Aaron Holiday

Draft Rumors: Top 6, Bulls, Kings, Sixers, Suns

The Mavericks, Bulls, Cavaliers, and Clippers are among the teams still exploring the possibility of moving up in the draft lottery, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski adds that the Sixers‘ pick (No. 10) is in play for teams targeting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Wojnarowski currently believes that Deandre Ayton (Suns), Marvin Bagley III (Kings), Luka Doncic (Hawks), Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba (Mavericks), and Trae Young (Magic) are the most likely selections (Twitter link). Interestingly, the Grizzlies are the only team Wojnarowski doesn’t mention in his rundown, suggesting the No. 4 pick is still the most likely selection at the top to be traded.

If the top six plays out like that and Chicago doesn’t trade up, the Bulls would likely opt for Wendell Carter Jr. over Michael Porter Jr., tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

Here are several more rumors worth passing along as draft night nears…

  • Kings beat reporter James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link) is also getting the vibe out of Sacramento that Marvin Bagley III is the club’s likely choice at No. 2.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) is hearing some buzz linking Zhaire Smith to the Sixers at No. 10.
  • Although the Heat are exploring opportunities to trade into the first round of tonight’s draft, it’s hard to imagine the club completing a deal for a first-round pick unless it can shed a veteran salary, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
  • The Suns, who hold Miami’s pick at No. 16, are eyeing Donte DiVincenzo, Zhaire Smith, Jalen Brunson, Aaron Holiday, Lonnie Walker, Troy Brown, Elie Okobo, and Landry Shamet at that spot, per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).
  • NBA teams have been impressed with Michael Porter Jr. in interviews, but the club that picks him will have to be “ultra-cautious” with his health, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who suggests (via Twitter) that sitting Porter for a good chunk of 2018/19 is a real possibility.

Draft Notes: Bulls, Bamba, Clippers, R. Williams

There are a number of signs that the Bulls may be focusing on Mohamed Bamba as a prime target in Thursday night’s draft, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. As Johnson details, the club has had “consistent contact” with Bamba throughout the pre-draft process, with team president Michael Reinsdorf among those who has talked to the young center.

According to Johnson, the Bulls have been intrigued by Bamba’s “game-changing defensive potential” from the start of the pre-draft process. However, there’s a sense around the NBA that Chicago may have to trade up if the club wants to be assured of landing Bamba.

As we wait to see if Bamba is indeed the player Chicago covets, let’s round up a few more draft-related rumors and news items…

  • Texas A&M big man Robert Williams visited the Clippers on Tuesday and had a conversation with owner Steve Ballmer, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Wojnarowski, who notes that the Clips have taken an extensive look at Williams, adds that the center won’t attend the draft, opting instead to watch it at home in Shreveport with friends and family.
  • Speaking of the Clippers, they’ve been rebuffed by the Kings (No. 2), Hawks (No. 3), Grizzlies (No. 4), and Mavericks (No. 5) in their efforts to move up in the draft, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. While the team will continue to explore ways to get it hands on Luka Doncic, L.A. is confident that it can get two talented players at 12 and 13.
  • Miami prospect Bruce Brown is squeezing in a second workout with the Celtics today ahead of Thursday’s draft, he tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Aaron Holiday (UCLA), Ray Spalding (Louisville), Donte Ingram (Loyola-Chicago), and Jonathan Williams (VCU) worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, who adds (via Twitter) that the club also auditioned Penn State’s Tony Carr this week.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Draft, Bamba, Wiz

The Heat don’t have a selection in Thursday’s draft and the team isn’t expected to make major moves in an attempt to land a top pick, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays.

“I think this is not a deep draft,” Heat vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer said. “I kind of compare it to the college basketball season. This past year, there weren’t that many good teams. There were just a bunch of average or maybe slightly better. There were good teams but not great teams.”

Phoenix holds Miami’s first-rounder from the Goran Dragic deal and the team’s second-round pick was dealt to the Grizzlies in a 2016 trade that sent Chris Andersen to Memphis in order to save on the luxury tax.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Outside of Jonathan Isaac, the Magic are not tied down to any player on the roster long-term, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated writes. Orlando holds the No. 6 pick and Woo argues that Mohamed Bamba is an ideal selection given the team’s draft history.
  • The Hornets should be taking a long-term view in the upcoming draft and high-upside prospects like Kevin Knox or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make sense at No. 11, Woo contends in the same piece. The scribe adds that if Charlotte selects a point guard in the first round, it could signal the end of the Kemba Walker era.
  • Depth has long been an issue for the Wizards, especially at the point guard position, and Candace Buckner of The Washington Post examines which prospects the team may consider at No. 15 if it looks to find a long-term backup to John Wall. Aaron Holiday, the brother of New Orleans point guard Jrue Holiday, is among the players Washington should consider, Buckner writes.

Draft Updates: Green Room, Sexton, Gilgeous-Alexander, Shamet

The names of several green room invitees for Thursday night’s draft have been leaked, relays Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Only college players will be in the room this year, as Luka Doncic is still involved with his season for Real Madrid.

The projected top picks will be well represented with Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr., Texas’ Mo Bamba, Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Oklahoma’s Trae Young, Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges all on hand.

Joining them will be Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams, Miami’s Lonnie Walker, Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, Boston College’s Jerome Robinson, Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison and UCLA’s Aaron Holiday.

There’s more pre-draft news to pass along:

  • Sexton doesn’t have any more workouts on his schedule after completing today’s session with the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Sexton has been limiting his workouts to teams in his projected range, as the only others were for the Cavaliers (No. 8 pick), Knicks (No. 9) and Hornets (No. 11).
  • Gilgeous-Alexander is a rare mid-level prospect who hasn’t conducted a single publicized workout, notes Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. Although a team or two may have brought him in for a secret session, there are also organizations that tried to work him out but were denied. Kalbrosky speculates Gilgeous-Alexander’s representatives may be trying to steer him to a large-market team like the Clippers, who hold the 12th and 13th picks.
  • The Sixers will work out Wichita State’s Landry Shamet on Tuesday, Kalbroksy tweets, adding that Philadelphia may consider him at No. 26.
  • The Suns held a workout today with Texas Tech’s Smith as the biggest name in the group. Also participating, according to a tweet from the team, were Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson, Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford, Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks and Bosnia’s Markus Loncar. This is the Suns’ final scheduled session before the draft, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

Draft Notes: Knox, Hornets, Bucks, Hawks

The Hornets will become the latest team to meet with Kentucky prospect Kevin Knox, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who tweets that Knox is flying from Philadelphia to Charlotte to visit the club. Pompey notes that Knox will interview with the Hornets on Saturday, while Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) expects a workout to happen Sunday.

There’s no shortage of potential options for the Hornets, and Knox figures to be among that group. However, in his latest mock draft, Bonnell has another former Kentucky standout – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – going to Charlotte at No. 11.

As for Knox, he made a strong impression during a workout for New York last week, as Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes that multiple members of the Knicks came away from that session “very impressed” with the young forward.

Here are more draft-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Bucks continue to take a closer look at possible candidates for their first-round pick, according to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times (Twitter links), who reports that Aaron Holiday (UCLA) and Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky) worked out for Milwaukee today. Holiday and Robinson rank 22nd and 23rd, respectively, on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.
  • The Hawks will host another group workout on Saturday, according to an announcement from the team. In addition to previously-reported headliner Keita Bates-Diop, the club will get a chance to audition Jordan Howard (Central Arkansas), Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s), Junior Robinson (Mount St. Mary’s), Zach Smith (Texas Tech), and Moritz Wagner (Michigan).
  • We have more details on a pair of previously-reported workouts, as Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets that Wendell Carter Jr.‘s audition for the Magic happened today, while ESPN’s Ian Begley tweets that Anfernee Simons will visit the Knicks on Monday.
  • Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star looks for clues about the Pacers‘ draft plans based on the prospects the team has brought in for workouts, observing that there has been a focus on potential three-and-D wings.

East Draft Notes: Knicks, Hawks, Bulls, Hornets, Pacers

The Knicks will work out UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday shortly before draft night, according to Ian Begley of ESPN. Holiday will have to make quite an impression to get drafted by New York. He’s currently ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and the Knicks hold the No. 9 pick.

Texas A&M big man Robert Williams, ranked No. 12 by Givony, and Missouri State forward Alize Johnson worked out for the Knicks on Monday, according to another Begley post. Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo was scheduled to work out for New York this week but it will not happen as scheduled, Begley adds.

In other draft workout news concerning Eastern Conference teams:

  • The Hawks will work out Oklahoma point guard Trae Young on Tuesday, according to a team press release. Young is ranked No. 8 by Givony; Atlanta holds the No. 3 pick.
  • Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, rated No. 9 by Givony, worked out for the Bulls on Monday, according to the team’s websiteBryant McIntosh (Northwestern), Donovan Jackson (Iowa State), Jae’Sean Tate (Ohio State), Jeff Roberson (Vanderbilt) and Nick Dixon (UTRGV) were also evaluated by Chicago. The Bulls have the No. 7 selection in the first round.
  • The Hornets will soon work out Michigan State forward Miles Bridges, Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports tweets. Bridges, who visited the Sixers Monday, is ranked No. 15 by Givony and Charlotte holds the No. 11 pick.
  • An injury prevented Tulane small forward Melvin Frazier from working out with the Pacers on Monday, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports tweets.

Western Notes: Clippers, Nuggets, Bjelica, Musa

The Clippers will bring in some first-round candidates for a pre-draft group workout on Wednesday, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Scotto, Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Aaron Holiday (UCLA), and Mitchell Robinson will participate in the session.

The Clippers currently hold the 12th and 13th overall picks in the draft, presenting a number of potential opportunities and directions for the club. Bridges and Knox are viewed as two potential lottery picks who may still be on the board at No. 12, while Holiday and Robinson are ranked slightly lower on most big boards.

Let’s round up a few more Western Conference notes…

  • Speaking last week to reporters, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the team will target a strong defensive player with two-way versatility with the No. 14 pick, and didn’t rule out the possibility of trading or waiving highly-paid players to maintain cap flexibility. Matt L. Stephens of The Denver Post has the story and the quotes.
  • The Jazz and Suns are among the teams that could show interest in power forward Nemanja Bjelica this summer, a source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Bjelica is eligible for restricted free agency, so the Timberwolves have the chance to match any offer he receives, assuming they extend a qualifying offer.
  • Bosnian wing Dzanan Musa, a potential first-round pick who will be keeping his name in the 2018 NBA draft, has workouts on tap with the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Spurs, and Jazz, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News passes along word of a few more of the players who participated in the Timberwolvesveteran mini-camp on the weekend, tweeting that that Hollis Thompson, Dorell Wright, and Jordan McRae took part, among others.
  • Veteran guard Rodney Stuckey is participating in a free agent mini-camp with the Trail Blazers, a league source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Okogie, Bagley, Bulls, Hawks

Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie is drawing plenty of interest from teams with middle or late first-round picks, according to Adam Zagoria of the New York Times. Okogie has already worked out for the Grizzlies, Nets, Celtics, Hawks, Lakers, Nuggets, Bulls and Spurs. He’s got a second workout scheduled with the Spurs, along with visits to the Warriors and Trail Blazers, Zagoria adds (Twitter links). The 6’4” shooting guard is currently ranked No. 26 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

In other draft-related news with the big day less than two weeks away:

  • Duke big man Marvin Bagley III believes Deandre Ayton is being disrespectful by stating that he knows he’ll be the top pick, Bob Baum of the Associated Press reports. Bagley feels the Suns, who own the top pick, should bestow him that status. “I definitely believe I’m the No. 1 pick and if the Suns take me I’ll definitely show them why,” Bagley said after working out for Phoenix on Friday.
  • The Bulls not only worked out Okogie on Friday but also Aaron Holiday (UCLA), Chimezie Metu (USC), Kameron Chatman (Detroit), Giddy Potts (Middle Tennessee) and Scottie Lindsey (Northwestern), according to a team release. Holiday was the headliner, as he’s rated No. 17 by Givony.
  • The Hawks were among the teams at Michael Porter Jr.‘s workout in Chicago on Friday, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Atlanta owns the No. 3 overall pick.

Draft Notes: Doncic, Bridges, Holiday, Diallo, Rodriguez

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac are both in Madrid, Spain, to watch Luka Doncic in the ACB Playoffs, tweets basketball journalist David Pick. Doncic, widely expected to be a top-three selection in the draft, has already secured numerous accolades, including the EuroLeague MVP, Rising Star, and Final Four MVP.

While there has been talk of Doncic going No. 1 overall to the Suns, it’s more likely he ends up with either the Kings or Hawks, who own the second and third picks, respectively. Doncic has said that it’s not certain that he will come stateside next season despite the expectation that he will be a top draftee. Just recently, a report suggested that both the Hawks and Kings may pass on Doncic and instead focus on frontcourt players.

[The Kings] have a real hole there in the frontcourt. I don’t think that they’re in love with Willie Cauley-Stein by any means. They started Zach Randolph at the four all year long,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said“What do they do there? Do they go with Marvin Bagley who is going to be a compelling prospect for them? 

Check out more draft news below:

  • Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is set to work out for the Knicks this Saturday, reports ESPN’s Ian Begley. The Knicks own the ninth overall pick and Bridges, along with Villanova’s Mikal Bridges have been reported as possible targets for New York.
  • UCLA’s Aaron Holiday had his second workout with the Suns on Thursday, the team announced. Five other prospects were part of the workout, with Troy Brown (Oregon), Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Marcus Derrickson (Georgetown), Amine Noua (France), and Desi Rodriguez (Seton Hall) also participating.
  • Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez also worked out for the Thunder on Wednesday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.
  • Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo has scheduled workouts with the Lakers and Mavericks, Sean Deveney of Sporting News tweets. Diallo will have also worked out for the Bulls, Wizards, Suns, Blazers, Kings, Nets, Knicks, and Bucks.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Jazz, Wolves, Nuggets

While most NBA teams are focusing on workouts for 2018 draft prospects these days, this is also a time of year when clubs take a closer look at veteran free agents, bringing them in for auditions of their own. The Trail Blazers are doing just that at a mini-camp this week, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype details (Twitter link).

According to Kennedy, former Sixers, Rockets, and Nets swingman K.J. McDaniels is among the players earning a look from the Trail Blazers, along with Casper Ware, Kadeem Jack, Isaiah Cousins, Kyle Randall, and a number of others. A handful of current Portland players, including Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, participated in those sessions alongside the free agents on Monday, Kennedy notes.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division: