Amir Hinton

Knicks Agree To Sign Kris Wilkes, Amir Hinton, V.J. King

The Knicks will sign UCLA forward Kris Wilkes to a two-way contract, league sources tell Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The deal can become official after the new league year begins.

Wilkes, who was the 23rd-best prospect to go undrafted on Thursday night, per ESPN’s big board, averaged 17.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 33 games during his sophomore season with the Bruins. He has a wingspan of nearly 7’0″ and has potential as a slasher and multi-postional defender, according to ESPN’s scouting report.

Kadeem Allen‘s two-way deal with the Knicks runs for another season, while Isaiah Hicks‘ is expiring, so it appears likely that Wilkes will replace Hicks, though it’s possible the team will turn over both two-way spots.

Meanwhile, the Knicks have also agreed to free agent deals with two more undrafted rookies. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links) that Louisville wing V.J. King and Shaw point guard Amir Hinton will sign with the team.

King didn’t play much of a role during his final year at Louisville, averaging just 3.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 13.7 minutes per contest, but NBA teams are still intrigued by his potential. As for Hinton, he led all Division II players in 2018/19 with 29.4 points per game and earned CIAA Player of the Year honors. He had hoped to become the first D-II since 2005 to be drafted.

Hinton will get an Exhibit 10 deal from the Knicks, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who adds (via Twitter) that the Pistons showed a lot of interest in the Division II star. Specific details on King’s agreement aren’t known.

Atlantic Notes: Grousbeck, Leonard, Durant, Workouts

The feeling that the Celtics were done in by selfishness goes all the way to the top of the organization, writes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck admits to being “frustrated and disappointed” with this season, which began with Boston as a heavy favorite to reach the NBA Finals and ended with a loss in the conference semifinals.

“We had free agents who wanted minutes, and players who wanted to be All-Stars,” Grousbeck said. “I don’t know. There was a lot of ‘I want this, I want that,’ I guess. I’m not in the huddles or the locker room on a daily basis, but it’s frustrating.”

The most prominent name among those free agents is Kyrie Irving, who is rumored to be headed to Brooklyn when free agency kicks off at the end of the month. Grousbeck said management has discussed some “exotic scenarios” if the Celtics lose Irving and can’t trade for Anthony Davis. He adds that he hasn’t directly asked Irving to remain in Boston.

“I haven’t talked to Kyrie in those terms,” Grousbeck said. “Our two free agent negotiators are (coach) Brad (Stevens) and president of basketball operations Danny (Ainge). But Kyrie knows how we feel about him, that we feel very positive about him, and the discussions will go on over the next few weeks.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • No one should regret not making a strong play for Kawhi Leonard last summer more than the Celtics, argues Zach Lowe of ESPN. Boston had plenty of assets to offer when the Spurs put Leonard on the market, but wasn’t willing to part with Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown unless there were more assurances about Leonard’s health and willingness to re-sign with the organization. Lowe notes that the Celtics thought they already had a championship team in place and that adding another maximum-salary player to go with Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford wouldn’t have been sustainable for long.
  • A max deal for Kevin Durant would be too risky unless another star is joining him on the Knicks, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The concerns lie beyond just missing all of next season, Bondy adds. With load management likely in effect, it’s hard to see how Durant plays more than 65 games in 2020/21 or beyond. He will be 32 when he returns and could plunge New York into a repeat of Kristaps Porzingis situation.
  • Miami center Dewan Hernandez is working out for the Knicks today, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Shaw guard Amir Hinton had a session for New York.
  • The Sixers are hosting six players for a workout today, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. On the schedule are Kyle Alexander (Tennessee), Daulton Holmes (Point Loma Nazarene), Mahir Johnson (Goldey-Beacom), Nick Mayo (Eastern Kentucky), Jordan Poole (Michigan) and Isaiah Roby (Nebraska).

Southeast Notes: Frazier, Washington, Langford

Melvin Frazier underwent successful surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia, the Magic announced on their Twitter feed. The No. 35 overall pick from the 2018 draft played in just 10 games for Orlando during his rookie season.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

Southeast Draft Notes: Hornets, Heat, Magic, Hawks

The Hornets have looked into the possibility of moving up in the draft from their current spot in the lottery at No. 12, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell acknowledges that it may be difficult for Charlotte to put together the sort of trade capital necessary to make a deal happen, but says GM Mitch Kupchak is active.

Meanwhile, the Hornets will continue to explore their draft options by bringing in six more prospects for workouts tomorrow, according to the team. Marques Bolden (Duke), Tacko Fall (UCF), Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest), Jalen Hudson (Florida), and Luka Asceric (Mega Bemax) are among the players set to participate.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the Southeast:

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Barrett, Knicks, Pistons

With six of the top 44 picks in the 2019 NBA draft, the Hawks have been understandably busy when it comes to bringing in prospects for pre-draft workouts. While Atlanta is unlikely to keep all six of its selections, the club is doing its due diligence on players who might be available at each spot — or as undrafted free agents.

On Sunday, the Hawks worked out Darius Bazley (Princeton HS), Robert Franks (Washington State), Matur Maker (Zlatorog Lasko), William McDowell-White (Baunach), Miye Oni (Yale), and Trayvon Reed (Texas Southern), according to the team.

The Hawks conducted another workout on Monday, bringing in Jordan Bone (Tennessee), Brian Bowen (Sydney), Dewan Hernandez (Miami), Jordan Poole (Michigan), Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech), and Dean Wade (Kansas State) in for a look.

On Tuesday, the Hawks will host yet another workout, with Charlie Brown Jr. (St. Joe’s), Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), Keldon Johnson (Kentucky), Nassir Little (UNC), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) set to participate.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the Eastern Conference:

Central Draft Notes: Pacers, Cavs, Bucks, Pistons

Holding the 18th and 50th overall picks in the 2019 NBA draft, the Pacers should have a wide variety of options available to them in both the first and second rounds, so they’re doing plenty of homework in the weeks leading up to the draft.

On Wednesday, the Pacers held a pre-draft workout that featured Shizz Alston Jr. (Temple), Ky Bowman (Boston College), Tacko Fall (UCF), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State), Juwan Morgan (Indiana), and Elijah Thomas (Clemson), according to the team. Fall’s ability to participate in that session was limited after he rolled an ankle, as we noted yesterday.

Today, the Pacers are working out six more prospects, announcing that Luguentz Dort (Arizona State), Kyle Guy (Virginia), Amir Hinton (Shaw), Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State), Cody Martin (Nevada), and Josh Reaves (Penn State) are in town.

The Pacers will audition six more prospects on Friday, per the club’s latest press release. Ignas Brazdeikis (Michigan), Jon Elmore (Marshall), Aric Holman (Mississippi State), Luke Maye (UNC), Miye Oni (Yale), and Admiral Schofield (Tennessee) will attend that session.

Here are more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the Central:

Trail Blazers Notes: Kanter, Aminu, Workout, Durant

Enes Kanter received a hero’s welcome Saturday as he returned to Oklahoma City for his annual youth basketball camp, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. The former Thunder center remains popular with local fans, many of whom encouraged him to return to OKC in free agency. While Kanter might be too pricey for the Thunder to consider, he can count on receiving a lot of offers after rebuilding his stock in Portland following his release by the Knicks.

The Trail Blazers were aggressive in recruiting Kanter, who also received interest from the Thunder and Lakers. Repeated calls and texts from coach Terry Stotts, GM Neil Olshey and Damian Lillard were enough to tip the scales in Portland’s favor, which became fortunate when starting center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the season with a broken leg.

“I’m glad that Portland happened,” Kanter said. “I love Portland, I love the people there, I love the fans there. I just want to go – and Portland counts, too – somewhere I can win games. I’m going into my ninth year. I just want to go somewhere where I have a good situation, have some playing time and just win.”

There’s more Trail Blazers news to pass along:

  • Al-Farouq Aminu‘s agent is open to negotiating an extension with Portland before his client hits free agency, but the Blazers may not be able to afford a substantial raise, relays Jason Quick of The Athletic. “He wants to be there,” Raymond Brothers said. “He’s still committed to the Blazers. He likes the city, the team, the coach, he likes Neil. He’s happy. He just wants to win.” Any extension would be limited to $48MM over four years. Aminu made $6.96MM this season.
  • The Trail Blazers brought in six players Friday for their first pre-draft workout, notes Casey Holdahl of NBA.com. The session featured Wake Forest’s Jaylen Hoard, Memphis’ Jeremiah Martin, Arizona State’s Luguentz Dort, Wichita State’s Markis McDuffie, St. John’s Shamorie Ponds and Shaw University’s Amir Hinton. Portland enters the draft with just one pick, its first-rounder at No. 25.
  • Lillard is asking an Oakland-based rapper to help convince Kevin Durant to come to Portland, relays Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Mistah F.A.B. joined Lillard on Instagram Live following Game 1 of the NBA Finals and asked him which free agent the Blazers should pursue. “Just go in there and tell KD, say ‘KD, just go to Portland, bruh. I’m a Portland fan,'” Lillard responded. “You a Portland fan now, so just be like, ‘Bruh they left Oakland anyways, so just go to Portland.'”

Draft Decisions: DeLaurier, Waters, Elleby, Others

As we relayed on Monday evening, Duke is losing one key member of its 2019/20 squad, with center Marques Bolden opting to keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool and go pro. However, the Blue Devils did get some good news on the draft front.

According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter), junior big man Javin DeLaurier has opted to withdraw from the 2019 draft and return to school for his senior year.

DeLaurier hasn’t played a huge role for Duke in his first three seasons, but with Bolden out of the picture, he could play more significant minutes in ’19/20. In 38 games (16 starts) last season, DeLaurier posted 3.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.3 BPG with a .747 FG% in 16.3 minutes per contest. He had a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) in Duke’s Elite 8 loss to Michigan State.

Here are more of the latest draft decisions made by this year’s early entrants in advance of Wednesday’s deadline:

  • Shaw junior guard Amir Hinton and LSU sophomore guard Tremont Waters are keeping their names in the 2019 draft pool, agent Kim Grillier tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • A pair of Waters’ teammates, junior guards Marlon Taylor and Skylar Mays, will return to LSU for the 2019/20 season after testing the draft waters, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Kevon Harris, a junior guard out of Stephen F. Austin, is pulling out of the draft and retaining his college eligibility, reports Rothstein (via Twitter).
  • After testing the draft waters, Washington State forward CJ Elleby has elected to return to school for his sophomore season, tweets Rothstein.
  • We can also remove David DiLeo‘s name from the early entrant list, according to Rothstein, who tweets that the forward is headed back to Central Michigan for his senior year.

Draft Updates: Early Entrants, Zion, Culver, Little

The NCAA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the 2019 draft and retain their college eligibility is May 29, so more updates on final draft decisions are beginning to trickle in.

A pair of prospects with alliterative names have opted to remain in the 2019 draft class, with Vanderbilt freshman forward Simisola Shittu announcing (via Twitter) that he’ll forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility, while Jon Rothstein of SI.com reports (via Twitter) that Tulane junior forward Samir Sehic will also keep his name in the draft.

Markell Johnson, a junior guard out of North Carolina State, will go in the other direction. Johnson announced today (via Twitter) that after gathering feedback on his stock, he has elected to withdraw his name from the 2019 draft pool and return to N.C. State for his senior season.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • A source tells Sean Deveney of Sporting News that Zion Williamson and his family are nearing a decision on his agent, and could decide on representation as early as next week. According to Deveney, the future No. 1 pick had originally intended to be repped by his advisor – and former NBA agent – Chubby Wells, but a plan to have Wells recertify as an NBA agent fell through.
  • Within that same article, Deveney examines Jarrett Culver‘s draft stock, citing sources around the league who say that the Texas Tech swingman won’t drop further than No. 7. UNC’s Nassir Little has also moved up several teams’ draft boards, per Deveney.
  • UCF center Tacko Fall was among the players to work out for the Kings on Thursday, per a team release. Sacramento also took a closer look at Myles Powell (Seton Hall), Amir Hinton (Shaw), Jalen Hudson (Florida), Nick Weiler-Babb (Iowa State), and Marques Bolden (Duke).
  • Purdue Fort Wayne guard John Konchar has worked out for the Celtics, Hawks, Clippers, and Nets so far during the pre-draft process, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. A workout with Toronto for Konchar was also previously reported.

NBA Announces 80 Players For G League Elite Camp

The NBA has announced in a press release that 80 players are set to participate in its G League Elite Camp next week in Chicago from May 12-14. The event will include 40 prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft, as well as 40 standout prospects from the 2018/19 G League season.

Heading into this spring, the NBA revamped its G League Elite Camp, which in past years has simply showcased some of the NBAGL’s top performers.  That aspect of the event will still exist, but G League players will only participate in the first two days of the event.

The second half of the event will feature 40 draft-eligible prospects who aren’t among the 60 prospects invited to the actual draft combine. The list of participants was determined by an NBA team vote, and those prospects will work out and scrimmage during the final two days of the event — there will be no overlap with the G League portion of the event.

As this week’s announcement confirms, a select number of draft-eligible prospects participating l in the G League Elite Camp will also be invited to attend the combine itself, which takes place from May 15-19 in Chicago.

Here are the list of draft-eligible prospects who are expected to participate in the 2019 G League Elite Mini Camp, per the NBA:

  1. Tyus Battle (Syracuse)
  2. Bennie Boatwright (USC)
  3. Phil Booth (Villanova)
  4. Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)
  5. Bryce Brown (Auburn)
  6. Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State)
  7. Chris Clemons (Campbell)
  8. Amir Coffey (Minnesota)
  9. Tyler Cook (Iowa)
  10. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati)
  11. Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida)
  12. Javin DeLaurier (Duke)
  13. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia)
  14. CJ Elleby (Washington State)
  15. Tacko Fall (UCF)
  16. Robert Franks (Washington State)
  17. Jared Harper (Auburn)
  18. Ethan Happ (Wisconsin)
  19. Dewan Hernandez (Miami)
  20. Amir Hinton (Shaw (NC))
  21. DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
  22. Sagaba Konate (West Virginia)
  23. Matur Maker (Mississauga Prep (Canada))
  24. Terance Mann (Florida State)
  25. Caleb Martin (Nevada)
  26. Cody Martin (Nevada)
  27. Luke Maye (North Carolina)
  28. Trey Mourning (Georgetown)
  29. Andrew Nembhard (Florida)
  30. James Palmer Jr. (Nebraska)
  31. Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
  32. Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)
  33. Jalen Pickett (Siena)
  34. Myles Powell (Seton Hall)
  35. Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech)
  36. Marial Shayok (Iowa State)
  37. Max Strus (DePaul)
  38. Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State)
  39. Kenny Wooten (Oregon)
  40. Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Here are the 40 G League players set to participate in the G League Elite Camp:

  1. Josh Adams (Raptors 905)
  2. Jaylen Barford (Greensboro Swarm)
  3. Amida Brimah (Austin Spurs)
  4. Jared Brownridge (Delaware Blue Coats)
  5. Antonius Cleveland (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  6. Charles Cooke (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  7. Cody Demps (Stockton Kings)
  8. Aaron Epps (Northern Arizona Suns)
  9. Abdul Gaddy (Oklahoma City Blue)
  10. John Gillon (Greensboro Swarm)
  11. Kaiser Gates (Windy City Bulls)
  12. Isaac Haas (Salt Lake City Stars)
  13. Johnny Hamilton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  14. Dusty Hannahs (Memphis Hustle)
  15. Zak Irvin (Westchester Knicks)
  16. Peter Jok (Northern Arizona Suns)
  17. Matt Jones (Stockton Kings)
  18. Marcus Lee (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  19. Zach Lofton (Grand Rapids Drive)
  20. Tahjere McCall (Long Island Nets)
  21. Brandon McCoy (Wisconsin Herd)
  22. MiKyle McIntosh (Raptors 905)
  23. Jordan McLaughlin (Long Island Nets)
  24. Jaylen Morris (Erie BayHawks)
  25. Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls)
  26. Malik Newman (Canton Charge)
  27. Retin Obasohan (Northern Arizona Suns)
  28. Chinanu Onuaku (Greensboro Swarm)
  29. Norvel Pelle (Delaware Blue Coats)
  30. Darel Poirier (Capital City Go-Go)
  31. Billy Preston (Texas Legends)
  32. Desi Rodriguez (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario)
  33. Kenneth Smith (Grand Rapids Drive)
  34. Richard Solomon (Oklahoma City Blue)
  35. Emanuel Terry (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  36. Juan Toscano-Anderson (Santa Cruz Warriors)
  37. Dakarai Tucker (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)
  38. Andrew White III (Maine Red Claws)
  39. Thomas Wimbush (Long Island Nets)
  40. Todd Withers (Grand Rapids Drive)