Collin Gillespie

Nuggets Signing Collin Gillespie To Two-Way Deal

Villanova guard Collin Gillespie will sign a two-way contract with the Nuggets, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gillespie is a fifth-year senior who spent his entire college career with the Wildcats. He averaged 15.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season.

The 22-year-old, who was named MVP of this year’s Big East Tournament, is 11th on ESPN’s ranking of undrafted players.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Workouts, Jokic, Wolves, Roddy

The Jazz hosted another free agent mini-camp this week, bringing in 20 players on Monday and Tuesday for a closer look, as our JD Shaw relays (Twitter links). While not all of the invitees have NBA experience, there are a handful of noteworthy names in the group, including former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Big man Reggie Perry, swingman Denzel Valentine, forward Bruno Caboclo, and guards Langston Galloway, Sindarius Thornwell, and Grant Riller were among the other players to audition for Utah.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Jazz are working out six more draft-eligible prospects on Wednesday, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, who tweets that Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Tommy Kuhse (Saint Mary’s), Josh Minott (Memphis), Darryl Morsell (Marquette), Henri Drell (G League), and Jermaine Samuels (Villanova) will be in town.
  • Nuggets star and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has committed to playing for the Serbian national team this offseason, the Serbian Basketball Federation announced on Wednesday (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). Jokic likely won’t participate in the qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup that will take place in a couple weeks, but he’s expected to be available later in the summer for the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy, who went to high school in Minnesota, is working out for his hometown Timberwolves on Wednesday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Roddy, the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s big board, could be an option for the Wolves in the first round at No. 19 or in the second round if he slips — Minnesota holds the 40th, 48th, and 50th overall picks.

Draft Notes: Green Room, Houstan, Nembhard, O’Neal, Gillespie

There were no surprises in the 11 green room invitations forwarded to the draft’s top prospects. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony confirmed that the list includes Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin, Jalen Duren and Johnny Davis. Approximately four more green room invites will be sent out next week, a source tells Givony.

We have more draft news:

  • Michigan’s Caleb Houstan and Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard, who both hail from Canada, will work out for the Raptors on Friday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. They’re both considered late first-round or second-round prospects and Toronto has the No. 33 overall pick.
  • LSU forward Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaquille O’Neal, worked out for the Bucks on Thursday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. The younger O’Neal will visit the Lakers, Cavaliers, Hawks and Wizards in the very near future.
  • Villanova guard Collin Gillespie also worked out for the Bucks on Thursday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. He’ll soon visit the Suns, Nuggets, Jazz and Trail Blazers. Gillespie is ranked at No. 64 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Walters, Brown Jr., Workout

After breaking up their big man combination by trading Domantas Sabonis in February, the Pacers are in no hurry to part with Myles Turner, Marc Stein says on his latest Spotify podcast (hat tip to Jackson Frank of Uproxx). Indiana is hoping to return to contention next season, and the team views Turner as part of that effort.

“Myles Turner, every time I ask, the word I get back is that he’s likely to stay in Indiana,” Stein said. “I don’t think that discourages teams from trying to get him, I’m sure the Pacers are getting calls on Turner. But every time I check, that’s kind of the word I get.”

Turner will have an expiring $17.5MM contract next season, so the Pacers’ stance on trading him could change if they get off to a slow start. He was limited to 42 games this year, missing the final 39 with a stress reaction in his left foot, but he remains one of the league’s best shot blockers.

There’s more on the Pacers:

  • Turner offered evidence that he has recovered from his foot issues, posting a video Tuesday that showed him working out with the Knicks’ Julius Randle, per James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Turner didn’t do anything on the court in the video, but he leaped over hurdles while holding a basketball, practiced chest passes from his knees, jumped rope and lifted weights.
  • Former player agent Happy Walters has joined the Pacers as a consultant, Stein tweets. Walters is an Indiana native who has also found success in music, television and movies, Boyd adds in a separate story. His clients included Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire and Jimmy Butler.
  • Washington guard Terrell Brown Jr., who worked out for the Pacers on Monday, talked to Boyd about the influence of his godfather, former NBA star Jason Terry“It’s a wonderful feeling to have him in my corner, just talking to me through all of the workouts, showing teams that I can improve,” Brown said. “(He) just keeps giving me confidence more and more. Going into last season, he was like, ‘If you average 20 points, you gonna have a lot of interest.'” Brown is projected as a possible late second-round pick.
  • The Pacers hosted six players today for a pre-draft workout, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. On hand were Jalen Adaway of St. Bonaventure, R.J. Cole of Connecticut, Collin Gillespie of Villanova, Fanbo Zeng of G League Ignite, Amadou Sow of UCSB and Trevion Williams of Purdue.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Magic, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Monday, the team tweets. That group included Keon Ellis (Alabama), Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite), Kellan Grady (Kentucky), Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers), Brandon Horvath (Utah State) and Žiga Samar (Fuenlabrada/Spain).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

Hornets Notes: Atkinson, Workouts, Keels, Arena Upgrades

Kenny Atkinson could become the Hornets‘ next head coach by the end of the upcoming week, a source tells Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, though he cautions that the team still hasn’t reached a final decision. A report on Friday identified Atkinson as the frontrunner for the job, and Boone indicates that momentum for him has been building since last month’s draft combine.

Atkinson has been tied up with his duties as an assistant coach for the Warriors, but with three days between Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, he should have time for a face-to-face meeting with team owner Michael Jordan. Boone notes that an in-person session with Jordan was the last step before James Borrego was hired four years ago.

The Hornets are intrigued by Atkinson’s experience, history of developing young players and emphasis on defense, Boone adds. The Finals could last through June 19, which would limit Atkinson’s input into preparations for the June 23 draft. According to Boone, Borrego’s former assistants are working behind the scenes and are waiting to see if they will be part of the new coach’s staff.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets welcomed six players today for a pre-draft workout, according to a tweet from the team. On hand were Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler, Miami’s Kameron McGusty, Providence’s Justin Minaya, Memphis’ Josh Minott, Marquette’s Darryl Morsell and Arkansas’ JD Notae. On Friday, Charlotte hosted St. Bonaventure’s Jalen Adaway, Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin Jr., Michigan’s Moussa Diabate, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson and Creighton’s Alex O’Connell (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Trevor Keels talked to Boone about the pre-draft process following a workout with the Hornets on Wednesday. Keels is enjoying the chance to meet with interested teams and compete with players he’s never faced before, but he said the experience can be a grind. “I think guys think the pre-draft process is easy,” he said. “You are working every day, keeping your body right. There is only 58 picks and there are hundreds of guys trying to hear their name called and get an opportunity. So you’ve got to work every day.”
  • The Hornets would get $215MM in upgrades to the Spectrum Center along with a new $60MM practice facility in a proposal being considered by the city of Charlotte, per Genna Contino of The Charlotte Observer. The deal would require the team to extend its lease with the city an additional 15 years through 2045.

Southeast Draft Notes: Murray, Hawks, Wizards, Hornets

The Magic hold the No. 1 pick and Iowa’s Keegan Murray isn’t expected to go higher than No. 4 in the lottery. That didn’t prevent Orlando from doing its due diligence on the high-scoring wing. Murray came in for a pre-draft workout on Thursday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. The two sides also had a discussion during the draft combine in Chicago, Price adds.

We have more developments from the Southeast Division:

Wizards Notes: J. Davis, Prospect Workouts, Point Guards

The Wizards will host a pair of pre-draft workouts on Thursday, including a solo session for a potential target at No. 10. According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis, who is viewed as a potential lottery pick and a viable option for a Washington team in need of backcourt depth, will take part in that solo workout.

Prior to Davis’ audition, the Wizards will host a morning group workout that features Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Quenton Jackson (Texas A&M), Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Justin Bean (Utah State), and Marcus Bingham (Michigan State), per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • In a discussion with Robbins about the Wizards’ possible offseason point guard targets, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that Ricky Rubio, Eric Bledsoe, and even John Wall could be among the players Washington shows interest in, assuming Bledsoe and Wall reach free agency. Hollinger also identifies Malcolm Brogdon and Mike Conley as viable options on the trade market, and suggests Tyus Jones would be an ideal fit if he were willing to accept the full mid-level exception.
  • In the same Athletic story, Robbins and Hollinger consider potential targets for the Wizards with the No. 10 pick. G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels should get serious consideration if he’s still available, according to Hollinger, who also identifies Jeremy Sochan and AJ Griffin as logical fits on the wing.
  • Maryland guard Eric Ayala, Florida forward Anthony Duruji, Richmond forward Grant Golden, Utah State forward Brandon Horvath, Marquette guard Darryl Morsell, and George Mason swingman D’Shawn Schwartz participated in a pre-draft group workout for the Wizards on Wednesday, according to Robbins (Twitter link).
  • Overtime Elite point guard Jean Montero is among the other prospects expected to work out for the Wizards this week, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Pacific Notes: Zubac, Curry, Lakers Draft, Coaching Search

As we noted in our Clippers offseason preview earlier today, L.A. holds a $7,518,518 team option on center Ivica Zubac, who is also extension-eligible this offseason. He said this week that he enjoys playing for the team and hopes to stick around.

I want to stay and I think they want to keep me,” Zubac told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “I think I should be there and they’re going to pick (the option) up. I like Los Angeles a lot and I like the Clippers. It’s like a family to me. Hopefully, everything is going to work out.”

Zubac notched several career-high marks in 2021/22, including games played (76, all starts), minutes per game (24.4), points (10.3), rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.0). He said he hopes his role continues to expand going forward.

It’s great,” Zubac said about the trust he receives from Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “I hope that keeps on going. Every year I get more and more minutes so, hopefully, by the next year I’ll get even more. The coach trusts me, the teammates trust me and I’m really enjoying my time there.”

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry, who was recently named the Western Conference Finals MVP, could have pushed Golden State to trade its high draft picks and prospects to improve the roster the past couple seasons, but he said the team’s patience was rewarded as it heads to the Finals for the sixth time in eight years. “That’s not how I operate,” Curry told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “There were conversations and different paths to take, and we all had conversations about going different ways. But at the end of the day, I have a lot of trust in (president/GM) Bob (Myers), a lot of confidence in what we’re about. There was no panic. Obviously, it helps that we had won a couple championships. It affords patience. But there was no panic in terms of getting me, Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) another run at it, figuring out how we could get pieces around us to make it work. It’s just patience at the end of the day.”
  • The Lakers don’t currently own a draft pick, but that isn’t stopping them from working out six prospects on Saturday, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The six players are Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, UConn’s Tyrese Martin, USC’s Drew Peterson, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, Syracuse’s Cole Swider, and Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson. Ellis, Gillespie and Martin are all in the 60s on ESPN’s big board, while Jackson is No. 95; both Peterson and Swider are unranked. There’s a good chance at least a few prospects in the group will go undrafted.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy.com queried rival front office executives to get their opinions on the Lakers‘ head coaching search, with some mixed opinions on which candidates might be favored by certain segments of the team.

Eastern Draft Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Nets, Knicks

Assuming Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, and Paolo Banchero are the top three picks in next month’s draft, the Pistons are expected to zero in on four potential targets at No. 5, sources tell James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Those players are Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, and Bennedict Mathurin.

All four prospects intrigue the Pistons, according to Edwards, who says that Murray is considered the most well-rounded of the four, while Sharpe is viewed as a “high-upside gamble.” Edwards adds that some sources believe Mathurin is the best wing in this year’s draft class, while there’s little consensus on Ivey, who is regarded as a top-three prospect by some evaluators and is outside the top five for others.

Here are a few more draft-related notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • James Akinjo (Baylor), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Justin Lewis (Marquette), and David Roddy (Colorado State) are participating in a pre-draft workout with the Pacers on Monday, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter links). Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard and UCLA’s Johnny Juzang had also been scheduled to take part, but were unable to make it due to weather-related travel issues.
  • Villanova’s Collin Gillespie has worked out for the Nets and has about 10 more pre-draft workouts on tap following the draft combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • According to Zagoria (Twitter link), Michigan State’s Gabe Brown has workouts with the Hornets and Magic on tap this week after previously auditioning for the Celtics, Nets, and Knicks.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post explores whether Malaki Branham could be a legitimate target at No. 11 for the Knicks, who met with the Ohio State sharpshooter at last week’s combine.