Emmanuel Mudiay, a surefire lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft, has denied reports that he’ll leave China prior to the end of the CBA season in order to boost his draft stock, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv reports. Unnamed NBA sources were quoted as saying that Mudiay could opt to leave China early to keep his draft stock high if he’s playing well there, which would keep an aura of mystique around him similar to what surrounded Dante Exum last year, notes Zagoria. “This is all rumors, it’s completely false,” Mudiay said. “The media are the ones that like to come out with these things, but it’s not the reality.” Mudiay is currently projected as the No. 2 overall pick next year by Draft Express.
Here’s more from around the league:
- In his weekly mailbag column, Nakia Hogan of The Times-Picayune addressed the possibility of the Pelicans dealing Eric Gordon. New Orleans still views Gordon as a key piece of the team and value continuity as they try to build a contender around Anthony Davis, notes Hogan. But Hogan also adds the caveat that if a deal came about that would make the franchise immediately better and help their future cap situation, then moving Gordon would be considered.
- Hogan also believes that New Orleans should think twice about considering a deal for the Nets‘ Andrei Kirilenko, despite the Pelicans‘ need for depth at small forward. The Times-Picayune scribe cites Kirilenko’s possible off the court issues, as well as his ineffectiveness when he has played this season, as reasons New Orleans should pass on the Russian veteran.
- In advance of Chandler Parsons‘ first visit to Houston since signing with the Mavs, the Rockets James Harden went on record saying the team was better off with Trevor Ariza, who replaced Parsons in Houston, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports. “His [Ariza’s] leadership, his defensive abilities, his shot-making — all three of those things are something that we were lacking last year,” said Harden. “[Ariza] brings that ability to the table this year.” The Rockets’ significant improvement on the defensive end certainly lends credence to Harden’s statement, notes MacMahon, with Houston lowering their points allowed per 100 possessions to 94.3, down from last season’s number of 103.1.