Dzanan Musa

Nets Notes: Harris, Russell, Walker, Musa

Joe Harris, who re-signed with Brooklyn on a two-year, $16MM deal, believes the Nets‘ young players can make “significant jumps” this season, as NetsDaily relays.

“We definitely have some new pieces to the team, but I think just being around everybody so far this offseason — although it’s relatively young — I think we have a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” said Harris. “If anything, we have an extremely competitive group and I think a lot of our younger players are gonna make significant jumps.”

Harris previously has said that he’s seen D’Angelo Russell take “considerable strides.”

“All I know is I’m really excited for the season to get going and I know everyone else is,” Harris said. “I’m not gonna go out here guaranteeing anything that’s gonna happen. I know we are gonna go out and compete every single night.”

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • How much success the Nets have this season will depend on the health of Russell, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “As he moves forward, he needs to create those habits and take care of his body,” GM Sean Marks said. “And I think people will be pretty surprised when they see what he’s done. He’s worked extremely hard on purely that, strengthening up his body and so forth.”
  • Kemba Walker spoke about his love for Brooklyn during a youth summer basketball camp appearance recently. “That’s one thing about people from Brooklyn, they’re very loyal, they’re die-hard, they believe in their team,” Walker said (via NetsDaily). “I love Brooklyn. I love going there. I love playing there. It always gives me a chance to come back home, too, so that’s why I love it as well. I like the organization, too. It’s cool.” The point guard is expected to be a free agent in the summer of 2019.
  • No. 29 overall pick Dzanan Musa believes he can play point guard among other positions for the Nets. “I can handle the ball like a lot,” the 6’9″ rookie said (via NetsDaily). “So, point guard, shooting guard, three, whatever. I’m ready to do it.”

Nets Sign Rodions Kurucs To Multiyear Deal

JULY 16: The Nets have officially signed Kurucs, the team announced today in a press release. According to reports from Sportando and The New York Post, his deal is expected to be worth about $7MM over four years.

JUNE 22: The Nets and second-round pick Rodions Kurucs have reached an agreement on an NBA contract, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that it will be a four-year deal.

Kurucs, who was selected using the 40th overall pick that initially belonged to the Lakers, had one year left on his contract with Barcelona. However, the Nets and Kurucs’ Spanish club were able to negotiate the terms of a buyout, says Pick.

[RELATED: Full 2018 NBA Draft Results]

While Kurucs’ buyout was believed to be worth upwards of $4MM at one point, his camp was reportedly able to get that figure lowered substantially, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (as relayed by NetsDaily).

Because Kurucs wasn’t a first-round pick, he won’t be subject to the NBA’s rookie scale, but it sounds like he’ll still sign a four-year contract. The Nets will have the flexibility to offer that many years because they’ll start the 2018/19 league year as an under-the-cap team. It’s not yet clear how much Kurucs’ contract will be worth, or how many years will be guaranteed, but the two sides will be able to finalize the agreement in July.

Kurucs was one of two international prospects the Nets selected in the 2018 draft, along with No. 29 pick Dzanan Musa. General manager Sean Marks indicated last night that club also expects to bring over Musa immediately, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link). The Bosnia forward reportedly has a buyout worth about $1MM.

Nets Sign Dzanan Musa To Rookie Contract

Nets first-round pick Dzanan Musa has officially signed his first NBA contract, according to tweets from agent Misko Raznatovic and Musa himself. Musa was the last of 2018’s first-rounders who had yet to sign his rookie deal, so all 30 of those players are now under contract.

Musa, a 6’9″ Bosnian wing, declared as an early entrant for this year’s draft after spending the last three seasons with KK Cedevita in Croatia. Musa’s squad won the Croatian League championship in each of those three years, and the youngster was named the EuroCup Rising Star in 2018, an honor previously earned by the likes of Kristaps Porzingis, Jonas Valanciunas, and Donatas Motiejunas.

The Nets won’t be counting on Musa, one of the youngest players in this year’s draft class, to make an immediate impact, but his size and scoring ability make him an intriguing prospect.

Musa, the 29th overall pick, figures to earn about $1.63MM in his rookie season, while his four-year deal with Brooklyn will be worth approximately $9.16MM in total. It includes two guaranteed seasons, with team options in years three and four.

With Musa locked up, the Nets figure to shift their focus to making things official with second-rounder Rodions Kurucs. The club reportedly agreed to terms with him on a four-year deal shortly after the draft — Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reported today that Brooklyn also finalized a $750K buyout agreement with Barcelona, Kurucs’ old team.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Magic, Nets, Pistons

While the Pacers should enter July with the flexibility to explore free agency, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard doesn’t sound like someone ready to pursue the top players on the open market. While a foray into free agency is possible, Pritchard could also use Indiana’s cap room to accommodate the acquisition of an impact player in a trade, as J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star writes.

“Where we really get better is July 1,” Pritchard said of the Pacers. “I’m not saying we’re going to sign a guy. I think there could be uneven trades. A lot of things can happen with that. We preserved that (space).”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • After putting together a roster full of athletic players with long wingspans in Milwaukee, Magic GM John Hammond appears to be doing the same thing in Orlando, says Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.
  • Although the two international prospects drafted by the Nets on Thursday have plenty of long-term promise, neither Dzanan Musa nor Rodions Kurucs is expected to make an immediate impact in the NBA, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.
  • Dwane Casey continues to fill out his new staff in Detroit, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that DJ Bakker is heading from the Raptors to the Pistons to become Casey’s player development coach.
  • Speaking of the Raptors, they offered Sarunas Jasikevicius an assistant coaching job on Nick Nurse‘s staff, but he has elected to remain in Lithuania, per Jonas Miklovas (Twitter link). The Zalgiris Kaunas coach interviewed for Toronto’s head coaching vacancy before the club promoted Nurse.

New York Notes: Near-Trades, Nets, Knox, Porzingis

The Nets selected Dzanan Musa with the No. 29 overall pick in Thursday’s draft and while GM Sean Marks said he was excited about the prospect, he admitted that the team was “very close” to trading up.

“You’re trying to figure out is the cost to trade up worth it,” Marks said in an interview with the FAN’s Mike Francesa (h/t Net Income and Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily). “And like most teams, you want to do it on the clock because you’re thinking: ‘Is my guy there? Is my target there? And what’s it going to cost to get there?”

”So at that point, we didn’t feel like it was worth it. We weren’t ready to give away the asking price. And at the same time, these two guys — [Rodions Kurucs] and Dzanan — we’d been targeting, so we’re definitely glad to have them in our family.”

Marks didn’t disclose which players or picks it would have taken to move up in the draft order, though he added that the organization likes its “solid vets on the team.”

Here’s more from the five boroughs:

  • Marks suggests the Nets will be active in free agency, as the pair of scribes relay in the same piece. “There are some things out there, whether it’s pending,” the GM said. “We’ll just have to wait and see in July, whether it’s how we use our cap space and how we move forward with that. We have flexibility in the future, which is important.”
  • The Knicks feel No. 9 overall pick Kevin Knox and Kristaps Porzingis will make a good tandem at the forward positions, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Knox, who spoke to Porzingis via FaceTime after the draft, believes the duo can make an impact in the league. “He stretches the floor, shoots the ball, goes down low. I think me, him and some of the other guys will complement each other very well,” the rookie said.
  • The selection of Knox could give Porzingis another reason to sign a long-term deal once his deal expires next summer, Berman writes in the same piece. Porzingis is currently eligible for a contract extension, though the Knicks may prefer to wait to reach an agreement with the former No. 4 overall pick until next summer in order to preserve cap space.

Draft Workouts: T. Young, Cavs, Blazers, Warriors

Potential top-10 pick Trae Young conducted a “secret” workout for the Cavaliers on Saturday, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Givony, echoing what Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com wrote earlier today, suggests that Michael Porter Jr. may be Cleveland’s top target at No. 8.

However, if Porter is no longer available, the Cavaliers’ decision could come down to Young vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, according to Givony, who notes that he has the team taking Gilgeous-Alexander in his latest mock draft.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the NBA:

Draft Updates: Musa, Knox, Williams, Sixers

The Nets may be willing to package their picks to move up for Bosnia’s Dzanan Musa, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The 19-year-old small forward has spent the past week visiting teams that might be willing to use a first-round selection on him. The Nets hold the 29th pick, but may have to give up their second-rounders at 40 and 45 to get into Musa’s range.

Musa has two years remaining on his contract with KK Cedevita in the EuroLeague, but he plans to come to the NBA next season.

“I want to compete at the highest level and to compete with the best players in the world,” Musa said in an interview with CBS Sports affiliate 1430-AM in Indianapolis. “[My strength is] scoring: shooting, midrange floaters, to the rim. … I just want to get picked by the team who sees me as a project. But I think I’m a lottery pick for sure.”

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Celtics Notes: Leonard, Irving, Draft, Summer League

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is wary of paying a steep price for Kawhi Leonard without a guarantee that he’ll stay more than one season, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Leonard has asked for a trade out of San Antonio and the Celtics may be able to put together the best offer, but Ainge will probably be cautious, according to Washburn.

He suggests Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum would have to be part of the package, along with the rights to the Kings’ first-rounder in 2019. It might be easier to match salaries by including Gordon Hayward, but his trade value has dropped after missing the season with a severe ankle fracture.

Kyrie Irving can already opt out next season, and the Celtics might be reluctant to have two stars on their roster who could leave at the same time, especially if it means breaking up a young core that looks like it will be a contender for several years.

There’s more today from Boston:

  • Irving hopes to resume playing again “in like a month,” he said in an appearance this week on The Bill Simmons Podcast. NBC Sports Boston relayed a few of his comments, including an explanation of what it was like to deal with a knee infection that forced him to miss the entire playoffs. “I was leaving the games at halftime because I had eight-hour shifts of antibiotics I had to take for my infection,” Irving said. “I had a PICC line in my arm for two months and I’m just like… every day is like OK, I can’t necessarily lift, I can’t run, I can’t do anything. If I didn’t have my PICC line in for my infection I would have definitely tried to go after being ready for at least the Eastern Conference Finals.”
  • The Celtics have a recent history of going the draft-and-stash route late in the first round, but the overseas talent doesn’t warrant it this year, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Apart from Luka Doncic, the only foreign players with a shot at being taken in the first round are French point guard Elie Okobo and Bosnian wing Dzanan Musa, according to Blakely.
  • Guerschon Yabusele, Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird are all expected to be part of the Celtics’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Washburn notes. Bird has a two-way contract, so Boston has to make a qualifying offer before he is eligible. Jay Larranaga will coach the team.

Draft Notes: R. Williams, Nuggets, Clips, Wizards

Texas A&M center Robert Williams, who previously worked out for the Bulls, Hornets, and Knicks, continues to earn looks from teams picking in the top half of the first round. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link), Williams still has workouts on tap with the Clippers, Nuggets, Wizards, who hold the picks from 12 through 15.

Williams’ session with the Nuggets will take place today, according to a press release from the club. In addition to scheduling an individual session with Williams, Denver has also lined up a group workout which will feature Hayden Dalton (Wyoming), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Arnoldas Kulboka (Capo d’Orlando), Dzanan Musa (Cedevita), Ajdin Penava (Marshall), and Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga).

Meanwhile, the Bucks – who hold the No. 17 selection – also wanted to bring in Williams for a workout, but he expects to be off the board before Milwaukee picks and has passed on the team’s invitation, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. According to Woelfel, Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, another good bet to be drafted in the top 16, also won’t work out for the Bucks.

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

Western Notes: Clippers, Nuggets, Bjelica, Musa

The Clippers will bring in some first-round candidates for a pre-draft group workout on Wednesday, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Scotto, Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Aaron Holiday (UCLA), and Mitchell Robinson will participate in the session.

The Clippers currently hold the 12th and 13th overall picks in the draft, presenting a number of potential opportunities and directions for the club. Bridges and Knox are viewed as two potential lottery picks who may still be on the board at No. 12, while Holiday and Robinson are ranked slightly lower on most big boards.

Let’s round up a few more Western Conference notes…

  • Speaking last week to reporters, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the team will target a strong defensive player with two-way versatility with the No. 14 pick, and didn’t rule out the possibility of trading or waiving highly-paid players to maintain cap flexibility. Matt L. Stephens of The Denver Post has the story and the quotes.
  • The Jazz and Suns are among the teams that could show interest in power forward Nemanja Bjelica this summer, a source tells Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Bjelica is eligible for restricted free agency, so the Timberwolves have the chance to match any offer he receives, assuming they extend a qualifying offer.
  • Bosnian wing Dzanan Musa, a potential first-round pick who will be keeping his name in the 2018 NBA draft, has workouts on tap with the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Spurs, and Jazz, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News passes along word of a few more of the players who participated in the Timberwolvesveteran mini-camp on the weekend, tweeting that that Hollis Thompson, Dorell Wright, and Jordan McRae took part, among others.
  • Veteran guard Rodney Stuckey is participating in a free agent mini-camp with the Trail Blazers, a league source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).