Alpha Diallo

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Kings, Clippers

Another unflattering story on the state of the Lakers was published on Tuesday, with the latest report from ESPN portraying the inner workings of one of the NBA’s marquee franchises in a particularly negative light. Despite the revelations included in that story, commissioner Adam Silver remains said in an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday morning that he still has “tremendous” confidence in the Lakers’ leaders to turn things around.

“I know [Lakers owner] Jeanie [Buss] knows how to manage a team,” Silver said, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.com. “Sure, when things start to go wrong, a lot of fingers get pointed. But they’ll figure it out.”

Silver’s name actually came up in ESPN’s report on the Lakers, with sources detailing an anecdote about LeBron James‘ agent Rich Paul approaching the commissioner at a lunch and complaining about then-coach Luke Walton. During today’s appearance on Get Up, Silver confirmed that interaction took place.

“He was in the same restaurant,” Silver said of Paul. “There were two people sitting there. He sat down for a second, and I think he said something along the lines that ‘Luke Walton is not the right guy to coach LeBron.’ My reaction was to shrug my shoulders and maybe say, ‘Well, who do you think is the right guy to coach?’ And he mentioned a name and that was that.

“I think he just wanted to say it out loud,” Silver added. “I don’t think he had any expectation that I would repeat that to anyone.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Kings are hosting their fifth pre-draft workout at their practice facility on Wednesday, the team announced in a press release. Sacramento listed Anthony Cowan (Maryland), Barry Brown (Kansas State), Alpha Diallo (Providence), Amir Coffey (Minnesota), Robert Franks (Washington State), and Dedric Lawson (Kansas) as the participants, though Cowan and Diallo are both expected to pull out of the draft before tonight’s NCAA withdrawal deadline.
  • While the Clippers always expected to make a play for a top free agent or two this summer, the team didn’t expect to already have two long-term building blocks in its backcourt by this point, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. As Greif outlines, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet both look like keepers for the franchise.
  • The legal battle over the Clippers‘ efforts to build a new arena in Inglewood continues, per Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. According to Fenno, the L.A. County’s district attorney’s office found that the Inglewood City Council violated state law by approving an agreement with a Clippers-controlled company allowing it to explore building an arena in the city, but the D.A. didn’t take any action because the time limit to “remedy the violation” had passed.

Draft Decisions: Konate, King, Enoch, Queta, More

We rounded up a series of draft decisions by early entrants this morning, but with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline (May 29) looming, we’ve already got many more decisions to pass along.

Here’s the latest:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate plans to remain in the 2019 NBA draft and will forgo his final year of college eligibility, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Louisville junior forward V.J. King is also keeping his name in the draft, he announced today (via Twitter). However, the Cardinals will get another key player back, as Steven Enoch‘s father told 93.9 The Ville that his son is “looking forward to next season” in Louisville (Twitter link).
  • Utah State center Neemias Queta announced today (via a Twitter video) that he’ll return to school for his sophomore season.
  • Three Xavier prospects who tested the draft waters as early entrants – Paul Scruggs, Tyrique Jones, and Naji Marshall – are headed back to the Musketeers, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Texas A&M guard Savion Flagg tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’ll remove his name from the draft and rejoin the Aggies for his junior season.
  • Providence junior guard Alpha Diallo is also expected to withdraw from the draft and go back to school, agent Javon Phillips tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Dayton forward Obi Toppin announced in an Instagram post that he’ll pull out of the draft and head back to school for his sophomore year.
  • Keith Braxton, a junior guard out of St. Francis (PA), has elected to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, tweets Rothstein.

Eastern Draft Notes: Cavs, Wizards, Bulls

The Cavaliers will cast a “wide net” when searching for the right prospect to select with the No. 5 overall pick, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) and Bol Bol (Oregon) are two of the players the team will consider in that spot.

Porter, who was suspended during the 2018/19 season for a “personal conduct issue” at USC, met with the Cavs on Wednesday. The team plans to bring him in for a pre-draft workout in the coming weeks.

Bol underwent measurements at the combine in Chicago but is not expected to workout or conduct interviews. The 7’2″ center suffered a foot injury back in December and was unable to play the remainder of the campaign for the Ducks.

Here’s more from on the draft from teams in the Eastern Conference:

  • Cam Reddish will meet with the Cavaliers on Friday, Fedor adds in the same piece. Reddish is a candidate to be a top-five pick.
  • The Wizards hold the No. 9 overall pick and they have interviewed several top prospects, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Reddish, Coby White (North Carolina), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), and Jordan Poole (Michigan) were interviewed by Washington. Other players who the team sat down with included Eric Paschall (Villanova), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Ty Jerome (Virginia).
  • Prior to the combine, the Bulls worked out six prospects, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Alpha Diallo (Providence), Fletcher Magee (Wofford), Isaiah Roby (Nebraska), Justin Turner (Bowling Green), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State), Zach Norvell (Gonzaga/Simeon) all participated in drills with the team.

Draft Notes: Guy, Herro, Diallo, Blackshear

Virginia junior guard Kyle Guy has declared for the 2019 NBA draft, as he announced on Twitter. In a message posted on his social media account, Guy explained that coming back to the school remained an option.

Guy isn’t the only prospect who’s attempting to make the jump to the NBA. Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Kentucky guard Tyler Herro, who previously declared for the draft, said he plans to remain in it, as he explains in a video on his Twitter feed. Herro ranks 17th on ESPN’s Top 100.
  • Matas Jogela and Gytis Masiulis have each declared for the draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com tweets. Neither of the Lithuanian natives is within ESPN’s Top 100.
  • Junior guard Alpha Diallo has also declared for the draft, according to Providence’s website. “I am excited to go through the workout process,” Diallo said. “I will be staying in school this spring and finishing my junior year.  I believe this process will help me grow as a player.  I enjoy being at Providence College and playing for the Friars.  The Friars have a strong group of players returning next season and I believe the team could compete for the conference championship.”
  • Virginia Tech junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. is testing the draft waters, as David Cunningham of WUTV Sports relays (via Twitter). Blackshear has also placed his name into the transfer portal, so even if he withdraws from the draft, he may not return to the Hokies.