Issuf Sanon

Knicks Add Austin Rivers Via Sign-And-Trade

The Knicks have officially completed their addition of Austin Rivers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets rather than signing him outright, announcing the move today in a press release.

The move also sends the draft rights of three players – guard Sergio Llull, forward Tadija Dragicevic, and forward Axel Hervelle – to New York. In exchange, the Rockets receive the draft rights to guard Issuf Sanon and create a modest trade exception.

Rivers had agreed over the weekend to sign a three-year, $10MM deal with the Knicks. The final two years of his new contract are non-guaranteed, which is permitted under sign-and-trade rules.

The inclusion of Llull in this deal is the most interesting new piece of information. The Rockets have long attempted to get the Spanish guard, who was selected 34th overall in the 2009 draft, to come stateside and play in the NBA, but he has preferred to remain in his home country with Real Madrid — he has played for the EuroLeague club since 2007.

At age 33, Llull seems increasingly unlikely to ever make the move to the NBA. That’s even more true of Dragicevic and Hervelle, who were drafted in 2008 and 2005, respectively, and are in their mid-30s now. However, their rights could be useful as filler in future trades.

Sanon, who has played for Slovenian and Ukrainian teams since being drafted in 2018, is still a candidate to eventually sign an NBA contract. He was the 44th overall pick two years ago and is still just 21 years old.

Of course, the only player of immediate importance in the deal is Rivers, who will add some veteran experience to the Knicks’ backcourt in 2020/21. He averaged 8.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG on .421/.356/.703 shooting in 68 games (23.4 MPG) for the Rockets last season.

New York will technically be hard-capped as a result of acquiring a player via sign-and-trade. The team remains far below the cap for the time being though, so it’s fair to assume that $138.93MM hard cap won’t become an issue in 2020/21.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Wesley, Calipari, Sanon, Harkless, Rose

William Wesley is not expected to join the Knicks front office in any formal capacity, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Known around NBA circles as “Worldwide Wes,” Wesley is a business partner of player agent Leon Rose, who is expected to be named the team’s head of basketball operations. It’s believed the Knicks would offer a position to Wesley if he wanted a front-office role, but his other business ventures make a formal title unlikely, Charania adds.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Former Kentucky players Kevin Knox and Julius Randle doubt that their former college coach, John Calipari, would want to return to the NBA to coach the team, Peter Botte of the New York Post relays. “The fans love him there, he’s got the basketball program on lock there,” Knox said. “I don’t think he would leave that opportunity to keep helping kids get to the NBA. That’s something he really loves to do. I think when he said he wasn’t going to do it, I think he was sold on that. I think he really doesn’t want to leave.”
  • It’s doubtful Ukrainian guard Issuf Sanon will ever play for the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Sanon was thrown into the three-team trade that sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers. New York acquired Sanon from Washington, which made him a draft-and-stash second-round pick in 2018. It’s possible he could join the Knicks’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Berman adds.
  • Forward Maurice Harkless, who was also acquired from the Clippers in the same trade, is thrilled to join the organization, Berman writes in a separate story. Harkless has an expiring $11MM contract and could be bought out but he has an affinity for the Knicks. “It’s a dream come true,’’ he said. “I was a Knicks fan growing up. I loved watching the Knicks on TV, I loved coming to the Garden for games when I could. And I actually played at the Garden in college, too, so it’s like I’ve come full circle now.’’
  • Rose’s connections around the league could make him the right fit to run the Knicks, NBA executives told Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Clippers Acquire Marcus Morris In Three-Team Trade

7:37pm: The Clippers, Wizards, Knicks have issued press releases officially announcing this three-team trade sending Morris to the Clips.

Meanwhile, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic clarifies (via Twitter) that the Knicks only have the rights to swap their own 2021 first-round pick with the Clippers’ 2021 first-rounder — New York can’t swap Dallas’ 2021 first-rounder selection for L.A.’s.

1:45pm: The Clippers and Knicks have reached an agreement on a trade that will send Marcus Morris to Los Angeles, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the return for Morris will feature Maurice Harkless and multiple draft picks, including the Clippers’ 2020 first-rounder.

The deal will also include a third team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that the Wizards will acquire Jerome Robinson from the Clippers, sending Isaiah Thomas to L.A.

The Knicks will get Detroit’s 2021 second-round pick from the Clippers, as well as the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in ’21, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (via Twitter). That pick swap will have top-four protection, adds Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter). Draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon will also go to New York (from Washington), tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic.

When Charania previously reported that the Knicks and Clippers were in serious discussions about Morris, Jovan Buha of The Athletic suggested that Los Angeles was offering Harkless, Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann and its 2020 first-round pick. The final package for the Knicks is heavier on draft assets than NBA players, with Kabengele and Mann remaining in L.A.

Morris, 30, is having a career year in New York, with averages of 19.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG to go along with a .442/.439/.823 shooting line in 43 games (32.3 MPG). The Knicks were initially believed to be leaning toward keeping him and trying to re-sign him in free agency this summer, but changed course following Steve Mills‘ removal from the president of basketball operations role earlier this week.

Morris will join a talented Clippers frontcourt that features star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), the team plans to start all three players when everyone’s healthy, alongside Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac.

The Lakers were among the other teams with interest in Morris, but were reportedly unwilling to include both Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green in a potential deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Notes: Hachimura, Schofield, Simmons

Washington concluded a three-day minicamp today in which several notable players participated in full-court scrimmages and drills. No. 9 overall pick Rui Hachimura and No. 42 overall pick Admiral Schofield were among the prospects participating in drills for the Wizards. Schofield believes the two rookies can play well together, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members in attendance.

“I can play multiple positions. So can [Hachimura],” Schofield said. “He can play the wing and the forward. That’s going to make us pretty lethal. We just have to get used to the [NBA level] and how things are done here, understanding from the vets how to pace ourselves and how to play the game the right way.”

Schofield, whose rights were traded to the Wizards in the Jonathon Simmons deal on draft night, initially thought he was going to Philadelphia. The 22-year-old said he actually found out about his draft spot through Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter, as I recently passed along.

“[My agent] told me I was going to get picked…but I saw the tweet before my agent called, which was pretty cool. Woj is elite,” Schofield said.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • The Wizards and Jonathon Simmons have agreed to move back the guarantee deadline on his deal from July 1 to July 8, sources confirm. Fred Katz of The Athletic was the first to report the news.
  • While no definite decision has been made, last year’s second-round pick Issuf Sanon is likely to spend another season abroad, a source tells Hoops Rumors. The organization is impressed by the progress Sanon is making. “He came back lighter,” assistant coach Robert Pack said during a session with the media. “He’s playing with a little more confidence.”
  • Hachimura said undrafted free agent Justin Robinson has helped him adjust to living in Washington D.C., as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members in attendance. “He’s from [the area],” Hachimura said. “Justin’s great…we talk a lot.” Robinson, who has been referred to by the team as the 61st pick in the draft, is expected to play for the team’s G League, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post recently wrote.

Wizards Notes: White, Little, Sanon, Draft

The Wizards‘ workout with Coby White and Nassir Little drew a larger than normal crowd with owner Ted Leonsis and star Bradley Beal among the observers. Little said that more team representatives were present for his workout in Washington than in any of his other pre-draft workouts.

“The building is pretty full right now,” Little told Hoops Rumors and the other media in attendance. “It shows how interested they are in me and Coby, so that’s been pretty great.”

While the large turnout may lead to speculation about their interest in White and Little, there’s still no sense of what direction the Wizards will go in with the No. 9 overall pick. Interim GM Tommy Shepard is running the show for Washington and the front office will use the next couple days to further evaluate the pool of talented prospects.

Team officials had dinner with White on Sunday night and Washington clearly has interest in the North Carolina native. However, White may not be available by the time the Wizards are on the clock. Despite the projections, White doesn’t see the workout as a waste of time.

“I’m blessed to be here,” White said. “I love it. My sister lives not too far. It’s a great town. Blessed to be here and blessed that they gave me the opportunity to come in and work out for them.”

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Issuf Sanon, the team’s 2018 second-round draft-and-stash prospect, participated in drills during the workout with the North Carolina duo. No word yet on whether the Wizards will bring the 19-year-old guard over from the Slovenian League, though I’d speculate that the team keeps him abroad for at least one more season.
  • The workout with White and Little will be the Wizards’ final session before the draft barring any last-second scheduling.
  • Little made his pitch to be selected with the No. 9 overall pick. “Their roster is pretty short on wings. They have Bradley Beal and Troy Brown but in regards to the 3-spot, I think they have a real need right there and I think I can fill that with my ability to play defense and score,” Little told Hoops Rumors and other media in attendance.
  • The Wizards were the final workout for White. Little also has no more workouts scheduled, something that may return a sense of normalcy to the prospect’s life. “Throughout this process, you’re in a different city every other night. You don’t really have a home,” Little said. “…going to the draft, you have a sense of security… like you belong somewhere, so it’s really a relief.”

Southeast Notes: Kulboka, Sanon, Taylor, Walker

The Hornets plan to stash 6’10” forward Arnoldas Kulboka in Europe, Chapel Fowler of the Charlotte Observer relays. The Hornets took the Lithuanian native with the No. 55 pick with that plan in mind. “He’s got a buyout that’s manageable, but we’ve talked to his representative …” GM Mitch Kupchak told Fowler and other media members. “At least right now, the plan is to keep him over there and hopefully watch him develop and then, when he’s ready, bring him back over here and see how good he is.”

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards will go the draft-and-stash route with the No. 44 pick, Issuf Sanon, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. The Ukrainian combo guard is just 18 years old and played in the Slovenian League last season.
  • The Hawks have pushed back the date of Isaiah Taylor‘s partial guarantee from Friday until the end of the month, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Taylor would receive a $300K guarantee by remaining on the roster through the due date. The remainder of his $1,544,951 salary for next season would become guaranteed if he’s on the roster through July 27th. The 6’3” point guard appeared in 67 games last season and averaged 6.6 PPG and 3.1 APG.
  • The Hawks dealt their early second-round pick at No. 34 because the players they liked in that spot were guards and they already got two backcourt players in the first round, Cunningham reports in a separate tweet. The Hawks secured two future second-rounders in their deal with the Hornets. In the first round, Atlanta wound up with point guard Trae Young after dropping down two spots from the No. 3 slot and chose shooting guard Kevin Huerter at No. 19.
  • Kupchak would like to see point guard Kemba Walker play his whole career with the Hornets but can’t do much about that before Walker hits free agency next season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. A contract extension isn’t feasible because of Charlotte’s salary-cap restraints. “He is on a (contract) that may make it a challenge going forward to figure out (the best course) before he becomes a free agent,” Kupchak told Bonnell.

Issuf Sanon To Remain In 2018 NBA Draft

With the June 11 deadline to withdraw from this month’s draft right around the corner, Nicola Lupo of Sportando is reporting that Ukrainian point guard Issuf Sanon will remain in the 2018 NBA Draft, per his agent.

Sanon, 18, who has a multiyear contract with Petrol Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia that contains an NBA out, will be the youngest player in the draft, but ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Sanon being selected No. 42 overall by the Pistons in his latest mock draft nonetheless. Givony also has Sanon ranked as his No. 63 overall prospect in his latest big board rankings.

In his recent report on the NBA’s new Global Camp in Italy, Givony noted that Sanon was “arguably the most talented draft-eligible player in attendance,” impressing scouts with his ability to push the ball up the floor and play pick-and-roll.

That being said, Sanon still needs to work on his shooting and keeping his emotions in check, notes Givony, but those are attributes in which many younger player often need improvement, meaning there’s room for growth.

Draft Notes: Newman, Duval, J. Robinson, Sanon

Malik Newman, a dynamic shooting guard who led Kansas to the Final Four, will declare for the draft and sign with an agent, according to a press release from the school’s athletic department.

The 21-year-old was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year after transferring from Mississippi State. He averaged 14.2 points in 39 games and was named Most Outstanding Player in the Big 12 Tournament and the NCAA’s Midwest Regional.

“He had a terrific season this year and was one of the best players in the NCAA tournament,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self. “I think this is good timing for Malik. We wish nothing but the best for him and appreciate all his efforts. We all know his best basketball is still ahead of him.”

Newman is listed 46th in the latest list of top 100 prospects compiled by Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

There are more early draft entrants to round up:

  • Duke’s Trevon Duval will enter the draft and sign with an agent, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. Duval averaged 10.3 points per game and comes in 50th on Givony’s list.
  • Boston College teammates Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman will both enter the draft without hiring agents, writes John Rothstein of Fanrag Sports. Partners in the Eagles’ backcourt, Robinson averaged a 20.7/3.6/3.3 line this season, while Bowman put up 17.6/6.8/4.7. Robinson is ranked 39th by Givony, while Bowman didn’t make the list.
  • Mississippi State’s Lamar Peters will declare for the draft, but won’t hire an agent, Rothstein relays in a separate story. The point guard, who averaged 9.6 points and 4.5 assists this year, also isn’t listed by Givony.
  • Auburn’s Mustapha Heron plans to declare for the draft and sign with an agent, relays Evan Daniels of 247Sports. The 20-year-old sophomore wing averaged 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this year. “It’s always been a dream to play at the highest level,” Heron said. “Now is a better time than any other time. I’m coming off a pretty good season and the buzz is there and I feel like I’m ready mentally and physically.” He’s also not ranked by Givony.
  • Issuf Sanon of Urkaine plans to enter the draft, according to Mike Schmitz of ESPN. The 18-year-old guard has a multiyear contract with Petrol Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia that contains an NBA out each season. He has until June 11 to withdraw, but his agent, Daniel Moldovan, said Sanon plans to remain in the draft. “Since moving to Olimpija Ljubljana my game has grown,” Sanon said. “Working with coaches, I feel myself getting better every day. It has been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and I’m excited for this next chapter.” Givony rates him as the 69th best prospect.