2021 NBA Draft

Wizards Notes: Beal, Draft, Avdija, Staff, Future

Bradley Beal has not requested a trade, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard confirmed today, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Reports surfaced over the weekend that Beal was pondering whether to make a trade request this week, which would have given the Wizards a chance to acquire picks in Thursday’s draft. However, Beal never made that request, according to multiple reports.

We have more from Sheppard’s press conference on Wednesday:

  • The team owns a mid-first round selection at No. 15 but does not currently possess a second-rounder on Thursday. That may change, as Sheppard said the Wizards “definitely want to get something in the second round,” according to Katz (Twitter link).
  • Sheppard used the old “best player available” line regarding the first-round pick, saying the club isn’t necessarily looking for the player who will make the biggest immediate impact, Katz tweets.
  • Last year’s lottery pick, Deni Avdija, has been cleared for on-court play and will begin contact work in a couple of weeks. Sheppard said the Wizards will wait to see if Avdija, who suffered a right ankle fracture in April, will play for the Summer League team (Katz, Twitter link).
  • New head coach Wes Unseld Jr. will have the most of the input on putting together his staff (Katz, Twitter link).
  • Sheppard doesn’t necessarily believe he has to compromise the team’s future to build a contender for next season. “I think there’s ways to get better next season and to have something in the bank to improve in the outer year,” he said. (Katz, Twitter link).

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Duarte, Thunder, Pacers, Kings, Giddey, Nuggets

With the draft just over 24 hours away, here’s some of the latest rumors:

  • The Knicks hold the Nos. 19 and 21 picks on Thursday but they’re aggressively trying to move into the lottery with the hope of landing Oregon guard Chris Duarte, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Hornets (No. 11) and Pacers (No. 13) are among the teams that appear willing to trade down. The Knicks are trying to leapfrog the Warriors (No. 14) and Wizards (No. 15), the teams most likely to pick Duarte ahead of them. However, a package of their two first-rounders alone won’t get it done, Ford adds. The Thunder have also held discussions with Charlotte regarding the No. 11 pick, Ford reports in another tweet.
  • Duarte may not last beyond the Pacers, either, unless they deal the pick. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), Indiana’s selection is expeccted to come down to Duarte and Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, assuming both are still available.
  • If the Knicks can’t move up, West Virginia point guard Miles McBride and VCU point guard Nah’Shon Hyland are potential targets at No. 21, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • The Kings (No. 9) are taking a long look at Australia’s Josh Giddey, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Kings not only interviewed Giddey, they made a trip to Las Vegas to see the 6’8” guard work out with the Australian national team.
  • The Nuggets (No. 26) have fielded some calls from teams in the 20-25 range looking to trade down, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. One of those teams is apparently the Lakers (No. 22).

Trade Rumors: Reddish, Simmons, Heat, Nuggets, Warriors

The Hawks, who were listening to inquiries on Cam Reddish prior to the trade deadline in March, remain willing to listen to offers on Reddish and have been taking calls on the young forward, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.

Injury issues derailed Reddish’s second NBA season, so his regular season numbers (11.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, .365/.262/.817 shooting in 26 games) don’t look great. But the former 10th overall pick is a strong defender and has flashed untapped potential. He made 6-of-7 three-pointers and scored 21 points in the Hawks’ final playoff games against Milwaukee earlier this month.

Kirschner isn’t sure what the chances are that Reddish is dealt, but writes that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks packaged the former Blue Devil with the No. 20 pick in order to move up in the draft.

Here are a few more trade-related tidbits:

  • Earlier today, Sam Amick of The Athletic cited a source who named the Heat as one of the most likely landing spots for Ben Simmons in the event the Sixers move the three-time All-Star. However, another source is downplaying the likelihood of Simmons landing in Miami, according to Amick, who tweets that the 25-year-old and his camp haven’t requested any specific destinations.
  • The Nuggets are comfortable with the No. 26 pick in this year’s draft, as they believe there will still be plenty of talent available at that spot, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. A report on Tuesday indicated that Denver has explored moving up several spots, but Singer hears that teams in the early 20s have actually contacted the Nuggets about the possibility of moving down. It doesn’t sound like Denver has been compelled by any of those offers.
  • Many of the trade scenarios the Warriors have discussed involving the Nos. 7 and 14 picks are dependent on how the draft plays out and which players are on the board when those picks come up, president of basketball operations Bob Myers told reporters on Monday. Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area has the story, with several quotes from Myers.

Draft Notes: Garuba, Butler, Pacers, Pistons, Kispert

Usman Garuba is generating buzz a potential mid first-round pick, but the terms of the Spaniard’s contract with Real Madrid represent an obstacle in getting him stateside for the 2021/22 season. According to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com, Garuba’s NBA buyout clause with the Spanish club is worth three million Euros.

An NBA team can contribute to a player’s buyout with his international team, but only up to $775K (about €655K). That means that if Garuba wants to make the leap to the NBA right away, most of the buyout would have to come out of his own pocket. To make matters worse for the 19-year-old, the amount of that buyout increases by one million Euros every year until 2024, per Urbonas. Garuba’s contract with Real Madrid runs through 2025.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), Garuba’s buyout is “insanely large” relative to other international contracts, but it may well be negotiated down to something more reasonable when the time comes for the big man to make the move to the NBA — which could happen in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report and Jeremy Woo of SI.com have released the final versions of their respective big boards for the 2021 draft. The two draft experts have also put out updated versions of their mock drafts at Bleacher Report and SI.com.
  • Among the noteworthy items in Woo’s mock draft: Some teams have concerns about the condition of Jared Butler‘s knees, and the Pacers have thus far rebuffed efforts from teams below them to move up to No. 13. If Indiana keeps that No. 13 pick, the team is likely to target a more experienced prospect such as Corey Kispert, Davion Mitchell, or Chris Duarte, says Woo.
  • Woo also reports that there has been some “real disagreement” within the Pistons‘ front office about what to do with the No. 1 pick. However, he expects Detroit to ultimately select Cade Cunningham. In his latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link), Jonathan Givony cites sources who say a Pistons commitment to Cunningham could be “imminent.”
  • Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert told reporters this week that the Spurs (No. 12), Wizards (No. 15), and Pelicans (No. 17) were among the teams he worked out for during the pre-draft process, as Mike Vornukov of The Athletic tweets. Based on reports, it looks like Kispert has worked out for every team in the 7-15 range except for the Grizzlies, who recently agreed to acquire the No. 10 pick from New Orleans.

Southeast Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Beal, Hornets, Hawks

The Magic, like every other NBA team, didn’t have a chance to scout prospects in person for most of this year. But Orlando has one tool at their disposal that other teams don’t, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic: an Artificial Intelligence system called AutoStats.

AutoStats works similarly to the tracking program Second Spectrum, but without requiring the same specialized set-up, instead working off a basic broadcast to compile physical data and analyze it. Because of an agreement reached with the team in 2019, the Magic have exclusive rights to the technology.

It helps us get a better read on everything that the naked eye may miss,” said President of Basketball Ops Jeff Weltman. “It’s very powerful information. It’s what drives most of NBA analytics. So to have the next best thing applied to colleges, where it’s typically unavailable to most teams, we believe that is a significant competitive advantage.”

How it will effect the Magic’s draft decision-making process remains to be seen.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • In the view of David Aldridge of The Athletic, it’s time for either Bradley Beal or the Wizards to be the bad guy and throw in the towel on this partnership. Aldridge contends that there’s no realistic path for Beal to contention as long as he stays in Washington, and despite his continued loyalty to the franchise he’s been with since he was 19, competing at the highest level is still a priority. Aldridge touches on the reported interest from the Warriors and Raptors, and adds that a Beal trade would almost certainly necessitate moving Russell Westbrook as well.
  • The Hornets held a pre-draft workout for center Day’Ron Sharpe today, per a team PR tweet. Sharpe is considered a fringe first/second-round pick, and though the Hornets only have two very late second-round picks, it’s possible they could consider a move into the first half of the second round to try to address their glaring hole at center.
  • The Hawks have hired Steve Gansey to be the head coach of their G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, reports Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Gansey spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Western Notes: Culver, Mann, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Nuggets

It’s possible that Timberwolves third-year wing Jarrett Culver could be available this offseason for a second-round pick, according to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of SKOR North.

Not only has Culver had trouble carving out a role for himself with the Timberwolves, but between last year’s No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards and Malik Beasley, who was signed to a four-year deal last summer, there’s little room on the wing for the 22-year-old to get developmental reps.

The Wolves are only two years removed from trading Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick to Phoenix in order draft Culver with the sixth overall pick, so the idea that they may be willing to settle for a second-round pick is discouraging. But it doesn’t take long for a prospect’s value to decline if he isn’t taking positive strides forward — even if he was a lottery pick.

We have more news from around the Western Conference:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

O’Connor’s Latest: Nuggets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, Hornets

Within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms a few items we’ve heard elsewhere in recent days. According to O’Connor, Jalen Green‘s workout with the Pistons last week was “outstanding,” the Jazz are willing to attach the No. 30 pick to Derrick Favors in a potential trade, and league sources widely expect Scottie Barnes to be the Magic‘s pick at No. 5.

O’Connor also reiterates that the Rockets continue to explore moving up to No. 1 and says the Thunder have made efforts to trade up, with Green, Cade Cunningham, and Evan Mobley among their presumed targets.

Here are a few more notes of interest from O’Connor’s latest article:

  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Nuggets are trying to move up from No. 26 into the top 20, dangling young bench players or future draft assets in those talks.
  • Although O’Connor confirms that the Grizzlies are interested in Josh Giddey after trading up to No. 10, he says Memphis could try to move up even further, with an eye on Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.
  • Giddey, Kuminga, and Bouknight could also be in the mix for the Warriors at No. 7, according to O’Connor, who says Giddey is thought to be one of Golden State’s “main targets.” O’Connor adds that Keon Johnson‘s ceiling may be the Warriors’ pick at No. 7.
  • The Kings continue to be active in shopping the No. 9 pick, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III in separate trade scenarios, per O’Connor.
  • League sources continue to connect the Hornets, who will be seeking a center this summer, to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Nerlens Noel, according to O’Connor.

Draft Rumors: Pistons, Cunningham, Green, Magic, Pelicans, More

Speaking today to reporters, including Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link), Pistons general manager Troy Weaver confirmed that the team hasn’t made a final decision on what it will do with the No. 1 overall pick.

[RELATED: Pistons Still Mulling Options With No. 1 Pick]

The Pistons have long been expected to select Cade Cunningham with that top pick, and the Oklahoma State guard remains the overwhelming favorite to be the choice. However, John Hollinger of The Athletic has heard whispers that Detroit wasn’t blown away by Cunningham’s private workout, while Marc Stein says Jalen Green‘s workout for the team “made the strongest of impressions.”

Even if those reports are accurate, it’s hard to imagine the Pistons selecting Green over Cunningham with the No. 1 pick. A trade down to No. 2 is a possibility if Detroit really likes Green. But for what it’s worth, Weaver provided a reminder today that not everything you hear leading up to the draft will be accurate.

“I don’t comment on rumors, but don’t believe everything that you read,” the Pistons’ GM said (Twitter link via James Edwards III of The Athletic). “… The rumor mill does nothing for us right now.”

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft:

  • The Magic brought Stanford’s Ziaire Williams back for a second workout during the pre-draft process and some rival teams think Orlando may be eyeing him at No. 8, says Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Two league sources who spoke to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic also believe the Magic have Williams “very high” on their board.
  • According to Vecenie, sources around the league view some of the draft’s top “older” shooters – such as Corey Kispert, Trey Murphy, and Chris Duarte – as likely targets for the Pelicans at No. 17. However, there’s no guarantee New Orleans keeps that pick after acquiring it from Memphis. Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link) says the Pelicans could look to move down again or may shop that selection for veteran help.
  • There’s a belief that the Raptors are high on Evan Mobley, but they’d almost certainly have to trade up from No. 4 to get him and it seems unlikely they’ll be willing to pay that price, says Vecenie.
  • Vecenie is the latest to report that the Thunder are fans of James Bouknight, who could be the team’s pick at No. 6. However, Hollinger is unconvinced that the chatter surrounding Bouknight and the Thunder isn’t a smokescreen — he has Jonathan Kuminga going to the OKC at No. 6 in his mock draft.

Draft Rumors: Spurs, Pacers, Knicks, Nets, Duarte, Warriors, More

Reports in recent weeks identified the Nos. 9 and 10 picks in the draft as two of the most available lottery picks. New Orleans agreed on Monday to move the 10th pick to Memphis, while the Kings‘ pick at No. 9 continues to be viewed as available, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

In addition to Sacramento’s pick, the Spurs‘ (No. 12) and Pacers‘ (No. 13) selections are among the lottery choices that could be had, according to Fischer, who suggests that both teams are viewed as candidates to move back into the mid-teens or early 20s if the price is right.

As for which teams picking later in the first round might be looking to move up, Fischer says the Knicks (Nos. 19 and 21), Rockets (Nos. 23 and 24), and Nets (No. 27) fit that bill. Brooklyn has been willing to discuss shooting guard Landry Shamet in trade talks, Fischer adds.

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report is the latest reporter to indicate that Chris Duarte is unlikely to fall past the No. 15 pick on Thursday. The Lakers are among the teams that have shown interest in Duarte and have looked into possibly moving up in the draft, Wasserman notes.
  • James Bouknight, Duarte, Trey Murphy, and Jonathan Kuminga are among the prospects the Warriors are eyeing, says Wasserman. While Kuminga isn’t necessarily NBA-ready, there’s support for him within Golden State’s front office from those who consider his upside too significant to pass up, Wasserman adds.
  • The Warriors turned down a Knicks offer of the Nos. 19 and 21 picks for the No. 14 selection, per Wasserman.
  • Some teams outside the top 10 believe Michigan forward Franz Wagner has assurances he’ll be selected in the top 10, according to Wasserman. The Kings at No. 9 are considered a strong candidate for Wagner if they keep their pick.
  • Both Wasserman and Matt Babcock of BasketballNews.com continue to suggest the Raptors aren’t a lock to draft Jalen Suggs at No. 4, since the team has done “extensive homework” on Scottie Barnes.
  • Alabama’s Joshua Primo and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu are two of the prospects Wasserman has heard linked to the Nuggets at No. 26.
  • Alperen Sengun has a good chance of being a lottery pick, according to Babcock, who says the Turkish big man could be picked as high as No. 8 by the Magic.

Thunder Rumors: Gilgeous-Alexander, Draft, Butler, Arena

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, presenting the Thunder with their first major decision on the point guard since acquiring him in the Paul George trade in 2019. Oklahoma City seems likely to enter into extension discussions with Gilgeous-Alexander if he’s still on the roster later this offseason, but that’s not necessarily a given, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

“It’s going to take a f–king lot to get him (in a trade), but he’s no longer impossible to get,” one team executive told Fischer.

As Fischer notes, if the Thunder are open to discussing Gilgeous-Alexander in trade scenarios, that represents a change from the team’s philosophy during the 2020 offseason. At that point, all four teams with top-four picks contacted OKC about SGA and were “quickly rebuffed,” sources tell Bleacher Report.

This offseason, on the other hand, it sounds like the Thunder are even willing to bring up Gilgeous-Alexander in trade discussions themselves. According to both Fischer and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, Oklahoma City offered Gilgeous-Alexander and the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft to the Pistons in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick. That was apparently the “legitimate” offer Wasserman alluded to on Monday, which Detroit turned down.

Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • There’s a “strong expectation” the the Thunder will continue to search for ways to move up in the first round, according to Fischer, who says that one possible deal to monitor is a swap that would send the 16th and 18th overall picks to the Hornets for No. 11.
  • There’s a “sense among team officials” that the Thunder and Raptors have also discussed a possible trade involving the No. 4 and No. 6 overall picks, Fischer writes.
  • If the Thunder keep their No. 18 overall pick, Baylor’s Jared Butler could be a target there, according to Wasserman, who suggests that the team may like the idea of adding a “veteran” prospect to its young core.
  • The Thunder’s arena has a new name: Paycom Center. The club issued a press release today announcing a 15-year arena naming rights agreement with Paycom, one of Oklahoma’s largest companies.