David Duke

Nets Notes: Griffin, Aldridge, Two-Way Slot, Harden, Irving, Thomas

The Nets are likely to move away from their approach of spreading the court and could field one of the tallest rotations in the league, writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. That decision was forced partially by the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving, but Brooklyn focused heavily on the frontcourt in its offseason moves, re-signing Blake Griffin and adding veteran big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap.

Griffin played alongside center Nicolas Claxton with the first unit in Saturday’s practice, Winfield notes, but he frequently started at center after joining the team last season and can be effective at either position. Millsap and Aldridge have spent most of their careers as power forwards, but they will also see time in the middle.

“It’s not a traditional big lineup. Blake can switch a lot. I can switch at times. (Kevin Durant) can do it all,” Aldridge said. “I think it’s a big lineup, but it’s not traditional. You’re going to need that. I think teams can play big and play small, and I think having the ability to do both is nice for us.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets’ decision to give David Duke Jr. their final two-way spot and waive Devontae Cacok was based on their philosophy related to two-way deals, Winfield adds. “I think it’s more development at this point,” coach Steve Nash said. “I think when you look at a team like this, it’s hard for those guys fighting for two-way spots to be guys that are playing in the rotation. So it’s not impossible, but it’s more of a development spot, someone that we can groom and help grow into a piece of this organization’s future.”
  • The Nets were determined to trade for James Harden last season because they already had doubts about whether they could trust Irving, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Woj added that Brooklyn and Philadelphia haven’t discussed a trade involving Irving and Ben Simmons, and he doesn’t believe the Sixers would have any interest in such a deal. He also said the Nets are preparing to play the entire season without Irving.
  • Cameron Thomas put together a strong preseason after being named co-MVP of the Summer League, but he’s still not likely to have a spot in the Nets’ rotation, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Brooklyn has an experienced backcourt after the offseason additions of Patty Mills and Jevon Carter, and there may not be many minutes available for the rookie guard. “I think there’s some ground for him to make up, but we love him as a player and think he’s got a bright future, but it might take some time,” Nash said. “He’s joined a pretty tough team to crack into.”

Nets Convert David Duke Jr. To Two-Way Deal, Waive Devontae Cacok

4:10pm: The Nets have officially announced that they’ve converted Duke’s contract to a two-way deal and waived Cacok, issuing a pair of press releases to confirm the moves. The team’s roster is now set for the regular season.


2:40pm: The Nets will sign David Duke Jr. to a two-way contract, rewarding him for his impressive play during training camp, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The signing means that 25-year-old Devontae Cacok will likely be waived, as the two players were competing for a spot in training camp. Cacok’s G League rights were acquired by Long Island on Friday, signaling that he may end up as a returning-rights player for the Nets’ NBAGL affiliate after he’s cut.

In addition, the move signals that neither of Brooklyn’s two unsigned draft picks, Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray, will be receiving a two-way deal, with Duke and second-rounder Kessler Edwards occupying those spots. Zegarowski and Gray, who were drafted 49th and 59th overall, respectively, could end up signing G League contracts and reporting to Long Island while Brooklyn retains their NBA rights.

Duke, 22, went undrafted in July and signed an Exhibit 10 deal with Brooklyn in August. He averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game at Providence in 2020/21.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Duke, Cacok, Brown, Raptors

Kyrie Irving has not yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports reports. Under current New York City restrictions, players are prohibited from practicing or playing in their home arena “without providing proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.” Thus, the Nets star point guard could technically miss all 41 of his team’s home games unless he receives one of these approved exemptions. GM Sean Marks said this week that he doesn’t expect vaccine-related issues to prevent any of his players from suiting up during the regular season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Undrafted rookie David Duke Jr. and third-year forward Devontae Cacok are among the players who will be competing for the Nets’ remaining two-way contract, according to Tom Dowd of the team’s website. “Regarding the two-way, I think it’s nice to go in and have healthy competition,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s the way we’re going to look at that. There’s going to be nothing set in stone. There’s nobody with a leg up, per se.”
  • Celtics forward Jaylen Brown admits he’s still dealing with soreness in his wrist, he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated. Brown is recovering from a torn ligament in his left wrist, which required surgery in May and sidelined him for the postseason. “My wrist has been healing. Some days it’s better than others,” he said. “I got to continue to push and work, but I’m excited to be there for camp.”
  • The Raptors must find ways to maximize a “formless” style of basketball due to the configuration of the roster, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes. Lacking an efficient, high-usage star, they must rely on versatility, flexibility and unpredictability to keep defenses off-balance about where the ball is designed to go.

Nets Notes: Extension Talks, Vaccinations, Two-Way Slot, Aldridge

With a week left until training camp commences for the Nets, general manager Sean Marks expressed optimism during a press conference today that the club will be able to come to terms on contract extensions for All-Star guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving, writes Peter Botte of the New York Post.

“Regarding the extension conversations, we’ve had very positive conversations with both those guys and whether it’s family members, (their) people, and so forth, I think it always helps to do these things in person,” Marks said.  “We’re looking forward to sitting down with them over the course of the next week, two weeks, and furthering those discussions.”

As Botte writes, Irving is eligible to sign a contract that tacks on an additional four years and $181.6MM to his current agreement. Harden, the better player, can agree to terms on an extension that would pay him $161.1MM over three additional years. All-Star forward Kevin Durant signed a four-year, $197.7MM extension that will keep him on the Nets through the 2025/26 season.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets still need to get a few of their players fully vaccinated for COVID-19 so that they are permitted to practice and play in New York City under the terms of the city’s new vaccine mandate, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I won’t get into who it is, but we feel confident in the following several days before camp everybody would be allowed to participate and so forth,” Marks said about the situation. The Nets’ GM expects everyone to be vaccinated before the 2021/22 regular season begins. Per the new vaccine executive order, individuals over the age of 12 without at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will not be permitted inside certain indoor locations, including the Nets’ and Knicks’ home arenas.
  • Marks said today that the Nets will have a “healthy competition” for the team’s current available two-way contract during training camp, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). Big man Devontae Cacok and guard David Duke seem destined to be in the mix for the opening. Brooklyn still has an open spot on its 20-man roster, so the club may yet invite another candidate to compete for the second two-way slot before camp begins.
  • During a press conference today, Marks admitted he was initially wary about bringing back center LaMarcus Aldridge, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Aldridge was compelled to retire just five games after joining the Nets during the 2020/21 due to an irregular heart beat issue. “I tried to talk him out of it,” Marks said. “I said, ‘You don’t need this. Why would you come back?’ I think it was important to see his conviction, and it’s not a conviction made without really doing due diligence.” According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (via Twitter), Marks revealed that Aldridge reached out to the Nets as soon as he was medically cleared to return to the hardwood.

Nets Notes: Mills, Jordan, Millsap, Aldridge, Duke

Longtime Spurs guard Patty Mills was attracted to the Nets because of a couple of familiar faces there, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Mills, who agreed to a two-year, $12MM contract to come to Brooklyn, joins general manager Sean Marks and lead assistant Jacque Vaughn, who both spent time in San Antonio while Mills was there and have adopted some of the Spurs’ philosophies.

“To know free agency was going to be right in the middle of (the Olympics) definitely did make it quite tough,” Mills said. “The thing for me was not being able to have the conversations I wish I would’ve had leading into such a big decision. But turning to a new chapter and going to a new place, it was definitely something that knowing that we know people throughout the organization and in the city as well, it was comforting to know there are people there that look after us and look after my family.”

Another influence was a long talk that Mills had in Tokyo with Nets star Kevin Durant. Brooklyn made a strong effort to recruit Mills when free agency began, and he said the chance to exchange ideas with Durant influenced his decision.

“The conversation I had with Kevin was so pure and so genuine, being able to understand that he’s such a true pure hooper, and to go back-and-forth about basketball specifics,” Mills said. “It’s exciting for me to know there’s an opportunity there for me to try to be who I am. After a good Tokyo Olympics campaign, being able to ride the wave of that momentum and take it into Brooklyn is something I’m looking forward to … share the court with guys like that, I’m really going to continue to learn about the game and continue to get better myself and find little ways that I can do that.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • DeAndre Jordan isn’t likely to be on the Nets’ roster when training camp begins next month, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. The 33-year-old center, who is owed close to $20MM over the next two seasons, has been on the trade market all summer, according to Schiffer, but Brooklyn hasn’t found any takers.
  • The Nets would like to add another veteran big man, Schiffer states in the same piece, and while Paul Millsap may be out of their price range, a reunion with LaMarcus Aldridge seems more realistic. Millsap is reportedly looking at teams that still have their mid-level exception, and Brooklyn is limited to a minimum-salary contract. Schiffer notes that Aldridge played well in his five games with the team last season and enjoyed the experience, but isn’t certain to get medical clearance after being forced into retirement by an irregular heartbeat.
  • David Duke Jr. appears to be the favorite for the Nets’ open two-way spot, but a final decision probably won’t be made before training camp, Schiffer adds.

Nets Sign David Duke Jr.

The Nets have officially signed undrafted rookie guard David Duke Jr. to a contract, the team announced today in a press release. Duke first announced on Twitter shortly after the draft ended that he’d be joining Brooklyn — it appears it’ll be for more than just Summer League.

Duke, who declared for the draft following his junior season at Providence, averaged 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.8 APG on .387/.389/.792 shooting in 26 games (37.1 MPG) in 2020/21.

The terms of Duke’s contract aren’t yet known, but it seems likely to be a training camp deal that includes Exhibit 10 language. Exhibit 10 contracts, which can be converted into standard or two-way deals, give players the opportunity to earn bonuses worth up to $50K if they end up joining the club’s G League affiliate after being cut.

The Nets now have 14 players under contract, with that total set to rise to 16 once Blake Griffin and Patty Mills officially sign. Three of Brooklyn’s second-round picks also remain unsigned, and the team has a two-way qualifying offer out to Reggie Perry.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Grimes, OKC, Moody, Wolves, Nuggets

The Jazz are hosting a pre-draft workout on Thursday that will includes Houston’s Quentin Grimes, Providence’s David Duke, and San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell, sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Jones categorizes it as an important session for the Jazz, who like Grimes as a potential target at No. 30 and want to get a closer look at Mitchell, who has worked out for more than 10 teams and is considered a draft riser.

Sources tell Jones that other prospects the Jazz are eyeing as possibilities at No. 30 include Nah’Shon Hyland, Ayo Dosunmu, Miles McBride, Herb Jones, Joel Ayayi from Gonzaga, Joshua Primo, and Jared Butler.

  • Arkansas wing Moses Moody visited the Thunder in Oklahoma City earlier this week, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets. Moody is the 16th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board, so he could play be in play for OKC at No. 16 or 18 next Thursday.
  • Now that Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore have formally been approved as minority stakeholders in the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the challenges facing A-Rod and Lore, who will assume majority control of the franchise by 2023. As Krawczynski observes, there are similarities between the Wolves’ current situation and the one that Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan inherited in 2014 when they bought the Bucks, though it’s probably unrealistic to expect the next seven years in Minnesota to play out like the last seven in Milwaukee.
  • The Nuggets put forth a “full, all-hands-on-deck organizational effort” to ensure longtime assistant Wes Unseld Jr. got a head coaching job, Denver’s president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told Fred Katz of The Athletic. Connelly said he informed the Wizards that Unseld “is one of the brightest minds I’ve ever been around.”
  • South Carolina wing A.J. Lawson worked out today for the Nuggets, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link).

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Blazers, Hernangomez, Nuggets

While it doesn’t look at this point like the Trail Blazers will seriously explore Damian Lillard trades this offseason, that doesn’t mean they’re not getting calls about their All-NBA point guard. Front office sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that the Heat, Kings, Knicks, Rockets, and Sixers have been the most aggressive suitors for Lillard as of late.

With no Lillard trade request imminent, the Blazers are more likely to pursue upgrades around the star guard, though O’Connor notes that the team’s trade assets are somewhat limited. Portland doesn’t have any draft picks this year and rival teams aren’t particularly high on young players like Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little, according to O’Connor. The club’s best bet for a deal that reshapes the roster and increases its ceiling might involve CJ McCollum and Ben Simmons, O’Connor adds.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

Eastern Notes: Sexton, Knicks, Heat, Hawks, Raptors

Following up on Shams Charania’s report that the Knicks have been the most aggressive trade suitor for Collin Sexton so far, Marc Berman of The New York Post confirms that the team has the Cavaliers guard on its trade radar.

According to Berman, the Knicks would’ve picked Sexton over Kevin Knox in the 2018 draft if he had slipped to No. 9 instead of being selected at No. 8. Berman adds that Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who played his college ball at Dayton, may be a player the Cavs would target in a trade.

A source tells Berman that the Knicks – who hold the 19th and 21st overall picks – are open to trading out of the first round entirely in order to acquire an “established player.” Sexton has certainly established himself as a talented scorer, having averaged 24.5 points per game in 2020/21, though it’s unclear if New York would be willing to offer both of its first-round picks in a package for him.

Here’s more from around the East:

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)