Evan Mobley

Cavs Make Jarrett Allen Restricted Free Agent

To no one’s surprise, the Cavaliers have extended a qualifying offer to center Jarrett Allen, making him a restricted free agent, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The QO is worth just over $7.7MM with a cap hold of $11.73MM.

Cleveland acquired Allen in the multi-team James Harden blockbuster with the intention of locking him into a multi-year deal during the offseason. The addition of Allen led the Cavs to bench and eventually buy out Andre Drummond, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Allen will one of the more attractive names on the restricted free agent market but a suitor will likely have to deliver a giant offer sheet to him to make the Cavs think twice about matching it.

The 23-year-old Allen averaged 13.2 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 51 games after the trade. Cleveland is expected to retain Allen even if uses the No. 3 pick in next week’s draft on the top big man prospect, USC’s Evan Mobley.

Draft Rumors: Warriors, Kings, Pacers, Cavs, Raptors, Magic, OKC

The Warriors, Kings, and Pacers are among the late-lottery teams that are exploring trade scenarios involving their first-round picks, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

As O’Connor writes, the Warriors remain “highly active” in trade talks involving the No. 7 pick — Golden State also holds the No. 14 selection and would presumably be open to moving it as well. As for the Kings, they’ve shopped the No. 9 overall pick for players capable of helping them right away, sources tell The Ringer.

O’Connor describes the Pacers as “incredibly active” in trade discussions, having talked about scenarios that would move them into the top 10 or out of the draft entirely. Currently, Indiana holds the No. 13 pick.

Here are a few more draft-related rumors from O’Connor latest mock:

  • The Cavaliers have received “significant” trade interest in the No. 3 overall pick, according to O’Connor, who says the Raptors (No. 4) and Magic (No. 5) are among the clubs that have made offers to move up. Evan Mobley is considered the favorite to be the third player off the board, though it’s not entirely clear that he’s the player that Toronto, Orlando, and other interested teams are targeting.
  • If the Raptors remain at No. 4, they’re not a lock to select Jalen Suggs, says O’Connor. Executives around the NBA tell The Ringer that Toronto’s interest in forward Scottie Barnes is legitimate.
  • O’Connor’s newest mock draft has the Thunder selecting Jonathan Kuminga at No. 6, and may execs have the young forward penciled in at that slot. However, league sources tell O’Connor that Oklahoma City is high on both Barnes and James Bouknight, so there’s a chance Kuminga could slip further.

Draft Notes: Garza, Cooper, Pacers, Mock Drafts

The Sixers, who are in the market for a reserve center, worked out a pair of big men today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Iowa’s Luka Garza, the two-time national player of the year, was in Philadelphia, along with Utah State’s Neemias Queta.

Garza, who is projected to be taken anywhere from the end of the first round to the middle of the second round, has dropped weight since the college season ended in an effort to become more mobile on defense. Queta was named Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With Dwight Howard entering free agency, Pompey notes that the Sixers don’t have a reliable backup to Joel Embiid. Philadelphia holds the 28th and 50th selections in next week’s draft.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Pistons To Work Out Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs

After hosting Cade Cunningham for a visit, the Pistons are set to bring in two more top prospects – Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs – for private workouts in the coming days, according to Jonathan Givony and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Sources tell ESPN’s duo that Detroit would also like to bring in Evan Mobley, but the team has yet to schedule a visit for the USC big man.

The fact that the Pistons are conducting workouts with top prospects besides Cunningham shouldn’t come as a surprise. While the Oklahoma State star is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, general manager Troy Weaver is doing his due diligence on all possibilities, including trading down from No. 1.

Even if Detroit has already decided to stay put and select Cunningham, it doesn’t hurt to bring in other top prospects — if Green, Suggs, and Mobley end up with other teams, this will be the only opportunity the Pistons have for years to meet with them and gather first-hand information on them.

According to Givony and Wojnarowski, Cunningham doesn’t intend to meet with any other teams besides the Pistons, while Green’s only other workout will be with the Rockets, who hold the No. 2 pick.

Draft Notes: Warriors, Hornets, Green Room Invites, Preston

The Warriors brought in some first-round prospects for workouts on Friday, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweetsChris Duarte, Keon Johnson, Corey Kispert, Trey Murphy III, Ziaire Williams and Ayo Dosunmu visited the Warriors’ training facility. Johnson is the highest-rated prospect on the list, as the Tennessee guard is currently ranked No. 9 overall by ESPN.

Gonzaga’s Kispert (No. 13), Virginia’s Murphy (18), Oregon’s Duarte (23), Stanford’s Williams (24) and Illinois’ Dosunmu (34) could all be off the board by the second round. Golden State holds the seventh and 14th overall picks.

We have more draft-related news and tidbits:

Draft Notes: Top Picks, Barnes, Mitchell, Green Room

With the draft less than two weeks away, more clarity is emerging about the top of the lottery, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Pistons are reportedly listening to offers involving the No. 1 selection, but league sources tell O’Connor the most likely scenario is that they will keep the pick and take Cade Cunningham. Even if a trade does happen, teams around the league expect Cunningham to be taken first.

The Rockets are leaning toward Jalen Green with the second pick, sources tell O’Connor. Green’s elite athleticism and ability to create his own shot could eventually make him the best player in the draft, O’Connor adds, and rival teams are preparing for him to go to Houston.

Evan Mobley, who ranks higher than Green on many teams’ draft boards, appears to be a good fit for the Cavaliers at No. 3. They may consider a guard if Collin Sexton is traded by draft night, but Mobley makes sense with the current roster. Jalen Suggs appears headed to the Raptors with the fourth pick and would be a young replacement for Kyle Lowry if he leaves in free agency.

O’Connor cites league sources who believe the Magic like Scottie Barnes with the fifth pick, while the Thunder at No. 6 will decide between James Bouknight and Barnes if he’s still on the board. Jonathan Kuminga, who was considered a top five selection early on, isn’t getting much interest from either Orlando or Oklahoma City, O’Connor adds.

There’s more on the draft:

  • Many scouts and executives believe Barnes will be a top five pick, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Sources tell Wassmerman that the Magic are a good bet to take Barnes, but the Thunder will nab him if Orlando passes. Rival teams also believe the Raptors will consider him with the fourth pick if they’re determined to keep Lowry.
  • Baylor point guard Davion Mitchell held an individual workout for the Warriors on Thursday, according to Anthony Slater of The AthleticMoses Moody, Jalen Johnson and Kai Jones also worked out for the team, but they were in a group session that was held after Mitchell’s workout and interview. Slater examines the arguments for and against drafting Mitchell, who is a strong defender and improved greatly as a three-point shooter last season.
  • Kuminga is among the prospects who have received a Green Room invitation for draft night, Wasserman tweets. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Jones (Twitter link) and Australian guard Josh Giddey (Twitter link) have also been invited to join the Green Room, which is reserved for prospects who are expected to be chosen early.

Western Notes: Hammon, Rockets, Mobley, Giddey, Curry

Although she interviewed with the Trail Blazers twice and was identified as a finalist for the team’s head coaching position, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon sensed that she wasn’t the favorite to land the job.

“I knew I was second; I knew who they wanted,” said Hammon, who openly discussed multiple topics with Jabari Young of CNBC. “And I’m OK with that, because every race I’ve gotten into my entire life, I’ve been behind, and I’m OK with that. And that’s just how it is — but at the same time, I’m not ignorant to what I’m going up against.”

Instead of Hammon, Portland opted to hire Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups in the position. Billups was one of two preferred names mentioned by Blazers star Damian Lillard last month, immediately making him a strong candidate for the job.

“I’m not mad,” Hammon said. “This is the business, and it’s a very competitive business. But, at the end of the day, throw everything out the window — if you want to hire me, you’ll find a reason to hire me. And if you don’t want to hire me, you’ll find that reason, too. And that’s just that.”

There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:

Cavs, Rockets, Pelicans, Thunder Evaluating What It Would Take To Trade Up To No. 1

The Cavaliers, Rockets, Pelicans, and Thunder are among the teams that are “making overtures” to evaluate what it would take to trade up to the No. 1 spot in this year’s draft, sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Givony cautions that any talks are in the very early stages and says that if the Pistons make a deal involving the No. 1 pick, it would happen much closer to the draft. Givony adds that he’s skeptical at this point that Detroit would actually trade out of the top spot, suggesting that the team is simply leaving “no stone unturned” in its evaluations. The most likely scenario is that the Pistons stay put and snag top prospect Cade Cunningham.

Still, Givony – like several other reporters – has heard that the Pistons continue to do their homework on prospects like Jalen Green and “especially” Evan Mobley. The USC big man may be Detroit’s target if the team were to move down, according to Givony.

If the Pistons do want Mobley, they likely wouldn’t feel comfortable moving down further than the No. 2 or No. 3 spot, which would make Cleveland or Houston a logical trade partner. New Orleans (No. 10) and Oklahoma City (Nos. 6, 16, and 18) pick later in the lottery, though both teams have a huge surplus of future first-rounders that could intrigue Detroit if general manager Troy Weaver is open to the idea of moving out of the top five.

Central Notes: Young, Cavaliers Pick, Lee, Cunningham

The expiring contract of Bulls forward Thaddeus Young could be the club’s best non-All Star trade chip, posits Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Only $6MM of Young’s $14.2MM contract is guaranteed for the 2021/22 season. The Bulls front office has until August 1 to fully ratify the deal, which would make sense to do, as the veteran Young has proven to be a valuable role player in Chicago, and even the full $14.2MM deal is reasonable enough to make him desirable for a win-now franchise.

The 33-year-old Young has thrived with the Bulls as a multifaceted two-way reserve capable of playing both forward positions and, occasionally, small-ball center. He seemed to take significant steps during the 2020/21 season as a ball-handler and play-maker, averaging a career-best 4.3 assists.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Given that they have the third pick in what is considered to be a top-heavy draft, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wonders if the Cavaliers should consider trading down for a lower lottery selection and a future asset. In some order, the top four picks in the draft are expected to be Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, USC center/power forward Evan Mobley, G League Ignite guard Jalen Green, and Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs. The Cavaliers are also expected to assess the next batch of lottery prospects, including Florida State guard Scottie Barnes, G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga, Duke forward Jalen Johnson, Adelaide 36ers guard Josh Giddey, Tennessee guard Keon Johnson and Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert. If Cleveland prefers one of these players, who should be available beyond the top four, it might make sense to trade down.
  • Athletic Pistons rookie point guard Saben Lee enjoyed an impressive first NBA season, despite being drafted 31 spots behind fellow rookie Pistons point guard Killian Hayes, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois projects that Lee’s aforementioned athleticism, his 6’9″ wingspan, and his strength will serve him well as a defense-first guard on the team next season.
  • The Pistons will have their first No. 1 pick in quite a while, and standout Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham has widely been viewed as the top prospect in the upcoming draft. Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press details why the club could ultimately pass on selecting Cunningham, explaining why the ceilings of Jalen Green and Evan Mobley are enough to at least get them into the conversation of a top selection. Cunningham’s ball-handling, shooting, defense and positional fluidity make him perhaps the safest bet for a rebuilding team. Mobley’s unique offensive game and impressive size as a center and Green’s fit with the Pistons specifically make both players interesting possibilities.

Central Notes: Mobley, Rose, Bulls’ Draft, McDermott, McConnell, Carlisle

Drafting Evan Mobley with the No. 3 pick wouldn’t necessarily mean the Cavaliers would let restricted free agent Jarrett Allen walk, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The USC big man is widely considered one of the top four prospects in the draft, and sources tell Fedor the Cavs believe he could thrive at the four or the five, so he should be able to share the frontcourt with a center like Allen. Mobley could also slide over to the middle in some lineups, and his versatility would provide head coach J.B. Bickerstaff with more flexibility.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls ought to consider re-signing unrestricted free agent Derrick Rose, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Rose is coming off a strong season and if he’d be willing to accept some or all of their mid-level exception, it would energize the fan base.
  • The Bulls don’t have a first-round pick but they’re approaching the draft with the idea that they could seize an opportunity to move into the first round, Johnson adds. They were also a presence at the combine, searching for a diamond in the rough with the No. 38 overall pick.
  • Re-signing unrestricted free agents Doug McDermott and T.J. McConnell is a major focus for the Pacers this offseason, coach Rick Carlisle said on Tuesday, per Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles.com (Twitter link). “The priority is to get the new staff in here, work towards good health as much as we can, try to get McConnell and McDermott re-signed if we can do that,” Carlisle said.
  • Carlisle has yet to officially sign his contract but he plans to do so when he arrives in Indiana on July 5. He’s eager to work with the roster and find ways to make the current group better, according to Agness (Twitter links). “Whatever players are presented to me by management or ownership, I really take a great deal in pride and love the challenge of molding that group into the right kind of system,” he said.