Frank Ntilikina

Draft Night Rumors: Holiday, Smith Jr., Butler, Cavs

9:14pm: In response to Amico’s note below, Channing Frye has posted an Instagram message dismissing the idea that he’s planning to retire.

Meanwhile, Mavs president Donnie Nelson also addresses an item below, telling reporters that he thinks the Dennis Smith Jr. pick means the Mavs likely won’t target a point guard in free agency (Twitter link via Damon R. Marx of The Dallas Morning News).

8:28pm: The Mavericks may not be ready to hand their offense over to No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. The team still plans to make a run at Pelicans‘ point guard Jrue Holiday once free agency begins, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. A former All-Star in Philadelphia, Holiday will be seeking a significant raise after making less than $11.3MM this season. The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists in 67 games.

There’s more news from an eventful draft night:

  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle offered a different perspective, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Before being asked, Carlisle told reporters that he sees Smith as an immediate starter, noting his blend of intelligence, maturity and athleticism. “We believe he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and right away,” he said.
  • Carlisle added that the Mavs definitely preferred Smith over French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was taken by the Knicks at No. 8. The coach said there was “uproarious” applause in the Dallas draft room when New York’s pick was announced (Twitter link).
  • In negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Celtics refused to part with their No. 3 pick this year or the Nets‘ pick for 2018, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Butler was shipped to Minnesota in a deal involving the No. 7 pick, and the Celtics may send Jayson Tatum, whom they drafted at No. 3, to Indiana in a trade for Paul George.
  • Cavaliers veterans Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson may retire this offseason, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). If they do, it will reduce the salary commitment in Cleveland and open up two roster spots, giving the new GM some flexibility. Frye, 34, made more than $7.4MM this season, while Jefferson, who turned 37 yesterday, collected a little more than $2.6MM.

Draft Rumors: Monk, Ntilikina, Hornets, Thunder

Malik Monk and Frank Ntilikina may be in “weird positions” tonight, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. As Ford explains, one of those two players is a good bet to land with the Knicks at No. 8. However, the player who isn’t picked by New York is a candidate to fall out of the top 10 and perhaps to the end of the lottery. In his final mock draft, Ford has Ntilikina going to the Knicks and Monk slipping to the Pistons at No. 12.

Here are a few more draft rumors and notes:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post continues to hear that if he’s still on the board at No. 11, Donovan Mitchell appears likely to land with the Hornets (Twitter link).
  • There’s “growing chatter” that Frank Jackson has a first-round promise, and the Thunder may be that team that gave him that guarantee, tweets Royce Young of ESPN.com. Young adds (via Twitter) that Oklahoma City may look to trade back a few spots in the first round in an effort to pick up a second-round selection.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 identifies Davon Reed and Semi Ojeleye as two players to watch for the Suns in the second round (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Ball, Ntilikina, Bulls, Mavericks

The Lakers are widely expected to take Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick after trading D’Angelo Russell on Tuesday, but Ball tells Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports that he hasn’t received a guarantee from the team. Ball worked out twice for L.A., with the second time reportedly at the request of the Lakers after a disappointing showing in the first session. “I think they were both fine,” he said. L.A. is still giving “real consideration” to Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

There’s more news as teams lock in their draft strategies:

  • French point guard Frank Ntilikina held a last-minute workout for the Knicks this morning, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Sources tell Berman that the Mavericks, who are also in the market for a point guard, talked to the Timberwolves about trading up from the ninth pick to the seventh to have a shot at Ntilikina, but talks collapsed because of Minnesota’s high asking price. The Wolves would prefer to use that pick as part of a package to get Jimmy Butler from the Bulls. Today’s workout was conducted by former Knicks player developmental coach Chris Brickley, who tutored Ntilikina last summer.
  • If the Bulls do move Butler, they will likely target Fox or Josh Jackson, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Celtics are also interested in the seventh pick and have spoken to the Wolves about a possible deal, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Boston may want an extra draft choice to sweeten its offer to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis.
  • Responding to Damian Lillard‘s request for a better supporting cast, the Trail Blazers are trying to acquire a lottery pick, tweets Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News. Portland’s priority in any deal is getting rid of a bad contract, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The Blazers made an offer for Paul George, but it “doesn’t move the needle” for the Pacers, relays Jason Quick of CSNNW (Twitter link).
  • The Raptors, who hold the No. 23 pick, are gauging interest around the league and are willing to trade down, according to Scotto (Twitter link).
  • The Nuggets, who have the 13th selection, are another team that may try to move down, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. He notes that Denver has a history of making draft-night trades.
  • Several teams have expressed an interest in moving into the late part of the lottery, according to Givony (Twitter link). He lists the Lakers, Hawks, Nets, Bucks, Trail Blazers and Rockets as teams that might try to acquire a pick in the 10-14 range.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Ball, Ntilikina, Smith

Kansas forward Josh Jackson wanted to work out for the Celtics after they traded for the No. 3 pick, but couldn’t work out the scheduling, tweets Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The Celtics are reportedly deciding between Jackson and Duke forward Jayson Tatum if they decide to keep the pick, and Tatum held a workout in Boston on Monday.

Jackson added that he has spoken to Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown and believes they would form a good combination (Twitter link). The former Jayhawk also disputed a rumor that he refused to work out for the team unless he was promised Boston wouldn’t trade its pick (Twitter link).

There’s more as the top prospects met with the media today in New York:

  • Lonzo Ball confirmed to reporters his only pre-draft meeting was with the Lakers, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Ball also believes L.A. traded D’Angelo Russell to open up a spot for him and he can see that “the Lakers have a plan.” He adds that the Lakers haven’t promised to take him, relays Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link), saying, “We’ll just find out tomorrow night.” Ball also explained why he turned down a session with the Celtics when they had the top pick, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “If it’s either play for the hometown or go No. 1, I’d rather play for the hometown,” Ball said.
  • Frank Ntilikina met with the Knicks front office today, including team president Phil Jackson, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The French point guard, who is reportedly in strong consideration with New York’s No. 8 pick, said the team wanted to meet him in person.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. also met with Jackson and the Knicks front office, Begley relays (Twitter link). The North Carolina State point guard believes he can be effective in the triangle offense.
  • Indiana’s OG Anunoby said doctors have assured him that he can resume basketball activities by October or early November, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Anunoby had surgery on his right knee after a season-ending injury in January.
  • Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen was a Timberwolves fan growing up, and Minnesota was among the four teams he worked out for, Fischer tweets. The others were the Mavericks, Celtics and Magic, and he had a meeting with the Knicks.
  • Gonzaga’s Zach Collins had private workouts with the Magic, Wolves, Kings, Mavericks and Suns, and a group session with the Lakers, Fischer relays (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard held individual workouts for the Lakers, Pistons, Knicks and Mavericks (Twitter link).
  • The Nets and Bulls were among the teams to work out international big man Isaiah Hartenstein leading up to the draft, tweets David Pick.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Jackson, Tatum, Ferguson

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell will hold a last-minute workout for the Knicks today, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The sophomore out of Louisville, whose session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, is being considered with the No 8 pick, Begley adds, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen and others. Team president Phil Jackson is intrigued by Mitchell’s defensive prowess and athleticism and likes the fact that he prefers to work out in a group setting to showcase his defense. Joining Mitchell today will be Villanova’s Josh Hart, Miami’s Davon Reed, Iowa State’s Naz Long and others.

There’s more draft news on the eve of the big event:

  • The Celtics have received Josh Jackson‘s medical records, but the Kansas forward still refuses to work out for the team, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Boston appears to be leaning toward Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, Ford states, but no decision has been made.
  • Ford still has Jackson as the third selection in his latest mock draft, which was released today. Markelle Fultz remains No. 1, followed by Lonzo Ball, with the rest of the top 10 as Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Monk, Zach Collins and Markkanen.
  • Terrance Ferguson recently pulled out of workouts with the Pistons, Hawks and Bucks, tweets Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. It’s possible that Ferguson received a draft promise from the Nuggets or Nets or he may have been responding to poor workouts (Twitter link).
  • A 7-footer with a soft shooting touch, Markkanen is drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Some scouts believe the 20-year-old Finnish star is the best 3-point shooter in the draft. “It’s probably not fair to him to have some young guy compared to a Hall of Fame player and champion,” Markkanen said of Nowitzki. “We have similarities because of the height, being from Europe and shooting. But I have a long way to go before I’m in the same category as him. Hopefully, I can get there one day.”
  • The Wizards will work out six players today, the team announced on its website. They are French center Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain Jr., VCU’s JeQuan Lewis, Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross, Niagara’s Tahjere McCall and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Draft Lottery Notes: Sixers, Suns, Ntilikina, Nuggets

The Sixers are still actively seeking another first-round pick in Thursday’s draft despite acquiring the top overall pick from the Celtics on Monday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Philadelphia will take Washington point guard Markelle Fultz at the top of the draft but still have four second-rounders in this draft to dangle, as well as numerous other future picks. The Sixers could trade a player on their current roster in a package with some of those second-rounders or future picks to get another player in the first round, Pompey adds. “I think whether we were selecting at No. 1 or staying at 3, there’s been some talk about our interest in acquiring yet another pick,” President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo told Pompey and other media members. “I’m not going to give up those efforts because we moved up to No. 1.”

In other notable developments involving this year’s lottery:

  • Suns GM Ryan McDonough doesn’t anticipate moving the No. 4 pick in the draft, as he told Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic and other reporters on Monday. The Suns have been rumored to part of three-way deals involving Paul George and Jimmy Butler, and they are also reportedly enamored with UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, who is expected to be drafted No. 2 overall by the Lakers. However, McDonough says he’s comfortable with staying put and taking whatever player falls to that spot. “We have a good grouping of players regardless of who goes one, two or three we really like,” McDonough told Bordow. “I think at this point there’s one player we feel won’t be there for sure at No. 4 (Fultz) and we’re prepared for every other scenario.”
  • The Mavs have hired the coach of potential lottery pick Frank Ntilikina, Vincent Collet, to run their Orlando Summer League team, ESPN’s Chad Ford tweets. Collet is Ntilikina’s coach for SIG Strasbourg in France. The coaching hire means that Dallas, which has the No. 9 pick in the draft, is “all in” on Ntilikina, Ford adds. Ntilikina wants to go to Dallas but the Knicks, who have the No. 8 pick, are also interested in the point guard, Ford reports in a separate tweet. Despite the Mavs’ efforts, the Knicks have shown the most interest in the French point guard, according to the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy, having sent scout Makhtar Ndiaye to watch him extensively.
  • Danilo Gallinari‘s foray into free agency will have little to no impact on the Nuggets’ lottery selection, according to Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post: President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly told Kosmider and other reporters that the club isn’t targeting a specific need with the No. 13 overall pick. “Whoever we draft, whether it be No. 13 or we move up or we move down, it would be hard for them to have a significant role next season,” Connelly said.

Ford’s Latest: Lakers, Suns, Kings, Magic, Mavs

Sources in Los Angeles say that the Lakers have been “moving closer and closer” in recent days to making Lonzo Ball their man at No. 2, ESPN’s Chad Ford writes in his latest mock draft (Insider-only link). However, the Suns also have legitimate interest in Ball, and have had conversations with both the Lakers and Celtics about trading up, says Ford. Phoenix has interest in Josh Jackson too, but if both Jackson and Ball come off the board in the top three and the Suns don’t move up, Ford expects Jayson Tatum to be the team’s choice.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Ford’s latest mock:

  • The Kings have explored moving up to No. 2 or No. 3, with De’Aaron Fox as their target. Ford’s mock suggests Sacramento will have a chance to nab Fox with the No. 5 pick though.
  • The Magic have shown “serious interest” in Jayson Tatum, but Ford thinks he’ll be off the board at No. 6, and has Orlando picking Jonathan Isaac instead.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks both appear to be very high on French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ford says not to be surprised if Dallas attempts to leapfrog New York by trading up to No. 6 or No. 7 to secure Ntilikina.
  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.
  • There has been “a lot of buzz” about the possibility of OG Anunoby landing with the Nuggets, Ford writes. The injured Indiana forward is receiving interest as high as No. 10 (Kings), but Denver would be a good fit, since the Nuggets wouldn’t need him to play right away.
  • The Trail Blazers, who hold three first-round picks, continue to shop around No. 20, per Ford.

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Lowry, Pasecniks, Goodwin

Clarence Gaines Jr., the closest advisor to Knicks president Phil Jackson, is the latest team official to get a first-hand look at Frank Ntilikina, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Jackson’s preference for big guards may be enough for New York to draft Ntilikina at No. 8, although Berman notes that North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith Jr.  and Kentucky’s Malik Monk both have supporters in the front office. Ntilikina is 6’5″ with a 7-foot wingspan, a reputation for defensive intensity and a high basketball IQ. Jackson has developed a liking for European prospects after his success with Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez. Ntilikina’s case isn’t helped by his modest numbers — 5.2 points and 1.2 assists in about 18 minutes per game in the French League — but he says he is becoming a more aggressive player.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Saturday’s trade between the Sixers and Celtics removes a potential destination for Raptors free agent Kyle Lowry, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Philadelphia had been considered a threat to sign Lowry because it’s his hometown and the Sixers have considerable cap space. But with point guard Markelle Fultz headed to Philadelphia, there’s no need to spend money on Lowry.
  • The Nets may gamble on Latvian star Anzejs Pasecniks with one of their two picks late in the first round, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. A former teammate of Porzingis, the 7-foot-2, 226-pound center will have to develop his body to handle the NBA game. “Pasecniks is one of those guys that’d be perfect for a team with multiple [first-round] picks. Brooklyn’s got multiple picks,” said ESPN international analyst Fran Fraschilla. “Portland, and maybe even Utah may have multiple picks. He’s one of those guys that you could draft [and stash] him. Although he’s 21 and he’s anxious to get over here and start his NBA career.”
  • Brooklyn guard Archie Goodwin is a rare player with four years of experience who is volunteering for Summer League, tweets NetsDaily. Goodwin played briefly for the Pelicans and Nets this season, but spent most of the year in the D-League. He is hoping to secure a spot on the team after signing a two-year deal in April that contains several guarantee dates.

Mavericks Pondering Offer For Ricky Rubio

The Mavericks may decide not to address their need at point guard through the draft, tweets Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. Fisher says the team has conducted “in-house talks” about making an offer to get Ricky Rubio from the Timberwolves.

Rubio, who still has two seasons and more than $29MM left on his contract, was recently the focus of trade talks involving the Knicks, who tried to obtain him before the February deadline. The 26-year-old averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 assists in 75 games this season.

Fisher doesn’t mention what the Mavericks might offer in return, but the move would point toward a strategy of trying to find veteran help for what could be Dirk Nowitzki‘s final season.

The Mavericks have also had discussions about drafting French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Fisher adds. The Knicks have expressed a strong interest in Ntilikina as well and are one pick in front of Dallas at No. 8.

Frank Ntilikina Current Target For Knicks At No. 8?

4:55pm: There’s no general consensus on who the Knicks will draft with their eight overall pick next week, but French point guard Frank Ntilikina appears to be a frontrunner, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Isola states that the Knicks have a scout in Europe “babysitting” the 18-year-old and as of now, he is “their man.”

Ntilikina, who boasts a 6’5″ frame and a seven-foot wingspan, has been playing well in the French finals and has been linked to the Knicks extensively the past few weeks. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News spoke to Ntilikina recently and the young guard expressed his knowledge and interest in joining New York and learning the triangle offesne.

“I watch a lot of their games and I know how they play with their triangle offense with Phil Jackson as the president, and I know the players,” Ntilikina said. “I think it would be a good thing for me.”

Due to the length of the French postseason, Ntilikina has not been able to schedule a pre-draft workout, and with the draft scheduled for next Thursday, time is running out for the Belgium native to showcase his talents. However, targeting talented yet virtual unknowns in the NBA Draft has worked for the Knicks.

The team drafted Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in 2015 and he has developed into a potential franchise-building piece. New York has expressed its desire to get younger and more athletic while running the triangle and Ntilikina, while not a well-known name, checks both of those boxes.

The Knicks have worked out most players likely to be drafted in the top 10, along with several other players that may be targets later in the draft. At this point, the first 10 selections could go in many directions, so the Knicks’ pick is far from certain.

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