Draft Rumors: Ball, Bulls, Avdija, Hornets, Okongwu, Nnaji

Earlier this morning, we passed along a report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer about the Celtics, Magic, and Wizards showing interest in trading up from their current spots in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft. O’Connor’s latest mock draft at The Ringer includes several more intriguing tidbits about the draft — we’ll round up a few of the highlights here:

  • Echoing a report from Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, O’Connor says LaMelo Ball has struggled in meetings with teams and could conceivably fall out of the top three. If Ball is still available at No. 4, the Bulls‘ phone will likely be “buzzing,” O’Connor adds.
  • Speaking of the Bulls, multiple sources have told O’Connor recently that they’ve heard Deni Avdija may be the play-maker Chicago wants at No. 4. Avdija would be a nice fit alongside the Bulls’ current pieces, and new head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has a history of identifying international talent.
  • Although James Wiseman has been most frequently been linked to the Hornets, the team is also heavily considering Onyeka Okongwu, multiple league sources tell The Ringer. According to O’Connor, there are “many” front offices around the NBA that have Okongwu ranked ahead of Wiseman, so if both players are on the board at No. 3, it’s not necessarily a lock that Charlotte will opt for Wiseman.
  • Former Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji is receiving interest from teams in the late teens and the 20s, O’Connor reports. Nnaji comes off the board at No. 22 to Denver in The Ringer’s mock.
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