May 28th, 2016 at 9:56pm CST by Arthur Hill
The Bucks will hire Justin Zanik as GM-in-waiting and are working on a contract extension for coach Jason Kidd, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Currently an assistant GM in Utah, Zanik will have a similar title with the Bucks. A provision of the move is that Zanik will eventually take over for Milwaukee GM John Hammond, although it’s uncertain when that will happen. Hammond has been GM of the Bucks since 2008 and has one year left on his contract.
There’s more from around the basketball world:
- California forward Jaylen Brown worked out for the Bucks, Raptors and Sixers today, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. A source told Spears that Brown was in “great shape” and “super explosive.” He is expected to be a top 10 pick and could be in the running for the No. 3 choice. New Timberwolves GM Scott Layden also traveled to California to see Brown and came away impressed, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
- Oklahoma point guard Isaiah Cousins worked out for the Suns on Friday, and has upcoming sessions with the Raptors on Tuesday and the Hawks on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.
- Anthony Bennett and Quinn Cook were the most recognizable players invited to a Nets mini-camp this week, according to NetsDaily. Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, played 19 games with the Raptors last season. Cook, the point guard on Duke’s 2015 NCAA title team, was cut by the Cavaliers in training camp. Also receiving invitations were Alex Stepheson, Scotty Hopson, Alex Kirk, Jerrelle Benimon, Fuquan Edwin, D.J. Newbill, Will Cummings, Jarrid Famous, Victor Rudd, Josh Magette and Joel Wright. International journalist David Pick says the Nets are planning another session.
June 21st, 2015 at 11:58am CST by Arthur Hill
Kings executive Vlade Divac insists the team has no plans to trade DeMarcus Cousins, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Divac, who is preparing for his first draft since being named vice president of basketball and franchise operations in March, said the team is looking for players who will complement Cousins’ skills. “That is not happening,” Divac said about the possibility of moving Cousins, “but I would love to do something, a smaller move, before the draft. We have a lot of changes to make. The league is much more up-tempo now, and we need more three-point shooting. If we don’t get that in the draft, we’ll be active in free agency and see about making trades later in the offseason.” Sacramento holds the sixth pick in Thursday’s draft.
There’s more from the Pacific Division as we count down toward draft day:
- Ed Davis hopes to land a richer and longer contract with the Lakers by opting out of his current deal, but Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News isn’t sure if that will work. The 26-year-old Davis, who has a $1.1MM option for next season, posted a career high in scoring, rebounding and several other categories this year. An unidentified source told Medina that Davis wants a two- or three-year contract worth $7MM to $8MM annually or a one-year deal in the $9MM to $10MM range. Whether the Lakers will make that kind of offer depends on what the team can acquire through the draft and free agency.
- After a non-playoff season, any Suns player can be traded or replaced through the draft, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. “We always need guys that will push our guys or even challenge them for a spot,” said Suns coach Jeff Hornacek. “… Where we’re picking at 13, you’re going to get a good, solid guy that can push our guys and maybe in a year or two take over their spots.” Coro writes that the 12 picks ahead of Phoenix are unpredictable, but he expects the Suns to use their pick to add size.
- The Clippers will hold a workout today for Ryan Boatright, D.J. Newbill, Chris Walker, Royce O’Neale and Damontre Harris, tweets Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.
June 19th, 2015 at 9:20pm CST by Eddie Scarito
The Wizards want Paul Pierce to return for the 2015/16 season, but could face competition from the Clippers if the veteran returns for his 18th season. Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post examines what Washington could do to replace the 37-year-old if he does not re-sign with the franchise. The team’s free agent options include Mike Dunleavy, Mirza Teletovic, and Tayshaun Prince, Castillo opines. The Wizards could also look to fill the void with their first round pick, and potential draftees include Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sam Dekker, and Justin Anderson, Castillo notes.
Here’s the latest out of the Eastern Conference:
- The Nets have pre-draft workouts scheduled Monday for Olivier Hanlan (Boston College), Andrew Harrison (Kentucky), Sam Thompson (Ohio State), Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame), Branden Dawson (Michigan State), and Cliff Alexander (Kansas), the team announced.
- Working out for the Pistons today were Treveon Graham (VCU), Hanlan, Trevor Lacey (NC State), Kelly Oubre (Kansas), Karrington Ward (Eastern Michigan), and Dez Wells (Maryland), the team announced (on Twitter).
- Bulls forward Taj Gibson underwent an arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle on Tuesday, the team announced. The estimated recovery time before the forward can return to action is approximately four months, which could cost Gibson the bulk of the preseason.
- The Hawks reached a summer league commitment with former Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane, and the team plans to discuss a free agent deal with the 26-year-old, Shams Charania of RealGM tweets. Kane spent last season with the Antwerp Giants of Belgium.
- Atlanta brought in Penn State guard D.J. Newbill for a workout today Michael Scotto of RealGM relays (Twitter link).
June 15th, 2015 at 7:41pm CST by Will Joseph
The Knicks are toying with the idea of trading down in the draft if Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell are off the board before they make their pick at No. 4, reports ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (Insider subscription required), who cites sources. It seems like the Knicks are on the fence about both Emmanuel Mudiay and Kristaps Porzingis, Ford writes, and that’s why they’ve been hosting players such as Cameron Payne and Frank Kaminsky in workouts recently.
Here’s more out of the Big Apple:
- Speaking of the Knicks, Kaminsky and UCLA forward Kevon Looney, another player who is not considered one of the top four in the draft, are scheduled to work out for New York on Thursday, reports ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, who cites league sources.
- Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack replaced D.J. Newbill in a workout with the Nets today, Josh Newman of SNY.tv tweets. Ryan Boatright, T.J. McConnell, Sir’Dominic Pointer, Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ashley were also part of the audition, as we previously noted.
- The Nets were also believed to have some interest in France’s Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who withdrew from the draft, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post tweets.
June 14th, 2015 at 7:19pm CST by Will Joseph
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News that the team, which owns the second overall pick in the draft, is not going to pick a player based on whether or not he meshes well with Kobe Bryant. “We’re not going to pick a player because he can play with Kobe, likes Kobe or dislikes Kobe,” Kupchak said. “We’re going to pick the player that can have the longest and best career.” Bryant has signaled that next season will be his last as an NBA player. The Lakers hope their No. 2 pick can lead the franchise following Bryant’s eventual retirement, Medina writes. “Kobe is going to impart a work ethic in training camp that will be beneficial to any player we bring,” Kupchak said. The Lakers are expected to take either Jahill Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns.
Here’s more draft-related news:
- Emmanuel Mudiay will work out for the Sixers, who own the third overall pick, on Tuesday, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv tweets.
- Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island), Trey Lyles (Kentucky), D.J. Newbill (Penn State), Cameron Payne (Murray State) and Serbia guard Nikola Radicevic will all work out on Monday for the Nuggets, who own the seventh and 57th overall picks, the team announced in a press release.
- Former UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn had a private workout for the Hawks and will work out for the Timberwolves Monday, followed by showcases for the Mavs, Spurs and Celtics, Zagoria also tweets.
June 14th, 2015 at 2:12pm CST by Arthur Hill
The Pacers will give serious consideration to Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky if he is still available at No. 11, writes Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. President of basketball operations Larry Bird likes the way Kaminsky progressed in college, from barely playing as a freshman to averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior and leading the Badgers to the national title game. “I’m pretty proud of him for the work he has put in,” Bird said. “It looks like the type of kid who is going to keep working and get better.’’
There’s more draft-related news from the Central Division:
- Myles Turner of Texas made an effort to appear vocal and teachable during his workout with the Pacers today, tweets Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. She also notes that Turner has had a busy weekend, working out at a Friday showcase in Las Vegas, followed by a Saturday session in Salt Lake City and then today’s audition for the Pacers. He will be leaving for Denver tonight (Twitter link). Buckner also observed at today’s workouts that Kaminsky had trouble finishing at the rim (Twitter link). The Pacers also worked out Arizona’s T.J. McConnell, Villanova’s Darrun Hilliard, Penn State’s D.J. Newbill and California-Davis’ Corey Hawkins today, tweets Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.
- Kentucky’s Trey Lyles told Mark Montieth of NBA.com that he isn’t frightened by the possibility of playing in his hometown of Indianapolis. “Being somewhere where you watched a lot of games when you were a kid and actually being able to go out there and work out for the team, it’s a special situation for myself,” said Lyles, who worked out for the Pacers Thursday.
- Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker knows the Pistons need a small forward and he would like to fill that role, according to Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. “I see they got [Ersan] Ilyasova, a former Buck, so I saw him play a lot,” said Dekker, who worked out for Detroit Saturday. “It’s exciting to see that maybe they are looking at a guy at [small forward] and that’s somewhere I’m comfortable and maybe I showed them stuff today and showed them stuff in the past that they would be confident with a pick like that.” The Pistons hold the No. 8 pick in the draft.
June 14th, 2015 at 1:01pm CST by Arthur Hill
The players at the Lakers‘ pre-draft workout Saturday were inspired by the rise of Jordan Clarkson, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The session was for second-round hopefuls like D.J. Newbill of Penn State, Phil Greene of St. John’s and Darrun Hilliard of Villanova, but everyone present hopes to follow the path set by Clarkson, the 46th selection last year by the Wizards, who was sent to the Lakers for cash considerations and wound up as their starting point guard. “It gives you a lot of hope seeing how great he played last year and how good he is,” Greene said of Clarkson. “It just gives you a lot of hope of staying with the grind and knowing anything can happen.” The Lakers have more pre-draft workouts scheduled for Monday and Friday.
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Virginia’s Darion Atkins, one of the players at Saturday’s Lakers workout, believes his ACC background will help him transition to the pros, Turner writes in a separate story. Atkins earned National Defensive Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, but fears he has “dropped off” most NBA draft boards. “I think coming from the ACC has helped me a lot,” he said. “I think that’ll be a great transition over into the NBA because the physicality is going to be great in the NBA, but I think it’ll give me more of an advantage.”
- Delaware State’s Kendall Gray was also among the participants at Saturday’s workout (Twitter link). Michael Qualls of Arkansas had to skip the event because of a knee injury, tweets Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
- The Lakers are debating whether a center or point guard is more valuable in today’s NBA as they face a likely draft choice between Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell, Turner writes in another story. “In years past and maybe even today, it makes sense to build around a big,” said GM Mitch Kupchak. “But you don’t want to take a big because it’s a big and then pass on the No. 3 pick, which turned out to be Michael Jordan [in 1984]. So we’re going to look at the bigs, then you want to look at the guards and see if there is a guard there that despite being just a guard, you don’t want to miss and pass on him because he’s not a big.”
- The NBA Finals are giving the Warriors‘ Andre Iguodala a chance to showcase all his skills after spending the season as a reserve, according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post. Iguodala, who joined Golden State as a free agent in 2013, is signed through the 2016/17 season.
June 13th, 2015 at 1:50pm CST by Eddie Scarito
According to a source close to Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, the big man has a list of three teams that he believes would be a good fit for him, and the Pacers are one of those squads, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star relays. “They kind of alluded to the fact that they want to get up and down more, get out and run a little bit more but at the same time under control,” Kaminsky said after his meeting with the Pacers at the draft combine. “That’s kind of how it was for me my last year in Wisconsin, so I think it’ll be a good fit.” It’s Indiana’s desire to switch to a more up-tempo offense that has the team reportedly hoping that incumbent big man Roy Hibbert will opt out of his $15.514MM player option for the 2015/16 campaign.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- The Pacers have workouts scheduled on Sunday for Corey Hawkins (UC Davis), Darrun Hilliard (Villanova), Kaminsky, T.J. McConnell (Arizona), D.J. Newbill (Penn State), and Myles Turner (Texas), the team announced.
- With four trades completed since October, the Pistons‘ front office combination of president/coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower is proving itself to be quite active and willing to gamble, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.
- The acquisition of Ersan Ilyasova by the Pistons is intended to help center Andre Drummond unlock his enormous potential, Ellis writes in a separate piece. Ilyasova is a stretch four, and his outside shooting should provide space for Drummond’s rolls to the rim for alley-oop dunks off passes from point guard Reggie Jackson, who will be another beneficiary of Ilyasova’s career 37% three-point shooting drawing the attention of defenses, Eillis adds.
June 12th, 2015 at 6:32pm CST by Eddie Scarito
Illness prompted D’Angelo Russell to cancel a workout with the Sixers planned for this weekend, a source close to the combo guard told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who heard from another source who wouldn’t rule the notion of the workout taking place sometime later. Still, Tim Bontemps of the New York Post (Twitter links) speculates that Russell may have received a promise from the Lakers, a prospect that could have a trickle-down effect that would make Jahlil Okafor available to the Knicks at pick No. 4. That seems far-fetched, particularly since the Lakers have reportedly zeroed in on Okafor for the second pick. Still, plenty is unknown with less than two weeks to go before the draft.
Here’s the latest from the Atlantic Division:
- The Celtics are having trouble attracting players with lottery aspirations to work out with them in spite of “better than average” odds that Boston trades up from the 16th overall pick, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Wisconsin small forward Sam Dekker pulled out of a workout with the C’s last week.
- Working out for the Raptors this Saturday will be Delon Wright (Utah), Jabril Trawick (Georgetown), Kevon Looney (UCLA), Michale Kyser (Louisiana Tech), Cliff Alexander (Kansas), and Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), the team announced.
- The Nets have four upcoming workouts scheduled, the team has announced. Monday’s group will be Ryan Boatright (UConn), T.J. McConnell (Arizona), D.J. Newbill (Penn State), Sir’Dominic Pointer (St. John’s), Larry Nance Jr. (Wyoming), and Brandon Ashley (Arizona).
- Working out for Brooklyn on Tuesday will be Marcus Thornton (William and Mary), Will Cummings (Temple), Tyler Haws (BYU), Julian Washburn (UTEP), Jordan Mickey (LSU), and Yanick Moreira (SMU).
- Displaying their wares on Wednesday for the Nets will be Mike Caffey (Long Beach State), Ray Parks Jr. (Melrose H.S.), Dez Wells (Maryland), Norman Powell (UCLA), Le’Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), and Vince Hunter (UTEP).
- The final batch of players working out for the Nets, which will take place on Thursday, are Travis Trice (Michigan State), Rashad Madden (Arkansas), Michael Qualls (Arizona), Trawick, Richaun Holmes (Bowling Green), and Josh Smith (Georgetown).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
June 11th, 2015 at 10:34pm CST by Eddie Scarito
Thunder swingman Andre Roberson is excited to see what changes Billy Donovan, the team’s new coach, will bring to the franchise, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes. “He’s a great guy,” Roberson said. “I think he’ll be a great fit for us. A guy that definitely knows the game. He’s willing to learn. And he’s all about the program. I think that’s what we need. And I’m glad he’s a part of this Thunder organization.” Roberson isn’t sure if his role as a starter will change under the new regime, Mayberry adds. “We’re going to have to see,” Roberson continued. “Nobody knows where they’re set besides Russell [Westbrook], Kevin [Durant] and Serge [Ibaka]. It’s going to be a new coach, new system. I think we’re all up for the challenge. We’re all in this together. So it doesn’t matter if I’m starting, whether I’m not starting, I’m going to go out there and do what I do every night and provide for my team. So it’s going to be good.”
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders, who had previously been leaning toward selecting Jahlil Okafor with the No. 1 overall pick, is now enamored with Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Mark Heisler of Forbes.com relays. The change in Saunders’ thinking occurred after watching Towns work out last week, Heisler adds.
- Penn State guard D.J. Newbill took part in a group workout held by the Thunder on Wednesday, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
- Steve Starks, the president of Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, wants to return the Jazz franchise to the success it had enjoyed back in the 1990s, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. “It’s no secret that we want to build a consistent championship-caliber team,” Starks said. “Our ultimate goal is to raise a banner. I wake up in the morning thinking about how we do that.“
- The Thunder traditionally like to carry three point guards, and Notre Dame playmaker Jerian Grant could fit the bill when the team selects at the No. 14 overall pick this June, Mayberry writes in a separate piece. One of the concerns NBA scouts have relating to Grant is his age, 22, which somewhat limits his ceiling compared to a number of other point guards in this year’s draft, Mayberry notes. “I work harder than anyone in this draft so I know that I’m going to continue to get better,” Grant said. “Me being old, I think, is just I’m ready to go right now. I’m ready to help a team right now. But at the same time, a few years down the road I think I’ll be even better [able] to help a team.”