David McCormack

David McCormack To Sign Exhibit 10 Deal With Timberwolves

Undrafted Kansas big man David McCormack has agreed to join the Timberwolves for summer league and training camp, agent Gary Durrant tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Zac Boyer of KUSports.com confirms McCormack will be signing an Exhibit 10 contract.

McCormack, a member of the Jayhawks’ championship team this year, spent all four of his college seasons at Kansas, starting 96 of 132 total games. In 2021/22, he averaged 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 contests (21.9 MPG).

McCormack had some big games during the Jayhawks’ NCAA tournament run, putting up 25 points and nine rebounds in the team’s Final Four victory over Villanova, then registering a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) in the championship game vs. UNC.

Speaking to Boyer, McCormack said he chose the Timberwolves over offers from other NBA teams because he believes he’ll fit well in their system and he felt comfortable with the club when he worked out in Minnesota last month.

An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary contract that can be converted into a two-way deal before the regular season begins. If a player on an Exhibit 10 is waived and becomes an affiliate player for his team’s G League squad – in this case, the Iowa Wolves – he’s eligible to receive a bonus worth up to $50K.

Minnesota also reportedly reached an Exhibit 10 agreement with forward Phillip Wheeler.

Southeast Notes: Hornets Workouts, Atkinson, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a couple of potential lottery picks for solo workouts on Friday, the team announced (Twitter links): Duke’s Mark Williams, who is ranked No. 14 on ESPN’s big board, and Shaedon Sharpe, who is ranked No. 7 due to his enormous upside despite not playing a game for Kentucky. The Hornets control the Nos. 13, 15 and 45 picks in the 2022 NBA draft.

Williams has been linked to Charlotte multiple times in mock drafts, which makes perfect sense since he’s a rim-running, paint-protecting center with great size and athleticism. He could fill a major weak spot if he’s NBA-ready, as the team has lacked a big man in that mold for several years.

Sharpe seems unlikely to fall to No. 13, so the Hornets were probably just doing their due diligence and getting a look at a player who hasn’t played competitively in nearly a year, but they theoretically could package their picks in order to move up and select him.

The team also hosted a group workout on Friday (Twitter link) featuring Michigan State’s Max Christie, UConn’s R.J. Cole, Richmond’s Grant Golden, Furman’s Alex Hunter, France’s Ismael Kamagate, and Brazil’s Gui Santos. Kamagate and Christie are the highest-rated prospects among the group at Nos. 40 and 45, respectively, so they could be possibilities for Charlotte’s second-rounder.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic explores what the Hornets are getting in new head coach Kenny Atkinson, noting that Atkinson earned league-wide praise by establishing a culture in Brooklyn that was reminiscent of a college team, something the Nets have sorely lacked since he resigned in 2020. Known as a meticulous worker who embraces analytics, Atkinson used to physically participate in Nets practices, writes Schiffer, adding that Atkinson appears to be entering a better situation in Charlotte than his previous head coaching job in Brooklyn.
  • The Wizards are among the teams weighing the idea of trading their lottery pick (No. 10 overall) in a possible win-now move, Marc Stein reports in his latest article for Substack.
  • Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson and Kansas’ David McCormack will work out for the Wizards on Saturday, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Robinson is ranked No. 77 on ESPN’s board, so he could be a possibility for the team’s second-round pick, which is No. 56 overall.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Green, Lakers, Kings

Speaking to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Warriors owner Joe Lacob referenced a division rival when he discussed his long-term goals for the franchise.

“We are very goal-oriented,” Lacob said. “Our goal right now is to sustain being really good for a long time. I look at Jerry Buss and the Lakers, and how he owned the team for 33 years and made 16 Finals. That’s just an astonishing achievement, an incredible owner.

“Whether we can sustain that over such a long period of time, like Jerry Buss did – the Celtics certainly had great history but it was a little bit of a different time – I don’t know. But we’re going to try. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

The Warriors are back in the NBA Finals this year for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, and are seeking their fourth championship during that time.

  • Even though he only appeared in 46 of 82 possible regular season games this season, Warriors forward Draymond Green views it as a “slight” that he didn’t make the All-Defensive First Team, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. “When I look at the First Team, I am not sure I can pinpoint, definitely not five guys that had a better defensive season than me,” Green said. “And there are no (games-played) requirements. There is not some amount that you have to play in. If there was an amount that you had to play, then I would be an idiot sitting here and saying that.”
  • The Lakers are working out six prospects today, bringing in R.J. Cole (UConn), Jules Bernard (UCLA), Kur Kuath (Marquette), Jaden Shackelford (Alabama), Zyon Pullin (UC-Riverside), and David McCormack (Kansas) for a pre-draft audition, tweets Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Pullin is reportedly expected to remove his name from the draft pool before tonight’s NCAA withdrawal deadline.
  • Houston’s Fabian White Jr. was among the prospects to work out for the Kings on Tuesday, per Sean Cunningham of FOX40 News (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Batum, Ayton, Payton, Kings, Lakers

Appearing on the French online show First Team, veteran forward Nicolas Batum was asked about his future and suggested that he plans to remain with the Clippers for the foreseeable future, as Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints relays. Batum, speaking in French, said what translates to Tyronn Lue saved my life,” heaping praise on the Clippers’ head coach.

Batum, who has a $3.33MM player option for the 2022/23 season, was waived by Charlotte during the 2020 offseason and signed a minimum-salary contract days later with the Clippers. He has revitalized his career in the last two years in Los Angeles, starting 92 of 126 games and averaging 26.2 MPG.

“Whenever you have a player speak on you like that, it’s a great feeling because that’s what it’s all about,” Lue told Azarly when asked about Batum’s comments. “It’s about the players and trying to get the best out of players. A lot of times, the players bring the best out of a coach as well. For Nico, a guy who has been in this league for a long time and a great veteran player, just to have him say those words, that means a lot.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) considers it extremely unlikely that the Suns will let restricted free agent Deandre Ayton walk for nothing or that Ayton will accept his one-year qualifying offer. In Gambadoro’s view, a new deal between Ayton and the Suns, a sign-and-trade agreement, or an offer sheet that the Suns match are the only realistic outcomes.
  • Gary Payton II (fractured left elbow) is beginning to increase his on-court activity, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who posted a Twitter video of Payton going through a workout on Tuesday. Assuming the Warriors finish off Dallas, it still seems possible Payton could return at some point in the NBA Finals, Slater adds.
  • Trevion Williams (Purdue), JD Notae (Arkansas), Tyson Etienne (Wichita State), and David McCormack (Kansas) are among the prospects that worked out for the Kings on Monday and Tuesday this week, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Anderson wonders if the Kings could end up drafting two Boilermakers, with Jaden Ivey in play at No. 4 and Williams a potential target in the second round.
  • Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times take a closer look at Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, and Kenny Atkinson, breaking down the pros and cons of each of the Lakers’ reported head coaching finalists.

44 Prospects Announced For 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp

The NBA G League has formally announced its field of 44 draft prospects for the 2022 NBA G League Elite Camp.

The event, which will take place May 16 and 17 in Chicago, “gives draft prospects an opportunity to display their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives over the course of the camp by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills.”

The top performers from the camp will be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place from May 18-22 in Chicago. Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers wing Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.

Here’s the list of 44 draft-eligible attendees:

The list of attendees features 13 players on ESPN’s big board, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via Twitter), so some players have a chance to be drafted.

The top-ranked prospect at the camp is Scheierman (No. 69), who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals on .508/.469/.802 shooting this season for South Dakota State (35 games, 33.3 minutes per contest).

Draft Notes: Cockburn, Bernard, McCormack, Green, Gibson

Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn is once again entering his name in the NBA draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Because he previously tested the draft waters in 2020 and 2021, Cockburn won’t be permitted to withdraw from the draft this time around, so he’ll forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility.

“I’m 100% in now,” Cockburn told ESPN. “I’m not going back to college. I’m signing with agent Todd Ramasar. I’ve tested the waters enough, I’m 100% dedicated to going all the way.”

The No. 89 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, Cockburn was a consensus first-team All-American and was the only college player to average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game in 2021/22, says Givony.

The 22-year-old put up 20.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in 28 appearances (30.7 MPG) for the Fighting Illini, but acknowledges that he’ll have to tweak his college game – which was heavy on back-to-the-basket, low-post scoring – to succeed in the NBA.

“The NBA values players like Steven Adams and Jonas Valanciunas — guys who set great screens, who know the pick and roll game, how to slip and seal, how to be a physical defender and rebounder who blocks shots,” Cockburn said. “My size can be a major advantage in the NBA. I don’t need the ball to be happy.”

Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the 2022 NBA draft:

  • UCLA senior wing Jules Bernard will go through the draft process while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on Instagram. Bernard, the Bruins’ third-leading scorer with 12.8 PPG in 2021/22, joins teammate Peyton Watson among UCLA players in the draft pool.
  • Kansas senior power forward David McCormack is entering the 2022 draft and appears prepared to go pro, forging his final year of NCAA eligibility, he announced on Instagram. After earning Big 12 Most Improved Player honors in 2021, McCormack had another strong season for the eventual champs, averaging 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 games (21.9 MPG).
  • Northern Iowa junior guard AJ Green has decided to enter the draft while maintaining his college eligibility and entering the transfer portal, he announced on Twitter. The two-time Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference has averaged 19.4 PPG with a .390 3PT% in 65 contests (35.7 MPG) since the start of the 2019/20 season.
  • Oklahoma senior guard Umoja Gibson will test the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. Gibson, who has spent the last two years at Oklahoma after transferring from North Texas, averaged 13.3 PPG on .435/.390/.871 shooting in 35 games (32.1 MPG) in his senior year.