Collin Sexton

Cavaliers Notes: Schedule, James, Sexton, Dekker

As expected when LeBron James announced he was leaving for Los Angeles, the Cavaliers have fallen out of the mix for the NBA’s spotlight games. In the partial schedule announced earlier today, Cleveland isn’t included in any of the nationally televised games for the opening week, Christmas Day or Martin Luther King Day, notes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. It’s quite a change for the Cavs, who hosted last season’s opener and whose matchup with the Warriors had become a yuletide tradition.

Cleveland will have at least once marquee game on November 21 when James returns with the Lakers for his only appearance in the city this season, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

There’s more Cavaliers news to pass along:

  • First-round pick Collin Sexton tells Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops that he’s excited about the opportunity awaiting him in Cleveland. The eighth selection in this year’s draft, Sexton will be counted on to eventually become the primary creator in the Cavaliers’ offense. “My role will just be able to come in and learn and have an impact on the team,” he said. “No matter what it is, being a distributor, being a scorer. Just going out there playing my game and being the best me I can be.”
  • The Cavs get a B grade from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton for their acquisition of Sam Dekker. Cleveland needed to find someone who could fill both forward spots after losing James and Jeff Green to free agency, and Dekker, who was picked up from the Clippers at minimal cost, has shown an ability to handle both roles. Pelton states that Dekker is better than anyone the team could have signed in free agency.
  • Standing pat until the season starts may be the Cavaliers’ best strategy at this point, according to Evan Dammarell of Forbes. He says the Cavs wouldn’t have benefited from a rumored Kyle Korver for Jerryd Bayless swap with the Sixers and doubts that the Rockets, who have reportedly expressed interest in J.R. Smith have much to offer that Cleveland would want.

And-Ones: ROY Predictions, Offseason Rankings, NBAGL

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic has the best chance to win the Rookie of the Year award, according to an ESPN panel. Doncic will fill up the stat sheet and might wind up with the ball more often than second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr., according to Mike Schmitz. Top overall pick Deandre Ayton ranks second on the poll, with Schmitz noting that the Suns big man likely to get more playing time than any other rookie. Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., Cavaliers point guard Collin Sexton and Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. round out the top five.

We have more from around the league:

  • Retaining Paul George in free agency and dumping Carmelo Anthony‘s contract while receiving projected sixth man Dennis Schroder in return earned the Thunder the top spot on NBA.com’s David Aldridge’s offseason rankings. The rankings are based upon what teams have done during the offseason. The Lakers ranked No. 2 by virtue of signing LeBron James and handing out one-year contracts to other players, thus allowing them to be a force again in next year’s free agent market. The Nuggets gained the No. 3 spot by locking up Nikola Jokic and making trades that cleared roster spots and eased their luxury-tax situation.
  • Forwards DJ Hogg (Texas A&M) and Malik Pope (San Diego State) and swingman BJ Johnson (LaSalle) are among the top 10 prospects at the G League Invitational, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. The invitational takes place Sunday in Chicago and over a dozen of last year’s prospects received training camp invites afterward.
  • The Warriors’ over-under odds for wins next season is 62.5, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The Celtics ranked second overall with a 57.5 over-under win total with the Rockets third at 54.5. The Hawks have the lowest projected win total at 23.5. The odds for each NBA team were passed along by ESPN’s Ben Fawkes.

Central Rumors: Frye, Parker, Sexton, Garnett

Channing Frye‘s impact on the locker room had a lot to do with the Cavaliers’ decision to bring back the veteran forward, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. GM Koby Altman wanted a respected veteran voice to guide the team through tough times with the departure of LeBron James, Pluto continues. Frye is very popular with his teammates and shares a close bond with the team’s remaining star, Kevin Love. Frye was traded to the Lakers last February by Cleveland solely to make the deal work financially and not because the front office had any issues with him, Pluto adds. Frye agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The team option on Jabari Parker‘s two-year contract gives the Bulls flexibility during free agency next summer, Kevin Anderson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. With a projected rise in the salary cap, the Bulls could free up enough cap space to sign a top-level free agent even if they decide to keep Parker. That could be accomplished by allowing Bobby Portis and Cameron Payne to become unrestricted free agents if they are not signed to extensions. If they decide to let Parker go next summer, they could have between $35MM-$53MM in cap space during free agency, Anderson adds.
  • Cavaliers lottery pick Collin Sexton was a volume scorer during summer-league competition but reinforced the notion that his long-range game needs work, as Andre Snellings of ESPN details. Sexton did most of his damage inside the arc and needs to develop a consistent 3-point shot, Snellings continues. The University of Alabama product also displayed his ability to create for his teammates but he still can become a better passer, Snellings adds.
  • The Pistons made arrangements to have Kevin Garnett work with two of their bigs, center Andre Drummond and power forward Henry Ellenson, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • GM Gar Forman’s promise two years ago to make the Bulls younger and more athletic is coming to fruition, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago writes. By drafting Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. in the lottery, trading for Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn and signing Jabari Parker as a free agent, the average age of the projected lineup is 22, Walton points out. The team can now play at a quicker pace and cover more space defensively, Walton adds.

Cavaliers Notes: White, Doncic, Parker, Love

Okaro White has a chance to win a roster spot with the Cavaliers, but first he has to overcome the effects of a broken left foot he suffered in November, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. White’s foot has fully healed, but he is still struggling with the psychological aspects of the injury and admits he’s “babying” it.

“I just gotta get through,” said White, who is part of the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. “I’m old enough, I’m not young anymore, so I gotta get over it [mentally] and try to find a way to showcase my ability.”

White started four games for the Heat before the injury, but it wound up ending his season. He was shipped to the Hawks at the trade deadline, then signed with the Cavs in March, but never took the court for either team. The 25-year-old forward has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 contract for 2018/19.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers passed on an opportunity to trade up on draft night and snag Luka Doncic, Vardon reports in a separate story. A source tells Vardon that Cleveland had an offer from Atlanta that included the No. 3 pick and Kent Bazemore, who will make more than $18MM next season with a $19.27MM option for 2019/20. However, the Cavs wanted Collin Sexton and were confident they could get him at No. 8.
  • With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers should take a gamble on Jabari Parker, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. The second player taken in the 2014 draft, Parker could become a dynamic scorer and rebounder if he can fully bounce back from his second ACL surgery. Swartz suggests Cleveland should use its $8.6MM mid-level exception to offer Parker a two-year contract. That would give him $13.3MM more in guaranteed money than if he accepts his $4.3MM qualifying offer with the Bucks, and it would put him back on the open market in 2020 when he’ll only be 25. Swartz recommends a few other moves for the Cavs, including re-signing Rodney Hood, working out an extension with Larry Nance Jr., trying to trade veterans such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson and taking on unwanted contracts to stockpile draft picks.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests several trades involving Kevin Love, listing the Trail Blazers, Heat, Lakers, Suns and Jazz as possible destinations.

Cavaliers Sign Collin Sexton To Rookie Contract

The Cavaliers have officially signed their first-round pick, former Alabama guard Collin Sexton, to his rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com first reported that the deal was done.

Sexton, the eighth overall pick, landed in Cleveland by way of last year’s Kyrie Irving blockbuster, which sent the Nets’ 2018 first-round selection from Boston to Cleveland. The Cavs’ new point guard will also wear Irving’s old No. 2 on his jersey.

The third point guard selected in the 2018 draft after Luka Doncic and Trae Young, Sexton enjoyed a productive freshman year at Alabama, averaging 19.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.6 APG in 33 games. He declared for the draft and went pro after just one college season.

As our breakdown of rookie salaries shows, Sexton will be in line for a first-year salary exceeding $4MM, with an overall value of $20MM on his four-year rookie contract. The first two years of the deal will be guaranteed, with team options for years three and four.

Cavaliers Rumors: LeBron, Sexton, K. Walker

The Cavaliers don’t yet know what LeBron James plans to do with his 2018/19 player option or his potential free agency, but GM Koby Altman said on Thursday night that the team has established a “good dialogue” with James’ camp, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com.

“I think LeBron has more than earned the right to approach his contracts the way he does. He’s done that before, so this is nothing new for us,” Altman said. “We want to respect his space during this process, and I continue to have really good dialogue with his management team as he goes through that process. That’s probably all I can say at this point regarding him, but we don’t take him for granted. We love him, this city loves him. He means the world to us and this franchise.”

While James has yet to tip his hand on his preferred destination for the 2018/19 season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested during an appearance on the network that the family aspect of LeBron’s decision probably favors the Cavs and Lakers, as opposed to team like the Rockets. Windhorst isn’t sure that James’ family would feel comfortable going to Houston (video link via Lakers Outsiders).

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • A previous report indicated that LeBron’s camp is high on Alabama point guard Collin Sexton, who was drafted eighth overall by the Cavs in last night’s draft. Although the Cavs hope that the idea of playing with Sexton could appeal to James, they were comfortable picking Sexton either way, sources tell Ken Berger of Bleacher Report. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Cavs fully intend to keep Sexton rather than trading him.
  • Two league sources tell Berger that the Cavaliers continue to explore the possibility of a Kemba Walker trade with the Hornets. It’s hard to imagine such a deal being completed without the inclusion of Sexton.
  • Executives who spoke to Berger were extremely skeptical that the Cavaliers’ addition of Sexton would move the needle at all for LeBron. However, according to Berger, opinions among executives are split on the Cavs’ chances of retaining the future Hall-of-Famer. One Eastern Conference exec says it would take “ownership of the team” for James to stay in Cleveland, while a Western executive put the odds at 50-50.
  • GM Koby Altman, who said that team owner Dan Gilbert will “spare no expense” as the Cavs push for another title, spoke about the team’s next steps, per Vardon: “We have to invest in player development, we have to get better with our youth and then we have to explore opportunities to add and try to improve our talent level as well. That’s my job and we are certainly trying to attack that as we speak for sure.”

Suns Could Add Another Lottery Pick

The Suns could move some of their assets to gain another lottery pick, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic tweets.

Phoenix is expected to select Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the top pick. They also own the No. 16 pick, courtesy of the Goran Dragic deal with the Heat, as well as two second-rounders – Nos. 31 and 59. They are interested in forward Michael Porter Jr. and one of the top three college guards – Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – if they can make a deal, Bordow adds.

Porter Jr. could team up with Ayton and give the Suns a formidable frontcourt duo for the next few seasons. They are also in need of a point guard, with Elfrid Payton headed to restricted free agency if they extend a qualifying offer of $4.75MM by the June 29th deadline.

Givony’s Latest: Kings, Doncic, Porter, Gilgeous-Alexander

ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony posted his latest mock on Thursday morning, along with the updated information regarding what teams are planning to do. Here’s some of the most noteworthy nuggets he passed along:

  • The Kings will target Duke forward Marvin Bagley III if they keep the No. 2 overall pick but they have their eyes on Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. if they trade down in the lottery.
  • Hawks ownership has pushed for Euroleague guard Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick because of star power. The compromise between the front office and ownership could be trading down and then selecting Oklahoma point guard Trae Young.
  • Porter is favored by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at No. 5 but they’re also considering Texas center Mohamed Bamba and Duke center Wendell Carter Jr.
  • Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander appears to be on the rise and Givony has him going at No. 6 to the Magic.
  • If the Clippers don’t trade their picks at No. 12 and No. 13, they’ll draft one of the top three college point guards – Gilgeous-Alexander, Alabama’s Collin Sexton or Young – if any are still on the board.
  • Boston College guard Jerome Robinson, Maryland forward Kevin Huerter and Texas A&M big man Robert Williams are under consideration with the Clippers’ second first-rounder.

Kyler’s Latest: Bamba, Kings, Magic, Mavs, Grizzlies

Mohamed Bamba may be a candidate to slip a little further than expected in the 2018 NBA draft, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his latest round-up of draft rumors. According to Kyler, Bamba is “in the mix” for a handful of clubs in the top seven, but it’s not clear if any of those teams view him as their first or second option.

As Kyler explains, Bamba is widely expected to be a strong defender at the NBA level, but there are questions about his offensive potential. Since many of the other big men at the top of the draft are considered more well-rounded prospects, they may come off the board before Bamba, creating some uncertainty about the Longhorn’s potential landing spot.

Here’s more from Kyler’s article, which is worth checking out in full:

  • The Kings appear likely to keep their pick at No. 2, but Kyler’s sources remain skeptical that the club will draft Luka Doncic in that spot. While Sacramento has taken a “long look” at Michael Porter Jr., it’s looking more and more as if the club will opt for the less risky option, Marvin Bagley III, Kyler writes.
  • If there are no surprises in the top five picks, there’s a very real chance that Collin Sexton will be the Magic‘s man at No. 6, per Kyler. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has also suggested that Orlando is high on the Alabama point guard.
  • League sources tell Kyler that the Mavericks don’t intend to move the No. 5 pick unless they can land an All-Star or would-be All-Star.
  • While it remains to be seen if the Grizzlies will make a trade involving the No. 4 selection and Chandler Parsons, they’ve received some offers that include lower picks and expiring contracts, according to Kyler, who says the club should have options it if wants to pull the trigger on a deal.
  • The Lakers and Celtics have expressed some interest during the pre-draft process in moving up significantly in the draft, but neither team seems eager at this point to part with assets necessary to make such a jump, says Kyler.

Draft Rumors: Nuggets, Trades, Cavs, Wizards

The Kings (No. 2), Hawks (No. 3), and Grizzlies (No. 4) all consider to explore the possibility of trading down in the draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday night on the network’s Mock Draft Special (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers are one team looking to move up and so are the Nuggets, who would love to get into the top five or six (Twitter link via Trika).

Although we hear whispers about possible trades in the lottery every year, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) gets the sense that this year could be a little different. According to Mannix, there’s a “growing sense” among many team executives that there could be some major deals completed early in the draft.

Here are several more draft-related rumors worth relaying, with 2018’s big night just two days away:

  • Wojnarowski passed along a few more draft tidbits during ESPN’s Mock Draft Special, per Trika (all Twitter links). According to Woj, the Magic are high on both Trae Young and Collin Sexton, there’s strong mutual interest between Mikal Bridges and the Sixers, and the Warriors will be looking to buy a second-round pick in the 30s.
  • Multiple sources, including NBA execs, agents, and scouts, believe that the Cavaliers will select Michael Porter Jr. if he’s on the board at No. 8, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. However, the odds of Porter still being available at that point seem to be dwindling.
  • The Wizards are letting teams know that they’re open to trading down from No. 15 if a team is willing to take on one of Washington’s expiring contracts, a league source tells Ben Standig of The Sports Capitol. Marcin Gortat ($13.57MM) and Jason Smith ($5.45MM) look like a couple of the club’s prime trade candidates.
  • Jake Fischer and Jeremy Woo of SI.com spoke to 10 anonymous scouts around the NBA to get their thoughts on Luka Doncic, Trae Young, the Cavaliers‘ pick, and several more draft-related topics.