Ivan Rabb

Draft Notes: Allen, Irvin, Magic

Frontcourt may not be the Bulls‘ biggest need, but if someone as talented as Jarrett Allen is available at No. 16, the team shouldn’t hesitate to go in that direction, Mark Strotman of Comcast Sportsnet contends. Strotman believes Allen could be the team’s next Joakim Noah. Chicago drafted Noah in 2007 even though Ben Wallace was under contract and it worked out long-term for the franchise.

Allen may not surpass current starting center Robin Lopez this season, but by the time his rookie contract is up, Allen could be one of the best big men in the league. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has the Texas product as the 17th best prospect in his class.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • The Lakers recently met with Michigan’s Zak Irvin and the team was impressed with his workout, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Irvin will also work out for the Bucks later this week.
  • Pittsburg’s Jamel Artis will work out for the Lakers and Rockets later this week, Scotto reports in a separate tweet. Artis isn’t ranked in Givony’s top 100 prospects.
  • The Magic have several players scheduled to work out for the team on Tuesday, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel passes along. Cal’s Ivan Rabb, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, Villanova’s Josh Hart and Houston’s Damyean Dotson will all participate in Orlando’s workouts.

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Bucks, Workouts

After a disappointing 2016/17 season, the Pistons will be looking this offseason for ways to improve the team’s outlook for next year. However, as Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press details, Andre Drummond doesn’t believe a roster overhaul is necessary.

“I don’t think we need to do any changes,” the Pistons center told reporters earlier this week. “We had a lot of bumps in the road last season with different things going on, and it took everybody out of sync. … With this summer coming up, we have to do a better job staying connected — the more stuff we do together, the better our camaraderie will be.”

Even if the Pistons were interested in making major changes to their roster, they would be tricky to pull off. Detroit has nearly $95MM in guaranteed salary on its books for 2017/18 without counting Aron Baynes‘ $6.5MM player option or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s $9.2MM cap hold, so the team won’t have cap room to work with.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

Draft Workouts: Bucks, Knicks, Raptors, Kings, Lakers

With the lottery out of the way, pre-draft workouts are starting to intensify around the league. We bring you a roundup of several that we heard about today:

Heat Notes: Wade, Bosh, J. Johnson, Draft

Udonis Haslem and Tyler Johnson made a public appearance today to help Dwyane Wade sell sneakers, but they avoided questions about whether their former teammate might rejoin them with the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Wade is considering whether to opt out of his $23.8MM contract with the Bulls for next season. If he does, many believe he will decide to return to Miami, where he spent his first 13 seasons. Haslem and Johnson have both been in touch with Wade since Chicago was eliminated from the playoffs last week. “He’s going to have to make the best decision for him,” Johnson said. “I know he wants to be in a situation where he’s playing for a team that’s kind of established. I don’t think he wants to go through a rebuilding process.”
There’s more news out of Miami:
  • The Heat are expected to petition the league office soon to have Chris Bosh‘s salary removed from their cap. Bosh was kept on the roster all season after failing a physical in training camp over blood clot problems that have plagued him for the past two seasons. Haslem tells Winderman in the same story that he has contacted Bosh but hasn’t discussed his NBA future. “Chris is one of those guys, when he puts his mind it, he can do anything,” Haslem said. “So he doesn’t lack opportunity. He’s going to have a lot of opportunity to do a lot of things. He’s a very well-rounded guy. And whatever he does, he’s going to be great at it.” If Bosh is able to play enough games for another team, his $52MM salary would be put back onto the Heat’s cap.
  • Free agent forward James Johnson may not be guaranteed a starting job if he re-signs with the Heat this summer, Winderman speculates in another piece. With Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic both starting, Johnson may give Miami too many players on the court at the same time who need to handle the ball. Also, Justise Winslow may claim one of the starting forward slots when he returns from injury.
  • Winderman examines who the Heat might take if they keep the No. 14 pick in the May 16th lottery. Players who have been linked to Miami in that spot include Duke’s Harry Giles, UCLA’s T.J. Leaf, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, California’s Ivan Rabb, Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac, Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, Duke’s Luke Kennard, Wake Forest’s John Collins and two overseas players, Terrence Ferguson of Australia and Frank Ntilikina of France.

Draft Updates: Rabb, Boatwright, Ball, Diallo

While our friends at Pro Football Rumors cover this week’s NFL draft, we’ve still got nearly two months until NBA draft day. However, that doesn’t mean there are no draft-related stories worth following in the NBA at the moment.

For instance, as Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com tweets, each NBA team has now voted for its top 70 candidates for 2017’s draft combine, and the league figures to announce this year’s invitees next week. That list will be crucial for many prospects, especially for early entrants who are testing the draft waters — they don’t have to decide whether or not to withdraw until 10 days after the combine, so getting a chance to talk to and work out for NBA teams in Chicago could significantly impact those decisions.

Here are a few more 2017 NBA draft notes:

  • As expected, former Cal forward Ivan Rabb is staying in the draft. Rabb, who is viewed as a possible lottery pick, has agreed to hire Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management for representation, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • USC’s Bennie Boatwright, who had been testing the draft waters, announced (via a Twitter video) that he’ll head back to school for his junior year, removing his name from the draft pool.
  • Speaking to Shams Charania of The Vertical, top prospect Lonzo Ball said that – while he’d love to be drafted by the Lakers – he’s ready to play for any NBA club and is prepared for “the challenge of helping turn around any team in the league.”
  • A handful of NBA teams are doing their homework on Kentucky prospect Hamidou Diallo, who is testing the draft waters without an agent. As Adam Zagoria details at FanRagSports.com, Diallo’s former coach Andy Borman has fielded calls from the Spurs, Hawks, and Thunder, among other teams.
  • Sam Vecenie of Vice.com decries the practice of “concern trolling” when it comes to the high number of early entrants declaring for the draft. According to Vecenie, those early entrants are well aware that only 60 players are drafted each year, but many of them have their own personal reasons for exploring the possibility of going pro.

Ivan Rabb To Enter 2017 NBA Draft

Cal sophomore Ivan Rabb has decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft, and doesn’t expect to withdraw his name later in the spring, he tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports confirms (via Twitter) that Rabb plans to sign with an agent, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility.

“Cal meant a lot to me,” Rabb told Spears. “My two years at Cal was a huge learning experience both on and off of the court.”

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Draft Early Entrants List]

Many draft experts and NBA observers expected Rabb to declare for the draft a year ago, but he made the surprise decision to stay in school for his sophomore season. In his second year with the Golden Bears, Rabb averaged a double-double with 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG, though his FG% dipped from .615 in his freshman year to .484 in 2016/17.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, NBA scouts viewed Rabb’s sophomore year as a “mild disappointment” — although he improved as a scorer and rebounder, Rabb didn’t take the major steps forward that those scouts had been hoping for. Still, Ford views the 20-year-old power forward as a probable first-round pick, ranking him 23rd overall on his big board. DraftExpress also places Rabb 23rd among this year’s draft prospects.

And-Ones: Rabb, Meeks, Griffin, Appling

A desire to enter the NBA as a more polished prospect drove Ivan Rabb to decide against entering this year’s draft in spite of his strong chances of becoming a lottery pick, as he told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Rabb was widely considered the No. 1 player in this year’s class before suffering an injury in high school, Goodman writes, and the 6’10” power forward has heard the talk about the lack of stellar prospects in the draft, but in recent weeks he grew more attracted to the idea of returning for California for his sophomore year, as Goodman details.

“I know I need to get stronger,” Rabb said. “I want to come back better defensively, a better shooter, a better rebounder, more comfortable on the floor. I want to be the leader. I wanted to have a bigger role.”

Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranked him No. 11 among this year’s draft prospects and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him at No. 14 just before he announced he would stay in school. Multiple NBA executives told Goodman he was unlikely to fall out of the top 10 picks, and Cal coach Cuonzo Martin told Rabb that NBA personnel had said his draft range extended as high as No. 6. See more on the draft amid a look at news around the league:

  • Center Kennedy Meeks will withdraw from this year’s draft and return to North Carolina for his senior season, the school announced. The 6’9″ 21-year-old entered the draft without an agent last month, thus preserving his college eligibility. He was outside the top 100 in both Ford’s and Givony’s rankings.
  • Ex-Iona combo guard A.J. English will have predraft workouts with the Bucks, Cavaliers and Wizards, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
  • Xavier small forward Trevon Bluiett will work out for the Timberwolves on Saturday and the Celtics on May 14th, Goodman tweets.
  • Valparaiso power forward Alec Peters is working out with the Rockets today and the Celtics on Friday, according to Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Former Heat, Mavericks and Pistons preseason signee Eric Griffin pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder charges stemming from a Friday arrest, reports Sam Gardner of Fox Sports. Griffin allegedly fired gunshots at an Orlando man in the early morning hours of April 27th. The 25-year-old swingman has been in NBA training camps the past three seasons but has yet to make a regular season roster.
  • Keith Appling, who spent time with the Magic this season, faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor charges of possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle and possession of marijuana, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. An arraignment is set for today in Dearborn, Michigan, where police arrested Appling outside a strip club on Sunday night, MLive’s Kyle Austin notes.

Ivan Rabb Declines To Enter 2016 NBA Draft

Potential 2016 lottery pick Ivan Rabb has decided to return to the University of California for his sophomore season and he will not be among the players available on draft night this June, the university announced via press release (h/t to ESPN.com). “Ivan is a tremendous person and student-athlete to have on our team. He and his family have put a lot of thought into making a decision that was right for him,” coach Cuonzo Martin said in the school’s official release. “He is a talented basketball player with a very bright future, and we are excited to have Ivan continue as a member of our Cal basketball program.

Rabb is currently ranked as the No. 11 overall player according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots him at No. 14 overall. The power forward had a solid freshman season at Cal, averaging 12.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 61.5% shooting in 34 appearances. He arrived at California as the eighth-best player in his class according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.

The 19-year-old is an intriguing physical prospect, but he should benefit from returning to school for another season. According to Givony, the 6’10” forward needs to add strength and bulk to his slender 215-pound frame, as well as improve his overall offense in the post if he hopes to make the successful jump to the NBA. Rabb could have declared his intent to enter the draft in order to go through the predraft evaluation process, and provided he didn’t hire an agent, he could have withdrawn prior to the May 25th deadline and still returned to school for the 2016/17 campaign.

And-Ones: D-League, Clippers, Beal, Draft

The recent call-ups of J.J. O’Brien by the Jazz and Keith Appling by the Magic could represent a new trend in how NBA teams use the D-League, according to D-League Digest. They are the first call-ups of the season directly from a franchise’s minor league affiliate, and their familiarity with the parent teams’ systems made them an easy fit. With 10-day contracts limiting the amount of instruction time for new players, it helps to have someone who already understands how a team approaches the game.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • NBA veteran Henry Sims is one of three D-League centers identified as top prospects by Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor. Undrafted out of Georgetown in 2012, Sims played 121 games with New Orleans, Cleveland and Philadelphia. He is currently averaging 14.1 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Grand Rapids Drive. Also on Reichert’s list are 28-year-old Alex Stepheson of the Iowa Energy and 26-year-old Jordan Bachynski of the Westchester Knicks.
  • Dennis Wong, a former college roommate of Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, has bought a small percentage of the team, tweets Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. The sale amounts to less than 4% of the franchise.
  • Bradley Beal is slowly easing back into the Wizards‘ rotation and hopes to have his minutes restriction raised soon, writes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Beal, who is headed toward free agency, recently admitted that he may have to deal with restricted playing time for the rest of his career.
  • California’s Ivan Rabb, Vanderbilt’s Wade Baldwin and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield were the biggest risers in the latest mock draft from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, as Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv details. His top five remains the same with Ben Simmons of LSU, Brandon Ingram of Duke, Dragan Bender of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Kris Dunn of Providence and Skal Labissiere of Kentucky.
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