bennett, visited the Bobcats today, but he couldn't work out, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Bennett is recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on his left shoulder, but he'll be ready to play in August.
- Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press ranks the Timberwolves' 24 years of draft picks–including Kevin Garnett, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love–in the days preceding their 26th pick in this, their 25th draft anniversary.
- As the draft approaches, Scott Agyness of Pacers.com writes that University of Kansas 7-footer Jeff Withey (represented by Darren Matsubara) participated in his last predraft workout with the Pacers today.
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.
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.
Yesterday, ESPN.com's Chad Ford reported that Croatian forward Dario Saric was leaning toward withdrawing from this year's draft, a surprising stance given how much his stock has risen in recent weeks. Today, Michael McNamara of Bourbon Street Blues passes along an email he received from Saric's agent, Robert Jablan, which reads:
"We make decision this morning that we will withdraw Dario from the 2013 draft."
We have yet to hear officially that Saric has pulled his name out of this year's draft class, and it's possible something was lost in translation. But it certainly appears as if Saric is leaning in that direction. He still has 10 days to make a final decision, so while we wait for the official word on the potential lottery pick, let's check out a few more draft-related updates:
- Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio reports that the Cavaliers are "seriously dissecting" the possibility of drafting Ben McLemore first overall, though he cautions that the team is far from decided on what it'll do with the pick (Twitter links). I'd be surprised if Cleveland eventually decided on McLemore — it sounds to me as if the team is just covering all its bases.
- The latest Insider-only blog from Ford at ESPN.com is full of good info, including updates on Saric, Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke, and a handful of other prospects.
- Anthony Bennett is unable to work out due to a rotator cuff injury, but he will meet with the Wizards next week, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
- Lorenzo Brown, Myck Kabongo, Allen Crabbe, Jeff Withey, and Mike Muscala will work out for the Knicks on Monday, according to the team's official PR Twitter feed.
- The Suns' workout today included C.J. Leslie, Matthew Dellavedova, Ian Hummer, Korie Lucious, Rodney McGruder, and Phil Pressey, says Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
- Michael Carter-Williams intends to visit the Magic soon for a meeting and workout, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
- Larry Drew II, E.J. Singler, Ian Clark, Ed Daniel, Trevor Mbakwe and Glen Rice Jr. worked out for the Trail Blazers today, according to a tweet from Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, who also reports that Cody Zeller is having an individual workout with Portland today.
Amare Stoudemire will be working with Hakeem Olajuwon for a second consecutive summer, and despite his lack of contribution this past season, the Knicks still have high regard for their most lavishly paid player, as Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com passes along. GM Glen Grunwald called Stoudemire "a heck of a player."
"We hope he'll be able to play significant minutes for us next year," Grunwald said. "How much that will be, we don't know at this time. But when he came and played for us … he was, as (coach Mike Woodson) said, a big factor in those games."
While we wait to see how Stoudemire bounces back next year, here's the latest from around the Atlantic Division:
- Terrence Williams, whose contract for next season is non-guaranteed, addressed reporters today after working out at the Celtics facility. He said that, in spite of his recent legal troubles, Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers still view him as part of the team's future, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com notes.
- The Celtics have worked out a dozen players in the past two days, as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com and Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe round up (Twitter links). On Friday the team saw Colton Iverson, Erick Green, Jeff Withey, Peyton Siva, Vander Blue and Ricky Ledo, and today the C's looked at Pierre Jackson, Gregory Echenique, Myck Kabongo, Shane Larkin, Phil Pressey and Steven Adams.
- Masai Ujiri appears destined to become the next GM of the Raptors, and Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun hears Ujiri and Phil Jackson are the only two candidates the team has aggressively pursued so far (All Twitter links). The Raptors have been linked to Kevin Pritchard and Troy Weaver as well, but they seem to have a strong preference for Ujiri.
- Ben Goldberg-Morse of the Philadelphia Inquirer lays out how new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie's emphasis on analytics could improve the production of Jrue Holiday, who received a long-term extension last summer, and Evan Turner, who's up for one this offseason.