Hawks Rumors

Central Draft Notes: Bulls, Bucks, Pistons

The Bulls have the pieces to move into the Top 5 of the draft but it’s unknown whether they like any prospect enough to do that, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls could package their picks at No. 7 and No. 22 and power forward Bobby Portis to make a deal with the Hawks at No. 3 or the Grizzlies at No. 4. Memphis, though, might want to unload Chandler Parsons contract, in which case the Bulls probably wouldn’t have to include Portis, Strotman continues. With Lauri Markkanen the long-term solution at power forward, the Bulls can afford to deal Portis, who might become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t receive a contract extension, Strotman adds.

In other draft-related musings involving Central Division clubs:

  • If the Bulls retain their No. 22 pick, they should avoid Duke sharpshooter Grayson Allen and Villanova big man Omari Spellman, Scott Phillips of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Allen’s temperamental behavior during his college career is something the Bulls don’t need with an already young roster, while Spellman’s skills do not complement Markkanen because he’s not a rim protector, Phillips continues. De’Anthony Melton (USC), Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky) and Anfernee Simons are three other late first-round prospects the Bulls should pass on, Phillips adds.
  • The Bucks could select Michigan big man Moritz Wagner with the No. 17 pick, Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com speculates. The Bucks need a physical frontcourt player who can shoot from outside and Wagner would bring that, Woelfel continues. While most draft experts peg Wagner as a late first- or early second-round selection, he could move into the middle of the first round because of his offensive skills, Woelfel adds.
  • Missouri State forward Alize Johnson and Purdue guard Dakota Mathias are two of the players the Pistons might consider with their second-round pick, according to Ansar Khan of MLive. Both players came in for workouts this week. Detroit traded away its first-round pick in the Blake Griffin deal with the Clippers.

Hawks Working Out Six Prospects On Saturday

Southeast Notes: Gordon, Simmons, Muscala, James

Newly-hired Magic head coach Steve Clifford recently visited Aaron Gordon in San Jose, California as part of an effort to get to know his players, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Gordon is a restricted free agent this summer, but reports have indicated that the Magic are likely to retain his services, even if they have to go up to the maximum salary to do so.

In April, Gordon addressed what his “ideal’ contract would be this summer. “Ideal is max,” Gordon said, per Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). “That would be ideal. Three letters. … Definitely here (in Orlando).”

While injuries limited him to 58 games this past season, Gordon posted the best totals of his career. Gordon, 22, averaged 17.6 PPG and 7.9 RPG for the Magic.

Check out more Southeast Division notes below:

  • Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons underwent surgery on his right wrist in late April, a team spokesman confirmed to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Simmons missed the final 12 games of the season due to a wrist injury. It’s unclear when Simmons will resume basketball activities. In 69 games, Simmons averaged  13.9 PPG while shooting 46.5% from the field.
  • Hawks big man Mike Muscala remains undecided about what he will do with his $5MM player option for 2018/19, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Muscala has until June 29 to make a decision on that option.
  • While the possibility may be slim, LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers to join the Wizards is not that far-fetched, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington opines. Hughes writes that the opportunity to stay in the Eastern Conference, a chance to win now, and a fondness for D.C. are just a few reasons why James could consider the nation’s capital.

Draft Notes: Bagley, DiVincenzo, Sexton, Brunson, Gabriel, Bates-Diop

Duke University product Marvin Bagley III is expected to sign an endorsement deal with Puma, tweets JonKrawczynski of The Athletic. The deal is over five years and is expected to be the largest shoe deal signed by a rookie since Kevin Durant inked a seven-year, $60MM deal with Nike, Krawczynski adds.

The deal is historic as Puma has not represented an NBA player in nearly two decades. The last time Puma signed an NBA player was Vince Carter in 1998, per Yahoo! Sports. Bagley is widely expected to one of the top five picks in the draft.

Puma has also expressed interest in Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, another likely top-10 pick, per ESPN’s Nick DePaula.

Check out more draft notes below:

  • Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo is in Phoenix to interview with the Suns, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. DiVincenzo has already worked out for the Timberwolves, Bulls, Pacers, and several other clubs.
  • Fellow Villanova guard Jalen Brunson completed a previously-reported workout with the Pacers on Thursday, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Brunson now has scheduled visits with the Spurs and Celtics.
  • Alabama point guard Collin Sexton, who has been selective with the teams he works out for, is scheduled to meet with the Magic on Saturday, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Possible first-round pick Keita Bates-Diop will work out for the Hawks soon, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Ohio State forward worked out for the Wizards on Thursday.
  • After working out for the Raptors on Thursday, Wenyen Gabriel has scheduled visits with the Sixers, Pistons, and Hornets on tap, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • The Hornets will work out six players on Friday, the team announced in a press release. The scheduled participants include Xavier’s Trevon BluiettMississipi’s Markel Crawford, Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks, Nebraska’s Anton Gill, Virginia’s Nigel Johnson, and Wichita State’s Shaquille Morris.

Nuggets Looking To Move Kenneth Faried

The Nuggets are “aggressively” looking to shed salary by trading Kenneth Faried, reports Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, citing a source with knowledge of the trade market.

Cunningham, an Atlanta-based reporter, notes that the Hawks are open to the possibility of accommodating Denver in a deal for Faried. The Hawks would want to acquire draft picks or young players for taking on Faried’s $13.76MM expiring contract, according to Cunningham, who adds that Malik Beasley and Tyler Lydon are among the Nuggets’ young players who may be expendable. I’d add Juan Hernangomez to that list too.

As I explained when I previewed the Nuggets’ offseason earlier this week, signing Nikola Jokic and Will Barton to new deals this summer would take Denver’s team salary well over the tax line unless the club can cut costs elsewhere. The best way for the Nuggets to trim salary would be by cutting or releasing players like Faried and Darrell Arthur, who are on pricey expiring deals. As such, it comes as no surprise that Faried is on the trade block.

As for the Hawks, this is the second time today that we’ve heard about their willingness to eat salary in a trade if it nets them valuable assets. Atlanta could have more than $30MM+ in cap room, depending on whether players with non-guaranteed contracts or player options return, and the club probably won’t make a splash in free agency, so it makes sense that GM Travis Schlenk would be open to taking on other teams’ unwanted contracts.

The Hawks and Nuggets both figure to have other potential trade options available, as Cunningham notes, so there’s no guarantee that the two teams will come together on a deal.

Scotto’s Latest: Parsons, Hawks, T. Young, Nets

The Grizzlies may be using their No. 4 choice as a way to get rid of Chandler Parsons‘ huge contract, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who passes on a few pre-draft rumors along with his latest mock draft. Memphis is reportedly calling around the league to see what kind of deal it can get in return for Parsons and the pick.

Parsons has missed 94 games because of injuries since signing a four-year, $94MM contract with the Grizzlies in 2016. He still has two seasons and $49.2MM left on that deal, making it extremely hard to move. With Mike Conley and Marc Gasol also holding sizable contracts, Memphis is already over the projected cap for next season and has little flexibility as it tries to improve on a 22-60 record.

Parsons, 29, appeared in just 36 games last season, averaging 7.9 points in about 19 minutes per night.

Scotto shares a few more rumors a week away from draft night:

  • The Hawks are willing to help teams unload bad contracts to open up cap space. However, the level of compensation they will ask for depends on how much money they’re being asked to absorb. That could be significant for teams like the Rockets, Sixers or others who want to create room to make a max offer to LeBron James or Paul George.
  • Trae Young has canceled an individual workout with the Sixers that was scheduled for Friday, which may be an indication he is confident he won’t be on the board when Philadelphia picks at No. 10.
  • The Nets are hoping to trade up into the teens and are willing to take on an unwanted contract to make it happen. They are offering the 29th pick and Spencer Dinwiddie in return.
  • Several teams are willing to make their second-round picks available, including the Suns‘ selections at 31 and 59 and all four of the Sixers‘ choices at 38, 39, 56 and 60. Philadelphia would reportedly part with this year’s picks in exchange for future second-rounders.
  • The Clippers are hoping to package their picks at 12 and 13 in exchange for a higher selection.
  • The Suns‘ likely choice of DeAndre Ayton at No. 1 is bad news for free agent centers such as Clint Capela, DeMarcus Cousins and possibly DeAndre Jordan. Phoenix could have as much as $30MM to spend and needs help in the middle. However, Ayton has only worked out for the Suns and seems like a sure bet to be taken first overall.

Draft Updates: Porter, Doncic, Bagley, Bamba

Teams that had planned to attend Michael Porter Jr.‘s workout tomorrow are being told it will be held at another time, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Porter’s representatives canceled the session late Wednesday night without providing an explanation.

The move has led to speculation that Porter’s surgically repaired back may be bothering him, but it’s also possible he has received a guarantee that would make a group workout unnecessary. Porter’s camp may be rethinking his status and devoting time just to teams at the top of the draft, according to Tom Ziller of SB Nation, who adds that they now believe he will be taken in the top four.

There’s “a very real chance” that the Kings will use their No. 2 pick on Porter, Amick adds, but it’s not certain at this point whether last night’s news will impact their decision. The organization may request more medical information and take another look at Porter in action before making a commitment.

There’s more draft-related news this morning:

Hawks Working Out Jaren Jackson Jr.

The Hawks are hosting a pair of pre-draft workouts today, and one of those two sessions will be an individual workout for top prospect Jaren Jackson Jr., the team announced in a press release.

A potential top-five pick in this year’s draft, Jackson also auditioned for Phoenix recently, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter) calling it a “monster workout.” According to Wojnarowski, clubs outside the top four are interested in moving up to snag Jackson, meaning teams with top picks like the Kings (No. 2), Hawks (No. 3), and Grizzlies (No. 4) may receive some interesting trade offers as draft day approaches.

Jackson could also simply be a fit for Atlanta. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has the Michigan State big man going to the Hawks in his most recent mock draft, writing that Jackson would be the “ideal” big man to pair with youngster John Collins. The 18-year-old has intriguing upside on both the offensive (.396 3PT%) and defensive (3.0 BPG in 21.8 MPG) ends of the floor.

In addition to Jackson, the Hawks will take a look at several prospects in a group workout today, according to the club. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky), Trevon Duval (Duke), Isaac Haas (Purdue), Chimezie Metu (USC), Malik Newman (Kansas), and Andrew Rowsey (Marquette) are participating in that session.

2018 NBA Head Coaching Carousel Recap

After a 2017 offseason in which no NBA team made a head coaching change, the coaching carousel started spinning again once the 2017/18 regular season got underway. The Suns fired Earl Watson just four games into the season, and the Bucks and Grizzlies followed suit with in-season changes of their own.

At the end of the 2017/18 campaign, six more teams made coaching changes, meaning nearly one-third of the league’s 30 clubs will enter next season with head coaches who have been on the job for less than a year.

Here’s a recap of which teams have made head coaching changes during the ’17/18 NBA league year:

Atlanta Hawks

  • Hired: Lloyd Pierce (story)
  • Replaced: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal; fourth-year team option (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Nate Tibbetts, Stephen Silas, Jay Larranaga, Jarron Collins, Darvin Ham, David Fizdale

Pierce has an extensive résumé as an NBA assistant, having worked for the Cavaliers (2007-10), Warriors (2010-11), Grizzlies (2011-13), and Sixers (2013-18). His time in Golden State overlapped with Travis Schlenk‘s tenure in the Warriors’ front office. This will be Pierce’s first NBA head coaching job.

Charlotte Hornets

  • Hired: James Borrego (story)
  • Replaced: Steve Clifford (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Jay Larranaga, Jerry Stackhouse, Ettore Messina, David Fizdale, Ime Udoka, David Vanterpool, Jim Boylen, Nick Nurse

Although he earned a little experience as an interim head coach in Orlando in 2015, Borrego has primarily served as an NBA assistant throughout his coaching career. He was previously an assistant for the Spurs (2003-10; 2015-18), Hornets (2010-12), and Magic (2012-15). This will be Borrego’s first permanent NBA head coaching job.

Detroit Pistons

  • Hired: Dwane Casey (story)
  • Replaced: Stan Van Gundy (story)
  • Contract details: Five-year deal, $35MM+ (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Kenny Smith, Juwan Howard, Ime Udoka, John Beilein, Jason Kidd, Nick Nurse
    • Note: The Pistons reportedly wanted to interview Mike Budenholzer before he was hired by the Bucks.

The 2018 recipient of the National Coaches Basketball Association’s Coach of the Year award, Casey is coming off a successful seven-year run as the Raptors’ head coach. A former assistant for the SuperSonics (1994-2005) and Mavericks (2008-11), Casey also had a head coaching stint with the Timberwolves (2005-07). This will be his third NBA head coaching job.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Hired: J.B. Bickerstaff (story)
  • Replaced: David Fizdale (in-season change)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal; third-year team option (link)

Of the nine teams who named new permanent head coaches this spring, Memphis was the only one not to conduct a full-fledged search. The Grizzlies opted to remove Bickerstaff’s interim tag, despite his 15-48 record last season. Bickerstaff was the Rockets’ interim head coach in 2015/16, but this will be his first role as a permanent head coach.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Hired: Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • Replaced: Jason Kidd (in-season change); Joe Prunty (interim coach)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Joe Prunty, Ettore Messina, Steve Clifford, Monty Williams, David Blatt, Becky Hammon, Jay Larranaga, Jim Cleamons
    • Note: The Bucks reportedly wanted to interview James Borrego before he was hired by the Horents.

Budenholzer began interviewing for other head coaching positions while still under contract with the Hawks, but eventually he and Atlanta formally parted ways. The Milwaukee job will give Budenholzer the chance to avoid going through the rebuild in Atlanta. A longtime Spurs assistant (1996-2013), Budenholzer led the Hawks for five seasons. This will be his second NBA head coaching job.

New York Knicks

  • Hired: David Fizdale (story)
  • Replaced: Jeff Hornacek (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Jerry Stackhouse, Mark Jackson, Mike Woodson, Kenny Smith, Mike Budenholzer, David Blatt, James Borrego, Jay Larranaga, Juwan Howard (story), Mike Brown

Fizdale, a veteran assistant with the Warriors (2003-04), Hawks (2004-08), and Heat (2008-16), received his first shot as an NBA head coach in Memphis in 2016. He was fired just 19 games into his second season with the Grizzlies, but was a popular candidate for teams with coaching openings this spring. This will be Fizdale’s second NBA head coaching job.

Orlando Magic

  • Hired: Steve Clifford (story)
  • Replaced: Frank Vogel (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: David Vanterpool, Ime Udoka, Kelvin Sampson, David Fizdale

The Magic conducted the longest-lasting head coaching search of any team and ultimately landed on Clifford, who is coming off a five-year stint as the head coach in Charlotte. Prior to joining the Hornets, Clifford worked as an assistant for the Knicks (2001-03), Rockets (2003-07), Magic (2007-12), and Lakers (2012-13). This will be his second NBA head coaching job.

Phoenix Suns

  • Hired: Igor Kokoskov (story)
  • Replaced: Earl Watson (in-season change); Jay Triano (interim coach)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: David Fizdale, Frank Vogel, Steve Clifford, Vinny Del Negro, James Borrego, Nick Nurse, Chris Finch, Jason Kidd, Mike Budenholzer

Kokoskov has been an assistant coach for several NBA teams, including the Clippers (2000-03), Pistons (2003-08), Suns (2008-13), Cavaliers (2013-14), Magic (2015), and Jazz (2015-18). He also has some international head coaching experience, having coached the Serbian, Georgian, and Slovenian national teams. This will be Kokoskov’s first NBA head coaching job, and he also becomes the league’s first European-born head coach.

Toronto Raptors

  • Hired: Nick Nurse (story)
  • Replaced: Dwane Casey (story)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal, $10MM (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Rex Kalamian, Jerry Stackhouse, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Mike Budenholzer

Nurse coached outside of the NBA for much of his career, spending more than a decade in the British Basketball League and six seasons in the G League. He arrived in Toronto as an assistant in 2013 and has spent the last five years on the Raptors’ bench. This will be his first NBA head coaching job.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Teams Angling To Move Up, Grab Jaren Jackson

Numerous teams outside the top four in the lottery are trying to move up in order to draft Michigan State freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr., Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Jackson was extremely impressive in a workout on Sunday for the Suns, who own the top pick, Wojnarowski continues. The teams in the next three slots — the Kings, Hawks and Grizzlies — could receive some increasingly attractive offers due to Jackson’s rising stock, Wojnarowski adds.

Jackson has the size, length, shot-blocking ability and shooting range to be a force at both ends of the floor. He averaged 10.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 3.0 BPG in his lone college season with the Spartans. The 6’11” Jackson also made 39.6% of his 3-point attempts.

Jackson is currently ranked No. 4 by ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony.