Jalen Lecque

Suns Sign Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque

First-round pick Cameron Johnson has signed his rookie scale contract with Phoenix, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

The Suns selected the sharpshooting forward out of North Carolina with the No. 11 pick after trading down from No. 6 in a deal with the Timberwolves. The move represented the biggest surprise in the lottery.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Draft Pick Signings]

Terms of Johnson’s contract weren’t announced, but under the rookie scale he is eligible to earn $4,033,440, $4,235,160, $4,437,000 and $5,887,899 in his first four seasons.

Phoenix also signed the 24th pick, Ty Jerome, who was acquired in a trade with the Celtics, and Jalen Lecque, who agreed to sign with the Suns shortly after he went undrafted (Twitter link). Like Johnson, Jerome will get a standard rookie scale contract, but terms of Lecque’s deal aren’t known.

Suns To Sign Jalen Lecque

Jalen Lecque didn’t get drafted after deciding to skip college, but he did land a contract with the Suns, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The agreement will cover four years, but only the first two are guaranteed.

Lecque, 18, originally committed to play at North Carolina State next season, but opted to try the draft instead. He was eligible because he spent a year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire after his senior class graduated.

Lecque was impressive at the Combine, registering a 43-inch vertical leap, and recently told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that his father received encouraging signs from NBA scouts.

“The feedback a couple teams gave my dad,” Lecque said in explaining his decision to turn pro. “So I signed with an agent right away.”

 

Draft Rumors: Trades, Knicks, Celtics, Warriors

There’s an “ongoing flurry” of trade talks involving draft picks in the 20-23 range, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). According to Fischer, teams like the Warriors, Nets, Kings, Mavericks, and Spurs have expressed interest in moving up into that range of the draft.

The Celtics hold the 20th and 22nd overall picks, and are unlikely to use all three of their first-rounders (they also have No. 14), so it makes sense that they’d be listening to inquiries. The Thunder are picking at No. 21 and have reportedly explored moving their pick in an effort to reduce team salary. The Grizzlies are acquiring No. 23 overall in the Mike Conley trade and are said to be listening to offers for the selection, which is their second of the first round.

Here are a few more draft-related notes and rumors:

  • The Knicks are interested in buying another second-round pick, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). New York, which currently holds the No. 55 overall pick to go along with No. 3, hasn’t sent out any cash in trades so far this season, so the team has flexibility to make a move.
  • League sources tell Fischer and Jeremy Woo of SI.com (Twitter links) that the Celtics brought in six players for last-minute workouts on Wednesday: Darius Bazley, Jalen Lecque, Tremont Waters, Jordan Bone, Chris Clemons, and Jared Harper. It was the second workout with Boston for all six prospects.
  • People around the NBA are wondering how early the Warriors would be willing to draft Serbian power forward Alen Smailagic, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. Smailagic played in the G League for Santa Cruz in 2018/19 but wasn’t draft-eligible until this year. He was shut down early in the pre-draft process and was “hidden” in Serbia from the rest of the NBA, according to Givony, who wonders if Golden State would use its newly-acquired No. 41 pick on Smailagic.
  • There are about 35 players whom various sources feel confident will be first-round picks, tweets Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. In other words, it’s tough to determine exactly which players will come off the board in the back half of the first round tonight.

Northwest Notes: Donovan, Blazers, Jazz, Franklin

Billy Donovan‘s contract runs out after next season but he’s not sweating over his tenuous status with the Thunder, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. Donovan has no real desire to return to the college ranks and will likely retire or become an NBA assistant if he loses his job with Oklahoma City, Horne continues. It’s possible the Thunder will give Donovan an extension during the season but he’s not lobbying for any assurances, Horne adds. The Thunder have lost three assistants — Mark Bryant, Darko Rajakovic and Bob Beyer — due to the lack of job security in OKC.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers took a look at six guard and wing prospects in their latest pre-draft workout on Monday, according to a team press release. Boston College’s Ky Bowman, Brewster Academy’s Jalen Lecque, Clemson’s Shelton Mitchell, Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr., Oregon State’s Stephen Thompson and Belmont’s Dylan Windler were the participants. Lecque is ranked No. 48 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
  • The Jazz, who hold the No. 23 overall pick in the first round, have a better idea of which players will be available at that spot, Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News reports.  “I think we do have a better idea of 5-10 guys, I don’t have an exact number right now, but I think we’ve narrowed it down,” VP of player personnel Walt Perrin said. “We were in the theater the other day looking at players and talking about whether or not they should still be in the 23, as we call it, bucket. So, it’s again, 12 days and we’ll know better in another week, but I think the process is starting to narrow itself.”
  • Former NBA guard Jamaal Franklin participated in a free agent mini-camp with the Trail Blazers, according to Sportando’s Nicola Lupo. Franklin averaging 32.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, eight assists, and 2.4 steals this past season with the Sichuan Blue Whales in China. He last played in the league during the 2014-15 season with Denver. Franklin also recently participated in a Kings mini-camp.

Hornets Notes: Zeller, Kemba, Draft Workouts

Hornets center Cody Zeller had some fun with Kemba Walker‘s impending free agency by jokingly setting up a lemonade stand to raise the necessary $221MM for his teammate’s new super-max contract, as Roderick Boone of The Athletic details in an entertaining story. While Zeller’s fundraising efforts were obviously in jest, he recognizes the importance of Kemba’s upcoming decision, acknowledging that it’s a “pretty serious situation” for the franchise.

“I mean, our careers and a lot of the organization, to be honest with you, depends on what Kemba decides this summer, whether he stays or goes,” Zeller said. “I think it really depends on his choice. But our team and our future can go two very different ways depending on what he decides. So I was kind of trying to make light of a serious situation.

“I think he likes Charlotte,” Zeller said of his All-Star teammate. “I think he’s a good fit here. But the reality of it is we haven’t been able to make deep runs in the playoffs. So hopefully that will still come in the future. But at the end of the day, Kemba has to do what’s best for him. And I’m going to support him, whatever decision he makes.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

Draft Decisions: Roby, Lecque, Powell, Montgomery

We’re continuing to track players making draft decisions before tonight’s 11:59 pm EST deadline. Below are some of the latest decisions:

Staying in the draft:

  • Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby has announced his intention to keep his name in the 2019 NBA Draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Roby, 21, comes it at No. 39 in ESPN’s top-100 list.
  • Jalen Lecque has announced through his own Twitter account that he too will forgo a college scholarship opportunity and remain in the NBA Draft. The 18-year-old is ranked No. 51 in ESPN’s top-100.
  • Arizona guard Brandon Randolph will also remain in the NBA Draft, per Jeff Goodman of Stadium, despite not being ranked in the top-100 of ESPN’s prospect list.
  • Creighton big man Martin Krampelj will also remain in the draft and forgo his senior season, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Krampelj is likewise not a top-100 prospect per ESPN.

Withdrawing from the draft:

Be sure to check our early entrants list for a full list of all draft decisions.

Northwest Notes: O’Neale, Jazz, Nuggets, Wolves

While the Jazz‘ 2019 playoff run was short-lived, Royce O’Neale‘s performance in the team’s five-game series vs. Houston was encouraging. A role player who averaged 20.4 minutes per game during the regular season, O’Neale increased his averages across the board against the Rockets, recording 10.6 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 27.4 MPG.

The 25-year-old forward was also frequently tasked with the defensive assignment of guarding James Harden, and said that the MVP candidate gave him words of “encouragement and motivation” at the end of the series, as Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com details.

“Just goes to show all the hard work that I’ve put in isn’t taken for granted,” O’Neale said. “A lot of people are showing respect when it’s due. Earning that respect from him was one of the good moments. It made me feel like I’m becoming somebody in this league.”

The Jazz enter the offseason prepared to make some changes to a roster that hasn’t been able to get over the hump in the playoffs over the last two years. However, it’s unlikely that they’ll part ways with O’Neale, despite the fact that his 2019/20 salary is non-guaranteed — at a rate of $1,618,520, he’ll likely be one of the league’s better bargains next season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

Draft Notes: C. White, Barrett, Culver, G. Williams

A number of draft-eligible prospects who attended this week’s combine decided against participating in today’s scrimmages, with at least one prospect leaving the event altogether.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported (via Twitter) that Jalen Lecque, who performed well during Thursday’s scrimmages, decided not to play anymore based on feedback to his family. Croatian forward Luka Samanic followed suit, as did Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky), Moses Brown (UCLA), and DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa), according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com (via Twitter), who adds that Brown is believed to have suffered an injury on Thursday.

Meanwhile, projected lottery pick Coby White (UNC) left the combine on Friday after interviewing with several teams, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). White’s departure will likely fuel speculation of a draft promise, and while it’s a possibility, there have been no reports yet suggesting that’s the case.

Here’s more on the draft:

Full List Of 2019 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 66 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from May 15-19.

While a small handful of top prospects often skip the event, that won’t be the case this year — Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are on the league’s list of 66 names, along with R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and many more. Of course, those top prospects may not participate fully in all of the workouts and scrimmages at the combine.

A few more names figure to be added to this list, as a select number of the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp earlier in the week are expected to receive invites to the combine.

Here’s the full list of 66 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech (sophomore)
  2. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke (freshman)
  3. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (freshman)
  4. Darius Bazley, F, Princeton HS (OH) (N/A)
  5. Bol Bol, C, Oregon (freshman)
  6. Jordan Bone, G, Tennessee (junior)
  7. Brian Bowen, F, USA (born 1998)
  8. Ky Bowman, G, Boston College (junior)
  9. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan (freshman)
  10. Moses Brown, C, UCLA (freshman)
  11. Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  12. Nicolas Claxton, F, Georgia (sophomore)
  13. Jarrett Culver, G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  14. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  15. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas (freshman)
  16. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue (junior)
  17. Bruno Fernando, F, Maryland (sophomore)
  18. Daniel Gafford, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  19. Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Kansas (freshman)
  21. Kyle Guy, G, Virginia (junior)
  22. Jaylen Hands, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  23. Jaxson Hayes, F/C, Texas (freshman)
  24. Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  25. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest (freshman)
  26. Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Iowa State (freshman)
  27. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  28. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia (junior)
  29. Cameron Johnson, G, UNC (senior)
  30. Keldon Johnson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  31. Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State (sophomore)
  32. Louis King, F, Oregon (freshman)
  33. Romeo Langford, G, Indiana (freshman)
  34. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas (junior)
  35. Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy (NH) (N/A)
  36. Nassir Little, F, UNC (freshman)
  37. Charles Matthews, G, Michigan (junior)
  38. Jalen McDaniels, F, San Diego State (sophomore)
  39. Ja Morant, G, Murray State (sophomore)
  40. Zach Norvell Jr., G, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  41. Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington (sophomore)
  42. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville (sophomore)
  43. Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn (sophomore)
  44. KZ Okpala, F, Stanford (sophomore)
  45. Miye Oni, G/F, Yale (junior)
  46. Eric Paschall, F, Villanova (senior)
  47. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s (junior)
  48. Jordan Poole, G, Michigan (sophomore)
  49. Jontay Porter, F, Missouri (sophomore)
  50. Kevin Porter Jr, G, USC (freshman)
  51. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (freshman)
  52. Cam Reddish, F, Duke (freshman)
  53. Naz Reid, C, LSU (freshman)
  54. Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska (junior)
  55. Luka Samanic, F, Croatia (born 2000)
  56. Admiral Schofield, G, Tennessee (senior)
  57. Simisola Shittu, F, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  58. Killian Tillie, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  59. PJ Washington, F, Kentucky (sophomore)
  60. Tremont Waters, G, LSU (sophomore)
  61. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G, Missippi State (senior)
  62. Coby White, G, UNC (freshman)
  63. Kris Wilkes, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  64. Grant Williams, F, Tennessee (junior)
  65. Zion Williamson, F, Duke (freshman)
  66. Dylan Windler, G, Belmont (senior)

Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Matisse Thybulle (Washington) are among the potential first-round picks who aren’t on the NBA’s list of combine participants, as noted by Jeremy Woo of SI.com and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links).

Draft Notes: Thompson, Zagars, Ngom, Lecque

North Carolina State commit Jalen Lecque has announced his decision to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft, posting a video to his social media page today.

“I would like to thank god, my mom, my dad, my brothers and sisters and my extended family and friends,” Lecque said. “I would like to thank Christ School and Brewster Academy for providing me with the education and giving me the opportunity and making me the man I am today.”

Lecque also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to NC State if he isn’t selected in the draft, Evan Daniels of 247Sports tweets.

Here are some other draft notes today:

  • Oregon State guard Ethan Thompson has declared for the draft and will hire an agent, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Thompson started in 63 games during his two seasons at Oregon State, holding per-game averages of 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
  • Latvian guard Arturs Zagars has entered his name to the draft, his agency You First Sports told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). Zagars was the MVP of the FIBA U18 European Championship and has a strong chance of getting drafted, Givony adds.
  • Ryerson University center Tanor Ngom has declared for the draft, head coach Roy Rana confirmed to Givony. Ngom, a 7’2″ native of Senegal, averaged 11.3 points and 5.6 rebounds on 64% shooting this season. He had notable performances against Duke during a preseason game last year and at the Nike Academy in August.