Isaiah Miles

Raptors Hosting Free Agent Mini-Camp

As the Raptors‘ players and coaches focus on preparing for a potential NBA Finals close-out game in Oakland on Thursday night, the team’s front office will take a closer look at a number of veteran free agents over the next two days in Toronto.

According to a press release, the Raptors will host a free agent mini-camp at its practice facility on Wednesday and Thursday, with 23 players scheduled to attend.

Those players are as follows:

McLemore, Patton, and Payne – all former first-round picks – are perhaps the most well-known players on the list of participants, but they aren’t the only ones with some NBA experience. Artis, Brussino, Costello, Lofton, Thomas, and Weber have each appeared in at least one regular season game as well.

Eastern Notes: Smart, Teague, Draft

Hawks point guard Jeff Teague relayed today that he played the entire 2015/16 campaign with a torn patellar tendon in his knee and that he “could barely jump or stop,” Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com writes. Teague won’t require surgery this offseason and is expected to be ready to go when training camp commences, Mazzeo adds. “He is kind of, for lack of a better word, managing his knee,” coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said. “I don’t know if it is knees and ankles. I would say it is hard to know what he shares and what he doesn’t. I think he was relatively healthy and he was good so many nights and he is such a good player. I do think he was managing it a little bit like a lot of NBA guys do.”

Teague, 27, appeared in 79 games in 2015/16, averaging 15.7 points and 5.9 assists and shooting 43.9% from the field and 40% from 3-point range. He has one year remaining on his current deal and is a potential trade candidate this offseason. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics held two group workouts today, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com tweets. The first group was comprised of Alex Caruso (Texas A&M), Juan Hernangomez (Spain), Damian Jones (Vanderbilt), Thon Maker (Australia), Georgios Papagiannis (Greece) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Forsberg notes. The second group included Robert Carter (Maryland), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette), Mamadou Ndiaye (UC Irvine), Nik Slavica (Croatia) and Troy Williams (Indiana).
  • The Heat have granted the Grizzlies permission to interview assistant coach Keith Smart for a position on the staff of former Miami assistant David Fizdale, who was recently named Memphis’ head coach, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays. Memphis was denied permission to interview Heat assistant coach Dan Craig, who is expected to take an elevated position on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff next season, Winderman adds.
  • The Hornets have workouts scheduled for Friday with Cat Barber (NC State), Nathan Boothe (Toledo), Jake Layman (Maryland), Isaiah Miles (St. Joe’s), Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) and Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV), Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter).

Draft Rumors: Chriss, Kings, Trade Candidates

Former Washington power forward Marquese Chriss figures to be one of the first several players to come off the board three weeks from tonight – the latest mock draft at DraftExpress has him being picked third by Boston – but it sounds as if Chriss wouldn’t mind still being available at No. 8. As Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes, Chriss grew up in the Sacramento area, and would love to play for the Kings, who hold the No. 8 pick and are “ready for any scenario” with that selection, per James Ham of CSN California.

“That would be everything,” Chriss said of the possibility of playing for the Kings. “It would be cool, my family could come to half the games. To be in an environment with a new arena, they’re rebuilding their program, that would be really cool.”

As we look forward to seeing where Chriss lands, let’s round up a few more draft rumors and updates, including a couple more from Deveney…

  • League sources tell Deveney that, while the 76ers and Lakers are expected to hang onto the top two picks in the draft, six other lottery teams may be looking to deal. The Timberwolves (No. 5), Raptors (No. 9), Bucks (No. 10), Magic (No. 11), Jazz (No. 12), and Suns (No. 13) are all believed to be open to trades involving their picks, per Deveney. Phoenix also holds the No. 4 overall selection, but likely wouldn’t want to move that one.
  • Texas A&M prospect Danuel House has a busy workout schedule, according to Deveney. House has worked out for the 76ers and Celtics, and will work out for the Knicks, Hawks, Lakers, Mavericks, and Timberwolves within the next couple weeks. The Suns and Pistons are also expected to be added to his list of visits, per Deveney, who says House looked good against Cal freshman Jaylen Brown at his workout with Boston.
  • Fran Fraschilla of ESPN (Twitter link) hears that the Raptors are “fans” of Isaiah Whitehead. Toronto holds the No. 27 pick, and while Fraschilla seems confident the Seton Hall guard will be a first-round pick, other draft experts aren’t so sure — Whitehead ranks 39th on Chad Ford’s big board at ESPN.com, and 57th on Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress.com board.
  • According to the team’s official website, the Bucks had the following six prospects in for a pre-draft workout today: Michael Gbinije (Syracuse), Josh Adams (Wyoming), Isaiah Miles (St. Joe’s), Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida), Tonye Jekiri (Miami), and Mike Tobey (Virginia).
  • Chip Williams of Upside and Motor identifies five prospects who benefited from the draft’s new rules and deadlines for early entrants.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Workout, Carlesimo, Brown

Don’t expect to see Sixers center Joel Embiid in this year’s summer league, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Moore said a source called Embiid’s participation “unlikely,” even though new GM Bryan Colangelo mentioned it as a possibility late last month. Embiid underwent bone graft surgery on his right foot last August, and the source said summer league action isn’t “practical” at this point. The Sixers don’t want to take any chance that Embiid might suffer a setback before next season begins. Embiid expects to begin playing two-on-two games this week and is optimistic that he will be ready for opening night.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers are holding a predraft workout today with St. Joseph’s Isaiah Miles, Baylor’s Taurean Prince, Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet, Columbia’s Maodo Lo, San Diego State’s Winston Shepard and Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Moore writes in the same story.
  • If top assistant Mike D’Antoni lands the head coaching job in Houston, P.J. Carlesimo would be a potential choice to replace him on the Sixers’ bench, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The 66-year-old last coached with the Nets in 2013.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown says the team isn’t leaning toward Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram or anyone else as the No. 1 pick in the draft, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. “This is a massive decision,” Brown said. “It comes with a lot of responsibility. It will receive the time that is required.” 
  • Brown’s connections with Simmons’ family date back to 1988 when he was an assistant coach with the Melbourne Tigers, writes Henry Abbott of ESPN.com“Each of the teams in Australia were allowed to have two American imports,” Brown said Thursday on ESPN’s TrueHoop podcast. “And one of the American imports we had was a player named David Simmons, from Harlem, New York — who is Ben Simmons’ father. The cheerleader — you can’t make this stuff up — the cheerleader that was the head cheerleader of that team ended up marrying David Simmons, our import, who I coached for five years with Lindsay Gaze, and had Ben Simmons, their son.”
  • Colangelo is looking forward to another shot at the No. 1 pick after taking Andrea Bargnani first overall in 2006, relays Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star“There’s no comparison of the draft classes [of 2006 and 2016],” said Colangelo, who was GM of the Raptors at the time. “Going into that [2006] draft, there was no consensus No. 1 pick. I think this year, if you poll league-wide, there are two consensus No. 1 picks.”

Atlantic Notes: Dunn, Ulis, Jackson

Despite the reports that interim coach Kurt Rambis is team president Phil Jackson‘s choice to lead the Knicks next season, league sources have informed Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that the competition for the post is still wide open. It’s also notable that Rambis is in attendance at the scouting combine this week but Jackson is not in Chicago for the event, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv relays. “When Larry Bird took over for the Pacers, he was the first guy in the gym in Chicago,” a league executive told Zagoria. Jerry West was always in the gym. Those guys are not on ranches in Montana. Phil obviously doesn’t worry or care about that.” While the Knicks don’t currently own a pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the team could look to acquire one from another team.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics interviewed Duke freshman forward Brandon Ingram today, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com relays. Boston also interviewed Syracuse freshman swingman Malachi Richardson, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (via Twitter).
  • The Sixers interviewed Florida State freshman shooting guard Malik Beasley, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (via Twitter). The swingman noted that Philadelphia intends to bring him in for a workout, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com adds (Twitter links). The team has an interview scheduled for Friday with Michigan State freshman big man Deyonta Davis, Camerato also reports.
  • The Sixers met with Clemson junior small forward Jaron Blossomgame on Wednesday and have a workout scheduled with him on May 20th, Camerato tweets. Philly also met with former Weber State power forward Joel Bolomboy today, Camerato notes. Also sitting down with team personnel today were Providence junior point guard Kris Dunn and Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson, Camerato adds (Twitter links).
  • North Carolina State point guard Cat Barber has a workout scheduled with the Sixers on Monday, Pompey relays (on Twitter).
  • Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo indicated that the team is open to trading away some of its draft picks this year in exchange for veteran players, Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers tweets. “You can only have so many developing players,” Colangelo told Andy Katz of ESPN. “We may be in play with some of those picks.
  • The Sixers met with Kentucky sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis today and intend to bring him in for a workout in the near future, Camerato tweets.
  • Vanderbilt sophomore point guard Wade Baldwin interviewed with the Celtics today, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets, Baldwin also met with the Sixers, Camerato notes (on Twitter).
  • Former Syracuse swingman Michael Gbinije will interview with the Sixers on Friday or Saturday, Pompey relays (via Twitter). Gbinije is also scheduled to meet with the Knicks, Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal tweets.

Draft Combine Updates: Thursday Afternoon

The NBA draft combine began Wednesday and kicks into high gear today. The players have been measured, with the the NBA releasing the results on its website, and drills and five-on-five action will take place for willing participants. The general rule is this: The more highly regarded the prospect, the fewer combine events in which he takes part. Cameron Payne was the only eventual 2015 lottery pick who did any basketball activity at last year’s combine, notes Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Top-pick contender Ben Simmons is among those who are skipping the combine altogether, while lottery prospects Kris Dunn and Deyonta Davis will be limited participants, Givony and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com report (Twitter links). Interviews with teams are a key part of the combine, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks details, but teams don’t directly select the players they interview, as Marks explains.

Here’s more news on the draft:

  • Givony, writing for The Vertical, said the private workout Skal Labissiere had Wednesday was one of the best he’s ever seen. The big man from Kentucky also interviewed with the Sixers on Wednesday, a source told Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (Twitter link).
  • Top-10 prospects Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray are among those interviewing with the Celtics, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
  • First-round prospect DeAndre’ Bembry will work out for the Sixers on Monday, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The small forward from St. Joseph’s met with the Nets on Wednesday, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link), and Bembry also interviewed with the Thunder, Wizards, Spurs, Pelicans and Knicks, Pompey adds (via Twitter).
  • St. Joseph’s power forward Isaiah Miles worked out for the Celtics this week and will do so for the Nets on May 19th, Pompey also reports. The Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, Bucks and Knicks will also work him out, according to Pompey, who adds that he’ll interview with the Pacers and Wizards at the combine and previously interviewed with the Mavs, Spurs, Magic and Grizzlies at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for seniors.
  • The Nets are among the teams working out Kentucky combo guard Isaiah Briscoe, sources tell Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link), who also echoes previous reports of his workouts with three other teams.
  • Oklahoma senior shooting guard Isaiah Cousins will work out Tuesday for the Pacers, Zagoria tweets.
  • Oakland University point guard Kay Felder met Wednesday with the Suns, Pelicans, Jazz, Nuggets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nets, reports Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).
  • Evansville center Egidijus Mockevicius will work out for the Nets, Bulls and Pacers, reports Daniel Allar of the Courier & Press (Twitter links). The Nuggets, Cavaliers and Magic are also interested in scheduling workouts with him, Allar adds.