Bojan Bogdanovic

And-Ones: Wiseman, Barrett, Dedmon, Barbosa, DeMarco

The latest 2020 mock draft has Memphis freshman center James Wiseman going to the Knicks with the No. 1 pick. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Georgia guard Anthony Edwards going to the Cavaliers at No. 2 and North Carolina guard Cole Anthony heading to the Suns at No. 3.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Bitadze, Turner, Young

Speaking on Thursday night to reporters, including J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard acknowledged that the team isn’t expecting to have Victor Oladipo ready to go to start the 2019/20 season. Oladipo continues to recover from the torn quad tendon he suffered in January.

“I’m hopeful that he’s going to be back in December, January,” Pritchard said of Oladipo. “To put a true timeline is not really fair.”

Here are several more Pacers notes worth passing along:

  • First-round pick Goga Bitadze will join the Pacers right away rather than being stashed overseas, Michael writes. “Of any of the guys we’ve drafted in the last few years, I think he’s more polished and ready to play in an NBA game than a normal kid coming out of college,” Pritchard said of the Georgian center.
  • While the Pacers are committed to playing Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis together, with one of the two at power forward, the team will have trade options available, Michael writes. Multiple league sources have told Michael that no one on Indiana’s roster is really untouchable, though he doesn’t expect the team to move Turner, as he tweeted prior to the draft.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic remains the Pacers’ top priority in free agency, while Thaddeus Young appears less likely to be retained, per Michael.
  • Pritchard expects to be active in free agency as the Pacers look to fill out their roster, Michael relays. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We’re going to have a lot of money to go out into the marketplace,” Pritchard said. “July 1 is going to be where the real dirty work starts. We got to make some hay in free agency.”
  • More from Pritchard, via Michael: “We’ll try to be a good team next year. We’re not going to go young and try to start at the bottom. We want to win again.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, Kuzma, LeBron, Free Agents

The Lakers would have benefited by waiting longer, but it appears their deal with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis will be completed when the moratorium ends July 6, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He adds that there’s still a chance it won’t be finalized until July 30, which would enable L.A. to operate over the cap and count its No. 4 pick, which is headed to New Orleans, as salary. As Wojnarowski explains in a full story, the Lakers would have $32.5MM in cap room to chase free agents under that scenario, but only $27.8MM if the trade becomes official earlier.

That figure would be reduced even further if Davis insists on a $4MM trade kicker, which he has the option to waive. Accepting it would leave L.A. with just $23.8MM, not nearly enough to compete for an elite free agent. Wojnarowski notes that delaying the deal wouldn’t benefit the Pelicans, who would have $19MM in cap space if the trade becomes official July 6, but only $15MM if they have to wait until July 30.

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • The Pelicans wanted Kyle Kuzma to be included in the deal, but the Lakers opted to part with future first-round picks so they could keep him, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Kuzma, who posted an 18.7/5.5/2.5 line in his second NBA season, was among the players rumored to be on the table when the teams negotiated in February.
  • Lakers GM Rob Pelinka had to make four phone calls yesterday before Pelicans executive David Griffin responded, Turner tweets. Pelinka’s willingness to include three first-round picks turned out to be too enticing for New Orleans to pass up.
  • The Lakers’ last attempt to combine two stars failed because of a personality conflict between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, but Ben Golliver of The Washington Post doesn’t believe that will happen this time. Davis already has a good relationship with LeBron James, appearing on his HBO show “The Shop,” and James has an added incentive to make the partnership work because they share the same agent in Rich Paul.
  • The Lakers will be seeking low-cost veterans to round out their roster, which might be good news for Reggie Bullock, observes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Bullock, who was acquired from the Pistons at the trade deadline, has a cap hold of just $4.8MM. L.A. holds his full Bird rights and can exceed the cap to re-sign him.
  • If the Lakers don’t land a third star in free agency, they will likely pursue another shooter such as J.J. Redick, Seth Curry or Bojan Bogdanovic, suggests Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Woj’s Latest: Durant, Conley, Pacers, Draft Rumors

On Tuesday night, we relayed a pair of rumors from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said on the network’s televised mock draft special that the Lakers, Mavericks, and Knicks are among the teams interested in pursuing point guard Kemba Walker, but also cautioned that the Lakers aren’t considered frontrunners for any top free agents.

During ESPN’s draft special, Wojnarowski offered up several more tidbits worth passing along, so we’ll round them up in the space below (all links via Sagar Trika unless otherwise indicated):

  • Picking up his 2019/20 player option with the Warriors is probably a “last resort” for Kevin Durant, since he should still receive maximum-salary or near-max offers as a free agent, Wojnarowski said this morning on Get Up (video link via ESPN). We heard on Tuesday that Durant’s Achilles injury isn’t expected to deter suitors, even if it keeps him out for all of next season. Marc Berman of The New York Post confirmed today that the Knicks remain very interested in signing Durant.
  • Wojnarowski identifies the Jazz, Pacers, and Celtics as potential suitors for trade candidate Mike Conley (Twitter link). Of course, Boston would only make sense as a trade partner for the Grizzlies if Kyrie Irving leaves.
  • According to Wojnarowski, the Pacers are interested in bringing back Bojan Bogdanovic and would also like to re-sign Thaddeus Young, assuming the price is right (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks are a team to watch on draft night and may be a candidate to move up to No. 5, in Wojnarowski’s view (Twitter links). Woj expects GM Travis Schlenk to be creative and would be surprised if Atlanta ends up using both the No. 8 and No. 10 overall picks.
  • Even if the Suns and Bulls draft point guards with their first-round picks, they’d each likely try to sign a veteran in free agency, says Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • The Thunder are in “absolute win-now mode,” and Wojnarowski believes they’ll be aggressive with the No. 21 pick in trade talks (Twitter link).

Pacers Notes: Free Agency, Bogdanovic, Oladipo

Heading into the 2019 offseason, the Pacers expect to have about $43-45MM in cap room available to spend, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said today at his end-of-season press conference, per Scott Agness of The Athletic (Twitter link).

“I think that brings a lot of excitement and I think that allows for us to be super aggressive,” Pritchard said of the team’s financial situation, adding that the Pacers expect to highlight their strong culture as a primary selling point to free agents.

Asked about the Pacers’ potential spending power, Pritchard indicated that no significant restrictions have been placed on him by ownership, as Agness relays (via Twitter)

“(Team owner) Herb (Simon) wants to win. We set a budget. It’s a very high budget, I’ll tell you that,” Pritchard said. “Herb has never told me ‘No’ if it makes the team better. Not one time. … I want to think big.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Bojan Bogdanovic will be the Pacers’ most notable free agent this summer, and Pritchard expects plenty of competition for the veteran swingman. “We would like to have extensive talks with Bojan. The truth is he’s a complete (unrestricted) free agent so he’s gonna have interest. You can feel that already,” Pritchard said today (Twitter link). “On July 1, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a long conversation with Bojan.”
  • There’s still no timeline for Victor Oladipo‘s return to the court, but Pritchard said Indiana’s injured star is “coming along nicely,” with the focus still on his ongoing physical therapy (Twitter link via Agness).
  • Pritchard feels good about the No. 18 pick in the draft, but suggested that the team would be “open-minded” and “aggressive” about moving up or down in the draft, tweets Agness. “I would not be surprised if that pick is not the pick we pick,” Pritchard said.
  • Pritchard praised young big man Domantas Sabonis, suggesting that the team would like to find a way to get him a bigger role next season (Twitter link via Agness). Sabonis will be eligible for a rookie scale extension starting in July.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Bobby Portis, Bulls, 23, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6.85MM deal in 2015
Portis turned down a contract extension to give himself a chance to shop his services this summer. Portis has battled a variety of injuries but has finally settled in since the New Year. He erupted for 26 points in 24 minutes in a victory over Miami on Wednesday. Portis is foul prone but can gather rebounds in bunches and is shooting 42.5% from long range since returning to the rotation. He’ll be a restricted free agent if Chicago extends a qualifying offer but Portis’ youth and production could land him an offer sheet once the bigger names are off the board.

Alec Burks, Cavaliers, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2015
Burks was acquired from Utah in December because of his $11.5MM expiring contract, but he’s playing regularly and showing off his versatility. Cleveland is using him in more of a playmaking role than he had with the Jazz and he recorded nine assists in a win over Washington on Tuesday. He’s also been shooting it well (45.8% from long range) and contributing on the boards (5.5 RPG) since the New Year began. Burks could be traded again before the February 7th deadline.

Stanley Johnson, Pistons, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $12.8MM deal in 2015
Johnson got a fresh start after two disappointing seasons due to a coaching change. However, Johnson hasn’t been any better under Dwane Casey than he was with Stan Van Gundy. He’s shooting 26.8% from the 3-point line and doesn’t finish his drives with any consistency. Johnson can be a hard-nose defender but much more was expected from a lottery pick who departed Arizona after one season. Johnson could be a restricted free agent if the Pistons extend a $5.3MM qualifying offer, but there’s an increasing possibility the franchise will let him walk.

Brook Lopez, Bucks, 30, C (Up) — Signed to a one-year, $3.38MM deal in 2018
Lopez’s game has changed dramatically since he entered the league. He does two things very well — stretch defenses with his 3-point prowess and block shots. He delivered both at high levels in January. Lopez shot 48.1% from long range and averaged 2.6 BPG, including a trio of contests in which he swatted five or more shots. Lopez fits well into Milwaukee’s scheme, providing solid production at a bargain basement rate. He should be able to land a bigger contract this summer.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Pacers, 29 (Up)– Signed to a two-year, $21MM deal in 2017
Bogdanovic has steadily increased his production during his five NBA seasons and he’s picking a good time to have a career year. Bogdanovic is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and steals. The Pacers will rely on his marksmanship even more with Victor Oladipo out for the season. A wing player that can knock down 40% of his threes is bound to grab plenty of attention this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Pacers, Dunn, Bucks

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo knew right away that the injury he suffered tonight was significant, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. There are concerns that Oladipo may need surgery on his right knee that will keep him out for the rest of the season, but the team will await the results of an MRI tomorrow before making a decision.

“I just slipped and knew it was serious,” he told reporters after tonight’s game. “We’ll see what tomorrow shows and go from there. My teammates stepped up earlier this season and everyone has the utmost confidence going forward.”

Oladipo is Indiana’s top scorer at 19.2 points per game and leads the team in steals with 1.7 per night. He made the All-Star Game for the first time last season and was in contention for another trip this year.

“It’s tough watching our best player go down,” teammate Darren Collison said in a video tweeted by the Pacers. “Not just because he’s our best player but because he’s one of the best people to be around.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have two weeks until the trade deadline to figure out how they want to proceed without Oladipo, writes Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Indiana is third in the East at 32-15 and making the playoffs shouldn’t be a concern, but Woo states that it’s hard to see the Pacers having any postseason success without Oladipo. He notes that they have roughly $59MM in expiring contracts in Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Cory Joseph and Kyle O’Quinn that could be moved for future assets if they decide to play for next season. Indiana will be in position to offer a max contract this summer, but Woo notes that the team’s bargaining power with free agents could be reduced if Oladipo’s rehab stretches into next season.
  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn had extra motivation in his matchup with Hawks rookie Trae Young tonight, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Even though Chicago’s front office assured Dunn that he was the team’s point guard of the future, they brought in Young for a pre-draft workout and had legitimate interest in selecting him, Cowley writes. Dunn prevailed in the individual matchup, holding Young to a 1-for-12 shooting night, but Atlanta won the game.
  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers become a minority investor in the Bucks when he bought a 1% share of the team last year, but he tells Jim Owczarski of Packers News that he might be interested in expanding his role in the future. “When I’m done playing, there’s going to have to be something to fuel the competitive juices,” Rodgers said, “and being involved in sports would be great as long as it’s not commenting or maybe a GM. The ownership part seems a little more my speed and what I want to do when I retire from sports.”

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Jabari Parker, Bulls, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $40MM deal in 2018
Parker is out of the Chicago’s rotation and on the trading block, a massive and swift fall from grace after signing a big contract to play for his hometown team. If the Bulls can find a trading partner, Parker could be considered damaged goods and not just because of the knee injuries that set back his career. He has gained a reputation of being disinterested on defense and a ball-hog on offense. Wherever he is at season’s end, it’s hard to imagine that team exercising its $20MM option. Parker will be back on the market and the offers will be significantly less.

Alec Burks, Cavaliers, 27, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2015
Burks is getting steady minutes under coach Larry Drew since his inclusion in the Kyle Korver deal with Utah but he isn’t doing anything noteworthy with them. He’s averaging 28.0 MPG and while his rebounding and assist numbers have climbed, he’s shot just 33.3% from the field. Burks has not averaged better than 33% from long range over the last three seasons. He needs to pick up his production from the perimeter to draw interest in the summer. He’s averaged $10.5MM in salary over the last four years — that will drop dramatically with his next contract.

Reggie Bullock, Pistons, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $5MM deal in 2017
Bullock was one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters — and bargains — last season when he made 44.5% of his attempts. He’s proving that was no fluke. His long-range average is up to 39.8% after his career-high 33-point performance at Minnesota on Wednesday when he drained seven 3-pointers. Bullock fills an essential role for a team that needs long-range compliments to the power duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Detroit would like to keep him but it will have competition and Bullock will receive a major pay raise wherever he winds up.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Pacers, 29, SF (Up) — Signed to a two-year, $21MM deal in 2017
Bogdanovic is a consistent offensive force on one of the league’s most underappreciated teams. He’s scored in double figures 23 straight games and he’s averaging career highs in points (16.4), field-goal percentage (51.4) and 3-point percentage (47.5). Indiana had to decide before free agency in July whether to guarantee his $10.5MM salary and it wisely chose to keep him. Bogdanovic will surely get multi-year offers next summer, though it would be no surprise if he re-signs with the Pacers, where he’s a comfy fit.

Eric Bledsoe, Bucks, 29, PG (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in 2014
Bledsoe has matured since being dealt from Phoenix last season and adjusted his game around a superstar talent. He’s shooting a career-high 50% from the field, an excellent number for a guard, and his turnover rate is the lowest of his career. Bledsoe is the third-best player on a team that owns the Eastern Conference’s second-best record. With several teams around the league looking for a point guard upgrade, the Bucks will have to shell out some major bucks to retain their floor leader.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Robinson, Pacers’ Plans, Thomas, Bucks Cap

The addition of swingman Glenn Robinson III filled the Pistons’ biggest need this offseason, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The Pistons didn’t anticipate an early commitment but a phone call from new coach Dwane Casey as the start of free agency helped to seal the deal with the ex-Pacers wing. Robinson received a two-year, $8.3MM contract. “We didn’t expect we would get Glenn that quickly,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We felt getting the two-year commitment was huge to us. To find a young wing who can make a shot, they’re hard to find in the league. When the opportunity came up that quickly, we felt we had to make a move. If it wasn’t for him, we would still be out there looking for a guy.”

In other news involving Central Division teams:

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard hopes to use a majority of next summer’s cap space on his own free agents, Mark Monteith of Pacers.com reports. Rotation players Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Tyreke Evans could all be free agents next summer, which would free up as much as $57MM in cap space, Monteith notes. But Pritchard would prefer to use most of the money to re-sign some of those players, as he told Monteith. “We have the season like we want to have, our free agents will be the priority,” he said. “I think this team has a chance to grow this year. … We already know these guys. They become our priority in free agency.”
  • Rookie second-round pick Khyri Thomas could get playing time with the Pistons through his defensive prowess, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. The swingman out of Creighton views himself as a defensive specialist. “When I was younger, I didn’t get the ball a lot playing with older people so I just stole the ball to get it,” he told Beard.
  • The addition of center Brook Lopez gives the Bucks 13 guaranteed contracts for next season but they’re still $15MM away from being hard-capped, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Lopez reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Sunday. Milwaukee still has to deal with restricted free agent Jabari Parker‘s status, as he remains unsigned, but they could gain more flexibility since the contracts for Tyler Zeller and Brandon Jennings are not guaranteed, Marks adds.

Pacers To Guarantee Bojan Bogdanovic’s Salary

JUNE 29: The Pacers are guaranteeing Bogdanovic’s $10.5MM salary for the 2018/19 season, league sources confirm to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Today was the deadline for Indiana to waive Bogdanovic in order to avoid that guarantee.

JUNE 24: The Pacers plan to retain veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic through his salary guarantee date later this week, a source familiar with the team’s plans tells Ben Gibson of 8Points9Seconds.com.

Having signed a two-year deal with Indiana last summer, Bogdanovic is under contract for the 2018/19 season, but his $10.5MM salary is currently only partially guaranteed for $1.5MM. The club could clear $9MM from its books for next season by waiving him before June 29, but apparently has no plans to do so.

[RELATED: NBA Salary Guarantee Dates For Summer 2018]

The Pacers’ intentions for Bogdanovic come as no surprise, since the former second-round pick excelled during his first season with the team, setting new career highs in PPG (14.3), FG% (.474), and 3PT% (.402), among other categories. Bogdanovic started 80 regular season games for Indiana, and the club would be comfortable keeping the 29-year-old in the starting lineup entering the 2018/19 campaign, Gibson writes.

Bogdanovic’s contract is structured similar to Darren Collison‘s, and the Pacers reportedly plan on guaranteeing the point guard’s 2018/19 salary as well. Keeping both players on the roster will reduce Indiana’s potential cap room this July, but the team should still have a good amount cap flexibility.

Even if Bogdanovic’s and Collison’s salaries become fully guaranteed and Thaddeus Young‘s player option is exercised, the Pacers’ guaranteed salaries for 2018/19 would only total about $78.6MM. The club also barely has any guaranteed money on its 2019/20 cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.