Jaylen Barford

Hornets Release Jaylen Barford, Isaiah Wilkins

The Hornets have dropped a pair of players from their preseason roster, announcing today in a press release that guard Jaylen Barford and forward Isaiah Wilkins have been waived.

Barford, a 6’3″ guard out of Arkansas, went undrafted earlier this year. In his final college season, he averaged 17.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a .470/.431/.721 shooting line for the Razorbacks, earning First Team All-SEC honors.

Wilkins, meanwhile, had modest averages of 6.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.6 APG during his senior year at Virginia. However, the 6’8″ forward filled up the stat sheet with 1.4 BPG and 1.2 SPG, and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Wilkins is the stepson of NBA legend Dominique Wilkins.

Wilkins appeared briefly in one preseason game for Charlotte, while Barford didn’t play for the team in the preseason. Both youngsters are good candidates to join the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets’ G League club, as affiliate players.

After today’s cuts, the Hornets have 17 players under contract, but at least one more roster move will be required before the season begins, since Charlotte has 16 players on standard deals and just one on a two-way contract. The Hornets could convert Joe Chealey or Zach Smith to a two-way deal to get to the regular season roster limit, if they so choose.

Hornets Sign Three Players To Camp Deals

The Hornets have signed undrafted rookies Jaylen Barford and Zach Smith to their training camp roster, the team announced today in a press release. The club also confirmed the previously-reported signing of another undrafted free agent, Isaiah Wilkins.

Barford, a 6’3″ guard out of Arkansas, was the No. 95 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s 2018 big board at ESPN.com. In his final college season, Barford averaged 17.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a .470/.431/.721 shooting line for the Razorbacks, earning First Team All-SEC honors.

A 6’8″ forward, Smith played his college ball at Texas Tech, averaging 12.1 PPG and 7.2 RPG in his junior year before being slowed by injuries in his senior season. He played in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Hawks, averaging 5.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG in four games.

Wilkins, meanwhile, had modest averages of 6.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.6 APG during his senior year at Virginia. However, the 6’8″ forward filled up the stat sheet with 1.4 BPG and 1.2 SPG, and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Wilkins is the stepson of NBA legend Dominique Wilkins.

While terms of the three deals aren’t known, I’d anticipate minimum salary contracts with little to no guaranteed money. It’s possible that the contracts include an Exhibit 10 clause, in which case Barford, Smith, and Wilkins would be candidates to eventually end up with the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets’ G League affiliate.

Draft Workouts: T. Young, Cavs, Blazers, Warriors

Potential top-10 pick Trae Young conducted a “secret” workout for the Cavaliers on Saturday, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Givony, echoing what Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com wrote earlier today, suggests that Michael Porter Jr. may be Cleveland’s top target at No. 8.

However, if Porter is no longer available, the Cavaliers’ decision could come down to Young vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, according to Givony, who notes that he has the team taking Gilgeous-Alexander in his latest mock draft.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the NBA:

Draft Workouts: Simons, Allen, Grizzlies, Knicks

IMG Academy guard Anfernee Simons, projected as a possible first-round pick, has a busy workout schedule leading up to the 2018 NBA draft. Having already auditioned for the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Suns, and Bulls, Simons will reportedly work out for the Magic as well, as we heard on Monday. During Simons’ Tuesday workout with the Lakers, he added several more teams to that list, confirming that he’ll also get a look from the Jazz, Knicks, Sixers, and Bucks, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com relays.

That workout with the Jazz will happen on Thursday, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).

While Simons has a wide range of potential landing spots, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has the youngster coming off the board at No. 38 to the Sixers in his latest mock draft.

Here are a few more updates and notes on pre-draft prospect workouts:

Draft Workouts: Jazz, Ball, Ona Embo, Pinson

Armed with the 21st and 52nd overall picks in next month’s draft, the Jazz are taking a look at a wide range of prospects this week, according to the team.

On Tuesday, the Jazz brought in Jaylen Barford (Arkansas), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Dwight Coleby (Western Kentucky), Jock Landale (St. Mary’s), Caleb Martin (Nevada), and Kenneth Ogbe (Utah Valley) for auditions (Twitter links).

The team’s series of workouts continued today with Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Chimezie Metu (USC), Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s), PJ Washington (Kentucky), Mustapha Heron (Auburn), and Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure) earning a look from the Jazz (Twitter link).

Here’s more pre-draft workout news from around the league:

  • After a stint in Lithuania, LiAngelo Ball has returned stateside to audition for NBA teams ahead of the 2018 draft. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Lonzo Ball‘s younger brother interviewed with the Thunder and Suns at the Pro Basketball Combine, and has private workouts on tap with the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.
  • A report earlier this week indicated that Tulane’s Ray Ona Embo is expected to withdraw from the draft, but it appears he’s going through with his scheduled workouts before making a final decision. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) hears from Ona Embo’s brother that the sophomore guard has a workout with the Hornets lined up for Friday.
  • Former UNC wing Theo Pinson has worked out for the Celtics and Timberwolves so far, and will audition for the Rockets on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Pinson also has a Knicks workout on his calendar for June 12, Zagoria adds.
  • According to Zagoria (via Twitter), Syracuse early entrant Tyus Battle is working out for the Magic on Wednesday.

Draft Updates: D. Robinson, McDuffie, Rowan

Florida junior Devin Robinson, who was previously reported to be testing the draft waters, will hire an agent, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, a source tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Robinson’s 2016/17 averages were somewhat modest (11.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG), and he ranks just 63rd on Chad Ford’s ESPN big board, but the 6’8″ forward exhibited an improved outside shot in his junior year, shooting 39.1% on threes, and comes in at No. 37 on the DraftExpress board. He’ll have a chance to be drafted in the second round this June.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • A pair of Arkansas guards have decided to test the 2017 NBA draft waters, the school announced on Friday in a press release. Juniors Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford won’t sign with agents, meaning they could opt out of the draft by May 24 and retain their NCAA eligibility. Neither player is considered likely to be drafted, so there’s a good chance they’ll both be back with the Razorbacks.
  • Wichita State forward Markis McDuffie will put his name into the draft pool, but won’t hire an agent, reports Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link). McDuffie ranks 49th on DraftExpress’ list of sophomore prospects.
  • North Carolina State sophomore shooting guard Maverick Rowan will also enter the draft without hiring an agent, giving him the opportunity to withdraw his name, as he tells Jon Rothstein (Twitter link). Rowan comes in a little behind McDuffie on DX’s sophomore rankings, at No. 55.