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.
A disproportionate number of this year’s lottery picks are headed to the Northwest Division, where four of the five teams have one top-14 selection apiece. Those picks will go into vastly different circumstances. The Timberwolves will welcome the No. 1 overall choice to a bottom-up rebuild, the Nuggets have the seventh pick to add to a volatile mix, the No. 12 pick has a chance to help the resurgent Jazz slip into the playoffs next season, while the Thunder are primed to use the No. 14 pick to help fuel a run at the title. Here’s the latest from around the Northwest:
- Jazz draft-and-stash center Tibor Pleiss took to Facebook to deny that he’s headed to Germany’s Bayern Munich, saying that he’s comfortable playing for Barcelona in Spain, as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia translates. Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net reported earlier this week that Barcelona was expected to convey him to Bayern Munich. Still, David Pick of Eurobasket.com hears that Pleiss isn’t satisfied with his role for Barcelona (Twitter link), and his discontent there appeared to be a factor when Pleiss and the Jazz were reportedly in talks about a deal this past season.
- University of Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins will work out for the Timberwolves soon, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Hollins is the 103rd-best prospect according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him outside the top 100, too, ranking him as the 53rd-best senior.
- The Columbian’s Erik Gunderson figures a fair offer from the Trail Blazers to Wesley Matthews would entail a $9-10MM salary, but Mike Richman of The Oregonian believes it would be stunning to see Matthews wind up with less than $10MM per year, as they write in a collaborative piece.
- Injuries helped limited Mitch McGary to only 32 appearances this season, but last year’s 21st overall pick is nonetheless showing signs of having been another steal for the Thunder in the late first round, as The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry examines.
The Mavericks don’t have a great track record of attracting top-tier free agents to Dallas, but the franchise badly needs to land Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com writes. Jordan represents the Mavs’ last hope to put a championship-caliber team together around Dirk Nowitzki, Taylor opines. The 26-year-old big man has expressed through back channels that he’ll be “extremely interested” in signing with the Mavs this offseason, but the Clippers have indicated that re-signing Jordan is the team’s top priority.
Here’s the latest from the NBA’s Western Conference:
- The Nuggets will begin their pre-draft workouts on Wednesday, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reports (Twitter links). The first group to display their wares for Denver will consist of J.J. Avila, Askia Booker, Derek Cooke, Alex Herrera, Stanton Kidd, and Mitch McCarron, Dempsey notes. Working out for the team on Thursday will be Daniel Bejarano, Michael Frazier II, Cam Griffin, and Brett Olson, the Denver Post Scribe relays.
- Arizona guard T.J. McConnell said that he worked out for the Spurs, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
- Working out for the Jazz on Wednesday will be Dallin Bachynski, Ryan Harrow, Kendall Gray, Tyler Harvey, Hugh Greenwood, and Tyler Kalinoski, the team announced.
- Duke freshman point guard Tyus Jones‘ first team workout will be for the Mavericks this coming Monday, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (via Twitter).
- The Timberwolves have workouts scheduled with Harvey and Michael Qualls for this Friday, Wolfson tweets.
The NBA draft is just one month from tonight. The lottery and the combine are finished, so team workouts will be the main focus from now until draft night. Now that we know where every team will pick, we debuted our mock draft this weekend, and we’re continuing with our Prospect Profile series. Here’s more on the draft as the event starts to get close:
- Louisville point guard Terry Rozier has made a habit of overcoming the odds, and he didn’t disappoint in his workout with the Jazz this weekend, according to Utah vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin, as Carter Williams of the Deseret News examines. The Jazz were one of 17 teams scheduled to audition Rozier, Williams writes, a group that apparently includes the Rockets and Spurs.
- Kevon Looney added the Nets, Wizards, Jazz, Suns, Bulls, Cavs, Raptors, Hawks and Knicks to the list of the teams he interviewed with at the draft combine earlier this month, as the UCLA power forward revealed to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Looney is a raw prospect, but even though he feels he could have improved if he’d stayed in college, he tells Medina that he’s confident he can also develop at the NBA level.
- Connecticut point guard Ryan Boatright, LSU power forward Jordan Mickey, Texas combo forward Jonathan Holmes and Louisville swingman Wayne Blackshear are among the players tentatively scheduled to work out Friday for the Timberwolves, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
Isaiah Thomas said he was asked by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to name free agents he’d like to play with, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports. The exchange has made Thomas, who has been vocal about his desire for starting in the past, feel like he is part of the Celtics’ future, Himmelsbach adds. “Danny said if there’s any free agent out there I’m interested in, to let him know,” Thomas said. “That has me excited. For him to ask for my input means a lot, because it means I’m definitely, right now, a part of the future, and they also value your word and what you think about the game of basketball. It means a lot, and it’s a mutual respect we have. Now, hopefully, we can get a few guys.”
Thomas did not name any player specifically, but he said a big man is a top priority. “A defensive-minded player,” he told Himmelsbach. “It’d be nice to get one of those in the draft. A lot of the big men out there could definitely help us out. But I know Danny is always up to something.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy said the team will hire a full-time shooting coach by July, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. The Pistons ranked 27th out of 30 teams last season in field-goal percentage (43.2%), and also ranked 29th in free-throw percentage at 70.3%, as Mayo points out.
- The Jazz hosted Andrew Harrison, Terry Rozier, Vince Hunter, J.P. Tokoto, Treveon Graham and Aaron White in a pre-draft workout, and Walt Perrin, vice president of player personnel, said he wasn’t too surprised with the results, Melissa Yack writes in a piece for the Deseret News. “I thought Terry played — I know Terry can shoot it, but I thought he shot it pretty well today,” Perrin said. “Other than that — Andrew maybe could have shot it a little better, but surprises no.”
- Stanley Johnson believes he can be an impactful and versatile defender in the league, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders writes. “In today’s day and age, it’s about defensive versatility. How many people you can guard and how well you can do it,” Johnson said. “I can guard fours. I can guard Draymond Green. I can guard Kawhi Leonard. I can guard Mike Conley — I can stay with him at least,” he continued. “You guard people in stints, I can definitely stint the minutes for sure.” In 38 games with Arizona, the small forward averaged 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and played well defensively.
- The top four teams in the draft — the Wolves, Lakers, Sixers and Knicks — reached out to Emmanuel Mudiay‘s agents, but the guard who played last season in the Chinese Basketball Association likely won’t work out for them until early June, tweets SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria, who cites a source.
- Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan worked out for the Spurs, and is hopeful he will be selected in the first round of the draft, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe writes.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor expects Flip Saunders to return as coach next season, reports Charley Walters of The St. Paul Pioneer Press. Saunders, who also serves as president of basketball operations, led the team to a 16-66 record this year, which was the worst mark in the league and helped Minnesota land the top pick in the draft. However, the Wolves were hampered by injuries all season. “I think he worked so hard last year with all those problems that he wants an opportunity to see if we are healthy, if we really have the team he thought he had,” Taylor said. Saunders expects to hold pre-draft workouts with at least five players, including Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.
There’s more news from the Northwest Division:
- The Jazz will bring in six more players for pre-draft workouts Sunday [Twitter link]. The players are Andrew Harrison of Kentucky, Terry Rozier of Louisville, Vince Hunter of Texas-El Paso, J.P. Tokoto of North Carolina, Terran Petteway of Nebraska and Aaron White of Iowa.
- Re-signing free agents Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler is as much a business decision as a basketball decision for the Thunder, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. The columnist questions the wisdom of giving an eight-figure salary to a defensive liability like Kanter, but concedes that Oklahoma City has few options to replace the two players if they sign elsewhere.
- Anthony Morrow was the best free agent signing in Thunder history, Mayberry contends in a separate story. Morrow inked a three-year, $10MM deal last summer and gave Oklahoma City the outside shooting threat it needed. He connected on 43.4% of his shots from downtown and managed to lead the team in games played.
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 continue onward with a look back at how the Jazz utilized the D-League during the 2014/15 campaign…
D-League Team: Idaho Stampede
Affiliation Type: One-to-one
D-League Team Record: 28-22
Number of NBA Players Assigned To D-League: 3
Total D-League Assignments: 5
Player Stats While On Assignment:
- Ian Clark: 1 assignment, 7 games, 14.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.7 APG. .425/.450/.667.
- Grant Jerrett: 2 assignments, 9 games, 12.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 APG. .444/.412/.571.
- Toure’ Murry: 2 assignments, 6 games, 14.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.0 APG. .424/.133/.667.
*Note: Jerrett had eight previous assignments as a member of the Thunder.
Center Joel Freeland can become a restricted free agent this summer if the Blazers tender him a qualifying offer worth $3,766,890, and Sean Meagher of the Oregonian, along with a panel of writers, runs down the case for the team to retain the big man. While Freeland’s numbers don’t stand out, he can be a solid backup when healthy, the panel notes. Working against Freeland is the fact that he is relatively easy to replace, though there is mutual interest in the 28-year-old returning to Rip City next season, the writers add.
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- The Jazz interviewed UNLV’s Christian Wood, Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Chris McCullough of Syracuse, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune relays in a series of tweets. Also scoring an interview with Utah was Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant, Jones adds.
- Arizona forward Stanley Johnson is set to interview with representatives from the Jazz on Saturday, Jones tweets.
- The Jazz also have an interest in Cameron Payne, and the team is expected to bring him in for an individual workout, Jones adds (Twitter link). Utah also wants to schedule individual workouts with Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre, Jones relays.
- The Trail Blazers interviewed Arkansas’ Bobby Portis and Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell, both forwards, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com relays (Twitter links).
- Duke point guard Tyus Jones met with the Timberwolves today, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. Jones, who is a native of Minnesota, dished on his excitement about joining the NBA, Zgoda relays. “Every kid who plays basketball dreams it, but it’s one of those things that might not seem realistic,” Jones said. “You don’t necessarily see a lot of guys from Minnesota go to the NBA. Especially for me, being out of Apple Valley, it doesn’t seem like it’s possible. But it’s just one of those things: If you work hard, put your mind to something, you can do it. I’m proud to be from Apple Valley, Minnesota, and I’m very excited about this opportunity.”
Virginia small forward Justin Anderson and Murray State sophomore Cameron Payne are among the players interviewing with the Thunder at this week’s combine, The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry reports (Twitter link). Payne, who spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors, and Anderson project as mid-to-late first-rounders, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. The Thunder will pick 14th unless they have astounding lottery luck, as the odds show, though after losing Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and others for significant time this season, Oklahoma City might be due for a change in fortunes. Here’s more on the Thunder:
- Thunder draft-and-stash prospect Alex Abrines has signed a deal with Barcelona of Spain that runs until 2019, reports Jose Ignacio Huguet of Mundo Deportivo (translations via Jon Hamm of The Oklahoman and Enea Trapani of Sportando). Hamm suggests the deal includes a high-dollar NBA buyout clause. The shooting guard who was the 32nd overall pick from 2013 had been under contract only through 2016, as Mark Porcaro notes in our Draft Rights Held Players Database. The Jazz have shown interest, and he’s drawn raves for his play overseas.
- What Enes Kanter gives the Thunder offensively is often negated on the defensive end, though he was a major force on the boards, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater examines. Regardless, the Thunder and their midseason trade acquisition have mutual interest in a new deal as the center hits restricted free agency this summer.
- Steve Pierce of Daily Thunder stumps for the Thunder to hire ousted Pelicans coach Monty Williams as an assistant in large measure because of the similarities between Williams and former Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. Williams could help ease the transition in the locker room, Pierce argues, though it appears the Thunder would have competition for Williams from the Raptors and that Williams is more likely to wait for the next head coaching job to open, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported.
The future of Robin Lopez in Portland may depend on LaMarcus Aldridge‘s decision, writes Jabari Young of CSNNW.com. Both will become free agents in July, and Young notes that Lopez’s defensive skills and Aldridge’s offensive prowess are perfect complements to each other. If Aldridge leaves, the Blazers might turn to the free agent market for a new big man, pursuing either the Pistons’ Greg Monroe or the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Veteran center Chris Kaman hopes the Blazers bring him back for one more season, according to Sean Meagher of The Oregonian. Portland used its mid-level exception last summer to give Kaman a two-year, $9.8MM deal, but the team holds the option on his 2015/16 contract. He is slated to make $5MM next season, but only about $1MM of that is guaranteed. Kaman became a reliable backup center for the Blazers and a mentor to Meyers Leonard. He offered an unusual compliment to Portland coach Terry Stotts. “I told Terry he’s the first coach I haven’t hated when the season was over since Mike Dunleavy,” Kaman said. “It’s been a while that I haven’t hated somebody.”
- In a separate story, Meagher talked to several Portland-area media members to get their opinions on Kaman. There was general agreement that the Blazers should keep him on the roster for another season, although probably in a reduced role, given his age and Leonard’s projected improvement.
- With their franchise cornerstones in place, the Jazz can concentrate on making smaller improvements this summer, contends Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. He cites areas of need as veteran leadership and backcourt stability. Utah will likely have the 12th pick in next month’s draft, along with some cap flexibility to add a veteran or two.