Search Results for: Shaedon Sharpe

Shaedon Sharpe Resumes Shooting After Shoulder Injury

Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe, who injured his shoulder last month during his first Summer League game, has resumed shooting, tweets Casey Holdahl of Holdahl doesn’t know exactly when team doctors gave their approval for Sharpe to begin shooting again.

The seventh pick in this year’s draft, Sharpe suffered a “small” labral tear in his left shoulder, according to a press release from the team. The 19-year-old guard was expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp, and this is an important step along the way.

Sharpe played just six minutes before the injury occurred, disappointing fans who had hoped to see him in action after he sat out last season at Kentucky. The Canadian native was a five-star recruit out of high school and made a strong impression on scouts who watched him practice with the Wildcats.

Shaedon Sharpe Won’t Need Shoulder Surgery For Labral Tear

Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 overall pick of last month’s draft, won’t require surgery to repair the small labral tear in his left shoulder, the team announced in a press release.

The 19-year-old will continue to rehab the injury and is expected to be ready to go for training camp in the fall, per the team.

Sharpe was technically enrolled at Kentucky for his first and only college season in 2021/22 but never actually played for the Wildcats, making him one of the biggest mysteries of this year’s draft. He was injured just six minutes into his Summer League debut against Detroit on July 7, so Portland fans will have to wait a few more months to see him play.

While Sharpe was viewed as a high-risk, high-reward prospect due to the fact that he hadn’t played in a competitive setting for nearly a year, the Blazers clearly felt comfortable enough to select him with their mid-lottery pick. He will be one of the more interesting rookies to follow in ’22/23.

Trail Blazers Sign Shaedon Sharpe

Shaedon Sharpe, the seventh pick in last week’s draft, has signed his rookie contract with the Trail Blazers, the team announced in a press release.

The 19-year-old Canadian was considered a wild card heading into the draft because he didn’t play college basketball. Scouts watched his practices at Kentucky, but hadn’t seen him in action in a competitive environment since he left high school.

As the No. 7 selection, Sharpe will receive $6,012,960 during his first season if he signs for the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale, which virtually all first-round picks do. He’s eligible to make $27,340,903 over the four-year contract, assuming the Blazers pick up his options.

Sharpe is expected to play for Portland’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts next week.

Shaedon Sharpe Expected To Undergo MRI On Shoulder

Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe played just six minutes in his Summer League debut on Thursday before sustaining a left shoulder injury, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who tweets that Sharpe is expected to undergo an MRI to assess the severity of the injury.

Sharpe, who was technically enrolled at Kentucky for his first and only college season in 2021/22, never actually played for the team, making him one of the biggest mysteries of this year’s draft. However, Portland was willing to bet on his upside, making him the No. 7 overall pick last month.

Fans and league observers eager to watch Sharpe during the Las Vegas Summer League might only end up getting a brief glimpse — even if the 19-year-old’s shoulder injury isn’t serious, the Blazers may play it safe and shut him down for the rest of the event.

Sharpe signed his rookie scale contract last Friday, locking in a $6MM+ guaranteed salary for 2022/23.

Shaedon Sharpe To Miss Rest Of Summer League With Shoulder Tear

Trail Blazers rookie swingman Shaedon Sharpe is set to miss the rest of this year’s Las Vegas Summer League after suffering a “small” labral tear in his left shoulder, the team has announced in a press release.

Portland adds that Sharpe, the No. 7 pick in the 2022 draft out of Kentucky, will have his injury reassessed in 10-to-14 days. He suited up for just six minutes during an eventual 81-78 loss to the Pistons Thursday before incurring the injury. He shot 1-of-3 from the floor in that time. The 6’6″ wing promptly left the game to undergo imaging.

A hyper-athletic, high-upside prospect, Sharpe never played a game for the Wildcats. Sharpe’s original intention was to redshirt his first season with Kentucky during the 2021/22 collegiate season, and then suit up in ’22/23. When it became clear he would be a lottery selection, Sharpe opted to enter the 2022 draft pool.

The 19-year-old inked a rookie-scale contract with Portland last week. Provided the Trail Blazers pick up his options, Sharpe would earn $27,340,903 over the full four-year deal.

Shaedon Sharpe Will Stay In 2022 Draft

Kentucky freshman wing Shaedon Sharpe, a projected top-1o lottery prospect, will forgo his academic eligibility and remain in the 2022 NBA draft, he announced today (Twitter link).

“First and foremost, through God’s blessings, it has been a privilege to attend the University of Kentucky,” Sharpe wrote. “Thank you #BBN for your support during my time with [Kentucky]… With the positive feedback I’ve received I will be remaining in the NBA Draft.”

Expecting to play for the Wildcats during the 2022/23 NCAA season, Sharpe first enrolled in Kentucky during the spring semester of the 2021/22 school year. After it became clear that he would be a high-level pick in the 2022 draft, the 6’6″ prospect initially entered his name into the draft pool in April.

Sharpe is projected as the No. 7 prospect in ESPN’s latest big board.

Community Shootaround: Western Conference Playoffs

The play-in tournament, which has been adopted as an every-season fixture, means that only 10 of 30 NBA teams won’t get a taste of the postseason from year to year.

Last season, the Lakers, Kings, Trail Blazers, Thunder and Rockets were the five Western Conference teams who failed to qualify.

All of those teams, via some combination of the draft, free agency and trades, have made numerous roster moves this summer in an effort to improve their stock.

Let’s take a quick look at each of those clubs’ major moves, focusing on acquisitions beyond re-signing their own free agents:

  • Lakers – The reshaping of the roster feels incomplete until we see if/when they’ll deal Russell Westbrook and whether Kyrie Irving winds up there. They have made some interesting free agent moves, despite limited resources, most notably adding former Spurs wing Lonnie Walker and ex-Wizards center Thomas Bryant.
  • Kings – On the surface, the Kings have made some significant upgrades. Their lottery pick, Keegan Murray, was named the MVP of the Vegas Summer League. He could jump right into the starting lineup. They improved their 3-point shooting significantly with the additions of Malik Monk (free agency) and Kevin Huerter (trade).
  • Trail Blazers – The much-rumored Jerami Grant trade came to fruition this summer, giving the Blazers a much-needed frontcourt boost. They added a backcourt rotation piece in Gary Payton II via free agency. Starters Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic signed new deals and Portland rolled the dice on wing Shaedon Sharpe with its lottery pick. Sharpe didn’t play college ball last year but has star potential.
  • Thunder – The stockpile of extra draft picks they have accumulated in recent years, plus some draft-night maneuvers, paid off in the form of three lottery selections this season. They chose Chet Holmgren, one of the most unique players to enter the league, with the No. 2 pick. Wings Ousmane Dieng and Jalen Williams were added with the No. 11 and No. 12 picks, respectively.
  • RocketsJabari Smith was expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft but slid to Houston’s choice at No. 3. He could be a franchise player. Christian Wood was dealt to the Mavericks and the Rockets received a number of veteran reserves in return along with a late-first round pick. Houston used that on guard TyTy Washington. In between, the Rockets held the No. 17 pick and selected LSU’s Tari Eason, who impressed in Summer League action.

That brings us to our question of the day: Which Western Conference team that failed to reach the postseason this spring – Lakers, Kings, Trail Blazers, Thunder or Rockets – has the best chance to qualify for next year’s playoffs?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe Entering 2022 NBA Draft

Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe will declare for the 2022 NBA draft and intends to go pro, forgoing his remaining college eligibility, sources tell Shams Charania and Kyle Tucker of The Athletic (Twitter link).

There had been some question as to whether Sharpe, who will turn 19 next month, would be eligible for the 2022 draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony confirms (via Twitter) that he graduated from high school in May 2021 and says his diploma will be sent to the NBA league office. Givony first reported in January that Sharpe would be able to apply for this year’s draft as an early entrant.

Formerly the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 high school class, Sharpe reclassified and joined the Wildcats in January for the remainder of the 2021/22 season. Head coach John Calipari announced in February that Sharpe wouldn’t play at all in ’21/22, and Kentucky’s plan at that point was to have him make his college debut in ’22/23.

Instead, Sharpe will go pro without having played a single college game. While that will create an air of mystery around him as draft night approaches, NBA scouts and evaluators are extremely high on the young guard’s potential based on what they saw from him before he arrived at Kentucky. ESPN ranks him as the No. 6 overall player on its big board for 2022.

According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, Sharpe has an impressive 6’6″ frame, solid instincts, and NBA-ready shooting to go along with improving play-making. The 18-year-old is still learning how to best utilize his talent and lacks high-level experience, so he’ll have to get accustomed to playing within a system on both ends of the court, but Sharpe’s physical tools make him a potential top-five pick, Schmitz writes.

Pacers Notes: Warren, Taylor, Sharpe, Keels

T.J. Warren has only appeared in four games over the past two seasons but he could still bring value to the Pacers, even if he’s not on the team next season, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Warren will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but Indiana could sign-and-trade him to a team coveting his services. Warren has averaged 15.5 PPG in his career.

We have more on the Pacers:

  • Pacers assistant Bryce Taylor has been named an assistant coach for EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Germany, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files reports. Taylor, 35, played in Germany and Italy before retiring prior to this past season.
  • Projected lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe worked out for the Pacers on Monday and feels he could be a difference-maker if they use the No. 6 selection on him, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star tweets. “I know that (the Pacers are) a great organization, love to develop their players,” he said. “I feel like I could come in and be that go-to guy.”
  • Duke’s Trevor Keels will work out for the team on Tuesday, Boyd adds in another tweet. Keels is a candidate for the Pacers’ second-round selection at No. 31. That’s exactly where the Blue Devils’ wing is rated on ESPN’s Best Available list. As previously reported, center Kai Sotto is also visiting on Tuesday.

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Hardy, Holmgren, Sharpe

Minnesota fans have been some of Rudy Gobert‘s harshest critics, but that’s going to change now that he’s a member of the Timberwolves, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. With the lifting of the league moratorium, the Wolves officially sent four players and five first-round picks to Utah in exchange for Gobert, who expressed his excitement about joining his new team at a press conference today.

The organization has received criticism for giving up so much to acquire the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and for pairing him with Karl-Anthony Towns when so many teams are downsizing. New president of basketball operations Tim Connelly dismissed those concerns, insisting that Gobert provides what the Wolves have been lacking.

“He doesn’t inhibit anything we have presently,” Connelly said. “He makes it better. He augments what we have presently. So, when we look at fit, it’s not just about talent. It’s about kind of developing the team … and he’s going to make it better.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • New head coach Will Hardy found he has “a lot of touchpoints” with the Jazz involving players and the front office, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s been great to get some feedback from them,” Hardy said, “but I also feel like I’m coming in eyes wide open and want to kind of formulate my own opinions and develop my own relationships.”
  • Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren made an impact in his first Summer League game Tuesday night, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The No. 2 overall pick had 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting and registered seven rebounds, four assists and a league record six blocks in 24 minutes. “Gotta be better,” Holmgren said. “You can never really have a perfect game, but that’s what you strive for.”
  • Shaedon Sharpe‘s teammates with the Trail Blazers‘ Summer League squad have been raving about his performance in practice, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Summer League will provide the first major exposure for the No. 7 overall pick, who didn’t play in college. “He’s a freak athlete,” Keon Johnson said. “He can score the ball, but he can also defend. I see why we drafted him. I feel like me and him are very similar in many different ways.”

Draft Notes: Green Room, Houstan, Nembhard, O’Neal, Gillespie

There were no surprises in the 11 green room invitations forwarded to the draft’s top prospects. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony confirmed that the list includes Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin, Jalen Duren and Johnny Davis. Approximately four more green room invites will be sent out next week, a source tells Givony.

We have more draft news:

  • Michigan’s Caleb Houstan and Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard, who both hail from Canada, will work out for the Raptors on Friday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. They’re both considered late first-round or second-round prospects and Toronto has the No. 33 overall pick.
  • LSU forward Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaquille O’Neal, worked out for the Bucks on Thursday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. The younger O’Neal will visit the Lakers, Cavaliers, Hawks and Wizards in the very near future.
  • Villanova guard Collin Gillespie also worked out for the Bucks on Thursday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. He’ll soon visit the Suns, Nuggets, Jazz and Trail Blazers. Gillespie is ranked at No. 64 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

Knicks Notes: Brogdon, Sharpe, Barrett, Draft

While Indiana and New York have had conversations about Malcolm Brogdon, some Pacers officials came away from those talks under the impression that the Knicks are exploring a lot of point guard options and Brogdon isn’t necessarily at the top of their wish list, says Ian Begley of

That doesn’t mean that the Knicks won’t ultimately make a deal for Brogdon, but most recent reports – including those from Begley – have suggested that Jalen Brunson is New York’s preferred target at point guard this summer.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Jaden Ivey isn’t the only player on the Knicks’ radar in possible trade-up scenarios, according to Begley, who writes in a separate story that Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe also “fans in high places” within the organization. Sharpe appears likely to come off the board in the top 10, though that’s not a lock.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic notes that the Knicks’ cap situation for the 2023 offseason will be impacted by where the NBA’s estimated average salary for 2022/23 ends up, since RJ Barrett‘s cap hold will depend on whether his ’22/23 salary ($10.9MM) is deemed to be below or above the league average. If his salary falls below the league average, his cap hold in 2023 would be $32.7MM; if it’s above the league average, his cap hold next year would be $27.25MM. The issue would be moot if Barrett signs an extension this offseason, since his cap hold for 2023/24 would be replaced by the first-year salary in his new deal.
  • In another story for The Athletic, Katz and draft guru Sam Vecenie explore how Thursday night might play out for the Knicks, who control the 11th and 42nd overall picks.
  • Zach Braziller of The New York Post also takes a look at the myriad options the Knicks will have available to them on draft night.

Central Notes: Allen, Pacers Draft, Sharpe, Bucks Draft

Bucks wing Grayson Allen underwent a surgical procedure on his left ring finger, according to The Associated Press.

“A lot of times, guys do maintenance-type stuff, routine stuff in the offseason to kind of get ready,” general manager Jon Horst said. “It was good for him to kind of approach it in the offseason. It’ll be fine. There’s no kind of lasting effects.”

Allen, whose two-year, $18.7MM extension kicks in next season, averaged 11.1 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 27.3 MPG during the regular season.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers will work out six more draft prospects on Monday, according to the team’s website writer Wheat Hotchkiss. As previously reported, that group includes projected lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky). The other prospects who will visit include Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest), Alfonso Plummer (Illinois), Jermaine Samuels (Villanova), Aaron Thompson (Butler), and Vince Williams Jr. (VCU).
  • Speaking of Sharpe, he held a Zoom press conference on Friday and said he’d fit well with the Pacers if they use their lottery pick (No. 6 overall) on him. “I feel like I could really play with those guys just because they have good guys that can really handle the ball, play defense, switch on defense,” Sharpe said to The Indianapolis Star’s James Boyd and other media members. “I feel like I can score and really impact the game.” Sharpe is certainly not lacking in confidence. “I see myself being one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball,” he said.
  • The Bucks hold the No. 24 pick and could be in the market for a wing player. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm takes a look at nine prospects who could potentially be available at that spot, including LaRavia, MarJon Beauchamp and Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Southwest Notes: Kleber, Wiltjer, Elmore, Pelicans’ Draft, Fertitta

Maxi Kleber remains a big part of the Mavericks’ plans despite the impending acquisition of Houston’s Christian Wood, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Kleber’s $9MM salary isn’t guaranteed until July 4, but that is considered a formality, according to MacMahon. Kleber, who has been a rotation player for Dallas for the past five seasons, projects as Wood’s backup if Dwight Powell is moved this offseason.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Kyle Wiltjer and Lydell Elmore are among the free agents participating in the Mavericks’ mini-camp, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Dallas is hosting more than 30 players this week, many of whom have some NBA experience. Wiltjer was previously with the Rockets, while Elmore played for the G League’s Westchester Knicks this past season.
  • Should the Pelicans draft Bennedict Mathurin or Dyson Daniels if both prospects are available with the No. 8 pick? The Athletic’s Will Guillory ponders that question. However, if Shaedon Sharpe falls to that spot, New Orleans shouldn’t pass up on his potential, in Guillory’s estimation.
  • The Rockets come into the draft with the No. 3 and 17 picks and will wind up with another at 26 when the Wood deal with Dallas is completed. Owner Tilman Fertitta anticipates there are more trades on the horizon on draft night. “In talking about the draft, look at the maneuvering that basketball ops did last year to pick up Al-P (Alperen Sengun) by moving things around,” Fertitta said. “I can promise you one thing: The way it looks on paper, it will not be exactly like that come Thursday. Stuff just happens. People call you. You’re calling people.”

Southwest Notes: Green, Grizzlies Draft, Daniels, Grant

Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman says the status of Danny Green, who was traded from Philadelphia to Memphis, has yet to be determined, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. The Grizzlies have a July 1 deadline to decide whether to guarantee the remainder of his contract or cut loose Green, who tore his ACL in the playoffs and is expected to miss most or all of next season.

Green received a $6,964,781 guarantee on his $10MM salary as part of the trade, as Eric Pincus of explains. That was the minimum amount that had to be guaranteed in order to legally match De’Anthony Melton‘s salary. If they waive Green by July 1, the Grizzlies would avoid paying the remaining $3MM+ owed to Green.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies wound up with four players via the draft and the common denominator was 3-point shooting, Cole writes in a separate story. Each player shot at least 38% from deep in their final college season. “That’s going to open things up for us,” Kleiman said. “That was a priority for us.”
  • The Pelicans were holding their breath that G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels would still be on the board with the No. 8 pick, according to William Guillory of The Athletic. They weren’t sure what the Trail Blazers would do at No. 7 — not only which player they wanted, but whether they would deal the pick. Portland wound up taking Shaedon Sharpe, leaving Daniels available for New Orleans. “We had a couple guys we liked that went after, but Dyson was the guy,” Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon said. “We had some intel that Portland liked Dyson and they liked Shaedon. So, there was a chance they could’ve taken (Dyson) at (No. 7). When they took Shaedon, the room exploded.”
  • Mavericks assistant GM Keith Grant announced his retirement Monday after 42 seasons, according to a team press release. “Keith Grant is an NBA legend with a heart of gold,” team owner Mark Cuban said in the statement. “He did so much for the Mavs, and he made our organization and our community better. I can’t express enough appreciation for everything that KG has done for this franchise.” Grant has been an assistant GM since 1998.

Fischer’s Latest: Ayton, Nurkic, Anunoby, Dort, Turner, Sharpe

The Trail Blazers are no longer viewed as a suitor for restricted free agent Deandre Ayton, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. According to Fischer, Portland plans to re-sign starting center Jusuf Nurkic, who is an unrestricted free agent, and hopes to acquire Raptors forward OG Anunoby in exchange for a package headlined by the No. 7 overall pick of the 2022 draft.

However, Anunoby might not be the only target for the Blazers. It’s been rumored that the Thunder are trying to move up in the lottery, and Fischer reports that “there has been increasing talk” about Portland sending the No. 7 pick to OKC in exchange for No. 12 and a “package that could include” Luguentz Dort.

The three most realistic landing spots for Ayton, aside from re-signing with the Suns, appear to be the Hawks, Pistons and Raptors, says Fischer, adding that all three clubs have interesting pieces to dangle in a possible sign-and-trade for the center.

Echoing a report from Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Fischer states that the Pacers could also be a possibility for Ayton in a sign-and-trade deal involving Myles Turner. The two players are both represented by agent Bill Duffy, Fischer notes (hat tip to RealGM).

According to Fischer, Shaedon Sharpe may be a candidate to fall in the lottery after a series of underwhelming workouts ahead of the draft. Fischer says Sharpe’s range might begin at No. 8, but he could also be a target of teams who try to acquire the No. 7 pick from Portland. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported yesterday that the Thunder are high on Sharpe.

Western Notes: Westbrook, Bleijenbergh, Suns, Thunder

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham gave an honest assessment of Russell Westbrook‘s potential role with the team next season, as relayed by

“I think the style of play we’re going to have, you know, all of those guys — not only just Russ but LeBron, AD — they’re going to be able to share the load,” Ham said as part of a larger quote. The Lakers’ new coach also mentioned that he’s challenged Westbrook to defend at a high level and the former MVP has accepted the challenge.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Vrenz Bleijenbergh has accepted a summer league invitation from the Suns, he announced on social media (Twitter link). The Las Vegas Summer League will be held from July 7-17 this year. Bleijenbergh, 21, is a 6’10 forward who played in Spain and with the Windy City Bulls this season. He went undrafted last year.
  • Longtime Suns employee Melissa Fender Panagiotakopoulos, who had been working for the franchise since 2007, resigned from her position last month and alleged that she was targeted and retaliated against by her superiors after voicing concerns about gender equity within the organization, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN. While Panagiotakopoulos didn’t reference any issues with Robert Sarver in her complaint, the Suns’ owner remains under investigation due to allegations that he engaged in misogynistic behavior and created a toxic work environment
  • Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman examines the Thunder‘s draft outlook, which includes how the team is tied to Shaedon Sharpe and other miscellaneous notes. Among those notes is forward Jalen Williams, who worked out for Oklahoma City and has reportedly climbed draft boards. “It’s a well-run organization,” Williams said of the Thunder. “They have a lot of culture and history with good players. They’re really structured. It was a really cool experience to see how disciplined they were and see how serious they take even the little things during the workout.” 

Damian Lillard Signs Two-Year Extension With Blazers

JULY 9: Lillard’s extension is now official, the Trail Blazers announced in a press release.

“Damian Lillard is the greatest player in franchise history and an all-time NBA talent,” general manager Joe Cronin said. “In signing this contract extension, Damian continues his commitment to the city of Portland and the organization. We look forward to his continued excellence here with the Trail Blazers for many years to come.”

JULY 8: Damian Lillard is signing a two year, maximum-salary extension with the Trail Blazers, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Multiple other reporters confirmed the news, including Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter links), and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links).

According to Spears, Lillard is expected to put pen to paper tomorrow evening in Las Vegas, where Summer League is currently taking place. As part of the extension, Lillard will pick up the player option he held for 2024/25, says Marks.

As Marks relays, Lillard’s new deal contains a player option for ’26/27, so he’ll be under contract for at least four more seasons, with a player option in the fifth year. Lillard turns 32 next week, so the extension will carry through at least his age-35 season.

Although several reports state that Lillard’s deal will be worth $120MM, those are estimates based on the salary cap increasing significantly over time.

Lillard will get at least a 5% raise on his ’24/25 salary ($48,787,676), so the extension will be worth no less than $106.55MM. His maximum possible raise is 20%, in which case the extension would be worth $121.78MM. But the salary cap would have to be $167.3MM for him to get that full 20% raise, which would represent a huge year-over-year increase — this season’s cap is $123,655,000 cap.

Lillard struggled with injuries last season, appearing in just 29 games (36.4 MPG) with averages of 24.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 7.3 APG on .402/.324/.878 shooting. Both his field goal percentage and three-point percentage were career-lows, so clearly the abdominal injury – which required surgery and shut down his season prematurely – was hampering his on-court production.

Prior to his injury struggles in ’21/22, Lillard had been a stalwart performer for Portland, rarely missing games and averaging at least 35.5 MPG in each of his 10 seasons. Lillard has been named to both the All-Star team and All-NBA teams six times apiece during his career, which has been spent entirely with the Blazers.

Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote last week that Lillard still needed to be convinced that the Blazers were intent on competing after a disappointing season saw them finish 27-55 and miss out on the postseason for the first time since 2014. Reconstructing the roster by drafting Shaedon Sharpe, trading for Jerami Grant, signing free agent Gary Payton II, as well as re-signing Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons evidently was enough for Lillard to once again show his commitment to the only franchise he’s ever known.

Draft Notes: Green Room, Draft Targets, Comps, Mock, Minott

The list of prospects invited to the green room on draft night has expanded to 16, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The list includes all of the top-16 ranked players on ESPN’s big boardChet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Dyson DanielsShaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin, Jalen Duren, Johnny Davis, Ousmane DiengMalaki BranhamMark Williams, Jeremy Sochan and Ochai Agbaji.

A source tells Givony that the list could expand further, with four more invites still a possibility. The draft is nine days away.

Here are some more draft-related notes:

Givony’s Latest: Sharpe, Magic, Kings, Duarte, Suns, Knicks, More

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at (Insider link).

Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”

A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.

Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.

Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:

  • Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
  • The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
  • Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
  • There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
  • Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
  • Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.
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