2018 NBA Draft

And-Ones: Lottery, 2018 Draft, Doncic, Hood

The NBA’s Board of Governors will vote next week on whether or not to institute draft lottery reform starting in 2019, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has followed up on the proposal with a few more details. As Wojnarowski explains in his piece, the league’s efforts to rework the draft lottery system are a response to fan feedback on tanking — many fans have indicated that frequent tanking makes them less interested in the NBA.

Previous reports indicated that the top three lottery seeds will only have a 14% chance each at the No. 1 pick. According to Wojnarowski, the odds for the bottom lottery seeds (the teams that just miss the playoffs) will still be very long, so the NBA isn’t worried about teams tanking out of a playoff spot in the hopes of landing a top lottery pick.

Notably, teams in the seven to nine range in the lottery standings would benefit from the NBA’s reform proposal, with their chances of landing a top-three pick increasing by 8-9% apiece.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • With the 2018 NBA draft still nine months away, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) has published a new mock draft, featuring Luka Doncic shooting up the No. 1 spot after a terrific EuroBasket performance. Michael Porter, Marvin Bagley, DeAndre Ayton, and Mohamed Bamba round out the top five behind Doncic, who was recently profiled by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe identifies six players who he’ll be keeping an eye on this season, while Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer singles out three players who may be in line for breakout years. One player who shows up on both lists? Jazz swingman Rodney Hood.
  • In an interesting piece for ESPN, Darren Rovell and Bobby Marks break down how much the league’s top earners will actually take home in 2017/18 after taxes, agent fees, and other deductions.
  • Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders examines how many teams currently at or above the luxury tax line will be genuine contenders in 2017/18.

Cavs Not Ruling Out Trading Nets’ 2018 Pick

The Cavaliers’ haul in the Kyrie Irving blockbuster included one of the NBA’s top scorers, a solid two-way wing on one of the league’s most affordable contracts, and a young big man with legit upside. Nonetheless, the crown jewel of the deal from Cleveland’s perspective may have been the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, which is unprotected.

While that first-rounder will prove very useful if the Cavs need to retool their roster following the 2017/18 season, GM Koby Altman tells Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net that the team will consider every option for the pick — including trading it.

“When we acquired it, we had every intention of keeping it and using it,” Altman said of the Nets’ pick. “But I also think we have a responsibility to see to what’s out there. I think there will be tremendous interest. We have a responsibility to listen to calls.”

Even if the Cavaliers decide to hang onto the Nets’ pick, having it available gives the club more flexibility when it comes to making other trades. As we discussed earlier this week, the Cavs have traded their 2019 first-round pick, so normally they’d be prohibited from trading their 2018 first-rounder due to the Ted Stepien Rule. But with a pair of first-round picks now in hand for ’18, Cleveland has the freedom to move one of the two.

“A big thing we really valued when making the trade is the fact that it is unprotected,” senior director of basketball operations Brock Aller told Amico. “So looking at it, we have the flexibility to trade our own pick, or the pick we received (via the Nets).”

As Aller notes, that lack of protection is crucial — if the Celtics had placed even top-one protection on that Nets pick, the Cavs would have had trouble trading their own first-rounder, since there would have been a chance of being left without a first-rounder for two consecutive future years in that scenario, violating the Stepien Rule.

Ultimately, I’d expect the Cavs to hang onto the Nets’ pick and dangle their own first-rounder in trade talks as the deadline nears. However, if a star player becomes available or if LeBron James commits to staying in Cleveland beyond this season, the idea of trading that Brooklyn first-rounder would likely become more feasible.

Trade Restrictions On Future Draft Picks By Team

When trade scenarios are proposed and discussed throughout the season by NBA fans and observers, it’s easy enough to suggest that a team ought to throw in an extra first-round pick or two to sweeten the pot. However, sometimes it’s not quite that simple.

The NBA’s Ted Stepien Rule, named after a former Cavaliers owner who was fond of trading draft picks, prevents teams from trading away future first-round selections in back-to-back years. In other words, a club can’t be without at least one first-round pick (its own or another team’s) in consecutive future seasons. A team can still trade its first-round pick every year if it wants to, but if that club has already dealt away its 2018 first-rounder, it will have to wait until after the ’18 draft to trade its 2019 pick.

In some instances, this rule can be applied fairly easily. For example, the Lakers have traded away their unprotected 2018 pick. That prevents the club from trading its 2019 first-round pick unless it acquires a separate 2018 first-rounder. After the 2018 draft though, those restrictions disappear.

In other cases though, the Stepien Rule creates trickier challenges. For example, like the Lakers, the Rockets have traded away their 2018 pick, but Houston put top-three protection on its selection. That top-three protection extends through 2023 before the pick becomes unprotected in 2024.

It’s almost a certainty that Houston’s first-rounder will simply change hands in 2018, since the club is expected to be one of the NBA’s best and the pick figures to fall in the 20s. But because it’s not a sure thing, the Rockets are only allowed to conditionally trade their 2020 pick — there’s a chance that the 2018 pick could be protected and the 2019 pick would then be the one to change hands, so if Houston sent out its unprotected ’20 first-rounder, the team would be without future first-rounders in back-to-back years. So if the Rockets trade their 2020 pick this season, it must include language that calls for it to be pushed back one year for every year that the 2018 pick is (hypothetically) retained.

Confused? We’re here to help. Below, we’ve detailed whether each of the NBA’s 30 teams have any restrictions facing them during the 2017/18 season if they want to trade a first-round pick. Some teams’ restrictions are more complicated than others, so if you have any questions, jump into the comment section to ask.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: No trade restrictions
    • Owed extra picks in 2018 and 2019.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Can’t trade 2019 pick (2018 pick traded).
    • Owed Raptors’ 2018 pick, but not guaranteed to receive it, since it’s top-14 protected.
  • New York Knicks: No trade restrictions.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: No trade restrictions
    • Owed an extra pick in 2018 or 2019, making them eligible to trade their own picks in both years.
  • Toronto Raptors: Can’t trade 2019 pick (2018 pick traded). Can only trade future picks conditionally (traded 2018 pick is protected through 2023).

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: No trade restrictions.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Can’t trade 2020 pick (2019 pick traded). Can only trade 2021 pick conditionally (traded 2019 pick is protected through 2020).
    • Owed an extra 2018 pick, making them eligible to trade one of the two.
  • Detroit Pistons: No trade restrictions.
  • Indiana Pacers: No trade restrictions.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: No trade restrictions.

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: No trade restrictions
    • Owed extra picks in 2018 and 2019.
  • Charlotte Hornets: No trade restrictions.
  • Miami Heat: Can’t trade 2019, 2020, or 2022 picks (2018 and 2021 picks traded).
  • Orlando Magic: No trade restrictions.
  • Washington Wizards: No trade restrictions.

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: No trade restrictions.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Can’t trade 2019 pick (2018 pick traded). Can only trade 2020 and 2021 picks conditionally (traded 2018 pick is protected through 2020).
    • Owed Thunder’s 2018 pick, but not guaranteed to receive it, since it’s top-14 protected.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Can’t trade 2019 pick (2018 pick traded). Can only trade 2020 and 2021 picks conditionally (traded 2018 pick is protected through 2020).
  • Portland Trail Blazers: No trade restrictions.
  • Utah Jazz: No trade restrictions.

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: No trade restrictions.
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Can’t trade 2018 or 2020 pick (2019 pick traded). Can only trade 2021 pick conditionally (traded 2019 pick is protected through 2020).
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Can’t trade 2019 pick (2018 pick traded).
  • Phoenix Suns: No trade restrictions
    • Owed extra picks in 2018 and 2021.
  • Sacramento Kings: Can’t trade 2018 or 2020 pick (2019 pick traded).

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: No trade restrictions.
  • Houston Rockets: Can’t trade 2019 pick (2018 pick traded). Can only trade future picks conditionally (traded 2018 pick is protected until 2024).
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Can’t trade 2018 or 2020 pick (2019 pick traded). Can only trade 2021 and 2022 picks conditionally (traded 2019 pick is protected until 2021).
  • New Orleans Pelicans: No trade restrictions.
  • San Antonio Spurs: No trade restrictions.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

And-Ones: M. Robinson, Mayo, Eurobasket

Five-star recruit Mitchell Robinson, who initially enrolled at Western Kentucky, has left the program and is not expected to play college ball in 2017/18, according to Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports. Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports had reported several days ago that Robinson was considering sitting out the season in order to prepare for the 2018 NBA draft.

Robinson, a seven-footer who is considered a likely first-round pick next summer, had been considering transferring to Kansas or another school, but would probably have had to sit out the 2017/18 season anyway in that scenario, Forde notes. Robinson could opt to go the Terrance Ferguson route and play in another professional league for one year, but a high-level European club is unlikely to rent the young center for a single season, tweets ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla.

As we wait to see what the future holds for Robinson, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • As we detailed earlier in the week, O.J. Mayo‘s two-year ban from the NBA ensures that he’ll sit out at least one more season. However, that ban doesn’t preclude him from playing in the G League. Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days looks into whether it makes sense for Mayo to suit up for a G League club this season in an effort to rehabilitate his image and stay on the radar of NBA teams.
  • This week’s Kyrie Irving mega-deal is the latest signal that the NBA is becoming a year-round league, Sam Amick writes in an interesting piece for USA Today. As Amick observes, the non-stop drama of the NBA offseason is good news for commissioner Adam Silver, who has expressed a desire to rival the NFL in terms of popularity.
  • With the 2017 Eurobasket tournament around the corner, several teams are finalizing and announcing their rosters. Via Sportando, here are the 12-man squads for Spain and Lithuania, each of which feature multiple NBA players.
  • After playing Summer League ball for the Knicks, undrafted rookie Canyon Barry will begin his professional career in Finland. The son of Rick Barry spoke to Ian Begley of ESPN.com about his father’s influence on his game, including his free-throw shooting style.

Cavs, Celtics Swap Kyrie Irving For Package Including Isaiah Thomas

9:39pm: The trade is official, the Cavs confirmed in a press release. The Celtics also issued an announcement confirming the deal.Kyrie Irving vertical

6:23pm: The Celtics and Cavaliers have reached an agreement on a deal that will send Irving to Boston in exchange for a package headlined by Thomas, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). Brian Windhorst of ESPN first reported (via Twitter) that the two teams were on the verge of a deal.

According to both Charania and Windhorst, the Cavs will receive Crowder, Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick (unprotected) in addition to Thomas. Charania also tweets that Irving will waive his trade kicker so that the deal can be completed. Here is Charania’s full story.

5:47pm: Boston center Ante Zizic is also expected to be part of a potential deal with Cleveland for Irving, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (Twitter link) that receiving Thomas, Crowder, and Zizic for Irving would save the Cavs $19MM in taxes. The team’s projected tax bill would lower from $78.4MM to $59.2MM.

5:30pm: The Cavaliers and Celtics are actively discussing trades centered around Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds that the two sides are discussing the inclusion of Jae Crowder as well as the addition of future draft picks heading from Boston to Cleveland.

Irving requested a trade from Cleveland last month and included a short list of destination which he would prefer to be dealt to should the team honor his request. Boston was not on that list, but all of the teams—Spurs, Heat, Wolves, and Knicks—with the exception of New York have strong coaching structures in place. The Celtics also have that element with Brad Stevens running the show, so it’s possible Irving would be open to a trade to the New England area.

Of course, Irving does not wield a no-trade clause, meaning the Cavs could ostensibly deal him anywhere they prefer. However, it was previously reported that the team was working with Irving to find a solution that worked for both sides.

Thomas is entering the last season of his contract, one that will pay him just over $6.26MM for the 2017/18 campaign. He should see a massive raise with his next contract, possibly approaching the max, which is something that could negatively impact his trade value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Traded Second Round Picks For 2018 NBA Draft

The 2018 NBA draft is over 10 months away, but many teams have already traded their respective second round picks for that night, and more clubs are likely to do so before this season’s trade deadline.

We’ll use the space below to keep tabs on each team’s second round pick for 2018, continually updating it as necessary throughout the year. Our list of traded first round picks for 2018 can be found right here.

We’ve listed all 30 teams here, so even if a team hasn’t traded its second round pick, that will be noted. We’ll also provide details on protections or swap-rights for each traded pick, including what happens to the pick in 2019 if it doesn’t change hands in 2018. The conditions on certain traded second round picks can be complicated, so feel free to ask for clarification in the comments section if anything is unclear.

Here’s the full breakdown on the status of each 2018 second round pick:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: Traded to Thunder (top-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, Celtics’ obligation to Thunder is extinguished.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Traded to Sixers or Hornets.
    • Philadelphia will receive more favorable of Nets and Cavaliers picks; Charlotte will receive less favorable.
  • New York Knicks: Will have own pick or Clippers pick, whichever is less favorable (Philadelphia has right to swap).
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Own pick.
  • Toronto Raptors: Traded to Suns (unprotected).

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: Traded to Thunder (unprotected).
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Traded to Sixers or Hornets.
    • Philadelphia will receive more favorable of Nets and Cavaliers picks; Charlotte will receive less favorable.
  • Detroit Pistons: Own pick.
  • Indiana Pacers: Traded to Nets (45-60 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, 45-60 protected in 2019.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Own pick.

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: Own pick.
  • Charlotte Hornets: Traded to Grizzlies, Suns, or Rockets.
    • Memphis will receive most favorable of Hornets, Heat, and Grizzlies picks. Phoenix will receive second most favorable. Houston will receive least favorable.
  • Miami Heat: Traded to Grizzlies, Suns, or Rockets.
    • Memphis will receive most favorable of Hornets, Heat, and Grizzlies picks. Phoenix will receive second most favorable. Houston will receive least favorable.
  • Orlando Magic: Can swap own pick for Lakers pick if Lakers pick is more favorable.
  • Washington Wizards: Own pick.

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: Traded to Lakers (unprotected).
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Own pick.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Own pick.
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Traded to Nuggets or Kings.
    • Sacramento will receive more favorable of Trail Blazers and Kings picks; Denver will receive less favorable.
  • Utah Jazz: Own pick.

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: Traded to Nuggets (unprotected).
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Traded to Sixers or Knicks.
    • Philadelphia will receive more favorable of Clippers and Knicks picks. New York will receive less favorable.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Traded to Nets or Magic.
    • Brooklyn will receive less favorable of Magic and Lakers picks; Orlando will receive more favorable.
  • Phoenix Suns: Traded to Grizzlies (top-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, Suns’ obligation to Grizzlies is extinguished.
  • Sacramento Kings: Can swap own pick for Trail Blazers pick if Blazers pick is more favorable.

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: Traded to Bucks (top-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, Mavericks’ obligation to Bucks is extinguished.
  • Houston Rockets: Traded to Sixers (unprotected).
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Will own most favorable of Hornets, Heat, and Grizzlies picks. Phoenix will receive second most favorable. Houston will receive least favorable.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Traded to Bulls (unprotected).
  • San Antonio Spurs: Own pick.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Top Prospect Marvin Bagley Reclassifies, Commits To Duke

Top high school prospect Marvin Bagley has reclassified into the class of 2017, and will now be eligible to play college basketball during the coming season, rather than in 2018, he announced on Monday. As Evan Daniels of Scout.com details, Bagley committed to playing ball at Duke in 2017/18, making the Blue Devils the odds-on favorite to open the year as the No. 1 team in the nation.

While Bagley’s decision to attend Duke is good news for Mike Krzyzweski’s program, his reclassification itself is the most important news for NBA teams and evaluators, who will now have the opportunity to select the big man in the draft next June, assuming he enters the 2018 draft class after his freshman year.

If he does submit his name for next year’s draft, Bagley is expected to be one of a handful of players who will receive consideration for the No. 1 overall pick, alongside Michael Porter, DeAndre Ayton, and Luka Doncic, among others. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony suggests (via Twitter) that he believes there are still seven viable candidates for that top pick, adding that it’s too early to lock anyone in.

In his first 2018 mock draft for ESPN, Givony has Bagley coming off the board at second overall, writing that Duke’s newest player is “a terror in the open court” and has “a natural feel for scoring, rebounding and blocking shots.” NBA scouts will be keeping a close eye this season on the 18-year-old’s defense and outside shooting potential as he transitions to the college game, Givony writes.

Of course, before he can take the court for the Blue Devils, Bagley will still need to be deemed eligible by the NCAA. According to Givony, one college assistant for a team that was recruiting Bagley suggests that he expects that ruling to come in “a matter of days or weeks,” and he’s optimistic the young forward/center will be cleared. “[Bagley’s father] is way too detail-oriented for this not to work,” the assistant told Givony.

Traded First Round Picks For 2018 NBA Draft

The 2018 NBA draft is over 10 months away, but several teams have already traded their respective first round picks for that night, and more clubs are likely to do so before this season’s trade deadline.

We’ll use the space below to keep tabs on each team’s first round pick for 2018, continually updating it as necessary throughout the year. Our list of traded second round picks for 2018 can be found right here.

We’ve listed all 30 teams here, so even if a team hasn’t traded its first round pick, that will be noted. We’ll also provide details on protections for each traded pick, including what happens to the pick in 2019 if it doesn’t change hands in 2018.

Here’s the full breakdown on the status of each 2018 first round pick:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: Own pick.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Traded to Cavaliers (unprotected).
  • New York Knicks: Own pick.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Own pick.
  • Toronto Raptors: Traded to Nets (lottery-protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, lottery-protected in 2019.

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: Own pick.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Own pick.
  • Detroit Pistons: Own pick.
  • Indiana Pacers: Own pick.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Own pick.

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: Own pick.
  • Charlotte Hornets: Own pick.
  • Miami Heat: Traded to Suns (top-7 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, unprotected in 2019.
  • Orlando Magic: Own pick.
  • Washington Wizards: Own pick.

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: Own pick.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Traded to Hawks (lottery-protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, lottery-protected in 2019.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Traded to Timberwolves (lottery-protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, lottery-protected in 2019.
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Own pick.
  • Utah Jazz: Own pick.

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: Own pick.
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Own pick.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Traded to Sixers or Celtics (Boston receives it if falls between Nos. 2 and 5; otherwise, Philadelphia receives it).
  • Phoenix Suns: Own pick.
  • Sacramento Kings: Own pick.

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: Own pick.
  • Houston Rockets: Traded to Hawks (top-3 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2018, top-3 protected in 2019.
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Own pick.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Own pick.
  • San Antonio Spurs: Own pick.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

And Ones: G-League, Expansion Draft, 2018 Rookies

The NBA Draft class of 2017 is preparing for the start of camp and shortly thereafter, the regular season, where the league’s top youngsters will look to prove their worth against basketball’s elite. But it’s never too early to look into the future and Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer provides us with an in-depth look at five standouts who could make up a superstar-laden draft class in 2018.

Michael Porter Jr., who is rated by most outlets as the top player heading into next season, is committed to the University of Missouri. O’Connor likes Porter’s size (6’11”), scoring ability, and ability to improve as a passer. O’Connor is particularly intrigued by Marvin Bagley III, who possess raw size and skill that can be shaped into some special. While he has had flashes of immaturity — something that’s expected with teenagers — the Ringer scribe says that Bagley “embodies qualities found in evolutionary big men with excellent athleticism, speed, and flashes of ballhandling and shooting.”

The other three players O’Connor highlights are DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba, and Luka Doncic. Size is a recurring theme in O’Connor’s piece and he consistently notes that while next year’s draft does not figure to be as deep as this year’s class in terms of talent, the impact of the top picks makes for an interesting draft.

Read about other news around the basketball world below:

  • Starting next week, the NBA will head to Israel as part of an effort to expand the presence of international talent in the league. Commissioner Adam Silver will be on hand as part of the Basketball Without Borders program that hosts training camps for top teenage players. Israeli-born Omri Casspi will also be in attendance with NBA legend David Robinson doing some coaching.
  • The NBA G League Player Invitational will take place today and here is the roster of players currently set to play as they hope to impress scouts and officials enough to gain entry into the G League draft come October.
  • With four new teams added to the G League, 2Wins10Days breaks down the expansion draft and how each team is selected and who will/will not be eligible.

 

Knicks Notes: Hardaway, Porzingis, Draft, Perry

Knicks president Steve Mills had an aggressive plan that ultimately snared Tim Hardaway Jr., writes Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. Mills claims he reached out to Hardaway just after midnight on July 1. While Hardaway says that he didn’t hear from the Knicks until a few days into free agency, it is clear that Mills aggressively pursued the former Knick.

“We felt like there are not that many opportunities in free agency that you have the opportunity to go after a 25-year-old. We made the decision that if you want to pry a restricted free agent away from the incumbent team, you have to be aggressive. So we made a decision to be aggressive,” Mills said.

Reportedly, the Knicks brass believed that the Hawks would be willing to offer $45MM for four years, so Mills and company needed to be “aggressive” and offered $71MM over four years. Although Hardaway has started just 62 of 281 games in his career, Mills believes that he is a starting shooting guard in the NBA.

“As we look at the numbers, we believe Tim is a starting two-guard in this league. Our trajectory for him is to be a starting two- guard, the capability of being a starting two-guard for the rest of his career. And those guys average 16, 16.5 million dollars today. So that’s how we came to the decision,” the Knicks president said.

Here’s what else you should know regarding the Knicks:

  • Also in Iannazzone’s Newsday piece, Mills speaks to his relationship with team cornerstone, Kristaps Porzingis. “Kristaps and I have a hectic texting relationship. I continue to text Kristaps over the summer and he and I have spoken two or three times over the summer,” Mills said. Phil Jackson confirmed he was fielding trade offers for Porzingis around the draft, but since Jackson left the team, the Knicks have stated that they will build around the Latvian center.
  • By going young this season, the Knicks could score big in the 2018 NBA Draft, writes Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports Network. If Carmelo Anthony is dealt, the Knicks could enter full-scale rebuilding mode, possibly setting them up for the first overall pick in the next draft. Zagoria mentions Michael Porter Jr., DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba, Luka Doncic, and Marvin Bagley as potential targets if the Knicks were to land the top selection.
  • In a press conference, Mills spoke about new GM Scott Perry‘s role with the team, relays Steve Popper of USA Today. “I’m going to give Scott the room to make basketball decisions and make recommendations to me,” Mills said. “He’s going to have a chance to manage the coaching staff, manage the scouting staff, and make recommendations as to where we should go as a basketball organization. I think we’ll be partners in that in the sense that he’ll come to me with his recommendation and we’ll debate it back and forth. But at the end of the day, I’m giving him the room to make those decisions.” Mills also emphasized that the goal is for the Knicks to be a younger, more athletic team, while head coach Jeff Hornacek stressed hustle and defense as the lynchpins of the new team.
  • Mills said that, if he were in charge, he “would’ve selected Frank [Ntilikina] at that point in the draft myself,” per Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mills continued, “He’s a guy that fits in everything that we’re talking about right now. He’s a smart basketball player. He focuses defensively and his approach to the game, his work ethic, fit exactly in the direction that we want to take this team.”
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