Devin Vassell

Cavs Rumors: Avdija, Toppin, Thompson, More

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija, who won the Israeli League’s MVP award this year, should be considered one of the leading candidates to be drafted by the Cavaliers at No. 5 overall, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

As Fedor explains, the Cavaliers have done “extensive work” on Avdija, who fits the team’s culture both on and off the court. General manager Koby Altman, director of scouting Brandon Weems, and assistant GM Mike Gansey all made trips overseas to see him play prior to the season shutting down, while head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has reached out to former players Omri Casspi, Tyler Dorsey and Tarik Black for intel on their Maccabi Tel Aviv teammate, writes Fedor.

It’s possible that Avdija will be gone by the time the Cavs are on the clock — sources tell Fedor that the previous Bulls regime “loved” the Israeli forward and probably would’ve taken him at No. 4, though it’s unclear if the new decision-makers in Chicago are as high on him.

The Cavaliers also like Isaac Okoro and Devin Vassell, so if all three wings are still on the board at No. 5, it won’t be an easy decision, according to Fedor, who adds that forward Obi Toppin is “very much in play” at that spot as well.

Here’s more from Fedor on the Cavs:

  • There’s no specific mandate from team owner Dan Gilbert for the Cavs to stay out of the tax going forward, but the team would prefer to do so and that will play a role in roster decisions, according to Fedor. Long-term financial considerations may also dissuade the team from taking on an exorbitant multiyear contract such as Tobias Harris‘ or Al Horford‘s in any trade, Fedor adds.
  • Given the money already on the Cavs’ books for 2020/21, the team is unlikely to re-sign Tristan Thompson and use the full mid-level exception this offseason, according to Fedor in a separate story. Cleveland may have to choose one path or the other, per Fedor, who thinks the team should prioritize Thompson.
  • One source estimated to Fedor that the odds of Thompson returning are 50-50. “I believe there’s a chance of him re-signing in free agency,” another source close to Thompson told Cleveland.com. “He hasn’t necessarily played his final game there.”
  • If Thompson departs and the Cavs do look to use their MLE, Derrick Jones and Pat Connaughton are among the free agents they may target, Fedor writes.

New York Notes: Nets, Campazzo, Knicks’ Draft Options

Prior to Wednesday’s player boycott, Nets owners Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai announced on Tuesday that they’re pledging $50MM to support social justice causes and economic mobility initiatives over the next 10 years. These initiatives are a part of a five-point plan, which will focus on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities in Brooklyn.

The Nets owners will also be working with the New York Liberty (WNBA) and Barclays Center to accomplish this plan of action.

“Joe and I are proud to present our statement of core principles and action plan as a continuation of our efforts to address racial injustice and economic inequality in our society,” said Clara Wu Tsai. “We plan to focus first on our organizations and our community in Brooklyn. We believe Barclays Center, the Nets, and the Liberty can be symbols of how we move forward together as a country. It is our hope to lead by example through supporting our athletes, employees, and our community in anti-racist and anti-discrimination work and providing the resources needed to accelerate change.”

Here’s more from the Big Apple:

  • In his latest mailbag, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports that the Knicks have scouted 29-year-old Argentinian point guard Facundo Campazzo and like his game. Berman notes that the former Real Madrid guard is ready to test the NBA’s waters this fall as a free agent. The Timberwolves, who have former Knick Pablo Prigioni on their coaching staff, are also among the teams interested in Campazzo.
  • Last week, the Knicks secured the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, which is tentatively scheduled for October 16. One prospect who has support within the organization at No. 8 is Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. This season, the 6’6″ small forward averaged 12.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.0 APG while shooting 51.4% from the field.
  • If the Knicks don’t take Okoro with the eighth overall selection in October’s draft, they could opt for Florida State’s Devin Vassell, who has some fans at Madison Square Garden, per Ian Begley of SNY. The 6’7″ guard left Tallahassee, Fla. after his sophomore season, where he posted 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He also shot 49% from the field and 41.5% from three-point range on 3.5 attempts per game.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Isaac, Hawks, Heat

Heat swingman Jimmy Butler, who continues to battle a right foot injury, has been ruled out for Saturday’s matchup with Phoenix, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Twitter link). It will be the third consecutive game that Butler has missed.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said on Thursday that Butler underwent both an MRI and an X-ray on the foot, which revealed no structural damage, per Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The hope for now is that rest is the best treatment for the All-Star wing.

“Jimmy had his final scan yesterday. And we understand what he’s dealing with,” agent Bernie Lee told The Herald. “And he’s working his butt off to get back on the floor ASAP and to be ready for the playoffs.”

The postseason isn’t scheduled to begin until August 17, so Butler has another 10 days to work his way back from the injury, which is mostly affecting his right ankle, according to Jackson and Chiang.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Southeast Notes: Magic, Clark, Bryant, Hawks

As Magic prepare for the league restart, the franchise is taking difficult steps due to the COVID-19 related drop in revenue. It has laid off 31 full-time employees, approximately 10% of its staff, according to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins and Shams Charania. The Magic had 10 regular-season home games remaining, as well as potential playoff games, prior to the stoppage of play in March.

“This is not the fault of any specific individual that we must part with today, this decision is purely about becoming more efficient in a post COVID-19 environment, and the requirement to be more efficient in this unknown future that we find ourselves faced with,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in part in a prepared statement.

Here’s more from out of the Southeast:

  • Having been in and out of the rotation prior to the NBA’s hiatus, Gary Clark is hoping to prove this summer that he can be a dependable contributor for the Magic, as Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “I think my role there and now is just being a reliable player,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, put Gary on the court, he’s going to hold defensive presence and he’s going to be able to let our offensive flow (be) smooth out there.”
  • Wizards big man Thomas Bryant returned to practice over the weekend after recovering from the coronavirus, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Bryant traveled to Orlando on Wednesday, about a week after the bulk of the team arrived.  Bryant said on Sunday night he’s doing fine, Hughes reports in a separate story“Me being sick, that’s in the past,” he said. “My focus right now is just with the team and going forward trying to win some games.”
  • FSU wing Devin Vassell is the 16th-rated prospect on ESPN’s 2020 big board, but Chris Kirschner of The Athletic contends that Vassell is a player the Hawks should seriously consider if they end up drafting in the No. 5-7 range this fall.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Hield, Wiggins, Harrell, Vassell

The Kings will likely give Buddy Hield the opportunity to bounce back next season rather than explore trades, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Hield’s four-year, $106MM extension kicks in next season and even though he lost his starting job this season, his shooting ability is not easily replaced. Sacramento has invested heavily in Hield’s development, though economic issues created by the pandemic could change the team’s approach.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors didn’t acquire Andrew Wiggins from the Timberwolves with the intention of flipping him for another star player, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. While they will aggressively pursue trades for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal and other All-Stars, they anticipate Wiggins being their starting small forward next season, Slater adds.
  • The Clippers would be better off trying to re-sign Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson rather than giving big money to unrestricted free agent Montrezl Harrell, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. Harrell’s role won’t expand in the future the way the current roster is constructed. The lack of other two-way wings in the 2020 free agent class makes Morris more valuable, while Jackson could get more playing time in Los Angeles going forward after an impressive stretch before the stoppage of play.
  • Wing Devin Vassell of Florida State would be an ideal building block for the Kings as a late lottery selection, Richard Ivanowski of the Sacramento Bee argues. Vassell is the best team defender in the draft class, an above-average perimeter shooter and has a high motor, Ivanowski adds. Vassell is currently ranked No. 16 overall by ESPN.

Draft Notes: 2020 Class, Haliburton, Vassell, More

The 2020 NBA draft class has repeatedly been referred to by analysts and league observers in recent months as subpar. However, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer doesn’t think that’s quite right.

As O’Connor explains, the 2020 NBA draft may not have the star power that some past drafts have — there’s no consensus future superstar like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or Zion Williamson among this year’s top prospects. However, O’Connor believes it’s a deep class that features “a plethora of potential high-end role players who could develop into the missing ingredient of a championship team’s recipe.”

In O’Connor’s view, teams picking in the lottery this year will have to weigh certain players’ possible star upside with other prospects’ solid, high-floor skill sets. For instance, big man James Wiseman is at or near the top of most draft boards, but O’Connor has players like Tyrese Haliburton and Devin Vassell ranked higher than Wiseman on his own board, viewing them as safe picks capable of improving a team as complementary pieces. Positional value could also be weighed more heavily in 2020 than it typically is, O’Connor adds.

Here’s more on the 2020 draft:

Draft Notes: Nuggets, J. Harris, Hawks

The Nuggets‘ acquired a first-round pick from the Rockets in the four-team, 12-player deal that sent Malik Beasley to the Wolves. That pick is currently slated to be the No. 21 overall selection and Mike Singer of the Denver Post examines five prospects the team could take at that spot in the first round.

Florida State guard Devin Vassell and Villanova forward Saddiq Bey are among the more intriguing options, in Singer’s view. Both players have range and could provide the Nuggets with depth, something that might be needed if Paul Millsap or Jerami Grant (player option) departs in free agency.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

Draft Notes: Russell, Williams, Vassell, Mays

Rhode Island guard Fatts Russell has declared for the draft but will maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, he wrote on an Instagram post. The junior averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.6 APG and 2.9 SPG this season. The 5’10” Russell averaged 14.2 PPG last season.

We have more draft news:

  • Cincinnati’s Keith Williams announced his intention to enter the draft and hire an agent on his Twitter feed. The 6’5” Williams averaged 12.6 PPG and shot 34.2% from long range as a junior this season. Williams has started two seasons for the Bearcats after being a rotation reserve as a freshman.
  • Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, Florida State guard Devin Vassell, Utah State guard Sam Merrill, Penn State forward Lamar Stevens and LSU guard Skylar Mays are five players who could make a surprising impact in the NBA, Jon Rothstein declares in a Yahoo Sports video post. Vassell, currently ranked No. 19 on ESPN’s Best Available list, is the only prospect among that group considered a likely first-rounder.
  • Potential lottery selection Killian Hayes has declared for the draft. Get the details here.

FSU’s Devin Vassell Entering 2020 NBA Draft

Florida State shooting guard Devin Vassell has announced he’s entering the 2020 NBA draft, publishing an Instagram post that confirms his decision.

“It is with a heart full of gratitude that I am entering my name in the 2020 NBA draft,” Vassell wrote. “I’ll never forget the amazing ride of these last two years, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

While Vassell could technically test the draft waters and retain his college eligibility before making a final decision later in the pre-draft process, the wording of his message makes it sound as if he’ll be going pro, forgoing his remaining two years of eligibility.

Vassell had a breakout season as a sophomore, averaging 12.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG, and 1.0 BPG with a .490/.415/.738 shooting line in 30 games (28.8 MPG). He has established himself as a potential mid-first-round pick — Sam Vecenie of The Athletic had the guard at No. 14 in his latest mock draft, while ESPN’s draft experts list him at No. 19 on their big board.

Our full list of early entrants for the 2020 draft can be found right here.