Ayo Dosunmu

Jazz Considered Likely To Re-Sign Mike Conley

Free agent point guard Mike Conley is likely to return to the Jazz, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, though Jones cautions that the price tag “won’t be cheap.”

The report comes on the heels of a pair of similar stories from Tuesday. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote that league executives believe Conley is most likely to remain in Utah, while Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said there’s a “strong belief” around the league that the Jazz will be able to shed some salary and make Conley a substantial offer.

The Mavericks have been cited repeatedly as one team expected to show interest in Conley, but their focus is said to be more on Kyle Lowry, which perhaps reflects their belief that Lowry will be more attainable.

As we outlined in our preview of Utah’s offseason, the team is already on the hook for nearly $130MM in guaranteed salary for nine players. Even if Conley is willing to take a pay cut after earning $34.5MM last season, a reasonable deal for him (perhaps in the neighborhood of $20MM+ per year) would push the Jazz way into luxury tax territory.

Virtually all of Utah’s biggest contracts belong to productive rotation players, so if the club wants to trim salary, it may come at the cost of a regular contributor. The Jazz have reportedly explored trades involving Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Derrick Favors.

Multiple reports have suggested the team could end up attaching this year’s No. 30 pick to Favors in a cost-cutting deal. Since Favors’ contract (two years, $20MM) isn’t especially unwieldy, it’s possible Utah could get a less expensive rotation player back in such a deal, though that’s just my speculation.

Here are a few more notes on the Jazz:

  • Sources tell Jones that the Jazz remain high on second-year shooting guard Elijah Hughes and believe he could play his way into the team’s 2021/22 rotation. The team likes what he brings to the table offensively and will be looking for him to show defensive improvement in Summer League play, per Jones.
  • Miles McBride, Ayo Dosunmu, and Nah’Shon Hyland are among the guards the Jazz like as possible targets if they keep the No. 30 pick, says Jones.
  • If Utah trades the No. 30 pick and remains in the draft, moving up is unlikely, but a move down is a possibility, according to Jones, who says there are multiple players the team likes in the second round. One potential second-round target would be Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp, Jones adds.

Draft Rumors: Spurs, Pacers, Knicks, Nets, Duarte, Warriors, More

Reports in recent weeks identified the Nos. 9 and 10 picks in the draft as two of the most available lottery picks. New Orleans agreed on Monday to move the 10th pick to Memphis, while the Kings‘ pick at No. 9 continues to be viewed as available, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

In addition to Sacramento’s pick, the Spurs‘ (No. 12) and Pacers‘ (No. 13) selections are among the lottery choices that could be had, according to Fischer, who suggests that both teams are viewed as candidates to move back into the mid-teens or early 20s if the price is right.

As for which teams picking later in the first round might be looking to move up, Fischer says the Knicks (Nos. 19 and 21), Rockets (Nos. 23 and 24), and Nets (No. 27) fit that bill. Brooklyn has been willing to discuss shooting guard Landry Shamet in trade talks, Fischer adds.

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report is the latest reporter to indicate that Chris Duarte is unlikely to fall past the No. 15 pick on Thursday. The Lakers are among the teams that have shown interest in Duarte and have looked into possibly moving up in the draft, Wasserman notes.
  • James Bouknight, Duarte, Trey Murphy, and Jonathan Kuminga are among the prospects the Warriors are eyeing, says Wasserman. While Kuminga isn’t necessarily NBA-ready, there’s support for him within Golden State’s front office from those who consider his upside too significant to pass up, Wasserman adds.
  • The Warriors turned down a Knicks offer of the Nos. 19 and 21 picks for the No. 14 selection, per Wasserman.
  • Some teams outside the top 10 believe Michigan forward Franz Wagner has assurances he’ll be selected in the top 10, according to Wasserman. The Kings at No. 9 are considered a strong candidate for Wagner if they keep their pick.
  • Both Wasserman and Matt Babcock of BasketballNews.com continue to suggest the Raptors aren’t a lock to draft Jalen Suggs at No. 4, since the team has done “extensive homework” on Scottie Barnes.
  • Alabama’s Joshua Primo and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu are two of the prospects Wasserman has heard linked to the Nuggets at No. 26.
  • Alperen Sengun has a good chance of being a lottery pick, according to Babcock, who says the Turkish big man could be picked as high as No. 8 by the Magic.

Atlantic Notes: Barnes, Raptors Picks, Mann, Jackson, MacLeay

Projected lottery pick Scottie Barnes worked out for the Raptors on Tuesday, Jonathan Givony and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. Toronto holds the No. 4 pick and Florida State’s Barnes is the top-rated small forward on ESPN’s Best Available list, though he’s ranked No. 6 overall.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors have back-to-back second-round picks at No. 46 and No. 47 and Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes a look at a dozen prospects the front office might consider at those spots. Georgia Tech’s Moses Wright and Michigan’s Isaiah Livers are among the players profiled.
  • Tre Mann, Charles Bassey, Ayo Dosunmu and Isaiah Jackson worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday, Ian Begley of SNY.TV reports. New York has picks at No. 19, 21 and 32. Kentucky forward Jackson (No. 19 on ESPN’s list) and Florida guard Mann (No. 22) are the highest-rated prospects among that group.
  • The Celtics have hired DJ MacLeay away from the Sixers as a player enhancement coach, Clevis Murray reports (via Twitter). He’s been Philadelphia’s video coordinator the last three seasons.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Grimes, OKC, Moody, Wolves, Nuggets

The Jazz are hosting a pre-draft workout on Thursday that will includes Houston’s Quentin Grimes, Providence’s David Duke, and San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell, sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Jones categorizes it as an important session for the Jazz, who like Grimes as a potential target at No. 30 and want to get a closer look at Mitchell, who has worked out for more than 10 teams and is considered a draft riser.

Sources tell Jones that other prospects the Jazz are eyeing as possibilities at No. 30 include Nah’Shon Hyland, Ayo Dosunmu, Miles McBride, Herb Jones, Joel Ayayi from Gonzaga, Joshua Primo, and Jared Butler.

  • Arkansas wing Moses Moody visited the Thunder in Oklahoma City earlier this week, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets. Moody is the 16th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board, so he could play be in play for OKC at No. 16 or 18 next Thursday.
  • Now that Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore have formally been approved as minority stakeholders in the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the challenges facing A-Rod and Lore, who will assume majority control of the franchise by 2023. As Krawczynski observes, there are similarities between the Wolves’ current situation and the one that Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan inherited in 2014 when they bought the Bucks, though it’s probably unrealistic to expect the next seven years in Minnesota to play out like the last seven in Milwaukee.
  • The Nuggets put forth a “full, all-hands-on-deck organizational effort” to ensure longtime assistant Wes Unseld Jr. got a head coaching job, Denver’s president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told Fred Katz of The Athletic. Connelly said he informed the Wizards that Unseld “is one of the brightest minds I’ve ever been around.”
  • South Carolina wing A.J. Lawson worked out today for the Nuggets, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Booker, Ayton, Lakers, Draft

After falling 123-119 to the Bucks, the Suns find themselves on the brink of losing the 2021 NBA Finals. They have their sights squarely set on a must-win Game 6 on Tuesday. Mark Medina of USA Today opines that the club may be relying too much on the production of 24-year-old All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker.

“We know what Book can do with the ball, but the one thing we talked about was getting to the paint, finding guys on the back side,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said of the ball sticking with Booker. “We feel like that’s a formula.”

Medina contends that the Suns suffered due to their dependence on Booker to bail out possessions with isolation scoring.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Suns center Deandre Ayton – who has thrived during a breakout postseason, his first playoff appearance – welcomes the challenge of a must-win Game 6, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. “I like it. It’s fun; the tables are turned now,” Ayton said. “Now we’re the desperate team. We had our chances of being up and trying to finish the job, now we’re in the same position that they were in. They’re up, and now we got to go get it. That’s why it’s a little bit more fun.” The top pick in the 2018 draft, Ayton is eligible for a contract extension during the 2021 offseason. His recent play should earn him a maximum-salary offer or something close to it.
  • The Lakers, who own the No. 22 pick in the upcoming 2021 draft, hosted 6’5″ Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu and 6’4″ Tennessee guard Jaden Springer during their latest pre-draft workouts Saturday, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Both guards are good shooters who could help space the floor for L.A.
  • The Lakers need to land a win-now type of player in the 2021 draft with their No. 22 selection, opines Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Goon notes that the Lakers front office, under the stewardship of Rob Pelinka, last retained a first-round pick through the draft in 2018, when the club selected center Moritz Wagner out of Michigan — however, Wagner did not last long in L.A., having been sent to Washington in the Anthony Davis blockbuster. The team appears determined to add shooting this offseason — Los Angeles has examined versatile guard prospects and stretch forwards thus far.

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Kings Workouts, Lakers Workouts, Suns Arena

Warriors free agent wing Kelly Oubre sat down with Stadium’s Shams Charania for an interview on Wednesday to discuss his up-and-down season with in Golden State, as well as his free agency plans.

This season obviously wasn’t my best showing, but at the end of the day, I know what I’m capable of and I think the whole world knows what I’m capable of,” Oubre said.

Oubre, who has never lacked confidence, spoke on why he feels he stands apart from other free agents in this year’s class: “I’m a worker. I wouldn’t always get better and you wouldn’t be able to see improvements in my game somewhere each and every year if I wasn’t working continuously and staying locked in and focused on my craft. I think that puts me at an advantage over a lot of other free agents.

An unrestricted free agent, the 25-year-old will try to find a permanent home after bouncing around from the Wizards to the Sunsto the Warriors over the last few seasons.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

Draft Notes: Warriors, Hornets, Green Room Invites, Preston

The Warriors brought in some first-round prospects for workouts on Friday, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweetsChris Duarte, Keon Johnson, Corey Kispert, Trey Murphy III, Ziaire Williams and Ayo Dosunmu visited the Warriors’ training facility. Johnson is the highest-rated prospect on the list, as the Tennessee guard is currently ranked No. 9 overall by ESPN.

Gonzaga’s Kispert (No. 13), Virginia’s Murphy (18), Oregon’s Duarte (23), Stanford’s Williams (24) and Illinois’ Dosunmu (34) could all be off the board by the second round. Golden State holds the seventh and 14th overall picks.

We have more draft-related news and tidbits:

Eastern Notes: Sexton, Knicks, Heat, Hawks, Raptors

Following up on Shams Charania’s report that the Knicks have been the most aggressive trade suitor for Collin Sexton so far, Marc Berman of The New York Post confirms that the team has the Cavaliers guard on its trade radar.

According to Berman, the Knicks would’ve picked Sexton over Kevin Knox in the 2018 draft if he had slipped to No. 9 instead of being selected at No. 8. Berman adds that Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who played his college ball at Dayton, may be a player the Cavs would target in a trade.

A source tells Berman that the Knicks – who hold the 19th and 21st overall picks – are open to trading out of the first round entirely in order to acquire an “established player.” Sexton has certainly established himself as a talented scorer, having averaged 24.5 points per game in 2020/21, though it’s unclear if New York would be willing to offer both of its first-round picks in a package for him.

Here’s more from around the East:

Wizards Notes: Nored, Coaching Search, Beal, Workouts

The Wizards recently conducted a second interview with Ronald Nored for their head coaching job, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

A report last week indicated that Nored was close to leaving his position as a Hornets assistant for a role on Rick Carlisle‘s staff in Indiana. Haynes’ report today suggests Nored may still be in the running for Washington’s top job — presumably, if he isn’t hired by the Wizards, the 31-year-old will pivot to finalizing a deal with the Pacers.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Besides Nored, the Wizards’ top head coaching candidates are believed to be Wes Unseld Jr., Charles Lee, Darvin Ham, and Jamahl Mosley (who may be hired by the Magic). Fred Katz of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at those four contenders for the job to assess what they could bring to the organization.
  • Before the Wizards finalize their head coaching hire, general manager Tommy Sheppard will meet with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook to get their feedback on the finalists, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Within the same NBC Sports Washington story, Beal says he appreciated the five years he spent playing for Scott Brooks. “When I first got the news (Brooks wouldn’t return), it was tough,” Beal said. “Scotty was great. This is my second coach I’ve played for and even when I talked to him afterwards, (I said) how grateful I was towards him. He helped change my game and evolved my game to what it is now.”
  • The Wizards are working out a pair of guards today, according to Hughes, who tweets that Arizona State’s Josh Christopher and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu are visiting the team. Christopher and Dosunmu rank 33rd and 34th, respectively, on ESPN’s big board for the 2021 draft, so it seems like a long shot that the Wizards would select either with the No. 15 pick.

Central Notes: Tucker, Bucks, Pacers, Workouts, Pistons

P.J. Tucker is used to being a part of contending teams, but this season took a detour before he landed in Milwaukee, notes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Tucker had to endure a lot of losing in Houston after the Rockets dealt James Harden in mid-January. He was stuck in a rebuilding situation until the Bucks traded for him in March.

“I thought about the stuff I was doing with Houston this year, this season has just been a long year for me,” Tucker said. “To go from being a top team in the West to falling apart instantly and being the last one left (in Houston) and everything I went through with that, the transition, it was just a lot this season.”

Tucker has enjoyed his time with the Bucks and is looking forward to competing for his first NBA championship, but isn’t sure whether his time in Milwaukee will extend beyond this season, as Nehm writes.

“I’m really excited to be able to pick where I want to go,” Tucker said. “The (contract) extension thing was for a different period of time. We didn’t even talk about that when I came to Milwaukee. There was no extension. I just wanted to come play and get a chance to do what I do and that was it. I just wanted to have a chance.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.