George King

Suns Sign Ayton, Bridges; King Gets Two-Way Deal

The Suns have officially signed three of their four 2018 draft picks, according to RealGM’s transactions log. First-round selections Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges have inked their rookie deals with Phoenix, while second-rounder George King has finalized a two-way contract.

Ayton, the first overall pick in the draft, projects to be the Suns’ center of the future, with the team never wavering on using the No. 1 pick to select him over Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, and other top prospects in the 2018 class. As our list of rookie scale salaries shows, Ayton will be in line for a first-year salary of $8MM+ and will earn more than $40MM over the course of his four-year rookie contract.

Bridges, meanwhile, was acquired in a draft-night trade with the Sixers. Phoenix gave up Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick to move up from No. 16 to No. 10 to secure Bridges, an indication of how much they like him. The former Villanova forward will receive a $3.55MM first-year salary and a four-year contract worth $17.63MM in total.

While Bridges’ and Ayton’s first NBA contracts were locked in from the moment they were drafted, that wasn’t the case for King, the 59th overall pick, since there’s no set rookie scale for second-round selections. The former Colorado forward will slot into one of the Suns’ two-way contract openings during his rookie year.

The only unsigned Phoenix draftee now is Elie Okobo, the 31st overall pick. However, the two sides reportedly reached an agreement on a four-year deal shortly after the draft, so it should become official soon after the moratorium ends.

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:

Draft Notes: Evans, Jazz, J. Robinson, Simons, Lakers

Potential first-round pick Jacob Evans will work out on Sunday for the Jazz, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). A swingman out of Cincinnati, Evans could be an option for Utah when the club is on the clock at No. 21.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are bringing in several more prospects for a Friday audition, according to the team (Twitter link). Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech) and Jerome Robinson (Boston College), two more possible targets at No. 21, are the headliners. They’ll be joined by Trevon Duval (Duke), Landry Shamet (Wichita State), Kelan Martin (Butler), and George King (Colorado).

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Anfernee Simons is generating some first-round buzz, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who tweets that the Trail Blazers and Lakers are among the teams with interest in the IMG Academy guard.
  • The Lakers will host another group workout on Friday, with De’Anthony Melton (USC), Yante Maten (Georgia), Gabe DeVoe (Clemson), Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Justin Tillman (VCU), and Kyle Washington (Cincinnati) taking part, per a team release.
  • The Timberwolves are among the teams that have worked out Boston College guard Jerome Robinson, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who suggests (via Twitter) that Robinson has made a good impression on the workout circuit. Robinson currently ranks as the No. 17 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s ESPN big board, so he’s a potential target for Minnesota at No. 20.
  • In addition to Kevin Knox and Wenyen Gabriel, whose workouts were previously reported, the Sixers will be taking a closer look today at Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Tra Holder (Arizona State), E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island), and Jordan Barnett (Missouri), as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (via Twitter).
  • Despite the declining importance of centers in the modern NBA, many of this year’s very best prospects play the five, creating some risk at the top of the draft, Kevin Pelton writes in an interesting piece for ESPN.com.

Hawks Notes: No. 3, Bagley, Bamba, Allen

The Hawks own the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming draft and figuring out who they’ll select is no easy feat. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com has the team selecting Jaren Jackson Jr. out of Michigan State. The big man, who won’t turn 19 until mid-September, has a high ceiling and would be an ideal partner in the frontcourt alongside John Collins, Givony contends.

Both Jackson and Marvin Bagley III, a projected top-3 pick, will work out for the team next week, according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Atlanta Hawks]

Luka Doncic won’t work out for the Hawks, as he’s not holding any individual workouts for teams ahead of the draft. Heading into lottery night, he appeared to be a lock to be selected in the top-2. However, the 19-year-old will likely be available when Atlanta picks based on the Kings’ reported disinterest in the Slovenian wing. It’s been reported that the Hawks are likely to pass on him as well.

Whoever is selected with the No. 3 pick is projected to make a starting salary of approximately $6.5MM. While we wait to see what the Hawks do with their selection, check out some notes from Atlanta:

  • Mohamed Bamba is tentatively scheduled to work out for the Hawks on June 14, Cunningham tweets. Grayson Allen and Trae Young are also expected to workout for the team next week.
  • The Hawks will have several prospects come into town on Wednesday, according to a team press release. Alize Johnson (Missouri State), George King (Colorado), Billy Preston (Bosnia), Omari Spellman (Villanova), Jared Terrell (Rhode Island) and Thomas Welsh (UCLA) will all visit Atlanta.
  • Atlanta has hired Nate Babcock to be a special assistant on coach Lloyd Pierce’s staff, Cunningham reports (via Twitter). The Hawks’ coaching staff is now complete.

Draft Notes: Hornets, Grizzlies, Blazers, Lakers, Nuggets

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges had his conditioning tested during his first pre-draft workout today in Charlotte, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges and St. Joseph’s James Demery were the only players at the hour-long session, which featured full-court sprints mixed with long-range shooting toward the end of the process.

“They pushed us,” Bridges said. “I’m really well conditioned and they [wanted to see me] shoot the ball while I’m tired. [It was about] showing them everything, like some ballhandling that they didn’t see” when he was in college.

Projected as a lottery pick, Bridges may still be available when the Hornets select at No. 11. However, Bonnell notes that the Cavaliers, Knicks and Sixers — the three teams directly in front of Charlotte — could all have interest.

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

Draft Notes: M. Bridges, Pinson, Farrell, Rowsey

With the deadline passing for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA draft, pre-draft workouts are taking on a new level of importance. Here are a few notes to pass on as the draft looms 20 days from now:

Draft Notes: Huell, Rose, Pipkins, Caroline

With the deadline to withdraw from the draft coming on Wednesday, several players have reached their final decisions. Among them is Miami forward Dewan Huell, who will return to school for his junior season, writes Jordan McPherson of The Miami Herald.

Huell, who made a formal announcement on Twitter earlier today, averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games this season. “I’m really excited to get back to work with my brothers so we can accomplish more than ever during the 2018-19 season,” he wrote.

Huell doesn’t appear in the list of top 100 prospects compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and would have been a long shot to be drafted.

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

Draft Notes: Robinson, Kings, Bluiett, Rorie, Caldwell

Despite reports suggesting otherwise, the Lakers aren’t believed to have made a promise to Mitchell Robinson to take him in the first round, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Robinson skipped last week’s combine and a report surfaced that the Lakers made a pledge to him with the No. 25 overall pick. The seven-footer did not play college basketball, as he withdrew from Western Kentucky as a freshman last September to focus on the draft. He’s ranked as the No. 22 prospect on ESPN Jonathan Givony’s Top 100 list.

In other draft-related developments:

Multiple Prospects Withdraw From Draft

This Wednesday is the deadline for players who are testing the draft waters to make a final decision. Several players have made a decision today, opting to withdraw from the draft. Here are some players who’ve decided to stay in school (all decisions are reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman unless otherwise indicated):

Draft Notes: Johnson, King, Thompson, Pasecniks

Junior guard Robert Johnson will withdraw from the draft and return to Indiana, according to Jon Rothstein of Fanrag Sports. Players who entered the draft but did not hire an agent have until May 24th to pull out and remain in school. Johnson averaged 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game with the Hoosiers this season. He was not listed among the top 100 prospects by DraftExpress and would have been a long shot to be taken this year.

There’s more draft news on lottery day:

  • Colorado’s George King will also return to school next season, Rothstein reports. He averaged 11.1 points and 6.8 rebounds as a junior. Stephen Thompson Jr. is heading back to Oregon State, Rothstein adds. The sophomore guard put up 16.3 points and 3.0 assists this season. Both were outside the DraftExpress top 100.
  • Anzejs Pasecniks could be the next young Latvian star in New York, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The Nets reportedly have interest in the 21-year-old, who was considered to be a similar prospect to Kristaps Porzingis when they were growing up. At 7’2″, Pasecniks would fill a need at backup center for Brooklyn, which holds the 22nd and 27th picks in next month’s draft. “I don’t want to say he’s Porzingis, but he’s a reasonable facsimile,” said international draft expert Fran Fraschilla of ESPN. “I don’t want to give the impression he’s unathletic, because he’s not. He gives you length, he gives you shooting, he can protect the rim a little bit.”
  • The Bucks will work out six players today, according to a tweet from the team. Scheduled to participate are Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo, Georgetown’s L.J. Peak, SMU’s Sterling Brown, Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes, Utah State’s Jalen Moore and Louisville’s Deng Adel.
  • North Carolina center Tony Bradley will participate in a workout with the Knicks on Wednesday, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com.
  • The Lakers have four players coming in for a workout on Thursday, tweets Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com. Participants will be Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett, UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton, Michigan’s Zak Irvin and Miami’s Davon Reed.
  • The Ringer has issued a draft guide ranking the top 60 players available. Markelle Fultz is the site’s top pick, followed by Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball and Malik Monk as a surprise in the No. 4 slot. Seven guards are likely to be taken in the lottery, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer in a separate piece.