The No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Otto Porter, suffered a right hip flexor injury, reports the Associated Press, and was limited in practice. Fortunately for Wizards fans, Nene Hilario and John Wall are healthy, but as Michael Lee of the Washington Post points out on Twitter, Trevor Booker was also limited in practice with a sore right knee.
Here's more on the Wizards and Hawks…
- As J. Michael of CSN Washington summarizes, the Wizards have been suffering from the injury bug as training camps open around the league. Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) and Chris Singleton (left foot/toe surgery) are already out and now Booker and Porter are limited.
- Wall added to Lee's piece that after watching footage from the 2012/13 season, he's confident of the team's success this coming year. "We know what we're capable of as a team," Wall told him. "We just got to play like we did last year, be a great defensive team, be a faster team, get out in the open court," said Wall.
- On the injury front, the Hawks scoring guard (Lou) Louis Williams has no timetable on a return from the ACL tear he suffered last season, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution [subscription only].
- Vivlamore adds that former Hawk Damien Wilkins is liable to make the team if Williams isn't able to go right away. After suffering the torn ACL in his right knee in January, the recovery period is 9-12 months and Williams has yet to participate in any scrimmaging with the team before training camp opens.
- Vivlamore goes on to include that a new coach, Mike Budenholzer, means there will be a new system in place for even the veteran Hawks to learn in this month's training camp.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Kemba Walker, after two years of losing in Charlotte, led a "jump-start" on the Bobcats' training camp.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune discusses the health of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, Luol Deng's uncertain long-term future with the franchise, how Mike Dunleavy Jr. will look to mesh with the roster, and how Jimmy Butler will handle a move to starting shooting guard as five things to look at for the Bulls going into fall. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago (via Twitter) says that Chicago's official training camp roster is expected to be released tomorrow but doesn't expect Malcolm Thomas or Chris Wright to be on the list.
- Michael Lee of CSN Washington wonders if John Wall is ready to lead the Wizards to the playoffs, who will step up in the absence of Emeka Okafor, if Bradley Beal is primed for a breakout season, what to expect from Otto Porter, and the health of Nene as the team's top storylines heading into training camp.
- Hawks GM Danny Ferry wouldn't set a timeline for the return of Louis Williams (who is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery), though he did say that the eighth-year guard has been playing one-on-one games and has had no restrictions in doing so. Ferry also appeared encouraged about what Dennis Schröder can contribute to the team now as a promising prospect and said that Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala still need to continue their development overseas (USA Today via the Associated Press).
- As Tom Layman of the Boston Herald points out, Celtics coach Brad Stevens will look toward Avery Bradley to be the team's floor general while they wait for the return of Rajon Rondo. In another piece, a handful of college coaches had positive comments for Stevens regarding how they believe he'll be able to transition to the NBA game (NBA.com via the Associated Press).
- With Steve Mills in place as the Knicks' newest GM, Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld thinks that it will be important for Mills to start forming a strong relationship with Carmelo Anthony now, especially with the possibility that he could become a free agent this upcoming summer.
- Since arriving in New York City, Anthony has been able to build his brand and explore plenty of business opportunities, writes Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report. From the sound of it, Zwerling doesn't think that Anthony will be leaving New York anytime soon, even with an opt-out clause at the end of the season.
- Ian Begley of ESPN New York examines the orange and blue's current situation at small forward.
- With the rest of the NBA's power elite growing tired of the Heat's dominance, Sam Amick of USA Today delves into why the 2013/14 season could be Miami's toughest campaign for a title yet. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that the Bulls are especially eager to put a halt to the Heat's reign as the NBA's top dog.
RealGM's Shams Charania notes that while Damion James has yet to speak about a training camp invite or regular season roster spot with the Heat, the 6'7 swingman may have boosted his stock after his solid play in Las Vegas over the last few weeks. James – who underwent foot surgery twice over the span of his first two season in the league – told RealGM: "Everybody knows I belong in the league…I’m completely, 100 percent healthy. It’s been a great experience for me. I really look up to the Miami Heat and I really appreciate them for letting me come and be a part of their organization. I just want to show them that I can play, show them that I can belong here.
Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Carrick Felix made a strong enough impression on Mike Brown that the Cavaliers coach thinks he has a good chance to make the regular season roster, writes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. As for other players who could have possibly earned invites to training camp, Brown mentioned Matthew Dellavedova, Cory Higgins, Jermaine Taylor, and Justin Harper.
- Wizards rookie Otto Porter did a brief interview with Hoopsworld about his experiences in summer league and what he needs to work on in preparation for training camp (video link).
- DeMar DeRozan gave his thoughts and impressions on some of his young Raptors teammates, having a full training camp to work alongside Rudy Gay, Masai Ujiri, and team's playoff chances (video link).
- Cody Zeller expounded on what he learned about the NBA game against summer competition and building chemistry with some of his teammates (video link).
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets that Vitor Faverani's three-year deal with the Celtics is worth $6MM, which was the projected deal a few days ago.
- Frank Isola of the New York Daily News questions the leadership of Knicks owner James Dolan and is skeptical about how the team will fare next season.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer discusses how the NBA's new CBA has benefitted the Bobcats.
Michael Lee of the Washington Post spoke with John Wall today about his expectations for this upcoming season, which will be Wall's fourth in the league. Wall was matter-of-fact about his focus for next season tell Lee (via Twitter):
"My whole goal is, this is my 4th year & I need to be in the playoffs. Nothing more & nothing else needs to be said about that.”
Wall will make $7.259MM this season with the Wiz and if he and the team don't reach a deal on an extension by October 31st this year, the Wizards have the option to extend him a QO of $9.698MM in the spring.
Here are some more notes from around the Southeast division…
The Wizards have locked up their 2013 draft picks, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, who reports (via Twitter) that Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. have signed their respective deals.
Porter, the third overall pick, will be on a standard rookie-scale contract, which figures to pay him about $4.28MM in his first NBA season, as our chart of rookie salaries shows. Rice, on the other hand, was a second-round pick (35th overall), meaning he isn't subject to the same scale.
The terms of Rice's deal aren't known, but the Wizards are believed to have committed their mid-level exception to Martell Webster and their bi-annual exception to Eric Maynor. If that's the case, it would leave room for just a minimum-salary contract for Rice.
ESPN.com's Chad Ford has published version 6.0 of his 2013 mock draft, with just over 48 hours remaining until draft night. As he has been for all six of Ford's mocks, Nerlens Noel remains in the No. 1 spot. The ESPN.com scribe wrote a lengthy piece last night on why he thinks the Cavaliers are still likely to select Noel, and provides details on plenty of other first-round teams in his new mock, so let's check out the highlights….
- The Magic are prepared to leap on Noel if he's there at No. 2, but if the Cavs take him, Orlando's choice becomes trickier. Ford continues to hear that the Magic are leaning toward Victor Oladipo over Ben McLemore and others., though Cody Zeller could be a dark horse.
- Otto Porter appears to be ahead of Anthony Bennett for the Wizards at No. 3.
- Although Ford has the Suns selecting McLemore at No. 5, he says Phoenix prefers Oladipo and also likes Zeller and Michael Carter-Williams.
- If Porter or Alex Len are still on the board at No. 6, the Pelicans will probably draft one of the two, but if not, the team may target a point guard like Carter-Williams or Trey Burke, says Ford.
- C.J. McCollum has emerged as a potential selection for the Kings at No. 7.
- The Trail Blazers wouldn't be opposed to drafting Carter-Williams if he slides to No. 10, since he has the necessary to play alongside Damian Lillard, according to Ford.
- If the Cavs end up acquiring the Mavericks' 13th overall pick, Cleveland would probably use it to draft Sergey Karasev.
- Ford has Shabazz Muhammad slipping all the way to No. 18 (Hawks) in this version of his mock.
For as compelling as the Finals were, it's a shame that we almost certainly won't see the Heat and Spurs clash again next season without at least a few changes to their rosters. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tackles a half dozen key questions for the Spurs amid uncertainty for soon-to-be free agents Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal. In a separate piece, McDonald examines the prospects each Spurs player has of sticking around. I examined the offseason ahead for the Heat earlier today, and Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel follows with a look at what it will cost to keep each player on the Miami roster. The only constant in the NBA is change, and here's the latest on the league's comings and goings:
- As expected, the Cavaliers met with both Nerlens Noel and Alex Len this week, as Bob Finnan of The News-Herald confirms amongst his league roundup. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, who argues that Otto Porter should get the nod at No. 1, notes that Porter, Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo all worked out for the Cavs in the past few days.
- The "overwhelming belief" is that the Cavs won't trade the top pick, Lloyd writes.
- Lior Eliyahu, a former second-round pick whose NBA rights are owned by the Timberwolves, has parted ways with the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sportando's Emiliano Carchia reports with an assist from colleague David Pick.
- NBA contracts aren't necessarily guaranteed in case of mental disability, but Royce White's deal with the Rockets is, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link) points out. That means the Rockets wouldn't save any money if they waived him because of his psychological disorders.
- The Bucks are looking for a shooting guard, and they'll bring in Jamaal Franklin for a workout Monday, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.
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.
Sam Amico's latest NBA Report for FOX Sports Ohio touches on a few topics of note related to the draft and potential trades, so let's dive in and round up the highlights….
- Interest around the league is building in lottery picks, particularly in the top three, according to Amico. We've heard for weeks that there's not a lot of high-end talent in this draft and that it's not the year you necessarily want a top-three pick, but perhaps all that chatter has reduced the potential trade value of those selections.
- The Cavaliers had been trying to work on something big, but their recent trade talks have been merely "exploratory (and) touching base, but nothing serious." The Timberwolves are one team Cleveland has spoken to, says Amico, adding that Wolves brass is confident that a package of Derrick Williams and the No. 9 pick can net a top-three pick in return.
- Victor Oladipo probably isn't in the mix for the Cavs' No. 1 pick, but he had an "explosive" workout for the team and could be considered if Cleveland trades down. Ben McLemore's workout with the Cavs was less impressive, according to Amico's sources.
- The Wizards aren't completely sold on Otto Porter, and are deciding between him and Anthony Bennett, Amico hears.
- The Bucks have talked to the Celtics about a possible Paul Pierce trade, says Amico. There have been rumblings that the Cavs could be in the mix for Pierce as well, but Amico hasn't been able to confirm any Cleveland/Pierce rumors.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Cavaliers are engaged in "serious" discussions with the Mavericks about acquiring Shawn Marion and the No. 13 pick in exchange for the No. 19 pick, sources tell Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com. Such a deal would have to be contingent on Marion opting into the final season of his contract, worth $9,316,796, though the veteran small forward is likely to do so. It would also have to include other players unless it took place next month, since the Cavs, with about $55MM in team salary for 2012/13, won't be far enough under the cap to absorb Marion's salary straight up until the league calendar flips to 2013/14 in July.
The Cavs view Marion as an upgrade over incumbent small forward Alonzo Gee, and they're targeting another small forward, Sergey Karasev, for the No. 13 pick they'd acquire in a deal for Marion, according to Kotoch. The Cavs are also willing to package the 31st and 33rd selections on draft night if they see a prospect they like available during the latter part of the first round. If the draft were held today, Alex Len would be the Cavs' choice for the No. 1 pick, Kotoch writes, though Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times hears Otto Porter is at the top of Cleveland's draft board (Twitter link).
As he unveils the latest version of his mock draft, Kotoch lists the Mavs, Timberwolves and Blazers as teams seeking to trade their first-round picks, as he's done in the past. Dallas is aggressively trying to unload its No. 13 pick, as a source told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News this week that there's no chance the player taken with that selection winds up on the Mavs roster next season. Chad Ford of ESPN.com linked the Cavs, as well as the Thunder and Knicks, to discussions for the Dallas pick, with the Mavs' desired return as either a 2014 first-rounder or the willingness to take on Marion's contract.
The Mavs are seeking to clear the necessary cap space to sign a marquee free agent this summer, and while moving Marion's salary would be a key component in doing so, I'd be a little surprised if Dallas acquired the 19th pick as part of a deal with the Cavs. The savings between the cap hold for the No. 13 pick ($1,655,300), and the No. 19 selection ($1,223,200) would be minimal.