J.J. Frazier

Hornets Work Out Free Agent Guards

JULY 25, 11:03am: Michael Scotto (via Twitter) fills out the list of free agent guards who worked out today for the Hornets — Demetrius Jackson, Marcus Paige, Jared Cunningham, and Nick Johnson were also part of the group.

JULY 25, 8:16am: The Hornets will also work out free agent point guard Isaiah Canaan, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN, who tweets that the group session will take place on Tuesday.

JULY 24, 2:47pm: Former Georgia guard J.J. Frazier will also take part in the Hornets’ workout this week, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.

JULY 24, 11:48am: The Hornets are bringing in free agent guard Donald Sloan for a workout, according to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link). Another free agent point guard, Norris Cole, will also work out for the club, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

While Charlotte’s starting backcourt figures to look the same heading into the 2017/18 season, the team is making some changes on the bench. Backup point guards Ramon Sessions and Brian Roberts aren’t returning, and Marco Belinelli was traded to Atlanta. Belinelli’s roster spot has been claimed by lottery pick Malik Monk, and the Hornets signed Michael Carter-Williams as the probable backup for Kemba Walker at the point, but the club may add one more point guard to its roster for depth purposes.

Currently, Briante Weber holds that third point guard spot on the roster, but his deal is non-guaranteed. Per Basketball Insiders, Weber’s salary is believed to become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract through August 1, so the fact that the Hornets are taking a closer look at veteran point guards now may not bode well for Weber’s hold on a roster spot.

Sloan, 29, has more than 200 NBA regular season games under his belt, but spent the 2016/17 season in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers. His team-high 23.6 PPG and 6.5 APG helped buoy the club to an appearance in the CBA Finals.

As for Cole, the 28-year-old played sparingly for the Thunder last season, but has extensive NBA experience with the Heat and Pelicans, having appeared in 360 total regular season contests since 2011.

New York Notes: Rose, Workouts, Porzingis

Although Derrick Rose‘s first season with the Knicks can’t be viewed as a true success, given the team’s record, the veteran point guard doesn’t necessarily want it to be his only season in New York. Agent B.J. Armstrong tells Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report that his client is interested in re-signing with the Knicks in free agency this summer.

“Derrick loves New York and wants to be there,” Armstrong said. “We’ve expressed that to them and been very consistent about it. Whether it happens is on them; all we can do is be clear.”

As we wait to see if Rose’s interest in the Knicks is reciprocated, let’s round up a few more notes on the two New York teams…

  • In addition to featuring Armstrong’s comments on Rose, Weitzman’s Bleacher Report piece on the Knicks (linked above) explores possible directions the club could go with its roster this offseason, and is worth checking out in full.
  • Nevada’s Cameron Oliver worked out for the Nets (Wednesday) and Knicks (Thursday) this week, league sources tell Ian Begley of ESPN.com. The 6’8″ power forward comes off the board at No. 50 in DraftExpress’ latest mock draft.
  • Dallas Moore, J.J. Frazier, Malcolm Hill, Isaiah Hicks, and Moses Kingsley are among the other prospects to work out for the Nets this week, per NetsDaily (Twitter link).
  • As Marc Berman of The New York Post details, Kristaps Porzingis will be the subject of an E-60 documentary that will air on ESPN later this month. Berman adds that the documentary will address Porzingis’ “cold war” with the Knicks, with the last scene having been filmed in April after the big man skipped his exit meeting with the club.

Southeast Notes: J. Johnson, Heat, Hawks, Hornets

When James Johnson was asked about whether his affection for the Heat could translate into a team-friendly contract in free agency this offseason, the forward took a measured stance Sunday, reports Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Johnson reiterated his love the organization, while maintaining that a business decision must be made:

I love this place so much and the opportunity they gave me. I couldn’t thank them enough. Down the line, it’s hard in this phase of my career to try to find somewhere that you call home or you want it to be home and things like that. So you know the love I have for this team is up there. But it’s just something I got to let the agent and Pat [Riley] discuss and try to figure out, and then just give my last say so at the end.”

Johnson enjoyed a career season in 2016/17, averaging 12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.6 APG.

Here’s what else you should know from the Southeast division:

Draft Notes: Swanigan, Diallo, Jackson, Lakers

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan will remain in the draft, ESPN’s Jeff Goodwin reports (ESPN Now link). One GM tells Goodman that Swanigan is the most underrated guy in the draft. The big man is the 35th best prospect, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Hamidou Diallo will withdraw from the draft and play at Kentucky next season, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. Several NBA teams had interest in Diallo and Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog (Twitter link) reports that the Nets and Jazz were the two teams that had the strongest interest in the athletic wing.
  • Josh Jackson is expected to come off the board early on draft night, but Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype speculates that Jackson’s off-court troubles could cause teams to pass on the Kansas product. Jackson was charged with a misdemeanor back in December for kicking and damaging another student’s car door and taillight. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and ultimately signed a diversion agreement which calls for him to attend anger management classes as part of its conditions.
  • The Lakers worked out several prospects, according to Joey Ramirez of NBA.com. Kadeem Allen (Arizona), Jamel Artis (Pittsburg), Sidy Djitte (Clemson), J.J. Frazier (Georgia), Josh Hawkinson (Washington State) and L.J. Peak (Georgetown) all participated in drills for the team.
  • Ike Anigbogu, who is expected to be taken in the first round, is dealing with a knee injury, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. The ailment forced the UCLA product to miss a workout with the Pistons.

Pacific Notes: George, Ball, Perry, NBA Draft

While a snub from the All-NBA teams cost Paul George the chance to receive a super-max deal this offseason, the Pacers All-Star is more focused on winning than money, USA Today’s Sam Amick writes.

George, 27, is one year away from free agency but is keeping his eye on joining his hometown Lakers. Amick notes that George idolized Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and despite the gap in dollars, George is “more focused on legacy than ever.” Also, with the Lakers not having made the playoffs since the 2012/13 season, George “believes he can lift the Lakers out of the darkness,” Amick writes.

The Lakers could entertain trading for George but would run the risk of surrendering their No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft this year. Also, the team reportedly feels confident it can lure George to Los Angeles in free agency next year, but run the risk of Indiana trading him elsewhere, which could lead to George re-signing with his new team. In either case, Amick paints a picture of a man who wants to be in Los Angeles sooner than later.

Here are additional notes around the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers should trade their No. 2 overall pick to the Pacers and acquire George this offseason, Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated opines. Spears points out that acquiring George, a four-time All-Star, is the biggest upgrade any team can make this offseason. While such a deal could also appeal to a club like the Celtics, the growing belief that George wants to end up in L.A. makes it less viable for other suitors to roll the dice — still, the Lakers may not want to take the risk of letting him land elsewhere.
  • With point guard Lonzo Ball the likely No. 2 overall pick by his hometown Lakers, his outspoken father, LaVar Ball, figures to come with the package. Head coach Luke Walton believes somebody in the organization will reach out to UCLA to gauge just how involved the elder Ball will be, Alysha Tsuji of USA Today relays. Speaking on Friday’s Dan Patrick Show, Walton expressed more concern with how Lonzo Ball would help the team, saying, “I’m mostly concerned with what player can help us win more than 26 games the most.”
  • Despite no playoff appearances since 2006 and a slew of disappointing draft picks, new executive vice president of basketball operations Scott Perry is optimistic on the Kings’ future. Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Perry wants to bring a winning culture back to the team.“I am very excited about this opportunity to help Vlade and ownership to get the Kings back to the culture they had a while back,” he said. “There is a lot of young talent in the fold. Through the draft, we can create some pieces. It’s an exciting time.”
  • NBA.com has the full list of prospects scheduled to participate in a pre-draft workout with the Kings this upcoming Monday. Among the scheduled participants are Pittsburgh’s Jamel Artis, Georgia’s J.J. Frazier, Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet and more.

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: Nets, Smith Jr., Magic, Bucks, Celtics

The Nets will be the only non-playoff team without a close eye on Tuesday night’s lottery results, since the Celtics have swap rights to their first-round pick. But after that swap is made, the Nets will hold the rights to the first-round picks for the two teams in action on Monday night, the Celtics and the Wizards. And Brooklyn is busy exploring its options for those two late first-round selections, along with its second-round pick.

According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, the Nets will bring in Rawle Alkins, Melo Trimble, Kobi Simmons, Davon Reed, Amida Brimah, and Omer Yurtseven for a group workout on Tuesday. On Thursday, Brooklyn will take a closer look at Josh Hart and Tyler Dorsey. Meanwhile, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan is also expected to be a part of that Thursday workout, per Nathan Baird of The Journal & Courier (Twitter link).

As Brooklyn does its homework on the non-lottery prospects in this year’s draft class, let’s check out a few more workout-related updates, including an additional note on Swanigan:

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