Anthony Cowan Jr.

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: Bone, Harper, Simonds, Brooks, More

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for 2019’s early entrants is less than 12 hours away. Players who want to pull out of the draft and retain their college eligibility have until 11:59 pm eastern time tonight to officially do so.

We’re tracking all the players who have withdrawn from the draft on our early entrants list. Here are the latest decisions:

Staying in the draft:

  • Tennesee junior guard Jordan Bone announced in a video on Twitter that he’ll keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool. Bone is the No. 58 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a solid candidate to be drafted.
  • Auburn junior guard Jared Harper is expected to go pro too, keeping his name in the draft, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Harper is at No. 64 on ESPN’s top-100 list.
  • Despite not showing up in ESPN’s top 100, Georgia State junior guard D’Marcus Simonds will also remain in the draft, forgoing his final year of his college eligibility, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Another prospect outside of ESPN’s top 100, Houston junior guard Armoni Brooks, has announced (via Twitter) that he’ll stay in the draft and begin his professional career.

Withdrawing from the draft:

  • Gonzaga got some good news on Tuesday night, as a source informed Rothstein (Twitter link) that forward Filip Petrusev will return for his sophomore season. Additionally, Goodman reports (via Twitter) that forward Killian Tillie is expected to rejoin the Zags for his senior year.
  • Freshman forward Emmitt Williams, who was one of six LSU players to test the draft waters, will head back to school for at least one more season, a source tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Glenville State junior forward Phil Bledsoe told Kyle Boone of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that he has withdrawn from the draft. However, as Aaron Beard of The Associated Press explains, Bledsoe may have eligibility concerns going forward, since the new NCAA rule allowing prospects to hire an agent while testing the waters only applies to D-I players, rather than D-II players like Bledsoe. Agent Jerry Dianis remains confident that the NCAA will allow Bledsoe to return for his senior year.
  • A pair of early entrants are withdrawing from the draft and transferring. UNLV freshman forward Joel Ntambwe announced (via Twitter) that he’s making the move to Texas Tech, while SMU junior guard Jimmy Whitt will return to Arkansas, where he began his college career.
  • Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry announced in a Twitter video that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.
  • Boston College forward Nik Popovic is expected to take advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility by going back to school for his senior season, sources tell Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Louisiana Tech junior guard DaQuan Bracey and South Florida junior guard Laquincy Rideau will both withdraw from the draft and return to school, according to a pair of tweets from Goodman.
  • Rothstein reports (via a pair of tweets) that TCU freshman center Kevin Samuel and Xavier junior guard Quentin Goodin will pull out of the draft after testing the waters.
  • Maryland junior guard Anthony Cowan is expected to withdraw from the draft tonight to return to school for one more year, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • Creighton guard Davion Mintz will report back to the Bluejays for his senior year, he tells Goodman (Twitter link). Goodman’s full list of prospects returning to school also includes UNC Greensboro junior forward James Dickey, so it appears he withdrew from the draft too.

Draft Notes: Fernando, Cowan Jr., McDowell-White, Shuler

Maryland sophomore forward Bruno Fernando intends to declare for the draft, according to a school press release. Fernando averaged a double-double this season at 13.6 PPG and 10.6 RPG. He’s ranked No. 34 on ESPN’s Jonathan Givony’s latest Top 100 prospects list. Terrapins junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. will do the same and both will sign with agents, who will work with the Maryland coaching staff throughout the process. Cowan Jr. averaged 15.6 PPG and 4.4 APG during his junior year.

We have more draft news:

  • Australian point guard William McDowell-White has submitted paperwork to make himself eligible for the draft, Givony reports. McDowell-White previously made Givony’s Top 100 list but he suffered a foot injury in November while playing in Germany and missed an extensive amount of time. McDowell-White will travel to the U.S. at the beginning of next month for workouts, Givony adds. He declared for the 2018 draft before withdrawing.
  • Ole Miss guard Devontae Shuler will test the draft waters, according to a tweet from the school’s media relations department. Shuler, who is not ranked in Givony’s Top 100, averaged 1o.3 PPG during his sophomore season.
  • Lithuanian point guard Arnas Velicka intends to declare for the draft, according to a Sportando report. Velicka averaged 19.2 PPG and 5.6 APG in the Estonian-Latvian Basketball League with Tartu Ulikool Rock.
  • Indiana guard Devonte Green intends to declare for the draft but isn’t sure if he’ll hire an agent, Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops tweets. Green averaged 9.4 PPG and 3.0 APG as a junior.
  • Little Rock guard Rayjon Tucker will also dip his toes into the draft pool, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports tweets. Tucker averaged 20.3 PPG in his junior year and is looking at a variety of transfer options.