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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19 thoughts on “Draft Rumors: Ball, Bulls, Avdija, Hornets, Okongwu, Nnaji

  1. Sillivan

    Edwards Wiseman avdija have worked out with Warriors and Ball will meet with Warriors again

    Does that mean Warriors will keep the pick?

    • Gary G.


      I don’t know how many times I have to say this. The core Warriors are 30+ years old !! Their window to win now is Max 2 years or 3 years. They will NOT bring in a rookie for the future. They need a player for the fourth quarter crunch time who knows what’s going on out there. They will trade all this stuff they’ve piled up for that guy.. including this year’s number 2 pick. Their window is now.

      Whoever the Warriors pick with the second choice in this year’s draft will not be playing for the Warriors come playoff time. If it’s a stud from this year’s draft and they have to hold on to him to the trade deadline that’s what they’ll do.. but they will get rid of the guy for a veteran now.

      • Simmons>Russ

        I disagree, I think they will get rid of the pick of the right offer comes in but they are looking at drafting someone and looking at the future.

        I know there window to win is now but like you said their big 3 are all in their 30’s now so planning ahead for after them is key if the Warriors want to stay a title threat. Your not going to have a better chance to build them right now. You have Wiggins a former college star and former number 1 pick and now you have the number 2 pick. You’ll want these two to learn as much as possible from Curry Thompson and Green to continue the Warriors success.

        I think the Warriors want Anthony Edwards and are trying to convince everyone they want James Wiseman but will take LaMelo Ball or Obi Toppin over Wiseman

        • Gary G.

          I hear what you’re saying and that makes a lot of sense in many ways. But I think instead of a balanced approach of try to win now, and also have youth for the future, I believe the Warriors mindset is to concentrate all effort all energy into one super rocket launch now. Like a Cape Canaveral Expedition you need all the Firepower for that launch.. not to save any for later or two years from now. All eggs in one basket.

          It is so difficult to put together that combination of players and personalities and positions to win it all that I don’t think they care about 3 years from now at this moment. Just my opinion and I appreciate yours as well. Good post.

      • Strike Four

        Do you really think Curry and Thompson, two legends of the nba, are going to be irrelevant in 3-4 years? Guess again. Both will be superstar level late in their 30s. That window is massive, not 2-3 years.

        • Gary G.

          StrikeFou@r I’m not saying they’ll be irrelevant. Not suggesting that at all. Who said they’ll be irrelevant? Don’t put words in my mouth.

          What I am saying is that at age 35 a man is not capable of what he was at age 25 or 27. Believe me I’ve experienced it and I know. You may not be there yet and not understand. So sure Curry and Thompson and green will be great players at 35. But champions? That I’m not sure of. Look at LeBron this year at 36 and he is a superior athlete compared to the regular NBA guy !! He spends $200,000 a year on his body and diet and workout plan and regimen. And that’s LeBron at 36 !! Stud amongst studs.

      • This is still the most likely scenario. Before they moved FA back to be after the draft, as usual, this was a lock. Now, striking a deal by draft day (even if consummated later) will most likely mean having to use their TPE, which might reduce their pool of players. Wiggins would be difficult to move in advance of FA period.

        • Gary G.

          Wiggins is a perfect match FOR SALARY IF the Warriors go after a stud like Giannis or James Harden. Otherwise yes he’s difficult to move.

          It’s my opinion that why would they WANT to move Wiggins unless they were plugging in a stud in his place. Andrew Wiggins is a fine 4th option, and I think better than a Harrison Barnes or a guy like that.

          • Without involving Wiggins, they don’t have matching contracts to absorb a top player for their pick. Have to use the TPE, meaning the guy can’t make more than 17.5 mm or thereabouts.

    • Gary G.

      I think you can say that about every team right now. Every single one. Does anybody know what they’re going to do for sure with two weeks left till the draft? I don’t think so. I don’t think ANYONE/ any team has a clue right now.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        Yeah, with no clear #1 Minnesota probably can’t even say for sure what they’ll do. Normally the first 1 or 2 picks are predictable locks and you can work from there, but every player has questions with them this year and the entire draft is in flux. I expect draft night to be insane.

  2. KnickerbockerAl

    There is no question who the top 3 picks are. Only reason for uncertainty is. Minny has an all star center. Warriors want to win next yr. So the probability if those teams trading is high. Considering the top talent is not overwhelming great. Like a Zion, Ja, RJ were. If Wiseman would have played all yr. There would be no question of the #1 pick. Minny needs a SG more than anything a real scorer. Edwards has a chance to be that. Plus to be a great 2way player with his size and talent. Whoever trades up is cause they believe that. Ball is yrs away I doubt anyone would trade up for that. Yes yes away and doesn’t play D. And brings hype and drama. Still most boards have those as top 3. Not a Ball fan as you can see. You can bet Wiseman and Edwards are going 1and 2. Just maybe not to Minny and GS.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    To me Okongwu, Toppin, Halliburton. Are the most ready to help now. All three could start and he in running for ROY. They all have size and talent for their position. PF and PG. All play team ball and play D. They are the surest safest picks in draf. Hornets could pass on Ball for Okongwu. I’ve said this before. Ball then could fall to Pistons. I doubt they pass on him. Please god, I don’t need my Knicks feeling pressure to take him. PLEASE

  4. WillieBeamon

    Ball falls to 2. NYK then trades GS Robinson, Ntilkana, and the 8th pick for Ball and Poole

    • El Don

      That would be such a steal for NYK! Let’s hope for their sake they can take advantage of GSW in that way! GSW might be desperate enough for a big to do this, although if you can pick Wiseman at #2, he is right now already better than Robinson will ever be! But MIN will pick either Ball or Wiseman… so that is why maybe GSW will let Knicks take advantage of them!

  5. formerlyz

    I’ve had Okongwu ahead of Wiseman since I first saw them over a year ago

    I like Nnaji, but I think there are several more impressive bigs ahead of him. I had him going 45 to Orlando, although Orlando was one of the teams I thought could try and move up, which has now been reported.

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