Bulls Rumors

Latest On Darius Garland

While Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are viewed as virtual locks to follow Zion Williamson off the board on draft night, point guard Darius Garland is still receiving serious consideration at No. 3, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). A source tells Givony that Garland will be conducting a last-minute workout with the Knicks tomorrow.

According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), there are people around the NBA who believe it’s a mistake to view this as a three-player draft, since that view discounts Garland. There are even some evaluators who consider Garland 2019’s second-best prospect, Smith adds. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz (Twitter link) has also heard rave reviews for Garland from various league sources.

A source tells Givony (Twitter link) that Garland is 100% healthy again after undergoing knee surgery in November, and should be fine to participate in Summer League play. Garland’s private pre-draft workouts have been impressive, per Givony, who names the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Bulls that have worked out the 19-year-old.

Despite his rising stock, Garland is still unlikely to crack the top three ahead of Morant or Barrett. Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the Knicks are doing their due diligence on the former Vanderbilt point guard.

However, Garland is also receiving plenty of interest at No. 4, Givony notes. According to Givony, the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Bulls are among the teams that have considered the possibility of trading up to No. 4, with Garland in mind. The Pelicans currently hold the fourth overall pick as a result of the Anthony Davis blockbuster with the Lakers.

The Hawks are also among the teams that have aggressively explored trading up, using the Nos. 8 and 10 overall picks, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Givony writes that the Knicks rebuffed that package for No. 3, but the Pelicans may be considering it for No. 4. It’s not clear which player the Hawks, who have promising young point guard Trae Young under contract long-term, would be targeting.

Draft Notes: Porter Jr., Little, Pelicans, Barrett

Kevin Porter Jr. could go higher in Thursday’s draft than most observers expect, as Shams Charania of The Athletic passes along. Several executives on teams picking near the top of the draft told Charania that Porter Jr. is high on their board. “He has the gifts to be a top-five pick — easily,” one executive said.

Porter Jr. was expected to work out for the Wizards on Monday, though he pulled out of the appearance over the weekend. Washington owns the No. 9 overall pick. Porter Jr. previously worked out for the Hawks, owners of the No. 8 and No. 10 overall picks.

The USC prospect only played in 21 games while in college, as he dealt with quad and ankle injuries in addition to a suspension. Jonathan Givony has Porter Jr. going to the Nets at No. 27 in his latest mock draft for ESPN.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • The range for Nassir Little (UNC) likely begins with the Hawks at No. 8, though the Bulls are trying to get him into the building for a last-minute workout this week, sources tell Charania (same piece). During a media session in Washington, Little told Hoops Rumors that the Wizards would be his last workout.
  • The Pelicans have explored moving from No. 4 to No. 2 in order to select R.J. Barrett, sources tell Marc Berman of the New York Post. Barrett and Zion Williamson are best friends and former teammates at Duke. Berman notes that the Pelicans have also explored moving down from No. 4.
  • The Knicks have Ja Morant higher on their board than Barrett, Berman hears (same piece). New York had initial interest in moving back following the draft lottery but the organization is now content standing pat. “The Knicks have a good problem to have — pick three in a three-man draft,” an NBA executive tells Berman. “They just have to wait and see.”

Patrick Beverley Plans On Talking With Multiple Teams Before Meeting With Clippers In Free Agency

Patrick Beverley is planning on taking as many as five meetings with different teams in free agency before having a sit-down with the Clippers, sources tell Sean Deveney of Sporting News (Twitter link).

Los Angeles plans to chase max free agents and the franchise will likely wait until it has a feel for whether its pursuits will produce another star in the Staples Center before circling back to Beverley. The point guard won’t necessarily wait for the Clippers to carry out their plan before accepting an offer elsewhere, per Deveney.

Beverley could be a target for the Lakers and Bulls. He’s from Chicago, recently declaring that he believes he can help the Bulls.

“I think I can save the city,” Beverley said recently“I inspire already. And I’d be a great inspiration just walking around the city of Chicago, knowing I’m from there, knowing that someone made it out and you can go and do the same. I’m a Chicago kid.”

Shortly after Deveney tweeted out his report, Beverley tweeted “Never personal just business……….” It’s possible the two are unrelated.

Cavaliers Notes: Garland, Sexton, Culver, Smith

The Cavaliers were well represented at Darius Garland‘s private workout Friday night in Los Angeles, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland officials had been hoping for a close-up look at the Vanderbilt point guard, whose Klutch Sports representatives limited his availability early in the pre-draft process.

There’s no guarantee Garland will still be on the board when the Cavs pick at No. 5, as the Pelicans now hold the fourth pick and are reportedly receiving strong interest from teams looking to move up. There are questions surrounding Garland’s durability after he played just four games in college before suffering a meniscus injury, but many teams view him as a potential All-Star because of his exceptional shooting and ball-handling, along with the ability to take charge of an offense.

The No. 4 pick may be more unpredictable now that the Lakers are sending it to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade, Fedor adds. The Suns and Bulls might trade up for Garland if they believe he’s significantly better than Coby White, while the Hawks, who own the eighth and 10th picks, may decide to move up for Jarrett Culver.

The Cavs wouldn’t be afraid to team Garland with last year’s No. 1 pick, Collin Sexton, even though that would be an undersized backcourt with a pair of 6’2″ guards. Fedor notes that the organization is early enough in the rebuilding process that draft decisions will be based more on talent than fit.

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:

  • Even though the Cavaliers were hoping for a top three pick, they’re confident they can add a contributor at No. 5. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are on their radar as well as Garland and Culver.

Suns, Bulls Interested In No. 4 Pick

The Suns and Bulls have both expressed interest in acquiring the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans to draft Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, a source tells Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans (Twitter link).

The Pelicans would be seeking a protected first-rounder in 2020 as the price for moving down, Mackel adds, making the deal similar to the one last year between the Hawks and Mavericks that saw Dallas move up two slots for Luka Doncic.

Both Phoenix, which holds the No. 6 pick, and Chicago, which is at No. 7, have unsettled situations at point guard. The Suns never really replaced Eric Bledsoe after trading him early in the 2017/18 season and would love to land a prospect like Garland to play alongside Devin Booker. The Bulls want to find an upgrade over Kris Dunn, who is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he was limited to 46 games.

The Pelicans are listening to offers and setting up workouts as they try to decide what to do with the pick, which is part of the return for the Anthony Davis trade that was announced Saturday.

Draft Notes: Wizards, White, Garland

The Wizards will work out Coby White (North Carolina) and Nassir Little (North Carolina) on Monday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports relays (Twitter link) Both prospects are options for the team at No. 9.

Jonathan Givony has White, who will be the highest-ranked prospect to work out for the Wizards, going to the Suns at No. 6 in his latest mock draft on ESPN. Givony places Little in Minnesota at No. 11.

[Related: Could The Wizards Be The “Right Situation” For Keldon Johnson?]

Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) was previously scheduled to take part in the workout, though he will no longer be in attendance. Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • The Bulls will work out Darius Garland this week, Givony passes along (Twitter link). The Knicks, Lakers, Cavs, and Suns have either worked out Garland or plan to do so.
  • Garland believes he’s the best point guard in the draft, as he tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “I humbly say this, I think I’m the best [guard] in the draft,” he told McMenamin. “I mean, I think I can do everything that an NBA team wants me to do.”
  • Garland’s workouts with the Lakers was particularly impressive, a source tells McMenamin while referencing the point guard’s shot-making ability and deep range. The event took place prior to the Anthony Davis trade.

Draft Notes: No. 4, Garland, Hunter, Hawks

Despite the notion that there is a drop-off after the first three picks, there are a number of teams that see value in the No. 4 selection, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic hears. Venecie writes that Darius Garland is the player most frequently mentioned around the league as the fourth-best player in the draft.

The Bulls may be looking to move up into that No. 4 spot or at least that’s the chatter behind the scenes. A previous report implied that Chicago would be open to dealing any player or pick on the roster outside of Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr.

Here’s more from Venecie on the upcoming draft:

  • There’s no sense of who the Pelicans will pick at No. 4 should they keep the selection. If Venecie were making the pick, he’d take a hard look at De’Andre Hunter or Jarrett Culver, though the scribe notes that many around the NBA are not as high on Hunter as he is.
  • Had the Lakers held onto the No. 4 overall pick, many within the league believed Garland would be the selection, with Venecie citing the prospect’s connection to Klutch Sports.
  • New Cavaliers head coach John Beilein is a fan of Hunter, a source tells Venecie. It’s unclear what kind of influence the coach will have on the team’s draft decisions. It’s worth noting that Cleveland doesn’t need a point guard, having Collin Sexton installed as franchise’s future at the position.
  • If Garland remains on the board at No. 5, Cleveland may have a more attractive trade asset on their hands. Phoenix at No. 6 is said to be in the market for a point guard and that could create urgency for another team to trade up to No. 5.
  • The Hawks appear to favor Hunter, though they may need to trade up to take the Virginia product. Atlanta has the No. 8 and No. 10 overall in addition to four other selections in the top 44. The franchise has had talks with teams about moving up in the draft but they’ve also spoken with clubs about moving down.

Pelicans Notes: Griffin, Draft Picks, Markkanen, C. White

Pelicans executive David Griffin put his stamp on the franchise with Saturday’s Anthony Davis trade and now needs to prove he can build a winner without the star big man, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate. The franchise is making a transition from the Davis era to the Zion Williamson era, and its success will depend on the package of assets that New Orleans received from the Lakers.

Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart provide a nice collection of young talent, but Griffin didn’t land the proven All-Star he set out to get when he set the parameters for potential offers. Griffin opted for quantity rather than quality, choosing to gamble on three players with high upsides, along with three picks, including the No. 4 selection in this week’s draft.

Griffin likely has a lot of deals left to make. Each of the new assets has trade value that might enable him to increase his return for Davis, but whatever Griffin does, yesterday’s deal will be the pivotal step in defining his tenure in New Orleans.

There’s more on the Pelicans:

  • By accepting two picks so far in the future, the Pelicans are gambling that the Lakers won’t be among the league’s best teams once LeBron James retires, Kushner tweets. New Orleans will receive L.A.’s pick in 2021, which will become unprotected in 2022 if it doesn’t convey. The Pelicans also get an unprotected selection in 2024 and the right to exchange picks in 2023 and 2025 with no protection in either year. Those future choices could fall in the late 20s if the Lakers remain an elite team or they could provide a draft haul similar to what the Celtics got from the Nets a few years ago.
  • The Bulls might be the best option if the Pelicans decide to deal this year’s pick, suggests Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Chicago is in the market for a point guard, and Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland should be on the board at No. 4. Vecenie speculates Lauri Markkanen might be available because of his defensive liabilities and the Bulls’ commitment to Wendell Carter as their long-term center. He adds that the Pelicans will probably spend the next few days bringing in as many top prospects as possible before making a decision.
  • If the Pelicans keep the fourth pick, they are likely to take North Carolina’s Coby White ahead of Garland, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

More On Anthony Davis-To-Lakers Trade Agreement

Just days after the NBA Finals and less than a week before the annual draft, the Pelicans and Lakers shook up the basketball world with one of the biggest blockbusters in league history. New Orleans agreed to trade disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft.

We have more details and developments regarding the trade, which can’t be made official until next month.

  • The other two first-rounders the Pelicans will receive are a top-8 protected pick in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected pick in 2024. New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and 2025, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.
  • The Pelicans are already receiving significant interest in the fourth overall pick, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.
  • Ingram is expected to get back on the court next month and be ready for training camp, according to Wojnarowski. He did not play after March 2 due to a blood clot in his right shoulder.
  • ESPN Jonathan Givony updated his mock draft in the aftermath of the deal, with Texas Tech shooting guard  Jarrett Culver going to New Orleans at No. 4, Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland heading to the Cavaliers at No. 5, North Carolina shooting guard  Coby White ticketed to the Suns at No. 6 and Virginia power forward  De’Andre Hunter winding up with the Bulls at No. 7 (Twitter link).
  • Former Lakers president Magic Johnson, who called GM Rob Pelinka a backstabber in a recent TV interview, praised his former front office partner after the deal. Johnson tweeted, “Great trade Rob Pelinka! Job well done.”
  • The Celtics’ chances of re-signing free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving took a major hit with Davis heading to L.A. instead of Boston, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets.
  • New Orleans will have $18.8MM in cap space after the trade is finalized, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.
  • LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, called the trade “the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life” and guarantees they won’t win another championship, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

Beverley 'Bleeds' For the City

Clippers free agent guard Patrick Beverley would consider signing with the Bulls, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). Beverley said he’d enjoy playing in his hometown, though he’d probably take the best offer he can find on the market.

“I am Chicago. I’m from Chicago. I bleed Chicago. I really think I can help the city. I think I can save the city,” Beverley said. “I inspire already. And I’d be a great inspiration just walking around the city of Chicago, knowing I’m from there, knowing that someone made it out and you can go and do the same. I’m a Chicago kid. So of course I’m open to playing for the Chicago Bulls if that’s a team that’s interested in me. At the same time, any decision that is made, it’s never personal. It’s always business.”

  • Draft prospect Sekou Doumbouya visited the Bulls on Friday, the team’s PR department tweets. The forward plays for Limoges CSP in the French league.