Darius Garland

Cavaliers Notes: Garland, Love, Blossomgame, Mitrou-Long

Darius Garland won over Cavaliers management with an impressive shooting performance in a workout last week, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Cavs sent a sizable contingent to Los Angeles to watch Garland in his first pre-draft session. He didn’t disappoint, sinking shots from all over the court and reportedly going five or six minutes without missing.

“We saw him take 30-footers and flick them like it was nothing,” general manager Koby Altman said.

The Cavaliers had been hoping to draft De’Andre Hunter, but didn’t have the resources to trade up to No. 4. They also liked Jarrett Culver, but Garland changed their minds with his shooting display. Vardon reports that new coach John Beilein was seen cheering on the Vanderbilt guard as he hit one shot after another.

“It was like, ‘OK, how could this work out?’” Altman said. “We started to get fascinated with the idea.”

There’s more Cavaliers news to pass along:

  • Cleveland is talking to teams interested in Kevin Love, but hasn’t made any progress toward a trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an appearance this week on WKNR in Cleveland (hat tip to Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report). “It’s hard to find the right deal for him,” said Windhorst, who put the odds of a trade at 50-50. He noted it would be easy to find a taker for Love if the Cavs just wanted to unload the four years and $120MM left on his contract, but because he’s one of their few tradable assets they want to get something of value in return.
  • The Cavaliers won’t extend a qualifying offer to two-way player Jaron Blossomgame, tweets Cleveland-based basketball writer Chris Manning. The 25-year-old small forward signed with the Cavs in December and played 27 games at the NBA level, averaging 4.2 PPG. He posted an 18.5/7.5/2.2 line in 35 G League contests. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
  • Naz Mitrou-Long, who had a two-way contract with the Jazz this season, will join the Cavaliers for Summer League, a source tells Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News (Twitter link). The 25-year-old shooting guard got into 14 games for Utah, averaging 6 minutes per night.

Knicks Notes: Durant, Wilkes, Draft, Cavanaugh

The Knicks will do their homework on Kevin Durant before committing to a max offer, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The team will request access to Durant’s medical records and will evaluate his long-term chances for a full recovery from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in the NBA Finals.

New York’s front office recognizes that Durant will be 32 by the time he can play again in 2020/21 and may be dealing with a “load management” situation that will limit both the number of games he can play and his minutes in each one.

Sources tell Berman that the Knicks believe they’re still in the running for Kawhi Leonard, even though he seems more likely to stay in Toronto or go to one of the Los Angeles teams, and Kyrie Irving, who is rumored to be headed to Brooklyn.

There’s more from New York City:

  • After agreeing to sign UCLA forward Kris Wilkes to a two-way contract, GM Scott Perry said the team never expected him to be available, Berman relays in a separate story. Wilkes was projected as a second-round pick after leading the Bruins in scoring at 17.4 points per game. “Kind of surprised (Wilkes) didn’t get drafted, similar to Allonzo Trier last year,’’ Perry said. “Winning player, can score, 6-8, highly rated player coming out of high school. Exciting to add him to our mix and see how we can develop him.”
  • The Knicks were convinced about taking R.J. Barrett with the No. 3 pick, even though they worked out Darius Garland and Coby White shortly before the draft, relays Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Perry explained that the team was taking advantage of having the players in town. “You want to get a chance to see as many prospects as you can,” he said. “Learn more about them, learn their stories. Also further evaluate, you dot your final I’s and crossing the final T’s. So that’s what went into our thinking.”
  • Tyler Cavanaugh, who spent this season on a two-way contract with the Jazz, will join the Knicks’ Summer League team, tweets Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. The 25-year-old power forward got into just 11 NBA games during the year, spending most of his time in the G League. He played 39 games for the Hawks in 2017/18, starting on a two-way deal before earning a standard contract.

Wolves Rumors: Draft, Wiggins, McConnell, Harris

The Timberwolves had five players in their top tier for Thursday’s draft, and knew they had no shot at Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or R.J. Barrett, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver were the other players in that group, according to Krawczynski, who says that Minnesota may have preferred Garland to Culver, but didn’t hesitate to nab the Texas Tech wing at No. 6 over Coby White and others.

According to Krawczynski, the Timberwolves might have had an opportunity to move up to No. 4 before the Pelicans made a deal with the Hawks, but Minnesota was seeking the No. 11 pick and Robert Covington and would’ve wanted to dump Solomon Hill‘s unwanted contract on the Wolves.

Even after moving up to select Culver at No. 6, the Timberwolves stayed active, according to Darren Wolfson and Danny Cunningham of Skor North, who report (via Twitter) that the team had discussions about the No. 12 pick with the Hornets. Those talks didn’t seem to get far, per Wolfson, adding that Sekou Doumbouya was the presumed target at that spot for Minnesota.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • The Timberwolves have been actively exploring options to move off Andrew Wiggins‘ contract, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). It’s not clear if Minnesota is just gauging the market or if the club will continue to pursue a Wiggins deal as the offseason progresses.
  • Wolfson (Twitter link) hears that Sixers veteran T.J. McConnell is among the free agent point guards on Minnesota’s radar.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) has heard that free-agent-to-be Tobias Harris has interest in the Timberwolves. That looks like a very unlikely pairing though, since Minnesota has no path to cap room and the Sixers won’t be eager to accommodate a sign-and-trade.
  • Bryan Gates is the latest coach expected to join Ryan Saunders‘ staff as an assistant, tweets Krawczynski. Gates, who had a previous stint in Minnesota, has served as an assistant in Sacramento for the past few seasons.

Draft-Night Rumors: Cavs, Suns, Wolves, Nets, Knicks

The Cavaliers remain active in trade discussions, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Cleveland is exploring deals involving J.R. Smith‘s expiring contract in addition to possible trades of the No. 5 pick. Barring a trade, Cleveland remains focused on Darius Garland at No. 5, Woj adds (via Twitter).

Here a few more draft-night rumors worth rounding up:

  • According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), the Suns felt that the ability to land a starting power forward trumped the opportunity to draft a developmental point guard at No. 6, which is why they made their trade with the Timberwolves for Dario Saric. Phoenix plans on rolling with Tyler Johnson and a free agent signing at the point guard spot, Gambadoro adds.
  • The Timberwolves have engaged in multiple conversations about that No. 6 pick since agreeing to acquire it from the Suns, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • Two high-ranking sources have told Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link) that the Nets remain “very interested” in signing Kyrie Irving with or without Kevin Durant. Lewis had previously reported that Brooklyn was weighing whether to sign Irving if the team couldn’t get Durant too.
  • Things could change, but for now it looks like Frank Ntilikina may not be traded tonight by the Knicks, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.

Latest On Cavs’ Pick At No. 5

With Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett, and De’Andre Hunter looking like strong bets to be the first four picks off the board in tonight’s draft, the Cavaliers are expected to select Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland at No. 5, according to reports from Marc Stein of The New York Times and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

However, that pick is not yet set in stone. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst (Twitter links), the Cavs like Garland, but are still entertaining trade offers to move down from No. 5.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports (via Twitter) that the Cavaliers have received inquiries from the Timberwolves, Bulls, and Celtics about the No. 5 pick, but they’ve yet to get an offer they like.

Minnesota already moved up from No. 11 to No. 6. If the Wolves are set on a specific player, such as Garland, perhaps they’d be willing to give up another asset to move up one more spot.

Besides Garland, Texas Tech swingman Jarrett Culver could also be a target for teams considering a move into the top five. Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) hears that the Cavs haven’t even ruled out the possibility of selecting Culver themselves.

Central Notes: Garland, Bulls, GRIII, Cavs

The Bulls‘ reported interest in Darius Garland may be a smokescreen, one source tells Joe Conley of The Chicago Sun-Times. That source believes Chicago is more focused on forwards like De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, or Sekou Doumbouya.

Garland is expected to be selected with the No. 4 overall pick in tonight’s draft, so the Bulls would need to put together a package that entices the Pelicans in order to land him, assuming their interest is real. Even if Chicago managed to add Garland, the team would look to bring in a veteran point guard, a source tells Cowley.

Patrick Beverley could be an addition this offseason, as there are reports of mutual interests between him and the Bulls. Chicago wants to add depth, so the club could sign multiple players in free agency. Cowley names Ish Smith and Cory Joseph as potential targets in addition to Beverley.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will likely decline Glenn Robinson III‘s team option for the 2019/20 season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free press tweets. A source also told James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link) that the option is unlikely to be picked up. The Michigan product would have earned slightly below $4.3MM next season if the option was exercised.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is out of the hospital and will undergo “intensive” rehab, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays on Twitter. Gilbert suffered a stroke late last month.
  • The Cavaliers have hired Jazz assistant Antonio Lang as an assistant coach on John Beilein‘s new staff, per the team’s website. Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link) first reported that Cleveland was prying Lang from Utah.

Draft Notes: White, Garland, Hawks, Bazley

The Knicks held a last-minute workout with North Carolina guard Coby White this morning, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It’s the second significant workout in less than 24 hours for New York, which brought in Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland yesterday.

White was impressive in the private session, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV (Twitter link), and the Knicks are prepared to trade down if they get the right offer. They have also worked out Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver and met with Duke’s Cam Reddish, but are still expected to select Duke’s R.J. Barrett if they remain at No. 3.

There’s more draft news as tonight’s event draws closer:

  • Some members of the Knicks organization believe Garland is a better prospect than Barrett, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The Pelicans have discussed teaming Barrett with his Duke pal, Zion Williamson, and may be willing to surrender an asset in addition to the fourth pick to trade up to No. 3. After yesterday’s workout, Garland met with Knicks president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry and coach David Fizdale.
  • If the Knicks draft a point guard, they may look to trade Dennis Smith Jr. along with Frank Ntilikina, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • The Hawks might not be done moving second-round picks after sending No. 44 to the Heat yesterday and No. 41 to the Warriors this morning. Chris Vivlamore of the Journal-Constitution tweets that Atlanta’s selection at No. 35 is also available.
  • Darius Bazley appears to have a first-round promise from somebody, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic.
  • Scouts tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that Auburn’s Chuma Okeke, Oregon’s Bol Bol, Virginia’s Ty Jerome and Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford are being underrated in pre-draft reports.
  • Teams with late first-rounders are focusing on Villanova’s Eric Paschall, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, who expects him to be taken between 19th and 30th.

Pelicans Receiving Offers For No. 4 Pick

Several teams are attempting to swing a deal with New Orleans for the fourth pick in tonight’s draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said today on the network’s “Get Up!” program (YouTube link). He speculates that Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin could wait until he’s on the clock before deciding whether or not to keep the selection.

Wojnarowski singles out the Hawks as a team to watch in the negotiations. They hold picks No. 8, 10 and 17 in the first round, along with No. 35 in the second round. Atlanta also has enough cap space to take on an unwanted contract such as Solomon Hill‘s, which has one more year at $12.76MM.

The Pelicans hope to be playoff contenders next season and are more interested in obtaining players than draft picks, Brian Windhorst said on the same show. He cites talks with the Timberwolves, who hold the No. 11 selection, with Robert Covington or Dario Saric as part of the package.

Windhorst confirms that Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland is the target for most of those teams. The top point guards in the draft are expected to be taken early, so the No. 4 pick is the surest way to get one.

The Hawks have talked to numerous teams, including the Knicks and Cavaliers, in an effort to move up, Windhorst adds. However, Atlanta’s offers to those teams have focused more on picks than players.

Wolves Trying To Deal For No. 4 Pick

The Timberwolves are trying to move up the draft board and have discussed a deal with the Pelicans involving the No. 4 pick, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Stein doesn’t specify the target of such a move, but Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic presumes its Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland. Jeff Teague is entering the final year of his contract and Derrick Rose is a free agent, so the Wolves may be looking for a fresh option at point guard.

New president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas came from a star-chasing atmosphere in Houston and hopes to make a splash before his first draft in Minnesota.

“There are really good pieces on our roster. There’s a strong core,” Rosas said. “But at the same time, you win in this league with high-end players. We’re fortunate that we have a high-end player (in Karl-Anthony Towns). We have the potential for other players on our roster to be high-end players. That’s going to be part of our philosophy and part of our development and player wellness. But we are going to be very aggressive in looking at any and all opportunities to add talent to this base.”

The Wolves would have to pay a high price to move up seven slots, and Pelicans executive David Griffin has said he wants a young veteran with star potential in return. Krawczynski suggests a package including the No. 11 pick and either Josh Okogie or Robert Covington, but acknowledges the Hawks and Celtics could easily beat those offers.

“A high-end talent that is available we’re always gonna be looking at,” Rosas said. “We’re always gonna be making calls; whether it’s the trade route, high picks in the draft, or even as we prepare for free agency as well.”

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Barrett, Herro, Porter, More

Although they brought in Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland for a last-minute workout today, the Knicks remain locked in on selecting Duke forward R.J. Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

With just over 24 hours to go until the 2019 NBA draft, rumors continue to trickle in about which prospects other teams might be targeting with their first-round picks. Jeremy Woo and Jake Fischer of SI.com suggest that league sources believe the Celtics – who hold Nos. 14, 20, and 22 – have serious interest in Kentucky sharpshooter Tyler Herro. The SI duo also reports that the Spurs – who pick at 19 and 29 – are among the teams with real interest in Croatian forward Luka Samanic.

Woo and Fischer share a few more tidbits in their latest mock draft, writing that the Hornets, Heat, and Celtics are all showing “a degree of interest” in USC’s Kevin Porter Jr., who could be in play to come off the board near the end of the lottery.

League sources also tell SI.com that the Magic have put the No. 46 pick on the trade block and could sell it, with the Lakers, Wizards, and Trail Blazers among the teams believed to have interest in purchasing a second-rounder.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Kevin Porter Jr. (USC), Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), and Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State) have received last-minute invites to the Green Room for Thursday’s NBA draft, reports ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links). That increases the number of prospects expected to be in attendance in the Green Room to 23, Givony notes.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), Texas center Jaxson Hayes said he only worked out for two teams, the Bulls and Hawks, during the pre-draft process. Those clubs hold three top-10 picks between them.
  • UNC guard Coby White also confirmed his pre-draft workouts today, as Gina Mizell of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). White worked out for four lottery teams, including the Suns and Bulls, who are both believed to be in the market for a point guard.
  • Terry Harris, the younger brother of pending free agent Tobias Harris, is seeing his stock rise, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). The younger Harris has worked out for the Suns and Thunder, among many other teams.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.